Nine days on, and the mood of despair grows ever stronger
The growing sense of frustration and fear that has overshadowed this election was almost tangible this morning, as Zimbabweans woke to wonder what new ways the Zanu-PF government will find to defeat the will of the people.
Today Judge Tendai Uchena is expect to at last rule on the MDC's petition in the high court for the crucial presidential election results to be released immediately. He finally found time for a hearing yesterday, and this time the opposition MDC lawyers escaped the attentions of the police.
The hearing lasted four hours, during which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the agency supposedly independent but actually in the Mugabe pocket, argued that the court did not have jurisdiction over its activities. Or lack of same.
And observers here fear that the judge's decision may also be influenced, if not directly dictated, by Zanu-PF, who are demanding, with their customary impeccable lack of logic, that the presidential vote be re-counted even before the result is known.
This demand remains one of a battery of moves mounted in the last few days by Mugabe and his men, all clearly designed to intimidate, frustrate, and batter Morgan Tsvangirai and his party into defeat and submission, while giving the legal electoral process a good kicking at the same time.
Their main propaganda weapon centres on a totally fictional conception that in the event of the MDC becoming the government, white farmers will launch a mass re-invasion of the land, grabbing back what was taken from them at the start of this century.
The state run newspaper this morning printed quotations from President Mugabe, no doubt dictated down the line from State House late last night, one of which went as follows: "Land must remain in our hands. The land is ours, it must not be allowed to slip back into the hands of whites."
He left even more imaginary statements to one of his lieutenants, the well known and almost comic figure of Jabulani Sibanda, who nominally leads the so-called War Veterans, and who is hated and despised by many in his own party.
Sibanda declared that whites were already re-occupying farms allocated to blacks. "We will defend our sovereignty," he declared. "We will be compelled to repel that invasion."
There is of course no evidence of any such invasion. Quite the reverse. This weekend War Veterans are said to have invaded a handful of the few remaining farms still in white hands, although police are thought to have removed most of them.
The War Veterans may be an unstable and chaotic organisation, but as the police and army are showing treacherous signs of divided loyalties, they are now the one militia Mugabe can rely on.
Their title is typically misleading and illogical. Most of them are too young to be veterans of anything, and the only war many have seen is that which they conducted against defenceless farmers and their families in their own homes.
And some observers believe it is a sign of the inner desperation of Zanu-PF that it should now choose to remind the world of the action which, when it began eight years ago, was undoubtedly the factor that tipped this country into its long slow slide to poverty, degradation and despair.