On 29 March, Zimbabwe went to the polls in a Democratic election. Yet today, 28 April, the nation still does not have a new government despite the vote going to the Opposition, nor has it learned who won the presidential vote, despite claims that it went against the current president, Robert Mugabe.

Instead, Zimbabwe is battling against a government allegedly responsible for behaviour like this:

Scores of children and babies have been locked up in filthy prison cells in Harare as Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, sinks to new depths in his campaign to force the opposition into exile before an expected run-off in presidential elections.

Twenty-four babies and 40 children under the age of six were among the 250 people rounded up in a raid on Friday, according to Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Yesterday they were crammed into cells in Southerton police station in central Harare.

And this:

A boy of five was yesterday listed as the youngest victim of violence by President Mugabe’s thugs in the aftermath of Zimbabwe’s disputed elections. Brighton Mbwera’s name appeared among seven “Martyrs for Democracy” in a full-page notice for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the independent newspaper, The Standard. Brighton died after his home in the remote north-eastern district of Uzumba was set on fire by supporters of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party while he was sleeping.

But alongside those stories, hope looms this week in the form of appeals to the UN for “an urgent intervention in the form of a UN envoy with the backing of the South African Development Community (SADC)”, and news that the results in the presidential election will be announced, though it is unlikely to deliver anything so simple as a win for Mugabe’s opposition.

Recount goes to opposition: While a partial election recount showed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wrested a parliamentary majority from veteran President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF for the first time since independence in 1980, results of a parallel presidential poll have not been released. Election officials said they hoped to compile all statistics from the presidential election by tomorrow for verification by the candidates before they are published. They are expected to signal a run-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who says he won the election outright. – Daniel Molokele

Arms unarmed: In a slap to Zimbabwe, its longtime ally Angola announced Saturday that a Chinese ship bearing arms for Zimbabwe would not be allowed to unload the weapons while it docked in Luanda, the Angolan capital. Skip to next paragraphThe “ship of shame,” as the Chinese vessel An Yue Jiang has been nicknamed in African newspapers, has become a powerful organizing tool for trade unions, religious leaders and civic groups trying to stop state-sponsored brutality against Zimbabwe’s opposition. Any delivery of its weapons could well make that crackdown even more deadly. — New York Times

“We refute completely …”: I’ve just watched this clip of an Al Jazeera broadcast on the ongoing post-election violence in Zimbabwe. The video starkly contrasts the chard remnants of rural huts, and battered villagers recovering in hospital, with Zimbabwe’s (past his sell by date) Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa saying “we refute completely that people are dying of politically motivated violence.” The government denies organising any sort of retributive campaign, and the police are investigating 75 cases of politically motivated violence – all of which they say were perpetrated by the MDC. — Amanda Atwood, Kubatana Blogs

Where’s the UN when you need it? Britain has called for a United Nations mission to investigate human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, saying opposition supporters were suffering an increase in violence a month after elections were held. The UN Security Council, overcoming objections from South Africa, which currently holds the presidency, is due to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe for the first time on Tuesday. — Independent

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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