Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai quit Zimbabwe's run-off election Sunday, saying violence had made a fair vote impossible, in a move that virtually hands victory to President Robert Mugabe.
"We will no longer participate in the violent illegitimate sham of an election process," Tsvangirai, 56, told reporters at his home, saying he could not ask supporters to cast ballots "when that vote would cost them their lives."
The opposition chief said Mugabe had "declared war by saying that the bullet has replaced the ballot", referring to the president's earlier threats to fight to keep the opposition out of power.
"We believe an election that reflects the will of the people is impossible," he said, as he appealed to the United Nations, African Union and regional body SADC to "intervene and stop the genocide".
Tsvangirai added he would announce a decision on his next moves on Wednesday -- leaving open the possibility, however slight, that he could change his mind.
The move brought a dramatic end to a presidential campaign that had been marred by allegations of brutal violence, with the opposition accusing government backers of terrorising its supporters.
The situation in Zimbabwe highlights the power of one deeply corrupt and brutal man, Mugabe to plunge an entire nation into bloody chaos and how utterly impotent the "international community" is to do anything to stop him.
Zimbabwe's crisis will move to the UN security council today as the international community contemplates fresh sanctions against Robert Mugabe's government.
Britain, the US and France will call on Russia and China to join the condemnation of Mugabe's regime, while the EU is expected to consider a raft of punitive measures aimed at Zanu-PF's leaders, their finances and their children's European educations. "If Mugabe thinks this finishes it, he's in for a big surprise. He has united the world against him," Mark Malloch-Brown, the Foreign Office minister for Africa, Asia and the UN told the Guardian. "Mugabe remains de facto president but he is not by any stretch of international law or political imagination, a legitimate leader."
I hate to differ with the esteemed UN official but Mugabe is as legitimate as they come. He gets his legitimacy from the barrel of a gun and there is no more convincing form of legitimacy than that.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air suggests a number of methods that might be effective in dealing with Mugabe but also notes it just ain't happening:
Update: One commenter asks whether this means we should “bomb bomb Harare” to intervene. There are intermediate steps that can take place before bombing. The UN and the SADC could take the following actions:
- Charge Mugabe and his military commanders with crimes against humanity
- Seize all assets held abroad by Mugabe and his advisers
- List Zimbabwe’s military and militias as terrorist organizations
- Refuse to offer diplomatic status to Zimbabwean officials traveling abroad
- Close the borders to all shipments going into Zimbabwe — a complete embargo
The first would not do much, but the rest of these would cripple Mugabe. Unfortunately, no multilateral organization has even begun to consider these steps or anything close to them.
Don't hold your breath waiting.
Ed Morrissey updates with the news that Mugabe now wants Tsvangirai to stay in the race, thus providing his rancid regime with a veneer of credibility. Tsvangirai may find himself in the odd situation of being in greater danger by not running against Mugabe than he was running against him.