The international corporate media including the BBC could also be spoiling things for MDC and Zimbabweans in particular. They should avoid over sensationalization which may exacerbate the situation in the country. Their increasingly antagonistic approach could be more damaging to the political negotiation process. However, as much as it is important for the foreign media to put Zimbabwe on the international spotlight, sometimes they exaggerate the crisis. Of late there has been a tendency by BBC to show horrific scenes of situations which have little bearing to the current crisis. We continue to see television footage of events that happened in 2000 at the height of land seizures as if it’s happening today. What the foreign corporate media is reporting on Zimbabwe today is exactly what Mugabe wants. He enjoys responding to vitriolic attacks and even gets stronger and more relentless when put in a position to defend what he believes to be colonialist or neo-colonialist agendas.

City election officials said they were convinced that there was nothing sinister to account for the inaccurate initial counts, and The Times's review found a handful of election districts in the city where Mrs. Clinton received zero votes in the initial results. "It looked like a lot of the numbers were wrong, probably the result of human error," said Marcus Cederqvist, who was named executive director of the Board of Elections last month. He said such discrepancies between the unofficial and final count rarely affected the raw vote outcome because "they're not usually that big."

In mature democracies elsewhere and even in some young democracies in Africa, elections are the central institution of democratic representative governments. Why? Because, in a democracy, the authority of the government derives solely from the consent of the governed. The fundamental rationale for translating that consent into governmental authority is the holding of free and fair elections. This is contrary to staged managed elections held by dictatorships and one-party governments to give their rule the aura of legitimacy in the face of public decent. In such elections, there may be only one candidate or a list of candidates, with no credible alternative choices. Such elections may offer several candidates for each office, but ensure through intimidation or rigging that only the government-sanctioned candidate is chosen. These are not democratic elections but a mere academic process of legitimising autocratic and repressive regimes.

In Uganda, in the 1970s the expulsion of the wealthy Asian merchant class was another example of a situation where ethnicity was used as a political tool. In Zambia in the 1990s, the then President Fredrick Chiluba tried to bar political opponent and former president Dr Kenneth Kaunda from standing for office on the grounds that his parents were from Malawi and therefore he was adjudged not to fully be a Zambian citizen. This again was a clear case of ethnicity being used as a political tool. The same situation occurred in Côte d'Ivoire where presidential aspirant and former Prime Minister Alassane Quattara was barred from contesting elections on the grounds that his parents came from Burkina Faso.

Violence rocked most parts of Mombasa mainland as rowdy youths engaged hundreds of riot police in running battles that saw one man shot on the head and scores injured. Sounds of teargas, gunshots and burning tyres filled parts of Maweni, Kisauni, Bombolulu and Changamwe as GSU, AP and regular police battled crowds headed for Makadara grounds for a protest rally. Protesters in Kuresoi burnt several houses at Karirikania farm, as hundreds others flashed twigs placards at Keringet, Olenguruone and Kiptagich trading centres.

Like other political hotbeds in Africa, ethnical affiliations played a major part in this election although analysts in Kenya say that Odinga’s support transcends across ethnic divide. Odinga is Luo and Mwai Kibaki is Kikuyu. Both men come from ethnic groups which believe that it is now their turn after decades of being sidelined by ex-president Arap Moi, a Kalenjin. This writer does not believe ethnic group is an issue in African politics, but politicians make it one for expediency and their own political gains. Unfortunately, innocent people from different ethnic groups often fall victim to political machinations which rarely benefit them personally. However, ethnic group motivated or not, the reality is that the contentious Kenyan election has claimed hundreds of lives already. Comparatively, more people have died in this country than in Zimbabwe, the West’s most hated African country during that country’s past elections.

I am personally sceptical of the effectiveness of sanctions on regime change. I believe that sanctions can only effectively achieve their political objective if they are properly coordinated multilaterally, and are the only justified means of effecting radical change of policy. If applied alone in the absence of many other factors, as happened elsewhere, sanctions will be doomed to fail. In most cases sanctions only serve to empower dictators by giving them new draconian powers (laws) to suppress their subjects even further. Sanctions are widely used by pathological dictatorial regimes as an alibi for increased repression against their own people. Most unfortunately, the majority innocent civilian population in Zimbabwe today is silently suffering dearly as a result of the dreadful sanctions regime.

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