[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Zim under army rule
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Mon May 12 07:51:58 BST 2008
Military to campaign for mugabe
Zim 'under army rule'
May 12, 2008 Edition 1
Peta Thornycroft & Reuters
Former Zimbabwean home affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa, who was a top
guerrilla during the 1970s liberation war, said the country was now
under military rule.
His statement came as Zimbabwe's main opposition group stepped up
efforts to secure regional peacekeepers for a run-off presidential
election against Robert Mugabe, a spokesman said yesterday.
The presidential run-off, pitting Mugabe against opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, would not be held in the next few weeks as required
by law, the head of the electoral commission said in an interview
Tsvangirai announced at the weekend that he would participate in a
run-off against Mugabe - but insisted that, legally, the vote should be
held within 21 days of the May 2 announcement of results from the first
Electoral commission chief George Chiweshe confirmed this requirement of
the electoral laws but said government officials needed more time to
prepare for the run-off.
Government officials have said the electoral commission has up to a year
to hold the second round.
"It was ambitious for the legislature to think 21 days would be enough,"
Chiweshe was quoted by the state-run Sunday Mail as saying.
He said there were legal provisions to extend the period before the
election was held.
Tsvangirai held talks at the weekend with Angolan President Jose Eduardo
dos Santos to encourage the SADC to send peacekeepers, said MDC
spokesman George Sibotshiwe. Santos heads the SADC's regional organ on
politics and security.
Tsvangirai said on Saturday that he would return home within two days to
deal Mugabe a "final knock-out" after almost three decades in power. He
wanted SADC peacekeepers to instil public confidence in the ballot and
end the crisis.
Zimbabwean doctors, trade unions and teachers have reported beatings and
intimidation by government-backed militias since the first ballot on
March 29 and the authorities have rounded up a number of high-profile
Yesterday brought news that 58 opposition activists in a farming town
north-east of Harare had been arrested on charges of public violence,
according to local police.
Tsvangirai said that should he win the election "the outgoing president
would be granted an honourable exit as . . . Robert Mugabe was the
father of the nation".
Dabengwa, a commander of the late Joshua Nkomo's Zipra forces, told
Zimbabwe's Sunday Standard newspaper that deployment of the Zimbabwe
national army to campaign for Mugabe in the coming rerun of the
presidential election was a clear indication of a "de facto coup".
Last week, the army denied involvement in the violence.
Dabengwa said a group in Zanu-PF had demanded that Mugabe stay on to
protect their interests, even after he had been substantially defeated
in the March 29 elections.
He would not name the group, but it has been widely reported in Zimbabwe
that cabinet minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, tipped as the likely successor
to Mugabe, now heads the Joint Operational Command, which runs the
country, supported by defence force commander Constantine Chiwenga and
police commissioner Augustine Chihuri.
A newer member of the Joint Operational Command is central bank governor
Gideon Gono, who now has to print extra cash not only to cope with about
200 000% inflation but dramatically increased civil service salaries and
short-term election campaign contracts.
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