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Tsvangirai formally delivers withdrawal letter


Irish Sun
Tuesday 24th June, 2008
(IANS)

Morgan Tsvangirai, the major contender in Zimbabwe's bloody presidential
run-off election, Tuesday formally notified electoral authorities of his
withdrawal from the race, officials of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) confirmed.

'The letter was delivered to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission this
afternoon,' said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa. 'It was signed by Morgan
Tsvangirai.'

The 11-page letter began: 'In my considered view, the conditions presently
obtaining throughout the country make it virtually impossible for a proper
election, envisaged in both the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Electoral
Act, to take place.'

Tsvangirai, currently in the Dutch embassy in Harare where he sought refuge
Sunday, announced earlier that day that he was withdrawing because 'we
cannot ask them (the electorate) to cast their votes on the 27th (of June)
for us when it could well cost them their lives.'

Chamisa said the letter cited violence that is reported to have claimed 86
fatalities in the 12 weeks since the first round of the election March 29,
rigging and violation of electoral law.

Tsvangirai earlier described the election as 'violent, illegitimate sham of
an electoral process'.

It is not yet clear whether the 56-year-old Tsvangirai's formal withdrawal
will mean the election will be called off by election authorities now that
it is officially a one-man race. Lawyers said electoral law made no
provision for the situation.

ZEC chairman George Chiweshe has said since Tsvangirai's announcement Sunday
that without formal notification, the election would have to be held.

'This looks like the official stance is that the election will go ahead,'
said Veritas, a legal organisation that provides commentaries on new
legislation and legal controversies.

Earlier Tuesday, Chiweshe said in the state-controlled Herald newspaper that
'the country is in every sense of the word prepared for this election. We
are ready and would look forward to a credible election come Friday.'

He said polling officers were being deployed and ballot papers were being
transported to 1,958 polling stations around the country.


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Tsvangirai's withdrawal letter - full text



June 24, 2008

23 June 2008.

Attention: Honourable Justice Chiweshe

The Chairman
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
7th Floor, Century House
HARARE

Dear Sir,

Re: PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF ELECTION SCHEDULED FOR THE 27TH
JUNE 2008

I write this letter to advise you that for reasons set out in this letter,
it is no longer possible for the holding of the Presidential run-off
election set for the 27th June 2008.

In my considered view, the conditions presently obtaining thoughout the
country make it virtually impossible for a proper election envisaged in both
the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Electoral Act [Chapter 2.13] to take
place. This being the case, the election scheduled for Friday 27th June 2008
cannot be an election as provided for by our law and accordingly, it will be
a nullity if it were to be proceeded with.

Section 107 of the Electoral Act deals with the withdrawal of candidature
from a Presidential election. Subsection 1 thereof provides that a nominated
candidate for election as President may, by notice in writing addressed to
the Chief Election Officer withdraw his or her candidature before 21 days
from the day or first day as the case may be on which the poll in an
election to the office of President is to be taken. This section in my
respectful view does not apply to a Presidential run off election. Section
110 (3) provides that where two or more candidates for President are
nominated, and after a poll taken in terms of subsection (2) no candidate
receives a majority of the total number of valid votes cast, a second
election shall be held within 21 days after the previous election. It is
quite clear therefore that Section 107 (1) was clearly not designed for a
presidential run-off election as it would not make sense to expect a
candidate from a presidential run-off election to give 21 days notice of
his/her withdrawal where such election has to be held within 21 days anyway.

Section 107(3) makes it much more clearer that Section 107 does not apply to
a presidential run-off election. It provides that:-
"where a candidate for election as President has withdrawn his/her
candidature in terms of this section, the sum deposited by or on his behalf
in terms of subsection (1) of Section 105 shall be forfeited and form part
of the funds of the commission".

No money was ever deposited for the Presidential run-off election in terms
of Section 105 by any candidate.

Furthermore, there has been no rules prescribed for the conduct of a
presidential run-off election and in particular the notice period set for
the withdrawal of candidature by a participant. Accordingly, any candidate
wishing to withdraw his candidature is free to do so at any time before such
an election.

In any event, as I have already pointed out, the election set for the 27th
June 2008 is not a proper election but a nullity. In the circumstances, the
question of the withdrawal from such an election and the notice thereof
cannot be an issue.

REASONS FOR WITHDRAWAL

In terms of Section 61(4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission is obliged by law to ensure that elections are
conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with
the law.

Section 3 of the Electoral Act sets out in detail the principles which must
govern democratic elections. This Section provides as follows:-

"Subject to the Constitution and this Act, every election shall be conducted
in a way that is consistent with the following principles-
(a) the authority to govern derives from the will of the people demonstrated
through elections that are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly,
transparently and properly on the basis of universal and equal suffrage
exercised through a secret ballot; and
(b) every citizen has the right-
(i) to participate in government directly or through freely chosen
representatives, and is entitled, without distinction on the ground of race,
ethnicity, gender, language, political or religious belief, education,
physical appearance or disability or economic or social condition, to stand
for office and cast a vote freely;
(ii) to join or participate in the activities or and to recruit members of a
political party of his or her choice;
(iii) to participate in peaceful political activity intended to influence
the composition and policies of Government;
(iv) to participate, through civic organisations, in peaceful activities to
influence and challenge the policies of Government;
and
(c) every political party has the right-
(i) to operate freely within the law;
(ii) to put up or sponsor one or more candidates in every election;
(iii) to campaign freely within the law;
(iv) to have reasonable access to the media".

What has been going on in this country immediately after the elections held
on the 29th March 2008 is a clear testimony that the elections scheduled for
the 27th June 2008 cannot be held efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently
and in accordance with the law.

On the 21st May 2008, after having noted the sad events that were happening,
I instructed my Legal Practitioners Dube Manikai & Hwacha to write a letter
to you setting out in detail various concerns which were an impediment to
the holding of a free and fair election. For ease of reference, I attach a
copy of the said letter. Sadly, that letter was neither acknowledged nor
responded to. In my view, if your commission had taken steps to abide by its
constitutional mandate, the situation would have probably not worsened.
Regrettably, the situation since the letter from my lawyers has worsened to
such an extent that no proper election can be carried out. I set out below
few examples of the adverse conditions that vitiate the holding of a free
and fair election as envisaged in our law:-

1. THE FAILURE BY THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION TO ENSURE FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
Your Commission has failed to discharge its mandate in the following
respects;
1.1 Your Commission failed to declare a winner of the Presidential elections
as provided for in the Third Schedule of the Electoral Act. This point was
well articulated by my lawyers in their letter of the 21st May 2008 and I
associate myself with the submissions made in that letter in regards to this
issue. In my view, a Presidential run-off election should have been
conducted after due compliance by your Commission and in particular the
Chief Election officer with this Section.
1.2 Your Commission has failed to stop and/or condemn continued utterances
by senior Zanu PF officials including Mr Robert Mugabe to the effect that
irrespective of the election result, Mr Robert Mugabe was not going to move
out of his office. The failure by your Commission to condemn such utterances
right from the beginning clearly encouraged Zanu PF, war veterans aligned to
Zanu PF, senior Zanu PF officials and Mr Robert Mugabe to make it their
theme during their campaigns that a President does not come to power through
the electoral process but rather through the barrel of the gun. This theme
which has become pervasive thoughout the Zanu PF campaigns makes people
wonder whether we are in an election or in a war.
1.3 Your commission failed to abide by the provision of the Electoral Act
when it failed to conduct the presidential run-off election within 21 days
from the date of announcement of the presidential elections results
conducted on the 29th March 2008.

2. VIOLENCE

The violence currently obtaining in this country which has resulted in
numerous deaths, destruction of homes, displacement of various people and
injuries to people is something that is clearly in the public domain. As of
today, the country has recorded at least 86 deaths, 10 000 homes destroyed ,
200 000 people displaced and 10 000 people injured.

The victims have been MDC supporters. The violence has been clearly state
sponsored and carried out in most cases by members of the Zimbabwe National
Army and ZANU PF militia. It is true that in some instances our supporters
have fought back, inmost cases in self defence. Because of our inability to
access the rural areas, the above statistics may be understated.

If this present scenario is compared to the period towards the 29 March
harmonised election, it is evident that the conditions on the ground have
fundamentally changed for the worse. The above statistics clearly show that
the electoral environment is not conducive to the holding of a free and fair
election.

3. THREATS OF WAR

Throughout its campaigns, Zanu PF has threatened that there will be war if
an MDC win in the presidential run-off is pronounced. Mr Mugabe made it
quite clear recently that power cannot be taken by a pen but by a gun. War
veterans aligned to him have articulated this position throughout the
country. These sentiments were echoed by senior Zanu PF officials including
the President's wife when she clearly made the point that even if I was to
win, I was never to set my foot at the State house. Mr Mugabe also came out
on National television encouraging his party members to conduct a war-like
campaign. These kind of threats coming as they did from Senior Zanu PF
officials including the President of Zanu PF should certainly be taken
seriously. Indeed, these threats were taken seriously by our population with
the result that a free and fair election is something that cannot be dreamt
of under these conditions.

4. PARTICIPATION OF THE UNIFORMED FORCES IN ZANU PF CAMPAIGNS

It is common cause that the Zimbabwe National Army through its senior
officers has actively campaigned for Zanu PF and continues to do so. This
has been the position with the Zimbabwe Republic Police where senior
officials have publicly campaigned for Zanu PF. As if this was not enough,
the senior officers of the uniformed forces have forced junior officers to
vote for President Mugabe. On the 18th June 2008, my lawyers wrote to you
advising you of these developments and the fact that officers from the
police, prisons and the army were forced to apply for postal ballots. These
officers from the reports we have received have already voted in the
presence of a senior officer and were forced to vote for Mr Robert Mugabe. I
attach herewith a copy of my lawyers letter dated 18th June 2008 which
letter as usual was neither acknowledged nor responded to. In the
circumstances, one cannot talk of a free and fair election which can be
conducted on the 27th June 2008.

5. INTIMIDATION

The level of intimidation which is currently being subjected to our
population particularly in the rural areas is alarming. People are being
forced to attend Zanu PF meetings during the night. People are being told to
record serial numbers on the ballot papers and disclose them to Zanu PF
official who are responsible for carrying out the intimidation. These
incidents have been brought to your attention but unfortunately nothing has
been done by your Commission by way of assuring the voters that their votes
are secret as was the case during the run up to the March harmonised
elections. Infact, the voter education campaign which was reasonably
conducted during the run up to the March 2008 harmonised election has not
been repeated. You have simply allowed Zanu PF, war veterans aligned to Zanu
PF and Robert Mugabe to scare the people by suggesting quite clearly that
presidential run-off vote is between a choice of war and Robert Mugabe.

In my view, there can never be a free and fair election under these
circumstances.

6. NON-ACCESS TO MEDIA

The law clearly provides that a political party is entitled to enjoy
reasonable access to the media. My party booked space for its advertisements
with Zimpapers newspapers namely Herald, Sunday Mail, Chronicle, Sunday News
and the Manica Post which adverts were to commence on the 13th June 2008. We
were advised that our publications could not be published because of the
shortage of newsprint. What surprised us was that Zanu PF's campaign
advertisements are being carried in these newspapers on a daily basis. We
also encountered problems with our electronic advertisements with the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings which effectively resulted in our failure to
have access to media. This is in sharp contrast with what occurred during
the run up to the March 2008 harmonised elections where we were given
reasonable access to the media. The importance of media advertisement in any
election is quite critical and it is for this reason that media access was
specifically provided for in our law. Without this right, there can be no
free and fair elections.

7. THE BANNING OF MDC RALLIES AND MEETINGS AND DISRUPTION OF MDC MEETINGS

Since I launched my campaign for the presidential run-off elections, I have
encountered numerous difficulties occasioned by agents of the State. I have
been detained at police stations on numerous occasions and thereby denied
time to campaign. Our meeting and rallies have been banned by the police. We
have had to approach the High Court on no less than 3 occasions for the
court to intervene to enable us to go ahead with our rallies. On the
contrary, Zanu PF is being allowed to conduct its campaign rallies even
during the night. In the few cases that our rallies have been allowed to go
ahead pursuant to these Court Orders, Zanu PF supporters have disrupted such
rallies. On Sunday the 22nd June 2008, our star rally in Harare, in respect
of which a High Court Order had to be applied for to proceed with such rally
was disrupted by Zanu PF supporters. Clearly it is impossible for any
political party to campaign let alone to exist without being allowed to have
access to the voting population. In these circumstances, it cannot therefore
be said that the environment presently obtaining is conducive for the
holding of a free and fair election.

8. DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF VOTERS AND LACK OF ACCESS TO RURAL AREAS

As you are aware voting in the Presidential election is constituency and
ward based. In other words no person can vote outside his or her
constituency and ward. The massive displacement of people already referred
to herein (mainly from rural to urban areas) will result in the
disenfranchisement of these people. The confirmed reports we have received
confirm that there has been massive and systematic confiscation of national
identity documents of our supporters by ZANU PF militia and people claiming
to be war veterans. Until our supporters are able to replace these identity
documents (which cannot be done by Friday 27 June 2008) they are obviously
not going to be able to vote.

Furthermore, more than two thousand of our polling agents throughout the
country have been arrested and kept in custody on flimsy allegations. They
will certainly be unable to vote. We have trained replacement polling
agents, but unfortunately we cannot possibly make arrangement for their
deployment in rural areas as it is common cause that the rural areas have
virtually been sealed off by ZANU PF militia, some members of the Zimbabwe
National Army and people claiming to be war veterans. We will therefore be
unable to deploy polling agents at more than 50% of the polling stations in
rural areas. Certainly there can be no pretence of holding a free and fair
election under these conditions.

From the foregoing and indeed due to several other reasons not necessarily
covered in this letter, it is quite clear that no proper election can be
held under the present conditions. The present conditions constitute a good
example of conditions that vitiate the holding a free and fair election. My
party and I have been giving serious consideration to this whole issue for
some time, during which time it was hoped that a semblance of a conducive
environment may be created as has been the case with other elections where
we have participated under protest. The situation obtaining now is very
different from what has been experienced in this country since independence.
The violence, intimidation, death, destruction of property is just too much
for anyone to dream of a free and fair election let alone expect our people
to be able to freely and independently express to free themselves. For this
reason, my party and I have resolved that we cannot be part to this flawed
process. For the avoidance of any doubt the presidential election question
remains unresolved until such time a free and fair election is held.

We accordingly urge you to abide by your mandate clearly spelt out in our
constitution and in particular ensure that a proper environment conducive
for the holding of an efficient, free, fair, and transparent election is
held in the shortest period of time possible. It is only in that kind of an
election that my party and I will participate in.

By copy of this letter ZANU PF's candidate Mr. Robert Mugabe, the Chief
Election Officer and your Commissioners are advised accordingly.

Yours sincerely

Morgan Tsvangirai
PRESIDENT
MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE

Cc: Mr. R. G Mugabe (ZANU PF Headquarters)
Cc: ZEC Commissioners


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Legal Implication of MDC "withdrawal" from Run-off Election

BILL WATCH SPECIAL
[23rd June 2008]
Legal Implications of MDC "withdrawal" from Presidential Run-off Election
The President of the MDC announcement yesterday stated that "we in the MDC have resolved that we will no longer participate in this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process"
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's position following yesterday's announcement by Mr Tsvangirai, is that as it has received no formal notification of Mr Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the Presidential run-off election, the election must go ahead. †This looks like the official stance is that the election will go ahead.
The Chairman of ZEC this morning declined to say what the position would be if a formal notification is received.
Does the Electoral Act make provision for a formal notification of withdrawal?
The Electoral Act makes no provision for a formal withdrawal from a Presidential run-off election.
The only provision for withdrawal by a Presidential candidate is in section 107 of the Electoral Act. †But this refers only to the possibility of withdrawal from the first round by giving notice in writing to the Chief Elections Officer at least 21 days before polling day. †This provision cannot be applied to a run-off election.
Can the Act be amended or modified to accommodate a formal notification of withdrawal by Mr Tsvangirai?
Section 192 of the Act empowers ZEC - "notwithstanding any other provision of this Act" - to make a statutory instrument "to deal with any matter or situation connected with, arising out of or resulting from" an election. †ZEC has already made use of this section to extend the deadline for the holding of the run-off election.It may be, therefore, if formal notification of withdrawal is received, that ZEC will use this section to publish a statutory instrument allowing (1) the calling off of the poll and (2) the remaining candidate to be declared the winner.That action would be controversial but would stand unless set aside by a court.
There is no provision in the Electoral Act for a run-off election to take place between the remaining candidate Mr Mugabe, and the candidate with the next highest number of votes, Mr Makoni.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.


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'The West can scream all it wants, elections will go on,' says defiant Robert Mugabe

Mail online

By David Williams
Last updated at 6:19 PM on 24th June 2008


A defiant Robert Mugabe has taunted the watching world and promised Zimbabwe's presidential run-off would go ahead despite him now being the only candidate.

As African leaders added their critical voice to calls for Friday's election to be postponed following the decision of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw in the face of violence and intimidation, Mugabe declared : "Elections will go on."

The man who has ruthlessly ruled Zimbabwe since independence 28 years ago dismissed condemnation from around the world and went on: "The West can scream all it wants. Those who want to recognise our legitimacy can do so, those who don't want, should not."

Penalty? Robert Mugabe kicks a football around at a campaign rally in Banket, west of Harare, on Tuesday

Penalty? Robert Mugabe kicks a football around at a campaign rally in Banket, west of Harare, on Tuesday

Mugabe said he would not refuse to negotiate with Mr Tsvangirai but the vote, which now appears certain to re-elect him as President, could not be called off.

"For now there is only one thing for us to accomplish...it's the legal process on the 27th of June," said the 84-year-old Mugabe.

There were words of ridicule too for Mr Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change leader who is still sheltering in the Dutch Embassy amid fears for his life at the hands of Mugabe's henchmen.

Morgan Tsvangirai said he was fleeing troops when he took refuge in the Dutch embassy

Morgan Tsvangirai said he was fleeing troops when he took refuge in the Dutch embassy

He said today he would leave his refuge in the next 48 hours after reassurances about his safety - but Mugabe told a rally in western Zimbabwe: "Tsvangirai is frightened. He has run to seek refuge at the Dutch embassy. What for?

"These are voters, they will do you no harm. Political harm, yes, because they will vote against you. No one wants to kill Tsvangirai".

Zimbabwe's UN ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku also poured scorn on Mr Tsvangirai, describing him as a "cry baby" and claiming: "He has been free to move wherever he wanted to move."

Many people in Zimbabwe still do not know the MDC leader has pulled out the race as official media barely ever mention him in a campaign which has seen some 200 MDC supporters killed and 200,000 driven from their homes.

Despite Mugabe's defiance, key allies appeared to be beginning to turn against him yesterday a day after the UN Security Council, in an unprecedented move, unanimously agreed to condemn the violence in Zimbabwe and declared† a fair election would be "impossible."

Significantly, South Africa's governing ANC accused Mugabe's administration of "riding roughshod" over democracy and stressing it did not believe free and fair elections were possible.†

ANC leader Jacob Zuma, who rivals Thabo Mbeki as South Africa's most powerful man, called for urgent intervention by the U.N. and regional body SADC (Southern African Development Community).

"The situation in Zimbabwe has gone out of hand, out of control," he said. " We cannot agree with what (the ruling) ZANU-PF is doing.

"The ANC says the run-off is no longer a solution, you need a political arrangement first ... then elections down the line," he said.

A Tsvangirai supporter holds a card containing Zimbabwean currency - billions of dollars so worthless they cannot buy food

A Tsvangirai supporter holds a card containing Zimbabwean currency - billions of dollars so worthless they cannot buy food

His party went further in a statement saying there was compelling evidence of violence, intimidation and "outright terror." It said free and fair elections were impossible and called on Mugabe's government "to take up the challenge of finding a negotiated settlement to the current impasse."

President Mbeki, the designated regional mediator in the crisis, has resisted calls to use Pretoria's powerful economic leverage over landlocked Zimbabwe and has adopted a much criticised policy of "soft diplomacy."

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade too said yesterday the election must be postponed, adding that Mr Tsvangirai took refuge after being tipped off that soldiers were on the way to his house.

"He is only safe because, alerted by friends, he left in a hurry a few minutes earlier," Mr Wade added.

American ambassador to Harare James McGee said the Southern African Development Community must declare both the election and Mugabe's government illegitimate.

US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the international community will reject any attempt by Mugabe to declare himself president if he goes ahead with a planned run-off election.

"If the election takes place and Mugabe stands up there and declares himself president again on the basis of that, I think it's going to be uniformly rejected by the international community," he said.

†Mugabe has repeatedly accused Britain, its former colonial ruler, and other Western countries of lying about the violence because they want to interfere in the election.


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Robert Mugabe isolated as allies turn their backs

The Telegraph

By Louis Weston and Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 7:48PM BST 24/06/2008
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has sunk deeper into isolation as African
leaders turned against him and called for South African President Thabo
Mbeki, his most important protector, to do the same.

The leaders of Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana and Angola have all turned their
backs on President Mugabe
The Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade and Jacob Zuma, leader of South
Africa's ruling ANC, called for the presidential election on Friday to be
postponed following the withdrawal of Mr Mugabe's rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.

The calls came in the wake of a UN Security Council statement condemning the
violence in Zimbabwe, where scores of people have been killed and tens of
thousands displaced in political violence.

"The ANC says the run-off is no longer a solution, you need a political
arrangement first ... then elections down the line," said Mr Zuma, as his
party issued a stinging denunciation of "violence, intimidation and outright
terror".

South Africa has been mediating between Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change and Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF for a political settlement. Such
an agreement will prove harder if Mr Mugabe secures a new term in office.
Mr Mbeki, the appointed mediator of the regional Southern African
Development Community, now faces pressure to turn his back on Mugabe,
according to a senior western diplomat.

Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana and Angola - the latter one of Mr Mugabe's most
reliable allies - have all condemned the Zimbabwean leader with Mr Mbeki
left relying on South Africa's "client states" - Namibia, Lesotho and
Swaziland - for support.

"They have finally realised, rather too late but better late than never,
that this is a regional crisis of accelerating proportions and they are in
the firing line," the diplomat said. "For years they have denied it or
ignored it, led by South Africa.

"It's still possible that even Mbeki, one of the most stubborn of men, might
begin to wonder, 'is there a way out of this?'" But Mr Mbeki's spokesman
Mukoni Ratshitanga brushed off the criticism, saying: "We are continuing to
talk to the Zimbabweans to find a solution to their challenge."

Another of Zimbabwe's allies, China, said it was "concerned" about the
situation, but in keeping with its preference for stability over human
rights, the foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao called for a "smooth"
completion of the election.

"We hope that relevant parties will put their national and peoples'
interests first ... and continue to solve their disputes through dialogue
and other peaceful means so as to complete the presidential election
smoothly and restore national stability," he said.

Mr Tsvangirai yesterday submitted his formal withdrawal from the
presidential run-off - an 11-page document detailing the manifest unfairness
of the poll - but as authorities said they would press on with the poll
there was no let-up in the violence and Mr Mugabe remained defiant.

"The West can scream all it wants. Elections will go on. Those who want to
recognise our legitimacy can do so, those who don't want, should not," he
said.

State-controlled newspapers in Zimbabwe, which refer to Mr Tsvangirai as a
"house nigger", are now giving prominent coverage to his decision to pull
out, although not the reasons he has given, with a two-page advert in the
Herald telling him: "You lied to us."

One individual in Harare who receives reports of incidents from across the
country said he had been "overwhelmed" by a sudden increase in beatings,
abductions and detentions, even in areas which had hitherto been relatively
quiet.

Scores of people have been admitted to hospitals around Zimbabwe and there
are too many people being flogged and mutilated by Zanu-PF mobs for human
rights workers to monitor.

Ernst Jena, a lawyer working for the MDC in Bindura, about 30 miles north
west of Harare, previously a Zanu-PF stronghold but now opposition
territory, was abducted from outside his office.

"You better watch your back, we can do anything we like until June 27," a
Zanu-PF militiaman told a motorist at a roadblock near West Nicholson, about
400 miles south of Harare, which has so far been spared the violence.

Almost all the MDC MPs elected in parliamentary polls on March 29 have now
gone into hiding, including one who went undercover to work as a servant in
a house in Harare. "You never saw a maid with so many mobile phones," said a
visitor.

"Zanu PF is intensifying its orgy of violence throughout the country despite
the MDC's withdrawal from the June 27 presidential run-off," said the MDC
spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

A private school in the second city of Bulawayo was visited by a group of
Zanu-PF thugs who challenged teachers and students, telling them they had to
vote for Mr Mugabe on Friday or face the consequences.

"We know we are going to be taken from our homes and forced to vote for Mr
Mugabe on Friday," said a white commercial farmer.

"We are real targets, so most of us are going to try and be away from home,
but we worry about our workers - they will be dragged and forced to vote for
Mugabe, they won't be able to run away, they have nowhere to go."


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US ambassador, among sharpest critics of Zimbabwe, says he will keep focus on violence

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: June 24, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: America's ambassador to Zimbabwe has pioneered
the role of diplomat as investigative journalist, keeping the focus on
allegations Robert Mugabe's government has launched a brutal campaign
against dissent.

Over the weekend, the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, released
footage shot during one of the fact-finding tours James McGee has led in
rural Zimbabwe to chronicle political violence.

The video, distributed internationally by The Associated Press and others,
showed fearful men running from a small gang of militants, a rare, graphic
glimpse of the kind of terror Mugabe is accused of meting out.

McGee's investigations and outspokenness have earned him sharp rebukes in
the state-controlled Zimbabwean media, and resulted in confrontations with
Zimbabwean security forces.

Last month, while one of McGee's fact-finding convoys was stopped at a
roadblock on the edge of Harare, a police officer threatened to beat one of
McGee's senior aides. The officer got into his car and lurched toward McGee
after he had demanded the officer's name. The car made contact with McGee's
shins, but he was not injured. The convoy was eventually allowed to proceed.

"I'm not afraid of being kicked out," McGee, who has been in Zimbabwe less
than a year, told reporters in a conference call from Harare Tuesday. "We
will continue to do our job."
He said other diplomats in Harare supported him. Japanese, British and other
envoys have joined his convoys, and some have conducted their own
McGee-style tours.

"Our actions have shown diplomats that maybe they should be out and about
more than they have in the past," he said.

The United States has long been among Mugabe's sharpest critics. McGee's
predecessor, Christopher Dell, also clashed with Zimbabwean officials.

Zimbabwean media have been critical of McGee from the start. The week after
he began his assignment there, Caesar Zvayi, political editor of The Herald,
a government mouthpiece, said McGee had criticized Zimbabwe's democratic and
human rights record during the envoy's U.S. Senate confirmation hearings.
Zvayi said McGee, as an appointee of U.S. President George W. Bush, was
likely "to turn out to be the house Negro." McGee is black.

The graying, soft-spoken McGee has refused to respond to such personal
attacks, but not shied from denouncing government policy in Zimbabwe.

During Tuesday's conference call, McGee deployed some of the rhetoric that
has led Zimbabwean officials to denounce him as undiplomatic. He came close
to calling on Zimbabwe's neighbors to close their borders, noting the
southern African country is landlocked.

"There's a lot of pressure that can be brought on Zimbabwe," he said. "There
are so many things that could be brought to bear that could have a
tremendous and immediate impact on the government of Zimbabwe."

McGee, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, can sound like a military
strategist. In an AP interview last month, he also spoke like a soldier
about leadership, saying Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
should show he was a "strong leader" and return to his homeland.

Tsvangirai had fled Zimbabwe, saying he was the target of a government
assassination plot, soon after leading a field of four in the first round of
presidential voting in March. He returned May 24 to campaign for the second
round, only to have his attempts to reach voters repeatedly stymied by
police and to see attacks on his supporters escalate. Sunday, Tsvangirai
announced he was pulling out of the runoff, but Mugabe is planning to go
ahead with the vote on Friday with Tsvangirai's name on the ballot.

McGee said Tuesday the vote should be called off, but that the international
community had no way to force Mugabe to do so.

Born in Chicago in 1949, McGee grew up in Indiana. He served in the U.S. Air
Force from 1968 to 1974, earning three Distinguished Flying Crosses during
his Vietnam duty.

McGee has served in U.S. missions in Nigeria, the Netherlands, Pakistan,
India and elsewhere. He was sworn in as ambassador to Zimbabwe late last
year.


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Zanu PF intensifies orgy of violence

The Zimbabwean

Tuesday, 24 June 2008 14:46

Zanu PF is intensifying its orgy of violence through out the country
despite the MDC's withdrawal from the 27 June presidential run-off.

Concilia Chinanzvavana, the MDC provincial women's chairperson for
Mashonaland West, was seriously injured during the attacks from Zanu PF
militia who also destroyed her house shuttering windows, breaking down doors
and looting her property.
Chinanzvavana managed to escape and has since sought refuge in Harare.
In Chinhoyi, MDC councillors have fled from their homes after Zanu PF
militia terrorised them and beat them up.† Their houses were also destroyed
their houses and looting their property.
The MDC treasurer for Mashonaland West province, Biggy Haurovi has
since sought refuge at the Chinoyi police station after Zanu PF militia
invaded his home and tried to beat him up. He managed to escape and has been
hiding at the police station for the past two days.
Since the announcement by President Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of
the run off, Zanu PF has intensified its orgy of violence towards MDC
officials and members.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of MDC parliamentary candidate, Zvishavane
Ngezi, are unknown after he was arrested at a police roadblock in
Ntabazinduna, a few kilometres outside Bulawayo.
His wife said that last contact was made on Sunday 22 June at around
1600 hours when he called her and told her that he had been arrested at a
police roadblock for carrying an MDC poster in his vehicle.
The MDC and his wife have never since then not heard from him.
This afternoon an MDC driver, Joshua Bakacheza was abducted in Msasa,
Harare by four armed men driving a twin cab with no number plates.
His whereabouts are still unknown


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Opposition Lawyer Abducted In Zimbabwe - Rights Group

nasdaq

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--Suspected Zimbabwe ruling party members on Tuesday
abducted a lawyer representing opposition supporters and his whereabouts
were unknown, a rights organization said.

The abduction came a day after other alleged ZANU-PF supporters beat up a
magistrate who granted bail to Movement for Democratic Change opposition
supporters, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told AFP.

"Lawyer Ernest Jena was abducted from his office in Bindura by suspected
ZANU- PF members this morning and his whereabouts are still unknown," said
organization director Irene Petras.

"He was due to make a bail application for MDC members detained in Bindura.
Some men came to his office saying they were looking for his assistant
before they bundled Jena in a green Datsun Pulsar."

According to Petras, magistrate Felix Mawadza was beaten up by youths in
ZANU- PF shirts as he walked out of a supermarket in Bindura, northeast of
Harare, on Monday.

"His crime was that he granted bail to MDC supporters who were charged with
politically motivated violence," Petras said.

Police in the eastern border town of Mutare also raided the house of a human
rights lawyer, said Petras.

"It's a continuation of attacks on lawyers. There is a tendency of
associating lawyers with the cause of their clients."

Last month Andrew Makoni, a Zimbabwean lawyer who represented several MDC
supporters and key party members, fled to neighboring South Africa, claiming
he had evidence of a plan by pro-Mugabe militants to target lawyers.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from this week's
presidential run-off election on Sunday, saying violence had made a fair
election impossible.

† (END) Dow Jones Newswires
† 06-24-081240ET


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MDC MP Mudzuri’s home attacked,5 killed

http://zimbabwemetro.com

By Staff ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 24, 2008 ⋅
The rural home of the MDC national organising secretary,Elias Mudzuri was
early this morning attacked by a group of armed Zanu PF youths in military
uniform in Zaka, Masvingo.

His 80 year-old father was badly injured during the attack while two
relatives including Mudzuri’s young brother were shot in legs and they are
now admitted in hospital.

Mudzuri is also the MP for Warren Park and former Harare mayor.Property at
the homestead including farming implements was looted.

Over ten Zanu PF thugs descended in a pick-up truck with no number plates at
the Mudzuri homestead at 4.00 am and ordered everyone to wake up.

They were ordered to lie down before they were severely assaulted. The
looted property was loaded into the truck.

In Chiredzi 5 MDC supporters were shot by CIO operatives, two war vets
Tsvanani and Gwava were involved. One of the youth Jacob Ngirivana survived
and is in hospital in Chiredzi. His story goes like this, he and 4 friends
were on their way to work at Cotco just outside Chiredzi when the were
captured by war vets Tsvanani and Gwava both base commanders from close by
bases on Ruware Ranch and Nyangambe.

The youths were taken to and delivered to the 5 CIO who transported them to
a hill just outside Chiredzi, there they were forced to lie down and each
CiO operative stood over a youth and shot them twice in the head. When they
were discovered 4 of the youth were dead but Jacob was taken to Chiredzi
hospital wher he is fighting for his life.


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MDC senator for Chimanimani and husband abducted at gunpoint



By Tichaona Sibanda
24 June 2008

Mayemureyi Munhuri, the MDC senator elect for Chimanimani and her husband,
were abducted at gunpoint from their Gaza township home on Tuesday,
according to the MDC.

Pishai Muchauraya the MDC MP elect for Makoni South, said Senator Munhuri
was one of 33 other activists abducted in the province on Tuesday.

'This is a worrying trend because we've seen an escalation of abductions of
our members since we withdrew from the presidential race. Almost all of them
have been abducted at gunpoint,' Muchauraya said.

He said some of those abducted have been taken to police stations where they
are being held against their will, but are not being charged with any
offence.

Muchauraya said the regime has been trying to hoodwink people especially
those in the rural areas, into believing that Tsvangirai was still in the
election run-off, to try and legitimise the flawed process. Muchauraya said
despite a media blackout on Tsvangirai's withdrawal, they had managed to
spread the word that their leader had withdrawn from the race.

'As senile and mad as he is, Mugabe can go into this election telling people
it's a race between him and Tsvangirai. But only a fool can play a match
without an opponent,' Muchauraya said.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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NCA National Chairman` s rural homestead attacked



Issued on Tuesday 24/06/08

NCA officers and members continue to be the targets of state-sponsored
intimidation, harassment, violence and destruction.

Early Monday morning, the Chipinge homestead of National Constitutional
Assembly Chairman Dr. Lovemore Madhuku was attacked by ZANU PF militias.
They destroyed property and confiscated household goods. The militias are
currently occupying the premises. This incident was preceded by an attack on
residents of Chipinge that occurred on the previous Wednesday. During the
attack, militias burned down the home of Dr. Madhuku's father and 22 other
villagers. Dr. Madhuku`s brother was captured and taken to Chisumbanje
Police Station, where he remains in custody without charge.

The weekend prior to the attack on Dr. Madhuku's homestead, Deputy
Commissioner Godwin Matanga and Assistant Commissioner Musharashana Mabunda
of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and Army Colonel Matuvhunye addressed two
ZANU PF campaign rallies. According to those present, they threatened to
kill Dr. Madhuku stating, "We have dealt with Tendai Biti and Madhuku is
next."

These continuing acts of violence and intimidation directed at NCA members
and other innocent Zimbabweans point to the autocracy and repression that is
now gripping the country. This state of affairs is the result of a defective
Constitution that supports a dictatorship thriving on impunity. The people
of Zimbabwe are now living in perpetual fear of those who purport to have
liberated them from colonialism. Instead of safeguarding the people's
liberties, the senior members of the state security forces are shamelessly
taking part in ZANU PF-sanctioned acts of violence.

This is unacceptable. The people of Zimbabwe have been under the yoke of
oppression for too long. The time has come for the people to write their own
constitution.

To its members and other Zimbabweans who have been exposed to acts of
violence and intimidation the NCA says: Do not give up. Keep up the fight.
Freedom is on its way. We demand a new, democratic and people driven
constitution now.

NCA INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
348 Herbert Chitepo Avenue
Harare, Zimbabwe.


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Thousand victims kidnapped by Zanu PF militia

The Zimbabwean

Tuesday, 24 June 2008 12:09
Panic and despondency have gripped Zimbabwe's small and remote town of
Zvishavane after Zanu PF militia kidnapped a thousand political violence
victims from MDC's safety houses.
The wounded and homeless victims went missing on Monday night from the
opposition party's secret political nests in the populous Mandava Township,
prompting the provincial party leadership to send out late night panic
alerts.

MDC chairman of Midlands South province, Sicino Pavazhira said his
party supporters were shoved into government trucks at gun point a few hours
after talking to them over the phone.

Pavazhira had phoned them to arrange a meeting that night to explain
to them the reasons behind the party's sudden withdrawal from the
Presidential run off elections which was scheduled for 27 June.

"Their phones are off and no one is sure of where they were taken to,
the only information we have from people staying near their shelters is that
they were taken away in government trucks," said Pavazhira in a telephone
interview from Zvishavane.

The missing victims had run away from Zanu PF persecution in the
surrounding rural areas.

"We have no doubt that Zanu PF thugs kidnapped them and we are worried
about their safety as they can easily vanish without trace because the media
was not giving attention to political incidents in small towns or rural
areas," said Pavazhira.

Pavazhira who contested the senatorial post in Mberengwa, but lost it
to Zanu PF stalwart, Richard Hove, is operating from underground after being
forced to abandon his home at Mataga Growth Point in Mberengwa.

The Zvishavane mass kidnappings occurred hours after police in Harare
raided MDC's headquarters. MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the police
took away party computers and arrested 60 limping victims of Zanu PF
violence.Meanwhile reports emanating from Midlands' rural district of
Mberengwa say families with relatives working in South Africa were being
targeted by ravenous Zanu PF thugs, scavenging for basic commodities like
sugar, tinned foods, soap and salt.

Known Zanu PF functionaries stunned Mataruse families in Mberengwa
when they arrived in two trucks to loot scarce food parcels from them, a few
hours after receiving the groceries from their two sons working in South
Africa.

"My mother was beaten up badly by these people, before stealing their
food which was supposed to last the families up to December," said one of
the sons who requested anonymity.


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Zimbabwe Opposition Leaders On The Run

CBSnews

Tsvangirai Says He's Being Treated Like A "Common Criminal" As Mugabe Keeps
Campaigning

HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 24, 2008

(CBS/ AP) Leading members of Zimbabwe's opposition are on the run or under
attack, yet President Robert Mugabe was campaigning Tuesday, determined to
hold a presidential runoff in which he will be the only candidate.

Mugabe has been defiant in the face of international condemnation. His plan
to go ahead with the vote appeared to stem less from a desire to validate
his rule than to humiliate Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who has been holed up in the Dutch Embassy in Harare since
announcing Sunday that he would not compete in Friday's presidential runoff.

In a interview with CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric from the Dutch
embassy, Tsvangirai said he didn't believe Mugabe's claim that there was no
threat against his life. "I've been treated like a common criminal and not
as a leading contender in this campaign," said Tsvangirai. He added Mugabe
"may be saying one thing for public consumption but certainly may act in
another manner."

Mugabe, a vigorous 84, launched a rally Tuesday by kicking a soccer ball
before thousands of cheering supporters.

Tsvangirai's party said Tuesday that the chairwoman of one of its provincial
organizations was seriously injured by alleged Mugabe loyalists who also
looted her home in a northern region that independent human rights groups
say has seen some of the worst violence.

The party also said the rural home of its national organizing secretary was
attacked early Tuesday by Mugabe loyalists in military uniform. The party
said the official's 80-year-old father was beaten and two other relatives
were shot in the legs.

Tsvangirai said the onslaught of state-sponsored violence against his party
made the balloting impossible.

George Sibotshiwe, a spokesman for Tsvangirai, said the politician had
received a tip that soldiers were on the way to his home Sunday, after he
had announced he was pulling out of the runoff.

Sibotshiwe would not reveal the source of the tip, and said the soldiers'
intentions were unclear.

But "the moment you have soldiers coming your way, you just run for your
life," Sibotshiwe said. "The only way he can protect himself is to go to an
embassy."

Sibotshiwe was speaking from Angola after fleeing Zimbabwe earlier this
week. He saw armed men approaching a safe house where he had been staying in
Zimbabwe, and fears arrest.

"I had a bit of a disaster," he said, adding other opposition officials were
also in hiding, among them Tsvangirai's campaign manager. Officials were no
longer working out of the party's headquarters in Harare for fear of arrest,
Sibotshiwe said.

Tsvangirai's second in command, Tendai Biti, is jailed in Zimbabwe on
treason charges, which can carry the death penalty.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said Monday that police had taken 39
people from the opposition headquarters as part of an investigation into
political violence. Opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa had said most of the
people taken away were women and children seeking refuge after fleeing
state-sponsored political violence.

Tsvangirai told the Dutch national broadcaster NOS radio Tuesday that the
Dutch ambassador had spoken to the Zimbabwean government and received
assurances there was no threat. Tsvangirai said he might leave the embassy
Tuesday or Wednesday.

But the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, said Tsvangirai should be
wary of government assurances.

"Right now, I don't have a lot of faith in anything this government says,"
McGee told reporters in a conference call. The diplomat said violence
against the opposition was escalating as election day approached.

"There's really nothing that we can do in the international community to
stop these elections," McGee said.

McGee said the embassy expected Mugabe militants to force voters to go to
the polls Friday, and to attack anyone who does not vote.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who had made the first public comments
about why Tsvangirai fled to the Dutch Embassy, said in a statement late
Monday he had hoped to persuade Mugabe and Tsvangirai to share power.

"I can say that this objective has been almost completely snuffed out since
I have learned that soldiers went after Morgan Tsvangirai at his residence
on Sunday," Wade said.

"Today, (Tsvangirai) is a refugee at the Netherlands Embassy, and there's no
guarantee that soldiers won't attack that embassy to take him," Wade said.

Zimbabwean Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga refused to comment on
reports Tsvangirai had fled soldiers, saying "this is becoming a circus."

Foreign ministers of the Southern African Development Community, the main
regional political and economic bloc, called for talks among Zimbabwean
leaders.

Sibotshiwe, Tsvangirai's spokesman, said the opposition was prepared to
negotiate with the aim of forming a coalition transitional government. He
said Tsvangirai should be president of the proposed transitional authority,
and that Mugabe would have no role.

Alternatively, Sibotshiwe said, Tsvangirai was calling for the runoff to be
postponed until a free and fair environment had been created.

Tsvangirai's party Tuesday released a copy of the letter sent to the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission formally withdrawing from the race. In it,
Tsvangirai cites Mugabe's threats on the campaign trail to go to war to stop
Tsvangirai from ever gaining power.

McGee, the U.S. ambassador, said the Southern African Development Community,
and South Africa as a leading member of that bloc, should speak out with
words as "firm and as hard-hitting" as a U.N. Security Council statement
issued Monday. The council condemned "the campaign of violence against the
political opposition ahead of the second round of presidential elections,"
and said the violence and restrictions on opposition activists "have made it
impossible for a free and fair election to take place."

Zimbabwe's neighbors may have more influence than the U.N., McGee said.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and therefore vulnerable to actions such as
border closings.

"Regional bodies have tremendous influence," McGee said. "There are so many
things that could be brought to bear that could have a tremendous, immediate
impact on the government of Zimbabwe."


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Monstrous web of State patronage

The Zimbabwean

Tuesday, 24 June 2008 16:15
Sally Davis
Congratulations to Mondli Makhanya of The Sunday Times for sounding a
wake-up call in South African ears. It's about time we realised who the Zanu
(PF) "supporters" actually are. Perhaps then our news reports and debates on
Zimbabwe will reflect reality instead of using tired phrases like "political
violence" or "Mugabe's supporters" to describe the present reign of terror.
In this era of economic, political and civic melt down in Zimbabwe,
the following groups still voluntarily support Mugabe:
* Those loyal to him from liberation days. Some of these suffered
trauma during the bush war, and deeply fear any return of war or white rule
to Zimbabwe; others had their consciences seared long ago by the
Gukurahundi. Their target audience is not the MDC who are already
experiencing war, but former supporters who are losing confidence. It's
common knowledge that most "war veterans" are not old enough to have served
their country and know nothing of military discipline.
* Emotionally devastated youths, who instead of the quality education
obtained by an older generation, were forced into a militaristic Youth
Service program with no checks or balances to protect young people from
being subjected to, or incited to participate in unfettered violence and
rape. Nothing more powerfully displays the psychological and spiritual
ravages than the sight of young Zimbabweans beating a 76-year-old
grandmother to a pulp in order to force MDC supporters in her village to
confess, or mentally terrorising adults with nightlong Maoist 'pungwes'.
* Thousands of other beneficiaries of a monstrous web of State
patronage. For over a decade now, a Zanu (PF) card has guaranteed everything
from a seat on the bus to a job to a square meal. Many now fear that "regime
change" means sharing the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans, without their
famous resourcefulness or any true friends. A corrupt colony of looters has
gradually, horrifyingly, swallowed the birthright of all Zimbabwe to the
tune of billions in real money; with absolutely nothing re-invested in the
bright future Mugabe trumpets in his latest role as Wizard of Oz. The louder
the clucking of chickens coming home to roost, the more desperate the
dependent become and the less they bother to conceal the anti-democratic
agenda.
* Mugabe gained support from people who, after years of relentless
disinformation, are no longer effective political actors. This group is
turning against Zanu (PF) as unrestrained countrywide violence and inflation
heading for two million per cent, finally reveals the score.
It's too late to call it off now. Mugabe has dug himself into a hole;
and no political opponent can trust him to keep his word on anything.
Not only is this Zimbabwe's last chance, it could also be South
Africa's last chance to prove to the world that we still value democracy,
human rights, and freedom: not only for ourselves, but also for people who
are our friends and our African family.


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"One political party dominates our lives"


HARARE, 24 June 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, has formally withdrawn from the 27 June presidential run-off
election, citing the level of political violence unleashed by the former
ruling ZANU-PF party as making a free and fair poll impossible.

While regional and international leaders scrambled to find a solution to the
political impasse, which could involve a transitional government of national
unity, IRIN spoke to people on the streets of the capital, Harare, on
whether they would turn out to vote on Friday in an election with incumbent
Robert Mugabe effectively the sole candidate.

"I will vote in order to get the red indelible ink on my forefinger to avoid
harassment by the youths [ZANU-PF militia], who have been going about
threatening those who don't vote. When they come I will show them my finger
and hope they will leave me alone," said Sinikiwe Chogugudza, in the
working-class suburb of Budiriro. She added that her friends had "promised
to do the same to save their skins".

Temba Zikali, a truck driver, said he was not prepared to vote. "If they
force us like they [ZANU-PF youths] promised to, I will spoil the ballot
paper by deliberately extending the X outside the box and see what they will
do."

Housewife Rosaline Chikafu struck the sole note of support for Mugabe, who
scored 43 percent in the first round of voting in March, losing to
Tsvangirai, who got 48 percent.

"I will go and vote even when Tsvangirai has pulled out," she said. "We need
to show the British and the Americans that we are Zimbabweans who do not
accept their meddling. President Mugabe said the whites are gone for good,
so why should I not vote for empowerment?"

The conventional wisdom is that Mugabe is holding out to win the 27 June
election, despite international condemnation of the political conditions in
the run-up to the poll, to then negotiate from strength over a future
government of national unity that would include the MDC.

Unity government?

IRIN asked Zimbabweans for their views on the scenario of a transitional
power-sharing deal as a path out of the political crisis.

Third-year University of Zimbabwe mechanical engineering student Lewis
Madongo said: "There is no guarantee that a government of national unity
will work. Even if it is for two years, we are not assured that after that
period ZANU-PF will not use the same tactics it has used to deny opponents a
victory.

"Moreover, it sets a bad precedent for the future practice of democracy,
where winners of an election are threatened and told their victory is of no
consequence."

Witness Chinyama, chief economist of a leading bank, was more upbeat. "It is
the best possible solution available in terms of the economy ... A
government of national unity brings together protagonists and will help
de-politicise all national institutions that have been constrained by
political polarisation."

The main concern of pharmacist Gwen Chirasasa was the political violence. "I
really don't know whether a government of national unity will change things
for the better, but I think it is an alternative to the violence that we are
witnessing in the suburbs.

"If it is able to guarantee people a life without fear, a life that has a
future and a life where everybody enjoys the freedom to go about their daily
lives without being harassed, then it's better than what we are witnessing,
because one political party dominates our lives," she commented. "I am not
sure whether it will solve the economic problems we have."

[ENDS]
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


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Mugabe soldiers 'were after' Tsvangirai when he took refuge in the Dutch Embassy

Mail online

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:52 PM on 24th June 2008


Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was fleeing soldiers when he took refuge at the Dutch Embassy in Harare, an aide said this morning.

Offering some of the first details on the latest twist in this southern African's country's political crisis, George Sibotshiwe said the politician had received a tip that soldiers were on the way to his home on Sunday.

It came after he had announced he was pulling out of a presidential runoff against President Robert Mugabe scheduled for this Friday.

Tsvangirai had said widespread, state-sponsored violence against his supporters made the vote impossible.

Sibotshiwe would not reveal the source of the tip and claimed the soldiers' intentions were unclear.

But ‘the moment you have soldiers coming your way, you just run for your life,’ Sibotshiwe said. ‘The only way he can protect himself is to go to an embassy.’

He claimed that other opposition leaders were also in hiding, among them Tsvangirai's campaign manager.

Officials were no longer working out of the party's headquarters in Harare for fear of arrest.

Mugabe, a vigorous 84, launched a rally this afternoon by kicking a soccer ball before thousands of cheering supporters.

He has been defiant in the face of international condemnation. Mugabe plan to go ahead with the vote appeared to stem less from a desire to validate his rule than to humiliate Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai's second in command, Tendai Biti, is jailed in Zimbabwe on treason charges, which can carry the death penalty.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said yesterday that police had taken 39 people from the opposition headquarters as part of an investigation into political violence.

Opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa had said most of the people taken away were women and children seeking refuge after fleeing state-sponsored political violence.

Sibotshiwe said police had returned to MDC headquarters today looking for more displaced people.

‘Nelson and all these guys keep running for their lives. They basically can't operate,’ Sibotshiwe said.

The Dutch ambassador had spoken to the Zimbabwean government and received assurances there was no threat.

Mr Tsvangirai said he might leave the embassy today or tomorrow, but Sibotshiwe said that could change.

‘It's an unsure environment. You just never know what's going to happen tomorrow,’ Sibotshiwe added.

There is concern that Mugabe would crack down even more in reaction to strong criticism from the UN Security Council.

The 15-nation council said in a statement issued by its president yesterday that it ‘condemns the campaign of violence against the political opposition ahead of the second round of presidential elections,’ resulting in the killing of scores of opposition activists and other Zimbabweans.

Council members also said that the violence and restrictions on opposition activists imposed by the government ‘have made it impossible for a free and fair election to take place’ Friday.

Tsvangirai welcomed the Security Council resolution, telling Dutch radio: ‘I think it's a very important resolution.

'It recognizes the people who are accountable for the violence and it squarely places that responsibility on Mr Mugabe's leadership. How he's going to take it, we don't know. But I'm sure he can no longer remain defiant to that international position ....’

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, said he had hoped to persuade Mugabe and Tsvangirai to share power.

‘I can say that this objective has been almost completely snuffed out since I have learned that soldiers went after Morgan Tsvangirai at his residence on Sunday,’ Wade said.

Enlarge zimbabwe violence

Lockdown: A police vehicle leaves the headquarters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Harare yesterday

‘Today, Tsvangirai is a refugee at the Netherlands Embassy, and there's no guarantee that soldiers won't attack that embassy to take him,’ Wade added.

Zimbabwean Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga refused to comment on reports Tsvangirai had fled soldiers, saying ‘this is becoming a circus.’

At a news conference in Harare late yesterday, Zimbabwe's police commissioner Augustin Chihuri said neither Tsvangirai nor his party had reported any threats, and police were not seeking the politician.

‘Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai is under no threat at all from Zimbabweans and he should cast away these delusions,’ Chihuri said.

Foreign ministers of the Southern African Development Community, the main regional political and economic bloc, called for talks among Zimbabwean leaders.

morgang

Canopaign: A man sticks an election campaign poster of President Robert Mugabe onto a commuter bus at a local gas station in Bulawayo

The foreign ministers, meeting late Monday in Angola, called on all sides in Zimbabwe ‘to continue to work to find a negotiated solution,’ SADC official Tomaz Salomon said after the meeting, which focused on Zimbabwe.

Sibotshiwe said the opposition was prepared to negotiate with the aim of forming a coalition transitional government.

He added that† Tsvangirai should be president of the proposed transitional authority, and that Mugabe would have no role.

Alternatively, Sibotshiwe said, Tsvangirai was calling for the runoff to be postponed until a free and fair environment had been created.

The Zimbabwean government, though, has said it would go ahead with the run-off Friday, with Tsvangirai's name on the ballot.

On the campaign trail Monday, Mugabe repeated his charges that Tsvangirai is being used by Western powers intent on re-colonizing Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai has rejected such accusations. Mugabe planned more campaigning Tuesday.


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Biti bail hearing postponed because AG 'forgot papers'



By Lance Guma
24 June 2008

The MDC said on Tuesday that the bail hearing of Secretary General Tendai
Biti was postponed, because the Attorney General's office claimed they had
forgotten their paper work back at the office. Biti has been in custody
since June 12 when police arrested him at Harare Airport upon his return
from South Africa. They have accused him of treason, on the basis of a
discredited document outlining plans for a change of government. They also
accuse him of announcing election results ahead of the compromised Zimbabwe
Election Commission.

Meanwhile the MDC says it still does not know where the 60 victims of
political violence, arrested Monday at their offices, have been taken. The
state media and a government spokesman made the absurd claim that they been
taken into care by social workers, for rehabilitation. The MDC poured scorn
over the claims describing them as 'nonsense'. Video footage of the arrests
clearly showed police taking away mainly women, children and babies who had
fled the state sponsored violence, and were seeking sanctuary at the MDC
offices.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Cosatu Calls for Isolation of Mugabe



SW Radio Africa (London)

24 June 2008
Posted to the web 24 June 2008

Violet Gonda

The powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has called on
international labour organisations to work towards a total isolation of the
Zimbabwean government.

The trade union said it would start mobilising for a blockade to protest the
violence Robert Mugabe has unleashed against his own people. They also plan
to organize protest rallies in South Africa in solidarity with the people of
Zimbabwe.

"We call on all our unions and those everywhere else in the world, to make
sure that they never ever serve Mugabe anywhere, including at airports,
restaurants, shops, etc," COSATU said on Tuesday.

In a strongly worded statement the trade union demanded that the African
Union and leaders of SADC should not recognise the "illegal and
illegitimate" Zimbabwe government. COSATU also said it sympathises with MDC
President Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to withdraw from the run-off, as the
poll was a declaration of war against the people of Zimbabwe by the ruling
party.

Meanwhile COSATU's Tripartite Alliance partners, the African National
Congress and the South African Communist Party (SACP) have also issued
strongly worded statements on the disturbing events in Zimbabwe.

The ANC said it could not remain "indifferent to the flagrant violation of
every principle of democratic governance " and referred to "compelling
evidence of violence, intimidation and outright terror". The South African
ruling party said it was "deeply dismayed by the actions of the Zimbabwean
government which is riding roughshod over hard-won democratic rights".

In a separate statement the SACP called for a cessation of violence and
called upon SADC to make an urgent intervention, to create conditions for a
free and fair election.

Pressure is mounting on the Zimbabwean government as others, such as Peter
Hain, former British minister for Africa, called for tougher sanctions. He
said South Africa should cut power supplies to Zimbabwe and African
peacekeepers, backed by the European Union and the United Nations, should be
ready to go in and restore order.


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South Africans call on Mbeki to get tough on Zimbabwe

USA Today

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - South African political groups and
international leaders urged President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday to distance
himself from Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and to impose sanctions on the
neighboring nation.
Mbeki, assigned by the main regional bloc to mediate between Mugabe and
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, has been resolute in his "quiet
diplomacy" for more than a year. Now that Tsvangirai has withdrawn from
Friday's presidential runoff election amid continued attacks on his Movement
for Democratic Change, calls from within South Africa and the international
community are mounting for Mbeki to get tough.

Mbeki spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga refused to comment on Tuesday about
increasing pressure for action, but said: "We are continuing to talk to the
Zimbabweans to find a solution to their challenge."

In an unusual move, South Africa joined with other members of the United
Nations Security Council on Monday in condemning the violence which made it
impossible for a free and fair election to take place.

In the past South Africa has tried to block U.S. and British attempts to put
Zimbabwe on the U.N. Security Council agenda, saying the crisis is not a
threat to international security.

However, South Africa joined the 15-national council in "expressing regret
at the continuing violence and intimidation that has led to the lost of life
and destruction of property," foreign affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said
in a statement Tuesday.
He reiterated the hope expressed by President Mbeki that "a peaceful way
forward through dialogue between the parties" was still possible and urged
Zimbabwe's leaders to find a lasting solution.

Helen Zille, leader of the South African opposition party the Democratic
Alliance demanded that Mbeki publicly denounce the Mugabe regime as illegal
and illegitimate, and lobby for the suspension of Zimbabwe from the United
Nations, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.

"The time for quiet diplomacy and negotiations has long gone," Zille said in
a statement Tuesday.

James McGee, the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, told reporters in a conference
call Tuesday that the Southern African Development Community, and South
Africa as a leading member of that bloc, should speak out with words as
"firm and as hard-hitting" as a U.N. Security Council statement issued
Monday. The council condemned "the campaign of violence against the
political opposition ahead of the second round of presidential elections,"
and said the violence and restrictions on opposition activists "have made it
impossible for a free and fair election to take place."

Zimbabwe's neighbors may have more influence than the U.N., McGee said.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and therefore vulnerable to actions such as
border closings.

"Regional bodies have tremendous influence," McGee said. "There are so many
things that could be brought to bear, that could have a tremendous,
immediate impact on the government of Zimbabwe."

Mbeki's own African National Congress issued a statement Tuesday that was
far more critical of Mugabe's government than Mbeki has been.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, traditionally an ANC ally,
released a statement saying a presidential run-off with only one candidate
is not a legitimate election. The powerful trade union group called this
Friday's vote "not an election, but a declaration of war against the people
of Zimbabwe by the ruling party."

On Monday, Norman Arendse, the president of Cricket South Africa, suspended
cooperation with Zimbabwe, including allowing Zimbabwean teams to
participate at the local level in South Africa, because "the general
situation in Zimbabwe has now made this untenable." That was particularly
telling from a country that suffered international sporting isolation during
the apartheid years.

In London, the International Cricket Council president-elect David Morgan
said Tuesday that the council will decide next week whether Zimbabwe will be
allowed to continue competing.

In an opinion piece for the New York Times on Tuesday, Zimbabwe journalist
and memoirist Peter Godwin wrote that South Africa's relationship with
Zimbabwe could undermine international support as it prepares to host the
World Cup in 2010, just as China's relationship with Tibet has tainted the
global view of this summer's Olympics.

Godwin called Mbeki a "vacillating, dithering, morally compromised figure."


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Zim exiles seek relief

IOL

††††June 24 2008 at 06:22PM

An urgent application by the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) to stop the
deportation of 33 MDC supporters will continue in the Pretoria High Court on
Wednesday.

The ZEF on Tuesday applied before Acting Judge T Sapire for the urgent
release of 14 members of the group they claimed were being illegally
detained at the Lindela holding facility in Krugersdorp.

The forum also asked the court to force home affairs officials to
issue all of them with permits in terms of the Refugees Act.

It wanted the group to be identified as asylum seekers, preventing
their deportation until the final determination of their asylum applications
and any appeals.

The ZEF plans to launch an application to declare various aspects of
home affairs' policy with regards to asylum seekers unlawful,
unconstitutional and invalid.

Lawyers for Human Rights are assisting the applicants, who were
arrested during a protest action outside the Chinese embassy in April.

The 33 applicants, all members of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, were among a group of Zimbabweans protesting
against the deployment of a Chinese ship carrying arms to Zimbabwe.

They were taken to Lindela after their arrest, where they were
allegedly forced to sign deportation notices.

ZEF director Gabriel Shumba said in court papers that home affairs
policy of re-arresting asylum seekers whose applications had been turned
down -but who had a 30-day period to remain in the country - was unlawful.

He also contended that the policy not to issue temporary permits to
asylum seekers on the day of their applications was unlawful, as it resulted
in asylum seekers not having any documents and therefore remaining illegal
immigrants, liable for arrest and deportation at any moment.

The department is opposing the application, claiming the effective
enforcement of the Immigration Act would be defeated if asylum seekers were
left to "roam around freely".

The department also contends that, once released, it would be
virtually impossible to catch the illegal immigrants again so that they
could be deported. - Sapa


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Detention of Zimbabweans in UK 'no longer justified'


Alan Travis, home affairs editor
guardian.co.uk,
Tuesday June 24, 2008

A group of six Zimbabweans who have been detained for up to 23 months in a
British prison pending their deportation have appealed to Gordon Brown to
release them until it is safe for them to be sent home.

The group, who are being held at Haslar prison, Gosport, say that they are
facing what appears to be "indefinite detention" since the escalation of
violence in Zimbabwe led to the Home Office decision to halt all
deportations to Zimbabwe.

"It is reasonable to suggest that our detention is no longer justified as it
is clear that there are no imminent removals," said their joint appeal from
inside the Hampshire prison which is used as an immigration detention
centre.

"It is extremely distressful for us; to find ourselves in a situation where
we face what appears to be indefinite detention. Other detainees are clearer
as to what will happen to them next. We have had to witness a lot of people
come and go. However, in our case this is not the case."

The group, who wish to remain anonymous, have been detained for between four
and 23 months at a cost of £1,400 a week each. They say that they
acknowledge the Home Office's power to detain them but say it is "somewhat
being misused" in the light of what is happening now in Zimbabwe. They add
that they would abide by the most rigorous controls, such as electronic
tagging, if they were given temporary release.

The prime minister has called the situation in Zimbabwe "the worst
humanitarian disaster of modern times" and all six say they are wary of the
genuine prospect of being tortured if they are returned.

One of the six detainees at the Haslar detention centre has been held for
nearly two years pending his deportation to Zimbabwe. He previously served a
nine-month prison sentence for using false documents to get into Britain.
Another man was arrested for illegally working as a assistant in a
residential care home.

The six are among a larger group of 45 Zimbabweans, 30 of whom have lodged
asylum claims, who are currently detained pending their deportation.

In March, before the first round of the Zimbabwe elections, the Home Office
sparked alarm among 500 Zimbabweans living in north-west Britain by writing
to them urging them to go home voluntarily and warning that enforced
deportations would start again soon.

However, the deteriorating situation since the disputed outcome of the
election in March meant the threat to resume deportations has not been
implemented. The initial decision to suspend deportations to Zimbabwe
followed a series of legal rulings by high court judges.

The Home Office confirmed last night that they would review their policy of
suspending deportations to Zimbabwe when a test case is decided by the court
of appeal in the next few weeks.

A spokesman said detention was only used when it was believed the detainee
would abscond, there was a need to clarify issues such as their identity or
prior to deportation. British and European legal case law has ruled that
there is a presumption in favour of temporary release unless there were
complicating factors.

Britain imposed a visa regime to stem the flow of refugees from Zimbabwe and
some were arrested and imprisoned after arriving on false South African and
Malawi passports.

Sarah Hartland of the Zimbabwe Association said some of those who had been
arrested and detained had had their asylum claims rejected as long ago as
2003 and would now qualify for refugee status under the Home Office's more
recent criteria.

Some had been arrested for working illegally to support their families: "If
there was any sense in the government they would come up with some temporary
form of protection with the right to work to support themselves while their
asylum claims are ongoing for the foreseeable future."


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Soccer 1, Mugabe 0

International Herald Tribune

By Peter Godwin Published: June 24, 2008

In these last few weeks, the full nature of Robert Mugabe's repressive
regime in Zimbabwe has been cruelly exposed. With his increasingly brazen
resort to torture and hit squads to terrorize his own people, Mugabe has
crossed a moral line. Some UN lawyers now say there is enough evidence to
charge him with crimes against humanity.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change and
Mugabe's opponent in Friday's runoff presidential election, had little
choice but to pull out of the race (he has taken refuge in the Dutch embassy
in Harare.) Proceeding with elections would have ensured the murder of even
more of his supporters. Any middle ground in this conflict has disappeared.

Standing amid the ruins of Zimbabwe looms the vacillating, dithering,
morally compromised figure of Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa -
hitherto the point man in the region - who was supposed to help ensure a
free and fair outcome in the Zimbabwean election.

Even at this late stage, with death squads on the move, Mbeki is still
trying to persuade the Movement for Democratic Change to participate as a
junior partner in some sort of Kenya-style unity government.

Tsvangirai and his followers - who have remained nonviolent, participated in
three rigged elections and tried to inhabit "democratic space" as it
diminished to a sliver - are understandably loath to join in an
administration with the very people who have been attacking them. What's
more, joining would only reward Mugabe for his violent repression. The
solution for Zimbabwe is simple: a free and fair election.

The international community has no choice but to delegitimize Mugabe's
regime. For a start, the "results" of Friday's election should not be
recognized. In effect, the world should no longer acknowledge Mugabe as
Zimbabwe's president. And should the opposition set up a government in
exile, the West should move to deal with that government instead, based on
the results of the March election, in which Tsvangirai drew more votes than
Mugabe.

Of course, South Africa could use its economic power to draw Mugabe's rule
to an end in weeks rather than months. Yet Mbeki has steadfastly refused to
act, providing a protective cloak for Mugabe's repression. And just a few
weeks ago, even as opposition members were being tortured, Mbeki visited
Zimbabwe, allowing himself to be garlanded at the airport and displayed on
state-run TV with a broadly grinning Mugabe. In the UN Security Council,
where South Africa currently has a seat, Mbeki has opposed attempts to put
the political situation in Zimbabwe on the agenda.

If Mbeki's cost-benefit calculus has been such that he hasn't seen it
necessary to take tougher action, perhaps it's time to change that calculus.
Perhaps, for example, now is not the time for you to book a safari to South
Africa. Or for you, or any institution that manages your funds, to make new
investments in the country.

Most important, there is the FIFA soccer World Cup, for which South Africa
is to act as host in 2010. That may seem like a long way off, but South
Africa is already investing huge amounts both financially and politically,
for what is supposed to be its triumphal coming-out party. Maybe Zimbabwe
should become to the South Africa-hosted World Cup what Tibet has been to
the Beijing Olympics - the pungent albatross that spoils every press
conference and mars every presentation with its insistent odor.

Perhaps it's time to share the Zimbabweans' pain, to help persuade Mbeki to
bear down on its source by threatening to grab the world's soccer ball and
take our games elsewhere.

Peter Godwin is the author of "When a Crocodile Eats the Sun."


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ICC poised to axe Zimbabwe

Stuff, NZ

By MARK GEENTY | Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Zimbabwe's status as an international cricketing nation is ever more on thin
ice after the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed it as a major
discussion point at next week's executive meeting in Dubai.

It means New Zealand's scheduled tour of the troubled nation in July next
year is increasingly unlikely to go ahead.

ICC president-elect David Morgan confirmed Zimbabwe had been added to the
agenda after Cricket South Africa (CSA) suspended ties with its African
neighbour yesterday.

CSA acted in light of the growing political turmoil in Robert Mugabe-ruled
Zimbabwe, where the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party has pulled out of the presidential election.

Under ICC regulations, if seven of the 10 full member countries, including
New Zealand, vote in favour, Zimbabwe will be suspended from all
international cricket.

"Cricket South Africa's decision yesterday is hugely significant. Clearly
they will want something done," Morgan said today.

"They're very influential in terms of southern African cricket and Zimbabwe
is part of that."

The ICC had previously steered clear of basing decisions on a member
country's political situation.

Zimbabwe was today confirmed as one of 12 competing nations at next year's
ICC World Twenty20 Championship in England, although the team's
participation is unlikely. The tournament launch at The Oval was dominated
by talk of their status.

New Zealand are set to tour there in a year's time under the ICC's future
tours programme.

It would only involve one-day internationals, with Zimbabwe already having
suspended itself from test cricket because of concerns about its playing
standard.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Justin Vaughan is due in England
this week to meet with the players before travelling to Dubai.

Captain Daniel Vettori has toured Zimbabwe three times - the last in 2005 to
fulfil ICC obligations despite heavy political pressure at home - and said
he was watching developments closely.

"It's obviously a sad situation and a lot of us have toured there in the
past and enjoyed our cricket there, enjoyed playing against Zimbabwe and the
country," he said.

"You sit back and hope that things turn around, I know the ICC meeting will
answer a lot of people's questions, and a lot of our questions."

Vettori admitted the 2005 tour was a difficult one.

"It was obviously not great back then as well in terms of the state of the
country and what people were going through at the time, and it's just got
worse and worse.

"I'd imagine some swift action will be taken by ICC and everyone will make
their decisions based on that."

Morgan, a former chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB),
wouldn't reveal how he would vote at the meeting but made his feelings
clear.

"I have great sympathy with the people of Zimbabwe and cricketers in
Zimbabwe. I find it appalling there are not free, open and fair elections in
the country."

That the ICC's annual meeting is taking place in Dubai rather than at Lord's
is down to the refusal of the British government to grant a visa to Zimbabwe
Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka.

British officials have long been concerned about his alleged close ties with
President Mugabe.

Last year Australia banned tours by its players to Zimbabwe, which the
Zimbabwean government called a "racist ploy" to kill local cricket, now
dominated by black players.

In 2003, England refused to play a World Cup match in Zimbabwe on security
grounds after receiving a terror threat.

-NZPA

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