Gearing up: Mugabe, speaking in Bindura on Friday. He is now preparing for mass trials of MDC "insurgents"
Robert Mugabe, the dictator of Zimbabwe, has now appointed an Attorney General in a move that was immediately declared to be "pointless" by the MDC.
But it is not pointless, that's just the point, you see. Mugabe is preparing the ground for the mass trials that we will witness in the new year. More than 40 people have already disappeared off the face of the earth, no doubt held incommunicado by the regime. They only surfaced last week in the video evidence I told you about on December 01 and confirmed by SADC this last week.
The new Attorney General advised the government in June when he was still the deputy AG, that it was legal to detain MDC activists without trial. He muse be relishing his new challenge: keeping MDC "insurgents" behind bars, waving cooked-up "evidence" about and demanding all manner of punitive sentences for these "bandits" - and that phrase is going to be used liberally. Just as, for MDC supporters, if you do not support Tsvangirai, then you are ZANU PF, the new AG will enforce the mirror-mentality within ZANU PF: If you do not support Mugabe you are an MDC insurgent.
There's plenty where that came from. More people will no doubt disappear, all youthful and active members of society. They are bandits, is the line being taken by the Attorney General's office, speaking on behalf of the dictatorship.
Now emboldened by the show of solidarity from SADC this past week in the face of British and American pressure, Mugabe believes he has a free hand within Zimbabwe. The fight that is coming will either make or break the MDC. This is the sternest challenge it has faced to date.
Two things make this a fight like no other. One is the sheer scale envisaged by Mugabe and his party for this exercise. It will get even more systematic, methodical and ruthless as the weeks go by (yes, that's weeks, not months).
The second is the quiet approval by SADC of this crackdown on "bandits", "insurgents" and "malcontents". Even to this day, Mugabe still privately and regularly uses the phrase "counter-revolutionary".
In essence Tomana had to be sworn in purely because that office is being readied to carry out the mass prosecutions of MDC "terrorists" (I am taking bets on how long it will be before we start hearing this word, reading it in the Herald). From the silence of SADC on the matter, it would appear that there is nothing much anybody can do about it, except maybe shout a bit now and again. And we know what that achieves.
Tsvangirai appears to have belatedly recognised this when he called that press conference in Botswana last week in which he demanded that the abductees be brought before a court of law or freed by January One.
Did it appear to you as though Mugabe had even heard him? What about SADC?