Mugabe, who turned 87 years old last week, fears that the revolution wave, which toppled Tunisian and Egyptian presidents, might cascade down south to engulf the country he has ruled with an iron fist for the past three decades, the analysts said.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled after he had ruled for three decades while Tunisia’s Ben Ali had been at the helm for 24 years.
The analysts said that the Arab protests were making Mugabe and his inner circle nervous and at the same time more determined to nip any form dissent in the bud.
There has been heavy presence of armed soldiers in Harare’s high-density areas in the past week, a scenario which analysts said is meant to cow frustrated Zimbabweans.
Already, armed soldiers are roaming around rural areas campaigning for Mugabe ahead of elections whose date is still to be announced.
In the past month, over 100 people, mostly Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists have been arrested on allegations that the party claim were “cooked up.”
Political violence, spearheaded by Zanu PF militia in Harare’s high-density areas, has displaced over 1 000 MDC supporters in the past few weeks.
The analysts said the recent arrest of former Highfield MP Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 others was designed to send a clear message to would-be protestors that they would be punished severely.
Gwisai, the general co-ordinator of the International Socialist Organisation (ISO), together with the 45, are accused of plotting an Egypt and Tunisia-style uprising to topple a “constitutionally-elected government.”
MDC-T legislator for Nyanga North Douglas Mwonzora and 22 villagers are currently in jail on charges of public violence.
Although they were granted US$50 bail, the state revoked the notorious section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to suspend the bail order for a week pending the filing of an appeal by the State in the High Court.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has demanded that the increase in the extent and frequency of harassment, arrests and persecution of political and human rights activists cease forthwith.
“The Supreme Court should further urgently set down for consideration the constitutional challenges pertaining to Section 121, as the continued delay is having a negative impact on the fundamental rights and freedoms of numerous legitimate political activists and human rights defenders,” said ZLHR, an organisation that gives legal representation to human rights defenders.
Mugabe’s heavy-handedness comes at a time when some Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have called for a “Zimbabwe Million Citizen March” to force Mugabe out of power.
But some analysts said such actions would be disastrous for a country that was beginning to enjoy the benefits of a government of national unity (GNU)
“It will be foolhardy to follow such a stupid way,” said one commentator who requested anonymity. “Let us go for elections. We cannot erase the benefits of the GNU in a day just because someone wants power.”