On the election itself see here.
Then Mugabe's gangs of ZANU goons [the "green bombers"] quickly and efficiently suppressed all protests following the disputed elections. [here]
Then, to tighten his control Mugabe began to create a "Youth Militia," membership in which will be mandatory for all young men. Shades of the Hitler Youth! [read about it here].
Even as political control was tightening down, there was some hope for economic reform.
The one potential bright spot in Zimbabwe's dismal prospects was the possibility that Mugabe's insanely racist and socialist land redistribution policies, which had devastated the national economy, would be repudiated. Back at the beginning of May there were unofficial reports that Mugabe was trying to lure white farmers, whose lands had been stolen, back so as to restore at least some of Zimbabwe's agricultural production. [posted here]
Even as hopes for economic reform were being whispered about, Bobby once again affirmed his commitment to his disastrous expropriation policies. [here]
That left the question open -- would Zimbabwe continue its insane redistribution policies, or would it be open to rational reform?
Well, a decision seems to have been made. Now the unofficial offer has become official, but the legacy of expropriation seems to have precluded any positive response, at least so long as Mugbe survives. The Telegraph reports:
White farmers evicted by Robert Mugabe's government have reacted with contempt to an offer that they should return toAnd so it goes -- precipitous economic decline coupled with open racial hatred and brutal dictatorship..., and no hope for recovery. This is the legacy of anti-colonialism in Mad Bobby Mugabe's Zimbabwe. And who will pay the most? The common people who were seduced by Mugabe's mad racist fantasies.
to take part in "joint ventures" with those who brutalised them and stole their land. Zimbabwe
Gideon Gono, the governor of the country's central bank, suggested the idea last Thursday as a possible solution to
's economic crisis. Zimbabwe
The prospect of a return for white farmers was dangled by Mr Gono, Mr Mugabe's leading economic policy maker, in a rambling three-hour statement in which he also announced a 31 per cent devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar.
During the evictions, some white farmers were murdered and many others were beaten and their families abused. The evictions prompted the collapse of the agriculture sector, the traditional engine of the economy.
Those who took over the farms had no specialist knowledge - and most farmland now lies uncultivated. The machinery has been stolen, buildings have been plundered and the former workers are starving.
Eddie Cross, the economics spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change - which was heavily defeated by the ruling Zanu-PF party in recent parliamentary elections that were widely condemned as being rigged - said that Mr Gono was desperate.
Mr Cross said: "He's got no power and he can't deliver. The reality is a thousand miles away from everything he says. He wants to regain some credibility with multilateral institutions. He has meetings with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank next month. This is about having something to say to those guys. The only salvation will be a change of government and a return to the rule of law.
"Until then, no one's going to invest here or come back. Who on earth is going to do anything in agriculture when there is such dispute over land ownership? They'd be mad."
One tobacco and cattle farmer, who was forced off his property by armed squatters in 2000, said: "He can't be serious. My house has been burnt down, my fields destroyed and he wants to invite me back?
"There has to be a proper return to respect for property rights. We need facts, not words and a legal framework. No one's going to go back on the basis of this."
The opposition to Mugabe has been reduced to praying for him to die. Read about it here.