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Zimbabwe Contender Makoni Says Mugabe Subject To 'Law of Land'

Zimbabwean independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni has said it is possible Prresident Robert Mugabe could be prosecuted if he fails to win re-election.

Makoni told the Financial Times that if he prevailed over President Mugabe in the poll set for March 29, Mr. Mugabe would be allowed to “retire to his village” to write his memoirs but would remain subject to “the law of the land.”

The question arose in connection with the so-called Gukurahundi purge of supporters of liberation rival commander Joshua Nkomo in the 1980s in which some 20,000 died.

Makoni’s statement seemed to indicate repositioning on the question, as he had said in earlier interviews with VOA and the BBC last month that Mr. Mugabe could live out his last days without fear of prosecution.

This follows a charge by independent member of parliament Jonathan Moyo, a former top Mugabe aide now seeking re-election to parliament for Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, that retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, belileved to be aligned to Makoni, served in the infamous Fifth Brigade alleged to have carried out those massacres.

Mbudzi has denied the charge, saying he joined the Fifth Brigade after that period.

Political analyst Joy Mabhenge, also executive director of the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Makoni has respositioned on the question of prosecuting Mugabe because he wants to bolster his support among voters in Matabeleland North and South.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...