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Sunday, 29 June 2008

Mugabe to be sworn in today

Protests grow - but will they be enough?

After one of the most shameful elections of modern times, and almost within earshot of the screams of his tortured and murdered victims, Robert Mugabe will today be sworn in for another term as the President of Zimbabwe.

While his goon squads continue to hunt down and terrorise anyone they think might be a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) sympathiser, Mugabe will immediately fly to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh, for an African Union summit, where he will hope to be greeted as Zimbabwe's rightful leader.

He may meet with some disapproval, but probably not enough. Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria have all condemned his programme of violence, and Tanzania and Botswana have even spoken of sending in troops. But other states in the 53-member union are unlikely to agree.

Meanwhile at home the Zanu-PF miltia's programme of organised terror has reportedly delivered Mugabe a landslide vote in the so-called Presidential run-off. But this has not satisfied their bosses, and the persecution will continue today with the launch of Operation Red Finger - a plan to track down those who refused to vote, and therefore are not marked with red dye on their hands.

On the diplomatic front, the dream of real negotations, of perhaps a government of national unity, remains just that - a dream. Despite statements by both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu, South African president Thabo Mbeki, who is believed to be the only man who could bring the regime down, continues to refuse to utter a single word critical of Mugabe.

Any hopes in that direction now lie with the new ANC president Jacob Zuma, who is known to be sympathetic towards the MDC leader and fellow trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai. Zuma is likely to become President of South Africa next April. It's going to be a long wait.

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