Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai learned of a plot by Mugabe’s forces to kill him if he returns to Zimbabwe to campaign for the presidential election runoff now scheduled for June 27.  Tsvangirai, who won the original presidential election held on March 29, had been scheduled to return to Zimbabwe on Saturday, May 17 in time to address followers at a rally in Bulawayo on Sunday (Christina Lamb, Sunday Times), which was to have been the start of a “victory tour” of Zimbabwe. 

Tsvangirai, who has already survived three assassination attempts as well as beatings by Zimbabwe police, receives threats of this kind almost daily.  But this was a specific warning from an impeccable source – a sympathiser who is within Mugabe’s State Security Apparatus.  He also received a report from an eye-witness to from a sinister high-ranking police meeting at which it was stated that “due to the high level of tension and uncertainty, the police would not be in a position to guarantee security for Tsvangirai” at the rally.  This was interpreted as a clear instruction that the police would not be allowed to provide Tsvangirai with any security.  These threats led to Tsvangirai delaying his return to Zimbabwe and places him at a severe disadvantage in the forthcoming runoff. 

Pre-election violence continues to escalate throughout the country as Mugabe’s militia rampage through towns, villages and rural areas, beating suspected opposition supporters.  Cathy Buckle tells of the fear that haunts residents as they “run through the neighbourhood singing, chanting and repeating threatening political slogans.”  They leave burnt homes and injured people behind them.  These young men are themselves forcibly taken from their own homes by small numbers of Mugabe’s thugs, and required to terrorise people in other areas before being sent back home when their ‘work’ is done.  They dare not refuse to intimidate, for fear that they themselves will be labelled as opposition supporters.  Everyone in Zimbabwe lives in a state of permanent fear and suspicion (Peter Oborne, Daily Mail). 

Inflation rages and prices soar:  A single loaf of bread cost $45 thousand in July 2007, cost $8.5 million in March 2008 and $150 million in May 2008.  Four toilet rolls that cost $40 million in March 2008, cost $450 million two months later.  The list is endless.  God help the pensioners who try to live on fixed incomes. 

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is said to be thinking about stripping Mugabe of the knighthood he was awarded in 1994.  He was made “Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath” (KCB) – a high honour that normally entitles the holder to be addressed as “Sir”.  This debate has come and gone over the years, but ‘Sir’ Robert Mugabe remains untouchable – even in Britain. 

South Africa is the only country that could effectively stop the violence in Zimbabwe, but South Africa’s President Mbeki is himself a Mugabe supporter.  I cannot see how any opposition can win in these conditions…

END

Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.  http://www.peterdaviesbooks.com

Readers who would like to make a contribution to help innocent pensioners, who are unable to buy food and other basic necessities in Zimbabwe, should please contact Patricia Williams by email patashnix@btinternet.com.

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