Mugabe's opponents die in firebomb attack
Thursday 19 June 2008
Zimbabwe's ruling regime stepped up its win at all costs election campaign with a firebomb attack that killed four opposition party activists.
The killings in Harare came even as South African president Thabo Mbeki was in the country for talks with president Robert Mugabe ahead of next week's run-off ballot.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change party has said more than 60 of its activists have been killed in recent weeks, and accuses Mugabe of unleashing widespread violence to ensure victory over Morgan Tsvangirai.
Independent human rights activists have implicated police and soldiers as well as Mugabe party militants in the violence.
An MDC spokesman said that militants linked to Mugabe's party were seen in the area before the firebomb attack on the home of one party activist. He said the activist and three colleagues were killed, an unusually high one-day toll.
Mugabe "is behaving like a warlord," he said. "This violence must stop."
Mr Mbeki held talks with Mr Tsvangirai yesterday and then late into the night with Mugabe amid increasing international concern that the 27 June run-off will not be free and fair.
Mr Mbeki, who has continually refused to publicly rebuke Mugabe, left the country without commenting.
A Mugabe spokesman was quoted in today's state newspaper The Herald as saying Mr Mbeki came merely to review election preparations.
Mr Mbeki says confrontation with Mugabe could backfire. But the South African leader's decision to spend his 66th birthday with the 84-year-old Zimbabwean autocrat underlined the immense pressure he is under at home and abroad.
Mr Mbeki is being urged to take a tougher stance or to show that his quiet tactics can work to persuade Mugabe to stop the violence before the election; possibly even to bring Mr Tsvangirai and Mugabe together in a power-sharing compromise.
Mr Tsvangirai has called on Mr Mbeki to step down as mediator, accusing him of bias toward Mugabe.
Jacob Zuma, head of the African National Congress, has said the run-off election was unlikely to be free.
Most observers have praised the conduct of the first round - although not the delay in releasing official results. But there are growing fears that Mugabe will steal the second round through violence and ballot rigging.
In addition to the violence, Mr Tsvangirai's party has had rallies banned and campaign stops blocked by police. It has had little access to state media.
Mugabe's government earlier this month ordered humanitarian groups to suspend work in the country, accusing them of helping his opponents. That has put hungry Zimbabweans at the mercy of government feeding programmes.
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Taiwan plane crash: Typhoon Matmo could have caused TransAsia Airways disaster, airline suspects
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...
£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...