At the recent African Union summit in Egypt, member nations failed to condemn Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s President-for-Life, for stealing the election from opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai. The union did pass a resolution “calling for him to negotiate with” the man who bested him in the initial balloting on March 29.
Some say Tsvangirai would have won that election outright, thus not requiring a subsequent runoff; a delay in releasing the final results (showing him winning a plurality, but not with the necessary majority) led many to believe that Mugabe’s government tinkered with the returns.
Because “of violence against his supporters,” Tsvangirai withdrew from the June 27 run-off, allowing Mugabe to win reelection unopposed. Reading that “monitors and much of world opinion” condemned that election “as violent and unfair,” I wondered if Jimmy Carter were one of their number as ever since the American people voted him out of office, he has made it his business to supervise elections around the world. Carter always seems to find them fair even when others find fraud, particularly in elections which keep anti-American leaders as happened in Venezuela four year ago.
The Carter Center did issue a release on May 23 faulting Zimbabwean authorities for preventing the “Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a legally established and widely respected citizen rights group” to observe the elections and make sure they comply with the “country’s electoral laws, code of conduct, and international principles for election observation.”
But, Jimmy didn’t make much of an effort to send a team down there. Nor did the former Democratic president raise much of a ruckus when the Zimbabwean government refused to accept observers from his center, the European Union (EU) or from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum.
After the elections, Carter did join former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in calling “on the African Union to appoint a special envoy to mediate talks between Mugabe and the opposition to create a transitional government and prepare for free elections.” Considering that Mugabe did just about everything in his power to prevent the latest elections from being free, it’s unlikely suggestions from former world leaders would do much good.
Current world leaders have made sterner demands with the EU President saying it “would only accept a Zimbabwean government led by Tsvangirai, echoing a Western position that Mugabe was an illegitimate leader.”
Maybe Jimmy didn’t get all agitated about the goings-on in the now-impoverished African nation because he knew Mugabe (the very man responsible for its impoverishment) is no friend of the United States. And he only wants to condemn those nations allied to the nation he once led.
UPDATE: Or maybe Jimmy has been “uncharacteristically silent” (in Philip Terzian’s words) because “it was the Carter State Department, in 1978, that turned its back on the moderate Methodist bishop Abel Muzorewa, who had sought accommodation with Rhodesia’s white settlers, in favor of the charismatic gunman Mugabe.” Might shine the light on the Democrat’s real foreign policy record rather than his current rhetoric.
UP-UPDATE: Â James Kirchick discussed the involvement of the Carter Administration in Mugabe’s rise in this article. Â Read the whole thing; it may help explain Carter’s silence for it serves as yet another example of how on foreign policy alone, that Democrat ranks as the nation’s worst chief executive.