Zimbabwe’s 3Ms (Mugabe, Makoni and Morgan)

Robert Mugabe celebrated his 84th birthday and launched his campaign seeking a sixth term in office. The campaign speech blamed the usual suspects (the foreigners especially the westerners) for the economic problems. It is not too hard to comprehend the everyday struggle of survival for Zimbabweans with inflation at 100,000% and an unemployment rate of 80%.
The current economic problems have been attributed to failed land reforms of 2000. The land reforms allowed the seizures of lands owned by whites to be distributed among the local black population. The bread-basket of Africa has been turned into a begging-basket. Locals depend on foreign remittances and UN food program.
Even the schooling system (probably the only reason why some Zimbabweans still admire him) is also buckling under hyperinflation. An adult literacy rate estimated still at 80-90% is steadily decreasing. Amnesty International and Human Rights have reported widespread human-rights violations by Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), which reports directly to Mugabe. CIO is reported to be behind the publishing of alleged photographs of Bishop Pius Ncube, a vocal critic of Mugabe. The scandal led to the resignation of the bishop.

The big opposition against Mugabe’s rule is coming from the two presidential contenders MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni who till recently was a part of ZANU-PF.
Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai, a former mine worker, ran against Mugabe in 2002. The elections were rigged and marred with violence. He was charged with treason for an alleged assassination attempt on Mugabe. He was later acquitted of the charges. In March 2007, he was arrested on his way to a prayer rally. His torture not only grabbed headlines of most newspapers but also provoked reactions from around the world. He will be contesting elections this year, but factions within his party have weakened his chances of becoming the president.

Simba Makoni
Simba Makoni has been widely hailed as a serious contender to Mugabe. Makoni, trained as a chemist, served as a deputy minister of agriculture in 1980 and a finance minister from 2000 2002. He is amongst the few uncorrupt politicians in Mugabe’s ZANU-PF. Dumiso Dabengwa is the first Zanu-PF leader to support his bid. A splinter MDC group led by Arthur Mutambara, has also endorsed Makoni. But he still needs the rural support and backing of a few ZANU-PF leaders.

Hopefully the elections in March 2009 would be free and fair, and the last for Robert Gabriel Mugabe KCB.

BBC Article – Q&A: Zimbabwe’s economy
BBC Article – Profile: Morgan Tsvangirai
BBC Article – Mugabe rival wins key supporter
Economist Article – Zimbabwe -Simba Makoni is getting up steam
Economist Article – Zimbabwe – Divide and Conquer


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