By Alex Duval Smith in Cape Town
Saturday, 14 June 2008
Amid mounting fears that the senior Zimbabwean opposition official Tendai
Biti is being tortured in custody, his lawyers obtained a high court order
yesterday that he be brought before a judge today.
Mr Biti, 41, secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
was last seen on Thursday by fellow passengers disembarking from a flight
from Johannesburg. They saw him being led away in handcuffs by 10 men in
suits before he had even reached the immigration area of Harare airport.
Police have said Mr Biti will be charged with treason, a crime which carries
the death penalty.
It is understood that Mr Biti was taken first to Matapi police station, then
to Harare Central and is currently being held at the notorious Goromonzi
torture centre, about 20 miles south-east of the capital.
The basement torture chamber is located in a small farming village of the
same name and is run by the feared Central Intelligence Organisation. It is
known as the "swimming pool" because of its wet floor, a feature designed to
increase the impact of electric shocks.
Mr Biti's lawyer, Selby Hwacha, said he had made futile attempts to
ascertain where his client was being held. The MDC said it had "dispatched a
team of lawyers and human rights defenders to every possible police station
in Harare in an effort to secure his whereabouts".
The party added: "We are deeply worried about the welfare of the secretary
general. Given the gravity of the otherwise ludicrous charges that have been
preferred against Mr Biti, it is critical that he is able to access legal
A Zimbabwe police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, refused to give details of Mr
Biti's whereabouts or state of health and would only repeat an earlier
statement: "We are charging him with treason and communicating and
publishing false statements prejudicial to the state ... [He] is in police
custody and we are still investigating the matter."
The arrest of Mr Biti, a lawyer who until Wednesday had led an MDC
delegation at South African-brokered talks with the Zimbabwean ruling party,
Zanu-PF, met with condemnation from Britain and the United States.
And perhaps more significantly, it prompted the strongest-ever regional
diplomatic attack on Zimbabwe - from neighbouring Botswana.
"Botswana is alarmed by these arrests and detentions as they disrupt
electoral activities of key players and intimidate the electorate, thus
undermining the process of holding a free
By Parker Khesani in Bulawayo and Claire Soares
Saturday, 14 June 2008
Fears of civil war in Zimbabwe escalated yesterday as it emerged that
opposition supporters, frustrated by police inaction at the brutal
intimidation campaign being waged by President Robert Mugabe's allies, have
begun to form their own "revenge forces".
Since Mr Mugabe - the only president Zimbabwe has ever known - was pushed
into second place by Morgan Tsvangirai in the first-round ballot of the
presidential election, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
says more than 60 supporters have been murdered and thousands more
threatened in a well-oiled operation to rig the second round of voting.
Now with less than two weeks to the crucial run-off, it has emerged that
residents in the opposition stronghold of South Matabeleland have taken
matters into their own hands to fend off the relentless attacks by the
ruling party's militias. "War veterans who are camped at a Ministry of
Agriculture house in the Nyandeni area have been launching attacks against
our supporters since last month," said Petros Mukwena, a local MDC official.
"At the weekend they attacked the home of one of our women candidates and in
the process they razed it to the ground. After waiting for a number of days
without the police coming to attend to the scene of the crime, villagers
mobilised themselves and retaliated." Around 20 war veterans and five
opposition supporters were hospitalised following the clashes, he said,
Meanwhile, Mr Mugabe was ratcheting up his own rhetoric, warning that his
self-styled war veterans were straining at the leash and ready to go to war
if Mr Tsvangirai won the presidency in the 27 June ballot.
South Africa, Zimbabwe's neighbour and erstwhile ally, was forced to issue a
public call for calm. "A civil war will not be in the interests of the
region," said the South African Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad.
"And so we will do everything possible, first to deal with all the reports
of the escalating violence and second to make sure that we never reach the
possibility of a civil war because that would be a disaster not only for
Zimbabwe but for all of us." This peace call was echoed by a coalition of
about 40 prominent Africans - from the former UN secretary general Kofi
Annan to the Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour - who took out full-page
advertisements in newspapers around the world calling for "an end to the
violence and intimidation". "It is crucial for the interests of both
Zimbabwe and Africa that the upcoming elections are free and fair," they
But the signs coming from Harare yesterday were far from reassuring. In a
speech to his Zanu-PF party faithful, Mr Mugabe said that the war veterans
had told him that they would launch a new bush war if his 28-year presidency
came to an end when voters returned to the polls later this month."They said
if this country goes back into white hands just because we have used a pen
[voted], we will return to the bush to fight," Mr Mugabe told the crowd of
youth members. "I'm even prepared to join the fight,"he added."We can't
allow the British to dominate us through their puppets."
In Matabeleland - where memories are still raw of the 1980s massacres
unleashed by Mr Mugabe to consolidate his grip on power - some of the
rhetoric was equally bellicose. One local MDC official, who did not want to
be named, said they had decided that, for every home burnt down by Zanu-PF
militias, the opposition supporters would raze 10 to the ground.
Another MDC member, Fesi Dube, said he would remain defiant in the face of
government threats. "I have said that I am not going anywhere because I want
to be there to finish off Mugabe," he said. "I am not afraid of the war
veterans and if they want to kill me, I will have to kill one of them before
they can subdue me," he added, pulling an Okapi knife from his pockets.
Norman Mpofu, an MDC politician who was elected to parliament in the March
elections, said the war veterans had called him to their base in the
Bulilima East constituency. "They asked me to tell people that it was not
their intention to fight them but they were only doing a job," said Mr
Mpofu. "The situation is degenerating into dangerous levels. The government
has to do something about this circle of violence because our people are now
By Trymore Magomana | Correspondent | Friday, June 13, 2008 16:55
Zimbabwe, Harare --Zimbabweans have been cut off from independent
news, with local journalists facing beatings or arrest if they are critical
of the government, an African fact-finding mission said Friday.
"For a local journalist to try and get the facts, he's asking for
trouble," said Rob Jamieson of the South Africa Editors' Forum, one of
several groups involved in the six-person mission that returned from
Zimbabwe on Friday, two weeks ahead of a tense presidential run-off
The danger reporters face under President Robert Mugabe's regime has
caused some to resort to hiding their identities, and one participant in the
mission described a freelance journalist who operated a small shop as cover.
The mission was in Zimbabwe from June 8 to 13 and interviewed a range
of reporters throughout the country. They said what they found was
Journalists told of arrests on trumped up charges and raids on the
offices of civil society organisations.
"There was a constant fear," said Gabriel Ayite Baglo of the
International Federation of Journalists' Africa office.
Some they tried to interview canceled out of fear they would be seen,
Police have also begun confiscating radios that people in rural areas
had used to pick up outside stations, they said.
Those they interviewed also told of ruling party supporters ordering
people in the countryside to take down their satellite dishes.
"It effectively means that people in the rural areas are not getting
information at all," said Jamieson.
Zimbabwe has two dailies, both controlled by the government, and no
private radio or television stations.
For an alternative to the official line most people have turned to
pirate radio stations and regional newspapers -- mostly from South Africa --
as well as magazines that carry stories about Zimbabwe.
The government announced earlier this month that it now considered
foreign newspapers and magazines luxury items and would slap an import duty
of 40 percent of the total cost per kilogramme on them.
Zimbabwe's presidential run-off election is set for June 27, with
Mugabe facing the most serious challenge to his 28-year reign.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who faces Mugabe in the run-off,
has said Zimbabwe is now essentially run by a "military junta" and claims 66
members of his party have been killed since the first-round vote in March.
Labour urges intervention
Labour unions from southern Africa on Wednesday called on the regional
organisation SADC to send peace-keepers to Zimbabwe to ensure presidential
elections take place democratically.
A statement from the main worker bodies in eight countries also called
on the 15 SADC governments to mount "vigilant monitoring" of the June 27
run-off vote and to make sure United Nations and other observers could also
be on the spot.
"The workers in the region cannot allow the election and the
expression of the people of Zimbabwe through the ballot box to be stolen,"
said the statement, read at a news conference by Swaziland's labour
federation leader Jan Sithole.
It said President Robert Mugabe's government was continuing to
"aggressively violate" U.N. labour pacts with "malicious police violence,
brutality, arrests and detentions of trade union leaders, activists and
human rights defenders."
The president and secretary-general of the Zimbabwe trade union
organisation were recently imprisoned for 10 days and then released under
bail terms that prevented them from carrying out their work or travelling,
the statement added.
The stance of the worker delegates, in Geneva for the annual
Conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), contrasted
sharply with that of political leaders of SADC, the Southern African
These have preferred to avoid openly criticising Mugabe and work
through the "quiet diplomacy" championed by South Africa's President Thabo
Lesotho's Prime Minister Pakalitha Mososili told another news
conference the sovereignty of Zimbabwe must be respected.
Mososili said he understood there was "no way" that the run- off poll
between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai could be rigged.
His argument was rejected at the workers' briefing by Alina Rantsolase
of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU. "The first round was
already rigged," she declared.
Sithole, who said the group was also speaking on behalf of the
Zimbabwe union leaders, told reporters its stance was backed at the ILO by
worker and employer bodies from all continents.
The only objection came from Cuba, which defended Mugabe -- while
official Zimbabwe government delegates sat in the gallery to avoid having to
"It is very sad to see Cuba behaving in this way," said another
African worker representative at the news conference. "They supported South
Africans' struggle against apartheid, but now they are backing Mugabe's
The statement -- signed by union bodies from Zambia, Botswana, South
Africa, Swaziland, Malawi, Angola, Lesotho and Mozambique -- blamed SADC's
"passive strategy" on human rights issues for the situation in Zimbabwe.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 06/15/08
During the late 20th century, human rights campaigns led by Western
progressives helped to liberate two nations on the tip of the African
continent from brutal whites-only rule. In 1980, the apartheid regime of
Rhodesia gave way to a black-led Zimbabwe. And in 1994, the first
multiracial elections in South Africa delivered the presidency to a black
man, the longtime anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela.
In the years since, the two nations have traveled very different paths.
South Africa has enjoyed stability, a free press, international investment,
an independent judiciary and democratic elections - helped by the graceful
exit of Mandela, who retired after one term. While the nation still
struggles with poverty, underdevelopment and an AIDS epidemic, it has become
a model for multiracial democracy on the African continent.
Zimbabwe, by contrast, has spiraled downward into disaster. Thirty years
ago, the nation was stable and productive, a net exporter of food blessed
with a small class of educated black professionals ready to form its
governmental bureaucracy. Now Zimbabwe is beset by a thuggish regime that
has ushered in starvation, hyperinflation, rampant unemployment, political
oppression and corruption.
Yet the tyranny of Zimbabwe's black president, Robert Mugabe, has met with
little reaction from America's black elite. Black politicians, Hollywood
celebrities and ordinary Americans loudly protested apartheid - staging
demonstrations outside the South African embassy in Washington - but
Mugabe's despotism has produced only muted criticism. What gives?
Though Mugabe has labored mightily to blame his nation's troubles on
others - including the dwindling population of white Zimbabweans and Western
human rights activists - Zimbabwe's voters have finally determined he needs
to go. His opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, led the opening round of voting in
elections in March.
But Mugabe's henchmen have resorted to murder to make certain the runoff
election, scheduled for June 27, is anything but free and fair. Tsvangirai
has been harassed and detained repeatedly by police. The wives of other
opposition leaders have been butchered and burned alive. Mugabe's police
even went so far as to seize food sent to schoolchildren by international
donors, giving it only to those who promised to vote for him.
His followers maim and murder their opponents and starve children, but few
black Americans notice. Why? Why do we ignore the transgressions of black
African tyrants while assailing those of white tyrants?
Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young is among those who still manage to see
more morality than malice in Mugabe's rule. "Americans cannot be rational
about Mugabe," Young said. "We've always miscast Mugabe. He's a
fundamentalist Roman Catholic. ... He doesn't steal."
Young traces Zimbabwe's troubles back more than 30 years, to the failure of
the United States and Great Britain to fund land reform efforts as
generously as promised.
Similarly, Nicole Lee, head of TransAfrica Forum, a Washington-based human
rights group founded by black Americans, points to "a larger context" that
includes the failure of Western nations to fund programs to grant farmland
to poor black Zimbabweans. She, too, says that Americans shouldn't
There's just one problem with that. Mugabe has become a demon.
Here and there, a courageous human rights activist sees the problem clearly
and has the guts to say so. Last week, Desmond Tutu called for Mugabe's
resignation. "Mugabe began so well more than 30 years ago. We all had such
high hopes," said the former Anglican archibishop. "... But his regime has
turned into a horrendous nightmare. He should stand down."
Georgia Congressman John Lewis said he supports a more forceful response to
Mugabe's tyranny. "Just because he's a black leader of an African nation
doesn't mean that we can afford to be silent," he said.
It may be that Americans can do little to influence Mugabe's course. If he
is willing to starve his people, he is probably immune to public
condemnation. But those committed to civil and human rights have a duty to
register their disgust for Mugabe's madness, as loudly and as readily as
they did for apartheid's brutality.
Friday, 13 June 2008 13:29
Two students namely Zwelithini Viki former University of Zimbabwe
secretary general, and Trust Nhubu former information and publicity
secretary at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) were
yesterday arrested by state security agents in Bulawayo. The two were
training polling agents for the forthcoming Presidential election runoff to
be held on June 27.The police confisticated their training material and
there are being detained at Donnington police station. The two are yet to be
charged but we fear there are being tortured. The arrest comes in the wake
of continued victimization and harassments of those opposing Mugabe's
Friday, 13 June 2008 12:15
The push for a government of national unity is threatening to derail
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai's plan to
off President Robert Mugabe in the June 27 presidential run-off
election, with his major backers withholding their endorsement in
of calls to cancel the poll.
Meanwhile, late today, Zimbabwe police arrested the opposition MDC's
secretary general as he flew in today ahead of the June 27
run-off vote and detained party leader Morgan Tsvangirai for the third
time this month.
MDC officials said party secretary general Tendai Biti was detained as
he stepped off a plane at Harare airport.
Mr Biti, the party's number three, left the country soon after
March 29 elections to gather African support.
Police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena said Biti had been arrested over
opposition's early announcement of results from the elections.
"He was wanted in connection with the premature announcement of
before the official announcement of results by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission," he said.
Mr Chris Mhike, a lawyer acting for the MDC, said an urgent court
application would be made to force authorities to bring Mr Biti to
as soon as possible.
Mr Tsvangirai was detained at a roadblock on his way to address a
campaign rally today, the party said.
He was detained by police twice last week and held for several hours
Elsewhere, South African President Thabo Mbeki, who was mandated by
Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mediate between Zanu
and MDC, has reportedly been pressing the opposition to agree to a
transitional government, because of rising violence.
And, former Zambian president, Dr Kenneth Kaunda has added to the
pressure on Mr Tsvangirai with a public call for him to accept the
of prime minister under a Mr Mugabe presidency.
He said it was "important for each one of them (political leaders) to
remember that they have a duty and, indeed, they owe it to that great
country, to start afresh".
In Zimbabwe, the opposition is under intense political and violent
pressure to agree to call off the poll and join a coalition government
led by Mr Mugabe.
Mr Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, won
first round of the elections in March but narrowly failed to win an
He has rejected any agreement that leaves Mr Mugabe in office and says
there can be no agreement on power sharing before a run-off vote
he is confident of victory.
"Mugabe will lose," Mr Tsvangirai said. "It's just a formality to go
campaign, the people have already decided."
But the support the has been banking on to achieve that victory has
been forthcoming, with ruling Zanu PF defector, Dr Simba Makoni who
garnered eight percent of the vote in the four way presidential race
taking center stage in the push for the transitional government.
The smaller faction of the MDC led by Professor Arthur Mutambara is
reportedly divided on the run-off with some senior official preferring
to support a transitional government instead of Mr Tsvangirai's final
Those calling for the transitional government argue that there is no
hope for a free and fair election in Zimbabwe because of the worsening
violence, which the opposition says has claimed the lives of more than
60 of its supporters and displaced tens of thousands.
Is not conducive
Dr Makoni says the current environment of instability and violence is
not conducive for a free and fair election.
"We are convinced that the last thing Zimbabwe and the people need is
another election," he said recently.
"Between now and June 27 we believe that an election cannot be
the people will be short changed."
He revealed that the negotiations between the ruling Zanu PF and the
were taking place and both leaders - Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai
respectively - were agreed that a transitional government would
the problem of Zimbabwe.
Analysts fear that if Mr Tsvangirai's backers in the opposition do not
take a decision soon on whether to endorse his candidature and
with their push for government of national unity, they will deliver
victory to Mr Mugabe.
Already, Mr Tsvangirai can not campaign in the former Zanu PF rural
strongholds that have been sealed off by President Mugabe's militant
supporters who have been blamed for most of the violence rocking the
There is also concern among some opposition politicians that, if the
insists on taking power, the government will use escalating
state-sponsored violence as a pretext to call off the polls at the
minute and impose emergency rule.
Professor Welshman Ncube, the secretary general of the smaller faction
of the MDC said a decision was likely to be made on Friday on whether
endorse Mr Tsvangirai.
But he admitted there were divisions in the faction over strategy as
some members felt that the main MDC wanted to divide the group by
secretly approaching their Members of Parliament and councillors to
campaign for Mr Tsvangirai.
"There are some who are going to our members, councilors, Members of
Parliament and others in leadership positions and asking them to
campaign with them without our knowledge," Prof Ncube said.
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Saturday Nation, Kenya
Publication Date: 6/14/2008 Worrying signals are coming out of Zimbabwe as
the country approaches the June 27 presidential election run-off.
Intimidation and harassment are picking up.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been arrested on numerous
occasions and his campaigns disrupted. His supporters are being beaten, run
out of their homes and even killed by security agencies and lawless mobs
acting at the behest of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Beyond the terror campaign, President Robert Mugabe has declared that
he will not hand over power even if rejected by the voters. He has said
also that a Tsvangirai victory would be the trigger for war.
All this is happening as the African Union and Zimbabwe's neighbours
look on with seeming disinterest. This is the time to make a clear
distinction between remaining neutral and intervening to prevent the rape of
Africa must stand as one and mince no words in telling President
Mugabe that he has no option but to relinquish power if the people of
Zimbabwe reject him.
It must also be made clear that he will be held personally responsible
for crimes against his own people as currently being witnessed.
Zimbabwe provides an acid test for Africa.
The African Union was formed from the ashes of the discredited
Organisation of African Unity with a clear mandate to advance the march of
democracy on the continent.
The continental organisation has the mandate to intervene in any
member-country where democracy is threatened and human rights trampled on.
Pronouncements by President Mugabe and his key lieutenants indicating
they will not respect the will of the Zimbabwean people if the election
results do not go their way must not be taken lightly.
The intention to kill democracy must be met with firm and unequivocal
responses from the AU, the regional bodies of which Zimbabwe is a member and
individual African countries, particularly the southern African bloc.
What we have heard so far is very loud silence, and the suffering
people of Zimbabwe might well take silence as consent.
Must we abandon them to the mercies of an increasingly mad dictator
who would starve his subjects to death to hold onto power?
The Presidency of the EU is very concerned about the arrest of Tendai Biti,
Secretary General of the MDC in Zimbabwe and the third detention of Morgan
Tsvangirai within a few weeks.
The Presidency welcomes the call for an end to violence and intimidation in
Zimbabwe ahead of the elections on June 27 2008 by the Prominent African
civil society leaders issued on 13 June.
The Presidency condemns the campaign of violence, harassment and
intimidation taking place in Zimbabwe and urges the Government of Zimbabwe
to ensure its cessation in order to establish a peaceful, free and fair
environment that would enable Zimbabweans to express their fundamental
democratic right to vote.
HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 13, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ - The
international community, including the United States, should establish an
assistance fund to support reconstruction efforts in Zimbabwe as soon as the
country's voters bring to a close President Robert Mugabe's 28-year rule.
Freedom House believes the fund should be the cornerstone of a comprehensive
transition plan developed by the international community in cooperation with
Zimbabwean diaspora and opposition groups.
"An international assistance fund would send a strong message to the
Zimbabwean people that a democratic government in Harare will result in a
global commitment to economic and political reconstruction," said Jennifer
Windsor, Freedom House executive director. "The Zimbabwe fund would help
address the devastating economic, health, and humanitarian issues that
currently afflict the country and provide opportunities for democracy to
take root in Zimbabwe."
Zimbabweans go to the polls June 27 in a presidential run-off that so far
has been marred by violence, harassment and repeated detentions of
opposition party supporters and top figures from the Movement for Democratic
Change, including presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.
The Bush administration is requesting $45 million in aid for Zimbabwe in its
budget request for fiscal year 2009. Freedom House urges the U.S. Congress
to adopt this spending level and provide additional funding through the 2008
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act.
At the same time, Freedom House calls upon Europe to match the U.S.
commitment, either through the European Union or bi-lateral assistance
packages. Funding priorities should include feeding Zimbabweans, providing
relief for HIV/AIDS patients and stabilizing the currency.
The Southern African Development Community and the South African government
also have essential roles to play in contributing their political support
and expertise to ensure a smooth political and economic transition in
Daniel Calingaert, Freedom House deputy programs director, stressed that any
reconstruction effort must be led by the people of Zimbabwe. Freedom House
recommends establishing working groups to address the most pressing social
and economic issues-such as the collapse of Zimbabwe's ailing health care
system-and to provide support for rebuilding the country's democratic
"Such a joint effort to rebuild Zimbabwe, following a democratic
transition, will help to repair the country's international reputation and
relationships which were shattered by Mugabe's regime," said Calingaert.
The violence and displacement of Zimbabweans that occurred following the
first round of voting suggests that a political transition could potentially
be unstable. By planning effectively now, the international community can
help prevent a similar situation from occurring after the June 27 runoff.
Zimbabwe is ranked Not Free in the 2008 edition of Freedom in the World,
Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and in the
2008 version of Freedom of the Press.
SOURCE : Freedom House
by Own Correspondent Saturday 14 June 2008
JOHANNESBURG - Fourteen former African presidents, two former heads of the
United Nations and some of the continent's eminent civil and business
leaders have called for an end to violence and intimidation ahead of
Zimbabwe's June 27 presidential election run-off.
They called on the Harare government to allow a free and fair vote and to
permit independent election observers to witness the run-off election
between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
In a full-page advertisement in London's Financial Times and South African
daily Business Day, the African dignitaries also urged Mugabe's government
to restore full access to the country for humanitarian and aid agencies
helping feed the country's needy citizens.
"As Africans we consider the forthcoming elections to be critical. We are
aware of the attention of the world," they said in an appeal singed by such
African luminaries as Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, former UN secretary
general Kofi Annan and Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour.
"We call for an end to the violence and intimidation, and restoration of
full access for humanitarian and aid agencies."
Other signatories to the appeal included: Annan's predecessor at the UN
Boutros Boutros-Ghali and former presidents Jerry Rawlings of Ghana,
Abdusalami Abubakar of Nigeria, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Benjamin
Mkapa of Tanzania, Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae of Botswana and
Nicéphore Soglo of Benin.
Business leaders signing included Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel
International, and Sam Jonah, former chief executive of the Ashanti
Goldfields Corporation. Nobel Peace Prize winners Wangari Maathai of Kenya
and Desmond Tutu of South Africa also signed, as did civil society leader
Graça Machel and musician Angelique Kidjo.
Zimbabwe is holding the second round presidential ballot after Tsvangirai
defeated Mugabe in the first round ballot in March but fell short of the
margin required under the country's electoral laws to take over the
Tsvangirai starts as favourite to win the run-off poll after polling 47.8
percent in the March 29 polls against 42.3 polled by Mugabe.
However, political violence has marked campaigning for the run-off poll,
amid charges by Tsvangirai that Mugabe has unleashed state security forces
and ruling ZANU PF party militias to wage violence against the opposition
leader's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and its supporters in an
attempt to regain the upper hand in the second ballot.
The MDC says that at least 66 of its members have been killed in political
violence over the past two months while several thousands more had been
displaced from their homes.
The government denies committing violence and instead accuses the MDC of
carrying out violence in a bid to tarnish Mugabe's name.
Meanwhile, British Premier Gordon Brown called separately on Friday for
Zimbabwe to allow a return of aid workers, UN agencies and non-governmental
organisations, along with more international election observers.
The Zimbabwe government last week suspended all work by aid agencies,
accusing them of using aid distribution to campaign for Tsvangirai ahead of
the run-off election - a charge aid groups deny.
The ban has been criticised by the European Union, United States, local
church and human rights groups who say it has cut off support to more than
two million Zimbabweans who received life sustaining support from aid
agencies on a daily basis. - ZimOnline
[See the full letter and signatures here..
June 13, 2008, 20:15
South Africa says the arrests of opposition figures and the violence in
Zimbabwe need to be addressed before the run-off election. Deputy Foreign
Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad says there are serious concerns about the
violence in Zimbabwe.
Pahad says President Thabo Mbeki has taken up these issues with Zimbabwean
leaders. He says SADC and other observer missions have a responsibility to
deal with the incidents.
Pahad says the South African government will be sending a total of about 70
observers to be part of the SADC observers in Zimbabwe. SADC will increase
the number of observers to monitor the Zimbabwean run-off presidential
election to about 400.
This observer mission is considerably larger that the one sent to observe
the first round of elections in Zimbabwe. Pahad says this is to ensure that
observers are sent to all the 10 provinces during the run-off.
SADC observers are said to be in Harare, ready to be deployed in all the
provinces in Zimbabwe. The mandate of the observers is said to be to monitor
the entire electoral process and to intervene where necessary. This will
include issues of the arrests of MDC leaders in the days leading to the
elections, and even the pre-election violence reported in parts of the
13th Jun 2008 22:26 GMT
By a Correspondent
The Batswana government, concerned by events in Zimbabwe, especially the
pre-electoral violence and the arrest of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, his colleagues in the MDC and party supporters, summoned
Zimbabwe's ambassador Tommy Mandigora in Gaborone to register its disgust at
the goings on in Harare. Below is the statement from the Botswana
GABORONE - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
summoned the Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe HE Mr. Thomas Mandigora
on June 12, 2008 to express strong concern over the latest arrests and
detentions of Opposition leaders Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, presidential run-off
candidate for the MDC Party and Mr. Tendai Biti, Secretary General of the
Botswana is alarmed by these arrests and detentions as they disrupt
electoral activities of key players and intimidate the electorate thus
undermining the process of holding a free, fair and democratic election.
We are deeply disturbed by this unfolding situation of politically motivated
arrests and intolerance which pose a serious threat to an outcome that
reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
The repeated arrests and detentions are unacceptable and deserve
condemnation as they violate the Principles and Objectives of the SADC
The government of the Republic of Zimbabwe has the primary responsibility to
ensure that a climate of peace and security prevails in the run up to the
We therefore call upon the government of Zimbabwe to fully assume its
responsibilities by putting an end to these acts of political harassment and
intimidation to avoid a further deterioration of the situation in that
By Maurice Gerard
Last Updated: 12:37am BST 14/06/2008
Barclays Bank is being accused of giving Robert Mugabe's government a
"financial lifeline" in the run-up to Zimbabwe's presidential election, it
Barclays' Zimbabwean subsidiary lent the Mugabe regime $46.4 million (£23
million) last year through its purchase of government and municipal bonds
and is one of the main contributors to a government-run loan scheme for farm
improvements, the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility
At least five ministers have received loans for farms seized from white
Zimbabweans under the Aspef scheme, intended to boost agricultural
production, which has collapsed since the seizures began.
Barclays Group, based in London, has a 67 per cent stake in Barclays
Zimbabwe and reaped a dividend of $12 million in 2006 through its
subsidiary, while profits rose by 135 per cent in 2007 according to company
documents seen by The Daily Telegraph.
Patrick Smith, the editor of the influential newsletter Africa Confidential,
said: "It's evident that Barclays is providing a financial lifeline to the
Mugabe regime." EU sanctions in Zimbabwe - first imposed in 2002 amid fears
that Mr Mugabe was attempting to rig that year's presidential elections -
prohibit any British bank from giving financial services to individuals
connected with the government.
Norman Lamb, the senior Liberal Democrat MP, said: "Surely it is scandalous
that a British company - via a local subsidiary - is providing financial
support and sustenance to this brutal regime and to key figures within it?"
Earlier this year a Foreign Office inquiry cleared Barclays of breaking the
sanctions because its local subsidiary, Barclays Zimbabwe, was judged to be
outside EU jurisdiction.
A Barclays spokesman said the bank provided essential services to ordinary
Zimbabweans. "Barclays is compliant with EU sanctions regarding Zimbabwe,"
"Barclays always seeks to conduct its business in an ethical and responsible
"The Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility is a
non-discretionary scheme which involves loans that are made by Barclays to
its farming sector customers and not to the government. The lending scheme
is organised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and is provided by all local
and foreign banks operating in the country to their customers.
"With regard to government bonds, as with all other banks and businesses,
Barclays is required to comply with the regulations of the Zimbabwe Reserve
Bank e.g. relating to capital adequacy ratios and maintenance of minimum
liquidity reserves. This involves participating from time to time in the
purchase of treasury bills and government bonds."
by Africa Heritage Desk Saturday 14 June 2008
OPINION: Africa continues to receive its fair share of negative news that
helps to define who and what we are. The promise of Africa is more elusive
to the majority notwithstanding the efforts by state and non-state actors
alike to change the standard of living of all our people for the better.
The past 52 years of independence have regrettably produced a perculiar
dependency syndrome among many of us.
The decolonisation project was expected to produce a new African armed with
a great sense of responsibility for the future of the continent and how it
is portrayed yet the majority of us still expect other people to invest in
the changes that we want to see in the continent.
The fact that Africa is well endowed with natural and human resources has
failed to leverage the position of the majority of Africans as agents of
It is in this context that we have to reflect critically on why after 52
years of independence the success stories in enterprise development in
Africa reflect largely a continuum of its colonial past.
An examination of the movers and shakers of Africa as reflected on its stock
exchanges will confirm that very few native Africans have graduated from
their colonially determined status and profile to become decision makers on
the future of the continent.
The principle upon which post-colonial Africa was founded and organised has
largely determined and fixed its destiny. Was post-colonial Africa destined
for greatness? Are we a continent of progress and if so, who really is meant
to benefit from it?
The lack of progress on key human development indicators in Africa has
largely been blamed on the impact of neo-colonialism, corruption,
dictatorship, civil wars, and lack of entreprenuers.
The brain drain that has seen African human capital migrate to former
colonial masters is just but one symptom of a continent that has no plan for
Instead of asking what Africa can do for us we have to critically ask what
we have done to raise the African flag high and bring hope to a continent
that is blinded by its past and challenged by its future.
The brain drain demonstrates that in the minds of many Africans the
continent offers inferior opportunities for personal and corporate
development particularly to its natives.
Instead of being engaged in the enterprise of nation building some believe
that Africa owes them something and the changes they want to see will occur
While the continent continues to be portrayed as dark it has surprised many
foreign investors who continue to reap handsomely from the continent while
pessimism, cynicism and even despair pervades the native African mind.
The Safaricom initial public offer (IPO) story that has recently dominated
the print and electronic media is pregnant with lessons for native Africans
about the opportunities that elude them.
It has been reported extensively that a South African born, Michael Joseph,
has turned the mobile phone service provider into a remarkable success
The spinning of the Safaricom story in the media has been positioned in such
a manner as to simultaneously imply the existence of a native
entreprenuership vacuum in Africa as well as sending a message to
international investors that post-colonial Kenya, notwithstanding its recent
political problems, is a fertile ground for innovative and enterprising
individuals and companies to reap handsomely.
Safaricom commenced business in 1993 as a division of the Kenya Post &
Telecommunications Corporation (now a French Telecom subsidiary following
privatisation) operating on an analogue ETACS network which was upgraded to
GSM in 1996.
Safaricom Limited was incorporated on April 3 1997 and it was awarded a
network licence in 1999. It was converted into a public company with limited
liability on May 16 2002 with the government through Telkom Kenya Limited
holding 60 percent of the shares.
Pursuant to the IPO, the government's interest has now been diluted to 35
percent following the offer to the public of 25 percent of the shares. A
consortium led by Vodafone holds 40 percent of the company.
Safaricom was the first mobile phone player in Kenya. When Joseph arrived in
2000 in Kenya, the company had 20 000 customers and through his leadership
the subscriber base has exploded to 10.5 million, making the company the
biggest in East Africa with about 85 percent of the market share.
After about 45 years of independence it is instructive that Kenya has not
managed to produce a black person matching Joseph's skills and experience.
Equally this story tells us that the state is not always a reliable partner
for progress and development and yet many Africans genuinely believe that
the government has all the answers.
Some in Africa have argued that land is the economy and the economy is land.
However, the Safaricom story informs otherwise.
The listing of the company whose shares were oversubscribed by 532 percent
and whose price surged by 50 percent on the first day of listing shows that
good ideas can find a profitable home in Africa.
What has made Safaricom a success story? If Joseph was black would the
government of Kenya have trusted him to run the state controlled company and
lead it to privatisation?
After 45 years of independence, the control of Safaricom has been
transferred to a foreign company by a government that was elected to advance
the interests of its citizens.
What Safaricom has done is to convert 10.5 million citizens into believers
of an idea and yet in post-colonial Africa it is rare to get the same number
to believe in an idea called a nation state.
Joseph did not invent the 10.5 million African subscribers; all he did was
to provide them with a service that they are willing to pay for.
The concept of exchange of view must be a fundamental building block for a
new Africa. If African governments were structured and operated like
Safaricom I have no doubt that citizens will believe in them and subscribe
to the idea of working together to build one reality.
All that has been listed in the form of Safaricom is the consequence of 10.5
million believing in one idea. With good management and service there is
more that can be done in Africa.
The value of the Safaricom is now estimated at US$4.5 billion. There is no
doubt that the new conquest of Africa is being efficiently intermediated by
our own African governments further reinforcing the notion that native
Africans cannot manage their own destiny without the infusion of great ideas
I have no doubt that if Joseph was a native Kenyan, questions would already
have been raised about his cronyism and its alleged impact on business
The airtime that has made Safaricom the success it deserves is consumed by
10.5 million Africans, the majority of whom are poor. Safaricom has produced
its own 10.5 million users who pay for the minutes they consume. It is now
one of the largest new mutual created in Africa and for Africans.
If Safaricom can convert a small idea into a big idea why is it that we have
failed to pose and think carefully about what is wrong with our continent.
The majority of Africans are poor and yet 10.5 million individuals can buy
into an idea called Safaricom and accept to voluntarily surrender their hard
earned income to a business model that appears so basic.
The government of Kenya only managed to make 20 000 Kenyans to believe in
the Safaricom idea.
Whatever our thoughts on Africa we must think again about the development
models that have informed post-colonial Africa.
The time has come that we as Africans take responsibility for the future of
the continent. Safaricom has shown that the state does not have all the
answers for many Africans who continue to remain at the bottom of the
Joseph and Vodafone have challenged all of us to reflect on the challenges
that confront Africa. There are many things we do not like about Africa and
yet we remain disinterested about the things that matter.
If Joseph can believe in Kenya and make good on its promise then surely all
the smart Africans on the continent and in the diaspora must know that it
may not be imperialism that retards our continent's progress but our own
attitudes. - ZimOnline
| Friday, June
13, 2008 19:23
This is the list of villians & heroes that have been involved in the protracted crisis in Zimbabwe. May all those who died for a free Zimbabwe Rest in peace.
1. Dadirai Chipiro - wife of MDC head Mhondoro - brutally murdered by having her feet and one hand cut off, then thrown into a hut and burned to death.
2. Mr. Chipiro - although aware that his life is
threatened, he said he's not leaving Mhondoro: "They want to kill me. But I have
no alternative. My presence here as a leader is very important. If I leave,
everyone else will leave. I intend to fight the battle, from
3. Reverend Takura Bango - savagely beaten in Makoni South.
4. The wife and 6 year old son of the MDC councillor Harare South - both died after ZPF thugs set fire to their home.
5. MDC activist Chenjerai Kahari - shot dead Bindura South by war vets. His body was left lying in a pool of blood after police refused to take it to the mortuary.
6. Jennie Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu of WOZA - being denied bail and still in detention after 3 weeks.
7. Dumihasani Hapazari - a popular manager at ZESA Chiredzi - abducted and drowned because he nominated the MDC councillor.
8. Botswana government - for summoning the Zim ambassador and complaining about the latest arrests of Tsvangirai and Biti.
9. Tendai Biti - for returning home even though he
knew his arrest was inevitable.
1. Thabo Mbeki, Kenneth Kaunda, Simba Makoni - for not condemning the violence but pressuring Tsvangirai to accept a unity government, with Mugabe at it's head.
2. Major Dangirwa - led soldiers who beat Reverend Bango.
3. Zanu PF MP Bright Matonga - for organising the violence in Mhondoro which most recently claimed the life of Mrs. Chipiro.
4. ZPF Harare South MP Hubert Nyanhongo - blamed for the murderous attack on the wife and son of the MDC Councillor.
5. South African government for again blocking discussion of the Zimbabwe crisis at the UN Security Council.
6. SADC for it's lack of action over the Zim crisis and it's late deployment of observers.
1. Mazhandu - a village headman from the Gokwe area whose home was burnt by war vets and who has been stripped of his position as Headman by the District Administrator, for refusing to join ZPF.
2. Priscilla Sibanda - MDC councillor Ward 15 Matobo - badly beaten by war vets for attending the Matobo Agenda meeting.
3. Precious Ndlovu - Matobo Agenda chairman - assaulted for putting up posters about the meeting.
4. European Union for terminating the consultancy contract of Dr. Paul Chimedza, the former medical superintendent for Harare Hospital, following confirmation of his involvement in political violence in the Masvingo area.
1. Joel Biggie Matiza (ZPF MP), Saymore Chimombe, Oscar Kuchenga - all Murehwa - all guilty of torture and beatings in the area, and allegedly of murders.
2. Mlungiselwa Nkomo, Edward Sibanda and Jacob Ngwenya - war vets Gwanda - beat MDC supporters waiting for Tsvangirai - 10 hospitalised.
3. Elliot Manyika - again - ZPF political commissar who invaded Gweru recently with a group of youths and forced people to wear ZPF T shirts.
4. United Nations - for inviting Mugabe to Rome to the food conference, and also for saying nothing when he banned NGO's from distributing food aid and other assistance.
5. Morris Mukwe and Simon Mapfumo - well known ZPF thugs Chipinge - recently abducted 18 MDC activists in early morning raids - all were tortured.
6. David Parirenyatwa MPand Minister for Health,
Mavhungire (war vet) Simba Mutarikwa (MP Uzumba) Bright Makonde (Senator for
Murehwa) - all involved in the recent violence in Murehwa North. Two MDC
supporters died in the attacks and traditional leaders were badly
Heroes & Villains 31 May, 2008
Heroes & Villains 23rd May, 2008
Heroes & Villains - 16 May, 2008
1. Sabhuku Elias Madzivanzira and his wife - the 70
year old village head in Ward 8 Shamva was axed to death by youth militia. His
wife was seriously injured.
Heroes & Villains - Friday 02 May
The fact that the words ‘free and fair’ still crop up in conversations about the forthcoming election amazes me. The relentless harrassment and total crackdown on people everywhere is unbelievable.
Yes, I appreciate that saying it is ‘unbelievable’, when we’re talking about Zimbabwe, is probably just as odd a choice of words in the current climate as using the words ‘free and fair ‘ in the context of the forthcoming elections. I can almost hear a chorus of responses saying ‘Why is it unbelievable, this is Mugabe we’re talking about…?’
The truth is, if a person is a free-minded person, and if that person believes in democracy and human rights and freedom for all, then that individual will always find it hard to comprehend or fathom the absence of these precious things.
I don’t believe in human rights as if they are commodities that some people have and others don’t. I believe in them like I know I have a heart in my body and cells in my skin. They are inalienable to all of us. How can I be deprived of something that is a part of me?
I am struggling, every day now, with a sense of exhaustion, shock and disbelief at how far our regime is prepared to go to hold onto power (and believe me, I have no illusions: I see the pictures and I’ve read the first hand testimony of victims).
I look around me and I see people I know and respect equally as shocked: my head can’t make that leap that Mugabe and his regime are demanding I make and nor can anyone else. The mental leap he demands of us is a dull dispirited recognition that Zimbabwe is not a country of freedom loving gentle people, but is a despot’s toy, disposable and his to break at his will.
I just can’t look at my country in this way, as a place where intrinsic principles have no value at all. I see the pictures and I read the words and I hear the stories and I know the economic hardship, but I also see the anger and frustration and shock of everyone around me accompanied by remarkable continual mental resistance to this incredible story that Mugabe is imposing on all of us.
This is NOT who we are and NOT who we stand for.
Today I see that the regime have now impounded the buses Morgan Tsvangirai was using to campaign:
President Tsvangirai’s election campaign buses were impounded in the morning today by police in Gweru. Police claim that they want to search the buses. President Tsvangirai’s election campaign buses have been searched by police over five times and at every road block over the past two days.
Notwithstanding the fact that the police impounded the buses, President Tsvangirai proceeded with his campaign and was enthusiastically received in the high density township of Mukoba 15. The residents of Mukoba emphatically promised President Tsvangirai that they would, on the 27th of June, turn out in their numbers and vote for change.
Passing one preparatory school, even the small children came to meet President Tsvangirai.
As the President’s team was leaving Mukoba, President Tsvangirai stated that, “we are definitely going to win this election. I have absolutely no doubt about that. The people are ready for change and they will finish what they started in 1999 at the formation of the MDC” (via the MDC)
The man has been detained no less than four times in the past week during the campaign trail. It is utterly farcical for the words ‘free and fair’ to be used. The harrassment is relentless.
It seems to me that the ‘campaign trail’ MT is on is now less to do with winning the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans (he already has those) and more to do with showing, at each step of the way, a recalcitrant SADC community that there is NO freedom and NO fairness in Zimbabwe.
I feel like I am witnessing a runner in a marathon, blistered feet, tattered clothes, and weaving across the road with exhaustion but determined to reach that finish line no matter what. But who is he running for?
Only by being there, and resolutely putting one foot in front of another, and showing how he can’t move for the morons pathetically hanging on to his legs and preventing him from making progress, can he demonstrate that the concept of democractic elections in Zimbabwe is beyond any plausibility or credibility at all.
He has to take SADC by their hand and force them to confront the reality of what’s going on. It’s what we are all doing. The cost, to some of us, is especially steep: those who have been killed, those who have lost everything, those who still don’t know where friends and relatives are.
Do the idiots doing Mugabe’s bidding have any idea that they are turning Morgan Tsvangirai into a hero before our eyes? That when we see this tired man still moving forward, we see someone running for the truth we all have in our hearts. How can our spirits not respond to that? I may not be on the side of the road cheering him on as he comes into my view, but I am clapping for him from the sidelines regardless.
Those of us who are resistant to the notion of heros (and frankly, I am one of them) cannot help but feel our spirits respond to this strength of will and purpose.
Tendai Biti was arrested yesterday and is apparently going to face charges of treason. Treason. TREASON! And just because the guy ‘announced’ that Morgan won the elections before ZEC did. I don’t call that treason; I call that ’stating the bloody obvious’. That ‘treasonous crime’ potentially carries a death sentence. My brain screams back: ‘Are you stark staring mad? Are you totally off your heads?’
The MDC’s press release response to Biti’s arrest yesterday read:
“Tendai is a man of moral courage and vision who knew what the regime had in store for him and decided to risk his own freedom to show to the world its illegitimacy and disregard for the rule of law”.
The point again, it seems to me, is not to win over the Zimbabwean people but to win over a SADC community who simply refuse to do the right thing. These guys who are being harrassed and locked up and are being given a very hard time are all throwing down the biggest challenge to SADC yet. SADC will be judged for how they respond forever.
I just hope with all my heart that the international community know that the Mugabe regime isn’t the only party being tested right now; and that their confidence and trust in SADC leadership is on the line too. I hope that that message is being rammed home daily to the SADC community.
It would be treacherous and even criminal - a shameful lie - to pretend that the elections on 27th June are ‘free and fair’ when confronted with an astonishing array of evidence that this is total rubbish.
What worries me more than anything else is that this head of mine that finds it so unbeliveable to comprehend what is happening in my lovely country, finds it so much easier to believe and anticipate that the Zimbabwean people are going to be stabbed in the back again by SADC.
I don’t see Zimbabwe as this sordid little nation nestled on all borders by nations that love freedom; rather, I see ours as a gem of a country glowing with hope and pride but surrounded on all sides by nations holding up blankets to hide the glow from the rest of the world.
Please, we want to fly. Our nation wants to flourish and grow: why not let us?
13th Jun 2008 16:19 GMT
By a Correspondent
LONDON - Southwark Cathedral will this Sunday be holding a special Eucharist
for the Zimbabwean community here in the United Kingdom in Shona and Ndebele
with a Zimbabwean choir at hand to lead the congregants.
A statement from the Anglican Diocese of Southwark said this extraordinary
service, to which everyone is invited, will be celebrated by the Bishops
from Zimbabwe who will be in Britain for the Lambeth Conference and reflects
the strong links that the Diocese has with the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.
The service will be at 6.30pm.
"We are delighted to be able to host this very special service at this all
important time in the history of Zimbabwe. We are very committed to
supporting our brothers and sisters in our link Dioceses in Zimbabwe and
welcome this opportunity to share with the Zimbabwean community. I hope that
many from the Zimbabwean community in England will join us on the day," said
The Very Rev. Colin Slee, who is the Dean of Southwark, said today.
This is the finale to a weekend of events where Southwark Diocese welcomes
Bishops and their partners from around the world in advance of the Lambeth
The Lambeth Conference is a meeting of Anglican Bishops from around the
world, which takes place in Canterbury every ten years.
13 June 2008- Zimbabwe is on the brink of an avoidable humanitarian crisis
that could cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, said
international and regional leaders of the Catholic Church.
President of Caritas Internationalis Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez and Archbishop
Buti Tlhagale of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference said in a
joint statement that Zimbabwe's suspension of international aid activities
and spiralling political violence meant millions of people are suffering.
Caritas members directly feed over a million people in Zimbabwe, and their
projects help over three million people. Caritas targets the most
vulnerable, women, children and the sick. Caritas has suspended those
projects following the ban due to increasing levels insecurity.
The two Church leaders urged the international community, especially South
Africa to press the government of Zimbabwe to reverse the inhumane
suspension of international aid efforts and prevent the violent repression
of the people.
They called the situation shocking and disastrous and were worried that the
authorities had got themselves into a situation that they were finding
impossible to get out of without worsening the repression. They urged the
government to listen to all the religious leaders and faith-based
Cardinal Rodriguez represents 162 national Catholic charities as Caritas
Internationalis President. The Cardinal said, "That food is being denied to
people facing starvation is a grave evil. The government of Zimbabwe must
also ensure that aid workers are able to work in a secure environment
without threats of violence. The scale of the current political violence and
threats is unacceptable.
"Restrictions on humanitarian workers and increasing violence severely
hamper the Church in carrying out its mission to provide care and assistance
to those most in need.
Archbishop Tlhagale stated that the situation in Zimbabwe no longer allowed
for quiet diplomacy. "Quiet Diplomacy is not feeding people, but allowing
the current structures to threaten the very survival of the extremely
"This situation is fast losing the Zimbabwe government and those who support
it any sympathy that there might have been for their concerns. This post
colonial throwback rhetoric by Zimbabwean authorities must cease - let them
prove that they have the interests of ordinary Zimbabwean at heart by giving
Both Church leaders support the latest Zimbabwe bishops' statement that
called "for an immediate cessation of violence and all provocative
statements and actions." The statement asked for independent monitors and
observers, "throughout the country, particularly the rural areas."
The bishops said that the "electoral processes and outcomes are not an
excuse for breaching God's commandments. The sun will still rise on 28 June
2008, well after the elections. May our present conduct help Zimbabwe rise
too, to assume its rightful place among the nations of the world."
Caritas Internationalis Head of Communication Patrick Nicholson on 0039 06
69879725 or 0039 3343590700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr Chris Townsend Information Officer Southern African Catholic Bishops'
P.O.Box 941 Pretoria 0001 South Africa Khanya House - 399 Paul Kruger
Street, Pretoria, 0001
Tel: +27 (0)12 323 6458 Fax: +27 (0) 12 326 6218 Mobile: +27(0)82 783 4729
By Anonymous | Harare Tribune Opinion | Friday, June 13, 2008 19:27
At 84 and with 28 years in power, President Mugabe genuinely believes
that Zimbabwe's sovereignity is still under the threat of imperialism and it
would, therefore, make no sense for him to relinquish state power prior to
the annihilation of the alleged vestiges of imperialist forces that are
allegedly manifesting themselves in the form of resistance to the land
reform and empowerment/indidenization programs.
The outcome of the 29th March election has been described by President
Mugabe as a triumph of imperialism against nationalism.
President Mugabe who still has to recognise his competitor, Morgan
Tsvangirai, as an independent thinking Zimbabwean, is convinced that
Zimbabweans made a mistake by voting for the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and the runoff elctions offers another chance for the mistake to be
President Mugabe believes as many of his colleagues that the change
agenda is being driven from without and the driving force for this kind of
agenda is the desire by the former imperial power, the United Kingdom, to
entrench the status quo ante in so far as the control of Zimbabwean
resources is concerned.
Whether the threat of imperialism to the sovereignty of Zimbabwe is
real or imagined is not the issue but what seems to ignite emotions is that
there appears to be no guarantee that the post Mugabe era will not lead to
the reversal of the recent changes in land ownership pursuant to the
operation of the controversial land reform program.
The interest Zimbabwe continues to enjoy at the global level is then
used as evidence that there is more at stake than the interests of the long
suffering majority Zimbabweans. It is argued by supporters of President
Mugabe that he is their most potent weapon against imperialism and
Zimbabweans are more vulnerable without his personal protection and
An argument has been advanced that targeted sanctions have been put in
place to undermine the regime for the political expediency of imperialist
forces. The real beneficiaries of the sanctions regime, in the eyes of
President Mugabe, are the imperialists and their kith and kin that stand to
benefit from the change of government.
The threat of imperialism has provided President Mugabe with a
convenient excuse for clinging on to power in so far as he can argue that
his regime has been prevented from delivering on its promise by external
forces that were lying low as long as his leadership played along with the
neo colonialist agenda of entrenching the pre colonial class and racial
If the argument that President Mugabe was good leader until he started
attacking the property rights of the white Zimbabweans is accepted, then the
imperialist conspiracy theory gains traction. Zimbabwe is then seen as a
target for imperialist games.
President Mugabe who is a disciple of Karl Marx believes like his
mentor that colonialism was an aspect of the prehistory of the capitalist
mode of production. It was Lenin who identified imperialism as the highest
stage of capitalism and it cannot be denied that monopoly finance capital
was dorminant in Lenin's time as it is now forcing nations and private
corporations to compete to control Africa's rich natural resources and
Even critics of Mugabe have to accept that no significant changes have
taken place in post colonial Zimbabwe through the invisible hand of the
market and to a large extent the inherited class relations that were
predominantly race based are still intact. The people who had most to lose
in post colonial Zimbabwe did not do anything to protect their interests
choosing to leave the burden on people whose views and attitudes were
The colonial government was structured is such a way to benefit a
target group and, therefore, an argument has been advanced that the post
colonial state should focus on the majority who were, in any event, excluded
by the colonial state. However, evidence suggests that the primary victims
of the post colonial order are the very people the system was supposed to
Imperialism is mostly understood in relation to empire building as the
forceful extension of a nation's authority by territorial conquest so as to
establish economic and political domination of other nations. It also
describes the imperialistic attitude of superiority, subordination and
dominion over foreign people and is often autocratic and monolithic in
character. The term is also equally applied to domains of knowledge,
beliefs, values and expertise.
When it is argued that Zimbabwe is a failed state, the counter
arguments that are then used typically are framed in anti-imperialist
language. It is often argued that imperialists do not have any regard for
the values, beliefs and traditions of their victims.
When Prime Minister Gordon Brown takes the role of spokesman for the
change agenda in Zimbabwe, the implied hypocrisy is easily exposed and used
as a basis for mobilizing support for the entrenchment of the status quo.
President Mugabe believes that no imperialist is qualified to talk about
rule of law and property rights when history informs that natives were never
protected by the law.
Proponents of the change agenda argue that it is irrelevant to imply
that imperialism is at the root cause of the Zimbabwean crisis. President
Mugabe's party has been in control of the state for a sufficiently long time
to address the alleged ills of colonialism and it is then argued that it
would be opportunistic for an incumbent to seek to remain in power using old
and recycled arguments.
While President Mugabe mourns about the vices of imperialism it is
instructive that he also believes that sanctions have had an adverse impact
on the economy. Why would President Mugabe want his country to benefit from
an evil system like imperialism? Should he not have developed an alternative
ideology that works for the kind of Zimbabwe he wanted to see when he was
fighting for liberation?
The role of imperialism in undermining the sovereignty of developing
nations will continue to be a subject for debate.
To what extent was the colonial state subsidised by the imperial
state? It has been argued that Rhodesia survived not because the settlers
were waiting for handouts from the colonial master but because the settlers
themselves believed in the idea of creating a new civilisation that they
funded from their own intiatives but underpinned by a repressive colonial
In terms of institution building it has been accepted that the
settlers were clear that they wished to be self governing and in some
instances there were clashes with the imperial state. The settler farmers
formed their own system of government owned by its members. They believed
that the colonial state was their creation and, therefore, they did not see
any role for the natives who were regarded as inferior.
The colonial agricultural system was underpinned by a collective
approach to business. Building societies and friendly societies were
established to support the colonial state. There was a realisation among the
settlers that they were on their own and had to fend for themselves.
In 1927 Old Mutual opened its first office in Harare. However, we
still have to form our own new mutuals. The role of the state actors in
empowering citizens to take ownership of their future cannot be understated.
Why is it the case that the last 28 years of self governing has not
translated itself into institution building where citizens informed by the
experiences of the colonial state take ownership of their own destinies?
It should not be sufficient to critique imperialism without offering
alternatives. Regrettably it has become a habit in developing countries to
point a finger at others without offering viable and sustainable
alternatives. If President Mugabe were to be re-elected, what new ideas can
be expected from him? The world is informed by interests and will continue
to be so whether President Mugabe is in power or not. What is important is
that a leadership be put in power that believes in service and not in
blaming others for things they can do something about.
Imperialism should not be a threat to organised people. After 28 years
in power someone must accept responsibility for failing to provide the kind
of leadership required by a rainbow nation like Zimbabwe. It should not be
acceptable to argue that after 1980 and its promise that race should be used
as an election strategy by an incumbent who has failed to lead.
June 14, 2008
Mbeki's failures are damaging not his own country, but its neighbours, too
The atrocities now being committed daily in Zimbabwe have reached a bestial
nadir. Those daring to challenge Robert Mugabe are beaten and killed. Their
wives are mutilated and burnt alive in their homes. Their villages are
denied food and their families starved into submission. The bravery and
tenacity, nevertheless, of Morgan Tsvangirai and fellow opposition
supporters is extraordinary and heartening.
What is appalling, however, is that as Zimbabwe disintegrates, the country
that could have done much to halt the brutalities and avert the chaos stands
by in shameful silence. South Africa's failure to curb Mr Mugabe's excesses
is a terrible indictment of its leadership. But it is also a warning. South
Africa itself is in trouble. The powerhouse of Africa is running out of
Fourteen years after the end of apartheid, such a judgment might seem harsh.
The country has avoided a race war. Its growth rate in recent years has been
an impressive 5 per cent. Tourism is holding up, as are exports. The country
has won global sporting renown and been rewarded with its selection as the
venue of the next World Cup in 2010. But even as the stadium girders go up
and concrete is poured for a high-speed rail link (see page 47), fears are
growing within the country and outside that the showcase event will be
overwhelmed by the violence, political tensions and infrastructure failures
that point to alarming social, economic and political breakdown.
The economic figures are bleak. Unemployment is running officially at 25 per
cent; a more realistic assessment is 44 per cent. The income gap has, if
anything, widened since the end of apartheid as a new black middle class has
turned its back on the poor: 10 per cent of the population earn more than 50
per cent of the income. Food price inflation jumped to 15 per cent three
months ago, petrol prices have risen 33 per cent in a year and South Africa
remains acutely vulnerable to these global price rises. Despite welfare
grants to 12.5 million people, poverty is growing; violent crime rates,
including murder and rape, remain among the world's highest; and a savage
new xenophobia has unleashed urban violence on many of the five million
immigrants, including around three million Zimbabweans. The infrastructure
is creaking, the health service has almost collapsed and power shortages
have led to blackouts, with devastating consequences on vital mining
Global confidence is falling. Foreign investment dropped £190 million in the
fourth quarter of 2007. Nervous bankers give warnings of deadlock with a
lame-duck President Mbeki and a hostile putative successor, Jacob Zuma, who,
if he escapes new prosecution charges, may move to economic populism and
undo Mr Mbeki's one solid legacy of business-orientated growth policies.
Mr Mbeki has only himself to blame for the deepening pessimism. His
aloofness and refusal to accept a third candidate led to the ANC's reckless
endorsement of Mr Zuma. His bizarre policies on Aids, misguided reward of
political loyalty above government competence, tolerance of corruption and
myopia over Zimbabwe have weakened South Africa and lowered its global
standing. The economy may muddle through. But now, more than ever, the
continent needs confident, cohesive and clear leadership in southern Africa.
There is little sign of this in Pretoria.
By Isaac Hlekisani Dziya | Opinion | Friday, June 13, 2008 19:14
On a cool June afternoon Zimbabweans seek solace in their homes, at
least those whose homes are still intact do. President Robert Mugabe
unashamedly continues to rob the people of their political rights. He also
seems intent on making them starve
Mugabe's performance this week at the United Nations Food and
Agriculture conference in Rome, where he blamed Western sanctions for the
hunger of his people, was obscene. Zimbabweans are hungry because Mugabe has
mismanaged the agricultural sector of a nation that was once known as
And Mugabe unleashed a fresh hell in this area this week: a ban on the
distribution of food and water by international aid agencies. One-third of
the population relies on such aid and about 5 percent are suffering from
severe malnutrition. The UN says this ruling will severely restrict its
Mugabe is using food and politics in an inextricably linked way. The
authorities want to control the distribution of food aid so they can
withhold it from opposition strongholds. It is also a way to ensure that
international aid workers will not witness the violence being used to
intimidate voters in rural areas.
Every Zimbabwean is aware of the militia that the government is using
to target the Movement for Democratic Change's campaign for Tvsangrai's
presidential bid. This week that government targeted foreign diplomatic
Commenting on the arrest of American and British diplomatic staff in
Zimbabwe, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said, "I think that it
gives us a window into the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans, because this sort
of intimidation is something that is suffered daily, especially by those who
are working with opposition groups."
The diplomats were investigating political violence in and around
The government has ignored pleas to allow in election observers from
outside Zimbabwe to arrest further suffering. The military rulers obviously
fear that their steely grip on the nation will be loosened and that their
attempts to intimidate voters into submission will be scuttled.
The military regime should be held to account for its atrocities. The
arrests of the diplomats while Mugabe was in Rome only go to show that he is
no longer in control of issues in Zimbabwe. Mugabe is now a mere front whose
"sale by" date has since come and gone.
But, in another tragic twist for Zimbabwe, it seems his rule as a
military-backed "strongman" may have begun. Zimbabwe military junta
government be warned: Refusal to allow food aid to be delivered to those who
need it leads to a true crime against humanity.
Millions of concerned "neighbors" around the world, watching in
frustrated horror as the tragedy deepens, believe that major crimes against
humanity have already been committed. The Mugabe regime has already done
enough to merit trial by an international court.
Every time one imagines that Zimbabwe has hit rock bottom, Mugabe's
regime manages to push the country into even greater misery. The past week
has witnessed the unleashing of a campaign of violent intimidation against
the political opposition. Thugs working for the ruling regime have forced
thousands to flee their homes and left scores dead, including prominent MDC
activist Tonderai Ndira.
Yet, there is an unusual recklessness about all this, even by
Zimbabwean standards. Mugabe does not mind the condemnation of the West, of
course. Indeed, it would not be surprising if he had traveled to Rome to
provoke it. But his allies in Africa are finding his behavior increasingly
difficult to excuse.
We should remember that it was South African mediation in the March
elections that made it more difficult for the Mugabe regime to rig the
results than in previous contests. South Africa's African National Congress
president, Jacob Zuma, has taken a much more critical line toward Mugabe
than has President Thabo Mbeki.
However, the aura of invincibility that once shrouded Mugabe has been
lifted following his personal defeat in the first round of the March 29
election. No amount of beatings and killings can restore it; a case in point
is Matebeleland, where he used the Fifth Brigade to do exactly that, making
himself forever persona non grata in that region.
As McGee argues, "We are dealing with a desperate regime here that
will do anything to stay in power."
Sadly, that does not mean the end is in sight. As we have seen in
Burma, desperate regimes can be formidable at clinging to power. And there
are reports that the leaders of the Zimbabwean military would not
countenance regime change, even if Mugabe would.
By Eddie Cross | Syndicated Columnist | Friday, June 13, 2008 19:20
It is quite interesting being in South Africa for a few days
recuperating and waiting for clearance from my doctors. I have watched Mbeki
speaking to the national assembly on Zimbabwe and listened to the debate in
the country at large. I am struck by the fact that there is little or no
debate or discussion about what will happen after the election on the 27th
Newspaper reports talk of discussions to try and get a government of
national unity, they argue that a free and fair election is impossible and
that therefore the only answer is a GNU with Mugabe as President and
Tsvangirai as Prime Minister.
They talk about emulating the Kenyan solution. I have said to anyone
who asked, that the MDC would not accept such a solution at any price. We
want the run off to take place and whoever wins then picks up from there,
forms a government and we go on.
But of course it is not as simple as that ? just yesterday the Vice
President in Zimbabwe said that a vote for Morgan Tsvangirai is a vote for
war. He said they would not accept a MDC government and those same
sentiments have been repeated in recent weeks by all sorts of people in the
So what is this election process all about then? Even last night I
heard Mbeki saying that they were not seeking regime change via their
facilitation process! But he also said that it was important that the run
off take place and that the people of Zimbabwe enjoy the right to choose
So we have an election on the 27th June. An election run by the
security establishment which has now taken over the running of the Zimbabwe
Election Commission, after a campaign characterized by political violence
instituted and managed by the military and the State, a campaign during
which the MDC has not been able to campaign freely, has received no exposure
in the State run media and has had its leaders harassed, beaten, detained
and denied all the rights taken for granted in true democracies. Yet on
these matters Mbeki and others remain mute.
But what happens if, against this background the MDC wins by a wide
margin and its victory cannot be disputed? What then? It is clear at this
point that the administration and security chiefs in Zimbabwe will simply
not accept such an outcome. They only have one choice and that is to act
illegally against the will of the people, override the outcome and force the
continued administration of the country by an illegal regime. Can you really
imagine that, after all they have stated and their own behavior in recent
weeks, that they will accept an MDC victory?
I think this is the most likely outcome and predict that Morgan
Tsvangirai will receive a huge majority on the 27th June. A political
commentator with whom I am staying asked what if Mugabe and the security
establishment simply bulldoze a victory for Mugabe ? succeed with their
campaign of violence and intimidation and then rig the outcome. Mugabe would
be declared the winner and the region would accept this, including South
Africa and Mugabe would then govern with a minority in Parliament.
In either event we need to think through the consequences for the
region and for South Africa in particular. A Mugabe led regime in Harare
will not be accepted by any of the major western nations. The country will
have to get urgent help to meet its needs for food imports, urgent help to
stabilize its economy and bring inflation under control and immediate
assistance with fuel and other essential imports. Only South Africa could do
so and if it was to avoid a complete collapse in Zimbabwe it would have to
act to meet these essential needs very quickly.
But even if it did so, the added burden to the South African fiscus
might be all that is needed to put the South African economy into a
tailspin. The Rand is trading at 8 to 1 against the dollar, inflation is up
and rising and growth is sluggish at 3 to 4 per cent. Whatever they do, we
must accept that this year the winter crop in Zimbabwe is already a casualty
of the delays in a transition, preparation for the crop in the summer of
2008/09 has not even started and therefore there is unlikely to be any
recovery in food supplies this year. Inflation is out of control at over 2
million per cent per annum and a wide-ranging economic collapse is well
Under these circumstances any outcome on the 27th that leaves Mugabe
in charge will trigger a mass exodus of economic and political refugees into
South Africa. Estimates put the net arrivals in South Africa from Zimbabwe
at 750 000 in the past year. In my own view a victory for Mugabe in any form
in June, will lead to an exodus of not less than an additional 2 million
people in fairly short order. Do I really have to spell out the consequences
of such an event on South Africa? Yet there is no debate here about such a
possibility after June 27th. It is a nightmare scenario.
The tragedy of this situation is that it need not be like that. If the
SADC and South Africa stated right now that they would respect the outcome
of the election and would expect everyone else to do so as well ? including
the present leadership in Zimbabwe, this would help. It would reinforce the
role of democratic elections as the only means for effecting regime change
and respect for the views of the people when it comes to the selection of
Despite their reluctance to intervene in any active sense, South
Africa has little or no choice when it comes to reigning in those in
Zimbabwe who blithely talk of ?war? if Tsvangirai wins. Such rhetoric is
simply unacceptable and the Mugabe team in Harare needs to be told that.
If Tsvangirai wins and is then allowed to take power as is his right,
then the situation can be turned around in short order. The international
community has made no effort to disguise the fact that they would back a new
democratically elected government in Harare. They would step in and feed the
country, they would back a stabilization program to curb inflation and get
the economy onto a recovery path. Most importantly the flight of people to
South Africa would stop and be reversed as people decide to come home and
participate in reconstruction and development. This would reduce pressures
on the South African social system and economy and give much needed
It is not too late to get this right, but South Africans need to
recognize that they have as much at stake in Zimbabwe on the 27th June and
its immediate aftermath as every Zimbabwean.
Friday, 13 June 2008 10:16
This is the story of two courageous Zimbabwean women.
What they have been through is what many women in this country have
suffered during this election period. Theirs are not the worst stories.
Some women have been killed, some more severely injured. Others have been
raped. It is also the story of the kindness of a strong woman helping other
women. The names of the women in this story have been changed to protect
Forty nine-year-old Amai Tapiwa's eyes sparkle mischievously as she
triumphantly holds up her metal identity card. "I also have my
daughter-in-law's ID. They did not get them because I hid them away."
She is determined that she will go back to her homestead and vote.
"They have beaten my husband and burnt our home. We have already suffered
and lost everything. I have nothing else to lose so yes I WILL go back and
vote," she says.
Despite being beaten up, losing her home, her possessions and her
livelihood, Amai Tapiwa who is in hiding maintains her dignity, her resolve
and her quirky sense of humour. That she has manage to retain, after being
brutalised and injured, any form of identification (which can be used to go
and vote in the election re-run) is for her a victory over tactics targeted
at thwarting her of her right to vote.
Amai Tapiwa is just one of the hundreds of women who have fled their
homes because of the relentless post-election violence ravaging many parts
of the country. She is fortunate in that she has managed to find someone to
take her in. Her refuge is a nondescript small house, a haven for several
homeless women and their children ranging in age from 2 months to 12 years.
They all sleep in a small room and it is a tight squeeze. It is not only
the bedroom, but also the dining room and the playroom for all the women and
children. "But women desperate for shelter come and knock on our gate
during the night and we just can't turn them away," explains Rurimai Ndlovu,
the woman who is sheltering them.
The children run around oblivious to things around them while their
mothers cook, clean and tend to the younger children. Other children were
left behind as their mothers fled their homes. The mothers wait anxiously
for news of their whereabouts. Have they been sheltered by other relatives?
Will they see them again? One of the tragedies of the present situation is
that it is splitting families. Some of the women have not heard whether
their husbands are safe.
Each day politically motivated violence grows more intense. Burning
plastic on skin, rape, torture and even murdering rival party supporters
have become familiar outrages. It is reminiscent of the violence
experienced during the run up to and after the 2000 and 2002 elections, but
as the 2008 presidential run-off election approaches, the volume of
political violence has been turned up, the brutality is far more intense
than it has ever been before, and the force used has been ratcheted up to
incredibly high levels.
The 29th March election was the first election where people were
allowed to campaign freely in certain areas in the run-up to the elections.
This put people at ease and many men and women exposed themselves as
supporters of the political party of their choice. Amai Kuda holds the
position of ward chairperson in her area and is one of the women who
"On 8 April youth militia came to our area and started singing abusive
songs about our leader. They did not do anything at that time but came back
a few days later. They burnt our tobacco barns, our fields and our home,"
explains Amai Kuda. "There were at least fifty of them. They first beat my
husband and then turned on me. We were hit with bicycle chains, hosepipes,
logs - in fact anything they could find. They tore my clothes and carried
me to their base half naked. On the way they dumped my husband and I in the
river and wanted to drown us. But some of the men said no and fished us
Amai Kuda and her husband were continuously beaten for several hours.
Each time they passed out the militia would throw water on them and as soon
as they regained consciousness they would be assaulted once more. They were
only rescued in the evening when the older war veterans arrived.
Vomiting blood, battered and bruised Amai Kuda and her husband crawled
and dragged themselves towards their home. Neighbours found them along the
way and carried them back on a wheelbarrow. "Our house was still burning
when we arrived home," she recalls with sadness. They were taken to
hospital and after five days Amai Kuda made her way to the house where she
is in hiding.
These stories are the stories of so many women in Zimbabwe, although
they may differ in details. What they tell is the tragedy of our country
where youth militia and party political supporters have unleashed a wave of
election violence that is far more vicious than has ever been experienced
Vice-President Joice Mujuru's Stance against Violence.
Zimbabwe's Vice-President Joice Mujuru has spoken out against the
political violence that is taking place and has been visiting and assisting
victims of violence in many rural areas.
As she addressed villagers, she indicated she had nothing to do with
the on-going violence.
The Vice-President said she believed in a democratic state where
people vote for someone they want, not beating up people or fighting each
Women Burnt to Death because of Husbands' Political Affiliation
Pamela Pasvani, the 21 year old wife of a newly elected councillor,
was burnt to death last Friday night. Militiamen came in three truckloads
accompanied by armed men in a Mercedes Benz. They burst into the home to
search for the councillor, but he managed to break free and run. They then
locked the door of the family room, smashed the windows and threw petrol
inside. Then they lit it. The young brother broke the door. He and the
nephew escaped with minor burns, but the councillor's little boy aged six
was burnt to death. Pamela was carried out still alive but with 80 per cent
burns. She died on Saturday in the burns unit of Harare hospital. "No one
survives more than 50 per cent burns" a doctor there said. She was 18 weeks
pregnant. In the same incident all the neighbours were beaten and many of
them are still in hospital. The councillor is in hiding.
Dadirai Chipiro, 45, a former pre-school teacher and the wife of a
party official, was burnt alive after she had first been savagely mutilated.
Men in three white pickup trucks visited her rural home on Friday and were
told that her husband was away in Harare, but would be back later in the
day. They came back an hour later and chopped off one of her hands and both
her feet. Then they threw her body into her hut, locked the door and threw
a petrol bomb through the window. The atrocity was witnessed by their four
year old nephew. The post mortem report described the cause of death as
"haemorrhaging and severe burns." The police report stated that "seven men
assaulted her before dragging her in one of the houses and set all three
houses on fire. Body was found in one of the houses showing signs of
assault since all hands and legs were broken." At the funeral the coffin
lid could not be closed because Mrs Chipiro's outstretched arm had burnt
rigid. In the coffin, a witness said, "I saw the corpse and parts of the
limbs that had been hacked off." Her charred hand was found amid the debris
after police had taken the body and severed feet away. It was swept up as
women cleaned the hut. When the husband tried to buy white sheeting from
the local general dealer for a shroud for his wife. "They refused. They said
they don't sell to that political party."
ZIMBABWE WOMEN APPEAL TO WOMEN ALL ROUND THE WORLD TO LOBBY TO STOP