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Southern Africa leaders start Zimbabwe summit
Chaudhry 2 hours, 35 minutes ago
LUSAKA (Reuters) - Southern African
nations began an emergency summit on
Zimbabwe's election deadlock on
Saturday but South Africa's Thabo Mbeki said
there was no
Zambia, which called the meeting of the 14-nation Southern
Development Community (SADC), expressed concern about the situation
neighbor, where a long delay in issuing presidential poll results has
fears of violence.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe did not
attend the summit.
"This summit should focus on helping Zimbabwe to find
an answer that
genuinely reflects the mood of the people," said SADC
chairman and Zambian
President Levy Mwanawasa in his opening
"SADC can no longer continue to stand by and do nothing when one
members is experiencing political and economic
President Mbeki, the most powerful leader at the summit,
diplomacy" in Zimbabwe and seemed not to share the regional
international concern over the impasse.
"I wouldn't describe that
as a crisis. It's a normal electoral process in
Zimbabwe. We have to wait
for ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) to release
(the results)," Mbeki
told reporters after meeting Mugabe for an hour.
The Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) opposition won a parliamentary
election on March 29
and says its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, also won a
presidential poll on the
But no results of that election have been released, stoking
tension and MDC
charges that Mugabe is planning a violent campaign to
reverse the biggest
setback of his 28-year rule.
The MDC has gone to
court to try to force the ZEC to release the results and
a judge has
promised a verdict for Monday.
had hoped the vote would begin their recovery from economic
by the world's worst rate of hyper-inflation at more than
Mwanawasa said in his speech: "This summit is not intended to
excellency, Robert Mugabe, in the dock. In fact it would be
even make such a suggestion."
Mugabe, aged 84 and in
power since independence from Britain in 1980, said
he was not snubbing the
summit, which three government ministers will
"He (Mbeki) is
going to the summit, I'm not ... We're very good friends,
brothers. But sometimes we also have other business that holds us
He dismissed comments by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
that the world
was losing patience.
"If Brown is the world, sure, he
will lose patience. I know Brown as a
little tiny dot on this planet," said
Mugabe who calls the MDC a puppet of
Britain, the former colonial
Mbeki met Tsvangirai on Thursday but no details of their talks
Tsvangirai earlier met Jacob Zuma, who ousted Mbeki as
leader of the ruling
African National Congress in December and now rivals
him as South Africa's
most powerful man. Zuma joined the chorus calling for
results to be
Tsvangirai has been invited to Lusaka. "No
decision can be made without
hearing both sides since there is a stalemate,"
MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti said the party would tell
the summit to be
tough with Mugabe, still regarded as a liberation-era hero
by many Africans.
SADC has long been regarded as toothless in its
response to Mugabe, despite
the meltdown of Zimbabwe's economy, which has
impacted the whole region.
Mbeki led an unsuccessful SADC mediation attempt
An estimated one-quarter of the population has fled Zimbabwe,
many to South
Africa and other neighboring nations, to escape chronic
shortages of food
and fuel, 80 percent unemployment and a virtually
Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan
said on Friday that
Zimbabwe "now stands on the brink."
insist that a peaceful and just solution be found to resolve the
crisis in Zimbabwe," he said.
(Additional reporting by Shapi Shacinda in
Lusaka, Cris Chinaka, MacDonald
Dzirutwe, Nelson Banya, Stella Mapenzauswa,
Muchena Zigomo in Harare and Sue
Thomas in Johannesburg; Writing by Barry
Moody; Editing by Marius Bosch and
in Zimbabwe, South African Says
New York Times
Alexander Joe/Agence France-Presse —
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa,
left, and Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, talked to reporters after their
meeting in Harare on Saturday.
LUSAKA, Zambia (Reuters) — An emergency regional
summit meeting began Saturday in an attempt to end the election deadlock in
Zimbabwe, but hopes for a
strong statement from the group looked less likely after its most powerful
leader, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, said the
stalemate was not a crisis.
Mbeki also said that Zimbabwe’s electoral commission must be given time to
release the results of a presidential poll held two weeks ago.
He spoke after an hourlong meeting with Zimbabwe’s
president, Robert Mugabe, who refused
to attend the meeting of the region’s leaders in Zambia.
The Movement for Democratic Change, the main
opposition party in Zimbabwe, won a parliamentary election held on March 29, the
same day as the presidential vote. The party claims victory in the presidential
vote as well and has gone to court to try to force Zimbabwe’s electoral
commission to release the results.
“I wouldn’t describe that as a crisis,” Mr. Mbeki
told reporters after his discussions with Mr. Mugabe and before the summit
meeting began. “It’s a normal electoral process in Zimbabwe.”
But in opening remarks at the regional meeting,
President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia
said: “This extraordinary summit has been convened out of concern at the recent
turn of events in Zimbabwe. This summit should focus on helping Zimbabwe to find
an answer that genuinely reflects the mood of the people.”
He said summit leaders could “no longer continue to
stand by and do nothing when one of its members is experiencing political and
Mr. Mugabe, 84, who has led Zimbabwe since
independence from Britain in 1980, said he was not snubbing the meeting, which
three government ministers will attend.
He told reporters: Mr. Mbeki “is going to the summit,
I’m not. We’re very good friends, very good brothers. But sometimes we also have
other business that holds us back.”
He dismissed comments by Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain
that the world was losing patience with him, saying: “If Brown is the world,
sure, he will lose patience. I know Brown as a little tiny dot on this
There were no immediate details of the meeting
between Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Mbeki, but a senior Zimbabwean official said Mr.
Mbeki had asked for a briefing on political developments following the
Mr. Mbeki met with the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on
Thursday, but no details of their talks were revealed.
Zambia’s foreign minister, Kabinga Pande, has called
for the election results to be released and said, “No decision can be made
without hearing both sides, since there is a stalemate.”
Mr. Tsvangirai has been invited to Zambia to explain
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Movement for
Democratic Change, said the party would ask those at the meeting to stand up to
Mr. Mugabe, whom many African still see as a liberation-era hero. “They must be
strong and stand up against dictatorship,” Mr. Biti said.
The 14-member South African Development Community,
the group meeting in Zambia, has long been seen as toothless in its response to
Zimbabwe’s political and economic problems.
Last year it delegated Mr. Mbeki to oversee
negotiations between ZANU-PF, the ruling party, and the Movement for Democratic
Change to try to ensure a fair and free election, but the talks failed. That
prompted criticism of the regional group and of Mr. Mbeki’s policy of “quiet
The summit meeting appeared to be the best chance to
dissuade Mr. Mugabe from cracking down on the opposition. Dozens of opposition
activists and supporters were beaten by the police last year after a gathering
in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
Zimbabwean police have banned political rallies,
including one planned by the Movement for Democratic Change for Sunday. The
opposition has called for an indefinite general strike to begin on Tuesday. Both
political parties accuse the other of preparing for violence.
Kofi Annan, the former
United Nations secretary
general, said Friday that Zimbabwe, which is also undergoing an economic
meltdown, “now stands on the brink.”
The regional group “must insist that a peaceful and
just solution be found to resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe,” he said.
power over Zimbabweans must be removed
I’m struggling to write this because I am angry, I feel sick, and yes, I am
crying over my keyboard.
Mbeki, after going to Harare to see Mugabe, says today that there is “no
I cannot believe I am so upset - again - because whenever I know Thabo Mbeki
is about to meet to discuss anything to do with the Zimbabwean crisis, I steel
myself for extreme disappointment. He never fails to deliver, so why do I
stupidly, even when I expect it, feel dumbfounded when it comes?!
I wrote this
last year, which sums up some of my feelings about him. My comments then
were in relation to my ‘Mbeki experiences’ in 2004. 2007, I re-visited it again,
and one long painful year later, nothing has changed:
That moment, when the realisation that the South African government would do
nothing - NOTHING at all - to see justice and human rights restored in our
country was the lowest point I’ve ever experienced in the years I’ve been doing
my small bit for democracy and human rights in our country. Mugabe can’t bring
me this low, because he is evil and I expect nothing from him. Up until that
moment two years ago, I’d believed that South Africa, with its history of
apartheid and the way it had embraced the principles of Human Rights (they have
a Human Rights Bill), would not be able to stand by and watch Zimbabwean people
lied to, brutalised and beaten. But they could, and they did. And it took me a
long time to pick myself up after that.
I’m afraid to say that I expect nothing from the South African government
anymore, and that’s about as damning a statement I could ever make of a
government; in fact, the only other government I think I would say that about is
our own. I expect nothing from Zanu PF either.
How many years of this type of ineptitude and pain are we expected to swallow
from Thabo Mbeki? How likely is it now that SADC, after Mbeki has gone out and
made public statements before the meeting, will come out
and contradict him.
The loathsome, loathesome man!
Just look at
this post here, which sums up his attitude of suppressing any criticism of
Mugabe (so called &^%$£ ‘quiet diplomacy’). Or this, if that
isn’t enough. Mbeki’s quietness has nothing to do with ‘diplomacy’: it is
censorship of the truth.
Thabo Mbeki is an utter disgrace.
It is well past the time now for a new ‘point man’ to be given charge of the
mediating through the Zimbabwean crisis. He has failed failed failed. I couldn’t believe
it when he was given this job again.
The image at the top of this post is disgusting.
I don’t care how many people tell me its ‘diplomacy’ and ‘african culture’ -
to Zimbabweans of all races who also, by the way, share in that African culture,
this looks like a reassuring, ‘Don’t worry my brother, I’m watching your
Worse, a friend from overseas called me when he heard the news and said
reports on the radio there are that Mugabe took the opportunity to mock Gordon
Brown - yet again - and that Thabo Mbeki was heard audibly chuckling at
Mugabe’s insulting ‘wit’ in the background.
If that and the stinking image isn’t enough, he adds salt
to our wounds by saying “no crisis”.
NO CRISIS? Words fail me.
- Tell that to the ZEC officials who’ve been arrested;
- Tell that to the many people being beaten right now in Zimbabwe;
- Tell that to the people (who live in a country which has more than 80%
unemployment and the highest inflation rate in the world) who have just had
everything they have in the world destroyed;
- Tell that to us who hear military aircraft overhead, turning our legs to
water with the threat;
- Tell that to all of us who have voted year after year after year,
democractically and peacefully, for change.
I haven’t even scratched the surface. This is a tiny list of things that have
happened AFTER 29 March. If we delve backwards we have a morbid
heap of human rights violations that pile on and on and on. All of them tied to
a face, a name, and a living breathing human being.
I loathe Mbeki.
Which leader in this world is going to have the guts to REALLY stand up for
democracy and justice and INSIST it is allowed to come to life
If democracy and peace is to flourish, then the world has to -HAS to -
substantively support it.
It’s men like Mbeki who take a nation by its hand and walk it into war.
The first response I got to this news from a friend via sms was “Well, that’s
it. Zimbabweans now have to take control”. That was the first response, and
since then I’ve had more.
That scares me. It’s not what any of us want at all.
A good first step would be to get rid of Thabo Mbeki as point man. He is a
moral lightweight and patently cares more for the opposition leader Robert
Mugabe than he does the starving sick dying hurting people in our country.
This cartoon, by the way, is available for sending as an e-card from
our website. Don’t hold back!
Mwanawasa: No country "can turn blind eye" to events
Monsters and Critics
Apr 12, 2008, 16:13 GMT
Lusaka - Zambian President
Levy Mwanawasa Saturday called for peace in
Zimbabwe following reports of
attacks on opposition supporters in the wake
of disputed March 29
presidential polls, the results of which are still
Opening the extraordinary Southern African Development
summit in Lusaka on Zimbabwe's election standoff, Mwanawasa
said: 'No leader
nor country can turn a blind eye to events taking place in
'As SADC, we are committed to peace not only in Zimbabwe but
in the entire
No leader could condone violence, Mwanawasa
said, referring to reports of
attacks on supporters of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
in recent days by youth militia loyal
to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
The ongoing silence of
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission over the poll
outcome 'has given rise to
tension,' the current chairman of the 14-nation
Although the results are still under wraps, the MDC says its
Tsvangirai won outright. Mugabe's party is calling for a
Mwanawasa said he regretted that Mugabe had bowed out of
the summit at the
last minute, saying SADC wanted to convey to him their
desire for good
governance and 'not put Mugabe in the dock.'
election crisis in Zimbabwe was of concern to all SADC members who
to defend democracy, peace and stability in pursuit of common values
democratic institutions like electoral commissions, he said.
out of 14 SADC heads of state present at the summit retired into a
Brown says international community can't
wait any longer for Zimbabwe election results
International Herald Tribune
PressPublished: April 12, 2008
LONDON: The world cannot wait any
longer for Zimbabwe to release the results
of last month's elections,
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said
Making his second
statement on the situation in two days, Brown said the
community was growing increasingly frustrated.
"We can't wait any longer
for the announcement of these results," Brown said
in London, as an
emergency summit of southern African nations took place in
Friday, Brown said in a statement that the international community's
"patience with the regime is wearing thin."
The leader's criticisms
over the last two days represent a hardening of
Britain's stance over the
political deadlock. Though often critical of
Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe, Brown avoided attacking him in the
aftermath of the disputed
elections March 29 amid fears his comment would
stir up anti-British
sentiment in the former colony.
"The international community will look to
them for a declaration of
elections, and if there is to be a future
election, that there's
international monitoring," Brown said Saturday. "It's
appalling if there's
intimidation and violence, it's completely
The U.S. said it had "credible reports of violence and
opposition supporters and called on the government to
end the attacks.
In a letter to foreign policy spokesmen with Britain's
published Saturday, British Foreign Secretary David
Miliband said he is
concerned about reports of state sponsored violence
"No one can be in any doubt that these
are the measures of a regime whose
legitimacy has gone but whose capacity to
rule through fear and
intimidation, though dented, remains potent," Miliband
"It is clear that there was a majority of people who voted against
Mugabe, despite the conditions under which the vote was held," he
Miliband said Brown will raise the issue during a visit to the U.S.
week, to emphasize that the world "stands squarely behind the
people in their desire for a change of course."
British officials have said that if Mugabe wins a presidential runoff,
fraud or by force, the prospects for his government are short term, and
would likely retain power for only a matter of months.
speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity
situation, said Western nations could consider taking matters to the
Security Council, if violence becomes widespread and the aftermath of a
Mugabe presidential election win led to a regional crisis and new exodus
from the country.
Brown said the whole international community is
still looking for proof that
the polls were free and fair.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has dismissed Brown's criticism. He
called the British leader a "little tiny dot," on the world
Independent tallies suggest Mugabe lost the March 29 vote, but
that a runoff
would be needed because no one won more than 50 percent of the
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he won outright and has
the region in recent days asking neighboring leaders to push for
resign after 28 years in power.
Gordon Brown is "little tiny dot" on world stage,
Monsters and Critics
Apr 12, 2008, 15:37 GMT
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had sharp words for
Prime Minister Gordon
Brown after the British leader issued his second call
in as many days for
the release of results from Zimbabwe's March 29
the world?' the 84-year-old Zimbabwean leader asked rhetorically
meeting in Harare with South African President Thabo Mbeki.
'Brown is a
little tiny dot in this world,' he said scathingly.
Mugabe was reacting
to Brown's call for the official results of the
presidential elections, in
which opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has already claimed victory over Mugabe, but
Mugabe's party is
calling for a runoff, saying neither won outright.
'The whole eyes of the
world are on Zimbabwe,' Brown said, urging 'proper
if the election goes to a second round.
Mugabe met Mbeki before the South
African leader flew to Zambia for an
emergency meeting of the 14-nation
Southern African Development Community on
the tensions in
Mugabe is boycotting the summit, which Tsvangirai is attending
and which is
expected to call for the urgent release of the election
'Sometimes we have other business that holds us back,' Mugabe
reporters, assuring his no-show in Zambia was not a snub to his
who were still his 'very good friends,' his 'brothers.'
Chants greet Tsvangirai
12/04/2008 16:00† -
Lusaka - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrived
at a summit of regional heads of state called to discuss the
crisis in his homeland.
Tsvangirai was greeted by
chants of "President, President" as he arrived,
but made no comment to
He was the first of the summit guests to arrive and entered
the host, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa.
accuses Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe of delaying the result
March 29 presidential election and of launching a campaign of
that would render a run-off vote undemocratic.
Me or Tsvangirai,Mugabe
Tsvangirai,MDC President, right and Tendai Biti MDC Secretary General, left on
the front row seat at the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
extraordinary meeting on Zimbabwe at the Mulungushi International Conference
Center in Lusaka, Zambia
President Robert Mugabe told SADC chairman Levy
Mwanawasa,that if Tsvangirai addresses the SADC meeting he will not attend.
Mwanawasa then dropped a planned keynote address from Tsvangirai in return for
him to attend,but still Mugabe was adamant that he cannot be at the same summit
with the opposition leader.Sources tell Metro.
He fumed at Mwanawasa and told him that Tsvangirai
has no right to defend himself as he has nothing to defend.
The summit to discuss the post-election crisis in
Zimbabwe has just in the started in the Zambian capital Lusaka.
The meeting of heads of state of the 14-nation
Southern African Development Community (SADC) was opened by the body’s executive
secretary Tomaz Salomao, before Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa took the
Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
his delegation were seated in the front row looking on as the SADC leaders began
Just before the meeting the ZANU PF delagation
“Inviting an opposition leader to a heads of state
meeting is unheard of. We will not accept Tsvangirai to be part of this
meeting,” Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told AFP in the Zambian capital
ahead of the summit.
“This summit is clearly sponsored by the British
government. We heard about it from our British sources long before SADC made the
announcement,” he said.
Mugabe has chosen not to attend the extraordinary
summit of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) convened
to try and break the political crisis in Zimbabwe following elections a
Zimbabweans enraged by Mbeki's 'no crisis' claim
Several Zimbabwean civil society groups are demonstrating
outside the venue
in Lusaka, Zambia, where the SADC emergency summit on
Zimbabwe is to take
The demonstrators are holding up banners
with slogans like "How can Mbeki
say there is no crisis?" referring to the
statement President Thabo Mbeki
made after talks with Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe in Harare.
Mbeki, who was on his way to Lusaka for the SADC
summit, said there was no
post-election crisis in Zimbabwe, and urged people
to wait for the
announcement of the presidential results.
talks with Mbeki, Mugabe was asked by various journalists to
confirm that he
wouldn't be attending the Lusaka summit.
Govt, Allies Attack Zambian President
Posted to the web 12 April 2008
As southern African
heads of state gathered in Lusaka to discuss Zimbabwe's
political crisis on
Saturday, the Harare government and its allies launched
an attack on
Zamibian President Levy Mwanawasa for convening the summit.
"has clearly overstepped his boundaries," wrote a columnist in
government-controlled Herald newspaper on Saturday. Nathaniel
pseudonym for President Robert Mugabe's spokesman, George
disparagingly called the Lusaka meeting "Levy's summit, for that
what it will be..."
He added that the meeting was "supposed to do the
bidding of the white
West... I am sure if African leaders show up... many of
the founding fathers
of this great region... will turn in their
Mugabe is boycotting the summit. One of three cabinet ministers
Zimbabwe, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa claimed to Agence
in Lusaka that the meeting was "sponsored" by the British
He also vigorously protested the fact that Mugabe's principal
the presidency, Morgan Tsvangirai, had been invited.
"Inviting an opposition
leader to a heads of state meeting is unheard of,"
he told AFP. "We will not
accept Tsvangirai to be part of this
Robert Mugabe's cabal of advisers and confidants in the ZANU-PF
party are in
disarray after the loss of last month's election, and attacking
President, Levy Mwanawasa, for trying to help Zimbabweans
election's stand off is an act of desperation. They have been in
28 years, and during those years they have turned Zimbambwe into a
nation. And in last month's election, the hungry people of Zimbambwe
"We are fed up with Mugabe's revolutionary slogans, and now we want
food, and prosperity -like our neighbors.
And that is where
the desperation of Mugabe's camarilla begins. After 28
mismanagement, beating opponents, razing their homes with
arresting journalists and prosecuting editors for slandering the
and living the high life while the population became
impoverished, they know
that an opposition government will hold them
accountable for those abuses
one day. They, therefore, see the mediation
effort by the Zambian president
as a process that will bring them that
doomsday closer, and they stall the
results of the election results and
cling in power until they figure out
what to do. And their choice seems to
be a run off election which they can
ring it, win it, and beat and lock in
prisons anyone who disputes it. But
that will create more upheaval in an
already chaotic situation, and that is
what the conference of the
Sub-Saharan States Conference tries to
Mugabe and his clique, though, see the conference as outside
force the results of the elections on them. They have
already stated that
even if Zimbabwe's Supreme Court, which is hearing the
case, orders the
release of the election results, they will NOT comply! If
they do, they will
find themselves out of power, and they may have to run
out of the country,
or stay in and wait for the knock on the door one day
from the police
serving them with arrest warrants for the crimes and abuse
of power they
have committed during those 28 years that turned the former
white governed Rhodesia into the present day human wasteland
Mugabe's Zimbabwe. . Nikos Retsos, retired
objective, we can't afford to ignore the crisis of not
election results. The problem is Zanu and MDC-T have started
to campaign for
a run-off. The Herald is again on the campaign trail trying
to make Mugabe a
strong character while tsvangirai is going to the
international community to
degrade Zimbabwe. Mwanawasa and SADC must be able
to tell Tsvangirai that
the problem in Zimbabwe now is with ZEC and he must
representatives in ZEC. Tsvangirai must not try to make the
cowards because we install leaders here and we might even install
soon or never. I also hope that SADC shuts up British Brown and
to have elections in his country.
Robert Mugabe is a good example to cite for believers in colonial
has single-handedly destroyed a once-prosperous nation. At 84, he
have the will or the energy to persist with this destruction, but at
generation and a half have enriched themselves by supporting him.
have put themselves into a corner and care for nothing other than
survival and they will resort to utter bloodshed rathen than give in.
the African community must remember is the 'peace at any cost' is often
worth the price.
True, the world of international politics is not
quite as straight-forward
as a 'surrender or die' alternative to people such
as Mugabe and his crowd.
Neither should it be a world of endless talk an no
backed by ruthlessness and viciousness does not
understand anything other
than brute force.
At 84, Mugabe might not
have the will to continue this ugliness, but the
generation and a half that
have used his name to enrich themselves do.
Penned into a corner by their
own greed and short-sightedness, many of them
would rather force the
bloodshed rather than give up. There is no simple
answer to the current
problem. My view, based on observation is that a
transformation roadmap -
which includes the use of force to remove Mugabe
and his aides - needs to be
drawn up. Africa needs to give Morgan Tsvangirai
and the MDC a lot ore
support than it has to date.
Southern African speakers of
parliament urge Zimbabwe solution
JOHANNESBURG, April 12 (AFP)
Southern African speakers of parliament on
Saturday urged regional leaders
meeting on Zimbabwe to use their influence
to bring about a speedy solution
to the country's post-election
"We trust that you will be able to use your wisdom and influence
this impasse speedily in the interest of peace and stability in
in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region,"
statement from the speakers who are holding a parliamentary meeting
The statement, addressed to SADC heads of state meeting
in Lusaka, was
signed by speakers of parliament from Botswana, Lesotho,
Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.
They joined an
international chorus calling for the immediate release of
results from Zimbabwe, which held general elections two weeks
ago on March
The failure by the electoral commission to release the outcome, and
resulting tensions in the southern African nation, led SADC chairman and
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa to convene the emergency
However South African President Thabo Mbeki, whom SADC appointed
the crisis before the poll, told reporters there was "no crisis"
Zimbabwe, after a brief stop in the neighbouring country before heading
After a meeting with President Robert Mugabe, who
chose not to attend the
summit, Mbeki said there was a "normal electoral
process" underway and
people should wait for the election commission to
announce the presidential
Mbeki has often come under attack
for his "quiet diplomacy" approach to the
problems in Zimbabwe, and as
mediator and regional heavyweight he will play
a crucial part in the SADC
Mugabe's stranglehold on Zimbabwe
As the crisis and uncertainty surrounding Zimbabwe's recent election
continues, Richard Downes reflects on his recent month-long visit to the
country, where many people are desperate for change.
As I sat in the coffee
shop in the airport fiddling with my bill, I reflected on the extraordinary
state of affairs in Zimbabwe.
Spiraling inflation has seen the introduction of a Z$50m
I had just bought two cups of tea and two glasses of water and, reaching into
my bag, I took out a massive wad of Zimbabwean dollars.
New and crispy Z$10m notes. Clean and sleek.
Then I looked at the bill. The charge was Z$204m. That would make a serious
dent in my brick of notes.
The Zimbabwean dollar is one of the most worthless currencies in the world so
any notions of being a millionaire, or even a billionaire, lasted all of a few
Not so long ago Z$204m would have bought you a highly profitable gold mine in
the south of the country, near Kwekwe. A huge plant with hundreds of employees
and land and buildings.
A year or so later it would have bought an estate of expensive houses in one
of the more salubrious suburbs of Harare.
Even quite recently, you could still have bought a car with Z$204m, but today
all you can get is a measly cup of tea. It is a pathetic state of affairs and a
sign of the depths to which the country has fallen.
Clinging to power
Paul Connolly has plenty of experience of the collapse of Zimbabwe.
I met him as he was
conducting one of his unique tours on the Zambezi river, navigating 63 men and
women around obstacles both natural and animal - a hippo here, a fallen tree
trunk there. They were having a marvellous time under Paul's masterful
Zimbabwe's side of the Victoria Falls has seen a fall in
He used to conduct these tours and run his large successful tourism venture
from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and although he still lives there, he has
transferred all his business across the water to Zambia.
At least there, he remarked, the government is rational and relatively
stable. He now employs more than 20 people in Zambia.
Zimbabwe, he told me, has become a pit. The whole nation has been dragged
down by a ruthless politician with no regard for his own people, only a burning
desire to cling on to power.
Zimbabwe in the past has proved that an African country can educate
its people, provide them with healthcare, have banks that work, shops that sell
goods and hold its head up high
"One man, just one man," he said, shaking his head. "That's what I can't get
my head around," he told me.
Yes, the whites clung on to colonial notions and failed to embrace a new
non-racial Zimbabwe. Yes, the Western countries showed little real interest in
the problems of this developing country, but to destroy the country to stay in
power, that is what Paul found so hard to comprehend.
And he is not alone.
Over nearly four weeks
in Zimbabwe it was hard to find anyone who had a good word to say about Robert
Robert Mugabe has dominated Zimbabwe's politics since
Most would spontaneously offer the comment that it was time to change.
Others would eye me warily and say, "Things are not good, we need something
different." It was code for getting rid of Mugabe, and not very subtle at that.
Zimbabwe matters to Paul and to the many other Zimbabweans for very
practical, concrete reasons. But it is also very important to the continent as a
Zimbabwe in the past has proved that an African country can educate its
people, provide them with healthcare, have banks that work, shops that sell
goods and hold its head up high among the nations of the world.
More recently it
has also proved that this infrastructure can be destroyed surprisingly quickly.
Up to the mid-1990s Zimbabwe functioned very well.
Under Robert Mugabe, the country has been systematically looted by
the top brass in the army and the ruling party
Agriculture produced, services functioned and the state invested heavily in
education, producing the most educated population in sub-Saharan Africa. Life
expectancy was just over 60 years.
That is where Zimbabwe was and where it could be in the future, but it is not
where it is now.
At present Zimbabwe's situation is perilous. Under Robert Mugabe, the country
has been systematically looted by the top brass in the army and the ruling
They have got rid of most of the white farmers who produced the basic wealth
of the country. They control a deeply corrupt foreign exchange system that
guarantees a few top dogs in government and the army millions of US dollars in
hard currency every month.
aspect of life and the economy has been controlled by army people or members of
the ruling Zanu-PF party. And they owe it all to Robert Mugabe.
People still have hope for Zimbabwe and I am one of them
In that context, how would they ever allow the opposition to win the
The next round of Mugabe's onslaught is well under way. The opposition says
violence against its members by the ruling party has intensified.
have hope for Zimbabwe and I am one of them.
But it is crystal clear to anyone trying to look at the country with even a
vaguely objective eye that it will only stay at a standstill and even reverse
further, if the current leader and his cronies keep their stranglehold on the
country and its people.
As I left my cup of tea and made my way to the aeroplane and on to
Johannesburg, I checked my bag and found that I still had about a billion
Zimbabwean dollars sitting in a pouch.
It is an offence to take Zimbabwean currency out of the country so I
volunteered it to the customs officer who was searching my bag rigorously.
"Yes sir, you should leave it here," he said. "It will be worth nothing when
you come back anyway."
Mugabe deploys riot police as region urged to
Sydney Morning Herald
Fanuel Jongwe in Harare
April 13, 2008
Mugabe has pulled out of a summit on Zimbabwe's
post-election crisis and
tightened his grip on power, banning all political
rallies and deploying
riot police in the capital, Harare.
Fifteen days after the presidential
election no result has been released and
while Mr Mugabe's ruling party is
adamant there will be a run-off poll, the
opposition says Morgan Tsvangirai
won outright and will not compete.
Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) called on Zimbabweans
to launch a general strike
this week and to stay off work until the election
Riot police are stationed on street corners of the capital and
reports of threats and intimidation in rural areas.
are no actual beatings but militias and war veterans are going around
villages here in Nyamandlovu threatening people they suspect voted for
MDC," villager Jawet Ndlovu said from southern Matabeleland province.
US has urged Mr Mugabe to stop "violence and intimidation" against those
wanting to express their political rights while British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown warned the international community's patience with the
President was wearing thin.
Mr Brown said he could not understand why
it was taking so long to announce
the result of the March 29 elections and
he was appalled by signs that the
Mugabe regime was again resorting to
intimidation and violence.
US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack
said Washington had urged
leaders attending a regional summit in Zambia this
weekend to put pressure
on Mr Mugabe. "We are communicating with the leaders
who have organised that
summit. And we would call upon them to take a firm
stand for democracy in
Zimbabwe," Mr McCormack said.
was expected to join leaders of the 14-nation Southern African
Community (SADC) at the summit in Lusaka yesterday but state
that Mr Mugabe had decided not to attend and would send four
In a statement issued on the eve of the gathering, Mr Tsvangirai
Mr Mugabe to quit and appealed to summit participants to ensure
prevails in Zimbabwe by intervening to end the crisis.
should recognise that he has lost and let me get on with making our
country great once more," Mr Tsvangirai said.
"This is a 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
Southern African leaders have been heavily criticised over their
reluctance to criticise Mr Mugabe, who has presided over his
economic demise during his 28-year rule.
MDC plans mass action
†Saturday, 12 April 2008
Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has called for
crippling mass protests
aimed at forcing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) to announce
presidential election results, with party insiders saying
the mass action
could kick off on Tuesday.
Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) officials said the decision was reached
at an extra-ordinary National
Executive meeting held by 50 members of the
party’s top leadership on
The leaders also resolved to reject the planned recount of ballots
ZEC has already tampered with the ballot boxes.
ZEC this week
dismantled the National Command Centre at Rainbow Towers
Hotel) even before the presidential election results had
Senior MDC officials are expected to meet again on Monday to
decision and finalise the modalities of the action depending on
determination made by the High Court on their case.
The MDC is
seeking a court order compelling the ZEC to announce the results
ZEC lawyer George Chikumbirike has argued before Justice
Tendai Uchena that
an order demanding the electoral body to release the
results would lead to
“dangerous consequences,” insinuating that ZEC was
highly likely to defy the
court order anyhow.
The action by the SADC
extra-ordinary summit in the Zambia capital, Lusaka,
yesterday would also be
a determinant in the final mass action decision.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa
confirmed that the MDC leadership had endorsed
the mass action, but could
not be drawn into disclosing a specific date when
it would begin. He would
only say the mass action would kick off “soon”.
He told The Zimbabwean on
Sunday: “The National Executive has resolved to
involve people in expressing
their disappointment over the arrogance of this
regime in not releasing the
results of the people and illegally extending
their term of office.
have also resolved not to accept any recount of results because they
already tampered with those boxes in the past 13 days.”
MDC officials said
the mass action, which was unanimously agreed to at the
would take the form of peaceful nationwide demonstrations.
They said it
would not be called off until ZEC agreed to announce the
On Thursday the electoral commission said it would continue
to withhold the
results until the case has been finalized in the High
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission advises members of the public that
issue of presidential election results is now a subject of the High
ZEC spokesman Shupikai Mashereni said.
But Chamisa said: “We are
not interested in ZEC’s antics and foolish
excuses. They have demonstrated
their lack of capacity.”
Pressure is mounting on the Mugabe regime to
announce the results. On a call
from Airforce One on Thursday, U.S.
President George Bush is said to have
told Tanzanian President Jakaya
Kikwete, who is also the African Union
chairman, to deal decisively with
Analysts said given the stubbornness of Mugabe and
his apparatchiks, mass
action could be the only option left to the
Political commentator Ronald Shumba said: “The MDC has clearly
in this election that it is the centre of power and it has also
it is a mammoth political party that has the ability to mobilise
“The people are left with no choice but to go into a peaceful mass
and the MDC in that vein is acting responsibly. Mass action is the
peaceful, responsible recourse out of this misery.”
Zimbabwe political scientist John Makumbe said the failure by
and international community to rein in Mugabe meant that
Zimbabweans had to
find their own solutions to the problem confronting them.
fighters, who have been conscripted into the army as a
reserve force, have
warned the MDC against a campaign of anarchy, with
leader Jabulani Sibanda
stating “we will defend the country’s sovereignty.”
But Chamisa said: “At the
centre of our struggle for independence was the
one-man-one-vote and the sovereignty of the black majority. The
to be undermining exactly that which we fought for. It’s a
reversal of the
gains of our independence.”
Chamisa said it was particularly insulting that
the regime could behave this
way during independence month. Zimbabwe
“commemorates” its independence on
“Mugabe is felling the tree
of independence,” Chamisa said.
The Zimbabwean Letters
†Friday, 11 April 2008 13:50
laughing stock of Zimbabwe
EDITOR – Zanu (PF), the party headed by the
ruthless nationalist leader
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, lost the election to the
formidable MDC leader Morgan
Richard Tsvangirai on 29 March.
seems as if Mugabe cannot accept Tsvangirai as the leader of Zimbabwe
now busy scheming strategies for an election run-off.On the other
party heavyweights are calling for a recount of the votes, which
already tampered with to suit their objectives for a run-off.Mugabe
stop at nothing to secure a win, so he is trying by all means to
Tsvangirai just to save his own face.Mugabe failed everyone,
own sons. The economy is now a shambles. Industries are
minimum capacity. The education sector has totally
collapsed, such that the
pass rate for the past year was below 30 per cent.
The death rate is now at
its maximum due to lack of skills to cure
widespread ills. People are being
forced to take exams that are unacceptable
in other countries, while the
sons and daughters of Zanu (PF) people attend
schools and universities in
Australia and other first world countries.Right
now, war vets are busy
invading farms in the Masvingo province. Mugabe is
trying to buy or steal
the people’s votes. Africa at large is now against
Mugabe and his autocratic
leadership. People in rural Zimbabwe are now
born-again MDC supporters.
Opposition Zanu (PF) is now intimidating rural
people just to force for a
vote in the event of an election re-run.My
message to Zimbabweans is that
Mugabe and Zanu (PF) are now history. We are
now in a new Zimbabwe headed by
President Morgan Tsvangirai.
Shame on Mbeki and
EDITOR – I was born in Zimbabwe, and now live in South
Africa. Although I
value the shelter and sustenance that South Africa has
given me, my home
country will always be Zimbabwe, and the Zimbabwean people
my people.I have
watched the years of President Mbeki’s ‘silent diplomacy’
pass, while the
Zimbabwean situation has deteriorated to crisis point. I
have tried to
remain hopeful, but the continuing silence from the Southern
leaves me (and, I’m sure, all Zimbabweans) both frustrated
and close to
despair.Where is the freedom and democracy that the countries
Africa fought for so hard, and with so much blood shed? We seem
deteriorated to a continent of victims cowed by the few greedy and
rulers that have clawed their way to the top and, in order to stay
will trample any possible opposition into submission.I do not blame
Zimbabwean people. They are peace-loving and patient, and have endured
of intimidation, deprivation and suffering. I don’t know if I would
courage to defy injustice and brutality, with families at stake, in
the Zimbabwean opposition has. I admire and respect them for what
achieved.However, I DO blame the rest of the southern African
all the struggles for freedom, all the bloodshed and
suffering, they are now
sitting back while the people of Zimbabwe are
pleading for assistance. Why
can’t the southern African nations come out in
support of their brothers and
sisters? We all seem to be waiting for the
political leaders to speak wise
words. Heaven help us if we wait on the
‘silent diplomacy’ of the last
years!I pray every day for Zimbabwe and the
people there. I feel shame for
the leaders of Southern Africa, that they
have not had the courage to stand
for the human dignity and justice that is
needed at this time of crisis in
MARION VAN DYK,
Help us get rid of the monster
EDITOR – The writing
is on the wall for everyone to see. How can you call
for a recount if you
don’t know whether you lost or won? Mugabe lost this
election and he is
failing to accept it. The international community should
come in and help us
get rid of this monster who has made us suffer for all
ANON, by email
Youth Movement warns of
EDITOR –The counting was done immediately after the polls were
generally around 7 pm. The results were posted at the polling
immediately and there is significant concern at the failure of the
announce these results.There seems to be absolutely no justification
this delay.We Zimbabwean youths are concerned by the failure to announce
results. This creates a suspicion in the minds of Zimbabweans that the
authorities are trying to manipulate them to get their preferred party
candidates to win.We are naturally gravely concerned that any contestation
of outcome of the elections is also likely to lead to escalation of
conflict. The elections may trigger serious and potentially widespread
violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.We are aware that the Zimbabwean
government has deployed police, army and intelligence units into the major
cities in anticipation of potential trouble. Of significant concern are the
unconfirmed rumours from the security branches of government that the
incumbent is preparing to declare a state of emergency after announcing the
inaccurate results. This is consistent with the threats by the security
chiefs that hey are not prepared to accept the election results if Mugabe
loses the election.
JOHN VINCENT CHIKWARI, Secretary-General,
Revolutionary Youth Movement of
Underground Zanu (PF)
EDITOR – The ZEC is not an independent commission. The
is to pretend to arrest election officers appointed by
Zanu (PF) to
manipulate results in its favour.The recent arrival of North
mercenaries and engineers of destruction, added to the existing
instructors and propaganda experts, will see disappearances of
individuals in the opposition organisations.
Zanu (PF) has ruled
this country by force from 1980 to date. It cannot
support freedom of
expression for the electorate. This is a party
principle.The MDC should form
the next government of national unity without
hesitation because the
election results will not change, as they were public
consumption. Even the
observers witnessed the final results.The SADC and AU
are known to be
sympathetic with the old man as a veteran pan-African
nationalist who stole
the glory from the Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole.
Zanu (PF) is now a wounded
cockerel and is now more dangerous than in the
Eliminations of key opposition figure will soon start, as happened to
Josiah Tongogara at the last moment of change to freedom and
all know Zanu (PF) under the rule of the old man to be
ruthless and ruling
by fear, destruction, thuggery and murder. As we speak,
started in rural areas where no-go areas have been put in
place to prevent
free movement of people.Zanu (PF) does not care about
and commerce as long as they remain in power.Zanu (PF)
is now above the
United Nations, the International Community, SADC, AU and
even above God
himself. They have done nothing to free Zimbabweans from the
tight grip of
wild crocodiles of Zanu (PF) and the so-called war vets, green
the militia.Our prayer is that the powers that be should never,
allow Robert Mugabe to be the president of Zimbabwe. We call on
forces to counter these hungry, greedy security chiefs from further
Zimbabwe wealth. Zimbabweans should resist intimidation of any kind.
writing on the wall is clear: people want Zanu (PF no more; people want
change now. We want a new government now to improve our destroyed
†THE STREET KID,
ZEC and Mugabe are one and the
EDITOR – I am really saddened by the criminal acts that ZEC and
getting into as far as the democratic Zimbabweans and the world
at large is
concerned. I was in Zimbabwe during the elections and everyone
stupid knuckleheads like war veterans leaders and Bright
Matonga, knows they
lost the elections. Now the remnants of Gukurahundi are
teaming up to steal
the presidency, l laugh at you slugheads.This time we
are going to fight for
what is ours and all democratic Zimbabweans born
during the ‘70s and ‘80s
have seen the suffering caused by Mugabe and his
bunch of thieves.
Chawakadya Chamuka Mhanduwe!
Not so Bright Matonga on
12 April 2008
Zimbabwe's Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga
took part in a debate on South Africa's Radio 702.
Trevor Gifford from the Commercial Farmers Union
joined in later. Listeners of the station also got the chance to give Matonga a
piece of their mind.
In the interest of exposing how shallow Zanu PF
arguments are in the face of a glaring election defeat, we have provided a link
to that discussion.
Click Here for the interview.
Zimbabwe: Invasion as Solution
April 12, 2008
For good reason I had attempted entitling this piece
"Mugabe: Till Death Put Assunder?" and on another
occasion I had toyed with
another caption as a replacement for the above:
"Zimbabweans Have Spoken:
Morgan is More..." but in the end I had settled
for the above title given
the recent worrisome development electorally in
the former Rhodesia.
President Robert Mugabe, 84, had vowed prior to the
last general elections
of March 29 that the opposition could never be
allowed to rule Zimbabwe in
his lifetime as though he were God or that he
alone would be the supreme
Zimbabweans deserve praise for
their collective rejection of Mugabeism which
has ensured nothing but
cascading economic and social fortunes. They have
collectively said via
their votes that Morgan Tsvangirai is more. Morgan is
more than hope for
majority of impoverished Zimbabweans who have lost hope
in the ZANU-PF
ruling gang of gerontocrats and civilian dictators. Morgan is
definitely more than the personality cult woven around Robert
close to three decades.
An old woman in her late eighties was interviewed
on election day and she
was alluding to change likening the situation on the
ground to a "disaster".
She predicted that change was imminent as people
were dying of preventable
diseases and hunger. With inflation figures put at
over 100, 000% and
millions of Zimbabweans driven overseas by economic
misery the Mugabe hold
on power must be broken now.
spoken, Morgan is more... More than the skewed land
that have not guaranteed any agricultural abundance
that will in turn put
food on the poor people's table; Morgan is more than
the haughtiness and
presidential paranoia of a Mugabe who have outlived his
overstayed his welcome.
Morgan is more in Zimbabwe. In one of the
campaign billboards in Harare and
Bulawayo proclaiming "Morgan is More" the
voters were invited to discover
the 'moreness' in Morgan. Morgan is more
than the foreign lackey or
specifically British stooge the ZANU-PF and
Mugabe are making him out to be.
Morgan is more patriotic than Mugabe; he is
more than the spineless
opposition leader he has been constrained by
circumstances Zimbabwean to be.
It will amount to socio-economic and
political suicide for Mugabe to be in
power for another 6 years. Mugabe must
not be allowed to die in office. He
must, in his lifetime, answer to
numerous human rights violations and
state-assisted murders during his long
years in command. Like Taylor, former
Liberian warlord now standing trial in
the Hague for war crimes, Mugabe has
a lot to answer for.
It does not
surprise anyone conversant with the one-man demented
Zimbabwe that weeks after the general elections the
electoral commission is
still withholding the public declaration of the
victor and the vanquished.
The ZEC had announced the parliamentary results
which saw the opposition MDC
winning the majority seats in parliament. The
world has already known the
presidential poll's outcome through mounting
speculations and the MDC
itself. The MDC opposition historically defeated
Mugabe's ZANU-PF in the
presidential poll even if it did not muster the
percentage to mount the saddle of leadership.
Given that Mugabe
understands only the language of violence the concerned
community are following events with trepidation. With the
scenario in mind the venerable Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke
out from South
Africa calling on the United Nations to dispatch a
peace-keeping force to
Zimbabwe to forestall any breakdown of law and order
with its attendant
terror and horror.
Zimbabwe is a classic case of leadership failure
of the worst kind. Gabriel
Mugabe may have been a liberation struggle
veteran of former Rhodesia and a
brilliant intellectual but his management
of power for 28 odd years has
become nothing but a disaster. Some young
Zimbabweans born after 1980 have
not known any other man in charge of their
national affairs but Mugabe who
projects himself arrogantly as equivalent to
a god who is both infallible
and indispensable. This is not only fatally
wrong but a fallacy! Mugabe is
not only fallible he's dispensable and
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must be commended
though for doing a
relatively transparent job. Though pre-balloting
mechanisms put in place
sought to prevent or minimize electoral mischief the
ZEC members discharged
their duties patriotically as against their
counterparts in Kenya and
Nigeria. The Mugabe presidential camp, aware and
ashamed of the crushing
defeat they have suffered, are responsible for the
delay in declaring the
ultimate winner in the presidential
Beyond the Zimbabwean presidential election debacle and the
however the issue of ballot organisation and management in
Africa has come
to the front burner. Why is it that ballotting in our
continent is a
delicate cumbersome adventure? Why are losers in the exercise
against their defeat and winners do so in a fraudulent
The answers to these posers are not difficult to conjecture. In
the West one
hardly hears or sees violence or accusation and counter
rigging in electoral contests. But in Africa it is only in
Sierra Leone that
a presidential poll was adjudged by the international
Nigeria's former Senate President Ken Nnamani) as free
and fair -- probably
because out-gone President Ahmed Teejan Kabbah was not
among the candidates.
Again, the sit-tight syndrome of African leaders or
the godfatherism that
has come to stay are partly responsible for this
electoral conundrum. Having
tasted the omnipotence, omnipresence and
omniscience associated with wieding
power, looting killing and committing
all sorts of mischief the thought of
leaving power is difficult to stomach.
And considering the fates that befell
little civillian dictators like
Frederick Chiluba, Charles Taylor and few
others after relinquishing power
the tendency to die in office becomes a
major stumbling block to the
organization of a semblance of a free and fair
In Nigeria the
April 2007 Presidential election that magically produced
Umaru Yar'Adua as
President is still an issue at dispute. Despite the Ogebe
Tribunal's judgement which dismissed the opposition position
giddy exercise seen widely as a sham the duo of Gen. Buhari and
have taken their cases to the Supreme Court in order for justice
In the event of the opposition MDC party in Zimbabwe expectedly
the run-off in few weeks time (the boycott threat
Mugabe refuses to yield power then the African Union,
the EU and the UN
should activate their invasion mechanisms toward chasing
Mugabe out of town.
The AU with some strategic foreign support did
spectacularly that recently
in the island of Anjouan, Comoros Island, when
it moved militarily against
Mohammed Bacar's local dictatorship.
the end the invasion of Zimbabwe well may turn out to be the only
to the Mugabe muddle. Now is the time to put that plan in the