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Mugabe ahofiwa kucheza rafu kabla ya uchaguzi

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Rutashubanyuma, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    Dec 26, 2010
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    Fears Growing of Mugabe's Iron Grip Over Zimbabwe

    [​IMG] Robin Hammond/Panos
    A power-sharing government has kept a tenuous stability in Zimbabwe, including poor neighborhoods of Harare, the capital.

    By CELIA W. DUGGER

    Published: December 25, 2010


    HARARE, Zimbabwe - The warning signs are proliferating. Journalists have been harassed and jailed. Threats of violence are swirling in the countryside. The president's supposed partner in the government has been virulently attacked in the state-controlled media as a quisling for the West. And the president himself has likened his party to a fast-moving train that will crush anything in its way.

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    [​IMG]
    Left, Spencer Platt/Getty Images; Robin Hammond/Panos

    President Robert Mugabe, left, and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have an unwieldy partnership. Mr. Mugabe appears to be preparing to crush any opponents in the next election.


    After nearly two years of tenuous stability under a power-sharing government, fears are mounting here that President Robert Mugabe, the autocrat who presided over a bloody, discredited election in 2008, is planning to seize untrammeled control of Zimbabwe during the elections he wants next year.
    "Everything seems to point to a violent election," said Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist and pollster.
    Having ruled alone for 28 of the last 30 years, Mr. Mugabe, 86, has made no secret of his distaste for sharing power with his rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, since regional leaders pressured them to govern together 22 months ago.
    In recent months, Mr. Mugabe has been cranking up his party's election-time machinery of control and repression. He appointed all the provincial governors, who help him dispense patronage and punishment, rather than sharing the picks as promised with Mr. Tsvangirai. And traditional chiefs, longtime recipients of largess from his party, ZANU-PF, have endorsed Mr. Mugabe as president for life.
    Political workers and civic activists who lived through the 2008 campaign of intimidation and repression - in which many foot soldiers in Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change were tortured or murdered - say ZANU-PF will not need to be so violent this time around. Threats may be enough.
    In Mashonaland West, Mr. Mugabe's home province, people said they were already being warned by local traditional leaders loyal to Mr. Mugabe that the next election would be more terrifying than the last one, when their relatives were abducted and attacked after Mr. Tsvangirai won some constituencies.
    "They say, ‘We were only playing with you last time,' " said one 53-year-old woman, too frightened to be quoted by name, repeating a warning others in the countryside have heard. " ‘This time we will go door to door beating and killing people if you don't vote for ZANU-PF.' "
    But even as many voice a growing conviction that Mr. Mugabe is plotting to oust his rival and reclaim sole power, he has retained his ability to keep everyone guessing. His political opponents and Western diplomats wonder if Mr. Mugabe is bluffing about a push for quick elections, perhaps to force the factions in his own party to declare their allegiance to him and extinguish the internal jockeying to succeed him.
    Further complicating the picture, Mr. Mugabe struck a statesmanlike pose on Monday at a news conference where he graciously shared the stage with Mr. Tsvangirai. The next day, the state-controlled newspaper quoted him as boasting that he, Mr. Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara had brought peace to the country after the 2008 elections. But he also said that new elections would be held after the process of crafting a new constitution was completed, and that the power-sharing government should not be extended beyond August.
    The contest between Mr. Mugabe, a university-educated Machiavellian, and Mr. Tsvangirai, 58, a former labor leader who never went to college and is often described as a well intentioned but bumbling tactician, lies at the heart of Zimbabwe's tumultuous political life.
    Not long after Mr. Tsvangirai quit the June 2008 runoff in hopes of halting the beating and torture of thousands of his party workers and supporters, the two men suddenly found themselves alone in the same room. Thabo Mbeki, then South Africa's president and the mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, vanished during a lunchtime.
    In his resonant, cultivated voice, Mr. Mugabe invited Mr. Tsvangirai to join him for a traditional meal of sadza, greens and stew, prepared by Mr. Mugabe's personal chef, but Mr. Tsvangirai, who had been viciously beaten by Mr. Mugabe's police force the year before, refused to eat, aides to both men say.
    "I can assure you," Mr. Mugabe said, according to his press secretary, George Charamba, "I'm not about to poison you."
    In 2009, under excruciating pressure from regional leaders, Mr. Tsvangirai agreed to a deal that some in his own party saw as a poisoned chalice. It made him prime minister, but allowed Mr. Mugabe to retain the dominant powers of the state.

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