Zimbabwe’s shift to violence tragic backslide

Freedom New Mexico

In announcing he has decided not to participate in the presidential runoff election scheduled for today, opposition Zimbabwean candidate Morgan Tsvangirai lamented that sitting President Robert Mugabe’s supporters had replaced the ballot with the bullet. He was right.

Since Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round on March 29 — 48-43 in the government’s count, probably by an outright majority if the ballots were counted honestly — Mugabe’s supporters and the government have conducted something of a reign of terror against supporters of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change.

Hundreds of people have been beaten up and at least 80 killed. Earlier this month a governing party militia blocked Tsvangirai supporters from attending a rally in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare.

Whether he comprehends it or not, however,