A large number of injuries are being reported in Zimbabwe today, following weekend attacks by troops against a number of bars in the towns of Karol and Magunje. Locals report that the bars had been ordered to play pro-Zanu PF jingles.
The troops entered the bars armed with sjamboks, a type of government-issue whip made from hippopotamus hide, and began beating bar patrons. They also set attack dogs loose on people in several of the bars.
There was no official comment from either the military or local police about the incidents, but it comes as President Robert Mugabe is talking about holding elections next year to ensure Zanu PF has a stronger majority in Congress.
This might suggest that the violence is part of the long-standing regime strategy of savagely and arbitrarily attacking Zimbabwe’s voters in the run-up to the election, assuming that it will scare them into voting for the regime. In the past this has proven to be a relatively effective strategy, though lingering anger about the violence must inevitably produce a backlash.