Sun 15 Jun 2008, 13:25 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was quoted on Sunday
as saying he would be willing to hand power to a ruling party ally when he
was sure the country was safe from "sellouts" and from British interference.
But the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper said he gave no time-frame and again
vowed to stop the opposition from ending his rule, which foreign secretary
David Miliband described as sadism.
Mugabe, 84, is fighting for re-election in a June 27 run-off against Morgan
Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The opposition
leader won the first round in March but not with enough votes to take the
The veteran Zimbabwean leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence
from Britain in 1980, has threatened to go to war to stop a Tsvangirai
The Mail said Mugabe told a rally on Saturday that his "leadership was
prepared to relinquish power to those (ZANU-PF officials) that uphold the
country's (independence) legacy".
"This country cannot be sold at the stroke of a pen," he added, repeating a
vow not to let the MDC, whom he has branded as British puppets, rule the
The Mail said Mugabe urged supporters to concentrate on defending his
government's land nationalisation and black economic empowerment policies,
and not on complaints by what he called "sellouts" that ZANU-PF has been in
power for too long.
Zimbabwe's agricultural sector, once one of Africa's most prosperous, has
collapsed, and shortages of bread, milk and meat are common. Inflation is
165,000 percent and unemployment 80 percent.
"We are the custodians of Zimbabwe's legacy. We will pass this on to those
we know are fully aware of the party's ideology, those who value the
country's legacy," the newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying.
"I WILL NOT GROW OLD"
Mugabe has previously said he did not want to name an heir over fears he or
she would become a target of other officials nursing ambitions to succeed
him as ZANU-PF leader.
The president gave no timetable for his possible retirement and added: "But
as long as the British still want to come here, I will not grow old; until
we know we no longer have sellouts among us."
Mugabe this week threatened that he and his independence war veterans will
take up arms again to stop the MDC taking power.
The MDC and rights groups say ZANU-PF have launched a brutal campaign of
violence which has killed at least 66 MDC activists, wounded hundreds others
and displaced tens of thousands since the March 29 election.
Britain's Miliband said South Africa had a responsibility to do more to
bring pressure on its neighbour, and condemned the violence that has marred
the run-up to the election.
"The first thing is to be clear about the sadism, and I use that word
advisedly, that's going on ... in Zimbabwe," he told BBC television.
"People being killed, people being tortured, people being beaten. Election
observers being stripped out, election officials being stripped out."
The African Union expressed concern over reported violence and said it
planned to send "a sizable" team of observers to monitor the run-off poll.
Tsvangirai says he is confident of victory despite the intimidation campaign
in which he has been detained several times this month.
(Additional reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse in Addis Ababa, editing by Gordon
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 15, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe declared he will only hand over
power to those who share his ideology, a state-controlled newspaper reported
Mugabe, who faces opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a June 27
presidential runoff, was quoted by the state-controlled Sunday Mail sounding
a familiar campaign theme: portraying Tsvangirai as a puppet of the U.S. and
"We are the custodians of Zimbabwe's legacy," the Mail quoted Mugabe as
saying at a rally Saturday. "We will pass this one on to those we know are
fully aware of the party's ideology, those who value the country's legacy.
"We will pass on leadership to them, telling them to go forward," he was
quoted as saying. "But as long as the British still want to come back here,
I will not grow old, until we no longer have sellouts amongst us."
Tsvangirai denies Mugabe's allegations. Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, led the field of four in the first round of
presidential voting in March.
However, according to official results, Tsvangirai did not win the 50
percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff against the second-place
During the first round, voters were primarily concerned with the
deteriorating economy. Since March, Mugabe has been accused of orchestrating
a campaign of violence against the opposition to ensure a runoff victory.
The Mail quoted Mugabe as saying his ZANU-PF party "fought for you, for our
rights, land and bright future. This legacy should not be simply vanquished
by the stroke of a pen at the ballot just because (you are) not getting any
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's head of government since 1980, was lauded early in his
rule for campaigning for racial reconciliation and building the economy. But
in recent years, he has been accused of ruining the economy and holding onto
power through fraud and intimidation.
The economic slide of what was once the region's breadbasket has been blamed
on the collapse of the key agriculture sector after often-violent seizures
of farmland from whites.
Mugabe claimed he ordered the seizures, begun in 2002, to benefit poor
blacks. But many of the farms went instead to his loyalists.
June 15 2008 at 12:49PM
By Peta Thornycroft
Harare - Isaac Mbanje, 34, is not sure whether either of the two men
he shares a hospital ward with are going to live. He is also concerned
because one of them has no family member at his bedside during visiting
All three men were burned, but the other two are in worse condition
and are not making as much progress as they did in the first week of their
An unpleasant smell contaminates the air, apparently from seeping
wounds which doctors say indicate some of the second and third degree burns
have gone septic.
The three were all deliberately set alight in a house in Zaka, a
derelict village about 275km southeast of Harare, surrounded by bleak,
tribal lands where poverty, disease and illiteracy are more common now than
at any time since independence 28 years ago.
Five men, including the three now in hospital, had sought shelter in
what was normally an office one evening two weeks ago. They had been out
helping people fleeing from other rural areas, and settled down for the
night after checking to see the coast was clear.
They slept, fitfully. Zaka has become a war zone since President
Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party lost the parliamentary majority in the
March elections, in what was previously a stronghold. In revenge Mugabe has
unleashed his thugs.
Mbanje is a struggling small- scale farmer and part of the Movement
for Democratic Change's (MDC's) leadership in Zaka.
He and five colleagues were woken up by armed men who burst into the
room and ordered them to lie still.
"At first we tried to resist, but they shot two of our colleagues. So
as a result of fear we all lay still and they sprinkled petrol over our
bodies and set us alight and then threw a petrol bomb on us.
"As they sprinkled our bodies, I thought of my wife and children. In
my heart I was praying for a miracle so that I could survive."
The two who died instantly from gunshot wounds were Crison Mbano and
"I somehow managed to put out the fire. I was then taken to St
Anthony's Musiso Hospital," Mbanje recalled.
He and his two surviving fellow-activists were in great pain and were
moved first to the once-efficient burn unit at the state hospital in Harare.
The hospital is in a rundown condition as a result of neglect.
Sewage seeps from the ground- floor ablution block and streams past
the reception area.
"We can't do anything about it," shrugs the duty nurse who makes a
special effort to comfort the burn patients.
Late this week the three were transferred to a private clinic under
the care of a group of volunteer doctors who come forward to tend to the
injured whenever and wherever Mugabe goes to war with his own people.
Asked if he will seek revenge when he returns home, after what is
going to be a long period of recuperation, Mbanje says, " I will not. God
will deal with them."
He has decided not to go home to vote in the run-off on June 27.
"If I go there, they will kill me because I know who did this to me,"
he said pointing to his disfigured face.
Mbanje, who joined the MDC in 2002, casts an anxious look at his
colleagues, Kudakwashe Tshumele, 22 and Edison Gwehure 28, both of whom are
more severely burnt than he.
Tears roll down his cheeks.
"Look at them, they are in severe pain, they are not doing well."
Meanwhile, on Friday, Mugabe told youth members of his party in Harare
that the veterans from the 1970s bush war had told him they would launch a
new war if the election on June 27 was won by opposition leader Morgan
"They said if this country goes back into white hands because we have
used a pen (to vote), 'we will return to the bush to fight'."
Many would argue Mugabe did that in early April, when he launched his
co-ordinated assault against the MDC.
This article was originally published on page 2 of Sunday Independent
on June 15, 2008
Originally published 01:17 p.m., June 15, 2008, updated 01:15 p.m., June 15,
Andrew Makoni wants change in Zimbabwe, his homeland. But he won't be there
to vote for it. Instead, the human rights lawyer will be in neighboring
South Africa, hiding from government-hired killers he says have targeted
The big question is whether the scare tactics President Robert Mugabe has
undertaken will enable him to crush opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in
the June 27 runoff election.
Makoni holds out hope that world leaders will step in and perhaps broker a
deal modeled on Kenya's which brought the opposition into government
following its violently disputed presidential election.
Many Zimbabweans are convinced Tsvangirai would win a fair vote, and that
Mugabe will rig it. But "even if you rig the election, you will not be able
to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe," Makoni said in an interview in
Tsvangirai's No. 2, Tendai Biti, has little faith in outside intervention,
saying Zimbabwe's neighbors and the broader international community showed
little willingness to act after the March 29 first round, which Tsvangirai
claimed to have won.
"It's a farce and it's an indictment of African leaders," Biti said in an
interview in Johannesburg Thursday.
Moments later he boarded a plane home, was arrested on arrival and
disappeared into police custody. Police have said he will be charged with
treason, which can carry the death penalty. He was brought to court on
Saturday but only after a judge ordered police to do so a second time.
Tsvangirai came in first in a field of four on March 29, but official
results show he fell short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a
But since then Mugabe, oblivious to a rising tide of world censure, has
steadily tightened the screws on the electorate.
Opposition supporters have been arrested, burned out of their homes, beaten
and killed. Foreign diplomats trying to investigate the violence have been
harassed by police. Opposition attempts to campaign have been disrupted, and
the state-controlled media, all most Zimbabweans can see, hear or read, have
ignored Tsvangirai except to deride him as the West's puppet.
Mugabe has declared he will only hand over power to those who share his
ideology, a state-controlled newspaper reported Sunday.
"We will pass on leadership to them, telling them to go forward," he was
quoted by the Sunday Mail as saying at a rally Saturday. "But as long as the
British still want to come back here, I will not grow old, until we no
longer have sellouts amongst us."
As the economy collapses, the government orders independent aid agencies to
stop working here, accusing them of working with the opposition to topple
Mugabe. The effect is to put millions who depend on food aid at the mercy of
the government's own distribution system.
UNICEF said Friday the aid suspension was hitting half a million children.
If Tsvangirai's followers are right in saying he has overwhelming support,
and Mugabe tries to steal victory, the international community will have to
act, Makoni said.
An opposition uprising appears unlikely, given the measured approach
Tsvangirai and Biti have followed in the past. And Biti's arrest will be
read by many Zimbabweans as proof no one is safe from a government
determined to stay in power.
Already, scores of Zimbabweans have been victims of violence that has been
shocking in its brutality, according to human rights monitors. The intent
seems to be to spread the fear as far as possible.
In a Human Rights Watch report titled "Bullets for Each of You," villagers
describe a meeting called by Mugabe party militants to make opposition
supporters "confess." When no one came forward, a young Mugabe supporter
took a 76-year-old woman from the crowd and made her lie on her stomach to
be beaten with logs. The crowd was told the torture would continue until
opposition supporters were identified. After 10 minutes of beating, three
men came forward.
Tiseke Kasambala, a Human Rights Watch researcher who recently visited
Zimbabwe, said many victims of violence were vowing to vote for Tsvangirai
all the same.
Michael Mudzviti, a 33-year-old information technology specialist in Harare,
also said the violence would backfire at the ballot box.
"My relatives have no basic food ... they sleep on empty stomachs," he said.
"Why should they keep voting for an individual that has brought hunger and
all these hardships? They have told me they will go and vote despite the
But as fears grow that Zimbabwe could become Africa's North Korea, the
electorate itself has shrunk; out of a population of about 12 million, an
estimated 5 million have fled the country.
Makoni joined the exodus in late May. As a human rights lawyer, he said, he
had clashed with Mugabe supporters in the past, and government agents had
said he and his clients could end up in prison. But after March 29, he said,
the tone hardened, and he had seen evidence a hit squad have been formed to
go after lawyers as part of an effort to undermine the rule of law.
Christian Science Monitor
In a rare interview, militia leader threatens to take over more white-owned
farms and businesses.
By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
and Two Contributors
from the June 16, 2008 edition
Reporter Scott Baldauf discusses the dwindling hopes for a negotiated
settlement in Zimbabwe.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa; and BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE - - The man behind
Zimbabwe's most feared militia, the War Veterans, has all the credentials of
a dedicated fighter except one: He's never fought in combat.
Graduating from boot camp in Angola just after Zimbabwe's "war of
liberation" against white-minority rule ended in 1980, Jabulani Sibanda
soldiered on as an organizer for President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, the
It was Mr. Sibanda who led so-called war veterans to take white-owned farms
by force, starting in 2000. Today, Sibanda - one of the hardest hard-liners
in the ruling ZANU-PF - is blamed for orchestrating attacks on opposition
supporters in the lead-up to a runoff election on June 27.
"We are definitely winning," says a confident Sibanda, in an exclusive
interview in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Despite South African-sponsored talks held
last week, Sibanda says there is no possibility of a power-sharing deal
between Mr. Mugabe's party and the opposition Movement for Democratic
"There is no room for compromise," he says. "Where do people get this term
'government of national unity?' As far as I see it, people who are opposing
each other will never work together."
Echoing comments by Mugabe Sunday, he adds that, if Zimbabwe's president
hands over power, it will be to another member of the ZANU-PF. "If President
Mugabe decides to retire, we, as war veterans, we will respect who the party
chooses because we are an organized party, unlike MDC. We are democratic.
People will choose a person with dignity."
While there are questions about Sibanda's legitimacy as a "war veteran," few
question that he and his militia are one of the main obstacles to a peaceful
election, or a Kenyan-style power-sharing agreement.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the March 29 elections, but by an
insufficient margin to avoid a runoff. Hard-liners like Sibanda and
Zimbabwe's military chiefs admit that Mr. Tsvangirai garnered more votes,
but say they will never allow a transfer of power to Tsvangirai.
Given their past violence, it's hard to see these as empty threats. But some
analysts say that the hard-liners will lose their resolve if Mugabe leaves.
"I don't think there is very much behind these people, they are doing what
they are expected to do by the regime, which is making the regime feared,"
says Marian Tupy, an Africa expert at the Cato Institute in Washington.
"When you do happen to see a change in regime, these people will disappear
into the bush," because Mugabe won't be able to protect them anymore.
"These people know the enormity of their crimes, both in terms of violence
and in the corruption over the past decades," says Mr. Tupy. Even if
Tsvangirai prefers a more conciliatory approach toward former ZANU-PF
criminals, he expects that other countries will launch the sort of judicial
process that brought former Liberian President Charles Taylor to face
charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
The international community has been quiet thus far. At the United Nations
Security Council last week, South Africa and Russia blocked discussion of
the political crisis in Zimbabwe, and the Southern African Development
Community has thus far refused to sanction Zimbabwe over its continued
harassment and arrest of top opposition leaders. But in an open letter to
President Mugabe, 40 African leaders, including former UN chief Kofi Annan,
and former rulers such as Nigeria's Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar, urged
Zimbabwe to end the violence and to create the conditions for a free and
The response in Zimbabwe? In the past week, Tsvangirai has been arrested
five times, and MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti was arrested last week and
charged with treason, a crime that carries the death penalty.
Opposition party leaders say that government agents and pro-Mugabe militias
have killed some 60 of their supporters since the March 29 elections, and
injured hundreds more. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch in London
documented some of the estimated 2,000 cases of beatings, including a
horrific case in the town of Chiweshe, in which ZANU-PF officials and war
veterans beat six men to death, and tortured 70 men and women, because of
their apparent support for MDC in the March elections.
Prosper Mutema, an MDC activist from Mtoko in Mashonaland East Province says
that he was captured by the so-called war veterans at midnight on June 3 and
taken to Rukowo base in Mushamba village.
"They beat me all night with sticks and sjamboks (rhino-hide whips) until I
passed out. When I regained consciousness the following day, I was made to
sign a document denouncing MDC and I was also forced to hand over party
regalia," he said; "all this was done in front of the whole village."
Over the weekend, President Mugabe announced charges of treason against top
MDC leaders, including Tsvangirai, and hinted that he would watch for
"sellouts" within his own ranks.
"We are the custodians of Zimbabwe's legacy," Mugabe was quoted by the
state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper. "We will pass this on to those we know
are fully aware of the party's ideology, those who value the country's
Sibanda, for his part, shrugs off charges of human rights violations,
saying, "MDC started the violence, not us. Our people only act in
self-defense." And he defends the use of force, both in taking away land
from the 300 white farmers remaining in Zimbabwe, and also in taking away
companies owned by whites. "We now want to assume control of companies," he
says. "We want to empower our blacks. We have a lot of smart, educated
people, who can be captains of industry. That's the first step to recovery -
black economic empowerment." The current economic crisis, with an estimated
400,000 percent inflation rate, he says, "is just a passing phase."
To some former ZANU-PF members, Sibanda's words are mere bluster. Dumiso
Dabengwa, a former intelligence chief under Mugabe, says that the "so-called
war veterans," can be easily controlled. "There is no genuine war veteran
that is going to totally support Mugabe," he says. The true war veterans
have families and have suffered the same economic distress that most
Zimbabweans have suffered, he says. "They are not the type to run around and
harass people in the name of politics."
. Two reporters, in Bulawayo and Harare, contributed to this report. Their
names are being withheld for security reasons.
SATURDAY, JUNE 14, 2008
By Musaazi Namiti
After winning Zimbabwe's first round of presidential elections -
but failing to secure an outright majority - Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is taking part in a
run-off where the odds against him are distinctly steep.
Tsvangirai, who had been given more than 50 per cent of the vote
by the MDC's tally but only won 47 per cent, does not have many options. If
he had chosen to boycott the run-off scheduled for June 27, he would have
set the stage for his rival Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the president, to win
re-election by default.
His supporters would also have viewed him as a coward and a
let-down, say Zimbabwe's political analysts.
But contesting the run-off, perhaps the second-best option
represents major hurdles. The main obstacle for Tsvangirai is intimidation
and violence against people who voted for him in the first round.
He has been detained by police several times, and released
without charge, during his election campaigning. Tendai Biti, the MDC's
secretary-general, has also been arrested and is facing charges of treason,
which carry a death sentence upon conviction.
Tsvangirai's supporters have not only been attacked and beaten
but they have also been murdered for opposing Mugabe, according to the MDC.
It has put the death toll at 60.
Local election monitors say some MDC supporters have been
forcibly removed from their homes, further hindering their abilities to
vote. Scores have been hospitalised with severe injuries.
Tsvangirai himself has been to see supporters in hospital who
have been assaulted allegedly by security operatives and supporters of
Zanu-PF, the governing party headed by Mugabe.
For several weeks, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN),
which deployed hundreds of observers across the country in the March 29
election, has released repeated statements highlighting incidents of
violence against MDC supporters and some of its observers.
But the ZESN believes it is still possible for Tsvangirai to win
the run-off even though Mugabe vowed in March that the opposition would
never come to power as long as he is still alive.
Mugabe has also said that the country's war veterans are ready
to fight to try to prevent the MDC from coming to power.
"Going by the results of the March 29 elections, the MDC may win
the run-off," Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, ZESN's national director, told Al
Jazeera by telephone.
"But the current spate of politically motivated violence has
resulted in the displacement of people mainly from their respective
constituencies ... the MDC could lose a considerable number of votes as the
second election shall be ward-based. Those displaced will not be able to
cast their votes.
"With 47 per cent of the vote against Zanu-PF's 43 per cent in
the March poll, the opposition attempted to dislodge Mugabe, and managed to
win a majority in parliament for the first time since independence in 1980,"
It is this apparent success that the ZESN says the MDC could
capitalise on to defeat Mugabe.
Political observers and analysts say Zimbabwe's deteriorating
economic situation could result in a ground swell of support for the MDC.
"Mugabe could go on and try every trick in the book, but the
sheer number of voters [for the MDC] may be hard to beat," says Wilf Mbanga,
the London-based editor of The Zimbabwean, a weekly printed in South Africa
and sold in Zimbabwe.
Others say intimidation may work to the disadvantage of Mugabe.
"Intimidation could turn out to be counterproductive," Prof Tony
Hawkins, who lectures at the University of Zimbabwe, told Al Jazeera.
"But chasing people from their homes will make it impossible for
them to vote. If you're chased away, you can't vote."
Mugabe's controversial land redistribution program - which began
in 2000 and saw white farmers forced off their farms, some of which went to
the president's cronies with no expertise to run them - has hampered
production and brought Zimbabwe to its knees.
To try to cope, the government has been printing money with
planeloads of banknotes arriving in Harare, the capital, almost on a weekly
basis, according to the London Sunday Times.
This has resulted in runaway inflation, which stood at 165,000
per cent in February. Zimbabwe has possibly the largest number of
millionaires in Africa, but they can't even afford basic commodities.
The Zimbabwean dollar is almost worthless. A million-dollar bill
can only buy a few items in supermarkets - if the person carrying it is
lucky to find goods on the shelves.
Unemployment among the country's 13 million people is said to be
widespread with eight in 10 Zimbabweans out of work.
Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have had to seek economic
refuge in neighboring South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.
They can return home if Tsvangirai wins and sorts out the
economic mess, but the former trade union leader has another major hurdle
besides violence and intimidation.
Declaring a winner
Questions about the independence of the Zimbabwe Election
Commission (ZEC), which is charged with declaring a winner, are being
raised. The ZEC is run by Mugabe's appointees and its head, George Chiweshe,
was hand picked by the president.
With no justification, it withheld the March election results
for almost a month, ignoring calls from Zimbabweans and the international
community to release them. It announced presidential election results in
Prior to this, the ZEC had bizarrely ordered a recount of the
votes, a move which left many questioning its reasonableness.
Chipfunde-Vava says the ZESN will "conduct its electoral
observation processes in accordance with the Zimbabwe electoral laws". But,
she added, the prevailing political environment will "deter some observers".
Mugabe's government, which has barred monitors and observers
from the EU and the UN since the 2002 election which it allegedly rigged,
says it can only allow in observers from the Africa Union (AU) and the
Southern African Development Community (SADC).
But even SADC members doubt the run-off will be free and fair.
Jacob Zuma, leader of the governing African National Congress (ANC) in South
Africa, SADC's most powerful member, said in a recent interview that the
situation in Zimbabwe was not good for a run-off.
"How do you organise a run-off in this kind of situation? That's
difficult," he said.
Sun Jun 15, 6:41 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's main opposition party Sunday said President Robert
Mugabe's government was using "thuggish tactics" to prevent its leader from
campaigning for a crunch presidential run-off vote.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said Morgan Tsvangirai was being
barred from using the US-style campaign buses for the June 27 ballot in
which he has vowed to end Mugabe's uninterrupted rule since 1980.
"The police are still holding on to our smaller bus," George Sibotshiwe, an
MDC spokesman told AFP.
"The bigger one ... we can't even move because each time we try to drive it,
armed police block us saying we are not allowed to use the bus.
"This is a regime that knows it no longer has the support of the people and
is now resorting to thuggish tactics. It is not the bus that is offending
them but the message on the bus."
Police could not be reached for comment.
Tsvangirai unveiled the two buses with the slogan "Morgan is the one" on
Wednesday and took to an American-style road campaign.
The fiesty opposition stalwart and veteran trade unionist has been detained
five times over the course of some 10 days although he was not charged on
any of the occasions.
He has also faced major obstacles while trying to campaign, with police
barring his party from holding a series of rallies.
Sibotshiwe said despite the setbacks, Tsvangirai was pressing ahead with his
campaign and was due to tour the southern Masvingo province.
The MDC number two Tendai Biti meanwhile appeared in court on Saturday to
face a treason charge, while police again briefly detained Tsvangirai.
Biti was arrested at Harare airport on Thursday within minutes of flying
back to Zimbabwe from South Africa.
He faces charges for allegedly authoring a document which is said to have
contained details of a plot to fix the election outcome and accused of
"communicating and publishing false information" by proclaiming victory for
his party in the March 29 polls, ahead of official results.
The treason charge carries a potential death penalty.
The MDC claims more than 60 of its supporters have been killed since the
first round of the election on March 29 in a campaign of intimidation.
Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980, has blamed the opposition
for the increase in violence ahead of the vote, but the UN has said the
president's supporters are responsible for the bulk of it.
The octogenarian leader has frequently portrayed Tsvangirai as a puppet of
former colonial power Britain and wealthy whites, thousands of whom lost
their land when he launched a controversial programme of farm expropriations
at the turn of the decade.
Mail and Guardian
15 June 2008 10:00
A defiant President Robert Mugabe on Saturday vowed he would "go
to war" if he lost the presidential run-off due to take place in less than
Describing the opposition as "traitors", he claimed Zimbabwe
would never "be lost" again. Speaking at the burial of a veteran of the
independence war, Mugabe said he would never accept the Movement for
Democratic Change taking over. "It shall never happen ... as long as I am
alive and those who fought for the country are alive," he said. "We are
prepared to fight for our country and to go to war for it."
The threat was seen as an angry response to the pressure
mounting on the government from other African leaders over the regime's
harassment of the MDC leadership and supporters in the run up to the 27 June
On Saturday, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested again and
held for three hours as he tried to campaign in the countryside. There was
also a stand-off between lawyers and police in Harare's high court before
Tsvangirai's deputy, Tendai Biti, finally appeared before a judge.
Earlier, according to opposition lawyer Lewis Uriri, police had
told the judge, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo, that they did not think his order to
produce Biti in court was genuine. A handcuffed Biti eventually told
reporters that he was "fine". Police said he faced treason charges -- which
carries the death penalty -- stemming from a document they claim was a
blueprint for regime change. He is also accused of spreading false
information for releasing the opposition's own tally from the first vote in
With the MDC leadership under constant harassment, voters being
beaten and killed and what amounts to a curfew in some MDC rural
strongholds, the likelihood of the 27 June run-off taking place in any
meaningful way seems remote.
Even if the 9 231 polling stations open, there is a shortage of
officers prepared to risk monitoring them. The number of international
observers the government intends to let in remains unclear. Although the
first of the 400 monitors for the Southern African Development Community
have arrived, they have yet to be accredited by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, whose own status is weakening -- a memo from police chief
Faustino Mazango, leaked to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, ordered his
officers to take charge of the "whole voting process". Police had been, he
said, "too docile" during the March poll.
Rini Chipfunde, director of the leading independent monitoring
group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, said the authorities were
creating an environment in which only police, soldiers and ruling party
officials would be present at polling stations in rural areas. "People will
be too terrified to vote," she said. "Others may be bussed in by the ruling
party to cast their ballots under the watchful eye of police officers."
Sources across Zimbabwe have reported an increasing number of
roadblocks manned by militias and war veterans, effectively cutting people
off and creating a dusk-to-dawn curfew.
James McGee, United States ambassador in Harare, said 30 000
potential MDC voters had fled their constituencies. Mugabe has already
ordered charities to stop work, leaving millions struggling to find food in
the collapsed economy.
A total of 67 people have been killed and tactics familiar from
past state violence campaigns are returning -- sticks rolled with barbed
wire, whippings and arson. The internationally-touted "third way" -- a
government of national unity (GNU) -- has been met with stiff opposition
from the military, Zanu-PF and many in the opposition who want no truck with
Andrea Sibanda, of Matabeleland Freedom Party said: "Whoever is
floating the idea of GNU with Mugabe and Zanu-PF must be coming from another
planet. How does one unite with them when their hands are dripping with
blood of their kith and kin?'
In an interview with the Observer, Jabulani Sibanda, the
Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association chairperson, also ruled out a
national unity government. He said: "We do not want the West interfering in
the affairs of the country and so we are going to vote for total
independence. As long as we have a government voted for by the people, there
is no problem. In fact, we are still to take more farms because there are
some white farmers protected by party heavyweights holding on to land that
belongs to the black majority." - Guardian
June 15, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Edgar Tekere, a veteran politician and former close ally of
President Robert Mugabe, has predicted a heavy defeat for the Zimbabwean
leader in the June 27 presidential election re-run.
Addressing journalists at the Quill Club, Harare's press club on Friday
evening, .Tekere also made an impassioned plea to Mugabe's challenger,
Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the Movement for Democratic Change, not to
relent because of persistent harassment by the highly partisan security
Mugabe, 84, is engaged in a fierce battle for his political survival against
the menacing challenge of his bitter rival, Tsvangirai.
Mugabe was totally shaken by his humiliation by Tsvangirai and the defeat of
his Zanu-PF party by the opposition MDC in the March 29 harmonised
elections. He has launched a campaign to retain power at any cost through
both violent intimidation of the opposition and open interference with the
The opposition has been subjected to bloody violence while Tsvangirai has
been banned from addressing campaign rallies.
Tekere, a founding member of Zanu PF who has emerged one of the most
outspoken critics of the Zimbabwean leader, said Mugabe would be lucky to
win 10 percent of the vote on June 27.
He said victory was now unachievable after Mugabe waged a violent campaign
against a large section of the electorate, leaving at least 65 MDC
"Come June 27, my prediction is that Mugabe is going to lose," Tekere said.
"He has messed himself up so much through violence. There is no way a
battered old woman can tell her grandchildren to go and vote for Mugabe
because she has been punished for voting for the opposition. Mugabe should
be intelligent enough to realise that people do not behave like that."
Tekere urged Tsvangirai to campaign "vigorously to dethrone Mugabe" on June
"My message to him is 'Please Morgan Tsvangirai, go on very diligently and
courageously with the campaign'," he said.
"Go on. The campaign must go on ever more vigorously. Carry on with the
campaign. You have to soldier on. If Mugabe wants to decimate us, so be it.
"Ko kusiri kufa ndekupiko, nhai Morgan," Tekere pleaded with Tsvangirai in
the vernacular Shona language "Either way people will die."
Tekere said he had personally warned Tsvangirai that he was challenging "a
dishonest man". He said Mugabe's electoral history has shown he detests any
contest for his position.
The MDC leader has now been arrested a record five times since his return
from self imposed exile in South Africa early this month. Ironically, he has
not been formally charged in any of the incidents.
Tekere said Tsvangirai must not squander "a God-given opportunity in
Zimbabwe's post independence political history to dethrone the stubborn
Tekere warned Mugabe against placing too much faith in the perceived support
of the army.
"Why would anyone place too much trust in the army?" the former Zanu-PF
secretary general asked. "Does he not know how unpredictable they can be?
"Mugabe is forgetting that we are living in a global village of armies. It
is not only the Mugabe army that is in existence. He should remember that he
has sent his own army to other countries to fight delinquent armies."
Mugabe has persistently threatened to unleash the military on the population
of Zimbabwe if he loses the election to Tsvangirai for the second time on
Tekere, who broke ranks with Zanu-PF in the 1990s to form the now defunct
Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) said Mugabe's declarations were in fact
"That is treasonous incitement," he said. "You are the head of state. You
call for an election and there you are going through the campaign while
saying you will not accept the result unless it goes your way."
Tekere, now a key member of Dr Simba Makoni's so-called Mavambo Project,
contradicted the former finance minister by saying he will indeed support
the government of national unity proposed by Makoni, but only if Tsvangirai
is the leader.
"Morgan Tsvangirai won the election and there is no doubt about that,"
Tekere said. "Let us not be hypocrites by suggesting that we want democracy
while at the same time trying to deny Tsvangirai his well deserved victory.
"If ever a government of national unity has to be established, the central
figure has to be Tsvangirai," said Tekere. "We will all have to dance around
Makoni, a losing presidential candidate in the March presidential election,
has been at pains to convince Tsvangirai and Mugabe to seriously consider
him as a suitable candidate to head a government of national unity.
Tekere said any such negotiation that involves Mugabe would be doomed to
fail as he has proved to be insincere.
"You cannot prominently involve Mugabe. He has destroyed every aspect of
this country," he said.
The veteran politician, who said he would never call Mugabe a hero, accused
the President of hypocrisy when tackling political violence.
"It is very counter-productive to kill and maim people only to standup and
say no to violence," Tekere said. "Whom is Mugabe trying to deceive?"
Tekere said he had left Zanu-PF after he repeatedly clashed with Mugabe over
his own tendency to question Mugabe's excesses.
He urged journalists to correctly record the history of violence that would
inform posterity fully about Mugabe long after his death.
"I plead with you," he said. "We want to see the pictures of the wounded and
those with broken bones recorded.
"Let our children read about a history of the Mugabe era which will be full
of people crippled through violence."
Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky
June 15, 2008
An open letter to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, signed by 40 prominent
Africans, including Bishop Desmond Tutu and former United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Anan, pleaded for a "free and fair" presidential
runoff election on June 27.
That plea likely was too little, too late.
Such pessimism is justified by the acts of Mr. Mugabe's goons, who won't
allow Morgan Tsvangirai to campaign unmolested. He's been detained several
times, and his followers have been killed, beaten, jailed and forced to
Mr. Tsvangirai actually defeated Mr. Mugabe in March, but after weeks of
delay in issuing official results, Zimbabwe's election commission ruled that
his victory margin wasn't sufficient to avoid a runoff.
And as the runoff draws near, the intimidation has been stepped up. Not even
children are being spared. A few days ago, 20 tons of food aid headed for
poor, hungry kids were seized by the military and distributed, instead, to
Mugabe supporters at a rally.
Also ominous was the fact that, just as the open letter was whizzing to the
incumbent, Mr. Mugabe went on television to warn if voters make a "mistake"
on June 27, he may not be able to hold back veterans of the 1970s liberation
struggle against white minority rule. He said they have told him they'll go
to war if he's defeated.
Meanwhile, as Zimbabwe's economy continues in freefall, members of the
United Nations Security Council can't agree on what to do about this
Zimbabwe's desperate plight is due as much to what Mr. Mugabe has done as to
what associates of a once-great freedom fighter haven't done.
Africa News, Netherlands
1.. Posted on Sunday 15 June 2008 - 02:05
Joyce Joan Wangui, Bonn, Germany
South Africa's Nobel Prize Laureate and Archbishop of Capetown Desmond
Tutu now blames President Thabo Mbeki for keeping mum over the Zimbabwe
crisis. In an interview with Aljazeera, Tutu openly said that Mbeki has been
reluctant to quell the ghastly situation in Zimbabwe.
"I can tell you that Zimbabweans are not happy with the way Mbeki has
handled the crisis in Zimbabwe. In most cases, Mbeki chose to remain silent
even when Zimbabwe's crisis was at fever pitch."
The vocal but soft-spoken prelate however said that South Africa does not
tolerate the situation in Zimbabwe. He said that South Africa has a pivotal
role to play in mediating the current political crisis in Zimbabwe. His
remarks come in the wake of the just ended xenophobic attacks that saw
thousands of Zimbabwe flee South Africa for their safety.
Tutu now says that Mbeki could have flexed his muscles as the current
mediator of the Zimbabwe crisis and warn Mugabe against his dictatorial
Even as Mbeki distanced himself from the Zimbabwe crisis, Zambian
President who is also the current chair of SADC, Levy Mwanawasa used his
position to warn Mugabe of dire consequences, if he continued to oppress his
Tutu has appealed to the African Union, SADC and the international
community at large to intervene and reverse the ugly trend in Zimbabwe.
Nominated Kofi Annan
Tutu says he will ask former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to mediate in
the Zimbabwe crisis, the same way he conducted the mediation during the
Kenyan post-election violence.
"Kofi Annan did a splendid job in Kenya when the country was at the brink
of violence. If Zimbabwe were to go the mediation route, I will definitely
nominate Mr. Annan."
Tutu said that Annan has the right credentials to mediate over the
Zimbabwe issue and the world trusts him better than anyone else.
"He showed patience and commitment in the Kenyan mediation talks and the
world can trust him to do the same in Zimbabwe," says Tutu.
Time for Mugabe to leave
Asked about Mugabe's departure from Statehouse, Tutu said that time had
come for Mugabe to leave the throne. He added that Mugabe's retirement would
save many Zimbabweans a great deal of suffering.
"Mugabe should consider a dignified exit from power and many people will
respect him for that."
According to Tutu, it seems unlikely that Mugabe would win the June 27
Presidential elections. Zimbabweans are likely to see a fair result emerging
from the polls if Mugabe does not rig.
But knowing Mugabe for what he is, Tutu says that it is highly unlikely to
have a free and fair election as Mugabe has already threatened to stage war
if he loses the elections.
Tutu also suggests a government of national unity that comprises of Mugabe's
ZANU-PF and the opposition's Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) currently
chaired by Morgan Tvchangirai.
Following the recent xenophobic attacks that saw thousands of foreigners
evicted from South Africa, Arch-Bishop Tutu has apologized on behalf of the
South African government.
"I apologize to Zimbabweans and other foreigners who bore the brunt of
ghastly xenophobic attacks in several townships of South Africa.
15 June 2008
The Prime Minister has condemned the actions of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his "desperate and criminal regime".
In a Downing Street statement, Gordon Brown criticised the repeated arrest of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and accused Robert Mugabe of attempting to "steal" to the election scheduled for 27 June.
The PM said:
"I condemn the arrest of Morgan Tsvangirai for the fifth time in a week, the charging of Tendai Biti with treason, the killing of over 60 people, the beating and torture of over 2000 people, the displacement of over 30,000 and the increasingly bellicose rhetoric used by the Zimbabwean government.
"These are the acts of an increasingly desperate and criminal regime. They are further proof, if is is needed, that Robert Mugabe is becoming more blatant in his attempts to steal the 27 June election."
The June election will be a run-off between Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai after the initial poll in March produced no clear winner.
Robert Mugabe at the weekend. Photo: Philimon Bulawayo
THE international community must prevent President Robert Mugabe from stealing the Zimbabwe election, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.
Mr Mugabe has vowed to go to war to prevent the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, from taking power.
A run-off presidential poll is scheduled on June 27, but Mr Mugabe has told supporters: "We are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war for it."
Mr Rudd called on the international community, and southern African nations in particular, to take a stand.
"The concern of all people is that Mugabe will seek to steal this election, and to deny the free exercise of will on the part of the people of Zimbabwe," he said.
"It's important that the international community of nations, including the African Union and the South African Development Community, speak with one voice about the importance of democracy and the will of the people prevailing in Zimbabwe."
Mr Rudd said he had spent time in Zimbabwe and had seen how Mr Mugabe could manipulate elections.
"The international community does not want to see that happen again," he said.
MDC says more than 60 of its supporters have been killed since March. Only days ago, Mr Tsvangirai and 11 MDC campaign colleagues were held by police for three hours at a roadblock. He has been detained several times this month.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said he was concerned about Mr Mugabe's stronger- than-usual language. "He has said things along these lines before. But this is really the starkest he's said it," Mr Smith told the ABC's Insiders.
"And it just confirms my feeling for the last few weeks, which is that the brutal Mugabe regime won't accept the will of the Zimbabwe people.
"We've seen since the first round run-off a climate of intimidation, oppression, the arrest for the fifth time of Mr Tsvangirai, the arrest of their secretary-general of the party, Mr (Tendai) Biti," he said.
Australia would take further action if necessary. "Australia and the United Kingdom have been at the forefront of trying to put pressure through sanctions and diplomatic measures and if Mugabe continues along these lines, I'm quite happy for Australia to be looking at what further measures we can take," he said.
"But … whenever the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia act, and we act in advance of, or separately from, the African Union states, Mugabe seeks to use that in a domestic political way to get an advantage. So the primary responsibility in our view has to start with the South African Development Community and African Union states and we urge them, given these most recent remarks and the arrest of Tsvangirai and the arrest of Biti, to start placing more pressure on the brutal Mugabe regime."
BILL WATCH 24/2008
[14th June 2008]
For Update on Bills, Acts and Statutory Instruments see end of Bulletin
SADC Observer Mission
On the 12th June The SADC Election Observer Mission started deploying observers for the June 27 presidential election run-off. There will be than 400 observers, an increase from the 168 during the March 29 polls. Over 300 are already here and more are arriving on an hourly basis. The Mission will deploy six teams in each of the 10 Provinces. Their spokesman has said that they are trying to observe in as many areas as possible, but obviously they cannot cover all 9231 polling stations and it is up to local observer teams to try and cover all the polling stations.
It is of great concern that the largest observer network in the country, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network [ZESN], comprising 38 organisations, has not yet been able to get its observers accredited by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] and, to ZESN's knowledge, no other civil society, faith-based organisation or any other local observer bodies have been able to do so. [As this run-off election is a continuation of the election held on 29th March, there is nothing in the electoral laws and regulations that specifies that observers previously accredited should have to apply to be re-accredited. If ZEC is insisting on re-accreditation they have an obligation to see it is expedited.] Note: of the observers trained and deployed through ZESN for the first round of the elections, subsequently 12 were assaulted, 187 displaced, and 75 harassed or intimidated or had property damaged. Some new observers have had to be recruited and these would have to be trained. Local organisations also need to work out the logistics of deploying their observers. The delay in accreditation of local observers is sewing mistrust.
New Information from ZEC
Polling Officers: ZEC will be using over 64 000 polling officers [7 per polling station - there are 9231 polling stations]. Polling officers will be drawn from the Public Service [including teachers], the Health Service and local authorities.
Proposed Increase in Number of Polling Agents: ZEC has agreed that the number of candidates' election agents permitted inside each polling station should be increased from one to two per candidate. An appropriate amendment to the Electoral Regulations will be gazetted soon.
Training of election officials: Training of constituency election officers and polling station officers will continue up to the 22nd June.
Presidential Election and By-Election Calendar
24th January: Start of "Election Period" for 2008 Harmonised Elections [date of publication of proclamation calling the elections]
16th May: Gazetting of polling date for Presidential Run-Off Election and By-Elections
2nd June: Accreditation of international and local observers and journalists by ZEC commenced at the Harare and Bulawayo Polytechnics. International observers who observed the last election do not need a new invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [new observers do] but still need to be accredited. Local observers need to apply for an invitation from the Minister of Justice before seeking accreditation. The process of accreditation will continue until polling day.
4th June: Checking of applications for postal votes by the Chief Elections Officer commenced. ZEC said it had invited election agents and observers to witness this process. The checking will be done in Committee Room No. 6 at the Harare International Conference Centre [HICC] from 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, until 17th June.
17th June: Closing date for receipt of applications for postal votes. All applications must reach the Chief Elections Officer [by hand at the HICC or by registered post to P.B. 7782, Causeway] by noon on this day.
20th June: Postal Ballot Boxes will be sealed. This will be done at ward centres, and election agents and observers are entitled to be present. Envelopes containing postal votes will be placed unopened in this box and will only be opened after polling on the 27th June.
27th June: Polling Day for Presidential Run-off Election and By-Elections
The election period [and the duties and functions of observers] continues until the announcement of the results
Enfranchisement and Disenfranchisement
Replacement of lost IDs to enable registered voters to vote on 27th June: The Herald of 13th June reported that the Registrar-General's Office has deployed mobile teams countrywide to assist registered voters to replace lost, defaced and torn national identity documents ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off election, and that the exercise will continue until 27th June. One contesting party has expressed concern that issuing of new IDs will be done on a partisan basis - i.e. only in areas where the other party has known supporters.
Continuing Voter Registration: Voter Registration goes on all year and is still continuing. But only voters registered before 14th February are eligible to vote in the run-off. Concern has been expressed by one party that secret voter registration is taking place on a large scale with people being given voter registration certificates backdated to before 14th February, which would enable them to vote.
Displaced People: One party has claimed that over 25,000 of its supporters have been displaced and 3000 are in hospital as a result of political violence. These are known party supporters. As well as these, many other people have also fled their homes because of intimidation after the last round of voting. The numbers are difficult to estimate as only those connected with some organisations have been recorded. For example, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has claimed that teachers have been targeted and that according to their records over 7 000 teachers have fled, most of them from rural areas, more than 5 000 have been beaten and about 600 hospitalised, while at least 231 teachers' houses have been burnt. The General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe [GAPWUZ] has reported that since the election 40,0000 farm workers have been displaced. For ZESN figures see above.
Most of these displaced people are now living some distance from their home areas and are unlikely to be able to return in time to vote. As they can only vote in their home areas - in the wards in which they are registered, their displacement has effectively disenfranchised them.
Denial of Postal Votes for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora: The issue of the disenfranchised millions in the Diaspora has not been given the priority it deserves. At least half of Zimbabwe's eligible voters are probably living outside the country. Most have left through necessity. Their remittances have been estimated by some economist as constituting the largest sector of the economy at present. Their skills are vital to Zimbabwe's future. But they have been refused participation in the election.
Update on Bills, Acts, Statutory Instruments
No new Bill or Acts gazetted
Statutory instruments gazetted:-
SI 88/2008 - making imported newspapers "luxury items" for customs duty purposes [duty payable in foreign currency]
SI 89/2008 - increasing the customs duty on imported newspapers from 5% to 40%
SI 90/2008 - another raising of the income tax threshold and tax bands for 2008 [replacing SI 63/2008 gazetted in April]
SI 91/2008 - general conditions of service for employees of ZEC [largely based on the corresponding regulations for members of the Public Service]
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:33pm BST
LONDON (Reuters) - Foreign secretary David Miliband likened President Robert
Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe to "sadism" on Sunday and said South Africa had a
responsibility to do more to bring pressure to bear on its neighbour.
Miliband said countries had a duty to speak frankly about the crisis in the
country as Mugabe's security forces ratchet up their intimidation of
opposition leaders ahead of a presidential run-off election on June 27.
"The first thing is to be clear about the sadism, and I use that word
advisedly, that's going on ... in Zimbabwe at the moment," Miliband told BBC
"People being killed, people being tortured, people being beaten. Election
observers being stripped out, election officials being stripped out ... It's
important that we speak plainly and frankly about that."
Miliband said he and Prime Minister Gordon Brown had spoken to U.N.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the situation in the past two days and
about the need for more election observers to ensure the run-off is not
"We can raise this at the U.N. and it's right that we do so because the
pressure needs to be on absolutely clearly," he said, saying he hoped for
more action from the security council.
"Four million refugees will not even have a vote in this election even if
they dared to vote. It's important that the international community is clear
about its own perspective because that can give confidence to the people in
Britain, the former colonial ruler in Zimbabwe, is usually reluctant to be
outspoken in its condemnation of Mugabe as the Zimbabwean president tends to
use the past as a stick to beat Britain and other Western powers with
Asked about South Africa's role in bringing pressure to bear on Zimbabwe,
Miliband indicated that he was disappointed South Africa was not more
willing to work through the security council, preferring instead to seek
"I think the South African position at the U.N. on Thursday was against the
full engagement of the U.N. security council," he said. "There's a major
responsibility on South Africa in this area."
(Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Stephen Weeks)