The supporters of President Robert Mugabe are carrying out a campaign of murder, torture, beatings, illegal imprisonment and intimidation as the count-down to next weekend’s elections runs into its final phase.
The latest victims were those villagers of St. Peter’s who did not flee in panic from the mob of marauding yobs which descended on it yesterday, setting fire to the houses and hacking at the people with machetes, to instil fear, hoping that the people will vote for Mugabe.
ID cards were stolen, as has happened all over the country, meaning that these people cannot vote. Anyone suspected of sympathising with Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change is set upon, beaten or killed, robbed of their identification and their property is burnt.
In the words of Shari Eppel, head of the human rights association, the Amani Trust, “In the run-up to the election, ID’s are deliberately stolen. In Zimbabwe, to steal an ID is to steal a vote”.
The intimidation is particularly bad in Matabeleland, where 20,000 people were murdered by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF thugs in the 1980s. The aim is to make people too frightened to vote. The recent attack on St. Peters was led by a pro-Mugabe war veteran, named Pius Ndovu. He pointed at the houses where opposition spokespeople lived and masterminded the three-hour torture of an elderly man, and other attacks in which a mentally handicapped man was hacked at with an axe and an elderly woman had her skull smashed.
The ZANU-PF militia were wearing T-shirts with Mugabe’s image and were singing ZANU songs. The attack has been confirmed by two international observers.
The attack was perpetrated by the “Green Bombers”, youths trained in special schools set up by Mugabe, where they learn how to torture. They are then set loose on opposition areas in return for the promise of jobs if their political master wins. Five youths were picked up by the police, questioned and released after they had declared they were nowhere in the area. The police then accused the villagers of burning down their own homes and blaming it on Mugabe.
Mugabe will try one of three things. He will try to rig the elections and then clamp down heavily on opposition party members. If he loses, he will try to rig the count, dispute the election and try to hang on to power, imposing a martial law. The third and final option is to flee to Libya, where he has already stashed away a comfortable sum to tide him over as he reflects on how he ruined what was a jewel in the crown of Africa, as he contemplates the Mediterranean Sea, birthplace of the white civilisation he hates so much.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
Europe has recognised the need for negotiations with Russia to discuss the security system on the continent. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is going to Macedonia for meetings with colleagues within the OSCE