Posted on January 20, 2005

Govt. Crackdown Sows Fear in Zimbabwe

Angus Shaw, AP, Jan. 20

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A government crackdown on dissent is deepening Zimbabwe’s climate of fear ahead of parliamentary elections due in March.

Security forces shut down bars and businesses perceived as hotbeds of opposition. Police punish a careless remark about the nation’s autocratic leader with a stint in jail. Undercover cops eavesdrop on conversations in cafes and buses.

“What we are seeing is undeclared martial law,” said Alouis Chaumba, director of the Roman Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace. “It is tearing whole communities apart.”