Politics of fear

"Politics of fear" Continued...

Issue: "View from the Axis," March 9, 2002

"The evilness and wickedness of Mugabe's regime is obvious to anyone who cares to look and there are very few thinking Zimbabweans who doubt this," Mr. Carlsen said. He said black pastors considered signing on to his letter to the president but none did. "Mugabe is ruthless and his reputation is feared," he said.

In his letter Mr. Carlsen told Mr. Mugabe he had "trampled on the constitution" and had "polluted your commission by abusing the authority entrusted to you by God and the Zimbabwean people." Mr. Carlsen told WORLD he was motivated to write it from "a conviction that it would be immoral to remain silent."

Mr. Mugabe's forces have redoubled harassment as his support among voters has slipped. A poll conducted by the University of Zimbabwe showed the opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, leading Mr. Mugabe 2 to 1. But most voters remain undecided (or unwilling to state their intentions). Police banned university researchers from releasing all details of the poll under a new security law.

Even the weather seems to be working against Mr. Mugabe. Election week marks the ninth week of severe drought. Rainless weather has nearly destroyed the summer crop, adding to already serious food shortages throughout the country that many blame on Mr. Mugabe's schemes to confiscate white-owned farms and redistribute them to blacks.

"I certainly don't rejoice in this but I have this unwavering belief that the Lord is revealing his plans for Zimbabwe in incredible ways and even the drought is part of that plan," said Mr. Coltart. Out of jail, he planned to spend the days left before the election campaigning against Mr. Mugabe. In one circuit he covered 2,000 miles in four days and said "the mood of voters is astonishing" in the swing away from Mr. Mugabe.

Mr. Carlsen had not been arrested by Feb. 27, even though Mugabe loyalists had threatened to do so. He pledged also to continue speaking out against the government: "I am earnestly praying that God in His mercy is going to deliver us from the tyranny of Mugabe."


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