By Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg
Last Updated: 1:43am BST 10/04/2008
Zanu PF militants have invaded the farm of Commercial Farmers' Union
president Trevor Gifford, saying he is never to return home.
Mr Gifford, who has spent a frantic week in Harare trying to assist at
least 60 fellow farmers cope with their own invasions around the country was
not at home near Chipinge, about 220 miles south east of Harare, when the
mob of about 30 wearing Zanu-PF T-shirts arrived at his security gate.
"They have left messages with staff for me that they are taking over
the farm and will manage the livestock with some of my workers," Mr Gifford
Mr Gifford has endured many previous invasions and his mature coffee
crop and more than two-thirds of his macadamia and avocado plantation on
about 600 acres have been destroyed by invaders and new farmers since
President Robert Mugabe began seizing white owned farms in 2000.
He is presently running 200 cattle, mostly for his brother who was
also evicted by Mr Mugabe's supporters, and a small dairy on the old family
"They shouted that the state owns my farm now," he said.
Most of his land was handed over to Mr Mugabe's supporters but they
failed to grow enough crops to feed their families and will need emergency
food aid this year.
White commercial farmers have been under huge pressure and some have
had their homes, crops and equipment destroyed or taken over this week as
Zanu-PF claims that the Movement for Democratic Change would return land to
evicted white farmers, most of whom left Zimbabwe and settled overseas.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, who most analysts believe
delivered a humiliating defeat to Mr Mugabe in the presidential election has
said there would be no reversal of the "land reform" programme begun by Mr
Mugabe in 2000 which saw about 4,000 white farmers deprived of their land,
homes and businesses.
Results for the presidential poll have been delayed although they were
available to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on March 31.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said that there would be a
pre-result recount of the presidential poll even before the results are
By Carole Gombakomba
09 April 2008
The latest wave of farm takeovers in Zimbabwe, coming as the harvest season
is just getting under way, could exacerbate food shortages in the country,
Veterans of the country's 1980s liberation war and youth militia of the
ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe have descended in recent days on
many of the estimated 450 farms that were still in white hands following the
chaotic land reform process that Mr. Mugabe launched in 2000, crippling the
country's agricultural sector.
Farm seizures around Centenary, Mashonaland Central, where farmers
specialize in tobacco, could cost the country US$10 million in foreign
exchange, sources said.
Farmers elsewhere could lose their crops, including already scarce maize.
Agricultural expert Roger Mpande told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the farm invasions are likely to have a serious
impact on the food supply, as farmers were coming into the peak harvest
season for staple maize.
Politically inspired violence was reported on farms in Manicaland Province.
The Center for Research and Development in Mutare, capital of the province,
said ruling party youth militia assaulted farm workers in retribution for
the party's election losses.
Members of the organization Justice for Agriculture, which represents
displaced white farmers, and human rights activists, have expressed the fear
that thousands of farm workers may be evicted from their homes amid the
crackdown on white farmers.
With an average of 100-200 workers employed on each white-operated farm,
sources said the number of those displaced could mount into the hundreds of
President's men launch campaign of violence and intimidation against MDC
Chris McGreal in Mutoko
Thursday April 10 2008
The patients at Louisa Guidotti hospital said there were eight men, one
carrying a shotgun, another with an AK-47, others with pistols, and they
went from bed to bed forcing out anyone who could walk.
Nurses were dragged away from the sick. Motorists driving by the hospital,
87 miles north-east of Harare, were stopped and taken from their cars.
About 70 people were gathered in the grounds. Then the lecture began. "This
is your last chance," said one of the armed men. "You messed up when you
voted. Next time you vote you must get it right or you will die."
One of the men selected people to stand and shout slogans of Zimbabwe's
ruling Zanu-PF party and to sing songs from the liberation war . Those who
did not do so enthusiastically were beaten. Another cocked his gun and told
the crowd to point out opposition supporters.
Sandati Kuratidzi lives on the hospital grounds because his wife is a
physiotherapist there. He is an activist with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change which stunned Zanu-PF by apparently defeating Robert
Mugabe in the presidential election, although the electoral commission has
still to release the official result 12 days later.
When Kuratidzi saw the pick-up with the armed men draw up, he knew what was
coming and hid on top of a cupboard.
"They warned people that if they voted for the opposition they would be
killed. They had AK-47s, shotguns, guns in their belts. People were very
afraid," he said. "They were saying they were going to show an example to
anyone supporting MDC and they asked the people to point out who they were
but no one did. Their behaviour was inhuman."
Then the men piled back into their truck and set off for the next village.
Mugabe has unleashed his shock troops, Zanu-PF's militias and those who call
themselves liberation war veterans even though most are too young to have
fought it, in an undeclared campaign of terror against rural voters in
advance of an expected second round of presidential elections.
The violence and intimidation that helped deliver perverted election
victories to Zanu-PF three and six years ago were absent from the
presidential and parliamentary ballot on March 29, and Mugabe lost. Now they
are returning with a vengeance and the ruling party is using results from
the first round as a guide to where to exert pressure.
Across provinces such as Mashonaland, Manicaland and Matabeleland, where the
opposition campaigned freely for the first time and made strong inroads into
Zanu-PF's support, armed gangs move from village to village, forcing people
to meetings and threatening dire consequences if the vote goes against
Mugabe again. Opposition supporters are identified and beaten or driven from
The MDC said Mugabe, who during the election campaign said he regarded it as
a war, was delaying the release of the presidential ballot in order to wage
his terror campaign before a run-off is formally declared and foreign
monitors return. The opposition said it feared the threats were working.
The intimidation is following a pattern seen in earlier elections. It began
with assaults on scores of white-owned farms at the weekend. War veterans
drove white families from their land as Mugabe once again sought to
characterise the election as a struggle against British imperialism. But the
assault on the white farmers is a cover for a broader campaign against black
voters. The MDC has made public a document it said was from a disaffected
senior military officer listing the deployment of 200 army officers to
coordinate the strategy on the ground.
Louisa Guidotti hospital is in Mutoko East constituency in Mashonaland East,
once a Mugabe stronghold where Abel Samakande was the MDC's parliamentary
candidate. Samakande lost but made strong inroads into traditional Zanu-PF
territory, picking up about 42% of the vote.
Now that achievement is coming back to haunt those who supported him. He
said the first indication he had of the return of the terror tactics was
when he was tipped off by friends in Zanu-PF that he was being hunted.
"They told us there was a meeting at which it was decided to eliminate one
of the local MDC leaders. Our friends in Zanu-PF warned us not to sleep in
our houses, to move in groups," he said. Then he had a call telling him that
armed men had descended on the village of Matsande.
"When we heard about these armed men we went to the police for assistance.
The officer in charge said he could not help," said Samakande.
The MDC candidate headed to Matsande, but by the time he reached it, the men
with guns had done their work and moved on to the hospital and then the
village of Mushimbo. "On the way they got to a township where they forced
all the shops to close and forced everybody to a meeting," he said. "When I
got home I was told by my wife there were men who came to the place. She
kept the door locked and they left. We decided not to sleep there for fear
of our lives."
Yesterday, other armed men backed by Zanu-PF activists went to Mutoko and
forced people to a meeting. A man in the crowd identified two MDC
supporters. They were marched to the front and beaten so badly that they
were left with broken bones. The group then went to the houses of known MDC
supporters and chased them from the town.
It is a pattern repeated across Mashonaland in the north to parts of
Matabeleland in the south, where about 60 families were expelled from their
homes in Insiza yesterday after Zanu-PF identified them as having voted for
the MDC from the election count for their local polling station.
In Gweru, opposition supporters have been attacked by soldiers, according to
the Zimbabwe Peace Project. "Soldiers descended on unsuspecting revellers in
bars and late night shoppers, beating them up. The soldiers were allegedly
saying the people's crime among other things was that they did not vote
correctly," said the ZPP. In Mutare, gangs armed with whips and knives have
been going house to house in search of MDC supporters. In Manicaland, at
least one activist has been killed. In Chimanimani East, opposition
supporters have been burned from their homes.
Milton Kanomakuyo,the MDC parliamentary candidate for Mudzi South in
Mashonaland, was taking his nine-year-old daughter to hospital on Tuesday
when he was stopped by a friend. "He told me he saw Zanu-PF milling around,
stopping people, hunting for known MDC activists," Kanomakuyo said. "In the
evening a guy who works for the ministry of education who was an election
officer in Mudzi South came to my shop and told me about these people: eight
war vets with AK-47s in Mazda pick-up trucks."
The armed men had already visited Kotwa. "They ordered people out of buses,
out of shops, gathered them together," he added. "One of the men was cocking
a rifle to scare people. They told the people they'd messed up by voting MDC
and they weren't going to let people make that mistake again. They said they
wouldn't entertain even one opposition vote. They told people to shout
slogans and those who couldn't do it were slapped.
"When they were campaigning, they were telling people over and over again
that if Zanu-PF loses there will be a war. Now they are reminding them."
Samakande said the threats to kill opponents showed the MDC as powerless and
would cost its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, in a second round election.
"When they give you a warning people take it seriously. If we are going to
have a run-off we will not win and it's going to be bloody because they know
in a free and fair environment they will not win."
Kanomakuyo agreed: "A friend in the police said to me that if we go for the
run-off the villagers will be afraid to vote for the MDC. I think they will
be. I'm sure they are going to do this for quite some time. By the time the
results come out people will be terrified. It's going to be difficult to
stop this. If we try to do mass action definitely it will be crushed."
I was directly involved at the polling stations in 1980 when Mugabe was handed
the jewel of Africa on a silver plate. To say the level of intimidation was
alarming is an understatement, when terrified and illiterate people presented to
me their blank polling form, incapable of completing it, while gesturing with
trembling hands, Jongwe! Jongwe! (the cock or rooster, for Magabe's ZANU-PF
party). Some 4 weeks earlier, our camp stonghold in the Mondoro tribal trust
lands, broke into mayhem one night when thousands of innocent villagers poured
in from the surrounding areas, seeking sanctuary from Mugabe's so-called
'freedom fighters, in a reign of pre-election terror:
And the World , lambasted by the-then Britich Government, believed the election had been free and fair, such was the charm and charisma of Lord Carrington and his cronies.
28 years later, we still live with this bastard, a stark daily reminder that pure evil still lingers in the World, and yet the World remains paralysed, too unsure and too pathetic to take a firm hand and rid the maggot from it's unwilling host. Of note is the deafening silence from the South Africa, who cannot say a bad thing about Robert Gabriel Mugabe. We are most grateful that Jacob Zuma has the guts and the fortitude to speak out, and in this light, there is a glimmer of hope that perhaps democracy will be served and this despot-from-hell, turfed out and dealt with in the real World where justice does prevail.
When will this travesty of justice end, that my friends is the question.
Wednesday, 09 April 2008 15:29
Promised salaries never arrived
BY CHIEF REPORTER
The police force, crucial to Robert Mugabe's continued stranglehold on
power in Zimbabwe, are demoralised after Government failed to pay them for
election related work, The Zimbabwean can reveal.
Special constabulary officers and regular members of the Zimbabwe
Republic Police are livid over Government's failure to pay them the promised
Z$3bn in the 10 days they have worked, starting three days prior to the
March 29 poll.
The Zimbabwean understands that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) made cash available to the Director of Finance in the Home Affairs
ministry at Mukwati Building. The cash cascaded down to the line commanders,
but then disappeared, leaving a dispirited police force.
Senior police officers and other regular members told The Zimbabwean
this week that of the Z$3bn, they were only paid Z$900m on March 27 and
promised the rest after 10 days. But with Mugabe desperately clinging to
power, this period has been extended, and their payments have been withheld.
The officers say that the longer the cash is withheld, the more its value is
shrinking due to hyperinflation and the collapse of the currency.
The original billions were awarded to lure officers for election work
following alarming reports of resignations and others going absent without
A senior officer said the top brass had "diverted" money meant to pay
officers to the black market.
The Zimbabwean heard that only officers under the Police Protection
Unit, tasked with security for VIPs, had been paid in full.
What has exacerbated the situation is that no officer has been allowed
to stand down and have remained in police camps as a standby force.
t Morris Depot, Thomlinson, Chitungwiza and Braeside, officers were
angry over the late payment. Officers said they would not quash any
rebellion by people because of non-payment.
"I can't be used to assault my brothers and sisters in support of a
regime that has failed to pay me," charged an angry regular member of the
force, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Efforts to obtain comment from the deputy police commissioner
responsible for operations, Innocent Matibiri, failed. But Claudius Makova,
the Zanu (PF) MP who chaired the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
defence in the last parliament, warned that the financial situation in the
defence forces had severe implications for national security.
Wednesday, 09 April 2008 15:33
BY STAFF REPORTER
Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC won the election by such a large margin,
Robert Mugabe is struggling to rig himself back into power, according to
founder of the African Conservative Forum, Mukui Waruiru.
"Mugabe is already illegally in power, having lost the 2002 election,
but by a narrower margin than he lost this time," said Waruiru. "In 2002,
some of Mugabe's more honest supporters in Africa conceded that although he
lost the election, he received at least 45 per cent of the vote, which was
close enough to allow manipulation of the results to manufacture a narrow
This time, though, Waruiru said reports from his sources in Harare
indicated Mugabe had won no more than 25 per cent of the vote.
"The first order of business should be to protect the Zimbabwean
people from violence from Mugabe's security forces, should the people decide
to protest the theft of the election," he said. "The US and the EU should
make it absolutely clear that any commander of the Zimbabwean security
forces who gives orders for the shooting of protesters will be indicted
before the international criminal court. Also, every individual policeman or
soldier in Zimbabwe who obeys an order to shoot protesters, should be held
personally liable for his criminal act, and will be punished in an
Wednesday, 09 April 2008 15:35
*JOC now in control *Generals desperate to save their skins
BY CHIEF REPORTER
Terrified of people power, as demonstrated by Zimbabweans' use of
their vote on March 29, the nation's fabulously wealthy and corrupt security
force generals have surreptitiously seized power and established a de facto
military junta with President Robert Mugabe as its head.
Senior generals, who for years have been contemptuous of the law and
human rights, announced before the poll that they would not accept an
opposition victory. As it became apparent, despite mammoth efforts to rig a
Zanu (PF) victory, that Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC had won the election,
the generals swung into action.
In connivance with the Zanu (PF) regime, the Joint Operations Command,
JOC, quietly took control of Zimbabwe on the Sunday after the poll, as soon
as news of MDC's victory began to leak out.
They immediately began orchestrating the release of the results
through the Zanu (PF)-appointed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Official sources said the JOC was using special powers under the
Constitution to assume the powers of the president.
During the past two weeks the JOC has used its authority to impose a
blackout on election results that give Tsvangirai a clear victory,
instructed the judiciary not to hear an opposition court action to compel
the release of the results, and ordered the arrest of electoral officials to
justify the delay.
Using results posted outside individual polling stations, the MDC says
Tsvangirai won 50.3 per cent of the vote against Mugabe's 42, 8 making him
the country's next leader.
But JOC, which has put all senior ZEC officials under surveillance,
said it had evidence that Mugabe had been cheated in 16 constituencies and
wants a recount.
"We will purge ZEC," threatened Zanu (PF) administration secretary
Didymus Mutasa. "There is no way we can conduct elections with thieves."
Sources told The Zimbabwean that the de facto coup by JOC had been
endorsed at last week's politburo meeting.
JOC had been tasked with taking charge of the "delicate situation" but
would hand power back to Mugabe once things had stabilized. The octogenarian
leader was expected to appoint an interim administration that would oversee
a run-off of the presidential poll.
The opposition has warned that Mugabe would use Section 29 of the
Constitution to invoke his presidential powers (temporary measures)
regulations to postpone the run-off election date for 90 days.
Armed troops and riot police have taken strategic positions across the
capital, but life appears normal on the streets of Zimbabwe's cities.
The military junta is believed to have ordered the nation's largest
state-owned daily newspaper, the Herald, to cede editorial control to
Mugabe's official spokesman, George Charamba.
Diplomatic sources said the African Union (AU) Peace and Security
Council could be asked to use military force to end the standoff if Mugabe
insisted on subverting the will of the people using force. UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week urged ZEC to release the results
"expeditiously and with transparency."
US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in
Washington that the release was "overdue."
In a fiery statement, Tsvangirai condemned regional leaders for their
failure to speak out against Mugabe.
Commercial Farmers' Union spokesman Trevor Gifford said 23 farms were
besieged on Monday by mobs of pro-Mugabe war veterans and militia. But
Wilfred Mhanda, chairman of the independent Zimbabwe Liberators Platform,
said the issue of land was "an exhausted platform. It has no takers."
Wednesday, 09 April 2008 15:28
BY CHIEF REPORTER
The ruling Zanu (PF) party needs to mobilise the working class and
unemployed youths to ensure a landslide victory in the presidential election
run-off, a senior Zanu (PF) official has said.
Zanu (PF) Secretary for Information and Publicity, Nathan Shamuyarira,
said it was unfortunate that a lot of workers had been fooled into thinking
that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had their interests
at heart. The party had nothing to offer to the workers because Britain,
employers and the Commercial Farmers Union were controlling it, he claimed.
He stressed that the ruling party needed to win back the support of
working people in the towns who voted for the MDC during the first round of
voting on March 29.
"As we head towards the presidential election run-off, we take
cognisance of the fact that we have been through a momentous year. We need
to gear ourselves to advance our position and defend our interests,"
He said the ZEC had stolen the election in MDC's favour and said the
ruling party was demanding a recount in 16 constituencies. He said there was
no way ZEC could be allowed to announce flawed election results.
Zanu (PF) Administration Secretary Didymus Mutasa said: "We will purge
ZEC. There is no way we can conduct elections with thieves." He said Zanu
(PF) was demanding a recount before election results could be announced. He
added that results in 16 constituencies were "suspect".
Mutasa spoke as High Court judge Justice Tendai Uchena postponed for
the fourth time in a row the hearing of a petition by the MDC seeking a
court order compelling the ZEC to release presidential election results
By Our Correspondent
HARARE: April 10, 2008 (thezimbabwetimes.com) - The Movement for Democratic
Change, MDC says it has discovered a fake letter purporting to have emanated
from the office of the party’s secretary general, Tendai Biti.
The 13 page document claims to outline a transitional strategy for the MDC
“should we get more than 60 percent of the vote on the first round”.
The document which, according to Biti, was doctored from a letter once
signed on his behalf by Toendepi Shonhe.
Among other things, the fake letter claims the MDC had plans to “take our
campaign right inside the polling stations.
“We are also talking to teachers and other civil servants who are being
recruited by ZEC to play various roles, especially at the polling stations.
Many of these are accepting our offers of between ZW$3 billion and ZW$50
billion each so that they exploit any available opportunity to overstate our
votes. With these measures in place, the landslide we are seeking is a
The letter also claims the MDC had plans to invite United States President
George Bush, British leader Gordon Brown and German Chancellor, Angela
Reads the allegedly fictional letter: “The swearing in will be done by the
Chief Justice at State House and this must be planned in some detail. We
have already sent invitations to President Bush, Prime Minister Gordon
Brown, Prime Minister Kelvin Rudd, Chancellor Angela Merkel and our
international partners and other key stakeholders in the People's Project.
Soon after the swearing in, President Tsvangirai will immediately take
occupation of the President's Office and State House. Our British friends
have already taken the President, his wife and the rest of the first family
through a crash course on ethics, etiquette and basic protocol associated
with this high office.
“Our international partners also continue to send us their assurances that
they will guarantee our assumption of power, including with force of arms if
Biti said the fake letter and the deployment of armed forces was part of a
Zanu-PF strategy “to steal our dignity”.
“It is quiet clear Zanu-PF are desperate to reverse the people’s decision on
the 29th of March,” said Biti.
By Greatman Moyo
April 9, 2008
POLITICAL aspirant and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono
has been sucked into Zimbabwe’s contentious issue concerning the much
postponed announcement of the presidential election results.
There has been much speculation – revelation as well – that Gono has become
one of a cabal of people urging President Robert Mugabe to hold out for a
run-off, in the aftermath of March 29 presidential election.
The historic elections have turned out to be a cliffhanger for Mugabe and
Zanu-PF – both in terms of its outcome in the House of Assembly and the
inexplicable delay in the announcement of the result of the presidential
election, which the octogenarian leader is now widely believed to have lost.
Already, Zanu-PF has lost its parliamentary majority to Morgan Tsvangirai’s
Movement for Democratic Change.
Against the background of such a scenario and stalemate, a group of Mugabe
loyalists including Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga,
police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri, Rural Housing Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zanu-PF security boss Nicholas Goche, Justice Minister,
Patrick Chinamasa and Gono is understood to be strongly lobbying the
beleaguered President to stay on and fight it out with Tsvangirai in a
run-off already dogged by procedural problems.
Gono, like many in this coterie of self-seeking politicians, is bitterly
opposed to any MDC takeover not only because it exposes him to possible
prosecution over his many alleged corrupt activities at the central bank,
but also because it dashes his own obvious political ambitions since Mugabe.
The clearest indication yet of Gono’s disdain of Tsvangirai is a spurious
story in Monday’s Herald, which alleged a German takeover of the Zimbabwean
central bank under Tsvangirai, yet inter-governmental technical co-operation
has been a widespread practice worldwide since time immemorial.
Apart from comforting the 84-year-old president, Gono has already started
oiling Mugabe’s re-election bid by availing unlimited amounts of cash for
such projects as the printing of two million t-shirts for what could be a
“bloody campaign”, given that Zanu PF has re-activated its shock-troopers in
the form of liberation war veterans.
“Gono is using his access to the president to urge him to stay on. That’s
despite the folly of the (re-election) project, however. Really, he is one
of a few who has access to Mugabe right now, but are currently engaged in
futile endeavours,” says a source close to the Reserve Bank Governor, adding
it was ironic that Gono was now playing “the president’s best buddy” yet it
was his acerbic policies that had cost Zanu PF the election.
Among the notoriously insipid and unpopular policies was Gono’s “wait and
see” attitude at the height of 2006’s cash crisis that galvanised the anger
of the people against Mugabe’s government. His highly-inflationary
money-printing antics also proved to be problematic as well as adding
It was also incomprehensible that Mugabe could entrust his re-election and
survival to the likes of Gono, Chinamasa and others who crafted the 51
percent presidential-poll majority clause that has now delivered Mugabe to
the altar of political judgement.
“The problem is that the despot aligns himself with sycophants, yet they
could be working him from within. An analysis of the characters involved
would show you that they were taught only in the wor(l)d of deception and
backbiting, and the result would be interesting really,” said the source,
refreshing the widely-held view on Gono’s duplicity that has also seen him
funding both Zanu PF and the opposition since 2000. In fact, it is believed
that he provided vehicles to Tsvangirai’s campaign this year, as a way of
“reaching out for amnesty” should the latter win.
In the meantime, Mugabe’s running dogs led by Chihuri, Chinamasa and Goche
are stepping up an assault on democracy and the people’s will by preparing a
legal process to challenge some of the “House of Assembly seats” won by
Tsvangirai’s MDC. Informed government insiders say while the plot is
entirely a “Dinyane gang” idea – bankrolled wholesale by Gono – the arrest
of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) staffers was a precursor or prelude
to that evil plan.
Apart from gunning for Tsvangirai, Gono is involved in a parallel process to
impose himself as a major political player and power broker, which would see
him emerge as prime minister, or at the very least finance minister, in
whatever dispensation or structure that comes out of this post-March 29
impasses or standoff.
Such an appointment (in whatever capacity) and Zanu PF’s intended
constitutional tinkering as well as “bribery plan” in the coming parliament
would not only “give him a foot” in the key arm(s) of government, but set
him to assume the presidency when Mugabe finally departs the political scene
or stage. This is according to a secret pact between Gono and the elderly
News of Gono’s involvement in clandestine moves to preserve the status quo
also come amid charges that he ran a “command centre” on Saturday, March 29
with presidential spokesman and Ministry of Information, and Publicity
permanent secretary George Charamba.
The purpose of the unofficial centre was allegedly to co-ordinate rigging
efforts while distorting the election tally as well as coaxing Mugabe to
unilaterally declare himself the winner of the election long before George
Chiweshe’s powerless ZEC could proclaim the bona fide winner.
However, their efforts came to naught when it became evident that Zanu-PF
and Mugabe were tumbling to a defeat, amid use or application of the more
transparent SADC guidelines and principles on election monitoring as well as
Gono and Charamba’s operation of a command centre also flies in the face of
security agents’ move to arrest MDC officials, particularly Tendai Biti,
Nelson Chamisa and George Sikhotshiwe for running “an illegal information
centre” from the day of the elections. That Gono has not been questioned,
observers said, showed his power to operate above the law – a trait grossly
rampant throughout his tenure.
Apart from the unholy electoral/political alliance, Gono and Charamba’s
illicit relationship also runs into commercial exploits, where the former
provided up to Z$50 billion in 2005 to Mugabe acerbic spokesman in so-called
agricultural or farming loans, particularly a poultry project in Charamba’s
Buhera home district.
The pair also co-operated extensively during the 2004 Tsholotsho debacle,
with Gono providing ample funding to the palace coup plot meant to benefit
However, the most disconcerting issue is not only Gono’s involvement in
State machinations to keep Mugabe in power at all costs, but also abuse of
his RBZ office and resources to pursue his succession agenda. So serious and
intense is Gono’s assault on power that he is even involved in covert
operations to destroy political foes such as Simba Makoni, and his Mavambo
project, with the biggest high-profile casualty of this Zanu-PF’s factional
fallout being intelligence director general Happyton Bonyongwe.
Despite the fact they were key allies in many respects, it was learned last
week that Gono and other Mugabe lackeys went out to get Bonyongwe upon
receipt of flawed information that he sympathized with Makoni in the run-up
to the March 29 elections. This prompted an unprecedented declaration of
loyalty to Mugabe by the otherwise reclusive intelligence boss prior to last
However, Bonyongwe’s woes are far from over as it emerged that Gono last
week splurged on an S-Class Mercedes Benz and a Toyota Landcruiser SUV for
State Security minister Didymus Mutasa to ensure that he “keeps tabs” and
reins on the beleaguered Bonyongwe, in case he hits back by commissioning
adverse reports on the corrupt Gono and other shadowy characters in
Meanwhile, Mugabe and his inner circle cohorts are said to be quietly
plundering the economy, in case of an outright reversal of their fortunes.
Like any leaders of a despotic clique gasping for breath, Gono is said to be
participating in a looting spree.
Meanwhile, it has become increasingly clear that Mugabe and his group have
no clear strategy for victory in any election with Tsvangirai. They are
hoping, though, that the violence that they are preparing to unleash on the
electorate, vote-buying and other clandestine strategies will deliver
victory to the 84-year old ruler.
There is increasing evidence that the run-off will be held in the violent
atmosphere of the 2000 and 2005 election campaigns, which were remarkable
for their widespread intimidation and disregard for the rule of law.
Opposition Faces Violent Reprisals After Election Wins
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, April 10, 2008; Page A10
MARONDERA, Zimbabwe, April 9 -- The crimson begins at the collar. Its dried,
crusty path shows where blood flowed from the head of opposition candidate
Felix Muzambi onto his shoulders, down his front and past every one of his
buttons. The white Van Heusen dress shirt now carries the indelible stain of
The beating at the hands of ruling party youths happened in February, said
Muzambi, 64, a taxidermist and grandfather. That was about six weeks before
the historic March 29 election that was notable for its relative
peacefulness -- compared to votes in previous years -- and for the
first-round defeat of President Robert Mugabe and his party.
Heading into a second and decisive round of voting for the presidency, signs
abound that the kind of violence visited on Muzambi is spreading across the
country as Mugabe resorts to the tools he has used to stay in power for 28
years. This town alone has a notorious history of whippings, abductions and
torture. Secret police took pliers to Muzambi's genitals last year, he said,
turning away and wincing.
He said the worst is still ahead.
"We're in trouble," said Muzambi, who won a seat on Marondera's council, a
humiliating loss for Mugabe's party, which has controlled this town since
Zimbabwe's birth in 1980. "Everybody is scared because they know he kills."
Reports of vicious attacks and intimidation have proliferated in Marondera
since the vote 11 days ago. An opposition activist was pummeled by ruling
party youths and threatened with a knife Tuesday night, several of his
friends said. Two other opposition supporters, in a rural area outside town,
were whipped so badly they ended up in the hospital, a party official said.
Voting results written on blue pieces of paper outside several polling
stations have mysteriously been erased. Some of the few still visible were
posted behind the windows of a locked building, the R. G. Mugabe Primary
School, revealing the depth of his humiliation here: Tsvangirai 248, Mugabe
At two other polling stations where results had been rubbed away, the faint
imprints suggested similar margins of defeat for the president and his
Regional diplomatic efforts to resolve the political stalemate accelerated
Wednesday with a call by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa for an emergency
meeting of southern African heads of state Saturday. The group, which has
publicly defended Mugabe in the past, is widely seen as having more
influence over him than Western critics such as Britain and the United
Meanwhile, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, which has
rarely been involved in violence, continued pressing its court case to force
the electoral commission to release results from the presidential vote.
Independent monitors and officials from both parties say Mugabe lost, though
they disagree over whether the margin required a runoff. A runoff is
triggered if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.
Independent candidate Simba Makoni, who by most accounts finished a distant
third behind opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe, also demanded
the results Wednesday. "Our votes are not the property of anyone," Makoni
said at a news conference in Harare, the capital. "It is our right, as
citizens, to get the final results without further delay."
Yet as the fight over results sharpens, the election has already moved into
a decidedly anxious new phase out in Zimbabwe's hinterlands, especially in
towns such as Marondera, where former Mugabe strongholds produced opposition
landslides. The posting of results outside polling stations, a widely
praised innovation of this election, has taken on a sinister cast in recent
days; they amount to a road map for anyone inclined to punish neighborhoods
that strayed from the party's control.
Ruling party officials denied they were using violence to win the runoff.
"I've not heard anything of that sort, but I'm sure that if there is
anything like that, the police have the capacity to handle it," said Didymus
Mutasa, national security minister.
Yet Zimbabweans see the police as Mugabe's enforcers, not impartial arbiters
of peace and justice.
Last October, Carlos Mudzongo, 35, wore an opposition T-shirt into a rural
area and was assaulted by five ruling party youths, he said. When he sought
help from the police, three officers beat him with broomsticks and
electrical cords, he said. Such stories are common here.
Ruling party youths, dressed in white T-shirts bearing the logo and acronym
of Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF,
have begun assembling outside the houses of opposition activists and singing
a warning in Shona that translates as, "The war has come."
On Wednesday morning, they stopped outside the house of Leonard Mandaza, 59,
an opposition candidate who also won a seat on Marondera's town council. He
said that most of the youths appeared to be from out of town, but one was
from Marondera and showed the others where to focus their energies. Mandaza
said he expected more visits soon.
"They will act at night," he said.
"I will fight like a dog, teeth and legs," he added grimly. "If they want
war, then we can retaliate."
The hard words signal a dramatic shift in mood since the first days after
the election, when even some of Mugabe's closest associates were urging him
to step down. Since then, it has become clear that he has decided to fight,
with the support of the military, police, party youths and veterans of the
nation's liberation war who have renewed their assault on white-owned
commercial farms after several years of relative quiet.
In Marondera, nearly every party activist has a story of beatings or
torture. They have been roused by police in the middle of the night. Their
children have been taunted and in some cases abducted. Several say they fear
to venture outside after dark.
Opposition activist Diamond Tenfara, 50, a retired accountant, said he has
been abducted by the secret police so many times that he can no longer count
the episodes. But he recalled the most memorable form of torture used on
him: He was stripped naked, then forced to sit on a chair wired with
"It was hot everywhere," Tenfara said.
Muzambi, who keeps his bloodied shirt folded in a bedroom closet in hopes of
some day testifying against his attackers in court, said the assault was not
the most frightening day of this election season. That came two weeks later,
when the secret police pulled up outside his house in three pickup trucks.
By the time he found his way outside, they had handcuffed and bundled off
his brother, 37, and his son, 32.
The two emerged from custody two days later, their bodies battered, Muzambi
said. His son had a broken left arm; his brother a broken right thigh bone.
With more attacks being chronicled every day, and with a purge underway
against some officials on the electoral commission, Muzambi said he figures
the runoff has already been lost. Or rather, stolen by a ruling party
determined to win.
"If they burn down two houses," he said, people "won't vote MDC again. They
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 10/04/2008
One gained independence with a diversified economy, good
infrastructure and promising potential for growth. The other was considered
among the best examples of post-colonial development. But the refusal of two
stubborn old men to cede power - or of their entourages to let them - has
ruined the reputation of both.
In Zimbabwe, under Robert Mugabe, that process has accelerated over
the past eight years, reducing the country to a wreck. In Kenya, under Mwai
Kibaki, it has lasted only a few months.
In each case, a rigged election has led to an impasse from which only
outside intervention offers hope, albeit slim, of escape.
Over Zimbabwe, the key external players are South Africa and its
fellow members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Here,
there are signs that Mr Mugabe's neighbours are waking up to the enormity of
his handling of the presidential poll. Jacob Zuma, the head of the ruling
ANC and the frontrunner to succeed Thabo Mbeki, has criticised Zimbabwe's
electoral commission for delaying publication of the results.
Meanwhile, the SADC's chairman, President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia,
has called an emergency summit in Lusaka on Saturday.
Kenya has accepted outside mediation by Kofi Annan, the former United
Nations secretary general. But the power-sharing agreement reached in
February has yet to be implemented and there has been an ominous recurrence
Here, pressure for a settlement has come mainly from America and the
EU; they have still to persuade Mr Kibaki to yield key ministerial
portfolios to the opposition under Raila Odinga.
Two political elites who have dragged their countries down through
clinging to office by hook or by crook. Outside intervention which has yet
to be effective and, in the case of Zimbabwe, has been scandalously feeble.
These failures are sullying the name of Africa as a whole.
Ripon, North Yorkshire
Venue: Ripon Town Hall, Market Place South, HG4 1DG
Date: Saturday 26th April 2008
Time: 12:00 noon – 5:00pm
(Talk begins at 1:00pm followed by question & answer)
All events are free and open to all.
For press release 26/3/08 & for further details please contact:
Albert Weidemann, Mahoneys Cottage, 1 Ambrose Road, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 1SH.
Telephone: (01765) 607900 Mob: 079 171 56093
Press Release – 9th April 2008
Ř Of the 12 million population 80% remain unemployed, nearly 5 million people live in diaspora around the world. Approximately 3500 people die of HIV/AIDS a week.
Ř Zimbabwe currently has the world’s highest inflation rate of a 150,000 percent and one of the lowest life expectancies rates where men are expected to live to just 37 years while women’s life expectancy is just 34 years old.
Ř Zimbabwe’s orphans of which there are approximately 1.2 million are at extreme risk themselves.
Ř So-called independent observers selectively chosen by the regime shall no doubt declare elections free and fair on this occasion as has been the case throughout past elections. With pre-determined results in terms of ballot rigging with the collusion of the armed forces and so-called war veterans the order of the day.
In conclusion has the tide finally turned sufficiently for Zimbabweans within the armed forces to finally realize that they cannot continue to stem the tide of freedom of which they supposedly claim to have fought and died for during the so-called liberation struggle?
Human Rights Campaigner & Peace Studies student at Bradford University