Quote of the week

It is necessary that the integrity of the electoral process be maintained. Indeed, the acceptance of the election as being free and fair depends upon that integrity. Elections must not only be free and fair but they must be perceived as being free and fair. Even-handedness in dealing with all political parties and candidates is crucial to that integrity and its perception by voters. The Commission must not be placed in a situation where it has to make ad hoc decisions about political parties and candidates who have not complied with the Act. The requirement that documents must be submitted to the local offices of the Commission does not undermine the right to vote and to stand for election. It simply gives effect to that right and underscores the decentralised and local nature of municipal elections.

Ngcobo CJ
Electoral Commission of the Republic of South Africa v Inkatha Freedom Party
1 April 2008

End of the road for Robert Mugabe?

The New York Times is reporting that the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai is in talks with advisers to President Robert Mugabe, amid signs that some of those close to Mr. Mugabe may encourage him to resign. The Times is quoting “a Western diplomatic source and a prominent Zimbabwe political analyst”. They claim the negotiations about a possible transfer of power away from Mr. Mugabe come after he apparently concluded that a runoff election would be demeaning.

Zimbabwean students with parents in the ZANU PF hierarchy also told me earlier today of these rumours. Could it really be the end of Robert Mugabe? If these reports are true, President Thabo Mbeki may finally take some credit for finally outmaneuvering Mr Mugabe. President Mbeki was instrumental in engineering changes to the Electoral Act which requires votes to be counted at each polling station and results posted outside each station, making rigging of the poll much more difficult.

But I will only believe it when I see it. Holding thumbs though. No leader should hang on to power for so long.

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