Zimbabwean officials fear prosecution if Mugabe loses
Top ruling party members are jittery about being tried in international courts.
Bulawayo and Harare, Zimbabwe
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Harsh crackdowns against dissent, starting with the "Gukurahundi" massacres that left more than 20,000 people dead in the early 1980s to the crackdown against university students in 1988 to the land invasions against white commercial farmers in the late 1990s have created a long list of potential human rights violations by senior members of ZANU-PF.
Prosecution for involvement in these alleged crimes – and for rampant corruption – has given many top ZANU-PF leaders another compelling reason to hang on to power in the wake of Zimbabwe's disputed March 29 elections.
Small reason, then, that ZANU-PF officials and top military commanders are expressing reluctance to hand over power to the opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, who has pledged a clean sweep of government and a redress of past crimes.
The official claims that the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), plans to send Mr. Mugabe to The Hague to face human rights and war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court in order to please Western countries. He says some countries have already pledged financial support to the opposition party should it emerge victorious.
While much of the international community seems baffled by the two-week long delay for releasing Zimbabwe's election results – in which preliminary tallies show the opposition party to be the winner – the reason for ZANU-PF's intransigence may be a simple matter of staying rich and avoiding prosecution.