Potential Hot Spots: December 4, 2002


: Addressing a lavish celebration to mark Zimbabwe's final withdrawal from Congo, President Robert Mugabe told a 30 November parade at the Chinese-built National Sports Stadium that the Zimbabwe National Army were now ready to use their combat experience against the government's enemies. Recently acquired secondhand military hardware, including helicopter gunships and armored personnel carriers, were displayed at the parade of 1,200 Zimbabwean servicemen. While his comments were directed towards foreign governments, Mugabe will surely use the ZNA against domestic opposition groups.

Mugabe scorned an October U.N. report, that said that senior Zimbabwean military and political officials had been involved in looting Congo's vast mineral resources. Mugabe also promised land formerly owned by whites to the war's veterans. With Aid agencies estimating that 6.7 million Zimbabweans are at risk of starvation before the next harvests in March, Mugabe is attempting the time-honored political trick of diverting the country's attention by focusing their anger on a scapegoat. 

Mugabe's goal in life is to remain a dictator, no matter what the cost. His Zanu PF party set for itself one all-important mission which it was determined to accomplish: ruling forever by making Zimbabwe a one-party state. In the process, his supporters are also working to wipe out the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). However, white Zimbabweans remain his favorite target.

The food shortages have been blamed on the farm seizures and drought, yet Mugabe's supporters continue to engage in a racist campaign against the remaining 30,000 white Zimbabweans. Slogans calling for a "holy war" against Zimbabwe's whites were daubed on the walls of the Harare's main cricket ground, ahead of a visit by International Cricket Council officials. "Jihad (holy war) against Whites" and "We shall have our land back" were sprayed in red paint on the club's walls, within sight of the armed guards patrolling Mugabe's heavily fortified official residence. Zimbabwe is due to host six games during the February 2003 cricket world cup and an International Cricket Club visit was aimed at establishing whether the country was safe. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said police were investigating the incident. We wait with bated breath for the investigation's results. - Adam Geibel

The Movement For Democratic Change, online at www.mdczimbabwe.com


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