Poor Bob Mugabe - BCC: South Africa court 'halts Zimbabwe helicopter donation'
A court in South Africa has temporarily halted a delivery of helicopters to the Zimbabwean military, human rights group AfriForum says. The group made the urgent request when it heard about the donation of South Africa's retired Alouette fleet.
It said it would be irresponsible to give equipment to a force that was not neutral ahead of this year's elections. Elections in Zimbabwe in 2008 were marred by violence and allegations of vote-rigging. A recent report by US-based Human Rights Watch said that four years on, the security forces were still politically partisan, remaining loyal to Mr Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
"We know what happened during 2008 with the second round presidential elections. We know the Zimbabwe Defence Forces are not a neutral defence force committed to defending the Zimbabwean state," he added. "It's an aggressive force that's been used against the people of Zimbabwe to suppress the opposition." With such knowledge, it did not make sense to sit by and allow South Africa's to donate the helicopters
According to AfriForum, the French-manufactured helicopters were used by South Africa's apartheid government during Angola's civil war in the 1970s and 1980s to carry out air-to-ground attacks in support of the rebels.
I'm sure the Zimbabwean military just wanted these 40-year-old helicopters to repel potential invasions from neighboring Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. The last thing he would want is to use them to enhance the military's ability to suppress the opposition in the next election.