President Robert Mugabe and his top advisers will hold a Politburo meeting on Friday to decide what to do next.
Johannesburg, South Africa; and Harare, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's capital was notably silent Thursday, as the results from Saturday's presidential elections remain unannounced five days after the vote.
The country's opposition has trumpeted an outright victory based on what it claims was a razor-thin majority of 50.3 percent. Many observers have accused President Robert Mugabe's government of not releasing official tallies so that it can formulate a strategy to deal with what appears will be a loss, even if the election goes to a runoff within three weeks.
Now, as official parliamentary results show that Mr. Mugabe's ruling party has lost control of Parliament, all eyes turn to Zimbabwe's State House, to see whether his cabal will graciously accept defeat or violently intimidate voters ahead of the runoff, a tactic they've used successfully in the past. In a sign that he may be willing again to use harsh tactics to remain in power, government forces raided the offices of the main opposition movement and rounded up foreign journalists Thursday night.
Insiders in the ruling ZANU-PF party confirmed Thursday that the president and his top advisers will hold a Politburo meeting on Friday to decide what to do next.
Sources in the ZANU-PF told the Monitor that Mugabe's coterie are already mobilizing members of their youth militia and war veterans – both of whom are personally loyal to Mugabe and have received confiscated white-owned farms in return for their loyalty – to beat up people, particularly in rural areas. Their goal: to prevent people from casting votes in favor of the opposition candidate in a runoff.