Intimidation, brutality keeps Bob in power

Zimbabwe's recent run-off election, in which Zanu-PF won an outright majority and the main opposition did not take part, does not mean that there is no multiparty politics in that country.

Zimbabwe's recent run-off election, in which Zanu-PF won an outright majority and the main opposition did not take part, does not mean that there is no multiparty politics in that country.

People tend to get confused. One-party rule is a political system in which an opposition exists but its members are intimidated and tortured and some have to flee.

MDC members have experienced this. Not long ago its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, fled to Botswana. And he was detained and brutalised on numerous occasions.

Many African countries that won independence in the 1960s adopted one-party rule. Analysts of the Zimbabwe elections and political system should be careful not to be trapped in conceptual confusion.

There was an opposition party in the run-off but because of undemocratic procedures and intimidation it had no effect.

In fact, it is practically impossible for an opposition to effect change in a closed system in which a president is above the constitution or the constitution is dismantled.

Effectively Zimbabwe has no constitution and Robert Mugabe is above the constitution.

Media freedom is outlawed and freedom of speech suppressed. But what makes the system survive despite gross human rights abuses and suppression?

This is a question most analysts have never dared to ask.

Lucky Ledwaba, Pretoria

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