Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
3 April 2008

Light entertainment from the Zimbawean Herald

Looking for news on the Zimbawean election I stumbled across the wonderfully entertaining website of the Zimbawean Herald, the state run newspaper. The editors of The Herald is obviously in denial about the election (and much else besides) as its main headline states that Zanu-PF and the MDC was in a photo finish for the House of Assembly.

The Herald stated that Zanu-PF had won 97 seats and the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC 99. But the Zimbawean Electoral Commission had actually officially announced that Zanu-PF had only taken 94 seats and the combined opposition 114.

My favourite article is the one claiming that the “British government and its prime minister, Gordon Brown, have now come out in the open as the real power behind the MDC Tsvangirai faction, demanding the release of the results of Zimbabwe’s elections that show an opposition victory.” Money Quote

Almost the entire British state machinery — from the BBC to its House of Commons — was almost going hysterical over the delay in announcing the election results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission….

Given the intimate relationship between the global media structures, Western politics and the quest for world domination, analysts say this vindicates the view that what is at stake in Zimbabwe is far bigger than what the contestants, with the notable exception of those in Zanu-PF, realise.

A view vindicated by the conspicuous flow of many white former commercial farmers who trooped back into Zimbabwe once the MDC prematurely claimed victory. Some of them have headed to the farms where they threatened to evict newly resettled farmers particularly around Chegutu and Kariba, as many are coming through Chirundu Border Post.

Zimbabwe, the analysts say, represents the last frontier of resistance between the black nationalist struggle and Western neo-colonial encroachment under the guise of globalisation and the parochial discourse of democratisation.

No wonder the MDC won the election. Who can take such rubbish seriously? I also wonder who these “analysts” are that are quoted by The Herald? And note the claim that “almost” the entire Bristish state machinery was “almost” going hysterical. Those lovely creative writers at the The Herald should enlighten us on how a machinery “almost goes hysterical.

In any event, entertaining stuff. Pity one cannot believe a word of it.

UPDATE: My previous figures taken from The Guardian and Mail & Guardian sites were wrong and the Herald was actually correct. Here is a table with the final House of Assembly results:

election-results.jpg

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