Mugabe said “let there be light” and there WAS light, in Zimbabwe… until Mugabe had finished his election broadcast.  Then, “Ten minutes after the end of the live Zanu-PF election campaign launch, the electricity went off and everything shuddered to a halt again,” Cathy Buckle writes in her weekly newsletter from Zimbabwe.

China and Israel have supplied Mugabe’s police with water cannon and purple dye to help deal with any possible unrest.  The police have openly warned Zimbabwe’s population that “we won’t hesitate to use force”, including firearms to quell politically motivated violence before during and/or after the elections.  (Except their own violence and that of Zanu-PF supporters, of course.)  These warnings were prompted by the riots that followed rigged elections in Kenya during January (see my article dated January 28).

Meanwhile, “independent” candidate, Simba Makoni held rallies in Harare on Saturday and in Zimbabwe’s second City, Bulawayo on Sunday.  Both were quite well attended considering the danger anyone attending the rallies were facing.  Makoni has, until recently been a member of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Politburo.  In Bulawayo he was endorsed by a senior Zanu-PF politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa.  This is the first political heavyweight to openly support Makoni’s campaign.  Peta Thorneycroft reports in VOA News that when police arrived at the Bulawayo rally, the crowd hissed in a threatening manner.  Makoni quietened the crowd and encouraged the police to stay and listen.

One interesting thing about the Bulawayo rally is that Bulawayo is the centre of opposition to Mugabe’s regime and also the capital of Zimbabwe’s Matabele tribe.  Makoni is a Shona and Dabengwa is Matabele.  Makoni’s challenge has been described as “the lion cub taking on the lion king…”, but more support by the likes of Dabengwa just might make a difference.  Makoni’s appraisal and manifesto comes across as sensible, but is he reformed Marxist?  Or does he just want power?

In a country with over 100,000 percent inflation, Mugabe’s bid for re-election is being bankrolled by printing yet more money.  ZW$170 trillion per week.  That’s so much money that even though notes are being printed in ZW$10 million denominations, the paper alone costs £382,000 (approx US$765,000) per week to be delivered from German suppliers (Christina Lamb, Sunday Times).  One US$ at the beginning of last week bought ZW$12 million, by the end of the week, one US$ bought ZW$20 million.  The money is being used to pay soldiers and policemen in Zimbabwe as well as the so-called “war veterans”, all of whom are used by Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party to intimidate voters and the opposition.

As Stalin said, “it’s not the votes that count, but who counts the votes…”  It looks like Mugabe and Zanu-PF has it all wrapped up.


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.


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

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