Jan Raath in Harare
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY
"The June 27 Presidential election is not an election, but a declaration of war against the people of Zimbabwe by the ruling party." (SA Congress of Trade Unions statement 24/6/2008)
This is an important call to all Zimbabweans from civil society - you must boycott the forthcoming election.
Do Not Vote in the June 27 Presidential run-off election
Robert Mugabe wants as many votes as he can get so that he can claim he is the "people's president". While it is clear that he will receive some votes and he has already secured the postal votes of the armed forces who were forced to vote for him, Mugabe will want to get substantially more votes than those cast for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on March 29.
We must not let this happen. The best action that we can all take to demonstrate that we refuse to accept Mugabe as our president for yet another five terrible years is to refuse to vote on Friday.
If you are forced by government agents to vote, then make sure you spoil your paper. Do not vote the dictator back into power.
However, please understand that we are not asking you to do anything that you think might endanger your safety or your life. In dangerous circumstances you must do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe.
The only people who should vote on Friday are those who have by-elections in their wards and will therefore be asked to vote twice. They should vote for the candidate of their choice for the House of Assembly seat but should hand in a spoilt ballot for the Presidential poll.
The three wards where by-elections are being held are:
The claim that the election cannot be cancelled
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) states that the Presidential run-off election on June 27 cannot be called off despite the withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai in the face of escalating violence, intimidation and the disruption of his campaign .
The ZEC cites Section 107 of Zimbabwe's Electoral Act which states that a nominated candidate may withdraw his candidature any time "before twenty-one days from the day …. on which the poll in an election to the office of President is to be taken".
In other words, according to this interpretation of the electoral law, if Morgan Tsvangirai withdraws his name less than three weeks before the run-off - even if the conditions have made it impossible to continue with his campaign - the election still has to go ahead.
This claim is countered by Tsvangirai and his legal team.
In a letter sent to the chairman of the ZEC, Justice Chiweshe, on June 23, Tsvangirai notes that Section 107 of the Electoral Act deals with the withdrawal of candidature from a Presidential election. He points out that the 21-day requirement refers to a Presidential election and not to a run-off. He says 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.
He continues: "Section 107(3) makes it much 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'.
Tsvangirai notes that no money was ever deposited for the Presidential run-off election in terms of Section 105 by any candidate. "Furthermore, there have 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."
A low poll for Mugabe will undermine his claims of legitimacy
Should the ZEC insist on disputing the interpretation of Tsvangirai's legal team, there is a further issue that needs to be addressed. A Zimbabwean legal expert notes that the provision contained in Section 107 must be read together with the requirement that a Presidential candidate needs to obtain at least 50 percent of the vote. The intention behind the provision, he writes, is that it is necessary for a President to have substantial support from the people of Zimbabwe. The legislation therefore discourages Presidential candidates being elected by default or with only minority support from the electorate.
He notes that, if Mugabe gets fewer votes on June 27 than Tsvangirai received on March 29, then Mugabe will still in theory be elected President, but his claims to legitimacy will be greatly undermined.
And if very few people turn out to vote and Mugabe gets elected by a tiny minority, it will demonstrate that he has no legitimacy as the country's President.
This is good news for all of the displaced people in Zimbabwe who have been concerned that they are not able to vote. And it is good news for the millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who wanted to come home to support their families and communities by voting for change.
Boycott by urban voters crucial
One of the biggest challenges we face is that Zanu PF will no doubt try to exaggerate the numbers of people who have turned out to vote in remote rural polling stations where there are no election observers.
To counter this problem, people in the urban areas must do all within their power to make sure that the polling stations are absolutely deserted. They must turn Friday's election into a referendum against Mugabe's misrule. If anyone is forced to go and vote, please make sure you spoil your ballot paper.
Why Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off
The MDC won the March 29 elections, in spite of all the challenges they faced: the March 11 beatings, the continuous attacks on organisations like the National Constitutional Assembly, election rigging, the banning of rallies early on, vote buying, the withholding of food aid and all of the other Zanu PF strategies. It was a victory for peace, democratic change and the rebuilding of our country. The Mugabe regime was furious and since then has declared war on the people of Zimbabwe.
A free and fair election was not possible then and is totally impossible now. There are numerous reasons, but these are the main ones:
Why Mugabe and Zanu PF want to continue with the election and retain power
First of all, the Mugabe regime wants the world to believe that everything in Zimbabwe is normal and that the elections are legitimate. Secondly, if they lose power, they will lose the vast sums of money that they have stolen from the country over the years - money that has made them immensely rich and the citizens of Zimbabwe desperately poor. Their greed has wrecked the entire economy of our once stable and prosperous country. Thirdly, when the change comes, they are afraid they will be tried for their crimes, notably for crimes against humanity.
Why we can now count on the support of the world
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have all supported Tsvangirai's call to withdraw from the election.
It is clear that the world has the deepest respect for the courage of Zimbabweans in the face of disgraceful violence and repression. Pressure is mounting from the African continent and from the international community. The United Nations Security Council is fully briefed on the crisis and is in possession of documents that are damning to the Mugabe regime. There is now no place for them to hide.
We call upon the people of Zimbabwe to make yet another brave stand and to ensure that the world hears their silent but powerful protest:
DO NOT GO TO VOTE ON FRIDAY JUNE 27
[for full text on Morgan Tsavangirai's letter, The UN Security Council statement, and the ANC statement on Zimbabwe, please email firstname.lastname@example.org where you will receive an automated email with these texts.]
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· Detained Biti asked to expose worried ministers
· Agents seek opposition views on power-sharing
Chris McGreal in Harare
Wednesday June 25, 2008
The arrest and interrogation of the second most senior opposition official
in Zimbabwe has exposed divisions and paranoia within Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF that indicate important elements of the ruling party believe the
government may soon collapse.
Lawyers for Tendai Biti, the secretary general of the Movement for
Democratic Change who was arrested on treason charges 10 days ago, say he
has been subjected to extensive interrogation by intelligence officers
acting for top Zanu-PF officials. They wanted to know if key cabinet
ministers were striking individual deals with the opposition to avoid
prosecution for corruption and political violence, leaving other Zanu-PF
One of the lawyers, Lewis Uriri, said he was told by Biti that he had been
interrogated for 19 hours by three teams of eight people. "These were not
negotiators - the justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, and the labour
minister, Nicholas Goche - told Biti in talks immediately after Mugabe lost
the first round of presidential elections three months ago when Zanu-PF put
out tentative feelers for a power-sharing government before hardliners opted
to pursue a more violent strategy to crush the opposition.
"Biti's sense was that there is so much distrust and suspicion in Zanu-PF
that these people wanted to verify what Goche and Chinamasa [said]. There
was a sense from the questions that the interrogators thought Goche and
Chinamasa were trying to negotiate their own future and not protect
everybody else at the top of the party," said Uriri.
"They wanted to know specifically about whether there had been any
individual agreements for amnesty from prosecution ... Biti said that he
thought from the interrogation that there are people, important powerful
people, in Zanu-PF who were not briefed on what was happening and were
afraid of being left unprotected."
Biti's account would suggest that while Zanu-PF projects a powerful
monolithic front to the outside world, there is a realisation in some
quarters that the administration is doomed whatever the outcome of Friday's
widely discredited election and that a deal with the opposition would have
to be made.
Zimbabwe's economy is collapsing ever more rapidly, with prices of ordinary
goods now running into billions of local dollars amid 1,600,000% inflation,
and the ruling party has no answers. The government is also increasingly
isolated even within the region which has largely supported Mugabe up until
In a line of questioning that appears to reflect a deep paranoia and
distrust within the highest levels of Zanu-PF, the interrogators also asked
Biti why Chinamasa and Goche agreed at talks mediated by South Africa last
year to change election procedures, including posting the results at each
polling station, that helped prevent the ruling party from stealing the
The interrogators asked Biti if the change was part of a deal in return for
a commitment not to prosecute the ministers.
Uriri said Biti was also questioned about the MDC's position on
power-sharing and his own preference among the various models available,
including whether there would still be a role for Mugabe in government,
again suggesting that elements of Zanu-PF are leaning towards a negotiated
way out of the political crisis, provided that their interests are
The lawyer said that almost none of the questions were about the charges
against Biti - which include treason, based on a forged document published
in the state press, causing disaffection in the armed forces, and insulting
Uriri said that the line of interrogation shows that Biti's detention is
political with the intent of removing an effective leader from the election
campaign and discovering the MDC's long-term political intent.
"The whole idea, according to him, was to disrupt the MDC campaign, to keep
him out of circulation, particularly in light of the opposition victory in
the first round," he said.
Biti was arrested as he stepped off an plane from South Africa 11 days ago.
He has so far been refused bail.
By Daniel Howden in Johannesburg
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
The true death toll in the campaign of terror being led by Robert Mugabe's
government in Zimbabwe is close to 500, according to doctors' groups and
opposition sources. The estimated number of killings had been thought to be
86 but new evidence collected from rural areas witnessing the worst of the
intimidation has prompted a five-fold increase in the tally.
"The violence is increasing, even after we pulled out of the run-off," said
one opposition researcher, who preferred not to be named.
Doctors' groups have documented more than 100 deaths but are so overburdened
with new cases that they have been unable to update their records fully. The
collapse of the health system over the past decade and the exodus of doctors
and nurses has left them unable to cope with the current "warlike"
Friends of Zimbabwe, a civil-society organisation, said that six people per
day were being killed in a campaign that they believe has already claimed
The government blames political violence on the opposition party, the
Movement For Democratic Change, but independent observers, African poll
monitors and diplomats say the killings and torture are orchestrated by the
ruling Zanu-PF, aided by the security services. In rural areas and
increasingly in towns and cities, Zanu militia have murdered, tortured and
intimidated thousands of suspected MDC supporters.
Sources said some initial beatings had been made worse by refusing victims
medical treatment. In other cases the injured had their wounds poisoned with
weed killer, and were left to an agonising death.
The opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who pulled out of the run-off on
Sunday, should be recognised as president-elect, according to three leading
South African legal experts. David Unterhalter and Wim Trengove, who
specialise in constitutional court issues, and Max du Plessis, an associate
professor of law, said the delay to the run-off, which should have occurred
within 21 days of the 29 March first round, made Friday's vote null and
void. This could open the way for foreign governments to recognise Mr
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said he is open to
negotiations after this week's runoff presidential election, state media
"We are open, open to discussion, but we have our own principles," The
Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying at two rallies Tuesday.
"If they (the opposition) have problems they can always bring them forward."
State media said Mugabe indicated talks would occur only after Friday's
presidential runoff vote.
-Dow Jones Newswires, 201-938-5500
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 25, 2008
Robert Mugabe told his supporters at a rally in Banket, Harare: 'We will
proceed with our election . . . the elections are ours and we are a
Catherine Philp in Epworth
The chant from the mob rose in the air as they marched behind their flag
through the dusty streets of Epworth in search of defiant voters in need of
Down the road at the entrance to an open field, pro-Mugabe militants dressed
in party regalia proclaiming their allegiance to Zanu (PF) waited to receive
their newest victims for an all-day orgy of chanting, beatings, and
In this dirt-poor township south of Harare, scene of some of the worst
atrocities of the past six weeks, the shock troops of the party were still
waging their campaign of intimidation yesterday, oblivious to the withdrawal
of their opposition challenger and the effective end of the presidential
Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to pull out has convulsed the world, moving
even the recalcitrant United Nations Security Council to issue its first
condemnation of the violence. Yesterday the ruling ANC in South Africa
voiced its harshest criticism to date, saying that it was dismayed by the
actions of the Mugabe regime, which was "riding roughshod over the hard-won
democratic rights of the people".
Jacob Zuma, leader of the party, added to mounting pressure on Robert Mugabe
by saying that Zimbabwe was out of control. "You now need a political
arrangement there and then further down the line an election," he said. "We
cannot agree with Zanu (PF). We cannot agree with them on values."
Mr Mugabe remained defiant. "We will proceed with our election," he told a
rally in Banket, north of Harare. "Other people can say what they want but
the elections are ours and we are a sovereign state."
Nowhere was the collapse of the election less evident than in the terrified
township of Epworth. "They are just rumours," said one man watching the mob
of 200 youth militiamen begin their bellowing, US Marine-style jog around
the streets. "The election is still on."
The Movement for Democratic Change lodged its formal withdrawal from the
election yesterday, two days after Mr Tsvangirai, its leader, announced that
he was quitting. For the thugs of Zanu (PF) the battle goes on. Charles, an
Epworth resident who works as a domestic servant in central Harare, saw the
militias begin their work early yesterday, setting upon the house of an MDC
supporter minutes after dawn. "They were smashing it apart, looking for the
people who live here," he told The Times, "Nothing has changed since the
weekend. Everyone is still very afraid."
When Times journalists reached Epworth yesterday afternoon, several hundred
people were assembled in the field taken over as a re-education and torture
camp, sitting in the long grass as a Zanu (PF) leader chanted pro-
Mugabe slogans and goaded them to respond. The camp at Epworth has become
notorious for the kind of abuses reported by witnesses beaten and tortured
The camp is in plain sight of the main road. No attempt is made to hide it.
Epworth is regarded as one of the areas shut down to outsiders and Mr Mugabe's
thugs have free rein here.
Epworth is the site of one of Zimbabwe's natural wonders, the Balancing
Rocks, which used to be a huge tourist attraction. White faces here must
have once been common but yesterday they drew looks of incredulity. Young
men dressed in Zanu (PF) shirts roamed the streets, carrying plastic barrels
of moonshine, their eyes wild with intoxication.
More organised and equally intimidating were the youth militia jogging
through the streets, chanting as they went. Each person they passed returned
their Mugabe fist salute; fail to and you are straight to the camp.
"We have all learnt to do it," Milan, an MDC supporter, told us later in
Harare. A month ago he was still proudly sporting his "Morgan is More"
T-shirt. Now it is hidden and on his head he sports the ubiquitous Zanu
bandana. "It is just for security. It is fake."
Fear has made it hard to tell a real Zanu (PF) supporter these days. One man
said that he was terrified of getting a beating because he did not have a
Zanu T-shirt: the party office had run out.
There was no mistaking the identity of the men summoned to drive us out of
Epworth. They appeared from nowhere, packed into a glistening silver Toyota
that pulled up alongside the Times car. In a split second their doors were
open and they were out, their Zanu shirts layered over with an unmistakable
green jacket: the Green Bombers, Mr Mugabe's elite shock troops, the special
forces of his campaign.
We took off, and so did they, in pursuit. People scattered from the road.
Pulling ahead, we left them behind and raced on to Harare, until we came in
sight of a police block. We had no option but to stop. After they let us go,
we saw the Bombers' car gaining ground. They threw their headlights on to
full beam and the police, clearly recognising them, waved them straight
through at 80mph. The flash of a police sniper's rifle glinted from the long
grass. We lost them again in the maze of Harare's streets.
Mr Tsvangirai is currently holed up in the Dutch Embassy for his own safety,
a move derided by the Government as a stunt to win sympathy from foreign
powers. Mr Tsvangirai said yesterday that he planned to leave within the
next two days - if it was safe.
He has offered to negotiate with Mr Mugabe if the violence against his
supporters stopped. If Epworth is anything to go by, the violence shows no
signs of abating. Last night residents were holding their breath, waiting
for the beatings, gang rapes and torture to begin all over again, and hoping
that this time they had done enough to stop it from happening to them.
June 25, 2008
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
There can be no clearer illustration of the impotence of Africa's regional
institutions and leaders to find local solutions to the continent's problems
than their astounding inaction in the face of Zimbabwe's terrifying descent
into the abyss. Any deal to stave off the country's collapse will founder
unless it involves both its neighbours and the international community, yet,
no matter how dire the situation, there is just no appetite in Africa for an
Iraqi-style foreign invasion to rid the country of Robert Mugabe.
Western intervention on this scale is a non-starter. First, African
countries - even those who implacably oppose Mugabe - would see foreign
forces on African soil as an affront to their dignity, especially if it
involves one from Britain, the former colonial master of Zimbabwe. Second,
although African countries have this week finally started to put pressure on
Mugabe, they have always been opposed to using peacekeeping troops to
resolve conflicts within the continent.
The United Nations must be central to the resolution of the Zimbabwean
impasse, and the Security Council's condemnation of Mugabe is a necessary if
long overdue component in the process. The fact that South Africa and China,
who previously blocked discussion of Zimbabwe in the Security Council,
joined in the condemnation is another step forward.
In the absence of an opposition in this week's presidential run-off, Mugabe
will probably claim victory, no matter how ridiculous that would be. But
such a farce can be prevented. Indeed, victory for the people of Zimbabwe
can still be salvaged from this bloody wreckage.
Two things have changed. African leaders have finally come to terms with the
fact that Mugabe is a shameful blot on the continent. The fact that Angola,
Senegal, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda have added their voices to calls for
Mugabe to listen to reason is ground-breaking in a continent where the rule
is that African leaders do not criticise their peers even if they brutalise
The other obstructive rule has been that African leaders always side with
the fellow African leaders when they are criticised by the West, especially
by former colonial powers, no matter the merits of the criticisms. That rule
has also now been broken. And a third rule, that fellow African movements
always close ranks when another is criticised by outsiders, is also now
Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa's ruling ANC, now says that the
ANC cannot support Mugabe and Zanu-PF on the basis solely of their shared
anti-colonial struggle experience. In the African context this is hugely
significant. It means that Mugabe is now for the first time isolated within
Africa up to his rallying base.
But how to deal practically with the crisis? A joint African-West solution,
backed by the UN, should involve cancelling the presidential re-run, and
installing a transitional government based on the results of the 29 March
elections, won by Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC. It would be an outrage if a
solution involved Mugabe remaining head of Zimbabwe. A deal would also have
to involve key Zanu-PF leaders in a transitional cabinet of national unity -
without Mugabe at its head.
Disappointingly, during the UN Security Council meeting on Monday, South
Africa blocked a stronger statement that would have formally recognised
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, as the legitimate president, and a
deal may have to involve giving Mugabe and his allies some kind of immunity.
The advantages of this would outweigh the moral hazards.
African countries must send a peacekeeping force, during a transitional
period, with members from all African countries that can contribute. The
West could partner such a peacekeeping force by providing financial,
material and logistic support.
There is more to be done: an offer from the West to cancel at least some of
Zimbabwe's debt will do a lot to restore African confidence. Furthermore,
both the UK and the US must pay the disputed funds for land reform, which
Mugabe has used as a red flag to mobilise African leaders behind him since
2000. Many Africans still do remember unfulfilled Western promises in many
areas - which remain a sore point across the continent.
Amid the despair of the death, destruction and starvation perpetuated by
Mugabe - a situation abetted by the inaction of African and Western
leaders - there is still the possibility of a solution to what has happened
in Zimbabwe. But what's needed is a sense of urgency combined with cool
heads and pragmatism.
William Gumede is author of 'Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the
President Robert Mugabe has allegedly ordered transport operators in the second biggest city of Bulawayo to display his campaign posters all over their public service vehicles in return for cheap fuel provided by the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM).
Despite the announcement by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that its Presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, has officially withdrawn from the June 27 run-off election, Mugabe and his party are still vigorously campaigning for the poll.
On Tuesday, all minibuses plying routes in Bulawayo had four of Mugabe’s portraits displayed on either side, the front and the rear.
“We have been told those that do not display the potrait will not be given cheap fuel, which is sold at Z$6 billion for five litres at NOCZIM. We have also been ordered to allow at least three ZANU (PF) officials to campaign in the minibuses, so that they get people here to understand the ZANU (PF) message ahead of the elections,” said a minibus conductor in the city.
The minibuses, according to the crews, have also been ordered to charge Z$500 million for a single trip, instead of the Z$2 billion they were charging on Monday, so that they attract many commuters to get MUgabe’s message.
“Now you have seen that Mugabe loves you very much, unlike Tsvangirai who claims to love you but leaves you to walk all the way to and from town. Now you can travel to the city as many times as you like. This is reason enough to vote for ZANU (PF) and Mugabe on Friday,” said one campaigner to quiet commuters on Tuesday.
Scores of desperate commuters seeking cheap transport could be seen in long queues, as they tried to board the minibuses, which charge Z$3 billion less than commuter omnibuses, which raised their fares again on Monday.
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the ZANU (PF) candidate for Mpopoma-Phelandaba parliamentary consituency also confirmed the provision of cheap fuel, but claimed that the transport operators had asked for the posters and invited the ZANU (PF) officials to campaign to their commuters.
“The operators have realised that the government has their will at heart and have displayed their gratitude in that manner. This shows that we are still the most popular party in the country despite our detractors’ claims,” said Ndlovu.
Meanwhile, MDC national spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, has announced that Tsvangirai has formally withdrawn from the Friday poll.
“We submitted our formal withdrawal letter to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) today (Tuesday) in the afternoon and what now remains is for us to announce that move on Wednesday,” he said.
However, ZEC chairman, George Chiweshe, to who Chamisa said the letter was personally handed, claimed that he had not seen the letter in the afternoon.
“I have not seen the letter and to me the run-off is still on and Tsvangirai is still contesting,” he said briefly.
The MDC says that it cannot be part of “a sham election” that has turned out not to be conducive for a free and fair election. It also accuses the ZEC of complacency in the whoas one reason that has made the party lose confidence in the party’s supporters in the hands of government forces and ZANU (PF) party militia, who have killed about 70 MDC supporters since March 29.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
24 June 2008
Political violence continued around Zimbabwe on Tuesday in the wake of the
announcement by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai that he would not be a
candidate in the presidential run-off election that the government of
President Robert Mugabe appeared determined to go ahead with regardless.
Sources in Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change said a group of about
10 soldiers bearing arms attacked the rural home of MDC Organizing Secretary
Elias Mudzuri, who is a member of parliament-elect, beating his 80-year-old
father and other family members.
Seven people were taken to a Harare hospital for treatment following the
The sources said the soldiers burned a truck and looted property seizing
some Z$75 billion in cash. They said it was the second attack on Mudzuri's
rural homestead in two weeks.
His younger brother, Anthony Mudzuri, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the soldiers fired more than 50 shots,
wounding a young boy.
Elsewhere, opposition spokesman Pishai Muchauraya of Manicaland province
said ZANU-PF militia abducted 32 people in the province on Tuesday alone.
Muchauraya said five ZANU-PF activists raped a woman from the Mutare Central
constituency in the presence of her husband before abducting both of them.
A source in Chiredzi, Masvingo province, said suspected security agents shot
and killed four opposition youths and seriously injured another on Monday.
A VOA listener in Mhondoro, Mashonaland West province, said opposition
supporters were being woken up at dawn and thrown into rivers for their
political affiliation. A listener named Chamunorwa said he fears for their
lives as some of the rivers are crocodile infested.
A listener in Banket, also on Mashonaland West, said thousands of people
from farms in the area were forced onto tractors to attend a ruling party
rally held in the area Tuesday.
By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Southern African leaders announced an emergency summit to discuss the
Zimbabwe crisis today as Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa's ruling
party, broke ranks with President Thabo Mbeki and issued his country's
toughest criticism to date of Robert Mugabe.
Mr Mbeki has remained silent on Zimbabwe, despite having powerful leverage
over President Mugabe because of Zimbabwe's economic dependency on South
Africa. But Mr Zuma said Zimbabwe's elections were now totally
"discredited". A defiant Mr Mugabe has pledged to proceed with the run-off
presidential vote on Friday.
Mr Zuma's African National Congress said it was "deeply dismayed by the
actions of the government of Zimbabwe, which is riding roughshod over the
hard-won democratic rights of the people of that country.
"As democrats, the ANC cannot be indifferent to the flagrant violation of
every principle of democratic governance."
The statement was in sharp contrast to Mr Mbeki's silence on Zimbabwe, where
a campaign of terror orchestrated by Mr Mugabe prompted the opposition
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to pull out of the election. And it marked a
break between the two movements which were once close allies in the struggle
against white rule in southern Africa.
Mr Mugabe's opponents made a threat last night to campaign for a boycott of
the 2010 football World Cup, to be hosted by South Africa, in protest at Mr
Mbeki's support for "tyranny".
It was not clear whether Mr Mbeki will attend today's Southern African
Development Community (SADC) summit in Swaziland, even though he is the
mediator on Zimbabwe for the 14-nation group.
It comes as international attention is focused on the reaction of African
leaders, after the UN Security Council - including South Africa - issued an
unprecedented and unanimous condemnation of the violence on Monday night.
Mr Zuma called for urgent intervention by the UN and SADC, saying the
situation in Zimbabwe was out of control. But he did not explain what he had
in mind. British officials have denied that there are any plans for armed
intervention by outside powers.
The SADC chairman, Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa, has clashed with Mr
Mbeki over his mediation of the crisis. He complained this week that
President Mbeki was not keeping him informed of the process and he had to
rely on his own intelligence reports for information. This was after Mr
Mbeki visited Mr Mugabe last week. The Zambian leader, who has been one of
the African leaders to speak out against Mr Mugabe, said he had tried to
contact Mr Mbeki but the latter had not returned his calls.
Violence continued to ravage Zimbabwe as Mr Mugabe's thugs kept up the
electoral violence despite the withdrawal from the contest of Mr Tsvangirai,
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.
A close Tsvangirai ally, Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the civic group, the
National Constitutional Assembly, became the latest victim of the violence
when militias invaded his rural home in remote Chipinge and tear-gassed
villagers in their huts before burning down nearly a dozen of the homes.
Mr Madhuku said his brother, Claris, had been arrested and was being held in
custody without charge. Dozens of villagers had been heavily beaten.
Yesterday morning, the family of the MDC's national organising secretary,
Elias Mudzuri, was attacked by men in military uniform in in Zaka, in
Other reports of violence were being reported from across the country.
"Their strategy is clear. They want to destroy the MDC forever," said Mr
Mr Tsvangirai sought guarantees for his safety. He is in the Dutch embassy
where he had fled after a tip-off that the army was going to arrest him at
his home on Sunday. He held talks at the embassy yesterday with two of
President Mbeki's envoys, the South African Local Government Minister Sydney
Mufamadi and legal adviser Mojanku Gumbi.
Mr Mbeki has been pushing for a government of national unity and wants Mr
Tsvangirai and President Mugabe to meet to discuss the details. However Mr
Mbeki failed to have the run-off cancelled, and a senior South African
government official said South Africa was resigned to the fact that the
election would proceed. A unity government could be discussed only after the
run-off, the source said.
Mr Mugabe for the first time publicly stated that he was ready to open
discussions with the MDC but only after the run-off. He told party
supporters that he could not cancel the election now because it was a legal
It is thought that Mr Mugabe wants to be declared winner of the run-off so
that he can enter any talks from a position of strength. But the fact that
he will now be the only contender is likely to make any negotiations very
difficult and a unity government impossible.
Mr Tsvangirai told reporters the Dutch had allowed him to remain in the
embassy for as long as he needed. "I am not being chased away and my hosts
have said I can stay for as long as I don't feel it's safe to leave," he
said. But Mr Mugabe denied that Mr Tsvangirai was in danger. "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."
On the blogs: the mood inside the country
Morgan Morgan Morgan. You only had five days to go. No doubt Mugabe and his
cronies are out celebrating right now, all the violence and intimidation has
paid off. Morgan you had to press on regardless there was a reason why
people were voting for you - they want change. But to pull out so close to
the finish line is absurd. You are letting people down.
Bev Clark on Kubatana.net
The MDC needs to immediately set down some demands to test the political
will of our neighbours and international supporters. Let's start by asking
South Africa to impose full sanctions, both economic and travel, on
Zimbabwe, sending Mugabe a very clear message that enough is enough.
Shumba on Sokwanele.com
Well it looks as if the toothless tiger [the UN] meows again. Action will
only be taken when the whole country is awash with blood.
James Hall on Kubatana.net
I think Morgan has been battered in to submission and did not have the
courage of his convictions. Why would he be prepared to negotiate a deal
with someone he considers a monster? What deal will they come up with?...
Could he not have participated in this election under protest?
Timba on Sokwanele.com
Mbeki's legacy is entirely tied to the 2010 World Cup. He doesn't have
anything else to show for his presidency. By organising a grassroots threat
of boycott of the World Cup, we might finally be able to see some action.
An undercover visit to Zimbabwe reveals a deeply troubled land full of
disenchanted people. Some details, such as timing and description of movements, in the
following are altered for the safety of NEWSWEEK's reporter. In response to his critics who say Zimbabwe cannot
much longer withstand the failed economy, the million percent a year
hyper-inflation, the food and political and diplomatic crises, Robert
Mugabe has defiantly said, "Countries don't collapse." So far he's been
right; reports of his regime's imminent collapse are at least six years old now.
Here in Bulawayo, the
nation's second-largest city, there is at first glance proof of that. It's in a
region plagued by drought, following a winter harvest in the southern
Matabeleland region that nearly completely failed; unemployment is 85 percent,
while relief groups with few exceptions have been ordered to cease their
activities. And yet there are no crowds of hungry people on the streets, which
are clean and tidy, nor even many beggars. It's something of an illusion, of
course; there are no traffic jams because there's only scant traffic, and the
chief forms of activity are lines, bread lines before every bakery, and bank
lines in front of every bank. But still, you'd expect it to be far worse than it
is, and somehow it doesn't seem to be. Because Mugabe has banned all foreign journalists, I was obliged like many of
my colleagues to make my way here by a route which I'm unable to specify,
linking up with an underground network that has promised to make sure I can
travel wherever I need to go in Zimbabwe. There is, so far as I know, not a
single Western journalist here legally; and it's explicitly against Zimbabwean
law for us to come. And though Western journalists are regularly rounded up and
expelled, most are able to report in the country so long as they exercise
reasonable care. In large part, that's because so many of Zimbabwe's people are
fed up with Mugabe; polls taken before opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai pulled out of Friday's runoff election put him ahead 63
percent to 37 percent against the man who has ruled the country since its first
free election in 1980. So in Bulawayo, one of the most impressive revelations is
how easy it is to move around openly, even for a white foreigner, and even, so
long as no police are around, to talk to people. Our contacts urge us to use
cellphones only in coded text messages, or guarded voice calls, and on the
Internet, resort to a secret e-mail service that disguises and encrypts
messages, but it hardly seems necessary. We are fish, swimming in a friendly
In the heart of downtown Bulawayo, even the headquarters of Tsvangirai's
party appeared to be unmonitored by authorities. In the courtyard, behind high
walls but with a gate hanging wide open, the news had just come down that
Tsvangirai was pulling out of the runoff, and the reaction of his MDC supporters
was stunned--but also understanding. "Some of them were saying we've been
getting killed for nothing, how could he do this?" one MDC official there said.
"It was only five more days to the election." Most, though, felt like Sen.
Dalumuzi Khumalo, who was greeting party workers coming in from rural areas,
licking their wounds and looking for a place of refuge. "It was a sham, there
was no reason for him to go on and see more people killed." The apparent tranquility of Bulawayo proved a superficial thing. At Lopel's
Bakery, where I went with a photographer, another American, who needed some
shots of breadlines, folks were remarkably hushed considering the block-long
queue, which was hardly moving. Mugabe's regime has ordered all private bakeries
to offer loafs of bread at an official, "gazetted" price of 3 billion Zimbabwean
dollars. That's about 25 U.S. cents, whereas such a loaf on the blackmarket
would sell for literally 10 times as much. Hence, each customer is limited to
two loaves of bread apiece, and the bakeries, which lose money on each sale,
bake them slowly, putting most of their effort into cakes and fancy breads,
which are not price-controlled. The photographer was interested in this
particular queue because a campaign poster of Mugabe was on the wall at the
front of it. But it wasn't a great picture, because people were so apparently
passive and calm about it all--a three-hour wait for two loaves of bread, and no
one even seemed bothered. But it turns out that many of those people were just
speculators, who would buy their two loaves, then sell them on the black market,
buying other commodities with the proceeds. "How do you get by?" I asked a
teacher, who earns $150 billion Zimbabwe dollars a month. "We just do this and
do that, and we get by somehow." Among the biggest speculators, and perhaps one of the reasons why we were so
unmolested, were policemen. By custom or by force, it wasn't clear, they would
go to the front of each bread queue--half a dozen were waiting at the Baker's
Inn on Tuesday--load up on subsidized bread, and then, people said, come right
back again. As a judge of the high court in Bulawayo said recently, most public
officials only go to work because they're able to use their offices for illegal
gain. Actually, many of the civil servants don't even go to work for much of the
day; instead, they wait in bank lines, which are often even longer than bread
lines. Why would anyone put their money in a bank when the Zimbabwean currency
depreciates as much as 20 percent a day? No choice, is why. Those in the lines
at Stanbic Bank and the Intermarket Building Society in downtown Bulawayo early
this week were a mix of government employees, whose salaries go right into their
bank accounts, and others who are receiving remittances from the Zimbabwean
diaspora (it's illegal to withdraw hard currency). These lines are even more
tragic than the bread lines; depositors are only allowed by law to withdraw 25
billion Zim dollars a day--and on Tuesday the exchange rate of 11 billion to one
U.S. dollar made that worth about U.S. $2.27. Do the math: an average laborer earns Z$ 15 billion a day. Buses or minibuses
to work cost at least Z$3 billion each way, and often more if you're farther
from town. A kilogram of chicken or beef at the T.M. Hyper store, Bulawayo's
biggest supermarket, costs Z$ 22-23 billion--if they have any, and 90 percent of
the Wal-Mart-sized store's shelves are empty. On the day I visited, scores of
people were queued up at the registers and every one of them had the same
purchase, a Z$ 2.8 billion dollar plastic bag of nondescript tea biscuits, about
three-quarters of a pound of them. No one was buying meat. The real travails, though, start outside of town, and not even very far
outside. At Killarney, just east of Bulawayo, there are squatters' villages in
the thornbush countryside, dwellings thrown together from pieces of rusted
metal, scraps of fenders from cars, brush, whatever they could find. Around the
huts are scrabbly vegetable gardens, and patches of corn fields, most of them
picked clean. At Village 6, an old man named Weba Mumba, a welder out of work
for many years, was welcoming to visitors, but explained that the women were all
away--they had gone to Bulawayo to pick through trashcans in the search for
food. Relief aid, he said, had stopped a couple months ago--around the time
Mugabe banned all non-governmental relief organizations from operating, shutting
down groups like World Vision and Care, which had feeding and health programs.
Further along, in front of a mud hut, grandmother Rebecca Dube was making
dinner--a pair of vegetables, and some greens boiling in a pot--for three
grandchildren, all orphans (their parents, like her husband, had succumbed to
AIDS). They too had seen no relief aid in months, and the children were
perilously thin. Priscilla, 8, played with a rag doll that she had made herself;
she'd named it Joseph, and was very proud of it. To supplement their income,
Mrs. Dube and the children collect thatch, which grows in small patches among
the thorntrees; it takes them a day to gather a bundle, which they'll sell on
the market for Z$ 100 million--which is actually less than a U.S. penny at
today's exchange rate, but then perhaps the value of thatch has changed without
her realizing it--hyperinflation is like that. Sometimes there are bargains to
be had. Quite late in the day, I realized I hadn't eaten, and went out seeking food
myself. It was 8 p.m. and everything was closed, with the sole exception of the
Pizza Inn, a Pizza Hut knockoff in an upscale part of town, where a medium pizza
was about a day and a half's average wages, Z$ 25 billion. The shop had
previously had an electronic sign that posted the changing prices, but it had
long since run out of digits and read only, $###,###,###. The advertised special
was the Banana Surprise, a pizza with bacon and banana on cheese and tomato, but
I went for something less ethnic. While I waited for it, a well-dressed young
man approached me and introduced himself as an MDC member of parliament, Arnold
Solulu, and straight off offered to take me to MDC activists who had been beaten
up by government party thugs. He seemed to think I was a journalist but I said,
"Look, I'm just a hungry tourist." Then he told me he couldn't afford the price
of a pizza himself. I took his number, but not the hint, and promised to call
him tomorrow, went off to my hiding place to eat my pizza (somewhat guiltily),
and then checked him out. There is no MP in Zimbabwe by the name of Arnold
Solulu. I suppose I won't be frequenting the Pizza Inn anytime soon, and Arnold
won't be getting whatever bounty it is they pay for foreign
Land of Hunger: 8-year-old Priscilla, an AIDS orphan,
and her grandmother Rebecca Dube at a squatter settlement Jun 24, 2008 | Updated: 6:03 p.m. ET
Jun 24, 2008
An undercover visit to Zimbabwe reveals a deeply troubled land full of disenchanted people.
Some details, such as timing and description of movements, in the following are altered for the safety of NEWSWEEK's reporter.
In response to his critics who say Zimbabwe cannot much longer withstand the failed economy, the million percent a year hyper-inflation, the food and political and diplomatic crises, Robert Mugabe has defiantly said, "Countries don't collapse." So far he's been right; reports of his regime's imminent collapse are at least six years old now. Here in Bulawayo, the nation's second-largest city, there is at first glance proof of that. It's in a region plagued by drought, following a winter harvest in the southern Matabeleland region that nearly completely failed; unemployment is 85 percent, while relief groups with few exceptions have been ordered to cease their activities. And yet there are no crowds of hungry people on the streets, which are clean and tidy, nor even many beggars. It's something of an illusion, of course; there are no traffic jams because there's only scant traffic, and the chief forms of activity are lines, bread lines before every bakery, and bank lines in front of every bank. But still, you'd expect it to be far worse than it is, and somehow it doesn't seem to be.
Because Mugabe has banned all foreign journalists, I was obliged like many of my colleagues to make my way here by a route which I'm unable to specify, linking up with an underground network that has promised to make sure I can travel wherever I need to go in Zimbabwe. There is, so far as I know, not a single Western journalist here legally; and it's explicitly against Zimbabwean law for us to come. And though Western journalists are regularly rounded up and expelled, most are able to report in the country so long as they exercise reasonable care. In large part, that's because so many of Zimbabwe's people are fed up with Mugabe; polls taken before opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of Friday's runoff election put him ahead 63 percent to 37 percent against the man who has ruled the country since its first free election in 1980. So in Bulawayo, one of the most impressive revelations is how easy it is to move around openly, even for a white foreigner, and even, so long as no police are around, to talk to people. Our contacts urge us to use cellphones only in coded text messages, or guarded voice calls, and on the Internet, resort to a secret e-mail service that disguises and encrypts messages, but it hardly seems necessary. We are fish, swimming in a friendly sea.
In the heart of downtown Bulawayo, even the headquarters of Tsvangirai's party appeared to be unmonitored by authorities. In the courtyard, behind high walls but with a gate hanging wide open, the news had just come down that Tsvangirai was pulling out of the runoff, and the reaction of his MDC supporters was stunned--but also understanding. "Some of them were saying we've been getting killed for nothing, how could he do this?" one MDC official there said. "It was only five more days to the election." Most, though, felt like Sen. Dalumuzi Khumalo, who was greeting party workers coming in from rural areas, licking their wounds and looking for a place of refuge. "It was a sham, there was no reason for him to go on and see more people killed."
The apparent tranquility of Bulawayo proved a superficial thing. At Lopel's Bakery, where I went with a photographer, another American, who needed some shots of breadlines, folks were remarkably hushed considering the block-long queue, which was hardly moving. Mugabe's regime has ordered all private bakeries to offer loafs of bread at an official, "gazetted" price of 3 billion Zimbabwean dollars. That's about 25 U.S. cents, whereas such a loaf on the blackmarket would sell for literally 10 times as much. Hence, each customer is limited to two loaves of bread apiece, and the bakeries, which lose money on each sale, bake them slowly, putting most of their effort into cakes and fancy breads, which are not price-controlled. The photographer was interested in this particular queue because a campaign poster of Mugabe was on the wall at the front of it. But it wasn't a great picture, because people were so apparently passive and calm about it all--a three-hour wait for two loaves of bread, and no one even seemed bothered. But it turns out that many of those people were just speculators, who would buy their two loaves, then sell them on the black market, buying other commodities with the proceeds. "How do you get by?" I asked a teacher, who earns $150 billion Zimbabwe dollars a month. "We just do this and do that, and we get by somehow."
Among the biggest speculators, and perhaps one of the reasons why we were so unmolested, were policemen. By custom or by force, it wasn't clear, they would go to the front of each bread queue--half a dozen were waiting at the Baker's Inn on Tuesday--load up on subsidized bread, and then, people said, come right back again. As a judge of the high court in Bulawayo said recently, most public officials only go to work because they're able to use their offices for illegal gain.
Actually, many of the civil servants don't even go to work for much of the day; instead, they wait in bank lines, which are often even longer than bread lines. Why would anyone put their money in a bank when the Zimbabwean currency depreciates as much as 20 percent a day? No choice, is why. Those in the lines at Stanbic Bank and the Intermarket Building Society in downtown Bulawayo early this week were a mix of government employees, whose salaries go right into their bank accounts, and others who are receiving remittances from the Zimbabwean diaspora (it's illegal to withdraw hard currency). These lines are even more tragic than the bread lines; depositors are only allowed by law to withdraw 25 billion Zim dollars a day--and on Tuesday the exchange rate of 11 billion to one U.S. dollar made that worth about U.S. $2.27.
Do the math: an average laborer earns Z$ 15 billion a day. Buses or minibuses to work cost at least Z$3 billion each way, and often more if you're farther from town. A kilogram of chicken or beef at the T.M. Hyper store, Bulawayo's biggest supermarket, costs Z$ 22-23 billion--if they have any, and 90 percent of the Wal-Mart-sized store's shelves are empty. On the day I visited, scores of people were queued up at the registers and every one of them had the same purchase, a Z$ 2.8 billion dollar plastic bag of nondescript tea biscuits, about three-quarters of a pound of them. No one was buying meat.
The real travails, though, start outside of town, and not even very far outside. At Killarney, just east of Bulawayo, there are squatters' villages in the thornbush countryside, dwellings thrown together from pieces of rusted metal, scraps of fenders from cars, brush, whatever they could find. Around the huts are scrabbly vegetable gardens, and patches of corn fields, most of them picked clean. At Village 6, an old man named Weba Mumba, a welder out of work for many years, was welcoming to visitors, but explained that the women were all away--they had gone to Bulawayo to pick through trashcans in the search for food. Relief aid, he said, had stopped a couple months ago--around the time Mugabe banned all non-governmental relief organizations from operating, shutting down groups like World Vision and Care, which had feeding and health programs. Further along, in front of a mud hut, grandmother Rebecca Dube was making dinner--a pair of vegetables, and some greens boiling in a pot--for three grandchildren, all orphans (their parents, like her husband, had succumbed to AIDS). They too had seen no relief aid in months, and the children were perilously thin. Priscilla, 8, played with a rag doll that she had made herself; she'd named it Joseph, and was very proud of it. To supplement their income, Mrs. Dube and the children collect thatch, which grows in small patches among the thorntrees; it takes them a day to gather a bundle, which they'll sell on the market for Z$ 100 million--which is actually less than a U.S. penny at today's exchange rate, but then perhaps the value of thatch has changed without her realizing it--hyperinflation is like that. Sometimes there are bargains to be had.
Quite late in the day, I realized I hadn't eaten, and went out seeking food myself. It was 8 p.m. and everything was closed, with the sole exception of the Pizza Inn, a Pizza Hut knockoff in an upscale part of town, where a medium pizza was about a day and a half's average wages, Z$ 25 billion. The shop had previously had an electronic sign that posted the changing prices, but it had long since run out of digits and read only, $###,###,###. The advertised special was the Banana Surprise, a pizza with bacon and banana on cheese and tomato, but I went for something less ethnic. While I waited for it, a well-dressed young man approached me and introduced himself as an MDC member of parliament, Arnold Solulu, and straight off offered to take me to MDC activists who had been beaten up by government party thugs. He seemed to think I was a journalist but I said, "Look, I'm just a hungry tourist." Then he told me he couldn't afford the price of a pizza himself. I took his number, but not the hint, and promised to call him tomorrow, went off to my hiding place to eat my pizza (somewhat guiltily), and then checked him out. There is no MP in Zimbabwe by the name of Arnold Solulu. I suppose I won't be frequenting the Pizza Inn anytime soon, and Arnold won't be getting whatever bounty it is they pay for foreign correspondents.
by Wayne Mafaro Wednesday 25 June 2008
HARARE - African Union (AU) observers said on Tuesday they hoped to make an
"honest and independent" assessment of Zimbabwe's violence-marred
presidential run-off election on Friday.
The run-off election between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was thrown further into doubt on Tuesday after Tsvangirai
formally wrote to the country's electoral commission withdrawing from the
Electoral law requires the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to declare
Mugabe winner and cancel Friday's poll but the commission insisted it was
pressing ahead with plans for the poll because it had not seen Tsvangirai's
letter of withdrawal.
The AU mission that is headed by former Sierra Leone president Ahmad Tejan
Kabbah said in a statement: "The main objective of the mission is to make an
honest, independent and impartial observation and assessment of the
organisation and conduct of these elections.
"The AU Mission hopes the presidential run-off and House of Assembly
by-elections will be held in an environment conducive to the democratic
expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe."
The AU mission - which together with other African observer missions on
Monday expressed concern to the ZEC about the climate of violence in
Zimbabwe ahead of the run-off poll - said it planned to deploy observers
throughout the country ahead of voting day in order to assess the
environment as voters cast their ballots.
Tsvangirai, favourite to win the run-off poll after defeating Mugabe in the
first round of voting in March, pulled out saying political violence made a
free and fair election impossible.
The United Nations Security Council on Monday called for the run-off poll to
be scrapped saying a free and fair vote was impossible while some of the
Harare government's key allies in southern African also questioned the
credibility of Friday's vote and called for it to be postponed.
However, electoral authorities in Harare appeared determined to proceed with
ZEC deputy chief elections officer Uitoile Silaigwana told the media that
the commission was busy distributing materials to polling stations in
preparation for the run-off election.
He said: "The preparations are at an advanced stage. Today we are winding up
our training and deployment of election officers. Ballot materials are being
distributed across the country. We are almost ready." - ZimOnline
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
Herewith the press release we have sent out about our activities on Friday. As you would expect there has been a lot of media interest.
see that we will be calling on Nelson Mandela to speak out about
The human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has always supported our cause, is organising two extra events to try to get Mr Mandela to say something. He asks for our support for the following:
night (25/6) at in
morning at 10 am outside the Dorchester Hotel in
Peter is anxious there should be a
good representation of black Zimbabweans. He is organising some placards, but
people might like to help by bringing their own on the theme of: "Mandela, Speak
out" and "Mandela – Help save
We all know this is a crucial time
and the fate of our families hangs in the balance so it’s vital we all make an
extra effort to be active for
YOUR SUPPORT IN
PRESS NOTICE FROM THE
Zimbabweans in London mourn the Death of Democracy
exiles are to stage demonstrations in
demonstrators will also be present at Speakers’ Corner in
· Protest outside Zimbabwe Embassy – Friday 27th June from 10 am to 4 pm. Ex-President Mugabe or someone looking very much like him will be there.
African High Commission from –
presentation of the following petition: “A petition to President Mbeki of
Embassy demonstration we will move to Speakers’ Corner in
· For further information, contact: Rose Benton (07970 996 003, 07932 193 467), Dumi Tutani (07960 039 775) and Ephraim Tapa (07940 793 090).
A reminder: Service of Solidarity
with Torture Survivors of
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe
By Graham Boynton
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 25/06/2008
Finally, after years of obfuscation, hand wringing and so-called
"quiet diplomacy", Africa is beginning to raise its voice against its most
errant son, Robert Mugabe. Too little, too late? Yes, if one considers that
a once prosperous and peaceful country has had to be taken to the brink of
civil war and economic collapse before any of Africa's political leaders
have deigned to speak out. But, no, if one agrees with the opinion now
circulating in political circles that this is a defining moment for Africa
and may even offer a glimmer of hope for the future of this blighted
Until recently, Mugabe's appearances at African Union gatherings were
greeted with standing ovations. Now Kenya's Raila Odinga, Rwanda's Paul
Kagame, Nigeria's Umara Yar'Adua and Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa have in the
past few days condemned the Mugabe regime's violent conduct and poured scorn
on the idea that this week's presidential poll will be free and fair.
Botswana's new president, Ian Khama, summoned the Zimbabwean
ambassador in Gaborone to explain the arrests of MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and its general, secretary, Tendai Biti. Odinga, himself no
stranger to electoral fraud, even went so far as to demand that Mugabe step
down immediately and that an international peace-keeping force be sent into
Zimbabwe to preside over free and fair elections. Such public condemnation
of an African leader by so many of his own was unheard of until now.
The only dissonant voice belongs to South Africa's President, Thabo
Mbeki, who, following Tsvangirai's announcement that he was withdrawing from
the run-off, lamely told a press conference that he was rather hoping that
Zimbabwe's "leadership would still be open to a process that would result in
them coming to some agreement about what happens to their country". Watching
him make this limp statement at the same time as we were seeing mobs of
Mugabe's thugs bearing down on opposition supporters with machetes and iron
bars made his performance seem ludicrous.
At first glance, it would appear that Mbeki's position on Zimbabwe is
as weird and detached from reality as his famously awful policy on Aids.
Throughout his presidency, he has refused to criticise Mugabe, at the same
time promising Western leaders and pressure groups that his quiet diplomacy
would be far more likely to bring a peaceful solution than would head-on
In fact, Mbeki seems to be impaled on Mugabe's revolutionary struggle
credentials and, even as Mugabe has driven his country into the African
dust, so the South African leader has felt either unable or unwilling to
confront the tyrant with his own shortcomings. He, among all of Africa's
leaders, has had the economic power to rein in Mugabe and should have done
so years ago, just as South Africa's Vorster did to the Rhodesian rebel
leader, Ian Smith, in the mid-1970s.
Instead, Mbeki has hosted endless and increasingly pointless rounds of
talks in Pretoria, while at the same time actively encouraging dissident
factions within Zimbabwe's opposition. It is no secret that he dislikes
Tsvangirai and the idea of a trade unionist unseating a liberation hero runs
counter to all Mbeki's political beliefs. Zimbabwean opposition politicians
have for some time expressed concern that there has been institutionalised
bias against the MDC because of the African National Congress's problems
with its own trade union movement, Cosatu. It is for this reason perhaps
that Mbeki has supported both the dissident faction of the MDC, led by the
intellectual lawyer Arthur Mutambara, and the breakaway Zanu-PF man, former
finance minister Simba Makoni. Splitting the opposition has, of course,
played into Mugabe's hands: had these factions not competed against one
another in the June elections, insiders believe the MDC would have won by a
landslide, making it all but impossible for Mugabe to claim a close race and
to fiddle a presidential re-run. So thank you, President Mbeki.
To add to Mbeki's discomfort, his own political party has not only
driven him, kicking and screaming, to agree to this week's UN Security
Council condemnation of the Zimbabwean government's campaign of "violence,
intimidation and outright terror", but has also gone behind his back to
issue its own statement. The ANC - now led by Mbeki's bitter rival, Jacob
Zuma - accused the Mugabe government of "riding roughshod over the hard-won
democratic rights of the people of that country". Zuma added yesterday that
"action by the international community, such as the United Nations, is more
Last week at the University of Pretoria, James McGee, the American
ambassador to Zimbabwe, delivered a moving lecture, entitled "Zimbabwe On
The Precipice", in which he described flying down from Harare that morning
and leaving behind a country "that is teetering on the edge of lawlessness
and anarchy . on the brink of starvation . and sinking into a seemingly
bottomless abyss." He recalled how at independence, almost 30 years ago,
Tanzania's Julius Nyerere had told the newly invested Prime Minister Mugabe
that he had inherited the jewel of Africa and urged him to protect it. And,
as McGee rightly pointed out, Zimbabwe was to be the model for a new Africa.
When he delivered that lecture, the ambassador was yet another Western
observer dismayed but seemingly powerless to stop the destruction being
wreaked by a megalomaniac African despot and a small band of kleptocrats on
a once beautiful and bountiful country. Now that Africa's own leaders - and,
most important, the ruling party in the continent's most powerful country -
have disowned Mugabe and declared that Friday's false presidential election
will not be recognised, there is a glimmer of hope that Zimbabwe may yet
become a model for a new Africa.
By Carole Gombakomba
24 June 2008
Zimbabwean church leaders say there is no sign of a letup in political
violence following the decision by the opposition not to take part in the
presidential run-off election slated for late this week, and that they are
continuing to try to help the victims of such violence despite government
restrictions on the provision of humanitarian assistance.
But some clerics expressed the hope that despite the continued political
crisis, the decision by the Movement for Democratic Change party of Morgan
Tsvangirai to pull out of the vote may save many people from "protracted and
continued harassment" by the ruling party.
Christian Alliance spokesman Pius Wakatama, arrested by authorities last
week but released, said worsening conditions have prompted his group to seek
other ways of offering shelter, blankets and food since Harare has forbidden
it to offer direct humanitarian aid.
Rev. Ray Motsi, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Pastor's Conference, told
reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while some
churches have become polarized in the tense political climate, clerics feel
an obligation to get involved to help the victims of political violence.
Tue Jun 24, 7:28 AM ET
LONDON (AFP) - The violence in Zimbabwe could descend into genocide like
that in Rwanda in 1994, former international envoy Paddy Ashdown warned
Military intervention in Zimbabwe had to remain an option, the former High
Representative for Bosnia told The Times newspaper, while also lamenting the
"thunderous" silence of South African President Thabo Mbeki.
"The situation in Zimbabwe could deteriorate to a point where genocide could
be a possible outcome -- something that looks like Rwanda," he said,
referring to the slaughter by ethnic Hutus of some 800,000 people, mainly
Ashdown added that were the situation to deteriorate to that point, military
intervention, with Britain playing a "delicate role" due to its history as
Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, would have to be an option.
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, has pulled out of
Friday's presidential election run-off against the incumbent Robert Mugabe,
saying violence against his supporters had made a fair ballot impossible.
Ashdown, a member of parliament's upper house, told BBC radio that
diplomatic efforts could still prove fruitful, though Mbeki's role was
"I think the UN Security Council resolution and the UN secretary general's
statement yesterday is likely to be influential and have an effect," he
"Secondly, the key person in this is Thabo Mbeki and so far his silence has
"If it were the case that in addition to all the other African friends who
have so far supported Mugabe, Mbeki, who is under pressure to do this anyway
from within South Africa, were to come out in a very strong statement I
think that would have an effect.
"So there is a diplomatic game to play through here and I think it's not
without hope of success."
The comments from the former Liberal Democrat leader came amid growing
tension in Zimbabwe, with the Tsvangirai taking refuge in the Dutch embassy
The Times also reported, without citing its sources, that Britain had two
contingency plans with regard to the Zimbabwean election, one of which
involved the deployment of troops into the country.
Both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office declined to comment on
the report when contacted by AFP.
Mugabe has a point on imperialism. Britain has no option but to sit out the
Zimbabwean tragedy, impotent on the sidelines
Wednesday June 25, 2008
Robert Mugabe is making a mockery of liberal interventionism. He has become
God's gift to cartoonists, politicians and commentators. He is depicted
wielding clubs dripping in blood. He stands triumphant over a pile of
skulls. He is Bokassa out of Idi Amin out of Charles Taylor. He is that old
familiar, the African heart of darkness, monstrous, buffoonish, grotesque
and evil. If Britain, as Kipling jeered, were ever capable of "killing
Kruger with your mouth", Mugabe would long be dead.
There is a sense in which Mugabe's hysterical anti-British analysis of his
predicament is correct. His Zimbabwe is a creature of British imperialism
and post-imperialism. The last governor, Lord Soames, regarded him as an
affectionate regimental mascot, a "splendid chap", as he told me in an
interview shortly before handing power to him in 1980.
Britain duly tolerated the suppression of Mugabe's enemy, Joshua Nkomo, and
Zimbabwe's conversion into a one-party state. It turned a blind eye to the
1983 Ndebele massacre by Mugabe's Shona Fifth Brigade under its warlord,
Perence Shiri, who some say is Mugabe's present master. Margaret Thatcher's
Whitehall gave Harare lavish aid and barmy advice, helping turn a viable
economy into a basket case of pseudo-socialist kleptomania - well charted by
the Guardian's Andrew Meldrum in his memoir, Where We Have Hope.
Now Zimbabwe is declared outrageous. Though Mugabe is hardly the worst
dictator in the world, he is regarded as "our" dictator and therefore our
business. The public asks: "What is to be done about him?" Sated on having
"done something", presumably glorious, about Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Kosovo,
Afghanistan and Iraq, public opinion is hard-wired to such a question. So
what is to be done?
The government's answer is splutter. Abuse is heaped on Mugabe's head in a
ministerial cascade of brutals, bloodthirsties, illegitimates and
revoltings. I have lost count how often the Foreign Office has excoriated
him with that lofty, impotent putdown, "unacceptable". As for sanctions, we
must listen to the sad incantation of trade bans, VIP travel restrictions,
Harrods accounts, London kindergartens and cricket tours - the ceaseless
chatter of sanctions chic.
Such sanctions are the weapons of cowards and hypocrites. They never work in
any meaningful sense, and are on a par with not eating South African oranges
or not buying Brazilian coffee. By mildly inconveniencing the powerful and
destituting the poor, they supposedly make us feel good. In countries such
as Cuba and Iraq, they have condemned whole generations to poverty and
The much-abused history of commercial sanctions shows that any protracted
squeeze leads only to internal economic adjustment. Control of money and
goods shifts from merchants to rulers, driving the former to exile and
increasing the wealth of the latter. As sanctions made Saddam Hussein and
his family rich, so they have made Mugabe and his cronies rich.
The only sanction that works is one that works overnight. It is conceivable
that if South Africa and Zimbabwe's other neighbours were able to cut petrol
and electricity supplies they might precipitate some sort of coup. But by
whom? Anyone seizing power at present would be anyone with petrol - and that
is the army, which has power already.
Instead we have that sure sign of panic in London, the tentative murmur of
the M-word, military. Ever since the Liberal leader, "Bomber Thorpe",
suggested that Ian Smith's Rhodesian revolt be ended by force in 1967,
Zimbabwe has excited leftwing machismo. This week Lord "Paddy" Ashdown
followed in typically allusive fashion. If there were genocide in Zimbabwe,
said the old swashbuckler, and if the UN approved, and if the Africans did
the fighting for us, then we should offer "moral support". So much for
Douglas Fairbanks swinging from a House of Lords chandelier.
Neither South Africa nor neighbouring states of the African Union have shown
the slightest inclination to force regime change on Harare, however much
they may condemn Mugabe. African rulers regard the interventionist precedent
as unappealing. Nor is there any British stomach for an airborne assault,
from wherever it might be launched (Diego Garcia?). It is inconceivable that
planes would be allowed refuelling or overflying rights in southern Africa.
Such is the collapse of Britain's moral authority after Iraq.
Toppling Mugabe would require a force strong enough at least to decapitate
his army and, presumably, install the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
in power. What kind of power would that be, achieved with foreign guns? It
would probably be a prelude only to civil war, which must be the last thing
Zimbabwe needs just now.
The truth is that Britain and the west have grown tired of this sort of
thing. They could not summon up the muscle even to land aid in Burma's
Irrawaddy delta, hardly the most drastic of interventions. The Labour
bombast of Baghdad and Kabul is now reduced to nuanced caution. The crusader
cry, "You can't just leave the poor Albanians (or Shias or Pashtuns) to
their fate," has degenerated into a diplomatic monotone of demarches and
There is no alternative for Britain to sitting out the Zimbabwean tragedy,
impotent on the sidelines. If Africa wants to help its own, it will. If not,
so be it. We cannot starve Mugabe into submission, since that is his own
strategy towards his people. We take comfort by endlessly declaring his
country "close to collapse", but that is idiot economics. Subsistence and
remittance economies do not collapse.
We can portray Mugabe in the press as a bloodthirsty gorilla and impose
so-called smart sanctions, in order that Gordon Brown, David Miliband and
the rest can feel a little better, but our fine feelings are hardly central
to Africa's predicament.
So-called liberal interventionism is a will-o'-the-wisp, a vapid, feel-good
refashioning of foreign policy in response to a headline event, motivated by
self-interest or passing mood. We should send food to the starving of
Zimbabwe because that is something we can do, however much Mugabe distorts
the supply. But as for dreaming of toppling him, those days are over.
Britain has done enough damage to Zimbabwe over the years. Prudence tells us
please to shut up.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
1. Alexandra Michael
I am writing from Zimbabwe in support of the letter from Pat Mangwende about
Simba Makoni and a GNU. I couldn't agree more. The people saw through the
vote-splitting plan and rejected Simba as a leader, just as they did
Mutambara and indeed Mugabe. Even considering the horrible, evil
and frightening happenings in the country at the present time, these calls
for a GNU are almost more ominous. The people of Zimbabwe have voted, they
will stand only for Morgan Tsvangarai as their president and were a GNU to
be imposed upon them, especially with Mugabe as leader, the smouldering
anger only just being held in check would burst into flame. There is only
so much a people can withstand and Zimbabweans are very close to cracking.
All we want is a chance to vote, to have our votes counted by a credible
body and take it from there. We are not interested in GNU's or power
sharing. We have been thrown to the wolves countless times over the past
eight years, it would just be the same all over again.
2. Helen Clarke
I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed in the letter of P
Mangwende open letter forum June 20th I send many of the open letters forum
'e-mails abroad and carefully deleted the one from the Norton's
1. Joan Marsh
Well said Mr. Mangwende, I couldn't agree with you more. As you say,
Morgan won the election, why should the people want anyone else to run the
3. Liliane White
Dear Ben Freeth,
With all due respect to the pain and suffering inflicted on you and yours
these past few years and more recently to the terror campaign waged against
yourselves and your workers for supporting the opposition; I would like to
bring a few points to your attention regarding your appeal to the Diplomatic
Community, the Brits (and others) to 'please do something'...
Do people conveniently just forget about the 100's of young men and women
who left their livelihoods, their families, their farms etc...?in the then
Rhodesia, during the 1st and 2nd World Wars to JOIN the brits to fight
ALONGSIDE them in a desperate bloody effort to rid Europe of Hitler and
Communism in the gas and corpse-filled trenches of France and Belgium?
These very men and women, some still alive, and their families, are still in
Zimbabwe, some living in near-appalling conditions in the local homes for
the elderly, not knowing from one day to the next where the next meal might
I'm not talking only of WHITES, I am also remembering the 100's of black
Rhodesian soldiers in the RAR who were called for duty, many who died far
from home.....what gratitude and recognition have these people had from the
Brits? What have the brits done, or what ARE they doing at present, to help
THESE people? What are they doing to protect and feed these old folk? Some
of whom were originally British and who are still British.....
Only this week, Gordon Brown announced an increase in the number of Brit
soldiers being sent to Afghanistan. They have just lost 11 troops in the
past 10 days in this country, including their first woman casualty.
Did you know, Mr. Freeth, that Afghanistan is the world's highest producer
of opium? Did you know that the opium production there last year was the
HIGHEST ever? It seems that NOTHING has been achieved in Afghanistan to halt
the production of the opium poppy and radically change the producers' ideas
to producing cash- and food crops instead.
Did you know that the UK is RIFE with the most appalling social problems,
starting with kids as young as 11 and 12, involving hard drugs and alcohol?
Countrywide, not just in isolated little pockets.......knife-wielding kids
who are stabbing one another to death in just about every part of the United
Kingdom. In London alone, recent statistics have shown that there is a
knife-attack in the city on average every 55 minutes........
These are the folk you are appealing to for help?
Some years ago, my niece met and married an Officer in the Welsh Guards, my
grandfather's battalion........two years ago, her father, my brother and his
wife, applied for visas to spend Christmas with their daughter in the UK. It
was to be the trip of a lifetime, neither of them having ever left southern
Africa before. Air tickets were paid for by their daughter from the UK. THE
DAY BEFORE they were due to fly out, their visa application was rejected.
reason being 'we see no valid reason why you wouldn't attempt to abscond
from Zimbabwe and stay in the United Kingdom' - or some such similar
wording.......this was because my brother owns no land here in Zimbabwe and
has no fixed assets. At the time he had been working his butt off in
Mozambique, teaching black farmers to grow cash and food crops; this
opportunity denied him in Zimbabwe due to the 'chaotic land grab' as it is
I can assure you that the very last thing he would EVER contemplate is
absconding to live in the UK!
Our father and grandfather both fought in the 1st and 2nd World Wars, now
forgotten heroes. Our sons, uncles, brothers, BLACK and WHITE, fought for
Rhodesia and a common ideal and purpose, just like the Allied Forces against
Hitler in Europe, only this was against the spread of so-called communism in
Do you honestly believe for one moment that the Brits are going to do
For YEARS they have been TALKING and tutt-tutting about how 'bad' the
situation is in Darfur and 'what a shame that all those folk are starving'
etc etc etc. What exactly have they DONE to curb the problem and put things
Robert Mugabe was invited to address the FAO in Rome very recently. He used
the opportunity as a platform to ATTACK America and the UK, blaming them for
Zimbabwe's woes and misfortune. By the mere allowance given him to make this
attack, and having had nothing done or said against him has merely given him
and the rest of the baddies, licence to continue and has, in my opinion, put
the whole lot of them into bed with Mugabe and the rest of the world's
And you appeal to these people for help?
What was it someone said about evil thriving where good men do nothing?
Mr. Freeth, please do not hold your breath while you wait for the brits to
do anything to help. They are just too busy looking after their opium crops
in Afghanistan and raising yet another generation of unemployable YOBBOS,
who are coke- and pot-heads from an early age.
The Brits don't seem to be able to look after themselves, let alone show any
care and attention towards anyone else and unless you put in a massive crop
of cocoa bushes, opium poppies or marijuana, you won't get any help at all -
maybe you would get a whole platoon of guys to guard your crop tho' !!
GENUINE political asylum seekers from Zimbabwe in the UK are rejected for
'lack of evidence'. Tell me, how can a 40 year old rural woman 'produce
evidence' when she has been gang-raped by a group of Green Bombers and only
managed to escape into the dark when her attackers were drunk and stoned -
all she has are a few scars on her back from the beatings and she has been
in the UK since 2002, leaving FIVE children with her mother, and living in
shelters and charity homes all this time while she awaits the outcome of her
appeal......while there are hundreds of THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans roaming the
streets of the United Kingdom without the proper paperwork and
In the UK it is now almost impossible to buy a Christmas or Easter card
depicting the respective Christian events - for fear of upsetting the Muslim
community!! You will be lucky to find a card merely saying 'Happy
It is now well known that the UK has amongst its population a vast number of
radical Muslims, some BORN in the UK and who are actively supporting terror
organizations. They continue to flood into the UK from Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Iraq and Iran...while Zimbabweans, blacks and whites are turned
It all makes very little sense Mr Freeth...and these are the people you turn
to for help and attention to our plight in Zimbabwe...the very people who
put Mugabe there in the first place??? Wake up and smell the coffee....
These are the very Brits who leave classified security documents on trains
in the UK, who have their laptops stolen in the dead of night from their
cars, containing classified information; these are people who 'lose'
classified information on their entire population, with bank details and
And these are the people you are turning to for help??
I grew up on 'God helps those who help themselves' and 'charity begins at
home'. Not 'God helps those who help themselves to other people's property
and properties, nor to the public coffers'
A little bit of me rests assured that he who reaps, sows; in time, Mugabe,
will reap what he has sown. And what goes round, comes around' He will get
his just reward. Maybe not today, nor tomorrow, but sometime....
The only brave people doing anything right now, are the journalists risking
life and limb the world over to bring the messages home from across the
globe of atrocities committed everywhere, not only in Zimbabwe...One wonders
just how much will have to be shown, seen and heard in the news media before
those who CAN help, WILL help...
I would still like to ask the Brits, before I ask for help on the Zimbabwe
issue, just what the HELL ARE YOU DOING, exactly, in Afghanistan?
Good luck, Mr Freeth in your quest for help from the Brits and the rest of
the International and Diplomatic Community......
As I write, I have just received an email from my brother to say that he's
'disappearing' for the weekend as he's been warned that 'he's on the
list'....I can assure you, he's certainly not asking the Brits to help him
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of
the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
by Paul Newman Last updated at 12:29 AM on 25th June 2008
Andy Flower risked his life to take a stand against the atrocities in his
own country when they staged the 2003 World Cup.
Now the man who, along with Henry Olonga, wore a black armband to mourn the
death of democracy in Zimbabwe is again at the forefront of cricket's
belated attempt to force change.
Flower, the greatest cricketer Zimbabwe has produced and now the England
batting coach, has long kept a cautious and dignified silence when
questioned on Zimbabwe, principally to protect those he left behind when he
emigrated for his own safety.
'Yesterday, however, he could contain himself no longer.
'We should not have normal relations with a country in such an abnormal
state,' said Flower before news came that the Gordon Brown government are
finally poised to intervene and ban Zimbabwe from next year's tour of
'People are still being murdered and tortured to the extent that it has gone
far beyond the stage of just gentle politics. It will take decisive measures
and strong decisions now.
'It is truly shocking what is going on there and even though foreign
correspondents are banned, enough is leaking out of the country for people
to know about the atrocities.
'Things are spiralling out of control so quickly that I just hope somebody
does something to arrest the situation.
'If this is the first step towards sport helping with that then it can only
be good news. I don't think Zimbabwe should be allowed to play in England
and they should be suspended from all international cricket.'
They are words that must surely be heeded when the International Cricket
Council's executive board meet in Dubai next week having agreed at last to
discuss throwing Zimbabwe out.
Cricket has long hidden behind the absence of government intervention, at
least in England, for the lack of moral fibre in addressing the Zimbabwe
issue but even the arch-conciliator David Morgan, now ICC president-elect,
seems certain to act.
It is predictable that the ICC waited until South Africa, apparently at the
instigation of their players, broke off cricketing ties with Zimbabwe late
on Monday before they agreed to address the matter.
The ICC have long been the governing body who appear unable to govern but
they can keep their heads in the sand no longer.
Morgan was chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), remember,
when they attempted to blackmail their players emotionally into visiting
Zimbabwe for the 2003 World Cup and would not let captain Nasser Hussain
express moral objections about playing there.
The fines from the ICC for not fulfilling the fixture would be so huge,
argued the ECB, that players would end up losing their jobs and the game
would be in severe financial trouble.
Well, England did not go, having been forced to hide behind security issues,
but the game survived. Now a stronger ECB have been in discussions with what
they believe is a stronger government to try to seek backing.
But yesterday's early statement from Gordon Brown's office that he 'would
not welcome' Zimbabwe's visit next year for both a one-day series and also
the ICC World Twenty20 initially suggested that the problem would again fall
into cricket's lap.
Now, however, it seems as though only the ICC World Twenty20 involvement
will be left to the administrators.
Flower is just grateful that South Africa have begun rolling the ball and
the British government are about to follow suit.
'South Africa have been pathetically weak on the whole subject of Zimbabwe
and it's about time they did something strong,' he said. 'The people who run
Zimbabwe cricket are all in bed with Mugabe and have pretty much ruined the
game. It will take a long time and a change of government to pull it
But will the ICC now follow that lead through and throw Zimbabwe out of the
game until Robert Mugabe's reign of tyranny comes to an end? 'I don't know
the legal requirements of ICC decisions and I'm certainly no politician but
the fact that Peter Chingoka (the Zimbabwe cricket union leader) is allowed
to prance around with ICC colours on is embarrassing for the governing
body,' said Flower.
'He is part of Mugabe's despicable plan and is not a good enough person to
be making decisions on anything. So we will have to see what happens.'
The fact that the ICC meetings are to be held in Dubai rather than London
specifically to allow Chingoka entry - he was refused a visa to visit
Britain last year - does not augur well for the decision-making process next
week. But this time good must surely prevail and, government support or not,
cricket should stand up to be counted.