Thursday, April 03, 2008

Bad Signs in Zimbabwe

In the wake of reports today that the opposition party in Zimbabwe had defeated the majority party of Robert Mugabe, now, breaking reports out of Zimbabwe indicate that Mugabe may be trying to hang on to power. The Associated Press is reporting that:

Security agents and paramilitary police in riot gear are surrounding a Harare hotel housing foreign journalists.

A man answering the phone at the hotel says they are taking away some reporters.

The man refused to give his name but said about 30 police entered the hotel Thursday and were preparing to take away four or five journalists.

Furthermore, the New York Times is reporting that:

Despite losing control of Parliament, President Robert G. Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his party were increasingly explicit on Thursday about their willingness to continue fighting for the presidency.

After days of public reticence about the party’s intentions in the wake of Saturday’s elections, Bright Matonga, a deputy information minister for Mr. Mugabe, indicated that the president was not prepared to step aside and would compete in a second round of voting if results showed that neither candidate had won a majority in the first round.

While the Times article focuses on the likelihood that Mugabe and his party would try to force a run-off or even a second vote, the AP report gives a more ominous spin to events there. The US and the international community need to move quickly to put pressure on Mugabe and his African allies alike to ensure that Mugabe knows that a seizure of power will not be tolerated in Zimbabwe, in Africa, and in the greater international community.

UPDATE: The Associated Press is now reporting that:

Police raided offices of the main opposition party and detained foreign journalists Thursday in an ominous sign that President Robert Mugabe might turn to intimidation and violence in trying to stave off an electoral threat to his 28-year rule.


MDC [the opposition party] secretary-general Tendai Biti said hotel rooms used as offices by the opposition at one of Harare's main hotels were ransacked by police during the raids.

"Mugabe has started a crackdown," Biti told The Associated Press. "It is quite clear he has unleashed a war."

This doesn't look good.


dave said...

Hey, Dr. Weinberger. How about a post on this week's NATO news?

Seth Weinberger said...

I'm still thinking about the NATO a-doings. But I hope to post something today.

Jeb Koogler said...

Any thoughts on why the US/Europe has been so standoff-ish on Zimbabwe? I've been trying to figure that one out.

ng2000 said...

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