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Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 5:37 AM
Subject: Fw: Zimbabwe this Week

7 days to "D" day - I wrote this weekly report and then blinked and behold - a week has rushed by! In the MDC offices this morning the team looked exhausted already. Charlene could hardly talk, Chris had not shaved for a week, Rudo and Grace had dark rings around their eyes, and still the crowds of candidates, victims of violence and others poured through the door. Its great stuff - but I do not think anyone will have any energy for the celebrations when we win, although the human spirit is something else.

The campaign to win by any means is in full swing - look at the record: -

  1. A totally peaceful and orderly referendum campaign - lasting two months with people fighting it out in the tabloids and in meetings and presentations by both sides to audiences throughout the country.
  2. Then BAM - 14 days afterwards, its wake up time for the dragon, the campaign of violence starts on the farms and spreads to the cities - land is promoted as THE issue, rescuing Zimbabwe from the grabbing hands of the British and their local puppets the other.
  3. The UN declares the voter's roll hopelessly out of date &- dead people, people who had left the country and the international community declares that any election conducted on the basis of the old roll would have no credibility. They decide no observers, as this would give credibility to a flawed process.
  4. The Danes step in and set up an operation to clean up the voter's roll - the government accepts the offer and they go to work - eliminating millions of phantom voters and dead people and others with enthusiasm.
  5. They decide that they should have a registration exercise and this is launched, but they underestimate the desire of the people to vote and 2,5 million register in two months, swamping the process and leading to a delay in the election - originally set for mid May.
  6. They finally decide to link the voters roll to the National Register of citizens and the two are merged successfully. This has the added advantage of bringing into the roll a large number of voters who otherwise would have been left out - especially in the rural areas where the registration exercise was not as popular as in the cities.
  7. This leads to the delimitation exercise, which results in the loss of some three urban seats, and these are shifted to the rural areas - useful but not definitive in Zanu PF eyes. However it further delays the poll giving the opposition time to organise and raise funds and giving Mugabe a real case of the jitters. Eventually he imposes on his professional team the dates of the 24/25th June.
  8. When this is decided there is insufficient time for those who have not had access to the roll or the delimitation to prepare for the nomination courts - a delay is sought but we have to go to court to get an extension of 4 days.
  9. The voters roll and accompanying maps of constituencies are delayed and eventually come out too late to be scrutinized in depth or used by the political opposition for campaign planning and other purposes. In fact the maps only come out 14 days before the actual poll and as at today's date - nobody other than the Registrar Generals Office and Zanu PF have a copy of the actual voters roll.
  10. Then come a number of new regulations for this poll - who can be an observer - half the foreign observers fail to gain recognition and leave the country or withdraw. Civil society groups train 24 000 local observers for the Election Supervisory Commission only to find at the last minute, that the head of this body is going to be an ex Zanla combatant with no electoral experience or background and that the observers role is going to be strictly prescribed.
  11. The political parties scramble to put an alternative supervisory system in place consisting of team of party poll agents, only to find new regulations that require that they take an examination before they can be recognised and that we can only have one per station to cover the full 48 hour period of the poll. Since we have to contend with an unknown number of polling stations (we still do not have a full list) this is a near impossibility.
  12. Then yesterday we were told that the counting might be delayed by two to three days - no explanation, but thereby extending the period during which we have to watch the thousands of ballot boxes from 48 hours to possibly 6 days. They also put out a new regulation that we cannot travel with the boxes from point to point.

We are taking these new regulations to court but how do we cope with all of this in the time available - we are doing our best but this explains the exhausted state of our volunteer teams in the party offices. This is an exercise only for the most determined, and we qualify for that description!

In the meantime the violence and intimidation continue -our death toll of MDC members is over 35 and rising daily, the number of people with injuries is too numerous to list while the numbers of homes burned down run to hundreds, if not thousands. The farm occupations have intensified and a whole system of intimidation of farm workers is being set up for the election period. Intimidation and forced attendance and participation accompany all Zanu PF rallies. Non compliance is met with immediate retribution and threats of retribution against the individual and his or her family.

And then there is our President - in power for 20 years, with all that experience in running the country, 6 university degrees and a recognised intellect, yet making the most irresponsible statements on the economy and what he is going to do with it. Not satisfied with destroying the tourist and farming sectors, he now wants to inspire his goons to invade mines and industrial firms and offers no protection for any form of property rights in any field of endeavor. If we needed evidence of his growing insolvency in terms of ideas and wisdom, this is it and I only hope it pushes a few of the remaining fence sitters off the wall.

One comment that a person from South Africa made has stuck with me recently - he said "what Mugabe is trying to do, is exactly what Smith tried and failed to do - prevent the majority from coming to power". It's a thought - he will also fail!

Eddie Cross

17th June 2000

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Dear family and friends.
One week today and the cast of history will have been set. The elections
are finally in sight, scheduled for next Saturday and Sunday and we can but
hope and pray that people will not be too scared to go and vote and choose
carefully where to put their all important X. The opposition party seem to
be well prepared and have come up with impressive plans to minimize the
amount of rigging that we all anticipate. This week they have launched an
appeal for $21 million in order to pay 21 000 local observers (3 per
polling station) who will man each booth for 48 hours - even sleep with the
filled boxes. Their determination for change, tenacity in the face of
overwhelming obstacles, and confidence and enthusiasm remain an inspiration
to us all.

As the intimidation and violence has climbed to fever pitch on our little
farm these past few weeks, I had become increasingly sceptical about going
to vote. After  what they did to Jane and my encounter with the gun man
last week though, I am now determined to go to the polls. We have all gone
through far too much, been stripped of our belongings, our human rights,
pride and dignity, to sit back now and let others do the work. I've got
angrier and angrier all week as people have asked me when we're leaving, it
seems as if three quarters of the white population of Marondera are going
away before the elections - supposedly to escape the violence. Not even
prepared to cast their vote, just running like frightened rabbits, they
don't seem to understand that this is their moral responsibility to a
country they say they care for so much. perhaps when this is all over,
there won't be a place for them here anymore, perhaps they don't deserve to
live in this wonderful country. Anyway enough rage for now!

We've had another tumultous week on the farm although less fraught than it
has been in the past fortnight. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the "war
vets and rent a mob" frog-marched all the villagers onto our field so that
they could be re-educated - again. There were 200 on the first day, 100 on
the second and about 30 on Wednesday. By then the local people had had
enough of sitting in the cold and misty field and had to be bribed to stay
with half a plate of mealie meal each! On Thursday the opposition held a
rally in Marondera town and that kept our thugs busy. Wednesday night they
went door to door through our neighbouring farms and villages, shouting,
banging on doors and windows, telling everyone that if they dared go to the
rally they'd be beaten. Some did go and on Thursday night the beatings
began; doors knocked down, maize stacks burnt and one man assaulted so
badly that he was hospitalized. When he was discharged, like so many now,
he was so angry that he went straight to the police station and laid
charges. The police came - at 1.30 in the morning - two landrovers full of
details, all armed - a very good sign for the weeks ahead.

We have found the most ridiculous things to laugh about these days, after
all everything is relative. One of our squatters has built an impressive
looking house on our old maize field. He's bought in a donkey which he uses
to drag the poles he cuts in our plantation to his building site. Man and
donkey are together in the hut and one night our night guard saw what he
thought was one of our cows wandering around in the dark. He rousted
George, our foreman, and the two went to coax the cow back home. When they
got there though, they discovered not a cow but a donkey! The donkey man
lost his temper with us on Friday because our cattle ate all the thatch off
his new roof, so he cut the five strands of wire on our boundary fence,
pulled out all the poles and vandalized 50 metres of fence. The first we
knew about it was when a good Samaritan rushed in to report all our cows
and calves wandering around on the tar road.

The second laugh of the week came as the two blue and white Presidential
helicopters flew very low over out house. Oh there goes Mugabe I said to
George as we both instinctively took cover under a big tree. George laughed
and told me that  apparently the President hardly ever actually goes in the
helicopter himself; he uses it as a decoy and travels in an ambulance! A
delightful thought and appropriate to what's coming perhaps.

The last laugh, and best, came on Saturday from Jane. She said three empty
buses arrived outside the store to collect people to take to a major
Presidential rally being held in Harare. The buses waited and waited and
eventually headed back to Harare - completely empty - everyone's had enough
of being dragged off to rallys. (This was the same rally that the BBC
reported on last night where only 5000 attended) Jane's wound is healing
well, still one deep section that won't dry up but she's got her sense of
humour back and together we plastered the walls of the store, inside and
out, with posters urging people to go and vote.

Until next week, thanks everyone for the continued support. It's not long
now and you'll all be able to lie in bed on Sunday mornings and read your
newspapers instead of my letters!
Love C

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Hi everyone,

Once more before the elections I am sending out the MDC account
information. Last time I did so there was just one overseas account, but
now there are several. I have also received feedback on how easy it is (or
isn't, as the case may be) to make a donation. However, "easiness"
shouldn't be the deciding factor.

For those in the UK it seems to be very easy to effect a transfer to the
MDC account in the UK over the telephone (assuming your bank has this
facility). Just ensure you have the information for the UK account ready
for the person you are speaking to on the phone (as well as your own
account details, of course).

For those in the US it would seem to be a little less straightforward, but
still fairly easy never-the-less. The only information I have is with
respect to the Bank of America, but one would assume that most of the major
American banks would operate in a similar manner. You have to go into your
branch and arrange to "wire" the funds by filling out a "Funds Transfer
Request and Authorization". On this form (which may differ in name and
format from bank to bank) there is a field which asks for the "ID of
Beneficiary Bank (e.g. Routing / ABA Number - if available)". The number
required is the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide International Financial
Communications) code which is NWB KGB 2L. If there is not a similarly named
field on the form you use, the teller should be able to assist you.

A third option is to simply post a cheque or money order to the bank
payable to the account name. As I have no feedback on this method, I do not
know for sure if it is an acceptable method, although I don't see why it
wouldn't be.

A fourth option, for those in Zimbabwe, is simply to drop a suitcase load
of Zim dollars at the local MDC or Pricewaterhouse Coopers office.

All but the last account below are listed on the MDC Web site at
http://www.in2zw.com/mdc/help.htm and there are more details available
there. Please read the details associated with the last account in the list
below so that you know what it is for and the differences between it and
the other account in the UK.

If you have details on what you have to go through to make a donation from
your country, please e-mail them to me at zimcrisis@niner.net . Thanks.

The elections are this weekend, so if you haven't yet donated, now is the
time to do so. Remember, a small amount of foreign currency can make a big
difference in Zim dollars, so please contribute!


ACCOUNT #1 -- UK:

National Westminster Bank
City of London Branch
1 Princes Street
London EC2R 8PB
United Kingdom

Account Name: MDC Trust UK
Account Number: 71070397
Sort Code: 50-00-00

SWIFT Code (see note above): NWB KGB 2L


ACCOUNT #2 -- AUSTRALIA:

Commonwealth Bank

Account Name: Friends of MDC
Account Number: 1018 3641
BSB Number: 06 2028


ACCOUNT #3 -- SOUTH AFRICA:

Cape of Good Hope Bank
P.O. Box 2125
Cape Town, 8000
Republic of South Africa

Account Name: ZIMSA Trust
Account Number: 9325388
Branch Number: 1000909


ACCOUNT #4 -- ZIMBABWE:

P.O. Box MP374
Mount Pleasant
Harare
Zimbabwe

Account Name: MDC Trust Fund
Send cheques.


OTHER METHODS IN ZIMBABWE:

1) Anonymous cash donations may be made to the MDC via Pricewaterhouse
Coopers at their offices in Arundel Park in Harare.

2) Take the money to the MDC Support Centre, 8th Floor, Gold Bridge,
Eastgate, Harare, or telephone them on 091367151/2/3 and the MDC will
collect it from you.

3) You can contact the MDC support centre in Harare on 091 367 151/2 or in
Bulawayo on 011631 229-30 for further advice.


ACCOUNT #5 -- UK:

A note about this account: There has been some confusion about the
existence of two MDC accounts in the UK. Hopefully I will not add to the
confusion by including them in this message. My goal is to give *you* the
choice of where to send your money and how *you* would like to see it used.
This account is not listed on the MDC Web site and I have not yet had
independent confirmation of its purpose, although MDC (UK) claims to
operate with the blessing of the MDC in Zimbabwe. Additionally, the
Chairman of this account is Eldridge Culverwell, and his contact
information *does* appear on the MDC Web site at
http://www.in2zw.com/mdc/help.htm (where the other accounts are listed) so
one could reasonably assume that, although this account is not listed on
the MDC Web site, it does indeed operate with the knowledge and blessing of
the MDC.

The information I have from the MDC (UK) organisation, whose account
details appear below, is that this account funds lobbying activities in
London (where most of the overseas lobbying must, of historical necessity,
occur), including bringing MDC people from Zimbabwe to London, as well as
sending some money back to the MDC in Zimbabwe. Considering the rapid rise
to prominence of the MDC, the organisers admit that their organisation and
dissemination of information leaves room for improvement, but in lieu of
that for now they have been very willing to provide contact information
(e-mail addresses and telephone numbers).

If you wish more information on this account, please initiate contact with
Patrick McKenna via e-mail at xhv05@dial.pipex.com .

National Westminster Bank
P.O. Box 5
1st floor
County House
221-241 Beckenham Road
Beckenham
Kent
BR3 4WZ
United Kingdom

Account Name: MDC (UK)
Account Number: 54065852
Sort Code: 60-02-12





Craig
Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List
zimcrisis@niner.net


This is currently a manually administered mailing list. To subscribe or
unsubscribe, send your request to zimcrisis@niner.net. Personal requests
for removal will be carried out immediately. Requests from governmental,
political or press organisations will be treated less favourably. The
purpose of this list is not necessarily to redistribute published news
reports. Rather, it is intended to distribute reports from or directly
affecting people in Zimbabwe. If you have seen something before, I
apologise. Hopefully that will not be a regular occurrence.

Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.zimbabwesituation.com
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans --
http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk
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   WASHINGTON, June 19 (AFP) - The United States on Monday called 
for Zimbabwe to accredit observers it is funding to monitor
elections there next week, expressing frustration at the fact
permission had not yet been granted.
   "We've had repeated, multiple requests to the government of 
Zimbabwe," Boucher said. "This goes back over a period of time."
   "We urge that they be accredited quickly," he said in comments 
that followed complaints from observer missions in Harare that some
200 of approximately 500 international observers had been barred
from monitoring the polls.
   Boucher confirmed that none of the representatives from the 
US-based and -funded National Democratic Institute (NDI) and
International Republican Institute (IRI) had received
accreditation.
   He could not provide the specific numbers of those American 
observers affected but noted that despite Washington's criticism of
the electoral process thus far in Zimbabwe, the United States had
been prepared to fund more than 10,000 domestic and African
observers as well.



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   HARARE, June 19 (AFP) - Zimbabwe's government has barred some 
200 of approximately 500 international observers from monitoring
parliamentary elections next weekend, sources in the observer
missions said Monday.
   They said those observers had applied for accreditation, but had 
not received it, while others had.
   One source said those who had been barred were "almost 
exclusively from regional and international non-governmental
organisations (NGOs)," including representatives of the US-based
National Democratic Institute and the International Republican
Institute.
   Others refused accreditation include observers from the 
electoral commission forum of Southern African Development Community
(SADC), the International Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, the
World Council of Churches and the Network of Independent Monitors of
South Africa, the sources said.
   The various foreign observer missions met in the capital Monday 
to discuss the problem, but did not make any formal announcement.
Neither did the government.
   One source explained that NGOs were not bound by bilateral 
agreements with the Zimbabwe government and were "more likely to
speak freely" on the fairness of the elections.
   An EU observer source said it was "amazing and embarrassing" for 
Zimbabwe to bar respected southern African regional groups from
monitoring the polls.
   The state-owned Herald newspaper reported Monday that Zimbabwe 
had barred 17 Kenyan and Nigerian observers from the EU observer
team.
   It accused them of secretly working for Britain. 
   A British electoral expert who was sent to Zimbabwe early this 
month to train observers was detained at Harare airport and sent
back to Britain, a source at the British High Commission told AFP.
   The source, who did not want to be named, said the expert came 
to Zimbabwe under the auspices of the European Union.
   Peter Hain, Britain's minister in charge of African affairs, 
said in early June that Mugabe "seems determined"  to avoid holding
fair elections.
   "Neither Britain nor the international community can make this 
election fair. Only Robert Mugabe can do that, and he seems
determined not to," Hain said.
   "But we are not going to pre-empt the observers' verdict or the 
verdict of the people of Zimbabwe. To pre-empt would be to play
Robert Mugabe's game. He wants to run this election with Britain as
the opposition -- and we are not going to oblige."




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The Times [UK]

June 20 2000  AFRICA
 
 Mugabe calls on nations to seize lands

FROM RAY KENNEDY IN JOHANNESBURG

 
PRESIDENT MUGABE is drawing up plans to promote his policy of seizing
lands belonging to whites throughout southern Africa.

The move could force President Mbeki of South Africa, so far his most
patient and consistent supporter, to adopt a tougher attitude towards
the Zimbabwean leader. Mr Mbeki has reassured whites in his country that
there will no illegal occupation of their lands, as orchestrated by Mr
Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

Senior officials of Mr Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party disclosed yesterday that
it is drawing up proposals to put before the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community (SADC), which it hopes will be used to address the
return of "land to landless Africans" in sub-Saharan Africa. The
proposals, to be known as the SADC Land Protocol, will enable land
issues to be dealt with collectively, the Zanu officials were reported
here as saying.

The plan is unlikely to draw much support from SADC members, some of
whom are likely to regard it as an attempt by Mr Mugabe to interfere in
their domestic affairs.

At the weekend Mr Mbeki reiterated in a radio interview a pledge he made
recently in Parliament that white South Africans should have no fears
that the Government would allow the illegal occupation of their farms by
landless people. But he did emphasise that the process of legal
redistribution of land should be speeded up.

Mr Mbeki's quiet support so far for President Mugabe's actions has been
criticised by his political rivals. In the interview, he again called on
the British Government to honour the 1998 agreement under which, he
insisted, London agreed to pay for redistributing land in Zimbabwe.
"This land was seized from African people by colonial power and handed
to whites," he said. "They [Zimbabweans] are saying, I think quite
legitimately: 'Why must we pay for it?' "


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Zimbabwe Throws Out Election Monitors

June 19, 2000

Rangarirai Shoko
PANA Correspondent

HARARE, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Zimbabwe on Monday threw out some Kenyan and Nigerian election observers in a European Union team on suspicion they were working for former colonial power, Britain, which it has barred from monitoring next weekend's parliamentary polls.

President Robert Mugabe, saying Britain was an interested party in the polls because of its open support for the opposition, last month barred London from sending an observer team for the 24-25 June parliamentary elections.

"We will welcome any observer team as long as they don't include a single Briton," he told visiting Commonwealth secretary general, Don McKinnon.

Government officials said 10 Kenyans and seven Nigerians had been denied accreditation because it had been discovered they were representing Britain and not the EU.

The UN pulled out of Zimbabwe's election process last month after the government refused it permission to co- ordinate the activities of all foreign observer missions.

More than 16,000 election observers have been deployed in the country to monitor the polls.

Zimbabwe bars EU election observers
WebPosted Mon Jun 19 16:33:54 2000

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Zimbabwe has refused to allow some international observers to monitor this weekend's elections.

The 17 Kenyan and Nigerian observers are members of a mission sponsored by the European Union.

An election official in Zimbabwe says the observers aren't eligible because neither country is a member of the EU.

The official also claims the Kenyans and Nigerians will pass on information about the elections to the British government.

The observers have already been deployed in a number of rural districts across the country and will not be recalled until their status can be confirmed.

President Robert Mugabe has accused Britain of supporting the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which has mounted the first serious threat to his rule.

Last month, Mugabe said his country would welcome any observer team as long as they "don't include a single Briton."

Opposition and human rights groups have accused Mugabe's government of delaying the accreditation of foreign observers so that the government can conduct a state-sponsored terror campaign in the countryside.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) has also had difficulties getting their observers accredited after the Washington-based democracy group said free and fair elections were not possible in Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, June 20 5:56 AM SGT

Zimbabwe violence started on the farms, then spread

HARARE, June 19 (AFP) -

Hundreds of Zimbabweans supporting President Robert Mugabe's ruling party started occupying white-owned farms in February but soon turned their violence towards opposition supporters as election fever gained pace.

The farm invasions, led by former guerrillas of the war of independence from British colonial rule, started just days after voters rejected a proposed constitution in a referendum. It would have allowed the seizure of farmland without compensation, and increased Mugabe's already sweeping powers.

The constitution would have also "compelled" Britain, as the former colonial power, to pay compensation to white farmers whose land would have been taken by the government.

Five days ahead of the referendum the white commercial farmers expressed their opposition to the provisions of the draft constitution, saying they felt they were being "treated vindictively."

They said for retribution to be meted out to today's farmers just because the former colonial power has repudiated the payment of reparations was not fair since the farmers were Zimbabweans, not British.

Mugabe blamed the voters' subsequent rejection of the draft constitution on the whites, accusing them of backing the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as a front to re-colonise the former Rhodesia.

Days after the government-sponsored constitution was defeated, with 54.6 percent of the voters casting "no" ballots, veterans of the war that ended colonial rule went on a rampage, swarming onto white-owned farms across the country.

The invasions, often violent, led to the death of four white farmers in direct clashes. The MDC claimed all four were its members.

Accompanying the invasions, which Mugabe openly supported and adamantly refused to stop, were brutal attacks on opposition supporters. The opposition claimed more than 5,000 cases of violence against its supporters and the death of a total of 30 people.

War veterans' leader Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi, who spearheaded the farm invasions, said Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) had given funds to his association to campaign for the elections, and the invaders were reportedly paid and fed from government vehicles.

Mugabe has denied having ordered the invasions.

Hunzvi, for his part, warned that an opposition victory in the elections would lead to the veterans launching a civil war.

"We will never allow people who oppressed us to come to power," he said.

Andrez Ndlovu, a top veterans' official, added: "It means we will go back to the bush. We will declare a military government," adding that the military government would need five years to get things right.

The Commercial Farmers' Union, while it supports land reform in a nation where some 4,000 white farmers own about 30 percent of the country, decided to take legal action to have the veterans ejected from their properties, but Mugabe said he would rather disregard the "little law of trespass" than order one black to evict another.

A day before Mugabe dissolved the last parliament in April, the government amended the constitution to give the president the power to take land for redistribution to blacks without paying for it.

Hunzvi vowed to force the government to acquire land and redistribute it before the elections, saying that politicians could not be trusted after a victory at the polls, but no redistribution has yet taken place.

Earlier attempts at land reform in Zimbabwe were marred by corruption, which saw farms going to senior government and party officials, and by agricultural failures in resettlment areas.

Zimbabwean Political Parties Round Off Campaigns

June 19, 2000

Rangarirai Shoko
PANA Correspondent

HARARE, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Zimbabwe's two main political parties held final campaign rallies at the weekend in Harare, the capital, as the crucial 24-25 June parliamentary elections draw close.

The governing ZANU-PF party and the opposition MDC held the rallies at separate venues in the capital, in what political analysts said was intended to gauge their political support ahead of the polls.

The rallies, addressed by the presidents of the two parties, attracted almost the same number of supporters, a scenario the analysts said showed President Robert Mugabe had covered significant political ground in urban areas where the opposition have enjoyed overwhelming support.

Mugabe addressed an estimated 15,000 supporters at the Harare campaign rally on Saturday, and another 10,000 in the second city of Bulawayo on the same day, stressing his message of land reform and the need to thwart British attempts to re-assert former colonial control on Zimbabwe.

He accused Britain, which granted Zimbabwe independence in 1980, of sponsoring opposition parties in the country in an attempt to sidetrack his government's land reforms which London strongly opposes.

On the other hand, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, predicting victory for his seven-month old party, spoke out against top-level corruption in government and Mugabe's poor handling of the economy at his party's Sunday campaign rally attended by an estimated 20,000 supporters.

"We have demonstrated here with this large crowd that the MDC is not just an opposition party. We are the government-in-waiting," he said.

But the MDC rally, held in a city stadium where Britain formerly handed the reigns of power to Mugabe in 1980, was marred by brutal attacks on three suspected ZANU-PF supporters by youths of the opposition party.

"We absolutely condemn them, but you have to see it in the context of a violent three month campaign," said MDC legal secretary, David Coltart.

More than 30 people, many of them opposition supporters, have died in inter-party clashes in the past three months, with all parties trading accusations of responsibility for the fighting.

Sixteen thousand regional and international observers are monitoring the polls.

Political observers say the close turnout of supporters at the weekend rallies between the two parties indicated a tight race for ZANU-PF and the MDC in urban areas where the latter drew most of its support.

The 5,000 difference in crowd numbers between it and the ruling party is something that the MDC should worry about, more so that time has run out for the party to do anything much about it, said a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer.

He said the opposition party's best electoral hope is in urban areas as ZANU-PF has sealed off its rural political stronghold through promises of land reform to the peasants.

'Red-carded' Mugabe faces an early exit

By JONATHAN STEELE in Harare

President Robert Mugabe, could be facing humiliation and defeat for his ZANU-PF party in this weekend's parliamentary election, according to a new opinion poll.

It suggests the opposition Movement for Democratic Change could win 70 of the 120 contested parliamentary seats.

Under the Constitution, Mr Mugabe - who has led Zimbabwe since his massive victory in the former British colony's first majority-rule elections in 1980 - appoints another 30 MPs.

But the leader of the MDC challengers, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, said he would try to limit the president's ability to do so.

The president's term lasts until 2002 but the MDC is trusting that if it wins, Mr Mugabe will be pressed into going early.

Six weeks ago, when ZANU-PF launched its election campaign with a wave of intimidation against MDC supporters, some opposition leaders considered calling for a boycott of an election they believed could not be free or fair.

Now, against earlier odds, they sense victory, and at the weekend 15,000 of their supporters sang, danced and cheered in Harare's Rufaro stadium in anticipation.

"We showed Robert Mugabe the yellow card," the MDC president, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, told them - referring to February's nationwide vote that rejected Mr Mugabe's attempts to change the constitution.

'Now we show him the red one!" A roar of triumphant laughter engulfed the stands and, on cue, hundreds of people waved little red cards.

"We have had enough of poverty, enough of racism, enough of ZANU-PF," Mr Tsvangirai said after asking the crowd to stand in memory of the roughly 30 candidates and supporters who have been killed in the election campaign.

"Robert Mugabe is a violent president who does not love the people of this country. He loves power. We are not for retribution, but those who have done the killing must answer for it.''

In turnout and spirit, the contrast with Mr Mugabe's rally the day before was painful.

Even though it was held at Highfield, close to Harare's biggest black township, the president mustered little more than 5,000 people.

An embarrassed Mr Tony Gara, the ZANU-PF chairman for Harare province, apologised in his welcoming address, sounding almost like an MDC supporter when he rubbed in one of the main factors which has seen Mr Mugabe's popularity plummet: "Some people also could not get here because of the fuel crisis," he said.

Mr Mugabe declared: "Zimbabwe is a black man's land and therefore a black man has the right to determine its future. We must remember the problems we went through when they ruled this country."

But his rhetoric - and his favourite slogan, "Zimbabwe will never be a colony again" - seemed out of touch. Most people are more concerned that the country's economy began to turn down in the 1990s and that they now face an unemployment rate said to be as high as 55 per cent and inflation of around 74 per cent.

The magnitude of Mr Mugabe's crisis is hard to absorb. The MDC is a broader coalition even than the rainbow alliance which Nelson Mandela put together in South Africa.

It includes whites who fought in the army in support of Rhodesia's white-rule leader, Ian Smith, as well as liberals who fought against him. It has thousands of blacks who used to be with the ZANU-PF guerillas in the fight that began in 1965 for majority rule, as well as others who were rivals or kept their heads down in the war.

The Guardian

Tense vote this week in Zimbabwe

With five days left before parliamentary elections, President Mugabe is block-ing opposition campaigns.

Ross Herbert
Special to The Christian Science Monitor

HARARE, ZIMBABWE

Aloyis Mudzingwa's campaign supporters sometimes do their work by moonlight.

In his rural Zimbabwe constituency, they covertly paint his name on large rocks by the side of the road. And as they drive through the streets, his campaign workers hurl election pamphlets out the windows.

"That is the only [safe] way of campaigning we have left," Mr. Mudzingwa told international election observers this week.

A parliamentary candidate for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Mudzingwa's constituency is Murehwa North, about 60 miles east of Harare. It is - like much of Zimbabwe - a virtual no-go area for opposition candidates who are fighting an uphill battle against President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

Despite the deployment this week of hundreds of international election observers, tension continues to mount as Zimbabwe moves closer to June 24-25 parliamentary elections that represent the first major challenge to Mr. Mugabe's ruling party in 20 years.

"We must accept that we have a real battle here," the visibly angry president told just 5,000 people Saturday in a Harare stadium where, on his return from exile in 1980, more than 100,000 gathered to cheer him.

In the same stadium yesterday, an estimated 10,000 MDC supporters gathered to hear their candidates speak.

A poll published on Friday indicated that the MDC could win 70 of the 120 contested parliamentary seats, but government ministers have dismissed the survey as inaccurate.

Most of the parliamentary seats in contention are in rural areas where thousands of veterans of the 1980 war for independence and party youths now occupy some 1,500 white-owned commercial farms. These groups effectively act as a ruling party militia, forcing rural voters to go to campaign rallies, holding all-night indoctrination sessions on occupied farms, and physically blocking campaign rallies in rural areas that ZANU-PF considers its political heartland.

MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who travels with an entourage of support vehicles, has better access to rural areas than Mudzingwa, but his movement has been limited too.

Last Tuesday, Mr. Tsvangirai attempted to hold a rally in Murehwa but a brawl erupted between his advance team and ZANU-PF supporters. When Tsvangirai arrived for the rally, some 3,000 ZANU-PF supporters and war veterans armed with clubs occupied the site and police barred Tsvangirai from the town.

"It is a strategy. We schedule a rally and they go after and book the place and the police block you. They are trying to say we should not campaign in these places," Tsvangirai says.

So far the presence of international observers has not notably improved the situation. Five major Tsvangirai rallies and many smaller rallies by MDC candidates were blocked last week.

After Tsvangirai's motorcade was stoned and a rally blocked by ZANU-PF in Honde Valley, about 110 miles east of Harare, he tried to get a European Union observer team to accompany him back to Harare. The EU team declined for fear of being stoned itself and Tsvangirai was subsequently stoned a second time. The observers, facing the same risk of violence, have been disorganized and slow in deploying to rural areas.

"Unfortunately, the international observers are sitting in international hotel rooms and don't know what is going on," Tsvangirai complained last week. Since his complaint, observer deployments have increased.

"What has happened in Zimbabwe over the last few months is a complete subversion of the democratic electoral process," says Tony Reeler, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, a coalition of independent groups monitoring the violence.

"Free and fair elections are not possible," Mr. Reeler told a news conference in Harare.

The Forum says more than 13,000 people have fled rural violence and sought refuge in towns and cities. Reeler says unruly MDC supporters have increasingly been involved in violent clashes, but the vast majority of incidents recorded by the group were launched by ZANU-PF backers. At least 30 people have been killed in political violence so far.

Despite the violence, campaigning continues. On the stump, Tsvangirai continues to focus on the country's economic collapse, high unemployment, crippling interest and inflation rates and fuel shortages that have brought much of the economy to a standstill.

For his part, Mugabe's speeches and advertisements continue to portray Tsvangirai as a stooge of white interests and the British. At the Saturday rally, the last major campaign event in Harare before elections, Mugabe spoke for an hour about colonialism, the evils of the British, unfulfilled British aid promises and white influence behind the MDC. "This struggle is against the whites and the British. Let the Britons rule Britain and the Zimbabweans rule their own country," he said.

In the last 10 minutes he mentioned the economic crisis, which he blamed on white business which he said took advantage of the end of price controls six years ago. "So we are now giving the government the power to limit the price of everything. No one will be allowed to raise the price of anything without government permission," Mugabe says.

Mugabe's appeals to patriotism and emphasis on his role as the leader of the liberation from white rule remain deeply evocative to many Zimbabweans.

Although Tsvangirai clearly has wide support, Mugabe retains huge advantages. Mugabe appoints 30 members of the 150 seat Parliament, which means the MDC must win 75 of 120 elected seats to command a majority.

If, as the latest poll suggests, the MDC took 70 seats, that would be an impressive win in a Parliament where the opposition currently holds only three seats. But it still would be too little for the MDC to take control.

Opposition Predicts Victory In Zimbabwe Polls

June 19, 2000

Rangarirai Shoko
PANA Correspondent

HARARE, Zimbabwe (PANA) - The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party has predicted victory in this weekend's parliamentary elections.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai told an estimated 20,000 supporters at a campaign rally Sunday that the seven-month old labour-backed party would dislodge President Robert Mugabe's government from 20 years of uninterrupted rule.

"We have demonstrated here with this large crowd that the MDC is not just an opposition party. We are the government-in-waiting," he said.

The party was buoyed earlier in the week by an opinion survey predicting it would win 70 of the 120 seats being contested in the poll, the toughest the governing ZANU-PF party has had to fight since coming into power in 1980.

The MDC is campaigning on the platform of political and economic change, blaming the government for sinking 76 percent of the country's population of 12 million people into poverty.

Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist, accused Mugabe of being spendthrift and of tolerating top-level corruption in government, vowing to require all MDC officials declare their wealth before assuming office.

But the rally, the biggest the party has held, was marred by savage beatings of three suspected supporters of the ruling party.

"We absolutely condemn them (the beatings), but you have to see it in the context of a violent three-month campaign," MDC legal secretary David Coltart said.

More than 30 people, many of them opposition members, have died in clashes between rival supporters since February.

Sixteen thousand regional and international observers have been deployed to monitor the elections.

Mugabe has accused the MDC, transformed into a political party from a labour group, of promoting the neo-colonial interests of former colonial power Britain, which is locked in a bitter war of words with his government over land reform.

But Tsvangirai denied the MDC was being manipulated by the British government, despite London's financial backing for the party.

"Zimbabwe will not go back to Rhodesia (the country's colonial name) again, as some of our detractors claim. Saying ZANU-PF has failed does not mean returning the country to foreigners," he said.

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Mugabe Admits He Faces Stiff Opposition
Zimbabwe Opposition Rally Marred by Violence

Mugabe Admits He Faces Stiff Opposition

HARARE, Zimbabwe (PANA) (Panafrican News Agency, June 18, 2000) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, campaigning for next weekend's parliamentary elections for his governing party, has admitted that his support base is on the decline in urban areas.

The Zimbabwean leader said a new labour-backed opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had capitalised on the country's economic crisis to win considerable support in urban areas, especially the capital Harare and the second city of Bulawayo.

"Let us not fool ourselves. We are facing a challenge from the Movement for Democratic Change in the urban constituencies, especially here in Harare," Mugabe told supporters of his ruling ZANU-PF party at a campaign rally in the capital at the weekend.

The veteran politician, who has dominated the country's politics since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980, rounded off campaigning for the elections with two rallies at the weekend in Harare and Bulawayo.

Unlike in the rural areas where he has promised speedy land reform, Mugabe told supporters at the two urban rallies he would re-introduce price controls to cushion people from the rising cost of living which he blamed on profiteering by manufacturers and retailers.

Zimbabwe abandoned price controls at the beginning of the 1990s after the government embraced IMF-drafted economic reforms.

The country has since ditched the reforms.

The Zimbabwean leader, who has been in power for 20 years, also promised a re-invigorated crackdown on top-level corruption in government in which several senior officials have been implicated in scams involving billions of dollars.

"We are determined to fight corruption and to fight those who are plundering government's wealth," he said.

An opinion survey by an independent polling agency released last week has predicted the MDC, which was formed seven months ago, will win the elections.

by Rangarirai Shoko

Zimbabwe Opposition Rally Marred by Violence

HARARE, June 18 (Reuters) - Jubilant Zimbabwe opposition supporters ran a gauntlet of police searches to throng Harare's independence stadium on Sunday for a violence-marred rally four times larger than the ruling party's main event.

At least 20,000 people attended the rally addressed by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a key test of his party's ability to mobilise supporters ahead of next weekend's election.

"We have demonstrated here with this large crowd that the MDC is not just an opposition party. We are the government in waiting," Tsvangirai said to loud cheers at Rufaro Stadium.

On Saturday, ruling ZANU-PF officials apologised publicly to President Robert Mugabe for the poor turnout of around 5,000 at his Harare rally before the parliamentary vote on June 24-25.

The MDC rally had several ugly incidents in which youths attacked three men suspected of being ZANU-PF supporters.

They chased one man, who later gave his name as Felix, against a chainlink fence protecting the playing field and beat and kicked him until police with dogs drove them back. He was accused of helping to abduct four MDC youths on Sunday.

"They said I was a ZANU-PF supporter and they started to beat me up. I am not ZANU-PF," Felix, his shirt torn and his face bleeding, told reporters.

In a separate incident, another man was punched in the face and a Mugabe T-shirt ripped from his body before police rescued him from the mob. He also denied he was a ZANU-PF supporter.

A third man was also beaten before police saved him.

ATTACKS CONDEMNED

MDC legal secretary David Coltart condemned the attacks and said his party, the first to seriously challenge Mugabe in the 20 years since independence, was committed to a peaceful poll.

"We absolutely condemn it (the attack), but you have to see it in the context of a violent three-month campaign," he said.

At least 29 people, mostly opposition supporters, have died in political violence linked to the election campaign and the invasion of hundreds of white-owned farms by pro-government militants since February.

Shingirayi Mutsapi, an MDC supporter, showed reporters cuts on his shoulders and leg and said he was in a group of party members attacked on the way to the rally.

Police set up roadblocks on routes to the stadium where Britain's Union Jack came down in 1980, searching cars and questioning drivers.

Mugabe has denied responsibility for the violence and accused the opposition of attacking government supporters.

The 76-year-old president acknowledged on Saturday for the first time that his ZANU-PF party faced a strong challenge in Harare province, which holds 19 of the 120 seats at stake.

"We must accept that we have a real battle here," the visibly angry president told about 5,000 people in a stadium where, on his return from exile in 1980, more than 100,000 gathered to cheer him.

On Sunday, a mob of 50 men attacked the Harare home of Margaret Dongo, leader of the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD), the country's third-largest opposition party.

"They came by bus and started throwing rocks at my house and car," Dongo told Reuters. "They were ZANU-PF. They had flags and everything. I hid under the table, but one of my workers was injured."

START OF "REAL INDEPENDENCE"

In his speech, Tsvangirai stressed the symbolism of holding his rally in the same place where Mugabe was inaugurated as the country's first black president in 1980.

"In this stadium 20 years ago, Robert Mugabe stood and announced the independence of Zimbabwe. But Zimbabwe moved from the hands of one oppressor to another," he said.

"Today Zimbabweans begin the countdown to the start of our real independence," Tsvangirai added.

In stark contrast to Mugabe's passionless rally on Saturday, the mood on Sunday was electric.

Most of the MDC supporters were young men who danced in the stands, shouted anti-ZANU-PF slogans and waved red cards to symbolically toss Mugabe out of power.

A poll published on Friday suggested the MDC was poised to win 70 of the 120 contested parliamentary seats, but government ministers have dismissed the survey. Under the constitution, Mugabe appoints another 30 members to parliament.

Tsvangirai said his party would seek to limit Mugabe's power to fill parliamentary seats if the MDC won next week.

"We cannot have a man whose party has lost an election to rule by default. If Mugabe loses the coming elections he has no moral authority to continue in office," Tsvangirai said.

Most of the parliamentary seats are in rural areas where pro-government militants have employed strongarm tactics against rural voters, warning there will be reprisals if the MDC wins.

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White candidate defies threats - Chimanimani, The Times, 20 June 2000
Zimbabweans feel 'let down' - BBC: Tuesday, 20 June, 2000, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Commonwealth Poll Chief Told of Zimbabwe Violence - BULAWAYO, June 20 (Reuters)  
Group Won't Monitor Zimbabwe Vote - WASHINGTON (AP) Tuesday June 20 11:52 AM ET
Zimbabwe minister 'watched beatings'- The Times, 20 June 2000
Opposition charges rigging as Zimbabwe vote nears - HARARE, June 20 (AFP)
Mugabe calls on nations to seize lands - The Times, 20 June 2000
 
White candidate defies threats
 
The Times, 20 June 2000 - FROM MICHAEL DYNES IN CHIMANIMANI
 
HEATHER BENNET was two months' pregnant when she had a machete thrust at her throat by one of the self-styled war veterans who last month rampaged across her family's farm in the remote Chimanimani district.

After three weeks of death threats against her and her family, savage assaults on farm labourers and being forced to watch the frenzied mob trash the family home 300 miles south of Harare, Mrs Bennet, 38, a mother of three, suffered a miscarriage.

The lost baby can be added to the tally of at least 30 people who have died in the campaign of rural terror launched by the ruling Zanu (PF) Party. Most were opposition supporters and black labourers.

The Bennet farm, a sprawling 7,000-acre coffee and cattle plot bought in 1993 after President Mugabe's Government declined an offer to acquire it for resettlement, was invaded by 30 so-called war veterans to teach her husband, Roy, a lesson. Mr Bennet, 43, a former Zanu (PF) local candidate, defected to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in March after becoming disillusioned with what he described as the autocratic and incompetent leadership of the ruling party.

He is one of five white candidates fielded by the MDC in next weekend's elections. A fluent Shona speaker, Mr Bennet insists that the support he is getting has nothing to do with his racial origin. "It's not because I'm white. It's because I have a proven track record of working well with the local community," he said.

The MDC offered the first opportunity for whites and blacks to work together, he said. "Before this election, there has never been a credible opposition party. Whites have never got involved in politics because they were never welcomed. Mugabe turned every previous election into an exercise in white-bashing."

Mr Bennet's troubles started as soon as it became known that he had defected to the MDC. "They started beating people," he said. "Every day I received threats that they were going to take my farm and kill my family.

"They beat up the teachers from the local school in front of the children. They dragged out one of the teachers, stripped her naked and flogged her. They have even bused in people from as far as Bulawayo to try to sort me out."

Castigating Zimbabwe's white-dominated Commercial Farmers' Union for failing to stand up to President Mugabe and his roaming bands of war veterans, Mr Bennet said: "It's the appeasement from the white farmers which has allowed the lawlessness and mayhem to reach the level it has in Zimbabwe." Yet Mr Bennett is optimistic. He repeated a Shona saying: "When you've been lying on one side for 20 years, that side becomes rotten and it's time to turn over.

"The war vets are the only source of power Mugabe has left. Once they see that the game is up, they will just filter away. The time for evil is over. Zanu (PF)'s days are over."

Zimbabweans feel 'let down'
BBC: Tuesday, 20 June, 2000, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Even MPs like Margaret Dongo are not immune from violence and intimidation
With elections just days away, Zimbabwe's Government has acknowledged that people in towns and cities feel disenchanted with it.

The campaign manager of the ruling Zanu-PF party, Jonathon Moyo, told the BBC he expected the opposition to win 18% of the vote - though he said this would only translate into three seats in parliament.

His estimate contrasts with an independent opinion poll last week, which forecast the opposition winning about 70 of the 120 seats being contested.

The government dismissed that poll as unscientific.

Dr Moyo said the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change was only campaigning in about a fifth of the constituencies.

Correspondents say the campaign of intimidation against the opposition, orchestrated by the ruling party, appears to be backfiring, angering many potential Zanu-PF supporters.

Restraint urged

Meanwhile, the head of the Commonwealth Electoral Observer Team, Nigeria's former president Abdulsalami Abubakar, has urged restraint ahead of the weekend.

He condemned political violence sweeping Zimbabwe.

"Zimbabweans should vote peacefully and according to their will. There is no need for violence, otherwise you are doing a disservice to the same people you aspire to lead," Mr Abubakar said.

He said he was concerned at the horrifying tales of violence and intimidation his observer team had heard.

"People have been beaten and I have been able to speak to some of those who have been beaten. This is coming from all the (political) parties concerned," he said.

At least 29 people, mostly opposition supporters, have died in violence linked to the election and the invasions of hundreds of white-owned farms by government supporters.

According to the Commercial Farmers Union, 430 people have received hospital treatment and 2,400 assault cases have been reported since February, mostly against black farm workers.

There were 1,490 death threats, 70% of them against the workers, the union said.

On Tuesday opposition leader Margaret Dongo told journalists in Harare that about 70 militants of the Zanu-PF party attacked her house wielding sticks and something like a bottle of petrol.

They thoroughly wrecked her house and car and five people were seriously injured, she said.

Disgraceful Africans

Meanwhile, the 17 Kenyan and Nigerian observers who have been barred from monitoring polls have been called "disgraceful Africans" by the state-owned Herald newspaper.

It said they were "willing to be used as tools by the British in return for a few pieces of silver".

"We do not expect our brothers and sisters to be aiding Western powers in their destructive ways," the newspaper said.

The European Union team has denied the observers had any connection with the UK - which has been highly critical of President Robert Mugabe.

Commonwealth Poll Chief Told of Zimbabwe Violence

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, June 20 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition officials told the head of the Commonwealth Electoral Observer Team harrowing tales on Tuesday of beatings and abductions of its supporters in the run-up to this weekend's parliamentary elections.

Officials of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who met former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar said they told him that mounting violence and bureaucratic red-tape targetting the opposition were eroding chances for a free and fair vote.

"We used the opportunity to express our concerns about the ongoing violence in Bulawayo and the rest of the country," MDC official David Coltart told Reuters after the hour-long meeting with Abubakar, a respected former military ruler of Nigeria.

Coltart said beatings and abductions of MDC supporters had risen this week. On Sunday 25 MDC supporters were abducted in Bulawayo and were still missing, five more disappeared on Monday evening and others were dragged from their homes and beaten in broad daylight, he said.

"We are really scared and things are just getting worse in the suburbs. We expect more violence before voting day," MDC official Beauty Sibanda said.

Coltart said Abubakar was given a graphic picture of violence across the country, including rapes of MDC supporters.

Officials with Abubakar said he was horrified by the violence linked to the elections in which President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party faces a stiff challenge from the MDC led by trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai.

Interviewed by Reuters earlier, Abubakar deplored the violence in which 29 people, mostly opposition supporters have died since February. He urged restraint before the June 24-25 vote.

"Zimbabweans should vote peacefully and according to their will. There is no need for violence otherwise you are doing a disservice to the same people you aspire to lead," he said.

"People have been beaten and I have been able to speak to some of those who have been beaten. This is coming from all the (political) parties concerned," he said.

OPPOSITION WARNS OF VOTE-RIGGING

Violence erupted in February when self-styled independence war veterans invaded white-owned farms to claim land they say was stolen by British colonists more than 200 years ago.

Mugabe backed the invasions but has denied responsibility for the violence.

Abubakar was due to meet ZANU-PF officials later.

Coltart said the MDC officials told him of government tactics to rig the elections, including tampering with the Voters' Register, the reduction in the number of parliamentary seats in urban areas considered to be opposition strongholds and a law that denies polling agents the right to escort ballot boxes from polling stations to counting centres.

"Young Zimbabweans have been left off the registration roll and all sorts of tactics and laws applied to frustrate the opposition," Coltart said.

The MDC was also concerned about the deployment of army troops in Matebeleland, ostensibly to beef up security before the voting, which was frightening the people.

The red-bereted troops reminded them of rights abuses in the 1980s by the notorious North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade when it was sent to quell an uprising by the ZAPU party of the late Joshua Nkomo, Coltart said.

Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa said on Monday he would deploy 30,000 police in a countrywide security operation to ensure a peaceful vote.

Human rights monitors have said more than 13,000 rural people have fled to towns and cities to escape rural violence and others have had their identity books destroyed by government supporters, making it impossible for them to vote.

Tuesday June 20 11:52 AM ET

Group Won't Monitor Zimbabwe Vote

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Criticizing Zimbabwe's violence-plagued election campaign, an American observer group Tuesday canceled plans to send a delegation to this weekend's vote.

``The process is so flawed that it cannot adequately reflect the will of the people,'' the International Republican Institute said, adding it hopes citizens will ``brave intimidation, vote their conscience and salvage some credibility for Zimbabwe.''

Despite repeated requests, the Zimbabwe government had not yet granted accreditation to the group and denied accreditation to a number of British, Kenyan and Nigerian citizens who were to serve on other international delegations.

``If Zimbabwe's election process were open and transparent, the government wouldn't fear election observers,'' said the 17-year-old IRI, which has observed 90 elections in 40 countries.

``Those responsible for elections in Zimbabwe have failed their country,'' the organization said in a statement.

Cancellation of the delegation's visit came one day after the State Department urged Zimbabwe to quickly accredit American observers for Saturday and Sunday's fiercely contested parliamentary elections. The government also has withheld accreditation for the National Democratic Institute, which wasn't sending another delegation but already has representatives in Zimbabwe.

``With just four days remaining before voting begins, the conditions for credible democratic elections still do not exist in Zimbabwe,'' said the democratic group's Patrick Merloe.

Violence has scarred campaigning for the election that poses the biggest threat to President Robert Mugabe's ruling party since he led the nation to independence in 1980. At least 31 people, mostly opposition supporters, have died in political violence since February, when ruling party militants and war veterans began illegally occupying more than 1,400 white-owned farms.

Zimbabwe minister 'watched beatings'

The Times, 20 June 2000 - FROM JAN RAATH IN HARARE

ZIMBABWE'S Home Affairs Minister saw Zanu (PF) thugs assault kidnapped opposition supporters but ordered police to arrest the victims, it was alleged yesterday.

The claim about the actions of Dumiso Dabengwa came amid rising electoral violence and the first indications that supporters and property of President Mugabe's Zanu (PF) ruling party are being targeted in a backlash against its systematic thuggery.

The Zimbabwean President showed signs of the increasing tension in Cairo yesterday, where he was attending a summit of developing nations. He struck out at a wire service correspondent who asked as he passed through a hotel lobby: "Are you afraid your party will lose the elections?" He hit the reporter's tape recorder with his right hand, glared and did not answer the question.

Lawyers for nine supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said that the men had been abducted in the western city of Bulawayo on Sunday night by self-styled war veterans. They were accused of mounting an attack on a bar frequented by veterans and Mr Dabengwa the day before.

Reports quoted one of the nine, Peter Munhuwei, an MDC official in Bulawayo, as saying that they had been stripped, kicked and beaten with planks. Mr Dabengwa walked in during the assaults, he said, and ordered police to arrest the MDC activists.

Tony Denbury, a lawyer who saw them after their arrest, said that Mr Munhuwei and another individual bore evidence of assault. It is understood that by yesterday morning they had been refused medical attention.

"They said he [Mr Dabengwa] was certainly there," Mr Denbury said. "They said he told them: 'You will be taught a lesson.' "

Until now, Zanu (PF) has been almost the sole perpetrator of violence in the election campaign, but yesterday police confirmed that three homes of ruling party officials had been firebombed in the Marondera area, 40 miles east of Harare, over the weekend. It seemed that no one was injured.

"People have just had enough of Zanu (PF)," a source in the area said. "They just can't take all this violence from them any more."

Observers say that it is too early to determine if the incidents of the past few days are signs of a shift in the balance of power in the townships, commercial farms and tribal areas that are the key points in the electoral struggle. They point, however, to significant signs of the electorate turning against Mr Mugabe, they say.

David Coltart, the MDC's legal director, said that there was a risk of further violence from its supporters after the election. "There is so much pent-up anger after a sustained campaign of violence against the MDC. I have a real fear of how these angry young people will react if Mugabe tries to rig the elections," he said.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper admitted yesterday that "war veterans" in the Chiredzi area in the southeast who were demonstrating outside a hospital were chased away by MDC supporters.

The EU mission that will observe the elections dismissed a Herald report that the Government had refused to accredit ten Kenyan and seven Nigerian observers because they had been "planted" by the British Government. Tana de Zulueta, the mission's deputy leader, said that it was because Zimbabwe insisted that only EU nationals could be observers.

Opposition charges rigging as Zimbabwe vote nears

HARARE, June 20 (AFP) - Tuesday, June 20 6:51 PM SGT

Zimbabwe's violent election campaign degenerated Tuesday as the opposition charged the government was rigging thousands of postal votes from troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

That followed complaints among the approximately 500 international observers monitoring the run-up to the parliamentary poll this weekend that the government had withheld some 200 of their accreditations.

White Zimbabweans -- the target of inflammatory rhetoric by President Robert Mugabe -- meanwhile told AFP that many among them were leaving the southern African country until after the vote.

"There are lots of people leaving the country," one white woman said at Harare airport as she bade farewell to her mother, going to Johannesburg.

Tim Henwood, president of the Commercial Farmers' Union, told AFP however that the white farmers were staying "to make sure everything is okay."

Squatters led by veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war have occupied some 1,500 of their farms and Mugabe has gazetted 804 -- many of them not occupied -- for seizure without payment and distribution to landless blacks.

The opposition, which put on a show of strength last weekend by attracting some 25,000 supporters to a rally in Harare, meanwhile says that stalwarts of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) are going round the country confiscating and destroying opposition supporters' identity cards to prevent them from voting.

Mugabe and his party have ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain 20 years ago, with huge majorities in parliament, but the newly formed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is putting up the first strong challenge to

The result is what human rights groups have termed a "terror campaign" against opposition supporters, with at least 30 people killed in political attacks.

The MDC said Tuesday that it would file a petition with the High Court later in the day asking it to disallow the applications for postal votes from the troops in the DRC, where they are fighting alongside President Laurent Kabila's army and Namibian and Angolan troops against DRC rebels supported by Rwandan and Ugandan troops.

"All the forms we have seen are irregular," Elias Mudzuri, an MDC polling agent, told a press conference in Harare.

"A majority of these applications are from DRC, where 11,000 servicemen are on duty," he said.

The party also called on the observers to examine the applications.

"Polling agents for the MDC have observed that the application forms for postal votes being processed at the offices of the registrar general in Harare have not been signed by the applicants," said a statement read at the press conference.

"Some are signed by a witness but do not bear the signature of an applicant," it added.

The small opposition Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD) also charged that the applications were irregular.

ZUD leader Margaret Dongo was the party's sole representative in the last 150-seat parliament, where she was one of just three opposition members.

The government has altered her South Harare constituency to include occupied farms and four military barracks.

Many of the troops in the DRC are registered at those barracks, and would thus be voting in the constituency, Ian Grier, a Dongo campaign worker, told

Dongo told reporters on Monday that about 70 ZANU-PF militants armed with clubs and other weapons had wrecked her house and car on Sunday, seriously injuring five of her campaign staff and her dog.

Zimbabwe's state-run Herald reported Monday that the government had barred 17 Kenyan and Nigerian observers, charging that they were working in secret for former colonial power Britain, which has become the main target of Mugabe's rhetoric.

On Tuesday, the newspaper described them as "disgraceful Africans willing to be used as tools by the British in return for a few pieces of silver."

"The British are so determined to rubbish the image of the country that they will go to any lengths to prove that Zimbabwe, under the present government, is not capable of holding free and fair elections," the newspaper's editorial added.

Mugabe calls on nations to seize lands

The Times, 20 June 2000 - FROM RAY KENNEDY IN JOHANNESBURG

PRESIDENT MUGABE is drawing up plans to promote his policy of seizing lands belonging to whites throughout southern Africa.

The move could force President Mbeki of South Africa, so far his most patient and consistent supporter, to adopt a tougher attitude towards the Zimbabwean leader. Mr Mbeki has reassured whites in his country that there will no illegal occupation of their lands, as orchestrated by Mr Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

Senior officials of Mr Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party disclosed yesterday that it is drawing up proposals to put before the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), which it hopes will be used to address the return of "land to landless Africans" in sub-Saharan Africa. The proposals, to be known as the SADC Land Protocol, will enable land issues to be dealt with collectively, the Zanu officials were reported here as saying.

The plan is unlikely to draw much support from SADC members, some of whom are likely to regard it as an attempt by Mr Mugabe to interfere in their domestic affairs.

At the weekend Mr Mbeki reiterated in a radio interview a pledge he made recently in Parliament that white South Africans should have no fears that the Government would allow the illegal occupation of their farms by landless people. But he did emphasise that the process of legal redistribution of land should be speeded up.

Mr Mbeki's quiet support so far for President Mugabe's actions has been criticised by his political rivals. In the interview, he again called on the British Government to honour the 1998 agreement under which, he insisted, London agreed to pay for redistributing land in Zimbabwe. "This land was seized from African people by colonial power and handed to whites," he said. "They [Zimbabweans] are saying, I think quite legitimately: 'Why must we pay for it?' "

 

or it?' "

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From The Daily Telegraph [UK] Tues 20 June 2000
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=000898299165292&rtmo=a23RpeRL&atmo=FFFFFaFX&pg=/et/00/6/20/wzim20.html

'Paranoid' Mugabe bars African poll monitors
By David Blair in Harare


  Tales of terror on campaign trail

ZIMBABWE'S government was described as "totally paranoid" yesterday after it
barred Nigerian and Kenyan observers from monitoring this weekend's
parliamentary election, accusing them of being "British plants".

President Mugabe: ban on Britons extends to anyone with the faintest
connection - real or imagined - to the former colonial power
Chen Chimutengwende, President Robert Mugabe's Information Minister,
confirmed last night that 10 Kenyans and seven Nigerians among a European
Union observer team would be denied accreditation. He accused the British
Government of "infiltrating them" into Zimbabwe. He said: "Somebody from the
EU admitted that they were representing Britain. They were recruited and
paid by London."

Accreditation has also been refused for organisations such as the World
Council of Churches and the International Catholic Commission for Justice
and Peace as well as America's National Democratic Institute and
International Republican Institute. The number of international election
observers has been reduced from 600 to about 400. An EU observer said: "This
significantly reduces the coverage of the foreign observer missions."

Observers saw the move as a sign of increasing concern in Mr Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has not been
cowed by an intimidation campaign and poses a serious challenge. Professor
Masipula Sithole, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe said:
"The government is totally paranoid."

The EU has deployed 105 observers amid widespread concern that terror
tactics have already made a free and fair vote impossible in the most
crucial parliamentary poll in Zimbabwe's 20-year history. More than 30
people, mostly opposition supporters, have died in political violence linked
to the election and the invasion of hundreds of white-owned farms by
pro-government militants.

Last month, Mr Mugabe barred Britons from playing any role in observing the
poll - a ruling that the EU and London quietly accepted. A consultant for
the EU mission was deported from Zimbabwe hours after arriving a fortnight
ago because of his British passport. It is now clear that Mr Mugabe's ban on
Britons extends to anyone with the faintest connection - real or imagined -
to the former colonial power.

Mr Chimutengwende said Britain had already decided that the election would
not be free and fair. "These Nigerians and Kenyans were recruited and paid
by London to reach a certain conclusion." Mr Chimutengwende said the Kenyans
were unlikely to be expelled, but they will be prevented from doing their
jobs, and the Nigerians, who have yet to arrive, could be refused entry.

Tana de Zulueta, deputy head of the mission, said she had not been told
officially of the move. Another member said: "It's completely unacceptable.
It's ridiculous." Britain denied having any influence over the Kenyans and
Nigerians. An official at the British High Commission said: "It was up to
the European Commission to put the teams together."

The United Nations has already withdrawn from its role in overseeing the
election after Mr Mugabe tried to rewrite its mandate.
_________
From The Daily Telegraph [UK] 20 June 2000
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=000898299165292&rtmo=r2XkSDbX&atmo=99999999&pg=/et/00/6/20/wzim120.html

Tales of terror on campaign trail
By David Blair

THE constituency held by one of the most feared men in President Robert
Mugabe's government has been declared "a no-go area too dangerous for
campaigning" by Zimbabwe's main opposition party.

Opposition candidate Didimas Munhenzva peers out of a safe house in
Marondera, the security minister's seat
In the shabby streets of Marondera, the Movement for Democratic Change has
become an underground organisation and its candidate, Didimas Munhenzva, has
virtually abandoned his campaign against Sydney Sekeramayi, the State
Security Minister. He cannot even stay overnight in his prospective
constituency, although it is his home town, and makes brief visits, in a
different car each time.

Mr Munhenzva said, as we drove up Marondera's high street: "I am always
afraid. You never know when these guys will come. They are very skilled at
thuggery." Only on reaching "safe houses" does he leave the safety of the
car to rush through front doors guarded by MDC youths. Campaigning against
Mr Sekeramayi, who controls the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation,
has transformed Mr Munhenzva's life.

Following death threats, he sleeps in a safe house in Harare. His wife and
two children are in a secret location. One man was beaten to death last
month, says Mr Munhenzva. At least 30 suspected MDC supporters have been
assaulted, 200 have fled and attacks on teachers have closed four schools.
He blames the ruling Zanu-PF party. Mr Munhenzva said: "They know that if
they do not use intimidation, they will lose the election."

One victim was Damiano Muchetuse, an MDC branch chairman, whose home was
surrounded by 20 men wielding clubs, whips and iron bars last Tuesday. They
dragged him to a cemetery and set upon him in a 15-minute frenzy of
violence. Mr Muchetuse said: "They shouted, 'This is the end of your life
today, we want to kill all MDC members, we want to tear out their hearts'."
______
 
Electronic Telegraph - International Update 11:32 GMT

Zimbabwe: MDC challenges 'vote-rigging'

THE leaders of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change have
accused the ruling Zanu PF party of rigging thousands of postal votes from
troops stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The party announced this morning that it would file a petition with the High
Court in Harare, asking it to disallow applications for postal votes made by
the 11,000 troops.

It is alleged that the majority of application forms have not been signed by
individual applicants, raising fears that the soldiers' votes will be cast
in their absence by military leaders loyal to President Robert Mugabe.

A statement read at a press conference in Harare this morning said: "Polling
agents for the Movement for Democratic Change have observed that the
application forms for postal votes being processed at the offices of the
registrar general in Harare have not been signed by the applicants. Some are
signed by a witness but do not bear the signature of an applicant"

The small opposition Zimbabwe Union of Democrats has also alleged that the
applications ware irregular.
____-
 
Tuesday, 20 June, 2000, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK -  BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_798000/798402.stm
Zimbabweans feel 'let down'



Even MPs like Margaret Dongo are not immune from violence and
intimidation

With elections just days away, Zimbabwe's Government has acknowledged
that people in towns and cities feel disenchanted with it.



There is no need for violence, otherwise you are doing a disservice to
the same people you aspire to lead

Commonwealth election observers

The campaign manager of the ruling Zanu-PF party, Jonathon Moyo, told
the BBC he expected the opposition to win 18% of the vote - though he
said this would only translate into three seats in parliament.

His estimate contrasts with an independent opinion poll last week, which
forecast the opposition winning about 70 of the 120 seats being
contested.

The government dismissed that poll as unscientific.

Dr Moyo said the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change was only
campaigning in about a fifth of the constituencies.

Correspondents say the campaign of intimidation against the opposition,
orchestrated by the ruling party, appears to be backfiring, angering
many potential Zanu-PF supporters.

Restraint urged

Meanwhile, the head of the Commonwealth Electoral Observer Team,
Nigeria's former president Abdulsalami Abubakar, has urged restraint
ahead of the weekend.

He condemned political violence sweeping Zimbabwe.




Intimidation is widespread and not just limited to ruling party
supporters


"Zimbabweans should vote peacefully and according to their will. There
is no need for violence, otherwise you are doing a disservice to the
same people you aspire to lead," Mr Abubakar said.

He said he was concerned at the horrifying tales of violence and
intimidation his observer team had heard.

"People have been beaten and I have been able to speak to some of those
who have been beaten. This is coming from all the (political) parties
concerned," he said.

At least 29 people, mostly opposition supporters, have died in violence
linked to the election and the invasions of hundreds of white-owned
farms by government supporters.

According to the Commercial Farmers Union, 430 people have received
hospital treatment and 2,400 assault cases have been reported since
February, mostly against black farm workers.

There were 1,490 death threats, 70% of them against the workers, the
union said.

On Tuesday opposition leader Margaret Dongo told journalists in Harare
that about 70 militants of the Zanu-PF party attacked her house wielding
sticks and something like a bottle of petrol.

They thoroughly wrecked her house and car and five people were seriously
injured, she said.

Disgraceful Africans

Meanwhile, the 17 Kenyan and Nigerian observers who have been barred
from monitoring polls have been called "disgraceful Africans" by the
state-owned Herald newspaper.

Commonwealth election head Abdulsalami Abubakar: Serious concerns


It said they were "willing to be used as tools by the British in return
for a few pieces of silver".

"We do not expect our brothers and sisters to be aiding Western powers
in their destructive ways," the newspaper said.

The European Union team has denied the observers had any connection with
the UK - which has been highly critical of President Robert Mugabe.

____
 
Four foreign journalists attacked
    
  
HWEDZA, Zimbabwe, June 20 (AFP) - About 20 militants attacked a 
car carrying four foreign journalists at a tobacco farm Tuesday, in
full view of Commonwealth election observers, an AFP correspondent
who was in the vehicle reported.
   The four journalists -- one from AFP, two from South Africa's 
e-tv and one from the Sowetan newspaper in South Africa -- escaped
unhurt, but their rented car had its windows smashed.
   The assailants, dressed in orange worksuits, with one wearing a 
ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)
T-shirt, attacked the car with stones and knobkerries after an
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) team distributed
campaign leaflets at the farm, named England.
   Two Commonwealth observers -- one from Papua New Guinea and 
another from Canada -- witnessed the attack at this rural farming
district about 120 kilometres (70 miles), south of the capital.
   The group had witnessed the distribution of opposition campaign 
material at three other farms before they were attacked. The
Commonwealth observers left immediately after the attack and did not
make any comment.
   Shonhe Toendepi, a campaign manager for the MDC candidate for 
the area, told AFP that people on the farms had been subjected to
constant threats and regular beatings by government supporters in
the run-up to parliamentary elections this weekend.
   "People were told not to pick up our leaflets or were beaten if 
seen reading them," said Toendepi.
   The journalists in the car were Beatrice Khadige of AFP, Sharon 
Chetty of the Sowetan, Guy Oliver of e-tv and his cameraman, Brian
Ramapulana.
______

    
   WASHINGTON, June 20 (AFP) - The United States on Tuesday renewed 
its urgent calls for Zimbabwe to accredit foreign observers for next
week's elections as one US team said it was cancelling it monitoring
mission there.
   State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said authorities in 
Harare had informed Washington that no non-official foreign
observers would be accredited for the June 24 and 25 polls and that
the United States found that move regrettable.
   "We're disappointed with that decision," urging the Zimbabwe 
government to rescind the restriction before the Thursday deadline
for accrediting observers.
   "We have urged and we will continue to urge the government of 
Zimbabwe to accredit all foreign election observers, governmental
and nongovernmental, before this June 22 deadline," Boucher said.
   "They've still got a couple more days when they can do this and 
we continue to urge them to do it," he said. On Monday, Boucher
noted that non-official US observers had repeatedly requested
accreditation to no avail.
   His comments followed an announcment by one US-based observer 
group, the International Republican Institute (IRI), that it was
cancelling its mission in Zimbabwe calling the entire electoral
process their hopelessly flawed.
   "Of the 90 elections IRI has observed in 40 countries since 
1984, Zimbabwe's is the worst we have ever seen," the institute's
president Lorne Cramer said.
   "Zimbabwe's pre-election electoral administration and 
environment are so flawed that the election process as a whole will
inevitably fall below even minimal international standards," he
said.
   Another US-based poll watching group, the National Democratic 
Institute (NDI), also had harsh words for Zimbabwe's campaign period
which has been marred by widespread violence, but made no mention of
pulling out of the country.
   "Irreparable damage has been done to the electoral process, 
particularly as a result of politically motivated violence," NDI
president Kenneth Wollack said in a statement.
   Aside from the IRI and NDI teams, the United States had been 
prepared to fund more than 10,000 domestic and African observers for
the polls.

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