African leaders are expressing strong doubts that next
week's run-off election in Zimbabwe would be free and fair. Tanzanian foreign
minister, Bernard Membe, speaking on behalf of Southern African Development
Community nations (SADC) said the June 27th run-off election would
not be free and fair because of escalating pre-election violence. Rwandan
President Paul Kagame also said Zimbabwe's run-off poll would not be free and
On the other hand, South African President Thabo Mbeki has reportedly
said that there should be a unity government in Zimbabwe instead of a run-off
election. Why now have some African nations decided to speak loudly about the
crisis in Zimbabwe?
Kabiru Mato heads
the political science department at the University of Abuja in Nigeria. He
told VOA African leaders' strong criticism
of the upcoming run-off election in Zimbabwe could be the result of western
position on the changing position of African leaders is that it must have some
external correlation, external correlation in a sense that they must have been perhaps
convinced by their formal colonial powers to take the position that they are
taking. I don't support dictatorship, but I think that it is quite undiplomatic
and strategically not very convenient for the President of Rwanda, SADC (South
African Development Community Countries) and others to begin to make the public
remarks that the polls are not going to be free and fair," Mato said.
said the African leaders' comments could taint the results, especially if
President Mugabe wins the run-off.
said he agreed with South African President Thabo Mbeki who was quoted as
saying that there should be a unity government in Zimbabwe instead of a run-off
support that, and I think President Thabo Mbeki must have uttered this
suggestion on the basis of his personal understanding of the crisis that exist
in Zimbabwe. I think it's okay! If that will be so let it be so that we can
have peace in Zimbabwe," he said.
Africans, especially some Nigerians have accused the West of duplicity when comes
to promoting democracy in Africa. They argued the world did not openly support
the Nigerian opposition when they called for a rejection of the 2007 election
because they said it was rigged.
sees a difference in the West's behavior toward Zimbabwe and Nigeria. He said
Britain and the United States have long declared President Robert Mugabe
persona non grata because of his seizure of white-owned farms.
"In the case of Nigeria's election,
there was no direct political interest of Western Europe involved. In Zimbabwe,
President Mugabe has offended Britain. And therefore by offending Great
Britain, he has also offended Western Europe and the United States of America,"Mato said.