Bloggers Writing Scared in Zimbabwe
More and more bloggers are adding their voices to the chorus of confusion and unease in Zimbabwe, as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced his withdrawal from the presidential run-off from the safety of the Dutch Embassy.
While Dutch officials have stated Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC movement opposing long-time president Robert Mugabe, has not requested asylum, he has apparently expressed a fear for his safety after over 60 MDC volunteers and officials were arrested at their headquarters late last week.
Bloggers are split on the issue, but almost all agree that the situation is tense and precarious and could shift at any moment.
Some bloggers have stated their feelings openly, while others are more careful in their condemnation, fearing government pressure and oppressive tactics:
Rightly or wrongly, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, (MDC) lurks behind the gates of the Dutch Embassy here in Harare. He has not requested asylum, say his Dutch hosts, but he does fear for his own personal safety.
Latest intelligence says that. while he has announced his withdrawal from the Presidential run-off election on Friday, he has yet to write to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to say so. This has led to rumours that he might even change his mind on Wednesday, and run after all.
As for Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF junta - they call Tsvangirai a coward, and count their blessings. On the surface, the way seems open for another five years of their iron-fisted rule.
You only had five days to go ……………..No doubt Mugabe and his cronies are out celebrating right now, all the violence and intimidation has paid off, Morgan and his boys have decided to hand victory on a plate, is a this good result for ZANU PF or what! This is exactly what ZANU has been working towards and hey !!!!
Robert Mugabe spent 11 years in jail for his role as one of several leaders fighting for independence. The playing field was distinctly uneven and brutal. Yet the nationalists persevered in their quest for freedom. Today, Morgan Tsvangirai has, on moral grounds, pulled out of a watershed election for the same country.
An exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera on why Tsvangirai pulled out of the election:
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has pulled out of a run-off election for the country's presidency, saying that his supporters are facing violent intimidation by loyalists of incumbent Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
The announcement of 22nd June by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Zimbabwe, that it is withdrawing from the run-off Presidential Elections, due on Friday 27 June, is an indication of the depth of the political crisis in that country.
I spent a lot of time yesterday reading various opinion pieces and columns written by various people the world over about the crumbling issue of Zimbabwe. A couple of columns suggested that the second round, in itself, was illegal because the Constitution states that the person with the highest number of votes wins - regardless of percentages.
News story on Tsvangirai taking refuge in the Dutch embassy:
"It was a temporary refuge," Tsvangirai said in an interview from the embassy with Dutch public broadcaster Radio 1. "So I will probably leave today or tomorrow."
A spokesman for Tsvangirai later said that in such an uncertain environment, the timeline could change.
The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, Tsvangirai withdrew from Friday's presidential run-off vote over the weekend then fled to the Dutch Embassy saying he feared for his safety.
I write this letter to advise you that for reasons set out in this letter, it is no longer possible for the holding of the Presidential run-off election set for the 27th June 2008.
In my considered view, the conditions presently obtaining thoughout the country make it virtually impossible for a proper election envisaged in both the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Electoral Act [Chapter 2.13] to take place. This being the case, the election scheduled for Friday 27th June 2008 cannot be an election as provided for by our law and accordingly, it will be a nullity if it were to be proceeded with.