Supporters rally for Morgan Tsvangirai

Human Rights Group Urges End to Violence in Zimbabwe

June 09, 2008 03:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
With the presidential election only three weeks away, watchdog group Human Rights Watch says Robert Mugabe must end all political violence in his country. 

30-Second Summary

In a new report, Human Rights Watch said it has documented 36 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries at the hands of Mugabe party militants, but that the actual number could be much higher.

"There's no way a credible runoff can take place unless there are drastic improvements in the remaining weeks," Tiseke Kasambala, the Human Rights Watch researcher who compiled the report, said.

Violence has rocked the country since Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai ran against each other in a presidential election in late March.

Tsvangirai beat 28-year incumbent Mugabe, but not with enough votes to avoid a second round. The country will hold a runoff election on June 27.

But some worry political violence could sabotage a fair election.

Last week, while driving to a rally, Tsvangirai and his officials were stopped at a roadback and taken to a police station in the far west of the country. They were released later that day.

The presidential candidate and his party said the detainment was the latest of the government's attempts to sabotage their campaign.

Speaking last week in Bulawayo, a large city in the southwest of the Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai said that Mugabe is determined to turn the country into a "war-zone" in order to steal the election.

"But we will not stop campaigning, the people will not stop supporting the MDC and together we will defeat this illegitimate and desperate regime," he said.

Headline Link: Improvements needed before election

Background: Zimbabwe’s presidential election

Related Topics: Unrest following the March election

Reference: Zimbabwe’s history and relationship with Mugabe


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