The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwean torturers face arrest in SA

The Times, SA

Francois Rank
Published:Mar 15, 2008

THE National Prosecuting Authority has been asked to arrest and charge
high-ranking Zimbabwean police and government officials involved in human
rights abuses, should they ever again set foot on South African soil.

The NPA was given a dossier detailing acts of torture allegedly committed by
President Robert Mugabe's security agents against leading members of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change .

The document, submitted by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, contains
30 sworn statements from, among others, lawyers, medical experts and the
victims themselves.

NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali confirmed that the authority was considering the
centre's request to act on the torture allegations.

In the dossier, victims describe how they were made to lie down before being
beaten on the soles of their feet, electrocuted with wires attached to their
genitals and, in the case of one victim, made to lie across a railway line
ahead of an oncoming train.

Two victims describe being subjected to a form of torture known as
"Birchenough Bridge", whereby they were handcuffed, suspended from a pole
and beaten.

Thirteen police officials who allegedly carried out the torture, and five
senior police and government officials - including a Zimbabwean Cabinet
minister - who bore full knowledge of police actions have been named in the
dossier.

Several of the accused regularly visit South Africa either on official
business, or to receive medical care or do their shopping, the centre said
this week .

The litigation centre's request for legal action by South Africa is based on
an international law whereby a country can prosecute foreigners implicated
in humans rights abuses committed outside its borders.

South Africa's implementation of the Rome Act is broader than in other
countries, making it the best option for bringing such a case.

The torture allegations stem from a police raid on the MDC's Harare
headquarters, Harvest House, in March last year, during which more than 100
people were detained. Other claims concern separate incidents involving MDC
officials, including an attack on presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai
on March 11 2007.

The litigation institute's director, Nicole Fritz, said the consistency in
the testimonies about the type of abuse inflicted, as well as the
involvement of several named perpetrators, "speaks to the systematic use of
torture by the police and supports the conclusion that crimes against
humanity have been and continue to be perpetrated in Zimbabwe".


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Tsvangirai plans to establish TRC in Zimbabwe

SABC

March 15, 2008, 20:45

The leader of Zimbabwe's opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, has pledged to
establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to deal with
atrocities committed over the past 30 years, if elected president.

He was addressing thousands of party supporters in the town of Gweru, in the
midlands province. Tsvangirai also described Zimbabwe's economy as a
national disaster.

He called for a re-evaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, and a more concerted
effort to restore investment in the economy. The Southern African country
will hold presidential, parliamentary and council elections on March 29.


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Zimbabweans would hurl tomatoes - if they didn't cost 3m a throw

The Times, SA

Published:Mar 15, 2008

When I sat down to write this piece, I was going to boast that this
newspaper is probably one of the most expensive in the world.

If you want to know why, please return to the front page and you will see
that you are holding a 5.6-million product in your hands.

But then quick research gave reason for some caution.

I discovered that the Mail & Guardian and Zimbabwe's Independent and
Financial Gazette already cost 15-million and that the Standard costs
11-million. Just behind us are the Zimbabwe Herald at 4-million and the
Sunday Mail at 3-million.

Nonetheless, I said to myself, we are still up there. Our extraordinary
ascent to these heights has been rapid, having gone from just 50 in 2000. By
the middle of 2007, when the Zimbabwean government chopped three noughts off
its bank notes, a Hararean was paying 400000 for the Sunday Times.

But it did not take us long to get our noughts back. When the clock struck
midnight on December 31 last year, we had outdone ourselves and were selling
for 600000. In January we were up to 1.2-million. In February we jumped to
2.6-million. Then we hit the big time.

Now, this story would be funny were it not so tragic. Many of us laugh at
Zimbabwean prices, forgetting that they are really about people's lives.

During the course of 2000 I spent some time in a then-teetering Zimbabwe.
The signs were there that things were going downhill. Everywhere I went
people would speak about how the tomato had rapidly shot up to 10. Initially
I was puzzled by this tomato refrain, until I discovered the centrality of
the tomato to the Zimbabwean diet and how its steep rise was hurting
stomachs.

I became so obsessed with the subject that I eventually wrote a story about
the ten-dollar tomato.

Over the years I paid close attention to the price of the tomato and would
ask Zimbabweans returning from home how much the vegetable cost.

I checked again this week and was told that a single tomato costs 3-million.
I was also informed that an egg will set you back 2.5-million, a 10kg bag of
mealie meal 70-million and a two-litre bottle of cooking oil 150-million.

This, in a country where the average office worker or nurse earns
300-million to 400-million.

Robert Mugabe's apologists and the defenders of quiet diplomacy routinely
castigate the media and civil rights groups for paying too much attention to
Zimbabwe.

They speak of the hundreds of thousands who have died in Sudan and in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, and of the undemocratic ways of that libido-
charged youngster who runs Swaziland. They ask why these countries do not
receive the same attention as Zimbabwe and insinuate that the country hogs
the spotlight because whites have been Robert Mugabe's primary victims.

Which is nonsense of the highest order. The victims of the Mugabe regime are
black Zimbabweans who go hungry because of the misery he has visited upon
them, and the black political activists who have had their genitals crunched
with pliers and subjected to high-voltage electrical instruments.

The reason the Zimbabwean story is high on the agenda is because the country's
decline represents one of the most dramatic unravellings of a society in
modern history.

At the turn of the century Zimbabwe was in trouble, but was still within the
confines of rescue.

The currency was in decline but not in free fall. Obviously, inflation was
rocketing but not out of control. Infrastructure worked. Harare did feel a
bit like Pietermaritzburg or Port Elizabeth, but it was generally okay.

Since then the country has regressed to medieval times - politically,
economically, infrastructurally and socially.

One of the continent's thriving democracies - which once had a sound
judiciary, thriving civil society and a free media - turned into a skunk.
And Harare is now like Butterworth.

Authoritative bodies have estimated that anywhere between four and five
million Zimbabweans - out of a population of 13 million- are political and
economic refugees in South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Britain, Canada
and New Zealand. And most of these are young individuals who will probably
never return.

Zimbabwe is a man-made catastrophe that could have been arrested had the
Zanu-PF leadership been reined in by Southern Africa's leaders. Instead,
they all gave Mugabe and his lieutenants solace and allowed them to undo all
the gains of post-liberation Zimbabwe.

In two weeks' time, Zimbabweans have a chance to change the direction of
their country by removing Mugabe from power. I would like to believe they
will, but I have my doubts.

In the past I have gotten into trouble for saying that Zimbabweans are the
most docile, oppressed people in the world, unwilling to take risks to free
themselves; that they are quite content to just plead for international
help.

So they will stream to the polls on March 29 and the vote will be split
three ways . There will be no clear winner, forcing a run-off between Mugabe
and Simba Makoni.

Makoni will probably win that one, but Mugabe will have engineered a victory
long before the first ballot is cast.

The young people will pack their rucksacks and head for the nearest border -
to roam the streets of Gaborone, Johannesburg and Lusaka.


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Zim's urban vote may be crucial

Mail and Guardian

Mail & Guardian reporter

15 March 2008 11:59

      New voter statistics out in Zimbabwe this week showed the urban
centres will be a major battleground in the elections in two weeks' time.

      Harare and Bulawayo, the two largest urban centres in the
country, now account for a combined 20% of the total voter count of
5,5-million.

      In previous elections, the share of urban voters was lower,
allowing Mugabe to throw all his resources into the rural areas to secure
his rule. This time he might have to do better if he is to fend off his two
challengers, Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni.

      After a weekend in which both candidates attracted large crowds
to their rallies in Bulawayo and the Midlands -- areas already largely
pro-opposition -- there are questions about how the urban vote might be
split between the two, and whether the split will be enough for Mugabe to
retain control.

      Ibbo Mandaza, a senior Makoni adviser, said on Tuesday that
whoever does well in Harare and Bulawayo this time has a good chance of
going all the way.

      But Tsvangirai dismissed suggestions that Makoni has been
chipping away at his traditional urban support. He said this week that he
merely saw Makoni as a faction of Zanu-PF, and that voters, too, would see
the new challenger as such.

      "To me this is a split in Zanu-PF. It has nothing to do with the
MDC. You have two candidates that I am contesting with from Zanu-PF; Robert
Mugabe's faction and Simba Makoni's faction. That's what I can read and for
me that is where it ends," Tsvangirai said.

      But analysts believe Makoni will feed on the disillusionment
among urban voters over Tsvangirai's failure to lead a united opposition
into the election.

      Mugabe himself will be watching the urban count more closely
than he would normally. Zimbabwean electoral law requires the winner of the
presidential race to gain a clear majority -- more than 50% -- to avoid a
run-off with the second place candidate. Mugabe will therefore be hoping
that Makoni and Tsvangirai split the urban vote and leave his rural support
intact.

      "As long as Makoni is fishing from the same pond as Tsvangirai,
there is no chance of a run-off," said analyst Gordon Moyo.

      Supporters of Tsvangirai believe Makoni is likely to attract
much of his support from traditional Zanu-PF supporters, who still back the
ruling party but are angry at Mugabe's refusal to hand over power to a
younger leadership.

      Mugabe is yet to hold an urban rally, and at all his rallies in
rural areas, he has largely ignored Tsvangirai, pouring most of his vitriol
on Makoni and those he believes are opposed to his continued hold on the
party.

      Meanwhile, Joćo Miranda, the Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs
and head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer
mission to the Zimbabwean election, says he believes free and fair elections
are still possible, even as opposition groups raised fresh protests over the
government's conduct ahead of the polls.

      Miranda, who is also head of SADC's organ on politics, defence
and security, said in Harare this week the regional body would have 120
observers on the ground by next week. Fifty SADC observers are already on
the ground.

      But there are concerns that SADC will arrive too late and will
not have sufficient opportunity to observe the pre-election conduct of the
various parties, in particular Zanu-PF supporters who have been involved in
acts of intimidation against the opposition.

      Miranda, however, insisted that SADC could still effectively
observe the electoral process even with only two weeks of campaigning left
before the March 29 election date.

      "The number of observers is enough to cover all constituencies.
We think we have enough time to observe this election. Even if we had two,
three days, it would still be sufficient to complete the mission," Miranda
said on Wednesday. "We need to believe in the capacity of the mission to do
the job."

      He said he believed a transparent election was possible, and
that all parties "must have the capacity to accept the outcome of the
elections. This is what we expect of all the people of Zimbabwe, all the
candidates, and the political institutions of this country."

      But opposition groups this week accused Mugabe of taking yet
another step to give Zanu-PF an advantage.

      A list of polling stations published by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission this week showed that there would be up to three times as many
polling stations in Mugabe's rural strongholds as there would be in urban
areas.

      The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, the largest local
observer group, said the distribution of urban voting centres was such that,
in one district of Harare, if all registered voters were to vote in the
allotted 12 polling hours, each voter would have a maximum of nine seconds
to cast a vote.


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Ferry your own maize, Zim millers ordered

Zambia Daily Mail

By CHARLES MUSONDA

ZIMBABWE's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has ordered all millers in that
country to organise their own transport to collect maize from Zambia in an
effort to avert imminent starvation.

According to the Zimbabwe Guardian of yesterday, in an effort to speed up
the process, the ruling ZANU-PF had dispatched youths to Lusaka to help in
the loading of the maize onto Zimbabwe-bound trucks.

Most parts of Zimbabwe have run out of maize stocks, with the little
available stocks being sold on the black market.

According to the paper, in Bulawayo, a 10-kilogramme bag of maize was now
fetching Z$200 million instead of the stipulated Z$10 million.

Zimbabwe's Minister of Agriculture, Rugare Gumbo confirmed the government
had dispatched manpower to Zambia to help quicken the delivery of maize.

"We have paid for the maize and we have to quicken the loading. We have an
urgent case here and we can't just fold our arms. The government now has a
team in Zambia assisting with logistics and supervising the whole thing as
well," he said.

Zimbabwe, which has been gripped by its worst ever economic crisis, has been
battling severe food shortages for the past eight years.

A joint crop assessment report by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food
and Agriculture Organisation released last week said Zimbabwe could face
another grain shortfall this year because of a shortage of seed and
fertilizers that affected the cropping season.

And the Business Digest reports that Zimbabwe paid US$28 million last
December for the 150,000 metric tons of maize the country ordered from
Zambia.

Delays in delivery of the maize forced Zimbabwe to pay another US$18 million
to South Africa for the importation of maize estimated to be between 100 000
and 130 000 tonnes for the GMB to boost the country's low maize stocks.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono told President Mugabe at a
function last Saturday that the country would not have imported maize from
South Africa had Zambia delivered the consignment on time.

"We paid US$28 million for the importation of 150,000 tonnes of additional
maize from Zambia. Only 36,000 tonnes were delivered. We paid US$3 million
for additional maize being delivered from South Africa. Last month we paid
US$15 million to South Africa," Mr Gono said.

GMB reportedly attempted to send some of its workers to Zambia to load the
maize but they were turned back as they did not have the necessary travel
documents.
GMB Mashonaland West provincial manager, John Mafa confirmed the
developments.

Mr Mafa said GMB was hoping that Zambia would soon finish loading the maize
and send the trucks to Zimbabwe by weekend.

"Our guys were turned back as they had no work permits. We are desperately
trying to fix that and as we speak, Zambia is loading that maize for us.

However, they can only do it at their own pace since we were supposed to
send the labour," Mr Mafa said.
He said GMB was finding it difficult to convince its labour force to
volunteer to go to Zambia.

"They are not willing to go there. We are looking at other strategies
including the use of uniformed forces with passports. We are hopeful that if
we do, we can get the maize at the latest by Sunday," he said.

Zimbabwe's maize stocks are at a critical level and Mr Mugabe told a rally
in Inyathi that the government had imported another 300,000 tonnes of maize
from Malawi.

He said the maize from Malawi would complement deliveries from Zambia.

On Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Sarah Sayifwanda
blamed GMB for the delay as it had insisted on using its own chemicals to
fumigate the maize.


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Zimbabwe Presidential Candidates Object To Policeman's 'Puppet' Label

VOA

      By Blessing Zulu & Taurai Shava
      Washington & Gweru, Zimbabwe
      15 March 2008

Spokesmen for Zimbabwean presidential candidates Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba
Makoni returned fire Saturday at Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri for
comments Friday endorsing President Robert Mugabe's re-election and saying
that what he termed Western "puppets" would not be allowed to lead the
country.

Speaking at a ceremony dispatching police officers to peacekeeping duties in
Liberia, Chihuri declared, "We will not allow puppets to take charge."
President Mugabe has accused his opponents of serving U.S. and British aims
in Zimbabwe, including regime change and the reversal of the land reform
program he launched in 2000.

Spokesman Denford Magora for independent candidate Makoni said Zimbabwe is
not a military state and that the army and police must obey the will of the
people.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of Tsvangirai's formation of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7
for Zimbabwe that Chihuri's statements amounted to what he called a
"constitutional coup."

Independent candidate Langton Towungana described the statements by Chihuri
and similar remarks by other security service chiefs as "inflammatory."

In the Midlands capital of Gweru, meanwhile, presidential candidate and
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told supporters that he is opening what
he called a "new phase of the struggle" to unseat Mr. Mugabe and his ruling
ZANU-PF party.

Tsvangirai told an estimated 15,000 supporters Zimbabwe must look ahead
instead of to the past for solutions, meaning ZANU-PF must be voted out of
power.

Correspondent Taurai Shava of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.

Elsewhere, Makoni was in Masvingo, the capital of Masvingo Province,
drumming up support in a rally at Mucheke Stadium where he told an estimated
1,000 assembled that the policies of President Mugabe and ZANU-PF have
failed.

In an interview, Makoni spokesman Denford Magora said the candidate is
seeking to sharpen the contrast between his message and that of Mr. Mugabe
and ZANU-PF.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe was urging his supporters to reject his
opponents including Makoni by voting en masse for ZANU-PF. Mr. Mugabe told a
rally in Mount Darwin in Mashonaland Central, a ruling party stronghold, in
an apparent reference to Makoni, that "genuine leaders are elected by the
people, they do not just come from nowhere and try to force themselves on
the people."

The campaign took a surprising turn this week with the emergence of polling
data showing Tsvangirai with an imposing lead over President Mugabe.

A poll taken by the Mass Public Opinion Institute in February showed Mr.
Mugabe with the support of 30% of those polled versus 28% for Tsvangirai and
12% for Makoni - but unofficial MPOI data gathered in March and leaked on
Friday showed Tsvangirai with 28% of support vs. 20% for Mr. Mugabe and 9%
for Makoni.

Some 31 percent of voters declined to respond, an MPOI official said.


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The Whole Country Become Enermies Of The State

The Zimbabwean

 Friday, 14 March 2008 09:14

Are we all enemies of the State?

BY TAONA MOTO

When people in the whole country become enemies of the state, then something
is terribly wrong with that state. In Zimbabwe today, it appears as if
almost every citizen is into one form of mischief or the other; mischief
that does not at all endear them to the owner of the country, one Mr Robert
Gabriel Mugabe.

I would want to believe that possibly Mugabe is the only patriot left in
Zimbabwe otherwise everyone else is an enemy of the country. How else can
one afford to be patriotic to the marrow and still retain their sanity? How?

Teachers have been striking for the second time this year; they are enemies
of the state - agents of the British - because they are supposed to keep on
working even when their salaries can no longer cover the cost of commuting
to and from their workplaces. They are supposed to be patriots, otherwise
why would they demand huge salaries when they know that the Government has
other more important things to attend to?

There are also the doctors and university lecturers who are almost
permanently on strike. Then there are also farmers who demand to know
producer prices before they start tilling the land.

Then there are villagers in Matabeleland who are now reportedly refusing to
accept payment for anything in Zim dollar; they prefer the rand or pula as a
means of payment because they can no longer trust their country's own
currency.

Then some peasant farmers refuse to sell their grain to the Grain Marketing
Board, instead preferring to smuggle a few buckets to sell on the black
market in towns and cities. They don't think the price offered by the GMB is
fair, but there is no-one to argue with. So they end up being enemies of the
state.

There are many people, hundreds of thousands, who were given the land to
till under the land reform programme. Most of them have not bothered to see
where the pieces of land are, and those who have taken up the land are not
doing better than those who never bothered to take it up. Year after year,
they have made a fortune from selling farming inputs and implements.seeds,
fertiliser, chemicals, and most commonly diesel. Almost every farmer,
including senior members of Mugabe's cabinet and party, is guilty of this
mischief. We know that it is the British who are behind all this, but this
makes them enemies of the revolution.

Business has been getting orders from the British to keep on increasing
prices. Even though common-sense thinking detects that they should sell
their products and services above cost in order to make profit, they are
expected to sell below cost. The argument is that they should make money
from huge volumes (never mind where the raw materials come from!), not price
increases, even when inflation is well over 100,000 percent. In fact, they
are expected to do like the GMB, which imports maize for more than $5bn per
tonne and sell it to millers for just $2.5m. Or like NOCZIM which imports
fuel for about $20m per litre only to tell it for about $80,000. A special
pricing commission has been put in place to ensure that they achieve this
miracle; otherwise anyone who does not comply becomes an enemy of the state.

We sell the foreign exchange we get from our relatives in the diaspora and
from moonlighting for the some hostile Western media on the black market;
even Government ministers and State media journalists also sell their forex
to the same market when they return from the President's many trips. So they
are also enemies of the president and his country.

Almost most all the vehicles on Zimbabwean roads - including those of
ministers of religion and other God-fearing individuals - are running on
fuel sourced from the black market. Bread, cooking oil, and other basics of
life are only available on the black market. So by going out of the way to
source these on the illegal black market, we all run afoul with the dictates
of good citizenry, and thereby become enemies of the state.

Anyone who tries to think or argue otherwise is an enemy of the country!
They are witches and prostitutes, to use the presidential language!

I just wonder how many other Zimbabweans really qualify to be called
patriots. So this should be some form of consolation to Morgan, Simba,
Dumiso and others who have are being insulted daily for allegedly being less
patriotic.


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Why People Vote For Mugabe And Zanu (PF)

The Zimbabwean

 Friday, 14 March 2008 09:24

BY MUSA NYASHA

A number of years ago, just before the last presidential elections, Morgan
Tsvangirai was interviewed by James Makamba on his presidential aspirations.
This interview was aired on Makamba's Joy TV.

I watched this interview with interest and then with horror as, during the
final minutes, Tsvangirai fell into another trap.

To finish the interview, Makamba said that even though Tsvangirai was vying
to succeed President Mugabe, there must be some things that the MDC
President admired about Mugabe. Morgan Tsvangirai finished an interview in
which he was appealing to the people of Zimbabwe to vote for him to be
president of the nation, by extolling his opponent's virtues. Predictably,
state-controlled newspapers had a field day. They simply led with how the
opposition leader had "praised Mugabe". The qualities that Tsvangirai
admitted Mugabe had were those of being articulate and a liberation war
veteran.

Anybody who goes into a competition or war is best advised to understand his
opponent and why that opponent has his or her admirers. The opponent's
weapons must be neutralised. Whether or not Mugabe has been rigging
elections since Edgar Tekere and Margaret Dongo first dared to challenge
him, it is an undeniable fact that Mugabe does have supporters. In order to
beat Mugabe through the ballot box it is necessary to understand why he is
admired by those who do.

Robert Mugabe promotes and personifies the image of the man who dares speak
and stand against the forces of oppression. He is the brave African who
dared tell Tony Blair to "keep your England and I will keep my Zimbabwe".
Mugabe is the elder statesman who has stood the test of time and managed to
keep a strangle-hold on the reins of power in Zimbabwe for almost 28 years.

Robert Mugabe is the African hero who has returned the land to its rightful
owners, the black people of Zimbabwe. The world is blind to the Mugabe who
has turned Zimbabweans into paupers. The world does not know the liberator
who has turned oppressor. Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) are masters of the
conspiracy theory. Whoever opposes them is said to be part of the western
world's machinations for the re-colonialisation of Zimbabwe.

[xhead]Wedded to corruption
Some of Zimbabwe's war veterans and even citizens fail to separate the
person of Mugabe from the war of liberation, its principles and gains. These
people are willing to forgive all transgressions for the sake of protecting
the 'sovereignty' of the state. These people are honestly afraid of
betraying the struggle by removing the 'father of the revolution' from
power.

It is essential to convince these people that the principles of the struggle
are not under siege and that these principles can survive Mugabe. It is
important to understand that the struggle that made Mugabe a hero, has also
claimed him as a victim.

There are also people in Zimbabwe who vote for Zanu (PF) and Mugabe in order
to maintain the corruption in Zimbabwe. There are people who are amassing a
great deal of wealth through foreign currency and other deals which would
not be possible in a Zimbabwe that will have been returned to normalcy,
where systems work as they should and regular, honest employment is
rewarding.

There are people who are threatened by the idea of President Mugabe losing
elections. Some have joined or remained in his inner circle through licking
Mugabe's boots and enjoying the privileges that come with this patronage.
There are people who are afraid of losing the farms, the tractors etc they
received through being Mugabe's praise-singers.

These are some of the people who want the Mugabe regime to survive its
latest test for purely selfish needs. Will presidential hopefuls reach out
to these people and maybe promise them deals similar to those being offered
to Mugabe himself to assure him of immunity if he agrees to leave office?


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Mutiny In the Making?

The Zimbabwean

Zanu members campaign against Mugabe

BY MXOLISI NCUBE
BULAWAYO

Senior Zanu (PF) politicians who secretly back Makoni are waiting until a
few days before election to reveal their hands, The Zimbabwean learnt this
week.

Politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, a respected former ZIPRA commander and
intelligence supremo, has already sided with independent presidential
candidate and former finance minister Simba Makoni. His Zapu (PF) party
merged with Zanu in 1987, in a marriage of convenience that led to the Unity
Accord.The two former politburo members have claimed in various press
briefings and public announcements that they have the support of some major
players in Zanu (PF), who are yet to come out in the open - claims which
Mugabe and other party members have vehemently denied.Ruling party sources
in Bulawayo, however, this week revealed that some senior politicians had
not yet declared their support for Makoni in a bid to "direct things from
within" and would only announce their allegiance to the former minister a
few days before elections.These are said to be members aggrieved by the way
in which former freedom fighters, led by their National Chairman Jabulani
Sibanda, shoehorned delegates at the 2007 Special Congress to nominate
Mugabe unopposed to represent the party in the presidential elections.
"After failing to control things in the congress, they have resorted to
urging people to decampaign the President," said a party official. "Most of
those that are actively decampaigning him are the party's candidates in the
council, parliamentary and senatorial elections, who have told people to
vote them in, but choose Makoni to lead the country out of its current
economic crisis. Very few, who include Obert Mpofu and Andrew Langa, are
still showing support for Mugabe."Most of the party members who are openly
campaigning against Mugabe are said to be in Matabeleland North."Mpofu gave
the names of these candidates to the President and said that they needed to
be investigated, as they were not committed to preserving the country's
unity and sovereignty," said another source. "We do not know what will
happen to those members, as the President took the names but made no mention
of any measures."Mpofu confirmed that some party supporters were
decampaigning Mugabe, but would not reveal their names to The Zimbabwean."I
cannot reveal their names, but I know them and I have been told most of the
bad things they are saying," he said


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Police Claim Bosses are Cheating Them

The Zimbabwean

BY MXOLISI NCUBE
BULAWAYO

Junior officers in Bulawayo have accused their superiors of cheating them
out of allowances they should get for policing the forthcoming elections.The
police officers, who all spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed they had
been promised a paltry Z$15m a day - not even enough to buy a meal - for
working during the elections. The allowance would add up to Z$150m for the
10 days that most of them will deployed."Staff from other ministries have
been promised Z$300m a day, but we have been told that we will only get
Z$15m a day for our part, yet we will be doing all the donkey work. This is
not fair and we believe that our bosses have tampered with the money," said
one junior police officer.A senior officer based at police headquarters in
the city confirmed the amount, but rubbished claims that the allowances had
been altered."We do not alter the allowances. These boys always complain to
convey a negative image of the whole set-up when things do not favour them.
These things are done in a transparent manner and audited at the end of each
exercise," he said.Junior officers have made a killing in the past for
taking part in various operations such as Sunrise Two, which is said to have
earned each officer Z$1.5bn.


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Violence, Coup Threats Wreck Chances of Free, Fair Elections

The Zimbabwean

 Friday, 14 March 2008 14:59

HARARE
Anxiety, fear and lawlessness characterize the countdown to Zimbabwe's
decisive general election in two weeks time, government opponents, human
rights activists and political analysts said this week.

New evidence of rising harassment and violence against opponents of
President Mugabe and his ruling party in the run-up to the March 29 general
elections has been obtained by The Zimbabwean on Sunday.
Families of victims have spoken of beatings, murders and disappearances, in
interviews conducted at a secret safe house with opposition supporters.One
such victim, an activist for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
was on Thursday evicted from government houses in Ruwa by a machete-wielding
Zanu (PF) mob ostensibly because she did not support Mugabe.A family
spokesman said militants linked to the ruling Zanu (PF) party first
plastered the MDC activist's house with Zanu (PF) posters and later threw
the family's furniture out in the rain.In Rushinga, Edson Muwengwa, an MDC
council candidate has been missing since February 15 in what the MDC and the
Muwengwa family fear is an abduction following several deaths threats and an
attempt on his life by Zanu (PF) supporters.In Bubi and Umguza, Zanu (PF)
militants were reportedly harassing MDC supporters who signed nomination
papers for electoral candidates for the opposition party.Opposition MDC
parliamentary candidates Marvellous Khumalo, Pishai Muchauraya, Thabitha
Khumalo have all been attacked or detained in the past two weeks in
connection with door-to-door campaigns.Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said
the MDC has been receiving reports from all provinces of mounting violence,
intimidation and arrests.Simba Makoni has also reported intimidation and
assault of his independent candidates, with the Hatfield house of his Harare
South parliamentary candidate, Joram Nago, attacked by a Zanu (PF) mob last
week.At a secret location, opposition activists showed scars from attacks by
what human rights groups say is an increasing number of pro-government
militias.Abednico Bhebhe, a spokesman for the MDC (Mutambara), said his
group had lodged a complaint with the electoral authorities, protesting
intimidation of supporters."Intimidation is rampant and the conditions are
not conducive for a free and fair election," he said.The Tsvangirai
formation has appealed to the High Court for relief and filed a complaint
with the Zimbabwe Election Commission's multi-party liaison committee
alleging official harassment of its candidates and supporters.Rainosa
Tivatye, the United People's Party's Zengeza east parliamentary candidate
was brutalized by a Zanu (PF) mob on Tuesday.Speaking in a bedside
interview, Tivatye said he was stunned when police released the goon squad
after briefly detaining them, with no charge preferred against them.In
Uzumba, MDC parliamentary candidate Florence Machinga was kidnapped by a
Zanu (PF) squad and harassed for close to four hours.The incident happened
after a meeting with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials at Mutawatawa
Growth Point. A truckload of ruling party thugs accosted Machinga and
dragged her out of her vehicle, kicking and screaming.She was later taken to
the police station on charges of tearing down Zanu (PF) posters. Police did
not prefer any charges against her.
Despite the focus on the so-called war veterans, human rights groups say
many other pro-government militias have been formed ahead of the general
poll and they tolerate no dissent."The attacks on the innocent women and
children in the absence of the men at work in the cities is an indication of
the desperation of Zanu (PF) to win at any cost," one rural woman in Ngezi
said, holding a young child with a scarred face.After 28 years in power,
President Mugabe is accused by his opponents of orchestrating all the
violence in order to save his political career."You must stand your ground,
defend your situation, defend your family. We are entitled to do that, but
please, we shouldn't go assaulting people," he said at one of his rallies at
the weekend.On Tuesday police cancelled MDC rallies in Makoni South
ostensibly because Vice President Josph Msika had made last minute
arrangements to address rallies in the same area. Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC
parliamentary candidate in the area, said he was appalled by the
prevarication on police's part, and said he was challenging this in court.A
series of repressive laws stifling civil liberties, a seemingly
state-sponsored campaign of violence and intimidation, and the failure of
international arbitration to"The more the ruling party sees it cannot get
what it wants, the more desperate it has become," said Abednigo Bhebhe, an
MDC lawmaker from the country's southeast.
Bhebhe spoke as Zimbabwe police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri on
Thursday joined defence forces commander, General Constantine Chiwenga and
head of prison services, Major Gen Paradzai Zimondi in making implicit
threats of a coup in the event that Mugabe loses the election."We will not
allow any puppets to take charge," Chihuri said at Police General
Headquarters in Harare while seeing off nine police officers who are joining
the United Nations peace-keeping mission in Liberia. "I am happy that
Zimbabweans are wise," he said in apparent reference to Tsvangirai and
Makoni, who have both been labelled stooges of the West.


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Observers Not Allowed Near Ballot Boxes

The Zimbabwean

 Friday, 14 March 2008 15:06

HARARE
Domestic and international election observers will not be allowed to stay
with the ballot boxes between the polling booth and the place where votes
are counted, it has emerged.In effect, this means that only the monitors
assigned by the official Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, who are civil
servants, will be able to deliver a verdict on how free and fair the
elections have been.Observers, on the other hand, will be given free access
to observe the electoral process across the country, but their findings will
not be taken into account by ZEC.Political observers say this is tantamount
to ZEC policing itself - and refusing any outside monitoring.Zanu (PF)'s
hand-picked observers will be present in groups of three at each of the
country's 11,000-plus polling stations. A local observer group has been
ordered to stop conducting voter education.
The local observers are still to be accredited and a spokesman for the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network said he was very unhappy."The government
is screening the list of names we submitted to remove those they don't
like," said a pro-democracy activist.Four monitors are meant to be at each
station as well - some 62,000 in all. These will all be civil servants,
drawn mainly from the Ministries of Education and Home Affairs, and - to the
concern of some analysts - the Defence Ministry.An agent for each candidate
contesting the election is also allowed at every polling station.The SADC
delegation said it was deploying observers at potential "hot spots" to try
to bolster the security of voters.The Zimbabwe Government has issued
invitations only to a few 'friendly' countries.From the US, only the
December 12 Movement, a staunch ally of the ruling party has been invited to
provide observers, while other organisations, such as the Carter Institute
and the National Democratic Institute, which might usually expect to monitor
elections, have not been asked.This raises serious doubts about the
impartiality of the entire election observer process.


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SADC observer missions should start scrutinising now: NCA

The Zimbabwean

 Friday, 14 March 2008 15:35

The National Constitutional Assembly is urgently calling SADC observer
mission in Zimbabwe to convene an urgent meeting with President Robert
Mugabe over statements made by Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and
Prison Commissioner General Major Paradzai Zimondi.
A senior government official is not supposed to declare his political
allegiance in public let alone at a government meeting using government
resources. Commissioner Augustine Chihuri as his custom yesterday called
protests against opposition candidates if Mugabe loses the coming 29 March
elections.

Chihuri has already declared violence and a possible civil war if majority
of Zimbabweans chose another candidate ahead of Mugabe and NCA strongly
condemn such statements especially by government officials who should be
apolitical especially when discharging national duties.

It is however an important development that such a statement has been made
in the presence of SADC's 54 strong observer mission already in the country
which has already hinted that elections could be free and fair.

The NCA is asking SADC to make its stance clear on these developments
especially now that they filtered into the state mouthpiece dismissing any
chances of such statements as malice.

This kind of intimidation by Chihuri is the kind of politics which SADC
should be able to dismiss and condemn as they determine how people are
likely to vote and possible action post election period. Such reckless
statement by senior public servants dismisses a possibility of a free and
fair contest.

Chihuri who has threatened to shoot any Zimbabwean likely to protest against
the results of the elections was supposed to have borrowed advice from
foreign affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi that free elections should
not be a victory only of the opposition.

The NCA would want to convey to Mr Chihuri that victory should not be that
which determine Mugabe as a victor. The organisation also wants to alert Mr
Chihuri that he does not own the country and the police force hence do not
have the mandate to threaten the public for choosing who to vote for.

Chihuri's comments comes a few days after another senior official,
commissioner of the prison services Major General Paradzai Zimondi also
threatened war if Mugabe lose the coming elections.

The most alarming thing in both cases is that these senior civil servants
declare their political allegiance and patronage when discharging state
duties when an ordinary civil servant like a teacher is not allowed to
support an opposition party let alone wear a t-shirt of choice.

The NCA believes that manipulation of state resources to propagate party
propaganda should be dismissed with all who believe in a free and fair
election. The two senior civil servants have used state resources and time
to spread their ZANU PF propaganda messages and SADC should response to such
utterances.

It is the feeling of the NCA that if SADC is to come with an honest
assessment it should take into cognizant all events especially in the police
and military, food distribution and rural campaigns leading to the election
date.

One bizarre thing at this meeting is that Chihuri made these statements
preparing the police force for violent activities at a sendoff gathering of
police officials for peace keeping initiative in Liberia .

National Constitutional Assembly
Information and Publicity Department
National Spokesperson, Madock Chivasa
Tel: +263 -4- 736338


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Not too late

www.cathybuckle.com

Saturday 15th March 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
A Zimbabwean in the Diaspora phoned me this week and told me how desperately
she longs to come home. She misses everything so much: familiar faces and
beautiful places, old friends and casual acquaintances, the overwhelming
friendliness of people and of course the glorious climate and magnificent
countryside. She asked me how things were now in Zimbabwe and I replied that
they are very bad, and still getting worse. You cannot really describe what
a hundred thousand percent inflation looks like, or shops without food or
hospitals without medicine. My friend, like so many others that have been
struggling to survive these years in exile in foreign countries, wonders
when she will be able to come home. She says she meets Zimbabweans all the
time and always the talk is of home and plans for the day when they can
return. Everyone wonders if it will be soon, asks if March 2008 will finally
see an end to the need for exile.

My friend asked if anything was as she remembered it at home and I looked
out of the window. On the surface and for a few minutes nothing at all had
changed. The sun is still bright and the sky blue; babblers and bulbuls
splash in the birdbath; the Msasa trees are covered in new pods and the wild
orange trees in hard, green, cricket-ball fruits. In the canopy of trees
overhead the voice of an Oriole sings out again and again and a Paradise
Flycatcher, still with its long orange breeding tail, flits backwards and
forwards. Children still play on the streets with home made footballs and
roll bicycle rims along dusty paths. On the roadside women still sit selling
tomatoes and avocadoes that they've carefully arranged into pyramids. Some
even have a few ground nuts for sale but like most things they are a
luxury - an enamel cupful for two and a half million dollars tipped into a
newspaper cone. The ordinary people are still the same too, friendly,
courteous, smiling, welcoming and generous.

After the conversation with my friend, I felt so sad about this great
extended family of Zimbabweans now living away from home. Such trauma we
have all been through these past nine years - those of us who have stayed
and those who have gone. But we still have one thing in common and that is
that now, after nine years of struggle, we have all had enough. Now it is
time for families to be reunited, communities to be rebuilt and for Zimbabwe
to stand straight, tall and proud again. It is not too late.

I close with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
"When I despair I always remember that all through history the way of truth
and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a
time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, always."
Until next time, thanks for reading, with love cathy.


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A letter from the diaspora

www.cathybuckle.com

15th March 2008

Dear Friends.
Robert Mugabe declaims at every opportunity that the former colonial power
is responsible for Zimbabwe's troubles; blame the Brits, blame sanctions,
blame the opposition, blame anyone rather than acknowledge his own personal
responsibility for the mess the country is in. I believe that one of the
real causes for Zimbabwe's troubles is the 'fatal flaw' in Mugabe's own
personality. He is a vain, arrogant man, never happier than when he is
strutting the world stage and basking in adulation. What he cannot face is
rejection, particularly from once faithful followers. His response, when it
comes is cruel and vindictive; a brief look at Zimbabwe's recent history
illustrates my point.

Back in February 2000 the government of Zimbabwe held a Referendum on a new
constitution for the country. Zanu PF had mounted a nationwide campaign to
popularise the new constitution which gave the President greatly enhanced
powers including the power to take land from the white commercial farmers
and redistribute it to landless black peasants.

Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF lost that Referendum by a sizeable majority: 61 of
120 constituencies voted No to his new constitution.

'Whites vote No in their thousands' screamed a ZBC headline but amazingly
Mugabe himself made what seemed like a very conciliatory broadcast thanking
the whites for their participation. No one watching that broadcast could
quite believe what they saw: a contrite and seemingly humble Mugabe
accepting defeat.

Two weeks later, under the direction of Chengerai Hitler Hunzvi, now buried
in Heroes Acre, hordes of so-called war veterans began the violent farm
invasions. On March 2nd, Mugabe was again on TV. Gone was the conciliatory
tone; now whites and farmers in particular were the enemy, they must be made
to tremble, strike fear in the hearts of the white man and no, he would not
turn the war veterans off the land.

Confusion reigned supreme with the police for the most part backing Mugabe's
line and refusing to implement court orders to eject the invaders. The
propaganda machine ground into top gear with rumour and counter rumour of
weapon caches and white-hatched plots to topple the government. On the
ground, murder, rape and torture were increasingly used to intimidate and
terrorise the population .

In June of the same year there was a General Election; the newly formed MDC
won 57 seats, Zanu PF 62 and Zanu Ndonga 1. The long delay in announcing the
results indicated there was some serious rigging going on; why else would it
take so long to count the votes. ' It's not who votes that counts but who
counts the votes'!

By the time of the presidential elections in March 2002 Robert Mugabe could
have had little doubt that he had lost the people's affection. His 'heroic'
status had been tarnished by government corruption and mounting public
dissatisfaction with steadily deteriorating living conditions and food
shortages, not to mention the increasing use of the Green Bombers, Mugabe's
'new war veterans' as he called them, to subdue villagers and townspeople.
In spite of all the violence, there was a massive turnout over the two days
of voting. There were five candidates contesting but the only two that
mattered were Mugabe and Tsvangirai. The others, the three stooges I called
them, accounted for about 55 thousand votes. 3 million Zimbabweans had voted
we were told. Mugabe gained 1million 685, 212 votes and Tsvangirai 1million
258.401. No longer could Mugabe claim that all his people loved him.

The relevance of these figures to the harmonised elections that will take
place on March 29 2008 is not hard to see. Despite the fact that there are
four elections taking place on that one day it has become very clear that
the only one Mugabe is really interested in is the Presidential vote. All
his party's candidates have been instructed to put 'Mugabe for President'
ahead of all other considerations.
Mugabe has to win, his very survival, psychological, political and maybe
even physical depends on it. If the people no longer love him and vote for
him willingly then he will, like an abusive father, use force to ensure
their obedience. In all of this he will be assisted by self-serving
followers, such as 'Bishop' Kunonga and other unholy reverends who have
granted him god-like status or service chiefs who swear they will never
salute any other leader. Such adulation is food and drink for a man like
Mugabe; without it his bloated ego will wither and die; no wonder that even
at 84 years of age he cannot give up. And if the unthinkable happens and he
loses the election, Mugabe will remain the vengeful enemy; I believe his
successor in State House would do well to remember that.
Yours in the struggle. PH.


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Australia to provide more food aid to Zimbabwe

Government of Australia

Date: 15 Mar 2008

AA 08 14

Australia will provide an additional $2 million to the World Food Programme
(WFP) for food aid to meet an urgent and growing need for humanitarian
assistance in Zimbabwe.

The WFP is currently feeding about 2.7 million Zimbabweans, targeting the
neediest such as children and those affected by HIV.

This further contribution underlines Australia's determination to continue
to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe.

Australia's latest assistance is in addition to our contribution of $3.5
million to the WFP in August last year for use in Zimbabwe. It also adds to
$3.75 million in support for international humanitarian relief efforts in
Zimbabwein 2006-07, much of which was for food aid which Australiaprovided
for the Zimbabwean people.

Zimbabwe continues to experience erratic weather patterns, as well as the
HIV/AIDS pandemic. Crop production has fallen. The country is experiencing
ongoing economic problems, and hyper-inflation is causing food prices to
rise beyond the reach of many people. A growing number of households are
vulnerable to hunger.

The WFP has a strong track record of delivering humanitarian aid effectively
in difficult environments. Australia has a close working relationship with
WFP, particularly in the Asia Pacific region and in Africa.

Media Contact:

Sabina Curatolo (Mr McMullan's Office) 0400 318 205
AusAID Public Affairs 0417 680 590


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Packed agendas ... as well as hidden ones

Cricinfo

Martin Williamson

March 15, 2008

Excerpt

This Sunday the great and the good from around the world assemble in Dubai
for one of the most important meetings in the ICC's 99-year existence.

The subject of Zimbabwe, the thorn in the ICC's side that won't go away,
will again be raised. Almost two years after Zimbabwe Cricket started its
own, largely discredited, forensic audit into accounts that many inside the
country claim are seriously flawed, the ICC's own independent auditors,
KPMG, are set to present their own report.
Even before the findings have been presented, the ICC finds itself in a
no-win situation. It is certain that malpractices will be revealed - ICC
chief executive Malcolm Speed himself pointed them out last June - but it is
expected that ZC chairman Peter Chingoka will plead that Zimbabwe's economy
is in such a mess and the local currency so worthless, that nobody adheres
to standard practices and every business does whatever is necessary to
function.

The ICC executive will have to decide whether to accept that argument. This
is where politics comes into play. Chingoka has assiduously courted and
received the backing of the Indian board in return for his support when push
comes to vote. How strong that bond is, is likely to be tested to the full
in Dubai, but it is predicted he will survive. The UK government are clearly
suspicious, requesting a copy of the audit in advance because, as a
Westminster source told Cricinfo, they suspect a potential cover-up and want
to see what KPMG have to say for themselves.

Assuming he lives to fight another day, Chingoka himself is also an issue as
he is due in London in June for the ICC annual conference but the UK
authorities, as things stand, have ruled him persona non grata and refused a
visa. Behind-the-scenes meetings to try to get him into the UK have, so far,
failed, and the executive will need to decide if they want to hold the
meeting without one of their most senior members or move it abroad. Unless
the government stands down, it is likely an alternative venue will be
sought. That could raise warning signs about next year's ICC World Twenty20
in England where even if Zimbabwe are allowed, Chingoka again might be
turned away.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

© Cricinfo


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Loaded! And Just Enough to Buy a Loaf

The Zimbabwean
 


Loaded down with so much money he can barely carry it all, but this young Zimbabwean isn’t on his way to buy a bike or a computer. All that cash might just buy him a loaf of bread.

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