Mugabe regime tactics
The Washington Post article on Mugabe's tactics is enlightening:
Andrew Makoni, a human rights lawyer who spoke from a police station here Friday night, said police detained 215 people in the raid. He said many were limping or wearing casts from previous injuries as they were sent in small groups to holding cells throughout Harare, terrified of being forced back to the countryside controlled by Mugabe.
"They left their homes because of violence," Makoni said. "And now they are in the hands of police."
Hundreds of riot police were posted at intersections across the city. Empty of people after the raid, Harvest House contained only a few stacked blankets and bloodied bandages. The air carried the stench of urine -- testimony to the crush of refugees that had overwhelmed the building's capacity in recent weeks.
"It was shocking," said Teresa Mano, a witness to the raid. "I saw them shoving injured people into the bus and trucks. They were brutal. Those that refused were beaten by batons. Pregnant women were being dragged to the trucks. There were babies screaming all over the place. You would think they were dealing with hard-core criminals."
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change, said the raid also may have been an effort to destroy evidence of the opposition victory. In the days after the election, handwritten results for individual polling stations and electoral districts were posted across the country. All were recorded and many were photographed by the opposition party.
Dozens of election officials, along with several journalists, have been arrested and in some cases tortured, according to reports from human rights groups and some published firsthand accounts. Top military and security officials reportedly have taken control of much of the government and have deployed officers across Zimbabwe to coordinate political intimidation and violence.
Mugabe is terrified that the MDC has a massive constituency in Harare - the capital - and that their supporters pouring in from the rural areas will spur a popular uprising and the seizing of the seat of government. If this happened it would leave his ZANU-PF cronies with a few rural areas (the second city, Bulawayo, returned all opposition MPs at the election) and so defeat and a forced exile would quickly follow. The party apparatus seem to be entrenched in the top cadres of the security forces and his hitherto one-party regime is now (if the report is true) attempting to take over operational control of the civil service to ensure they do not recognise any MDC government that may be declared.
And the Mail and Guardian in South Africa reports the opposition supporters may be finally starting to resist:
Human Rights Watch said it had documented a pattern of increasing violence by Zanu-PF militias and the military.
"For example, one MDC supporter from Uzumba, Mashonaland East province, told Human Rights Watch that Zanu-PF militia members had cut off his ear," it said in a press release.
But the organisation also said MDC supporters had hit back.
"For the first time since the post-election crackdown in Zimbabwe started, Human Rights Watch has documented several incidents of retaliatory violence by MDC supporters," said Human Rights Watch, adding the scope of the incidents bears no comparison to state-sponsored violence.