Global Politics

A climate of fear in Zimbabwe

This anonymous man predicts more attacks against the opposition, even though their leader has pulled out of the presidential race. Another opposition supporter fears he'll be attacked if he continues to support the opposition. CM says Mugabe's Zanu PF party has cracked down hard on the people of Zimbabwe: Zanu PF has created a vast militia and driven out opposition activists and independent election agents and replaced them with people who are able to intimidate local populations. This has been done through a systematic execution of rapes and beatings and intimidation, disappearances�this is so extensive, probably about over half the country so it's had a severe impact on any kind of free and fair election here. (The UN condemned this campaign of violence on Zimbabwe. Does this put pressure on the country or its neighbors to stop the violence?) I think what's interesting is that South Africa, China and Russia signed up to the resolution, and South Africa's support of the resolution is important and does put pressure on Zimbabwe. Other countries in Africa have also backed away from Mugabe. (It doesn't seem like Mugabe himself is backing away at all, he said he'd proceed with the election and that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state. What do Zimbabweans fear about an election without an opposition?) Well Mugabe is going along because he feels he needs some form of legitimacy. If other governments don't offer that, then the election becomes a sham. (President Bush said he's pleased with the UN resolution. Is there something beyond this that could've been done?) I think probably not, given the nature of this government and its campaign which has tried to prop up the opposition as a tool of Western influence. Mugabe wants the legitimacy of his African neighbors and that's becoming more difficult now. but the point is for people on the ground they're just trying to get by day to day, so this pressure doesn't mean much to them yet.

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