The body of Abigail Chiroto, the wife of Harare's Mayor-elect Emmanuel Chirito, was found hours after she and her young son had been kidnapped by a group of men loyal to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. She was found blindfolded and had been mutilated. Her son was not harmed and released.
This following the murder of four opposition activists near Harare who were also mutilated with crushed skulls, extracted lips, gouged eyes and severed genitals. One of the dead had his genitals placed in his pocket.
So much for South African President Thabo Mbeki's visit to Mugabe yesterday. Although now the patience of some of Zimbabwe's African neighbors is wearing thin. Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, called Zimbabwe's election "a joke." Bernard Membe, Tanzania's Foreign Affairs Minister, who is heading up an observer team from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said the elections "will never be free or fair." Membe's counterpart Moses Wetang'ula of Kenya condemned the "roadblocks" that have impeded MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's campaign activities. Tsvangirai has been arrested five times by Zimbabwean authorities in the past couple of weeks. While Mbeki has been unwilling to criticize Mugabe, ANC Chair Jacob Zuma has taken Mugabe to task for the lack of fairness in this election. Until now, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa had been pretty much the only African leader willing to speak out against Mugabe who still regarded by many Africans as a hero against colonialism.
The question is will the continent's leaders band together and save Zimbabwe should a) Tsvangirai win the election and Mugabe prevents him from lawfully assuming power or b) Mugabe prevails by fraudulent means. The election is eight days away.