The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Soldiers blow whistle on Mugabe rigging
A senior commander in the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and two airforce
officers have released details
of alleged rigging underway to hand president
Robert Mugabe a victory in
The tip offs were sent to a site set up by the
organisation, Zimbabwe Democracy Now (ZDN), which has run
newspaper advertisements inside the country and throughout
The ads list a website where officials can post details
activities by the Mugabe government, both ahead of and during the
an offer of up to US$5000 for information.
"We have been
swamped with information, some not credible, but much of which
out," ZDN spokesman, Mr Goodson Chibaya said from Pretoria in
where the site is being managed.
"In particular we had separate postings
from the Manyame Airforce
Headquaters in Harare and the Thornhill air base
in Gweru, corroborated by
another tip off by a very senior person in the
army who not only gave us his
name but allowed us to speak with him by
phone," he said.
All three men had the same story.
On the night of
Thursday 27 March, trusted officers in the army, airforce
and police will be
required to vote under supervision for the ruling Zanu-PF
officers will each fill in multiple ballot papers.
At Thornhill, the
papers will be filled in at the air force sports club.
On Friday 28, a
helicopter from Squadron No 7 at Manyame HQ will fly further
ballot papers to the Mugabe stronghold of Mount Darwin where a
standing by to fill in multiple forms.
The exercises will be conducted by
Mugabe's feared secret police, the
Central Intelligence Organisation or
"What then happens to these illegal voting papers, I don't know," Mr
said. "But hopefully someone will inform us via the tip- off site.
meantime we have passed the information to the SADC observer mission
have launched our own investigation."
The whistleblower website
is at http://www.zimbabwedemocracynow.com/wb.php
Inside Zimbabwe: Opposition threatens post-election uprising
Chris McGreal in
Thursday March 27 2008
has said it will bring the government to its knees
with Kenya-style mass
protests if the president, Robert Mugabe, carries
through extensive plans to
rig Saturday's presidential and parliamentary
vowed to use the army to crush any demonstrations and warned
to waste their votes on supporting opposition candidates
whom he said he
would never allow to come to power.
The 84-year-old president would
struggle to extend his 28-year rule in a
clean election amid widespread
hunger, mass unemployment, 100,000% inflation
and a currency devaluing so
fast that the few people with jobs are paid in
billions of Zimbabwe
Monitoring groups say the ruling Zanu-PF party has paved the way
the election by printing millions of extra ballots, intimidating
voters by threatening their food supplies, permitting policemen into
booths to "help" voters, and fixing the electoral roll.
those registered to vote is Desmond Lardner-Burke, who was born a
ago and, as justice minister in the white Rhodesian government,
Mugabe as a terrorist. Lardner-Burke died years ago in South Africa.
Makoni, the election director for the opposition presidential candidate
Morgan Tsvangirai, who narrowly lost the 2002 ballot amid widespread fraud,
said his Movement for Democratic Change party would not repeat its mistakes
of six years ago.
"The lesson from 2002 is we didn't have a plan for
after the vote. Everyone
stayed at home and said we will go to the courts.
We have seen the lesson
from Kenya. We don't want the violence that happened
in Kenya. The bit I
like about what happened in Kenya was they knew there
would be fraud and
they were ready," he said.
"We will be out on the
streets celebrating when the polls close. It will be
a celebration which can
turn into a protest easily. Zimbabweans are angry,
they are desperate, they
are ready to protest. It's the tipping point we are
Mugabe told an election rally this week that a vote for the
be wasted because his opponents would "never be allowed to
country", and he threatened to put down any Kenya-style
"We have enough security forces. No nonsense, if that is what
the likes of
Tsvangirai are planning, they are dreaming. That will never
Never ever," he said.
The most recent opinion poll gives
Tsvangirai 28% of the vote, Mugabe 20%
and a third candidate who broke away
from Zanu-PF, Simba Makoni, 9%.
Nearly a third of those polled were
undecided or declined to reveal a
preference. The opposition says the bulk
of them will be voting against
Tsvangirai said the real
challenge for the opposition is to make sure its
votes count. "We expect the
enemies of justice to engage in every trick in
the book," he
The opposition says one of those tricks is to have printed 9m
there are 6m names on the electoral roll – many of whom are
dead, fake or
The law obliges the electoral
commission to provide copies of the roll to
the opposition in digital form.
The commission handed over 80,000 printed
pages scanned on to a disc,
technically digital but of no use for computer
programs designed to turn up
multiple registrations and false identity
MDC says it has uncovered 90,000 suspicious names on the
lists for 28
parliamentary constituencies, and it expects that pattern to be
the other 182.
There are 25,420 registered voters in the Harare North
8,201 - nearly one third of the electorate - are listed as
living in a
single small area, described as Hatcliffe Housing Cooperate,
with just 36
dwellings. Some houses have more than 300 people assigned to a
The MDC calculates that the last presidential
election was stolen through a
combination of ballot stuffing and by
preventing hundreds of thousands of
its supporters in the cities from voting
by creating huge queues with too
few polling stations.
monitoring groups estimate that for Harare polling stations to
potential voter, each will have to be checked on the roll, cast
and leave in half a minute.
"It will be a problem," said Makoni. "Our
hope is that voters will be so
angry they will just stay to make sure they
vote no matter how long it
Although the opposition leadership
has been largely left alone since
Tsvangirai was badly beaten up by Zanu-PF
forces a year ago, the government
has pursued election workers of the MDC
and Simba Makoni by harassing and
arresting them in their thousands. Some
have been detained for campaigning
door to door or for putting up election
posters in areas already smothered
with Zanu-PF propaganda.
ruling party has also pressured hungry rural voters through village
by warning them that if the count for their area favours the
will lose their food supply.
Even if Zimbabweans do not bow to
intimidation, there is no guarantee their
votes will count. Ballots are
counted in polling stations but the results
announced after they are
collated at a regional centre, which is where the
numbers were changed in
favour of Zanu-PF in the last election, according to
Makoni said this time the MDC will use its agents to
the results from each polling station and pre-empt any
alterations. It will
then collate them at an election centre in Harare and
issue its own count
ahead of the electoral commission, which is headed by a
"In order to avoid skulduggery, our
supporters will follow the documentation
with the results from the polling
stations and to the collation centres to
protect it. It's like a river that
will be swelling and then if the
government tries to deny our victory it
will not be able to turn it back,"
The opposition has in the
past threatened - and failed - to mobilise
millions of Zimbabweans. If anger
finally overcomes fear and fatalism,
protesters will face a regime that has
vowed never to surrender power.
The police and army say they will crush
opposition protests. The Zimbabwean
justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
said allegations of rigging were no
more than an admission of
"What in fact is evident now is that Tsvangirai and his camp is
panicking. They see the crowds that our president is drawing, they see
popularity. In fact they are going to be wiped out of the political map,
they are staring defeat in their face. They are now trying to find excuses
to justify that defeat," he said on state television.
White farmer gets suspended jail sentence
for resisting eviction in hungry Zimbabwe
International Herald Tribune
PressPublished: March 27, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe: The first
white farmer convicted of defying an order to
vacate his property under
Zimbabwe's campaign to put more land in black
hands was given a suspended
prison sentence Thursday.
A Harare magistrate gave Deon Theron, a vice
president of the
white-dominated Commercial Farmers Union, one month to
leave his farm and a
six-month prison sentence, suspended for five years on
condition he does not
violate the Land Act.
Theron's lawyer said he
would appeal the conviction and sentence.
The 53-year-old dairy farmer
was convicted Tuesday of unlawfully remaining
on his farm after it was
declared state land. The prosecutor had called for
The prosecutor, who refused to give his name to reporters
but was addressed
by the magistrate as Mr. Zvakare, urged a quick sentencing
saying it was "a
serious criminal case."
Observers inside and
outside Zimbabwe blame the meltdown of the country's
economy on the often violent seizures of white-owned
commercial farms that
began on President Robert Mugabe's orders in 2000.
shortages and crumbling infrastructure have been key
campaign issues in the
approach to general elections Saturday.
Theron owns 400 head of dairy cattle
on a 400-hectare (900-acre) farm south
of Harare and supplies 8,000 liters
(about 2,000 gallons) of milk a day to
stores in Harare at a time when
shortages of milk and dairy products are
A former senior
official of the state central bank, identified in court as
claimed he had been allocated Theron's farm in October,
according to court
documents. Musakwa is a ruling party parliamentary
candidate in Saturday's
Theron says since October he and his family have been
threatened by ruling party militants who also targeted 12 other
farmers remaining in the Beatrice dairy-producing district, 70
(40 miles) south of Harare.
Mugabe, who has been in power
since independence in 1980 and is seeking
re-election Saturday, told
supporters during a campaign rally this week the
government bought 800,000
tons of food from neighboring countries — about
half the country's
requirements — to help feed the nation. Zimbabwe once
exported food. Mugabe
blames the economic woes on Western economic
and the presidential campaign of a former Mugabe loyalist
attract disillusioned members of both the ruling party and the
opposition have combined to present Mugabe with a tough election
But Mugabe has been accused of manipulating elections through
and fraud, raising questions as to whether the vote can be free
The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying at a rally
Wednesday that his ZANU-PF party would accept defeat at the polls — and
saying opponents also should respect whatever result emerges.
threatened a harsh response if disappointed opponents resort to
"We are hearing some opposition members want to bring anarchy
as was the
case in Kenya if ZANU-PF wins," the Herald newspaper quoted
saying. "Try it and you shall see. If you want to please the
shall see. We want to see you do it."
Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga both
claimed victory in a
December presidential election, which observers said
was so flawed by
rigging that it was impossible to say who had won. Their
weeks of bloodshed that left more than 1,000 dead before
the two agreed to
Zimbabwe Radio Filled With Party Political
By Peta Thornycroft
Zimbabwe's state media is being criticized for biased
coverage of national
elections to be held Saturday, but party political
advertisements in the
public media are being seen and heard for the first
time. Peta Thornycroft
reports for VOA the latest ZANU-PF jingle on radio
exhorts people to vote
for the ruling party if they want a
POLITICAL AD: "If you want a farm, vote ZANU-PF. If you want a
Vote ZANU-PF. If you want a company, Vote ZANU-PF."
are the first phrases of a jingle that began playing Tuesday on all
Zimbabwe's radio stations. The advertisement is playing throughout
and night with several others from ZANU-PF.
The state controls all radio,
the only television channel, and both daily
tells people that President Robert Muabe will give them
trusted leadership and that ZANU-PF is for black economic
although most businesses are already controlled by black
Mr. Mugabe handed out millions of dollars worth of
tractors and other
agricultural equipment as he launched his campaign for
re-election. He also
signed a law that forces all corporations to hand a
majority sharehold to
The opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, led by founding MDC President
Morgan Tsvangirai also has
several jingles on radio.
These advertisements say Tsvangirai and the MDC
will return Zimbabwe to the
international community and will ensure jobs are
created and that families
divided by the political and economic crisis will
be re-united under MDC
If there are jingles for the other
presidential candidate, former finance
minister Simba Makoni, they have not
played for significant periods.
The independent Media Monitoring Project
of Zimbabwe says the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation, which by an act of
parliament is supposed to be a
public broadcaster, is biased in favor of
ZANU-PF. The internationally
funded project's daily election reports say
ZANU-PF gets more than 80
percent of political coverage, all of it
favorable, while reports on the
opposition are nearly all
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is also in a state of
nightly news bulletin often starts late.
the news began 25 minutes late and airtime was filled with
promotional material advertising different hairstyles for men and
Mobile telephone networks are also in a state of disrepair.
observers who began entering Zimbabwe from African countries
late last week
are complaining they cannot receive or make calls on their
The few foreign journalists allowed in the country to
cover the elections
are having a similar problem.
telecommunications company, Telone, was not available for comment, but
insiders say it is short of foreign currency to import spare parts to keep
the networks working.
Many landlines around the country have also
stopped working. For many
people in smaller rural areas in the former
commercial farming districts,
mobile phones are the only way they can keep
in contact with their families.
Access to the Internet has also been
extremely difficult before the
Zimbabwe used to have a
reasonably efficient landline telephone network,
which was digitalized about
15 years ago. Zimbabwe owes several countries
for foreign calls, and Telone
has had to cut most calls made to foreign
'Mugabe could still cling to power'
2008 at 04:06PM
By Cris Chinaka
Harare - The economy
is in ruins, the population live in misery and he
faces the most formidable
challenge of his 28-year rule, yet Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe could
still cling to power in Saturday's elections.
Although his Zanu-PF
party is battling a crisis that would have buried
other governments long
ago, critics say Mugabe has enough control of the
electoral machinery to
retain power, with the decisive backing of police and
Mugabe victory, however, could push the once prosperous southern
country into more instability and suffering.
"I think Zimbabwe is
going to see some trouble whether Mugabe wins or
loses," said John Makumbe,
a Zimbabwean political commentator and a fierce
"If he wins nobody will believe
that he has won fairly, and if he
loses he will not accept the outcome and
either way, we are going to pass
through some instability."
Mugabe, 84, is facing his toughest electoral test from former Zanu-PF
Simba Makoni and a resurgent Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the main
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Tsvangirai are campaigning on the economic crisis ravaging
regional breadbasket, which is reeling from the world's highest
more than 100 000 percent, dramatically reduced life
food and fuel shortages and a virtually worthless
quarter of the 13-million population have fled. The March 29
parliamentary and local council polls are seen as the most
Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980, but few expect
"Mugabe is both a player and a referee in this game and I
see how anyone expects him to lose a game in which he makes the
holds the whistle," says Lovemore Madhuku of political pressure
National Constitutional Assembly.
"Except for Mugabe and
Zanu-PF who are in denial, everyone knows that
this economy is in shambles
and that the people who got us into this mess
cannot get us out of it, but
the bottom line is that Mugabe can manipulate
the system to remain in
office," he said.
Critics say the voters' register of 5,9 million
people is in a
shambles, containing thousands of dead people, and that the
printed more ballot papers than voters.
opposition says geographic distribution of polling stations
traditional rural strongholds.
Mugabe must win over half the
presidential vote to avoid a second
round run-off that might unite his
opponents. Mugabe denies persistent
accusations of rigging three elections
since 2000 and accuses the West,
especially Britain and the United States,
of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy.
He says they are working with the
opposition to oust him in revenge
for his redistribution of white-owned
farms to blacks.
Mugabe's former propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo,
who was expelled from
Zanu-PF after they fell out in 2005, also expects the
leader to squeeze through in the polls.
who is contesting a parliamentary seat he holds as an
Mugabe will rule an unstable country unless he changes
some policies and
forms a unity government.
"Zimbabwean people want change, and if
Mugabe wins, he needs to
introduce change," he said in a recent article,
warning of violence if the
government rigged the vote.
Mugabe gets less than 51 percent and declares himself winner, that
immediately precipitate a Kenyan scenario," Moyo said.
"I won't be
surprised if he did that because he is desperate to win
this election by any
At the weekend, Mugabe warned Zimbabweans that his security
would put down any violence similar to clashes in Kenya that killed
than 1 200 people after the opposition challenged the results of an
But most analysts doubt that Zimbabwe's
opposition leaders have an
appetite for sustained demonstrations against a
government which has
mercilessly crushed previous protests.
am not sure how prepared the opposition is to lead any protest.
clear leadership that is not much of an option," a senior Western
A number of Zanu-PF heavyweights - including an influential
army commander, General Solomon Mujuru - were rumoured to be behind
bid, but analysts say his campaign has been hobbled by their
fear to openly back him.
"The real contest is...
between Mugabe and Tsvangirai," the diplomat
is that although Mugabe has been weakened by the Makoni
factor, he still
holds the commanding position and will hang in there," he
added. "That's not
ideal, but that's what it looks like."
(Editing by Barry Moody and
Journalists, lawyers protest Zimbabwe
refusal to allow election coverage
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: March
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Associations for
international journalists and
lawyers in southern Africa protested Thursday
against the Zimbabwean
government's refusal to allow them to report on and
observe that country's
"When the government
rejects all fears of a rigged election, why is it
trying to shield these
elections from the vast majority of professional
journalists?" asked the
Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern
Africa, which represents 192
journalists from 122 media around the world.
On Saturday, President
Robert Mugabe faces the toughest challenge ever to
his 28-year rule amid
allegations that he is using the state machinery to
Zimbabwe's government, which controls the country's local media,
several international media organizations and refused
dozens of journalists to cover the elections.
"near-blanket denial of accreditation" was strongly condemned by the
It noted that the "rare approvals were
given according to race or
nationality" — an apparent reference to the
mainly black and southern
African journalists being allowed to
The association said most of its members were unable to even apply
accreditation because of "astronomical fees" of some US$1,700 (€1,082)
demanded by Zimbabwean authorities.
"The whole process is creating an
'elite' of journalists allowed to do their
jobs in Zimbabwe, belonging to a
certain race or chosen nationalities, and
benefiting from the support of
rich media," the organization said.
Western election observers also have
been barred, and only delegates from
"friendly" countries such as Iran,
China, Russia and Libya were invited.
The Southern African Development
Community Lawyers Association, representing
bar associations and law
societies from 14 countries, complained Thursday
that it had not been given
accreditation to observe.
"Unrestricted independent and impartial
electoral observation by
international institutions such as the SADC Lawyers
Association is vital to
the promotion and protection of fundamental
democratic rights," the
association said. "Elections must be free and fair
and be seen to be free
"Watch out Robert" - Zimbabwe opposition leader
Monsters and Critics
Mar 27, 2008, 17:33 GMT
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai vowed
Thursday his party would
not allow President Robert Mugabe's party to steal
victory in polls this
Addressing around 8,000 cheering supporters in the poor, dusty
town of Chitungwiza, south of Harare, Tsvangirai vowed to open
chapter' for Zimbabwe.
'What Robert (Mugabe) does not
understand is that he can no longer steal
this vote with the cooperation of
the MDC. We will start and open a new
chapter for this country,' he
'This time it's time for Robert to commit himself to honour the
he said as young supporters in the crowd shouted: 'Yes, free and
Tsvangirai, who wore his trademark wide-brimmed
Stetson hat and a black and
white open-necked shirt, is standing against the
84-year- old president for
a second time.
Former finance minister
Simba Makoni is also standing. He is believed to be
a favourite for educated
urbanites and businesspeople. Little-known Langton
Towungana from Victoria
Falls is the fourth candidate.
At the rally, the MDC leader said the
question was no longer whether people
wanted 'change', his party's slogan.
Instead, he said 'we have to defend our
The MDC leader - whom
his supporters call 'super-sub', meaning super
substitute for Mugabe -
claimed that 30 'ghost polling stations' had been
set up in Mashonaland
Central province, where Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party
also said nine million ballots have been printed for the poll, in which
fewer than six million people are registered to vote. Mugabe has dismissed
the vote-rigging claims as 'lies'.
'You want to tell lies, lies there
has been rigging,' Mugabe told supporters
at a rally in Nyanga, in the
eastern Manicaland province in quotes carried
by the official Herald daily
Thursday. He warned the opposition not to stage
any violent protests should
Excitement is running high ahead of Saturdays polls. At the
rally, after years of fear and intimidation, the crowd danced to
With his voice hoarse from addressing
back-to-back rallies this week,
Tsvangirai sang in Shona: 'Robert watch out,
'On March 29 Bob (Mugabe) is going to be relegated to a herd
Tsvangirai is going to be promoted to State House,' one youth
the crowd earlier. 'Everyone, and I mean everyone, is now
prepared to die
for a new Zimbabwe,' said the speaker.
Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai may face final test
Thu 27 Mar 2008,
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE, March 27 (Reuters) -
Zimbabwe's Morgan Tsvangirai goes into
Saturday's presidential election
knowing another defeat could end a
political career that has brought him
closer than anyone to unseating
President Robert Mugabe.
as the great hope of Mugabe's foes, the fiery trade unionist
goes into the
election with opposition ranks divided and with a defector
from the ruling
party sowing further confusion by running against Mugabe as
The gruff Tsvangirai emerged eight years ago as the first
serious threat to
the veteran leader, now 84, but a split in his Movement
Change in 2005 seriously dented his image and standing.
Tsvangirai this is not just an ordinary presidential election, he will
seriously thinking about his political future if he were to lose," said
Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer and Mugabe
Economic analysts remain sceptical of Tsvangirai's ability to
economy that was once an African success story, saying he has
experience nor the policies to do so.
labels Tsvangirai a "pathetic puppet" used by one-time
Britain to try to bring him down.
The former trade union leader says he
is his own man with popular support
and calls Mugabe a violent
Tsvangirai was hospitalised a year ago and said he had been
bashed in police
custody, an event which his critics say helped revive his
He has vowed to defeat Mugabe this time
around, saying the veteran leader
cheated him of victory in
Tsvangirai's working-class roots contrast with Mugabe's background
former guerrilla leader who has a string of university
Tsvangirai, 56, is the self-taught son of a bricklayer. He
worked in a rural
mine to support his family and cut his political teeth in
movement as a mine foreman.
In 1988, he became full-time
secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions. Under his
leadership, the federation broke ranks with Mugabe's
Tsvangirai led paralysing strikes against tax increases in
December 1997 and
twice forced Mugabe to withdraw announced hikes. He helped
labour-backed MDC in 1999.
In February 2000, the MDC
engineered Mugabe's first poll defeat -- the
rejection in a national
referendum of a new draft constitution that would
have entrenched his
That June, despite killings and police intimidation,
the MDC stunned ZANU-PF
by winning 57 of the 120 seats at stake in a
parliamentary election as
Tsvangirai captivated the public with powerful
speeches. (Editing by Matthew
Saving Zimbabwe from
International Herald Tribune
Published: March 27, 2008
It has been painful to watch
the terrible decline of Zimbabwe, a country so
rich in human and natural
resources. Perhaps that is why the elections
scheduled for March 29 still
raise hopes that Robert Mugabe's astoundingly
destructive rule can be
brought to an end, despite the certainty that the
vote will be neither free
The other reason for hope is that the challenge to Mugabe this
coming not only from the battered and splintered opposition, the
for Democratic Change, but also from within, in the person of Simba
an articulate, 58-year-old former finance minister who until he
candidacy was a ranking member of the ruling
There is every reason to be cautious, of course, given the roll
in bringing Zimbabwe to its knees, but Makoni has publicly - and
bravely, given Mugabe's brutal tactics against critics -
corruption and failings of his former party, and has talked
of forming an
alliance with the main opposition candidate, Morgan
Tsvangirai, who was
beaten almost to death by the police last
The 84-year-old president is obviously worried. He has dug into his
bag of sordid campaign tricks: calling his opponents traitors,
the news media, distributing tractors among rural supporters
and signing a
law forcing foreign and white-owned companies to sell a
majority interest to
black Zimbabweans - meaning, of course, his cronies.
The costs of Mugabe's
brutal and capricious rule should be obvious to
everyone. Inflation is
running at more than 100,000 percent a year.
Virtually every once-thriving
enterprise, from commercial farming to mining,
has run aground.
Mugabe's henchmen, including powerful figures in the
army, the police force
and the fearsome Central Intelligence Organization,
are certain to resist
any change. Before this weekend's vote, South Africa's
Mbeki, who has been far too passive, and important Western
states must send
a clear message that those henchmen will pay a high price -
in denied visas
or frozen bank accounts - if they continue to block the will
Mugabe's defeat, while fervently hoped for,
would not be enough.
Saving Zimbabwe will require generous aid and constant
pressure from South
Africa, Britain, the United States, the European Union
lenders. All must insist that any new government respects
human rights and
the rule of law and be ready to provide sustained advice on
how to make a
difficult transition happen. It is a long shot, but the best
has had in years.
Interview transcript: Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main wing of Zimbabwe’s opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, on Saturday March 19 is standing against
President Robert Mugabe in arguably the country’s most hotly contested
presidential election since independence 28 years ago. Alec Russell, the FT’s
southern Africa correspondent, interviewed him between election rallies in
north-east Zimbabwe, in an area where until recently it was too dangerous for
him to campaign.
FT: Three years ago you were not able to
campaign in this part of the country. Now you face big rallies. What has
MT: People have finally realised, this man is
taking us for a ride. The economy has become Zanu-PF’s Achilles heel. And it is
through bad policies, the indigenisation programme destroying the confidence of
the business community. Look at this, just look at it (pointing at empty shops
by the side of the road). There’s no business. These are all empty shelves. It
makes the people even travel far and wide to get basic needs. So we need to
attend to those small business needs, because there’s no way you can service the
local, rural community without them.
FT: In previous elections, the security forces
have given you a very hard time, yet here you are and you’re going around the
rural areas. I’ve been to other parts of the country, and lots of your
campaigners are busily campaigning. Why no clampdown?
MT: Because the pillars of support have
collapsed. They are not spared by the economic factors, their families and
relatives are not spared by the economic factor. As we say, there is no store
for the CIO; there is no store for the policemen. The whole police force, the
whole army are his pillars of support, and they’ve now realised, without change,
there is no future. They used to be cushioned by clear patronage, but they
realise that Mugabe’s run out of options of patronage, because how far is he
going to sustain that patronage?
FT: So how worried are you by the comments by
the chief of police and
also I think the chief of army (saying they would not accept an opposition
MT: It makes no difference to me. Previously,
yes, in the last elections, I would have got worried, but now I am not worried,
because I know where this army stands. These are individual opinions. They do
not reflect the institutional cohesion of that position.
FT: You know better than anyone that President
Mugabe is an absolute master at winning elections that he appears not to have
won. How do you stop him doing the same this time?
MT: He can only steal the election, he cannot
win it. So much as he can boast, everybody realises that he’s run out of
options. Even his machinery for rigging is no longer as cohesive as it used to
FT: Is going to try and steal it?
MT: Oh yes, of course. But experience is the
best teacher. I think the MDC’s much more prepared this time around that in
previous elections, both in terms of unrigging machinery in terms of collecting
the data from every polling station.
FT: What will you do if Mr Mugabe declares
victory in disputed circumstances as President Kibaki of Kenya did a few months
MT: I cannot dismiss the Kibaki scenario. But
he (Mr Mugabe) knows that if he goes that blatant route what happens the day
after? What is he going to do? He can declare himself the president of the
country. But the following day the crisis will be looking him in straight the
face. He will have created himself an even deeper crisis.
We went in to de-legitimize Mugabe. Let him remove the last residual line of
legitimacy he has. Even those within the region who still have supported him
will find it impossible to justify that…
FT: Would you go to the courts?
MT: No this time we will not go to the courts. We are saying this is a
people’s victory a people’s campaign. It is the people who have to respond. He
will not have stolen it from Morgan Tsvangirai, an individual. Such will be the
overwhelming groundswell of popular feeling he will not be able to contain it.
That’s why we are saying, stay at the polls and defend your vote. The challenge
is to defend the vote. It’s not about whether the people want change or not, but
whether they are able to defend it.
FT: To be clear, under those circumstances
either a premature Mugabe declaration of victory or a clearly deeply flawed
election, would you call for people to go on the streets?
MT: No. I am not calling for a demonstration.
If the people don’t themselves see this as their victory has been stolen then
what do you expect the leadership to do.
FT: Some supporters were almost waiting for
such a call in 2002 and
MT: They were not ready. And Mugabe was ready
to cause bloodshed. What
we are fighting for is democratic change of government.
FT: So you don’t regret that (as a missed
MT: I don’t regret that at all
FT: If elected president what would be your
most pressing priority?
MT: There are two critical issues confronting
any leader. One is to appreciate the fact is that this is going to be a
transitional government which means that as much as possible you need to create
a government that neutralises the insecurity of certain individuals, that may
think any change of government is intended to embark on retribution. That
confidence building measure may require not a winner take all but may require a
national government. I am not talking of a government of national unity but a
national government. To incorporate certain elements to create a stable
situation, you need stability first.
Secondly you need a constitutional dispensation that will lay down the basis
for an accountable government and move away from this one that created a
militarised culture. Thirdly you need an economic intervention that is based on
clear strategies. The first is short term interventions: the humanitarian
crisis, the food situation, the
drug situation in hospital…. The diaspora of three million, teachers
You need to create an economic framework that is going to arrest the high
inflationary framework. Given inflation conditions, an economic stabilisation
programme is needed in the medium term. In the long term you start unveiling
some of your investment They are the three major challenges any government has
to face: first
stability, second govt interventions, third a macro-economic framework.
FT: So what is your vision of a national
MT: A government of nation unity is a coalition. A national government is
based on a government having been elected but having decided on its own decision
and through its magnanimity to incorporate other elements. Its authority is not
undermined. It is as in 1980 when we had such a government. Mugabe won hands
down and decided to
incorporate elements from Ian Smith’s party and Joshua Nkomo’s, but it was
based on his own decisive mandate. The mandate of that government must be
unquestionable it must be clear minded but through its magnanimity it must
incorporate some elements of Zanu-PF.
FT: So it would include elements of
MT: Yes I will incorporate elements of Zanu PF. People must feel part of the
solution and not the problem. Any sense of insecurity could destabilise the
FT: How to choose who from Zanu-PF can
MT: There has to be consultation with the leadership of the reform elements,
not the rabid elements, those who want to see the government moving forward,
those who want to work with an opposition government.
FT: Would they include Simba Makoni (the former
finance minister also
running against Mr Mugabe)?
MT: The Makoni element has a reform agenda but
it has a fundamental difference from us. We are saying Zanu PF cannot be
reformed but can only be transformed. It is the institutional omissions of Zanu
PF that have led us to where we are.
FT: So what is your message to Zanu PF? Some of
whom have benefited
hugely from Mr Mugabe’s rule?
MT: You have benefited from Mugabe’s patronage
while the people have not benefited. It’s time you realised the people have a
right to choose. You must allow them. You cannot defend your ill-gotten wealth.
That is not what independence is all about it. Independence without freedom is
FT: What is Mugabe’s future?
MT: We must emphasise we are patriotic
Zimbabweans. We are committed to respect our heroes and our heritage. What we
are opposed to is a situation in which a selection of heroes is based on Zanu-PF
criteria and not on national criteria. The ultimate arbiter is Robert Mugabe
himself. There will be a commission to decide. So if that committee or
commission decides that Robert Mugabe should be in Heroes Acre so be it.
FT: How would he spend his time if
MT: I suppose he is a man of suspicious mind.
He feels very insecure. How else can you explain the way he is sticking it out,
without a transition, at his old age… I suppose he will feel that people are out
to get him. But certainly that is not our preoccupation. In fact I will resist
attempts at retribution at Mugabe. All we want is to give this country a new
chance and a new chapter.
FT: So does that mean amnesty?
MT: I don’t know. There has to be a balance
between those committing crimes against humanity and how are you going to treat
them after. I suppose the truth has to be told. There is a way of healing the
nation. A process has to be in place. It is only the truth that will liberate
FT: Like South Africa’s Truth and
MT: Yes something like that. We need it not as
an act of retribution
but as an act of healing the nation.
FT: There has been talk of sending him to the
Hague for a war crimes
trial over the Matabeleland massacres.
MT: I wouldn’t suggest it.
FT: Suggest it or support it?
MT: I wouldn’t support it.
FT: One of the big issues has been land. How do
you intend to address this with agriculture in this appalling state, and with
many farmers having been evicted?
MT: Our plan is we cannot go back to pre-2000
and restore what happened before Mugabe embarked on this reckless process. We
recognise it is as irreversible but we also recognise that we cannot condone
what he has done. It has led the country to a serious food deficit. We need a
rationalisation programme that will audit what happened. A commission an
independent commission through parliament will come out with an audit and a
recompensation policy for those who have lost property and
investment. The new programme will not discriminate on basis of race. So some
the white farmers may find there is land for their farming activities but not
the same farm they had before. That will be up to the independent commission.
There is a political issue and an administrative issue. The political issue you
cannot reverse, even before Robert Mugabe embarked on this irrational ham-fisted
measure, there was a national consensus on the need for land reform. There was
no argument. The argument is over how it was done. We need to deal with that not
as a political issue but as an administrative matter.
It (the proposed commission) will look at titles, land tenure systems, how
the land was managed who owns what. The land has to be rationalised. It will be
a big programme. It will take three to five to ten years. We are not only
dealing with those commercial areas but also with the communal areas. Communal
areas have now been neglected
because of lack of imput, lack of support. These people have become even
FT: So what is your message to the outside
MT: Zimbabwe has been on the international radar for the wrong reasons. This
is a country of great potential. We have overcome the political stalemate that
has caused us to be a pariah for last ten years. We want to be part of the
family of nations for the right reasons. In the long run the country should be
able fund itself.
FT: China has been a stalwart supporter of Mr
Mugabe. Will the
MT: I think one has to recognise that China is
one of the big five economies in the world. You cannot avoid having relations
with China. I suppose China was defending an individual, Robert Mugabe at the
expense of Zimbabweans. I am sure that is where the distinction is. We will have
diplomatic relations but no personal relations.
FT: And what about their investments?
MT: Any foreign investment will be protected
Chinese English whatever.
FT: When did you realise something had gone
wrong with the presidency?
MT: In 1985 when I was leader of mineworkers
union in Bindura it became obvious to me that certainly Mr Mugabe’s policy was
running into problems. Five years into independence things got out of hand.
FT: How do you explain that?
MT: It is a lack of democratic accountability.
We have a big problem of accountability. There were people being killed in
Matabeleland and the nation was denied information. The transformation of Mugabe
has been some say dramatic. I suppose the man has always displayed these
instincts of violence. That was bad. It’s a transformation of an individual from
someone who had a high respect at home and abroad to someone who became a rogue.
That is a dramatic transformation. There are the pictures of his fist. There is
something positive about this election. Previously you would never see posters
of me in this part of the world. It is quite remarkable.
FT: What is going on in his mind?
MT: I think the writing is on the wall. What he
wants what he is looking how do I rescue myself from imminent disaster?
FT: What has been achieved by the South African
MT: Well, nothing really. On paper, yes, there
has been some opening, but really the objective was to create conditions whose
outcome was not going to be contested. But we all know that when Mugabe
subverted that dialogue, he unilaterally imposed his will on the dialogue. It
cannot be said that the dialogue achieved anything. In spite of the effort, the
conclusion is that it did not succeed.
FT: So what do you make of the South African
MT: Well, I don’t know. They’ve not made their
position clear, they
have tried to (influence) the outcome by a false report, submitted to
SADC, that all parties had agreed, and that there only a few outstanding
issues. It is not a few outstanding issues, because the conditions for elections
have not been rectified. There is no agreement that has been signed between MDC
and Zanu-PF. In spite of our demonstration of goodwill on the process, Zanu-PF
has not reciprocated that goodwill.
FT: Do you hope for a more sympathetic hearing
from Jacob Zuma than
from Thabo Mbeki?
MT: No, I don’t think that… I think the change
may be on style, not on substance. But so far, the ANC has made very commendable
noises around the threats by the military here. Their comment was welcome.
FT: How do you explain South Africa’s policy of
quiet diplomacy? It seems to have achieved nothing.
MT: I suppose the motivation was that you
cannot force Mugabe, you have to persuade him. But persuasion has not worked, as
everyone admits. So perhaps a
more robust engagement would have produced a remedy. But Mbeki and
his quiet diplomacy appear as if it is quiet approval.
FT: The impression in the diplomatic community
is that President Mbeki
and his government had poor relations with you and so tried to fix up
a separate deal, leaving you excluded.
MT: I don’t know. I am not excluded by anyone.
If there is going to be any exclusion, it is by the people of Zimbabwe. I don’t
owe my allegiance to anybody. I owe my allegiance to the mandate of the people
of Zimbabwe. Finished, period. And therefore, if anyone thinks that they can
short-change Zimbabweans by another elite pact that does not involve
Zimbabweans, it’s unfortunate.
FT: So what’s your message to the South African
MT: I think one of the things that we’ve always
said to the SADC and other observers is, don’t create an impression that the
complaints raised by the opposition are frivolous, because your credibility as
observers is at stake. Your involvement hopefully will assist in producing a
legitimate outcome, and therefore you must be as impartial as possible. But if
you create an impression that you already have a pre-determined position, then
it’s unfortunate. We cannot respect that position.
FT: In the last few elections, the observers
have rather controversially endorsed the election. Are you more confident this
MT: No, I am not confident at all. To me,
Zimbabweans are alone in this. They are fighting for their country; they are
fighting for their dignity; they are fighting to set a programme for prosperity
and progress for the country against people who would like to be in solidarity
with Mugabe. And this is in total conflict with the expectations and aspirations
of Zimbabweans. It’s a very unfortunate position, but that’s why I am saying
that the Zimbabweans are determined to restore their dignity, and of course, to
restore their sovereignty.
FT: You were talking earlier about leadership.
I suppose a blot on the MDC’s record has been the split in your own party. Why
did that happen?
MT: Well, this is not the first time that a
political party has split. It’s no use emphasising the split. I think the people
of Zimbabwe are united for change. The split is an unfortunate incident,
informed by various influences nationally and external to us. And therefore, to
do a patchwork just to create that ideal impression is not practical. So it is
unfortunate. One would have loved us to be one family, that’s why we have not
pursued our colleagues over the name, because they are not the problem. The
problem is Mugabe. Unfortunately my erstwhile colleagues believe that I am the
problem and that Mugabe is not the problem, which is quite fascinating. But you
know, for me, the people have spoken across the nation. They are speaking with
voice, they want change, they want change of this government, and anybody
else is a spoiler. They are focusing on the wrong person. Let’s all focus on
Mugabe – to me that should be the rallying cry.
FT: Would there be room in a Morgan Tsvangirai
government for senior figures from the breakaway wing of the MDC?
MT: It’s also dependent on the attitude of my
erstwhile colleagues. They seem to be more preoccupied about hating me than
seeing the bigger picture. The bigger picture has nothing to do with me as an
individual. The bigger picture has to do with strategies and tactics that we
employ. They have employed strategies of collaboration with Zanu, and I don’t
agree with that, especially at this stage of the struggle. I think collaboration
with Zanu-PF is a betrayal. We have sought to take a stand against Zanu. That’s
the position. So fundamentally, they need to change their strategy and tactic
also, in order to be relevant to the struggle.
FT: No-one is perfect, yet they say that you’re
an autocrat. What would you say about that?
MT: I don’t agree. There is a difference
between dictatorship and leadership. If I take a position, a principled
position, to protect the interests of the party, which is my responsibility as
leader of the party, which is my constitutional responsibility, that is not
dictatorship, that is leadership. And at the end of the day, sometimes leaders
are called upon to make tough decisions, not popular decisions. And when I take
a stand because I believe it’s in the best interests of the party, which is
serving this party very well, I think it’s a feasible position. It’s not a
dictatorship, I am not an autocrat. I am submitting myself to the nation, I’m
not imposing myself. And if you disagree with somebody, it doesn’t mean
necessarily that that somebody is an autocrat because you disagree with
Defence And Security Chiefs to Address Media On Friday
27 March 2008
Posted to the web 27 March
The country's defence and security
chiefs from the Army, Airforce, Police,
Prisons and the CIO are set to
address a press conference in the capital on
Friday, the eve of the
country's crucial elections.
Our correspondent in Harare, Tagu
Mukwenyani, told us on Thursday it's not
known what the military and
security chiefs are going to say, but there is
speculation they might try to
repeat what happened in 2002.
On the eve of the 2002 presidential
elections, the then defence forces
commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe
declared they would only back leaders
who fought in the country's wars of
Zvinavashe, flanked by commanders of the police, the air
force and other
security organisations, said he would not salute Tsvangirai,
Mugabe's only challenger, adding that any change designed to
gains of the country's revolution' would not be
'Its not clear what they want to say tomorrow (Friday) because
terrain has changed significantly since then. Zvinavashe has
retired and is
rumoured to be supporting Simba Makoni. Other people can only
want to urge all parties not to engage in violence, but its
Recently other service chiefs,
namely General Constantine Chiwenga and
Police commissioner Augustine
Chihuri, have publicly rallied behind Robert
Mugabe saying they would not
allow 'puppets' to take over the country.
The MDC has condemned the
threats saying it is a flagrant affront to the
constitution of Zimbabwe, for
the service chiefs to behave in such a manner.
The service chiefs might
pledge their loyalty to Mugabe on Friday, but that
might not be the case
with the rank and file members of the armed forces.
Some of them,
including operatives from the feared spy agency, have been
information to the opposition and observers about Mugabe's attempts
rigging the coming election. A senior commander in the Army and two
officers have also sent a tip off to a site set up by the
organisation, Zimbabwe Democracy Now (ZDN), which ran
advertisements inside the country and throughout
southern Africa. The
adverts called on anyone with information about any
rigging by members of
the regime, both ahead of and during the poll, to tip
them off for a fee of
up to US$5,000.
In a statement released Thursday, ZDN spokesman, Goodson
Chibaya said they
have been swamped with information. Although some had not
much had checked out.
'In particular we had separate
postings from the Manyame Airforce in Harare
and the Thornhill air base in
Gweru, corroborated by another tip off by a
very senior person in the army,
who not only gave us his name but allowed us
to speak with him by phone,'
All three men had the same story. On the night of Thursday
27 March, trusted
officers in the army, airforce and police would be
required to vote under
supervision for the ruling Zanu-PF party. The
officers will each fill in
multiple ballot papers.
At Thornhill, the
papers will be filled in at the air force sports club. On
Friday 28, a
helicopter from No7 Squadron at Manyame will fly further
supplies of ballot
papers to the Mugabe stronghold of Mount Darwin where a
crew is standing by
to fill in multiple forms.
It's alleged the CIO will conduct the exercise
for the regime and Chibaya
said they have passed the information to the SADC
Mugabe's Days Numbered Regardless of Vote, Mining Industry
By Antony Sguazzin
March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe's mining
industry, with the world's
second-biggest platinum and chrome reserves,
should be booming amid record
prices. Instead, production has fallen.
Ferrochrome output alone has slumped
by 15 percent since 2000.
industry and investors are betting that better times lie ahead. The key:
political future of President Robert Mugabe.
leader, whose economic policies have led to 80
percent unemployment and the
world's fastest inflation, is facing more
candidates than ever as he runs
for re-election March 29. Even if he wins,
he'll be pressed by his own party
to step down, said Anne Fruehauf, an
analyst at Control Risks in
``There are investment funds waiting in the wings'' should
leadership change and the economic outlook improve, said Mark
Wellesley-Wood, chief executive officer of Johannesburg-based Metallon
Corp., Zimbabwe's biggest gold producer. ``We are hunkered down. It's been
survival and preparation.''
A leadership change might set the stage
for a rebound from the country's
decade-long recession and 100,580 percent
inflation rate. Metallon and
Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. already are
prepared to expand. Zimbabwe has
some of Africa's best roads and
best-educated workforce, and the remnants of
a manufacturing industry that
once lagged behind only South Africa in the
To be sure, Mugabe has confounded
expectations of his departure before. He
said several times in the past few
years that he intended to retire, without
setting a date. He told the
state-controlled Herald newspaper in April 2005
that he would retire at his
term's end this year, only to say in a February
2007 interview with the
state-owned TV-One that ``there's no vacancy'' as
ruler of the
Last year, he signed a law installing a succession plan,
according to the
British Broadcasting Corp.
The March 29 election
pits Mugabe against two principal foes: opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and a rebel from his own Zimbabwe African National
party, Simba Makoni. Opposition and human-rights
groups accuse Mugabe of
intimidating his opponents and preparing to rig the
progress might come rapidly should Mugabe lose, or win and be
``I am certain that if there is political change, the turnaround
quick,'' Greg Hunter, chief executive officer of Central African
which bought two Zimbabwean gold mines last year and is
expansion, said from Johannesburg.
little investment is needed to rehabilitate the industry, Hunter
production could be ramped up at Zimbabwe's coal-fired plant at
the northwest and the Kariba South Hydropower plant with minor
replacements. Many of the country's gold mines aren't closed.
have been maintained even while they were idled or had
For now, Impala Platinum is delaying portions of an expansion plan
Zimbabwe valued at $750 million in 2005. As recently as 1999, Anglo
Plc planned to boost its gold production 10-fold in Zimbabwe.
has sold ferrochrome smelters and nickel mines.
last year produced 7.5 metric tons of gold, according to the
Mines, compared with 29 tons in 1999. Gold production is at the
since 1907, according to John Robertson, an independent
Nickel and Iron
Since 2000, nickel production has fallen
about 15 percent, while coal and
iron ore output has more than halved, said
Robertson, who tracks mining.
Meanwhile, the price of platinum for
immediate delivery has more than
doubled over the last four years to about
$1,981.50 an ounce, while
ferrochrome is trading at $1.21 a pound compared
with 57 cents as of March
Mugabe's seizure of white-owned
commercial farms to redistribute to black
subsistence farmers and allies has
slashed export earnings needed for diesel
and equipment to keep mines
running. On March 7, Mugabe approved laws to
compel foreign companies to
sell 51 percent of assets to black Zimbabweans.
In December 2006,
Zimbabwe's government sent police to seize a diamond
concession from African
Consolidated Resources Ltd., and last week Mugabe
said the government may
``act against'' British companies to retaliate for
said the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper.
London-based Rio Tinto
Group owns a diamond mine in Zimbabwe.
the mineral resources; it's only the presence of Mugabe that
makes the West
uncomfortable,'' said Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, an analyst at
Eurasia Group, a
New York political- risk firm. ``Once he has gone, there
will be a sense of
Amos Midzi, Zimbabwe's mines minister, didn't return calls to
Zimbabwe developed a network of roads and rail
during decades of British
rule that saw what was then known as Rhodesia
serve as the hub of a regional
federation. Its literacy rate of 89.4 percent
puts it behind only the
Seychelles in Africa, according to the United
Nations Development Programme.
Impala, the world's second-biggest
platinum producer, now is limited to
boosting annual output to 160,000
ounces by 2010 from just under 100,000
ounces last year, about 5 percent of
the company's total output.
``The investment climate is a tricky one,''
Impala CEO David Brown said in
an interview. ``Zimbabwe is a country that
has a lot going for it. It needs
To contact the reporter
on this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at
Fixing Zimbabwe could take a decade:
HARARE, March 27 (AFP)
Restoring inflation-ravaged Zimbabwe to its previous status as a model
economic prosperity could take more than a decade, presidential
Simba Makoni told AFP ahead of this weekend's
In an interview late Wednesday, President Robert Mugabe's
minister said he wanted to banish the climate of fear which
he says now
pervades in the southern African nation. He also wants to embark
process to restore confidence in the battered economy.
deal with the crises that are gripping the country, the food
water and sanitation crisis, energy crisis," said Makoni, who is
against Mugabe at presidential and legislative elections on
"Those are important to deal with very early in the life of
Once the region's breadbasket, Zimbabwe now experiences
shortages of even
the most basic foodstuffs such as cooking oil and
Unemployment is currently running at over 80 percent while annual
has passed the 100,000 percent mark.
Makoni, who left
government in 2002 in a row with Mugabe about devaluation,
said that a
return to economic prosperity would not come about in a matter
of months or
"This is not about the first six months after March 29 or
even the first
five years ... it could range from 10 to 15 years," he
In the interview, Makoni said reconciliation would be one of his
should he emerge winner in the March 29 elections.
must begin to lay the foundation for the reconciliation, the national
healing ... the removal of the fear that pervades our lives everyday, the
restoration of trust, and mutual confidence among our people," he
Makoni, who left Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party last month after
his independent candidacy, said it was time Zimbabweans refused
"In the cabinet, in the politburo, I was a thorn
in some people's flesh
because I kept asking awkward questions and
suggesting things that they
didn't believe in," Makoni said.
think we should be too timid about our ambitions, we shouldn't be
apologetic, we shouldn't accept too much of the constraints of the
quo because that will take us back, I want us to break out."
reconciliation is necessary, reconciliation is part of national
It's long term, but beginning to lay down the framework and the
for genuine unity and reconciliation is important."
Observers have a big role to play - Tutu
27 2008 at 06:30AM
Observer missions sent to Zimbabwe by regional
are faced with a big challenge of presenting a
credible election report to
the world, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on
"They should give a guarantee that the elections were
free and fair
and were conducted in an environment where people expressed
without intimidation," Tutu said.
He was speaking
in Midrand, where he was awarded a gold medal by the
Institute of SA (Prisa) for raising the profile and
reputation of South
"Knowing the extent of intimidation that preceded the
hope observers would be able to guarantee that elections were
The Archbishop has in the past
criticised the Zimbabwean government
for violation of human
He infuriated President Robert Mugabe in 2004, leading him
to say Tutu
was "an angry, evil and embittered little bishop".
Tutu said he did not foresee a change in Zimbabwe but it was upon
Zimbabweans to change their situation.
"I wish they get a
leader they deserve. They do not want a
continuation of the status quo. No
one in the world would want to live with
a situation where inflation was
beyond the means of living," he said.
In accepting the award Tutu
said awards were given to distinct
individuals and he did not think he
"When you are a leader and stand out of a crowd it's
because you are
on their shoulders."
He said it was nonsense to
speak of a leader without followers so he
accepted the award
representatively of all South Africans.
Tutu was the ninth person
to receive the Prisa Gold Medal award.
Other recipients include:
Gary Player, Chris Barnard, Mark
Shuttleworth former president FW de Klerk
and former president Nelson
Mandela. - Sapa
Zimbabwe Zanu-PF loyalist 'duped'
Thursday, 27 March 2008, 06:05 GMT
farmer Tendai (not his real name) told the BBC
three years ago that he
remained a supporter of the ruling party despite
losing his job on a
commercial farm in the land redistribution programme.
elections on 29 March, he talks about life and politics in
"People are praying for change - we need some change, no
it comes from.
The change will come from the
people who are angry, not hungry, but
angry - very angry.
surprise I am also praying that we must change the leader.
always said you must respect your elders, but they are clinging
to what is
They don't have mercy for others: they are not making room
younger generation that they can make a good life; they are not
things easy for them.
In their hearts people in the
rural areas are saying: "The old man
are angry because there are no materials to plant. Firstly no
seeds - then
if they find seeds, there is no diesel to do the ploughing.
those who had cattle could plough; those that planted without
it all eroded away by the rain.
But I don't blame the heavy rains:
I blame the lack of input.
I myself had to go to black market to
sell three cows in order to buy
I am lucky, other people don't have much to sell -
there are many who
have no crops at all.
When we last
spoke, if crops failed, people had others they could turn
to for help - some
of the old [commercial] farmers were still here helping
their ex-workers or
there were people who had profited from the land
But now all the people who could help can no
longer help, there is no
The election campaign to my
surprise is free - the opposition can
campaign for the first time without
trouble and people are supporting the
other party openly and are criticising
the ruling Zanu-PF party.
I was at a Zanu-PF rally where a minister
was campaigning and heard
people saying: "What he is telling us is not sadza
[maize meal], we need
sadza; it's not sugar, we need sugar."
They were lifting their hands in support, but under their breath they
I am not sure what to make of Simba Makoni [a former
who is standing for president against incumbent Robert
Mugabe] - there is
doubt about him because he declared his candidacy
In my opinion we need a clean sweep - let the change be with
opposition so that there is a complete change without
Even the sons of the war vets, the sons of the
parliamentarians - some
of them they are in the Movement for Democratic
But I'm thinking the presidential
competition is really between Makoni
and the big man [President Robert
I will cry when we lose because I have been with
Zanu-PF for the whole
of my life, but I am not going to vote.
will vote for God and I will pray so the voters will choose the
My feeling is that I've been voting and voting and voting,
find I've been duped. I've been voting for nothing, now I'm going to
Like the prophet Elijah in the Bible, he
prayed hard for rain and it
came after three years of drought, so I will
pray that whoever wins will do
something for us.
The reason why I am neutral is that I have respect for the old
that I can't completely condemn him - because of him I am the way I am
[living in a free country].
So I will pray for him so that he
understands. Then I will pray for
the other guy that when he comes in he
mustn't destroy the good things that
have been built, he must reunite the
people and rebuild the country.
Only one of my sons is going to
vote. They cannot make a living here -
it's a black-market life. I have
changed my mind and think they have to go
outside the country
They're young, they should work for their lives, but I still
they must come back afterwards to live and invest in Zimbabwe so they
have a rural home, cows and ploughs.
Even I would consider
going abroad to work for a short time if after
the election if I see that
all my plans are shattered by the results. "
Zimbabwe suspicious of SA media at
27 March 2008
NOT even the usually sympathetic South African Broadcasting
(SABC) had the welcome mat put out for it by the Zimbabwean
it prepares to cover that country's election on
An SABC spokesman said the corporation was sending 74
production staff and journalists. This was slightly more
than for the 2005
parliamentary elections. However, it was understood that
the SABC initially
had to deal with unofficial disquiet from Harare about
some of its coverage.
Most other South
African media houses were guarded about their plans for
elections, for fear of prejudicing their applications.
had resigned itself to not sending a team. Editor-in-chief
said Zimbabwe's official Sunday Mail newspaper broke the news
station's presence in Harare was undesirable, leading e.tv get
from SA's foreign affairs department.
Patta said the fact that the
Zimbabwean authorities had left it this late
applications showed how much of a "sham" much of this
coverage would be. "An
election is not about one day," she said.
Two weeks ago, Zimbabwe's
permanent secretary in the information ministry ,
George Charamba, revealed
that about 300 foreign journalists had applied for
official accreditation to
cover the elections. Charamba warned that Zimbabwe's
security personnel were
on "the spoor" of foreign journalists who had
sneaked into the country,
where unaccredited journalists face harsh
penalties including a prison
It is understood that Independent Newspapers had intended
sending two white
journalists to Zimbabwe. When neither got accreditation,
an application was
successfully made on behalf of a black journalist,
although he has not been
spared surveillance by intelligence
South African National Editors' Forum deputy chairman
Henry Jeffreys said
Zimbabwe's restrictions on the media were deplorable
importance of the elections. Coming at a time when there
around the election's fairness, the move strengthened
perceptions that the
Zimbabwe government had something to hide, said
Jeffreys, an editor with
The group had not yet got
accreditation for its team.
Media24 Africa editor Liesl Louw said
though "by chance" Media24 was not
planning to send white journalists, it
was concerned at reports that only
black journalists were being accredi
"We are worried about the racist element. We have heard that only
journalists were allowed," she said .
the Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern Africa sought
from Zimbabwean ambassador Simon Moyo. Members were worried about
accreditation fee, and the delay in getting to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe cherrypicking of journalists to cover
Monsters and Critics
Mar 27, 2008, 16:30 GMT
The Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern Africa
Thursday condemned the Zimbabwean government's decision to bar
most of its
members from covering the country's elections Saturday.
In a statement
the FCA-SA blasted 'the near blanket denial' of accreditation
its members. The FCA represents 192 journalists from 122 media
around the world.
'No reasons were given by Zimbabwean authorities for
the refusals but a
survey of FCA-SA members indicates that the rare
approvals were given
according to race or nationality,' the statement
'This is of course unacceptable. And it would be quite naive to
the coverage would be more lenient if carried out by writers,
and TV crews of a specific origin,' the statement
'When the government rejects all fears of a rigged election,
why is it
trying to shield these elections from the vast majority of
journalists,' the association asked.
several southern African media outlets have been accredited
to cover the
Germany's ARD television, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,
daily the Globe and Mail and Spanish daily El Pais were among the
Western media houses to receive accreditation, which, at between 1,700
1,800 dollars per person, was seen as deliberately
Two weeks ago, George Charamba, permanent secretary in the
ministry of information, accused Western countries of seeking to
journalists to the elections as a 'monitoring
Western election observers have been barred from monitoring
Zimbabwe President Blames West For Woes In Final Election Push
HARARE (AFP)--President Robert Mugabe accused the West of
towards abject misery through sanctions as the contest to
rule the ailing
former U.K. colony entered the final stretch.
most outspoken attack to date on the former colonial power and the
Mugabe said they were responsible for the chronic problems which are
afflicting the health service in a country where even bandages and
painkillers are scarce and from where most doctors have emigrated.
one of his two challengers said the country needed a period of healing
reconciliation, Mugabe insisted it "will never die".
"Our detractors have
tried to derail our efforts, but the unity and
resourcefulness of our people
have always triumphed," Mugabe said on a tour
of Harare's main
"The British, the Americans and those who think like them,
would rather see
our children, the old and the infirm suffer under the
weight of their evil
sanctions they have imposed as part of their desire to
effect the regime
change in our country. As a country, we march on
The European Union and U.S. both imposed a package of
Mugabe and his inner circle after he allegedly rigged his
While the sanctions, which include measures such
as a freezing of bank
accounts and a ban on travel, are designed not to
affect the population as a
whole, Mugabe has often blamed them for the
country's economic woes.
Saturday's joint parliamentary and presidential
elections, when Mugabe is
hoping to secure a sixth term in office, are being
held against a backdrop
of an economic meltdown characterized by rampant
inflation and an
unemployment rate of over 80%.
Even the most basic
foodstuffs such as cooking oil and sugar are now scarce
in what was once the
The collapse of the country is amply illustrated in
the health sector where
the average life expectancy has now dropped to 37,
one of the lowest in the
According to a report by the Nurses
Council of Zimbabwe obtained by AFP on
Thursday, the health sector has
vacancy rates of up to 70% as a result of a
Mugabe, who has ruled uninterrupted since independence, said his
could no longer afford vital equipment such as drugs as a result of
"inhuman and insensitive, declared and undeclared
With relations at an all-time low, Mugabe has banned Western
sending teams to monitor Saturday's polls which see him
former finance minister Simba Makoni and opposition leader
Nearly all international journalists have also
been refused accreditation,
prompting an angry denunciation from the Foreign
of Southern Africa Thursday.
opposition Thursday accused Mugabe of enlisting the services of Israeli
computer experts with links to the intelligence agency Mossad to doctor the
"We are getting, by the second, evidence of the manner
in which Mugabe and
his cronies are assaulting this election," said Tendai
general of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), at a press
"Mugabe intends to steal this
election...through the technical assault. They
are thoroughly organized,
thoroughly computerized. The voters' roll and
technology is the key vehicle
of fraud which they intend to use."
Meanwhile Makoni, who left government
in 2002 as the country began its
downward slide, said he would make
restoring the economy and banishing a
climate of fear his top priorities
were he to oust Mugabe.
But he warned that there could be no quick-fix
for the economy given the
"This is not about the
first six months after March 29 or even the first
five years...it could
range from 10 to 15 years," he told AFP.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
The massive fraud of the Zimbabwe
Thursday, 27 March 2008
By guest author, Philip Chikwiramakomo
“You can vote for them
(MDC), but that would be a wasted vote. I am telling
you. You would just be
cheating yourself. There is no way we can allow them
to rule this country.
Never, ever. We have a job to do, to protect our
heritage. The MDC will not
rule this country. It will never, ever happen. We
will never allow
Thus spoke Mugabe last weekend in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Coupled with
statements issued recently by heads of the army, police and prison services
who are vowing that they will not salute anyone else but Mugabe, you would
be forgiven for thinking that there is no point to the current election.
This however would not be wholly accurate because the situation on the
ground shows there is an even bigger appetite for change.
manner of intimidation remains - including a recent presidential
which allows police officers to ‘assist’ disabled voters in the
there have been some shifts which have largely coincided with the
SADC’s election observers. Chief among them is the ability of the
to campaign in rural areas relatively unimpeded, some opening of
controlled media allowing the opposition some coverage and the ability
air their adverts. Mugabe has also had to cancel many rallies due to
embarrassingly low turnouts and lack of interest even though he comes baring
phony gifts such as tractors and buses [which have been rumoured to be for
people’s eyes only as they are apparently being moved on to the next rally
without being disbursed]. His rallies have also been largely populated by
bussed in drones and school children compelled to attend.
country were there is 100 000%+ inflation and 80% unemployment, a
opposition [MDC – Tsvangirai], The Makoni candidacy and a divided
[Ruling Party], it is almost certain that Mugabe will lose the vote
numerically. And that is why I believe that the election will only be
decided after the polling booths have closed circa 7pm Saturday. The
question no one can answer is how determined Mugabe will be to hang on?
Every indicator shows that the scale of fraud that will be required to swing
it Mugabe’s way is mammoth. Assuming the more likely scenario of a rigged
election that deprives the opposition of a win [have deliberately not gone
for Tsvangirai or Makoni as that warrants an entirely separate analysis,
save to say that in a free and fair election there would be the real
contenders]. The question then becomes what strategies do they have in place
to reclaim people’s stolen vote. If the 2002 stolen elections are anything
to go by then one can not see beyond Mugabe prevailing.
Chikwiramakomo is a member of the We Zimbabwe group
Be prepared to help Zimbabwe
Christian Science Monitor
mark the beginning of the end of Mugabe's rule. The world
from the March 28, 2008 edition
One thing is certain about
the March 29 elections in Zimbabwe. They won't be
fair. Strongman Robert
Mugabe is seeing to that. But what of the outcome?
The possibility exists
that it could trigger the end of his ruinous rule.
The imminent demise of
the Mugabe era has been hinted at before. A year ago,
an editorial in this
publication said that unprecedented pressure was
building on the
octogenarian president to step aside after 27 years in
power. The US
ambassador spoke of a "new spirit of resistance" among the
At that time, inflation in Zimbabwe topped 1,700 percent.
Now it rages at
more than 100,000 percent. People rush to a near-empty
grocery store with a
bag of money to buy bread at Z$7 million a loaf, only
to find it's Z$25
A decade ago, this southern African nation
exported food. Agriculture was
the backbone of the economy. But after Mr.
Mugabe expropriated white-owned
farms and handed them over to cronies who
knew little about farming, the
economy began to tank. Now Africa's former
breadbasket receives food aid.
Unemployment is stuck at around 80 percent.
About a third of the population
has fled the country – fled hunger, power
outages, and the lowest life
expectancy rate for women in the world (34
Yet the politically wily Mugabe holds on. His legacy as
liberator from white rule makes neighbors, such as South
Africa, hesitate to
apply pressure for reform. And Mugabe's internal control
of security forces,
his brutal tactics, and the rigging of elections prevent
political opposition from toppling him.
different this year, however, is open rebellion from within his own
ZANU-PF. Simba Makoni, a former finance minister, criticizes the
as "preoccupied with staying in power. We don't look at the
Makoni was expelled from the powerful ZANU-PF politburo when
he decided to
run for president. He's quietly gaining support from security
A house divided eventually falls, but when and how
the house of Mugabe will
collapse is anybody's guess. He's redrawn voting
districts to favor himself.
He's buying support with food and tractors and
allowing only friendly
election monitors. He's placing police inside voting
Still, there's a question as to whether officials who control
process will re-rig in favor of Makoni.
Mugabe needs to
win 51 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff. An independent
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai with 28 percent of the vote,
20 percent, and Mr. Makoni with 9 percent.
Africa and the West need to
adopt the Boy Scout motto and "be prepared" for
a transition ahead. The
International Crisis Group, a nonprofit analysis
group that seeks to prevent
deadly conflict, warns of possible violence,
especially in a runoff or
The world was caught flat-footed at the violence that erupted
disputed elections Dec. 27. The African Union should be ready
negotiators to Zimbabwe to mediate a transition of power. The West
send clear signals of willingness to help – economically and
in a transition if Zimbabwe is ready to move toward
Mugabe will be out some day. The world should be ready.
Could Zimbabwe vote oust Mugabe?
Christian Science Monitor
head to the polls Saturday amid suspicion that President Robert
rig the election to award himself yet another term.
By Scott Baldauf | Staff
writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the March 28, 2008
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe - Few parts of Zimbabwe would like
to see the end of
President Robert Mugabe's regime more than
Ethnic repression against the Zulu-speaking Ndibele tribes
here killed at
least 20,000 in the mid-1980s – a sign of just how far Mr.
Mugabe would go
to hold onto power.
Small wonder then that the people
of Matabeleland – and especially in the
quiet regional capital, Bulawayo –
view Saturday's presidential elections
with a mix of hope and realism, and
the knowledge that Mugabe will not go
without a fight.
wins, we'll have economic disaster in Zimbabwe, complete
Gordon Moyo, director of Bulawayo Agenda, a
democracy-building nonprofit in
"If [former finance minister Simba Makoni] wins, we'll have
Mugabe will fight. Either way, civil society should continue
to press for
our rights, and join hands with other democratic forces to make
government is delegitimized. Democracy is not final until it
will of the people," he says.
Zimbabwe has never been so
close to economic collapse – and oddly, to
political renewal – as it will be
this month. An inflation rate of 100,000
percent, the result of socialist
land redistribution, mismanagement,
corruption, and the withdrawal of
Western financial support, has created
unspeakable hardship for the
But hardship has also hardened the feelings of many
Zimbabweans that the
time has come for a change in leadership. The question
now is how Mugabe's
own party, the ZANU-PF – which controls the Army,
police, the intelligence
services, the election commission, and nearly all
news media outlets – will
respond to the public mood.
"What the history of Zimbabwe shows us is that the voice
of the people is
not necessarily as important as the part played by the
elites," says Chris
Maroleng, a senior researcher at the Institute for
Security Studies in
Tshwane, South Africa. "If any change is to occur, it
will not be a regime
change, it will be a regime reconstitution, with the
ruling elite from the
ZANU-PF giving consent for Mugabe to be replaced. We
may be seeing this
With three major candidates running for
president – including Mr. Makoni,
perennial opposition candidate Morgan
Tsvangirai, and Mugabe – some analysts
say that the election is likely to go
to a runoff, since no one candidate
will be able to secure the 51 percent of
the vote required for an outright
victory. Of course, this scenario presumes
that Saturday's vote will be free
There are few signs of
that. Several foreign election monitoring missions
have been denied
accreditation, and George Charamba, the spokesman for the
Information has publicly announced that they would scrutinize
for accreditation by any foreign journalists, sifting out those
"hostile" Western countries such as the US and Britain.
In recent years,
the strongest source of political opposition has come from
Mr. Tsvangirai, a
former union leader turned politician. While Tsvangirai is
courage –facing arrest, including a police beating last year
that left his
skull cracked – he is also criticized by opposition supporters
for lack of
strategic vision. In 2005, his Movement for Democratic Change
faction is pushing Tsvangirai as their presidential candidate,
faction – strongly supported in Matabeleland – has thrown its
Many opposition leaders now believe that Mugabe can only be
removed if his
own ZANU-PF party removes him, and if they replace him with
within. Makoni, many Zimbabweans say, is that
Makoni's credentials as an economist – and his lack of ideological
from the liberation struggle – have made him a palatable alternative
many opposition supporters, as well as those within the ruling party who
recognize the costs of economic collapse.
Makoni rose up the ranks of
the ZANU-PF, serving as the party's
representative in Western Europe. But
his outspokenness has gotten him in
trouble. After proposing the devaluation
of the Zimbabwe dollar in 2005,
Makoni was declared an "enemy of the state"
by his former mentor, Mugabe.
Agrippa Madlela, a former president of the
defunct liberation group ZAPU who
is now running for a senate seat, says
Mugabe "will play dirty," but he
thinks the opposition's best chance is to
back a single candidate who can
push Mugabe out from within ZANU-PF. He has
given up on Tsvangirai, who has
run against Mugabe twice and failed. Now he
backs Makoni. "I think if we
support [Makoni], we can get rid of Robert
Mugabe. This is the only way to
spell the end of the
Resilience in Matebeleland
Paul Siwela, a former senior
leader in ZAPU, says that Mugabe's firm control
of the electoral process
means only he can win Saturday's vote. But he sees
"no alternative" to
Ndibeles voting in force for opposition parliamentarians
who will protect
Ndibeles' rights and to push for greater autonomy.
"We are asking,
instead of separation, we should have autonomy under a
The status quo is unsustainable. This is going to
explode into a crisis with
Driving his rickety Datsun sedan through the
streets of Bulawayo – a
cellphone perched against his ear – Pastor Dumiso
Matshazi, an opposition
candidate, is handing out leaflets and giving
campaign speeches at discreet
He knows that the ruling
party has all the advantages, with free advertising
newspapers and TV and radio stations, and with electoral
officials who will
inevitably tip the balance when they can in the ruling
party's favor. But he
senses that Zimbabweans, and especially of
Matabeleland, are willing to make
sacrifices this time.
"In 1985, during the council elections, people
still voted even after their
people were killed," says Pastor Dumiso,
struggling to get the Datsun to
switch gears. "You have to understand the
Ndibele mind-set. It's both
resignation and resistance. They think, 'You've
already killed so many of
us, what do we care if you kill a few more.'"
Zimbabwe warns foreign media on
unauthorised poll coverage
HARARE, March 27 (AFP)
Zimbabwe, which has barred most foreign media from
covering this weekend's
polls, warned Thursday it would deal severely with
those who have sneaked
into the country and are operating
"Non-accreditated media houses like the BBC and CNN have set
facilities at secret locations ... not for professional
reporting but for
fuelling negative stories to fulfill their prophesy of
doom on their regime
change agenda," said Information Minister Sikhanyiso
He alleged that some media organisations had installed
broadcasting equipment, telematic facilities and other
equipment in our country."
"Government will not take
this imperialist propaganda kindly," he said.
Ndlovu cautioned those
accredited to respect the laws of the country or
"Foreign journalists who are abusing the courtesy and
hospitality of this
beautiful Zimbabwe, who come for other agendas other
elections, might well pack and go and leave us in peace," he
told a news
He said government had accredited around 300
foreign journalists for the
weekend elections in which long-running
President Robert Mugage is fighting
for his survival.
journalists have condemned the Zimbabwean government's denial
accreditation to almost every major news organisation outside the country
cover weekend polls.
Major news organisations such as the British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC),
Cable News Network (CNN) and the New York
Times were all denied the right to
cover the general elections.
Abducted MDC Candidates Missing in Epworth
SW Radio Africa
27 March 2008
Posted to the web 27 March 2008
We continue to receive reports of violence against
opposition candidates and
supporters, as well as abductions carried out by
suspected ruling party
Just this week in the Epworth area
of Harare, a council candidate from the
Tsvangirai MDC was abducted from his
home and is still missing. Another is
in police custody, after reporting
poster defacement, and a third was
assaulted by police during his brief
detention. All three have not been able
involving campaign posters that are being defaced by supporters of
parties are rampant countrywide. But police are allegedly arresting
opposition supporters only, even in cases where they are the victims and
ZANU-PF thugs are the perpetrators.
Our Harare correspondent Simon
Muchemwa reported that Daniel Tawengwa, the
MDC council candidate for
Epworth ward 5, was abducted from his home Monday
night. Tawengwa is a
bachelor who lives alone so there were no witnesses
inside the house.
Muchemwa said local residents saw him being bundled into a
vehicle known to
belong to ZANU-PF supporters in the area. His whereabouts
are still not
known and of course he has not been able to campaign.
Also in Epworth,
the MDC council candidate for ward 4, Didymus Bande, has
been in police
custody since March 19. According to our correspondent Bande
saw people he
recognised as ruling party supporters pulling down MDC
posters. He went to
report this to the police and was himself arrested.
Muchemwa said the
ZANU-PF supporters were assisted by the Minister of Mines,
The 3rd council candidate from Epworth to be victimized this week
Mutambirwa. Our correspondent said he was abducted by ZANU-PF
while on his way back from a rally on Sunday. They accused him of
Mugabe posters and took him to the local police station. Mutambirwa
detained for 5 about hours during which it is alleged the police
him. He was released without charge.
In Mbare high-density
suburb of Harare, the notorious Chipangano gang has
continued their attacks
on opposition supporters who are distributing fliers
and putting up posters.
Our correspondent said they have been taking
identification papers and
passports from opposition supporters they find
campaigning. This is a
calculated move, because the victims will not be able
to vote in the
elections this weekend.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the Tsvangirai
MDC, said this week that
there was an increase in the incidents of violence
against their candidates
and supporters around the country. He explained
that they had reported the
violence to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission but
nothing is being done.
Chamisa also confirmed that the police are working
with the perpetrators of
violence while arresting the innocent victims who
report on them. Many are
released without charge after spending days, or
even weeks in custody. This
has prevented many of them from campaigning.
Head of observer team is furious with DA
From The Star (SA), 27 March
Party worried about prospects for free and fair
The head of the South African contingent
of the regional observer team for
the Zimbabwean elections has vowed to sit
down with the rest of the
leadership to discuss the conduct of the three
Democratic Alliance members.
Tony Leon, the DA spokesperson on foreign
affairs, release a statement
yesterday saying the first reports from the
three MPs of the party on the
mission "underscore grave concerns … about the
prospects of the election
being free and fair". This, said Kingsley
Mamabolo, South African leader of
the Southern African Development
Community, could be a violation of the code
of conduct adopted by the
electoral observation mission, known as the SEOM.
"We work as a collective,
and will look at allegations of irregularities
together. We need to verify
them before we come to an assessment. "If the DA
wanted to come with their
own report, they should have got accreditation
accused the DA members of using the SEOM as "a cover" to get their
out. Mamabolo said there was a code of conduct that expressly
members to talk to the media, whether on their own or through their
at home. "I'm very worried about their behaviour," he said. Leon
his statement: "It has also been reported to us that ANC members of
delegation have expressed their dissatisfaction with the tough
of officials by the DA representatives on the observer mission."
the party had received its observers' first report yesterday and
been briefed by various non-governmental organisations. "Our
observers, Dianne Kohler-Barnard MP and James Masango MP, have
the fact that the odds are heavily stacked against the March 29
Among the issues he identified were: The
gerrymandering of constituency
boundaries to favour the ruling Zanu PF; The
redrawing of constituency lines
had also had the effect of limiting the
number of polling stations available
in urban areas - in Harare, there were
379 stations for 760 000 voters,
leaving only 22 seconds for each voter to
cast a ballot; As many as
3-million "ghost names" on the voters roll;
Opposition leaders continued to
be demonised in the state- controlled media;
Maize from the Grain Marketing
Board was being distributed at Zanu PF
rallies; Media access was completely
distorted in favour of the ruling
party; Voter-education drives had been
very poor, especially given that
Zimbabweans would, for the first time, be
faced with four different ballots;
The last-minute change to the electoral
law, which will allow police
officers inside polling stations, was highly
intimidatory and amounted to a
clear violation of the agreements reached
during the South African-led
mediation process; Party agents and observers
would not be allowed to
witness the counting for the presidential election;
accredited until March 29, so they would not be able to
tabulation of results.
According to the DA, the ANC has criticised its
observers for their
aggressive questioning. Mamabolo indicated at a briefing
before the South
Africans' departure that they would not "make noise" over
officials said the two parties had been at loggerheads
even before the start
of the mission, after Deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs Aziz Pahad declared
that everything seemed set for a free and fair
Tsvangirai 'surprised' by
From BBC News, 27 March
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader has said he has been
surprised at the
level of support he has received while out campaigning for
elections. Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC he felt President
and his ruling Zanu PF party may find it difficult to counter
on the ground". But he said it would be another thing
altogether to defeat
the government. Earlier, a former Mugabe loyalist spoke
openly about the
possibility that the president might be defeated in poll.
Minister Fay Chung told the BBC that the two main rivals
could win if voters
were "courageous enough to come out in large numbers".
presidential candidate, former Finance Minister Simba
complained he had been unable to place adverts in the
state media. In an
interview with the BBC, Mr Tsvangirai expressed his
surprise at the level of
support he had received, particularly in rural
areas, while campaigning for
this weekend's local, Senate, House of Assembly
and presidential elections.
"I have no doubt that we have overwhelming
support. In fact, the Zanu PF may
actually find it difficult to suppress...
the upsurge on the ground."
Nevertheless, the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said he
remained pessimistic about translating
popular support into electoral
victories. "This is the crisis we faced in
2002 and 2005," he said.
"Although we had the support of the people, we
didn't manage to win the
election. This manipulation undermines the will of
the people. This time
around, we hope that we are able to mitigate against
some of the possible
Meanwhile, Mr Tsvangirai's
pilot has been charged with fraud, for checking
into a hotel room booked in
someone else's name, the MDC says. MDC treasurer
Roy Bennett says this has
hampered Mr Tsvangirai's ability to address
rallies in rural areas. A
majority of Zimbabwe's voters live in rural areas,
where Mr Mugabe has
traditionally enjoyed his strongest support. The US and
the EU have accused
Mr Mugabe of rigging previous elections - charges he has
monitors have been barred from this election. Mr Tsvangirai
said that if he
was elected president, the people of Zimbabwe would be given
the chance to
rewrite their constitution. He also called for new policies to
Zimbabwe's economic crisis, which has seen the country's annual
rate hit 100,000% - the world's highest. Earlier, a former
minister told the BBC that Mr Mugabe might not be able to prevent
one of the
two main opposition candidates from winning the presidential
think the issue is whether the electorate is going to be brave
enough to come out in large numbers, because I think the
rigging of the
election has been possible when there were small numbers
dividing votes," Ms
Chung said. "But if you have millions coming out to
vote, it will be very
difficult to rig. If the polling agents and the
observers are very watchful,
it will become more difficult."
Ms Chung, a Senatorial candidate now
allied to Simba Makoni, conceded that
"there are a lot of 'ifs'", but
insisted that Zimbabweans were desperate for
change after 28 years of Mr
Mugabe. "I hear people saying... 'We are being
abused. If we keep on
electing the same government, we will continue to be
abused'," she added.
"So the question is: will they vote for the MDC or
Simba's movement?" Ms
Chung said Mr Makoni's decision last month to stand
against the president
because of what he described as a "failure of national
leadership" had begun
a "period of change" in Zimbabwe. "The steps taken by
Simba Makoni have
broken a Gordian Knot in which we were so tightly strung
that we did not
know how to get out of it," she told Radio 4's World Tonight
think that whether he wins or not - I think he will win - he
has changed the
political geography of the country." Ms Chung also
acknowledged there was a
potential for violence similar to that witnessed
after the Kenyan
presidential election last year, regardless of the result.
Mugabe's 'pressure cooker'
Zimbabweans girding for
chaos as nation gets set for Saturday elections that
few expect will be
Mar 27, 2008 04:30 AM
Two questions hang over Saturday's national election in the
but destitute southern African country of Zimbabwe: will
there be change -
and will there be blood?
But long-time observers of
Zimbabwe's unprecedented crash from prosperity to
poverty under President
Robert Mugabe say the latter is more likely than the
Catch-22 situation," says former political prisoner Gabriel Shumba,
executive director of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, who is visiting Toronto
today in advance of the poll.
"The elections are rigged in Mugabe's
favour. The guidelines free and fair
elections have been violated. Mugabe
has already indicated he isn't going to
allow the opposition to take power.
So even if by some remote chance they
won, there would be
But Shumba added: "If Mugabe wins, the population is so
people could rise up, and then there would be
Mugabe, now 84, has hung onto power for 28 years through
topped a staggering 100,000 per cent, and a massively failed
program meant to redistribute farmland from white owners to
but sparking an economic meltdown that bankrupted many of
As resentment of the former national
liberation hero grew, he ratcheted up
repression against real and suspected
opponents, from political foes to
ordinary people who lost their livelihoods
and homes to brutal "cleansing"
Political opponents were
jailed. Some were tortured or beaten, including the
popular leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, a
front-runner in opinion
Meanwhile, soaring food prices led to countrywide starvation, and
bells from the World Food Program, which declared more than 3 million
Zimbabweans unable to feed themselves.
Up to 3 million more people
have fled the country and average life
expectancy has plummeted to under
"Zimbabweans are incredibly peaceful people, with a literacy rate
the highest in Africa," says economist Craig Richardson, author of
Collapse of Zimbabwe in the Wake of the 2000-2003 Land Reforms. "But
are waiting in line for hours for a bus that's three hours late, many
them not able to make ends meet. After six years of struggle, the
is a pressure cooker."
Mugabe's rivals in the election are
Tsvangirai, who won 42 per cent of the
vote in the last poll, and former
finance minister Simba Makoni, who quit
the ruling ZANU-PF party - an
insider who has some high-level support but is
trailing with less than 10
per cent in opinion polls.
Even with widely predicted vote-rigging,
though, the election may go to a
runoff before a winner is declared,
increasing the possibility of violence,
like the tribal fighting that broke
out in Kenya after re-elected President
Mwai Kibaki's opponents charged
In Zimbabwe the risk is heightened because the political landscape
not only among supporters of the three candidates, but within
"There is a deep cleavage, and the
factionalization goes to the security and
armed forces as well," says
Andebrhan Giorgis, the International Crisis
Group's senior adviser on
Africa. "Therefore the prospect of violence may
increase if the factions
fight it out."
The Brussels-based crisis group has called on the
53-nation African Union to
stand by in case things spiral out of control.
But, Giorgis admits, "time is
Zimbabwe is a member of the
union, and unlikely to let AU peacekeepers in to
South African leadership, an ally of Mugabe, could also reject an
Nor is the international community likely to come to
Zimbabwe's aid, after
years of watching with dismay as the country crumbled
under Mugabe's iron
"The United Nations Security Council should
get involved," argues Shumba.
"If chaos happens in Zimbabwe it would not
only affect the country, but the
region. All the trends are toward
preserving regional peace and security."
But, he says, it's the prospect
of international justice that Mugabe fears
most. The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum
has compiled hundreds of cases of alleged
torture, rape, police brutality
and other human rights atrocities it says
have been committed by the Mugabe
"Mugabe wants to hold on till he dies so he won't ever be called
account," says Shumba.
"I think it must give him nightmares that
(former Liberian strongman)
Charles Taylor is on trial at The
Mugabe warns opponents against post-poll
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has warned
against resorting to violence if they lose this weekend's
elections and has
dismissed vote-rigging accusations as lies, state media
Mugabe told a campaign rally in the eastern district
of Nyanga that an
opposition lawmaker had threatened protests similar to
what had occurred in
Kenya following December elections there, the state-run
"Just dare try it," Mugabe said. "We don't
play around while you try to
please your British allies. Just try it and you
will see. We want to see you
Mugabe faces a challenge from
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and former
finance minister Simba Makoni in joint
presidential, legislative and local
council elections on Saturday.
He urged tolerance in the run-up to and
after the elections and said losers
should accept defeat.
peace and we want the elections to be conducted in a peaceful
no nonsense after victory," said the 84-year-old.
"When you join a
political fight by way of an election, you must be prepared
to lose. If
ZANU-PF wins, you must accept it, if you win we will accept,"
Mugabe said of
his ruling party.
He accused the MDC, which has consistently accused
Mugabe of looking to rig
the result, of lying.
"You always tell lies,
lies that there has been rigging," Mugabe said.
Mugabe has ruled since
Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980.
The United States, the
European Union and Britain have questioned whether
the polls will be free