Socialist Worker

Double standards over democracy in Africa

Issue No. 1789

Zimbabwe's security forces have continued their attacks on opposition candidates ahead of the presidential election scheduled for 9 and 10 March. The police fired shots at a convoy carrying opposition leaders to a rally. Five people were injured when government backed activists attacked the offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the town of KweKwe.

The European Union (EU) states, especially Britain, are denouncing Mugabe for manipulating the election. They back the interests of the white farmers. Yet at the same time these very governments are accepting electoral fraud in Madagascar, a few hundred miles away from Zimbabwe.

President of Madagascar Didier Ratsiraka rigged the results of the 16 December presidential election. Opposition leader Marc Ravalomanana, the mayor of Antananarivo, is believed to have won 52 percent of the vote. After huge demonstrations in his support, Ravalomanana plucked up the courage to declare himself president last weekend.

The EU and the US might have been expected to support him. Instead both the US and French governments have denounced Ravalomanana. The best hope now in Zimbabwe is for the development of independent workers' organisations.

The MDC in its earliest stages proclaimed that it would be a party based on the trade unions. But it has increasingly gone over to courting business and the Western powers.


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International
Sat 2 Mar 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1789
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