Thursday, April 10, 2008

Zimbabwe: back to thuggery

With Zimbabwe looking likely to go to a runoff in its Presidential election (despite no official results having been released), Mugabe and Zanu PF are goign back to thuggery, and trying to intimidate people into voting for them:

The patients at Louisa Guidotti hospital said there were eight men, one carrying a shotgun, another with an AK-47, others with pistols, and they went from bed to bed forcing out anyone who could walk.

Nurses were dragged away from the sick. Motorists driving by the hospital, 87 miles north-east of Harare, were stopped and taken from their cars.

About 70 people were gathered in the grounds. Then the lecture began. "This is your last chance," said one of the armed men. "You messed up when you voted. Next time you vote you must get it right or you will die."

One of the men selected people to stand and shout slogans of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party and to sing songs from the liberation war . Those who did not do so enthusiastically were beaten. Another cocked his gun and told the crowd to point out opposition supporters.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Africa's democratic states remain silent. I know that Mugabe has a lot of mana from being a revolutionary fighter against colonialism a couple of decades ago, but that shouldn't be a blank cheque, and it shouldn't give him immunity from criticism when he behaves in a blatantly undemocratic manner.