Monday, April 14, 2008 - Web posted at 7:14:12 GMT
HARARE - As Zimbabwe's election crisis heads into a third week - with
the results of the presidential vote still not released - southern African
leaders appear more intent on propping up President Robert Mugabe than
acting in the interests of the Zimbabwean people.
A weekend summit of regional leaders called for the swift verification
of the results in the presence of all parties, but little else.
Despite calling their meeting an "emergency summit", SADC leaders were
adamant that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.
President Robert Mugabe did not attend the summit, claiming it was
But analysts and others speculated that either he could not look
fellow leaders in the eye, or did not think much of their views anyway.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa - one of few African leaders to
openly criticise Mugabe - called regional leaders together to try to resolve
the election standoff in Zimbabwe.
After the meeting, which was held in Zambia, Mwanawasa's foreign
affairs minister told reporters there was no crisis in Zimbabwe, echoing
statements made by South African President Thabo Mbeki, who met with Mugabe
on Saturday ahead of the summit.
Mbeki dropped in on Harare on his way to the summit and held his first
face-to-face talks with Mugabe since the disputed elections.
"The body authorised to release the results is the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, let's wait for them to announce the results," he told
journalists afterwards, insisting there was "no crisis" in his northern
Mbeki, the chief mediator on Zimbabwe, has pursued a policy of "quiet
diplomacy", which some critics have said simply allowed Mugabe to continue
his autocratic rule unimpeded.
The government's Bright Matonga called the summit's statement "fair".
"You've got to respect each member's sovereignty," he said.
"There is a court process that we follow.
What we are doing is within the law."
The summit declaration fell far short of opposition calls for
neighbouring leaders to pressure Mugabe to step down after 28 years in
It also did not fulfil the hopes of the United Nations and regional
rights groups for the summit to at least demand an immediate announcement of
results from the March 29 vote.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who attended the summit, claims to have
won the presidential election outright.
Independent tallies showed Tsvangirai won the most votes, but not
enough to avoid a runoff.
The election commission has released results for the nation's 210
parliamentary races showing the MDC winning 109 seats, giving it control of
the parliament and humiliating Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, which won only 97
Three seats will be decided in by-elections and the remaining seat was
won by an independent.
'RECOUNT' TO BE HELD Zimbabwean authorities said yesterday they would
recount the votes from nearly two dozen parliamentary races as the ruling
part sought to overturn election results that cost it control of the
legislature for the first time in the nation's history.
While the focus in Zimbabwe had been on the long delay in releasing
the presidential result, the overnight announcement of a recount turned the
spotlight on the situation in parliament.
Zanu-PF need only take back nine seats in the recount to regain
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said it would conduct a full
recount on Saturday of the presidential and parliamentary ballots cast in 23
constituencies - all but one of them won by the opposition, the state-run
Sunday Mail newspaper reported.
Commission chairman George Chiweshe said candidates, party
representatives and observers would be allowed to witness the process, the
However, Zimbabwe's opposition challenged a recount that it said was
loaded towards Mugabe's party as rigging allegations were traded.
Political observers and rights groups have noted that there has
already been more than ample time since the elections to tamper with ballot
They also re-emphasised that while the government is pushing for a
recount of the presidential ballots, the presidential result has not yet
The MDC charges that Mugabe is delaying the result while his party
wages a campaign of violence against those who voted against him.
International rights groups have also documented the attacks.
Government officials have dismissed all charges of violence.
COURT BID The MDC filed a petition on Friday to block any attempt at a
recount and a hearing is set for Tuesday, opposition lawyer Alec Muchadehama
He argued that ruling party representatives had signed off on the
official tallies from those districts after the vote, but are now alleging
it is fraudulent.
"Suddenly, two weeks later, the same person who said 'this is the
outcome' and signed for it says they need a recount," Muchadehama said.
He said that in the district the MDC is challenging, the party
representative had refused to sign off on the result.
After it emerged that the ruling Zanu-PF had lost its grip on
parliament, a party official described the latest elections as "the worst
The ZEC falls under the ruling party.
Zimbabwe's High Court is expected to rule today on an opposition
petition to force the immediate release of the presidential results.
The court, stacked with judges loyal to Mugabe, has waited more than a
week to rule on the urgent appeal.
April 14 2008 at 10:08AM
By Peta Thornycroft
One of the authors of Zimbabwe's new electoral laws says next week's
scheduled recount of 23 constituencies will be illegal.
Welshman Ncube, one of two Movement for Democratic Change negotiators
who spent much of 2007 locked into rewriting some of Zimbabwe's contentious
laws with Zanu-PF during SA-mediated "dialogues", on Sunday said Zanu-PF
complaints were "concoctions after the fact, to be compliant with the law".
President Robert Mugabe is widely believed to have lost the
presidential election by at least 7 percent and has delayed releasing the
results for more than two weeks so that the vote can be "massaged".
However, Judge George Chiweshe, head of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC), claimed on Sunday that Zanu-PF candidates in 23
constituencies had lodged complaints within the prescribed 48 hours after
the polls closed, and therefore had not broken the Electoral Act.
The results of the parliamentary elections were public by April 1,
having been posted outside polling stations and collected by civic and
No statement was issued by the electoral commission about the
complaints nor were competing candidates informed. This is the first anyone
outside of the commission or Zanu-PF has heard about the complaints.
According to Judge Chiweshe, "we sat as a commission and considered
them (the applications).
"I can't tell you when we did this at this moment we received them,
that is why we ordered recounts we didn't have to tell the world. Why should
we? We are not obliged by law to do that.
"Are you calling me a liar?" he wanted to know.
Ncube labelled Chiweshe a "blatant liar and a fraudster".
"The ZEC is acting in collusion with Zanu-PF and if they think any of
us will believe them when they are a gang of fraudsters, then they can go to
"They are such brazen liars and they have had custody of the ballot
boxes for more than two weeks. There is no guarantee that they didn't go
back and tamper with the ballot boxes, so the outcome of the recount is a
He said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won a clear majority, which was
why the results were not released.
MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart said: "We have asked for
proof the complaints were submitted within the 48-hour period.
"The delay between the expiry of the 48-hour period and the writing of
the letters of complaint by ZEC is inexplicable, unreasonable.
"The only inference one can draw from the delay is that the commission
has connived with Zanu-PF and therefore acted illegally.
"One would have expected the ZEC would immediately have notified all
interested parties, but they took nine days to do so.
"This is a brazen subversion of the Electoral Act."
Last week a senior policeman with at least 20 years' experience told
The Star that ballot boxes from a Midlands constituency, now due for a
recount on Saturday, were brought into police headquarters in Harare on the
morning of April 5.
He said five or six young recruits took ballots for the presidential
election, marked for Tsvangirai, and replaced them with duplicate ballots
marked with an X for Mugabe.
Zanu-PF must win back nine seats to regain parliament.
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on April
Updated:08:26, Monday April 14, 2008
Sky News has been shown documentary evidence that Zimbabwe's opposition
leader defeated President Robert Mugabe in the nation's controversial
The presidential poll took place more than two weeks ago, but no result has
officially been declared.
Instead, the government has announced a recount in 23 of the country's 210
But opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has threatened to mount
a legal challenge against a new tally.
It has already won enough seats to end Mr Mugabe's control of parliament and
unofficially declared leader Morgan Tsvangirai the winner of the
n the latest twist in crisis, Sky News correspondent Stuart Ramsay was shown
the MDC's secret computer database and files that collated results from
across the country.
Photographs of election results, text messages and paperwork from polling
stations have been amassed by the opposition movement.
The MDC says the evidence proves Mr Mugabe should be forced to admit he has
However, Ramsay has also spoken to victims of horrific beatings who say they
were targeted by pro-Government thugs, and evidence of intimidation both
inside and outside polling stations.
He said there is evidence that Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party tried to rig the
elections, but were surprised when they failed - and are now trying to force
another round of voting in order to allow them to intimidate their way to
"The MDC leadership is now convinced that the government is embarking on a
new phase of election corruption," he said.
"In Zimbabwe it seems that winning a democratic election is possible, but
taking power from Robert Mugabe and his people may be impossible."
However, a court ruling is expected that may force Zimbabwe's electoral
commission to reveal the result later today.
Critics of the Mugabe regime blame his policies for Zimbabwe's collapse from
a beacon of prosperity into an economic basket case, with inflation rates in
six figures, unemployment at over 80% and average life expectancy down to 36
years of age.
Angola Press Agency (Luanda)
13 April 2008
Posted to the web 14 April 2008
Angolan Foreign minister, João Bernardo de Miranda, Saturday in Luanda
denied that the extraordinary summit of heads of State and Government of the
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) is an interference in Zimbabwe'
Speaking to journalists, the Angolan diplomat explained that it is the
Southern Africa procedure to settle problems facing member countries.
According to the minister, this is not the first time SADC meets to duscus
concrete situations prevailing in a certain country of the region, which
does not mean interference.
João Miranda was reacting to utterances by the Zimbabwean minister of
information who said that his government would not accept interference from
countries of the region during the summit of heads of State and Government
on the elections of March 29 this year in that country.
He highlighted that positions should be outlined with useful advises so that
SADC remains firm and the regin continues enjoying peace that has been an
example to the various regions of the continent.
João Miranda spoke of the need for the political parties and all people
involved to be sensitive to help the people of Zimbabwe to enjoy peace,
natural resources and works towards harmony.
The SADC held an extraordinary session on Friday, in Lusaka to discuss the
post-electoral crisis hitting Zimbqabwe of late.
April 14 2008 at 07:10AM
By Angela Quintal
Opposition parties have accused President Thabo Mbeki of betraying
Zimbabweans and making South Africa the laughing stock of the world by
publicly stating that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.
The ANC, meanwhile, held fire, opting to wait for a meeting of its
national working committee on Monday before makings its views public.
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Sunday that history
would judge Mbeki harshly. "Mbeki has shown himself to be a lame duck
president at home. He has now lost the opportunity to show that he can be an
effective leader in the region."
Mbeki's tacit support for "the dictator on our doorstep" was not only
an embarrassment, but caused millions of Southern Africa inhabitants and the
international community to lose faith in the subcontinent's ability to
establish sustainable democracy.
As British Premier Gordon Brown, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ANC
president Jacob Zuma demanded the immediate release of the election results,
Mbeki was of the view that the election must run its course, Zille said.
"In all legitimate elections, releasing the results immediately as
they become available is part of the election running its course. Mbeki
should therefore have stood by his own logic and should have called for the
immediate release of the election results.
"Any notion of a recount or run-off election prior to the release of
the results is illogical and can be intended to subvert the legitimate
In his reaction, Freedom Front Plus leader Dr Pieter Mulder called on
the National Assembly Speaker to call a special sitting to discuss the
Zimbabwean crisis. "South Africa is suffering irreparable damage on an
international level as a result of Mbeki's disappointing and short-sighted
handling of the issue.
"Mbeki's view that there isn't a crisis in Zimbabwe, makes a mockery
of South Africa in the eyes of the world. His view is short-sighted as there
is absolutely no advantage for SA to attempt to uphold a totally discredited
Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille accused Mbeki of "using
his political approach of quiet diplomacy with Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF as a
thinly veiled cover-up of what appears to be nothing less than his open
support for Robert Mugabe".
"The ID would like to appeal to President Mbeki to stop misleading the
world, or, if there is something he knows about the current crisis in
Zimbabwe that makes him appear so relaxed, to take us into his confidence
and tell us what it is."
The ANC on Sunday opted for discretion ahead of its national working
committee today, where it will discuss developments in Zimbabwe.
There are some within the ruling party that want a firmer line against
Zimbabwe, with suggestions that Mbeki should even resign as mediator.
ANC spokesperson Jesse Duarte said the ANC would issue a statement
after Monday's meeting and would not comment further until then.
The ANC's recent outspokenness on Zimbabwe under the new leadership of
Zuma is a departure from the "quiet diplomacy" approach of the SA
Duarte at the weekend denied there was conflict between the ANC's more
upfront stance and the government's endlessly patient approach to the Mugabe
government. She said the ANC fully understood the president's position as a
mediator and wanted to ensure that there was no impression that the ANC was
opposing Mbeki on Zimbabwe.
While there had been no formal meeting between the party's leadership
and the government to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe, there had been
"discussions between individuals".
Speaking ahead of the Lusaka regional summit, Duarte said the ANC
wanted to see Zimbabwe conform to the Southern African Development Community
election guidelines, which include making the results of elections known as
soon as possible. She said the ANC's concern was that the election
procedures were discussed and agreed by all parties in Zimbabwe.
Duarte expressed concern at reports that Mugabe's Zanu-PF wanted a
recount of the vote, saying the ANC could not understand how such a call
could be made without the election results being known.
This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on April
The First Post
Both the West and Africa have left it too late to help the opposition in
Zimbabwe, says ASH Smyth
Zimbabwe's ballot boxes have been in the state¹s hands for a full two weeks,
and now the courts have accepted the government's case for 'recounts' in 22
constituencies. Victory in just nine of these would be enough to
re-establish a parliamentary majority for Zanu-PF.
After the brief exhilaration of a purported MDC victory, the window of
opportunity is fast closing for Zimbabwean democracy. As Electoral
Commission officials are arrested, and Mugabe's goon-squads form ranks, the
blatancy of the election-rigging has already begun to dilute meaningful
responses from the international community.
Thabo Mbeki's craven policy of 'quiet diplomacy' has undermined any efforts
at mediation by the South African Development Community, and the tougher
stance of Tanzania's Levy Mwanawasa is meeting with blank contempt.
At Saturday's crisis summit in Lusaka, Mugabe was notably absent.
Western leaders, meanwhile, wax lyrical about democracy but - neutered by
historical guilt and moral relativism - have singularly failed to further
its cause in Zimbabwe. (Whatever happened to statesmen who could distinguish
right from wrong?)
In return for their noble maintenance of non-violent opposition, the MDC is
being hung out to dry. At this stage, it seems unreasonable to ask them to
do more, but one thing they must change: the decision not to contest a
Sure, they might get robbed; but boycotting the process however
illegitimate it is will do the MDC no more good than in previous
elections, and risks forfeiting everything they have achieved in recent
years. By going to the run-off, they can show the world they did everything
The Buddhists tell us that change comes only from within. Let us hope they
are right. The recount is in six days, and no-one else looks set to come to
FIRST POSTED APRIL 14, 2008
Business Day (Johannesburg)
14 April 2008
Posted to the web 14 April 2008
A NATION in turmoil is the "gift" of Zimbabwe's liberation heroes as the
country prepares to mark its 28th year of independence this week. Just when
a majority (it seems) of Zimbabweans expected to celebrate the occasion by
seeing off the ruler who has ruined their country, they are still saddled
with not only Robert Mugabe but with his illegally reinstated cabinet, which
includes a number of former ministers they voted out at the polls a
The "president" is lying low and rumours are rife that his wife has left the
country with bags full of foreign currency. Violence is increasing and state
forces are terrorising the populace. So what is to be done?
The eagerly awaited result of the emergency Southern African Development
Community (SADC) meeting on Saturday was, predictably, a damp squib. Zanu
(PF) was clearly worried that this time regional leaders might actually say
something about its shenanigans. The state-owned media launched a
pre-emptive strike on Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, calling him (of
course) an agent of the west .
But in the end, they need not have bothered. The final communiqué lamely
called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release the
presidential results and for all parties to accept the outcomes.
Nothing groundbreaking in that. So why did the meeting drag on into the
small hours of yesterday morning? It seems the sticking point was whether
the situation in Zimbabwe constitutes a crisis. President Thabo Mbeki
believes there is no crisis. He is no doubt joined by Namibia, Angola and a
few others that steadfastly support Mugabe, no matter what his antics. But
surely the mere holding of an emergency summit on the Zimbabwe issue
indicates there is a crisis? It could not have been worth the effort simply
to urge the ZEC to do its job?
The SADC communiqué also urged the government to ensure that any runoff
presidential election was held in a "secure environment". It is already too
late for that. Even as the leaders met, the state's militias and security
forces were busy with a violent campaign against anyone thought to have
voted for the MDC in the poll.
The limp-wristed response really comes as no surprise. The "Zimbabwe issue"
has been left unattended by SADC for years. A SADC meeting held in Tanzania
last year, which finally had Zimbabwe as one of the agenda items following
the brutal beating of MDC leaders, also ended without result.
Although the world can see the situation in Zimbabwe is a sham, the region
will buy into the sham, ultimately. SADC has proved it has no stomach to do
The waiting game is putting further pressure on the battered economy and on
the regional fallout as thousands more Zimbabweans consider finding greener
pastures across the border to avoid militias roaming the countryside,
arrogantly terrorising people. The ZEC's agreement to recount 22 results
disputed by Zanu (PF) and one by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
is to take place this weekend. No presidential result will be forthcoming
There is almost no doubt a recount will give Zanu (PF) a parliamentary
majority. There would be no point otherwise. An announcement of Mugabe's
"landslide" presidential win will follow. What follows next is uppermost in
people's minds. The paralysis wrought by unfolding post-election events in
Zimbabwe does not bode well for anything other than an endorsement of
whatever result the ZEC finally comes up with.
Zimbabweans are starting to accept they will never know the true outcome of
this election, no matter what result is finally announced . That is just one
of the many tragedies of this unseemly gerrymandering of democracy.
Meanwhile, all these drawn-out electoral processes designed to ensure a Zanu
(PF) win will take time; media interest in Zimbabwe is likely to wane, which
will play into Mugabe's hands.
The MDC will find it hard to sustain interest in its case, particularly in
Africa, where support for it is marginal at best. A coup by boredom. That
would be a first.
Games is director of Africa @ Work, an African consulting company
Business Day (Johannesburg)
14 April 2008
Posted to the web 14 April 2008
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe now cuts a desperate and lonely figure in the region
after his stubborn boycott of the weekend's emergency Southern African
Development Community (SADC) summit in Zambia, called to discuss the crisis
sparked off by his refusal to accept electoral defeat.
Mugabe's stayaway confirmed that he has lost control of the situation, not
just at home but also in the region, where he once posed as a leading
From the time he came to power in 1980, Mugabe tried to dominate the region
and ended up clashing with other leaders, particularly former South African
president Nelson Mandela, who took him to task at every turn on key issues.
Last year, Mandela called Mugabe via his close advisers to urge him not to
contest the recent presidential election . Had Mugabe listened to Mandela
and others , including his own senior party members, he would not be in this
Mugabe is now a mere onlooker in regional affairs. Even at home he is now
practically a hostage at State House, where he has been served an eviction
notice. Regional leaders, all of them belonging to a younger generation ,
gathered without him to discuss Zimbabwe and his fate at the weekend. This
Mugabe's failure to attend the meeting, where he feared being hauled over
the coals, showed his waning authority and raises hopes that he might soon
be history -- if he is not already.
Mugabe was miffed by the fact that SADC invited to the summit Morgan
Tsvangirai, the leader of the main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change. The ministers Mugabe dispatched to the meeting were
reduced to making facile claims such as "this meeting was organised by the
British". This sort of propaganda no longer has any purchase as the region's
patience with Mugabe wears thin.
Although SADC leaders were divided at the meeting on what to do, as well as
over the use of the word "crisis" in their communiqué, it was clear there is
now a growing consensus that the situation in Zimbabwe can no longer be
allowed to continue as it has .
After meeting Mugabe in Harare on his way to the summit on Saturday,
President Thabo Mbeki said there was "no crisis" in Zimbabwe. Other leaders
disagreed with him, saying the emergency meeting on its own confirmed there
was a crisis. Mbeki is still sticking to his "quiet diplomacy" approach,
despite his dismal failure to resolve the problem in the past eight years.
Mbeki's mandate -- given to him by SADC leaders at the extraordinary summit
on the Zimbabwe crisis in Dar es Salaam in March last year to facilitate
talks between Mugabe's Zanu (PF) and the MDC -- was renewed in Lusaka,
though the dialogue collapsed in January .
Mbeki's argument that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe because the stalemate
can be resolved through a runoff is unhelpful because it alarmingly ignores
that Mugabe lost the election and is refusing to release the results. By any
description, that is a crisis. Mugabe is now ruling without a mandate .
Although he dissolved his cabinet before the elections, hoping to win and
announce a new one, he claims to have reconstituted the old one, to cover up
his rule by fiat. This is not just a crisis, but a monumental disaster.
At least other SADC leaders can see this clearly. Officially opening the
summit, the SADC chairman, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, said the body
could not "stand by and do nothing when one of its members is experiencing
political and economic pain". Mwanawasa, who in the past has said Zimbabwe
was like a "sinking Titanic", has compared the situation there now to a
"house on fire".
SADC leaders must be careful to ensure their semantic divisions do not
create room for Mugabe to come back via the backdoor. Mugabe is trying to
reverse his defeat and that of his party by recounting votes -- which is
illegal in the case of the presidential election -- and having a runoff or
rerun. If SADC lets him off the hook, it would be great betrayal of the
Muleya is Harare correspondent.
14 April 2008
Zimbabweans, and indeed many South Africans, cannot be blamed for blaming
the mayhem north of our border on President Thabo Mbeki.
After all, the Southern African Development Community has tasked Mbeki with
stopping the rot in Zimbabwe.
Simply put, Mbeki has been asked to rein in Zimbabwe’s President Robert
We know how Britain and the US contributed to the decay in Zim – sanctions,
underhand tactics and amnesia over the Lancaster House Agreement of 1980.
Mugabe could not be a friend of the West because of his enduring position on
land for Zimbabweans.
But that does not give Mugabe licence to resort to despotic means when his
people cry out against the dramatic fall in expectations.
Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy over the years has not yielded any tangible results.
Now the country is stuck in another rut, with Mugabe refusing to release
results of the presidential elections – held a fortnight ago – that could
end his rule.
Still, Mbeki says there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.
His disavowal of the extent of the HIV-Aids epidemic – he told us that he
did not know anybody who was killed by Aids – should have prepared us for
his response .
His role in Zimbabwe must now be seriously questioned.
He should stand up to Mugabe or retire completely from the process.
April 14, 2008
By Quentin Wray
As the Zimbabwean election morphs from a beacon of hope into a
comedic display of bully-boy politicking and rhetoric, President Robert
Mugabe now stands accused of hatching a silent coup.
This is the first instance I know of where the government in
power stages a coup to stay there. Normally the niceties of actually handing
over power to the new lot are dispensed with before coup takes place, but in
this new century perhaps it is time for old rules to be done away with.
Given how loathe our politicians are to speak, based on
principles rather than practicalities, whoever ends up in Harare's State
House once the dust settles, whether it be Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai or Mugabe, will be welcomed as the result of
a "free and fair" process.
But however this plays out, Mugabe will have again shown the
African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development up for the
paper tigers they are.
Africa's inability to act against its own means The Economist's
infamous "Hopeless continent" headline, which so incensed our ruling elite a
few years ago, remains apt. The message repeatedly sent is: if you are
unlucky enough to live under tyranny you're on your own. Nobody will stand
up for you. No matter how dire your plight, you will remain an "internal
matter" and your government's sovereignty will be cherished above all else.
Looking beyond the immediate future, to when Zimbabweans start
trying to fix what has been systematically broken, no matter who is in
charge, it will not be easy.
Even had there been a silky smooth transfer of power from
Zanu-PF to the MDC, the results on their own would not have guaranteed
success. It will take a lot more than the courage to stand up to an
oppressive regime to fix problems that were decades in the making. Closer to
home, the results should serve as a timely reminder that nobody, despite ANC
president Jacob Zuma's remonstrations, gets to rule until the return of
It doesn't matter how many loyal cadres you deploy to key
positions, how emphatically you position yourself as the only party capable
of delivering freedom or how deeply rooted your belief that opposition
implies a racist, imperialist, running-dog-of-the-West agenda. When most
people lose faith in your ability to make their lives better, one way or
another, you will be toast.
After all, Zanu-PF lost control of parliament despite marauding
packs of violent war veterans and youth brigade thugs - "assets" the ANC
neither has nor wants.
Liberation parties in Mexico, India and now Zimbabwe have learnt
this lesson, and without any doubt, one day the ANC will learn it too. How
soon that day comes will depend on how effectively the party's new
leadership tackles this country's enormous human development backlogs and
the triple scourges of HIV/Aids, unemployment and crime.
It also depends on how quickly effective opposition is developed
to take the place of the anti-ANC group that now populates opposition
A 2006 Zapiro cartoon, drawn at the time of the last local
government elections, is testament to why none of our opposition parties
will be the ones to topple the ANC.
Who wants to be ruled by the Anti-Constitution Dogma Party
(ACDP), Darkies Absent (DA), Impetuous DeLille (ID), Increasingly Feeble
Party (IFP), Prickly And Clueless (PAC), or the Uninspired Dead Movement
Monday, April 14, 2008 - Web posted at 7:30:17 GMT
LUSAKA - The leaders of southern Africa may have begun to cool towards
the 'Old Man' of the region Robert Mugabe but they are still straining to
avoid showing disrespect towards Zimbabwe's president.
Mugabe's absence from a regional summit in the Zambian capital Lusaka,
which broke up early yesterday after some 13 hours of talks, spoke louder
than the largely anodyne 17-point joint declaration released at its
With no leader willing to put themselves up at a post-summit press
conference, it was left to the host Foreign Minister Kabinga Bande to hold
the line that there is no crisis across Zambia's southern border despite the
absence of results more than two weeks after presidential elections.
"We listened to the two parties (opposition and ruling party).
Both said there is no crisis in Zimbabwe," said Bande.
Bande's words echoed those of South African President Thabo Mbeki who
had stopped off in the Zimbabwean capital Harare on his way to Lusaka,
telling journalists after meeting Mugabe there was "no crisis".
"The body authorised to release the results is the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, let's wait for them to announce the results," said Mbeki.
Mbeki has been the prime proponent of a much derided policy of quiet
diplomacy towards 84-year-old Mugabe, not only the oldest leader in the
14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) but Africa as a
The Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose
leader Morgan Tsvangirai met SADC presidents behind closed doors, has been
particularly critical over what it regards as Mbeki's lack of "courage" in
standing up to Mugabe - still revered by many Africans for his leading role
in a 1970s liberation war.
However, SADC made a point of not only thanking Mbeki for his
mediation efforts in the election build-up but also asked him to "continue
in his role as facilitator on Zimbabwe on the outstanding issues".
The response from the MDC was hardly one of ringing endorsement, with
Secretary General Tendai Biti saying there had to be "more vigour, more
openness and a complete abandonment of the policy of quiet diplomacy".
But having been granted an audience at the SADC high table, the MDC
did not want to appear ungrateful with Biti detecting a "major improvement"
in the bloc's previously cosy stance.
Tsvangirai was denied the red carpet treatment but the very fact he
had been invited was taken as a slap in the face by Mugabe who opted to stay
Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, despatched to Lusaka in
his absence, said the invite was unacceptable and there was "no need for
regionalising" the post-election situation.
While stressing Mugabe was not "in the dock", Zambian President Levy
Mwanawasa insisted in his opening remarks that Zimbabwe, where inflation is
well into six figures and unemployment over 80 per cent, was of legitimate
"SADC cannot stand by and do nothing when one of its members is
experiencing political and economic pain.
It would be wrong to turn a blind eye."
But despite exasperation at the economic mess in what was once the
region's role model, many SADC leaders continue to regard Tsvangirai with
Monday April 14 2008
The spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in
Washington agreed on a three-pronged strategy for Zimbabwe in the event of
In the first phase, the Fund would be responsible for restoring stability to
Zimbabwe's currency, which has fallen precipitously as the country's
economic crisis has caused hyper-inflation. The IMF has put aside $1bn for a
currency stabilisation fund.
Simultaneously, the World Bank would announce a package of humanitarian
assistance designed to ease the country's problems of poverty and hunger
caused by the economic crisis.
Some humanitarian assistance has been arriving in Zimbabwe through aid
agencies and charities but the Bank believes a major increase in financial
support will be needed over the coming months. Officials in Washington said
plans for the emergency help from the Fund and the Bank had now been
finalised and the money could start flowing to Zimbabwe within days.
The final part of the package will be involve land reform. Although seen as
less pressing than stabilising the currency or helping the hungry, the
institutions believe that the land reform programme of Robert Mugabe is a
root cause of Zimbabwe's plight and that new reforms to boost the country's
once-strong agricultural sector will require western money.
Britain has agreed that its former colonial links mean that it should lead
the way in funding land reform and that money would be reallocated in the
Department for International Development's budget from other spending
New York Sun
By Benny Avni
April 14, 2008
Here is a question i plan to ask Britain's Minister Mark Malloch Brown, who
will visit his old Turtle Bay stomping grounds this week: Are the U.N.
Development Program's representatives in Zimbabwe too close to the dictator
President Mugabe, who for decades has held back his country's potential for
success on the pretext of fighting colonialist ghosts, is justly one of
Britain's least favorite world leaders. He is currently involved in a fight
for his long political life, attempting to steal the recent election. Mr.
Malloch Brown, whose role for the British government includes responsibility
for Africa and the United nations, would score a victory for British Prime
Minister Brown — and for himself — if he gets the Security Council involved
in Zimbabwe during this week's summit of world and African leaders here. But
more about that later.
Prior to joining Britain's government, Mr. Malloch Brown was the U.n.'s
deputy secretary-general. Before that, between 1999 and 2005, as the UNDP's
administrator, he was hailed by admirers as a forceful leader who made
sweeping changes at the agency, and created practices and policies that
govern its activities to this very day.
it was therefore entirely appropriate for Baroness Park of Monmouth to
address Lord Malloch Brown during an April 3 debate on African issues in
Britain's House of Lords. "Unless the present head of the UnDP" — Agostinho
Zacarias — "is withdrawn, there will not be very much confidence in the
U.N.'s role in the future of Zimbabwe," Ms. Park was quoted as saying by
Zimbabwe's Sunday news. "Two successive UnDP leaders" — Victor Angelo and
Mr. Zacarias — "have been far too close" to Mr. Mugabe.
A UnDP spokesman, David Morrison, told me the agency has looked into the
matter of whether its officials ever accepted land from Mr. Mugabe and has
determined that the charge is unfounded. Privately, UNDP officials wonder
how they could ever operate in dictatorships without being considered "too
close" to the local dictator.
Zimbabwe's crisis is not expected to be on the agenda of Wednesday's special
Security Council meeting on Africa's relations with the United nations,
called by Prime Minister Mbeki of South Africa, which holds the rotating
council presidency in April. Mr. Brown will represent Britain, and will be
accompanied by Mr. Malloch Brown.
Currently, issues involving Sudan-Chad, Somalia, Kenya, and other African
crises are expected to be discussed only "at the margin" of the council's
summit, as a Western diplomat put it last week. Mr. Mbeki was hoping to
raise Africa's profile in general, and to stress international coordination
on the continent. He certainly did not intend to embarrass Mr. Mugabe. On
his way to this weekend's emergency meeting of southern African leaders, Mr.
Mbeki defied some of his neighbor's wishes, stopping by for a visit with Mr.
Mugabe in Harare. There is "no crisis in Zimbabwe," Mr. Mbeki announced,
indicating no change in his longheld opposition to international
intervention in his neighbor's affairs.
The London Times reported over the weekend that to soften such opposition,
Mr. Malloch Brown is conducting a "discreet" visit to Beijing, where he
would try to leverage worldwide anger over China's policies in Tibet and
Sudan to convince the Communist regime to drop its support for Mr. Mugabe.
China has long insisted that problems in places like Burma and Sudan — not
to mention Tibet or Taiwan — do not add up to threats to international peace
and security, the threshold for Security Council action. getting Beijing, a
veto-wielding council member, in this case to drop such opposition could
help pave the way for a British-led action on Zimbabwe.
The British prime minister is thehighest-ranking official among the Security
Council's permanent members planning to attend Wednesday's council meeting
and the press in London will laugh at him if he returns home without action
on Mr. Mugabe. Conversely, Mr. Malloch Brown will be crowned a hero if the
council does issue at least a statement on Zimbabwe. But first, Mr. Malloch
Brown will have to field a question about the role there of the UnDP he once
Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:42pm BST
(Reuters) - Tensions are rising in Zimbabwe over delayed results of the
March 29 presidential election, in which the opposition says it beat
President Robert Mugabe.
The ruling ZANU-PF party lost control of parliament for the first time in 28
years in a parallel vote.
An emergency regional summit is to be held in Lusaka on Saturday. Below are
answers to some key questions on what could happen next.
WHAT RESULTS ARE KNOWN?
Official results give the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) 99
seats in parliament, a breakaway opposition faction 10 and ZANU-PF 97. One
seat went to an independent.
The MDC said its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the presidential poll
outright. Even though the results remain officially unknown, Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa said ZANU-PF was preparing for a runoff --
necessary if neither candidate wins more than 50 percent of the first round
Senate results show contested seats split 30-30 between the combined
opposition and the ruling party.
Control of the 93-seat Senate will depend on who becomes president, with
powers to directly appoint 15 members and strongly influence who gets other
HOW ARE REGIONAL COUNTRIES INVOLVED?
The 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) will hold an
emergency summit in the Zambian capital on Saturday. A Zimbabwean
ministerial delegation will attend.
Critics say the body is a toothless talking shop, too in awe of liberation
hero Mugabe to take firm action. South African President Thabo Mbeki, much
criticised at home for not taking a stronger line, led failed SADC mediation
But ruling African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, who rivals Mbeki as
South Africa's most powerful man, has called for the results to be released
and has taken a harder line than Mbeki. Tsvangirai has met both of them to
discuss Zimbabwe's crisis.
WHY ARE DELAYS SIGNIFICANT?
In past polls, results emerged quickly. This time there is no presidential
outcome after almost two weeks. According to electoral rules, a runoff
between Tsvangirai and Mugabe should be held within three weeks of the
results announcement. The longer the delay, the more time Mugabe has to
organise his comeback.
WHAT IS MUGABE'S STRATEGY?
Mugabe had looked badly wounded by the parliamentary defeat and there was
speculation he would step down. But strong backing by security chiefs
appears to have strengthened the government's resolve to counter-attack.
There are suggestions Mugabe will use presidential powers to extend the
interval before a runoff to 90 days.
The MDC has accused Mugabe of deploying pro-government militias including
youth brigades and the feared independence war veterans to intimidate MDC
supporters. Human rights organisations and the MDC say Mugabe has unleashed
a campaign of systematic violence in response to his biggest defeat.
WHAT IS MDC STRATEGY?
The MDC has called a general strike for next Tuesday to demand the release
It has gone to the High Court to try to force the electoral commission to
release the results. The court must first rule on whether it has the
authority to rule on the MDC application. It was expected to decide on
The MDC is making frequent statements to keep the Zimbabwe situation high on
the world agenda and has appealed for foreign help to end Mugabe's rule.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IN A RUNOFF?
The opposition says it would unite behind Tsvangirai, which should, on
paper, produce an overwhelming victory based on first round results. But
Mugabe's control of state power, security forces and militia could make this
much less certain.
WHAT IF MUGABE WINS?
If Mugabe wins a runoff or first round results are revised to give victory
to ZANU-PF, this is certain to be rejected by the MDC and some of its
supporters could take to the streets. However a Kenyan scenario of prolonged
protests and bloodshed seems unlikely because of the power of the security
An outcry in the West and increased sanctions against Mugabe and his
entourage would be likely. But such measures have so far had little effect
on changing things in Zimbabwe.
WHAT IF TSVANGIRAI WINS?
If Tsvangirai wins and he can resist any violent crackdown by ZANU-PF
militants and security forces, foreign powers are expected to flood Zimbabwe
with aid to rescue the economy.
Former colonial ruler Britain says it is working with the United States,
IMF, World Bank and European Union to prepare a $1 billion recovery plan.
One option would be for Tsvangirai to form a national unity government with
(Reporting by Barry Moody and Michael Georgy)