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ZIMBABWE (ANS) -- Since the elections in Zimbabawe on March 29, 2008, more than 80 people have been murdered, including opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders and other supporters, by Mugabe's ZANU PF.
Robert Mugabe has dominated Zimbabwean politics since coming to power on a wave of popular support in 1980.
According to Collen Makumbirofa, of the Foundation of Reason & Justice
(www.zimbabwehope.org) , ten thousand people have been injured in what she calls State-sponsored violence, which is determined to wipe out the opposition, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). More than 5,000 homes have been burned down countrywide, and more than 250, 000 people have been displaced from their homes.
She writes that Mugabe and his ZANU PF government are committing genocide. "Zimbabweans have no Guns. People are defenseless in face of attacks from the militias, soldiers, ad Secret police.
Makumbirofa says: "Many African leaders have condemned abduction, murder and torture in Zimbabwe, but South African president Thabo Mbeki has not yet condemned Mugabe. It's tragic that South Africa still sympathizes with Mugabe.
"This is genocide, which is taking place in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is at war. The difference between a Zimbabwean war and other wars in Africa is that Zimbabweans have no firearms, therefore ZANU PF militias, soldiers and police are torturing, abducting and murdering defenseless people."
Makumbirofa adds: "The MDC must wake up and start defending its people. It must help itself while other governments help it. MDC is a government with authority from God to rule Zimbabwe, therefore it must defend its people.
"The arrogant and senile Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe said, 'Only God will remove me.' That is true: God is going to remove Him. Mugabe doesn't know that God will use people to remove him. It's not God's moral will that Mugabe rules Zimbabwe. No! God has no pleasure in the suffering of His people. Mugabe is not a servant of God (as) in Romans 13, but a thug, a beast (as) in Revelation 13. Mugabe doesn't know that God is angry with him. God does not want innocent blood to be shed or millions of Zimbabweans to be starved as what is being done now," Makumbirofa writes.
She encourages Zimbabweans to write letters to their leaders urging them to stop the genocide in Zimbabwe. "Genocide must stop! Mugabe must go! Join others to make a difference."
Meanwhile, Rowan Philp and Dominic Mahlangu writing in The Times newspaper(www.thetimes.co.za/SpecialReports/Zimbabwe/Article.aspx?id=788598)
report that "Mugabe spits out his defiance as African nations break ranks with him."
They say pressure from Africa and abroad is piling up on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe ahead of Friday's (June 27) presidential run-off. But, ever-immune to criticism, the ageing dictator continued with his hardline rhetoric this week.
The two reporters explain that addressing local business people in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, on Friday, Mugabe insisted he would not step aside for the Movement for Democratic Change, which beat his Zanu-PF party in the parliamentary and first-round presidential poll on March 29.
"The MDC will never be allowed to rule this country -- never ever," Mugabe declared. "Only God, who appointed me, will remove me -- not the MDC, not the British. Only God will remove me!"
Mugabe's violent campaign to maintain his grip on power has led to the opposition MDC to pulling out of the election.
They cite that his belligerence has also led to:
** Several African countries, including some of Zimbabwe's neighbours, finally breaking ranks to slam him;
** A United Nations appeal to South Africa to act;
** Election observers indicating it was unlikely the run-off would be declared free and fair; and
** Western countries declaring that they were seriously considering charging Mugabe with war crimes.
They report that pressure was also being brought to bear on South Africa, with President Thabo Mbeki isolated in his unwavering support for Mugabe -- even in his own cabinet.
They also say Angola -- a key ally of Zimbabwe -- joined Tanzania, Kenya, Swaziland and Rwanda in slamming Mugabe's violent crackdown this week. Botswana lodged a protest last week.
The Times newspaper says that in a rare rebuke, Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos urged Mugabe in a letter "to stop the violence and intimidation."
A senior Angolan official said Dos Santos had also appealed to his Zimbabwean counterpart to "observe the spirit of tolerance and respect for difference and cease all forms of intimidation and political violence."
In turn, the newspaper reports, Rwandan President Paul Kagame accused Mugabe of turning the election into a farce. He blamed the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and, by implication, its mediator, Mbeki, for failing to "step in and do something."
"The fact that the problems keep going on and even getting worse means that other people should step in. Starting with neighbors to Zimbabwe and the organization in the Southern African subcontinent -- in this case SADC -- should primarily step in following the failures internally and do something," he said in a statement.
Percy Simelane, spokesman for the Swazi government, said it did not foresee "free and fair elections if even the president himself is inciting violence," and Thomas Amolo, Kenya's High Commissioner in South Africa, also called on Mugabe to "respect the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe," The Times reported.
"Having accepted a rerun, President Mugabe should ensure it is within ... acceptable standards of elections and democratic practice. Anything less is an affront to the evolving democratic culture in Africa and unacceptable to all people living in Africa, " Amolo said.
Earlier in the week, the foreign minister of Tanzania, Bernard Membe -- representing the SADC executive troika -- said: "There is every sign that these elections will never be free nor fair...There is a derailment of (MDC leader) Mr (Morgan) Tsvangirai. Wherever he goes to campaign, he's detained at police stations."
Mbeki -- who was mandated by SADC to resolve the crisis -- faces unprecedented pressure to act, the newspaper said.
It also reported that, concerned about the violence rending Zimbabwe, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon sent a "strongly worded" message to Mbeki on Friday via his envoy Haile Menkerios.
Yves Sorokobi, a spokesman for Ban, said: "I can't divulge the specifics, but certainly the message conveys the very serious concerns from the whole UN family. It's not just a political crisis, it's a humanitarian crisis."
Ban's action followed Mbeki's reported failure to convince Mugabe to call off the elections -- out of concern for post-election violence and the certainty of disputed results -- or meet Tsvangirai to negotiate a settlement.
Mbeki is proposing that a government of national unity be put in place until credible elections can be held, The Times reported.
The newspaper said The US also ratcheted up the pressure on Mbeki. Declaring that the "eyes of the world" were on South Africa, Washington said it had noted "a change in tone" in Mbeki's position.
"I think the South African government has an increasing awareness that the eyes of the world are not only on Zimbabwe, but also on them, because they understand that ... they're uniquely positioned vis-a-vis President Mugabe to try to bring about some positive outcome from a very dire situation," US government spokesman Sean McCormack said. "And we'll see how they react to that, how they react to that attention. "
Mbeki is also at odds with his own cabinet. Government insiders say cabinet ministers are frustrated that he is not speaking out against Mugabe and want him to stop "appeasing and be more forthright with the Harare dictator."
Bracing itself for a flood of Zimbabweans fleeing the country after the election, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told The Times of London that it had put contingency plans in place in Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa.
"UNHCR has pre-positioned food and tents in all these places in the expectation of a flight of more refugees," a senior official said.
Meanwhile, several election observers say that they are unlikely to endorse the election.
One South African election observer in the SADC delegation -- who asked not to be named for fear of arrest or assault -- said: "Slowly but surely, this conspiracy of support around Mugabe is crumbling.
"I cannot for the life of me see how they could ever suggest this election is anything but a farce, and neither can the African leaders who once stood with Mugabe. There are massacres going on here -- absolute massacres; there are torture camps; there are hundreds of people beaten in hospitals because their areas voted for the MDC last time."
The observer added: "The African Union is really coming out very strongly -- AU observers have already been here for a while. They're saying these houses were burnt down, these people were burnt to death; it was all Zanu; it was all Zanu. I've been to observe previous elections and I wasn't hearing that kind of open talk before."
The Times of London also reported that Western powers were considering having Mugabe hauled before the International Criminal Court in The Hague over the atrocities inflicted on his opponents.
"He needs to know he is moments away from an indictment," a diplomat told the newspaper on Thursday.
Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said although the president respected the right of others to comment on day-to-day events, as SADC mediator he could not comment publicly on any developments.
|** Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent of ANS, is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station. Michael's involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- Michael Ireland Media Missionary (MIMM) -- of ACT International at: Artists in Christian Testimony (ACT) International.|