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Robert Mugabe bans Zimbabwe political rallies

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare, Tom Chivers and agencies
Last Updated: 4:22pm BST 11/04/2008

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has banned all political rallies in
the aftermath of the country's disputed general election.

The opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has claimed
victory in the poll, but full results have still not been announced amid
evidence of vote-rigging.

"We see no reason for rallies since we have had elections," said
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.

The first solid evidence of ballot rigging in the election emerged
when a senior policeman told The Daily Telegraph that officers marked extra
votes for Mr Mugabe.

Almost two weeks after polling day, the official result has still not
been announced. Independent monitors say that Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader
of the MDC, came first.

But the regime's critics believe that the Electoral Commission -
chaired by George Chiweshe, a judge and close ally of the president - will
announce that Mr Mugabe is leading, although probably falling below the 50
per cent margin needed to avoid a second round.

"As a party we feel this is a sustained effort on the part of the
authorities against people who assist the MDC," party spokesman Nelson
Chamisa said.

"This is an onslaught which is not only happening in the rural areas,
but even in the civil service as people who are perceived MDC supporters are
being intimidated."

The MDC said last night that it would boycott a run-off in the
presidential poll if one was declared, adding that Mr Tsvangirai won with a
share "much higher" than the 50.3 per cent it claimed last week.

The police officer, who cannot be identified for fear of reprisals,
saw a number of ballot boxes carried into a room at police headquarters in
Harare last weekend, seven days after the election.

Five or six new recruits from Morris Depot, all in uniform, then
filled out extra votes for Mr Mugabe. Ballots for Mr Tsvangirai were
removed, the officer added, to bolster the president's share of the vote.

"We were in the corridor and saw the ballot boxes being taken into
Room 96," the officer said. The police headquaters is only about 300 yards
from Mr Mugabe's office in Harare.

"We asked somebody who went in there and saw the trainees filling out
the ballot papers. I am not the only one who knows this, there are others.
The recruits will do anything they are asked to do. They were all desperate
for jobs. If they have to beat people they will do that."

The officer said that senior police commanders were desperate for
84-year-old Mr Mugabe to hold power to protect their own interests.

The force, he added, was "very, very corrupt because surely we cannot
survive on what we earn". Despite recent salary rises, policemen earn only
£10 a week, before tax.

Shortly before the election, the ruling Zanu-PF regime changed the
rules to allow police to "assist voters" inside polling stations. The police
were also responsible for transmitting the presidential results to the
Electoral Commission's "command centre" in Harare.

Tendai Biti, the secretary-general of the MDC, said the party had
evidence of nine million ballot papers being printed before the election,
despite Zimbabwe's registered electorate of only 5.9 million.

Figures from the parliamentary election, held on the same day as the
presidential poll, show that some 2.5 million people voted.

Mr Biti said: "They want to re-engineer the results. They have
re-stuffed these ballot boxes. An illegitmate government is in place. The
failure of the regime in Harare to give in to those who were elected in our
view constitutes a constitutional coup d'etat."

The election crisis will be the subject of an emergency summit of
southern African countries in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, tomorrow. Both Mr
Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai could attend, raising the possibility of a public
row.


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Mugabe snubs Zim crisis summit

Mail and Guardian

Godfrey Marawanyika | Harare, Zimbabwe

11 April 2008 05:30

††††††President Robert Mugabe will boycott a weekend Southern African
summit on the Zimbabwe crisis, state radio said on Friday as the opposition
called for a general strike to press for the release of election results.

††††††Mugabe signalled a further clampdown in the country with a ban
on all political rallies. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called on the
84-year-old president to stand down.

†††††† Mugabe, under pressure since the March 29 election, which the
opposition insists it won, will be represented at the summit in Zambia by
four senior ministers, state radio said.

††††††As tension rose over the election delay, Zimbabwe police accused
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change of "spoiling for a fight" and
of deploying 350 youth wing members around the country.

††††††The 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC)
called the summit in a bid to mediate with the opposition the MDC, whose
leader, Tsvangirai, has confirmed he will be in Lusaka.

††††††Tsvangirai called on Mugabe to quit and appealed to the summit
participants to ensure democracy prevails in Zimbabwe.

††††††"He should recognise that he has lost and let me get on with
making our great country great once more," Tsvangirai said in a statement.

††††††"This is an historic moment for SADC and a defining moment for
Africa. We can show the world that we, Africa, can solve our own problems
and safeguard democracy and the rule of law," Tsvangirai said.

††††††The sense of crisis in the country, which has an estimated 100
000% inflation and is stricken by grave economic problems, increased as the
government banned all political rallies.

†††††† "We see no reason for rallies since we have had elections,"
police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said.

††††††Crackdown
†††††† The MDC also accused the Mugabe government of stepping up a
crackdown by arresting a lawyer for simply demanding the release of a
helicopter hired by Tsvangirai for his presidential campaign.

††††††The helicopter had been confiscated by police and the pilot, a
South African national, was detained on March 25 for alleged fraud and
immigration transgressions. He spent nine days behind bars before being
freed.

††††††"As a party we feel this is a sustained effort on the part of
the authorities against people who assist the MDC," spokesperson Nelson
Chamisa said.

††††††"This is an onslaught which is not only happening in the rural
areas, but even in the civil service as people who are perceived MDC
supporters are being intimidated."

††††††The MDC issued pamphlets calling for a general strike to be
launched on Tuesday until the presidential election result is announced.

††††††"We call upon transporters, workers, vendors and everyone to
stay at home; the power is in our hands. Zimbabweans have been taken for
granted for too long. We demand that the presidential election results be
announced now."

†††††† Amid mounting calls from international powers for the release of
the election results, Mugabe's Zanu-PF has said there must be a run-off.

††††††The opposition has ruled out Tsvangirai's participation in any
second-round vote, accusing Mugabe of launching a campaign of intimidation
that would affect the true democratic result.

††††††"The military leaders in the establishment are trying to subvert
the will of the people," Tsvangirai said this week.

††††††"This is, in a sense, a de-facto military coup. They have rolled
out military forces across the whole country, to prepare for a run-off and
try to cow the population. It's an attempt to try to create conditions for
Mugabe to win."

††††††Tsvangirai met on Thursday in Pretoria with President Thabo
Mbeki of South Africa, officials said.

††††††Mbeki, the regional heavyweight, has come under fire for failing
to condemn the long delay in announcing the presidential poll result.

††††††"The meeting went well. The details of it are not at this stage
for public consumption," MDC spokesperson Nqobizitha Mlilo said, giving the
first news of the meeting on Friday.

††††††A legal bid by the opposition to force Zimbabwe's electoral
commission to declare the result is still under consideration by a judge and
no decision on the matter is expected until Monday, at the earliest. -- AFP,
Reuters


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MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai 'optimistic' after meeting with Thabo Mbeki

Times Online
April 11, 2008

The post-election impasse in Zimbabwe is the subject of an emergency meeting
of the southern African regional bloc in Zambia tomorrow

Alexi Mostrous
Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean opposition leader, flew to Zambia today
before a crucial summit of southern African leaders aimed at resolving
Zimbabwe's political turmoil.

Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian President, will host an urgent meeting of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) tomorrow to formulate a
regional approach to the worsening situation. Mr Mwanawasa has been fiercely
critical of the policies of President Mugabe, last year likening the country’s
economy to “a sinking Titanic”.

In recent days, Zimbabwe’s political limbo has moved into violence, as gangs
of Mr Mugabe’s loyalist thugs roam the country invading and destroying the
few remaining commercial white-owned farms, while the military has been
deployed to co-ordinate an intimidation campaign against opposition voters.

Mr Tsvangirai's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
claims it won Zimbabwe's presidential elections on March 29 and accuses Mr
Mugabe of delaying the results to orchestrate a run-off.

It has called on southern African leaders to force Mr Mugabe to step down
before the violence worsens. “The lives of all pro-democracy actors are not
safe,” Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary-general, said.
Mr Tsvangirai has travelled around Africa this week in an attempt to shore
up support against the ageing dictator. On Wednesday, he saw the President
of Botswana but it was yesterday's meeting with President Mbeki of South
Africa that was the most crucial.

Mr Mbeki has previously advocated a policy of “quiet diplomacy” towards
Zimbabwe, but that strategy has been criticised recently by allies in Africa
and the West.

An MDC spokesman said today that the meeting with Mr Mbeki had “gone well”
and that they were “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome. Mr Tsvangirai
would be a full participant in tomorrow's summit, he added, reiterating that
the opposition leader’s election win made him a “head of state”.

In Harare, the High Court is due to rule today on whether the election
results must be made public.

According to his spokesman, Mr Mugabe “was eagerly waiting for the [election
commission] to complete its ballot votes verification freely without any
interference and without pressure not to release the results.”

“It is not true that the president nor Government is holding the Zimbabwe
election results,” he said.

Bright Matonga, the deputy information commissioner for Mr Mugabe’s Zanu
(PF) party, told CNN that he believed opposition politicians would be
“cowards; if they did not contest a runoff”.

Unwilling to allow Mr Mugabe to slope off into retirement, those supporting
him – including the military – have taken the reigns, unleashing an
orchestrated campaign of terror against opposition activists, election
observes an ordinary voters in an attempt to secure Mr Mugabe victory in a
second-round poll.

White-owned farms were the first targets of the violence that insiders say
is being co-ordinated by 200 handpicked military and intelligence officers
loyal to the President.

Police have also arrested Mr Tsvangirai’s lawyer. Innocent Chagonda, who
successfully defended Mr Tsvangirai from treason charges in 2004, was seized
on charges related to a helicopter hired for the MDC.

He had apparently demanded that police release the aircraft, which had been
confiscated, when he was arrested for “interfering with police work”, the
opposition said.

The MDC said the arrest yesterday was part of a wider campaign to clamp down
on the Opposition in the wake of the elections. “As a party we feel this is
a sustained effort on the part of the authorities against people who assist
the MDC,” it said.

“This is an onslaught which is not only happening in the rural areas, but
even in the civil service as people who are perceived MDC supporters are
being intimidated."

Comments
Dear SADC Members,

This is a simple matter of choosing to do the right thing. It is an
opportunity that does not often present itself - when a leader who has run
his country into the ground, and the population - yes the population, not
some outsider force - speaks loudly and clearly against him through the
ballot box, without resorting to vandalism, violence and destruction.

It is the story of a proud, honest and peaceable people, who need a little
international assistance of honest and courageous men to help them shed
themselves of the shackles of greed, fear and a power hungry leader.

I suggest that if you do THE RIGHT THING when you have the chance this
weekend at SADC, you will be remembered in history for a very long time to
come. Similarly I expect, if you do NOT do the right thing, you might also
be remembered, but not for as long, and certainly without honour or respect!

The choice is yours, and it will take COURAGE to do the right thing. Do you
have any?

Ant Williams, Johannesburg, South Africa

Is there not way outside countries can help oust this foolish dictator. I
understand the thinking of the people loyal to Magabe, as they see their
comforts sliding away from them and they want to maintain their lifestyle,
but even a really stupid person can see that the country is falling into an
abyss of poverty. You can see Magabe has lost the the plot in a big way, but
it is unfortunate that he can't see it.
GOD HELP THE POOR COUNTRY OF ZIMBABWE

A.Lynott, Cape Town, South Africa

I wouldn't hold my breath that something concrete will emerge from this
summit. There was a similar summit last year after Tsvangirai was badly
beaten by Mugabe police. The summit was largely a whitewash. In fact, after
the summit Mugabe was emboldened enough to tell the world to "go hang".

Charan Muzaya, London, UK


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Tsvangirai to address emergency SADC summit

SABC

April 11, 2008, 17:00

David Dlamini, Gaborone
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he will definitely be at
this weekend’s Southern African Development Community (SADC) emergency
summit in Lusaka, Zambia.

Tsvangirai, who is currently in Botswana, has confirmed that he will be
attending tomorrow's emergency meeting of the SADC heads of state.
Tsvangarai says he will also make a presentation to the summit about, what
he terms, the dire situation in Zimbabwe, which has made him “a prime
security target in his country.”

Tomorrow's emergency summit in Lusaka is seen as a make or break for the
Zimbabwean election stand-off. Thirteen days after the election, Zimbabwean
citizens still don't know who won the presidential election.

Tsvangarai arrived in Botswana on Wednesday, fuelling speculation that he
sought temporary political refuge. He hopes the summit will make it possible
for him to return to Zimbabwe. But the MDC leader ruled out any possibility
of a presidential run-off, instead putting his faith in SADC.

Analysts believe the SADC summit will call for the release of election
results to avoid further tensions. The summit is seen as a first concrete
response by African leaders to avoid a fall-out. Despite some differences,
there is general agreement that failure to defuse the situation will affect
the entire southern African region.


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White farmer missing as 'war vets' go on rampage

Sydney Morning Herald

Mark Metherell
April 12, 2008

†THE Zimbabwean farming leader Trevor Gifford speaks calmly in
his clipped accent of assaults on the dwindling band of whites clinging to
their farms.

An elderly farmer has disappeared in the Chipinge district, he says. The
farmer's vehicle was halted by the roving bands of "war vets".

"His tyres were punctured. He was taken from the car. He has been abducted,"
Mr Gifford said on Thursday night.

A search by local farmers, white and black, had so far failed to locate the
man, who is in his 70s.

"Last night another farmer [was] forcibly evicted by a war vet who has been
living on his land since the invasions of 2000." The invader and others had
slaughtered the farmer's pedigree bull for meat and taken 340 litres of
diesel.

The night before, a mob had invaded a farmhouse in Mashonaland, north-west
of the capital, Harare, and "totally trashed and looted" the place.

Mr Gifford estimates 60 farmers have been evicted and 100 have been affected
by the surge in land occupations triggered by the apparent election defeat
of Robert Mugabe.

Another farming couple emailed friends last Sunday to report that "a
lorryload of war vets arrived at our gate to take over our land, equipment
and cattle. It is now 6pm and they have been singing their war songs at our
gate and more and more of them have arrived".

When the Herald called the property on Thursday, the farmer, speaking in
hushed tones, said things were "tense" and pleaded not to be identified.

After years of home invasions, evictions and killings, a dwindling band of
white farmers hang on in Zimbabwe. When Mr Gifford is asked why they stay,
he says: "It is very simple. For a large majority of us we have been here
several generations. We are not British, or American or Australians … We are
African, we are Zimbabweans. This is our home. We believe we have the same
rights as other Zimbabweans."

Mr Gifford, the president of the Commercial Farmers Union, says the mobs of
farm invaders, wearing ZANU-PF T-shirts, will typically gather outside
target farms chanting slogans including: "Down with Britain, down with
America, down with whites."

ZANU-PF is the party of Mr Mugabe's ruling regime, which in 28 years since
the overthrow of white-dominated government has presided over the
accelerating decline of what was once the meat and maize bowl of southern
Africa.

Now Zimbabwe produces about 300,000 tonnes out of the 1.8 million of maize
it needs to feed its own people, Mr Gifford said, and the number of
commercial farmers has dropped from 4600 in 2000, when farm invasions began
in earnest, to 500.

David Dorward, of La Trobe University in Melbourne, has analysed Africa's
upheavals for 50 years and says land occupation has stirred unrest in
Zimbabwe since the early colonial days of the 1890s, when the British rulers
began doling out to white settlers huge slabs of the most fertile land.

Dr Dorward says the "war vets", men from the towns who are too young to have
fought in the 1970s civil war, are being orchestrated by the Mugabe regime
in a bid to intimidate the Opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change.


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Opposition leader Robert Mugabe and his rent-a-mob board the ‘gravy-bus’ for Lusaka

Sokwanele

Shapiro cartoon

We’ve just had word that 27 busloads of Zanu PF supporters are in Victoria Falls preparing to go through the border into Zambia before tomorrow’s emergency meeting.

You know what this means… images of hundreds of ‘adoring fans’ adorning TV screens everywhere, convincing some African nations that Mugabe is loved.

No one knows these people will have had their bus fare paid for and all their food covered as well and a nice new shiny Mugabe T-shirt to go with. They aren’t on the ‘gravy-train’; they’re on the ‘gravy-bus’.

The opposition leader, Robert Mugabe, has a long history of using taxpayers’ money to prop up his regime. His election rallies and his birthday parties show seas of ‘happy’ faces, but the crowds are all swelled out by school children, vendors and anyone else who can be bribed or bludgeoned into attending.

He had a bit of a problem during his campaign leading up to the March 29th elections because people refused to attend, so at least five rallies were cancelled. I saw one news article at the time which really made me laugh: it reported that school holidays had been a major problem for him, because he couldn’t round up school-kids to swell the crowd.

No doubt these 27 busloads are off for a long weekend of shouting and screaming in support of Robert Mugabe, all paid for by the taxpayer. One long fun great weekend away - but with a potential cost for years afterwards.

I was also told that they had asked Bulawayo police to provide them with protection up to Victoria Falls (the drive to Vic Falls is through Matabeleland - Mugabe is at his least popular in this region). The police apparently refused: said they had no fuel or transport but I like to think that’s a polite way to say ’shove off’.

It’s going to be a long nerve-wracking weekend.

Please send those emails and work hard to get others to do the same. Thank you so much everyone, for your words of support and efforts to try and help.

Please click here to visit our action alert. Please take action.


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Mugabe summit retreat boosts Tsvangirai

Financial Times

By Alec Russell in Johannesburg

Published: April 11 2008 15:18 | Last updated: April 11 2008 18:25

President Robert Mugabe on Friday night abruptly bowed out of Saturday’s
regional summit on Zimbabwe’s crisis amid mounting pressure from his
neighbours to release last month’s election results.

His decision to snub the summit of southern African leaders, which he has
traditionally liked to dominate, was the first public sign of weakness by
the 84-year-old autocrat since the elections two weeks ago.

It came as the security forces intensified a week-old crackdown, banning
political rallies “with immediate effect”.
Leaders of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community are
expec≠ted to push for the release of the presidential results but to steer
clear of putting concerted pressure on Mr Mugabe, still less backing
opposition demands for him to step down.

Last night, 13 days after the polls closed, the state-appointed Zimbabwe
Election Commission had still not released the results, even as state-backed
militias continued to intimidate supporters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change in an apparent attempt to scare them from voting in a
possible run-off.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, is attending the meeting in the Zambian
capital Lusaka. Mr Mugabe had also been planning to attend but last night
the government backtracked.

Mr Mugabe’s decision is a boon for Mr Tsvangirai as it will allow him to
make his case to the region’s leaders out of the shadow of the old
liberation leader who has routinely held his peers in his thrall at such
meetings.

MDC officials speculated the boycott might reflect a concern in Mr Mugabe’s
inner circle over the loyalties of some of his generals, but analysts
suggested he more probably realised that he faced uncomfortable criticism
from the region, possibly for the first time.

The MDC raised the stakes ahead of the summit saying it would not take part
in a presidential run-off. It was not clear if this was merely a negotiating
tactic but Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, which has ruled since independence in
1980, seized on the announcement and said it was preparing to take part in a
second round.

The MDC says that Mr Tsvangirai won an outright victory in the March 29
presidential election, but independent projections suggest that he may have
just fallen short of the clear majority he needed to avoid a second round.

Human Rights Watch, the US human rights group, said that Saturday’s meeting
was SADC’s “last real chance” to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.

The government of South Africa, the region’s dominant power, which has long
believed in “quiet diplomacy” and not challenging Mr Mugabe in public, has
in the past 24 hours adopted a more robust stance and called for the release
of the results.

President Thabo Mbeki, who less than a week ago infuriated the MDC by
describing the situation as “manageable”, met Mr Tsvangirai to discuss the
crisis on Thursday on the latest stop on the MDC leader’s tour of regional
capitals.

Mr Mbeki has faced calls this week from his own party, the ruling African
National Congress, to take a tougher line towards Mr Mugabe.

Jacob Zuma, Mr Mbeki’s bitter political rival, who ousted the president as
head of the ANC last December, called earlier in the week for the release of
the results.

South African officials are touting the idea of a government of national
unity as a compromise solution, with Mr Mugabe staying on for about a year,
but the MDC dismisses the idea of agreeing to an extension of the president’s
rule.


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Crackdown in Zimbabwe Is Said to Intensify

New York Times

By CELIA W. DUGGER and GRAHAM BOWLEY
Published: April 12, 2008

JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwe’s authorities have arrested the lawyer for the
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the main opposition party said Friday,
intensifying the nation’s political crisis as reports emerged that the
government had banned all political rallies in Harare, the capital.

The opposition has accused the government of conducting an increasingly
aggressive crackdown on dissent, saying Friday that as many as 1,000 people
across the country had been assaulted or arrested since the disputed
elections of March 29.

"In the rural areas, they are terrorizing people and arresting them without
charges,” said Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the main opposition party,
known as the Movement for Democratic Change.

“It’s on a massive scale,” he said, particularly in areas where President
Robert Mugabe did not do well in the elections. "They’re almost turning
those into war zones."

The scale of the crackdown could not be independently verified, but Amnesty
International reported Thursday that it had “information about widespread
incidents of postelection violence, suggesting the existence of coordinated
retribution against known and suspected opposition supporters.”

Beyond that, Zimbabwean state radio said Friday that the police had banned
all political rallies in the wake of the country’s political stalemate, news
agencies reported. The Zimbabwean police accused the opposition of "spoiling
for a fight" by deploying hundreds of youth members across the country, and
banned a Movement for Democratic Change rally planned for Sunday, Reuters
reported.

Mr. Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, was held by the police after
authorities seized a helicopter that was meant to ferry Mr. Tsvangirai, a
presidential candidate, around during the elections, said Nqobizitha Mlilo,
another opposition spokesman. The South African pilot was arrested, Mr.
Mlilo said, but has since been released.

“The police have not released details, except for saying that he insulted
them during the negotiations for the helicopter,” Mr. Mlilo said.

With the results of last month’s presidential election still being withheld
by the government, Mr. Tsvangirai has begun a round of international
diplomacy in advance of a weekend meeting of southern Africa’s heads of
state to address Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

Mr. Mlilo confirmed that Mr. Tsvangirai had held talks on Thursday with the
South African president, Thabo Mbeki, as he sought international help to
persuade Mr. Mugabe to step aside after 28 years in power.

Mr. Tsvangirai claims to have won last month’s election outright, but Mr.
Mugabe’s party has demanded a recount of the vote, even though no official
results have yet been released.

Mr. Mlilo, the opposition spokesman, said Mr. Mbeki and Mr. Tsvangirai spoke
“broadly and in depth on the various issues” during their meeting.

Until now, Mr. Mbeki had refused to meet with Mr. Tsvangirai, but his
influence is believed to be strong with Mr. Mugabe, and he could be an
important broker in the dispute.

Still, it is unclear whether Zimbabwe’s neighbors — many of them with
political or fraternal bonds with Mr. Mugabe, a hero of Zimbabwe’s
liberation struggle against white rule — can or will do much to defuse the
tense standoff.

It was not even clear whether Mr. Mugabe would attend. Tomaz Salomao,
executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community, which is
arranging the gathering, said he could not confirm whether Mr. Mugabe would
go to Lusaka, Zambia, where the meeting is being held. "At this time, I don’t
know," he said.

On Thursday, the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
decided that Mr. Tsvangirai would not take part in a runoff vote because it
had determined he had won the disputed election outright.

After waiting almost two weeks for an official announcement of the outcome
of Zimbabwe’s presidential election, Tendai Biti, the opposition’s secretary
general, accused the governing party, led by Mr. Mugabe, of carrying out “a
constitutional coup d’ťtat.”

Independent monitors say Mr. Tsvangirai won the vote, though probably not by
enough to avoid a runoff.

Celia W. Dugger reported from Johannesburg, and Graham Bowley from New York


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Hopes for democratic change silenced by dread

The Australian

Peter Oborne | April 12, 2008

ON the night after Zimbabwe's presidential elections 14 days ago, a British
diplomat, Philip Barclay, witnessed the count at the little outpost of
Bikisa deep in rural Masvingo.

This part of the country is the heartland of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front. In the five presidential elections
since independence in 1981 the people of Bikisa voted solidly for Mugabe and
there was little expectation of anything different this time.
Barclay reports feeling faint with amazement when it became clear that the
largest pile of votes was for Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. Just 44 people in Bikisa voted for Mugabe,
against an overwhelming 167 for Tsvangirai.

Reports from other areas soon made it clear that Bikisa was not exceptional
and that Mugabe had been voted out of power in a political earthquake. By
late in the afternoon on March 30, the day after the election, the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, an independent body charged with overseeing the poll,
was in a position to make a cautious estimate of the result. It judged that
Tsvangirai had secured almost 60 per cent of the vote, more than double that
of Mugabe with 27 per cent.

Sources say that when this news was brought to the President his first
reaction was genuine incredulity. He is so out of touch, and so used to
winning elections, that he had felt confident of a comfortable majority.

Incredulity swiftly turned to anger and Mugabe grimly ordered the Electoral
Commission to declare him the victor. This command was resisted by very
brave election officials. They received unexpected support, however, from
senior personnel within the Zimbabwe state security apparatus, fearful of
the public order consequences that would certainly flow from such blatant
fixing of the result.

At this stage South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki tried to solve the
problem. Reportedly Mbeki also wished the result to be rigged, though not as
blatantly as Mugabe. He seems to have proposed that the Electoral Commission
should sharply downgrade Tsvangirai's share of the vote, sharply upgrade
Mugabe to a more respectable 40 per cent and dramatically increase the share
of the vote enjoyed by renegade ZANU-PF presidential candidate Simba Makoni.

Makoni is Mbeki's choice as the next president of Zimbabwe. There is some
evidence that he is also supported by the US State Department. A highly
intelligent and well-educated man, Makoni was a member of Mugabe's inner
circle for many years, while maintaining warm links to foreign observers and
exercising care to evade personal responsibility for the worst of the
regime's atrocities.

He stood for the presidency only after being given the green light by Mbeki
earlier this year. Unlike Tsvangirai, a former miner of incredible courage
but with little formal education, Makoni is the kind of politician who
appeals profoundly to the bureaucratic mind. Mbeki, quietly backed by the
US, hoped to induce Mugabe to step down and get Makoni to stand in his
stead. This plan had definite logic. Makoni, though he will never be
forgiven by Mugabe for what the President sees as an act of unspeakable
betrayal, retains the strongest links with ZANU-PF. This means he would
probably be acceptable to the senior generals and police who hold the key to
Zimbabwe's immediate future and to whom Tsvangirai's MDC is repugnant.

By the start of this week it was beginning to be clear that the Makoni
wheeze was not going to fly. The trouble is that - like many politicians
beloved of the official class - Mbeki's protege lacks mass support. The
failure of the South African intervention means a stalemate in Zimbabwe.
Basically, Mugabe has only three options and time is running out.

The first of these is to mount a coup d'etat, the solution that is preferred
by Mugabe's inner circle. Significantly, it seems to be favoured by
Constantine Chiwenga, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and by air
force chief Perence Shiri, Mugabe's relative and close ally.

It must be borne in mind that senior figures such as these do not merely
stand to lose power if Mugabe wins. They also face the prospect of being
brought to justice for the crimes of the Mugabe regime. It was Shiri, for
instance, who led the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigades in the
Matabeleland genocide of the early 1980s.

The problem with the idea of a coup d'etat is not really the international
condemnation that would inevitably result. The Southern African Development
Community might not like it, but under the prostrate guidance of Mbeki it
would never lift a finger.

The true problem is different: there are reasons to doubt whether commanders
such as Shiri (whose Chinese MiG fighters were buzzing low over Bulawayo in
an act of naked intimidation when I was there two weeks ago) have the
support of their troops. There is overwhelming anecdotal evidence that
ordinary soldiers and police officers, even some members of the feared
Central Intelligence Organisation, have turned against Mugabe. Director of
intelligence Happyton Bonyongwe is said to be quietly supporting Tsvangirai.

Mugabe's second option is to declare the recent elections null and order a
rerun. There is strong evidence that the President is preparing the way for
this.

He is already taking revenge, for example, on the hapless Electoral
Commission, several of whose members have been arrested during the past few
days. In a marvellous irony, they are being accused of rigging the result
against ZANU-PF.

If the President calls a second election, it will be marked by all
theintimidation and horror that toacertain was extent lacking on March 29.
Mugabe's Green Bombers, his licensed torturers and murderers who bear close
comparison to Adolf Hitler's Brownshirts, are already off the leash.

Finally, Mugabe could stand down. Here one key ingredient would be a
guarantee that he - and the scores of murderers and torturers who are linked
to him - can live the rest of their lives in the peace and tranquillity they
have denied so many others. Granting Mugabe immunity from prosecution is
hard to engineer and would be unpalatable for some. Others may judge it well
worthwhile.

Meanwhile, everyone waits for the old man's next move.

I am told by a friend who runs one of Zimbabwe's few remaining factories
that the mood among the workforce has changed sharply during the past few
days. Hope turned to bemusement; then, on Tuesday morning, to a silent,
pervasive sense of terror, as if something horrible might be just about to
happen.

The Spectator


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Harare fear as police flex muscles

BBC


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SW Radio Africa Transcript



HOT SEAT INTERVIEW : Journalist Violet Gonda interviews MDC President Mr
Morgan Tsvangirai on the situation in Zimbabwe where he says there is
now a de facto military coup.

Broadcast 11 April 2008

Violet Gonda: We welcome opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai back on
the programme Hot Seat. Hello and thank you for joining us Mr
Tsvangirai.

Morgan Tsvangirai: Violet, I am not opposition leader I am the leader of
the country.

Violet: Well Congratulations we will talk about that shortly.

Tsvangirai: Alright. Ok.

Violet: So much has happened since the last time we spoke just before
the elections. How are you doing first of all with all the controversy
that has surrounded the Presidential election?

Tsvangirai: Well Violet the so called controversy is totally
unnecessary. Mugabe called an election in spite of a plea for him to
extend it to June and unilaterally against the SADC advice called an
election and we participated in that election and we won in spite of all
the odds against us. Now the problem is that perhaps he didn't expect
this to happen, he is digging in against the will of the people and that
is what is causing this election impasse.

Violet: Now SADC has convened a special meeting on Zimbabwe . What do
you expect?

Tsvangirai: Well I expect SADC leaders to hear both sides of the story.
To hear candidate Mugabe and to hear candidate Tsvangirai about what
happened and where is the stalemate - where are the bottlenecks. After
which they will have to conclude that the will of the people must be
respected. This is what the SADC covenant says - that the will of the
people must be respected and in this case there is an attempt by
President Mugabe and his cohorts to undermine the will of the people.

Violet: Are both political candidates - yourself and Robert Mugabe going
to be present at this SADC meeting or you are going to meet separately?

Tsvangirai: No we will be there, we will be there. The case cannot be
one-sided. We are talking of a disputed election process here at which
there are two contestants; one Mr Robert Mugabe candidate for ZANU PF
and one MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.

Violet: And you are currently travelling in the region right now, how
are you being successful in garnering support in SADC?

Tsvangirai: Well there is alot of understanding that 12 days after the
elections the results haven't been announced and that in the process the
other candidate is busy subverting the independence of ZEC (Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission), even if that ZEC has also got doubts about this
partisanship. So the thing is that the SADC leaders understand the basis
for this dispute - which is that the results have not been announced and
in the same process ZANU PF behaves as if it has insider information
about what is happening and therefore is taking decisions based on the
insider information.

Violet: And your Secretary General Tendai Biti is reported saying he
hoped SADC would ask Robert Mugabe to stand down? How realistic is this?

Tsvangirai: Well they don't have to ask Robert Mugabe to stand down.
They have to ask Robert Mugabe to respect the will of the people and
concede defeat. This is what has happened. He has lost the election and
the normal thing is for him to respect the will of the people. It is
very, very realistic. In fact I am surprised that once an election has
been conducted one would dispute when one was in charge of the electoral
process. It's unheard of.

Violet: So what is your game plan if Mugabe says he is not going to step
down and not respect the will of the people?

Tsvangirai: Well he would have ruled by decree and according to SADC he
would have subverted the will of the people. In fact that is what has
happened - there has been a de facto military coup in Zimbabwe against
the will of the people. That is unacceptable in terms of SADC Norms and
Standards.

Violet: Do you think there is now a constitutional crisis in Zimbabwe ?

Tsvangirai: There is no constitutional crisis. There is the overthrow of
a constitutional government and the overthrow of the constitutional
government in other words - in layman's terms - there has been a coup in
Zimbabwe against the will of the people and therefore that is against
African and SADC standards.

Violet: There are reports that war veterans have started invading the
last remaining white owned commercial farms and that members of the
security forces have been deployed countrywide. What is your plan of
dealing with the military that is strongly behind Robert Mugabe?

Tsvangirai: It's not the military which is strongly behind Mugabe. It is
a few military officers who are behind Robert Mugabe. The rest of the
army wants to respect its independence, its professionalism and I must
say I have good contacts within the military and they say that there are
probably one or two or three senior officers who believe - who are so
political that they put the politics before their military
professionalism and this is very unfortunate. And I as leader of the
country believe that the military should respect the civilian authority,
should respect the will of the people and then if it is a question of
their professional, institutional requirements then they have to be
dealt with like that.

Violet: But it also appears that ZEC or in fact that the country is now
under the control of the Joint Operations Command and it seems Mugabe
remains quiet on this score. Is he still in control? Do you know if he
is still in control?

Tsvangirai: Well he has lost control that is why the military is doing
what it is doing; going to interfere with the work of ZEC, arresting ZEC
officials; relocating the work of the verification of the Presidential
ballots to a secret place where our representatives are not present.
They have literally overthrown the civilian authority.

Violet: And in a twist of irony the Mugabe regime is now accusing its
own ZEC of manipulating the elections in favor of the MDC. What are your
thoughts on this?

Tsvangirai: Well it's like the pot calling the kettle black. They are
the incumbent, they were in charge of ZEC and they were in charge of the
whole election machinery. We were actually working against a very
serious situation tilted against us. Now when they have lost isn't it
the highest of ironies that they say that ZEC has rigged the elections
against us. The results were posted all over the polling stations. We
collected them and I don't know what this whole accusation is.

Violet: Have you been present as a political party (president) to see
the results that ZEC has or has ZEC privatised the verification of the
presidential election results.

Tsvangirai: They have actually privatised in fact they have re located
from where our representatives were. They moved from that to a private
location where we don't know where it is and they are now in the process
of the so called recounting, and how do you recount before you have
known the full results. The law says you can only recount within 48
hours once you have known the full results and that you challenge that
it should be recounted. Now here is a situation where ZANU PF is taking
control of the electoral process in its favour and manipulating the
results. So it doesn't matter whether ZEC is going to announce, as far
as we are concerned the outcome is already manipulated and therefore
there is no creditability.

Violet: So what options do the people of Zimbabwe have? They have cast
their votes but their wishes are not being respected, is civil
disobedience an option?

Tsvangirai Well I think that what is important is for the people to
remain calm, we are dealing with the issues of the results and once the
result is known they are free to express themselves. But we don't want,
we would rather caution against opportunistic reaction which Mugabe is
looking to suppress and violently respond to that.

Violet: But some have asked - where is the outrage? So is civil
disobedience the strategy of your party?

Tsvangirai: No but you see the thing is how do you have civil
disobedience when you have cast your vote and you know that you have won
and you don't know the results. How do you have civil disobedience under
those circumstances? So that's why we are cautioning against unnecessary
or opportunistic reaction which can even lead to the Mugabe's repression
and what we are saying is that at the end of the day they should wait ,
they should be restraint full until the results is known.

Violet: I understand that you have asked for United Nations
intervention, what exactly do you want the UN to do?

Tsvangirai: Well I didn't say in particular the United Nations. I said

If outsiders should come and intervene to try to persuade this regime
that it has no legitimacy if it continues the way it is doing and that
it should concede defeat to the electoral result that is there and is
known by everybody.

Violet: But what exactly can they do. I am asking this question because
we have received scores of email from our listeners and readers who have
said they are tired of talk shops as they merely result in empty
declarations from the international community. They want more assertive
action; can you persuade them differently based on your interactions
with the various heads of state?

Tsvangirai: Well I am sure that they have influence and the fact that in
March last year they were able to convene an extraordinary meeting which
allowed President Mbeki to be the mediator. I am sure that they will use
the same influence. Zimbabwe is not an island and Mugabe knows that. If
there is collective will on the part of SADC leaders to put pressure on
him he will listen.

Violet: Now let me go back to the issue of the results, your critics say
it is irresponsible of you to announce the results of the elections and
claiming victory before the official results had been announced.

Tsvangirai: No No No No.

Violet: What is your reaction to this?

Tsvangirai: In normal democracies where results are posted out for
everyone to see we will collect those results it's in the public domain.
How is it irresponsible when it is already in the public domain? The
only thing is that we had a mechanism of collecting those results and
putting it to the public but we said we will wait for ZEC to confirm
those results. So what we are waiting for is confirmation and there is
no reason whilst the results reflect that we have won not to claim that
victory.

Violet: There have been conflicting reports on the final tally; some
reports say you won with 50.3% while some figures put it at 49% and some
even at 57%. What are your predictions?

Tsvangirai: Well according to the final figures we have put across, it's
50.3% which is beyond any doubt a decisive victory.

Violet: So are you surprised that you won the elections given the
repressive situation in Zimbabwe

Tsvangirai: No I think that the people of Zimbabwe set the rules and
voted against the government and voted for change, it was overwhelming
in spite of the obstacles I think the MDC performed extremely well.

Violet: So how would you answer people who ask that if you know you have
won and you have the people's mandate why not declare yourself President
and start performing the tasks of the President?

Tsvangirai: Well this is exactly what we have said that we have won
these elections; we are only waiting for ZEC to confirm it. I am not ZEC
and therefore the only one who can confirm my victory is ZEC which has
got the jurisdiction responsibility in confirming it. But in terms of
declaration, under normal circumstances, President Mugabe should already
have conceded defeat but he doesn't want to concede defeat because he
doesn't want to leave. So until such time that ZEC is able to announce a
definitive position, we are all handicapped by it.

Violet: It is also reported that there may be a re-run or a run-off.
Would your party agree to a re-run of the presidential election given
the flawed nature of the first round?

Tsvangirai: How do we have a re-run when we have won decisively and
besides there is a clear winner here? If I am 49% and Mugabe is 43% and
the other one is 12% the clear winner is there - and that is Morgan
Tsvangirai. And the election officer in terms of the law has to declare
who is the decisive winner and I am the decisive winner even under
circumstances where we are below 50. So I think that this argument of a
re-run does not exist.

Violet: What about a run-off since the regime has also been pushing for
a run-off, would you accept a run-off?

Tsvangirai: How do I expect a run-off in circumstances where the regime
is already militarising the whole election process by deploying army
officers to be in charge of Provinces, to be in charge of Constituencies
and already embarking on a major destabilisation and intimidation
exercise. A run-off means that there is no decisive winner, so if there
is a decisive winner the question of a run-off does not arise.

Violet: I know you are rushing Mr Tsvangirai; I have only two final
questions. The state media alleges that you are receiving instructions
from the West. Are you a puppet of the West?

Tsvangirai: Receiving instructions in what way?

Violet: The Herald reports, for example, that you'd let German bankers
into the country to run the RBZ.. (interrupted)

Tsvangirai: Violet if you believe the Herald, you can believe anything.
The Herald has been a mouthpiece of ZANU PF which has been at the
forefront of vilifying the MDC and yet by and large there have been
people who have written us off. Who have written the political obituary
of Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC, but we have proven them wrong. Under
all the odds we have beaten them and to me I get my mandate from the
people and not from anybody else.

Violet: Finally what can you say about the mood and the will of the
people at this point?

Tsvangirai: Patiently waiting, anxiously waiting for the results to be
finalized, to be confirmed by ZEC. They know they have won, the people's
victory is certain and that we will set a new direction for the country
in order to respond to their basic needs of food and jobs and other
basic necessities. They are looking forward to a new Zimbabwe . In fact
as you go around the country; the spirit of a new Zimbabwe is already
gripping the nation.

Violet: And what happens if Mugabe says he is not going to accept the
will of the people?

Tsvangirai: Well he will then be ruling by decree - what's the
difference between a military coup? And that's what the situation is; he
will even have confirmed that he is illegitimate and that he is a
dictator who is ruling against the will of the people.

Violet: Thank you very much Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai: You are welcome Violet.

Comments and feedback can be emailed to violet@swradioafrica.com


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Crisis looms after Harare vote-buying

Financial Times

By Tony Hawkins in Harare

Published: April 11 2008 18:05 | Last updated: April 11 2008 18:05

As hopes fade in Zimbabwe for an early end to the election stalemate there
are growing fears over the enormity of a looming monetary and inflation
crisis sparked by the government’s vote-buying in the past six weeks.

Official figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe show that in the first
three months of the year alone, government borrowing was 43 per cent above
the projected budget deficit for the 2008 fiscal year which ends on December
31.

Since the start of the campaign President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF
party has announced big wage and salary awards for the security forces,
schoolteachers and civil servants. It has spent hugely on imported farm
equipment, and donated hundreds of buses to local communities as well as
computers to schools. Although all were bought by the government they were
distributed at party rallies by Mr Mugabe.

Zimbabwe’s domestic debt increased sixteen-fold from Z$21,000bn (at the
official rate Z$30,000 is worth US$1) at the end of 2007 to Z$343,000bn by
mid-February. In the next five weeks it increased sevenfold to
Z$2,539,000bn, compared with a budget deficit target for the year of
Z$1,760,000bn.

More than half of this figure is government borrowing on overdraft from the
central bank, with most of the balance being government treasury bills. The
official figures do not disclose where the money was spent or by whom but
they show that in less than three months the government borrowed and spent
almost 16 per cent of projected gross domestic product for 2008.

Despite the trebling of central bank interest rates two weeks ago the money
market is awash with liquidity which, bankers say, means that there has been
no slowdown in government printing and spending of money.

Against a background of mounting anxiety and nervousness about the
deteriorating political atmosphere share prices on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange have almost doubled since the election, reflecting the tidal wave
of liquidity injected into the market by a government desperate to buy its
way back into power.

Meanwhile, amid all the confusion surrounding the release of the
presidential poll results, Mr Mugabe has opted for a two-prong strategy.

He has reverted to mass intimidation, underpinned by vote-buying, that he
used in the 2000 and 2002 elections, to win the second round of the
presidential contest, while simultaneously pressing the Zimbabwe Election
Commission to reverse some of the results of the parliamentary poll.

The ZEC has agreed to a recount in five, rejected seven applications and is
considering nine. Were Zanu-PF to be declared winner in the five recounts,
it would be the largest single party, which would enable the next president
to form an administration that, while lacking an absolute majority would
still be able to govern.


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Mugabe unleashes terror to win votes

The Australian

Catherine Philp, Harare | April 12, 2008

IT was midnight on Sunday, and Sylvia was fast asleep when the white pick-up
truck pulled up outside her house. Barging their way in, 10 men dragged her,
her sister and aunt from their beds and into the back of the vehicle.

"Your man did not win this election," one shouted at her. "Next time you
must get it right or you will die."

Sylvia, a youth volunteer for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
noticed there were no numberplates on the vehicle - typical of those used by
the Central Intelligence Office, President Robert Mugabe's secret police.

As they bounced along the road, the men set about tying the women's wrists
and ankles. The truck stopped outside town and the women were pulled out on
to the street and their bound hands tied to the tow bar.

Then the truck sped off again, dragging the women behind them, their flesh
scraping on the tarmac. Sylvia remembers only the searing pain in her
shoulder and breast before she passed out.

"This is a war," she heard them shouting. "We will keep fighting until we
win."

She was dumped on a roadside and it was three days before she received
hospital treatment for her infected wounds.

Sylvia's story is one of scores emerging from the terrorised Zimbabwean
countryside, where joy at the opposition election victory has turned to fear
and violence. Unwilling to allow Mr Mugabe to head off to retirement and
immunity, the military has taken the reins, unleashing an orchestrated
campaign of terror against opposition activists, election observers and
voters in an attempt to secure a Mugabe victory in a second-round poll.

The results lists posted outside polling stations that made massive rigging
impossible are being used to target those areas that voted the wrong way.

Areas across Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland, which swung away from
the ruling ZANU-PF party for the first time, are at the forefront of
brutality.

White-owned farms were the first targets of the ZANU-PF youth militias and
independence war veterans, but from there the militias have moved on to
party activists and independent election observers. Insiders say the
campaign is co-ordinated by 200 handpicked military and intelligence
officers.

In Matabeleland South, to the east of Bulawayo, youth militia armed with
AK47s stopped traffic on Tuesday and ordered people off buses, rounding them
up and forcing them at gunpoint to chantslogans in praise of the ruling
party.

"If you try and vote for the MDC again we will go to war," the militiamen
said. "We are not asking you to vote ZANU, we areordering you - or else you
will be killed."

An informed source said: "The military hardliners are furious they didn't
use violence and intimidation before, like they did in the last two
elections.

"Now it's a case of better late than never."

The Times


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Mugabe Digs In His Heels in Zimbabwe

Time

Friday, Apr. 11, 2008 By ALEX PERRY

The news that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is going to duck a meeting
of southern African leaders on Saturday hints at his growing isolation in
the region. And it looks likely to only prolong the crisis inside his own
country. State radio announced Friday that Mugabe would miss a face-to-face
meeting with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai at an emergency meeting of
the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the Zambian
capital Lusaka on Saturday. The emergency summit had been called by Zambian
President Levy Mwanawasa to discuss the delay in the release of the results
in Zimbabwe's presidential election held 13 days ago. Mugabe's Zanu-PF party
had initially indicated that its leader would attend. Tsvangirai is still
expected to show.

Although Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won a
parliamentary majority in the March 29 vote, the Zimbabwe Election
Commission (ZEC) has not released the official result in the presidential
race. An independent survey places Tsvangirai well ahead in the vote, and
the MDC claims the poll gave him an outright victory after 28 years of
Mugabe's rule.
The delay is widely seen as a stalling tactic by Mugabe's Zanu-PF regime to
give its shock troops, government-allied mobs known as the "war veterans,"
time to fan out across the country, seize land and intimidate voters in the
event of a run-off election against Tsvangirai. In an interview with TIME
this week, Tsvangirai said what was happening in Zimbabwe was a "de facto
military coup." Later his party announced its refusal to participate in a
run-off, and on Friday the MDC issued pamphlets calling for a general strike
to be launched on Tuesday, continuing until the presidential election result
is announced. "We call upon transporters, workers, vendors and everyone to
stay at home. The power is in our hands," read one pamphlet. "Zimbabweans
have been taken for granted for too long. We demand that the presidential
election results be announced now."

Mugabe's decision to miss the conference suggests that Tsvangirai's
assessment — shared with TIME in a telephone interview from an undisclosed
location Wednesday — that Mugabe's support in the region was evaporating may
be accurate. In the past, Mugabe has found support and empathy from
neighboring states in the SADC. Many southern African leaders, such as South
African President Thabo Mbeki, are his peers in the African liberation
movement. Others, such as Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, have
ruled just as undemocratically, and for just as long. But Tsvangirai said
even Mugabe's most stalwart supporters were now deserting him. "Everyone
realizes he is a cheat," he said.

While Mugabe's isolation in the region is significant, it does nothing to
resolve the political impasse in Zimbabwe, or its economic meltdown. Many
now think the general election result may never be released. Mugabe's
Zanu-PF have demanded a recount, even though the official result hasn't been
released. Meanwhile, an opposition attempt to force the High Court to order
the release of the results has so far served only to give the commission
further grounds for delay. "The question of the results of the presidential
election is now the subject of legal proceedings in the High Court," the ZEC
said in a statement cited by the state-run Herald newspaper Friday. "Pending
determination by that court, and in line with established rules of court,
norms and procedures, the commission is unable to comment on this subject."

Nor is there any hope of an economic revival with Mugabe still in place.
Human rights violations by the regime and repeated abrogation of the
democratic process have limited international assistance to humanitarian
aid. Mugabe's endorsement of the seizure of white farms at the turn of the
millennium, and their ostensible redistribution to Zimbabwe's majority black
population, may have been packaged as the redress of an historical
injustice, but in reality the land found its way into the hands of a small
cabal around Mugabe, many of whom let the fields rot. As a result, the heart
has been ripped out of Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy, and the former
British colony now has a six-figure annual inflation rate, unemployment is
80%, and average life expectancy has dropped to 37 years.


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Health Minister Parirenyatwa Organising Violence in Murehwa



SW Radio Africa (London)

ANALYSIS
11 April 2008
Posted to the web 11 April 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

We have received disturbing reports that ruling party thugs under the
direction of ZANU-PF officials, shut down all the shops in the town of
Murehwa on Friday and forced vendors and local residents to a meeting at
Zihute Hall, where they were threatened with violence.

There are also reports of assaults by ZANU-PF thugs around the Mutoko and
Mudzi area. It appears the same thugs have now moved to Murehwa.

Our Murehwa contact, Kumbirai, said ZANU-PF thugs abducted their youth
member Kingston Zinhu on Friday and they fear he may be victimized as an
example to others. MDC youths have been sent to try and save him.

The Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa, who is also the MP for Murehwa
North, addressed the meeting in Murehwa and said they have all the names of
opposition activists and sympathizers and would be going round on Friday
night to beat them up as a lesson. He threatened that voting for the
opposition was the same as voting for war and they should think about this
in the next election. Also addressing the meeting was the ZANU-PF losing
Senatorial candidate for Murehwa West, Mai Zemura, the District Coordinating
Committee chairperson Mavhungire and the winning Senatorial candidate for
Murehwa North, Bright Makunde.

Kumbirai told us that the trouble started on Thursday when brand new twin
cab trucks arrived in Murehwa, each with 4 ruling party thugs. The vehicles
went to a shop owned by a local ZANU-PF businessman who took care of all
their needs. Kumbirai said he watched as they were given 10 bags of mealie
meal and were treated to some roasted meat.

He said these thugs were in plain clothes and armed with shotguns. They had
sleeping bags and luggage that made it clear they were on a mission. "Vakati
tauya kuzoona kuti kuchinja kwamaita ndekupi", said Kumbirai, meaning 'they
said we have come to see how you have changed since you keep saying chinja."

As we reported ZANU-PF has been targeting specific people who made the
opposition victory possible in the rural and urban areas. Opposition
candidates are prime targets, regardless of whether they won or lost.
Activists who campaigned with them have also become targets.


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British Journalist Arrested in Bulawayo



SW Radio Africa (London)

11 April 2008
Posted to the web 11 April 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

Local journalists in Bulawayo who are working with the foreign media, have
become the latest target of the violent government campaign against any
perceived form of opposition. Our Bulawayo contacts said local journalists
have been victimised for the past 3 days.

According to our contacts, there is a "hit list" with several names, and the
journalists are being hunted down by state agents. This has created a tense
and paranoid situation for journalists because they are not sure who to
trust. Intelligence agents are allegedly using local journalists, to help
them trap other journalists.

One reporter who chose to remain anonymous for his safety, said he has not
been staying at his home fearing that he may be found and assaulted. He
added that many journalists have been assaulted in Lupane, Tsholotsho and
parts of Nyamandhlovu.

The thugs responsible for the attacks are alleged to have said that the
beatings were meant to make sure that the people 'correct the vote' in the
next elections. This has strengthened suspicions that ZANU-PF is planning to
assault and intimidate candidates, voters, activists and civil organisers
ahead of the runoff election that they are pushing for between Robert Mugabe
and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

As the media crackdown increases we have received information that there is
a list of foreign journalists now held at airports in Zimbabwe and anyone
trying to get in and report undercover, faces arrest before they even begin.


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Election results "public knowledge": Mugabe party spokesman

Monsters and Critics

Apr 11, 2008, 11:31 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga
on Friday claimed that results of the country's presidential election, still
being withheld after 13 days, were 'public knowledge.'

Speaking to South African radio Matonga said President Robert Mugabe's
'Zanu-PF and the (opposition) MDC (Movement for Democratic Change of Morgan
Tsvangirai) both know there is no clear winner.'

While Zanu-PF was still waiting for the official confirmation, the outcome
had been clear since results were posted outside polling stations 12 days
ago and pointed to the need for a runoff vote, he said.

His statement was likely to add to the clamour for the state- controlled
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the results.

It also raised questions over why, if Zanu-PF accepted the results, it was
demanding a recount and accusing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of
rigging in Tsvangirai's favour.

Matonga said Zanu-PF and the MDC had discussed the results before last
week's Zanu-PF politburo meeting, which endorsed Mugabe's bid for a 'fight
to the last' against Tsvangirai in a likely runoff.

'We sat down with them to mark a way forward,' Matonga said, claiming that
the MDC had demanded that Tsvangirai be made deputy president and that
Zanu-PF had rejected the idea.

The MDC has denied they sought the deputy presidency and rejected the need
for a runoff, claiming Tsvangirai won outright and that Mugabe would use a
runoff to try to pacify the population into voting for him.

'Things are very peaceful. There is no violence - during the election and
after the election,' Matonga said, despite several reports of attacks on
white farmers and opposition supporters in recent days.

Matonga also denied reports that the national election centre had been
dismantled.

'They (the MDC) want to provoke an uprising,' but the absence of pro-MDC
street protests showed they were unsuccessful, Matonga said.


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Is there any reasonable suspicion that votes were stolen from Mr Mugabe?

www.kubatana.net

April 10, 2008

Zimbabwe has an Electoral Commission [ZEC] still appointed entirely by
Robert Mugabe, from a shortlist picked predominantly by his party.

Zimbabwe Police have started arresting ZEC election officials countrywide,
alleging they fraudulently deprived Mr Mugabe of votes during vote counting
or compiling in the recent Harmonised Elections.

If so, they robbed Mugabe in front of police & numerous other witnesses –
without it being detected for a week.

Whatever red herrings people may try to draw now across the trail, all the
counting was done in front of numerous witnesses including the police and
ZANU-PF’s polling agents at every polling station and completed by lunchtime
on Sunday 30th March 2008;

And over the next couple of days, all the compiling was done in front of
numerous witnesses including the police and ZANU-PF’s polling agents at in
every ward and every constituency and the result there in each of the 4
elections was recorded and put up outside.

And no complaints were publicly made, until last Friday when ZANU-PF had to
explain to Robert Mugabe – on the basis ostensibly only of their OWN polling
agents returns, as the official ones are still officially secret – why he
lost, and even did so much worse than his party candidates in many areas.

The counting was done at each polling station. Present at every count were:

† a.. 11 ZEC officials,
† b.. Accredited observers [all approved by a government minister first]
† c.. Agents for each candidate [with a ZANU PF agent, inside & out] – and
† d.. Police - as Mugabe had personally changed the electoral law just
before the election to put his police inside the stations
Other agents, observers, public etc watched from a short distance outside.
No-body was allowed in or out during the count.

Then 6 copies were made of every result, from each of the 4 ballot boxes in
turn [Presidential, senate, House of assembly, Local Authority.] They were
signed not just by ZEC officials, but by party agents – including ZANU-PFs.
One signed copy of each return was then put up publicly outside. All 5
others were sent on to the ward centre, then the constituency centre, then
the command centre. How could any theft from him have happened so publicly,
and been undetected, unreported for so long?

Single ZEC officials are being arrested by police from around the country
for unlawfully robbing Robert Mugabe of votes, before any official result is
released.

† 1. Everything was done at every level with many other people watching -
the counting of the ballot papers and the collating. For any theft or fraud
to have occurred at any stage, many other people would have needed to be
accomplices, including ZANU-PF party agents and police. Why have they not
ALL been arrested?

† 2. Every result was recorded in multiple copies, and signed by ZANU-PF
agents. Every polling station result was put up publicly. 5 copies were kept
for ZEC. Can anyone hope to defraud Robert Mugabe in quintuplicate?

† 3. The number of copies made of every Constituency return is unknown, but
can be easily discovered. One was put up outside for the public for each
election. Winners were announced. The time when all this happened at the
constituency level can also be proved. Most, if not all, were finished by
Sunday or Monday.

† 4. Long after each local announcement of the Parliamentary seats, ZEC also
announced the results at its National Command Centre. It said its delay was
while it checked each one. ZEC is well staffed and has computers. If a local
official cheated or perhaps made a mistake in entering or adding any
returns - undetected by all those others watching him - ZEC would have
discovered this before it made its own public announcement for that seat.
Yet it is ZEC’s public announcements that are being disputed now by ZANU-PF.
If there was any fraud or error in any tally by some official, it was an
error ZEC also made; yet no-one from its National Command Centre has been
charged.

† 5. While every Constituency result has been broadcast, all ZEC
presidential results remain secret. Like ZANU-PF, the police should not have
any official records of that vote yet. Can they explain on what evidence
therefore are they now arresting any ZEC official for theft of votes or
defrauding Robert Mugabe? Are they too relying on the results reported by
ZANU-PFs own agents? Has ZEC laid a complaint against some officials, rather
than merely rectifying any errors?

With so public a process, there surely can be no reasonable suspicion that
Robert Mugabe has been robbed by anyone. Why now open the ballot boxes?
There seems to be no credible grounds to do so, but there is every reason to
fear that the real reason for doing this is to suddenly “find” more votes
for Mugabe inside, in boxes kept guarded only by his officials, sealed with
only their seals.

Before ZEC does that, it must inform every accredited observer, and let them
also attend. It must show these observers all the polling station returns,
and let them take copies of that, and explain why it thinks there are any
grounds to reopen and recount, when ZANU-PF was present at the time and made
no complaint for so long.

Or it must tell observers it received complaints within the allowed time of
48 hours, but ignored them and announced the results anyway; and explain why
neither it nor ZANU-PF told observers that they had any complaints.

Regardless of any recount, every winner announced at the constituency centre
remains the winner unless and until that result is set aside by the
Electoral Court after petition & trial. ZEC cannot change it. A recount
cannot change it. Section 66(4) of the Electoral Act specifies that.

Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this
website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless
stated otherwise.


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Defending the victory

www.kubatana.net

April 10, 2008

The MDC scored a surprising (it ought not to have been, but was) victory in
the March 29th 2008 parliamentary election, smashing ZANU PF’s parliamentary
majority for the first time in its 28 years of dominance. However, being
surprised and jubilant are the same factors, as any football commentator
will tell you, which render a side most vulnerable when that team has just
scored - Liverpool equalised within three minutes of Arsenal’s goal in the
first leg of the 2008 Champions League quarter final. It is vital that the
opposition remain completely focussed for any run off of the Presidential
election, if that election, held concurrently with the parliamentary poll
fails to produce a winner with an absolute majority. Failure to do so would
mean that the triumph of the parliamentary vote will be lost.

The results for 207 constituencies (three will be determined by by-elections
due to the death of party candidates after nomination) were as follows:

† a.. MDC (Tsvangirai): 99 seats
† b.. ZANU PF: 97 seats
† c.. MDC (Mutambara): 10 seats
† d.. Jonathan Moyo: 1 seat
Although the Tsvangirai MDC holding is only two seats ahead of ZANU PF, it
is most likely that the two MDC factions will vote as one against
legislation introduced by a ZANU PF executive, as may independent Jonathan
Moyo, giving a working majority of 13 seats.

At first glance it may appear that this would render President Robert Mugabe’s
position untenable if he did win the second round run off. Any legislation
Mugabe attempted to introduce would be shot down by the MDC controlled
legislature. Although the Assembly could not immediately repeal The
Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act which Mugabe has used to rule
by decree (as all legislation requires Mugabe’s assent) Mugabe could not use
his legislative powers under this legislation, as any decree made by him may
effectively be vetoed by the House of Assembly eight days after its
enactment – a power the ZANU PF led house declined ever to exercise. In any
event, the Temporary Measures Act cannot be used for finance bills and
although Mugabe need not convene the hostile Assembly for 180 days after the
election, he will need to do so to have legislation approved to finance the
new government. It appears that a constitutional stalemate will result.

However, Mugabe’s plan B is already evident. Senior ZANU PF official Chris
Mutsvangwa and other ZANU PF apologists already have begun to start making
noises about a government of national unity suggesting that the Mutambara
MDC faction “the implacable enemy” of Tsvangirai will be the place to start.
He is surely mistaken that the antipathy the Mutambara faction has for
Tsvangirai exceeds that towards Mugabe, but the strategy is clear, and need
not involve co-opting the Mutambara faction at all. Mugabe will be required
to form a government and is given a broad power to do so. Having softened up
the population with talk about reconciliation, and national unity he will
move swiftly to appoint ministers from the House of Assembly as required.

And all he need he needs to do, under the guise of a unifying government, is
to find 14 MDC MPs prepared to accept positions as Ministers within his
bloated government. One would hope that none would be venal enough accept
the lure, though they could comfortably hide such venality under the
rhetoric of unity and reconciliation. If they do, the result would be that
these 14 would vote with ZANU PF, the MDC’s control of the House of Assembly
and triumph of March 29 would melt away like snow in the sun and Zimbabwe
would be more or less back to where it was before the elections.

It is thus vital that having told Mugabe to go on the 29th March that the
electorate now shouts. Unless the Tsvangirai’s supporters turn out in
sufficient numbers, the intimidation and ballot fixing clearly necessary to
win the presidential run off against the combined forces of the MDCs and
Makoni, will steal that which the MDC has just so stunningly won.

Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this
website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless
stated otherwise.


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The Devil that just will not die



Who said change was easy? Here we are, 14 days after the election and a
complete stalemate exists. Tonight Mugabe has announced that he will not
attend the SADC summit on Saturday and this completes his admission that the
election has gone against him and he is now acting completely outside the
law and violating his own constitution. He has illegally reappointed his
cabinet and continues in office as if he was still President. The military
have deployed and today they banned all political activity. In effect they
have staged a military coup.

The action started on Sunday two weeks ago, when just after lunch, the CIO
and the National Command Centre told the President that he had lost the
election. At that stage the results were 58 percent, Tsvangirai, 27 percent
Mugabe and 15 percent Makoni. This resulted in a hurriedly convened
Politburo meeting and a decision to simply falsify the election results to
give Mugabe a victory. When confronted by the security chiefs and his own
staff and ZEC he eventually backed down and agreed to allow a result that
showed Tsvangirai at slightly less than 50 per cent and a much improved
position for himself ≠ a face saving formula.

Then came an effort to get him to step down, this was blocked by Mugabe and
on the Thursday after the election, the Zanu PF leadership, working with the
heads of the armed forces in the JOC, decided to hardball the situation.
They decided to force a re-run, extend the period before the re-run to 90
days instead of the 21 days laid down in the Constitution and to militarize
the run off, intimidate the population and the MDC and to threaten that they
would ≥go back to the bush if Mugabe was defeated≤.

Regional leaders intervened and Zanu PF backed down ≠ or appeared to back
down. They held another politburo meeting and announced that they would
allow an audit of the V11 forms (requested by the MDC on Tuesday) and if the
final count showed that Tsvangirai had less than 50 per cent of the vote,
would insist on a re-run and allow the ZEC to run this on their own. They
did not say what they would do if the vote were more than 50 per cent in
favor of Tsvangirai.

ZEC then proceeded to bring all the V11 forms into town and a recount of the
Presidential ballot was undertaken. This was completed by mid morning on
Monday. Still no declaration of the result. Instead, Zanu PF produced a list
of 25 constituencies where they alleged there were irregularities. To
support this they arrested 7 ZEC officials and charged them with ≥under
counting the ballots for Mugabe≤. They demanded a recount of the vote in
those constituencies. This of course is a huge undertaking and illegal.

While this was going on, on Thursday they suddenly moved the whole of the
ZEC office to a secret location. Denying the Chief Election Agents for the 4
Presidential candidates access to the ZEC process. Even Simba Makoni ≠ one
of the candidates, was denied access. The Chief Executive of the ZEC, a Zanu
PF functionary took over and even the Commissioners and the Chairman of ZEC
seemed to have little influence over what happened.

On Friday (today) ZEC held a number of recounts. We (MDC) decided not to
attend as the process was unlawful and unconstitutional and we had had no
control of the ballot boxes since the election. In addition we heard that
they were going to interfere with the ballots themselves. So instead of the
MDC attending ≠ we sent lawyers to protest the recounts as being unlawful
and saying we would not witness the recounts and would not accept the
results.

What outsiders need to understand is just what happened during the election
and why we can say with conviction that we won.

When each polling station closed its doors to the voters on Saturday night
(over 9000 of them) the polling station staff from ZEC took a short break
and then started the count. This was done in meticulous way. Each of the
four boxes were opened, one by one and their contents poured onto a table in
front of perhaps 10 to 20 polling agents (each candidate was allowed one
polling agent ≠ in my case that was 3 for the local government candidates, 5
for the parliamentary candidates, 4 for the senate and 4 for the
presidential candidates ≠ 16 in all). Each ballot was held up and verified
and then the candidate voted for was noted and the ballot placed in that
pile. When this was completed the piles of ballots were counted and
recounted and only after all were satisfied were the results recorded.

When this process was completed for each election and each candidate, the
results were tallied and agreed ≠ then the V11 form was completed by the
Returning Officer (ZEC) and this was then signed ≠ by each political Party
representative and the Returning Officer as the official result. A copy was
then posted on the door of the polling station.

The V11 forms were then taken to a Command Centre for each electoral
district. This meant there were command centers for the local government
candidates, for the parliamentary candidates and for the senate. Only the
presidential ballot returns were sent to Harare for collating at the
National Command Center. In the case of all the other candidates we knew who
had been elected before lunch on Sunday ≠ I knew I had been elected by 6.30
on Sunday morning and was declared the winner by ZEC in my electoral
district.

So the critical thing to note is that the V11 forms are a legally binding
document ≠ signed by all parties to the election and verified at the polling
stations. I had 48 hours to appeal the election and if I did not ≠ it was
taken that I accepted the results. After that, if I had wanted to appeal the
result I would have had to go to the Courts and argue my case ≠ but the
ballot itself could not be the basis of this appeal. That was final.

When they were counting the presidential results (over 9 000 V11 forms) it
was the MDC team to saw the very high ballot figures for some of the
Mashonaland constituencies and stopped the count ≠ we then demanded to see
the original forms and this took nearly 3 days to bring them into Harare.
But already our own tabulations based on 90 per cent of the results from the
polling stations (we did not have 100 per cent coverage) had given us 50,3
percent vote for Tsvangirai ≠ even with the funnies in Mashonaland that we
still have to investigate. It was this figure we then took to the media.

We guessed that this would not change much in the remaining 10 per cent of
the ballot and announced we had won the election. We were certain of that
from leaks in the CIO and the ZEC itself. Now we understand the final count
of the presidential ballot has been completed ≠ without our observers
watching the process as laid down in the Electoral Act and we understand
that Morgan Tsvangirai is in the lead by a comfortable margin of well over
50 per cent ≠ in fact much better than we had originally expected.

But the devil just will not lie down and die. They have staged recounts of
the ballots (all illegal and having no force or effect) and are clearly
trying to do everything they can to get a re-run. In expectation that they
will succeed, they have deployed senior officers to all electoral districts
and have issued weapons to militia and the so-called ≥war veterans≤. The war
was 28 years ago so most of the real vets are old or deceased. We are seeing
a wave of violence against our activists and MDC structures. Clearly they
think they can win a re-run using the tactics that served them so well in
the past.

MDC will just not accept this state of affairs ≠ we have said we won the
election and when the ZEC finally gives us the result of their count, this
will be proved, even after all this nonsense. We are saying we will not
condone a rerun as we won the election by more than 50 per cent. The
behavior of the State since the election pretty much declares as much.

We have been very patient and tolerant of Zanu PF behavior ≠ as have the
whole region and Africa as a whole. But now its time to stand up and say no
more! If the election results are not announced soon or the crisis resolved
by SADC leaders, we have said we will call on the country to basically shut
down until they do, from next Tuesday.

SADC meets in the morning and bears a heavy burden in that they have to
defend constitutional government and legitimacy in the region. An election
has been held ≠ it was neither free nor fair and it was managed in a totally
partisan manner. Even so, the MDC beat Zanu PF and it is time to tell Mugabe
to leave office and allow his beleaguered country to start its long road
back to sanity and recovery.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, m11th April 2008


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Zimbabwe leads the left-field contenders

Financial Times

By Ellen Kelleher

Published: April 11 2008 16:53 | Last updated: April 11 2008 16:53

Undeterred by the violence in Harare, a number of hedge fund managers are
moving to invest in Zimbabwe, on the view that the country’s tyrannical
president Robert Mugabe is likely to be removed from power.

With inflation running as high as 400,000 per cent and its economy in ruins,
the country would seem a poor choice. But daring investors believe returns
are likely to be strong in the long-term if a new president is elected and
economic reforms are introduced.

“We’ve seen a huge surge in interest from institutional investors in our
fund in the last two months,” reports Jonathan Chew, manager of Imara’s
Zimbabwe fund, an institutional fund, which launched in March of last year.
“In January, we had $14m in assets and at the end of March, $21m.”

“Zimbabwe is the last country with hyperinflation where you have a financial
system you can buy into. We’re hoping the situation will be similar to Latin
America. When the top-down change happened there, the markets went up a
†lot,” Chew explains.

While Zimbabwe remains an extreme example, the pick-up in interest in
investment there is part of a wider trend: institutional and private
investors are looking further afield to frontier markets in a bid to
diversify portfolios. They want to find returns that are even less
correlated to the US, Europe and the UK than those offered by companies in
Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The downside is that frontier markets tend to be far riskier and less
liquid. But their valuations appear attractive relative to emerging markets.
And further appreciation in currencies in these countries is likely to boost
returns in the long-term.

Mark Mobius, president of Templeton Emerging Markets, says: “The general
principle is to go after those countries and companies that are unpopular
and bombed out, and that are good value in terms of price-to-earnings,
price-to-book and dividend yield.”

Among the countries attracting attention are Qatar, the United Arab
Emirates, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt.

The Middle East is proving particularly popular as the economies there have
remained quite stable amid the credit crisis and have benefited from the
rising oil price.

Nick Price, who manages Fidelity’s Emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa
fund, is especially bullish on Qatar, which has large gas reserves and is up
59 per cent in the last year.

Industries Qatar, a state-owned gas company trading at ten times next year’s
earnings and benefiting from long-term fixed pricing contracts, and Qatar
Real Estate, a state-controlled property group that maintains exclusive
rights to develop industrial regions of the country, are two of his stock
picks.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also attracting interest as oil windfalls
have been used to broaden the economies of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the other
five states.

“Aside from inflationary concerns, the economic outlook is very positive
with the UAE enjoying one of the highest GDP per capita in the region, which
is largely due to oil exports,” says Slim Feriani, manager of Progressive’s
Alternative Frontier markets fund of funds.

UAE stocks favoured by Feriani include Shuaa Capital, a Dubai-based
investment bank, which is trading at ten times this year’s earnings, and
Aldar Properties, an Abu Dhabi-based property developer which is trading at
nine times earnings.

But Price of Fidelity has opted not to invest in Dubai, casting it off as a
market that has been “well-crawled over.”

While Abu Dhabi’s economy is about “a decade behind” Dubai’s, according to
Price, its property market offers more opportunity as it is far less
developed. Price is invested in Abu Dhabi National Hotels, which controls as
much as 80 per cent of the hotel market in the state and trades at about 13
times future earnings.

“Qatar and Abu Dhabi are the most interesting of the Middle Eastern
†markets,” he concludes.

Moving on to Africa, one of the more interesting markets is Nigeria, which
boasts a market capitalisation of $85bn due to its oil reserves. Nigerian
banks such as Diamond and Guaranty Trust offer far more value than UK and US
banks at the moment as they maintain low loan-to-deposit ratios,
demonstrating a cautious approach to extending credit.

In Egypt, inflation is a concern, but a holding favoured by a number of fund
managers is Eastern Tobacco, which controls the tobacco market in a country
with one of the highest rates of smoking in the world. It is a likely
takeover target for larger players with strong balance sheets, such as
Philip Morris and British American Tobacco.

Two others are Egyptian Financial and Industrial, a fertiliser company which
has opened a prosperous sulphuric acid plant, and Mobinil, the mobile phone
group, which is trading at eleven times earnings.

Zimbabwe is off-limits to most private investors. But those who are
interested can either gain exposure indirectly through mining companies that
have interests in Zimbabwean companies, such as Impala Platinum in
neighbouring South Africa, or via funds of funds with stakes in Imara’s
Zimbabwe fund – Progressive Alternative Frontier Markets fund, for example,
has a 1 per cent exposure to the fund.

South Africa holds appeal for its minerals and African fund managers tend to
maintain exposure to the ferrochrome and platinum companies. Coal mining
stocks are also likely to benefit in the near term due to power shortages
across the country.

CIC Energy, a power plant which is in development in Botswana, is also worth
a look as it has coal reserves of as much as 2bn tonnes and aims to provide
power to southern Africa.

Asset managers have been rushing to offer these frontier funds to respond to
growing interest.

This month, for example, Barclays Global Investors unveiled its Frontier
Markets Fund, which includes investments in the United Arab Emirates,
Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Sri Lanka


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Aboriginal Medical Service statment on Zimbabwe crisis

MEDIA RELEASE

ABORIGINAL MEDICAL SERVICE CALLS FOR URGENT INTERNATIONAL ACTION ON ZIMBABWE

Mr Sol Bellear, Chairperson of Australia’s first Aboriginal Medical Service, called for urgent international action to bring peace and democracy to Zimbabwe.
The Aboriginal Medical Service has strong links to the Zimbabwean Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai and to Senate Leader, Sekai Holland. “As an organisation, have an internationally respected record in human rights and we feel it is our duty to speak out on this issue of deep international concern”.
Echoing the sentiments of Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mr Bellear said that there had been a clear failure of behind the scenes efforts to convince Mugabe to relinquish power.
“There was a real danger of a human rights catastrophe in Zimbabwe” said Mr Bellear. “The world cannot sit by and watch. Morally, we cannot allow the Government of Zimbabwe to perpetrate violence and killings against its citizens”.
Mr Bellear called for a concerted international intervention in the affairs of Zimbabwe. “It must happen immediately and should involve the African Union, European Union and the United Nations”.
Like Archbishop Tutu, Mr Bellear believed that it would be essential to send a peace keeping force to Zimbabwe in order to ensure civil stability. He also agreed with the Archbishop’s call for a Marshall like plan to re-build the fractured Zimbabwean economy.
“The impotence and paralysis must end. There must be swift and determined action. The world must not abandon the citizens of Zimbabwe.”

Contact Sol Bellear
0411 481 829
+61 411 481 829

SEARCH Foundation
Level 3, Suite 3B, 110 Kippax St,
SURRY HILLS NSW 2010
Australia
Ph: 02 9211 4164; Fax: 02 9211 1407
www.search.org.au
ABN 63 050 096 976
promoting democracy, social justice and environmental sustainability
This email is provided by the SEARCH Foundation as an information service. Any views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Foundation.

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Friday, 11 April 2008 20:34 UK

Police in Harare, 10 April 2008

Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of leading a normal life.

Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the world's highest rate of annual inflation and just one in five has an official job.

I narrowly missed being beaten by riot police in town this Friday lunchtime.


Luckily, I was delayed at the bank, and so missed the violence by 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes.

People told me that the confrontation happened at an area not far from the town centre where people hitch lifts to the suburbs.

Zimbabweans queue for food outside a shop in Harare (11 April 2008)
The price of basic food stuffs has risen dramatically during the past week

At lunchtimes, a service is held in a nearby church - and the police apparently started beating up people as the congregation spilled out mixing with the crowds waiting for lifts.

The police said they were violating the Public Order and Security Act, which prohibits gatherings without prior police clearance.

People are saying water tankers were used to disperse the crowd.

I myself saw a water tanker heading in that direction.

I was meant to be going to a movie on Friday evening with my boyfriend, but we are both heading home after work just in case.

In fact, we've been afraid of being out of doors after 6pm. There's a sort of a curfew that people have imposed on themselves out of fear of the heavy police presence around town.

'Rumour and grapevine'

In my last diary entry, I said that people had lost their fear. But the atmosphere has changed in the last day.


On my way to work on Thursday, I heard that people are being beaten up in the rural areas by militia made up of war veterans, Zanu-PF youth and graduates from youth training camps

In a shop I was in people were complaining about this week's huge price rises - but when a uniformed officer came in, they immediately clammed up fearing his reaction.

The price jumps are really dramatic - a cereal I usually buy was Z$150m ($2.68; £1.36) on Tuesday and Z$545m ($9.76; £4.95) by Friday - that's about a quarter of civil servant's salary.

On my way to work on Thursday I heard that people are being beaten up in the rural areas by militia made up of war veterans, Zanu-PF youth and graduates from youth training camps. The reason: voting for the opposition.

I heard these stories again from different people on Friday.

We operate on rumour and grapevine here, nothing of any substance is broadcast on national TV and radio, so these stories may be true or not.

Knowing the calibre of training camp graduates, I would not be surprised if they were true.


Mbeki steps in to resolve crisis

The Australian

Correspondents in Johannesburg and Harare | April 12, 2008

THE President of regional powerbroker South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, has finally
inserted himself in the crisis engulfing neighbouring Zimbabwe, meeting
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Pretoria and offering to attend an
emergency summit in Zambia today to help broker a deal on the disputed
presidential election of March 29.

"They have already met," Nqobizitha Mlilo, of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, said last night of the talks in Pretoria between Mr
Mbeki and Mr Tsvangirai.

"The meeting went well. The details are not at this stage for public
consumption."

Last night, the lawyer for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested on
charges related to a helicopter hired for Mr Tsvangirai's election campaign.

Innocent Chagonda was arrested for demanding that police release the
confiscated craft, police officers said.

But the MDC said the arrest was part of a wider campaign to clamp down on
the opposition in the wake of the elections.

Meanwhile, two weeks after the March 29 elections, there was still no word
on the outcome of the presidential poll.

A legal bid by the MDC to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to declare
the result of the election was stillunder consideration by Justice Tendai
Uchena in the High Court, and no decision on the matter was expected until
Monday at the earliest.

The ZEC said its hands were tied over the release of the presidential
election results because the matter was in court, the state media reported
yesterday.

"The commission wishes to advise the public that the question of the results
of the presidential election is now the subject of legal proceedings in the
High Court," the ZEC said in a statement cited by the Herald newspaper.

President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party says there must be a run-off
vote, but the MDC argues that Mr Tsvangirai has won the election outright.

Mr Tsvangirai's meeting with Mr Mbeki comes ahead of an extraordinary
meeting of southern African leaders, who asked him to mediated in the crisis
in Zimbabwe before the elections were held.

South Africa's deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad, said yesterday his
Government considered Mr Mbeki's mediation successful, and that the
Zimbabweans had been able to express their will in the election, despite the
deadlock over the count.

The Guardian newspaper in Britain reported that the MDC was refusing to take
part in a run-off election.

The MDC urged regional leaders meeting at today's summit to tell Mugabe to
give up power immediately.

Mr Tsvangirai's deputy, MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, said the failure
to release the election results nearly a fortnight after the vote amounted
to a "constitutional coup d'etat".

A former MDC politician exiled in South Africa, Roy Bennett, confirmed the
meeting between Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mbeki took place, saying it was "around
the Zimbabwean situation, and Morgan Tsvangirai was happy".

The South African Government said it could not confirm that the meeting had
occurred.

As international pressure mounted for Zimbabwe's election results to be
released amid fears of violence, Mr Mbeki stuck to his policy of quiet
diplomacy, saying the situation in Zimbabwe was "manageable".

The clamour of appeals for the region to take action finally bore fruit on
Tuesday when the 14-nation Southern African Development Community announced
the summit in Zambia for today, to consider the impasse.

Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mbeki have all confirmed they will attend the
summit.

AFP


ANC Treasurer Says Mugabe 'Using Us'



SW Radio Africa (London)

11 April 2008
Posted to the web 11 April 2008

Lance Guma

The treasurer general of South Africa's ANC party, Matthews Phosa, has said
that the policy of 'quiet diplomacy' adopted by President Thabo Mbeki
towards Zimbabwe has failed and that 'Mugabe was using us.'

Phosa's comments were made to a gathering of business people in Somerset
West just outside Cape Town, and have confirmed the growing chasm developing
between Mbeki's stance and that of his own party.

In a week that saw MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai meet new party leader
Jacob Zuma, more and more ANC officials are speaking out and demanding
tougher action on Zimbabwe. Zuma was the first to demand the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission release the results, arguing it was wrong to keep the
country and the international community in suspense. ANC deputy leader Gwede
Mantashe chipped in and described the withholding of results as equivalent
to a 'coup.'

Gwede however feels a government of national unity is the only viable
solution and is something the ANC would like to see happening. Sources say
an ANC national executive meeting in March arrived at the conclusion that
'quiet diplomacy' had failed and a new approach was needed.

Mbeki has been left with egg on his face after urging 'patience' while
claiming the situation was 'manageable.' Party sources sought to spare his
blushes by claiming, 'the president must do his thing as president of the
country and play a role as government; we must have party-to-party
relationships.'


SADC summit not necessary - Zimbabwe official

Reuters

Fri 11 Apr 2008, 17:55 GMT

HARARE, April 11 (Reuters) - An emergency regional summit to discuss the
crisis over Zimbabwe's unresolved elections is not necessary, a senior
official in Zimbabwe's foreign affairs department said.

"We believe this meeting really is not necessary because Zimbabwe has made
it quite clear that they are going to announce the results (of the
presidential election)," state television quoted Joey Bimha, foreign affairs
permanent secretary, as saying.

The 14-member Southern African Development Community will meet on Saturday
in Lusaka to look for ways to prevent the political stalemate in Zimbabwe
from turning violent.


Mugabe is losing the region's support


Photo: IRIN
Has President Robert Mugabe got any friends left?
JOHANNESBURG , 11 April 2008 (IRIN) - Seven months ago leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) greeted President Robert Mugabe with a standing ovation at a regional summit in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, but while the venue for the 12 April crisis summit on Zimbabwe maybe the same, analysts say there has been a sea change in attitudes by southern African presidents towards Zimbabwe's 84-year-old leader.

Mugabe, who was scheduled to attend the summit, has reportedly announced on the eve of the meeting that he would not, without giving his reasons. Either way the support Mugabe once enjoyed from SADC, has withered within a few months, according to analysts.

In August 2007 Zimbabwe's 7,600 percent inflation rate was the world's highest and since SADC last gathered in Lusaka it has galloped to more than 100,000 percent.

Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party has lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since the country won its independence from Britain in 1980 and the apparent refusal to publish the presidential results of the 29 March poll, which Movement for Democratic Change opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims to have won, has led to increasing international condemnation, not least from among SADC's main western donor nations.

Martin Rupiya, a senior researcher at the Pretoria based think-tank the Institute for Security Studies, told IRIN the hurriedly arranged summit was a consequence of both "donor pressure and a recognition (by SADC) that there is a real crisis (in Zimbabwe) and they (SADC) must do something about it."

''It will be telling it like it is for the very first time''
"It will be telling it like it is for the very first time," he said.

In the past SADC had maintained a united front in the face of criticism against Mugabe, although Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, before he became SADC chairman, broke ranks briefly when he compared Zimbabwe to a "sinking Titanic" in 2007, but he was swiftly brought back into line and recanted his comments.

"Mugabe does not come to this meeting (SADC summit) as a president of the country, but as a loser of a vote. This is no longer a popular leader. He is severely wounded," Rupiya said.

Tsvangirai, who has been the butt of Mugabe insults since the MDC was formed in 1999, will also attend the summit and while Mugabe has rarely been seen in public since the poll, the MDC leader has been on a high profile tour of the region and held meetings with its political heavyweights.

"Even (heads of states) receiving Morgan Tsvangirai, where before African leaders have side stepped him, is a major breakthrough in diplomacy," Rupiya said.

Shifting support

In seven months there has been significant developments in sub-Saharan Africa, which are having a direct impact on Mugabe and his attempts to extend his 28-year rule.

Kenya's disputed 2007 polls that has so far claimed hundreds of lives in post-election violence, is one scenario routinely discussed as a possible outcome of Zimbabwe poll dispute, but it is the power struggle within one of SADC's main power brokers, South Africa, and Seretse Ian Khama's recent assumption to Botswana's presidency that are likely to have a direct bearing on the futures of Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai's meeting on 10 April with South African President Thabo Mbeki, appointed mediator in 2007 by SADC in talks between ZANU-PF and MDC to agree the conditions for free and fair polls in Zimbabwe, was arranged after he met with the Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa's ruling ANC party.

Zuma, who fought a bitter and acrimonious battle with Mbeki for the ANC presidency - which culminated in a Zuma victory at the ruling party's congress in December 2007 - publicly raised concerns about Zimbabwe's elections and said the delay in the release of the presidential ballot was "suspicious".

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, was one of Zuma's kingmakers in his struggle for the ANC presidency and has been a fierce critic of Mugabe and strong supporter of Zimbabwe's trade union based MDC opposition.

Neo Simutanyi, executive director of the Centre for Policy Studies, a Lusaka based think tank, told IRIN, "Mbeki is aware of Zuma's statements and he will need to score political points (at the summit)."

Since Tsvangirai's meeting with Zuma, South Africa's deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad has expressed concerns about the renewed evictions of white farmers in the wake of ZANU-PF's poll defeat, which is "a departure from the norm, a new paradigm," Rupiya said.

The role of Botswana

While international and regional gaze has been fixed on Zimbabwe, neighbouring Botswana witnessed a smooth presidential transition that saw Seretse Ian Khama, a former army commander and the son of the country's founding president Seretse Khama, installed as successor to president Festus Moegae on 1 April.

More than three million Zimbabweans are said to have left the country since 2000, where four out five people are jobless. Neighbouring Botswana, after South Africa, is a country of choice for many.

The influx of poor migrants in search of employment to Botswana, one of the region's richest countries, now has one of its prisons exclusively reserved for Zimbabwean "miscreants" Rupiya said.

Rupiya told IRIN that a well-informed source told him it was Khama that was the impetus for the crisis summit and that Botswana's new president had contacted Mwanawasa and told him "we have a problem here" in reference to Zimbabwe's poll.

Botswana's spokesperson for the president, Jeff Ramsay, told IRIN that Botswana was "involved" in the calling of the summit, "not leading it" and "do not want to claim otherwise." He said "Mwanawasa, as chairman of SADC makes the decision [to call an emergency summit]."

Tsvangirai has met with Khama since Zimbabwe's poll in the capital Gaberone, although Botswana, viewed as a model African democracy by European Union donor nations, has a track record of dissent towards Mugabe's presidential style.

''Botswana's president Ian Khama†has no relationship with Mugabe and he will be able to put critical issues on the table. He will be able to say things that others (SADC leaders) are afraid to say''
Simutanyi said Khama's presidential term may only be a few days old, but it means that he has "no relationship with Mugabe and he will be able to put critical issues on the table. He will be able to say things that others (SADC leaders) are afraid to say."

Mugabe's staunchest regional ally, Angola - Africa's second largest oil producer and another SADC power broker, "will probably not be able to hold sway (at the summit)" and is itself facing elections this year that will probably prove a greater challenge than Zimbabwe's, Rupiya said.

Namibia's former president, Sam Nujoma, was also a loyal Mugabe supporter, but his successor, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, does not share the same position, while Tanzania "will not break ranks, but it won't keep quiet either," Rupiya said.



[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]