Mugabe incites violence

violence_during_electionMUTARE President Robert Mugabe has called on his followers to retaliate if attacked, in a development seen as virtually inciting political violence as Zimbabwe looks firmly headed for another bruising election next year. (Pictured: An opposition supporte

In an address at the 11th conference of his Zanu (PF) held in Mutare last week, Mugabe delivered a speech littered with inflammatory statements to evoke zero tolerance towards supporters of opposition parties. He told more than 4 400 supporters that Zanu (PF) should adopt what he termed a reciprocal matrix of applying hostile measures towards

unfriendly or opposing groups.

Violence tinoti no, asi kana wavekurohwa haungangoti tuzu (We dont like violence but dont expect us to fold our hands when provoked), said the 86-year-old Zimbabwean leader who is often accused of resorting to violence against internal Zanu (PF) and external opponents to get his way. He accused the MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of

provoking his party.

Im saying today kuti ndakambamurwa kudama reuku neuku zvino ndavanechibhakera. Handina matama matatu ini (I have been slapped on both chicks and this time I will used my fist), he said to applause from his supporters. Such statements with an undertone to incite violence have become part of Zanu (PFs) tradition whenever polls are expected. With increasing reports of violence in many parts of the country and most of it blamed on Zanu (PF) youths and war veterans, Mugabes calls for retaliation can only help spur groups loyal to him to go after their political opponents as the country steadily gets into election mood.

Hoards of Zanu (PF) youths, so-called war veterans and soldiers have already set up torture camps around the country where they beat up perceived Mugabe opponents. The Zanu (PF) leader who was elected the presidential candidate on all

future polls during the conference was heavily criticized by local and international human rights groups for inciting political violence in the June 2008 run-off elections where hundreds of people were killed.

Other measures contemplated in the “reciprocal matrix” include the expulsion of European and American companies unless their countries lift visa and financial restrictions imposed on Mugabe and 200 others from his party.

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