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Mugabe Under Pressure

Pressure is mounting on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to hold a free and fair election run-off.

Forty of Africa’s prominent figures, including former UN chief Kofi Annan, on Friday published an open letter urging an end to violence and intimidation in the days leading to election day, June 27th.

Meanwhile, as former ZANU-PF politburo member Simba Makoni is in South Africa pitching a government of national unity, Mugabe says he has dissuaded war veterans from fighting to keep the opposition from power.

Herman Hanekom, an independent researcher of contemporary Africa in Capetown, South Africa told VOA’s Akwei Thompson the attempt by the African leaders to put pressure on Mugabe was futile.

“I think that letter is worth as much as a straw being blown around in the wind. With the impunity that is taking place at the moment, I don’t think that anyone on the regime’s side in Zimbabwe has any intention of taking notice of international opinion.”

Hanekom said he fears Mugabe gas lost control to his generals.

“What we are witnessing today is the end result of the brutality of generals who fear for their own freedom…due to past violations of human rights in Zimbabwe and they need Mugabe there as president in order to ensure that they will not be prosecuted in future by a future government," he said

He added that the chance of Mugabe and opposition leader Tsvangirai ever meeting to discuss a government of national unity was absolutely zero.

“I cannot see that those two can ever be brought together…, he said”