Monday, July 23, 2007

Mugabe offers to step down in 2008

Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe is reportedly offering to resign after the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2008. The 83 year old Mugabe is said to have informed his military general staff that he would be willing to step down in exchange for their assistance in securing a parliamentary win for Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

Mugabe wishes to run for re-election in 2008, and if the reports are accurate, he wishes to win the election to save face and "humiliate the Western governments bent on re-occupying us". After winning in 2008, he would hypothetically turn control of the country over to a successor. Which successor? Nobody knows, as Mugabe has cycled through countless sycophants since coming to power in 1980. Mugabe certainly knows how to control the Zimbabwean electoral process, with a mix of force and fraud, and there seems to be little doubt that Mugabe could pull out another ZANU-PF win if he really wanted to.

Mugabe's advisers have read the writing on the wall, however. Zimbabwe's economy is the worst in the world, and Mugabe's own security services chief has publicly advised Mugabe that the public is so fed up that Mugabe might not even win a rigged election in 2008 - an unthinkable proposition for Robert Mugabe. Mugabe's lied for so long that it's hard to imagine anyone taking him seriously this time, but this certainly is the first time Mugabe has made any indication that he'd be willing to step down at all period.

UPDATE: Radio Netherlands Worldwide hosts a round table discussion on the political and economic meltdown in Zimbabwe (available here).

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