There is growing evidence and realisation by Zimbabweans that the ‘ruling’ Zanu PF party does not have the moral basis to extend their rule even if they ‘win’ the next run off election. Those who back Zanu PF and are true to themselves should be reminded that protracted one party rule has the effect of creating resistance on the minds of the ruled especially when the leadership becomes lethargic, corrupt and irresponsible. In Zimbabwe’s case the people generally feel neglected, abandoned and betrayed in extreme cases. The people’s distrust of government is growing everyday and inevitably this is good news for the opposition leader.

However, the critical issues of spin, manipulation of the electorate and media are no exception. The major difference between politicians in the West and those in Africa and elsewhere in the underdeveloped world is that in the West, politicians believe to a large extent in the transparency of their systems of governance and can easily concede defeat in elections. In most African countries on the contrary, governments never lose elections and opposition parties never accept results of elections and this often creates a stalemate and invariably leads to issues of legitimacy.

What wonder that every tendency is to excess,- radical complaint, radical remedies, bitter denunciation or angry silence. Some rise, some sink. The criminal and the sensualist leave the church for the gambling hell and the brothel...the better classes segregate themselves.... form an aristocracy, cultured but pessimistic, whose bitter criticism stings while it points out no way of escape. W.E.B. Du Bois

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.

I have seen the horror of the death penalty and the violence it propels. It is time for a global ban. I have experienced the horror of being close to an execution. Not only during the apartheid era of South Africa, when the country had one of the highest execution rates in the world, but in other countries as well. And I have witnessed the victims of the death penalty the authorities never speak of - the families of those put to death. I remember the parents of Napoleon Beazley, a young African-American man put to death in Texas after a trial tainted by racism. Their pain was evident as the killing of their son by the state to which they paid taxes approached. I can only imagine the unbearable emotional pain they went through as they said their final goodbye to their son on the day of his execution.

"What can one say of this political cowardice? We expect our leaders to lead, and lead with moral courage. When they fail to do so they leave all of us morally impoverished. Where they funk the difficult issues they make themselves irrelevant. Why should we listen to the mighty when the mighty are deaf to the cries of the afflicted? Millions of Africans and Europeans would expect Zimbabwe and Darfur to be at the very top of the agenda. It is not too late.

Europe remains Africa's biggest donor, biggest trade partner, and the biggest market for Africa's exports by some distance. But in the new scramble for Africa's resources that supremacy is being eroded at breakneck speed by Beijing's appetite for African oil and other raw materials, and its conquest of African markets by flooding them with cheap consumer goods, soft loans, and huge infrastructure projects. Unlike the EU, China's operations in Africa are unburdened by colonial hangovers or structures about human rights and good governance. Chinese trade with Africa rose 700% in the 1990s and has quadrupled to around $40bn (£20bn) since 2000, according to Chris Alden of the London School of Economics and Andy Rothman, a China analyst.

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