Sunday, June 22, 2008

You may have noticed...

I've been running a lot of stories in the "Brad's Suggestions" section off to the right on the Zimbabwe situation. For those of you who don't know, Robert Mugabe, the long-standing dictator of Zimbabwe has plunged the country into a state of economic disaster through classic nepotism. He's the embodiment of the African strongman dictator stereotype.

Interestingly, Zimbabwe had elections some time ago, and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai*, surprisingly took first place. However, unlike (most) US elections, there are usually multiple candidates, and unless one of them wins a simple majority, there's a runoff election between the top two finishers. It was initially believed that Tsvangirai won enough votes to claim victory outright, but the Mugabe controlled government claimed that an outright victory did not occur.

This set the stage for the runoff election, which has been a sham since it started. Tsvangirai formally withdrew from the election today. The state controlled media has prohibited his party from running ads, arrested his party's second in command on treason charges (where he faces the death penalty), and Mugabe-supporting militias have been beating, killing, and displacing the opposition's supporters.

It is unclear how the situation will be resolved, but it's mind-boggling to me that this kind of stuff still goes on.

*Pictured above, after being beaten and tortured by Mugabe's government.

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