Five Endgames for Zimbabwe

Odds look bad for smooth Mugabe exit
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2008 10:40 AM CDT
Zimbabwe Presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement For Democratic Change party addresses supporters during a rally in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe, Sunday, 8 June, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – As Robert Mugabe’s war against his political opponents—and anyone who supports them—intensifies in the run-up to the run-off, Royal African Society Director Richard Dowden breaks down the possible endgames for the London Times.

  • Morgan Tsvangirai takes power, after winning a majority. Odds: zero. Even if Mugabe’s violent intimidation and vote rigging somehow fail, he won’t concede.
  • Mugabe and Tsvangirai form a Kenyan-style unity government. Odds: less than zero. Neither side is interested.

  • Mugabe wins. Odds: high. Zanu-PF will urge and, in many cases, force likely backers to vote. And, of course, harrass MDC voters. 
  • The armed forces get sick of not being paid, break into pro- and anti-Mugabe factions, and make Zimbabwe look like Somalia. Odds: Possible.
  • A miracle happens. A key ally, say the finance minister, defects, and the house of cards collapses. Mugabe and his lieutenants  go into exile and a national unity government succeeds them. Odds: with Southern Africa, you never know.