A pro-govrnment rights outfit in Zimbabwe has urged President Robert Mugabe to consider declaring a state of emergency to stem a tide of post election violence. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice(ZLJ) said a state of emrgency would help protect lives and property from violoence that it blamed on opposition activisits. “In view of the current situation, ZLJ appeals to the government and President Mugabe to consider the possibility of declaring a state of emergency to quell the disturbances.” President Mugabe can legally have a state of emergency for up to six months.
The plea by this pro-Mugabe group may well be part of a plan by Mugabe to declare the state of emergency in order to maintain power and hope the intervening six months would enable him to completely quell any effort by opposition forces to organize a political campaign against him. The violence was initiated by members of the ruling Zanu-Pf which sent thugs into villages and towns in order to beat up, torture, and kill those who dared oppose the president. Naturally, some members of the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) fought back which then allowed the Mugabe goons to claim they were being attacked.
At least 30 people have been killed by Mugabe forces, thousands of others beaten up, and thousands more displaced from their homes. Mugabe is attempting to create a feeling of chaos in the country in order to find justifcation for imposing martial law and ending any pretense of a fair election. The UN and African groups have documented the violence on the part of Zanu-PF activists, but Mugabe is still frightened of holding a free election since he knows it would only result in his defeat.
The world should not be surprised if Mugabe goes the route of martial law in order to keep himself in power. He has tried every other tactic.
Robert Mugabe lost an election for the first time in his life and his efforts to ensure that never again occurs has resulted in an escalation of violence within Zimbabwe as thugs and goons for his Zanu-PF party roam the land beating and even killing those who oppose his election. Agustino Zacarias, speaking for the UN, said new levels of violence are now present in the nation. “These incidents of violence are occurring in communal farming and urban areas and there are indication that the level of violence is escalating in all these areas and could reach crisis levels.” He said the evidence is clear of “an emerging pattern of political violence indicated mainly, but not exclusively, on rural supporters of the MDC(Movement for Democratic Change).”
Government directed attacks are being waged aganst human rights workers, election monitors and others who seek to create a democratic society. Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the MDC, has called for access to the electoral process by outside observers, a desire which will most probably be denied by Mugabe since the last thing on his agenda is allowing the outside world to observe his brutality.
The only hope for a democratic run-off election lies with the Southern African Development Community, but, so far, it has been unable to shift Mugabe into a position which would allow outside observers.