Wed 25 Jun 2008, 8:51 GMT
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga warned on Wednesday
that Zimbabwe could descend into a disaster akin to Rwanda's 1994 genocide
if the world did not intervene rapidly to remedy the crisis.
Odinga called for the postponement of Zimbabwe's presidential run-off
election scheduled for Friday, or failing that the appointment of a
high-profile African mediator.
"Zimbabwe right now is a disaster in the making," Odinga, one of the most
outspoken critics of President Robert Mugabe among African leaders, told
"If the world does not act now, we will soon have a situation very similar
to what we saw in Rwanda," he said, referring to the 100-day slaughter of
800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the east African nation.
"Friday's elections should be postponed until conditions are created that
will enable a free and fair election."
Addressing a conference earlier, Odinga gave details of a phone call he held
with African Union (AU) chairman and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete
before he left for a meeting of the Southern African Development Community
"I told him you need to take a firm stand at the SADC meeting. We need to
appoint a mediator if the elections are held. There should be a supervisory
team from the AU with support from United Nations," he said.
"I suggested former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, and Ketumile
Masire the former president of Botswana. Kikwete assured me they are going
to consider the two names."
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 3:10 AM
By Gwynne Dyer
There is no Plan B. Morgan Tsvangirai was right to withdraw on Sunday from
the runoff presidential "election" in Zimbabwe, because there's no point in
getting people killed when there's no hope of a fair vote, but he has no
more cards to play. South Africa is not going to intervene, nor are the
Southern African Development Community, the African Union or the United
Another 1 million despairing Zimbabweans probably will flee to South Africa,
but there is not going to be a revolution in Zimbabwe, either. The people
have no weapons, half the working-age population lives abroad, and the
"security forces" are vigilant, well-armed and brutal. Violence has
triumphed; President Robert Mugabe has won.
Thousands of Tsvangirai's supporters have been kidnapped and tortured by
Mugabe's thugs since the campaign started, and 86 have been murdered. Many
more would have suffered the same fate if the election had gone ahead, and
it would all have been for nothing. Mugabe is determined not to let the
opposition win, regardless of what the voters did.
A lot of polling agents for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
have been killed, and thousands have been driven from their homes in order
to break the movement's organization in rural areas. Mugabe's strategy
clearly is going to succeed: either he would win a majority of the votes
because enough MDC supporters had been terrorized into staying home, or else
he would rig the count later.
He didn't win the count the first time, in late March, because he foolishly
allowed local vote tallies to be posted up at the polling stations, not
realizing that opposition activists would photograph them. Whatever the real
vote count was, Mugabe's Zimbabwe Election Commission was unable to massage
the outcome enough to give him a first-round victory. Most of the local
voting totals were too well documented.
After a month's delay, the commission released results showing Tsvangirai
with about 48 percent of the vote to Mugabe's 43 percent. That was enough to
force a second round of voting, since a candidate had to get more than 50
percent of the vote in the first round to avoid a runoff, but it was a huge
humiliation for the liberation war hero who has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980.
He richly deserved it. Mugabe has misgoverned Zimbabwe so badly that the
once-prosperous country has 2 million percent inflation, and 25 percent of
the people have fled to South Africa to find work and send money home to
their families. Zimbabweans now die, on average, at a younger age than any
other nationality in the world.
The ruling Zanu-PF elite presumably knows these statistics, but they cannot
afford to care. If they lose power, they lose everything, for almost all
their wealth was stolen and they have killed too many people. They would
kill many more to keep it.
So Tsvangirai had to decide how many more lives he wanted to sacrifice in
order to force Mugabe to steal the election openly. But how would that
discredit Mugabe any more than the crimes he is committing right now? And
what good does it do to discredit him?
Mugabe is a tyrant and the people who run his government and army are brazen
thieves, but there will be no effective intervention in Zimbabwe from
outside. The only African leader who has enough clout to do that is South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, but his goal is to usher his old friend
Mugabe into an honorable retirement while keeping Zanu-PF in power. Until
Zimbabweans can give him that, they will be left to rot.
Zimbabweans are on their own, as they always really were. Tsvangirai and the
MDC have belatedly realized that there is no point in hoping that justice
will prevail -- but they probably have not thought beyond that. Basildon
Peta, the head of the Zimbabwean Union of Journalists, certainly has. This
is what he wrote after Tsvangirai announced his decision.
"I hope it won't be another long round of Thabo Mbeki's timid mediation
while Zimbabwe continues burning. The MDC must now do what it should do to
rid Zimbabwe of this shameless criminal. The opposition party knows what
that is, though I can't print it here."
Well, I can. It is revolution in the streets. But that is almost certainly
not going to happen.
Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are
published in 45 countries.
Mail and Guardian
PAUL SIMAO | MBABANE, SWAZILAND - Jun 25 2008 09:37
Southern African leaders will hold an emergency meeting in Swaziland on
Wednesday to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe but key negotiater President
Thabo Mbeki will not attend, officials said.
Earlier, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai urged the United
Nations to isolate President Robert Mugabe and said a peacekeeping force was
needed in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe has shrugged off Monday's unprecedented and unanimous decision by the
United Nations Security Council to condemn violence against the opposition
and declare that a free and fair presidential election on Friday was
The meeting in Swaziland's capital Mbabane has been called by the leading
regional body, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as
international pressure mounts on Mugabe to resolve his country's political
turmoil and economic meltdown.
The leaders of Tanzania, Angola and Swaziland would attend the meeting in
their capacity as the SADC's troika organ on politics, defence and security,
the Tanzanian government said in a statement.
"Others who have been invited to attend the meeting are the current SADC
chairperson, [President] Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, and the SADC mediator for
Zimbabwe, [President] Thabo Mbeki of South Africa," said the statement.
"The meeting will discuss how the SADC and its troika organ on politics,
defence and security can help Zimbabwe to get out of its current state of
Mbeki's spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said the South African leader, who
has been mediating between Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change and
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF under a SADC mandate, will not attend.
"We are not going to Swaziland. We have had no invitation to go to any
meeting, especially Swaziland," Ratshitanga told Reuters.
Tsvangirai, who has withdrawn from the election and taken refuge in the
Dutch embassy in Harare since Sunday, said Zimbabwe would "break" if the
world did not come to its aid.
"We ask for the UN to go further than its recent resolution, condemning the
violence in Zimbabwe, to encompass an active isolation of the dictator
Mugabe," Tsvangirai wrote in the Guardian newspaper.
"For this we need a force to protect the people. We do not want armed
conflict, but the people of Zimbabwe need the words of indignation from
global leaders to be backed by the moral rectitude of military force," said
"Such a force would be in the role of peacekeepers, not trouble-makers. They
would separate the people from their oppressors and cast the protective
shield around the democratic process for which Zimbabwe yearns."
Pressure has increased on Mugabe from both inside and outside Africa over
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis, blamed by the West and the
opposition on the 84-year-old president who has held power for 28 years.
The United States has urged SADC to declare both the election and Mugabe's
Friday's vote was meant to be a run-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. The
opposition leader won a first round in March but official figures did not
give him an outright victory.
Tsvangirai's MDC won a parallel parliamentary election in March, sending
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to its first defeat since independence from Britain
in 1980. - Reuters
Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of
leading a normal life. Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the
world's highest rate of inflation and just one in five has an official job.
Can you picture a whole nation being shell-shocked? We started getting the news that (opposition leader) Morgan Tsvangirai was
pulling out of the June 27 run-off via text messages around 3.30pm on Sunday and
that was the reaction - shock, dismay, then denial. It became only too true after watching "breaking news" flashes on the BBC,
Sky and the SABC etc. I watched the broadcasts with some friends in Harare, and I tell you, the
reaction was one of dismay, betrayal and even anger at the opposition. One man asked us: "So all the deaths were in vain?" and another: "What of all
the displaced people who vowed to vote no matter what?" Then a little while later the press conference was broadcast, we listened as
Mr Tsvangirai enumerated his reasons for pulling out. As we listened, our reaction changed. I suppose that when one is living in an impossible situation, one has a
choice - view the situation as normal or go insane. So we all thought the election would go ahead, despite all the atrocities.
Aborted rally I saw for myself that crowd of ruling party Zanu-PF thugs, pictures shown
around the world, yielding sticks and chasing anyone who came within any
distance of the proposed opposition Movement for Democratic Change rally venue
on Sunday. As we were leaving church around midday they were toi-toying (military-style
traditional dancing) themselves into a frenzy at the Zanu-PF headquarters. One argument all along was that he did not really need to campaign, that the
economy was doing that for him. But we started hearing reports of how rural voters were told the government
would check how they voted - ballot papers have serial numbers, and are given
out in sequence, for cross -checking purposes. Voters were told that election officials would note the serial number each
voter was given, and thus check how they voted as the ballots were counted. So it was very unlikely that the rural folk would have voted for the MDC.
Besides, quite a number of them are living in the bush, too scared to sleep
in their homes. Apparently the police voted last week, one officer at a time, watched by
three superiors. So we can safely assume the entire police force voted Zanu-PF (in the last
election, 90% voted for Mr Tsvangirai). In the cities Zanu-PF militia have set up roadblocks and are harassing city
dwellers at will, it is as if the entire police force is on holiday as we have
not seen these roadblocks being disbanded. Quite a number of my friends spent last Saturday at Zanu-PF rallies, chanting
songs, learning slogans, and leaving with a T-shirt and a headscarf. At least they will be safe at these roadblocks; they have all the passes -
the newest slogans plus the party regalia. None of them are fans of President Robert Mugabe by the way; youths just
turned up at their doors and "asked" them to proceed to the rally venue. A change of heart On Monday, people were a lot more optimistic. Most people in my circle feel that there was no other choice but for the MDC
to pull out. In fact, they view Mr Tsvangirai as a hero, letting go of a chance, however
slim and unlikely, of becoming the president of Zimbabwe. He is the gentleman in this case, and Mr Mugabe the villain who declared war
on an unarmed people. Besides, leaders of the world are already making a lot of noise about the MDC
pull out. Finally, even African leaders can be heard among them. There is talk of a United Nations peacekeeping force coming to monitor the
situation, protect the rural folk, and stay until an election can be carried out
at a later date, in a more conducive environment. One lady told me once peace and order were restored, she would volunteer to
work as a psychotherapist anywhere in rural Zimbabwe as the population there is
so severely traumatised. So we are looking ahead already. I hope the UN comes through for Zimbabwe. Our situation stopped being "an internal affair" when the police and army
became partisan, and chose to do whatever they could to maintain Mugabe's reign,
looking aside as atrocities were carried out, and worse, taking part in
Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of leading a normal life.
Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the world's highest rate of inflation and just one in five has an official job.
Can you picture a whole nation being shell-shocked?
We started getting the news that (opposition leader) Morgan Tsvangirai was pulling out of the June 27 run-off via text messages around 3.30pm on Sunday and that was the reaction - shock, dismay, then denial.
It became only too true after watching "breaking news" flashes on the BBC, Sky and the SABC etc.
I watched the broadcasts with some friends in Harare, and I tell you, the reaction was one of dismay, betrayal and even anger at the opposition.
One man asked us: "So all the deaths were in vain?" and another: "What of all the displaced people who vowed to vote no matter what?"
Then a little while later the press conference was broadcast, we listened as Mr Tsvangirai enumerated his reasons for pulling out.
As we listened, our reaction changed.
I suppose that when one is living in an impossible situation, one has a choice - view the situation as normal or go insane.
So we all thought the election would go ahead, despite all the atrocities.
I saw for myself that crowd of ruling party Zanu-PF thugs, pictures shown around the world, yielding sticks and chasing anyone who came within any distance of the proposed opposition Movement for Democratic Change rally venue on Sunday.
As we were leaving church around midday they were toi-toying (military-style traditional dancing) themselves into a frenzy at the Zanu-PF headquarters.
One argument all along was that he did not really need to campaign, that the economy was doing that for him.
But we started hearing reports of how rural voters were told the government would check how they voted - ballot papers have serial numbers, and are given out in sequence, for cross -checking purposes.
Voters were told that election officials would note the serial number each voter was given, and thus check how they voted as the ballots were counted.
So it was very unlikely that the rural folk would have voted for the MDC.
Besides, quite a number of them are living in the bush, too scared to sleep in their homes.
Apparently the police voted last week, one officer at a time, watched by three superiors.
So we can safely assume the entire police force voted Zanu-PF (in the last election, 90% voted for Mr Tsvangirai).
In the cities Zanu-PF militia have set up roadblocks and are harassing city dwellers at will, it is as if the entire police force is on holiday as we have not seen these roadblocks being disbanded.
Quite a number of my friends spent last Saturday at Zanu-PF rallies, chanting songs, learning slogans, and leaving with a T-shirt and a headscarf.
At least they will be safe at these roadblocks; they have all the passes - the newest slogans plus the party regalia.
None of them are fans of President Robert Mugabe by the way; youths just turned up at their doors and "asked" them to proceed to the rally venue.
A change of heart
On Monday, people were a lot more optimistic.
Most people in my circle feel that there was no other choice but for the MDC to pull out.
In fact, they view Mr Tsvangirai as a hero, letting go of a chance, however slim and unlikely, of becoming the president of Zimbabwe.
He is the gentleman in this case, and Mr Mugabe the villain who declared war on an unarmed people.
Besides, leaders of the world are already making a lot of noise about the MDC pull out.
Finally, even African leaders can be heard among them.
There is talk of a United Nations peacekeeping force coming to monitor the situation, protect the rural folk, and stay until an election can be carried out at a later date, in a more conducive environment.
One lady told me once peace and order were restored, she would volunteer to work as a psychotherapist anywhere in rural Zimbabwe as the population there is so severely traumatised.
So we are looking ahead already.
I hope the UN comes through for Zimbabwe.
Our situation stopped being "an internal affair" when the police and army
became partisan, and chose to do whatever they could to maintain Mugabe's reign,
looking aside as atrocities were carried out, and worse, taking part in
History is repeating itself in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe -- except this time
Canada is on the sidelines
Clyde Sanger, Citizen Special
Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The bludgeoning, the targeted killings, the intimidation and widespread
torture of supporters of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), have had their effect. MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai, front-runner in the March 29 presidential poll, pulled out of
the campaign six days before the run-off round because, he said, he did not
wish to risk the lives of more of his voters. Fearing for his own life, he
has taken refuge in the Dutch Embassy.
The run-off vote, still going ahead on Friday, will be an ugly farce.
President Robert Mugabe -- 84 and with failing eyesight -- will be declared
re-elected for another five-year term. His party ZANU-PF will regain control
of parliament, which they narrowly lost to the MDC in March, by dint of
keeping in prison enough of the MDC members who were arrested during two
months of outrageous oppression. The president, who picked up law degrees
while in prison under white settler rule, likes his actions to keep at least
the twisted vestiges of legality.
While what has happened is appalling, nobody should be surprised at the
lengths he and the "securocrats" -- chiefs of the armed forces, police,
prison and intelligence services who now call the shots -- will go to stamp
out opposition. It has now happened three times.
A police vehicle leaves the headquarters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement
for Democratic Change. MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was forced to
withdraw from this week's presidential runoff vote due to political
First, he determined to crush the other nationalist party, Zimbabwe African
People's Union (ZAPU), strong in Matabeleland, whose guerrillas had operated
from Zambia. Claiming there were dissidents hiding weapons, he sent in the
thuggish 5th Brigade, trained by North Koreans. In 1983 it rampaged through
Matabeleland, burning villages and killing 20,000 rural people. The
campaign, known as Gukurahundi ("The rain that sweeps away the chaff"),
finally caused the ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo to merge his party with ZANU,
creating a one-party state.
Twenty years on, Mr. Mugabe again felt threatened. In the 2000 elections the
newborn MDC came within five seats of a parliamentary majority. Heavy
jerrymandering in favour of rural seats and vote-rigging with hundreds of
thousands of bogus votes won his party the 2005 elections, but he wasn't
satisfied. In Operation Murambatsvina ("Drive out trash") the police swept
through the townships, driving out and dumping in country areas hundreds of
thousands of street sellers and squatters. The United Nations estimated 2.4
million people were affected.
The March 29 elections shocked ZANU leaders, particularly because rural
areas thought safely pro-government voted MDC. The response was another
Gukurahundi. Air Marshal Perence Shiri, who as a colonel led the 5th Brigade
in the Matabeleland massacre, is now part of the ruling Joint Operations
Command that made certain President Mugabe did not resign in March. It was
important to the JOC to make the violence so clear and the killings of more
than 80 activists so targeted that Morgan Tsvangirai did buckle, as Mr.
Nkomo had. I think the hideous mutilation and murder of the wife of the
newly elected mayor of Harare was the breaking point.
If, against all odds, Mr. Tsvangirai had gone on to win the run-off, and his
victory could not be fudged, the military might well have stepped forward to
nullify the election. It would have echoed the crisis in Burma in 1990, when
the party led by Aung San Suu Kyi clearly won the elections. It would have
been an overt military coup. Perhaps Robert Mugabe would have remained as
figurehead president, or perhaps they would have anointed Emmerson
Mnangagwa, the former internal security minister. Now they can pretend he is
the people's president and in charge.
As with Burma, neighbouring countries in Southern Africa have been inclined,
in their own interests, to be protective of the régime. Any effective action
in the Security Council has been blocked by South Africa as well as Russia
What of Canada? It has had strong ties with Zimbabwe since 1980. Many
Canadian NGOs have been active there. CIDA made it a regional centre for
development aid. Brian Mulroney was a leader at the 1990 Commonwealth Summit
and pushed the Harare Declaration on Human Rights. When the Southern African
Development Community designated Zimbabwe to be the lead country in
promoting food security (what an irony today -- millions starving there and
food supplies used as political weapon), a four-member Canadian team
designed the strategy for the region.
Yet the Harper government, unlike British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who
called the régime a "criminal cabal," has so far said nothing about this
catastrophe. Does Stephen Harper remember the Harare Declaration, and what
Mr. Mulroney achieved? Does he remember the Canadian initiative at the
United Nations, enshrined in the Responsibility to Protect?
Deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, a member of the International
Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, can remind him. That
responsibility is to protect the people in a state fallen into utter
disorder. If not now in Zimbabwe, where and when?
Clyde Sanger is an Ottawa-based journalist who lived and worked in Zimbabwe
before and after its independence.
A statement by Jacob Zuma, leader of the African National Congress,
illustrates the decline in support for the ruling ZANU-PF party.
By a Times Staff Writer
June 25, 2008
HARARE, ZIMBABWE -- International support for President Robert Mugabe
continued to deteriorate Tuesday as a longtime regional ally issued a
condemnation of the Zimbabwean government's violence against opposition
Jacob Zuma, leader of the African National Congress in neighboring South
Africa, said that Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party had veered away from the
shared values that came out of their nations' liberation struggles.
"We cannot agree with ZANU-PF. We cannot agree with them on values," Zuma
said at a news conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. "We fought for the
right of people to vote, we fought for democracy."
His stance stood in contrast to that of South African President Thabo Mbeki,
who has avoided voicing strong criticism of Mugabe. However, South Africa
participated Monday in a unanimous United Nations Security Council vote that
condemned violence and intimidation by Zimbabwe's government.
The rebuke from Zuma, his nation's presidential heir apparent, is likely to
send reverberations through ZANU-PF, which has always relied on other
African liberation movements for support.
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade on Monday urged that Zimbabwe's
presidential runoff election scheduled for Friday be postponed, echoing
comments by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who warned Sunday that a
catastrophe was looming in Zimbabwe.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the current U.N. Security Council
president, said Zimbabwe could face tougher measures if it fails to heed the
council's warning that free and fair elections were not possible at this
In South Africa, the ANC released a statement saying the party is "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
"The ugly incidents and scenes that have been visited on the people of
Zimbabwe persuade us that a runoff presidential election offers no solution
to Zimbabwe's crisis," the statement said.
But the ANC warned against international intervention: "It has always been
and continues to be the view of our movement that the challenges facing
Zimbabwe can only be solved by the Zimbabweans themselves."
South Africa's COSATU trade union federation, allied with the ANC, said it
would campaign for total isolation of Mugabe. It called on all the world's
trade unions "to make sure that they never ever serve Mugabe anywhere,
including at airports, restaurants, shops, etc."
"Further we call on all workers and citizens of the world never to allow
Mugabe to set foot in their countries."
Daily Express, UK
Wednesday June 25,2008
By Padraic Flanagan
TOP Tory Gerald Howarth has called for the SAS to be sent into Zimbabwe to
end Robert Mugabe’s reign of terror.
But Foreign Secretary David Miliband brushed away the suggestion yesterday
as other leaders urged the international community to get tough with
Defence spokesman Mr Howarth told the Commons: “Many people find it morally
repugnant that the international community has fiddled so ineffectively as
Zimbabwe has literally burned.
“I say to the Foreign Secretary that the Almighty is not the only person
who could remove Mr Mugabe – the Special Air Service could also do a pretty
The Government insisted military action was not being considered but
declined to discuss whether contingency plans have been drawn up to deploy
troops to tackle a humanitarian crisis or an evacuation of British
Gordon Brown’s spokesman, Michael Ellam, insisted that Britain is not
preparing a military response but he declined to go into details over any
contingency plans by the Ministry of Defence’s crisis management team.
In response to a question on military action, he said: “I don’t think we
should get too far ahead of ourselves. This is not a plausible course and
not one that would enjoy international support.”
Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader and UN high representative
to Bosnia, said that military action could be needed to stave off a
humanitarian crisis comparable to the genocide in Rwanda.
But he suggested that Britain should not be involved because of its history
as Zimbabwe’s colonial ruler.
He urged a diplomatic solution, calling for South African President Thabo
Mbeki to take a harder line with Mugabe.
Paddy Ashdown said: “The key person in this is Thabo Mbeki and so far his
silence has been thunderous.” Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown
said military action would be ineffective and unlikely to win international
But Major General Julian Thompson, a former Royal Marine commander, said
military action could be justified, although it was likely to be complicated
by the need to secure flying rights over neighbouring countries.
It is not clear how many people Britain would need to evacuate in an
emergency. The Foreign Office said there are about 2,000 registered British
nationals in Zimbabwe but it has also pledged support to a total of 14,000
UK passport holders and others eligible to apply for British citizenship.
About 5,000 of these are aged over 60, the department said.
The Government also has serious concerns over a planned tour to the UK by
the Zimbabwe cricket team next year. Ministers are due to discuss the issue
In Zimbabwe, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai formally withdrew from
Friday’s presidential election run-off, saying widespread violence made a
free and fair election impossible.
South Africa’s governing ANC party accused the Zimbabwean government of
“riding roughshod” over democracy and echoed Mr Tsvangirai by saying a fair
election is not possible.
The statement was the strongest so far by the ANC and a sign of mounting
diplomatic pressure on Mr Mbeki. He is reported to be planning talks with
Zimbabwe’s government and opposition leaders.
The US state department said the international community will reject any
attempt by Mugabe to declare himself president.
In the strife-torn country, few Zimbabweans are even aware that Mr
Tsvangirai has pulled out of the race as official media barely mention him.
June 25th, 2008
Posted: 05:14 AM ET
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) - The African Union should deploy human
rights monitors to Zimbabwe and increase political pressure on the
government there to end the violence, Human Rights Watch said.
In a statement released Tuesday, the rights group called on AU leaders to
urgently address the situation in Zimbabwe ahead of this Friday's scheduled
presidential runoff election between President Robert Mugabe and opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
"The African Union should not endorse Zimbabwe's sham presidential runoff
election on June 27," the statement read. "African Union leaders should
intervene to bring an immediate end to massive state-sponsored human rights
abuses and enable democratic reform."
Human Rights Watch called on AU leaders to help form an interim government
until elections can be held at a later date which meet international
standards. It also said the leaders should call for an international
commission of inquiry to hold those responsible for the violence to account.
My people are at breaking point. World leaders' bold rhetoric must be backed
with military force
Wednesday June 25, 2008
In the course of the last few tumultuous months, I have often had cause to
consider what it is that makes a country. I believe a country is the sum of
its many parts, and that this is embodied in one thing: its people. The
people of my country, Zimbabwe, have borne more than any people should bear.
They have been burdened by the world's highest inflation rates, denied the
basics of democracy, and are now suffering the worst form of intimidation
and violence at the hand of a government purporting to be of and for the
people. Zimbabwe will break if the world does not come to our aid.
Africa has seen this all before, of course. The scenario in Zimbabwe is
numbingly familiar. A power-crazed despot holding his people hostage to his
delusions, crushing the spirit of his country and casting the international
community as fools. As we enter the final days of what has been a taxing
period for all Zimbabweans, it is likely that Robert Mugabe will claim the
presidency of our country and will seek to further deny its people a space
to breath and feel the breeze of freedom.
I can no longer allow Zimbabwe's people to suffer this torture, for I
believe they can bear no more crushing force. This is why I decided not to
run in the presidential run-off. This is not a political decision. The vote
need not occur at all of course, as the Movement for Democratic Change won a
majority in the previous election, held in March. This is undisputed even by
the pro-Mugabe Zimbabwe electoral commission.
Our call now for intervention seeks to challenge standard procedure in
international diplomacy. The quiet diplomacy of South African President
Thabo Mbeki has been characteristic of this worn approach, as it sought to
massage a defeated dictator rather than show him the door and prod him
We envision a more energetic and, indeed, activist strategy. Our proposal is
one that aims to remove the often debilitating barriers of state
sovereignty, which rests on a centuries-old foundation of the sanctity of
governments, even those which have proven themselves illegitimate and
decrepit. We ask for the UN to go further than its recent resolution,
condemning the violence in Zimbabwe, to encompass an active isolation of the
For this we need a force to protect the people. We do not want armed
conflict, but the people of Zimbabwe need the words of indignation from
global leaders to be backed by the moral rectitude of military force. Such a
force would be in the role of peacekeepers, not trouble-makers. They would
separate the people from their oppressors and cast the protective shield
around the democratic process for which Zimbabwe yearns.
The next stage should be a new presidential election. This does indeed
burden Zimbabwe and create an atmosphere of limbo. Yet there is hardly a
scenario that does not carry an element of pain. The reality is that a new
election, devoid of violence and intimidation, is the only way to put
Part of this process would be the introduction of election monitors, from
the African Union and the UN. This would also require a recognition of
myself as a legitimate candidate. It would be the best chance the people of
Zimbabwe would get to see their views recorded fairly and justly.
Intervention is a loaded concept in today's world, of course. Yet, despite
the difficulties inherent in certain high-profile interventions, decisions
not to intervene have created similarly dire consequences. The battle in
Zimbabwe today is a battle between democracy and dictatorship, justice and
injustice, right and wrong. It is one in which the international community
must become more than a moral participant. It must become mobilised.
· Morgan Tsvangirai is leader of the Movement for Democratic Change in
Wed, June 25, 2008
Precision assault would work
By PETER WORTHINGTON, TORONTO SUN
What is to be done about Robert Mugabe?
Probably nothing, the way Africa has always deferred to him, and the
way non-African countries have backed off decisive action for fear of being
Although he lost the March 29 general election (48% to 43%, according
to his own people, and by over 50% according to the opposition), Mugabe
defiantly says he'll never let his rival Morgan Tsvangirai gain power
through the ballot box.
In the words of The New York Times, for Mugabe "the bullet is mightier
than the ballpoint pen."
In the face of growing violence by Mugabe's thugs, Tsvangirai has
declared he'll not participate in Friday's runoff vote, for fear it'll lead
to more reprisals, attacks, deaths -- including his own. Already, those who
show support for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), risk
getting beaten or killed, or simply disappearing.
Whether Tsvangirai's gesture is a bid to get African leaders to show
some spine and dissuade Mugabe, is uncertain. The gesture has already
persuaded UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to urge that the runoff vote be
What will delaying it achieve? It's already been delayed by nearly
three months, with Mugabe's sidekick, South African President Thebo Mbeki,
acting like Charlie McCarthy.
The UN Security Council has come to the uninspiring conclusion that a
"fair" election is unlikely. Big deal. Every election in the 21st century in
Zimbabwe has been rigged by Mugabe.
The 84-year-old president of Zimbabwe becomes steadily more Stalinist
and dictatorial as his rule extends to 28 years. He's said to fear crimes
against humanity trials as promised by Tsvangirai if and when he becomes
In the 1980s, Mugabe's North Korean-trained 5th Brigade rampaged
through Matabeland, slaughtering and intimidating Ndebele supporters of the
late Joshua Nkoma who headed the ZAPU party and was the most effective
guerrilla fighter in the war against the white Rhodesian regime of Ian
So what can be done?
A lot. Embargoes against Zimbabwe won't work. Mugabe doesn't care how
much his country suffers, as long as he and the police and army are well
looked after, to look after him.
The UN won't act, despite irrefutable human rights abuses. So the
developed world should act to suspend all aid and economic help to African
countries that refuse to oppose or take measures against Mugabe.
Of course, if neighbouring countries registered real disapproval,
Mugabe would be duck soup to depose. His country is so demoralized, few
would fight to save him.
In a column about five years ago, I quoted a Daily Telegraph
journalist, Alasdair Palmer, who proposed a military solution that was
"breathtakingly simple albeit politically incorrect." He figured 2,000
British paratroopers could "bring Mugabe's regime clattering down" -- using
the U.S.-NATO war against Serbia in Kosovo as a precedent to protect human
In the 1990s, a handful of SAS officers reversed a coup in Gambia, and
British troops brought a rebel army of 20,000 in Sierra Leone to heel in
The targets for such an action would be Mugabe's presidential palace,
the army barracks, the radio and TV studio. The new, duly elected government
could be installed with speed and minimum casualties in that wretched,
The people of Zimbabwe deserve better than more tolerance for Mugabe.
New York Post
By CATHERINE PHILP
June 25, 2008 -- EPWORTH, Zimbabwe - The chant from those in 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 "re-education."
Down the road, at the entrance to an open field, pro-Mugabe militants
dressed in clothing proclaiming their allegiance to the Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front party waited to receive their newest victims
for an all-day orgy of chanting, beatings, indoctrination and threats.
In this dirt-poor township south of Harare, scene of some of the worst
atrocities of the past six weeks, Zanu-PF's shock troops 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 withdrawal has convulsed the world, moving even the UN
Security Council to issue its first condemnation of the violence.
Yesterday, the ruling African National Congress in South Africa issued 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 ANC, added to mounting pressure on President
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."
The Zimbabwean leader 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 rumors," 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 (MDC) lodged its formal withdrawal from
the election yesterday, two days after Tsvangirai, its leader, announced he
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 of London. "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 there.
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 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 attraction for visitors.
White faces here must have once been common, but yesterday, they drew looks
of incredulity close to the main road from the town.
Young men dressed in Zanu shirts roamed the streets, carrying plastic
barrels of moonshine, their eyes wild with intoxication.
More organized 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 do so and you are taken straight to the
"We have all learned to do it," Milan, an MDC supporter, said later in
Harare. A month ago he was still proudly sporting his "Morgan is More"
T-shirt. Now it is hidden. On his head, he sports the ubiquitous Zanu
bandana. "It is just for security," he said. "It is fake."
Fear has made it hard to tell a real Zanu-PF supporter these days. One man
said 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 Times
reporters 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,
Mugabe's elite shock troops.
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 high beam and the police, clearly
recognizing them, waved them straight through at 80 mph. The flash of a
police sniper's rifle glinted from the long grass. We lost them again in the
maze of Harare's streets.
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. Tsvangirai said yesterday that he planned to leave within the next
two days - if it was safe.
He has offered to negotiate with Mugabe if the violence against his
supporters stops. 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.
Times of London
The Nation (Nairobi)
25 June 2008
Posted to the web 25 June 2008
Bloggers on the Nation Web site are fearful that the situation in Zimbabwe
may soon degenerate to Kenya-style post-election violence as President
Mugabe moves to counter the opposition.
And they are united on the need for leaders on the continent to intervene
and rescue the southern African country from the socio-political abbys.
Ronald Andie in Zimbabwe sees the reaction to MDC's leader Morgan Tsvangirai
pullout of Friday's run-off election as a body-blow to the Zimbabwean public
and a sign that the country may go down the Kenyan way.
"As the Zimbabwean national team was in the field trying to square it up
with Kenya's Harambee Stars, sometime into the second half, Zimbabwe
opposition party chief Morgan Tsvangirai announced his withdrawal from the
run-off. The noise in the stadium changed from cheers to the national team
to curses onto Mugabe and anger at the evident massacre of democracy in the
country. This surely is an indicator that Zimbabwe will go the Kenya way."
Makau, writing from Machakos said: 'What is happening in Zimbabwe is just a
shame and disgusting! These are the same old folks who stick to power till
God calls them! He is 84 what has he not done for the last 28 years he has
been in power that he will do now! He shouldn't try to get support across
Africa in the name of "salvaging Zimbabwe from white settlers". Former
president Moi and President Kibaki must now join Raila to call it a day for
Mugabe's CV also came into play, with his many degrees said to be
contributing factors to plotting his own downfall. He should have quit after
liberating Zimbabwe, says Maurice in the US.
"Guys with more degrees than a thermometer are usually good in the academic
and research business and very poor when it comes to implementation.
Mugabe's defeating the white regime and becoming the first black president
of Zimbabwe in 1980, is the liability."
25 June 2008
The Zimbabwe opposition leader's withdrawal on Sunday from this week's
presidential election run-off will pressure regional governments to act
against veteran President Robert Mugabe, analysts said.
Opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai's move was described by analysts as a
potential moment of truth for Zimbabwe and the region.
The 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) may now face
little choice but to take action against Mugabe, who has faced harsh
criticism from rights groups and Western powers as violence intensified
before the vote.
SADC countries, whose appointed mediator in the crisis is President Thabo
Mbeki, have been divided by the Zimbabwe crisis and criticised over a
failure to take action.
Traditionally loathe to criticise the 84-year-old former liberation hero,
some countries in the region have begun speaking out, but a failure to find
common ground has left them frozen by indecision.
"That is the most critical in the future of Zimbabwe: what SADC is going to
do," said political analyst Dirk Kotze of the University of South Africa in
"The United Nations does not have a lot of bargaining power, the US and
Britain even less. It is only SADC that is left with any type of leverage."
Analyst Chris Maroleng, of the Institute for Security Studies in South
Africa, said the recent criticism of Mugabe by some regional leaders shows
they may be poised to "take stronger action".
"I think that he has been diminished, particularly after the spate of
violence we have seen recently," Maroleng said.
While some leaders have remained silent, growing violence has led to
surprising rebukes from leaders such as Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos
Santos, who has been a Mugabe ally.
Dos Santos recently urged his counterpart to "cease all forms of
intimidation and political violence", while leaders from Botswana, Tanzania
and Zambia have also raised their tone.
Countries such as Mozambique and Namibia have remained faithful, however.
"What has been particularly embarrassing for the region is that their
statements have been slow in coming and very weak . And Mugabe does not pay
even the slightest attention to them," said Karin Alexander of the Institute
for Democracy in Southern Africa.
Unisa's Kotze said Tsvangirai's withdrawal, virtually handing victory to
Mugabe, might see the country's political and economic crisis deepen -
possibly steering Zimbabwe into the kind of violence seen in Kenya.
Kenya was plunged into a deadly political crisis following December
elections that was only resolved with the formation of a national unity
"This withdrawal was not by choice. Tsvangirai was almost forced to do this.
What it amounts to is that they want to create a constitutional crisis,"
"It is very difficult to foresee a situation where this will simply be
accepted, that there won't be any upheaval from MDC supporters."
Kotze said Zimbabwe was "exceptionally close" to a Kenya-style crisis.
"It is going to spill over and we are going to see violence from the MDC."
Political analyst Olmo von Meijenfeldt, of the Institute for Democracy in
Southern Africa, said that a negotiated settlement was the only way of
resolving the political crisis.
Negotiations, however, would clearly be difficult, with Tsvangirai unlikely
to accept a deal that did not grant him real power.
As for Mugabe, sharing power with a rival he has often branded as a stooge
of former colonial power Britain would be a bitter pill to swallow. -
June 25 2008 at 11:00AM
Paarl Web, a subsidiary of media giant Naspers, will donate all the
revenue from a print job for Robert Mugabe to Zimbabweans suffering under
his regime, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
The printing company did not know it was printing brochures for
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party because the R2,6-million job was
commissioned by a creative agency in Johannesburg, said Paarl Web CEO
Stephen van der Walt.
"This is a deeply regrettable circumstance. If we knew it was Zanu-PF,
we would have politely refused it. The best we can do now is take the
revenue and plough it back to a much better cause for the people of
Zimbabwe," he told Sapa.
Van der Walt said the revenue derived from the print job a fortnight
ago amounted to R300 000.
"We are in the process of talking to six organisations in Zimbabwe to
deliver the money to the people of Zimbabwe."
He said a creative agency in Johannesburg commissioned the printing of
the brochures which list one hundred good things the Zimbabwean government
had done since independence.
"The work is not inciting violence or hate speech... It lists a
hundred reasons on why the Zanu-PF government had been good for Zimbabwe
post the freedom struggle.
"If we had been offered the opportunity [to see the brochures before
publication], we would have distanced ourselves from it.
"Zanu-PF is not a client of the Paarl Media group. We have never
received an order from them and we have never received payment from them.
This was paid for by a South African client," said Van der Walt, who
declined to name the client.
Naspers owns, among other things, all the big daily and weekly
Afrikaans newspapers in South Africa and the Daily Sun tabloid.
The Caxton-owned The Citizen newspaper reported on Wednesday that
Caxton's printers had first been ear-marked for the job but that the company
did not carry it out after its chairman Frederik van Zyl Slabbert threatened
to resign if it went ahead. - Sapa
If a government of national unity (GNU) is to take effect, it has to be
composed of credible figures. Such individuals must have a clean record that
is untainted by human rights abuses and should exclude those who worked to
undermine democracy in Zimbabwe. Many in Zanu PF are found wanting if that
litmus test is applied. Regardless, it is the right thing to do. That is
biggest hurdle to overcome in setting up a transitional government. Those
that are less-tainted belong to the lower tier that has no power in Zanu PF.
By its very nature. Zanu Pf is composed of narcissistic power-mongers who
will not accept anything less. At the same time, the MDC, understandably,
expects a few heads in the top tier of power to roll in the Hague direction.
Now such a sine qua non is a goliath of a challenge to overcome! Both the
MDC and Zanu PF will have to be realistic about their expectations for a GNU
to occur. It is both ludicrous and implausible to think that a national
government of unity can exist without Tsvangirai as the main player, the
same way it is unthinkable that it can come into existence without Mugabe or
at least one of his trusted lieutenants.
In a utopian scheme, the ideal national government of unity should have
nothing to do with Mugabe, instead it should be led by Tsvangirai and Joyce
Mujuru while Simba Makoni, Tendai Biti, Eddie Cross, Dumiso Dabengwa, John
Nkomo, David Coltart (are names worth mentioning for an all-inclusive GNU)
and many progressives in Zanu PF and MDC alike as well as business people.
From Zanu PF, Joyce Mujuru stands out as the least tainted in Zanu PF
compared to the rest. For the sake of healing the nation and in order to
move it forward, a comprise will have to be made. The West will have a hard
time accepting it but SADC can overcome that. GNU will also depend on how
quickly Mugabe contains his thugs and stops harassing the MDC with concocted
treason charges, inter alia. It is unfortunate that Biti might be used as a
ransom for future negotiations.
Failure to agree on a negotiated settlement might precipitate the
apocalypse which can come in form of two plausible scenarios:
Zanu PF continues to consolidate power and continues to run down the country
until Mugabe dies a natural death and in the process MDC also dies a natural
death. There are many ways Zanu PF will use to destroy the MDC chiefly
through incarceration of its members (as we see in Biti), infiltration by
the spy agency, co-option into Zanu PF structures, fleeing of its leaders
seeking refuge abroad, etc. In the meantime the world would have completely
isolated and handicapped Zimbabwe from many fronts. For instance, regional
and international pressure can cause Mozambique and South Africa to switch
off electricity completely. Mugabe's closest allies in the region (such as
Angola's president) have just expressed outrage and we are beginning to see
a working SADC.
An insurrection caused by extreme hunger, anger and suffering can eventually
topple the regime. Insurrection can come from within Zanu PF itself. We
already saw that happening in Zanu PF power struggles that led to the firing
of that creepy Professor - Jonathan Moyo after a five-year tenure at the
helm of Zanu PF spewing stressful ZanuPF propaganda and muzzling the press.
Remember Mugabe cannot even feed his supporters and thugs. Most of them are
easy targets for recruitment to commit heinous acts of violence because they
have been unemployed for years. However this form of insurrection can be
contained by them killing each other since they all have degrees in
violence. We also do not know how cohesive and well-equipped his army is
given the crippling economic disaster. The salaries of soldiers as civil
servants are pathetic and one wonders how they manage to perform their
duties to satisfaction, let alone the energy to beat up innocent citizens.
Nevertheless, we all know that orders from those well-fed generals cannot be
The second form of insurrection is quite lethal. This is a scenario that
many people doubt very much because Zimbabweans are considered a peaceful
people. Nonetheless, it can happen. There are millions of destitute
Zimbabweans across its borders with estimates cast at three million in South
Africa and another million all over Botswana, Zambia, etc who can volunteer
for the insurrection. Zimbabwe is increasingly becoming both an annoying and
belligerent neighbor notably to Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. The advent
of Jacob Zuma will definitely deal another blow to the deceptive Mbeki, who
has consistently proved to be the Trojan horse in SADC. Zuma has a lot at
stake because the World Cup cannot happen when his backyard is burning. Time
to clean up would be between now and next year. We all know that Botswana
has the US's military installation for Africa and at the same it is the only
country that has perennially denounced Mugabe. Just like South Africa,
Botswana has perfected the art of xenophobia. There is certainly nowhere to
run for the troubled people of my country who have been robbed of all human
dignity because of Mugabe. The escalated rhetoric from the West has
undertones of toppling Mugabe by force. Remember ex-Rhodesians are alive and
well just across the borders. Already there is a much publicized group
calling itself the Zimbabwe Resistance Movement domiciled in the UK that is
threatening an armed rebellion. Dictators the world over, have always faced
the same fate - a miserable ending implying that God (God of War) can also
remove them from power violently.
The final path to solving the runoff quagmire is to call for an election one
more time that has the full monitoring of the International community. The
problem is that violence is likely to spiral before the resolution is passed
as the ruling party goes back to its old and brutal tricks of striking fear
into the hearts of innocent citizens 'once and for all before the
international team is deployed'. Any delay in making a decision is still
cataclysmal for the ordinary Zimbabweans that are already battered by
economic hardships and milita brutality and by the government that is
supposed to protect them.
Now is the time for Mugabe to act quickly and resolutely, the endgame is
nigh. We do not want war because the collateral damage caused by wars is
always huge (such as loss of life, social fabric, displacements, etc) and it
is also important to underscore the fact that wars do not always yield the
intended results. The whole SADC region may suffer destabilization as a
result of the anarchy emanating from Zimbabwe. We want peace, dignity and
prosperity for our people!