HARARE, ZimbabweYup, that's Mad Bobby all right -- the old Maoist/anti-colonial hero is up to his old tricks again. And there doesn't seem to be anything the storied "International Community" can or is willing to do about it.
Police demolished squatter homes and rounded up street vendors, leaving thousands homeless in Zimbabwe's opposition strongholds in what President Robert Mugabe insisted was an urban clean-up campaign.
All the demolished homes were in areas that voted for the opposition in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, and Morgan Tsvangirai, an opposition leader, said the destruction was an assault on the urban poor who make up its support base. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party claimed victory in the disputed vote on March 31.
Besides demolishing shacks in townships surrounding Harare, police also raided squatter settlements around the country.
"Widowed mothers, grandmothers and youth have been affected by this mindless clampdown," said Jenni Williams, a spokeswoman for Women of Zimbabwe Arise.
"Police went around beating up anyone they came across. They made sure there was no electricity in the area and under cover of darkness they were beating everyone up," said Muchingedzi, who said the area had quieted by daybreak.
Tsvangirai said Mugabe would use the operation as a pretext for calling a state of emergency, which would give the government unlimited powers of search, seizure and detention as the country goes into a food crisis with up to 4 million people needing aid.
Read about it here.