Will The Candidates Recognize Morgan Tsvangirai As President Of Zimbabwe?

by James Kirchick | June 24, 2008

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, is the legitimately elected president of Zimbabwe. Or at least he should be. He won that country's presidential election (and his party won its parliamentary election) on March 29th, a victory that has been denied to him and his colleagues over the past three months as Robert Mugabe has murdered nearly 100 opposition supporters, tortured many more, and driven thousands from their homes. A week after the election, the Zimbabwean junta announced that Tsvangirai did not win an outright majority, thus forcing a runoff scheduled for this Friday. On Sunday, however, Tsvangirai announced that he was dropping out of the election, stating that "we cannot stand there and watch people being killed for the sake of power."

So here's a question for Senators Obama and McCain. Back in April, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer declared Tsvangirai the winner of the March 29th election, and certified that he won over 50% of the vote. Recognition of him as the duly elected president of Zimbabwe -- with all of the diplomatic measures that would imply, specifically spelled out today in a New York Sun editorial -- should have been forthcoming, yet the State Department has been reluctant to go that far. With Tsvangirai hiding in the Dutch Embassy for fear of his life, will either of you call upon the United States to recognize him as the elected president of Zimbabwe?

--James Kirchick

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/will-the-candidates-recognize-morgan-tsvangirai-president-zimbabwe