When Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, first learned he’d lost his March bid for re-election, he told supporters he’d concede–but they wouldn’t listen. Instead, Mugabe agreed to let the army swing the vote in his favor. Thus began a campaign of violent intimidation that ultimately forced his opponent to drop out. Using meeting notes and witness reports, the Washington Post describes the brutality.
Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party began by establishing 2,000 militia bases around Zimbabwe. It launched its first major attack May 5, with 200 party supporters charging through the streets of a small town that had voted for the opposition. Seven were left dead as others faced beatings and mutilation. Such attacks continued through the country, moving southward and killing opposition supporters as the Zanu-PF predicted a landslide victory.