Mugabe prepares to announce state of emergency to cling to power

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The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice (ZLJ), a shadowy grouping of lawyers yesterday called on beleaguered Robert Mugabe to consider declaring a state of emergency to safeguard lives and property in the face of increased violence.

from our correspondent in Harare

The pro-government pressure group claims that the perpetrators of violence are members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

Executive director Martin Dinha who lost in the Zanu-PF primary elections says it was imperative for Mugabe to declare a state of emergency to quell escalating violence in the post election period.

Dinha said: “In view of the current situation ZLJ appeals to government and Mugabe to consider the possibility of declaring a state of emergency to quell the disturbances. Literally Zimbabwe is at war with foreign elements using local puppets.”

Dinha is the former Zanu-PF executive mayor of Bindura, the regional capital of Mashonaland Central Province, where political violence has claimed most casualties.

ZLJ claims the torching of homes, kidnapping and torture of people for wearing Zanu- PF party regalia by pro-MDC hooligans had increased in the country making their call urgent.

But the MDC accuses militant Zanu-PF supporters of unleashing a violent terror campaign against opposition members blamed for voting against Mugabe in the March 29 general election.

The MDC says 42 of its supporters have been murdered so far in the post-election violence that has erupted across the country while hundreds have been hospitalized with over 5 000 others displaced from their homes in Zimbabwe’s rural districts.

Mugabe lost the first round of voting to Tsvangirai, and his Zanu-PF party also lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since 1980 to the opposition.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe will now go into a second round of voting on June 27 after both failed to get the required 50 percent of the total vote to win outright.

The opposition says Mugabe is using violence to cow rural voters into supporting him ahead of the presidential poll run-off which the electoral commission says will be held before the end of July this year.

But the pro-government ZLJ charges that several opposition activists have already been arrested for fuelling violence while police have moved in to dismantle the political bases set up by the MDC in the provinces.

In a veiled reference to the MDC, Dinha said political parties should behave responsibly and not use Zimbabweans as guinea pigs for their insatiable quest for power.

Dinha claimed the MDC was fuelling violence at the instigation of its Western backers.

He said: “Western countries are known to fuel violence, civil wars and strife in Africa and the Middle East. Zimbabwe must not fall into the trap of the evil nations’ agenda”.

He said investigations by lawyers have linked the violence to former Rhodesian security agents who are bent on inviting military international intervention. He further alleges: “Former Rhodesian security agents are active elements in the violence circle and are used as agents provocateurs to achieve the goal of international intervention and enhanced sanctions against Zimbabwe”.

Violence being perpetrated by the opposition MDC was well-calculated as a ploy to prove to the party’s western handlers that it enjoys massive support, he says. “Now their masters were asking why the people were not demonstrating against Government if the MDC-T truly won the March 29. They were being asked why they were not making noise. The violence is part of their agenda to prove they have the people”.

However the MDC has dismissed the shadowy organization as a briefcase pressure group and a one-man band.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Dinha, who lost in the Zanu-PF primary elections, was trying by all means to remain relevant in the disintegrating party. Chamisa said: “We are a serious political party with the largest following in the country. We cannot waste time dealing with briefcase organizations whose only member Martin Dinha is trying to gain currency in Zanu-PF after losing the party’s primaries last year”.

The MDC spokesman dismissed Dinha’s allegations as nonsensical saying the Bindura lawyer was not an elected official in and outside his one-man
organization. He said: “Dinha has no mandated to speak on behalf of anyone. He has not been elected to represent anyone simply because he is the only member of his shadowy organization”.

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