24 March 2013

Zimbabwe: Another Bitter Election Looms

editorial

Events of the past week have exposed the fallacy that President Robert Mugabe is committed to seeing free and fair elections in Zimbabwe this year.

Even before the ink had dried on the pinkies of those who voted in the referendum, the party has not been ashamed to declare war on the MDC-T, which is a partner in the government.

The party's actions are a clear signal that, far from the peace and lull that prevailed during the referendum, the election would be a different ball game altogether characterised by the blatant suppression of those challenging Mugabe's grip on power.

It may even turn bloody, like what happened in Headlands where 12-year-old Christ-powers Maisiri was killed in an arson attack. There are signs that things may get worse as election day draws closer.

The office of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been raided and staffers and their lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, are languishing in remand prison.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has also been under siege after it tried to investigate three Zanu PF ministers over corruption charges.

The attack on High Court Judge Charles Hungwe in the state media over the alleged failure to sentence Jonathan Mutsinze of Marondera 10 years after he was convicted of robbery and murder charges, also raises eyebrows.

This is the same judge who granted Zacc a search warrant against the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, raising the ire of the targeted ministers and their hangers on.

Over a month ago, The Standard wrote about Mutsinze's predicament, but no hullabaloo was raised because Zacc had not threatened Zanu PF ministers.

These unwelcome developments show Zanu PF will not abandon its strategy of decimating opposition forces.

They are a timely reminder that four years after partnering the MDC formations in government, Zanu PF has not changed and is keen to resort to the same old tactics to maintain power.

Sadc, which guarantees the Global Political Agreement, is advised to act in a manner that will force Mugabe to create conditions for a free and fair election.

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