It has been evident that the time between the elections in March and the runoff election scheduled for June 27 that members and supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Party have been marked for kidnappings, beatings, and killings.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said that he refused to cede power to opposition candidate and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe has repeatedly accused Tsvangirai of being a puppet for Britain. The United Nations and many human rights groups have accused the military and Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party of instigating most of the violence.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga had demanded that Mugabe step down from power. During a conference in Washington DC, Odinga had called Zimbabwe an embarrassment to Africa. He said that the runoff election was a sham because the citizens would not have enough confidence that it would be fair.
Witnesses have said that soldiers and militiamen have threatened them with death if they didn’t vote for Mugabe.
Mugabe and his administration have been accused of trying to steal the election. Tsvangirai has been confirmed to have won the elections. But, Tsvangirai had fallen short of getting majority needed to avoid a runoff.
Now, Mugabe’s supporters have now made new targets. The military and Zanu-PF militiamen have targeted family members of MDC leaders. Family members have been marked for brutal execution.
Recently, Abigail Chitoro, the wife of Harare’s unofficial mayor, was dragged out of her home with along her four year old son. Abigail was beaten severely that she was nearly unrecognizable. Supporters of the Zanu-PF had fire bombed the home as well.
Three wives of MDC leaders were murdered. It has seemed effective as those MDC leaders have been frozen with both terror and grief of the death of their wives. Can’t reach the leaders? You try the next best thing, go after their family members. Though it is very brutal, it has proven to be effective.