March 13, 2005


Protesters come out in Mugabe election ‘truce’ (Anne Wayne, Marondera, 3/13/05, Sunday Times of London)

“CHINJA!” The demand for “change” roared out from hundreds of hoarse throats at the first opposition rally ever held in Marondera, a small town 45 miles east of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.

On the other side of the road, a silent crowd stared fearfully from behind a police line, afraid of declaring their loyalty to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose supporters are often beaten, raped and killed.

The rally would nevertheless have been unthinkable four years ago, when Zimbabwe’s last parliamentary elections were held amid a wave of murders, widespread torture and the hounding of thousands of farmers from their land.

“Now the government wants credibility, they want to be seen as legitimate,” said Ian Kay, who is standing for the MDC on March 31, election day. He hopes to unseat Sydney Sekeramayi, the defence minister known as “the cruel one”.

“There is lots of international pressure to make this seem like a free and fair election, although intimidation is still going on,” he said.

While W pressures Syria, Tony Blair should be keeping the heat on Zimbabwe.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 13, 2005 8:35 AM

Mugabe will always get a free pass from the Brits. The foreign service will never get over the fact that Ian Smith told them to pound salt for two decades. The Parliamentary Labour Party agree with pretty much every action Mugabe has taken from the expropriation of property to the silencing of dissidents. Most Brits couldn't find the place with a globe.

Mugabe has the full support of his fellow African despots in South Africa and Namibia so that is all he needs.

Posted by: Bart at March 13, 2005 12:37 PM

Forget international heat. This is a one-bullet, 50-bomb problem. Time to solve it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 13, 2005 2:44 PM