Robert Mugabe is preparing to defy international pressure and launch a systematic crackdown in Zimbabwe aimed at reversing his defeat in the presidential election two weeks ago, according to dissident policemen who have been briefed on his plans.
Through an intermediary, the policemen told The Independent on Sunday that they have been ordered to be ready to deploy today or tomorrow. With their ranks swollen by so-called “war veterans” given police uniforms, they would take over constituency “command centres” used in the 29 March elections.
Two weeks ago the ruling Zanu-PF party not only lost its majority in the House of Assembly, but, in the presidential contest, Mr Mugabe is believed to have finished well behind Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The growing crisis over the government’s failure to release the election results, coupled with rising violence in rural areas where the MDC did well, has reinforced fears of a crackdown. Mr Mugabe has also defied international pressure to declare the result, spurning a regional summit on Zimbabwe’s problems called yesterday by the President of neighbouring Zambia.