Times Online – Votes and neighbours: Zimbabwe’s election is a test for all of southern Africa

n Zimbabwe today, for the third time in five years, voters will cast ballots for a national election in an atmosphere of unconscionable corruption and intimidation. For all President Mugabe’s assurances of a newfound respect for democracy, polling stations have been set up under the watchful eye of armed militia gangs from his ruling ZANU (PF) party. Desperately needed food has been distributed free at rallies to its supporters and sold to others only at inflated prices. The names of up to a million dead voters have appeared on the electoral roll, and those would-be election observers who have questioned the validity of the poll as a result have been barred entry to the country.