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Restricted coverage on Egypt's Anti-Government Riots in Zimbabwe

by Byo24NEWS
29 Jan 2011 at 04:32hrs | Views
President Robert Mugabe is alleged to have sent soldiers and youth militias into townships and remote villages to cow locals into submission following the popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

Its claimed some MDC supporters have been shot at, stabbed, attacked with iron bars or beaten up in a wave of "choreographed" attacks that started at the weekend in the Harare townships of Budiriro, Mbare and Chitungwiza, the party claims.

"We have seen an escalation of intimidation tactics by ZANU-PF," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

Government supporters have tried to quash any attempt to draw a parallel between Mr Mugabe's three-decade-long hold on power and the 23-year-long rule of ousted Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

"A Tunisia on Zimbabwe is not possible," former information minister Jonathan Moyo said, while Zanu-PF columnist Alexander Kanengoni stated that "the people of Tunisia have risen up because it has systematically excluded and sidelined them from participation in the exploitation and ownership of their countries' resources and wealth. Our situation is the exact opposite."

Mugabe wants Zimbabweans to "own and control" their resources through a land-grab and soon-to-be-launched foreign company seizures, Mr Kanengoni argued in the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

Loyal to Mugabe, state-controlled media has given little coverage to the unrest in the Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, delaying by a day reports that Mr Ben Ali had fled to Saudi Arabia.

However, for the many Zimbabweans who watch satellite TV and tune into foreign radio broadcasts, Mr Mugabe is making it clear he will tolerate no similar forms of dissent. Hundreds of ZANU-PF youths besieged the MDC's offices in Mbare last week, smashing the relative calm in Zimbabwe since the setting-up of a coalition government in February 2009. Five MDC youths were seriously injured.

In echoes of the clampdown launched by Mr Mugabe when he lost the first round of presidential elections in March 2008, MDC supporter William Mukuwari was shot in the leg in Budiriro by ZANU-PF youths.

Party official Gashirai Gurure was reported abducted; his wife and son beaten.

ZANU-PF official Amos Midzi said the attacks were attempts by the MDC to "discredit" a constitutional referendum and elections that Mr Mugabe appears determined to hold this year, despite opposition from South African president Jacob Zuma, the regional mediator on Zimbabwe.

Villagers in eastern Manicaland were this week terrorised into signing a controversial "anti-sanctions petition".

A pro-Mugabe chief stated: "We shall be breaking hands and teeth."

Despite ZANU-PF denials, parallels between Mr Mugabe and 74-year-old Mr Ben Ali are startling. Both have clamped down on the press and have a predilection for placing their portraits in government buildings and schools.

Source - Byo24NEWS