Opposition fears for those who refused to back Zanu

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The Independent Online

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is braced for the second phase of a murderous campaign that it believes is an attempt by the government to find a "final solution" to its main opposition.

A source inside the national electoral commission told The Independent that full details of polling patterns throughout the country have been handed to the ruling Zanu-PF party, allowing them to target ward by ward those who failed to vote for Robert Mugabe.

The terror campaign that has seen 104 confirmed murders and more than 3,500 beatings of opposition supporters failed to deliver either the turnout or compliance sought by the regime.

"We anticipate that there will be gangs let loose," said Ian Makoni, the MDC's chief election organiser, who along with most other opposition officials is currently in hiding.

Doctors who have dealt with the fallout from the first terror campaign said that they were braced for the truce put in place since voting started on Friday to end today. "Come Monday or Tuesday we will see the next phase of the plan," said one doctor who did not wish to be identified.

With hundreds of torture victims already filling hospitals in Harare, Bulawayo and the rural areas, there is a two- to three-week lag between the officially-documented toll and the real number of casualties.

"What we are seeing is probably 10 per cent of what has actually happened," said the doctor, who described the violence as the "worst the country has witnessed", worse even than the atrocities committed during the war for liberation in the 1970s. "This is much, much more severe. We are not seeing simple fractures, we are seeing bones smashed into 20 pieces. People being forced to walk on burning coals, having scalding water poured over them and their wounds poisoned." Human Rights Watch confirmed that some reprisals had already begun in the high-density suburb of Chitungwiza, with Zanu-PF activists attacking and beating people who did not have a red ink stain to indicate they had voted.

Minutes of a meeting this month of the leading figures in the junta, known as the Joint Operations Command (JOC), showed an agreement was reached for the total destruction of the MDC through the murder of local opposition activists and key party organisers.

The JOC includes the army, police, air force and prisons chiefs. There is increasing evidence of the involvement of all these groups in the violent campaign to overturn Mr Mugabe's first-round poll defeat. So-called "boys on leave", army personnel released to train ruling-party youth militia, were sent to villages in key rural areas where they put unemployed youngsters through three-month indoctrination courses prior to the election.

The militias set up by the ruling party were given two vehicles per electoral ward, with 20,000 litres of fuel per constituency, and told to destroy the opposition. Sworn affidavits from reserve bank officials who transported money to the regional organisers confirm these details.

A system of re-education camps were set up in the countryside and in the poorer areas of Harare, where people were intimidated, indoctrinated, tortured and in many cases killed.

Yesterday in Mashonaland West, which has seen some of the worst of the violence, the same centres were being resupplied ahead of phase two.

Speaking from the main town in the area, Chinhoyi, an opposition researcher, who cannot be named for his own safety, said that local shops and businesses were being forced to make "donations". He added: "These camps are now regrouping. They're going to unleash another terror campaign."

A call to Africa to stop Mugabe: Statement from Independent News & Media

The International Advisory Board (IAB) of the Independent News & Media Group meeting in Dublin condemns the sham election, the political turmoil and extreme human rights violations unleashed in Zimbabwe.

The IAB recognises that many African states, among them Zimbabwe's neighbours, are strongly critical of the Mugabe regime and its violent suppression of democracy. We particularly applaud the sentiments expressed by the President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, and the Nobel Laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa, as well as the concern of the former president Nelson Mandela. The IAB now looks to the South African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) urgently to develop a strategy for the restoration of civil authority and a free and fair election process in Zimbabwe.

27 June 2008


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