Sunday, June 29, 2008


That, consisting of 131,481 spoiled ballots and 233,000 votes for a non-existent candidate, is the imaginary number that Robert Mugabe’s cronies have chosen as the tally of courageous people in Zimbabwe.


m said...

I'm starting to find our own coverage more fascinating than this newsworthy story. I think there is some article --In The Times maybe? I can't remember-- that attempts to look at this.

You, yourself, made the prediction it'd go wrong. I was more optimistic, yet still look at with some form of curiosity; yet, when thinking about how the media kind of swept over issues in Chad --earlier in the year and with tie-ins to the situation in Darfur-- I am finding our coverage of it more interesting. (Which, I fully admit, is a tad heartless.)

I imagine the reasons stem from guilt, a slight condescending nature, a desire for the best...

Of course, if I was in the government I'd have the lovely, stupid idea of sending Mugabe to Africa at 'The World' island complex. Possibly, secretly hoping he'd take out the Beckhams or any of that lot; while thinking all he really wants is a tropical paradise to retire in.

Oh yeah, I'd be like Hazel Blears; so sad, but I think she'd try to put Mugabe on Survivor-- in my defense. (He's not pretty enough for Shipwrecked, but if I had a gun to my head...)

Tom Freeman said...

Well I thought Mugabe would win outright on the first ballot. I was surprised to see that a combination of the utter hatred the voters had for him, and the regime's incompetence at election fraud, were able to outweigh the lust for power.

The British coverage - dunno about elsewhere - is very much coloured by our colonial history. Atrocities in former Frech etc colonies get less attention. Plus Mugabe is a stock bugbear of the media and a strong personality makes for a good story.

My memory is hazy, but I think the general sense of outrage at Mugabe here really came into its own in 2000 when he and the 'war veterans' started on the land seizures. I'm not saying that British politicians only care about bad things being done to white people, it's just that the white farmers had better connections.

Bit like the US view of Sudan - US politics has been primed to be aware of the govt's vileness as a result of its pre-Darfur repression of Christians (who have links to US churches and missionary groups) in the south of the country.