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Repression in Zim?: An Election Must Be Nigh

Repression in Zim?: An Election Must Be Nigh

There is an old cliche about three similar events making a trend. Well, it appears we have a trend in Zimbabwe, where, not coincidentally, there is supposed to be an election this year.

In recent weeks a young activist, Solomon Madzore, found himself in jail for likening President Robert Mugabe to a lame donkey. Not coincidentally Madzore is the youth leader for Prime Minister (and leading Mugabe foe) Morgan Tsangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change  (MDC) party.

Within a day or so police arrested Dumisani Muleya, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent for having the temerity to suggest that army officials might be willing to accept a Tsvangirai electoral victory later this year. That’s right — an editor went to jail for suggesting that the sitting Prime Minister (and official runner up but likely legitimate winner of the 2008 elections) might be tolerable to the military leaders over which he would preside. Welcome to the other side of the looking glass!

Finally (but almost certainly not finally) police arrested three activists for engaging in voter awareness education.

Zimbabweans are no longer experiencing the steady state of tyranny that characterized the middle part of the last decade. But in part that is because that tyranny was so very effective. Nonetheless, expect things to get much tenser and for the repression to increase in the weeks to come.




Derek Catsam

Derek Catsam is a Professor of history and Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan Professor in the Humanities at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He is also Senior Research Associate at Rhodes University. Derek writes about race and politics in the United States and Africa, sports, and terrorism. He is currently working on books on bus boycotts in the United States and South Africa in the 1940s and 1950s and on the 1981 South African Springbok rugby team's tour to the US. He is the author of three books, dozens of scholarly articles and reviews, and has published widely on current affairs in African, American, and European publications. He has lived, worked, and travelled extensively throughout southern Africa. He writes about politics, sports, travel, pop culture, and just about anything else that comes to mind.

Areas of Focus:
Africa; Zimbabwe; South Africa; Apartheid