As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I think Robert Mugabe is gearing up to take the country by force.

President Robert Mugabe's government raided the offices of the main opposition movement and rounded up foreign journalists Thursday in an ominous indication that he may use intimidation and violence to keep his grip on power.

Police raided a hotel used by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and ransacked some of the rooms. Riot police also surrounded another hotel housing foreign journalists, and took away several of them, according to a man who answered the phone there.

"Mugabe has started a crackdown," Movement for Democratic Change general secretary Tendai Biti told The Associated Press. "It is quite clear he has unleashed a war."

Zimbabwe really is a horrible place and it was clear that Mugabe wouldn't go quietly and give up his position as head of state without a fight. There's going to be a runoff in a few weeks and Mugabe will use all of the power of the state to win it. There probably shouldn't even be a runoff, as the MDC Party probably got the votes they needed to win outright. In case you're tuning in late, there's a primer on Mugabe at the end of this article:

Mugabe has ruled since his guerrilla army helped force an end to white minority rule in then-Rhodesia and bring about an independent Zimbabwe in 1980.

He ordered the often-violent seizures of white-owned commercial farms, ostensibly to return them to the landless black majority. Instead, Mugabe replaced a white elite with a black one, giving the farms to relatives, friends and cronies who allowed cultivated fields to be taken over by weeds.

Today, a third of the population depends on imported food handouts. Another third has fled the country and 80 percent is jobless. Inflation is the highest in the world at more than 100,000 percent and people suffer crippling shortages of food, water, electricity, fuel and medicine. Life expectancy has fallen from 60 to 35 years.

I was a little hopeful for a time, but only increased international attention will resolve this amicably. I fear the worst.

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