June 30, 2008
SHARM EL-SHEIKH (Reuters) - African leaders on Monday pushed President
Robert Mugabe to open talks with the opposition after he was re-elected
unopposed in an election condemned as violent and unfair by the continent's
Mugabe, 84, flew to an African Union summit in Egypt soon after being sworn
in for a new term, extending his unbroken rule since independence from
Britain in 1980.
As Mugabe arrived, the African Union's own monitors said Friday's election
did not meet their standards. They were the third African observer group to
condemn the poll.
The summit was opposed to Western demands for hefty sanctions to punish
Mugabe but was moving towards a clear consensus on negotiations to end a
deep and violent crisis in the ruined country.
Regional power South Africa, a key player in the Zimbabwe situation, called
for Mugabe's Zanu-PF and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC to enter
talks on a transitional government. Tsvangirai withdrew from the ballot
because of attacks on his supporters.
Pretoria is the designated southern African mediator in Zimbabwe although
President Thabo Mbeki has been widely accused of being ineffective and too
soft on Mugabe.
The statement was the first time South Africa has publicly called for a
unity government and appeared to indicate the line that the African Union
will take. Any stronger measures are likely to be blocked by divisions at
Zimbabwe's crisis has ruined a once prosperous country, saddling it with the
world's worst hyper-inflation and straining neighbouring nations, especially
South Africa, with a flood of millions of economic refugees.
Conference sources said countries from east and West Africa wanted to take a
strong stand on Zimbabwe but Mugabe's neighbours in southern Africa were
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, Mugabe's biggest critic in the southern
region, was rushed to hospital in Sharm el Sheikh just before the summit
after suffering a stroke.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, an outspoken critic of Mugabe, called in
Nairobi for his suspension from the AU until a fair election was held. But
President Mwai Kibaki told Reuters at the summit that negotiations for a
unity government were the only solution.
Like other summit leaders he said he was optimistic a solution would be
Asked if Mugabe would accept a deal agreed by the summit, Congo Republic's
President Denis Sassou-Nguesso told Reuters: "We will persuade him to accept
the solution that we will propose. This is certain. We are invested in
Many African leaders have previously appeared over-awed by Mugabe, long seen
as a liberation hero. But the conduct of the elections provoked
unprecedented criticism from within Africa .
Tsvangirai pulled out of the election because of violence in which he said
nearly 90 of his followers were killed.
Monitors from both Zimbabwe 's neighbours in the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) and the Pan-African parliament said the vote
was undermined by violence and did not reflect the will of the people.
Some of the summit leaders favour a power-sharing deal modelled on one that
ended a bloody post-election crisis in Kenya this year.
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai say they are ready for African-sponsored talks
although the issue of who would lead a unity government remains a possibly
Tsvangirai called on the summit leaders not to recognise Mugabe's
re-election, after electoral officials said he won more than 85 percent of
the vote, in which he was the only candidate.
"We want them (the AU) to say the 27 (June) election is illegitimate," he
told Dutch public television.
Tsvangirai won the first round of elections on March 29 but fell short of
the majority needed for outright victory. He said that result should be the
basis for negotiating a transition.
A group of eminent international personalities, including three Nobel peace
laureates, backed Tsvangirai, calling on the summit to reject the election
because of the violence.
Both Tsvangirai and the group, known as the Elders, called on the AU to
appoint a special envoy to mediate in the crisis.
South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said Zimbabwe was
deeply divided and polarised after the election.
"Zanu-PF and the MDC must enter into negotiations which will lead to the
formation of a transitional government that can extricate Zimbabwe from its
current political challenges," a foreign ministry statement said.
It said neither ZANU-PF nor MDC were "able individually to extricate
Zimbabwe from the current impasse."
Analysts believe Mugabe ignored international condemnation and went ahead
with the vote so he could negotiate with Tsvangirai from a position of
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged international action
against Mugabe's government, including U.N.-authorised sanctions and an arms
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon believes the election did not reflect the
will of Zimbabwe's people and the result was not legitimate, his spokesman
said on Monday.
State media in Zimbabwe said police had arrested 14 MDC activists, including
a recently elected member of parliament, for carrying weapons and
June 30, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has declared a blanket amnesty that will
free hundreds of prisoners, including supporters of his Zanu-PF party jailed
for politically-motivated crimes.
General Notice 85A/2008 - Clemency Order No. 1 of 2008 covers the violent
period before and after the March 29 poll, up to June 16, 11 days before the
fraudulent presidential runoff election last Friday.
At least 90 MDC supporters were gruesomely murdered during the period; while
more than 2 000 sustained injuries and over 200 000 were internally
displaced by Zanu-PF militants.
However, the pardon does not cover murder or rape.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said there seemed to be selective application
for political prisoners as hundreds of MDC supporters have not qualified for
the amnesty under as yet unclear circumstances.
Civic groups have also condemned the move, saying it was further evidence of
the government's rejection of the rule of law.
"Our people are rotting in prisons and they have not been granted this
amnesty," Chamisa said.
A prison officer at Chikurubi Maximum Prison said there were specific orders
that MDC prisoners do not qualify for the amnesty.
But Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa denied the pardon was meant for
Zanu-PF supporters only saying the amnesty, set to see a total 4,998
prisoners released, was aimed at easing overcrowding in jails.
Chinamasa said Zimbabwean prisons are over-populated by 50 percent,
stretching the limits of facilities, supplies and staff.
Zimbabwe's prisons have capacity to hold a maximum of 16,000 inmates, but
they now hold more than 22,500 convicts.
"This has made it difficult to provide and maintain acceptable standards in
the prisons, especially for health and hygiene," Chinamasa said.
A first group of 886 prisoners has already been released, while the rest
will be released in phases during the coming weeks, he said.
The amnesty covers women convicted of infanticide, abortion and similar
offences; prisoners serving less than three years; all prisoners at
Connemara Open Prison; prisoners aged 60 or more; terminally ill prisoners;
prisoners serving sentences imposed for culpable homicide.
Excluded are those convicted of specified offences, which include murder,
rape, theft of motor vehicle, stock theft, robbery, fraud, corruption and
offences relating to dangerous drugs.
Mugabe has in the past pardoned most politically motivated crimes committed
in the lead-in and the aftermath of elections. This has given his supporters
carte blanche to maim and murder with impunity with assurances that they
will be pardoned.
Under the Zimbabwean constitution, the President has the power to grant a
pardon to any person concerned or convicted of a criminal offence. Mugabe,
who was inaugurated as President after an election in which he was the
solitary candidate, has traditionally granted an amnesty following a
Christian Science Monitor
Even in Africa, pressure is mounting for Thabo Mbeki to increase pressure on
By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the July 1, 2008 edition
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - - As the world grows more anxious to solve
Zimbabwe's political crisis, all eyes focus on one man: South African
President Thabo Mbeki.
The leader of the region's economic power has the best chance of brokering a
deal between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
to avert further violence in the wake of an election widely condemned as a
Yet African leaders wrapping up a two-day summit in Egypt are growing more
critical of Mr. Mbeki's failure to rein in Mr. Mugabe, with some calling for
Mbeki to step up his mediation or step aside.
So what's preventing Mbeki from confronting Mugabe?
The cerebral, reclusive leader has never explained his approach. But the
Monitor answers five key questions that help show why he sticks to the path
What is Mbeki's relationship to Mugabe?
Mbeki met Mugabe in 1980, when Mugabe had just taken control of the new
nation of Zimbabwe from white colonial rulers.
Mbeki was an exiled member of the African National Congress (ANC), and
Mugabe set the tone of their relationship at that moment, the older brother
instructing the younger brother on how a successful liberation struggle
leader should rule.
"When Mbeki was in exile, he was part of the ANC's diplomatic effort, and
you worked with and were friendly with African elites who supported your
cause," says Steven Friedman, who covered the liberation struggle in the
1980s and '90s, and now is a research fellow at the Institute for Democracy
in Southern Africa (IDASA) in Tshwane, as Pretoria, South Africa is now
Mbeki's reluctance to criticize other African leaders was noticed early,
when Mbeki was the deputy to South African President Nelson Mandela in the
In 1995, Mr. Mandela was highly critical of the Nigerian military
government, which was preparing to execute Nigerian poet and activist Ken
Saro-Wiwa. Mbeki assured Mandela that Mr. Saro-Wiwa would be spared, but
when the military executed him in November 1995, Mr. Friedman says, "Mandela
was incensed, he thought he'd been lied to and deceived."
What power does Mbeki actually have to influence Mugabe?
For years, Mbeki's government has argued that pushing Mugabe to the wall
only made the Zimbabwean leader more intransigent, and that gentle
persuasion worked better. Indeed, with his firm control over all of the
levers of power, including a sizeable army, a well-paid police force, and a
well-trained intelligence apparatus, Mugabe is not an easy man to push
Yet, Mugabe's greatest weakness now is his lack of legitimacy. The June 27
runoff election was conducted outside the bounds of Zimbabwean law, with
levels of violence and intimidation condemned by African observers.
Nelson Mandela, and more recently the African National Congress, have broken
from Mbeki by publicly condemning the violence surrounding the Zimbabwean
This would give Mbeki cover should he choose to take a harder line with
"Mugabe has all the power, but Morgan Tsvangirai and the [Movement for
Democratic Change] have all the legitimacy, and Mugabe needs Morgan more
than Morgan needs Mugabe," says Francis Kornegay, a senior researcher at the
Center for Policy Studies in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"Everything that has transpired since March 29 [the first round of the
elections, which Tsvangirai won] has been illegal," he says. "Mugabe and his
clique cannot sustain this much longer. MDC should just wait them out, play
As for Mbeki's mediation, Mr. Kornegay says, "To mediate in these
circumstances does more to shore up Mugabe than anything else."
Do Mugabe's credentials as a 'liberation hero' prevent Mbeki from pressuring
African leaders are often reluctant to criticize one another, since they see
themselves united in their histories of combating European colonial rule.
Mugabe has a special place among African leaders, because unlike the vast
majority of African nations, Zimbabwe won its freedom not because of
imperial exhaustion, but with military force.
Yet Mugabe's liberation credentials have been shaken perhaps irreparably,
because of the economic collapse of the country and the well-publicized wave
of violence Mugabe's supporters have intiated against unarmed opposition
"In a sense - and this doesn't defend Mbeki's actions - but over time, the
coverage in North America and Britain has not been helpful," says Friedman
of the IDASA.
"Initially, when the land invasions began, the reports were so focused on
the plight of white farmers, when literally thousands of black people were
being beaten up everyday."
This skewed priority of the media taps into a deep well of resentment not
just in Zimbabwe, but in other nations that were formally ruled by whites,
Friedman says. "I think he'd be mortified if someone stood up and said, 'You
are defending white colonial farmers against a black liberation movement.' "
How do South Africa's domestic politics figure in?
Among ordinary South African voters, there is little sympathy for Mugabe and
his ruling party. Newspapers portray the brutality of Mugabe's regime. But
that sympathy for the Zimbabwean opposition does not translate into sympathy
for the estimated 3 million Zimbabwean refugees who now live and work in
South Africa, as recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa have shown.
Indeed, the only reliable base of support for Zimbabwe's opposition comes
from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which is part of
the ruling coalition led by the ANC.
Tsvangirai himself comes from a union background and some analysts say that
Mbeki - who has had his own bad relationship with his trade unionist
coalition partners - fears that possibility of a trade-union victory next
door in Zimbabwe could encourage trade unionists in South Africa to push the
ANC toward policies that would undermine South Africa's fragile economy.
"Mbeki's brother has said that Thabo is prejudiced against Tsvangirai," says
Friedman, "because Tsvangirai doesn't have a proper college education, while
Mbeki got his master's degree in Britain. But to have ... a trade unionist
party [like the MDC and South Africa's own COSATU] defeating a liberation
movement party [like Mugabe's ZANU-PF or Mbeki's ANC) is not something that
Mr. Mbeki wants to encourage in South Africa."
Does Mbeki have concerns about regional security if Mugabe is ousted?
Few analysts see any direct security threat to South Africa if Mugabe's
regime crumbled, even if Mugabe's supporters in the military launch a
military coup against Tsvangirai.
Certainly more Zimbabwean refugees would flood into South Africa, joining
the 3 million Zimbabweans already here.
But the bigger problem would be diplomatic. None of the leaders of the
Southern African Development Community, including South Africa, could give
formal recognition to the leaders of a military coup.
"This would put Mbeki and the regional leaders in a spot, because they could
not recognize a government that has taken over by a military coup," says
Kurt Shillinger, a research fellow at the South African Institute for
International Affairs in Johannesburg.
Monday, 30 June 2008 14:33
Zimbabweans' Lives are in the African Union Hands.
As the African Union discusses the Zimbabwe crisis in Egypt today, it
is of paramount importance that our brothers and sisters on the continent
take cognizance of the fact the Mugabe regime is illegitimate and that this
illegitimate regime continues to unleash violence against Zimbabwean
For example, yesterday, even during his "inauguration", his militia
continued to attack and abduct innocent people. Dead bodies were still
being discovered and people continue to tremble in fear that they may be
punished during this new "Operation Red Finger" for not having a red finger
indicating they had voted.
The Mugabe regime cannot constitute a legitimate and authoritative
government. Delegitimized by the few African observer groups invited into
the country, the electoral process that began 29 March now remains
incomplete, and the regime illegal.
Zimbabwe has a constitutional crisis. The point must be made loud and
clear that the election was a farce and even under Zimbabwe's repressive
laws, illegal. It goes without saying that MDC cannot therefore recognize
Mr. Mugabe as the duly-elected President of Zimbabwe.
As Zimbabwe's instability escalates to a point that it endangers
regional peace, prosperity and security, the MDC reiterates its position
that the Zimbabwean crisis is an African problem that requires an African
MDC has expressed deep concern over President Mbeki's role in the
past, and we reiterate our view that he is too partial to be an exclusive
mediator in the transition process. To this end, MDC calls for expanded
African involvement in the crisis.
We do note with appreciation the strong words of support for the
people of Zimbabwe from Africa's leaders, and the almost unequivocal
condemnation of the recent illegitimate electoral charade expressed by
statesmen around the world.
Now, however, is the time for action to follow these important
declarations of illegitimacy and invalidity. Aware of the importance
today's AU deliberations, MDC would like to take this opportunity to
restate, for avoidance of doubt, a summary of its position. MDC calls for:
The immediate cessation of violence and the withdrawal and disbanding
of militia groups, paramilitary camps and illegal road blocks.
The normalization of the political environment, including the release
of all political prisoners, cessation of political persecution, and allowing
the currently besieged MDC leadership to conduct normal business and travel
Rejection of the results of the 27 June one-man election, the
conditions of which were condemned by both the AU-sponsored Pan African
Parliament and SADC observers.
Recognition that, because the 27 June election was globally condemned
as illegitimate, the electoral process remains incomplete and an urgent
solution is therefore required.
Recognition that the way forward must unconditionally reflect the will
of the people, as expressed during the last legitimate election held -- 29
The reinstatement of access by humanitarian organizations to the
people of Zimbabwe in order to provide food, medical and other critical
services throughout the country.
In addition, the MDC repeats its appeal to the AU:
To join leadership of the mediation process, supported by the United
Nations, and urgently appoint up to three eminent African envoys to work
full time on the crisis until it is resolved.
The MDC would again like to clarify for the avoidance of doubt that
the MDC National Executive:
Has not requested military intervention in Zimbabwe, but calls for the
deployment of an African Union Police Force to protect citizens from
state-sponsored violence and to restore law and order.
While MDC is committed to participate in a transitional arrangement,
at present, no discussions are underway about this process, or a Government
of National Unity, notwithstanding media reports to the contrary. Even
behind so-called closed doors, there are no negotiations taking place
between President Tsvangirai and the ZANU PF regime.
Is not party to any discussions or any information about transitional
arrangements amongst any other Zimbabweans or political parties that took
part in the 29 March electoral process.
As outlined in our 25 June statement, MDC remains committed to
participating in a properly constituted transitional agreement that could
allow the MDC to form an inclusive government to heal the country, restore
peace, economic stability and lay the foundation for a new constitution and
internationally supervised elections once that constitution has been
ratified by the people of Zimbabwe.
In short, we appeal to the African Union to urgently take the
political steps necessary to stop the violent loss of innocent life in
Zimbabwe. If the AU fails to provide firm and decisive leadership on this
issue, the consequences could be catastrophic.
At this critical moment in the history of our country, we ask the
African Union to acknowledge the choice made by the majority of Zimbabweans
on 29 March and respect the wishes expressed by the people on that day.
Notwithstanding the escalating political and economic crisis, the
people of Zimbabwe have not lost hope. They still believe that the Zimbabwe
of their imagination - a Zimbabwe of jobs, economic prosperity, health care
and education for all, their right to choose a democratic people centered
government - is still possible. The African Union must help them make this
How the so-called elected president plots to get his own way
Robert Mugabe, newly sworn in yesterday as President of Zimbabwe, will
arrive at the African Union (AU) summit in Egypt today waving a giant olive
branch. He is expected to tell delegates that he is ready to accept a
negotiated settlement with the opposition MDC to solve the crisis in the
country. But there are major conditions to his offer.
The AU members will first have to agree publicly that Friday's Presidential
re-run poll was credible, and that Mugabe himself is the duly elected
President of Zimbabwe. And second, they must also accept Mugabe's terms for
establishing any much-vaunted Government of National Unity.
This plan is not likely to cut much ice with several African states,
including Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania, who have already condemned the
election and called for a new free and fair poll. But other African nations
may see Mugabe's apparently benign proposals as a way out of the crisis, at
Mugabe began this series of manoevres before the election, when MDC
secretary-general Tendai Biti, previously facing charges that carry the
death penalty, was unexpectedly freed. Mugabe also promised that following
his victory he would begin talks with the opposition.
However, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangrai has said that any negotiations must be
on the basis on the first presidential election, which he won by a clear
margin - a condition to which Mugabe will never agree.
Observers believe that Mugabe is now operating from a position of power. If
the AU accept him as a legitimate President, all well and good. If not he
will just return to Harare and carry on as before as the all-powerful
"elected" president. For the country's people, things can only get worse.
The election results were released within 48 hours of the polls closing, in
contrast to the five weeks it took for the Electoral Commission to announce
the result of the first vote. Yet turn-out, at 42.3 per cent, was
approximately the same.
The official figures were:
Robert Mugabe 2,150,269. Morgan Tsvangirai 233,000. Spoiled ballots
Immediate international reaction to the statistics was stronger than ever.
An observer team from the Pan-African Parliament called for fresh elections,
saying the vote was neither free nor fair. Former Cape Town Archbishop
Desmond Tutu appealed to the AU not to recognise Mugabe as President. And US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for strong international action
to end the violence in Zimbabwe.
Morgan Tsvangirai, meanwhile, remained behind the walls of the Dutch embassy
in Harare. I am told he is unable to fly to the AU meeting in Egypt because
his passport is "full" - and the Zimbabwean authorities have refused to
Posted on Monday, 30 June 2008
34 minutes ago
LONDON (AFP) - Britain's biggest supermarket Tesco is to stop sourcing
products from Zimbabwe due to international concern about the current
political climate there, the company said in a statement Monday.
"The amount of produce Tesco sources from Zimbabwe -- worth around one
million pounds (1.3 million euros, 1.9 million dollars) -- is insignificant
in terms of global trade and influence," the statement said.
"However, in the current circumstances, we have decided to stop sourcing any
products from Zimbabwe as long as the political crisis persists in that
Britain's junior Foreign Office minister Mark Malloch Brown last weekend
warned firms with interests in Zimbabwe that their activities could become
more difficult as economic and other sanctions tighten.
Mining firm Anglo-American was last week under pressure over its investment
in a platinum mine in Zimbabwe. English cricket's governing body also
announced it was cutting ties with Zimbabwe and cancelling their tour here
London has been vocal in condemning President Robert Mugabe's regime,
particularly over last Friday's presidential election run-off, from which
the opposition pulled out citing violence and intimidation from the ruling
Tesco, which is the world's third-largest grocery retailer and only last
week said it would be "irresponsible" to cut support to small farmers in
current conditions, described its decision as "difficult".
But it said they could not ignore growing calls from politicians that a
pull-out would exert more pressure on Harare.
"In these circumstances, we think the right decision is to stop sourcing
products from Zimbabwe until there is an end to the current political
crisis," the retailer added, saying it would keep the decision under review.
Zimbabwean workers affected by the decision would be supported "by other
means", they added.
Tesco employs some 250,000 people in Britain and runs more than 2,500
stores. Its operation in Britain accounts for nearly 80 percent of group
sales and profits.
Its pretax profits for the financial year 2007-8 were 2.8 billion pounds.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Monday, June 30th 2008, 1:06 PM
SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe sought a boost of
political legitimacy at a summit of African leaders Monday after his
re-election was widely discredited as a sham.
Mugabe's fellow leaders avoided strong public criticism of him, despite
Western calls for them to condemn the longtime leader.
The United States has vowed to bring the issue of Zimbabwe before the U.N.
Security Council this week, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged
the AU to reject the result of Zimbabwe's presidential runoff.
Mugabe was the sole candidate in Friday's vote. Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai withdrew, saying his supporters had become targets of brutal
The summit should "make it absolutely clear that there has got to be change"
in Zimbabwe, Brown said in London. "I think the message that is coming from
the whole world is that the so-called elections will not be recognized."
African leaders were likely to take a softer line here, mindful that few of
them can throw stones over election issues. But behind the scenes, some were
pressing Mugabe to negotiate a power-sharing deal with Tsvangirai.
The 84-year-old Mugabe basked in the opportunity to show regional
recognition of his victory, a day after he was sworn in as president for a
sixth term following Friday's voting. He entered the conference hall
alongside his host, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a U.S. ally who has
also come under international criticism over unfair elections.
In meetings later, Mugabe hugged several heads of states and other
diplomats, said one African delegate who was present. "He was hugging
everyone, pretty much everyone he could get close to," said the delegate,
who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meetings were closed to the
Jendayi Frazer, the assistant U.S. secretary of state for African affairs,
said she expected African leaders to take a harder tone with Mugabe behind
"I would suggest that one not take from the soft words in an open plenary as
a reflection of the deep concern of leaders here of the situation in
Zimbabwe. I would expect them to have very, very strong words for him,"
Frazer told reporters.
In his opening address to the gathering, the African Union's head, Tanzanian
President Jakaya Kikwete, congratulated the Zimbabwean people and AU
mediators but not Mugabe himself. He called the elections "historic" but
also said there were challenges.
A draft resolution written by AU foreign ministers and due to be approved by
leaders at the summit does not criticize the runoff election or Mugabe. The
draft, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, condemned
violence in general terms and called for dialogue.
Most African governments - including regional powerhouse South Africa - have
been reluctant to criticize Mugabe, whether because of long-standing ties to
the Zimbabwean leader, because of his reputation as an anti-colonial
liberator - or because they do not want to be seen as backing the West
against a fellow African. Also, Mugabe has threatened to point fingers at
African leaders and their own suspect elections if they speak out against
The AU's leaders were expected to gently urge Mugabe to engage in some sort
of power-sharing agreement with the country's opposition, along the lines of
a deal that ended violence in Kenya earlier this year.
Africa should "do everything in its power to help the Zimbabwe parties to
work together in the supreme interests in their country so as to overcome
its current challenges," African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping told
But some countries were taking a stronger line. In Nairobi, Kenyan Prime
Minister Raila Odinga said the African Union should bar Mugabe from the
"They should suspend him and send peace forces to Zimbabwe to ensure free
and fair elections," Odinga said.
Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio noted that some Africans
argue the West should "leave us alone and we be left to decide our own
But "then this is our destiny and then we don't want to talk about it. That
doesn't make any sense," he told reporters.
One of the few African leaders openly critical of Mugabe, Zambian President
Levy Mwanawasa, was not in attendance at the summit after he was rushed to
Sharm el-Sheik's hospital on Sunday. His vice president, Rupiah Banda, said
Monday that the 59-year-old Mwanawasa suffered a stroke and was in stable
"That is really bad luck for us," said Gadio, because the Zambian leader's
absence could hurt attempts to put more pressure on Mugabe.
The African Union's own observers said Monday that the Zimbabwe runoff fell
short of the continental body's standards, citing violence and noting that
the opposition was denied equal access to the media during the campaign.
Tsvangirai said Mugabe should have no place at the summit and the AU now had
a responsibility to deal with the crisis.
"Robert Mugabe is not the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai told
The Associated Press. "He is usurping the power of the people. He has
brutalized his own people."
U.N. deputy secretary-general, Asha-Rose Migiro, echoed that call for action
in an address to the delegates, saying the Zimbabwe crisis is "the single
greatest challenge ... in southern Africa, not only because its terrible
humanitarian consequences but also because of the dangerous political
precedent it sets."
Zimbabwe's government mouthpiece, The Herald, reported Monday that Mugabe
"was prepared to face any of his AU counterparts disparaging Zimbabwe's
electoral conduct because some of their countries had worse" elections
Zimbabwe is far from Africa's only experience with flawed elections. For
example, the summit's host nation, U.S. ally Egypt, is often criticized by
international rights groups for jailing dissidents to Mubarak's nearly
27-year rule, and recent elections saw violence as police barred opposition
supporters from the polls.
Many world leaders have condemned Zimbabwe's runoff. On Monday, French
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said France "decided that this government
is illegitimate" and called the re-election of Mugabe a "farce, a criminal
He expressed hopes African leaders would be firm with Mugabe at the summit.
But he also acknowledged that "for many Africans, Mugabe was long a great
liberator" as an anti-colonial hero, which complicates matters."
President Bush has said the U.S. was working on ways to further punish
Mugabe and his allies. That could mean steps against his government as well
as additional restrictions on the travel and financial activities of Mugabe
supporters. The U.S. has financial and travel penalties in place against
more than 170 citizens and entities with ties to Mugabe, the White House
Bush also wants the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on
Zimbabwe as well as travel bans on Zimbabwe government officials.
By David Blair, Diplomatic Editor
Last Updated: 7:51PM BST 30/06/2008
African leaders gathering for a summit have greeted President Robert Mugabe
as a "hero", dashing hopes that Zimbabwe's regime would come under immediate
President Omar Bongo of Gabon, who has held power for 41 years and won a
series of widely criticised elections, gave his public backing for Mr Mugabe
as leaders met in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
"He was elected, he took an oath, and he is here with us, so he is President
and we cannot ask him more," said Mr Bongo. "He conducted elections and I
think he won."
Mr Bongo added that African leaders would not allow Western governments to
dictate their view of Zimbabwe. "We have even received Mugabe as a hero," he
said. "We understand the attacks but this is not the way they should react.
What they've done is, in our opinion, a little clumsy, and we think they
could have consulted us first."
Hours after being inaugurated as president, Mr Mugabe left for the summit of
the African Union, an alliance of all 53 countries on the continent. But he
has not had everything his own way.
Mr Mugabe has faced fierce criticism from his fellow Africans. The AU's
election observers ruled that Zimbabwe's presidential contest did not meet
democratic "standards", the first time they have ever denounced an African
Raila Odinga, Kenya's prime minister, urged the AU to respond by taking
punitive steps against Mr Mugabe. "They should suspend him and send peace
forces to Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections," he said.
While many are deeply unhappy about Zimbabwe's crisis, African leaders are
unlikely to snub Mr Mugabe or pass judgement on his country's crisis at this
summit. Instead, they will probably confine themselves to urging Mr Mugabe
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to negotiate.
South Africa's foreign ministry said that talks on the creation of a
"transitional government" to cope with Zimbabwe's "challenges" were needed.
The private frustrations that President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has felt
towards Zimbabwe's regime have now emerged. In 2001, he wrote a 37-page
"discussion document" for Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party setting out a series of
stark warnings and recommendations.
"Of critical importance is the obvious necessity to ensure that Zimbabwe
does not end up in a situation of isolation, confronted by an array of
international forces she cannot defeat, condemned to sink into an
ever-deepening social and economic crisis," wrote Mr Mbeki.
His paper, leaked to the Mail and Guardian, a South African weekly, amounts
to a point by point critique of Mr Mugabe's decisions. Mr Mbeki urged him to
avoid confrontation with Britain, take concerted action to revive the
economy and stop employing the rhetoric of the anti-colonial struggle.
"In conditions of growing impoverishment among the people, it becomes
impossible to mobilise these masses on the basis of the anti-colonial
struggle," he wrote.
Mr Mbeki said that Zanu-PF should "encourage free, open and critical
discussion" and "ensure the freedom of the press".
He criticised Zanu-PF's recruitment of veterans of the war against white
rule, saying they would only "use force against the people" and undermine
the party's support.
Mr Mbeki urged Zanu-PF to "understand that the great strategic challenge
that faces Zimbabwe today is economic recovery". He added: "To resort to
anti-imperialist rhetoric will not solve the problems of Zimbabwe, but may
Without economic revival, Zimbabwe would endure a "general crisis that will
destroy the independent national democratic state".
Since Mr Mbeki wrote those words, Zimbabwe has sunk into the very crisis he
America is considering imposing more unilateral sanctions on Mr Mugabe's
regime. This would probably involve adding more names to the list of members
of Zimbabwe's government who are banned from visiting the US. The travel ban
could be extended to include their children.
By ANNA JOHNSON and PAUL SCHEMM - 12 minutes ago
SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt (AP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe entered an
African summit accompanied by the meeting's host Monday, a sign that African
leaders won't shun him despite Western demands they take a tough stance over
his re-election in a tainted ballot.
But behind the scenes, some leaders were pushing for Mugabe to share power
with his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, who dropped out of Friday's runoff
election after allegedly state-sponsored killings and beatings of his
While many African countries - including regional powerhouse South Africa -
were unwilling to condemn Mugabe, criticism by the U.S. and Europe only
France said Monday it considered Mugabe's government "illegitimate," and
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged the African Union to reject the
result of the runoff.
The summit should "make it absolutely clear that there has got to be change"
in Zimbabwe, Brown said in London. "I think the message that is coming from
the whole world is that the so-called elections will not be recognized."
Zimbabwe's longtime ruler basked in the opportunity at the AU to show
regional recognition of his victory, a day after he was sworn in as
president for a sixth term.
He entered the conference hall alongside his host, Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak, in a symbolic gesture of his status.
Still, there was little overt warmth for Mugabe in public sessions. But
while mingling with leaders before the opening meeting, he hugged several
heads of states and diplomats, said an African delegate who was present.
"He was hugging everyone, pretty much everyone he could get close to," said
the delegate, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't supposed
discuss the private gathering.
During public speeches in this Red Sea resort, most AU leaders spoke of the
"challenges" in Zimbabwe and none said anything harsh about Mugabe.
But Jendayi Frazer, the assistant U.S. secretary of state for African
affairs, said she believed that in private leaders would "have very, very
strong words for him."
"I would suggest that one not take from the soft words in an open plenary as
a reflection of the deep concern of leaders here of the situation in
Zimbabwe," she told reporters.
At the White House, press secretary Dana Perino also suggested
behind-the-scenes pressure, saying Mugabe's actions have "cast a negative
light on some really good, democratic leaders in Africa."
"There are a lot of them who are working very hard to institute democratic
reforms in their own way," she said.
Key African leaders have long had close ties to Mugabe, renowned as a
campaigner against white rule and colonialism. They are also reluctant to be
seen as backing the West - former colonial rulers - against a fellow
African, and many can't claim democratic governments in their own countries.
Not all were silent. In Nairobi, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said
Zimbabwe should be suspended from the African Union. "They should suspend
him and send peace forces to Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections,"
Senegal's foreign minister, Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, complained of the
hesitancy to openly pressure Mugabe.
He noted some Africans argue the West should "leave us alone and we be left
to decide our own destiny." But when the crisis occurs, he said, "we don't
want to talk about it. That doesn't make any sense."
The AU's own election observers said Monday that the Zimbabwe runoff fell
short of the group's standards, citing violence and the denial of equal
media access for the opposition. Tsvangirai has been holed up at the Dutch
Embassy in Harare since announcing his withdrawal from the race June 22.
African diplomats have pointed to Kenya's power-sharing agreement, which
ended bloodshed there after flawed elections this year, as a possible model
But unlike Kenya, which brought together two rivals who had been allies and
are of the same generation, there is little common ground between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai. The 84-year-old president is a veteran of Africa's anti-colonial
struggles and Tsvangirai, 56, is a former trade union leader.
Tsvangirai has said he is open to sharing power with moderate members of the
ruling party, but says Mugabe should have no role in the government.
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 June 2008
Posted to the web 30 June 2008
African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) at the African Union Summit in
Egypt on Monday called on African leaders to publicly condemn the human
rights violations and abuses taking place in Zimbabwe.
The Centre for Citizen's Participation in the African Union (CCP-AU), which
is comprised of 63 CSOs from across Africa, said in a statement released
Monday that it was "deeply disturbed that the government had ordered the
suspension of the work of civil society organisations, despite four million
Zimbabweans requiring humanitarian assistance".
Levels of violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe that ultimately forced MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangerai to drop out of the run off poll, have been globally
condemned and left no doubt that conditions were not viable for a free and
fair election situation. Despite this however, the situation steadily
deteriorated in the weeks leading up to last Friday's sham poll, that saw
Robert Mugabe, the run off's single candidate, sworn in for a sixth term as
Director of the CCP-AU, Yemisrach Kebede said: "African civil society is
concerned about the rampant and escalating politically motivated and
organised violence that has taken place since the March 29th Election in
Zimbabwe. The general population has been massively disenfranchised by
displacement and intimidation."
CSOs, in a communiqué set to be presented to African leaders at the AU
summit, have recommended that the AU call for an independent and impartial
investigation into human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Speaking to Newsreel on Monday, Kebede said basic political and civil rights
in Zimbabwe must be restored before a recognised election can take place.
She said the AU must now "broker a multi stakeholder dialogue to create a
political process which will allow for internationally observed elections to
be held as soon as possible".
Meanwhile the Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition on Monday called Mugabe's
government illegitimate and said the "twin crises of governance and
legitimacy" are set to worsen following last Friday's one-man election. In a
statement, the group said: "The 27 June presidential charade that President
Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF claims to have won has put the final nail on the
illegitimacy of the Harare administration."
The group stated that it is within the democratic rights of Zimbabweans "to
disobey an illegitimate, self serving, corrupt and authoritarian
government". It also listed a set of demands as part of restoring
governmental legitimacy and people's confidence in public national affairs,
including the rejection of the election results by SADC, the AU and the
international community, the "repeal of repressive legislation" and the
"establishment of an electoral and legal framework that ensures free and
fair electoral processes".
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 June 2008
Posted to the web 30 June 2008
Former Harare South MP and Mutambara MDC spokesman, Gabriel Chaibva, might
have signed his own political death warrant by attending Mugabe's
inauguration on Sunday.
The party reacted furiously to his presence at state house, which occurred
despite a common position adopted to boycott the sham exercise. In an
interview with Newsreel on Monday Chaibva confirmed he attended the ceremony
but refused to explain why. 'I am waiting for all the criticism to come in
and allow myself time to absorb it before I give a comprehensive response,'
Chaibva said. Pressed on whether he attended just in his individual capacity
the former legislator said he would issue a statement on Tuesday.
Chaibva however is quoted as telling ZBC Newsnet, 'I know there will be
criticism because I attended this ceremony. But in times like this it is
crucial to put the past behind us and show the spirit of constructive
engagement and dialogue as the only way forward. Victory is sweet and defeat
is bitter, but as leaders we must learn to accept both and work for the good
of the people. So in a small way, we are sending our message that it is time
for a new spirit to govern the manner in which we engage each other,' he
Reports indicate that Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa extended an
invitation to Mutambara MDC officials Welshman Ncube, Paul Themba Nyathi,
Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube and Gibson Sibanda.
Misihairambwi told journalists they turned down the offer, describing
Mugabe's election victory a 'fraud.' A similar invite was extended to
Tsvangirai's MDC, but the party also turned it down. Why the Mutambara MDC
spokesman attended remains a mystery, but the move will not have helped
quell speculation that Mugabe will be trying to pacify members of the party
with positions in a new government.
Newsreel sought comment from party leader Arthur Mutambara, who said he was
locked in meetings the whole day and would only be available for interviews
Tuesday. Job Sikhala the former MP for St Mary's, reacted furiously to some
reports that implied he was also at state house on Sunday. He told Newsreel
he was in Mozambique on the day and 'certain mischievous' elements in the
media were trying to tarnish his name. Reacting to Chaibva's attendance
Sikhala said Chaibva was an adult who could make his own decisions about
where to go. He did however concede it was a mistake for Chaibva to have
attended Mugabe's inauguration, and that the party would soon meet to
deliberate on the matter.
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 June 2008
Posted to the web 30 June 2008
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday called for the suspension of
Robert Mugabe from the African Union, until he allows a "free and fair"
But reports from Egypt suggest African leaders discussing the Zimbabwe
crisis favour a power-sharing deal, modelled on the one which ended the
bloody post-election crisis in Kenya earlier this year.
Odinga told a press conference in Nairobi that 'Mugabe should be suspended
until he allows the AU to facilitate free and fair elections,' adding that
the AU will be setting a dangerous precedent if Mugabe is allowed to
participate in it's meetings. The African Union has a rule not to accept
leaders who have not been democratically elected, but observers say it is
unlikely the AU will immediately take strong action against Mugabe.
The AU summit is expected to issue a communique late on Monday, following a
closed door session that has been going on since the morning. MDC spokesman
George Sibotshiwe said they've proposed to the AU that a special envoy be
sent to the country, to assist South African President Thabo Mbeki in his
role as the SADC mediator for Zimbabwe.
They stated that the envoy should be based in Harare and must mediate
between the MDC and Zanu-PF to create the kind of climate that would assist
in curbing the violence in the country, as well as dealing with the
humanitarian crisis. MDC regional officer Nqobizitha Mlilo said they're
prepared to take part in any talks that may help bring to an end the 10 year
'Whatever happens, people should recognise the fact that the MDC now
controls parliament and that no-one should want to undermine the other
because of events after the 29th March elections,' Mlilo said.
A draft communique that forms part of a working document for the Heads of
State at the Summit, and seen by journalists in Sharm-el-Sheikh, does not
include any direct criticism of Mugabe or of the run-off.
On Monday, South Africa denied widely featured reports that Mbeki had
lobbied the AU to recognise Mugabe, saying this was a 'complete
fabrication'. Their foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma called for Zanu
(PF) and the MDC to enter negotiations for a transitional government to
unite the country
Most South African papers reported on Sunday that Mbeki wanted AU leaders,
currently attending a summit in Egypt, to recognise Mugabe as president of
Zimbabwe after the one-man presidential run-off election on Friday.
Mugabe's decision to go ahead with the election after Tsvangirai's
withdrawal due to the extreme state sponsored violence, provoked
unprecedented African criticism.
All observer groups that monitored the election have released reports
indicating the vote was undermined by the violence and did not reflect the
will of the people.
Previous mediation efforts led by Mbeki have consistently failed to solve
the crisis. The SADC mediated efforts have taken almost a year but nothing
tangible has been done to get Mugabe and Tsvangirai to talk. SADC mandated
Mbeki to mediate in between the MDC and Zanu-PF following a government
crackdown on the MDC, which resulted in Tsvangirai getting badly injured
after state security agents beat him up.
But the mediation has failed to come up with any solutions due to Mbeki's
closeness to Mugabe and that he has personally blocked several United
Nations resolutions to act against the 84 year-old leader.
SW Radio Africa (London)
30 June 2008
Posted to the web 30 June 2008
As Zimbabwe's economy continues to spiral out of control, concern has also
been raised about the economic stability of the country's neighbours.
Once touted as a beacon for southern Africa, the Zimbabwean economy has been
ravaged by inflation, currently estimated at around 4 million percent.
However, Zimbabwe's economic downfall has not seen the end of the Mugabe
regime, whose policies are to blame for the outrageous inflation figures.
Further economic pressure also seems unlikely to change the situation,
following Mugabe's 'win' in last week's one man poll.
The burning question now is how likely the economies of the Southern African
region will remain stable, not only with the imminent flood of refugees into
neighbouring countries, but also the inevitable pulling away of foreign
investment in a region that has done little to end the Zimbabwean crisis.
The South African rand has steadily weakened in the weeks leading up to the
Zimbabwe election run-off - a fact that has been attributed to President
Thabo Mbeki's quiet support of his friend, Mugabe. The security of the 2010
World Cup, which South Africa is set to host, is also coming under threat,
with pressure groups calling on FIFA to remove the honour from Mbeki's
country because of his role in the Zimbabwean crisis.
At the same time, the economies of the rest of the region are also at stake.
Economic analyst, Bekithemba Mhlanga told Newsreel on Monday that the SADC
region is under serious threat economically and there are "already economic
implications because of the declining interest in Zimbabwe". Mhlanga said
foreign investors, with an interest in Africa as a whole, "will start
blanking the entire region instead of just Zimbabwe". He said the "security
of investment across the region is at threat" until circumstances in
Mhlanga added that Zimbabwe is essentially the key to economic stability in
the region, and voiced concerns that military intervention and a growing
belief that civil war is imminent, will only further dissuade foreign
investors in the region and in Africa as a whole.
Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:28pm BST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration is pressing for U.N.
sanctions against Zimbabwe but also may act unilaterally against the
government of President Robert Mugabe following his re-election last week in
a vote denounced as unfair, the White House said on Monday.
"We don't believe that the Mugabe regime is a legitimate government," White
House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. "We think that because they ran a sham
election last week in which they intimidated every voter who would have
voted against Mugabe."
Mugabe was re-elected in a vote condemned as violent and unfair by monitors.
U.S. President George W. Bush denounced the vote on Saturday and ordered the
secretaries of State and Treasury to develop sanctions against Mugabe's
A sanctions resolution being circulated by the United States at the United
Nations on Monday called for an arms embargo against Zimbabwe as well as a
freeze on the assets of individuals and firms.
"We will press for strong action by the United Nations but we could also act
unilaterally," Perino said. "It could come in multiple ways. Obviously,
sanctions work best when there are multiple parties working in concert, like
we are with the European Union when it comes to getting Iran to halt its
Asked what the United States hoped to accomplish with sanctions, Perino
said: "What we would like is for people first and foremost to feel safe in
their own country, to let their voices be heard. I know that down in the
area there is conversation about a possible power-sharing agreement."
African leaders are pushing Mugabe to open talks with the opposition led by
Morgan Tsvangirai on a transitional government.
(Editing by Vicki Allen)
By Samuel Spencer
Epoch Times New York Staff Jun 30, 2008
China may have backed the U.N. resolution in late June to condemn the
Zimbabwe vote but don't be fooled by its recent facade. The Communist
regime's friendship with the Mugabe regime and its willingness to fly in the
face of international pressure to arm dictatorial regimes may have thawed
slightly only because of the Beijing Olympics that are less than two months
away and any other move might spark more international outrage.
In fact, on June 29, China clearly indicated its unwillingness to support a
United States call for a U.N. arms embargo on the Mugabe regime, and as a
veto-wielding power, this move makes it impossible for the U.N. to move and
take action on Zimbabwe as well as other similar dictatorial regimes.
This should not be surprising, given that as recently as April 2008, the
Chinese regime's shipment of arms to Zimbabwe was blocked by several of
Zimbabwe's neighbors over concern that the weapons may be used to strengthen
the Mugabe regime and unleash a reign of terror on his opponents.
The arms shipment was sent shortly after Mugabe was reported to have lost an
electoral recount against the opposition MDC.
After throwing a red herring several times by announcing that it would pull
the ship back, the ship was finally rerouted and allowed to dock on Angola,
which is known to back the Mugabe regime. It is believed that despite the
international outcry over the ships, the arms were able to reach Mugabe's
regime through Angola.
Zimbabwe's ties with China date back to 1979, when Robert Mugabe's quest for
Soviet support for his party were rejected, resulting in his getting closer
to the Communist regime in Beijing for funds and support.
The ties with China became especially important for the Mugabe regime after
a 2003 standoff with the European Union which resulted in a financial
squeeze and economic recession.
Much of Zimbabwe's imports are expensive military equipment. A 2005
Jamestown Foundation report, titled "Zimbabwe: China's African Ally"
documents that in June 2004 alone, Zimbabwe's purchase of 12 FC-1 fighters
and 100 military vehicles were worth an estimated $240 million. The secret
order, which was published in Zimbabwe's state-run press, actually went
above and beyond the $136 million defense budget.
And what has Zimbabwe lost? Trade with China is often conducted in barter
programs, with Zimbabwe exporting raw metal such as platinum to feed China's
burgeoning appetite for raw materials. The Jamestown report documents that
Zimbabwe "has the second largest deposits of platinum in the world,
estimated at over $500 billion."
An Epoch Times report has documented how African regimes, especially
dictatorial regimes, are willing to sell their natural resources to the
Chinese Communist regime in exchange for greater subservirnce to the CCP,
support from the CCP and for arms for maintaining their regimes.
Mugabe's regime seems to be no exception: it has seemed willing to exchange
and lose these precious raw materials in exchange for expensive military
toys that allow it to frighten dissenters and continue to rule with an iron
"Worst enemy" of Zimbabweans
On June 29, 2008, just days after Mugabe won an election that has been
dubbed as a farce all around the world, China rolled out its latest
turboprop regional aircraft to much fanfare.
Its biggest buyer? Zimbabwe.
With China's economic clout, the world leaders have sounded outrage at the
Zimbabwe crisis, but have shown very little spunk in dealing with it. On
June 25, 2008, Australia's The Age publication pulled Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd to task for not being willing to bring up Zimbabwe crisis and exert
pressure on China.
Given China's close ties to the Mugabe regime, it is perhaps no surprise
that Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has often said
that he sees China's Communist regime as "the worst enemy" of Zimbabweans.
Maybe Tsvangirai is on to something with that. The CCP's support for
dictatorial regimes is a relationship of mutual symbiosis-it aims to keep
dictatorial regimes in power in exchange for their natural resources, and at
the same time, it is able to build up international support from these
regimes that their own people are opposed to.
Zambia National Brodcasting Corporation
The Chairman of the African Union says Zimbabwe has set a bad precedence
which should not be allowed to replicate itself in other countries on the
Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete called for a political solution which
must restore peace and stability in Zimbabwe.
He said this is Egypt when he opened the 11th Ordinary Session of Heads of
State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Sharm-EL Sheikh.
The Tanzanian President also called on African leaders to find lasting
solutions to conflicts on the Continent.
He said said Africa is engulfed in a myriad of conflicts which are most
often perpetuated by leaders who want to advance their own interests.
Mr. Kikwete said the happenings in Zimbabwe have the potential to
destabilise the Southern Africa region.
Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak urged AU member states to speak with one
voice in order to defend the interests of Africa.
AU Commission Chairperson, Jean Ping said the rising food prices at the
global level has worsened the plight of the most vulnerable groups of people
on the continent.
Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:02am EDT
UNITED NATIONS, June 30 (Reuters) - The United States has already completed
a draft of a U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution to punish some
members of Zimbabwe's government over last week's election, Britain's U.N.
envoy said on Monday.
"Our United States colleagues have done a first draft which is being
discussed over the next couple of days," British Ambassador John Sawers told
reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the Security Council.
"We certainly support increasing the pressure on those in Zimbabwe who are
responsible for subverting the elections and for creating a climate whereby
the will of the Zimbabwean people was discarded as it was in Friday's
election," he said. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau, editing by Jackie
INTERVIEW WITH ZIMBABWE OPPOSITION LEADER
Robert Mugabe was sworn in as Zimbabwean president on Sunday, after winning
a one-man election. SPIEGEL spoke to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
about why he pulled out of Friday's run-off vote and the chances of toppling
Mugabe from power.
Robert Mugabe was sworn in as Zimbabwean president on Sunday after claiming
victory in Friday's one-man election, an election denounced by most
observers in Africa and the West as neither free nor fair. On Monday Mugabe
arrived in Egypt for the African Union summit, where African leaders are
expected to resist Western calls for hefty sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The man who should have been his opponent in Friday's election, opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, dismissed the inauguration as "an exercise in
self-delusion." The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) had pulled out of the race a week ago claiming that the high level of
intimidation and violence made it impossible to freely contest the election.
Tsvangarai led in the first round of voting in March but failed to secure an
overall majority. The opposition claimed that militia loyal to the ruling
Zanu-PF party had killed 86 of its supporters and forced thousands from
their home in the weeks running up to Friday's vote.
In the end Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwe since its liberation from the United
Kingdom in 1980, secured 2 million votes, while 233,000 people chose to vote
for Tsvangirai, whose name was still on the ballot. Turnout was 43 percent
and over 130,000 voters spoiled their ballots, apparently as an act of
After being sworn in Mugabe sounded a conciliatory note, saying "Sooner or
later, as diverse political parties, we shall start serious talks." This
could point the way to some kind of power-sharing agreement with the MDC,
which won the majority of parliamentary seats in the March elections. Many
African leaders, particularly South African President Thabo Mbeki, are now
calling for some kind of power-sharing deal similar to the one that ended
the bloody post-election crisis in Kenya earlier this year.
In an interview conducted just prior to Friday's vote, SPIEGEL spoke to
Morgan Tsvangirai about Zimbabwe's election farce, the prospects of a
transitional government and how Mugabe can be toppled from power.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Tsvangirai, you have been hiding from Mugabe's thugs for days.
Where are you?
Tsvangirai: I cannot move freely anymore in this country and so I've sought
refuge in the Dutch embassy. I will have to wait and see how things develop.
I only intend to stay here for a while.
SPIEGEL: You are the leader of the largest opposition party, the MDC, and
you withdrew from the elections a week ago -- out of protest against the
oppression wrought by Mugabe. Was that a clever move?
Tsvangirai: In March, Zimbabweans voted in the presidential and
parliamentary elections for the MDC, for a change of government. But Mugabe
stole this election victory from us and has waged a campaign of violence
against us, almost a war. We refuse to take part in this war, we will not be
drawn into it.
SPIEGEL: What did you advise your supporters to do on election day?
Tsvangirai: Over the past few weeks, many MDC members have been hunted
down, beaten and harassed; they are traumatized. On Thursday night security
forces indiscriminately herded people together in certain neighborhoods and
drove them directly to the polling stations the next morning. Actually, many
of my people did not want to vote and intended to stay home. But nobody can
ask people to put their lives on the line by refusing to vote. I told them:
go vote -- the entire election is a sham anyway and the whole world knows
SPIEGEL: Mugabe is 84 years old and will remain president. How long will
Zimbabwe have to wait until things change in the country?
Tsvangirai: Nelson Mandela will be 90 soon and is in the best of health.
Mugabe could live for many years to come, but anyway, we cannot wait until
SPIEGEL: How could the international community help?
Tsvangirai: The world should not just continue with business as usual. Many
countries and organizations have condemned Mugabe over the past few days.
Now this needs to be followed by diplomatic initiatives. The regime has to
be isolated. It cannot exist as an island outside the civilized world.
SPIEGEL: Should your large neighbor South Africa lead the way by imposing
harsh sanctions against Zimbabwe -- for example, by halting investment or
stopping the delivery of goods?
Tsvangirai: That cannot be done under South African President Thabo Mbeki.
He would never agree to such sanctions. He still believes that he can
convince Mugabe to voluntarily relinquish his grip on power. Mugabe has made
good use of this delusion. No help can be expected from South Africa.
SPIEGEL: The parliament of Ghana has called for military intervention, for
international troops to be deployed against Mugabe and his regime. What do
you think of this idea?
Tsvangirai: It cannot be done and we don't want it. Zimbabweans are afraid
of it. They have endured enough violence, first during the war against the
British colonial rulers and now against Mugabe's regime. A military
intervention -- no matter who leads it -- is not an option.
SPIEGEL: You have called for a power-sharing deal between your party and the
ruling Zanu-PF party, one that would exclude Mugabe. How realistic is this
Tsvangirai: We are striving for this kind of transitional government. And
afterwards -- when people have regained their confidence in democratic
institutions -- free and fair elections will follow.
SPIEGEL: But why should Mugabe and the Zanu-PF agree to gradually relinquish
Tsvangirai: They are hanging on to power at any price, but they don't know
what will come next. Despite all the violence, the regime is on its knees.
Inflation is currently at 2 million percent. The vast majority of
Zimbabweans are unemployed, masses of people are fleeing the country. Mugabe's
supporters are hiding behind nationalistic rhetoric, but actually they know:
The writing is on the wall.
SPIEGEL: Should Mugabe and his cronies be tried in an international court?
Tsvangirai: That would be a mistake. On the contrary, we will have to
negotiate some kind of amnesty. Otherwise the country's rulers will have
nothing left to lose. And if they have nothing to lose, they will leave
behind nothing but scorched earth.
Interview conducted by Jan Puhl.
Monsters and Critics
Jun 30, 2008, 10:01 GMT
Johannesburg - South Africa's Foreign Ministry on Monday rejected reports
that it was lobbying the African Union (AU) to maintain the status quo in
Zimbabwe, including recognizing Robert Mugabe as president.
Reacting to reports in South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper the foreign
ministry said reports that Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
had lobbied the AU to endorse a Mugabe victory on the basis that South
Africa was near a deal on a powersharing government in Zimbabwe were 'a
'(Mugabe's) Zanu-PF and the (opposition) MDC (Movement for Democratic
Change) must enter into negotiations which will lead to the formation of a
transitional government,' the statement added.
The MDC has claimed that South African President Thabo Mbeki, the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) mediator in Zimbabwe, was planning to
endorse Mugabe's victory in uncontested elections and press AU leaders
meeting in Egypt Monday to do likewise.
Mugabe, who was sworn in hastily as president for another five years Sunday
following Friday's election that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted, is
attending the Sharm el-Sheikh summit.
Zimbabwean diplomatic sources told South African radio he would try to
persuade his African peers that the election, which SADC and the United
Nations had asked him to call off, was legitimate.
Mugabe took 85.5 per cent of the vote in Friday's election, compared with
43.2 per cent in the first round of the presidential elections in March that
The MDC has called on the AU not to recognize the outcome of what it called
a 'joke election' that Tsvangirai boycotted over a spate of state-sponsored
militia attacks on his supporters.
Times of Malta
Monday, 30th June 2008 - 11:58CET
Malta joins its European partners in expressing its deep concern at the
deterioration of the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.
"Malta believes that the way forward to bring stability to Zimbabwe is to
allow the people of Zimbabwe the possibility to exercise their fundamental
democratic right to vote and freely express their political will," Foreign
Minister Tonio Borg said.
"Malta is also concerned about the possible effects of the Zimbabwe crisis
on the stability of the region and calls on African countries and
organizations, especially the African Union and Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) to enhance their engagement with renewed determination in
order to help resolve the current crisis as soon as possible."
The minister said in a statement that Malta fully supports the position
taken by the EU to stand ready to support and re-engage with a democratic,
legitimate and reform-minded government in Zimbabwe.
Children's activist comes to Canada to drum up support for nation in crisis
Jun 30, 2008 04:30 AM
Zimbabweans are so traumatized by the horrors in their country that they are
looking to their compatriots here to do what they can't - work toward a
regime change in their homeland.
Betty Makoni, a children's rights activist, came here from Zimbabwe last
week with an urgent plea from the country's women and children for help.
"Now that (President Robert Mugabe) is sworn in, the country is in
shambles," Makoni said yesterday, after a meeting with Zimbabwean Canadians
at the Edithvale Community Centre in north Toronto.
"The war of the stomach will rage on. People want something on their plate,"
she added. "We hear there are sanctions coming, and how they will hurt the
Makoni said Zimbabweans in Canada are organizing a Toronto-based movement
that will mobilize expatriates to help their country emerge from the crisis
posed by Mugabe's continuing leadership.
"We are all in our small boxes," Makoni noted. "We have to come out of those
boxes and come up with a huge movement that will make Africa see us as
active participants not passive bench-sitters," she said of Zimbabweans
According to 2006 census data there are 6,525 Zimbabwean-born immigrants in
Canada, with 2,335 living in Toronto.
The movement wants to unite organizations of all political affiliations and
come up with a plan of action and persuade the international community to
provide protection for citizens, Makoni said.
She also said Zimbabweans, still traumatized by the violence, need time to
"We are citizens in urgent need of resuscitation, there's trauma,
bereavement, displacement. Each problem must have a strategy."
Makoni called for a truth and reconciliation commission, similar to the one
set up in post-apartheid South Africa, to help the thousands who were beaten
or had their houses burned down by Mugabe's men recover their homes and
"The international community should not rush to unite enemies. They should
rush for the truth in order for enemies to reconcile. It's a process not an
event," she said.
But Makoni, who founded the Girl Child Network to empower sexually abused
girls in Zimbabwe, emphasized that fresh wounds are not so easily healed -
especially in the case of the women and children who bear the brunt of
"Women are the punching bags of men in power," Makoni said. "We must
reconcile and start afresh."
Still, she said, the challenges are enormous.
"How can you reconcile with a lost life? Ninety dead bodies! How do you say
`Sorry'? We want truth. Who did this? Why?" she asked, referring to the
scores of opposition supporters killed by Mugabe's men.
The Zimbabwean diaspora, she says, is well positioned to help because,
abroad, they have access to far greater resources, and are less vulnerable
as political targets.
Believe Dhliwayo, an HIV/AIDS activist, argues the Zimbabwean expatriate
community here is intimidated, afraid that intelligence agents working for
Mugabe's government in the West could harm their families back home.
As Mugabe was sworn in for his sixth term yesterday, Zimbabweans here were
"It's classic Mugabe tactics. I'm appalled by African leaders' silence ...
how does condemning the elections help women trying to sustain orphans?"
asked Tarisai, co-chair of the Toronto group Zimbabwe for Democracy. Like
many in the community, she didn't want her last name used for safety
There is a sense of "defeat and hopelessness" among the Zimbabwean community
here, she said.
The African Union, meeting today in Egypt, needs to focus on human rights,
"Politicians can duel it out, but there is no need to deny people access to
food and medication, for women to be raped, for houses to be burnt," she
said. "It's not a game show. People are dying."
She said the international think-tanks Zimbabweans here are forming need to
harmonize their message and mandate and continue dialogue with NGOs and
Canada rejected the results of the election, calling Mugabe's actions
illegitimate and illegal. Ottawa says it will impose restrictions on travel,
work and study on senior Zimbabwean government, military and police
officials and their families. And Canada will summon the country's
ambassador in Ottawa to voice its displeasure.
June 30, 2008
Bronwen Maddox, Chief Foreign Commentator
Yesterday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Robert Mugabe walked triumphantly into the
summit of the African Union by the side of his host, Egypt's President
A day after being sworn in again as Zimbabwe's President, after elections
which he seized through violence, he won the extra trophy of a reception
from the country's neighbours that was at least civil, if not enthusiastic.
At the same time in New York, US officials were rapidly drafting a new
sanctions resolution to put before the Security Council. The measures,
intended to punish Mugabe and more than a hundred of his colleagues, may not
sound like much. But the sanctions, preventing those people from travelling
widely and curtailing their ability to hold assets abroad, are the best tool
for trying to prise Mugabe from the presidency of Zimbabwe. They are aimed
at the regime, with the hope that they will not also inadvertently hit the
poorest - the main reason that other countries have not yet clamped down on
foreign companies operating in Zimbabwe. That remains a hovering
possibility, although for the moment, governments have bought the arguments
of the companies, mainly in banking and mining, that they provide jobs for
Even getting agreement on sanctions against the regime is not trivial. But
in the past week, since Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition,
withdrew from the election, there has been a leap forward in getting
agreement, even from South Africa, which holds one of the two-year rotating
seats on the council. The June 23 statement blaming Mugabe for the turmoil
in the country had unanimous backing even though it was more strongly worded
than anything South Africa had said on its own.
UN measures other than sanctions appear out of reach at the moment. The UN's
47-member Human Rights Council is falling into the trap of its predecessor,
the Commission on Human Rights, often accused of being a cover for some of
the world's most abusive regimes to avoid scrutiny of their own rights
violations. Nor is indictment at the International Criminal Court at the
Hague (not a UN body) a powerful threat at this point. As Zimbabwe has not
signed up to the ICC, bringing a prosecution would require a referral by the
council, which it is not close to giving.
At this point, too, no one on the council is talking about military
So if sanctions against Mugabe's regime are the only immediately available
option, will they have much effect? They might fuel discontent among the
Zanu (PF) chiefs that could begin to dislodge him. More likely, the
implosion of the economy will undermine him more effectively. Zanu (PF)
leaders can see that, for all yesterday's ceremony, he does not have long in
power. As they scramble to save their own positions, the outside world's
real intervention, in terms of aid, peacekeepers or helping to broker talks
between both sides, can finally begin.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Date: 30 Jun 2008
HARARE, 30 June 2008 (IRIN) - After a hurried swearing-in ceremony on Sunday
to cap a second-round Zimbabwean presidential election internationally
condemned as a farce, Robert Mugabe may now be setting his sights on new
political opponents - this time within his own ZANU-PF party.
Addressing one of his final campaign rallies last week in an election
boycotted by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), Mugabe made veiled threats: "I am aware that in the
first round of voting, some of you campaigned for the opposition, especially
Simba Makoni; I am aware of all the tricks that were designed to make me
Makoni, a former finance minister, is widely regarded as the protégé of
powerful retired army general Solomon Mujuru, the husband of Vice-President
Joyce Mujuru. Makoni came third, behind Tsvangirai and Mugabe, in the
first-round presidential vote on 29 March.
A member of the ZANU-PF politburo, the highest decision-making body in the
party, told IRIN that Mugabe now wanted to deal with the internal dissent
behind the campaign known as 'Operation Bhora Mudondo' (Kick the ball out of
the playing field), in which some party stalwarts are believed to have urged
voters to mark their ballots for ZANU-PF in the municipal, parliament and
senate elections in March, and to tick Makoni for president, rather than the
party leader, Mugabe.
"Mugabe was particularly livid that he lost the first round of voting and
had had to go through the indignity of being labelled a loser, which forced
him to go into a run-off. He was thoroughly embarrassed by the whole
episode. The internal wars in ZANU-PF are now going to resurface because the
MDC is now out of the way," the politburo member said.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, former security minister and Mugabe's chief election
agent, told IRIN that investigations had confirmed a plot to sideline
Mugabe. If Makoni had won the presidential race, he would have been invited
to rejoin ZANU-PF as its leader.
"We have never understood how, in many places, the municipal, parliament and
senate would, for example, each receive 90 votes, while President Mugabe
would get 30. We can only assume that there was a strategy to campaign
against Mugabe," said Mnangagwa, who is regarded as a possible hand-picked
successor to Mugabe.
Pro-democracy analyst Takura Zhangazha told IRIN that the divisions within
ZANU-PF were now likely to result in a crackdown on those perceived as
having opposed Mugabe, and who are now lobbying for accommodation with the
"We might see a lot of these people perceived as being against Mugabe losing
a lot of patronage, such as farms and ministerial appointments, as Mugabe
and whoever is the chosen successor seek to consolidate their stranglehold
on ZANU-PF. In rural areas the crackdown is likely to continue in order to
bring in a new political culture and cow the population into not even daring
to think about ever voting for the opposition."
One analyst working for a Western development agency, said: "I see the
Mujuru faction, which appears to be on its knees, doing all it can to ensure
that the main political parties come together. They could then use this
opportunity to win them over and dilute Mnangagwa's influence. For now,
there will be a faction in ZANU-PF which might see the benefit of sharing
power with the MDC, but all for strategic reasons."