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.