Massive Violence in Zimbabwe, Ruling Delayed Again
In a move many experts are predicting is the beginning of a 'coup by veto' by Mugabe's ruling regime, the government has detained at least 5 election officials. At least 100 farms have been invaded in the last four days and tensions are at an all-time high.
Reports of Mugabe supporters rearming in remote areas have been matched with people's run ins with gangs and threats if they take part in the election process.
The Zimbabwe high court has postponed their ruling on the application by the opposition MDC demanding the release of the presidential election results. Despite the urgent need to disclose the votes, the judge demanded a second round of hearings to 'deal with matters with full concentration'.
See the story on the electoral officials being detained here.
I travelled up toZimbabwe on Tuesday the 25th March to help the MDC Tsvangirai factionwith election preparations. I volunteered to help three candidates ,Joseph Mutsvanga from Zvimba East, Knox Danda from Zimbabwe West andEdward Musumbu from Norton.(For those who don’t know, Zvimba is +/- 80kilometers from Harare and is the area where Robert Mugabe was born. Assuch it is regarded as the ZANU PF heartland). The job I was given wasto help prepare food packs for the MDC polling agents and to assistwith deployment of the agents on the Friday before the election.
Knox Danda was unable to attend our final planning meeting on theFriday morning: he had been placed under house arrest by NelsonSamkange -the ZANU PF candidate. (Samkange was the former governor forMashonaland West.)
He was told that he would be beaten or killed if he left his houseto campaign on the Friday - or rather what remained of his house. Halfof Knox’s house was burnt down by Samkange’s thugs on Thursday the 13thMarch in an attack that followed an MDC rally. Knox had reported theincident to the police station +/- 15 kilometres away but unfortunatelythe Police said they were unable to attend. Two weeks later and stillthe police had not reacted to the arson, despite being given the namesof the perpetrators. Busy busy busy these Zimbabwean policemen.
Officials with Zimbabwe's opposition accused President Robert Mugabe's ruling party on Tuesday of launching a campaign of "massive violence" in remote rural areas in an effort to intimidate Mugabe's opponents ahead of a likely run-off election.
The accusations came amid growing reports that often-violent groups associated with Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) were escalating their invasions of white-owned farms and driving the farmers off their land.
"There has been massive violence inside the country since the 29th," said Tendai Biti, secretary general of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has said its presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won enough votes to be declared the outright winner.
“We hope the transition will be a peaceful one, relatively peaceful, and that Mr Mugabe will step down with dignity, gracefully.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu, in his uncompromised integrity, has continually called for peace and unity in Zimbabwe. His latest call, however, begs the questions of what exactly a peaceful transition in Zimbabwe would be, and to what extent peace is a trade-off with justice. What is justice in a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe? What is healing? What is necessary? What is possible? What is fair?
In a photograph taken of me as an undergraduate in 1980, prominently in the background is a handmade poster of Robert Mugabe. Handmade because it was a photocopy of a plastic bag made for celebrations of the coming of majority rule to Zimbabwe.
The photograph surfaced as I was packing up my photo albums in 2001. My nephew, then 18, reacted with horror and astonishment that Mugabe could have had pride of place on my study wall.
Briggs Bomba, a programme associate with the US based Africa Action advocacy group, says Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are now running the country illegally and have staged what is known as a ‘coup by veto.’ Ten days after Zimbabweans cast their votes in harmonized presidential, parliamentary, senate and council elections Mugabe’s regime continues to keep a lid on the all-important presidential result. Bomba says the situation has reminded many of the old adage, ‘It’s not the people who vote that count, but the people who count the votes.’ He told Newsreel that, ‘Mugabe’s crafty actions since the elections evidently show he is determined to win the count, after losing the elections.’