How Wikileaks is helping Robert Mugabe's reign of terror 

Without question, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is one of the biggest monsters alive. For three decades, Zimbabwe's been in the grips of his corrupt reign of terror. And now the Guardian explains how Wikileaks may be responsible for helping keep keep the country in Mugabe's murderous vice.

Mugabe's chief opposition in the country is the pro-Western Morgan Tsvangirai, who's been brutally persecuted by Mugabe:

His numerous arrests and brushes with death began in 1997, when he emerged as the unlikely face of opposition to President Robert Mugabe. That year, Mugabe's henchmen nearly threw Tsvangirai from the window of his tenth floor office. He would be arrested on four separate occasions in the years to follow. During one such arrest, in 2007, he was severely beaten and tortured by Zimbabwean special forces at the behest of the ruling political party.

Tsvangirai came close to beating Mugabe in the country's sham elections in 2008, which lead to him assuming power in the country:

In the days succeeding the first round of balloting, Tsvangirai was the alleged target of an assassination plot and subsequently taken into the custody of Mugabe's police, for which American and German diplomats demanded his immediate release. After initially committing to pursuing a second challenge to Mugabe, Tsvangirai withdrew in protest, lambasting the election as a "violent sham" in which his supporters were risking their lives to cast ballots in his favour. Indeed, it is estimated that over 100 MDC supporters met an untimely demise in the period following the election.

Following intense negotiations, the two parties agreed in February 2009 to a coalition government, in which Mugabe would remain head of state – a post he had held uninterrupted for 30 years – and Tsvangirai would assume the premiership. Not one month later, Tsvangirai and his wife were involved in a suspicious collision with a lorry. Though the prime minister survived, his wife for 31 years died.

Now Wikileaks cables have disclosed Tsvangirai met with Western authorities who imposed sanctions to punish Mugabe's regime, giving Mugabe's kleptocracy another reason to persecute Tsvangirai:

Now, in the wake of the WikiLeaks' release, one of the men targeted by US and EU travel and asset freezes, Mugabe's appointed attorney general, has launched a probe to investigate Tsvangirai's involvement in sustained western sanctions. If found guilty, Tsvangirai will face the death penalty.

And so, where Mugabe's strong-arming, torture and assassination attempts have failed to eliminate the leading figure of Zimbabwe's democratic opposition, WikiLeaks may yet succeed. Twenty years of sacrifice and suffering by Tsvangirai all for naught, as WikiLeaks risks "collateral murder" in the name of transparency.

Reading the whole Guardian piece is well worth your time.

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Mark Hemingway

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