Zim poll hardly free and fair

Human rights groups have ridiculed the fantasy hatched in Harare about the general elections there on March 29 being authentically democratic.

Human rights groups have ridiculed the fantasy hatched in Harare about the general elections there on March 29 being authentically democratic.

Human Rights Watch, for one, says the Mugabe government and ruling Zanu-PF have engaged in widespread intimidation of the opposition in the run up to these elections.

They have restricted freedom of association and assembly and have manipulated food and farming equipment distribution to gain political advantage. Hardly free and fair!

Yet many apologists for the Mugabe regime continue to sing his praises and hope to cloak his regime in a threadbare legitimacy whatever the facts on the ground come the results.

The lesson being put forward, and accepted by some in North America and Europe, seems to be that any African national election, no matter how flawed, or in Zimbabwe's case inherently bad from the beginning, will be accepted with deviations put down to insurmountable local conditions.

The results of the next Mugabe poll will naturally be skewed to favour him and his cronies.

The challenge for the international community is how to resoundingly reject the rubbish results.

Derek Fleming, Centurion

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