As the second round of Zimbabwe's presidential election nears,
president Robert Mugabe is repeatedly telling supporters that no matter
what the result of the presidential run off election on June 27,
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will never take power. Peta
Thornycroft reports from Harare that Mr. Mugabe is openly saying that
he will take Zimbabwe to war to keep the ruling Zanu PF in power.
President Robert Mugabe has often said that Morgan Tsvangirai will never rule Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai easily defeated Mr. Mugabe in the first round of elections
on March 29, but election officials say he failed to win enough votes
to avoid a run off.
His party, the Movement for Democratic
Change won a parliamentary majority and won control of most of
Zimbabwe's urban areas in local government elections. But the country
is politically paralyzed until it has a new president.
Mugabe spoke at a state funeral Saturday and said that "We shall never,
never accept anything that smells of ... the MDC. These pathetic
puppets taking over this country? ... That is not going to happen."
says veterans of the 1970's anti-colonial war had told him that if the
country was handed back to 'white hands' because people used a pen to
vote, then they, the veterans, will return to the bush to fight
Mugabe repeatedly tells people that a victory for Morgan Tsvangirai
would invite whites back, although most whites left and settled in
other countries during the past 30 years.
"Never again shall
this country come under the rule of the white man, direct or indirect.
Not while we, who fought for its liberation, live," he said to cheering
supporters, including a large number of uniformed members of the
The MDC says 66 of its officials, activists and
supporters have been killed since the March polls, and thousands have
been injured in attacks mostly in Zanu PF strongholds where people
voted for Mr. Tsvangirai. Many victims of the violence say their
attackers were uniformed men.
Veterans of the bush war are
regularly deployed to intimidate the opposition and were fundamental in
the seizure of most white-owned farms beginning in 2000.
The seizure of these productive farms collapsed the economy, and most Zimbabweans now do not have enough food to eat.
Mugabe blames what he calls western sanctions for the collapsed
economy, where the Zimbabwe dollar is largely worthless and inflation
at 165,000 percent, is the highest in the world.