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

Is a bloody civil war the fate now for Zimbabwe?

Mail On Sunday

Last updated at 12:52 AM on 23rd June 2008

The decision by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of this week's presidential election in Zimbabwe is all too understandable.

Tsvangirai is one of the most courageous men in the world. But with Robert Mugabe threatening murderous retribution, he knew that he was condemning thousands of his supporters to death or terrible torture if he went ahead.

This decision to abandon the contest involved self-sacrifice from Tsvangirai. He was within a hair's breadth of the presidency.

Morgan Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai's decision is understandable

Right up to the end, even in the face of Mugabe's campaign of terror, the polls were going his way.

They showed that he has even more support, with approximately two-thirds of the Zimbabwe people on his side, than he did when he fought the first presidential contest back in March.

Now Mugabe will taunt Tsvangirai as a coward who lacked the courage and will to fight the poll.

But Tsvangirai knew that Mugabe and his Zanu-PF thugs would never accept the outcome. He knew that whatever happened they would announce a false result - and then send the Zanu-PF death squads back into the countryside to punish his supporters in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

I visited Zimbabwe undercover last month and witnessed the bloody retribution exacted on anyone suspected of supporting the opposition. The extent and brutality of Mugabe's oppression was truly terrifying.

The knowledge of what would be unleashed made it impossible for Tsvangirai, a profoundly peace-loving man, to go ahead.

Ever since his MDC party began nearly ten years ago, it has been based on Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violence. Unlike other African liberation movements, the MDC has never engaged in guerilla warfare, and always placed its faith in the ballot box.

However, it would be wholly wrong to think that a violent confrontation has been avoided. In many ways the decision to pull out of the election makes the situation more perilous than ever.

For years Morgan Tsvangirai has been able to tell impatient supporters that they must not fight back against Zanu-PF assaults and provocation because one day they would take revenge through the ballot box.

That argument is no longer valid. Yesterday's decision means that the hope of effecting change through democratic means has gone.

This means that many MDC supporters will now feel that they face just one choice: between mute surrender or responding with violence themselves.

For this reason many intelligent observers now believe that a truly terrible civil war may soon break out inside Zimbabwe, with several army units breaking away and taking the side of Tsvangirai.

There is still hope that this desperate and bloodthirsty outcome can be averted - but only if the international community takes urgent action.

So far international organisations such as the United Nations and the Southern African Development-Community have gone down the path of collaboration with Mugabe, giving him protection as he launched his series of frenzied attacks on his own people.

Thanks to the inertia of the United Nations, China has been at liberty to supply arms to Mugabe --murderous shipments which may well be used for genocide.

Meanwhile the reputable German company of Giesecke & Devrient has supplied the bank notes with which Mugabe bribes the army and pays his secret policemen.

Today the United Nations Security Council meets in New York, and Zimbabwe is finally on the agenda. It is essential that the UN at last spells out in clear terms what it has never yet said: that Mugabe's reign of terror must cease, that otherwise Zimbabwe will be thrown out of the community of nations and that international monitors will be sent in to keep the peace.

If it fails to do this, Robert Mugabe's killers will be rewarded, and the prospect of ethnic cleansing and genocide becomes more likely than ever.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The unfolding of an African tragedy

Mail on Sunday

By Daily Mail Comment
Last updated at 1:47 AM on 23rd June 2008

Nobody can blame Morgan Tsvangirai for pulling out of Friday's presidential run-off election in Zimbabwe.

This sick farce of a contest was never going to end in a fair result anyway. Indeed, Mr Tsvangirai was almost suicidally brave to fight on for as long as he did.

Yesterday's brutality by Mugabe's goons was the last straw.

President Robert Mugabe

Thugs from President Robert Mugabe's party attacked Tsvangirai's supporters during a peaceful rally

A peaceful rally of Mr Tsvangirai's supporters was attacked by thugs in the pay of the ruling Zanu-PF party† -† the latest outrage in an officiallyinspired reign of terror.

Death squads have killed dozens of Mugabe's opponents. Relatives of prominent opposition figures have been burned alive, raped or beaten. Thousands of ordinary people suspected of being anti-Mugabe have had to flee their homes.

Meanwhile, Mr Tsvangirai has been arrested five times. Colleagues have been thrown into jail on trumped-up charges. And food aid donated by the outside world is misused by Mugabe to bribe supporters, while opponents starve.

So come what may, this election was always going to end in a gerrymandered 'win' for Comrade Bob, even though his demented rule has brought such inflationary ruin to a once-prosperous country that last week a loaf of bread cost five billion Zimbabwean dollars.

But what makes this tragedy worse is the way this corrupt and murderous tyrant has been allowed to get away with it.

Yes, other African nations show some concern. But until recently, shamefully, most backed Mugabe to the hilt. Meanwhile, the diplomatic efforts of the UN, the EU and the Commonwealth have always been pitifully inadequate.

For years, the people of Zimbabwe suffered, while the world looked on. Now they have been cheated out of their last, best hope of peaceful, democratic change. And all Africa is the loser.

Poor example
Now where have we heard all this before? Union warnings that pay restraint is 'unrealistic'...TUC firebrands threatening to slash Labour's funding... a chancellor pleading for moderate pay rises...

The events of the last few days would seem to echo the bad old Seventies, when inflation went through the roof, economic stagnation was the order of the day, unions sought huge pay deals and the Government could only beg them to behave.

Of course we're still a long way from that predicament. If we keep pay settlements under control, we should avoid stagflation. That is why Mr Darling is right to urge a period of belt-tightening.

But before lecturing the unions, shouldn't he have a quiet word with his fellow politicians?

Following their expenses scandal, MPs are seeking a tax-free allowance of £150 a day† -† on top of their £61,820 pay† -† so they needn't bother with expenses claims and can never again be caught abusing the system. How ripe.

Yes, we need to control inflation. But why should the unions practise restraint, when self-serving Parliamentarians don't even know the meaning of the word?

Cause and effect
For the first time, the Pill is to be available on the internet, with no safeguards against its sale to children.

Meanwhile, 29 per cent of secondary schools are now providing pupils as young as 11 with 'sexual health services', including condoms, without telling their parents.

At the same time, Britain has one of Europe's highest rates of teenage pregnancies, abortions and sexual disease.

And of course it never occurs to our liberal, right-on, non-judgmental educational establishment that value-free, moralitylite 'health services' in schools just might have something to do with it.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

World powers sound alarm over Zimbabwe

Yahoo News

1 hour, 3 minutes ago

LONDON (AFP) - Britain led international cries of alarm over Zimbabwe's
violent electoral crisis after the main opposition leader all but handed
victory to President Robert Mugabe by quitting the run-off race.

Both London and Washington said they were prepared to raise their concerns
in the United Nations Security Council on Monday.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Zimbabwe would lack
"legitimate" leadership if Mugabe stayed in charge, and accused him of using
violence to cling to power.

"A government which violates the constitution in Zimbabwe... cannot be held
as the legitimate representative of the Zimbabwean people," Miliband said,
referring to Mugabe's slowness to hold a run-off after the March 29
election.

Miliband described the violence as "state-sponsored on a very large scale
with one very clear motivation" -- to keep Mugabe in power.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
opposition party, quit the presidential election second round run-off on
Sunday, saying increasing violence had made a free and fair election
impossible.

The United States joined other powers in sounding the alarm over the reports
of brutal violence ahead of the vote that had been scheduled for June 27.

"The government of Zimbabwe and its thugs must stop the violence now," White
House spokesman Carlton Carroll said in a statement, following reports that
Mugabe loyalists had beaten, burned and killed opposition supporters.

"The Mugabe regime reinforces its illegitimacy every day. The senseless acts
of violence against the opposition as well as election monitors must stop."

South African President Thabo Mbeki -- the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) mediator for Zimbabwe -- wants Mugabe and Tsvangirai to
negotiate, a spokesman for Mbeki told AFP, confirming media reports.

"I would hope that that leadership would still be open to a process which
would result in them coming to some agreement about what happens to their
country," Mbeki said, according to the SAPA news agency.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thought Tsvangirai's decision was a "deeply
distressing development" that did not bode well for the future of democracy
in Zimbabwe, his spokesman said.

Calling for an immediate end to the "campaign of violence", the spokesman
said in a statement that the UN was prepared to "work urgently with SADC and
the African Union to help resolve this political impasse."

The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana called the election
a "travesty of democracy."

Tsvangirai's withdrawal was "understandable, given the unacceptable
systematic campaign of violence, obstruction and intimidation led by the
Zimbabwean authorities," he said in a statement.

Tsvangirai failed to clinch an outright majority in March according to
official results.

The opposition says more than 80 of its supporters have since been killed in
a campaign of intimidation ahead of the vote and thousands injured.

The current chair of the 14-nation SADC suggested the vote could be
postponed until a later date, adding that it would be "scandalous for SADC
to remain silent on Zimbabwe."

"There is no need to be ashamed in announcing that the presidential run-off
should be called off until further notice," Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa
told reporters.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner branded Mugabe as "nothing but a
crook and a murderer", saying Paris would not accept the "fake election" of
the 84-year-old.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said his government was
considering imposing more sanctions on Mugabe's regime.

And New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark branded the election a "total
farce".

"I think if South Africa was to withdraw support it would have a pretty
dramatic impact on what happens in Zimbabwe," she added.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC followers divided over pull-out

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/

June 23, 2008

By Our Correspondents

HARARE - The rank-and-file MDC membership is sharply divided after the party
passed a controversial and far-reaching resolution calling for a boycott of
next Friday's presidential election re-run.

Some of the MDC membership condemned the decision and called it "blatantly
inappropriate and a betrayal" while others† called it a "superb decision"
that would render the Mugabe regime totally illegitimate.

The resolution was unanimously approved during the MDC National Council
meeting in a majority vote that approved a proposed boycott of the June 27
presidential election run off.

The resolution condemned Zanu-PF for "the savage pre-election attack on MDC
supporters and the slaughter of civilians in the country".

In a press briefing at his Strathaven residence in Harare Sunday, the MDC
leader, Morgan tsvangirai, told reporters that his party had decided to
boycott "this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process".

Tsvangirai urged the United Nations and African Union to intervene to
prevent "genocide".

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission spokesman Utloile Silaigwana said the
commission was proceeding with preparations for the election because nothing
had been formally communicated to the electoral body by the MDC.

"He has not formally communicated his withdrawal," Silaigwana said. "Mr
Tsvangirai needs to put his position in writing."

But Chamisa said: "The ZEC will get the letter and the ZEC should not try to
jump the gun. They will get the letter. After all that decision was only
made today."

Mercy Kwaramba slammed the MDC resolution, maintaining it "shockingly
disregards key facts of the complex Zimbabwe conflict, including Zanu-PF's
aggression against the MDC and its murder of more than 70 MDC supporters.

"It means these people died in vain," Kwaramba said. "Boycotting the
election is a betrayal of these fallen MDC heroes."

A Zimbabwean who called the Zimbabwe Times from Atlanta in the United
States, said he was shattered by the decision.

"This is a clear victory for Zanu-PF and for those who were campaigning for
the Government of National Unity."

In Harare staunch MDC supporter Shuwa Mbirimi of Rugare Township said: "It's
the best decision under the circumstances. Mugabe has threatened that he
will not accept the results if he loses. So what's the point of having the
election? I totally agree with president Tsvangirai."

He was backed by Tendekai Moyo of Lochinvar who said it was pointless to
have the election when Tsvangirai's campaign was being foiled.

"They stopped his rally today at the show grounds, they have impounded his
bus and his BMW, they have arrested him almost five times I think. No one
wants to be a polling agent, and they are saying they won't accept the
election results. So what's the point?"

Tsvangirai told reporters that he could not lead his supporters like
sacrificial lambs to slaughter by participating in the election.

The MDC says at least 70 of its members have been killed since March in a
campaign of intimidation by Mugabe's government to scare opponents and
voters. The veteran Zimbabwean leader blames the MDC for the bloodshed.

Tsvangirai told reporters the national council, the organ that makes the MDC's
decisions, had backed his boycott stance and pledged action to demand that
Zanu-PF puts an immediate end to hostilities.

Informed sources said although some officials opposing Tsvangirai's stance
had staunchly opposed the boycott decision, the meeting had a full quorum
and that the decision was backed by the majority.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Gugulethu Moyo: Yes, Tsvangirai was right to pull out

Independent, UK

Too many lives have been lost in run-up to election

Monday, 23 June 2008

Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to pull out of the presidential run-off comes
as no surprise.

At least 86 of his supporters have been killed and thousands have been
beaten, driven from their homes or both. When more than a thousand of his
polling agents were detained days before the election and armed Zanu-PF
gangsters occupied and blocked access to the venue of his final rally
yesterday, he decided to end the charade.

Mr Tsvangirai's impulse, which is to prevent further pointless bloodshed,
especially of frontline electoral staff such as polling agents is
understandable. After all, President Robert Mugabe has said he will not cede
power to the MDC, even if by some miracle, the result shows that he has
lost.

There is little evidence that Mr Mugabe's campaign to obliterate the MDC
will end just because there is no election. Instead, Mr Mugabe is likely to
seize the opportunity handed to him to kick out foreign election observers,
who for the moment are the witnesses of the world on Mr Mugabe's crimes.
When they leave, Mr Tsvangirai and his supporters will be in even greater
danger.

Still, the problem of the dangerous regime in Harare is now for world
leaders to solve, not for Mr Tsvangirai. For far too long, defenders of the
ineffectual policies of Mr Mugabe's neighbours have argued they have been
walking a fine line, trying to cajole the President, who only cares about
staying in power, into cooperating. That hasn't worked, and more lives are
lost every day. They now have an obligation to move swiftly and finally
resolve the problem. To save lives.

For starters, the African Union should immediately deploy credible human
rights monitors to Zimbabwe. These monitors should not be limited to the
cities - they should also venture into rural areas, where murders, torture
and rape are most prevalent.

In his cynical, bloody bid to cling on to power, Mr Mugabe, has bet on the
unwillingness of regional and international institutions to take effective
measures to stop his reign of terror. It is now time for world leaders to
prove him wrong.

The author is a Zimbabwean lawyer and member of the International Bar
Association.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Basildon Peta: No, Tsvangirai was not right to pull out

Independent, UK

Mugabe could not have won even a rigged election

Monday, 23 June 2008

Of all the victims of Robert Mugabe's reign of terror I had spoken to
recently, none told me that the vile dictator had brutalised them into
loving him or voting for him. Mr Mugabe had, in fact, done a lot to campaign
for Morgan Tsvangirai. An elderly woman whose nephew was murdered by Mr
Mugabe's thugs two weeks ago told me she was determined to support the
opposition in his honour.

It might sound a bit naive. But Mr Mugabe could not have won even a rigged
election. The economy has worsened since the last election on 29 March which
emboldened them. It proved Mr Mugabe could be beaten.

Even when opposition officials began acknowledging the growing sentiment in
the party to pull out, I had never thought it would happen. "We will contest
even if we are killed in the polling booths," one of the officials had told
me. I thought that was right.

I am aware of the thousands of rural displaced and disenfranchised people.
But that figure would have been swallowed into the MDC's strong urban
support base. Polling day was going to further amplify Mr Mugabe's
chicanery. I am told that, in some areas, polling booths were going to be
located on properties handed to the so-called war veterans. Images of
opposition supporters and even election observers being beaten at these
places would have travelled the globe.

If Mr Tsvangirai's certain victory was going to be blocked by the crude
tactics we have seen, Mr Mugabe would have emerged from the 27 June run-off
more illegitimate. And if he had made good his threat to declare war after
losing the vote, I believe that would have hastened his demise.

Mr Tsvangirai's reasons are not necessarily invalid but whatever the outcome
of the run-off, I believe Mr Mugabe would have come off worse. The question
now is what next? I hope it won't be another long round of Thabo Mbeki's
timid mediation while Zimbabwe continues burning. The MDC must now do what
it should do to rid Zimbabwe of this shameless criminal. The opposition
party knows what that is, though I can't print it here.

The author is a Zimbabwean living in exile and is The Independent's southern
Africa correspondent


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC a truly people party



So many comments have been made about the merits and demerits of the MDC
pulling out of the presidential run-off. Only a handful of these credit the
MDC leadership witth acting responsibly by putting people's lives first.
Running a country is all about trying to improve the welfare of all
citizens, not killing them. It is a shame that most commentators view the
move by MDC as lack of steel and poor judgement. Those who have lost their
loved ones, their possessions and their homes will think otherwise. I don't
think that they would like one more Zimbabwean to suffer the same fate.

It is inconceivable to participate in an election where over 80 people have
murdered by the state and no arrests made, where people are murdered in the
presence of election monitors, where opposition monitors are not allowed
anywhere near a polling station, where voting for the opposition is
tantamount to writing one's own orbituary and where the sitting president
will not leave office whatever the election result.

For once, Zimbabwe has a president - in - waiting who values lives of his
citizens. Morgan Tsvangirai needs all the support he could get from all
right minded people. Now that MDC is not participating in the run-off, it
should work closely with the civil society iin helping those who were
displaced and dispossessed by forces of evil that have griped our country.
Let us all work collectively to help those who were punished for exercising
their constitutional right.

No efforts should be spared in trying to get the release of Tendai Biti who
is unjustifiably detained by Mugabe's murderous regime. If you compare
Mugabe's utterances about going to war and not recognising an opposition
victory with what Tendai Biti said, then clearly it should be Mugabe behind
bars for subversion of Zimbabwean constitution. Clearly, in Zimbabwe, the
law is being used as an instrument of oppression and not for justice.

ZANU PF should not be allowed to hold the country to ransom. MDC deserves
the international support and should not be pressured into some dangerous
government of national unity. ZANU PF are murderers who should be in prison
and not contaminate the future Zimbabwean government. There is no sense in
rewarding tyrants by including them in a government of national unity.
Politicians should be in public office to serve the public and to dehumanise
them.

John Huruva

Masvingo


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Incredible U-turn is typical of leader's weakness

Independent, ie

By David Blair in Harare

Monday June 23 2008

By handing victory to president Robert Mugabe, opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has sealed his reputation for vacillation, weakness and
disastrous judgment.

Even by his own standards this was an astounding u-turn. Only last week, Mr
Tsvangirai said boycotting the election would be a "betrayal of the
victims'' of political violence.

Now, after his followers have endured eight years of torment at Mr Mugabe's
hands, Mr Tsvangirai has chosen to capitulate.

Mr Tsvangirai was once an inspirational leader who carried the hopes of his
country. A burly trade unionist, he had an immense following among
Zimbabwe's urban poor.

Like most Zimbabweans, he cheered Mr Mugabe's accession to power and the
arrival of independence in 1980.

Critic

But Mr Tsvangirai became disillusioned and, as head of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions, turned into an outspoken critic of the regime.

In 1999, he founded the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mr Tsvangirai
defied a murderous terror campaign to win 57 seats in the parliamentary
polls of 2000 and run Mr Mugabe close in the violent presidential elections
of 2002.

But his flaws soon came to the surface. After the murderous parliamentary
polls of 2000, his followers wanted to hear that he would use "mass action''
to oust Mr Mugabe. Mr Tsvangirai repeatedly promised to do that -- while
lacking any intention of keeping his pledge.

His MDC party formally split in 2005 over whether to contest elections for a
new Senate.

Had the MDC stayed united, Mr Tsvangirai would have had a clear run against
Mr Mugabe. He would almost certainly have won outright. Instead, his own
leadership failings made the election's final round necessary and, after
further indecision, he has capitulated. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)

- David Blair in Harare


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Leading article: An aborted election, but no triumph for Mugabe

Independent, UK

Monday, 23 June 2008

No one can blame Morgan Tsvangirai for withdrawing from Friday's run-off in
Zimbabwe's presidential election. Least of all can he be accused of lacking
personal courage. He returned to Zimbabwe to campaign, despite ample
evidence that rigging had deprived him of a clear victory in the first round
and very real threats to his life.

And yesterday's move has two clear benefits. It deprives Robert Mugabe and
his Zanu-PF of the legitimacy that would proceed from a victory at the
ballot-box, however compromised such a victory would be. There must also be
hope that it will halt the mounting violence. Without the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change formally contesting his power, Mr Mugabe can
afford to call off the militias. Many lives may thus have been saved.

However understandable Mr Tsvangirai's decision, though, it still leaves a
bitter taste. In principle, a flawed election is generally preferable to no
election at all. Those who campaigned for the MDC, even those who supported
the party clandestinely, were immensely brave. In the same spirit, many were
expected to risk going to vote on Friday. There were forecasts - born of
wishful thinking, perhaps - that Mr Mugabe could be defeated. Now,
opposition supporters will have no one to vote for and there will be no
election. Mr Mugabe's catastrophic rule is automatically extended.

An opportunity has been lost. It would be wrong, however, to see the
abandoned run-off as returning Zimbabwe to where it was before the elections
in March. More has changed than might meet the eye. Mr Mugabe retains the
presidency, but he no longer has a monopoly on power. The parliamentary
elections, also held in March, deprived Zanu-PF of its majority. Despite
challenges and accusations of rigging from both sides, these results were
allowed to stand. The MDC has a platform from which to challenge the status
quo.

Then there is the judiciary. Even as the Mugabe regime's campaign of
violence and intimidation reached its height in the past week, Zimbabwe's
high court struck down the ban on opposition rallies. This did not
immediately change the balance of forces on the ground: when the MDC tried
to hold a rally in Harare yesterday, its advance guard found that Zanu-PF
supporters, armed with sticks and whips, had already occupied the arena.
After the court ruling, however, there could be no ifs or buts: this was
indisputably an illegal act.

Thirdly, the chequered course of the run-off campaign left few illusions
about the nature of the Mugabe government or the methods to which it would
resort to stay in power. As documented instances of beatings and killings
spiralled, other African governments started to break their silence.
Inhibitions against condemning a fellow freedom-fighter remain, but there
are signs that the consensus may be shifting. The Harare regime's tactics,
along with the deplorable state into which this once-prosperous country has
descended, make it harder than ever for neighbours to stand idly by.

If Zimbabwe is not quite back where it was before the previous elections,
there are still many questions about what happens next. Among the more
hopeful developments after the disputed results in March were the mediation
efforts launched by Zimbabwe's neighbours. The now-aborted run-off was one
result; talks broaching a possible national unity government were another.
With its economy in free-fall, its population fleeing, and an enfeebled
Robert Mugabe still in power, Zimbabwe will need all the help it can get.
This is the worst time for anyone, least of all its neighbours, to
disengage.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Criticism mounts on Zimbabwe poll

BBC
Monday, 23 June 2008 05:09 UK
President Robert Mugabe (right) greets his supporters in Bulawayo. File photo
Mr Mugabe has said the MDC will "never, ever" rule Zimbabwe

International criticism is mounting on Zimbabwe after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of a presidential run-off because of pre-poll violence.

Zambia's leader Levy Mwanawasa, who heads a regional bloc, said a vote held in current conditions would be an "embarrassment" to the region.

The US urged UN action over President Robert Mugabe's "illegitimate" regime.

Zimbabwe's ruling party said opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn from the poll to avoid "humiliation".

KEY POLL COMPLAINTS
Violence: 86 killed, 200,000 displaced
MDC rallies banned
MDC leaders arrested, harassed
Food aid not given to opposition areas
State media refused MDC adverts
Zanu-PF supporters to be used as election officials

On Sunday, Mr Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change, said that there was no point running when elections would not be free and fair and "the outcome is determined by.. Mugabe himself".

The opposition's decision came after its supporters, heading to a rally in the capital Harare, came under attack.

The MDC says some 86 supporters have been killed and 200,000 forced from their homes by ruling Zanu-PF party militias.

President Mugabe and Zanu-PF blame the opposition for political violence across the country, although the veteran leader said last week that the MDC would "never, ever" be allowed to rule Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's Information Minister Sikhanyio Ndlovu told the BBC that Mr Tsvangirai's decision was "depriving the people of Zimbabwe of a vote".

Government officials said the run-off vote would go ahead, unless Mr Tsvangirai submitted a formal letter of withdrawal.

'Scandalous'

Reacting to the MDC's decision, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said the poll must be postponed "to avert a catastrophe in the region".

He called on the regional group, the South African Development Community (Sadc), to take a similar stance, saying that Zimbabwe had failed to meet minimum election campaign.

"It's scandalous for SADC to remain silent on Zimbabwe. What is happening in Zimbabwe is embarrassing to all of us," President Mwanawasa said.

In New York, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon's office issued a statement saying the UN chief "deeply regrets that, despite the repeated appeals of the international community, the government of Zimbabwe has failed to put in place the conditions necessary for free and fair run-off elections".

The statement described the situation in Zimbabwe as "deeply distressing".

'Senseless'

In Washington, White House spokesman Carlton Carroll said in a statement that "the Mugabe regime reinforces its illegitimacy everyday".

"The senseless acts of violence against the opposition as well as election monitors must stop," the statement said.

Mugabe will remain unopposed to seek revenge and retribution on all who stood for democracy and change
Sam, St Lucia

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that unless the UN Security Council acted on the issue, it stood to lose credibility.

South Africa urged Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to continue talks with the government to find a political solution.

"We are very encouraged that Mr Tsvangirai, himself, says he is not closing the door completely on negotiations," said a spokesman for South African President Thabo Mbeki.

BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut says the key question now is what Mr Mbeki will do.

He is in the best position to step up the pressure on Mr Mugabe, since Zimbabwe is so economically dependent on South Africa, our analyst says.

In London, Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the BBC: "Robert Mugabe has certainly not won the election, in fact the only people who can claim that are the opposition," he said.

The MDC won the parliamentary vote in March, and claims to have won the first round of the presidential contest outright.

In the official results, Mr Tsvangirai led but failed to gain enough votes to avoid a run-off.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bid to stop Mugabe after Tsvangirai quits

Sydney Morning Herald

June 23, 2008 - 9:51AM

The US says it will go to the UN to see what "additional steps" can be taken
to stop President Robert Mugabe from suppressing the Zimbabwean people.

The statement came after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of
the race, virtually handing victory to Mugabe.

"The Mugabe regime reinforces its illegitimacy every day. The senseless acts
of violence against the opposition as well as election monitors must stop,"
White House spokesman Carlton Carroll said in a statement.

"The United States is prepared to go to the United Nations Security Council
early this week to look at additional steps that can be taken. Mugabe cannot
be allowed to repress the Zimbabwean people forever."

The UN Security Council is due to meet tomorrow to discuss the Zimbabwe
crisis.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon today called Mr Tsvangirai's decision to quit the
run-off election a "deeply distressing development" and a bad omen for the
country's future, his spokesman said.

"The circumstances that led to the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai today from the presidential elections represents a deeply
distressing development that does not bode well for the future of democracy
in Zimbabwe," the spokesman said in a statement.

"The campaign of violence and intimidation that has marred this election has
done a great disservice to the people of the country and must end
immediately," he added.

The UN Secretary-General "deeply regrets" the international community's
failed attempts to bring about a fair run-off election, and "strongly
supports" a statement of the Southern African Development Community chairman
that the vote should be postponed, his office said.

The statement said the United Nations was prepared to "work urgently with
SADC and the African Union to help resolve this political impasse," adding
that the UN leader's envoy, Assistant Secretary-General Haile Menkerios,
"remains in the region to assist".

Mr Tsvangirai quit Zimbabwe's run-off election, saying violence had made a
fair vote impossible, in a move that virtually hands victory to Mugabe.

Australia Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said southern African nations
should exert intense pressure on Mugabe, who says "only God" could remove
him from office.

"What it does do now is that it places maximum pressure on the South African
Development Community states and the African Union to now put considerable
pressure on Mr Mugabe to try and get an outcome where the will of the
Zimbabwean people is respected," Mr Smith told ABC Radio.

Mr Smith denied that Mr Tsvangirai's withdrawal would provide Mugabe with a
legitimate election victory.

"I don't think on any analysis here can we conclude anything other than a
brutal regime seeking to, in the first round, steal an election by rorting
the count, and in the second round stealing it by violence and Mr
Tsvangirai's come to the conclusion he can't overcome the violence.

"The violence now needs to be overcome by the African and international
community."

Mr Smith said "one possibility" was negotiations between Mr Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change and the Mugabe regime to create a coalition
government.

Agencies


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe ZANU-PF Urges Supporters Continue Campaign - Report

nasdaq

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--Zimbabwe's ruling party has told its supporters to
continue to campaign for Friday's presidential run-off poll, and ignore the
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the race, state media
reported Monday.

"This is the 11th time that Tsvangirai has threatened to withdraw from the
presidential run-off and on each occasion I have challenged him to put it in
writing as required by law," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is
spokesman of the ZANU-PF party, told journalists late Sunday, The Herald
reported.

† (END) Dow Jones Newswires
† 06-23-080225ET


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fear as Zanu thugs rampage in Harare

IOL

††††June 23 2008 at 06:12AM

By Peta Thornycroft

Harare - It was like a war zone. Men armed with AK-47 rifles rampaged
around the open piece of ground where the MDC had its last rally before the
March 29 elections.

Roadblocks were set up in the main approach streets, and branches were
torn from trees to attack cars. Stones were thrown at them. Trucks filled
with Zanu-PF supporters circled the grounds, their lights flashing.

Earlier on Sunday, men dressed in Zanu-PF T-shirts, some armed with
weapons including guns, harassed and beat people near the site of the rally,
which was due to take place inside the Harare Showgrounds.

†Observers from the Southern African Development Community did not
dare go there, and remained in their five-star hotel.

Journalists who tried to go there were shot at, and people gathering
to try to make their way to the rally had to dive to the ground to avoid the
shots, while others were beaten.

Zanu-PF denied it had disrupted the meeting and its preparations,
reports Reuters.

"We do not accept that those people were Zanu-PF. We know the MDC has
been giving its thugs Zanu-PF regalia to create the impression that we are
behind the violence," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on June
23, 2008


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mwanawasa Explains SADC Support for Halt in Zimbabwe Vote

VOA

By Howard Lesser
Washington, DC
23 June 2008

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has followed the lead of
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in calling for a
postponement of this Friday's presidential election run-off. In Lusaka over
the weekend, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, the SADC chairperson, called
a press conference to explain the reasons for SADC's new position. He said
he hoped the delay would allow for conditions to become more suitable for a
free and fair vote in accordance with Zimbabwean law, SADC principles, and
the charter and conventions of the African Union. The Zambian President also
noted that he would have failed in his role as SADC chairman not to have
urged authorities in Harare that conditions were not yet ripe for a
follow-up to Zimbabwe's disputed March 29 presidential vote. Journalist
Sanday Chongo Kabange of Lusaka's Radio Phoenix attended President Mwanawasa's
press briefing. He tells VOA English to Africa reporter Howard Lesser SADC's
decision was not disclosed until after opposition MDC candidate Morgan
Tsvangirai announced that the MDC was pulling out of the race.

"Mr. Mwanawasa spoke about three or four hours after Mr. Tsvangirai had
decided to pull out of the election. He also tried to act immediately after
what had transpired in Zimbabwe," said Kabange.

Last week, SADC's designated mediator for Zimbabwe, President Thabo Mbeki of
South Africa, achieved an apparent breakthrough in the crisis by arranging
for one-thousand SADC observers to travel to Zimbabwe from outside the
country to serve as election monitors and discourage further outbreaks of
partisan violence and ensure a fair vote. The MDC opted out of the race
after a ruling party militia blocked the site of a large campaign rally the
opposition had planned to hold on Sunday. SADC observers already in the
country stayed away from the rally venue, while journalists attempting to
cover the gathering were reportedly shot at. As mediators awaited official
word on whether or not Harare would unilaterally proceed with the run-off,
President Mwanawasa announced SADC's about-face. Radio Phoenix reporter
Kabange says MDC consultations, as well as the continuing violence, played a
part in SADC's decision.

"The MDC, about three or four days ago, they sent a six-man team to the
Zambian chancery in Pretoria to petition Mr. Mwanawasa, the SADC
chairperson, to assist and end to the violence in Zimbabwe. And the other
thing that we are told is on Sunday, the MDC was supposed to hold a rally at
the stadium in Zimbabwe. But before the MDC would hold the rally, the venue
that was supposed to hold the rally was actually filled with armed war
veterans. And I also think they would not have been allowed free access to
state media. So this is probably why the SADC had to make an immediate
response to what the MDC had said," he noted.

Although President Mbeki spent a good part of last week in talks with Mr.
Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai in Harare, reporter Kabange says there is little
evidence that he consulted with President Mwanawasa before the SADC support
for a pull-out was announced.

"Mr. Mwanawasa tried to contact Mr. Mbeki, I think, on Friday, on two
occasions. I was told he called Mr. Mbeki twice. He was told he was in a
meeting and that he would get back to him, but he never did. Then, he said
that he has not been getting briefs from Mr. Mbeki on Zimbabwe and all he is
doing is relying on intelligence reports on Zimbabwe that he is getting from
the Zambian chancery and other intelligence reports. He has actually not
been getting feeds from Mr. Mbeki as mediator on SADC. One thing he said
was, 'I'm disappointed as chairperson of SADC because I'm being denied
information'," he said.

The Radio Phoenix reporter said that given the escalating incidents of
violence, and the seemingly premeditated arrests of leading MDC officials
(including Morgan Tsvangirai, who Kabange says has been jailed five times in
the past 10 days), SADC's call for a postponement was understandable. He
said the southern regional bloc is hoping to avoid further embarrassment by
getting government authorities in Zimbabwe to permit open campaigning and
free media access to election coverage in order to create suitable
conditions for a run-off eventually to take place. Zimbabwe government
officials are quoted as saying there is nothing in the constitution to
prevent a run-off from continuing if one of the parties opts to drop out of
the race.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Zimbabwe

United Nations Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General (OSSG)

Date: 22 Jun 2008

New York, 22 June 2008

The Secretary-General deeply regrets that, despite the repeated appeals of
the international community, the government of Zimbabwe has failed to put in
place the conditions necessary for free and fair run-off elections. The
circumstances that led to the withdrawal of Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai today from the Presidential elections represents a deeply
distressing development that does not bode well for the future of democracy
in Zimbabwe. The campaign of violence and intimidation that has marred this
election has done a great disservice to the people of the country and must
end immediately.

The Secretary-General has discussed the situation with various leaders,
including those of the African Union and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC). He strongly supports the statement of the Chairman of SADC
that conditions do not exist for a run-off election to be held at this time
and that they should be postponed. The United Nations is prepared to work
urgently with SADC and the African Union to help resolve this political
impasse. His envoy, Assistant Secretary-General Menkerios, remains in the
region to assist.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Grim outlook for Zimbabwe's democratic future

ABC Australia

Posted 41 minutes ago
Updated 23 minutes ago

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says the Federal Government is considering
bringing more sanctions against Zimbabwe, since Opposition Leader Morgan
Tsvangirai pulled out of a run-off election against President Robert Mugabe.

But should the international community now be doing more?

Macquarie University's Dr Geoffrey Hawker, who is also the president of the
African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific, says the
international community needs to step in.

"It is a very serious situation. It is the violence and the intimidation
that has brought this withdrawal," he said.

"Of course it is not the first time the MDC has been divided on its tactics.
Three years ago it actually split on this issue of contesting or not
contesting elections against Mugabe, so it is a faction, if you like, that
has come back in against the recent violence.

"It does heighten the pressure on the rest of the world - particularly
SADC - to intervene."

It does appear that there is some momentum from African countries; Zambia,
the current head of the SADC, has called for the run-off to be postponed.

But Dr Hawker says brokering a deal between the two parties still seems to
be the most likely option.

"They are still going to try to act principally through Thabo Mbeki, the
South African President who is leading the SADC group, trying to broker a
deal," he said.

"I think Mbeki has made it pretty clear that he is going to have another go
at putting together some sort of government of national unity in Zimbabwe.

"Now that is not an easy thing to do. MDC has said really, it doesn't want
to do a deal with Mugabe, which is very understandable, but I think that is
the route that they will be trying over the next couple of days in fact."

But he concedes there is a high chance Mr Mugabe would prevent that from
happening because he wants to remain in power.

Dr Hawker says it is possible one of Mr Mugabe's deputies and perhaps Simba
Makoni, a man who left Mr Mugabe's party and ran in the elections, could
form a government of national unity together with some elements of the MDC.

"But I am not saying that is wonderful prospect. I am just saying that is
the least unlikely prospect," he said.

Moving Mugabe would be a difficult task - one that Dr Hawker says would not
be beyond the power of Mr Mbeki.

"[He could do] some sort of broker deal for immunity with Mugabe and put the
pressure onto the rest of the regime," Dr Hawker said.

"It would be within Mbeki's power to bring that about, but of course, he has
conspicuously failed to do so, so far. None of us will be holding our breath
on that one, but it is possible."

The MDC Treasurer has said that pulling out of the election was the most
difficult decision his party has ever faced, but he expects that new
elections will happen with the help of the African Union and Zimbabwe's
neighbours.

But Dr Hawker believes that is very wishful thinking on behalf of the MDC.

"Once the campaign is called off, Tsvangirai steps back, Mugabe is able to
say, 'Oh well, I didn't have an opponent. I am now perfectly legitimately in
the position', and he will hold off any redoing of elections, one would
think, for some years. Perhaps Zanu-PF's successor will then come forward,"
he said.

The French Foreign Minister has responded to Mr Tsvangirai's announcement by
calling Mr Mugabe a "crook and a murderer" and saying that France would not
accept the result of a vote in which Mr Mugabe would be the only contestant.

Still, Dr Hawker says even if there is more international backlash, he
doubts it will bring about much change.

"I don't want to be gloomy about it, but it is only a qualitative shift from
what we have got at the moment," he said.

"After all, the EU has sanctions on the regime. They have had for some time.
It really isn't going to change anything fundamentally inside the country to
say those sorts of things. It is just a little bit more than what has been
said before.

"Effectively, what can they do? Can they increase the sanctions? Well, yes
to some extent. Can they restrict the movement of Mugabe's officials
externally? Well, yes to some extent. But those things have been done
already."

The United States says it will raise the issue at the UN Security Council
meeting later today.

"I am afraid it is impossible to really say much positive about that. China
is very quiet on this one. China is on the Security Council," Dr Hawker
said.

"If one was actually to talk about intervention, that is a long way down the
track. It would have to go through the Security Council. There are
absolutely no signs that is achievable.

"We are still talking about diplomatic moves, trade sanctions, restricting
movement of officials. All of those things, yes, to go further than that we
are seeing the signs with the SADC leaders, it is true," he added.

"Mugabe has embarrassed the whole continent and what he has done recently
with the deaths, more than 70 now, it makes people ashamed and worried and
that is why you are seeing African leaders, not all of them but significant
numbers of them, criticising him."

Dr Hawker says at the end of the day, any hope of real change comes down to
Mr Mbeki.

"I still say that it is from the region and from South Africa that the
action has got to come," he said.

"[I am] cautious and guarded. It is a dark moment in many ways but I do feel
Mbeki, who is nearing the end of his own term early next year, has got his
last chance now to broker some sort of deal," he said.

"That is less good than a free and fair election, but it is possible for him
to do that and it is probably the best outcome that we are looking for at
the moment."

Based on an interview by Eleanor Hall for The World Today.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Democracy under threat in Zimbabwe, says Jamaica

Jamaica Observer

Monday, June 23, 2008

Declaring that democracy is being threatened in Zimbabwe, the Jamaican
Government yesterday expressed disappointment at Morgan Tsvangirai's
decision to pull out of this week's presidential run-off election and called
on African leaders to help resolve the crisis in that country.

"We are concerned at the reports of violence which have claimed the lives of
scores of people in the run-up to the election," deputy prime minister and
minister of foreign affairs Dr Ken Baugh said in a statement. "We are
concerned that democracy is under threat."

"We renew our call on African leaders, particularly leaders of the Southern
African Development Community, to take a firm stand, and use their influence
to resolve as a matter of urgency, the crisis in Zimbabwe," added Baugh.

Tsvangirai, the leader of the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), yesterday announced that he was pulling out of the election, arguing
that violence and intimidation against Opposition supporters by supporters
of President Robert Mugabe had cost too many lives and as such the election
would not be credible.

"We can't ask the people to cast their vote ... when that vote will cost
their lives. We will no longer participate in this violent sham of an
election," Tsvangirai said.

Baugh, in his statement, said that Jamaica has been paying close attention
to the situation in Zimbabwe, particularly since the March 29 presidential
and parliamentary elections which Mugabe lost.

"We have been extremely disappointed at reported developments in the
country, following the elections, which have given rise to the decision of
the Opposition not to contest," said Baugh.

"We again urge all parties to engage in a process of national reconciliation
aimed at achieving lasting peace and harmony, fostering democracy, economic
growth and development in Zimbabwe," he added.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Time for revolution in Zimbabwe's streets

straight.com, Vancouver

By Gwynne Dyer
Morgan Tsvangirai was right to withdraw from the run-off presidential
"election" in Zimbabwe on Sunday. Thousands of his supporters have been
kidnapped and tortured by President Robert Mugabe's thugs since the campaign
started, and 86 have been murdered already. Thousands more would probably
have suffered the same fate if the election had gone ahead, and it would all
have been for nothing. Mugabe was determined not to let the opposition win,
regardless of what the voters did. He even said so.

"Only God can remove me," Mugabe has been saying in recent speeches, vowing
that he would refuse to give up the gains of the liberation war because of
an 'x' on a ballot paper. He claims that the major opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is part of a plot by the British
government, Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, to re-impose white rule on the
country.

Whether this is genuine paranoia or merely low cunning, it lets the
84-year-old president justify the reign of terror he has unleashed against
opposition supporters since he lost the first round of the election to
Tsvangirai as "a second liberation war." In wars, you can kill people who
oppose you, and you are not obliged to count the enemy's votes.

So a lot of opposition party organisers have been killed, and in rural areas
thousands of them have been driven from their homes in order to give Mugabe
a clear run in the second round of voting. And Mugabe's strategy was clearly
going to succeed: either he would win a majority of the votes because enough
MDC supporters had been terrorised into staying home, or else he would win
the count later on.

He didn't win the count the first time, in late March, because he was
over-confident. He let too many foreign observers in, and he allowed local
vote tallies to be posted up at polling stations and didn't realise that
opposition activists would photograph them. Whatever the real vote count
was, Mugabe's tame Zimbabwe Election Commission was unable to massage the
outcome enough to give him a first-round victory: most of the local voting
totals were too well documented.

After a month's delay, the ZEC released results showing Tsvangirai with
about 48 percent of the vote to Mugabe's 43 percent. That was enough to
force a second round of voting, since a candidate had to get more than fifty
percent of the vote in the first round to avoid a run-off.

It was the best that the ZEC could do for Mugabe, but it was a huge
humiliation for the liberation war hero who has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980. His advisers should have seen it coming, however:
Mugabe has misgoverned Zimbabwe so badly that this once-prosperous country
now has two million percent inflation.

One-quarter of the population have fled to South Africa to find work and
support their families. Many more at home would be starving without the
remittances from South Africa, because foreign food aid only gets through to
supporters of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. And public health has been neglected
so badly that Zimbabweans now die, on average, at a younger age than any
other nationality in the world.

Mugabe may not even know these statistics, but armed forces chief General
Constantine Chiwenga, now the real power behind the throne, certainly knows
them, and so do other regime members. They just don't care. If they lose
power, they lose everything, for almost all their wealth was acquired
illegally, and they have killed too many people.

In the past week, there have been reports of senior military and political
figures showing up at torture sessions of MDC militants who were
subsequently released. The message was clear: we do not fear prosecution for
this, because we will never relinquish power.

So Morgan Tsvangirai had to decide how many more lives he wanted tosacrifice
in order to force Mugabe to steal the election openly. But how would that
discredit Mugabe any more than the crimes he is committing right now? And
what good does it do to "discredit" him?

Mugabe is a scoundrel and a tyrant, and the people who run his government
and his army are brazen thieves, but there will be no effective intervention
in Zimbabwe from outside. The only African leader who has enough clout to do
that is South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, but he will never act against
his old friend Robert Mugabe.

Other African leaders will cluck ineffectually, but nothing will be done.
Zimbabweans are on their own, as they always really were. Tsvangirai and a
majority of the MDC have belatedly realised that there is no point in
waiting for justice to prevail -- but they have probably not yet thought
beyond that. Basildon Peta, the head of the Zimbabwean Union of Journalists,
certainly has. This is what he wrote after Tsvangirai announced his
decision.

"I hope it won't be another long round of Thabo Mbeki's timid mediation
while Zimbabwe continues burning. The MDC must now do what it should do to
rid Zimbabwe of this shameless criminal. The opposition party knows what
that is, though I can't print it here."

Well, I can. It is revolution in the streets.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe's deeds aren't going unnoticed

Austin Bay:

Web Posted: 06/23/2008 12:00 AM CDT

San Antonio Express-News

"Frankly obscene," Australia's foreign minister said.

Australia's Stephen Smith was referring to Zimbabwean dictator Robert
Mugabe's appearance at a U.N. food conference earlier this month.

Yes, a dictator who uses starvation to scatter and kill his own people
making an appearance at an international conference devoted to raising food
and feeding the hungry is an obscenity - though I add, without cynicism,
that the situation isn't all that unusual. Petty tyrants, terrorist enablers
and tribal killers cluster about the wine and cheese smorgasbords of
international community fetes and summits.

At these forums, they blame the United States for, well, virtually anything
and everything. Anti-Americanism - or in Mugabe's case, a worn-out
'60s-style "anti-imperialist" pitch aimed at Great Britain - provide media
camouflage for their hideous genocides and cruel depredations.

Mugabe, a classic Marxist rebel leader, plays this game quite well. Toppling
Southern Rhodesia's white dictatorship made him a cult hero. The
left-leaning internationalists gave Mugabe's mass murder in Zimbabwe's
Matebele land a pass. That brutal campaign of the early 1980s, conducted
against his former anti-colonial allies, included imported North Korean
mercenary-advisers.

But his obscenities are catching up with him.

His greatest obscenity is his war on his own impoverished nation. Mugabe's
tyranny has savaged Zimbabwe, making the country yet another tragic example
of a nation brutalized by its own government. Zimbabwe is blessed with rich
farmland and ought to be an agricultural breadbasket. It was, until Mugabe's
"land redistribution" and "farm policies" turned it into a starving basket
case.

Once a major regional food producer, today a substantial number of
Zimbabweans go hungry or flee. Since 2000, an estimated 3 million
Zimbabweans have escaped to neighboring nations, with South Africa a
preferred destination.

Zimbabwe's economy is a string of obscene numbers. In late 2007, the
Zimbabwean government said the annual inflation rate was 7,600 percent. The
IMF forecast predicted 100,000 percent. A 2008 estimate said 200,000
percent. These statistical differences are meaningless - the currency is a
fraud, another form of governmental theft.

In early 2008, Zimbabwe's estimated unemployment rate ran from 50 percent to
80 percent. Whatever the number, Zimbabwe's once flourishing tourist
industry has all but disappeared. In 1999, 1.4 million tourists visited
Zimbabwe. In 2007, only a handful came. Commercial agriculture jobs once
boosted Zimbabwe's economy. Since 2000, Zimbabwe has lost between 250,000
and 400,000 agricultural jobs.

Mugabe's latest trail of obscenities involves election theft, violent
intimidation and more murder. Under Mugabe, elections have been little more
than window dressing for his cult control of the nation. His use of the
police, military and loyal militias like the Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans Association has kept opponents intimidated and citizens
terrorized.

However, his obscene economy and brutal arrogance has led to a loss of
grassroots support in his own once-plaint political organization, the
ZANU-PF.

Zimbabwe's March 29 presidential election confirmed this. Election observers
believe that if the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, did not win the March vote outright, he came
close. The MDC claimed victory. Under any circumstances, Mugabe's electoral
window dressing fell, and with it fell the last media facade masking his
tyranny.

Mugabe has manufactured a run-off election, scheduled for June 27, pitting
him against Tsvangirai. The "war veterans" are out with their clubs and
knives. The MDC claims at least 40 of its supporters have been killed since
March 29. Moreover, they allege that Mugabe is plotting to assassinate
Tsvangirai. Mugabe's police have repeatedly detained and harassed
Tsvangirai.

Nobel Prize winner former Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has called
for international peacekeepers to ensure the elections are fair and safe. It
may not matter. This week, Mugabe said he will ignore the election results.
Yet the political heat on Mugabe is inc"Frankly obscene," Australia's
foreign minister said.

Australia's Stephen Smith was referring to Zimbabwean dictator Robert
Mugabe's appearance at a U.N. food conference earlier this month.

Yes, a dictator who uses starvation to scatter and kill his own people
making an appearance at an international conference devoted to raising food
and feeding the hungry is an obscenity - though I add, without cynicism,
that the situation isn't all that unusual. Petty tyrants, terrorist enablers
and tribal killers cluster about the wine and cheese smorgasbords of
international community fetes and summits.

At these forums, they blame the United States for, well, virtually anything
and everything. Anti-Americanism - or in Mugabe's case, a worn-out
'60s-style "anti-imperialist" pitch aimed at Great Britain - provide media
camouflage for their hideous genocides and cruel depredations.

Mugabe, a classic Marxist rebel leader, plays this game quite well. Toppling
Southern Rhodesia's white dictatorship made him a cult hero. The
left-leaning internationalists gave Mugabe's mass murder in Zimbabwe's
Matebele land a pass. That brutal campaign of the early 1980s, conducted
against his former anti-colonial allies, included imported North Korean
mercenary-advisers.

But his obscenities are catching up with him.

His greatest obscenity is his war on his own impoverished nation. Mugabe's
tyranny has savaged Zimbabwe, making the country yet another tragic example
of a nation brutalized by its own government. Zimbabwe is blessed with rich
farmland and ought to be an agricultural breadbasket. It was, until Mugabe's
"land redistribution" and "farm policies" turned it into a starving basket
case.

Once a major regional food producer, today a substantial number of
Zimbabweans go hungry or flee. Since 2000, an estimated 3 million
Zimbabweans have escaped to neighboring nations, with South Africa a
preferred destination.

Zimbabwe's economy is a string of obscene numbers. In late 2007, the
Zimbabwean government said the annual inflation rate was 7,600 percent. The
IMF forecast predicted 100,000 percent. A 2008 estimate said 200,000
percent. These statistical differences are meaningless - the currency is a
fraud, another form of governmental theft.

In early 2008, Zimbabwe's estimated unemployment rate ran from 50 percent to
80 percent. Whatever the number, Zimbabwe's once flourishing tourist
industry has all but disappeared. In 1999, 1.4 million tourists visited
Zimbabwe. In 2007, only a handful came. Commercial agriculture jobs once
boosted Zimbabwe's economy. Since 2000, Zimbabwe has lost between 250,000
and 400,000 agricultural jobs.

Mugabe's latest trail of obscenities involves election theft, violent
intimidation and more murder. Under Mugabe, elections have been little more
than window dressing for his cult control of the nation. His use of the
police, military and loyal militias like the Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans Association has kept opponents intimidated and citizens
terrorized.

However, his obscene economy and brutal arrogance has led to a loss of
grassroots support in his own once-plaint political organization, the
ZANU-PF.

Zimbabwe's March 29 presidential election confirmed this. Election observers
believe that if the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, did not win the March vote outright, he came
close. The MDC claimed victory. Under any circumstances, Mugabe's electoral
window dressing fell, and with it fell the last media facade masking his
tyranny.

Mugabe has manufactured a run-off election, scheduled for June 27, pitting
him against Tsvangirai. The "war veterans" are out with their clubs and
knives. The MDC claims at least 40 of its supporters have been killed since
March 29. Moreover, they allege that Mugabe is plotting to assassinate
Tsvangirai. Mugabe's police have repeatedly detained and harassed
Tsvangirai.

Nobel Prize winner former Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has called
for international peacekeepers to ensure the elections are fair and safe. It
may not matter. This week, Mugabe said he will ignore the election results.
Yet the political heat on Mugabe is increasing - primarily from Europe and
the United States. The real disappointment is South Africa President Thabo
Mbeki. Mbeki was supposed to help "mediate" Zimbabwe's political crisis, but
his mediation has been a biased farce in favor of Mugabe.

Why? "Old radical solidarity" is one possible reason. Mbeki's memories of
anti-colonial struggle produce a soft spot for Mugabe. Pray that it's
blarney, but this kind of embedded, selfish bitterness from the political
past does scar the present and damage the future. True or not, Mugabe
continues to kill and steal, with obscene impunity.

To find out more about Austin Bay, and read features by other Creators
Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
www.creators.com.

reasing - primarily from Europe and the United States. The real
disappointment is South Africa President Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki was supposed to
help "mediate" Zimbabwe's political crisis, but his mediation has been a
biased farce in favor of Mugabe.

Why? "Old radical solidarity" is one possible reason. Mbeki's memories of
anti-colonial struggle produce a soft spot for Mugabe. Pray that it's
blarney, but this kind of embedded, selfish bitterness from the political
past does scar the present and damage the future. True or not, Mugabe
continues to kill and steal, with obscene impunity.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai's risky gamble needs regional backing

Reuters

Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:43pm BST

By Cris Chinaka- Analysis

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's Morgan Tsvangirai has gambled his political
career by pulling out of an election run-off and he must now count on
regional action as well as sympathy to have a hope of unseating President
Robert Mugabe.

In a free election, the opposition leader would have been well placed to win
next Friday's vote after beating Mugabe in the first round, but he announced
on Sunday that political violence made a fair ballot impossible.

The announcement was hedged though -- with a plea to Africa and the world to
intervene in the crisis. He also spoke of the need to work on a transition
of power away from Mugabe, who has ruled since 1980, suggesting a readiness
for negotiations.

"It is a bold statement, but he does appear to be leaving his options open.
This sounds like a provisional pull-out," said Brian Raftopolous, a
political analyst with the Zimbabwe Institute.

Tsvangirai, a fiery 56-year-old former trade unionist, always knew the
run-off would be difficult and only reluctantly agreed to take part.

His Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said he won the outright majority
needed on March 29 to avoid a second round of voting, but agreed to go along
to avoid granting automatic victory to Mugabe, 84.

At first sight, giving up now would have the same result.

But the picture has changed.

African countries have joined Mugabe's Western critics in voicing anger at
poll violence -- the opposition says 86 supporters have been killed. Not
long ago, regional states sat silent and gave tacit backing to Mugabe, seen
by many as a hero of the struggle for independence.

The government blames Tsvangirai's followers for the violence but the region
has certainly not taken up that line.

IMPATIENCE

In fact, southern African states show growing impatience with Mugabe and
fear total meltdown in Zimbabwe.

The crisis has driven millions of Zimbabweans into their countries,
straining economies and creating tensions even in powerhouse South Africa --†
where xenophobic violence exploded last month.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, also chairman of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), showed understanding for Tsvangirai after the
withdrawal.

"Elections held in such an environment will not only be undemocratic but
will also bring embarrassment to the SADC region and the entire continent of
Africa," he said.

But Tsvangirai will need action as well as words from regional leaders if
his gamble is not to backfire. The United States and former colonial power
Britain have little leverage.

"There is not a huge amount (regional leaders) can do. What Mugabe has
stressed since the year dot is sovereignty. Part of that is directed against
Western colonial interests, but it can be as effectively directed against
regional leaders," said Tom Cargill of Britain's Chatham House thinktank.

SOUTH AFRICA KEY

Most important of will be the role of South Africa.

President Thabo Mbeki has never shown much fondness for Tsvangirai, while
the Zimbabwean opposition leader has openly criticized Mbeki's role as
mediator in the crisis.

But the MDC leader has a better relationship with the increasingly
influential Jacob Zuma, head of South Africa's ruling African National
Congress, who shares his humble roots. Tsvangirai is the self-taught son of
a bricklayer who worked his way up through the union movement.

By withdrawing, Tsvangirai could also be moving towards a plan Mbeki has
been said to favour by South Africa's press -- calling off the election to
allow a national unity government.

Mbeki was quick to say that South Africa would try to persuade Mugabe and
Tsvangirai to meet to discuss the crisis.

"...that most certainly is what we would try to encourage," Mbeki said after
Tsvangirai's announcement.

Until now, prospects for such talks appeared limited. Neither side trusted
the other to head an interim administration. Both believed they could win
the vote -- by whatever means.

Now regional pressure could make a difference in getting Mugabe to the
table. He is undoubtedly in a weaker position than before the March 29
elections, when his party also lost its parliamentary majority. Without a
contested run-off, even a flawed one, his legitimacy could be more
uncertain.

"With the MDC withdrawing, I think it is back to negotiations," said Susan
Booysen, a political analyst at the University of the Witwatersrand in
Johannesburg.

Such negotiations could test Tsvangirai to the full. His party has suffered
deep internal divisions in the past -- some over questions of his judgment
and style -- although differences have been patched up for now.

Tsvangirai has made his name as the only person who has come close to ending
Mugabe's rule.

But the ruling ZANU-PF party and the generals fighting behind Mugabe are
known for their political nous as well as a readiness to use whatever means
necessary to avoid losing their 28-year grip on power.

"For Tsvangirai himself, time is running out," Knox Chitiyo of London's
Royal United Services Institute said earlier this month. "Everyone talks
about this being ZANU-PF's end game but I think it's also the MDC's end
game."

(Writing by Paul Simao; editing by Matthew Tostevin)


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Spiral of Zimbabwe

New York Sun

By MARIAN TUPY
June 23, 2008

The political and economic situation in Zimbabwe is spiraling out of
control, but the government of the Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front seems determined to hold onto power no matter what the cost.
The time is ripe to impose an arms embargo on President Mugabe's murderous
regime. In order for the embargo to work, however, more pressure will need
to be applied on Southern African states in general and South Africa in
particular.

The bleak news out of Zimbabwe is getting worse every day. The government
has unleashed the army and police against the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change. Scores of MDC activists have been killed, tortured, or
assaulted. The government's control of the press and ban on public
gatherings made it impossible for the MDC's candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, to
win the second round of the presidential election. As a consequence, he
withdrew from the contest yesterday.

On the economic front, the situation is dire. The economic crisis that was
precipitated by Mr. Mugabe's seizure of commercial farms in 2000 has put
four out of five Zimbabweans out of work. The government's tax revenue
collapsed as did most of the public services. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
was ordered to print money to make up for the budget shortfall, leading to
the first hyperinflation of the 21st century.

By the end of June, the annualized inflation rate will reach 3,140,335%.
That will bring the overall inflation for the entire duration of the
Zimbabwean hyperinflation to a staggering 366,386,083,683%. That is roughly
36 times the overall inflation experienced by the Weimar Republic in the
early 1920s. One American dollar, which bought 50 Zimbabwean cents when Mr.
Mugabe assumed power in 1980, sold for 25 billion Zimbabwean dollars on June
9.

Most Zimbabweans, especially those living in rural areas, survive on
remittances from their relatives abroad and food aid distributed by NGOs and
Western government agencies. But aid agencies worry that with the coming of
winter hunger will spread. The ruling regime, however, uses food shortages
as a political weapon against the supporters of the opposition - it hands
out food to people with the ZANU-PF membership card only.

In the early 2000s, Western nations imposed targeted sanctions against
Zimbabwe's top government officials. The time is ripe to ban the army and
police from acquiring the weapons they need to put down internal dissent. An
arms embargo has not been contemplated seriously before, because of doubts
over its successful implementation.

A successful arms embargo must have the support of Southern African states
in general and South Africa in particular. The cooperation of Southern
African states now looks more likely. Regional leaders, like those of Angola
and Zambia, who have been largely silent about the crisis in Zimbabwe
previously, have been increasingly vocal in their criticism of Mr. Mugabe.

They and other African leaders may be open to arms embargo - especially if
South Africa changes its policy of supporting Mr. Mugabe. As was the case in
the 1970s, South Africa holds the key to the resolution of the Zimbabwean
crisis. Back then, the apartheid government judged that the costs of helping
the white government in Rhodesia were too great. When Pretoria discontinued
its active support of the regime in Salisbury, Ian Smith's government
collapsed and was replaced by Bishop Muzorewa.

Similarly, the goal today should be to make Mr. Pretoria's support for Mr.
Mugabe too costly for South Africa. Thabo Mbeki's government, currently on
the U.N. Security Council, should be backed into a corner and forced to vote
on the issue of an arms embargo forthwith.

Moreover, South Africans should be informed that their country's ambition of
becoming a member of the U.N. Security Council will remain a pipe dream so
long as they go on backing dictators from Burma, Cuba, and Zimbabwe. Lastly,
South Africans should be told that a continued controversy over Zimbabwe
threatens the success of the FIFA World Cup that South Africa is to host in
2010.

The presidential election was never likely to produce a resolution to the
crisis in Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe, after all, made it clear that he will not
leave power so long as he lives. As such, an increased international
pressure on the Zimbabwean government has never been as needed or as likely
to succeed as it is today.

Mr. Tupy is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute's Center for Global
Liberty and Prosperity.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Why the military keep this ageing dictator in power

June 23, 2008

President Mugabe has not acted alone in bringing Zimbabwe to its knees.

He has a band of willing accomplices, many of whom fought alongside him in the guerrilla war against white rule and have benefited enormously from his time in power.

They rule through the secretive Joint Operational Command (JOC), which in effect took over after the first round of voting on March 29. Mr Mugabe was officially defeated in the vote for the first time since he took power in 1980, though the opposition narrowly failed to gain an outright victory.

The decision by the Movement for Democratic Change to pull out of the run-off poll on Friday leaves this junta stronger than ever. “Part one of the strategy - intimidate the opposition - has been achieved. Part two - keeping Mugabe in government at all costs - comes next,” said a senior African analyst.

JOC members, who dread the prospect of Mr Mugabe losing power, stiffened the veteran leader's resolve to resist the challenge of Morgan Tsvangirai, just as some of his top non-military advisers thought that the game was up and urged a negotiated settlement.

Human rights groups and diplomats say that the JOC has carefully orchestrated the violence, which has led to the deaths of an estimated 85 people, the torture of a further 1,300 and driven more than 35,000 opposition supporters from torched homes.

However, its inner workings are shrouded in mystery. Its most dominant figure is the immensely powerful Emmerson Mnangagwa, currently the Minister of Housing - he was responsible for razing opposition shanty towns two years ago - and a long-time member of the ruling Zanu (PF) politburo.

A lawyer by training, Mr Mnangagwa has been touted as a successor to Mr Mugabe for a long time. He built up the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation, which he led during the Matabeleland massacres in the 1980s when the support base for Joshua Nkomo, Mr Mugabe's former rival, was destroyed.

He also co-ordinated Zimbabwe's involvement in the war in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo in the mid-1990s, during which he became immensely wealthy from illegal mineral exports and arms dealing. He is named in several UN reports and could face charges before international tribunals on several counts.

Mr Mnangagwa has nothing to gain and everything to lose from a Mugabe exit.

He shares that qualification with other leading members of the JOC: General Constantine Chiwenga, the Army Commander; Augustine Chihuri, the police chief who commands the Green Bombers paramilitary militia; and retired Major-General Paradzayi Zimondi, head of the Prisons Service.

Before the first round of voting all three said in a joint statement that they would only serve Mr Mugabe, not any “puppet” - their leader's favourite term for the opposition. They ordered the men and women under their command to vote for the 84-year-old incumbent.

Another key JOC figure is Air Marshal Perence Shiri, chief of the Air Force. He used to control the notorious North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, which carried out the Matebeleland massacres when the bellies of pregnant women were slit open to dispose of the “unborn traitor”, and villagers believed to support Nkomo were thrown alive down wells.

These men have worked closely with Brighton Bonyongwe, the intelligence chief who is feared for his ruthlessness, and Joseph Chinotimba, the leader of the War Veterans Association, to co-ordinate the crackdown on MDC supporters.

All are unfazed by suggestions that they could end up before the International Criminal Court.

Most have such shady pasts that they already fear there are sealed envelopes in The Hague awaiting delivery. For them, the only safe way out is to ensure that Mr Mugabe keeps power. They know that, unlike the man they serve, there is little chance of them being offered immunity or other “safe passage”.

President’s henchmen

Emmerson Mnangagwa, 62. Minister of Rural Housing. It has been an open secret for years that this ruthless former head of the intelligence service wants to succeed Mr Mugabe. Is noted for his brutality towards opponents

Constantine Chiwenga, 50s. Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Force. He joined Mr Mugabe in Mozambique for the independence struggle. He is noted for his ruthlessness and loyalty to the President

Augustine Chihuri, 50s. Commissioner General of Zimbabwe Republic Police. Although he denies political links, Mr Chihuri was one of the first to say that he would never swear allegiance to the opposition if it took power. His son, Sylvester, was recently deported from Australia

Retired Major-General Paradzayi Zimondi, 60s. Head of the Prison Service. Issued orders to his officers to vote for President Mugabe in the elections. He was part of a group of military chiefs who said on the eve of the 2002 elections that they would not recognise the presidency of anyone who did not participate in the 1970s war of independence

Air Marshal Perence Shiri, 53. Chief of the Air Force since 1992. A cousin of the President, he once called himself a “Black Jesus”. From 1983 to 1984, the Zimbabwean Fifth Brigade under Shiri’s command was responsible for a reign of terror in Matabeland

Brighton Bonyongwe, 47. Formerly a brigadier general in the Defence Force before retiring to take on the role of head of the Central Intelligence Organisation. Enjoys life on his two previously white-owned farms


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SADC observers to stay in Zimbabwe for now

SABC

June 23, 2008, 08:15

Southern African Development Community's (SADC) election observer mission
will stay in Zimbabwe until the run-off election has officially been
cancelled.

The decision follows the withdrawal by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
from the presidential run-off vote. About 400 SADC observers from around the
Southern African subcontinent streamed into Harare in the past weeks to
monitor the political climate ahead of the election and to help ensure a
free and fair election.

Meanwhile, Political Analyst, Katlego Phuthiyagae says the withdrawal of the
main opposition party in Zimbabwe's run-off election has disappointed many
supporters and members of the MDC.

Phuthiyagae says Zimbabweans who are anxious for change, are very
disappointed by the withdrawal of the MDC from the run-off election.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt Rolls Out Basic Goods



The Herald (Harare)†† Published by the government of Zimbabwe

23 June 2008
Posted to the web 23 June 2008

Victoria Ruzvidzo
Harare

TRUCKLOADS of goods were dispatched from Harare yesterday as Government
rolled out the Basic Commodities Restocking Programme under which vulnerable
groups will access products at affordable prices.

President Mugabe launched the programme in Nkayi last week under the
People's Shops concept, stressing that prices charged will be within the
reach of the majority.

Countrywide deliveries will be done on a daily basis.

Trucks were yesterday queuing at warehouses in Harare as they waited for
their turn to load.

Products being supplied to restock shops include maize-meal, sugar, salt,
flour, cooking oil, laundry and bath soap, candles, sugar beans, rice and
sanitary pads.

Prices will be slashed by as much as 90 percent in some instances to ensure
affordability by those in the low-income bracket.

For instance, a 750ml bottle of cooking oil, whose price currently ranges
between $9 billion and $15 billion, will be sold at less than $1 billion.

This intervention comes at a time when prices of goods and services have
continued to rise to unprecedented levels, with some manufacturers
"unjustifiably" attributing this to rising input costs.

However, under the programme, Government is supporting producers of basic
commodities under strict covenants that such products will be supplied into
the restocking programme at prices that reflect true production costs.

The initiative is part of the Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention
facility launched by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in October last year,
running until the end of this year.

RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono yesterday commended Government for launching the
programme, which could effectively subdue some of the inflationary pressures
in the economy.

"We hail this innovative intervention by Government as it brings tangible
supply to the doorsteps of the majority of the people. As Governor, I want
to once again reiterate that the Bacossi support we are extending to our
strategic productive sectors is essentially meant to fight off inflation
from two angles.

"Firstly, the direct impact on supply, as can be seen from this Government
programme, is unambiguously leading to massive price reductions.

"Secondly, when we extend Bacossi support per unit production cost in the
economy, decreases on overheads are distributed on more output arising from
higher capacity utilisation levels.

"As a central bank, we fully support this intervention by Government," said
Dr Gono.

For most low-income earners, basic products were now priced beyond their
reach, a situation that was exacerbated by massive price jumps in recent
weeks.

The emergence of the black market for goods had seen most shops being wiped
clean as products were diverted to the more "lucrative" parallel market.

The release by Government of $150 trillion last month for the setting up of
People's Shops through the Small Enterprises Development Corpo-ration, is
also expected to go a long way in ensuring greater access to products at
affordable prices by vulnerable groups.

----------
Comment

Author: katz
Simple economics - the Government hands out subsidised goods to try and
shore up its popularity. To pay for the subsidies it has to crank up the
printing presses ever more so. The extra money supply is not matched by
increased production and the Z$ plummets faster and faster as inflation goes
through the roof. The cost of this is borne by the people; however, the
clever boys in the Government blame the West,MDC,weather,businessmen,
whoever or whatever for the misery inflicted on the people whilst claiming
the credit for helping the poor through the subsidies. Blind Freddy could
see that one. The problem is that the day of reckoning is only going to be
worse.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's white farmers see tough times ahead

Stuff, NZ

Reuters | Monday, 23 June 2008

The last remaining white farmers in Zimbabwe are predicting a very volatile
period in the wake of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to
withdraw from the presidential run-off election.

But the Commercial Farmers Union believes there still could be a change of
leadership in the near future as the ruling ZANU party considers replacing
President Robert Mugabe.

Union president Trevor Gifford, speaking from a rural area five hours
south-east of the capital Harare, said the atmosphere inside Zimbabwe was
very tense.

"Wherever you travel, you're met with military and. . . road blocks," he
told ABC radio.

"They search very vigorously. . . looking for weapons and anything else that
they can find."

Mr Gifford says Mr Tsvangirai's decision will make it very tough for a lot
of people.

"I think we're going to go into a very volatile period.

"However I do believe that even from within, Zimbabwe cannot continue
charging the course that it's been charging. . . something's going to have
to give.

"If this election definitely isn't contested, and that negotiations on a way
forward are not concluded, there's the possibility that the party may retire
the president and try and charter new waters.

"I think that there's a definite chance. . . but that will bring a power
struggle between the various factions within the ruling party."

Mr Gifford says rural plantation workers are not working because of
intimidation.

"They're not even able to stay in their houses at night for fear of being
beaten."

Most people within Zimbabwe would not know Mr Tsvangirai had quit the
run-off election.

"Where people do have cell phones or where cell phones have been buzzing,
those people do have the knowledge.

"But the majority of the Zimbabwean population do not have access to good
radio or telecommunications."

The region's leaders, especially the South African Development Community,
could have done more to stop the deterioration of Zimbabwe's situation, Mr
Gifford said.

"I mean in particular (South Africa) President Thabo Mbeki. (It) just shows
that his quiet diplomacy has not worked at all," he said.

"President Mugabe has been able to continue this reign of terror to
intimidate the population of Zimbabwe and to bring them to their knees."


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Exiles fear for Zimbabwe's future

http://news.sbs.com.au/ Monday, 23 June, 2008
More than 10,000 Zimbabweans have taken up residence in Australia over the past 10 years. Many were forced to flee for their lives after being targetted because they worked for the opposition.

Watch Brian Thomson speaks to
Zimbabwean exiles about their fears for the future of their country.

Watch Brian Thomson's second report on Zimbabwean exiles in Australia, plus an interview with Zimbabwean senator Sekai Holland.
Source: SBS


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NZ Zimbabweans fearful after election row

Stuff, NZ

By SALLY FRENCH - Stuff.co.nz | Monday, 23 June 2008

New Zealand's Zimbabwean community is devastated opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has pulled out of the run-off election against President Robert
Mugabe.

Movement for Deomocratic Change representative Ben Magaiza says the news is
"unbearable", but says the "war isn't over yet".

He said his life has been filled with dreams since moving to New Zealand
seven years ago, but any dreams his family in Zimbabwe may have had have
just been shattered, and so have his.

"But then one looks at it and asks 'what choice did Tsvangirai have',"
Magaiza said.

"Yes, he could have gone in and won the election, but I doubt that Mugabe
would have handed over power on a platter."

Magaiza believes withdrawing from the run-off election could possibly have
been a strategic move by the opposition.

"This way we still have the war to fight.

"If we'd gone on and lost the run-off through election rigging or by the
mere fact Mugabe refused to hand over power, that would have legitimised
Mugabe through.

"But now we are still in there, and it's time for the United Nations and
African Union to intervene," he said.

He recalls hearing Tanzania's Bernard Membe recently saying the situation in
Zimbabwe was unbearable and options would be looked at to start controlling
it.

"One hopes what ever the response is going to be to this, it's emphatic so
no room is given to Mugabe to continue what he's been doing."

Magaiza fears the situation may get even worse for the "ordinary Zimbabwean"
should Mugabe be isolated.

"My mother, nieces and nephews live in Zimbabwe and I've been thinking about
how can I relocate them to perhaps another country within the region as
bringing them out here is just too expensive," he said.

Magaiza said it's not possible to rely on landlines to keep in contact with
his family, as the lines are often down, so he's made sure they have mobile
phones to contact him urgently should they need to.

He is appalled Mugabe has stated he could only be defeated by God.

"It's quite unbelievable that someone could go to that extent - with his
hands all bloodied, and he has the guts to talk about God, it's just
unbelievable."

Zimbabwean Association of New Zealand president Titus Katiyo is also
devastated that the Tsvangirai has pulled out of Friday's run-off election.

He said it shouldn't have happened; as the election was only four days away.

"If they step down it literally means they are no longer there and what is
happening will continue," he said.

"The people who are defenceless need to have the opposition around."

He said every family network in Zimbabwe knows of someone who is affected
physically by Mugabe's ruling.

Katiyo likens his home country to a casino.

"You wake up in the morning unsure about everything and survive by gambling

"You go out hoping that today will be the day you will land a job, you work
in the hope that you will get a wage, you go to the shop hoping you will
find food to buy and the list goes on.

"Granted every life is a gamble but the degree of uncertainty in Zimbabwe is
close to that in a casino," he said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Australia to impose stronger sanctions against Zimbabwe

Monsters and Critics

Jun 23, 2008, 3:31 GMT

Sydney - Australia Monday will consider imposing stronger financial and
travel sanctions against Zimbabwe as violence escalates in the lead up to
the June 27 presidential run-off election.

'I've made it clear that we are open to consider more sanctions. We are
currently giving active consideration to the issue,' Foreign Minister
Stephen Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio.

Australia has already imposed financial sanctions and suspending
non-humanitarian aid, and defence and ministerial links, besides travel bans
on members of the Zimbabwe regime.

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has pulled out of the run-off
election against President Robert Mugabe, saying growing violence has made a
free and fair poll impossible.

'I think what it does do now is that it places maximum pressure on the South
African development states and the African Union to now put considerable
pressure on Mr Mugabe to try and get an outcome where the will of the
Zimbabwe people is respected,' Smith told ABC Radio.

South African President Thabo Mbeki is the appointed mediator for Zimbabwe.

As for Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the run-off poll virtually providing
Mugabe with a legitimate election win, Smith said, 'I don't think on any
analysis here can we conclude anything other than a brutal regime seeking
to, in the first round, steal an election by rorting (cheating) the count,
and in the second round stealing it by violence. The violence now needs to
be overcome by the African and international community.'

Calling the situation in Zimbabwe 'horrendous,' Australian Greens party
leader Bob Brown told reporters, 'This calls for much greater world action
than we've seen. There needs to be urgent action in the United Nations to
bring Mugabe to book.'

Brown also called for banning Mugabe from attending international
conferences and be treated in the same manner as the military junta in
Myanmar.

'Quite frankly, the thuggery of Mugabe and his cronies is leading to the
deaths of a lot of people. We need to put very heavy pressure on South
Africa and other southern African nations to get Mugabe to go. We also need
to use the Commonwealth processes that we do have to get rid of Mugabe,' a
South Africa-born, Liberal Party backbencher Dennis Jensen, told reporters.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Battered Zimbabweans can't pin hopes on Africa

Business Day

23 June 2008

Dianna Games

A HEADLINE in one of our local papers caught my eye last week among the many
stories focusing on the situation in Zimbabwe. It read: "Some African
leaders now acknowledge crisis in Zim."

What leaders? Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia tried to point out the seriousness of
the problem last year and was slapped on the wrist by his peers. Botswana's
Ian Khama has put his head above the parapet a few times, berating the
Zimbabwe government for its errant behaviour that has left him with a
growing refugee problem within his borders.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has proved schizophrenic on the issue.
Although he is now urging President Robert Mugabe to go quietly if he loses
this week's presidential runoff, he is usually fulsome in his praise of the
man. Benjamin Mkapa, former president of Tanzania, has defended his close
friend Mugabe over the years. In 2005, he spoke out in support of Operation
Murambatsvina (clean up the trash), in which hundreds of thousands lost
their homes and livelihoods in an urban crackdown.

SA's stance hardly bears mentioning. The president is one thing. But over
the years, ministers have gone to Zimbabwe on "fact-finding" visits, which
were little more than Zanu (PF) propaganda briefings.

The African Union (AU) has done everything in its power to keep the Zimbabwe
issue off the main agenda of the organisation's discussions on the basis
that it was "divisive". The AU managed to send a mere 18 observers to the
March 29 poll. Looking to the AU for the much-proposed African solution to
an African problem hardly seems worth the effort.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) handling of the issue has
been shameful, particularly the endorsement of blatantly rigged election
after blatantly rigged election in Zimbabwe, giving the Zanu (PF) government
a veneer of acceptability.

Much has been made of a recent letter signed by 40 African leaders,
(including Mkapa), who expressed concern about the violence in Zimbabwe and
called for conditions to be created for a free and fair poll.

Raila Odinga, Kenya's new prime minister, stuck his neck out, pointing out
what most people have known for years; Rwanda's Paul Kagame also expressed
concern and said Africa had failed Zimbabwe.

However, events of the past few weeks are not new in Zimbabwe even if they
are much worse than before. Is it the degree of violence that is breaking
the African silence on the issue? Is there a point up to which it is
acceptable?

Despite the worthy letters and statements, is the Zimbabwe government likely
to give a hoot?

This is a government that is not only sanctioning, but driving, the horrific
violence carried out mostly by Zanu (PF) thugs. And the victims have no one
to turn to as their tormentors are often the very security forces meant to
protect them.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) cannot campaign - it is blocked at
every turn by the government's security forces and by bans on the media.

In the midst of all this, people are still calling for the (illegal?)
government to allow Friday's runoff to be free and fair. The environment is
obviously not conductive to holding an election and a cessation of Zanu (PF)
brutality in the days before the poll will not be the magic bullet to make
it free and fair.

Election observers have arrived late in the day - due to convenient
government delays in issuing invitations - and in any case are unlikely to
witness events in the ruling party's real hunting grounds, deep in the rural
areas.

Assuming Friday's election takes place - even though MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has said he will pull out - the result is unlikely to take
Zimbabwe to a better place. Not for a while anyway.

Of course it is up to Zimbabweans to sort out the mess themselves, despite
the challenges the government has placed in their way.

And that is just as well, as the rest of Africa has already proved it is not
up to the task.

.. Games is director of Africa@Work, an African consulting firm.

Back to the Top
Back to Index