Zimbabwe Creeps Toward Disorder
Robert Mugabe’s best skill appears to be running with power. Taking the stage a day after renewing his leadership for five years, Zimbabwe’s president whitewashed factional infighting, tribal imbalance, and old age with war trumpets.
"We must begin to work for the party, never for personal egos.” he said on Sunday. “We must begin to organize our people for the party... must not be defeated like we were last year. We go back stronger, better focused party, ready and rearing to take the enemy who has sought our ruin."
While an opposing political party might be metaphorically termed “the enemy” in a democracy, Mugabe’s definition is literal. He perceives Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s tentative prime minister, and his MDC party as an existential threat to be resisted with all possible means — political, economic, military — and his desperation makes him particularly dangerous.
The international community will have to get involved in a significant way if the election in 2011 doesn't mimic 2008, when Mugabe usurped power through political coercion and oppression. He’s openly stated that he won’t share power this time around.
"Elections are not far off," he told ZANU-PF's party congress. "The inclusive government was given a short life. The remaining part of it is short. In fact it has lived more than half its life. May I state this clearly and categorically, as Zanu-PF the defense of our sovereignty rests with us and with no other. Any maneuvers to tamper with the forces will never be entertained by us."
As such, ZANU-PF can be expected to use any means possible to block MDC in the next election, which Mugabe is pushing for in 2011 instead of 2013 as planned. Based on Mugabe's history and his collective speeches, which amount to a declaration of war on Tsvangirai, the world has every reason to believe that violence remains ZANU-PF’s key instrument to maintaining power.Continued on the next page