The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe High Court says opposition bid is urgent

Reuters

Tue 8 Apr 2008, 10:41 GMT

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, April 8 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's High Court ruled on Tuesday it would
treat the opposition's application for the immediate release of presidential
election results urgently and began hearing arguments in the case.

Legal proceedings are already in their fourth day and could drag further,
delaying the end of a 10-day stalemate that has dashed hopes of a quick
answer as to whether President Robert Mugabe lost the March 29 vote or will
face a runoff.

Opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he has won the election
outright and should be declared president. Mugabe's party is pushing for a
further delay in issuing results pending a recount.

"I find that the application is urgent. The case should now proceed," judge
Tendai Uchena said of the opposition request.

Zimbabweans, many reduced to misery by the meltdown of their once-prosperous
economy, are waiting to see whether the election will end the 28-year-rule
of Mugabe or make way for a runoff vote between him and Tsvangirai.

MDC lawyer Alec Muchadehama told the court after the judge's ruling that the
matter was urgent and that the High Court had the power to order the release
of the results.

"The applicants have a legitimate concern to have the results announced
expeditiously. The applicants have a clear right to the results,"
Muchadehama said.

Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of planning violence to overturn results of the
presidential and parliamentary votes.

Zimbabwe has inflation of more than 100,000 percent -- the highest in the
world -- an unemployment rate above 80 percent and chronic shortages of food
and fuel. (Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka, Stella Mapenzauswa, Muchena
Zigomo and MacDonald Dzirutwe; writing by Barry Moody; Editing by Marius
Bosch and Matthew Tostevin) (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have
your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com)


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe is using army in assault on white-owned farms

Times Online
April 8, 2008

President Robert Mugabe was accused today of deploying his army to invade
more than a quarter of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe.

Trevor Gifford, the president of the Commercial Farmer's Union, told The
Times he had documentary evidence that army officers were masquerading as
war veterans, the group blamed for taking over more than 60 farms since
Saturday. Only about 200 white farmers are left in Zimbabwe - 5 per cent of
the total eight years ago.

“We were passed a document which makes Mugabe’s involvement clear,” he told
The Times. “It says that 200 serving senior offices of the Armed Forces will
be participating in the ‘exercise’. They will be commanding other war
veterans and Zanu (PF). Teams will be deployed on April 8, 2008 to campaign
for R Mugabe in the run off under the guise of war veterans.”

Zimbabwe’s generals occupy no official posts in its ruling party, but
analysts said they will play a crucial role in Mr Mugabe’s drive to stay in
power.

Mr Gifford also said that government officials were offering money to people
willing to join the invaders. “We have received lots of calls saying that
the local media officer from the Ministry of Information, Mr Maunganidze,
was paying people to invade the farms,” he said.
Mr Mugabe's apparent defeat in the first round of Zimbabwe's presidential
poll may have provoked him to fan racial tensions, the farmers fear. They
suspect him of holding out the country’s last acres of white-owned land as a
vote-winner in the election run-off that must take place by April 19.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
who claims to be the outright victor, flew to South Africa yesterday to seek
help in finding a solution to the stalemate.

A spokesman confirmed that Mr Tsvangirai had met Jacob Zuma, the ANC
president, in Johannesburg. But he did not see President Thabo Mbeki, who is
visiting India.

The farm invasions began on Saturday in Masvingo province, about 160 miles
south of the capital, Harare. Five farmers were forced to flee or were
trapped inside their homes by drunken mobs. A game lodge was also seized.

They spread to Centenery, once Zimbabwe's agricultural heartland where the
guerrilla war against white rule began 36 years ago.

Two black farmers were also ousted from their farms “for voting for the MDC”,
according to reports.

Amid the chaos, one farm assistant was reportedly tied up and abducted. “He
had a machete dragged along his throat,” Mr Gifford said. “People have been
pushed around and intimidated.

“The situation is in free-fall. If we don’t have intervention from the
African Union this could turn very quickly into a Kenya style situation or
worse.”

Mr Mugabe appeared defiant this weekend, telling mourners at a funeral on
Sunday: “The land is ours, it must not be allowed to slip back into the
hands of the whites.”

Meanwhile, seven election officials were arrested by Zimbabwean police
yesterday for allegedly undercounting votes cast for Mr Mugabe in the March
29 presidential elections.

The officials, who were working for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in
four provinces, will be charged with fraud.

“We’re still investigating, but we have established that there was deflation
of figures in respect of the Zanu (PF) presidential candidate, Robert
Mugabe,” Wayne Bvudzijena, a police spokesman, said.

Zimbabwe's High Court is also due to rule today on an opposition petition
demanding the immediate release of the presidential election results, which
have yet to be published, 10 days after the polls closed. However, no
decision had been issued by this afternoon.

Comments
If the African continent continues to issue cretinous platitudes, as it has
always done, then so be it.

Im sick to death of the whole scabby, tribal, dusty and corrupt shambles
that it is. I'm tired of the succour we supply. I'm tired of the duplicity
of all involved.

The next time ZANU(PF) convene for another genocidal meeting, will one
Western power do the right and honorable thing and drop just one smart bomb
on those snuffling pigs and be done with it.

That will send a message to the continent: we've really had enough of your
stone age antics.

W Langan, Bournemouth,

At what stage does the international community feel morally obliged to
intervene in restoring legitimacy and democratic authority to Zimbabwe? No
one who has followed the current election fiasco in Zimbabwe can be in any
doubt that the failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to formally
publish the results is a clear signal that Mugabe lost the Presidential
elections and control of Parliament.

There are compelling grounds for international intervention. Under the
mismanagement of ZANU/PF, the country is in economic meltdown; the lives of
millions of Zimbabweans have been subjected to institutionalised starvation
as a means of poltical control and all semblance of democratic
accountability and process has been jettisoned for a dictatorship that
threatens the very life blood of the country.

Without a peace keeping force, the country will be decimated and the
international community rightly condemned for their selective
interventions - no oil, no justice.

Martyn McCormack, Nantwich, UK

Now if that is not blatant RACISM in the case of Mugabe, then I don't know
what is. Say what you will, but governments all over the world welcome
African's into their communities, but in Zimbabwe, white people are seen as
unwanted.

jim, London,


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

A terror Campaign?

A document out of Zimbabwe:

2008 April
 
Harare Metropolitan Province  AVM Karakadzai + CIO
 
Bulawayo Province   Col. C. Sibanda
Bulawayo central   Maj. J. Ndhlovu
     Maj. J. Ncube
 
Manicaland and Mutare South Brig. Tarumbwa
Buhera Central   Col. M. Mzilikazi (MID)
Buhera  North    Maj. L. M. Svosve
Buhera South    Maj. D. Muchena
Buhera West    Lt. Col. Kamonge
     Major Nhachi
Chimanimani East   Lt. Col. Murecherwa
Chimanimani West   Maj. Mabvuu
Headlands    Col. Mutsvunguma
Makoni North    Maj. V. Chisuko
Makoni South    Wing Commander Mandeya
Mutare Central   Lt. Col. Tsodzai
     Lt. Col. Sedze
     Mandi Chimene
Mutare West    Lt. Col. B. Kashiri
Mutare North    Lt. Col. Chizengwe
     Lt. Col. Mazaiwana
 
Mashonaland Central  Brig. Gen. Shungu
Bindura South    Col. Chipwere
Bindura North    Lt. Col. Parwada
Muzarabani North   Lt. Col. Kazaza
Muzarabani South   Maj. H. Maziri
Rushinga    Col. F. Mhonda
     Lt. Col. Betheuni
Shamva North    Lt. Col. Dzuda
Shamva South     Makumire
 
Midlands    AVM Muchena
     Brig. Gen. S. B. Moyo
     Lt Colonel Kuhuni
Chirumhanzu South   Maj T. Tsvangirai
Mberengwa east   Col. B. Mavire
Mberengwa West   Maj T. Marufu
 

Matebeleland South   AVM Abu Basutu
Beit Bridge East   Group Cpt. Mayera
     Rtd. Maj. Mbedzi
     Lt. Col. B. Moyo
Gwanda South    Maj J. D. Moyo
Gwanda Central   Maj. B. Tshuma
Matopo North    Lt. Col. Maphosa
 
Matebeleland North   Brig. Gen. Khumalo
Binga North    Maj E. S. Matonga
Lupane East    Lt Col. Mkwananzi
Lupane West    Lt Col. Mabhena
Tsholotsho    Lt. Col. Mlalazi
Hwange Central   Lt. Col P. Ndhlovu
 
Masvingo Province   Maj. Gen. E. A. Rugeje
     Rtd. Maj. Gen. Gibson Mashingaidze
     Rtd. Brig. General Rangwani
 
Bikita West    Maj. B. R. Murwira
Chiredzi Central   Col G. Mashava
Chiredzi West    Maj. E. Gono
Gutu South    Maj. Chimedza (Medical Doctor)
     AVM Muchena
Masvingo    Lt. Col. Takavingofa
Mwenezi West   Lt. Col. Muchono
Mwenezi East    Lt. Col. Mpabanga
Zaka East    Maj. R. Kwenda
 
Mash West Province   Brig. Gen. Sigauke
Chinhoyi    Col Gwekwerere
Chegutu East    Lt. Colonel W. Tutisa
Hurungwe East   Lt. Col. B. Mabambe
Mhondoro Mubaira   Col. C. T. Gurira
Zvimba North     Cpt. T. Majongwe
 
Mashonaland East   Brig. Gen. D. Nyikayaramba
     Rtd. Brig Gen Rungani
Chikomba Central   Lt. Col. Marara
Gromonzi North   Lt Col. Mudzimba
     Maj F. Mbewe
Marondera Central   Maj. Gen. Chedondo (COSG)
      Lt. Col B. Kashiri
Marondera West   Squadron Leader U. Chitauro
Murehwa South   Maj. Gurure
Murehwa North   Lt. Col. Mukurazhizha
     Lt. Col. Chinete
 
 
 
In total, 200 serving senior officers of the armed forces will be participating in the exercise.  They will be commanding other war veterans and Zanu pf thugs.
 
The teams will be deployed on 8th April 2008 to campaign for RG Mugabe in the run off under the guise of war veterans. With the exception of two, all the deployed officers are senior serving officers of the armed services. It is understood that Lt. Gen. PV Sibanda will command the operation with the assistance of Maj. Gen. Nick Dube. General Chiwenga will be the overall commander of the operation. He is being assisted by Maj. Gen Last Mugova and Col. S. Mudambo
 
 


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition complains of orchestrated violence

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 8, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Opposition officials accused Zimbabwe's ruling party
Tuesday of orchestrating a campaign of violence in remote rural areas in an
effort to intimidate opponents of President Robert Mugabe ahead of a likely
runoff election.

The accusations came amid growing reports that ruling party loyalists were
escalating their invasions of white-owned farms and driving the farmers off
their land.

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe for 28 years, has virtually conceded that he
did not win the March 29 presidential elections. Though results of the poll
remain secret 10 days after the election, he is campaigning for an expected
runoff against the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, by intimidating his
foes and exploiting racial tensions.

"There has been massive violence inside the country since the 29th," said
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change.

Much of the violence has erupted in traditional ruling party strongholds
that voted for the opposition in the election, including the rural areas of
Murewa, Mutoko and Gweru, he said. Ruling party militants, used previously
to intimidate government opponents, were being rearmed, he added.

"There's been a complete militarization and a complete rearming of mobs who
led the terror in 2000 and 2006," he said.

Reports of violence in remote rural areas - including the torching of
opposition supporters houses - have circulated through the capital, Harare,
in recent days. The reports could not be confirmed because of the danger in
traveling to the areas.

Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu denied the claims as outright lies
and said there had been no outbreak of violence. "There is nothing like
that," he said. "They are concocting things. It is peaceful."

But about 60 farmers have been forced off their land since Saturday, said
Mike Clark, a spokesman for the farmers' union.

"The situation is escalating very rapidly," said Trevor Gifford, president
of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmer's Union, adding that many farmers were not
allowed to take anything with them.

Mugabe's opponents pressed a lawsuit to force the publication of the results
of the presidential election that they say Tsvangirai won outright. The High
Court ruled Tuesday that it would hear the petition.

Mugabe's ruling party has called for a recount and a further delay in the
release of results, a tactic that opposition leaders said would lead to
tampering.

"The results are being cooked to fit the template of a runoff," Biti said.

In recent days, Mugabe has urged Zimbabweans to defend land previously
seized from white farmers, and militants began invading some of the few
remaining white-owned farms. Such land seizures started in 2000 as Mugabe's
response to his first defeat at the polls - a loss in a referendum designed
to entrench his presidential powers.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Did vote cost farmer his land?

IOL

     

    April 08 2008 at 03:40PM

Militia loyal to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe have evicted
around 60 farmers, including one black farmer, from their land, the
country's Commercial Farmers' Union said.

"We had the first commercial black farmer evicted on Tuesday," Trevor
Gifford, CFU president told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, estimating at
around 60 families the number chased off their farms since the latest wave
of farm invasions began Saturday.

"They said he (the black farmer) had voted for the opposition,"
Gifford said, adding the farmer's workers' houses had been burnt.

"By the weekend we expect hundreds will have been evicted," he added.

The provinces affected were Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland
East and Mashonaland Central. - Sapa-dpa


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

100 farms invaded in 4 days


By Tererai Karimakwenda
08 April, 2008

Illegal farm invasions have escalated dramatically in the past few days as
the government continues to delay announcing the results of the presidential
elections. The Commercial Farmers Union say there were about 500 white owned
farms left before the current campaign, but now about 100 have been taken
over in the last 4 days alone. CFU president Trevor Gifford said the
evictions are gaining momentum and black farm workers are also being
victimised. The areas most affected have been Masvingo and Mashonaland
Central, the heart of Zimbabwe’s agriculture. The invasions began Saturday
in Masvingo, where 5 farmers either fled or were trapped inside their homes
by mobs.

As for the farm workers, Gifford said they are being terrorised by being
rounded up, abused verbally and physically and forced to chant ZANU-PF
slogans. The ruling party blames the farm workers for Mugabe’s electoral
loss in the rural areas that used to be his stronghold. But Gifford says
many of them are not even allowed to vote. The government denied them
citizenship because they have at least one grandparent from either Zambia or
Malawi.

Meanwhile it has been revealed that the Masvingo farm invasion reported by
the state controlled media after the elections, was stage managed by the
government with the help of Zimbabwe Broadcasting (ZBC). Gifford said they
have information that shows that the Masvingo bureau chief at ZBC, Lilian
Muungani, paid the so-called invaders. The incident was portrayed as a
spontaneous uprising, yet the television crew just happened to be there with
cameras ready to film.

Saturday’s state newspaper The Herald also claimed that the Malilangwe
Reserve in the Gonarezhou area was harbouring foreign journalists and former
commercial white farmers in a lodge on the property. The paper suggested
that the farmers were gathering, ahead of an MDC victory, with a view to
returning to their farms. Officials from Malilangwe said this was “totally
untrue and unfounded”.

The people at the lodge were actually architects, sub-contractors and
marketing agents who were flown into Buffalo Range and Malilangwe last week.
The lodge made available to the authorities all the associated paper work to
prove this.

Gifford said the government once again is trying to create racial tension
and much of the language has to do with getting rid of all white farmers.

Justice for Agriculture which represents evicted white farmers, released a
statement which said in part: “The deadlock in the country's political
process following last week’s general election and the slow announcement of
results has left the government looking once again for scapegoats to blame
for the outcome. It is little surprise that further farm invasions have been
orchestrated in response to falsified reports that white farmers are to
blame for threatening those currently occupying land with eviction in the
event of an opposition victory.”

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Robert Mugabe steps up land grab violence

The Telegraph
 

By Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg
Last Updated: 7:37pm BST 08/04/2008

President Robert Mugabe's regime has stepped up its campaign of violence in the wake of Zimbabwe's elections, evicting more than 60 commercial farmers from their properties.

The brutal response to the polls, in which Mr Mugabe is widely held to have come second to Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the presidential race, is a direct echo of what happened last time he lost a vote.
 
A black farmerand his family in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean farmer Munyimo Munyaradzi and his family on their maize and bean farm which they have owned since independence in 1980

Two weeks after Mr Mugabe lost a referendum on constitutional reforms in 2000, the first white-owned farm was invaded, and four weeks later the first white farmer was killed.

This time - even while the presidential election result has still not been announced - the reaction has come more quickly.

"We've got over 60 farmers who have been evicted," said Trevor Gifford, president of the Commercial Farmers Union. "Every couple of minutes my phone is ringing with another case of eviction. Some are being given a couple of minutes or a day to vacate, but they have to leave what is there behind."

Two of those forced from their land were black, he added. "They are targeting anyone seen as against the ruling party, it's really sad," he said. "We should be living in harmony, we need unity. There is enough land for everyone."

At the same time several farmers are fighting court actions against eviction orders from the properties they have cultivated for years. With Mr Mugabe claiming the MDC are Western stooges bent on reversing his land reforms, the political motivation behind the invasions by so-called "war veterans" is clear.

Opposition supporters are also being beaten up, according to both the MDC and the campaign team of Simba Makoni, once a stalwart of the ruling Zanu-PF party who stood against his former mentor.

An army source said that at least two military camps, Magunje near Karoi about 125 miles north of Harare, and another in Rusape, about 120 miles south east of the capital, had begun fitness training for a new intake of Mr Mugabe's youth militia.

The violence appears to be geared towards putting Mr Mugabe in a position where he can win a second-round run-off for the presidency.

Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary-general, said the war veterans' activity was concentrated in areas that were once Mr Mugabe's strongholds, where many voters had switched allegiance to the opposition.

"There's been a complete militarisation and a complete re-arming of mobs who led the terror in 2000 and 2006," said Mr Biti. "I say to our brothers and sisters across the continent: Don't wait for dead bodies in the streets of Harare."

He said that the government was seeking to provoke protests that it could use as a pretext to declare a state of emergency, which would Mr Mugabe to delay, or possibly even annul, the polls.

He said that he feared for the safety of five Electoral Commission officials arrested on Monday after the ruling Zanu-PF party claimed that the count was fixed against it.

A court has began hearing an MDC application for an order releasing the presidential results.

David Coltart, an MDC senator, said: "There is an eerie silence reminiscent of what followed the referendum in 2000 which Mugabe lost. He used that period of seeming inactivity to lay the groundwork for the farm invasions which followed and I fear that is precisely what is going on now."

Zimbabwe's information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said the opposition claims were untrue and there was "no violence whatsoever".


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fear returns as defiant Mugabe musters forces for a run-off

Financial Times

By Alec Russell

Published: April 8 2008 18:49 | Last updated: April 8 2008 18:49

Just five days ago, the mood in Morgan Tsvangirai’s temporary headquarters
in Harare was close to euphoric. Outside the villa in the Zimbabwean capital
where the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was
telephoning regional leaders and planning the final stage in his run at the
presidency, his entourage lounged confidently in the autumnal sun, framed by
a brilliant backdrop of bougainvilleas.

“The old man [as the 84-year-old President Robert Mugabe is known] could be
gone by Sunday night,” said one aide. “The ball is rolling in only one
direction. There could be a carnival by Sunday.” The aide was not alone in
having such – as now seems clear – extravagant thoughts. Optimism was then
sweeping swaths of Zimbabwe and elsewhere that Mr Mugabe’s 28-year,
increasingly autocratic rule was near its end.

Leaks from inside his Zanu-PF party indicated that some senior figures were
urging Mr Mugabe to concede defeat to Mr Tsvangirai in last month’s
elections. In Chitungwiza, south-east of Harare, some residents cast aside a
caution born of previous failed attempts to unseat Mr Mugabe and flashed
thumbs-up signs. Many wore T-shirts bearing the image of the MDC leader.

How ephemeral that spirit now seems. The March 29 elections – which Mr
Tsvangirai won, according to independent projections and MDC figures –
brought a mini-“Prague Spring” to Harare, long an opposition stronghold. But
last Friday the jubilation came to an abrupt end. A statement from Zanu-PF’s
politburo made clear Mr Mugabe would contest a second presidential round, if
the official results showed neither man in the first round gained the clear
majority necessary to avoid a run-off. In short, he was going to fight – and
as the MDC has learnt to its cost in the nine years sinceits foundation,
that meant only one thing: violence.

Mr Mugabe has been accused of many things over the years but ambiguity is
not one of them. In recent years, as the economy imploded, he has outlined a
number of stark interventionist policies to prop up his position. Each time
many business people have said: “He will never implement this.” Yet each
time, eventually, he has. Few in Zimbabwe doubt his resolve to redress the
setback of last week, when Zanu-PF lost its majority in parliament for the
first time since independence in 1980.

“If you look at his history, if he has been humiliated or rejected or
disillusioned, his response is revenge,” says Heidi Holland, the author of
Dinner with Mugabe, a new book about the Zimbabwean leader. She had a
2˝-hour interview with him last December, his first with a western writer in
several years. “We have seen that over and over again,” she says. “I don’t
think it’s surprising at all [that he is fighting on]. He has nothing left
to lose. It’s payback time for the country.”

On Tuesday increasing evidence of that determination was coming to light, as
security forces arrested, threatened and beat MDC activists in the rural
areas where Mr Tsvangirai made inroads in the campaign. In the past, Mr
Mugabe’s voter backing in most rural areas was overwhelming. But such is the
suffering from hyperinflation – estimated by business at up to 400,000 per
cent – and the collapse of public services that Mr Tsvangirai was able to
undermine that support base.

MDC activists insist their leader will trounce Mr Mugabe in a second round.
People “just can’t make ends meet”, says Ian Makone, the party’s chief
election strategist. “Our message will be: if you want real change, Mugabe
must go.” But the MDC is all too familiar with the scenario unfolding in
Zimbabwe: privately its officials, gloomy about the escalating onslaught in
the rural areas, are floating the idea of boycotting a second round.

Ahead of elections in 2000 and 2002, government forces arrested and tortured
hundreds of activists. Scores were killed. Then, as now, gangs of so-called
“veterans of the liberation war” were unleashed on white-owned farms to whip
up anti-colonial sentiment and terrorise black farm workers into submission.
MDC officials assume the authorities have delayed releasing the election
results in order to give Zanu-PF time to soften up the electorate before a
run-off. Officially, any second round should happen 21 days after the first,
although hardliners are pushing for a delay of up to 90 days.

While the momentum is clearly again with Zanu-PF, two questions hang over
the expected second round. First, might the president have lost his magic
now it appears he failed to win a clear majority? Last night the election
commission had still not released the results, nine days after votes were
tallied. Second, given Zimbabwe’s economic deterioration, will the “system”
again rush to do his bidding? Jonathan Moyo, Mr Mugabe’s former information
minister, who is now an independent MP, reckons his old boss has a 50-50
chance of winning the second round. That is rather different from what he
was saying a week ago, when he argued that the president would lose a
run-off by a landslide.

But Mr Moyo shares the view of other former Zanu-PF stalwarts that despite
the impression of a monolith effortlessly rolling towards victory, Mr Mugabe
was badly wounded last week. His apparent defeat in the first round reminded
many in Zanu-PF why the party had been deeply split over whether to nominate
him for the presidency last year.

Major Elton Choga, 51, a veteran of the liberation war and a party member,
has turned against the president since the last parliamentary election in
2005. He says that despite intimidation at the polls it may still be hard
for Mr Mugabe to win. “The whole nation is hungry. There is no grain. The
people are suffering. And he just says it’s the fault of the British or the
Americans [the two most frequent targets of Mr Mugabe’s rhetoric]. He blames
outsiders. But only those who have benefited from his policies pay
attention.”

For Zimbabwe, a lot rides on the outcome. Mr Mugabe’s defeat would,
diplomats say, lead to the disbursement of a huge western aid package and
the offer of other interventions to rebuild the economy. Economists predict
that victory for him would only accelerate economic collapse and send fresh
waves of refugees fleeing to neighbouring South Africa.

Unfortunately for Zimbabweans, the second scenario seems more likely. If
regional leaders could jettison their traditional reluctance to criticise a
fellow head of state and push for an immediate release of the results and
tight monitoring of a second round of voting, the MDC might have a chance.
But without a unified position within the 14-country Southern African
Development Community, still less a plan of action, diplomats are not
optimistic. “The entire cupboard is bare,” says a western envoy, referring
to Zimbabwe’s economy. “We are in the death throes of this regime but it
just won’t go. There’s no one around to put the stake in its heart.”


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition slams 'deafening silence' of Africa

Yahoo News

by Susan Njanji 1 hour, 14 minutes ago

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition slammed the "deafening silence" Tuesday
of Africa in the aftermath of the country's elections, warning of blood on
the streets unless pressure is brought to bear on Robert Mugabe.

As party lawyers argued at the high court for an immediate announcement of
the result of the March 29 presidential poll, the Movement for Democratic
Change's number two said its supporters were being provoked into violence as
part of a strategy to impose a state of emergency.

In events on the ground, the country's commercial farmers' union said 60 of
the last remaining white farmers had now been forced off their land in an
echo of the unrest which followed Mugabe's last electoral reverse eight
years ago.

While there has been a flurry of behind-the-scenes diplomacy in the 10 days
since the country went to the polls, African heads of state have declined to
put their name to calls for the presidential results to be announced.

Exasperated by the lack of a diplomatic breakthrough, MDC secretary general
Tendai Biti said "the deafening silence by our brothers and sisters" in
Africa was symptomatic of the continent's failure to react to crises.

Drawing a parallel to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which some 800,000
people lost their lives, Biti urged institutions such as the African Union
and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to take a clear stand
as he reiterated party claims that pro-government militias were being armed.

"We (Africa) responded poorly in Rwanda and a million people were killed,"
Biti told a press conference.

"I say don't wait for dead bodies on the streets of Harare. Intervene now.
There's a constitutional and legal crisis in Zimbabwe."

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has already declared himself the outright
winner over his old rival Mugabe, met with senior members of South Africa's
ruling ANC party on Monday, including its president Jacob Zuma.

In an interview with South African television, Zuma criticised the delay. "I
don't think it augurs it very well," he told SABC.

However South African President Thabo Mbeki, who mediated between the MDC
and Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in
the build-up to the election, has so far only called for all sides to await
the election results and called the situation "manageable."

Observer missions from the African Union and SADC both gave the elections a
largely clean bill of health, even though the outcome is still unknown.

While there has still to be any significant outbreak of violence since
polling day, Biti accused the Zimbabwean authorities of deliberately sitting
on the results of the presidential election in order to provoke the
opposition into violence.

"Why do they want us to go in that direction? It's because they want to
declare a state of emergency."

The opposition fears that a state of emergency could allow Mugabe, who has
ruled since independence in 1980, to suppress the election results and
therefore cling to power.

ZANU-PF has already called for a complete recount of the poll even before
the release of results and authorities have arrested seven election
officials for allegedly undercounting votes cast for the president.

Simultaneous parliamentary results have been announced in which the MDC
wrested control from ZANU-PF for the first time, but Mugabe's ruling party
is contesting enough seats to reverse their victory.

In a bid to force an end to the presidential results delay, the MDC has been
trying to persuade the high court to order the electoral commission to
release them forthwith.

A high court judge agreed on Tuesday to consider the MDC's case urgently but
the hearing was held over until Wednesday.

The head of the election commission, meanwhile, said the body was continuing
to try and produce the presidential result but was hampered by financial and
personnel problems.

"We have scaled down because most of the people were support staff for the
house of assembly, senatorial and council results. We are also scaling down
because of costs," said ZEC chairman George Chiweshe.

With an unemployment rate of some 80 percent and six-digit inflation, around
three million of Zimbabwe's 13 million population have left the country,
where even basics such as bread and cooking oil are now hard to come by.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe and Zanu PF now constitute a coup

http://www.kubatana.net

Briggs Bomba
April 07, 2008

The unfortunate, yet predictable drama unfolding in the wake of Zimbabwe’s
March 29 elections resurrects Josef Stalin’s ghosts reminding us of his
uncanny words that ‘Its not who votes that counts, its who counts the votes’.
Mugabe’s crafty actions since the elections evidently show that he is
determined to win the count after losing the elections.

Seven days after peacefully casting votes in the most anticipated election
since 1980, Zimbabweans still await the official announcement of the
results. The profound sense of hope that characterized the voting day is now
turning into downright bewilderment as it becomes clear that President
Mugabe and his Zanu PF are doggedly bent on disregarding the people’s
sovereign will as expressed on March 29.

The revelation from State media that Zanu PF ordered the Zimbabwe Elections
Commission (ZEC) not to announce the presidential election results is
baffling to anyone with a sense of how the Zimbabwean elections process must
work. ZEC is a constitutionally mandated body tasked to independently
administer elections. For such a body to take orders from Zanu PF whose
legal status in this case is a mere contestant demonstrates what is wrong
not only with elections but with everything in Zimbabwe. It is this rotten
state of democratic institutions and the subordination of state bodies to
the ruling party that is at the heart of the country’s decay.

The important point that must be made now is that President Mugabe’s
continued hold on power, after an election he visibly lost, now constitutes
a coup. Zimbabweans, supported by the international community must
immediately act to thwart this violation of the people’s democratic will.
The unprecedented and unconstitutional move by Zanu PF’s to bar the ZEC from
announcing the presidential election results is clear evidence of mischief
and unwillingness by hardliners in Mugabe’s regime to respect the sovereign
will of the people of Zimbabwe. By heeding this illegal request, ZEC has
failed the crucial test of independence, thus confirming the longstanding
fears by Zimbabwe’s civic society that the elections body will sacrifice
Zimbabwe’s democracy at the alter of partisan interests.

Zanu PF’s calls for a recount and already ongoing preparations for a
presidential election rerun, before the results are known, is not only
bizarre but also evidence of utter contemptuous disrespect to not only
Zimbabweans but also the whole world. With the current machinations, the
Mugabe regime has reached the height of illegality because they have in
actual fact staged what is essentially a ‘veto coup’. By definition this is
when ‘people’s mass participation and social mobilization to govern
themselves’ is vetoed.

By refusing to bow to popular will Mugabe is daring the people of Zimbabwe
who have demonstrated legendary restrain and patience under the most
unbearable living conditions. The March 29 elections presented a singular
opportunity for many to peacefully speak out and entrust the future of the
country in a leadership of their choice. The consequences of frustrating and
thereby rendering irrelevant such a democratic arena of struggle are
dangerous not only to Zimbabwe but, potentially to the whole of Southern
Africa. Mugabe’s reckless actions risks destabilizing the whole region by
provoking people to extra democratic means in Zimbabwe with certain adverse
spill over effects in the region. As such the responsibility to defend the
March 29 vote goes beyond Zimbabweans. SADC, the AU and the United Nations,
as bodies with longstanding commitment against illegal usurpation of power
must play a key role in breaking the impasse in Zimbabwe. If these bodies
are to remain relevant it is they speak out now to pressure Mugabe to
release and accept the election results, otherwise they will be faced with a
serious crisis of legitimacy.

At this very late hour, statements by South African President Thabo Mbeki
that ‘the situation in Zimbabwe is manageable’ and that ‘it is time to wait’
are not only unhelpful but a slap in the face for long suffering
Zimbabweans, who at considerable risk and sacrifice went out to vote on
March 29. There cannot be any plausible reason why results are not known
seven days after voting! No, Mr President, this is not ‘a time to wait’;
neither is it a ‘manageable situation’. This is more like a time bomb that
can only be defused if the people’s vote is respected.

President Mbeki’s unfortunate statements and the deafening silence from
other African leaders in SADC and the AU raises serious problems of
accountability with the current crop of African leaders. Where is the moral
outrage in this clear case of daylight robbery? Diplomacy seems to have been
redefined to ‘see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil’ within the old
boys club. Africa is not helped by this blind, uncritical support amongst
its leaders.

The opposition in Zimbabwe must now show decisive leadership. While it is
commendable that we have not seen ‘Kenyan style’ violence in the post
election period, Zimbabwe’s opposition must learn from Kenyan opposition
that the business of appealing to an incumbent’s courts does not work. There
are pending cases in courts from the 2000 elections. In fact, with a
compromised judiciary, such as Zimbabwe’s, court appeals only serve the
purpose of disarming people’s vigilance by creating a distracting sideshow
and reinforcing illusions of mitigation. Already a dilly dance has started
in the courts with all sorts of delaying tactics meant to buy Mugabe time
until its too late, rendering the court challenge academic. The opposition
is best advised to resort to peaceful mass mobilization of people power to
defend the vote. The opposition must lead unions, students and the full
range of civic society in defending the people’s vote. Mugabe will only pay
attention if he is convinced that he can no longer govern in the old way,
therefore the strategy must be to paralyze the state through effective,
peacefully direct action. I personally hope that Professor Masunungure will
be proved wrong on his recent assertion that Mugabe will get away with
mischief and fraud because Zanu PF is ‘risk taking’ whereas the opposition
is ‘risk averse’.

The despicable levels of suffering by many Zimbabwean make resolving the
current impasse in Zimbabwe an urgent matter. Having been on the ground
myself for two weeks around election time, I can attest that the
humanitarian disaster I witnessed is heartbreaking. An old man I talked to
in one of the rural areas told me that “now we wait to see which bush the
goats are feeding on, and we eat that because we know it will not be
poisonous”. Their village had always voted Zanu PF, this time they voted out
one of Mugabe’s ministers despite all their fears of what could happen. They
voted to restore their dignity.

It is time to defend the vote.

* Briggs Bomba is a Zimbabwean born Economist working for Africa Action in
Washington DC, and writes here in his personal capacity. He can be contacted
at briggsbomba@yahoo.com

Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this
website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless
stated otherwise.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

How should the international community handle Robert Mugabe?

The Telegraph

Posted at: 16:01
Zimbabwe's white farmers are "preparing for the worst" and many fear that
the country will descend into violence before the presidential run-off that
must take place by April 19.

In a sign that the regime was trying to further undermine the validity of
the election results, police charged election officials with under-counting
votes cast for president Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. The results of an
election held on March 29 are yet to be officially announced but the
president's Zanu-PF party has denounced the electoral commission and
threatened to purge its leading members.

How should the international community handle Robert Mugabe?

Is it time for the rest of the world to step in and ensure that the
presidential run-off is free and fair? Is William Hague right to argue that
the West must help rebuild Zimbabwe? Are you worried that the country will
be marred by violence similar to that in seen after recent elections in
Kenya?

Do you think African leaders should take the lead? Or is it up to the
Zimbabwean people themselves to find a solution?

Comments (22)
As a Zimbabwean ex-pat I yearn for this man's downfall... Born 3 years after
independence, I saw the country in it's time at the top... So much potential
slowly sucked out of the land and its people by one man and his fellow
leeches... Can you honestly tell us that the only effective option at this
point is a bullet in his head...?
Posted by Phil on April 8, 2008 6:53 PM
Report this comment

Its simple, the "west" tells Mbeki, no World cup soccer for you in 2010
unless you withdraw all support for Mugabe AND ZANU-PF, oh and by the way
just for good measure, that will include no more electricity and closure of
the beitbridge border post. At the same time, whoever handles the donors
pouring aid and funds into Mocambique and Zambia can give them the same
message. How do you think all the parties were forced to the Lancaster House
talks in the 70's? Nobody from here even has to speak directly to Robert
Mugabe, so the brave people who have to make the decision can deny it later
if needs be. If this happens then I will tell you what to do next.

Posted by Quentin Kelly-Edwards on April 8, 2008 6:48 PM
Report this comment

britain gave that country to the majority via lord carrington.
maybe its not britain's total responsibility to rebuild but its certainly
its responsibility to rid them of mugabe.
with just a little help from someone
that cares,zimbabwe could become a beautiful country once again.
such a pity the U.N. doesn't function.
Posted by j.atkinson on April 8, 2008 6:40 PM
Report this comment

I think Willie Hague and his wife, sons and daughters and the rest of the
trashy band should go over to Rhodesia (the once bread basket of Africa) and
lay down their lives for their beliefs - like the trashy lot in Parliament
are doing now for Iraq and Afghanistan. It's easy to go to war when you and
yours aren't the ones doing the fighting and dying - a bit like UK 2008. The
trouble with Zimbabwe? No OIL!
Posted by Bob Kincaid on April 8, 2008 6:39 PM
Report this comment

The people of Zimbabwe have got to get themselves out of this mess if their
future is to be a better one.
Britain has no moral grounds to intervene however much we feel the
injustices done to the remaining white population. The surrounding African
nations just seem mesmerised by Mugabe who they see as the saviour of
Zimbabwe not its destroyer.

Posted by Caroline Collett on April 8, 2008 6:36 PM
Report this comment

William Hague is right, but the conditions we should make in rebuilding
Zimbabwe to be a flagship for growth and prosperity in the whole of Africa
for the future would never get the support because it would be mistaken for
colonisation, and the rebirth of Cecil Rhodes.
if we do not find a way then China surely will.
Posted by jack randall on April 8, 2008 6:33 PM
Report this comment

The question should be "how does Africa deal with Robert Mugabe".
a)They have given him standing ovations when in their countries.
b)South African government has not issued a single criticism over human
rights abuses in nine years.
African leaders have let their racist hatred of white
people cloud their judgement on selected humanrights.

Yes Europe should contribute to the African fiscus, while African leaders
see this source of income as their personal bank accounts.

God Bless Europe

Posted by Malcolm Fletcher on April 8, 2008 6:33 PM
Report this comment

We have to let this run on to the bitter end. Whatever we do will be wrong,
so lets stay out.

Posted by mike mines on April 8, 2008 6:31 PM
Report this comment

Come on let's be honest. Hardly any white people have died during Mugabe's
regime whereash hundreds if not thousands of black people had their land and
property taken away. It will never be as bad for Zimbabweans under Mugabe as
it was under Smith.
Posted by Bee on April 8, 2008 6:28 PM
Report this comment

Follow the example set at the end of WWII - put him on trial for crimes
against humanity!
Posted by A D Pink on April 8, 2008 5:58 PM
Report this comment

Air lift the white farmers out of the country, give them asylum status in
the UK and leave Zimbabwe to it.
Posted by Little Miss Rage on April 8, 2008 5:55 PM
Report this comment

Tell him if his thugs (sorry "war veterans") attack one more white farmer..
we'll be sending the British Paras over to kick their arse big time.

Posted by Bob on April 8, 2008 5:52 PM
Report this comment

If there was oil in Zimbabwe he would have been out long ago and America
would have have disposed of him by now.
Posted by bob on April 8, 2008 5:50 PM
Report this comment

It is only up to UN or African leaders to help if someone invites them. Any
involvement of EU, NATO or individual countries without invitation is
meddling in Zimbabwe's affairs - most likely because of their own economic
interests, like copper, oil, etc.
Nobody meddling in Yemeni human rights - because they have nothing of
interest.
Posted by savo on April 8, 2008 5:47 PM
Report this comment

As long as other African leaders refrain from challenging Mr Mugabwe, they
prop up his henchmen and supporters, who use this manipulative unfeeling man
living in the past, fighting battles that were won when he first came to
power, in their brutal, self-serving ambitions and who care nothing for the
Zimbabwean people they are supposed to represent. I speak as one who
applauded Mr Mugabwe when he first came to power and am now bitterly
disappointed that he has led his nation to become a shadow of its once
thriving, successful recent past. What must the Zimbabwean nation endure
before their neighbours are moved to intervene?
Posted by Sandra Manning on April 8, 2008 5:46 PM
Report this comment

Of course extrnals must help Zim BUT ONLY when big bad bob has gone.

Bob won't let go though and that is what the press fails to realise. They
put normal, sane, processes on the decision making process of a "rock and a
hard place" leader.

He will hang on to the bitter end and, knowing the paltry efforts his
neighbours have taken to stop this flagrant abuse of logic and facts, he
will carry on until his death.

Where is the STRENGTH and moral fortitude of current politics?
Posted by Michael O'Brien on April 8, 2008 5:43 PM
Report this comment

Like the international community ie the U.N. its inability to do anything in
dafur sudan,and previous areas congo the genocide which continues
today.never mind the morons and establishment lackies in the media and
broadcasting will pander to the uneducated masses.keep up the good work
,your masters are well pleased with its servents devoution in the media.how
is british airways these days .showing off our great airport to its
visitors.british airways is the sum total of this country ,incompetant and
totally useless.first get your house in order before you engage in trying to
get involved in anything outside your territorial limits.
Posted by joseph walker on April 8, 2008 5:37 PM
Report this comment

Shoot him. I'll do it.
Posted by Bernard Lawson on April 8, 2008 5:35 PM
Report this comment

No William Hague is not right to say that the west should help to build
Zimbabwe.

The african countries that have tacitly supported Mugabe despite any normal
moral scruples should now fund the rebuilding of this broken nation.

Incidently, if it wasn't for the duplicity of Harold Wilson on the HMS Tiger
talks, none of this would have happened.
Posted by John Lee on April 8, 2008 5:27 PM
Report this comment

There's one thing the UK could do, and that is to revoke the immunity given
to Mugabe and the ZANU-PF leaders in respect of war crimes they committed
during the war of independence.
Posted by Michael Petek on April 8, 2008 5:24 PM
Report this comment

It is now or never for Zimbabwe. With an economy worse than Darfur and a
population dying of treatable diseases such as diabetes it is time for the
international community to stop being spectators to this crisis. Its almost
as if everyone in the international community is afraid of Mugabe. It may be
worthwhile to mention that he has more to lose than anyone else so stop
being afriad and get tough with this despot who is killing his people. It's
not about colonialism, land etc it's about a corrupt regime which fears that
losing this election means losing the land and lifestyle which they have
grown used to such as palaces, cars and huge amounts of land!
Posted by Simon on April 8, 2008 5:24 PM
Report this comment

This is yet another perfect example of a situation where the international
community should mind its own jolly business!

As Iraq taught us, internation concern is the tip of the iceberg!
Posted by Bree Harding on April 8, 2008 5:17 PM
Report this comment


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Opposition Accuses Mugabe Supporters of Sabotage

VOA

By Scott Bobb
Johannesburg
08 April 2008

Opposition leaders in Zimbabwe say supporters of President Robert Mugabe
have launched a campaign of violence in order to derail elections 10 days
ago, which they say they won.  The accusation comes as a court in Harare
began hearings on the delayed results of the presidential vote.  VOA's Scott
Bobb reports from our Southern Africa Bureau in Johannesburg.

The secretary-general of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), Tendai Biti, says militias of the ruling ZANU-PF party are being
armed and are attacking MDC supporters in what he called massive
post-election violence.

Biti appealed to African governments to intervene in what he called the
constitutional and legal crisis in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Commercial Farmers Union leader Trevor Gifford said supporters of
Mr. Mugabe have evicted farmers who were thought to have supported the
opposition.

"Sixty farmers have been removed from their farms since Saturday evening and
of those 60, two are black commercial farmers and the remainder are white
commercial farmers," he said.

He said it reminded some of the period following the elections of 2000 and
2002 in which all, but a few hundred of Zimbabwe's 4,000 white farmers were
evicted and their farms given to liberation-war veterans and government
officials.

"We have information at hand, which shows to us that this is state
sponsored," he added.  "It is directed by parts of the military, the
[ruling] party and the war veterans.  And basically, we are getting very
little support in trying to sort out this problem."

The high court in Harare began an urgent hearing at the request of the
opposition on whether to oblige the Zimbabwe Election Commission to release
results of the presidential election 10 days ago.

The Commission has released results from the parliamentary election showing
the opposition won a majority of the seats.  And it has released results
from Senate elections showing the two sides won an equal number of seats.

But results for the presidential vote have not been released.  The
opposition and pro-democracy civic groups say their tallies of official
results posted outside polling centers show MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
defeated Mr. Mugabe and may have won the 50 percent majority needed be
declared the winner outright.

The government has asked for a recount of many of the results and has
arrested five electoral officials, accusing them of undercounting votes for
Mr. Mugabe.  ZANU-PF leaders have indicated they are preparing for a runoff
election, which is required if no presidential candidate wins 50 percent of
the vote.  By law a runoff must be held within 21 days of the announcement
of the results.

The opposition says these moves are part of an orchestrated attempt by the
ruling party to overturn its first defeat since independence 28 years ago.
Western governments have expressed concern over the delay, but South African
President Thabo Mbeki urged patience Monday, saying the process should be
allowed to take its course.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe trade union stunned by election impasse

SABC

April 08, 2008, 19:15

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says it is stuck between a rock
and a hard place when it comes to reacting to the political situation in
that country.

The union federation says its members want to protest against the resolve of
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to withhold election results, but
this could give President Robert Mugabe a reason to declare a state of
emergency and continue to rule by decree.

The ZCTU today met two of South Africa's labour federations – the Congress
of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa).

The ZCTU says it is known throughout Zimbabwe who has won the presidential
election. ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe says: "According to the
statistics coming through from the ZEC, Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party has
won the election, but not all the results are known."

Cosatu says President Thabo Mbeki's recent utterances on the current
situation are unfortunate.

Meanwhile, in a separate meeting, Fedusa urged the ZCTU to calm its members
to minimise the threat of a violent uprising like the one that took place in
the aftermath of Kenya's elections.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's opposition warns of bloodshed, farmers evicted

Reuters

Tue 8 Apr 2008, 13:54 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - African states must intervene in Zimbabwe to prevent
widespread bloodshed, the opposition said on Tuesday, accusing President
Robert Mugabe of trying to provoke violence as a pretext for a state of
emergency.

"I say to my brothers and sisters across the continent -- don't wait for
dead bodies in the streets of Harare. There is a constitutional and legal
crisis in Zimbabwe," Movement for Democratic Change Secretary-General Tendai
Biti told a news conference.

He said the ruling ZANU-PF had launched a violent campaign against
opposition supporters following a stalemate over March 29 elections.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he won the presidential vote and should be
declared president immediately, ending the 28-year rule of Robert Mugabe,
whose critics accuse him of reducing a once prosperous nation to misery.

Zimbabwe has inflation of more than 100,000 percent -- the highest in the
world -- an unemployment rate above 80 percent and chronic shortages of food
and fuel. Millions have fled abroad, most of them to South Africa.

ZANU-PF is pressing for a delay in issuing the presidential results pending
a recount and is also alleging abuses by electoral officials in an attempt
to overturn its first defeat in a parliamentary poll.

"There's been massive violence inside our country since the 29th of March
2008 ... MDC people are being beaten up ... farms with remaining pockets of
white people are being invaded. Farms with known MDC supporters are being
invaded," Biti said.

"Militias are being rearmed, ZANU-PF supporters are being rearmed ... The
long and short of it is that there has been a complete militarization of
Zimbabwean society since the 29th of March 2008," he added.

Earlier, a farmers' union said independence war veterans,

used as political shock troops by Mugabe, had evicted more than 60 mostly
white farmers from their land since the weekend.

"The situation is very severe. The evictions are continuing right round the
country. We have over 60 farmers evicted as of this morning. Every couple of
minutes my phone is ringing with another case of eviction," said Commercial
Farmers' Union President Trevor Gifford.

FARM EVICTIONS

The veterans had forced them to leave their homes with only the clothes they
were wearing. Those evicted included at least one black farmer, Gifford told
Reuters.

Police said they were not aware of the farm invasions.

The veterans have already spearheaded the eviction of most white farmers
under Mugabe's land reforms.

The MDC says Mugabe is delaying the presidential election result to give him
more time to prepare for a runoff against Tsvangirai, and has asked the High
Court to force release of the outcome.

The court ruled on Tuesday it would treat the opposition's application as
urgent and began hearing arguments in the case.

Legal proceedings are already in their fourth day and could drag further,
delaying the end of a 10-day stalemate that has dashed hopes of a quick
answer to the crisis.

Biti told reporters: "We are saying to our fellow Africans, in the African
Union and in SADC (Southern African Development Community) ... don't wait
for dead bodies ... intervene now."

Traders in neighbouring South Africa said the impasse was likely to weigh on
the rand currency, briefly boosted last week when there was speculation
Mugabe would stand down after his ruling ZANU-PF party lost the
parliamentary poll.

"Counting against the rand is the way in which the Zimbabwe elections are
rapidly deteriorating into a farce," said market analysts ETM in a trading
note.

Tsvangirai met South African ruling party leader Jacob Zuma on Monday after
appealing for help from outside powers to end Mugabe's uninterrupted rule
since independence.

Tsvangirai wrote in a newspaper article that Zimbabwe was on a "razor's
edge" because of the 84-year-old Mugabe's efforts to cling to power.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SAfrica's Zuma criticises Zimbabwe poll delay

africasia

JOHANNESBURG, April 8 (AFP)

South Africa's ruling party leader Jacob Zuma on Tuesday criticised the
delay in declaring the results of Zimbabwe's presidential election.

Zuma, elected head of the African National Congress in December and the
frontrunner to become next president of South Africa, indicated that
"keeping the nation in suspense... keeping the international community in
suspense" was wrong.

"I don't think it augurs very well," he said in an interview with South
Africa's SABC news.

Zuma was speaking the day after he met Morgan Tsvangirai during the Zimbabwe
opposition leader's first foreign trip since the election.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won control of the
Zimbabwean parliament for the first time in the March 29 polls but the
outcome of the simultaneous presidential election is still to be declared.

Tsvangirai has claimed outright victory but the ruling ZANU-PF says there is
no clear winner and has endorsed Mugabe to run in a possible second-round
run-off vote as well as demanding a complete recount.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

State broadcaster's poll goes against Mugabe

zimbabwejournalists.com

8th Apr 2008 10:58 GMT

By Ian Nhuka

BULAWAYO - An overwhelming 65 percent of visitors to Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC)’s website reckon that the ongoing verification of election
results requested by Zanu PF is improper.

The online opinion poll and its resounding result as at 10am Tuesday comes
four days after Zanu PF, which exercises a tight grip on the broadcasting
monopoly, requested the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to verify
results and recount ballots of the presidential election after it emerged
that the party’s candidate, President Robert Mugabe, had lost the poll to
long-time rival and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai.

Long accused of favouring Zanu PF and the government, this is probably the
first time in its history that the public broadcaster has, literally
provided a platform for its readers to openly go against the embattled party
and its government. It is for that reason that the results of the poll are
surprising.

Newsnet, ZBC’s news unit, is running the online poll which asks, “Is
verification of election results proper?”

According to the results 65,18 percent of the unspecified number of visitors
to the website said it is improper, or “not at all.”
About 18,87 percent agreed with the verification process while 15,95 percent
said that the process was “partly” proper.

A ZBC producer yesterday said his bosses would most likely be alarmed by the
result of the poll. He said the bosses may not have visited the website or
read the results, noting if they did, the poll would immediately be removed.

“It is surprising because the poll and its results definitely do not reflect
the opinion of those in authority,” he said.

“You cannot say a few days after the party (Zanu PF) asked for a
verification and recounting of presidential ballot papers, we carry a poll
whose results say doing so is improper. I tell you once our bosses see the
results, they will order the poll to be discontinued.”

On Friday last week, the Zanu PF politburo met in Harare and claimed there
were irregularities in the conduct of the March 29 elections.
The party’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa emerged from the
meeting, to make the astounding claims that the opposition bribed ZEC
officials to induce them to falsify election results to ensure that Zanu PF
loses.

He said the party, which lost its traditional dominance of parliament to the
MDC, would contest results in at least 16 constituencies across the country.

In addition to the recount, Zanu PF has requested an audit of all electoral
material relating to last week’s presidential election.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction won 99 seats in the House of Assembly
while Zanu PF got 97 seats. The other MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara
took 10 seats, with an independent winning another in the 210-seat house.
There would be three by-elections soon.

“This is the worst election I have ever seen and we are going to raise all
the dirty stuff they did (ZEC),” Mutasa was quoted as saying.
“We cannot sell our birthright for 30 pieces of silver.”

Mugabe also alleged irregularities.  “We don’t believe in any cheating, but
the other side, oh, lots of the irregularities you know, people who do
forgeries… but they also must also be straightforward,” he said while
meeting African Union observers to the poll last Friday.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Barack Obama Statement on Zimbabwe's Election

All American Patriots

Posted on April 8th, 2008

April 4, 2008 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barack Obama today released
the following statement on Zimbabwe's presidential and parliamentary
elections:

"On March 29th, millions of Zimbabweans went to the polls to choose their
president and parliament. The resulting defeat of the ruling ZANU-PF party
in parliamentary elections underscores the Zimbabwean people's rejection of
the failed policies and the widespread suffering caused by Robert Mugabe's
repressive rule.

"The long delayed release of the results of the senate and presidential
ballots by the Zimbabwean Election Commission has exacerbated suspicions
that Mugabe will again manipulate the outcome. The election results should
be announced without further delay. Yesterday's detentions, including of two
foreign journalists, among them a reporter for the New York Times, and of an
American staffer of the National Democratic Institute, further fuel tension.
The government's raid on the offices of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change as well as today's staged march through Harare of
so-called "war veterans" are provocative tactics designed to intimidate the
opposition and Zimbabwean people.

"Zimbabwe now appears poised to hold a run-off election for the presidency,
which Mugabe has vowed to contest. This election must be conducted in a
fully transparent manner, free from intimidation and consistent with the
rule of law. These elections have the potential to be truly historic, if
indeed they are fully free and fair. Their conduct and outcome will
determine if Zimbabwe's economic and humanitarian crisis is deepened, or if
the door is finally opened to a new and more hopeful chapter in Zimbabwe's
history."

Source: Senator Barack Obama


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe's recipe for power: rob whites, bash blacks, rig rules

Sydney Morning Herald

David Blair in Johannesburg
April 9, 2008

ROBERT MUGABE'S response to his apparent defeat in the first round of
Zimbabwe's presidential poll springs directly from the unofficial manual of
electioneering pioneered by ZANU-PF.
To guarantee his survival, Mugabe will now rob the whites, beat the blacks
and rig the rules in his favour. These methods saved him from oblivion after
he lost a referendum in 2000. Everything indicates that Mugabe is now
resorting to them once again.

Robbing the whites is well under way. The white farmers have been reduced to
a rump of about 200, almost all of whom own only portions of their previous
land.

This last handful has now been singled out, with organised invasions
overwhelming at least 27 farms. The aim is to offer white-owned land as a
reward for supporting Mugabe.

But all Zimbabweans know that the land grab was largely completed five years
ago. In 2000 Zimbabwe had about 4000 white farmers. By 2003 that total had
fallen to its present level.

So Mugabe is now trying a new propaganda line. He says that unless he stays
in power, white farmers will return and reclaim their property, evicting any
blacks who were settled on their land. "There have been widespread reports
of white former farmers flocking back into the country," said The Herald, a
state newspaper, on Monday.

Mr Mugabe has urged Zimbabweans to "safeguard their land" and said: "The
land is ours, it must not be allowed to slip back into the hands of whites."

Reinforcing this battle cry are the veterans of the war against white rule,
who led the first farm invasions in 2000. They will assault, torture, rape
or murder blacks who oppose Mugabe, in accordance with the second chapter of
ZANU-PF's manual.

As for rigging the vote, the law requires that Mugabe must face the
election's second round by April 19. He may decide that he needs more time.

Fortunately, under the Presidential Powers Act, passed as a "temporary
measure" in 1986, he can amend any law at will. He may employ this to delay
a second round for weeks or months.

Latest developments

* Zimbabweans were expecting a High Court ruling last night that may end
their long wait for presidential election results - 10 days after the polls.
On Monday Justice Tendai Uchena promised to rule on an opposition bid to
force the electoral commission - whose leaders are appointed by Robert
Mugabe - to immediately release the results

* Police have arrested seven election officials, accusing them of
undercounting votes cast for President Mugabe in the March 29 presidential
poll. The officials, who were working for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
in four provinces, are to be charged with fraud

* A reporter for The New York Times who was jailed for covering the
elections without government permission has been released on bail. The
reporter, Barry Bearak, was swept up during a raid on a small hotel
frequented by foreign journalists in the suburbs of Harare, the capital, on
Thursday.

Telegraph, London


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Lots of talk but little pressure to sway Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe leader of 28 years

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 8, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Zimbabwe's impeccably dressed Robert Mugabe
can't shop at Savile Row and Harrods any more. Feared security minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa's sons were thrown out of university in Australia. The
foreign bank accounts of scores of top officials have been frozen. What else
can be done to pressure Zimbabwe's autocratic ruler to reform?

Not much, diplomats and analysts say.

"We have worked closely with many in the international community to try to
bring pressure on the government in Zimbabwe to change its ways. That has
not had much effect," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack
admitted.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai made an impassioned plea for the
international community to persuade Mugabe to step down, even as electoral
officials continued to delay releasing the results of the March 29
elections.

Independent tallies indicate Tsvangirai won the most votes, but not enough
to avoid a runoff. The opposition fears Mugabe will use ruling party
militants and the security forces to intimidate voters and rig the runoff
results as he has in previous elections.

Violence will be used as "a weapon to reverse the people's victory,"
Tsvangirai said.
The United States, Britain, the European Union and the United Nations are
putting out daily statements urging the publication of the results — but
none have gone further.

World leaders appear to be leaving it up to South African President Thabo
Mbeki, whose "quiet diplomacy" approach some see as an appeasement that has
allowed Mugabe to dig in his heels as he presided over rigged elections and
the destruction of his nation's economy over the years.

Mbeki called for patience. "I think there is time to wait. Let's see the
outcome of the election results," he said Sunday. He has made no public call
for the release of the results, which independent monitors say were
available the day after the vote.

South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance urged Mbeki to consider asking
the African Union to send monitors or peacekeepers to Zimbabwe. Former
President Nelson Mandela, an outspoken critic of Mugabe and of Mbeki's
handling of the crisis, set a precedent for such a move when he sent troops
into neighboring Lesotho in 1998 to end weeks of protests over rigged
elections and to prevent a coup.

But African leaders — who applaud Mugabe at summits as one of the few
remaining liberation icons — have been silent and are unlikely to agree to
send troops into the country.

"We are concerned by the deafening silence in the region in the AU" and in
the Southern African Development Community. "I say to our brothers and
sisters across the continent: Don't wait for dead bodies in the streets of
Harare," said Tendai Biti, secretary general of Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change.

John Makumbe, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, said
opposition officials told him Tsvangirai had sent delegations to meet with
Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete, President Levi Mwanawasa of Zambia and
Mbeki in South Africa last week.

"The same message has come through: that there is little, if anything, they
can do apart from urging Mugabe to allow (the electoral commission) to
release results and take proper steps thereafter in relation to the law,"
Makumbe said.

But African leaders may not even be able to get in touch with the Zimbabwean
leader.

"For the moment, the leaders of the AU have not been able to be in contact
with Mugabe," said Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief.

A U.N. Security Council diplomat said it would be difficult for the world
body to do anything given Mbeki's opposition, especially since South Africa
holds the council's rotating presidency this month. In addition, China,
which became a strong Mugabe ally after the West abandoned him, would likely
veto any action against him.

The only major African to speak out over the past week has been Kofi Annan,
the former U.N. secretary general from Ghana. Annan mediated this year's
Kenyan election crisis, interceding after more than 1,000 were killed in
ethnic confrontations that began as protests over a rigged presidential vote
count.

"The eyes of the world are on Zimbabwe, on its electoral commission, on its
president," Annan said last week. "I urge them to do the right thing ... The
election results should be released now."

Annan and other eminent Africans should go to Zimbabwe to mediate a
resolution before the situation gets out of control, Makumbe said.

But Makumbe also suggested Tsvangirai marshal his supporters to "agitate in
a peaceful but robust manner" for the release of the election results.

The opposition fears protests are just what the government is looking for —
an excuse to mobilize security forces to terrorize opponents.

Tsvangirai took another approach, flying to South Africa to meet Monday with
Jacob Zuma, the political leader who humiliated Mbeki by defeating him in
elections to lead the governing African National Congress.

Zuma never was sympathetic to Mugabe and, until he became ANC president,
openly criticized Mbeki's stance on Zimbabwe. Neither party would discuss
their talks, but Zuma and the ANC are close to the Congress of South African
Trade Unions, which is supportive of Tsvangirai, a former labor leader.

Currently, Mugabe and about 130 of his allies suffer travel bans and have
had their overseas bank accounts frozen under smart sanctions aimed at not
hurting the people of Zimbabwe. Humanitarian aid, with the Europeans the
biggest donor, continues to flow, but channeled only through aid groups
instead of the government.

Tsvangirai has called for the West to expand the sanctions to include more
people in Zimbabwe's leadership.

Last year, Australia refused to allow children of those targeted to be
educated in the country. A couple dozen Zimbabwean students were forced to
leave. The expelled students found places in European schools, not the
University of Zimbabwe, where academic standards have collapsed under a
shortage of books and lecturers, and water outages have forced authorities
to install portable toilets, now filthy.

Known for his sartorial elegance, Mugabe used to love shopping on London's
Savile Row and in swank Harrods department store. Today, his suits are made
locally at a shop called Liberty Tailors.

---

Associated Press writers Paul Ames and Jan Sliva in Brussels, Belgium;
Foster Klug in Washington and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations in New
York contributed to this report.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Refugees fear Mugabe's wrath

IOL

    April 08 2008 at 02:49PM

Zimbabwean refugees in Cape Town have appealed to the international
community and President Thabo Mbeki to immediately deploy peacekeeping
forces to their country amid fears that Robert Mugabe is set to unleash a
reign of terror on civilians who voted against him.

Some of the refugees who spoke to the Cape Argus said Mugabe's
orchestrated mass killing of the 1980s, farm invasions of 2000 and the urban
purges of 2005 were stark examples what "the dictator" could do.

The refugees, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal, said
Mugabe was ready to shed the blood of their loved ones back home.

 "The last kick of a dying horse is very dangerous. He (Mugabe) will
bring the house down with him before throwing in the towel. The Titanic is
sinking, he will go down with innocent lives.

"I phoned home for the latest news and my family told me the situation
is tense as people feared that their new-found freedom would be stolen
through violence, unless the world intervenes during this hour of need,"
said a former salesman whose family lives in Harare.

He added that the world should not wait "in corridors of hesitation
until blood flows or Mugabe steals the elections in the next 21 dark days".

A refugee who fled Zimbabwe four days ago with his family said his
fellow countrymen had finally spoken, but warned that dark days lay ahead.

"If Tsvangirai becomes president Mugabe will mobilise war vets, the
army, police, secret service and the militia to take revenge on the people
who just want bread and freedom.

"On the other hand, if Mugabe rigs the elections in the next 21 days
and imposes himself as president, people will fight back and lives will be
lost," he said.

The man urged the UN, African Union and Southern African Development
Community members to ensure that Kenyan-style violence be prevented and "the
people's victory be retained".

The refugees said they were worried and angered after the black-out on
announcing the winner in the presidential race, which many believe
Tsvangirai has won.

"We are being taken for fools, Zanu-PF is keeping a lid on the results
the world knows.

"And now the new language of run-off is tantamount to stealing the
elections," said another refugee, who added that life in South Africa as a
refugee was tough and that he longed to go home.

The octogenarian Mugabe tasted a historic defeat last week when his
party lost the lower house of parliament to Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

The results of the presidential and senate elections, which took place
simultaneously with the parliamentary elections, have not been announced
even though more than a week has passed since the voting was completed.

A run-off of the presidential election has been ordered by Mugabe.

This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Argus on April
08, 2008


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police assault Zim activists


afrol News, 8 April - Zimbabwean police have been accused of assaulting more
than 80 opposition activists in the western provinces of Manicaland and
Matabeleland.

Opposition figures said the attack was among the ruling Zanu-PF government's
calculated tactics to intimidate voters ahead of the planned presidential
second round poll.

Informed sources said at least 200 senior officers of the armed forces have
been deployed to lead the war veterans and Zanu-PF thugs in a military
operation aimed at cowering Zimbabweans into voting for President Robert
Mugabe in the poll run-off.

Zimbabweans voted in the combined polls nine days ago, but the national
electoral commission has failed to declare the presidential results public.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change was impatient with the trend
and filed a petition at the High Court. The party had earlier declared its
leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the presidential polls.

Justice Tendai Uchena has agreed to preside over an opposition request
seeking the urgent release of the results.

"The case should proceed," Justice Tendai Uchena ruled.

But Zanu-PF officials demanded a recount of the vote, accusing some
electoral officers of conniving with the MDC to falsify their leader's
votes. Scores of electoral officers have been arrested and charged with
fraud and criminal abuse of duty. They are currently being held at Harare
Central police station.

The ruling party wondered why the results posted outside polling stations
portrayed more votes for Mr Mugabe than those sent for counting in Harare.

Officials of the MDC called on the international community, especially
African leaders to pressure President Mugabe to concede defeat and avoid a
bloodshed in the country.

By staff writer


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Election Violence Predicted for Second Round

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

It is all or nothing for the ZANU-PF regime, whose past record shows it is
grimly determined to hold onto power.

By Meshack Ndodana in Harare (AR No. 165, 08-Apr-08)

With a run-off between Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
looking increasingly likely, there are signs that the Zimbabwean regime will
launch a crackdown to ensure victory for the incumbent at all costs.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, ZEC, is dragging its feet on announcing
the official result of the presidential ballot, although it has said that
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, won the parliamentary
election also held on March 29.

Although the MDC has claimed outright victory, most observers think that
when the ZEC announces the final figures, neither of the top two candidates
will be awarded over 50 per cent of the vote, requiring them to contest a
second round.

Tsvangirai’s MDC faction – the bigger of two that contested the elections –
initially said that it would take part in a second round, but changed its
mind after reports emerged that pro-Mugabe war veterans, youth militia and
armed forces had been deployed in rural areas.

Now it says that in order to protect Zimbabweans from a wave of political
violence, it will boycott a run-off vote unless the United Nations is
invited in to observe the elections.

Tsvangirai warned journalists that ZANU-PF would use violence to ensure
victory for Mugabe.

“ZANU-PF is preparing a war on the people such as we saw in 2000 and 2002
[elections]. The run-off is thus a ‘run-over’ of the people,” he said. “I,
Morgan Tsvangirai, the legitimate winner of this election will not
participate in the run-off. If President Mugabe thinks he can bulldoze his
way into a further era of illegitimacy, then history will judge.”

The consequences of a second election surrounded by violence would be dire,
said the opposition leader, who predicted, “A run-off will polarise and
traumatise this country. The country does not need another war.”

Tapiwa Mashakada, a senior MDC official, told IWPR that his party would not
help legitimise Mugabe by taking part in a second round.

“We are not going to expose our people to violence. A run-off is going to be
bloody, and we are going to see some of the worst violence ever. We will
only participate if a United Nations observer mission is invited to monitor
the elections,” said Mashakada.

With the parliamentary election handed to their opponents, ZANU-PF officials
have everything to lose if Mugabe fails to win a new term.

A member of the party’s governing body or politburo told IWPR that ZANU-PF
did not trust Tsvangirai, not least because they feared he would take away
the farms awarded to many regime insiders by Mugabe’s 2000 land reform, in
which white farmers were forcibly dispossessed.

The politburo member said Tsvangirai might also sanction the prosecution of
Mugabe and others named as culpable in the “Gukurahundi” killings of the
Eighties, in which Mugabe’s military stand accused of murdering large
numbers of civilians in a bid to eliminate political opposition in the
Matabeleland and Midland regions.

“Unfortunately, no matter what Tsvangirai says about guaranteeing President
Mugabe’s safety, we just cannot trust the man,” said the ZANU-PF insider.
“So if one day he gets a call from [British prime minister] Gordon Brown or
[United States president] George Bush and is told to arrest Mugabe, do you
think he won’t do that and will say, ‘I gave him my word’? Obviously not.”

The politburo member was referring to Mugabe’s oft-stated view that Britain
and the US are to blame for Zimbabwe’s problems. Statements by Bush and
Brown that Mugabe must step down have merely made him more determined to win
the run-off.

“If he loses, then Mugabe would have lost to the British and the Americans
and to quote him, ‘never, never, ever, ever’ will we let that happen,” said
the politburo member.

He concluded by warning, “We will protect our president and ensure that
Tsvangirai does not go anywhere near State House.”

A former guerrilla from the 1970s war of liberation admitted to IWPR that he
had committed murder during an earlier election campaign, and insisted that
war veterans would never let Tsvangirai take over.

This man feared a Tsvangirai victory might lead to retribution against
people like him. “I have killed, and I am not the only one who has killed.
Who will protect us if Tsvangirai comes into power? We are not going to let
him win. Mugabe is going to continue ruling this country,” he said.

The performance of both Mugabe and ZANU-PF, scoring more than 40 per cent of
the 2.4 million votes cast on March 29, belies the expectations of some who
expected voter support for the regime to collapse because of the
unprecedented economic decline that has left the country with the world’s
highest inflation rate.

Since life is close to unbearable for many Zimbabweans, it might seem
strange that Mugabe should still get so many votes.

However, Zimbabwean politics run deep, and calls for a fresh start are only
part of the picture. The present political environment cannot be divorced
from the role of ZANU-PF, and Mugabe personally, in the 1970s war of
liberation and in the violence of the post-independence years. Many people,
particularly the younger generation, underestimate the effect of Mugabe’s
credentials on rural voters.

In the Seventies, ZANU’s armed wing, the Zimbabwe African National
Liberation Army, ZANLA, left a deep imprint on the ethnic Shona provinces
from which it operated, and still affects voting patterns there.

“The legacy of the liberation struggle has left a deeper memory in rural
areas than in urban areas,” said Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni of the Ferguson
Centre for African and Asian Studies at the Open University in Britain.
“Memory of a rural guerrilla is in fact a memory of ZANU as an emancipatory
force. This memory will take time to pass from peasant consciousness. ZANU
is reaping dividends from this consciousness.”

Ndlovu-Gatsheni explained how during the insurgency, “ZANU imbibed Maoist
mobilisation strategies of the 'fish and water' type – the rural peasants
became the sea within which ZANLA forces played their politics”.

The post-independence period saw the mass killings of the Gukurahundi
campaign, conducted in ethnic Ndebele areas, and later on, violence used
during the seizure of white-owned farms and in the election campaigns of
2000 and 2002.

The people involved in past violent action to uphold ZANU-PF’s rule have so
far enjoyed impunity, and can be expected to do what they can to ensure
Mugabe stays their president.

Pre-election violence was notably lacking ahead of the first round, and the
MDC was able to penetrate constituencies seen as no-go areas. In the
southern Masvingo province, for instance, the MDC won more than half of the
parliamentary seats; it won an absolute majority in Manicaland and also
snatched some rural constituencies in the ZANU-PF strongholds of Mashonaland
East and West and the Midlands.

Many fear Mugabe will not allow this to happen again. The deployment of
ZANU-PF militants and war veterans to secure victory would raise the
prospect of violent clashes with defiant MDC supporters.

Despite these fears, some ordinary voters told IWPR that the MDC should go
into the run-off because people would come out in large numbers to vote
against him.

“I hope the MDC won’t let us down by refusing to contest the run-off,” said
Harare resident Mary Musodzi. “I can tell you that Zimbabweans, who all this
time thought it was impossible to beat Mugabe, now realise that people can
actually vote him out. Those that did not vote will go and vote, and Mugabe
will lose badly in the second round.”

Meshack Ndodana is the pseudonym of a reporter in Zimbabwe.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Don’t Underestimate Mugabe’s Resilience

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Reports of President Robert Mugabe’s imminent political demise may be
exaggerated. -Reports of President Robert Mugabe’s imminent political demise
may be exaggerated.

By Nonthando Bhebhe in Harare (AR No. 165, 08-Apr-08)-By Nonthando Bhebhe in
Harare (AR No. 165, 08-Apr-08)

Although the result of Zimbabwe’s presidential election is still unknown, it
is clear that President Robert Mugabe still commands a substantial share of
the vote – confounding predictions that his support would crumble away
entirely amid growing resentment at the dire state of the country.

As the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, ZEC, continues to withhold the final
figures from the March 29 ballot, Morgan Tsvangirai of the main faction of
the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, has claimed victory with over 50
per cent.

A source in the ZEC and a member of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s politburo
member both told IWPR that Mugabe could get up to 45 per cent and Tsvangirai
about 48 per cent. This would mean neither man had an absolute majority so
that they would have to contest a run-off.

Jonathan Moyo, a former information minister who is now an independent
member of parliament, estimated that Tsvangirai is likely to get 49.4 or
49.5 per cent of the vote, followed by Mugabe with 42.5 or 42.6 per cent.

With the ZEC stalling on its announcement, there are fears that Mugabe’s
officials are engaged in a last-minute attempt to fix the result in his
favour.

Moyo, however, dismissed allegations of vote-rigging, saying this would be
difficult to arrange and the final result was likely to reflect the true
situation.

But even by the MDC’s count, Mugabe has scored upwards of 40 per cent of the
vote.

The results of the parliamentary election held the same day as the
presidential ballot have been released, and show that ZANU-PF got 97 of the
210 seats in the lower House of Assembly, two less than the 99 won by
Tsvangirai’s MDC.

Even adding in the ten seats won by the other MDC faction led by Arthur
Mutambara and assuming the two groups would cooperate on legislative
matters, the opposition would still not have the two-thirds majority needed
to pass the constitutional changes seen by many as central to political
change in Zimbabwe.

These results reflect the constituency-based system used for the
parliamentary election. The continuing strength of ZANU-PF is reflected in
the raw numbers, which suggest it actually won more votes overall than
Tsvangirai’s MDC – 45.94 compared with 42.9 per cent.

Turnout was disappointing; of the 5.9 million registered voters, only 2.4
million actually took part in the election.

Mugabe’s opponents see him as a hero-turned-dictator whose policies have led
to economic collapse over the last ten years and whose record on human
rights and political freedom is abysmal. They say he has manifestly failed
to address massive problems such as rising poverty and hunger, corruption,
bad governance, and high mortality rates as the health system collapses and
HIV/AIDS grows.

For some of Mugabe’s critics, it is enough that ZANU-PF has been pushed
aside as the governing party and that he has either lost or been forced into
a second round. These setbacks are reminiscent of the experience of other
African liberation movements which overstayed their time in power and never
recovered after performing poorly in elections.

That was the case in Zambia, where the United National Independence Party
lost a 1991 election and has performed dismally since then. The same
happened in Malawi, where Kamuzu Banda’s Malawi Congress Party never bounced
back from its 1994 defeat, and in Zambia, where President Kenneth Kaunda of
Zambia lost to former trade unionist Frederick Chiluba in 1991.

Yet in Zimbabwe, there are clearly still significant numbers of people who
still support Mugabe and believe his achievements outweigh his failings.
They believe his rhetoric that the West is to blame for Zimbabwe’s problems
and point to his role as liberator and now defender of the national
interest, high literacy levels, and land reforms that were ostensibly
intended to improve livelihoods.

If there is blame to be apportioned, these people look to Mugabe’s
entourage, whom they hold responsible for systemic corruption and
inefficiency.

This group of voters is mistrustful of Tsvangirai, and suspects, for example
that he is sympathetic to the white farmers dispossessed by Mugabe’s 2000
forcible land redistribution, and might seek to restore their property if he
were elected.

For Mugabe allies in ZANU-PF, this close-run election amounts to a sort of
victory against arch-enemies Britain and the United States, in that the
results at least show that Mugabe is not as unpopular as some thought and
the ballot has not been a walkover for Tsvangirai.

Political analysts say neither ZANU-PF nor Mugabe should be underestimated.
The president has proved remarkably resilient despite frequent predictions
of his imminent demise.

Analyst Brian Kagoro suggested that the MDC would do well to put its
declaration of victory on hold.

“It’s not over until it’s over. I am not celebrating. There is nothing yet
to celebrate,” he said. “I am sorry to pour water on your celebratory mood.”

Pondai Bamu, a Zimbabwean academic at the Transitional Justice Institute at
the University of Ulster, Belfast, gave a similar assessment prior to the
elections.

“The problem with commentators on Zimbabwean politics is that we have tended
to think with our emotions and so we speak with little objectivity,” he
predicted. “After March 29, a lot of us will be very disappointed because
what we hoped would happen will not have happened. Frankly speaking, Morgan
Tsvangirai will not be able to command the majority to become president.”

The ZANU-PF politburo member told IWPR that his party was ready for a
presidential run-off and still believed Mugabe could win.

He said people should not underestimate the ruling party’s ability to patch
up internal differences and unite in the face of its greatest ever
challenge. What was at stake here, he said, was political survival, not just
for the president but for ZANU-PF itself, which did not want to go down like
other liberation movements that lost elections.

“We believe that we can cover the gap,” said the politburo member.
“President Mugabe is not yet down and out until Tsvangirai beats him with
the required 50 per cent-plus. He will never give up even if it means a
third or fourth round.”

Nonthando Bhebhe is the pseudonym of a reporter in Zimbabwe


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF politburo meets on keeping election results a secret


Comment from The Cape Times (SA), 8 April

John Scott

The Zanu PF politburo gathered in sombre mood. "I thought the elections were
free and fair," said one member. "SADC promised us they would be declared
free and fair even before they took place." "They would have been free and
fair if we had won them," said another. "But there was a terrible mistake
and the MDC won them, so they weren't free and fair after all." "Can't we
count the votes again?" suggested a third. "You know, two for us and one for
them, like we used to." "We've already done that, and they still win," said
the first. "We can't go on counting the votes over and over again." "What
was the result exactly?" asked a general. "Shhh," said a police chief,
"you'll send him into a rage again. You've seen how he can't bear to hear
it. "The main thing is we have declared it to be classified information, and
anyone found guilty of releasing it will be tried for treason. If those
figures get into the wrong hands, life in Zimbabwe could change for all of
us." Everyone shuddered at the thought. "But when will we release the
figures?" persisted the general. "We can't keep them secret for ever."
"We'll keep them secret until we have another election, with better
figures," said the police chief. "I know what," said an administration
secretary, "we'll just invert the figures. We'll give 72% to the president
instead of the 27% he really got ... "

There was a roar of anger from the head of the table, and the secretary had
to dodge a flying water bottle. "Sorry, boss, I meant the 27% that those
crooks in the electoral commission said you got. And we'll give 35% to
Tsvangirai instead of the 53% we all know he didn't get." "Will Mbeki fall
for that?" asked the general. "He'll fall for anything," said the police
chief. "Aziz Pahad can explain to him it was all a misrepresentation by the
media." "I don't know why we bother to have elections," said a senior
politburo member. "Unless you have pre-arranged to win them, what's the
point?" One man who had kept very quiet finally spoke up. "The fact is, the
people have expressed their will in this election," he said. "The people's
will se ma se ...," retorted the senior politburo member rudely, only he
said it in Shona. "The main thing is to protect our land from the whites,"
said the administration secretary. "But we've chased nearly all the whites
off it," said the quiet man. "And kyk hoe lyk ons nou." Only he said this in
Shona, too. "But they'll come back under Tsvangirai," argued the police
chief. "If they do, maybe we'll get some food production going again," said
the quiet man. There was a bellow of fury from the head of the table, and
guards quickly dragged the quiet man out of the room. When they shut the
door, you could hardly hear his screams of pain. "With luck," said the
police chief, "we can get him to confess he rigged the whole election."


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cricket - India Cancel Zim Tour

Cricket365

April 08 2008

India have cancelled their tour of Zimbabwe, scheduled to take place at the
end of May, because the dates clash with the launch of the Indian Premier
League.

The week-long tour, which was to have comprised three one-day
internationals, was part of the International Cricket Council's Future Tours
programme.

But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said it has told
Zimbabwean authorities that the national team was "very busy" and would be
unable to tour.

"We will not be going to Zimbabwe because the team is very busy, but will
try and fix the tour after the IPL," BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said.

The IPL's Twenty20 competition will be played between April 18th and June
1st between eight city-based franchises featuring leading players from
around the world.

India already have having a packed international schedule until February
2009, leaving it unlikely that the tour of Zimbabwe will take place this
year.

Following their current series against South Africa, against whom they play
their third and final Test from Friday, India are scheduled to tour
Bangladesh for a tri-series also involving Pakistan from June 8th - 15th.

They then proceed to Pakistan for the Asia Cup from June 24th to July 6th,
followed by a tour of Sri Lanka between July 18th and August 29th.

The Champions Trophy will then be played in Pakistan from September 11th -
28th, after which India host Australia and England for Test series until the
end of the year.

India are also scheduled to tour Pakistan in January and February next year.

Back to the Top
Back to Index