by MONITOR
NOTHING is certain in Zimbabwe. What have seemed to be hard and fast rules and regulations can apparently be broken with impunity. An election result that should have been announced within days is delayed for weeks. The constitutional requirement for a run-off within three weeks between presidential candidates if neither gets more than half the vote can apparently be reinterpreted to leave the date of the second contest open. This week it is being said in Harare that the run-off might not take place for up to a year. In these circumstances it must be extremely difficult for Morgan Tsvangirai, who apparently won the presidential election by 48 per cent to President Mugabe's 43 per cent, to know what tactics he should pursue. He has understandably changed his mind more than once but has now said he will make a decision about contesting a second election only when he knows when it will take place. It is clearly Mr Mugabe's intention to use the delay to harass and demoralise Mr Tsvangirai's supporters so that they will be disinclined to vote on the next occasion. While these despicable games are being played the international community, and especially its African members, should be considering how best to insist that truly independent observers should be present in numbers at the next election -- and what to do if, as is likely, Mugabe refuses this condition. Any election without them would be meaningless.