Sunday, October 19, 2008

Zim Generals fears block agreement

from the nYTimes

JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwe’s military commanders have pressed President Robert Mugabe to shield them from prosecution for the violent crackdown on his political foes this year, senior government officials say, and his response is threatening to derail a power-sharing deal that was supposed to halt the country’s dizzying downward economic spiral. ...

Mr. Mugabe, 84, signed an agreement on Sept. 15 to share power with the political opposition, after an election season in which more than 100 opposition supporters were killed and thousands were beaten — a campaign of violence that senior officials in Mr. Mugabe’s party said was organized by the military.

A collapse of the deal would probably intensify Zimbabwe’s status as an international pariah, deepen hunger and poverty, and set off a fresh exodus of refugees to neighboring countries. Yet since the agreement was signed, the country’s three senior military commanders have worried about their fate under a unity government that includes the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as prime minister — a man they deeply distrust, who was himself viciously beaten by the police last year — three officials close to Mr. Mugabe said in recent interviews....

At a minimum, opposition officials say, the party’s rank and file want a police force that will protect them from abuse — and many also want justice for the wrongs done to them.

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