Friday, May 30, 2008
Bob not leaving, never, says Grace
Shamva, Zimbabwe, 29 May 2008 - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will never vacate his office for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai even if he loses a run-off election next month, his wife said Thursday.
Grace Mugabe told followers of her husband's Zanu-PF party that Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would not be allowed to take power under any circumstances.
"Even if people vote for the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai will never step foot inside State House," she said after meeting victims of political violence that has rocked Zimbabwe since the first round of voting on March 29.
"He will only get to hear about what it looks like inside State House from people who have been there. Even if Baba [Mugabe] loses, he will only leave State House to make way for someone from Zanu-PF."
The 84-year-old president, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980, is to square off against Tsvangirai on June 27 after an inconclusive first round.
Tsvangirai fell just short of an outright majority on March 29 needed to avoid a run-off, although the MDC wrested control of Parliament from Zanu-PF in a legislative poll that took place at the same time.
Grace Mugabe, who is 40 years Mugabe's junior, accompanied her husband to the rural area of Shamva, north-east of Harare, for a tour of a homestead which was allegedly burned down by MDC followers.
"What we saw really touched us. We are not animals but humans. If you burn down someone's house you want to destroy their lives," the president said.
"We want to warn the MDC they should stop immediatelty this barbaric camapign of burning and destroying people's homes."
While Mugabe has laid the blame for post-election violence at the feet of the MDC, the United Nations and human rights groups say that Zanu-PF has been responsible for the lion's share.
The MDC says more than 50 of its supporters have been killed by pro-Mugabe militias since March 29, and tens of thousands displaced, as part of a campaign of intimidation designed to ensure victory for Mugabe on June