Friday, April 25, 2008
Zimbabwe makes it even worse
Police and government agents loyal to President Robert Mugabe arrested and attacked hundreds of opposition party leaders and independent election monitors on Friday, ending all pretense that he somehow survived the March 29 election. Mugabe, who has headed Zimbabwe's government since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980, appeared determined to hang onto power in his southern African nation in the face of widespread domestic and international opposition. The police and intelligence officers ransacked offices of the main opposition party, which won a majority in Zimbabwe's parliament, apparently removing all evidence that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai prevailed in the balloting, according to the Associated Press. Official results have not been released. Hundreds were arrested at Harvest House in Harare, the capital, where Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has its offices. Many of the people arrested had fled to Harvest House from post-election violence in the countryside. The government operation came one day after the United States' top envoy to Africa, Jendayi Frazer, said Tsvangirai had won the election and called on Mugabe to step down. Noel Kututwa, chairman of the monitoring organization, said officers from Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence Organization tried to arrest him and his deputy but they were out of the office. Tsvangirai is out of the country and has refused to return out of fear of arrest. Jacob Zuma of South Africa's African National Congress party condemned the government crackdown in neighboring Zimbabwe. The U.N. Security Council will begin looking into the Zimbabwe crisis next week, officials said, according to the AP.