Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 27, 2002
“Election” time in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe prepared to take his re-election fight to urban areas on Tuesday amid a rising chorus of condemnation of his government’s pressure on his main rival as the election loomed.
The United States and Britain accused Mugabe of trying to fix the election after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who presents the greatest threat of Mugabe’s 22 years in power, was charged with treason Monday, just two weeks before the vote.
The official Herald newspaper reported that Mugabe was expected to hold rallies in two Harare townships Tuesday.
The head of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community parliamentary observer group, Duke Lefhoko, said he was worried about the safety of observers and wanted talks with Mugabe’s government to encourage the police to protect them.
Election observers have been stoned by Mugabe supporters and caught in an attack on opposition party offices in recent days.
“Perhaps if they gave us security personnel in plain clothes and just guarantee that, especially when we attend rallies, we have the attention of the police, a police presence to see us in and out. That will assist,” Lefhoko told South African radio.
Tsvangirai was charged after being summoned to police headquarters to answer questions over an alleged plot to assassinate the president. (AP)