Sunday, April 06, 2008

Voting results

Well, Legion of Fans (LOF) the results of at least one African poll came in this week. I am officially a runner-up in the South African Blog Awards. I was pleased to make the final cut and wish to thank all of you who voted for me, and the academy, and my mom, and my wife etc etc...

Sadly, the results of the Zimbabwean elections are still unkown. Perhaps the only thing less informative than the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission at the moment is the world's media.

Like many others around the world I have been avidly watching the coverage of the elections and been staggered both by Comrade President's resilience and the shallowness of the reporting.

OK, it would be easier if the Zimbabwean Government allowed foreign journalists access to the country, but even those who are there (dramatically reported as "in hiding") seem to be as clueless as everyone else about what is actually happening behind the scenes in the kiahs of power.

The ABC and BBC's super sleuths relegate their coverage to peeks out the window, where they observe "...riot police on the street". These voice overs are usually accompanied by vision that by my estimation is about eight days old now.

Other than these two brave souls we are treated to the views of journalists reporting "from the border of Zimbabwe".

Back home, the attention to detail in the reporting mirrors the lack of interest in the country at non-election times. Even though the ABC's Lateline Program airs more about Zimbabwe outside of elections than other channels, Anchor Tony Jones described Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa as "neighbouring countries". Two out of three ain't bad, Tone.

The ABC's 7.30 Report managed to produce an "in depth" report on the eve of the elections without making a single mention of the breakaway ZANU PF minister Simba Makoni, whose support for the MDC will be crucial in any run-off election (if he doesn't prove himself to be a Mugabe stooge in the next couple of weeks).

The only bright notes (from a media coverage perspective) that I could detect over the past week were a very interesting SBS TV interview with Jim Holland, husband of MDC politician Sekai Holland, who was also in Harare, but unlike out international correspondents had something informative to say about the voting; and an interview on the aforemention bagged Lateline with MDC MP David Colthart, who must rank as one of the best political media performers in the world today.

People keep asking me what I think. I don't know. Even though I can place Tanzania on a map I don't have a clue whether nor not Robert Mugabe will wake up one morning, come to his senses and step down gracefully (though I wouldn't be putting my house on it), or if there will be strife in the streets.

Zimbabweans, I do know, are slow to anger and have a healthy respect for the rule of law. If only the law would rule legally, Africa would be less lawless. If you know what I mean.

I called a friend in Zim the other day to ask him for his take on the situation and he said: "You know more than we do. We don't have electricity so we can't even watch the television news."

All he would have seen was some guy reporting from the border, wondering what was going on down the road from where my friend was standing, quite literally, in the dark.


Crookedpaw said...

In the company where I work, the boss and the secretary are both Zimbabwean ex-pats. Actually, the secretary is one of the members of the Olympic gold medal-winning womens' hockey team. She and the boss both have friends and family still living in Zimbabwe so, naturally, the "election" is being followed with great interest.

Unfortunately, even if Mugabe does concede defeat Zimbabwe is effectively gutted. It would take a phenomenal effort on the part of the world community - in the form of aid, etc. - to restore any semblance of normal day to day living. And so far the world hasn't shown much interest in anything going on in Zimbabwe.

Dark days ahead, I think.

In the meantime, Mugabe will probably relocate to France - the French seem to have an affiliation with deposed dictators - and spend the rest of his miserable existence living off the billions he has bled from Zimbabwe. But then, such is the way of African dictators.

On a brighter note; congratulations on being runner up in the S.A. Blog Awards.

Also, you may recall I mentioned my lady works in a bookshop, and I asked about the possibility of you being available for a book signing when Silent Predator is released. If that is still in the cards, could you please let me know?

Live long and prosper,


ali g said...

What...what...runner up. No way!!!!
Demand a recount immediately!
Beat the snot out of a few farmers in the interim..that should help swing it!

JR said...


If Bob is ousted, he and many are likely to re-locate to Malaysia.

Rumour has it, that is where they have squirreled all the coin too...I am betting it ain't in Zim would take up some space if it were!

Can anyone shed light on the relationship between Bob and Malaysia? Timber? Mining?

I know the Chinese and Malaysian's have been having a field day on the mahogany in Mozambique.