Last night I saw two jeeps full of soldiers parked in Newlands Shopping Centre – outside a fast food restaurant. The soldiers were sitting in the back wearing their white crash helmets . . . these two jeeps of military personnel usually accompany Mugabe’s motorcade as it powers its way through Harare. Its no wonder that they wear crash helmets because the motorcade travels faster than a speeding bullet. So it was quite strange to see these jeeps without Mugabe’s Mercedes. Or maybe Mugabe was lying on the floor of one of the jeeps clutching his takeaway chicken and chips – who’s to know?
A section of 7th Street is closed between 6pm and 6am because this is where State House is situated. Years ago Mugabe got scared so each night the regime puts up barriers at the corner of the 7th Street and Josiah Tongogara Avenue, and Zimbabweans are forced to detour. Last night saw an interesting addition to their usual arsenal of barriers, spikes and patrolling soldiers with guns and bayonets. Positioned facing what would be the direction of approaching protesters was a water canon.
When I saw this I was reminded of a quote from Howard Zinn:
Political power, however formidable, is more fragile than we think. Note how nervous are those who hold it.