Journalists in the United States yesterday accused their President Donald Trump of emulating Zimbabwe’s late former leader Robert Mugabe in refusing to concede electoral defeat.
BY RICHARD MPONDE
The US went to the elections on November 3, which opposition Democrats’ President-elect Joe Biden won, but Trump has refused to concede defeat, claiming the polls were rigged. He has also attacked the Press over what he claimed was its bias towards Biden.
According to the New York Times in an article written by its Moscow Bureau Chief, Andrew Higgins, Trumps’ tactics were commonly employed by Mugabe and Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro.
He said denying defeat, claiming fraud and using government machinery to reverse election results were the time-honoured tools of dictators.
“Among the anti-democratic tactics Mr Trump has adopted are some that were commonly employed by leaders like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia — refusing to concede defeat and hurling unfounded accusations of electoral fraud,” Higgins wrote.
“The tactics also include undermining confidence in democratic institutions and the courts, attacking the press and vilifying opponents.”
He added: “Like (Mr) Trump, those leaders feared that accepting defeat would expose them to prosecution once they left office. (Mr) Trump does not have to worry about being charged with war crimes and genocide, as (Mr) Milosevic was, but he does face a tangle of legal problems.”
Michael McFaul, the US ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama and a frequent critic of Trump, described the President’s “refusal to accept the results of the election” as “his parting gift to autocrats around the world.”
Mugabe, like Trump, refused to accept defeat in the 2008 elections which were won by the late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in results announced after three weeks.
Political analysts yesterday said there were, indeed, some similarities between Mugabe’s tactics and those used by Trump.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero said Zimbabwe had been listed as one among the outposts of tyranny by the US back during George Bush’s tenure as President,
“The continued reference of Zimbabwe in anything bad in America, including fear to concede defeat in an election, is a yard stick President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government uses and is reminded that its re-engagement exercise remains hollow, its attractiveness remains low and its perception to the world remains stained,” he said.