Now, three months later, Mugabe is the "sole effective candidate in Friday's presidential run-off, and he cannot fail to win with an overwhelming majority."
How did this come to be?
Amid continuing violence on its supporters, the MDC has withdrawn from the contest.* * *
However, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said his supporters should vote rather than face violent reprisals.
Reports suggested Zanu-PF membership cards were selling for huge sums of money on the black market.
Those buying the cards believe they will offer some protection from attack by militias, a BBC correspondent reports.
The streets of Harare are quiet because there is no longer any need for the groups of violent political activists in Zanu-PF T-shirts who have been roaming them, looking for people to beat up.So that's how you keep the people's support at a time when "on Monday [June 24] the Zimbabwean dollar fell to 30 billion against the US dollar. The cost of a tub of margarine in a Harare store on Monday was Z$420m" (previous link). Yes, that "m" is for "million".
The official media scarcely mentions Mr Tsvangirai or the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) unless they are obliged to.
The main English-language television news programme at 8pm each evening on the ZBC is an hour-long paean of praise to Mr Mugabe and his past record.
The programme's reporting merges imperceptibly with the frequent election advertisements for Mr Mugabe. If anything, the reporters and newscasters praise him more than his own party hacks.