My Veterans Are Anxious to Fight, Mugabe Says

Zimbabwe was won by force, shouldn't be surrendered by vote, they say
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2008 9:32 AM CDT
Ruling party ZANU-PF supporters sing and dance at the launch of their party's manifesto and campaign in Harare, Friday, Feb. 29, 2008.    (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – Veterans of Zimbabwe’s war of independence are eager to fight in support of the ruling party, says President Robert Mugabe. “They came to my office after the election and asked me, ‘Can we take up arms?’” Mugabe told the state-run newspaper. “They said this country was won by the barrel of the gun and should we let it go at the stroke of a pen?”

Opponents, rights groups, and Western governments say Mugabe’s supporters already have taken up arms. About 25,000 people have been driven from their homes, the MDC says, and the BBC reports finding evidence that the army is behind the violent campaign. But Mugabe says he dissuaded the veterans, though he agreed that an MDC victory would be tantamount to returning the country to its “white oppressors.”