Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Here's hoping

A Zimbabwean Archbishop has urged a Ukraine-style "non-violent, popular, mass uprising" against Robert Mugabe. Here's hoping. Like other autocrats in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Mugabe tries to cloak himself in legitimacy through sham-elections marked by ballot-rigging and intimidation (not to mention threats of starvation). The sooner people decide that enough is enough and that they want their votes to be honestly counted the better.

The worry of course is that unlike the rulers of Argentina, Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, Mugabe may not be willing to go quietly. "People power" tactics work as long as autocrats are unwilling (or unable) to perpetrate a massacre to remain in power; most look at how much blood they would have to shed and decide that it simply isn't worth it. Mugabe may be more willing than others - and the absence of international media may lead him to think he can get away with it.