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Zimbabwe: 'War zone' warning as leaders urged to confront Mugabe

The Times
April 21, 2008

Jonathan Clayton in Johannesburg
Zimbabwe’s opposition party gave warning yesterday that the country was
descending into a “war zone”, and appealed for international intervention to
resolve the escalating crisis.

Tendai Biti, the Secretary-General of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), said that at least ten people had been killed and hundreds injured in
postelection violence unleashed by Robert Mugabe’s regime. He accused the
Government of engaging in a policy of “deliberate starvation” by cutting off
food supplies to areas known to be opposition strongholds. About 400 MDC
activists had been rounded up and arrested, he added. “The situation is
desperate. We are not able to function because of those arrests.”

Speaking to journalists in neighbouring South Africa, where he and the MDC
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, have sought temporary refuge, he said hundreds of
homes had also been burnt and at least 3,000 families displaced since the
March 29 presidential and parliamentary polls in which Mr Mugabe’s
Government is believed to have been trounced.

Three weeks after the vote, the country’s electoral authorities have still
not released the results. Yesterday they announced further delays in a
partial recount of 23 parliamentary seats won by the Opposition and now
expected to be declared for Mr Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party, to give it back the
control of Parliament it lost for the first time since independence in 1980.

Related Links
a.. Eight days of fear in Mugabe's machine
a.. The new scramble for Africa
Multimedia
a.. Audio slideshow: Zimbabwe's children
a.. Full Zimbabwe crisis coverage
The MDC gave warning that political deadlock caused by the failure to
announce the results had played into the hands of hardliners around Mr
Mugabe who now intended to use violence to shore up their positions. Mr Biti
said: “There is a war in Zimbabwe being waged by Mugabe’s regime against the
people. The regime has unleashed violence on the people. The police have
been turning a blind eye.”

Mr Tsvangirai has not returned to Zimbabwe for almost two weeks because it
is feared he would be arrested. Regional concern about the worsening crisis
has grown over the past few days, with African leaders coming under
unprecedented pressure to take a stand. Yesterday the 53-member African
Union – which goes to pains not to criticise the internal affairs of member
states – finally added its voice to those calling for the release of the
results.

“The African Union wishes to express its concern over the delay observed in
the announcement of Zimbabwe’s election results, which creates an atmosphere
of tension,” it said in a statement.

Kofi Annan, the former UN Secre-tary-General who, along with Ban Ki Moon,
his successor, was due to attend a conference today in Ghana, has criticised
the continent’s leaders for a muted response to the growing crisis, which he
termed “a rather dangerous situation”. Mr Ban said he would raise Zimbabwe
at the conference.

Mr Tsvangirai, who last week called for South Africa’s President Mbeki to
step down as the officially appointed mediator for Zimbabwe, left for
Nigeria and Ghana yesterday to lobby Africa’s leaders for more support.

The Southern African Development Community, which appointed Mr Mbeki last
year, is hopelessly split, with younger leaders from Botswana, Zambia and
Malawi who did not fight in anticolonial liberation struggles openly saying
that Mr Mugabe has to go for the good of the entire region. Jacob Zuma, the
leader of South Africa’s African National Congress, has also distanced
himself from the “quiet diplomacy” of Mr Mbeki, whom he hopes to replace in
elections next year. He leaves on a trip to Germany, France and Britain this
week and will again let it be known that he now favours “change”.

Political analysts say that, even if Mr Mugabe is engineered back into
power, his days are numbered. “The place is a ruin and the people know who
is responsible,” a government official told The Times.

Meanwhile, a Chinese ship carrying arms destined for the Zimbabwe regime was
reportedly heading for Angola after South African unions refused to unload
it.

Comments
What is the point of the UN? Isn't this the very kind of situation where
concerted action by the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe are put in
place? And maybe South Africa should also be acted against as long as Mbeki
continues to give tacit support to Mugabe.

Jerry Latham, Uttoxeter, England

How can the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission be considered independent, when
ZANU-PF have had access to the ballots (They must of otherwise how could
they call for a re-count when the results haven't been announced yet and yet
they are saying there were ireggularities in several counts.)

Stephen, St. Ives, England


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Zimbabwe not on summit agenda


PORT LOUIS, 20 April 2008 (IRIN) - Norway and the European Union on Sunday
urged southern African leaders to resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe
as their credibility was at stake.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told heads of government of the
14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), meeting in
Mauritius, that “this situation should not be allowed to continue”.

Louis Michel, EU commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, called
on SADC to find a solution to the Zimbabwean government’s refusal to accept
the initial results of the 29 March elections, in which the opposition won
control of parliament, and according to provisional vote returns, President
Robert Mugabe also lost his job.

"The dramatic effects [of the crisis] will mainly hit the population of
Zimbabwe but they will also hit the whole region," Michel said at the
Mauritius gathering, billed as a ‘Development and Poverty’ summit. "I
understand that this is not very easy to do … but this is an issue which is
important for [SADC's] credibility."

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on Saturday began a recount of
ballots in 23 out of 210 constituencies, which could overturn the opposition’s
parliamentary majority. The main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), said the ballot boxes were being stuffed and it
would not accept the recount.

The result of the presidential poll has yet to be released, three weeks
after voting centres closed. It is expected that ZEC will order a runoff
between Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, despite a growing climate
of fear, in which opposition supporters are reportedly being persecuted by
the security forces and militants of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.

Zimbabwe was discussed at an extraordinary SADC summit in Zambia on 13
April. Then the region’s leaders called on ZEC to verify and release
“expeditiously” the poll results “in compliance with the rule of law” and
SADC’s electoral guidelines. Michel said he had been told by heads of
government in Mauritius that no further statement would be made before the
end of the vote recount.

Zimbabwe slammed

SADC officials on Sunday repeated that Zimbabwe was not up for discussion;
they said the gathering was preoccupied with poverty and development issues,
especially in the face of rocketing global food prices.

But Stoltenberg used his address to the summit to slam the Zimbabwean
leadership. "The lack of results from the elections casts serious doubt
about the willingness of the government to respect the voice of the people,"
he told heads of government. "The economic and humanitarian crisis in
Zimbabwe, seriously affects the country, its people and the whole region."

Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, leading his
country's delegation, rejected the criticism. "The vote counting is going
fine," he told IRIN at the sidelines of the conference. "We will announce
the results as soon we finish the count."

He later told reporters: "[The Norwegian Prime Minister] is clearly
ill-informed. He is ignorant. Totally ignorant … Zimbabwe is a democracy."

On Sunday the 53-member African Union urged Zimbabwe to release the election
results "without any further delay", and called for restraint from all
parties.

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


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Heads buried in the sand over Zimbabwe

Daily Nation, Kenya

Story by CHEGE MBITIRU
Publication Date: 4/21/2008 Southern Africa leaders during the weekend
camouflaged a semi-vacation in Mauritius to ostensibly discuss their l’enfant
terrible. In Durban, however, dock workers and a court demonstrated how the
leaders should deal with the incorrigible.

The leaders head the Southern African Development Community member
states. On the agenda was Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. South African
President Thabo Mbeki must have kept his head low. His diplomacy in Zimbabwe
long became bankrupt.

A litany of woes Mr Mugabe has plastered Zimbabwe with in a 28-year
isn’t necessary any more to prove the obvious: Zimbabwe heads to being just
a cartographers’ lines that show a country. Mr Mugabe offers a hackneyed
explanation: It’s all the fault of whoever happens to be Britain’s prime
minister or US president.

Traitors among them

To sweeten his charges, Mr Mugabe reminds Zimbabweans of traitors
among them. One such is leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Mr
Morgan Tsvangirai. Some international pressure finally goaded SADC leaders.
Last month’s general election became the catalyst.

The Zimbabwe Election Commission announced results other than
presidential. The MDC claimed victory. The ZEC declined to announce
presidential results because it discovered anomalies. Ordinarily, elections
officials announce results and then courts deal with arising issues.

Things don’t work that way in Mr Mugabe’s fiefdom. In any case, what
Nigerians used to call “AGIP”—officials who dance to tunes of Any Government
in Power—dominate Zimbabwe’s judiciary.

One of Mr Mugabe’s perpetual malaises is allergy to political
opposition. That became obvious soon after independence in 1980. Mr Mugabe’s
ZANU-PF took on the late nationalist, Mr Joshua Nkomo, and slaughtered as
many of his Ndebele supporters as possible. Once the old man’s political
machine became a shell, Mr Mugabe graciously offered him a sinecure. He died
a broken person.

Unfortunately, Mr Tsvangirai and his MDC have turned to be hydra-like.
Elections results showed ZANU-PF lost the majority in parliament. Of course,
Mr. Mugabe didn’t win. He would have boasted to the world the moment that
happened.

Ironically, one of the reasons the MDC survives is Mr Mugabe’s
gluttonous squandering of political and economic capital he had at
independence. As his reputation eroded, the more Zimbabweans willed
alternative leadership.

As tension mounted between Mr Mugabe and the opposition, it became
clear to SADC leaders Mr Mugabe needed retooling. They named Mr Mbeki as
mediator last year. Mr Mbeki opted for the so-called “quite and not
megaphone” diplomacy. Mr Mbeki and Mr Mugabe seem to be the only ones aware
of the outcome of the quiet diplomacy. That’s how come after visiting Mr
Mugabe the previous Saturday; Mr Mbeki said no crisis exists in the country.

Few bought that. Business Day, a South African magazine, dismissed Mr
Mbeki’s appearance as “clasping Mugabe’s hand and grinning like and
awe-struck schoolboy.”

By mid-last week, it was obvious Mr Mbeki’s ethereal diplomacy floated
without leaving a whiff on Mr Mugabe On Thursday, South Africa urged ZEC to
release presidential election results. The G8 group of major industrialised
countries and the European Union echoed the call.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice kicked dirt, describing
Zimbabwe as an “abomination.” She went on: “It’s time for Africa to step
up,” Ms Rice said. “Where is the concern from the African Union and from
Zimbabwe’s neighbours about what is going on in Zimbabwe?”

On Friday, Mr Mugabe hit back. In a speech to mark the country’s
28-years of independence, Mr Mugabe ranted about all manner of profound
issues. These included women who exhibit sensuous anatomy, belly buttons, in
public.

The core of his message, however, remained “Down with the British” and
a chilling warning, “Nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to change.”
Something did, though.

From Durban, the same day, a Chinese ship sailed away with Mr Mugabe’s
cargo of three million rounds of ammunition, 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades
and 2,500 mortar rounds.

Dockworkers refused to unload the cargo and a court backed them up.
That’s what Mr Mugabe has always needed to moderate his ways: touchable
action, not peer adoration for steadfastness in limping on crutches called
colonialism.


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MDC urges security chiefs to act against violence

Zim Online

by Lizwe Sebatha Monday 21 April 2008

BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party has written to the country’s military and police chiefs urging them to
act to end political violence against supporters of the opposition party.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the party also wanted Zimbabwe
Defence Forces commander Constantine Chiwenga and police chief Augustine
Chihuri to explain why soldiers and police have taken part in victimising
opposition supporters.

Chamisa said: “We need clarification from Chiwenga why members of the
army are beating up opposition activists and supporters.

“We want Chihuri to explain why the police are not acting to quell the
violence, the arson and the murders committed against opposition supporters.
Chihuri should also explain why police are allowing ZANU PF (ruling party)
militias to set up torture bases.”

Both Chiwenga and Chihuri were not immediately available for comment
on the matter.

The two men are considered hardliner backers of President Robert
Mugabe and are said to be among a group of top security commanders who
advised Mugabe not to concede defeat to the opposition.

Chiwenga declared just days before the March elections that the
military would salute no one else except Mugabe, in what analysts said was a
clear threat to stage a military coup in the event the veteran President
lost to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC says hundreds of its supporters have suffered serious injuries
while at least 10 supporters have been murdered in an orgy of violence it
blamed on state security agents and militant activists of Mugabe’s ZANU PF
party.

The opposition party, which says the violence started almost
immediately after it defeated ZANU PF in elections on March 29, says some of
its supporters in remote rural areas were homeless after their homes were
looted and burnt down by activists of Mugabe’s party.

ZANU PF lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in 28 years
in last month’s election when it garnered 97 seats compared to 110 won by
the MDC and other minor opposition candidates.

But electoral officials are yet to issue the much awaited results of a
parallel presidential vote, which ZANU PF acknowledges Mugabe lost to
Tsvangirai, although they say a second round of voting is required to settle
the contest. – ZimOnline.


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Tsvangirai sets base in Botswana

Zim Online

by Own Correspondent Monday 21 April 2008

JOHANNESBURG – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he fears being
harmed or arrested if he returns to Zimbabwe, while his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party said on Sunday that supporters of President
Robert Mugabe had murdered 10 of its members.

Tsvangirai, who has set up base in neighbouring Botswana, told Canada’s The
Globe and Mail newspaper that he was not returning to Zimbabwe soon for fear
he could be arrested and suggested he could even be killed, although he did
not say by whom.

The Zimbabwean opposition leader, who is believed to have defeated Mugabe in
a March 29 ballot, said he was using his time outside Zimbabwe to mobilise
the international community to maintain pressure on Mugabe’s government.

“It is no use going back to Zimbabwe and become captive. Then you are not
effective. What can you do?" he told the paper. "Do you want a dead hero?"
Tsvangirai said, suggesting his life could be in danger in Zimbabwe.

"I'm mobilising international support, I'm being effective in making sure
that the issue of Zimbabwe remains on the international radar," said
Tsvangirai, adding that he had faced increasing calls from his supporters to
return home.

No official results have been released for the presidential election that
the MDC leader claims he won with more than 50 percent of the vote, enough
to avoid a second round run-off against Mugabe.

But Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party and independent election observers say
Tsvangirai won with less than 50 percent of the vote, warranting a rerun of
the ballot.

The MDC, which defeated ZANU PF in the parliamentary poll, has accused the
ZEC of withholding results in a bid to fix the vote and force a re-run of
the poll that it says Mugabe is preparing to use violence and terror to win.

The opposition party said on Sunday that 10 of its supporters have been
murdered to date in an orgy of violence it says started almost immediately
after the MDC and other minor opposition candidates won a combined 110 seats
against 97 won by ZANU PF in last month’s election.

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti on Sunday accused Mugabe of waging war
against Zimbabweans for having dared vote against his government.

Biti told a press briefing in Johannesburg that 10 people had been killed
and 3 000 displaced from their homes by ZANU PF militants and members of the
state security forces. Hundreds more opposition supporters had been injured
while others had been arrested by police in the crackdown, according to
Biti.

He said: "Ten people have so far been killed in Zimbabwe since March 29. The
situation in Zimbabwe is desperate . . . three thousand families have been
displaced. Over 400 of our activists have been detained. At least 500 have
been hospitalised."

Both Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena were not immediately available for comment on the matter.

The MDC claims came as Human Rights Watch on Saturday accused Mugabe’s
supporters of embarking on a campaign of torture against opponents, while
Zimbabwe’s Lawyers for Human Rights group said it had documented 150 attacks
on opposition supporters since the election three weeks ago.

Zimbabwe’s election crisis is expected to last for several more weeks after
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said on Sunday it would take longer
than the three days initially planned to recount votes in 23 constituencies.

The ZEC began recounting votes in 23 constituencies after a High Court judge
rejected an opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
application to block the exercise.

The MDC says the recount is an illegal ploy by ZEC aimed at restoring
control of Parliament into ZANU PF hands.

The opposition party has said it will not accept results of the recount, a
development certain to prolong an election crisis that political analysts
have warned if left unresolved for too long could lead to violence and
bloodshed. – ZimOnline.


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Arms-carrying ship running out of fuel

The Times, SA

Sapa Published:Apr 21, 2008

The Chinese ship carrying arms destined for Zimbabwe is mired in a legal
battle, leaving many questions unanswered about SA’s moral obligations and
the country’s maritime jurisdiction.

Questions have asked whether the ship should be detained by the navy, the
Justice Alliance of South Africa said yesterday.

It was very unlikely that the An Yue Jiang would have sufficient fuel to
reach Angola without bunkering in another port en route, Jasa said.

The An Yue Jiang did not bunker in Durban. She lifted anchor and set sail
from Durban on Friday as the Sheriff of Durban approached the vessel.

Barely an hour before the vessel set sail, the Durban High Court ordered
that the ship enter Durban’s harbour and off-load the armaments which had to
be held by the sheriff of Durban.

Jasa yesterday urged the port authorities in East London, Port Elizabeth and
Cape Town to be on their guard lest the ship try to obtain fuel
surreptitiously.

Jasa said when the case returns to the Durban High Court on Friday, Judge
Kate Pillay must take judicial notice of the brutal military campaign of
repression headlined in the media.

“There can be no doubt, as the Sunday Times spells out, that the ship’s
cargo is designed to strengthen this campaign of intimidation of voters.”

Questions still remain on whether the ship should be boarded by the SA Navy,
escorted into harbour, and the high court order taped to its mast.


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South African Speaker urges the world to speak out about Zimbabwe

The Canadian Press

Clare Nullis, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - South Africa's powerful speaker of parliament
broke ranks with President Thabo Mbeki's policy of quiet diplomacy toward
Zimbabwe on Sunday and urged the international community to speak out.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, addressing the Inter-Parliamentary
Union's annual congress, said Zimbabwean election officials' failure to
publish the results of elections two weeks ago was an example of a
"democratic process gone wrong."

"As parliamentarians we cannot remain silent when we witness sufferings and
violation of human rights. We can also not remain silent about the situation
in Zimbabwe," Mbete said.

Mbeki, who gave the opening speech at the union's conference, did not
mention the escalating crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe - despite his
involvement in Saturday's frantic diplomacy to try to persuade Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe to publish the election results.

Mbeki focused his speech on the issues of poverty and rising food prices.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union groups lawmakers from around the world.

The agenda for its weeklong congress ending Friday includes discussions on
foreign aid, xenophobia, human rights and the balance between national
security and individual freedoms. Some 1,200 delegates were attending.

The meeting also aims to promote the role of women in parliament.

The union presented delegates with a report that said less than 18 per cent
of the world's lawmakers are women, and many developing countries have more
women in the corridors of political power than Western democracies.

Globally, the proportion of female lawmakers jumped from 11 per cent to 17.7
per cent between 1995 and 2006, according to the survey "Equality in
Politics," which was the union's most exhaustive study to date on women in
parliament.

Rwanda has the highest percentage of women in its lower house, with 48 per
cent, followed by Sweden, Finland and Argentina, the report said.

The United States trailed in 71st place, with women accounting for only 16
per cent of members in the House of Representative. Sudan's lower house has
18 per cent.

"If anybody is doing particularly well, it is not the old democracies," said
Anders Johnsson, secretary-general of the parliamentary union. "They may be
the countries who talk a lot about it, but they are not doing a lot about
it."

He said countries that showed the most progress toward sexual equality in
politics were those that had experienced civil wars or liberation struggles
where women had played a strong role - such as South Africa, Burundi and
Mozambique.

In Rwanda, the influx of women in parliament after 2003 elections led to a
marked change in policy in a country still scarred by genocide, including
passage of a bill in 2006 to combat gender-based violence that defined rape
for the first time in Rwandan law.

Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar have no women in parliament and, in Arab
countries in general, the average is just nine per cent - double the level
of 1995.

Women lawmakers have different perspectives than their male counterparts,
and emphasized social issues such as childcare, equal pay, parental leave
and pensions, the report said.

A high proportion of women in parliament leads to greater efforts to reach
common understanding on political issues, and less confrontational debates,
it said.

One-third of South Africa's lawmakers are women, and all the speakers of
parliament have been women since the advent of multi-racial democracy in
1994.

Mbete is the most powerful speaker to date.

In December, she was elected to be chairwoman of the ruling African National
Congress and is close to the party's new president, Jacob Zuma, who is
Mbeki's rival.

Zuma is less sympathetic toward Zimbabwe's Mugabe than Mbeki, and Mbete's
comments on Sunday indicated a hardening in attitude toward South Africa's
crisis-stricken neighbour.


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Lawyers call urgent meeting to discuss Zimbabwe

The East African, Kenya

By FRANCIS AYIEKO
Special Correspondent

The East Africa Law Society has called an emergency Pan-African Citizens
consultative meeting this Monday to urge the African Union to take action on
the election crisis in Zimbabwe.

The meeting, to be held in Dar es Salaam, brings together representatives of
civil society, the legal fraternity, trade unions, academia and other
stakeholders in the East and Southern African region and the rest of the
continent.

The one-day meeting will discuss the impact of the recently concluded
Zimbabwe elections and the delay in the release of presidential results.

Bringing together 70 participants drawn from 18 African countries, the
meeting also expects to catalyse interventions by the African Union, the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), and governments in the
region.

The participants will be drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda,
Burundi, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Botswana, Angola and Democratic
Republic of Congo.

Others will come from Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia, Malawi,
Swaziland and South Africa. Regional organisations expected to attend
include the SADC Lawyers Association, the Media Institute of Southern Africa
and the Southern African Judges Commission.

Participants will receive accurate and detailed update on the current
situation in Zimbabwe and will reflect on the possible options available to
SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the African
Union.

The outcome of the consultation will be presented to Tanzanian President
Jakaya Kikwete, who is the current chair of the African Union.

The lawyers will also come up with up special messages to be delivered to
the Peace and Security Commission of the African Union.

“The meeting will use the opportunity to add its voice to the pressure on
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the results of the elections
held on March 29,” EALS information and communications specialist Bodi Odiko
said last week.

The people of East Africa, individually, and through various civil society
organisations and caucuses have joined forces with the rest of the continent
in expressing deep concern at the pace in which the ZEC has handled the
election results.

The reflective consultation comes hot on the heels of the recent SADC Summit
held in Lusaka, Zambia, which was attended by political leaders from around
the Southern Africa region. The meeting, however, did not produce quick
solutions to the crisis and instead urged Zimbabweans to wait for the
electoral body to finish its work.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe’s leading opposition
party, also filed an application in the High Court to force the ZEC to
officially release the results.

But the High Court rejected the application, saying the Electoral Commission
needed more time for verification.

President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF insist on a second round of voting
even before the results are officially released, saying that “none of the
candidates wholly won the polls,” although the MDC claims it won the
presidential elections. It, however, won majority seats in parliament.

According to EALS chief executive Don Deya, any further delay in releasing
the results could lead to a situation where the country may degenerate into
chaos, triggered by the fear that ZEC is manipulating or tampering with the
presidential elections results.

“We applaud the people of Zimbabwe for being patient yet very alert and
vigilant to avoid the manipulation of results,” Mr Deya said last week.


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More eyewitness accounts from Zimbabwe

HARARE - 21 April 2008

One correspondent in Harare writes:

Please publish the latest report from ZADHR (Zimbabwe Association of Doctors
for Human Rights). The people as reported here are of course only those who
manage to reach the private Hospital which takes some of the victims of
violence many others languish untreated in the countryside. There is now a
de facto curfew in the townships. Anyone seen outside after dark is beaten.
The army are patrolling the streets.

In the Anglican Cathedral (St Mary's in Harare, now occupied by Mugabe
approved 'Archbishop' Nolbert Kunonga and various hired thugs) doors remain
locked, opened only for a 7am empty English Service and for the main 9am
Shona Service attended by 60-80 people. I saw my dear friend who looks after
the car park his week. He was supervising an empty space sitting in his
usual place reading his bible. He gave me a hug and said he was fine. I also
saw the elderly white lady with her bicycle who feeds the birds in the
cloisters. It was business as usual for both of them.

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights issued the following
statement:

ZADHR issued a statement on 15 April concerning 157 cases of organised
violence and torture (OVT) documented by members of the Association. As of
end of day on 17 April this total had reached 242. 42 cases were seen and
treated on 17 April alone; six of these were women, one a boy of 12. Of the
42, 19 of the incidents occurred in Mashonaland East (Murehewa, Mutoko,
Mudzi and Maramba) and a further 19 in or near Harare (Dzivarasekwa,
Kuwadzana, Tafara, Budiriro, Glen Norah, Epworth and Chitungwiza).

Most of these cases continue to be of soft tissue injury, especially of the
buttocks but often in other parts of the body including the breast of women.
The extreme force of the injuries is demonstrated by the common occurrence
of superficial blistering and deep, sometimes extensive, haematoma
formation. Haematomas are substantive collections of whole blood, as
distinct from simple bruising which is blood in amongst other tissues.

In 15 of the cases of soft tissue injury, there were documented tram
tracks on the overlying skin. This is a classic sign of assault with a
hard thin object such as a stick or baton. Three more cases had fractures of
the forearm or hand (right ulna, left radius and ulna, two left
metacarpals). The patient with fractured right ulna also sustained fractures
of ribs on the left side of his chest associated with left haemothorax
(blood in the space between the lungs and the chest wall).

There have been reports of several deaths but because these do not usually
present to ZADHR members, only one case (of multiple stab wounds to the
chest and abdomen) can be confirmed. This was a brother of a patient from
Karoi, previously reported as having been admitted to hospital in Harare.

ZADHR remains deeply concerned that no measures are being taken by the
authorities to prevent further violence and by allegations that security
forces are now increasingly involved in assaults and torture, particularly
in Harare.

These cases suggest a disturbing trend of systematic violent assault and
torture, and with more victims possibly unable to access medical attention
in rural areas, urgent action is required to prevent the situation
deteriorating further. It is essential that the United Nations, African
Union and SADC take urgent and decisive steps to engage the Zimbabwean
authorities and all stakeholders to end this crisis.

ZADHR reiterates its call for an end to violence by all political parties
and security forces.

Further reports: Zanu PF media say that two policemen have been arrested for
failing to add a box containing 5000 votes for Mugabe at a local result.

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION observes that: The Mugabe regime (post election defeat)
policy now seems clear - it is as follows:

Soften up population by systematic violence, beatings and threats.
Call a recount in 23 electoral districts (22 of which were won by the
opposition MDC party) recount
and declare that Zanu-PF has not after all lost the election. This 'recount'
has started on 19 April.
Once a parliamentary majority is re-established release the 'massaged'
presidential results and call for a run-off.
'Win' the re-run presidential election by paying close attention to getting
the right result.
Reinstate the 'victor' President Mugabe.
Business as usual for the privileged ruling elite

In the meantime last week the Chinese cargo ship the An Yue Jiang docked at
Durban in South Africa. It contains 77 tonnes of small arms, 3 million
rounds of ammunition, AK47 assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled
grenades all destined for Zimbabwe. The Mbeki government declared that the
cargo may legally pass to the Mugabe regime (there is no crisis) ....
heroically South African dockers refused to unload the ship because the
cargo is clearly destined for use against the Zimbabwean people. (At the
time of this update the ship was reported to be on its way to Angola).

A deafening silence has been emitted from a number of quarters about this
appalling state of affairs, not least from the House of Bishops, Anglican
Province of Central Africa. Bishop Sebastian Bakare struggling in the front
line to regain the Anglican Diocese of Harare from the clutches of Nolbert
Kunonga being a brave exception.

Independent Catholic News 2008


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Zimbabwe's Suffering, Mbeki's Shame

OhMyNews

[Analysis] Crisis recognition long overdue for Zimbabwe

Isaac Hlekisani Dziya

Published 2008-04-21 06:34 (KST)

Zimbabwe remains on the world news map, thanks to the election crisis. But
the country has long been in crisis, with people remaining calm while others
are cowed into resigned silence as the witch hunt continues of those who
voted for the opposition. It is a failure on the part of the international
community's crisis recognition systems that the crisis has not already been
arrested.

The broader context of years of heartless policies toward the citizens of
Zimbabwe and the ongoing tacit support by South African President Thabo
Mbeki has now been unmasked, with reports that even Mbeki's own party, the
African National Congress, has started its own parallel process of
"mediation."

While opinions on Zimbabwe differ here and abroad, one thing is clear,
President Robert Mugabe and his cronies lost the election and are continuing
to commit atrocities against the hapless people of Zimbabwe. The
international press is now awash with stories on victims of Mugabe's
retribution.

While it is sad that Mbeki says there is no crisis in Zimbabwe events in
Zimbabwe are spiraling out of the control of Zimbabweans and of Mugabe, who
said before the election results he would not rig elections and would accept
the voters' choice.

Ordinary people are now being driven by unfamiliar factors, with shocking
events producing pressures that Zimbabweans have never known before --
having voted out a tyrant and now facing his refusal to go.

International public scrutiny on the other hand is causing hostility toward
the media and critics, yet the "crisis" arises from Mugabe not having
problems and professional advice; thus, the his need for the security
forces, the Joint Operation Command (JOC), to ensure "stability," which in
fact is code for ensuring their own security.

Mugabe and the JOC are seemingly deliberately refusing to accept the full
ramifications of their actions and are insensitive as to their effects on
the long-suffering populace of Zimbabwe. It is now inconceivable that there
will be any rationality emanating from the illegal Harare regime.

The winning Movement for Democratic Change political party has hitherto
remained reasonably calm, while rationality ebbs away from Mugabe and Mbeki.
It seems too late now for Mugabe to save face.

Mugabe and his cronies cannot now cover up their misdemeanors or try to hide
the tragedies and therefore should not justify misdeeds. The illegal regime
has shown that it does not care an iota about ethics, thus creating the
"situation in Zimbabwe," which can be worse than Kenya, where nearly half a
million people are still living in refugee tents, yet they had perfectly
good homes only three months ago.

Mugabe's government is perfectly capable of systematically killing people
using the army and the police. We are going to see a similar situation to
the 1980s where opponents to the government were killed using the Five
Brigade. People will disappear from their homes, never to be seen again.

We commend the international media for keeping Zimbabwe under the spotlight,
with messages that are hard to erase. The local press has also done a
commendable job of exposing the absurd and infuriating situation in
Zimbabwe -- with its unemployment rate of more than 80 percent and its
hyperinflation, its lack of no electricity, food and running water -- and
placing the blame squarely in Mugabe's policies.

The anger, frustration and disappointment of the Zimbabweans at the time
wasted by Mbeki pretending that he was talking to Mugabe are hard to bear.
The Southern African Development Community meeting last week, while largely
welcome, was compromised by the likes of Mbeki.

The spirited defense of Mugabe by none other than Mbeki was dismaying.
Zimbabwe is in a real crisis that no other African country has ever
experienced! The situation in is dire and the comments from Mbeki were most
unfortunate.

Mbeki has spend more than half of his current presidential term trying to
broker a deal in Zimbabwe, and all of a sudden he says there is no crisis?
How can one explain such remarks? They defy all logic. It must be
embarrassing for South Africans to have a president of the caliber of Mbeki
with his "quiet diplomacy." Since 2003, Mbeki has been involved in reporting
to the International watchdog on gross human rights abuses (including the
killing of opposition members and farm workers) by summing up "quiet
diplomacy" as the main excuse.

For Mbeki to accommodate the level of lawlessness from Mugabe without any
serious sanctions is a demonstration of what little this so called leader
has learned from the freedom struggle.

Could it be that there is a personal relationship between Mbeki and Mugabe
that we all do not know about, besides the hospitality accorded the ANC
during its liberation struggle? Could it be that he is a beneficiary of some
of Mugabe's loot and fears exposure? Mugabe is cunning and clinging onto
power as if he bought title deeds for the country Zimbabwe, yet it was a
struggle to which he was also recruited.

As his mask is slipping away and he struggles to hold onto power, Mbeki's
ineptitude is also being exposed, with a deafeningly loud silence from the
rest of Africa. Is it not about time we started investigating vested
business interests and connection with the Mugabe regime? Or is it the
similarity of backgrounds, of liberation credentials, giving him sympathy
for Mugabe? If so then he must be reminded that the liberation struggle was
about people, and not privileges. Whatever hold Mugabe has over Mbeki, we
now have sufficient evidence that it is substantial, thus the ANC's and the
Zimbabwean opposition's decision to dump him -- otherwise he was allowing
Mugabe to manipulate South Africa to his own ends.

What level of genocide is too much before international intervention will
actually occur? How can the government of South Africa, made up of
revolutionaries who have also had to fight for democracy, believe that
Mbeki's course of action (or inaction) is acceptable? We salute the
dockworkers of South Africa who still have consciences by refusing to
offload the Chinese ship carrying arms for Mugabe's regime. We salute Kofi
Annan, who has called on African Leaders to do more.

With millions of Zimbabweans now refugees and asylum seekers in South
Africa, Mbeki has taken the baton handed to him by Nelson Mandela and threw
it by the roadside with his inactivity and quiet acquiescence in the current
electoral fraud in Zimbabwe.

Is it not selling out to state the blindingly obvious -- that good
governance is missing, in Zimbabwe, that Zimbabwe is a failed state, and
that some of the African leaders are in full blown denial, and in our
opinion it is about time we heard from Mandela himself.

Surely he did not pass the baton and then disappear into the sunset. This is
when his words of wisdom are most needed. Where are you Mandela?


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Zimbabwean farmers swap troubles to fight drugs in Afghanistan

The Times
April 21, 2008

Nick Meo in Kandahar
As he drives out into the dusty fields of Kandahar province keeping one eye
open for the Taleban, Harry Spies can't help daydreaming sometimes about the
farm he used to have in Zimbabwe.

Three years after he gave up on Africa, Mr Spies is one of a number of white
farmers who have brought their knowledge of agriculture, and experience of
guerrilla warfare, to the opium fields of southern Afghanistan.

A handful of contractors are almost the only foreigners still risking
commercial work in the south. Veterans of the 1970s bush war are prominent
among them. They use their skills to set up agricultural projects which
provide an alternative to opium for farmers.

In Zimbabwe, Mr Spies was one of the lucky ones. He leased his farm, finally
giving up in 2005 when he decided the writing was on the wall. A fellow
ex-Zimbabwean who works alongside him in Afghanistan had paid the final
instalment on his property a week before it was invaded by Robert Mugabe's
“war veterans”.

From Kandahar and Helmand, all of them have been keenly watching events back
home. Mr Spies believes that even if Mr Mugabe leaves power the farmers who
left can never go back to their old life in Zimbabwe.
He said: “You put your heart and soul into those farms. They were your
retirement - they were something to pass on. Your labour force was like an
extended family which you fed and educated.

“That's gone now. Farmers would only go back if the World Bank or somebody
like that would give guarantees, and now a farm would have to be run as a
commercial enterprise like a factory or a business.”

Unlike some farmers, Mr Spies is not entirely resentful of Mr Mugabe and
believes that his reforms helped those farm labourers who were not lucky
enough to have good employers.

In the last few years about 1,200 white farmers out of 4,500 have given up
on Zimbabwe and moved abroad, crippling the rural economy. Most have gone
elsewhere in Africa or to Australia and New Zealand.

An American entrepreneur working on agricultural projects for international
aid agencies such as USAid first recognised their value in the uniquely
difficult farming environment of southern Afghanistan.

[]Steve Shaulis, the owner of Central Asia Development Group, said: “Our
Zimbabwean staff are among the best farmers in the world and have the
toughness to operate in the unforgiving environment of southern Afghanistan.
They are comfortable with providing their own security in the field.”

The CADG farmers have helped Afghan villagers establish modern drip feed
irrigation systems to replace traditional irrigation which was destroyed by
the Red Army, as well as running cash-for-work programmes to give labourers
an alternative to opium harvesting.

Although it works in the most difficult provinces in the country the company
has had no serious security incidents with its workforce. In contrast to the
giant corporations who only venture out in armoured cars with large numbers
of armed guards it works close to the community, receiving the protection of
tribal leaders in return.

Years of war and destruction have impoverished Afghan farmers and left them
addicted to opium as a cash crop, but the Zimbabwean farmers believe
agriculture could have a bright future in southern Afghanistan once roads
and electricity are developed.

Mr Spies said: “The quality of the fruit is very good - fantastic
pomegranates, almonds and grapes. Farmers don't make that much cash out of
opium and when they grow it they are preyed on by some nasty moneylenders.
They would switch to orchard crops, which make almost as much money, if
there was an infrastructure for getting them to market.”

Their own army experience may have been decades ago but it is still
invaluable. “If you really fall in the cactus you know what to do,” Mr Spies
said.

Some have never really got over it. “What is this Zimbabwe?” fumed one of
his colleagues when The Times asked about his past. “I am a Rhodesian.”

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