Mugabe's aides using violence, force to get amnesty

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New York, Apr 10 (ANI): Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's aides are using violence to get amnesty for their past crimes.

Top lieutenants of the president are trying to force the political opposition into granting them amnesty for their past crimes by abducting, detaining and torturing opposition officials and activists, The New York Times quoted a senior member of Mugabe's party, as saying.

Mugabe's generals and politicians have organized campaigns of terror for decades to keep him and his party in power. But now that the opposition has a place in the nation's new government, these strongmen worry that they are suddenly vulnerable to prosecution, especially for crimes committed during last year's election campaign as the world watched, the paper said.

"Their faces were immediately pasted on the wall for everyone to see that they were behind the killing, the violence, the torture and intimidation," said a senior official in Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF.

To protect themselves, some of Mugabe's lieutenants are trying to implicate opposition officials in a supposed plot to overthrow the president, hoping to use it as leverage in any amnesty talks or to press the opposition into quitting the government altogether, ruling party officials said.

Mugabe's lieutenants, part of an inner circle called the Joint Operations Command, know that their 85-year-old leader may not be around much longer to shield them, and they fear losing not just their power and ill-gotten wealth, but also their freedom, officials in the party said.

Their fixation on getting amnesty was described by four senior ruling party officials, all Mugabe confidants, who spoke to The New York Times. But some opposition officials say Mugabe's loyalists are less interested in reaching a deal than in simply forcing them out of the new government through violence and intimidation.

Others suspect a push for amnesty is being sought by a broad contingent of Mugabe's party worried about accounting for the past. (ANI)

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