On Thursday that nation will hold parliamentary elections pitting President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party against a coalition of opposition groups, the Movement for Democratic Change, headed by Morgan Tsviangirai. Last Sunday the MDC held a mass rally in Harare after which several people were arrested. Things are turning ugly. "[T]here is virtually unanimous agreement that the votes will be fixed to arrange yet another victory for Mugabe...," Sieff writes.
Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo has called for massive demonstrations, like those of Ukraine, to protest Mugabe's rule, hoping for a peaceful overthrow of the government. But, Sieff notes:
Zimbabwe is not post-Soviet Ukraine or Georgia, or even central Asian Kyrgyzstan.
All three of those countries had peaceful, revolutions with ether no -- or in Kyrgyzstan's case last week -- minimal bloodshed.
But the Orange Revolution of Ukraine could turn blood red...if it was applied to Zimbabwe.
That is because Mugabe is a veteran revolutionary leader who won power through a ruthless, no-holds-barred guerrilla war and is determined to keep it...; [he] has reveled in repression and paranoia and continues to do so....
The democratic revolution spread with lightning speed over much of the globe in recent months, appearing in many unlikely places. But only in a handful, Georgia, Ukraine, perhaps Kyrgyzstan, and [hopefully] Lebanon, has the process been relatively peaceful and successful. Last week the democratic movement was suppressed in Belorus. This weeks test will be Zimbabwe.