Friday, June 27, 2008

The sad Zimbabwean opposition leader

What will he do on election day, coming up today in Zimbabwe?

"I'll do nothing," Tsvangirai, who is boycotting the election despite outpolling Mugabe in the first round in March, said in a telephone interview from the embassy that has been his home since Sunday. "I'll come out for sunshine, nothing more."

Hmmm. So let's think outside the box a bit here. The natural tendency is to have sympathy for he and his movement. But are we perhaps being too uncritical? Was Tsvangirai's only option to quit? Yes, his followers faced violence if he had stayed in the race through the election. Yes, it's difficult to put one's life on the line, plus those of your supporters.

But what will they face if Mugabe wins? More of the same. What will Tsvangirai's country face if and when Mugabe "wins" this election? More plunder, more corruption, more violence. More deaths.

Tsvangirai's attempt to punt this problem away was no solution at all. Sometimes democracy and an end to dictatorship must be fought for, and violence must be faced.