April 2, 2008
Updated: Zimbabwe Waits for Mugabe to Admit Defeat
Could one of the world's most tenacious dictators concede?
The answer, apparently, is no.
Everybody has been a bit overeager about Zimbabwe's future - but there truly are some hopeful signs as Zimbabweans wait for the results of last Saturday's elections. The opposition party claims its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, beat Robert Mugabe. They've also won a majority in parliament. And no one is contradicting them yet.
Rumor has it Mugabe may concede that he has not won. Some are suggesting his party's not declaring victory may lead to an actual handing over of power - and that Zimbabwe, in which church-state intrigue is practically an art form, might fare better with the democratic process than Kenya did this winter. "The mere possibility of a transfer of power is a stunning development in Zimbabwe," Greg Winter says in a New York Times video on the election.
The Zimbabwean pre-reported Mugabe's declaration of victory, which now seems very unlikely.
IWPR could not get the exact percentage by which Mugabe will be said to have won but the sources said there would not be a run-off, as ZANU-PF will claim Mugabe has clinched more than 50 per cent of the total number of voters cast.
Sources within the ZEC centre - newly christened the National Collation Centre - say Mugabe clearly lost the election to his opposition rival Morgan Tsvangirai, polling only 20 per cent of the vote. He is also said to trail Simba Makoni who garnered 28 per cent.
But commentators say it would be something of a miracle if Mugabe and his party had secured the victory, given more than 85 per cent unemployment, serious food shortages and a collapsed health delivery system.
Not to mention the 100,000% inflation rate.
However, Mugabe hasn't declared defeat, either. Although polling stations post results on their doors, the government has not released official results, "heightening fears that it is trying to massage the vote in the face of a crushing defeat," The Guardian reports. Churches are going public with concerns about rigging.
A runoff vote may be the next step.
Christianity Today's past coverage of Zimbabwe includes articles on Mugabe tampering with churches and accusing Pius Ncube.