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 By: Shoriwa MutandiroMr. SHORIWA MUTANDIRO

It is saddening to note that Robert Mugabe is setting  up torture camps in Zimbabwe to ‘re-educate’ opposition voters so he can cheat his way to retaining power as i sit here and write this article today. A systematic government campaign of murder and brutality has eliminated any chance of a fair presidential election.

At least 36 politically motivated murders and 2,000 victims of a campaign of killings, abductions, beatings and torture by the ruling ZANU-PF party of President  Mugabe were recorded by the Human Rights watch as of today (Monday the 9th of June 2008).

More than 3,000 people had fled the violence which began after the March 29 elections in which ZANU-PF lost control of parliament for the first time since we gained Independence in 1980 and the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the presidential race but “official” reports claim that no one had won by a big margin.


Cheated - MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai

Official results showed Tsvangirai fell short of the absolute majority needed for outright victory and a run-off against Mugabe will be held on June 27

Since the run-off was announced, the violence in Zimbabwe has gotten even worse and I fear that Zimbabweans cannot vote freely if they fear their vote may get them killed

Zanu – PF incited and perpetrated the violence to intimidate and punish opposition supporters and had failed to prosecute those responsible including the security forces, liberation war veterans and youth militia. 

Chances of a free and fair presidential run-off have been reduced by the wave of  violence that has been unleashed to the opposition supporters by the ruling party and the funny part of it is that Mugabe is accusing the opposition of inciting violence whilst the Deputy Attorney-General Johannes Tomana told the state-controlled Herald newspaper on Monday that both sides were involved.

Human Rights Watch said ZANU-PF and its allies had established torture camps and the re-education meetings around the country to try to force opposition supporters to vote for Mugabe. Hundreds of people had been beaten with logs, whips and bicycle chains.

The group said party officials and war veterans beat six men to death and tortured another 70 people including a 76-year-old woman at a re-education meeting in north-eastern Zimbabwe. 

In another incident, around 20 men suspected of voting for Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were beaten in front of other villagers. A 45-year-old man said he was beaten with whips, chains and iron bars and his leg was broken. The extensive evidence shows that senior army and police officers were directly implicated in the violence.

President Robert Mugabe and his government bear full responsibility for these serious crimes. They have shown gross indifference to the plight of the people, allowing senior-ranking security officers, war veterans, and ZANU-PF youth miltia free rein to commit horrifying abuses.

My trusted sources told me that six MDC lawmakers have been arrested since the first poll and Tsvangirai was detained twice last week while campaigning. The High Court on Saturday overturned a police ban on several planned MDC rallies.

Mr Tomana - Offenders are being treated equally.

It is mind-boggling to hear  Johannes Tomana saying that it is almost 50-50, with both parties violating the law but to my surprise, only MDC suporters are being arrested. Mr Tomana claims that  offenders were being treated equally.

All this is happenning in the eyes of the toothless  African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Why can’t  they to put pressure on Mugabe to end the violence and urge them to deploy strong poll observer teams.

All African Leaders claim that  they need to  find African solutions to African problems, well I am quite sure that the time has gone past the sale by date in trying to solve the Zimbabwean problem.