Robert Mugabe was sworn in for a sixth term as Zimbabwe’s president after winning a run-off election that diplomats said was a sham because opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew. Mugabe is meeting in Egypt with African leaders who have called on him to negotiate with Tsvangirai. (Detroit Free Press)
What the commentators said
There will be no stopping Mugabe if his fraudulent re-election “wins the crucial endorsement of fellow African leaders,” said the London Independent in an editorial. Up to now Mugage has gotten by “on nods and winks from Thabo Mbeki in South Africa,” but if the African Union denies the tyrant “the fig leaf of legitimacy that he craves,” there is still hope that Zimbabwe can be saved.
Mugabe has long been able to “to count on African leaders to sympathize with his goals of ridding Zimbabwe of the vestiges of white colonial rule,” said Scott Baldauf in The Christian Science Monitor, but his brutality against the opposition to steal victory in this sham run-off “may have squandered his last shred of credibility even in Africa.”
“If only Mr. Mugabe were a white racist!” said Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. “Then the regional powers might stand up to him” and impose sanctions like the ones Mugabe himself endorsed in 1987 to punish then-white-ruled South Africa.