Over the weekend Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe gave up trying to pass off the coming presidential run-off election as anything like democratic. Although Zimbabweans will still go to the polls on 27 June, reports about intimidation ahead of the poll are on the rise. Meanwhile, Mugabe’s own rhetoric has dispelled any hope that he will hand over power without significant bloodshed. Here are some of the latest reports coming out of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe bags early votes. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has secured a comfortable head start of at least 130,000 votes through rigged voting by members of the security forces in this month’s run-off election against the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, according to information obtained by The Independent. Members of the army, air force and police have been forced to cast ballots in favour of Mr Mugabe at their barracks and stations. It is not unusual for members of the security forces to cast their votes ahead of polling day. But the decision to force them to fill the ballots for Mr Mugabe in front of their station superiors is unusual, and is blatantly illegal, sources said. — Independent

First Zimbabwe’s townships, now suburbia must learn to fear the mob. President Mugabe’s lawless militias crossed a psychological boundary last week as they extended their violence and “reeducation” campaign from the poor townships into the well-off suburbs. On Friday night a mob of about 20 youths burst through the gate of the Blue Kerry home for the elderly, in Harare’s upmarket Chisipite area, brandishing sticks and chanting slogans for the ruling Zanu (PF) party. … The mobs have been leaping over the high walls meant to keep long-term white residents and the black business executives and professionals who became affluent more recently safe. They have been dragging domestic employees out of their quarters to pungwes, meetings where they are made to chant slogans in front of a huge bonfire and sing in praise of Mr Mugabe all night. – Times Online

“People will be too terrified to vote” in Zimbabwe. With the MDC leadership under constant harassment, voters being beaten and killed and what amounts to a curfew in some MDC rural strongholds, the likelihood of the 27 June run-off taking place in any meaningful way seems remote. Even if the 9231 polling stations open, there is a shortage of officers prepared to risk monitoring them. The number of international observers the government intends to let in remains unclear. Although the first of the 400 monitors for the Southern African Development Community have arrived, they have yet to be accredited by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, whose own status is weakening — a memo from police chief Faustino Mazango, leaked to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, ordered his officers to take charge of the “whole voting process”. Police had been, he said, “too docile” during the March poll. – Guardian

Her Grace has spoken. [Mrs] Mugabe has declared with all the authority of a First Lady: “Morgan Tsvangirai will never step into the White House.” She reportedly even put it rather graphically: “Morgan can only dream and see the White House from the outside, but even if Baba loses, Morgan will never see the inside.” Vintage Grace. The presumption. The arrogance. Why no biography has been written about this person is a mystery. We all know she holds huge power and has a strong hold over the supposed leader of Zimbabwe. But who the hell is Grace Marufu-Mugabe? G, Gigi, or Gire (we call her so many names) remains a figure of ridicule among Zimbabweans. She came into power literally via the office carpet. She was Mugabe’s secretary and one can only imagine what words and actions were communicated between the geriatric and the young, beautiful and rather vacuous woman. – zwnews.com

Considering sanctions. Britain and its international allies will urge South Africa to cut off electricity supplies to Zimbabwe if Robert Mugabe steals the election in two weeks’ time, The Times has learnt. Plans are being drawn up to persuade Zimbabwe’s allies to mount an economic blockade and diplomats are considering a ban on the children of the elite going to school in Europe if Mr Mugabe loses the election but refuses to step down. — Times Online

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Peter Fray
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