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Signs of attacks on opposition rise in Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

By Celia W. Dugger Published: April 28, 2008

JOHANNESBURG: Evidence of widespread retribution against people who
supported Zimbabwe's opposition party in last month's election has begun to
stream out despite the government's efforts to restrict press access to the
worst of the violence.

As Zimbabweans brace this week for the results of the March 29 presidential
election to be released, this growing body of evidence — in the form of
witness accounts, photographs and other documentation, some compiled by an
American diplomatic field team — has raised serious questions about whether
a free and fair vote is possible if, as expected, a runoff is scheduled.

A runoff would pit President Robert Mugabe, in power for 28 years, against
his challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Tsvangirai, who left the country on April 7, has said he fears for his
safety if he returns.

The questions have grown to the point that the United Nations' top human
rights official, Louise Arbour, publicly expressed worry on Sunday that
violence could subvert any effort to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis.

"The information I have received suggests an emerging pattern of political
violence, inflicted mainly, but not exclusively, on rural supporters of the
opposition MDC party," she said in a statement from her offices in Geneva.

Jendayi Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, who
has been touring the region, told the BBC in an interview published Sunday
that the United Nations Security Council should consider sanctions on
Zimbabwe if the post-election violence does not end.
Farmers from Masvingo, Mashonaland East and Manicaland Provinces who worked
on behalf of the opposition and were interviewed by telephone in the past
week described a pattern of ruling-party gangs visiting under the cover of
darkness to beat and evict them.

Villagers from Manicaland said they were roused from sleep around midnight
one night this month by young marauders who had come to punish them for
voting against Mugabe. They said the gangs pelted them with stones fired
from slingshots and dragged some from their homes.

The next day, rather than protecting them, police officers ordered them to
empty their small huts of their meager possessions, witnesses said. Then the
young thugs returned to the small settlement just north of the city of
Mutare, bashing down people's homes with iron bars or setting them ablaze.

"There was no chance to say anything; we were fearing for our lives," said
Milton, a farm worker who watched from a corn patch as his house went up in
flames, and who withheld his last name because he was frightened.

A three-person team from the American Embassy in Harare drove to Manicaland
Province on April 19-20 and captured images of the burned and demolished
homes in the settlement where Milton lived. The photographs and videos focus
on the more than 200 people made homeless in that campaign to terrorize
those who voted for the opposition.

"At the time of our visit to the Mutare MDC office, there were 106 children
under the age of 12 and 113 adults (many of whom were elderly) camped in the
open at the office grounds (sharing one toilet and with running water only
for several hours at night)," the team wrote on its return to Harare.

As the wait for the outcome of Zimbabwe's presidential election has dragged
on for weeks, postponed in part to accommodate a partial recount of the
parliamentary election held the same day, many opposition officials and
leaders of civic groups have come to believe the delays were meant to buy
time for ZANU-PF, the governing party, to carry out a campaign to intimidate
the opposition ahead of a runoff.

There is also evidence that the government is seeking to intimidate aid
groups that have the resources to help victims of the violence. One such
group reported in a confidential April 16 e-mail message, obtained
independently by The New York Times, that senior officials in rural
districts had told them to stop distributing food until the presidential
race was over or risk being seen as "buying votes" on behalf of Western
donors. The group stated in the message that it had suspended food
distributions.

On Friday, officials from the group, reached for comment about the message,
pleaded not to be identified for fear that the government would bar them
from working in the country and maintained that they had restarted food
assistance.

Senior officials in Mugabe's party have denied that it has organized attacks
on the opposition. The justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who lost his own
parliamentary seat in the elections, has suggested it is the opposition that
has fomented violence, and he challenged those accusing the party to come
forward with proof.

The miseries of the people in Mutare — supported by the accounts of
residents and the photographic and video record of their homelessness — are
a microcosm of the violence that human rights groups say is now escalating
across areas of the countryside where the opposition made major inroads into
Mugabe's strongholds.

The governing party has used the same kinds of violent tactics before. In
2005, Mugabe's government carried out a vast slum clearance effort called
Operation Drive Out Trash in the opposition's urban bastions. It displaced
700,000 people, according to United Nations estimates.

Much of the fury now is against country people. Their homes and granaries
have been demolished, their goats, chickens and cows slaughtered, their
bodies beaten. In the weeks leading to the election, they worked for the
opposition in growing numbers as they found themselves pushed ever deeper
into destitution by the economy's implosion.

A doctor in Harare who said he had treated more than 200 victims of the
violence in recent weeks visited Mashonaland East Province before the vote
and watched as rural people campaigned openly, even putting posters on their
cows' backs.

"They were enjoying themselves," said the doctor, who spoke anonymously for
fear of retribution. "They thought, 'Here is freedom. Here is democracy.'
Now these same people are victims. They are targeted."

Tonderai Chakanetsa, a farmer from the Mudzi district of Mashonaland East,
was one of those opposition workers. In an interview in Harare with a
Zimbabwean journalist working with The New York Times, he described how he,
his wife and their five children went into hiding in the forest early this
month when they heard militias for the president's party were on the
rampage.
But when they ran out of food on April 16, he went home for more provisions.
He was attacked as he locked up to leave, struck on the neck with a blunt
object. "I remember that suddenly some people started singing ZANU-PF songs
and accused me of being a traitor," he said. Interviewed as he lay in a
hospital bed, Chakanetsa had wounds on his face and back and trouble
standing because his legs had been hurt. He had also been beaten on the
soles of his feet.

He escaped and made his way to the capital, Harare, but still did not know
how his family was surviving in the forest. "Based on what I experienced at
the hands of ZANU-PF, revenge is uppermost in my mind if I go back home," he
said.

According to witness accounts provided to human rights researchers and
journalists, organizers of the attacks have included ministers and members
of Parliament from the governing party, as well as senior military
officials. The accounts say ruling-party youth militias, veterans of the
liberation struggle, soldiers and police officers have administered the
beatings that are intrinsic to "Operation Where Did You Put Your X?" — a
campaign against those who marked ballots for the opposition.

Some of the farmers interviewed in recent days said their attackers had
demanded lists of opposition party members in their areas, including Daniel
Muchuchuti, a farmer and opposition worker in a rural part of Masvingo
Province. He said they broke into his house on April 8 after he and his wife
had gone to bed.

"They dragged me outside and started kicking me and my wife," he said. Two
of his front teeth were knocked out and three ribs were broken. He fled to
Harare for medical care. He is afraid to go home, but said he did not know
how his four children would survive without his labor.

The impoverished farm workers who were uprooted north of Mutare said the
farm they called home had been invaded in recent years by war veterans
linked to Mugabe's party. The veterans drove off the white farmer who owned
the farm and who had kept as many as 200 people employed in harvest season,
they said.

Now the workers say the farm is unproductive and they are unemployed. Many
openly supported the opposition, despite threats from the veterans that they
would be evicted unless they voted for ZANU-PF.

Milton and other residents said the police came on April 13 and told them
they would have to vacate their homes.

"The owner didn't want us anymore," Milton said the police told them. "We
were from the opposition and his enemies."

His children, an 8-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy, cried bitterly at
being forced out, he said, and the family watched in sadness as their
two-room home with a small veranda went up in smoke.


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Analyst Says ZANU Likely To Manipulate Results In Their Favor

VOA

27 April 2008

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has failed to regain its
parliamentary majority after a partial recount of votes from polls held last
month. The opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai said a partial recount
solidifies their victory in parliament.

MDC’s also claims they’ve won the presidential vote as despite the
government’s failure to release the final results.

John Makumbe, professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe,
Harare told VOA’s Akwei Thompson confusion surrounding the presidential
election result remains because of the government’s failure to release the
results after the 29th march vote.

Makumbe said talk about the government releasing them immediately after the
recount was mere speculation “because SADC urged the government of Zimbabwe
to release the vote by latest Saturday, 26th April, but there is no real
commitment from the Zimbabwe to so.”

“We believe that the Zimbabwe government is still in the process of
recounting and there is a possibility they may even be manipulating the vote
in order to reduce the damage to Robert Mugabe…there is a very strong
likelihood that they may come up with an election result which says there
has to be a run-off, Makumbe added.

He said the government might even fail to release the results as scheduled
because “I think the figures are not tallying.”


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Zimbabwe Opposition Disavows Confidence In Electoral Commission

VOA

By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C.
28 April 2008

Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it will release complete election
results today for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to
verify before the March 29 tabulations are published. But the opposition
party has dismissed the commission’s pronouncement. It says the move is a
calculated attempt to deflect international pressure brought to bear after
the commission withheld results for almost a month since Zimbabweans went to
the polls.

The opposition claims it won the presidential election with more than 50
percent of the votes. But President Mugabe’s government rejects the
opposition’s claim, saying the ruling ZANU-PF party is preparing for an
election run-off since both parties failed to win the presidential vote.
From the capital, Harare, opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa tells reporter
Peter Clottey that the MDC has no confidence in today’s results.

“Today on a Monday we are certainly looking forward to the statements that
have been made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to the effect that they
are going to start announcing the results. We hope that they will stick to
their word, but what is a bit difficult for us as MDC is that in the past,
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has behaved in a very confusing and
outrageous manner to the extent that we have no confidence in their
behavior. Particularly, when they say certain things they have the habit of
indicating left then turning right. So, perhaps what they have done by
saying the results are going to be announced today is to try and ward off
any international pressure. They will then drag their feet and start
pussyfooting until the end of the week or even next week without the
results,” Chamisa pointed out.

He said the electoral commission has denied Zimbabweans the right to know
the results of the March 29 elections.

“The results have to be known to the people because people know already that
Mr. Tsvangirai won because of the local returns at the polling stations. So
it is an open secret, but of course they would want official confirmation by
ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission),” he said.

Chamisa refused to comment on the call by a United States government
official about the opposition leader leading a possible government of
national unity.

“We are not in the business of commenting on the views of our international
actors. But what we would want is that we want an MDC government that is
what the people voted for. They voted for change, they voted for dignity
they voted for jobs, they voted for democracy freedom and prosperity. Those
things are going to be delivered by the MDC. A new Zimbabwe and a new
beginning is only possible under the stewardship and leadership of the MDC,”
Chamisa noted.

He described as preposterous calls by agents of the government for a
possible election run-off.

“The so-called run-off, run over, run in or run out, whatever run you call
it, is not what the Zimbabweans voted for. This regime is so desperate now
they are trying to look for tactics, antics and shenanigans to try and
subvert the will of the people, and that is not going to be accepted. The
will of the people have voted and voted overwhelmingly. They have spoken and
spoken eloquently. Their speech is so eloquent and so loud to be heard on
the continent and across the whole world that people in Zimbabwe want
change,” he said.

Chamisa said it was about time the incumbent president recognizes that the
people are no longer supporting his government.

“Mugabe is unpopular, Mugabe has been rejected, and Mugabe is history and
should be taken as such. Not for him to try and have a second bite at the
cherry by trying to have the so-called run-off when in fact what we know is
that they are already beating people, butchering citizens, villagers,
grandfathers, the leaders in the rural areas and we want that to be stopped.
And the only thing to stop these things is for the international community
to come in and tell Mugabe to stake his bags. If he has problems taking them
we can help him. So that he is gone so that he sets Zimbabweans free and we
become a freer and stable society,” Chamisa noted.


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Business as usual in Zimbabwe, Chinese-style

Conservative Pulse, US
 
Posted on 04.28.08 by Stephen Covington @ 3:54 am


Zimbabwean security forces beat members of the opposition demonstrating in Harare.

Almost a month after Zimbabwe’s recent presidential election ended, the results still have not been released. In the meantime, a Robert Mugabe’s supporters have waged a fierce campaign of violence and intimidation against the opposition, often blaming it on the opposition themselves. There have even been rumors that the African nation is headed for civil war. The United States has been pressing Zimbabwe through diplomatic channels, and calling for its neighbors to decry the violence. Still, little seems to be happening.

Mugabe is not the type of person to let go of power without a considerable struggle. In addition to a long history of violence against political opposition, he has publicly compared himself to Adolf Hitler:

“I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people, and their right to their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.”

Some experts believe that Mugabe will not be prosecuted for his role in war crimes, instead living out his days in a relative degree of luxury, in exchange for releasing his grip on political power - although if he does not go soon, he risks incurring enough wrath by his opponents to make that all but impossible.

A larger question is why Mugabe feels comfortable that he can remain a despotic dictator and not have to eventually answer to the citizenry. One possibility is that the Chinese government is running around the world with a torch, glorifying the mistreatment of its own people as some sort of “unity”. All the while, they still continue to sell massacre-bound weapons to Zimbabwe. Curiously, the Chinese government’s argument of “it’s just a business transaction and nothing more” reason for a large shipment of arms strangely echoes the “it’s just a sporting event and nothing more” justification given for the holding the Olympics in a nation where most of the principles of the Olympics are banned. More than likely, China’s government doesn’t see this as anything more than a “business transaction” because for them, like Mugabe, killing citizens is business as usual.

Only the immediate future will tell if Zimbabwe’s government will really change. If so, maybe Mugabe will get acquainted with his own brand of Hitler justice, tenfold.

 


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Action Alert: United Nations Security Council to be briefed on the Zimbabwe crisis on Tuesday 29th April 2008

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY

Sokwanele : 28 April 2008


The image on the right is of Tapiwa Mubwanda, the first MDC party official to be murdered by Zanu PF thugs.


We encourage all Zimbabweans to start speaking out and lobbying people around the world in your individual capacities. Sokwanele has set up an 'Action Contact Database' where we are collecting a range of contact names, useful for Zimbabwe email action initiatives, that Zimbabweans can easily find and use towards promoting non violent change in Zimbabwe. Please use it to find contact details so that you can speak out and tell people around the world what is happening in our country.


It is more than a month since the elections were held on March 29th 2008, and we are still waiting for the Presidential results.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF has embarked on a campaign of terror and intimidation in the rural areas against opposition supporters. There have been at least ten murders so far.

A report released on the 25 April 2005 by the 'Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)' details violence and torture against 62 people they have treated, over a period of the three days between April 22 to April 24. They state that even this number "under-reports the true total as full documentation (e.g. confirmation of suspected fractures by x-ray) of a number of cases has not yet been completed".

In these three days, ZADHR says:

Sixty two cases were assessed and treated, including 9 women, one of whom is 84 years old and sustained serious facial injuries when she was struck in the face with stones on opening her door to unknown assailants. The youngest patient seen was a one year old baby boy who suffered gastroenteritis with dehydration following sleeping in the ‘bush’ with his mother after their home had been burnt down. 23 cases were from Karoi; otherwise there was still a concentration in Mudzi, Mutoko and Murewa with 12.

It is against this backdrop of gross human rights violations that riot police invaded Harvest House, the MDC Headquarters, and arrested scores of people on Friday, 25 April 2008.

Many of those arrested are injured civilians who had fled the rural areas to seek safety and refuge in the only place they could turn to; namely, the opposition headquarters. Many of them were injured days ago and were only able to get medical treatment when they arrived in town.

The state-controlled press have deliberately gone on to misreport the arrests.

The government's motive, through the state-controlled press, is to try and persuade the people in our country - who have little access to independent news - that the victims of these horrendous attacks are actually criminals. By arresting the injured, the state hopes to hide the evidence of their violence and silence the voices that shame them. On Saturday, The Herald wrote:

Police yesterday arrested 215 people after raiding MDC-T’s Harvest House headquarters in central Harare on allegations of committing acts of political violence countrywide and going into hiding. [...] Chief police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the information they had indicated that most of those who had participated in post-election violence had sought refuge at the MDC provincial and national headquarters.

"Police rounded up 215 people at Harvest House this afternoon and these will be screened against participation in politically motivated criminal activities around the country," he said.

The Herald would like us to believe that these people are criminals; however, the full extent of their lie is exposed when we learn that among the injured people arrested are twenty-four babies and 40 children under the age of six:

“This is ruthlessness of the worst kind. How can you incarcerate children whose mothers have fled their homes hoping to give their children refuge?” asked an emotional [Nelson] Chamisa yesterday. “In Mugabe’s Zimbabwe even children are not spared the terror that befalls their parents.” [Nelson Chamisam is the MDC MT spokesperson]

The Herald might print lies, but the pictures the world has seen tell the truth. These are not pictures of criminals: they are the images of people who have been brutalised, tortured, murdered and had their human rights violated. They have been subjected to retributive persecution by a regime that fails to accept the simple truth that it has lost the elections.

It does not matter how many people the regime tries to arrest to cover up the reality that it is brutalising its own people; the world now knows the truth.

In a press release on Sunday the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM) announced that they had initiated, with full support from civil society, labour and legal organizations, a Truth and Justice Coalition on Zimbabwe. They have stated that:

Its objectives are to identify perpetrators and seek legal redress for the victims of crimes against humanity and other serious crimes in Zimbabwe [...] the coalition had now assembled over 200 names of ZANU (PF) military, militia, members of parliament and war veterans who in their personal and/or professional capacity have unleashed terror and tyranny against civilians in recent months. More importantly, their complicity with a cabal of high-ranking Zimbabwean politicians and military personnel with links to other countries is now documented for public release.

We need to Take Action!

On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council will be briefed on the situation in Zimbabwe by the MDC Secretary General, Hon Tendai Biti. A statement issued today says:

The MDC will make its plea to the United Nations that the ZANU PF regime has unleashed brutal and fascist violence on the membership of the MDC and the generality of the people of Zimbabwe. The regime has declared war with the people, whose only 'crime' is voting for change, and change they can trust. We call on the United Nations to send an envoy, who will work with SADC to find a lasting solution to the crisis. This crisis can only end if Mr Mugabe accepts that he lost the election and allow a smooth transfer of power, leading to the formation of a government of national healing led by President Tsvangirai.

Under the Charter the functions and powers of the Security Council are:

  • to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
  • to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
  • to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
  • to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
  • to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
  • to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
  • to take military action against an aggressor;
  • to recommend the admission of new Members;
  • to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in "strategic areas";
  • to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice.

What can we do?


It is very important to reinforce the message of non violence at every opportunity. Please do what you can to help our country maintain its committment to non violence through these difficult and distressing days. We have come so far, let us not be seduced into violence in the way that Zanu PF hopes we will be.

You can also:

  1. Send emails to Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of the United Nations Security Council and tell them, in your words, the truth about what is happening in Zimbabwe

    • They are Jean-Maurice Ripert (France); Sir John Sawers (UK); Vitaly Churkin (Russian Federation); Johan C. Verbeke (Belgium); Marty Natalegawa (Indonesia); Dumisani S. Kumalo (South Africa); Marcello Spatafora (Italy); Le Luong Minh (Vietman); Jorge Urbina (Costa Rica); Giadalla A.Ettalhi; Ricardo Alberto Arias (Panama); Zhenmin Liu (China) and Wang Guangya (China)
    • These are their email addresses (you can copy and paste them into your email software): france@franceonu.org; UK@UN.int; rusun@un.int; newyorkUN@diplobel.be; ptri@indonesiamission-ny.org; sacg@southafrica-newyork.net; info.italyun@esteri.it; info@vietnam-un.org; costarica@un.int; misioncostaricaun@yahoo.com; emb@panama-un.org; chinamission_un@fmprc.gov.cn;


  2. Because of the violence in our country, ask the UN Security Council to place a UN arms embargo on all trade in arms and ammunition with Zimbabwe until such time that a political resolution has been reached and there is peace and no more violence in our country.
  3. Ask them to call for an immediate end to the violence against the people of Zimbabwe, and to support the opposition's request for special envoy to work with SADC to find a lasting solution to the crisis
  4. Ask them to call for an immediate release of the Presidential results. Remind them that it is now one month after we voted and the results have still not been officially released
  5. Send copies of your emails to SADC regional leaders. We recommend you focus your letters towards President Levy Mwanawasa who is the Current SADC Chairperson; President Thabo Mbeki, SADC's appointed mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis; and President Jakaya Kikwete, the President of Tanzania who is also the current Chairperson of the AU. Their full details are provided below.
  6. Forward this email to friends, family and colleagues and ask that they Take Action too!
  7. Boycott the State controlled media! Don't pay hard earned money to read lies.
    Country: Zambia
    Name: Mwanawasa, Levy
    Job title: President of Zambia; Chairperson of SADC
    Email: differmu@nkwazi.gov.zm
    Telephone: +260 1 266147
    Fax Number: +260 1 266092
    Website address: http://www.statehouse.gov.zm/
    Physical Address: Independence Avenue Woodlands Lusaka Zambia 10101 P.O Box 30135
    Country: Botswana
    Name: Mothae, Tanki
    Job title: Director of Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, SADC
    Email: tmothae@sadc.int
    Telephone: +267 361 1001 or +267 397 2848
    Organisation: Southern African Development Community (SADC)
    Country: South Africa
    Name: Mbeki, Thabo
    Job title: President of South Africa
    Email: president@po.gov.za
    Telephone 1: +27 (0)12 300 5200
    Telephone 2: +27 (0)21 464 2100
    Fax Number: +27 (0)12 323 8246 and +27 (0)12 461 2838
    Physical Address: Private Bag X1000, Pretoria, 0001 Union Buildings, Government Avenue Pretoria; Private Bag X1000, Cape Town, 8000 Tuynhuys Building, Parliament Street, Cape Town
    Website address: http://www.gov.za/
    Country: Tanzania
    Name: Kikwete, Jakaya
    Job title: President of Tanzania and Chair to the African Union
    Email: info@ikulu.go.tz
    Telephone: 00 255 22 2 116 898 or 00 255 22 2 116 899
    Fax Number: 00 255 22 2 113 425
    Physical Address: State House Luthuli Road, Box 9120, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

All the contact information provided in this Action Mailing is stored on our Action Contact Database. There are many more contacts saved there and we will be continuously adding names and email addresses to the database to meet Zimbabwean requirements as circumstances change and evolve.

The database has been compiled with the help of the public who have searched for details on our behalf and sent them to us via our blog, and with the incredible support of a small dedicated team of volunteers who are working very hard to ensure that Zimbabeans have the necessary tools they need to speak out for themselves.

We are very grateful for everyone's help, and for the way people have given up time to stand in solidarity with Zimbabwe and the Zimbabw ean people.

To find the information you need, please click the button appearing in the sidebar of both our website and our blog. We hope that this tool will make it easy for you find the details you need without having to spend too much time hunting around the Internet for them. Please alert us to information you think should be included, and we'll do our best to make sure we add that too.

Let's bring about our bright and positive future together.



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Zimbabwe: Vote-Rigging Unrelenting

OhMyNews

[Opinion] Mugabe needs to step down gracefully

Isaac Hlekisani Dziya

     Published 2008-04-28 05:05 (KST)

President Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since
independence 28 years ago, but his party, ZANU-PF, has lost its majority in
parliament for the first time in as many years, despite a recount instigated
by ZANU-PF in 23 constituencies, which is only confirming the opposition's
victory.

Mugabe ordered the recount through his unilaterally appointed Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) to seek credence to overturn the unannounced
presidential election results, which remain in the public domain.

Dianne Kohler-Barnard, a South African politician who is monitoring the
recount of ballots from 23 constituencies in Zimbabwe's parliamentary
election, has said that the process is "fatally flawed." There has been
ballot box tampering designed to bring about "victory" for Mugabe and the
ruling ZANU-PF, she said.

So far, 18 constituencies have been recounted in favor of the Movement for
Democratic Change, making it impossible for ZANU-PF to regain its majority.
Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa in Harare said that ZANU-PF candidates had
increased their winning majority in some seats, but this outcome could not
affect the presidential results, whenever they finally are announced.

"But it looks as though the MDC has overturned the ZANU-PF majority in
parliament."

The interesting thing to watch is the figures that some of the ZANU-PF
candidates are losing by now. Their losing figures have actually increased
from what they were before the recount, thus narrowing the gap of their
actual loss. These figures could translate into more voters for the
presidential election.

It is feared, however, that the recount is being used to rig the main
presidential results -- with the so-called transparency playing into the
machinations and the need to create a semblance of transparent credence.

Even though the deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, has been at
pains to elaborate transparency, ZANU-PF hopes to hoodwink the world when it
eventually announces the presidential vote results with a view to force a
rerun.

This protracted recount of votes has given ZANU-PF a lot of extra time in
which to decide how to deal with the opposition MDC, which says it defeated
Mugabe. ZANU-PF also says there must be a run-off, as no candidate gained
more than 50 percent of the vote, though it does not give any figures about
how they arrived at the figure.

Notwithstanding the intended run-off, which the opposition MDC president
Morgan Tsvangirai says he will not participate in, it has been reported by
the US based Human Rights Watch that ZANU-PF and state security forces had
"sharply intensified a campaign of organized terror and torture against
opposition activists and ordinary Zimbabweans."

Still, the MDC says at least 10 of its activists have been killed around the
country. The Zimbabwe police and ZANU-PF deny that anyone has died in
political violence. The level of government intimidation in Zimbabwe is now
so high that a fair run-off is impossible even if the MDC were to
participate.

Tsvangirai has said that he won the presidential election poll out right and
has accused Mugabe of delaying results to rig a victory. The independent
monitors say that Tsvangirai fell just short of the 50 percent threshold to
avoid a run-off. The ZEC says the presidential results could be announced
after the completion of the recount on Monday.

Zimbabwe's state-run newspaper The Herald has urged regional countries to
help Mugabe form a transitional government that can organize a fresh poll
and write a new constitution. The Herald, a reflection of ZANU-PF thinking,
mooted in a commentary on Wednesday that prevailing political tensions made
it impossible to hold a free and fair presidential run-off.

In the meantime, Tsvangirai has fled Zimbabwe, fearing for his safety, and
is touring African countries, drumming up support among African heads of
states for President Mugabe to do the honorable thing and step down.

It is now an accepted fact that the MDC lead in parliament is unassailable;
however, it is anticipated that the ballots have been "stuffed" enough to
cause a run-off in the presidential elections, meaning the election will be
stolen and Mugabe will point to the "fair recount," even though he has used
this time to steal votes and intimidate voters.

Zimbabweans are concerned about "worsening violence" in the country and
plead for stepped up diplomatic efforts at the United Nations Security
Council to resolve the crisis.

Mugabe continues to create enemies by his dictatorial and undemocratic acts.
The MDC though has appealed to its supporters to stay calm without trying to
take revenge. Zimbabweans need a decent start from now on.

The MDC sees the benefits of developing a national and inclusive solution
derived from the concerns of all people and political, economic and civil
institutions. Mugabe and ZANU-PF should take stock, make reflections and
corrections, and accept that Mugabe's ambitions for life presidency should
be sent to the gutter.

It boggles the mind to hold an ordinary person to ransom by denying him his
constitutional right through the ZANU-PF-controlled ZEC. Mugabe has lost the
Zimbabwe vote and is fast becoming a fascist oppressor of his own people.

The great questions today is: Who are Mugabe, Chiwenga, Matonga, Shiri,
Chihuri and Chinamasa? What is the ZANU-PF? These are not just impostors,
but rebels who have chosen to invade the bitterly gained liberties of the
Zimbabwean citizenry. These are politically decadent rebels playing havoc
with innocent sons and daughters of Zimbabwe.

ZANU-PF has cracked. First a rerun was mused. Then it came to a run-off, a
recount, a recount of a recount, and today a "transitional government of
national unity led by Mugabe." All these utterances are coming before
official results are declared. God help the Zimbabweans.


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Police chief to blame for continuing violence: MDC

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou Monday 28 April 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
has accused police chief Augustine Chihuri of ordering his officers not to
arrest state security agents and ruling ZANU PF party militia allegedly
committing violence against supporters of the opposition party.

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti told Chihuri in an April 24 letter that by
allegedly instructing the police not arrest perpetrators of violence he was
breaching the country’s Constitution. Biti warned Chihuri that he will be
held “responsible and liable” for the law enforcement agency’s failure to
carry out its duty.

Biti wrote: “We have it on good record that you have ordered members of the
police not to interfere in the orgy of violence perpetrated on the civilian
population. It is clear that members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and Zanu
PF youth and militia are immune from arrest and prosecution despite their
brazen unlawful conduct.”

The MDC official, a lawyer by profession, said Chihuri’s conduct was in
violation of Section 93 of the Constitution obliging the police to preserve
the internal security of Zimbabwe and to maintain law and order in the
country.

“You are ultimately responsible and liable for the failure (by the police)
in carrying out this constitutional responsibility.”

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena declined to comment on Biti’s letter
but insisted the police have always arrested people suspected of breaching
the law without regard to their political affiliation.

“We stand ready to execute our duties professionally if reports of violence
are made to us,” said Bvudzijena. “No one is immune to arrest after
committing an offence. The MDC should give us evidence and we will carryout
our constitutional mandate.”

The MDC says 15 of its supporters have been killed in the violence while 3
000 others have been displaced from their homes, in what it the opposition
party has described as a war being waged by state security agents and ZANU
PF militias against Zimbabweans.

The opposition party says the violence is meant to cow Zimbabweans to vote
for President Robert Mugabe in an anticipated second round run off election
against its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is yet to issue the much awaited results
of a March 29 presidential vote, which ZANU PF and independent observers
acknowledge Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai, although they say a second round of
voting is required to settle the contest.

ZANU PF lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in 28 years in a
parallel parliamentary poll when it garnered 97 seats compared to 110 won by
the MDC and other minor opposition candidates. – ZimOnline.


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Mnangagwa meets Angolan leader

Zim Online

by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 28 April 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s right hand man Emmerson
Mnangagwa held talks with Angolan leader Eduardo do Santos in Luanda at the
weekend.

Mnangagwa, who is Mugabe’s agent in Zimbabwe’s presidential election
whose results are yet to be released four weeks after voting on March 29,
met with Do Santos on Friday ahead of Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi
Frazer’s visit to Angola.

Frazer, the Washington’s top diplomat for Africa, has toured Zimbabwe’s
most influential neighbours to urge them to put pressure on Mugabe to allow
the release of the results of the presidential vote that he is believed to
have lost to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Although details of Mnangagwa's visit were not officially disclosed,
sources said he was trying to persuade Luanda to allow a Chinese ship
carrying arms for Harare to offload its cargo in Luanda after dock workers
in South Africa blocked the vessel from unloading the weapons at Durban
port.

Authorities in Mozambique refused to allow the ship to dock at ports
there as the US and other Western powers lobbied China to recall the
shipment.

Beijing has indicated the weapons will be returned to China although
the vessel will dock in Luanda to drop cargo for Angola.

No comment on the matter was immediately available from both Mnangagwa
and the Angolan embassy in Harare.

Dos Santos, a close associate of Mugabe, is the current chairman of
the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s organ on political and
security cooperation.

The 14-nation SADC that has mediated in Zimbabwe’s crisis but has in
recent days come under intense pressure from the US, Britain and the
international community at large to act to force Mugabe to release the
election results and remove all impediments to the democratic process. —
ZimOnline.


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Archbishop urges security forces not to terrorise civilians

Zim Online

by Own Correspondent Monday 28 April 2008

JOHANNESBURG – A senior member of the Anglican Church called on the members
of Zimbabwe's security forces on Sunday not to terrorise citizens in order
to keep President Robert Mugabe in power.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who is leading a day of fasting and
prayer in support of the people of Zimbabwe, urged the police and army to
stop a campaign of violence against civilians.

"My plea, really to the army and to the police, is very simple. Your job is
not to prop up a government that actually lacks legitimacy, but to protect
every citizen of Zimbabwe. And if Mugabe has lost the election, for heaven's
sake don't prop him up,” he told the media.

In December, Dr Sentamu cut up his clerical collar on television and said he
would not replace it until President Mugabe was out of office.

There has been a month of political stalemate in Zimbabwe following disputed
elections. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party says
hundreds of its supporters have suffered serious injuries while at least 10
others were murdered in an orgy of violence it blamed on state security
agents and militant activists of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.

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

The MDC says the violence is meant to cow voters to back Mugabe in an
anticipated second round run-off against its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Dr Sentamu called on the public to join him in prayer for the country.

He said: "As a Christian community we must all stand together with our
brothers and sisters living under the tyranny of Mugabe and pray that they
will find deliverance."

Speaking on Sunday, he told the media: "I've visited it (Zimbabwe) a number
of times and it was the bread basket of that region. It's now a basket case
and the problems of Zimbabwe actually affect a lot of us – it's not just
them."

"I actually think that the international community and all of us must be
concerned about a country which once was a real showcase in Africa and now
really is terrible."

In Zimbabwe, Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has failed to regain its parliamentary
majority after a partial recount of votes from polls last month. The
opposition MDC says it also won presidential polls, although those results
remain unreleased.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said the presidential results could
be announced after the completion of the recounts, expected by Monday.

The head of the Anglican church in southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo
Makgoba, told the media that he wanted a weapons embargo to be imposed
against Zimbabwe.

"I would say Zimbabwe needs food, peace and security and not the arms. I
would support such an embargo," Mr Makgoba said. – ZimOnline.


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No guns for Mugabe

Financial Times

Published: April 27 2008 20:06 | Last updated: April 27 2008 20:06

The forced U-turn of a Chinese ship bearing weapons to Zimbabwe has the
makings of a defining passage in the epilogue of Robert Mugabe’s 28-year
rule. In the 10 days since South African dock workers refused to unload the
An Yue Jiang’s deadly cargo, African leaders have been embarrassed into
reassessing their habitually supine relationship with Mr Mugabe’s brutal
regime. The forlorn course of the ship off the Cape coast after it failed to
find a welcome harbour has proved uncomfortable, too, for China. Beijing had
no need of more bad publicity ahead of the Olympic Games and on Thursday
said the ship, which was carrying enough bullets to start a civil war, was
heading home.

Mr Mugabe has suppressed for weeks results from last month’s presidential
elections which promised his defeat. But his cynical bid to buy time and
salvage his regime, while beating his opponents into submission, is not
going entirely his way. A recount of parliamentary polls has confirmed the
defeat of his ruling Zanu-PF party just as the regional mood is shifting to
his disadvantage. Human rights activists, church groups and unions across
southern Africa have shown solidarity with long-suffering Zimbabweans by
campaigning to bar the An Yue Jiang from African shores.

Until now Mr Mugabe was able to dismiss such critics with his hackneyed,
anti-imperialist rhetoric. This time the people of southern Africa have
helped turn the course of events by expressing revulsion both with events in
Zimbabwe and with the maddening inaction of their own leaders. This was a
rare occasion in Africa when the public led and governments followed.

Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia’s president and the chairman of the Southern African
Development Community, was the first to break ranks with his quiescent
peers. He called on other African states to refuse the ship a berth and
goaded Mr Mugabe to release the results. Jacob Zuma, the leader of South
Africa’s ruling African National Congress, also significantly hardened his
tone to leave his arch rival Thabo Mbeki, the president, looking more
isolated in his refusal to adopt a tougher stance. The outcome of the
parliamentary recount giving the opposition victory shows that pressure may
to some extent be working.

It has long been hoped that bold regional diplomacy could help solve
Zimbabwe’s crisis. This week’s tentative steps by Mr Mwanawasa and some of
his neighbours are in the right direction. More importantly, South African
dockers have shown that real momentum may yet come from the clear-eyed
disgust of millions of African onlookers.


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Zimbabwe silence may be Mbeki's demise: analysts

Yahoo News

by Mariette le Roux 1 hour, 58 minutes ago

CAPE TOWN (AFP) - South African President Thabo Mbeki's failure to criticise
neighbouring Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe has weakened his international
stature, analysts said.

Once hailed as a leader focused on Africa's democratic and economic revival,
Mbeki's silence on Zimbabwe has been blamed either on misplaced loyalty or
crippling deference.

A smiling Mbeki was photographed holding hands with Mugabe even as
Zimbabweans had been waiting for weeks for the final results of a March 29
election.

He was further slammed for saying there was "no crisis" in Zimbabwe after
meeting the 84-year-old Zimbabwean strongman two weeks ago.

"The election was a crisis (...) for everyone to see. He denied that was the
case. He went against his own logic," said Ebrahim Fakir, a researcher at
the Johannesburg-based Centre for Policy Studies.

Susan Booysen, political analyst at the University of the Witwatersrand, put
it bluntly: "One cannot come to any other conclusion than that he has
botched (...) his legacy," she said.

"People expected statesmanship. But at the end of the day, he didn't have
the guts to stand up to a fellow liberation movement leader," referring to
the pair's shared background in anti-colonial politics.

A partial recount of ballots in Zimbabwe handed the main opposition party a
historic victory in parliament over Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF but results of
the presidential poll have yet to be announced.

While the country waits, rights groups have reported an upsurge in violence
by pro-Mugabe militias and the military.

The main voice in South Africa that has criticised this violence has been
that of Mbeki rival Jacob Zuma, who denounced Zimbabwe's "police state"
during a European tour in which he met Britain's Prime Minister Gordon
Brown.

While Mbeki tried to evade the issue at a recent meeting of the United
Nations Security Council, which South Africa chairs for the month of April,
Zuma called for a speedy release of Zimbabwe's election results.

Booysen questioned Mbeki's commitment and that of the continent to democracy
and human rights, as outlined in the New Partnership for Africa's
Development, a continental revival plan he helped blueprint.

"This was a case where every emergency signal was going up saying: 'Help
this democratic project'. He didn't step up," Booysen said.

"He has suffered irreparable damage, irrespective of how the election turns
out," she continued.

Mbeki's own party, the ruling African National Congress, and its labour
ally, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, have each contradicted his
analysis.

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change, meanwhile, has asked for him to
be removed by the Southern African Development Community regional bloc as
mediator.

The main US envoy for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer,
failed to meet Mbeki on a recent tour of the region that included talks with
two other heads of state on Zimbabwe.

The media has also been scathing of Mbeki. The Washington Post published a
commentary this month which described Mbeki as a bankrupt democrat and
accused him of complicity in "stealing" the Zimbabwean election.

The Economist magazine said Mbeki's actions were "unconscionable".

Fakir said Mbeki had lost respect not only in Western countries, but also on
the African continent for pushing issues of state independence and
sovereignty at the expense of legitimacy.

Mbeki seemed to feel an extraordinary duty not to "break ranks" with his
fellow African leaders, said Tom Wheeler, research fellow at the South
African Institute for International Affairs.

"By not putting pressure on the Zimbabwean government when it started
becoming clear the election had gone to the MDC, he did not do anyone any
good. Much damage has been done."

"There doesn't appear to be much of an international role for him left,
except perhaps within that group of African leaders into whose hands he had
played -- those that are happy to subvert democratic rule," Booysen added.


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South Africa has a Jekyll and Hyde approach to Zimbabwe

Dispatch, SA

2008/04/28

INSIGHT

GUY LAMB

OFFICIAL South African foreign policy appears to be schizophrenic in a
number of areas. On the one hand, the South African government promotes
peaceful conflict management through spearheading mediation efforts in a
number of Africa’s violent conflicts, as well as contributing troops to
peacekeeping missions in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and
Sudan. On the other hand, South Africa is the largest African exporter of
arms to the rest of the continent. This schizophrenia is none the more
evident than with South Africa’s current dealings with Zimbabwe.

South Africa is the Southern African Development Community (SADC)-mandated
mediator for the Zimbabwean political quagmire. However, South Africa’s
National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), the cabinet committee
responsible for implementing South Africa arms control policy and
legislation, recently issued a permit allowing Chinese arms and ammunition
to be transported across South African soil to Zimbabwe.

At the time, January Masilele, South Africa’s Defence Secretary, was quoted
as saying: “This is a normal transaction between two sovereign states. We
are doing our legal part and we don’t have to interfere.”

However, Section 15 of the National Conventional Arms Control Act (2002)
compels the NCACC to “avoid contributing to internal repression, including
the systematic violation or suppression of human rights and fundamental
freedoms” when it considers applications for the import, export and
conveyance of arms.

According to a recent report by the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), hundreds of Zimbabweans have had their homes destroyed and 3
000 families have been displaced as a result of post-election violence. In
addition, over the past three weeks the Zimbabwe authorities have detained
more than 400 MDC activists.

The South African government has been widely criticised both internationally
and domestically for this decision.

It took civil society/church groups and Durban dockworkers to remind the
South African government of their legal and moral obligations by securing a
court order for the temporary confinement of the arms and ammunition, and
refusing to offload the cargo respectively.

The Chinese vessel ferrying the arms and ammunition has subsequently left
Durban harbour and is allegedly charting course for Luanda.

Recently, South Africa once again assumed the presidency of the UN Security
Council. The South African government has indicated that the control of
small arms and light weapons will be one of its priority areas.

In fact, South Africa has been a champion of arms control and disarmament
within the UN structures for the past decade, and has consequently acquired
significant diplomatic currency. Given this state of affairs, why did the
NCACC issue a permit to allow for the arms and ammunition from China to be
transported to Zimbabwe across South African territory?

The answer relates to the governance and capacity of South Africa’s internal
arms control architecture and processes.

For more than three years, the Directorate for Conventional Arms Control
(DCAC), which is essentially the secretariat for the NCACC, has not had a
permanently appointed director. The previous director of the DCAC was
suspended following a disagreement with the NCACC over South African arms
exports to Haiti in 2004 at the time of a political crisis and internal
strife in that country.

The National Conventional Arms Control Act requires the NCACC to provide
Parliament with quarterly confidential reports and a public annual report on
South Africa’s arms exports. The NCACC has been negligent in this regard.
For example, in 2007 the Auditor General reported that NCACC had not
released both the quarterly and annual parliamentary export reports.

In addition, the Auditor-General reported that the operating procedures of
the DCAC had yet to be approved by the NCACC. The Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Defence, which is the transparency and accountability watchdog
of South Africa’s arms trade, has been conspicuously silent on this issue.

South Africa’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ approach to Zimbabwe, particularly the
recent incident with the Chinese arms shipment, has arguably devalued the
diplomatic currency that South Africa has accumulated through its generally
progressive approach to arms control in the UN and other international
forums.

Hence, it is essential that the South African government gets its domestic
conventional arms control house in order, otherwise it runs the risk of
becoming an arms trade pariah.

Guy Lamb is the head of the arms management programme at the Institute for
Security Studies in Pretoria


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Veterans disgusted by growing post-election violence

zimbabwejournalists.com

28th Apr 2008 01:22 GMT

By a Correspondent

HARARE - Senior war veterans and former senior commanders of the national
liberation forces, have today voiced their concern at the on-going political
violence, especially within most rural communities that voted for the
opposition MDC in last month's elections.

In a statement released today, Wilfred Mhanda, aka Dzinashe Machingua, and
Happyson Nenji (Webster Gwauya), expressed their utter disgust and outrage
at the unmitigated reign of terror currently visiting unarmed rural people
in the country.

"The perpetrators of the orgy of violence are the state security forces
themselves complemented by non-state actors in the form of rogue war
veterans, youth militia and Zanu PF enthusiasts," the two repsected war
veterans said.

Mhanda, a former commander of the Zanla forces during the liberation
struggle and based in Mozambique, is hated and feared by President Robert
Mugabe ever since he was arrested together with other Zanu PF chiefs at the
height of the struggle for independence.

"We pointed out in our statement of 7th April, that the illegal Mugabe
regime was mobilizing forces of reaction to descend on the defenceless
people of Zimbabwe as retribution for voting for change," read their
statement. "Sadly, and most ominously this observation has now been borne by
facts on the ground. Both the rural and urban folk have been on the
receiving end of this wanton state sponsored reign of terror."

Command structures for the campaign of violence have been established and
are now fully operational, particularly in the rural areas where hundreds
are fleeing their homes and now leaving in total fear and abject poverty.

"Mugabe’s illegitimate and repressive rule has now degenerated into a
fascist dictatorship reminiscent of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge reign of terror in
Cambadia.

"It is nauseating and most reprehensible for the international community and
international news agencies to continue to refer to Robert Mugabe as the
president of Zimbabwe and to the majority party, the Movement for Democratic
Change(MDC) as the opposition party.

"Mugabe’s is an illegitimate and illegal regime that has wrought havoc and
untold suffering on the people of Zimbabwe. He has stolen an election in
broad daylight and undermined the democratic values upon which SADC, the
African Union and the United Nations stand."

The two war veterans continued: "It is a crime against humanity to wage war
against defenceless civilians and an abomination for former liberation
fighters to indulge in retributive atrocities and human rights abuses
against the very people they fought to liberate."

It is, they said, most reprehensible and disgusting in the extreme for them
to inflict harm and injury on innocent civilians for the sole purpose of
perpetrating Mugabe’s evil rule.

"Tyrant Mugabe was resoundingly rejected by the people of Zimbabwe in the
March 29, 2008 harmonised elections. It is the responsibility and
constitutional mandate of the state security forces to safeguard and protect
the people and not to become their erstwhile persecutors.

We urge all political parties, the opposition ZANU PF included, the entirety
of civil society and all democratic forces within and outside Zimbabwe, the
SADC heads of state, the African Union and the United Nations to take a
principled stand and condemn the current reign of terror against the people.

"The brutal violence militates against the development of democracy in
Zimbabwe and undermines all the democratic freedoms enshrined in our
Constitution. Most regrettably, this sad development is a direct consequence
of the incomprehensible failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to
discharge its constitutional mandate of releasing the results of the 29
March 2008 presidential elections expeditiously as required by law."

The presidential vote result is expected sometime this week with candidates
being at last called by ZEC to verify ballots.

Furthermore, this reign of terror has to be viewed against the reckless and
irresponsible statements by some service chiefs in the run up to the 29
March 2008 elections to the effect that they would not salute anybody else
as head of state other than Robert Mugabe. Those statements are clearly
treasonous and have helped stoke up the current tensions. We call upon all
the service chiefs to bring a stop to the reign of terror against the people
forthwith. We call on you General Constantine Chiwenga, the Commander of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces; Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri;
Director General of the Central Intelligence Organisation Happyton
Bonyongwe; Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Lt General Phillip
Valerio Sibanda; Commissioner of Prisons, Rtd Mj General Zimonde; Chief of
the Zimbabwe Airforce Air Marshal Perence Shiri to bring an end to the
peoples suffering at the hands of your forces.

The whole world has been made to believe that it is you the service chiefs
who are preventing the tyrant Mugabe from conceding defeat in the 29 March
2008 election; that its is you propping up the illegal regime against the
will of the people of Zimbabwe. It is high time you spelt out your
unequivocal position regarding the outcome of the 29 March 2008 presidential
election. It is in your own personal interest and that of the nation to take
a clear unambiguous position on this matter of paramount importance to the
nation.

Surely you should not hold the nation to ransom through your blind obedience
to a dictator whose hands drip with our people’s blood. Your salaries, perks
and benefits are courtesy of the taxpayer and not Robert Mugabe or the RBZ
governor Gideon Gono. You are public servants who should place the national
interest above petty loyalties to a dictator. Please be reminded that we
together took up arms together to liberate this country and its people from
the racist settlerist colonial regime and not to install a tinpot dictator
who rides roughshod over the people’s will. The ball is in your court.
Please take heed of this wise counsel before its too late and ignore it at
your own peril

Happyson Nenji (Webster Gwauya)         Wilfred Mhanda (Dzinashe
Machingura)
ZLP TRUST Board Chaiman                    ZLP TRUST Board Secretary


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God help Zimbabwe

Trinidad and Tobago Express

William Lucie-Smith

Monday, April 28th 2008

Although I am white I feel no personal responsibility for the atrocity
that was slavery. I take comfort that no less a scholar than Eric Williams
affirmed, in Capitalism and Slavery, that slavery had nothing to do with
race. I also feel no need to defend Adolf Hitler because he was white. I
fully understand that evil comes in all colours and shapes. I say this just
because I fear that the weak response to the evil of Robert Mugabe by
African states is because they do not wish to condemn a man recognised as a
black freedom fighter. I hope the rest of the world however recognises the
evil he is perpetrating on poor black Africans. An avowed admirer of Adolf
Hitler, Mugabe still uses anti-white rhetoric to support his ruthless
dictatorship.

Zimbabwe held elections on March 29. After long delays parliamentary
results released showed the opposition had won parliament, beating Zanu PF
109-95, but the Senate was split 30-30. No official result has been released
for the presidential election but unofficial tabulations have Morgan
Tsvangirai as the clear winner. After an initial calm the reaction from
Mugabe has been fierce. Seven members of the election Commission were
arrested for undercounting Zanu PF votes and a recount ordered in 23
constituencies. Although no result has been released for the presidential
elections, after some failed negotiations it was announced there would be a
new election because Morgan Tsvangirai did not win a clear majority.

The Mugabe strategy to steal the election has become very clear. There
has been a reversion to intimidation and attacks on opposition leaders and
workers. The UK Guardian reported last Monday, supported by eye witness
accounts, that the Health Minister rounded up all the people in his
constituency suspected of voting for the opposition and threatened them with
a Kalashnikov rifle, saying if they did not vote for Mugabe in the new
election they would be killed.

That meeting, on April 10, came as Zanu-PF began what has become an
extensive campaign of beatings and intimidation in areas where Mugabe and
the ruling party lost ground in the presidential and parliamentary
elections.

In the following days, party militias and the army established torture
camps in several provinces, where MDC members were taken to extract the
names of opposition activists and deter the opposition from campaigning
before what is expected to be a run-off between Mugabe and the MDC's
candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, if and when the results of the presidential
election are finally released.

Ward Nezi, the MDC candidate who defeated Zanu PF in Murewa, said his
supporters were terrified. "People are being beaten all over the place in my
constituency, beaten up and hospitalised," he said. "My opponent is one of
those involved. They cannot accept defeat."

Ruling party MPs and senior military officials have incited violence
in other areas. Ordo Nyakudanga, a Zanu-PF MP, and Bramwell Katsvairo, an
air force colonel, oversaw a forced meeting in Mutoko last week at which
opposition supporters were allegedly identified and severely beaten.
Witnesses say that at the end of the meeting Nyakudanga and Katsvairo sent
soldiers to hunt down people who had refused to attend. One of them was
Tendai Chibika, who was afraid he would be identified as an opposition
supporter. Soldiers found him in nearby hills and shot him dead.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which has documented abductions and
assaults, said: "This campaign of terror has been widespread across the
country and is being perpetrated against any person who is suspected to have
cast their vote against the ruling party, as well as their families."

Abel Samakande, the new MDC MP for Mutoko East, once a Mugabe
stronghold, said many of his supporters had gone into hiding. "Our members
are not sleeping in their own houses. Some sleep in their gardens, some
sleep in the hills, because they usually come to get you at night. People
are terrified," he said. "During daytime I can move around with other
people. In the night I hide-and I am the MP."

Despite all the evidence President Mbeke of South Africa following a
meeting with Mugabe declared that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. Meetings
of African leaders have not reached a common position and they appear
totally impotent in the face of Mugabe's repression. Morgan Tsvangirai has
given articulate, moderate and conciliatory interviews on the BBC but has
again been accused of treason for consorting with the white oppressors of
Zimbabwe and conspiring to overthrow the government. He has already been
imprisoned once for alleged treason but acquitted.

The leadership of the MDC has been stoic and brave in the face of
these savage attacks by Mugabe fanatics. However it appears very clear that
they will not be allowed to retain their Parliamentary majority nor win the
presidency in the run-off. It remains to be seen if the African states will
do anything in the face of this travesty (like the interventions in Uganda
and Liberia). God help Zimbabwe because nobody else seems interested.


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Humanitarian Crisis Deepens as Zimbabwe Nears Election Verdict

VOA

By Howard Lesser
Washington, DC
28 April 2008

Government raids on Harare offices of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network,
(ZESN), and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last Friday
have heightened international pressure as neighboring Southern African
countries await an announcement of Zimbabwe presidential election results
this week.  Annabel Hughes, the former executive director of the Zimbabwe
Democracy Trust, says that Zimbabwe authorities who staged the raids may
have been trying to limit the impact of local outcry from the electoral
commission’s expected findings.

“All the results were photographed at the polling stations by the opposition
and by various civil society groups to insure that no one could rig the
results afterwards.  And I think they were probably trying to get their
hands on all the evidence, as well as intimidate those who were trying to
support the democratic process,” she said.

Under voting procedures laid down by the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) before the March 29 vote, tabulations at all Zimbabwe
polling stations had to be posted for the public and accessible for being
photographed by concerned voter advocates. For close to four weeks, Zimbabwe’s
Electoral Commission (ZEC) had been expected to declare incumbent Robert
Mugabe the winner of the presidential vote.  But after a partial recount of
several precincts, some observers are saying that the commission this week
may declare neither Mugabe nor his main challenger Morgan Tsvangirai the
winner, arguing that neither one received more than a 50 percent share of
the vote.  In a concurrent parliamentary election, however, the MDC scored a
historic victory over ZANU-PF to wrest control of the legislature for the
first time since independence in 1980.

As Mugabe tries to hang on to power, his government has arrested several
hundred opposition activists in recent days, and the MDC singles out between
eight and fifteen people it charges have been killed by ZANU-PF supporters
in recent post-election violence.  The UN Security Council is scheduled to
discuss the Zimbabwe crisis tomorrow, and foreign powers are considering
sanctions. Hughes says the violence goes beyond retribution for political
protest and is designed to keep President Mugabe in power.

“I just know that there were over 200 people who they arrested and there
were women and children and a lot of very badly injured people who had fled
from the rural areas into Harare because they were being so badly beaten.
People are looking for protection from the ZANU-PF militia,” she said.

In a runoff presidential election, it is thought that ZANU-PF supporters can
secure a Mugabe victory by limiting access to voters in rural areas with
violence and intimidation.  Annabel Hughes says if a runoff is held, it will
be to President Mugabe’s advantage.

“That may very well be the case because I’ve heard from sources on the
ground that he’s actually lost in a way which is far worse than what anyone
is letting on and there’s no way he’s going to hand over power in a
democratic way.  So he’s having to find options within all the pressure that’s
on him.  And there’s not just international pressure now.  There’s regional
pressure, primarily because of the humanitarian crisis,” Hughes noted.

Last week, US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, in a visit to the
region, reinforced claims by the MDC and several international organizations
that Tsvangirai had won the election.  There has also been speculation that
Morgan Tsvangirai will refuse to compete in a runoff because he feels he won
the March poll outright.    Annabel Hughes says there is only so much
external pressure that can be brought against President Mugabe to give up
power.

“The regional countries will certainly have an effect on Zimbabwe.  America’s
put pressure on Zimbabwe before and the British have as well.  This is not
new.  But what is new is that you’re dealing with this level of brinkmanship
which has never occurred before, and we’re dealing with a very, very, very
serious economic and humanitarian crisis, not only because of the beatings
and the torture, but also just because people cannot even find food.  It is
really, really serious, and the humanitarian crisis is especially serious,”
she noted.


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Military "Running" the Country

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Ruling party insiders say President Mugabe is effectively hostage to his
security chiefs’ demands for continuity.

By Nonthando Bhebhe in Harare (ZCR No. 143, 24-Apr-08)

Officials of the ruling ZANU-PF party say President Robert Mugabe is no
longer fully in control, with much of the government’s day-to-day affairs
being run by military and security chiefs.

Senior ZANU-PF insiders have told IWPR that Mugabe is now out of touch with
what is happening on the ground.

Instead, they said, key decisions were being made by the Joint Operations
Command, JOC, which consists of the heads of the army, air force, prison
services and intelligence. The JOC, which is chaired by the
commander-in-chief of the armed forces, General Constantine Chiwenga,
coordinates military and security affairs and many observers believe it
carries more real clout than the cabinet.

Their ties with Mugabe date back to the liberation struggle of the
Seventies.

The party officials, who did not want to be identified, said decision-making
was taken over by military and security chiefs after it became clear that
Mugabe had lost the March 29 presidential election to Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC.

It was they who made the controversial decision to stop the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, ZEC, from releasing the result of the ballot.

According to these sources, Mugabe was considering stepping down but was
forced to carry on when the military threatened to take over if he resigned.

“Mugabe was willing to step down. He had actually indicated that he would
retire to his rural home and his Borrowdale mansion and hand over power to
Tsvangirai, if people voted for him,” said one official. “He even said he
was willing to surrender his fate to Tsvangirai, to do whatever he wanted
with him.

“However, the army generals and commanders told him that if he did [resign],
it would leave them with no other choice but to take over the country. What
a lot of people have missed is that Mugabe agreed to avoid a bloody coup by
the military. It was better him than the military taking over.”

Chiwenga and retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi, head of the penal
service, vowed before the election that they would never salute anyone but
him as president. Police chief Augustine Chihuri also said he would not
accept an opposition victory.

A day after the election, a crisis meeting of army and security chiefs was
held to discuss how to prevent the opposition taking over as it became
apparent that Mugabe might have lost to Tsvangirai.

Regime figures do not trust Tsvangirai, fearing that if he came to power he
would prosecute senior officials for human rights abuses committed over the
years.

Although the ZEC has not announced who won the presidential election, it has
said that the MDC won a majority in parliament for the first time ever,
defeating ZANU-PF. However, this week the commission has been conducting a
recount in 23 constituencies, and there are fears this will provide an
opportunity to rig the numbers and reverse the position.

The MDC has accused the security forces of embarking on a campaign of
violence and intimidation in the weeks since the election.

In an interview with SW Radio Africa on April 11, Tsvangirai said, “He
[Mugabe] has lost control – that is why the military is doing what it is
doing, going to interfere with the work of ZEC, arresting ZEC officials,
relocating the work of the verification of the presidential ballots to a
secret place where our representatives are not present. They have literally
overthrown the civilian authority.”

David Coltart, a prominent lawyer and a member of the minority MDC faction
led by Arthur Mutambara, said, “It’s a coup in the guise of an election.”

Security Minister Didymus Mutasa denied that the military had taken over.

“President Mugabe is still in charge, and that is a fact,” he said. “Those
people who are telling you that are wishing for bad things for this country.
Wait until the runoff [presidential election]. We will beat them
overwhelmingly, and then they will shut up.”

The ZANU-PF officials said security chiefs had called several crisis
meetings since the election. At one of them, top military officers gathered
two weeks ago at Murombedzi, near Mugabe’s rural home, and told the
president they were now in charge.

The military officers, said a ZANU-PF official, laid out a plan by which
Mugabe would contest a run-off vote under conditions tipped in his favour by
the military taking control of polling stations and counting centres.

The official said Mugabe’s speech on Independence Day on April 18 suggested
that he might not be aware of the scale of violence being perpetrated by the
army and pro-ZANU-PF militias.

At the independence celebrations, Mugabe paid tribute to Zimbabweans for
maintaining peace before, during and after the elections. “Those who are
planning violence must stop immediately, otherwise they might be in serious
trouble with us,” he said.

According to the MDC, ten of its members have been killed since the
election, while dozens of others have been beaten, whipped and threatened by
youth militias, war veterans, the military and the security service.

Huts in rural areas have been burnt down, and hundreds of people have been
displaced. Victims bearing burns, bruises and serious injuries from some
rural areas have been hospitalised in Harare.

The crackdown has come since the JOC took control of the ruling party’s
strategy, the electoral system, and internal security measures.

One ZANU-PF member of the Mashonaland Central provincial leadership told
IWPR that a meeting held by these local party officials in Bindura agreed
unanimously that violence was not the answer. But he added that because the
military had taken over, such decisions were not being acted on.

“We have realised in ZANU-PF that things are not good. The problem is that
it is now the military that has taken over,” he said.

“It was agreed at that meeting that it was wrong to beat up people. It is
not good for the party’s image. But with the army now in charge, all they
know is intimidation and violence against opposition supporters. I don’t
think that the president really knows what is happening – that people are
being tortured and beaten up.”

He said the problem with Mugabe was that he was surrounded by people who did
not tell him the truth. The officials said those individuals who could give
him honest advice had either died or were no longer in government.

“ZANU-PF is full of new guys or should I say mafikizolos [latecomers] who
will not dare say anything. That is why the military can do what it has
done,” said the party official. “It is wrong to beat up people, like what is
happening in the high-density and rural areas. Violence does not help
anyone.”

Nonthando Bhebhe is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.


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Political Stalemate Hits Economy

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

No one wants to buy or sell as long as it remains unclear which way the
country is heading politically.

By Jabu Soko in Harare (ZCR No. 143, 22-Apr-08)

The frozen political process in Zimbabwe has done further damage to the
country’s troubled economy, causing a virtual shutdown of activity in many
sectors as buyers, sellers and lenders hold off on making business decisions
until the picture becomes clearer.

“The economy is suffering; business and individuals are failing to make
binding decisions,” John Robertson, a Harare-based economist and
businessman, told IWPR.

“It is proving difficult for people to decide their future. Investors can’t
make decisions right now.”

Analysts say businesses need to be agile when deciding their next move in a
hyperinflationary environment like Zimbabwe’s, but the political impasse is
blocking this kind of decision-making.

“In fact, the country has not been at work for the past two or so weeks as
people await the release of the presidential polls. The longer the delay,
the greater the harm to people’s health and the economy,” said Robertson.

Useni Sibanda, coordinator of the Christian Alliance, which has put out a
statement imploring the government to release the presidential results,
said, “It has become difficult for everyone – from chief executives to
street hawkers – to plan. Everyone is in suspense.”

The result of the March 29 presidential election has still not been
released, and there are fears a partial recount that began this week will
skew the result in favour of the incumbent Robert Mugabe.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, insists its candidate
Morgan Tsvangirai won a clear majority, but last week it lost a court action
to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, ZEC, to release the figures.

The recount is taking place in 23 of the 210 constituencies, and covers
parliamentary and local election as well as the presidential ballot.

Tsvangira’s faction of the MDC won the parliamentary election outright with
99 seats in the lower house against the ruling ZANU-PF’s 97, and the smaller
MDC group taking another ten seats. If the recount reverses the result in
only nine constituencies, ZANU-PF will regain control of the National
Assembly.

The ZEC recount now looks like it might take longer than the three days
originally envisaged.

Business, analysts and ordinary Zimbabweans say the delay in wrapping up the
election results is bad for the economy.

Mara Hativagone, president of the National Chamber of Commerce, said key
decisions in industry had stalled, as companies waited to see which way
things would go after the election results were announced.

“Most businesses have shut down until the announcement of election results,”
Hativagone said.

“Those who are still operating are doing so at a very low scale. The outcome
of the elections will determine the decisions that companies will make.
However, it does not mean that there is nothing going on in companies; some
are manufacturing.”

A number of firms have cut their working week to just two days – Mondays and
Fridays – because of lack of raw materials as executives delay placing
orders.

In the past few weeks, commodity shortages have worsened in supermarkets,
again due to reduced deliveries, and prices have surged even higher in
response. Even the once-flourishing parallel market, where a month ago it
was easy to obtain basic commodities that are scarce in the shops, has hit
hard times.

The uncertainty has also caught up with the real estate sector. Industry
insiders say the market has gone to sleep as potential sellers hold onto
their properties.

Matthias Kufandirimbwa, a property analyst, said people were awaiting the
outcome of the elections before making firm decisions on property
investments.

“It is difficult for people to make decisions now. Nobody is willing to sell
his or her property and no one is willing to buy. A political settlement is
needed now more than ever, because as a country we need to move forward,” he
said.

The mood of indecision is even affecting people who exist on the margins of
the economy.

Patricia Mpofu, 33, a subsistence farmer on the outskirts of Harare, has had
to defer expanding her poultry business, as the banks are reluctant to lend
money because of the uncertainty.

“My bank had promised me money, but now they are saying wait until the
results,” said Mpofu. “Everything seems to hinge on the presidential
outcome.”

Percy Zvauya, 40, a self-employed trader who buys basic goods in South
Africa and brings them back to sell to major supermarkets in Harare, has had
to halt his weekly shopping trips to the border town of Musina.

Zvauya said the supermarket owners he had been supplying with tinned fish,
beans, cooking oil, salt and flour had advised him they would only start
buying from him again after the ZEC released the results.

“The supermarkets are not taking any orders right now,” he said.

A tour of major supermarkets and general traders in Harare’s central
business district showed that the majority had not re-stocked their shelves
since election day.

Analysts say that if Tsvangirai were to be awarded victory, it would restore
confidence in the economy.

Multilateral lending organisations are reportedly promising to pump in
massive back-up funds for Zimbabwe in the event of an MDC victory.

Tsvangirai says the MDC has secured pledges of ten billion US dollars from
the international community to kick-start the failing economy that has been
ravaged by chronic shortages of fuel, electricity and basic goods, a lack of
foreign currency to fund imports, and inflation that is now said to have
topped 165,000 per cent year on year.

The opposition leader has also promised that if he wins, he will hold a
reconstruction and development conference later in the year to bring back
foreign investment.

Jabu Soko is the pseudonym of a reporter in Zimbabwe.


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Frank Chikowore, incarcerated for being a journalist in Zimbabwe

zimbabwejournalists.com

28th Apr 2008 01:10 GMT

By Gift Phiri

FRANK Chikowore is a journalist I first met sometime in 1999 on a visit to
Victoria Falls on assignment for one subsidiary of the New Ziana group I was
working for then in Bulawayo then.

Since our first meeting at Explorers pub in Victoria Falls, we have grown to
be very close buddies over the last nine years. From his days as a cub
reporter for a community newspaper in Victoria Falls , to his present
stature as one of the country’s best independent radio reporters, I have
witnessed this curious journalists’ transformation.

Last week on Monday morning I received a text message saying Frank has just
been arrested. I checked with his newly wed wife, who at that point was
unaware of the arrest.

She was to learn of her husband’s arrest much later when Frank returned home
in handcuffs, in the company of seven police officers, four of them in riot
gear.

The goon squad seized his laptop, voice recorder and digital camera. Frank
used to call them “gadgets for reporters” together with his state-of-the-art
cellphone and “mobile landline set.”

Initially, Frank was accused of practicising journalism without
accreditation. When he produced his accreditation pass, the charge changed
to arson. Arson? How come?

“They are saying he burnt the bus he was photographing,” a fellow journalist
we had just dispatched to Harare Central Police Station reported to curious
hacks in the Quill Club later that evening.

“Frank can’t even light a match stick. How does he burn a bus?” joked one
scribe.“Ya, tiri patight boys. We need to be vigilante. These are trumped up
charges. It is clear that the press crackdown has started and these are the
last kicks of a dying horse,” one hack cautioned.

When I first met Frank nine years ago, he was a quiet soft-spoken man who
never hurried himself. We were in a group and would chide him for his
unhurried way of doing things. Even talking seemed too much of a chore for
him.

Today, he is a victim of whatever creatures with pointed ears, forked tails
and sharp teeth who have taken over the conscience of this country.

Frank has been refused bail and is currently languishing in remand prison
for a crime he did not commit. Frank is innocent and CID Law and Order knows
this.

This is clear miscarriage of justice. Magistrate Olivia Mariga’s bail
refusal reasons that Frank should be used as an example to deter other
would-be-offenders of political violence is presumptuous. What happened to
innocent until proven guilty?

Zimbabwe was once a country everyone in Africa looked up to - not because of
any individual in power - but because everyone thought the blacks having
taken over would show the whites how to create wealth and promote happiness.

The golden age of prosperity for black Africa, everyone thought would begin
from Zimbabwe. In terms of prosperity and development, can we put our hands
on our hearts and swear that Zimbabwe is a success story?

I don’t want any excuse about a “white conspiracy”. That’s just an easy way
of finding excuses. Today Zimbabwe is a land in turmoil, with a leader who
has been voted out of power, but who is refusing to announce the
presidential election results.

A black government has turned against fellow blacks, not because of a white
invasion, but because a black leader wants to hold on to political power
forever. And in the process, it is devouring its own children.

Frank is incarcerated. Does Mugabe believe that would bring prosperity to
Zimbabwe or overturn his loss? Perhaps he knows certain things that lesser
mortals are not aware of and that is why he is disregarding the
gravitational pull of change.

Sadly, by the time he comes out of Rip Van Winkle land, much damage would
have been done to the country he claims to be so much in love with. My
sympathies go to Frank.

I hope he does not have to stay behind bars for long. I had only five days
in police cells and I loathed each day I had to spend in there. He will be
in remand prison until May 5 when he is supposed to appear in court, except
if his urgent bail application in the High Court is successful.

Remand prison is an awful place where inmates are dying like flies because
of hunger and communicable diseases such as TB. To Frank, I say, you need a
strong mind at this period and you are in our prayers every day.


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Zanu-PF electoral strategy falls flat on its face

The Zimbabwe Times

By Tafadzwa Musekiwa
(April 28, 2008)

AS A young Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP, I recall Webster Shamu
coming to sit next to me one sunny afternoon in the Zimbabwe House of
Assembly dining room sometime in April 2002.

Shamu who was then MP for Chegutu, representing the ruling Zanu-PF said
something to me then that six years later seems to have been a prophecy.

Stating the obvious, he said that, if the Zanu-PF old guard had a policy of
renewal, the likes of the late Learnmore Jongwe (then MP Kuwadzana) and Job
Sikhala (then MP St Mary’s) and I might not have made it into Parliament.
Shamu said the continuous refusal by the old guard to accept the changing
times would one day come back to haunt them. He went further stating that,
the biggest problem in Zanu -PF was the people who President Robert Mugabe
listens to. As a result, Mugabe was told what those around him thought he
wanted to hear most of the time, while those that really know the mood on
the ground never got to a chance to communicate anything to the old man, he
said.

If the news that Robert Mugabe was told to step down by his colleagues, just
before he roped in Jabulani Sibanda, the 37-year-old war veterans leader,
who at the time of independence was about nine years old and his war
veterans to force his endorsement as Zanu-PF presidential candidate is
anything to go by, I am just wondering what those that had advised him
against running are thinking today. What about those whose advice Mugabe
followed? What is he thinking about them today?

I find it interesting to note that it is only the Bright Matongas (Deputy
Information Minister who only became a Zanu-PF MP five years ago and about
whom nobody knew anything before then) and the Patrick Chinamasas (Justice
Minister who lost an election the only time he has presented himself to the
people) that seem to be excited about the current situation. Those in the
know view this period as potentially disastrous not only for Zanu-PF as a
party but for Mugabe as well.

I recall that Zanu-PF had a plan in place to deal with Mugabe’s succession.
According to Amendment 18 of the Zimbabwe’s Constitution (2007), the
intention of clauses 2 and 3 was to amend sections 28 and 29 of the
Constitution in order to make Senate and the House of Assembly sit as an
electoral college and elect a president if a President dies, resigns or is
removed from office instead of an election being called within 90 days as
was provided for. The composition of the House of Assembly was amended to
increase the number of seats from 150 to 210, all of them all elected .The
size of the Senate was increased to 93 members.

The delimitation of constituencies, done by the Mugabe’s appointees, the
ZEC, came out with revised constituencies which drastically slashed the
number of constituencies in the urban areas and the Matabeleland region
where they realised the MDC was strong. This clearly favoured Zanu-PF since
most of the new seats were allocated to rural constituencies.

Following the unfortunate split of the MDC into two in October 2005, the
assumption was that the MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai would win the urban
seats of Mashonaland, Masvingo and Manicaland while the MDC, led by
Professor Arthur Mutambara would get Matebeleland, both urban and rural, and
thus effectively dividing the opposition vote equally. This would have left
Zanu-PF with rural constituencies in Mashonaland, Masvingo and Manicaland
where the majority of the seats had been allocated.

For Mugabe to ensure that everyone was on board with him, his key advisers
advised him to hold harmonised elections so that even those that did not
want Mugabe but were Zanu-PF would be forced to campaign for him also in the
process of campaigning for Zanu-PF MPs, thus ensuring him a chance to win
the presidency.

The plan seemed perfect, in the eyes of Zanu-PF, that they even ensured a
fairly peaceful pre-election environment as well as agreeing to count and
publish vote tallies at the polling stations. The plan was to ensure a
Zanu-PF victory through a fairly peaceful but not necessarily free and fair
election. In politics however, as has been proven time and time again, no
matter how you strategise, plot and conspire, as long as the people are not
part of that equation, the plot is bound to fail. Because these strategies
did not take into account the people’s interests as well as the issue of
Mugabe’s unpopularity, the failure of Zanu-PF in the general elections on
March 29 came as no surprise.

I am sure those in Zanu-PF who had seen the light when they advised Mugabe
that he was unpopular and was likely to lose if he had gone for this
election are now telling the hardliners that; “We told you so.” The problem
is that now it is a bit too late to amend things; the people have spoken.
The vote for change, the vote for MDC and Tsvangirai has been cast. In spite
of any attempts to bury the fact, even the most casual observer can see the
overwhelming evidence that the same people who voted on March 29 are likely
to vote again in any future election and, in fact, those that did not vote
for one reason or another including age, are not likely to vote Zanu-PF.

Zanu-PF is reportedly entertaining ideas of harming or persecuting Morgan
Tsvangirai on the assumption that such action will ease their political
misfortunes. Such actions are bound to be disastrous and any attempts to
harm him will only make him more popular as people will sympathise with him
even more. Worse still, the safety of the perpetrators of such a heinous
crimes will not be guaranteed in any future inevitable new Zimbabwe.

What also has to be understood in the broader context is that Didymus Mutasa’s
“dear old man”, as he described Mugabe, is indeed old. I don’t wish him dead
though a lot people wish he was. But it’s a fact of life that at 84, his
days are naturally numbered, thus the Zimbabwe solution becomes more urgent
than normal. In his absence and in the absence of a clear front runner to
take over Zanu-PF, the likelihood of the party crumbling and the MDC taking
total control of the political scene, leaving Zanu-PF just relying on the
military and the judiciary, is real. Any politician will know that relying
on military power or state institutions like the judiciary has its dangers,
especially in the 21st Century; there are enough examples to be cited such
as Thailand and Pakistan where such institutions have succumbed to the whims
of the majority.

It is unfortunate our learned colleagues in the judiciary and some of our
military top brass such as General Chiwenga and his wife Jocelyn as well
seem not to realise that the more they exacerbate this problem the more it’s
likely to work against them in the very near future.

Surely, one cannot be blinded by patronage not to see such overt evil. It is
only prudent for Zanu-PF, the judiciary and the military to realise that
there is need not to continue holding the wishes of the people hostage. The
defeat of Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s was always inevitable. The wisest course of
action for them now is to concede defeat. One way or the other Mugabe and
Zanu-PF will have to come to terms with the fact that the MDC is now the
majority political party in Zimbabwe and ‘President’ Morgan Tsvangirai is
the most popular politician in Zimbabwe today, and is here to stay. The
people’s patience is running out; any attempts by Zanu-PF to prolong this
stalemate will merely aggravate the situation.

My own thinking is that at the end of the day, doing the right thing today
will give Mugabe a moral high ground in future regardless of the wrongs he
has committed in the past. It’s not too late. We are living in constantly
changing times, and during this period, some might be tempted to abandon
their principles and integrity for the sake of patronage. Let us not find
ourselves wanting despite the seemingly unavoidable temptation for power.

The future is in the people of Zimbabwe’s hands and ultimately some people
including some of the judges and magistrates whose decisions are only aiding
and encouraging injustice will end up paying a very expensive price when the
time comes.

Time will tell.

(Tafadzwa Musekiwa is a former MDC MP currently in exile in the UK.)


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No violence, just a little old-fashioned discipline!

Sokwanele
 

This email just received, published here verbatim:

This may encourage you. A group of 20 youths in their MDC T-Shirts decided to enter Mutoko area and seek out some militia camps. They found three, and with no violence, they chased the militia out and flattened their camps, then disappeared back to their home area.

I have now told people who bring badly bashed victims in to organise their communities to defend their homes, families, crops and animals. Safety in numbers - I suggest they non violently challenge these people.

These groups of so called war vets and mujiba militia will not be so brave when confronted by women (particularly) defending their children and the men in the villages. They are on the hindfoot and we must take advantage.

In another area the MDC people have told the Zanu PF that for every MDC house they burn down, 3 Zanu PF houses will be torched.

In that same area a group of angry MDC people whose homes had been burned, got hold of the Zanu PF chairman in the area and took him to his home and made him burn it himself.

No violence, just a little old fashioned discipline!

Please, if anyone reading this post circulates this story to others, we ask that you stress people take a non violent appraoch to dealing with conflict and that they must always do what they can to keep themselves safe. As the person who wrote to us said, seek safety in numbers.

Please can everyone working for change in our country do what they can to constantly reinforce the message of non violence at all times.


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Proposed farewell speech for President Mugabe

The Zimbabwe Times

By Geoffrey Nyarota
April 28, 2008

ZIMBABWEANS, countrymen, comrades and friends; it is with a very heavy heart
that I appear before you this evening, probably for the last time while
wearing the onerous mantle of President of the Democratic Republic of
Zimbabwe.

I appear before you tonight exactly one month after you went to the polls on
March 29, 2008, to choose new representatives in the two Houses of
Parliament and to elect a new head of state.

I present myself before you tonight after a prolonged process of
soul-searching and introspection. I took this decision after I engaged in
another process – that of wide consultation, especially among members of the
Mugabe family and among those who have been my advisers over the years.
Their advice was not rendered easily. It was, however, unanimous.

My appearance before you tonight is predicated on the premise that you, my
compatriots, are collectively endowed with certain special gifts that I so
obviously do not possess. They include the gifts of patience, compassion,
tolerance and forgiveness.

I realise in retrospect that I am a man of little courage. Otherwise I would
have asked my press secretary, Cde George Charamba, to arrange this
television appearance many months ago, perhaps even before the extraordinary
congress of our Zanu-PF party last December. Nay, had I been gifted with
courage I would have requested Cde Jonathan Moyo, our then Minister of
Information, to arrange this final address to the nation even before the
presidential election back in 2002.

Looking back in retrospect now, this appearance would have been facilitated
back then if my peers and advisors in both government and the party had been
men and women of honour, genuine and selfless friends as well as honest and
reliable advisors. I refer here to those that I have always regarded as my
close confidantes – people such as Comrade Nathan Shamuyarira, Cde Didymus
Mutasa, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, Cde Joseph Msika, Cde John Nkomo, Cde
Solomon Mujuru and Amai Joyce Mujuru, as well as Cde Oppah Muchinguri. I
refer here to all those others who walked on the long and arduous road of
the liberation struggle to our independence.

Unfortunately, when their input was sorely needed they all elected to hold
their silence. None of them said a word of advice or warning on the many
issues on which I now stand accused. Now I am judged even by children who
were not born when we wrested this wonderful country from the racist hands
of Ian Smith, General Peter Walls, Pieter van der Byl and those other many
of our oppressors whose hands dripped with the blood of the comrades who
fell in the struggle for our liberation.

It was and continues to be a painful experience for me that when the people
turned against us with a vengeance I relied on the support of little-known
comrades such as Jonathan Moyo, Chenjerai Hunzvi, Joseph Chinotimba, George
Charamba, Patrick Chinamasa, Jabulani Sibanda and now Brighton Matonga. I
should have known the sunset of our presidency had drawn nigh when I now
relied for survival on the intervention of comrades with little or no
liberation credentials.

In retrospect, I realise now that Cde Edgar Zivanai Tekere was right;
likewise, Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire and Cde Margaret Dongo. But, with your
thunderous approval we kicked them out of our party and humiliated them. I
want them to accept my sincere apologies tonight.

Let me hasten to explain, however, so that my intentions are not
misunderstood, that I did not ask to appear before the nation tonight as an
opportunity to lay blame on others for the many ills, the many wrongs and
the arrogant disdain that has brought our once proud and prosperous nation
down to its knees.

In politics, as in life itself, a moment must come when, after the aforesaid
process of introspection, one must be courageous enough to call a spade a
spade and to accept full responsibility for one’s wrong decisions and
ill-advised actions. For me that moment is tonight.

“Carpe diem,” or seize the day or the opportunity, the Romans of old used to
say.

I stand before you tonight to open my heart to you my fellow countrymen so
that I can depart with a clear conscience and an untroubled mind. For, yes,
depart I must now finally do after nearly three decades at the helm of a
great African nation. I had wanted these to be years of dedicated,
inspirational and revolutionary service to my nation. In my heart of hearts
there is confidence that I gave to Zimbabwe selflessly, unstintingly and
with a singular determination to uplift the standard of living of the people
of Zimbabwe.

But, and this will be my first confession to you on this momentous occasion,
I lacked the capacity to tell when it was time to go. I have harboured a
genuine grievance against Cde Oliver Mutukudzi, our accomplished musician
and true international ambassador, when he composed what I thought were
spiteful lyrics about my presidency. The popularity of Bvuma and Cde Steve
Makoni’s Handiende should have been a clear signal to me that all was no
longer well. The rejection of our draft constitution in the referendum in
2000 after its promotion by the indefatigable Cde Jonathan should have
served as a clarion call to me that it was time to move on. But power and
comfort had blinded me to reality.

My second confession, my fellow countrymen, pertains to my reliasation now
that I am just a man of the flesh like everyone else, although many in the
upper echelons of our party treated me as a superior or an immortal being.
In my foolishness I believed the blandishments of Cde Mutasa, Cde Tony Gara,
now late, Cde Webster Shamu, Cde Oppah Muchinguri, Cde Joseph Chinotimba,
Phillip Chiyangwa, and Cde Gideon Gono and many others who sought to
immortalize me.

One of my greatest failures was to fail to perceive their very transparent
self-seeking agendas.

To err is human, my dear compatriots. I erred before you and before the Lord
and I now seek your forgiveness.

It is not in vain that I invoke the name of the Lord. I now believe he loves
me. He has constantly granted me new opportunities. This time I will not
spurn his divine intervention. Zimbabwe is at a crossroads. I find myself at
a crossroads tonight because He has given me an opportunity to choose
between two options. I must decide whether to accept rejection by the people
of Zimbabwe and extend my hand to Cde Morgan Tsvangirai to congratulate him
graciously for his well deserved electoral victory. The other option is to
raise my clenched fist in his face again while saying: “Never, ever, ever.”

In all honesty, the spirit may still be willing but the body now lacks the
requisite strength. Those who suggest that I should now head a new
government of national unity speak without consulting. I cannot lead a
government of national unity through subterfuge seeking to deny Cde
Tsvangirai his well deserved turn, or to appease either those security
chiefs who say they cannot salute him or those academics who claim that he
is as educated as them.

A government of national unity can only be created if Cde Tsvangirai, in his
magnanimity and graciousness, invites the losers to join him at the high
table. A government of national unity can only come about if the losers
accept that Cde Tsvangirai and the MDC emerged as the legitimate winners.

Tonight, after steering this ship of state for a full 28 years and 10 days,
I hereby announce that I am relinquishing my captaincy. For me to fail to
seize this golden opportunity would certainly be to squander the last chance
for a dignified exit available to me.

Considering the dramatic events of the past month, I can only continue to
challenge Cde Morgan out of spitefulness and selfishness, nothing else. I am
not a young man any more. To live for a total of 84 years in a nation whose
life expectancy has been reduced to less than 40 years is a remarkable
achievement. I am not ungrateful.

I must now retire to the sidelines with the modicum of dignity that remains
at my disposal rather than be forced do so with a bloodied nose. God granted
me the gift of offspring late in my life. I must now devote my undivided
attention to raising a family in a normal setting, far away from that
atrocious State House.

I am both stung and humbled by the humility, patience, tolerance and the
mature demeanour of the people of Zimbabwe in the face of relentless
provocation, humiliation, insults and violence, especially over the past
month when they rejected me at the polls.

So why did we order a recount of the parliamentary election votes and, more
significantly, why has it taken Cde George Chiweshe, so long to announce the
presidential election results?

I will be forthright. We, as a party, were stunned by the overwhelming
electoral performance of Cde Morgan and the Movement for Democratic Change.
Many of us in the upper echelons of Zanu-PF were totally unprepared,
including psychologically, for the prospect of stepping down from office. A
great sense of fear has, therefore, gripped most of those who helped to
sustain my administration over the years.

“You can negotiate your own safe landing,” they now challenge me. “How about
us?”

These are the people who have created the state of confusion surrounding our
departure.

Cde Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde
Augustine Chihuri, the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police
and Cde Perrence Shiri, the commander of the Air Force, for instance - are
understandably petrified by the prospect of retribution. Political Emmerson
Mnangagwa provides the necessary political backing. He has never concealed
his ambition to be the next President of Zimbabwe. Our security chiefs are
supposed to be men of courage. The outcome of the elections has pulverized
and transformed them into cowards. But I cannot allow them to continue to
hold our nation and our long-suffering people to ransom.

Let us consider one example.

Like his predecessors, Cde Solomon Mujuru and Cde Vitalis Zvinavashe before
him, Cde Chiwenga has become one of Zimbabwe’s wealthiest men. Like them he
has made ill-advised threats against the people of Zimbabwe and the future
leadership of our nation. He owns wealth the magnitude of which most
Zimbabweans cannot fathom. He has no less than six exquisite mansions that I
know of, five in Harare and one in Marondera. He has two farms.

His spouse, Mai Jocelyn Chiwenga has not helped Cde Chiwenga’s cause. Drunk
with power by association, she has threatened and humiliated people. There
was the shameful case of the young Daily News lawyer, Cde Gugulethu Moyo, I
believe that was her name. She was insulted, assaulted and humiliated right
inside a police station. She had done nothing wrong. The army commander has
not restrained his spouse as she tarnished his name and reputation while
undermining the image of our party.

I never intervened.

Cde Jocelyn became emboldened as a result. She accosted Cde Morgan
Tsvangirai in public, virtually spat in his face and generally humiliated
him. On that occasion my conscience was stung but I had become a prisoner in
State House.

I am not by any means trying to find scapegoats for my own failures,
weaknesses, shortcomings, blunders or for any of my own excesses. I want to
be held fully responsible and accountable.

My one request if that I want the people of Zimbabwe, not the international
community, Mr George Bush and Mr Gordon Brown in particular, to sit in
judgement of me.

They did not elect me to power and I do not hold myself accountable to them.

I want to publicly tender my sincerest apologies for the murderous madness
that was Gukurahundi. Thousands upon thousands of innocent people lost their
lives during that campaign in Matabeleland and the Midlands. I wish to
apologise for the outrageous Operation Murambatsvina, which rendered
thousands homeless. I apologise for the hundreds of other citizens who
perished throughout the country, including last week as Zanu-PF sought to
perpetuate its power long after it ceased to be a popular party.

Finally, a few words of advice to Cde Tsvangirai as incoming President:

Be careful not to surround yourself with opportunists who are guided only by
their relentless pursuit of self-aggrandisement.

The commitment of individual members of the leadership of the MDC is not
necessarily synonymous with skills in running the affairs of state.

You are taking over the reigns as the president of Zimbabwe, not as the
president of the MDC.

My government denied the people of Zimbabwe freedom, justice, fairness and
equal opportunity. I beseech you, please rectify these anomalies for me.

Show the people of Zimbabwe and world at large that you are in charge of the
situation.
One last word of advice, what ever you do, please don’t reverse the gains of
our revolution. That is not say members of the white community who are
devoted to farming should not go back to the land in appropriate
circumstances. We fought to establish a non-racial Zimbabwe. Our racist
rhetoric was obviously responsible for driving a wedge between Zanu-PF and
the people. By rejecting Zanu-PF and me the people have demonstrated that
they are non-racist.

As for me it is up to you, the people of Zimbabwe, to determine whether I
should be allowed to play a role in an exciting future Zimbabwe or whether I
should face justice here in Zimbabwe for all my transgressions.

The choice is yours.

I thank you


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Why did the chicken cross the road?

The Zimbabwe Times

Unknown

QUESTION: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Morgan Tsvangirai: Because it wanted a taste of life on the other
side of the road. It was exercising its right.

Patrick Chinamasa: No. The chicken did not cross the road. In fact we
need to verify whether in fact it was a chicken. As far as we know,
the chicken is still there. It could have been an eagle. We have to
wait until verification is done.

Didymus Mutasa: I do not think it crossed the road. If it crossed the
road it's because the white farmer dragged it. But we cannot allow
that to happen. It will have to come back.

Joseph Chinotimba: The kichen, no, chicken is a sell-out against the
revolution. The `O' vets will have to eat it!

Robert Mugabe: The chicken will never be allowed to cross the road.
Not in my life time! Let those that run away to Bush and Brown do so.
Not my chicken! My chicken will never cross the road. It will never
be colonised again!

Thabo Mbeki: Er . uhm . I don't see any chicken at the moment. Er.
I think it is right for us to wait and see. Let things take the
natural course. If. if. if it did cross the road we will be told
officially. If it wants to cross the road we will see it when it
crosses. There is nothing to talk about at the moment. Er. I don't
see any problem right now.

Tendai Biti: We have irrefutable evidence from those who were at the
road that the chicken has, indeed, without any shadow of doubt,
crossed the road. I hereby declare that Chicken Huku Inkuku is now
the legitimate resident of the other side of the road.

Bright Matonga: At the moment we know that it has not crossed the
road, despite imperialist efforts to push it. We know they will try
again and are now preparing to unleash the remaining 75 percent of our
effort so that it can never be pushed again next time.

Nathaniel Manheru a.k.a. George Charamba: How can a chicken, itself
a hapless bird, be expected to cross the road unless it is pushed
deviously and surreptitiously by the hand of the vicious and uncouth
imperialists? The only chicken that can cross that road is a stooge,
a puppet, an instrument of the West that will be rocket-propelled by
the loud fart of Brown and Bush . Icho!

Levy Mwanawasa: It knew the ground on that side was sinking like the
Titanic. It had to cross.

General Chiwenga: It can't.

Commissioner-General Chihuri: It can't cross the road.

Gordon Brown: It was running away from Mugabe.

Jacob Zuma: I think it is important that we be told whether or not
the chicken actually crossed road. That should be very easy to do.

Jonathan Moyo: Of course, the chicken crossed the road because it
could not stand the nonsense on the other side. But the shameless
securocrats will do everything in their power to prevent everyone
from knowing that it, indeed, and unequivocally crossed the road.

Judge of the High Court: Whether or not it crossed the road is a
matter for the officials to declare at their own time. They have the
power to order a re-check and verification as to whether it crossed
the road before they can make the declaration.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission: We are not in a position to say
whether or not the chicken crossed the road. There are some people
who have complained that it probably wasn't a chicken at all and
others saying it was being pushed or dragged against its will. We are
currently considering whether to do a re-check before we can
officially declare if the chicken crossed the road. We will take as
long as we want to be fully certain that it was a chicken that
crossed the road.

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