"Illigitimate"!! Says Who?
Canada, which exerted its influence on the world stage to shame the Apartheid government of South Africa, to hold it up to ridicule and censure; to insist that Nelson Mandela be freed from his long imprisonment as a political prisoner of conscience.
Even if Canadian overtures did not result in success, in persuading Nelson Mandela to impress upon Thabo Mbeko his responsibility toward Zimbabweans - as opposed to his unrelenting support of Robert Mugabe - the effort would have been worthwhile. If only in support of Canada's sense of responsibility as a signal part of the world's conscience. If only for our own self-respect.
Looking on and doing exactly nothing doesn't quite entitle us to feelings of superiority that such outrageous flouting of democratic ideals isn't quite on. Looking on and deploring the living conditions of Zimbabweans, and doing nothing to exert ourselves for a more positive outcome. Much as the helplessness Canadians - and the world at large - have felt about the ongoing horrors in Darfur.
So finally, the theatre of the absurd produced a truly meaningful democratic result for Robert Mugabe. The Zimbabwe electoral commission has assured the world that Mr. Mugabe rightfully won 85.51 percent of the happy vote. That original vote back in March where, even with fiddling the results brought him 43.2 percent as opposed to Morgan Tsvangirai's 47.9 percent was merely an unfortunate and unreliable aberration.
President for life has now been officially crowned. And the African Union summit, while simmering with annoyance at how, once again, African politics have made them look rather inept and undemocratic and downright sanctimoniously unrepentant about their failures - hard on the heels of a similar, but since settled voting contretemps in Kenya - can now hope the rest of the world will go on to other matters.
For their part, aside from a bit of grumbling they're prepared to accept Robert Mugabe into their tender fold, and life in Africa goes on as it will. Those legislators who are truly aggrieved and who do actually respect democracy and wish the best for their people will find it an intelligent course of action to let this little matter slide. And who knows? perhaps a "unity" government may yet be arranged...
Meanwhile, the deed is done. And in its wake Canada's prime minister has characterized the charade as an "ugly perversion of democracy". Which it most certainly is, in spades. What's far uglier, however, is the dire emergency - economical, political, social - that the country finds itself in. The desperation of the people, hopeless about their future prospects. Worrying about massive unemployment, about lack of food and adequate shelter and medicines.
Canada's new foreign minister got his dibs in, too with a delayed statement of condemnation. "The government of Zimbabwe's systematic use of violence and intimidation represents a grave violation of human rights and democratic principles", said Mr. Emerson. Actually, we noticed all of that. We Canadians do read our newspapers.
But it's never too late to make amends: "The citizens of Zimbabwe have been denied the opportunity to shape their future through free and fair elections, and they remain in constant danger of intimidation, injury and loss of life. Canada does not consider the result of the June 27 (run-off) election to be, by any reasonable standard of democracy, a credible outcome. This 'election' is illegitimate and will not be accepted by the government of Canada."