I think this is an excellent MetaFilter thread because despite it being almost a year old and most of the links within it leading to dead ends today, it still functions as a coherent and readable discussion. Almost everybody posting in the thread has clearly taken the time to read the article linked in the original post and often have tried to find other articles that they think provide a more balanced or more nuanced view of Mugabe, ZANU-PF and the opposition party, MDC. Instead of just linking to outside sources, everyone involved used outside links to back up their arguments and summarized the articles they linked well. Only one link is ambiguous -- every other one is described in such a way that a reader of the thread has a pretty good idea of what they're going to find when they follow the link.
I posted the original link because I thought that the Economist article articulated the issues of the election well and would make the complex situation accessible to people who hadn't been following it closely. It's a pet cause of mine to encourage people to follow African news. This is no small feat considering that African politics are so poorly covered in American mainstream media -- this is why it's necessary to look to African and European news sources.
Fortunately several members had well developed opinions about ZANU-PF and the elections and a very interesting discussion commenced. I defended my assertion that the elections had 'gone horribly wrong' and argued a bit with EngineBeak over the relative importance/disastrousness of the elections as compared with other political situations in Africa.
It was a good discussion and, in my opinion, the type of thread that makes MeFi a great online community.