A Harare journalist says he has seen militiamen loyal to President Robert Mugabe chopping off people’s hands and breaking their fingers to prevent them from voting in Friday’s runoff.
His story speaks to a larger violence that has wracked the African nation since April. The 23-year-old woman in Harare, Zimbabwe, said she could talk, but only briefly. It was 3:30 p.m. there and she had to be home before the 6 p.m. curfew, she said.
“I should be home in an hour, hour and a half. If I’m not home by then, it means trouble,” she said Tuesday. Zimbabweans are accustomed to violence, but the beatings and bloodshed have been epidemic since early April, days after opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai pushed longtime President Robert Mugabe into a runoff election for the nation’s top post.
Tsvangirai dropped out of the race this week, citing intimidation and vote-rigging. He is now in hiding at the Dutch Embassy, uncertain like most Zimbabweans whether the violence would continue. Zimbabweans and outside observers say militias loyal to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) have engaged in intimidation tactics designed to deter Tsvangirai’s supporters from casting ballots.
The real face of a monster called Mugabe!