As China and Russia vetoed a resolution to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe at the United Nations, the death toll from state-sponsored militia violence in Zimbabwe reached 113 when the decomposing body of an MDC polling agent who disappeared a week ago was found in a Harare suburb on Friday.
The MDC said it suspected that state security agents murdered the polling agent “as the severe burns and injuries observed on his body were consistent with injuries and markings seen on the bodies of other MDC activists abducted and tortured to death by government forces”.
“His body shows signs of intense torture, his eyes were gouged out and his backside suffered serious burns before his abductors killed him,” the MDC said in a statement.
This took place as the MDC and ZANU-PF are engaged in talks in South Africa to bring some sort of compromise over the formation of a government acceptable to both sides.
The BBC reported that a draft resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and a number of his key allies had been vetoed at the UN Security Council.
China and Russia rejected the proposed measures, which included a freeze on financial assets and a travel ban.
There has been growing international criticism of Zimbabwe since the re-election of Mr Mugabe in a run-off boycotted by the opposition.
The UK ambassador said after the vote that the UN had failed in its duty.
“The people of Zimbabwe need to be given hope that there is an end in sight to their suffering,” said Sir John Sawers. “The Security Council today has failed to offer them that hope.
”South Africa, as expected, voted against the sanctions resolution. It has promoted a power-sharing arrangement between Mugabe and the opposition. The resolution would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and financial and travel restrictions on President Mugabe and 13 of his top officials.
Zimbabwe has become a matter of increasing international concern, as violence increased after disputed presidential elections.
Meanwhile in Harare, the opposition MDC indefinitely shut down its main headquarters at Harvest House in Harare’s central business district citing an upsurge in political intimidation by government.
MDC insiders say the party was forced to vacate its headquarters a week ago due to repeated raids by the police
“We shut down our headquarters a week ago,” an MDC source told The Zimbabwe Times Thursday. “It is because of the continued raids by police who continue to confiscate important documents from us and some of our equipment.”
The source said party officials had been forced to relocate to secret locations where they could continue pursuing party business without facing the risk of arrests by the police.
Party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa denied his party has closed down its main headquarters.
“It is not true. Who is your source?” that is all he could say.
But news organizations have not been able to access the MDC headquarters since then as its doors have been locked for the past week.
The closure of the six-floor structure has also affected private tenants who rented other floors for business purposes.
Until last month, the building was home for more than two months to almost a thousands victims of political violence who fled there from the country side to seek refuge.
As these refugees beseeched the MDC Headquarters, 300 others invaded the South African High Commission in Harare seeking protection and asylum. This was immediately followed by 200 plus people camping at the US Embassy in Harare, also asking for protection.
Additional reporting, The Zimbabwe Times, Zimonline, News24.