President Robert Mugabe speaks at the country's Independence celebrations in the
capital Harare April 18, 2008.
HARARE -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe bitterly
attacked former colonial ruler Britain on Friday in his first major speech since
disputed elections, saying London was paying the population to turn against
Mugabe, 84, told 15,000 cheering supporters in a
fiery address to mark independence day: "Down with the British. Down with
thieves who want to steal our country."
In a stream of insults against Britain, Mugabe added:
"Today they are like thieves fronting their lackeys among us, which they give
money to confuse our people."
Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, is under
heavy international pressure over a delay in releasing results from the March 29
presidential election, which the opposition says was won by its leader Morgan
In a new setback for Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) the Harare High Court on Friday rejected its bid to
prevent a partial election recount on Saturday.
The recount, of 23 out of 210 constituencies, could
overturn the MDC's win in the parliamentary vote, when Mugabe's ZANU-PF lost
control of the assembly for the first time.
The court had previously rejected an MDC bid to force
authorities to release the result of the presidential vote.
Mugabe, brushing aside the international pressure,
struck a familiar theme in his speech, painting Britain and not the MDC as the
"Today they have perfected their tactics to a more
subtle form by using money literally to buy some people to turn against their
government. We are being bought like livestock," he said.
The former guerrilla commander received a rousing
welcome from his supporters at Gwanzura stadium in Highfield, a restive
opposition stronghold on the edge of the capital Harare.
The carnival atmosphere in the stadium contrasted
with the poverty outside, where the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy and the
world's worst hyper-inflation have forced residents to contend with shortages of
water and food, and 80 percent unemployment.
Critics accuse Mugabe of wrecking a once-prosperous
In a blog on the British Foreign Office website,
Foreign Secretary David Miliband described the independence celebrations as
"more bitter than sweet" and denied that Britain's support for democracy in
Zimbabwe was a form of recolonisation.
"The best celebration of Zimbabwean independence
would be for the will of the people, for change, to be followed," Miliband
The delay in issuing the presidential result has
provoked a chorus of criticism including from the United States and the ruling
party in neighbouring South Africa.
The MDC accuses Mugabe of unleashing loyal militias
to help him rig victory in an expected runoff against Tsvangirai.
Mugabe said the government had intervened to stop
independence war veterans from taking up arms against white farmers who were
trying to reoccupy land which he has confiscated.
"Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Never shall
we retreat," said Mugabe, wearing a dark suit and tie and speaking mostly in the
local Shona language.
After a few days when he seemed badly wounded by the
election, Mugabe -- backed by his military and hardliners in the cabinet -- has
returned to his normal brash defiance.
Security forces paraded in the stadium before his
speech and large posters denounced the opposition and Britain.
The British embassy in Harare, in a statement, said
it was increasingly concerned at reports of beatings and violence against
electoral officials and opposition supporters.
Both U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday called for more action from Africa to end the
post-election deadlock in Zimbabwe.
African reaction has been subdued and the continent
has largely taken its cue from South African President Thabo Mbeki, attacked
both at home and abroad for insisting on a softly softly diplomatic approach to
South African unions have been among the sharpest
critics of Mbeki's policy. Shipyard workers are refusing to unload arms headed
for landlocked Zimbabwe from a Chinese ship docked in the east coast port of
Randall Howard, General Secretary of the South
African Transport and Allied Workers Union said Mugabe might use the weapons
against his opponents.
"The South African government cannot be seen as
propping up a military regime," he told Reuters.
The Durban High Court on Friday ruled that the arms
shipment could be offloaded from a Chinese ship but not transported across the
country to its final destination, SAPA news agency reported.
© Thomson Reuters 2008
Mugabe slams critics, silent on poll outcome
correspondents in Africa | April 19, 2008
ZIMBABWE President Robert
Mugabe came out fighting today in his first major
speech since disputed
polls, fending off criticism over his rights record
and accusing Britain of
stirring up unrest.
In a wide-ranging speech to mark the 28th anniversary
of independence from
Britain, the 84-year-old leader fired off a string of
insults against the
former colonial power and said democracy had been
established in Zimbabwe
only after the demise of whites-only rule.
Mugabe did not speak about the outcome of the March 29 presidential
elections, the results of which are still to be announced, or whether he
would contest a second round run-off against opposition leader Morgan
Nor did he speak about his party's loss of control of
simultaneous legislative elections, a defeat which could be
the high court cleared the way for a recount in 23
In his address at a stadium in Harare,
Mr Mugabe acknowledged his country
was facing hardships but reserved most of
his energies for Britain, which he
accused of paying voters to back the
opposition Movement for Democratic
"Through money as a
weapon, (they) literally buy some of our people to turn
government, and accept to be politically manipulated in
"We are being bought like sheep, like livestock.''
took a swipe at Western critics over his country's right record.
we hear the British saying there's no democracy here, people are
oppressed, there's dictatorship, there's no observance of human
"We, not the British, established democracy based on one person
democracy ...and observed human rights.
"We are the ones
who brought democracy to this country, we are the ones who
oppression which was here.''
Mr Mugabe, whose 28-year rule began at
independence on April 18, 1980,
congratulated the people for taking part in
what he called peaceful
elections on March 29 despite some irregularities,
but said the British were
behind post-poll violence.
"We want peace
and stability to be maintained but we understand that there
are some who
have been planning political violence...(with) the support of
Sokwanele - Independence Day: 18
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough -
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE
Sokwanele : 18 April 2008
To my fellow
Zimbabweans I cannot speak to you on the national media, but I speak to you from
my heart - that freedom comes and your voice and your vote shall be heard.
Morgan Tsvangirai, 17 April 2008
by President Morgan Tsvangirai: 17 April 2008
Today on the eve of Independence Day in Zimbabwe, I'm here to thank the World
for the help you are giving the liberation struggle of our nation.
This is, in many ways, the saddest Independence Day since our independence
from colonial rule in 1980.
Our people are literally starving; Zimbabwe is amongst the worst humanitarian
crisis of this new century.
Our humanitarian crisis has political roots, and that gives us hope, because
political problems have political solutions.
Zimbabweans have no food because of the policies of President Robert Mugabe;
Zimbabweans have no schools, because of the policies of President Robert Mugabe;
Zimbabweans have no hospital care, because of President Robert Mugabe's
And on March 29th, the people of Zimbabwe in their largely free election,
repudiated President Robert Mugabe and Zanu pf and elected a new government.
For three weeks now, the people of Zimbabwe have waited peacefully.
They have waited for a peaceful transfer of power from the defeated old
regime, to the democratically elected new government. So far that transition is
Within days, Italy has counted and announced a new president, in the stark
contrast to our situation back home.
How long shall Africa's millions wait for democracy to enlighten a continent
so rich and endowed in potential?
How many more meetings to discuss crises from Rwanda, to Ethiopia, to Darfur,
and to Zimbabwe?
So the nations of the World have done what good neighbours should do: they
have enquired; they've asked what's wrong.
They've pounded on our doors. They fear that something is wrong in their
neighbour's house and they've raised the cry of alarm.
I want to thank Southern African leaders who met recently in Lusaka. You have
let your voice be heard.
I want to thank the leading industrial nations of the World, organised under
G8. You have let your voices be heard.
I want to thank the Secretary General of the United Nations. Yours is the
voice of the whole World, and you have let the World's voice be heard.
Each nation on its own Independence Day should celebrate its own
independence; but it should rightly recognise the independence of others.
Independence is raised on the fundamental rights of self-government which
belongs to all people in all nations.
While the voices of the World have been raised, many in Zimbabwe have not yet
There remains no free press in Zimbabwe, so I am using the free news media of
South Africa and the World so the people of Zimbabwe can be heard.
We are not alone. And the World is with us.
The World longs for us to take our rightful place again among the community
To my fellow Zimbabweans I cannot speak to you on the national media, but I
speak to you from my heart - that freedom comes and your voice and your vote
shall be heard.
The legal authority of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has expired.
Their moral authority has been laughed away. What ZEC says no longer matters.
What matters is the votes cast on 29th of March, and posted outside each
Those votes elected MDC as the majority in Parliament, and elected me as
President of Zimbabwe.
The regime is conditioning people to believe that there is a run-off.
There is no run off: we won this election decisively.
In preparation for this, Robert Mugabe and his hand of criminals have
unleashed an orgy of violence against the people.
As I speak, our people are being murdered, their homes are being burnt,
children molested, women raped.
We have seen again the brutal vindictiveness of this man.
We want to thank President Mbeki for all his efforts, but President Mbeki
needs to be relieved from his duty.
However, we've asked President Mwanawasa to lead a new initiative to urgently
deal with the extraordinary situation we face at this moment.
We cannot wait another day, we cannot wait another week: we need a special
envoy or a special committee or a delegation to come to Zimbabwe immediately,
and deal with the issue following the Kenyan model. [A delegation] who will stay
in the country until an agreement and a solution has been found.
Zanu-PF wants bloodshed, but instead we will shed light on that bloodshed.
We shall fight with the truth, and take the strength of our courage and
conviction to see the value of life, law and liberty, return to our country and
to our continent.
The movement has begun, and I ask you members of the media to join us in
ensuring that the objective of democratic change in Zimbabwe is achieved.
I thank you.
In the absence of a free press in our country, Sokwanele is circulating
this statement made by President Morgan Tsvangirai on the eve of our
Independence Day. We are also including in this mailing a Statement released by
the MDC party today (below), and we are providing a brief summary of some of the
protests that have been taken place around the world, in support of the
Zimbabwean pursuit of freedom and justice in our country.
We are not alone.
the MDC : 18 April 2008
Zanu PF hijacks people's independence
Today the MDC would like to join all Zimbabweans in commemorating their 28th
18th of April is a day that we all cherish as it has brought us the
independence that make us proud to be Zimbabweans and hold our heads high among
However, as we celebrate this occasion, it is sad to note that our
independence anniversary has been discredited by the Zanu PF regime that is
masquerading as a government and as the custodians of our independence.
Today the people of Zimbabwe have been denied a chance to celebrate their
independence by an illegal regime that is denying them a chance to make sure
that their gains of independence are enjoyed.
In the 29 March elections, Zimbabweans went to the polls in their millions
and voted for change and a new beginning.
They voted for Morgan Tsvangirai as the President of Zimbabwe but however, 20
days after that day, the people of Zimbabwe’s hopes are being dashed as the
results of the Presidential poll that President Tsvangirai won are being kept a
secret by a scared regime.
We are in a calamity as the people who are supposed to be celebrating are
instead being beaten up by the police, the army and Zanu PF militia.
Hundreds of innocent people including journalists are today in police
custody. Homes of innocent villagers have been burnt in areas such as Mutoko,
Murehwa, Chimanimani, Chipinge and Mudzi have been burnt to ashes simply because
the people voted for the MDC in the last elections.
In urban areas, residents are being forced to be indoors by 8.00 pm by a
regime that is scared because it is in power through illegal means.
People are now living in fear as the Zanu PF regime is using all forms of
brutality in order to stay in power.
As we commemorate this day lets remember our colleagues who have been killed,
beaten and left homeless by the Robert Mugabe regime. Lets remember Tapiwa
Mubwanda who was ruthlessly killed by Zanu PF militia in Hurungwe last Saturday.
The world is
This banner, measuring 278m², was flown over the United Nations building in
New York earlier this week at the same time that Thabo Mbeki was inside chairing
a special meeting of the UN Security Council. To put the size into perspective,
a football pitch measures approximately 210m²; there is no doubt that Thabo
Mbeki saw the message - whether he got the message remains to be seen.
In addition to that, Avaaz.org, the international organisation who organised
the banner also delivered Thabo Mbeki a petition that has been signed by over
150,000 people so far. 150,000 people is a lot of signatures: it is the
equivalent of the total number of people who voted in Matabeleland North
province (according to ZEC figures!)
There are three days of protests taking place in London outside the
Zimbabwean Embassy. They started yesterday and end tomorrow on the 19th April.
In Cape Town, two human rights groups joined forces and protested yesterday
on behalf of Zimbabweans and against Thabo Mbeki's statement that there was "no
crisis" in Zimbabwe - the signs at the protest say it all.
Tomorrow, a public event will be held in The Hague - Africa Day 2008 - where
the situation in Zimbabwe will be openly debated.
In another gesture of support for the people of Zimbabwe, we have been told
that there has been a 'media frenzy' over reports that a Chinese ship docked in
Durban has a consignment of weapons destined for Zimbabwe. The South African
people are not at all happy about having anything to do with the oppression of
the Zimbabwean people. Satawu - the South African Transport and Allied Workers
Union - have come out and refused to offload the ship. Their general secretary,
Randall Howard, said:
“Satawu does not agree with the position of the South African government not
to intervene with this shipment of weapons... Our members employed at Durban
Container Terminal will not unload this cargo neither will any of our members in
the truck driving sector move this cargo by road.” He said the ship, the An Yue
Jiang, should not dock in Durban and should return to China.
Satawu are planning to enlist the support of COSATU to strengthen their
Finally, also in South Africa, a group of Zimbabwean refugees have embarked
on an amazing journey - a real march for freedom. They are walking all the way
from Johannesburg to Musina to protest the fact the Presidential results have
not been released yet.
Apparently people are warmly greeting the walkers all along their route: cars
are hooting in solidarity; they are being offered money, food and water; and
people are coming out to join them and walk for a bit. We hear that in one town
they passed through, the mayor came out and welcomed them. They will arrive in
The whole world can see what Robert Mugabe is trying to do and they are angry
with his attempts to subvert the will of the people. They are also becoming
increasingly frustrated with Thabo Mbeki's ineffectual policy of 'quiet
We all remember that Thabo Mbeki recently popped in to visit Robert Mugabe
and emerged from the meeting to declare that there was "no crisis" in Zimbabwe.
Well, five short days later - yesterday - the South African government's
spokesperson has acknowledged the fact that "The situation is dire".
Non violent action is having an impact. We are not alone Zimbabwe.
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South African union workers: We won't move
weapons bound for Zimbabwe
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: April 18,
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: South African port and truck
refusing to move weapons from a ship that docked in their
country on the way
to landlocked, politically troubled Zimbabwe, union
officials said Friday.
The umbrella Congress of South African Trade
Unions applauded the stance by
the South African Transport and Allied
Workers Union, and reiterated its
calls for Zimbabwean electoral officials
to release the results of March 29
The An Yue
Jiang, a Chinese ship carrying the weapons, was anchored just
harbor after receiving permission late Wednesday to dock. Its
earlier this week has increased concern about tensions in Zimbabwe,
the ruling party and the opposition are locked in a dispute over
A South African government official, speaking
on condition of anonymity
because of the sensitivity of the issue, had
confirmed that there were
weapons on board but gave no further
"This vessel must return to China with the arms on board, as
cannot be seen to be facilitating the flow of weapons into
Zimbabwe at a
time where there is a political dispute and a volatile
situation," the union
congress said in a statement Friday.
one of Zimbabwe's main trade partners and allies.
A day earlier, South
African government spokesman Themba Maseko said
officials will not intervene
to stop the shipment from reaching Zimbabwe. He
said that despite the "dire"
situation in South Africa's neighbor to the
north, as long as administrative
papers were in order, South Africa cannot
He said there
was presently no trade embargo against Zimbabwe.
The union move could add
to pressure on President Thabo Mbeki to take a
harder line on Zimbabwe.
Mbeki has argued that Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe, who is accused of
withholding election results, is unlikely to
respond to a confrontational
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the archbishop of Durban and spokesman
Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, called Friday for the
African government "not to allow any more arms and munitions to enter
Zimbabwe through South Africa until an acceptable solution is found to the
present situation." The bishops also repeated appeals for an international
mediator to intervene in Zimbabwe.
The Southern Africa Litigation
Center, an independent human rights group,
said Friday it has asked a court
to intervene to stop the arms from being
transported on to
"Given the current situation in Zimbabwe, with increasing
widespread attacks on Zimbabwe's civilian population by
it is hard to imagine clearer circumstances in which
authorities were obliged to refuse the grant of any conveyance
director Nicole Fritz said in a statement. She added in an
interview that if
South Africa allows the arms to reach Zimbabwe, it would
standing as a mediator between Zimbabwe's ruling and
Mary Robinson, the former U.N. human rights chief,
applauded the unions for
taking a stand.
"How positive it is that
ordinary dockers have refused to allow that boat to
go further," Robinson
said during a conference in Senegal on governance in
Africa. "They as
individuals have taken the responsibility. Because they
believe it's not
She added she found the situation in Zimbabwe
"Behind the scenes we are extremely concerned and trying
to see what can be
done," she said.
Speaking at the same conference,
Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born billionaire who
disburses a US$5 million annual
award for African leaders who promote good
governance, said Mugabe's
counterparts on the continent haven't done enough
to pressure him to release
the final tally.
"I don't want to criticize any one African leader in
particular," he said
when asked about Mbeki's role. "But more should have
Associated Press writer Rukmini Callimachi
contributed to this report from
Bishop stops Zim arms shipment
April 18 2008 at
The Durban High Court on Friday ordered that a shipment of
destined for Zimbabwe may be offloaded in Durban's harbour but that the
controversial cargo cannot be transported across South Africa to that
Anglican bishop Rubin Phillips with Patrick Kearney, a
and executive of the Diakonia Council of Churches, applied
to the Durban
High Court to prevent the weapons from reaching
The papers were lodged with Judge Kate Pillay in chambers
About an hour later their attorney Ranjit
Purshotam emerged from the
court and announced that Judge Pillay had ruled
in favour of the
application - effectively barring the movement of the arms
Their legal action was being
sought in terms of the National
Conventional Arms Control Act (NCACC), which
"requires that any transfer of
arms be authorised by a permit issued on
terms of the NCACC".
On Monday South African defence secretary
January Masilela, who chairs
the scrutiny committee of the NCACC, issued the
The An Yue Jiang has been at anchor off Durban
Noseweek editor Martin Welz told Sapa on Wednesday
that "the cargo
ship was openly delivering a containment of arms for
He said he had copies of all the documents, including
the bill of
lading and a packing list.
The controversial cargo
packed into 3080 cases allegedly includes
three million rounds of 7.62mm
bullets (used with the AK47 assault rifle),
69 rocket propelled grenades, as
well as mortar bombs and tubes.
The cargo is, according to the
documentation, valued at R9,88-million.
The seven respondents in
the case are the NCACC, the minister of
defence, the secretary of defence,
the minister of foreign affairs, a
company called AB Logistics, the Durban
Port Captain and Transnet.
Pillay ordered that they return to court
next Friday. - Sapa
We call them guns; Mugabe calls them ‘campaign
It seems that despite the fantastic news that Satawu
workers are refusing to
offload or transport Mugabe’s consignment of Chinese
weapons, the South
African government has been unbending in its stance. The
Times (UK) reports
January Masilela, the South African
Defence Secretary, said yesterday that
the shipment had been approved this
week by the National Conventional Arms
Control Committee (NCACC), which he
chairs. “This is a normal transaction
between two sovereign states and we
don’t have to interfere,” he said.
Can a transaction in arms ever be
considered ‘normal’ during abnormal times?
I’m nothing more than a
confused Zimbabwean, but I want to know what happens
when the postman
arrives at the door of Zimbabwe’s State House asking for
the President to
sign for the delivery… who signs for it?
We voted three weeks ago and we
still don’t (officially) know who our
I haven’t seen
the parade of elected MPs walking into Parliament ready to
take control of
our nation’s affairs, so this confused Zimbabwean would
really like January
Masilela to define normal for me and offer me and the
others (who are likely
to be on the receiving end of those bullets) some
guarentee that he is very
sure it is the elected government of Zimbabwe who
is about to receive the
weapons, and not a gang of potential thugs who will
use them to create a
civil war when things don’t go their way.
How can he possibly know who
has been elected when we haven’t even been
If I understand it
correctly, one of the duties of NCACC (which he chairs)
is to “ensure that
arms trade and transfer policies conform to
There’s a policy document buried deep on the South Africa
Defence’s website in a Policy for the Control of Trade in
(link to pdf file). It’s peppered with noble sentiments
South Africa is a responsible member of the international
contributes towards bringing about international peace and
maintaining integrity in the trade in conventional
Wouldn’t it be a lot smarter for a South African government that
care about things like ‘peace’ and ‘international security’ to
hold off for
a bit on this delivery, and wait and see what happens?
don’t think holding off would be a big problem because a little later in
document, arms traders are warned of a few things that will be taken
account by the NCACC when making decisions on trade in conventional
Section 4.a.ii (page 8 ) includes this consideration:
decisions not to trade in conventional arms and military
equipment […] with
[…] countries involved in the systematic violation or
humanitarian rights and fundamental freedoms;
There’s the ‘get out of
jail free’ card for the South African government
international side of things, apparently there are a range of
which are on the brink of being violated, including the 1996
Arrangement. The Wassenaar Arrangement website explains one of the
principles behind the agreement:
The Participating States seek
through their national policies to ensure
that transfers of arms and
dual-use goods and technologies do not contribute
to the development or
enhancement of military capabilities that undermine
regional security and stability and are not diverted to
If the South African government held back on authorising
the transfer of
this particular consignment, I expect the majority of
countries in the world would support them in this sensible
With this is mind, I am left in complete agreement with the
comment made by
the South African Institute of Race Relations which said
that if the
shipment goes ahead, “South Africa’s culpability in the Zimbabwe
would then be without question.”
This afternoon, Anglican
bishop Rubin Phillips arrived at the Durban High
Court “in a bid to obtain
an urgent interdict to prevent the unloading of a
Chinese ship carrying arms
and weapons destined for Zimbabwe”. He has the
backing of the SA Litigation
Centre (Salc) whose Director, Nicole Fritz
“Given the current
situation in Zimbabwe, with increasing attacks on
population by government forces, it is hard to imagine
in which South African authorities were obliged to
refuse the grants of any
conveyance permit” (link).
The result of this action - for which I am so
grateful for - is that the
High Court has,
granted an interim order
that the controversial arms shipment on board the
Chinese cargo vessel, the
An Yue Jiang, be placed under the curatorship of
the Sheriff of the Court.
This effectively means that once the ship is
docked the cargo will be seized
by the court.(via SABC news)
It’s another incredible step taken by South
African civil society on behalf
of the people of Zimbabwe and we thank them
with all our heart.
But what happens next is something we all need to
consider. I may be just a
confused Zimbabwean, but experience as a
Zimbabwean has educated me in the
vicious ruthless relentless ways of
dictators and despots; the fact is, I
don’t think it will end
My fear here is that the ship simply won’t dock and may instead go
Mozambique or Angola where the consignment may silently arrive and be
We need to prepare, well in advance, to lobby
these governments and civil
society in those countries to follow the example
set by South African civil
society and Satawu before the next ships arrive
My hope is that the rest of the cargo on board that ship poses too
financial loss to whoever owns the An Yue Jiang to do that. I really
the ship will dock, offload all their cargo, including the weapons, and
return to China with the captain giving a fatalistic ‘not my problem’
of the shoulders.
This is one financial loss that I, a
Zimbabwean taxpayer, am happy to just
I hope that people
following this story have their eyebrows raised to
hairline level in China’s
complicity in the Mugabe’s violent treatment of
the Zimbabean people. If you
remember, we started following this story
because we’d learned of the
presence of Chinese military in Mutare. This is
all utterly unacceptable.
The idea that China is hosting the Olympics is
just too incredible for me to
My mind is turning to ways we can lobby against them in that
Let’s be realistic about this: even if the weapons don’t get to
this time, the existing presence of the Chinese military in
indicates that China already has a vested interest in aiding and
human rights violation in our country. That has to be
Update: Less than a few minutes after posting this, we got a
call telling us
that the ship had left the port and was in international
waters. That’s the
rumour anyway. I guess it’s on its way to
This entry was written by Hope on Friday, April 18th,
2008 at 8:33 pm.
Military Leaders Making the Decisions in
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, April 16, 2008; Page
JOHANNESBURG, April 15 -- Zimbabwe's military has taken day-to-day
of key elements of the national government, limiting the authority
President Robert Mugabe as he struggles to maintain power after 28 years,
according to senior government sources, Western diplomats and
Mugabe's clout has diminished as military forces deploy widely
Zimbabwe's countryside and in government agencies. Among those
the electoral commission, which has refused to release results
March 29 election and would manage a runoff vote, if one is
National decision-making increasingly has been
consolidated within the Joint
Operations Command, a shadowy group consisting
of the leaders of the army,
air force, police, intelligence agency and
prison service -- a group
Zimbabweans call the
Although those officials long have been powerful, their
government and political matters grew sharply in the days after
election, when it became clear that Mugabe had lost a first round of
balloting to longtime opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Several of the
securocrats, whose ties to Mugabe date to Zimbabwe's liberation war in the
1970s, had vowed before the vote never to take orders from Tsvangirai, a
former trade union official with no military background.
The shift in
power is "an interim measure that is meant to stabilize the
country at this
critical moment," said a top government official and Mugabe
speaking on the condition of anonymity. "The arrangement is just
because once he wins [a runoff vote], as the army expects him to,
he will be
back in charge."
Zimbabwe's political crisis has shown no sign of abating
since the election
17 days ago. All sides agree that Mugabe received fewer
Tsvangirai, but they disagree as to whether the opposition
candidate won the
clear majority needed for a decisive first-round
The opposition party, which asserts that Tsvangirai did win
enough votes to
become president, has tried various tactics to push Mugabe's
office. It sued unsuccessfully to force release of the
results. It embraced
a runoff, announced a boycott of it, then reversed
again and said it would
take part under certain conditions. On Tuesday, it
called a general strike
only to see it fizzle.
efforts, including quiet negotiations between the ruling
party and the
opposition, have failed so far. There are no official
results, no date for a runoff and no clear path for
resolving the crisis.
That has made questions about who is in charge now all
the more pressing.
The constitutional mandate for parliament and Mugabe's
cabinet expired at
the end of March.
Opposition leaders have claimed for several days that
the military has
quietly taken control of the government. "It's a coup in
the guise of an
election," said opposition lawmaker David Coltart, who is
part of a
breakaway faction that does not answer to
Mugabe's security minister, Didymus Mutasa, disputed
saying, "President Mugabe is still in charge, and
that is a fact. Those
people who are telling you that are wishing for bad
things for this country.
Wait until the runoff. We will beat them
overwhelmingly, and then they will
Yet a Zimbabwean
general, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described
a meeting between
top military officers and Mugabe last week in Murombedzi,
about 55 miles
southwest of Harare, the capital. After declaring to the
president that they
were in charge, the officers laid out a plan by which he
would contest a
runoff vote in conditions made far more favorable by
military control of
polling stations and central counting centers, the
added that the military has assigned two senior officers to oversee each
Zimbabwe's dozens of local government districts. Their job, the general
said, is to coordinate political violence by ruling party groups that are
intimidating and attacking opposition supporters.
Two people have
died since the election. Dozens of others have been beaten,
threatened by ruling party youth militias, opposition activists
Veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war have occupied many of the
white-owned commercial farms. As police checkpoints on Zimbabwe's
have proliferated, a growing number are monitored by military
officers of Mugabe's secret police.
Such harsh tactics were common in
previous elections, especially in 2000 and
2002; this year's vote was
generally regarded as less violent. The following
day, results were posted
at individual polling stations, which allowed both
the opposition and
independent monitors to compile tallies showing the
extent of Mugabe's
This more relaxed atmosphere, which resulted largely from pressure
by leaders of other countries of southern Africa, changed in the
the election. Through increasingly belligerent statements, ruling
figures vowed to defeat Tsvangirai in a runoff and challenged the
several parliamentary seats they lost.
officials were arrested, as were several journalists covering
amid intensive restrictions on news gathering.
This crackdown has come
since the Joint Operations Command took operational
control of the ruling
party's political strategy and the country's electoral
internal security measures, the senior government sources,
analysts said. The pretext, they said, is a national security
by a possible victory by Tsvangirai, whom officials long have
colluding with Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, Britain, to help
Former Mugabe information minister Jonathan Moyo, who
broke with the
president and now is an independent lawmaker, said that when
he was in the
cabinet from 2000 to 2005, major decisions needed the approval
securocrats, much as a company's chief executive officer submits
initiatives to a board of directors.
Since the vote, Moyo said,
power has shifted from Mugabe, whom he called "a
"His role is as a weakened CEO," Moyo said. "Still CEO, but
one who cannot
disagree with his boss."
Hope on Zimbabwe's independence day
Independent, UK - blog
By guest author, Zimbabwean blogger Sokwanele
It is Zimbabwe’s Independence Day today, but rather than living in a state of
freedom and independence, Zimbabweans are trapped in an interregnum. These
elections are different from all the previous elections that have been rigged by
Mugabe because we know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we have proof we have
won. We also know that most of the world believes we have won too.
The international legitimacy that Mugabe craves and needs to economically
survive has been lost to him forever. The political dynamic has shifted into a
different phase. For the first time, the freedom loving forces in our country
visibly have the upper hand, and it is Zanu PF and Mugabe who are scrabbling,
violently, to retain control.
Our twilight period is banded at both ends with the faint glow of hope: the
hope we felt when we cast our ballots and the hope we still have for the future
we have voted for.
We have to find a way to get through this darkening phase as Mugabe cranks up
his war against his own people. The conditions in our country are worsening by
Yesterday we received leaked information from a member of the defence forces,
outlining Mugabe’s run-off election campaign. (Please note, the votes haven’t
been declared and the run-off announced, but Mugabe is ‘campaigning’
Last night we watched the bribery phase kick into action on State TV news,
with the announcement of funded projects in previously ignored rural areas;
before that we heard reports of activists being harassed and arrested around the
country; this morning we woke up to news and emails from people around and
outside the county desperately telling us personal stories of violence and
Those of us who are able to have been following South African media reports
of a Chinese ship that has arrived in Durban with a consignment of weapons –
Mugabe’s run-off campaign materials - destined for Zimbabwe. We are not a
country at war; those bullets have our civilian names on them.
We receive emails from around the world asking us ‘What is wrong with the
Zimbabwean people?’ and ‘Why don’t they do something?’
We HAVE done something: Zimbabweans struggled to register to vote despite all
efforts by the regime to deny us that right. We turned out in large numbers. We
queued for hours to vote – sometimes we even slept in the queue the night before
to make sure we didn’t miss the chance. When our vote is stolen we turn to the
courts of law, not to violence.
On our Independence Day, we hope that the world will recognise that the
Zimbabwean people are doing everything that they can to resist the African
cliché that African nations can only solve problems through violence, and that
Mugabe is doing everything he can to twist our country into the most grotesque
version of the cliché possible. If Zimbabwe turns into a cauldron of terror and
blood, it will not be because the Zimbabwean people are incapable of
understanding or believing in democracy.
How can our future ever be anything other than glorious given the incredible
dignity and character of the people who make up our country? We have a lot to
hope for and much to look forward to.
Sokwanele's blog can be found here
Zimbabwe victim: 'I wailed in pain'
Zimbabwean shopkeeper Tendai is being treated in private clinic in the
capital, Harare, after being beaten up and tortured a week ago.
As the country awaits the results of presidential elections held on 29 March,
he was accused of being a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic
He told the BBC about his ordeal. We have changed his name for his own
They stormed into my shop I was renting, around 2100 [1900 GMT] on
11th April - I was fast asleep when a loud bang on the door woke me up.
To my horror a group of about 40 Zanu-PF [ruling party] supporters had broken
Everything took me by surprise. The beatings began.
I was operating the business in Mashonaland East province, a Zanu-PF
For years I have battled to keep my business afloat, given the economic
It's difficult to source basic commodities and villagers, with their meagre
earnings, can't buy much to survive.
I am only 22 years old, but had already ventured into private business at my
tender age as I only went as far as 'O' level education.
The shop serviced the rural community well and I never imagined that one day
my usual customers would be overcome by greed.
But Zanu-PF militias, in political anger, turned against my business.
That day, when they got into my bedroom, inside the shopping complex, I was
beaten all over my body with logs, iron bars and clenched fists.
I could hardly identify them, everything was happening under the cover of
They shouted that I was a good-for-nothing MDC activist, out to effect a
They even doubted that I could run a shop, given my age.
They said I got the money from the MDC, through its British sponsors. Of
course, that's not true.
After being subjected to thorough beatings that lasted until the early hours
of the morning, something that I never imagined took place.
That was a sad ghastly side of human nature. I want to believe for now, it
They took dry grass from nearby, burnt it, and placed my hands above the
flame for about three minutes.
I wailed, howled in pain, and many in the surrounding homesteads could hear
But they could do nothing to help.
The war veterans are gods, feared in the villages.
The situation is on edge in the whole constituency.
After burning my hands and back, I fainted.
They broke all the windows at the shop and ransacked it. I lost everything.
But this is the same shop that's been supporting them with basic food
commodities all these years. It's like biting the hand that fed them.
They left me lying helpless, beside my shop. Broken windows, a terrible
remainder of my broken existence.
I experienced an indescribable pain. Luckily I am still single. My children
should not have witnessed this horror.
The police came early morning and took me to the closest hospital.
There were hardly any drugs, just a few painkillers, the nurses told us.
MDC officials then came and offered emergency vehicles to take us to Harare.
I can't sleep, and I always have nightmares. I'm in deep pain.
I always wonder if my business will ever operate my business again. I also
doubt if I will ever set foot in the area again.
Where will I get the money to start my business all over again? It bothers me
'Forgive and forget?'
They may use violence, but the people have memories.
It will take time for us to forgive and forget.
History will judge some of these people harshly
We always wonder why our government turned against its own people.
Twenty-eight years after independence, it seemed unimaginable these things
would ever happen.
But here we are suffering, being tortured, for making a political choice
someone believes is wrong.
But the [election] campaigns had been peaceful.
I believe the establishment is generating more enemies than friends because
of these indiscriminate acts of violence: history will judge some of these
They should take a hard look in the mirror.
If it was me subjecting my tormentors' children in this brutal fashion, how
would they feel in their sleep?
They need to interrogate themselves because history repeats itself.
International MPs urge convening
of new Zimbabwe parliament
CAPE TOWN, April 18 (AFP)
Representatives of 135 national parliaments ended
a meeting Friday in Cape
Town with a call for an urgent convening of
Zimbabwe's new parliament after
last month's disputed elections.
urge that parliament be convened as soon as possible so that the people
Zimbabwe are not deprived of their rightful voice in the government of
country," the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said in a statement at
of its 118th assembly.
"We call on the Zimbabwe authorities to exercise
restraint and maintain
peace ... lift all restrictions on freedom of
assembly and speech (and)
publish immediately results that have not been
While the results of parliamentary elections held on
March 29 have been
released, giving the opposition a narrow victory over the
party, the outcome of a simultaneous presidential election
has yet to be
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is
hoping to regain control of the
210-seat house of assembly with the
electoral commission due to hold a
recount in 23 constituencies from
Mugabe's gall is breathtaking
The president and Zanu-PF
are acting as if it's business as usual in
Zimbabwe, regardless of the minor
inconvenience of losing an election
2008 12:00 PM
It is hard to imagine how Robert Mugabe could get any more
man many of whose countrymen believe was voted out of office
in an election
held 19 days ago, will today make his first public appearance
election as president of Zimbabwe, lording over a celebration of
nation's 28th anniversary of independence from colonial
Yesterday, Zimbabweans who may have opened their morning newspapers
hope of finding information about when the results of a presidential
election held on March 29 would be published, were greeted by news in the
state-run press that the president, Robert Mugabe, expects a "bumper crowd"
at an Independence Day party to be held today in a football stadium in
Highfield, Harare - an opposition stronghold in which people voted
overwhelmingly against him and his Zanu-PF party in the election three weeks
A Zanu-PF party spokesperson described variously in the
as "comrade", "war veteran" and "minister" said of the
"We want it to stick in the minds of all people that
signifies the day we liberated Zimbabwe."
always thought that Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party were shameless - some
the most bare-faced rogues one could come across. But even in my harshest
musings about them, I never imagined a more breathtaking display of gall by
the man, and the party, who have ruined the lives of so many.
the Zimbabwean nation, populated largely by indigents whose survival
upon money spared by their fellow citizens - who were forced by
ruinous rule to go and toil for subsistence in foreign lands - or
handouts paid for by more prosperous nations, including Zimbabwe's
colonial master Britain, is expected, by Mugabe and his party, to
a farce, called independence day, that dramatises their own
More than two weeks ago, Zimbabweans voted in a general
election which they
believed empowered them to decide whether or not they
wanted the man and the
party who in their 28-year-long rule have presided
over their social and
economic ruin, to govern them for five more years. All
the signs are that
the majority of people whose existence under conditions
of chronic food
shortages, annual inflation of 165,000%, and collapsed
services is barely tolerable, voted against the party and
responsible for the dire state of their nation.
and his party do not want to know. They are making it clear that
carry on business as usual, ruling regardless of the minor
a poll that may have voted them out of power. And to ensure
understand who really wields power, large numbers of those
thought to oppose
continued Zanu-PF rule have been beaten into submission in
a campaign of
violence that followed the election. Today's news about an
from China bound for Zimbabwe is a chilling reminder, if any
were needed, of
how well equipped for repression the state is.
So there has been, so far,
a great escape for Mugabe. The restraint of most
Zimbabweans under the
extreme provocation of the past two weeks has
surprised even those who
believe Zimbabweans to be an unusually peace-loving
Mugabe's independence celebrations really go on as before?
in Zimbabwe looks set to fall back on their default
position - their
campaigners have called on their supporters to boycott the
They appear to have conceded this important political ground
activists, many of whom will be bussed in from Zanu-PF support
the city, to be cast as euphoric patriots in order to feed
If this ceremony follows the well-rehearsed script,
Mugabe will use it as a
platform to rubbish the opposition and insult voters
by making self-serving
claims that he, who is brazenly denying their right
is in fact the sole guarantor of their
But I for one, hope that opposition activists, seeing
Mugabe's hubris for
what it is, will seize this opportunity to bring on a
Nicolae Ceausescu, the erstwhile Romanian despot of
Mugabe's ilk, was driven
out of power by a sudden burst of rebellion by a
people who for years, like
Zimbabweans, seemed hopelessly docile in the face
For years Romanians, much like Zimbabweans, tolerated a
dictatorship. Fuel, electricity and bread were rationed under
crackpot policies. In 1988, his regime bulldozed 8,000 villages
bizarre resettlement scheme. The parallels with Mugabe's Zimbabwe
As the crisis deepened, Ceausescu resorted to more
contempt for his people, he gave his army orders to shoot
soldiers obeyed him, and killed many
Following the killings Ceausescu, in a business-as-usual gesture,
huge public meeting in Palace Square in Bucharest. His evident aim
demonstrate the support of the masses for the repression with which
been threatened. It was set to be a familiar ritual in which
abject people performed automatic rituals celebrating their
But the rally was the pivotal moment that jolted Romanians
from their long
torpor. At first the proceedings followed established
rituals: the crowd
that was under the surveillance of police and Ceausescu's
cheered the dictator and waved flags as he started to speak.
He thought he
was among friends and his speech left no doubt about his
the crowd unexpectedly turned against him.
say the revolution started with a few jeers and boos. His people had
of his insolence. And the moment Ceausescu registered the shock on
was the moment Romanians realised he could defeated. A wave of
demonstrations and bloodshed was unleashed which ended in the execution,
eight days later, of Ceausescu and his wife. In the end, Romania's
long-ruling dictator may have been brought down by his own
Zimbabwe today is of course not Romania in 1989. But, perhaps
out of a sense
of outrage at Mugabe's audacity, I cannot stop hoping that
Day will be his Ceausescu moment.
Zimbabweans protest in London as
Mugabe slams Britain
LONDON, April 18 (AFP)
Zimbabweans protested outside their country's embassy in
London on Friday
saying President Robert Mugabe had "robbed" the opposition
of victory in
last month's elections.
Many of the 150 protesters
gathered under a banner reading "No to Mugabe, No
to Starvation" said the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had scored a
clear victory, but Mugabe
was trying to intimidate people to ensure his
ZANU-PF party won in a second
round of voting.
"Mugabe had to doctor this election because his party
lost it so dismally,"
said Ephraim Tapa, 45, who fled Zimbabwe in 2002 when
he came under pressure
because of his role as head of the civil servants'
"Unfortunately what I think will happen is that there will be a
of voting and ZANU-PF will fix it so they win," said Tapa, who
the British branch of the MDC.
The demonstration came as
Mugabe told supporters in Harare that Britain,
Zimbabwe's former colonial
power, was trying to interfere in his country's
sovereignty and he accused
London of sponsoring violence.
In London, Jack Madeu, 32, another exiled
Zimbabwean, said Mugabe's taunts
were "the last kick of a dying
"There is no doubt that the MDC won the election. If ZANU-PF had
would have announced the results straight away," he said, pointing
the results were still to be announced three weeks after the
Dillon Woods, 43, who has lived in Britain since the 1970s and runs
charity to help the poor in his native South Africa, said he was attending
his first demonstration since the apartheid era.
"I think the most
efficient way to alleviate poverty in Zimbabwe is to get
rid of Mugabe," he
He agreed that South African President Thabo Mbeki's role in
standoff was "absolutely central".
"I think there is a
gathering groundswell of international opinion to get
rid of Mugabe. I think
they will eventually buy him off," he said.
British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown told the UN Security Council in New York
on Wednesday that "no one
thinks" Mugabe won the election.
'We are not free at all' - Zimbabweans on
Monsters and Critics
Apr 18, 2008, 18:45
Harare/Johannesburg - President Robert Mugabe used his
independence celebrations speech to attack his perennial enemies -
former colonial power Britain and the opposition Movement for Democratic
But while the elderly leader was pledging to uphold
the West some people were nursing wounds sustained
for exercising a right
Mugabe and his fellow liberation struggle comrades
had fought so hard for:
the right to vote for their preferred
'Independence celebrations are meaningless,' said Matthew
of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, who was bruised
after being beaten by
soldiers in a town on the edge of Harare called
Chitungwiza a day earlier.
Zimbabwe is on a knife edge over the nearly
three-week wait for results of
last month's presidential elections, in which
opposition MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai claims to have ended Mugabe's
Tsvangirai claims he won the election outright. Mugabe's
party says neither
he nor Tsvangirai won decisively and that a runoff will
be needed. The MDC
won the parliamentary vote.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has withheld the results,
while at the same
time announcing a partial recount for Saturday.
In a by now familiar
pattern of retribution against the population, soldiers
entered a bar where
Takaona was drinking with friends and beat the patrons
for daring to 'enjoy
themselves' after 'voting wrongly' in the March 29
claims four of its members have been killed in such attacks. The
Doctors for Human Rights say they have treated scores of people for
sustained in post-election violence.
'What independence is there when the
security forces who are supposed to
protect you - when you see them you run
away? We are not free at all,'
Takaona asked. 'We still have to be liberated
in actual terms - economically
As Independence Day
dawned the attacks continued. About 30 soldiers
travelling in two
unregistered army trucks rounded up young men in the
suburb of Glen View Friday morning and took turns beating
According to bystanders the victims' offence had been to
'They think we will forget our results. We want
election results,' Hilda
Garwe said. Garwe's brother in Mutoko (about 200
kilometres from Harare) was
beaten up by youth militia for urging people to
vote for the MDC.
But Mugabe on Friday gave the delayed results and the
opprobium it has caused little shrift, accusing Britain of
using cash to
turn people away from him and warning Zimbabwe would 'never be
His nationalist rhetoric got cheers from his
15,000-strong audience in
Gwanzuru stadium of mostly children, uniformed
soldiers and people
shepherded there by youth militia.
critics worried that this was not the speech of a president on the
'It seems he wants to stay in power,' said Lovemore Madhuku,
head of the
National Constitutional Assembly civil society umbrella
'You could tell even from the way he was using hate speech against
On television or radio it is the same, we see very disturbing images
bodies, war or disturbing songs and speeches.'
Over the past
few weeks state-owned television and radio stations have been
'political' songs and speeches to invoke memories of the 1970s
One of the songs, 'Mr Government' by Man Soul Jah, a supporter of
Zanu-PF, celebrates the government's seizures of white-owned farms
for killing of perceived political sell-outs.
speaks of people living like squatters in the land of their
asking for spears so that they can kill the 'sellouts' in their
Zimbabwe court refuses to block poll recount
Fri Apr 18,
10:30 AM ET
HARARE (Reuters) - A Zimbabwe court on Friday rejected an
opposition bid to
block a partial recount of votes from the March 29
The recount of 23 out of 210 constituencies in the election
was due to take
place on Saturday. It could overturn the biggest election
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, which lost control of
"I can find no merit in the application,
accordingly the application is
dismissed with costs," High Court Judge
Antonia Guvava said.
Analyst Says Military May Have Quashed Zimbabwe National Unity
By Joe De Capua
With the continuing political turmoil in Zimbabwe,
some say moves are
underway for a government of national unity. However, two
professors in South Africa warn that such a government will fail
reflects the popular will demonstrated by the apparent opposition
the recent elections.
David Moore of the University of
KwaZulu-Natal and David Sanders of the
University of the Western Cape have
co-written an article on Zimbabwe.
From Durban, Professor Moore spoke to
VOA English to Africa Service reporter
Joe De Capua about prospects for a
national unity government. He says it
appears the South African government
and some members of the ruling ZANU-PF
party had a plan.
be based on the government of national unity that came about in
after the long, long negotiations upon the demise of the
So, the South Africans would like to see a government of
which would be an arrangement between the Movement for
the MDC, which is the party which has won the elections
and indeed has won
the elections since 2000. But they’ve been stolen. They
would like to have
some segments of ZANU-PF, including perhaps (President)
Mugabe himself, and
the MDC to create a transitional government that would
tide things over,” he
Moore says a government of national unity was seriously being
“Now, indeed I think this is a very, very firm plan. And I
think judging by
some sources that have been talking to me lately there was
a plan that
apparently Mugabe agreed to that (opposition leader Morgan)
claim a majority and Mugabe would then claim that he had 47
something like that. But then they would agree to have a
national unity and Mugabe would be able to look like a real
statesman and be
protected from the international court (ICC) and so on. Now
deal has been rejected probably by some of the leaders of
military. And so people are trying to negotiate a remaking of
that deal,” he
Moore and Professor Sanders describe a
government of national unity as a
“What I mean by a mirage
is I don’t think it can happen and is probably not
right that it would
happen anyway because…the democratic will of the people
has been expressed
through a vote and the MDC has won. So if it is indeed a
national unity, it should be a government of national unity
the winners,” he says.
He says that the military appears split on the
political outcome. However,
he believes the majority of the rank and file
and junior officers do not
Campaigner urges Africa to pressure Mugabe on poll
Fri Apr 18,
2008 4:39pm BST
By Pascal Fletcher
DAKAR (Reuters) - The delay
in the results from Zimbabwe's election is "a
joke" and African leaders
should press President Robert Mugabe's government
to release them at once, a
prominent African good governance campaigner said
Zimbabwe's opposition says its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the
presidential poll, and Mugabe, who has ruled the southern African
since independence in 1980, has come under international criticism
delay to the results.
entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, who has
established a $5 million (2.5 million
pounds) prize to reward good
government in Africa, said it was unacceptable
that the outcome of the
ballot was still not known three weeks after it was
"It's a joke ... the results should be released immediately,"
of Africa's most successful businessmen who is now lobbying for
government on the continent, told Reuters during a visit to
Ibrahim, who in 2006 set up a foundation dedicated to improving
leadership, said the continent's heads of state and government were
doing enough to force Zimbabwean authorities to announce the
"I think they should be putting the
pressure on," he said.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
which beat Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF party in a parallel parliamentary vote
last month, accuses
the Zimbabwean leader of using violence to try to rig a
victory in an
expected presidential run-off vote against the opposition
The inaugural $5 million Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African
Leadership -- the world's largest annual individual prize -- was awarded in
2007 to the former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano.
Ibrahim's Foundation last year started an Index of African
ranks 48 Sub-Saharan African states on the quality of
governance based on a
range of categories including security , rule of law,
human rights and human
In the 2007 Index, Zimbabwe ranks
31, behind Mauritius at No. 1 and South
Africa at 5, but Zimbabwe scores
highly on safety and security and comes
ahead of Nigeria at 37, Liberia at
43, Sudan at 45 and Somalia last at 48.
Ibrahim told a news conference
earlier that economic development in Africa
depended on good
"Without good governance, forget it, nothing will happen. You
can have all
the aid and oil in the world, and people will still live in
you'll still have genocide," he said.
here can lead to the death of millions of people," Ibrahim
acknowledged his campaign would have to overcome years of resistance to
outside censure by long-serving African leaders, whom critics accuse of
closing ranks and turning a blind eye to graft, abuses and genocide
committed by some of their peers.
"We don't think that we just have a
magic wand to wave and suddenly Africa
will turn into an oasis (of good
governance) ... this will be a long road,"
He added his
campaign was seeking to mobilise ordinary Africans to demand
from their leaders.
"No one can accuse us of being foreign colonisers or
imperialists," he said.
Former United Nations Commissioner for Human
Rights Mary Robinson, who is on
the board of Ibrahim's foundation, said she
believed the governance index
could promote change in Africa. "We hope over
time this index will be a real
tool for civil society," added Robinson, a
former president of Ireland.
Mugabe: lots of laughs, no answers
19:08 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 20:08 UK
Thousands took part in the independence day
In a way, the vast majority of Zimbabweans had been waiting for this day,
18 April, to hear President Robert Mugabe address the nation for the first time
since polls on 29 March.
There had been false alarms before - would he speak, would he say something
on television? But Friday 18 April was unavoidable - because it was the
country's 28th anniversary of independence.
Coming as it did against the backdrop of no presidential poll results and
great uncertainty throughout the land, President Mugabe's speech, when it did
come, was eagerly listened to.
Sculptors at Domboshawa's ancient caves, decorated with Bushman paintings,
downed their tools to listen; traffic was noticeably sparse - those drivers on
the road slowed lest they miss a single word on car radios; and the state
broadcaster beamed the speech live on television.
Just a day ago, victims of post-electoral violence were battling with their
wounds and broken bones in Harare's Avenues Clinic, on the slow road to physical
In the Harare suburb of Warren Park, unconfirmed reports circulated that a
policeman had been beaten to death by unruly youths, possibly from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
'Out of control'
Tinei Munetsi, an MDC activist in Goromonzi West, about 20km from the
capital, told me it was more than likely that MDC youths were the killers.
"It is difficult to control them, especially in the townships. They are so
full of anger, the pressure of waiting for the results is just too much for
them," he says.
Earlier, I drove past Machipisa Shopping Centre, near where the president
later addressed the independence-day crowds, to gauge the mood.
A man wearing a ruling party Zanu-PF T-shirt was stopped by a large group of
people waiting for transport out of town.
They crowded around him and ask: "Where are our results?"
The young man had no choice but to flee, hastily removing the T-shirt bearing
the president's image.
People acknowledged, in reaction to the presidential address, that this is a
man they enjoy listening to.
Mugabe renewed his attack on Britain as he marked independence
He is an able speaker, above average by any gauge of public speaking -
effortlessly slipping from high-brow English to the deepest Shona, and cracking
his audience into laughter at will.
"I'm most delighted to welcome all of you here on the occasion of the 28th
anniversary of our independence," he began.
Then he slipped almost immediately from the erudite English charm of the true
anglophile, to Shona: "Down with the British."
And the crowd chanted back: "Down!"
He taunted the British, the enemy in his head, and wondered how people could
complain about how hard life was instead of looking at the reasons for that
hardship - sanctions.
"We brought democracy to this country, not the British," he said.
He reminded his audience that people died for this country, that blood was
spilt so that "Zimbabwe would never be a colony again".
And then the line, pushed by state media since the results no-show, that
white farmers were gathering to take back the land - so haphazardly distributed
"They came, from as far away as Australia, Britain, Canada as soon as they
heard that the MDC were winning... We need to maintain utmost vigilance," he
Then the speech touched on all manner of subjects - from girls who show their
belly buttons in public and athletes who are drug cheats to musicians who never
tire because of the drugs pumping in their veins and a warning to the youth to
lay off marijuana.
It was like listening to your favourite grandfather imparting his wisdom on
the folly and temptations of humanity.
"Every Monday the police commissioner meets me and the two vice-presidents
and tells us of all these cases of child abuse. Why children?"
The crowd laughed as he threatened to castrate child abusers.
But there was little on the missing results.
It was a presidential speech given with an eye on tomorrow, it promised
far-reaching research into alternative energy sources; it promised a crackdown
on businesses which continue to raise prices.
In essence, this was a president very much looking forward to his next
meeting with his police commissioner on Monday.
In the end, he said it as simply as he could: "Nothing, absolutely nothing,
is going to change."
At the Chinamhora Show Grounds, as the crowds were dispersing after the rural
independence day celebrations held there, a little girl of about 11 walked past
my car with her friends.
I heard her tell them: "Today we ate and we were full, full of independence
sadza [maize meal]."
How long before the next filling meal? And will the violence stop? And will
the results be announced?
Harare and the country have too many questions.
World leaders are—for the most part—becoming even
more outspoken against
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.
By Rod Nordland |
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Apr 16, 2008 | Updated: 4:37 p.m. ET Apr 16,
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his strongest remarks
Zimbabwe, all but accused President Robert Mugabe of stealing the
disputed election. Addressing a meeting of the U.N. Security
Council on the
first day of his visit to the United States, Brown said
bluntly that "no one
thinks, having seen the results at polling stations,
that Robert Mugabe has
won this election. A stolen election would not be a
democratic election at
all." Brown made the remarks at a special Security
Council session chaired
by South African President Thabo Mbeki, who also
heads the South African
Development Conference (SADC), which is mediating
the crisis in Zimbabwe on
behalf of the region. Over the years Mbeki has
come under fire for his
failure to criticize the despotic Mugabe, still seen
by many as an African
hero for his role in overthrowing white minority rule
in what was then
Rhodesia. Although the session's agenda was limited to
problems, Brown and other leaders insisted on
addressing Zimbabwe, in some
of the least diplomatic tones yet.
U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, set the tone. "I am deeply
the uncertainty created by the prolonged nonrelease of the
in Zimbabwe," Ban said. "The credibility of the democratic
process could be
at stake here." Even Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete,
chairman of the African Union, was implicitly critical. "SADC
has done a
tremendous job," Kikwete said. "It's the reason that Zimbabwe was
hold peaceful elections this time around." But he added that the
to continue to engage with Zimbabwe—and noted that a high-level
planned to do so this weekend. The Zimbabwean Election
Commission has failed
to release the results of the March 29 presidential
poll, said to have been
won by Mugabe's rival, Morgan Tsvangirai. The
commission has announced that
opposition parties did win control of
parliament, but the ruling ZANU-PF
party is now demanding a recount of that
ballot after accusing rivals of
stealing votes in some districts. For his
part, Mugabe is also trying to
prepare the ground for a possible runoff vote
in the presidential
Ban's remarks were also unusually direct for the normally cautious
secretary-general. He suggested that a possible compromise could be the
runoff vote, but only if international observers were called in to guarantee
that the polls were fair. "The U.N. stands ready to assist in that regard,"
Brown also supported the idea of an internationally
monitored second round
of voting, which presumably would pit Mugabe against
has publicly renounced participating in a second
round, because he claims to
have won more than 50 percent of the vote in the
first ballot. That makes it
hard to see how Brown could justify describing
the election as stolen and
countenancing a runoff. Asked about that, he
repeated his stand that
international observers would guarantee that it was
fair. Privately, Brown
aides say they were encouraged by Ban's and Kikwete's
stance, saying Mugabe
is increasingly isolated. "There's been a sea change,"
one said. "It's no
longer seen as just Britain and the United States, but
the Africans are
concerned about it." They glossed over Mbeki's relative
silence on the issue
and denied suggestions that he had snubbed Brown by
canceling a planned
meeting before the Security Council session. Brown
himself made light of it,
saying he had recently met with Mbeki and talked
to him often by telephone.
But the South African leader's silence from the
chair of the session was
remarkable compared with the stance of many of his
British reporter beaten, deported
Mostrous | April 19, 2008
A BRITISH reporter was deported from Zimbabwe
to South Africa yesterday
after being freed from jail, ending an eight-day
ordeal in which he was
beaten and clamped in leg irons.
Clayton, The Times's Africa correspondent, was arrested on
week on a minor immigration charge when he flew into
Bulawayo, the country's
second-largest city. He was handed by police to
security services, who
blindfolded and handcuffed him, deprived him of sleep
and water, and
interrogated him for hours in a prison cell in Bulawayo.
After his initial
ordeal, at just after midnight on Wednesday, the veteran
correspondent was taken to a second interrogation centre.
blindfold was taken off, Clayton saw 14 men and one woman waiting
question him. "They made me sit on the floor with my legs crossed," he
yesterday from Johannesburg. "And they began interrogating me. It did
very well from their point of view.
"They wanted to know everything about
me. Where I had gone to school, from
day one. They threatened me and they
beat me. The chief interrogator kicked
the soles of my feet and then hit me
across the face. He tried to make me
stand on my head and stand on one leg.
I did very badly and got angry."
Clayton, 54, was held in a cell until
Monday, when he appeared before a
During the trial,
he was remanded to Bulawayo prison and denied food and
water. "People from
the local church brought me food," he said. "Without
that I would not have
got through this."
Clayton was acquitted of falsifying his immigration
form but found guilty of
making a false declaration to immigration officers.
He was fined 20 billion
Zimbabwe dollars (about $425) and
In Harare a, judge also freed New York Times correspondent
Barry Bearak and
Stephen Bevan, a British journalist. They were accused of
Unlike Bearak and Bevan, Clayton had
not been working asa journalist when he
was arrested. A Times spokesman said
the authorities had made an example of
Clayton as "they don't want the story
to get out".
Intention of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to continue with proposed recounts will be
unlawful and in contempt of court
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
April 17, 2008
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has
today urgently written to the
Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to highlight concerns
with the legality of ZEC’s actions in
the event that ZEC proceeds with
recounts in 23 constituencies on 19 April
A “Notice to Local and Foreign Observers on Vote Recount” was
The Herald on Tuesday 15 April 2008, through which ZEC advised
will be carried out in 23 constituencies on 19 April 2008,
08:00hrs. The intention expressed in the Notice is to recount
Presidential, House of Assembly, Senatorial and Local Authority
these 23 constituencies. Such recounts are said by ZEC to have
requested by affected candidates.
In terms of section 67 A (1)
and (2) of the Electoral Act, the procedure for
recounting of votes on the
written request of a candidate for a constituency
is that such recount must
be done within 48 hours of the declaration of a
candidate to be duly
elected. ZEC has publicly averred that such requests
were received within
the stipulated time period. However it has not provided
evidence thereof. Without such evidence, ZLHR considers the
recounts and the intended recounting of votes for Senatorial,
Assembly and Local Authority seats to be unlawful.
Even in the event that
ZEC attempts to argue that it has itself ordered the
recounts, it is ZLHR’s
considered view that the need for certainty and
finality of the electoral
process would require that this, too, be done
within 48 hours of the
declarations made to duly elect candidates at ward,
constituency and national level, and therefore they
are out of
In relation to the “recounting” of presidential votes, ZLHR has
advised its position that this is unlawful and unprocedural.
There are no
provisions for a presidential recount in the Electoral Act.
Even were ZEC to
follow the practice used for recounts of parliamentary
must first announce the result of the presidential
election, and then await
a request for a recount from one of the candidates
affected. The Second
Schedule (Section 110) of the Electoral Act, as
amended, stipulates that
once the votes from each constituency have been
added together, the Chief
Elections Officer shall forthwith declare the
winning candidate to be duly
elected. It is only after such a declaration
that a request for a recount
can be made, if it can be made at all. ZLHR
therefore considers the intended
recounting of presidential votes to be
Further, there is a pending court application challenging the
recount. An interim order has been granted in terms of which ZEC
ordered not to engage in recounts of specified constituencies until
judgment has been handed down and then, only if the judgment is in
favour. We do not foresee such an outcome from an independent court, as
law is very clear in relation to the process to be followed. Thus, not
would ZEC’s actions again be unlawful, but also in contempt of
The ZEC has previously refused to answer allegations put to it in
about why extra ballot papers were printed indicating only that it
no legal obligation to provide the information”. It has not denied
extra ballot papers were printed. As also previously raised with ZEC
never explained, ZLHR considers that inadequate security measures have
put in place by ZEC to ensure the integrity and security of the ballot
which would prevent tampering, especially during this inordinate delay
completing verification and tabulation and announcing the presidential
It is therefore our considered and reasonable belief that
the security and
integrity of all the ballot boxes for all the elections
compromised and that tampering may have occurred, wherein such
papers may have been inserted, to the prejudice of one or other
candidates concerned. Any result arising from this illegal recount
therefore be disputed.
ZLHR has advised ZEC to urgently
reconsider its intention to proceed with
the recounts. Should ZEC refuse to
halt these unlawful proceedings, and in
any event, ZLHR’s accredited
observers shall be present at all the recounts
as allowed in terms of the
law and will formally lodge their protest in
person before the proceedings
commence. Our accredited observers will remain
in attendance throughout the
recount, but under protest. Their presence
there should by no means be
construed as an acceptance of the legality or
legitimacy of this entire
charade which ZEC characterises as a lawful
recount. It is merely a means of
complying with obligations of observers
under national and international law
and for the purposes of documenting the
ongoing abuse of the electoral
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material
website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
South African dockers shame Mbeki
The First Post
Could refusal to
unload Mugabe’s guns be dawn of a pan-African conscience,
It is hard to add injury to the insult of Robert Mugabe extolling the
virtues of Zimbabwean democracy. But Thabo Mbeki managed it, with the
announcement that the South African government had authorised the docking of
the An Yue Jiang, a Chinese freighter packed with mortars, rocket-propelled
grenades and three million rounds of ammunition all bound for
It looked like there would be little to celebrate on this,
Independence Day. But then came the extraordinary news that
dock-workers have refused point-blank to unload the shipment of
Calling the docking permit "grossly irresponsible", members of
African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) said they "did
with the position of the government not to intervene". Quite
It is clear enough that South Africa has no legal right to
between the governments of China and Zimbabwe. But neither
facilitate it. (Just how much quieter could Pretoria's 'quiet
Few, I imagine, thought it would be a crew
of dockers who corrected the
imbalance between legality and justice in South
African politics. But SATAWU
have found themselves uniquely placed to call
their country's vacillating
government to account, and have acted with
What Thabo Mbeki won't do for Zimbabwe, it seems, the
South African people
are willing to do in his stead. Could these be the
first fruits of the great
pan-African conscience this continent has been
dreaming of for 60 years?
A year ago I argued that South Africa should
geographically, in order to bring about change.
SATAWU has taken it upon themselves, and they must stick to their guns
it were). They alone can ensure that if Mbeki wants that shipment to
Harare, the last shred of his political dignity will go there with
FIRST POSTED APRIL 18, 2008
William Hague: Government must take urgent action over
arms bound for Zimbabwe
Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, has
today called on David Miliband
to take urgent action with regard to the
Chinese ship, currently docked at
Durban carrying arms bound for Zimbabwe.
"It is important that the Government urgently makes
representations to China
and calls upon them to halt their shipments of arms
"The international community must speak with one voice on
Zimbabwe. As part
of that community, China must suspend arms sales to
"The Mugabe regime continues to deny the right of the people of
choose their leaders.
To supply arms to it at a time when
opposition activists are being
intimidated and attacked, not only sends the
wrong signal but will harm the
reputation of China.
"In addition, the
Government should call on neighbouring states like South
Africa to make it
clear that such shipments are not welcome on their
Rt Hon William Hague MP
Nordic countries ready to boost aid to
Zimbabwe 'at short notice'
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: April 18,
STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland
said Friday they are
ready to increase aid to Zimbabwe as soon as the
African nation's political
crisis is resolved.
Foreign ministers from
the four Nordic countries made the pledge at a news
conference after meeting
to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe, where the
public is still awaiting
results of the presidential vote nearly three weeks
after the election.
Independent tallies suggest opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai won, but not
by enough to prevent a runoff.
Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
met with Tsvangirai in
Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday to bring him "a
message of Nordic
support for democracy in Zimbabwe," Norway's Foreign
Minister Jonas Gahr
Nordic aid to Zimbabwe is currently
heavily reduced, but the four countries
are ready to step up their support
"at short notice when the results of the
democratic election is transformed
into reality," Stoere told The Associated
Press. "We will actively engage
ourselves for the stability and development
of the country when the people's
choice is realized."
Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said the Nordic
countries would be
prepared to "discuss an acceleration of (foreign) aid and
support to help
get the country on its feet."
his meeting the Tsvangirai to again urge authorities in
Zimbabwe to release
the results of the presidential election.
"It is important to respect basic
democratic principles and immediately find
a solution to the critical
situation in the country," Stoltenberg said in a
Zimbabwe opposition looks to Kenya for help
Friday 18th April,
Officials from Zimbabwe's beleaguered opposition
were in Kenya Friday
seeking assistance from the country's new Prime
Minister Raila Odinga, who
fought against disputed Kenyan elections in
December, local media reported.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
secretary-general Tendai Biti said the
party members were in the east
African country looking for advice from
Odinga on how to resolve the
political crisis, according to the state-run
'Kenya is special for us because of the special
circumstances that people
here have gone through. There is a basic
correlation. Your people feel our
bitterness and our people share your
bitterness,' he told independent
television station NTV.
results from Zimbabwe's March 29 elections have not yet been
despite opposition claims that its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was
After Kenya's flawed elections, Odinga's Orange
Democratic Movement (ODM)
led a campaign of protests against President Mwai
Kibaki, who is charged
with stealing the vote.
When violence sparked
by the polls spiralled, the African Union stepped in
with a mediation team,
which brokered a peace deal that created a coalition
government, with Odinga
as the prime minister.
Zim youths ambush
Tanzanian Kikwete's deputy over delayed poll results
18th Apr 2008 14:22 GMT
LONDON - In what they are calling "Operation Talk Talk
African Union" on
the delay in issuing the results of the Zimbabwe
presidential elections held
March 29, the militant radical pressure group,
Free-Zim Youth and Zimbabwe
Action Group (ZAG) acted jointly in ambushing
Tanzania's deputy president
Ali Mohamed Shein.
He is in London today
addressing the Tanzanian diaspora investment and
Tanzania is the chair of the continental bloc AU and has not taken
position regarding the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's failure to
results from the election. President Jakaya Kikwete, however, is
be one of the young turks within the African Union and the
Development Community (Sadc) who strongly oppose the
situation in Zimbabwe
at the moment.
Kikwete is expected to attend a
follow-up Sadc meeting on the Zimbabwe
crisis in Mauritius over the weekend
seeking to end the impasse over the
In London the
youths ambushed Kikwete's deputy in dramatic fashion. The
to the youths, was led by the Nehanda-inspired ladies and
The youths each took a chance to stand up in the middle of the
challenge the high level delegation as to what was the African
position on Zimbabwe, expressing anger over the recent statement by
saying SADC was looking into the issue.
Just two minutes into
his speech, Marceline Mutikori interjected,
interrupting the deputy
president. Mutikoro was uncompromising in expressing
her anger over the AU
inaction over the Zimbabwe crisis. "Cde vice president
as Tanzania is
chairing the AU, why are you not taking a tougher stance
towards the Harare
regime to make sure it plays within the norms and
standards of holding free
and fair elections. You have a moral and ethnic
responsibility to make sure
that democracy prevails in Zimbabwe"
While she was dragged out of the
auditorium kicking and screaming chanted
"Africa liberate Zimbabwe". A
colleague, Ezra Ben stood up holding a placard
inscribed "Solidarity with
the Majority not Mugabe" and accused African
heads of states of hypocrisy
The dramatic events continued as the vice president
settled again into his
Osmen Chineka interjected holding his
own placard writen "Zambia we salute
you" following Levy Mwanawasa's urgent
call for a Sadc meeting to discuss
"Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar,
Tanzania's High Commissioner to London in a bliss
of ignorance blurted out
that Shein was not the Vice President of Zimbabwe
and it is not the right
platform to address such issue," the youths said.
Anesu Ngarise angered
by the sentiments of the High Commissioner demanded
better from the high
commissioner. "You sitting on the fence with regards to
elections, your silence means that you are content with it" - she
Free-Zim Youth and ZAG said they were using the protest to
celebrate the day
Zimbabwe gained independence from the British despite the
fact that 28
years on the people of Zimbabwe are being denied a chance to
leadership they want.
"We demand AU and SADC see to it that
justice is done for Zimbabwean
voters," the youths said earlier