Zimbabwe’s opposition party, MDC (Movement for Democracy and Change) announced yesterday that it will not be contesting the election on Friday, since it was nothing but a violent illegitimate sham anyway. Dozens of opposition partisans (and their families) have been killed in the last few months. PBS’s Frontline has an excellent piece on Mugabe’s “do or die” campaign to hold on to power in Harare:
I pose as a member of a Roman Catholic church from Harare in order to visit the local hospital. There I meet Thabita Chingaya*, a 42-year-old widow and leader of the local MDC women’s league. Thabita is being treated for massive injuries to her vagina, uterus and womb. A discharge constantly oozes from between her legs. Tabitha says that she was coming home from drawing water from the river the week before when she came upon seven young men she knew who happened to be Zanu-PF party members. They blocked her path saying she would learn a lesson for being “Morgan Tsvangirai’s prostitute.”
She was knocked down by blows to her face and kicked with booted feet. But then suddenly the beatings stopped, she says. One man called “Max,” who seemed to be the gang leader, ordered the others to stop. He removed his trousers and raped her. All the others followed suit, taking turns to hold her down. When they were done, Max took a log and began poking her vagina until she bled. She says the other six laughed and left her for dead.