Zimbabwe Election Stalled, Violence Mounts

April 09, 2008 06:20 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
After 11 days, there are still no official results for the presidential election. Reports tell of attacks on the opposition and the intimidation of white farmers.

30-Second Summary

Opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change says that around 80 of its activists have been beaten, reports the BBC.

There are also reports that groups claiming to consist of war veterans have been harassing white farmers in Matabeleland and north of Bulawayo and forced some to flee their homes. These events echo the land invasions that occurred during the 2000 elections

“Don’t wait for dead bodies on the streets of Harare. Intervene now,” demanded Tendai Biti, secretary general for opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change.

The BBC reports that Mugabe maintains his support of the war veterans’ land claims. State-owned Zimbabwean paper The Herald quotes the president as saying, "Land must remain in our hands. The land is ours, it must not be allowed to slip back into the hands of whites."

The Herald also quotes the threatening comments of War Veterans Chairman Isaiah Muzenda: "Some white former farmers in the province are plotting to repossess land in anticipation of an MDC victory in the presidential election, but we want to tell them that the results are not yet out … We will take very strong action, which I will not reveal, against such actions from the unrepentant white former farmers.”

The Bulawayo correspondent for SW Africa Radio has reported that “Zanu-PF is also unleashing its rented thugs to cause mayhem in the rural areas, ahead of an impending run-off poll between Tsvangirai and Mugabe.”

The departure of Zimbabwean farmers in 2000 was followed by widespread food shortages. And with the country's present economic crisis—it has the highest inflation rates in the world—an exodus of farmers could further jeopardize Zimbabwe’s crumbling economy.

Headline Links: Mugabe supporters threaten farmers, political opponents

Background: The land invasions of 2000 and the South African immigration crisis of 2007

Related Topic: 'More food shortages anticipated'

Reference: 'Robert Mugabe Celebrates Birthday amid Hyperinflation'

Opinion: The view from inside Zimbabwe


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