Friday, Jun. 19, 2009

Starving for Change

Zimbabwe's Presidential Election, 2008
Robert Mugabe (incumbent) vs. Morgan Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe, which in recent years had become one of Africa's poorest countries, was literally starving for change after three decades of rule by strongman Robert Mugabe. Though his challenger, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, technically won the March 2008 election, his margin of victory wasn't wide enough to forestall a runoff, scheduled for June. But when violence erupted and about 100 of Tsvangirai's supporters were killed, he withdrew five days before the vote. "We in the MDC cannot ask them to cast their vote on June 27 when that vote could cost them their lives," Tsvangirai said of his supporters. "We will no longer participate in this violent sham of an election." Later in 2008, a power-sharing agreement named Tsvangirai prime minister, though still under the reign of Mugabe.