by Fanuel Jongwe 1 hour, 18 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition on Thursday ruled out a run-off vote
between its leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe as the two
looked set for a weekend summit showdown.
Twelve days after a presidential poll with still no official result, the
number two of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change said he had won
outright and the party planned to form a government of national unity.
"We held a meeting today and we resolved that we will not participate in a
re-run of the election," Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary general, told a
press conference in Johannesburg.
Biti later told AFP Tsvangirai would attend Saturday's emergency summit of
southern African leaders in Zambia, where he was likely to lock horns with
"Morgan has been formally invited to the SADC meeting and he will definitely
The 14-nation Southern African Development Community called the emergency
summit in a bid to break the impasse between Mugabe's ruling party and the
"If there is a SADC meeting confirmed by Zambia, President Mugabe will
definitely be there," Mugabe's Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga
"There is nothing unusual about his attendance. SADC has obviously come
under a lot of international pressure over the Zimbabwe elections and needs
to be briefed about what is happening here."
A source in Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa's office told AFP invitations
had been issued and Mugabe was fully expected to attend.
The attendance was also confirmed of Thabo Mbeki, the president of regional
heavyweight South Africa who has come under fire for his so far muted
response to the crisis.
The region in general has been heavily criticised over its traditional
reluctance to criticise Mugabe, who has presided over his country's economic
demise during his 28-year rule which began with independence in April 1980.
Mugabe has often bridled at any kind of outside intervention, blaming the
country's economic woes on a limited package of Western sanctions imposed
after he allegedly rigged his 2002 re-election.
The former British colony now has a six-figure inflation rate and
unemployment is beyond 80 percent, while average life expectancy stands at
The Zimbabwean opposition was furious that a team of SADC observers gave the
March 29 polls a clean bill of health before the results had been announced.
The MDC has called on the region's leaders to use the summit to call time on
Mugabe's tenure, but the South African government for one has already
rejected any notion it might do so.
"We are not a government who can ask other presidents to step down," Deputy
Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told journalists in Pretoria.
While the results of a simultaneous parliamentary election were announced
more than a week ago, the outcome of the presidential vote remains a
Tsvangirai's party says he passed the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a
presidential run-off, but the president's party has described a second
ballot as "definite" and endorsed Mugabe last week as its candidate.
The electoral commission says it needs more time to collate and verify the
votes, even though the body has already dismantled its operations centre in
the capital Harare.
There have been a flurry of statements in recent days from the United
Nations, the European Union and others and on Thursday US President George
W. Bush called again on the commission to release the presidential result as
soon as possible.
While Mugabe has hardly been seen since the elections, Tsvangirai has
launched a diplomatic drive in recent days, visiting neighbours and pleading
for help in forcing the result.
Opposition hopes that the country's high court would order the electoral
commission to announce the result before the summit were dashed when a judge
said he would only decide whether to issue such a ruling on Monday.
Tsvangirai, 56, was expected to travel on to Zambia and Mozambique after
holding talks with new Botswana President Ian Khama.
Mbeki was expected in the Mozambican capital Maputo on Friday for economic
talks, raising speculation of a possible meeting between him and the
Zimbabwean opposition leader.
A spokesman for the South African president confirmed a meeting was on the
"As soon as we have a formal request we will meet with him at his earliest
convenience, as the president would with any other Zimbabwean leader,"
spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said.
International Herald Tribune
By Celia W. Dugger and Graham Bowley Published: April 10, 2008
JOHANNESBURG: The main Zimbabwean opposition party decided Thursday that its
presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, would not participate in a runoff
because it says he won the disputed election outright, the secretary general
of the party, Tendai Biti, said at a news conference here Thursday.
After waiting 12 days for an official announcement of the outcome of the
presidential election - one that independent monitors say Tsvangirai won,
though probably not by enough to avoid a runoff - Biti accused the governing
party led by President Robert Mugabe with carrying out what he called "a
constitutional coup d'état."
The opposition party's rejection of a runoff is a departure from its
previous stance. It has repeatedly said that it would participate in one -
and trounce Mugabe in the process.
With evidence accumulating that youth militias organized by ruling party,
the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, are moving through
rural areas, beating up opposition supporters and threatening worse if they
vote for the opposition in a runoff, Biti said African leaders must tell
Mugabe to step aside when they gather for an emergency meeting this Saturday
in Lusaka, Zambia, to consider the crisis in Zimbabwe.
"This is the end game of the end game," Biti said. "Checkmate already
happened on the 29th of March."
Biti did not say whether Tvangirai would attend the meeting of Southern
African heads of state on the crisis gripping Zimbabwe. But news agencies in
Harare reported Thursday that he would, raising the possibility that the two
implacable rivals would come face to face at the summit meeting. The
Southern African Development Community, a regional bloc of 14 nations,
confirmed Thursday that all heads of state among its members had been
invited to the meeting.
A spokesman for the government told news agencies in Harare, the Zimbabwean
capital, that Mugabe, who has often rallied support among African heads of
state in the past with angry denunciations of meddling Western nations,
would attend the Lusaka meeting.
"If there is a SADC meeting of heads of state, then obviously he will
attend," the deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, said of Mugabe.
Is there any reasonable suspicion that votes were stolen from Mr Mugabe?
Zimbabwe has an Electoral Commission [ZEC] still appointed entirely by
Robert Mugabe, from a shortlist picked predominantly by his party.
Zimbabwe Police have started arresting ZEC election officials countrywide,
alleging they fraudulently deprived Mr Mugabe of votes during vote counting
or compiling in the recent Harmonised Elections.
If so, they robbed Mugabe in front of police & numerous other witnesses –
without it being detected for a week.
Whatever red herrings people may try to draw now across the trail,
all the counting was done in front of numerous witnesses including the
police and ZANU-Pf’s polling agents at every polling station and completed
by lunchtime on Sunday 30th March 2008;
And over the next couple of days, all the compiling was done in front of
numerous witnesses including the police and ZANU-Pf’s polling agents at in
every ward and every constituency and the result there in each of the 4
elections was recorded and put up outside.
And no complaints were publicly made, until last Friday when ZANU-Pf had to
explain to Robert Mugabe – on the basis ostensibly only of their OWN polling
agents returns, as the official ones are still officially secret – why he
lost, and even did so much worse than his party candidates in many areas.
The counting was done at each polling station.
Present at every count were:
11 ZEC officials,
Accredited observers [all approved by a government minister first]
Agents for each candidate [with a ZANU Pf agent, inside & out] –
Police - as Mugabe had personally changed the electoral law just before the
election to put his police inside the stations.
Other agents, observers, public etc watched from a short distance outside.
No-body was allowed in or out during the count.
Then 6 copies were made of every result, from each of the 4 ballot boxes in
turn [Presidential, senate, House of assembly, Local Authority.]
They were signed not just by ZEC officials, but by party agents – including
One signed copy of each return was then put up publicly outside.
All 5 others were sent on to the ward centre, then the constituency centre,
then the command centre.
How could any theft from him have happened so publicly, and been undetected,
unreported for so long?
Single ZEC officials are being arrested by police from around the country
for unlawfully robbing Robert Mugabe of votes, before any official result is
1. Everything was done at every level with many other people watching - the
counting of the ballot papers and the collating. For any theft or fraud to
have occurred at any stage, many other people would have needed to be
accomplices, including ZANU-Pf party agents and police. Why have they not
ALL been arrested?
2. Every result was recorded in multiple copies, and signed by Z-Pf agents.
Every polling station result was put up publicly. 5 copies were kept for
Can anyone hope to defraud Robert Mugabe in quintuplicate?
3. The number of copies made of every Constituency return is unknown, but
can be easily discovered. One was put up outside for the public for each
election. Winners were announced. The time when all this happened at the
constituency level can also be proved. Most, if not all, were finished by
Sunday or Monday.
4. Long after each local announcement of the Parliamentary seats, ZEC also
announced the results at its National Command Centre. It said its delay was
while it checked each one. ZEC is well staffed and has computers. If a local
official cheated or perhaps made a mistake in entering or adding any
returns - undetected by all those others watching him - ZEC would have
discovered this before it made its own public announcement for that seat.
Yet it is ZEC’s public announcements that are being disputed now by ZANU-Pf.
If there was any fraud or error in any tally by some official, it was an
error ZEC also made; yet no-one from its National Command Centre has been
5. While every Constituency result has been broadcast, all ZEC presidential
results remain secret. Like ZANU-Pf, the police should not have any official
records of that vote yet. Can they explain on what evidence therefore are
they now arresting any ZEC official for theft of votes or defrauding Robert
Mugabe? Are they too relying on the results reported by ZANU-Pfs own agents?
Has ZEC laid a complaint against some officials, rather than merely
rectifying any errors?
With so public a process, there surely can be no reasonable suspicion that
Robert Mugabe has been robbed by anyone. Why now open the ballot boxes?
There seems to be no credible grounds to do so, but there is every reason to
fear that the real reason for doing this is to suddenly “find” more votes
for Mugabe inside, in boxes kept guarded only by his officials, sealed with
only their seals.
Before ZEC does that, it must inform every accredited observer, and let them
also attend. It must show these observers all the polling station returns,
and let them take copies of that, and explain why it thinks there are any
grounds to reopen and recount, when ZANU-Pf was present at the time and made
no complaint for so long.
Or it must tell observers it received complaints within the allowed time of
48 hours, but ignored them and announced the results anyway; and explain why
neither it nor ZANU-Pf told observers that they had any complaints.
Regardless of any recount, every winner announced at the constituency centre
remains the winner unless and until that result is set aside by the
Electoral Court after petition & trial. ZEC cannot change it. A recount
cannot change it.
Section 66(4) of the Electoral Act specifies that.
Zim ballot box reopening & recounts to begin 11 April - without required
notification to observers
You observed the polling and other aspects of Zimbabwe’s harmonised
elections as an accredited observer, after approval to do this from a
Government Minister. Observer groups who had been critical in the past were
rejected. International approval was sought from the remainder.
You were invited to observe as part of efforts to give the government
legitimacy. However it seems ZEC is now ignoring the law and international
protocols and planning recounts in your absence.
We draw your attention to:
- 2 known ballot box recounts planned for tomorrow
- Your right to be informed in advance by ZEC of any recount
- Your right to be present
- Your right to be told why it considers this justified.
ZEC has told the winning MPs that ballot box recounts will be done tomorrow
in Mutare West and Chimanimani West. It may also be planning these
We request you to urgently advise us if you have been informed of this at
Section 67A of the Electoral Act allows a recount only if a complaint is
made by a losing candidate or party within 48 hours [no credible indication
of that] or on ZEC’s own initiative.
In either case there must be reasonable grounds to believe there was a
The arrests of isolated officials do not justify that, as any error or fraud
here would have needed to have a lot of people being complicit in it,
including police and party agents.
Section 67A also specifies:
(5) Where the Commission orders a recount of votes in terms of this section,
the Commission shall specify—
(a) the polling stations whose votes are to be recounted and, where
appropriate, the votes that are to be recounted; and
(b) the date on which, and the place and time at which the recount is to
take place; and
(c) the procedure to be adopted for the recount;
and shall take all necessary steps to inform accredited observers and all
political parties and candidates that contested the election of its decision
and of the date, time and place of the recount.
(6) Accredited observers and representatives of candidates and political
parties that contested the election shall be entitled to be present at any
recount ordered in terms of this section.
The polling process had precautions against fraud during counting and
adding, with vote counting done by 11 officials in the presence of party
agents, police and observers, and each result then being signed and posted
at the polling station.
Any fraud at either stage would have required the complicity of numerous
people including the police.
Every polling station record was made with 6 signed copies & under such
supervision that no-one could have hoped to commit a fraud in counting or
• No complaints were heard from ZANU-PF during this process.
• Various observers praised the process.
• ZEC delayed its own announcements confirming constituency results for
days, saying it was checking all the results before doing so.
• When it announced them, ZANU-PF and state media still voiced no criticism.
Although secrecy and delay have now clouded ZEC’s official Presidential
results, the public statements by Mr Mugabe’s most loyal supporters have
made it clear that they know he lost. Only the margin is open to any doubt.
But suddenly individual ZEC officials around the country are now being
arrested on charges of defrauding Mr Mugabe.
And as suddenly the ruling party has started challenging the announced
results, and ZEC has phoned some new MPs to say it will be recounting.
Due to the other new precautions, the law does not protect ballot boxes
well. The only seal allowed on them was the official one. That is an
unsigned plastic seal that can be readily removed and replaced, with little
chance of detection. No-one knows who has had the boxes since the poll; and
as there were no complaints, no-one else has been observing them. Their
contents may have been completely switched by now. ZEC refused to disclose
how many ballot papers it had printed, and reports were received in advance
of duplicated serial numbers.
ZEC has not said why it wants to reopen boxes, or what boxes it intends to
open. ZEC can only do this if it has good reason to believe the first count
was wrong. With so many people watching and no reports of complaints at the
time, and the observers endorsing that aspect, how can it have any such
ZEC only accredited observers approved by Mr Mugabe’s Minister. ZEC and his
government then welcomed and publicized any endorsement by them of the
election and counting as ‘credible’. Yet ZEC now ‘doubts’ it and wants to
reopen ballot boxes without advising them.
Zimbabwe’s law obliges ZEC to tell them and also entitles all observers to
be present whenever any box is opened, so they must be given enough notice.
Courtesy dictates the same, to let them observe what they allegedly missed,
and apparently received no complaints about, before.
It is our belief that Zimbabwe cannot use selected observers to try and give
its elections credibility, then U-turn and say its official results were not
credible after all, and reopen boxes in an effort to “prove” this - in the
Not just ZEC’s credibility but the future credibility of the observers
themselves would inevitably be destroyed by any such action.
IF ZEC has any plausible reason to reopen any boxes, ZEC in our view is
obliged now by the electoral law to tell all those observers who endorsed
the processes that it has had cause to rethink, and that it wants to
re-examine the records, in their presence, with all the other details
It is also required by the Administrative Justice Act to explain to those
observers why it has had cause to rethink.
If that is not happening, please make this and your views known.
Local observers and others with a right to attend have not been informed
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: April 10, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Things were bad even before Zimbabwe's presidential
election, with inflation so high workers sometimes couldn't afford the bus
fare to get to their jobs.
Now, government departments and factories report workers aren't coming
because of uncertainty about the future — and fear of unrest. It's been 12
days since the vote, with no word on who won, leaving an entire country
wondering who's running things while the opposition and President Robert
Mugabe's regime trade accusations over who is to blame for the political
"We cannot keep our production lines going in this atmosphere. We need some
sort of closure on the elections. Thirty percent of our employees are
staying home," said one Harare executive who asked not to be identified out
of fear of official reprisals.
He said normal contacts between businesses and government trade and industry
officials had come to a standstill.
"It's impossible to get any answers on day-to-day problems," he said.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says its candidate, Morgan
Tsvangirai, won the March 29 vote outright. Projections from independent
observers put Tsvangirai ahead, but not far enough to avoid a runoff,
leading to speculation Mugabe is delaying the release of results so he can
orchestrate a second-round victory.
Mugabe dissolved parliament on the eve of polling. Under the constitution,
he remains president until the confirmation of the election winner and a
victor is sworn into office.
Mugabe, though, has made few public appearances since the vote. In apparent
response to the worries over a vacuum, the state-controlled Herald on
Thursday published a statement from Minister of Information and Publicity
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu saying Cabinet ministers will remain in office until a new
Cabinet is announced to allow for the smooth running of government.
But there has been little evidence of high-level government decision making.
Routine functions of state and local council authorities have virtually
The state security printer told one Harare company it was too busy producing
ballot papers for a runoff vote to immediately issue a certificate of
incorporation. Drivers in Harare parked their vehicles in restricted zones
with little fear of being ticketed or prosecuted. Police checkpoints on main
highways were unusually lax.
While police may be neglecting routine duties, their presence in Harare has
been beefed up, with uniformed officers on most street corners in groups of
two and up to eight. That has contributed to fears of potential unrest.
"It is as if the country is playing 'mahumbwe,'" said Jacob Kufandikwa, a
Harare businessman, referring to a local game in which children playact
The power and water outages that had been symptoms of the economic collapse
under Mugabe continued. Shops are emptier than before the vote. Daily
deliveries, however small, of bread and other basics are intermittent and
have ceased altogether in some areas.
Prices have soared in the past week. The daily Herald went up Thursday from
3 million Zimbabwe dollars to 20 million Zimbabwe dollars. Independent
finance houses calculate inflation at around 290,000 percent compared to the
official 100,500 percent.
Chronic milk shortages worsened Thursday as ruling party militants disrupted
milking in the Beatrice dairy area southwest of Harare, farmers said.
Mugabe's party has focused on white farmers, apparently as part of its
runoff campaign, portraying the opposition as poised to reverse Mugabe's
drive to put more land in black hands. Mugabe claimed his land reform was to
benefit poor blacks, but gave most seized farms to relatives, friends and
cronies, and agricultural production has plunged.
The dominant black market exchange rate dropped to about 36 million Zimbabwe
dollars for a single U.S. dollar after poll results showed Mugabe's party
lost control of the parliament in voting held alongside the presidential
vote. But with the stalemate over the presidential results, the black market
rate soared Thursday to 50 million to one U.S. dollar, the highest so far.
The local stock exchange in Harare also stabilized, then surged again as
speculators hedged into safe corporate stock rather than invest in industry
or production, brokers said.
"If Mugabe had won the election, we would have had the results after a
couple of days," said Kufandikwa, the businessman.
"We all thought the clock was ticking fast for him to go, but now it has
stopped," he said.
SW Radio Africa (London)
10 April 2008
Posted to the web 10 April 2008
In what appears to be a carefully crafted plot to discredit last month's
general elections, that the government lost, eight Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission officers have been dragged to court under Zanu-PF orders, facing
charges of 'electoral fraud.'
The state controlled Herald reported that the eight officers were from
Mashonaland West, Gweru, Mutare and Binga. Masimba Kadzimu (46), Cuthbert
Maambirwi (41) and Ranganayi Chisepo (47), who were based at the Zvimba
North constituency command centre, appeared in a Chinhoyi court on
allegations of depriving Zanu-PF of 51 senate votes yesterday.
The paper added that Shadreck Mufute (47) who is the Hartzell Central
Primary School headmaster appeared in a Mutare court, while Tawanda Gonye
(41), Samuel Mutanda (32), Sihle Mabhena (45) and Mbuliswa Mathe (44)
appeared in the Binga court. All stand accused of electoral fraud during the
harmonised March 29 elections.
Midlands Provincial Elections officer Docas Mpofu (50) was not formally
charged when she appeared before Gweru Provincial Magistrate, Mrs Auxillia
Chiwumburu on allegations of sending wrong results to the national command
centre in Harare. Kadzimu, Maambirwi and Chisepo were remanded out of
custody on free bail to April 23 after Chinhoyi magistrate Mr Ignatius
Mugova had argued that the Electoral Act stipulated a fine of $10 million
and does not provide for imprisonment.
Allegations against the eight ZEC officials are that on 30th March, they
posted wrong parliamentary, senate and presidential results from the polling
station they were based. The figures, according to the state, affected the
total tallies collected for both presidential candidates.
But a political analyst said this was a plot by Zanu-PF to give the
impression that the elections were rigged in favour of the MDC.
'There should be room for small margins of error in such a big exercise. If
the officials had prejudiced the candidates by figures ranging from 10 or 20
000, then we would all cry foul. What we have so far are figures so small
they don't warrant all this attention because, in 2002 Zanu-PF rigged the
elections by over half a million votes,' the analyst said.
SW Radio Africa (London)
10 April 2008
Posted to the web 10 April 2008
This week has seen a growing number of governments, key individuals and
civil organisations calling for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to
immediately release results from the presidential election that took place
almost 2 weeks ago.
There has also been strong condemnation of the refusal by Robert Mugabe and
ZANU-PF to accept defeat and they have also been urged to cease the violent
attacks on opposition officials and supporters and the illegal farm
invasions, that have begun again.
Most recently liberation war veterans, who are former senior commanders and
members of the high command of ZANLA and ZIPRA forces, added their voice to
the growing chorus of regional and global criticism of Robert Mugabe. In a
statement on Thursday, the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform (ZLP) blasted Mugabe
for the "inexplicable failure" by ZEC to announce the election results.
The ZLP also criticized "the failure by the Zanu-PF party and government to
accept and admit defeat in the election" which they said is a violation of
"the popular will of the Zimbabwean electorate". The statement recommended
that Mugabe "do the honourable thing and eat humble pie and leave the people
of Zimbabwe in peace".
On Wednesday SADC media practitioners and international partners meeting in
Johannesburg expressed great concern over the situation in Zimbabwe. The
media group also called for the release of the arrested journalists and
media workers. The statement was signed by almost 2 dozen media
organizations from the SADC region, including the Media Monitoring Project
of Zimbabwe and the Media Institute of Southern Africa.
On Tuesday the Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu,
urged Mugabe to accept that he had lost the presidential election. The Nobel
Peace Prize Laureate said Mugabe could still redeem himself by stepping
On the same day South African churches urged President Thabo Mbeki to "work
vigorously" to get Mugabe to release full election results. The statement by
the South African Council of Churches said: "The delayed release of the
results creates unnecessary tension and insecurity for millions of voters
and may undermine their faith in democratic processes."
In a sharp departure from Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy", the new President of
South Africa's ruling ANC party, Jacob Zuma, criticized the ZEC delay and
said the crisis in Zimbabwe had become an "international issue". Zuma had
met with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in South Africa on Monday.
On Wednesday the Australian government appealed for the quick release of the
results, with the Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith citing "a lack
of respect for the will of the people." Other calls this week came from the
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the United Kingdom, the United
States and the European Union. EU President Jose Manuel Barroso told
reporters the people of Zimbabwe want change and their votes must not be
"stolen" from them.
Namibia's National Society for Human Rights went a step further and called
for military intervention by the international community, led by the United
Nations. Director Phil Ya Nangoloh said the UN has the prime responsibility
to protect people under threat from serious human rights abuses. He said
they had received disturbing reports of state sponsored violence in Zimbabwe
and wanted the UN to take measures to keep the peace.
It appears Mugabe has shot himself in the foot this time. Not only did he
lose the election but the world is watching every move he makes and all
improper actions are being documented. It remains to be seen what move he
will make next.
SW Radio Africa (London)
10 April 2008
Posted to the web 10 April 2008
The MDC has reported that violence and intimidation against their candidates
and supporters has escalated around the country since the elections on March
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said assaults, abductions and
harassment have continued and uniformed police are everywhere.
Thugs working for the ruling party are using general intimidation, arrests
without proper charges and evictions, particularly in the rural areas.
Muchemwa said ZANU-PF is targeting specific people who made the opposition
victory possible in the rural and urban areas. Opposition candidates are
prime targets regardless of whether they won or lost. Then there are known
and suspected activists who campaigned with them. The MDC reported that they
are in dire need of more safe houses as displaced supporters continue to
flood into urban areas seeking assistance.
But the strategy is believed to be backfiring. Muchemwa said people have
become more resilient than ever and it appears that they are even more
determined to remove ZANU-PF.
Meanwhile the rights watchdog Amnesty International called for an immediate
end to political violence.
Amnesty welcomed the SADC initiative of an emergency meeting to discuss the
Zimbabwe crisis in Zambia on Saturday. The organisation called on SADC
leaders "to redouble diplomatic efforts to avoid further deterioration of
the human rights situation in Zimbabwe".
By Lance Guma
10 April 2008
Twelve days after Zimbabweans cast their deciding votes, Robert Mugabe is
still clinging to power by sitting on the results. After days of shuttle
diplomacy, which saw MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai meet several SADC
leaders, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa called for an emergency summit of
the group this Saturday.
The MDC want SADC to put pressure on Mugabe’s government to respect the will
of the people. Tsvangirai told Newsreel in an interview that he hopes to
attend the special summit while his spokesman George Sibotshiwe confirmed
they were working through diplomatic channels to ensure Tsvangirai was
there. Acting Information Minister and Zanu PF MP Bright Matonga has already
confirmed Mugabe will travel to the summit.
Tsvangirai insists he won the election without the need for a run-off and
wants Mugabe to step down. Whether SADC can put pressure in this direction
already looks unlikely after South Africa’s deputy Foreign Minister Aziz
Pahad said; ‘We are not a government who can ask other presidents to step
Mugabe remains under immense pressure to release the results. South Africa’s
ruling ANC party welcomed the convening of the SADC summit and said they
hope, ‘it will reinforce the SADC guidelines on free and fair elections.’
Initially there were doubts over whether Mbeki will attend after Pahad said
he would go ‘if his programme allows,’ but by late Thursday officials in the
foreign ministry confirmed Mbeki would travel to the summit.
Although South African President Thabo Mbeki had urged ‘patience’ over the
Zimbabwe crisis, claiming the situation was ‘manageable’ new ANC leader
Jacob Zuma sang from a different hymnbook by criticising the delay in
releasing election results. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond
Tutu also joined the chorus of condemnation and called on Mugabe to step
Meanwhile political commentator and writer Dr Alex Magaisa believes SADC
will hold Mugabe to account for withholding the presidential election
results. He said in the past SADC has always been soft on Mugabe but now
there was a clear violation of the SADC principles governing free and fair
Magaisa says it is unlikely Mugabe and Tsvangirai will be in the same room
at the summit but that the SADC leaders will have separate meetings with the
two rivals. He said ‘SADC will have to pierce the veil of democracy in
Zimbabwe’ and prevent a similar situation to Nigeria in 1995 when Moshood
Abiola won the election, only for the army generals to refuse to give up
power. The brutal regime of Sani Abacha emerged from that crisis and a
similar thing might happen in Zimbabwe, Magaisa warned.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
10 April 2008
Posted to the web 10 April 2008
As leaders of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) states prepare
for an emergency meeting regarding the ongoing political crisis in Zimbabwe,
Amnesty International today expressed serious concern at reports of
post-election violence targeting perceived supporters of opposition parties
The organisation called on the police to end political violence and
investigate any allegations of police and army involvement in some of the
According to information received by Amnesty International, incidents of
post-election violence are widespread -- suggesting the existence of
coordinated retribution against known and suspected opposition supporters.
Violence has been reported in Harare, Mashonaland East, Midlands,
Matabeleland North and Manicaland provinces.
Victims of political violence have reportedly been pulled from buses and
assaulted at their homes in rural areas, townships and farms.
In Gweru, on or around 6 April, soldiers reportedly assaulted people in a
bar at Mkoba 6 shopping centre. Victims told local human rights groups that
the soldiers were accusing them of "not voting correctly."
On and around 7 April, soldiers assaulted shoppers at Mkoba 14 shopping
centre in Gweru. The soldiers were reportedly in anti-riot gear and
assaulted people with sticks.
At around midnight on 6 April, about 10 soldiers and two people dressed in
police uniform arrived at the home of a known Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) activist in Mkoba 14 in Gweru. They assaulted the activist and two of
his friends by kicking them and hitting them with baton sticks. The activist
sustained injuries requiring medical treatment. Although the matter was
reported to the police, no-one has been arrested.
Amnesty International welcomed the SADC announcement of an emergency meeting
to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis on 12 April in Lusaka. The organisation
called on SADC leaders to redouble diplomatic efforts to avoid further
deterioration of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
"SADC leaders should come out and publicly acknowledge the human rights
violations being perpetrated by security organisations, war veterans, and
supporters of political parties -- and insist on an end to the political
violence," said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International's Zimbabwe researcher.
"SADC should also publicly acknowledge that one of the causes of the
increasing tension in Zimbabwe is the delayed release of the presidential
election results. They must urge the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to
immediately release the results."
"Zimbabwe has been allowed to operate outside the African Union and United
Nations human rights frameworks for too long -- reinforcing a culture of
impunity in the country," said Mawanza.
April 10, 2008, 17:00
South Africa has added its weight to the world community's
concern over the delay in announcing Zimbabwe's presidential election
Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad says the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) should explain why it's remaining mum. The
results remain sealed, despite the African Union (AU) Secretary-General's
call for their expeditious release.
Pahad said President Mbeki is still to decide on the MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai's request to meet him. Tsvangirai met ANC President Jacob
Zuma and Sydney Mufamadi a few days ago. The nature of their discussions has
not been made public.
Meanwhile, a summit of Southern African Development Community
leaders, to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe, is to be held in Zambia on
April 10 2008 at 03:09PM
South Africa has expressed its concern about reports of farm invasions
The Zimbabwean Commercial Farmers' Union president Trevor Gifford met
with South African diplomats in Harare last week explaining that farmers
were again being evicted from their land by so-called war veterans, Deputy
Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said on Thursday.
"The problem here as he identified it is that most of the farmers are
about to harvest their crops and as a result Zimbabwe is at risk of losing
food worth millions of dollars," Pahad said.
He said South Africa had forwarded a diplomatic note to the Zimbabwean
ministry of foreign affairs after two South Africans were told to leave
"The note was to plead for the protection of our farmers in
Zimbabwe," Pahad said.
Militia loyal to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe have evicted around
60 farmers, including one black farmer, from their land, Gifford told DPA,
estimating that by the weekend the number of families chased off their land
would number "in the hundreds".
Around 300 white farmers were still on the land in Zimbabwe before the
weekend, down from around 4 500 eight years ago, when the war veterans began
seizing land with Mugabe's assent, kickstarting the country's disastrous
land reform programme. - Sapa
1 hour, 3 minutes ago
PRETORIA (AFP) - President Thabo Mbeki of regional power South Africa will
attend a summit this weekend in Zambia on the post-election crisis in
Zimbabwe, the government said Thursday.
"South Africa will participate in this summit within the context of regional
efforts to assist the people of Zimbabwe to address their political and
economic challenges," a statement said.
It gave a reminder that Mbeki was the chief mediator between Zimbabwe's
governing ZANU-PF party and the opposition parties in the build-up to the
March 29 elections.
It said he had done so "with a view to creating a climate for the holding of
the recent elections, which were hailed as peaceful, and whose outcomes
would not be contested."
However, 12 days after the presidential poll there has still been no
official word on the outcome and ZANU-PF is contesting enough seats to
overturn the opposition's slim majority in simultaneous parliamentary
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed outright victory in the
presidential election, but Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF have said a run-off
Tsvangirai's party on Thursday ruled out its participation in a run-off and
said it planned to form a government of national unity.
Both Tsvangirai and Mugabe are expected to attend Saturday's summit of the
the 14-nation Southern African Development Community in Lusaka.
Thu 10 Apr 2008, 18:08 GMT
JOHANNESBURG, April 10 (Reuters) - South African ruling party leader Jacob
Zuma on Thursday urged Zimbabwe's government and opposition parties to
respect the results of the March 29 elections and pursue disputes legally.
"With regards to Zimbabwe, we urge all parties to respect the will of the
people, regardless of the outcome, and to proceed within the requirements of
the law," Zuma said in a speech, according to SAPA news agency.
"Where there are disputes these should be pursued through the appropriate
legal channels," he was quoted as saying.
Why Mugabe's neighbours may finally turn on their troublesome friend
The deafening silence emanating from the other nearby nations while the
farce of the Zimbabwe election has developed may be about to break, with a
meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, this Saturday of the members of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) in Zambia.
The call for the meeting came from the unlikely figure of the President of
Zambia, Levy Mwanawasa. Mwanawasa is the current president of SADC, and
shares a long border with Mugabe, including the spectacular Victoria Falls,
Traditionally, SADC members have supported Mugabe, often giving him standing
ovations when he turns up at meetings. But many are now believed to have
realised that his conduct reflects badly on them, on the international
Others, including South Africa in particular, feel they cannnot continue to
cope with the ever-increasing flood of refugees spilling over the border to
escape the poverty and persecution that is a fact of ordinary life in
Up to now Mwanawasa, a large and ungainly figure who lacks charisma but has
nevertheless led his country for nearly two presidential terms with relative
success, is virtually the only SADC head of state to criticise Mugabe, when
last year he described Zimbabwe as a "sinking Titanic".
Will more presidents take this opportunity on Saturday finally to utter some
criticism of the Zimbabwe situation? That may entirely depend on one factor,
and it is this:
Will Robert Mugabe himself turn up at the meeting? If he doesn't, there may
be criticism of his regime implied, if not actually spoken. If he does, his
presence as a dignified elder statesman and acknowledged hero of the
struggle against colonialism, may be enough to silence the other leaders,
Meanwhile the impasse in Zimbabwe itself continues, as the struggle for
dominance between Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC is waged on a number of
Yesterday I was given the list of top Zimbabwe defence force officers who
have been assigned to lead the Zanu-PF assault troops - war veterans,
militias, and the youthful but ruthless Green Bombers - in the drive to
intimidate voters in the event of a run-off poll for the presidency.
It numbers an incredible 200, with Colonels jostling with Brigadiers,
Majors, Lieutenant Colonels, Major Generals, and even one rather lonely
Squadron Leader. The multitude of ranks may look amusing. Their efforts,
which have already resulted in recorded incidents of violence throughout the
country, are not.
On a more peaceful front, the MDC have produced what they say is a faked
document, purporting to emanate from their headquarters, and "signed" by
Secretary-General Tendai Biti. The document talks of the successful bribery
of ZEC officials and others at polling stations, and also of preparations
for the swearing in of President Tsvangirai.
It says: "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
Biti has denounced the document as a palpable fake, a product of the Zanu-PF
dirty tricks department, designed to "steal our dignity".
The clearest sign of all that's it's bogus comes in the following lines:
"Our international partners also continue to send us their assurances that
they will guarantee our assumption of power, including with force of arms if
This remark is beyond parody. Anyone who believes that the US cavalry or
some other foreign force are going to come galloping over the horizon to our
aid is sadly deluded.
Meanwhile, if you're still expecting the results of the presidential
election to be announced, you will have to wait until Monday. Judge Tendai
Uchena has postponed any decision until then, taking the weekend to
deliberate on submissions by both the MDC and the ZEC.
I want to mention one other rumour that persists here in Harare. This says
that, despite the military involvement in the countrywide violence, as
revealed in the 200-strong list, see above, the top army brass are actually
pursuing another agenda entirely.
It is thought that a group of heavyweight military commanders and politburo
chiefs, led by the brooding figure of retired general Solomon Mujuru, have
presented to Mugabe a plan for a temporary sharing of power in Zimbabwe,
under a government of national unity.
The plan would entail Mugabe remaining president for six months, with
Tsvangirai as vice president and Simba Makoni, the Zanu-PF rebel candidate,
as prime minister. Eventually Tsvangirai would take over the top job, with
Mugabe moving into graceful retirement.
Anyone know any more?
Posted on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 07:49
Kubatana.net ~ keeping you informed via Internet, blogs, email and SMS.
One of our subscribers wrote in recently with this useful overview of the vote counting and review process.
Be patient, stand back, and watch
Usually when Mugabe steals an election, all the preparation for the theft is done before hand, and it is largely an inside job. The voters' roll is pumped up with the dead and fictitious to allow for ballot box stuffing and the manipulation of voter numbers. Those known to be unsympathetic to the despot are quietly removed or not given the chance to register in the first place. Villagers are told where their next meal is coming from and if they are able to feed themselves the ability to do so is removed smartly, either by breaking an arm or destroying a small holding. The voting process is kept firmly under ZANU PF control.
Despite all the usual preparation for the theft, Mugabe failed to come away with the booty. Had he done so, you may be sure the results of the March 29th election would have been crowed from the roof tops in short order. Instead, we are being told to be patient while he has a second attempt to steal the election. This time the theft is being done in broad daylight. And we have been asked to stand back and watch, presumably agog with admiration like the SADC leaders, while the master shows them how to steal an election without doing anything as crass as Kibaki.
Basic Stalinist tenet: it is not who votes that counts but who counts the vote. So make sure the ZEC personnel appear sufficiently retarded for their claim that the Act does not say how many days they have to add up a column of 210 figures seem plausible.
But do they not have 2 388 381 votes to tally? No. ZEC, the vote counters themselves, published an advert in the state media to say the vote counting would be done in the following way.
Ballots are counted at a polling station for all four elections, including the presidential election. The counting begins "immediately" after polling ends. The results for all four elections are entered on the polling station returns and each party's polling agent invited to sign the same. The results are posted outside the polling station for all to see. The polling station return goes to the ward polling centre where all polling station returns are verified by the local government candidates. The verification process simply requires that they may check with their polling agents that the numbers on the return received at the ward polling centre match the ones their polling agents certified and signed for at the polling station. The returns are added together for all the elections "without delay" including the presidential election and the local candidate with the most votes in that election is then and there declared the winner. The results are posted outside the ward polling centre. The returns from the nearly 2000 wards are sent "immediately" to the constituency elections officers. After just under 100 returns from the ward polling stations have been received by each constituency elections officer, each constituency elections officer informs the candidates of the time (not date) when they can come and verify the return and observe the addition. The legislation assumes that the constituency officers can do this while the candidates are standing there even though the number of ward returns exceeds the number of their collective fingers. It thus does not stipulate any number of days for the process. As the counting is done in the "presence" of the candidates they would collapse from lack of food or sleep if the process was to take days as suggested. The results for the three remaining elections are posted outside the constituency command centre and the constituency election officer not ZEC announces the House of Assembly candidate duly elected for that constituency. This latter point has been conceded by ZEC who said they were just announcing the result at national level to help out - despite the fact that their announcement always ended with the fact that the candidate was thus declared duly elected. Why it took them several days to make the announcement at national level when the job was already finished, klaar and done by the constituency elections officer is not too deep a mystery.
After the returns have been added together by the constituency elections officer, they are "forthwith" sent to the Chief Elections Officer in terms of the Second Schedule to the Electoral Act. This contradicts the amended section 65 to some extent. In terms of that section the constituency returns also need to be collated at provincial level for the Senate results. ZEC thus indicated that the returns are tallied at provincial level by the senatorial elections officer for elections to the Senate before being sent to the Chief Elections Officer. The result is announced by the senatorial elections officer. However, a summation of the presidential results from the 10 provinces must still be made and according to ZEC posted for the public to see. This means that the after the senatorial results have been collated there are 10 figures which can be added together to determine the presidential result. Hence the reluctance to release these results.
However, the Electoral Act is clear that the constituency officers (not senatorial elections officers) must forthwith send their returns to the Chief Elections Officer to tally for the presidential count. In any event the Chief Elections Officer does his tally from the 210 constituency returns. To reiterate, this process was outlined by the Chief Elections Officer himself and thus should not be controversial.
The Chief Elections officer then sets a time (not day) for the collation and verification of the constituency returns (not polling station returns). This must be done "on receipt of the constituency returns". Not when he feels like it or when Mugabe says so. The Chief Elections Officer tallies the votes from the 210 constituency returns for a single election, the least onerous stage in the process. And if he has any anxiety about his numerical skill he can check his total against those 10 numbers posted at senatorial level. However, ZEC still seems wonder why the Electoral Act is silent on the number of days the Chief Elections Officer has to add up a column of 210 figures.
The collation and verification is done in the presence of the candidates, so again it must be taken that the legislature assumed that the Chief Elections Officer is sufficiently numerate not to require days for the process. Once the constituency returns are added together the Chief Elections Officer shall forthwith declare the person with the most votes (provided the majority is absolute) duly declared elected president with effect from the day of such declaration i.e. immediately. The President assumes office immediately after taking the oath of office but in any event not later than 48 hours. Not after Grace has had enough time to remove all her ferrogama shoes to Malaysia. Immediately.
The Chief Elections Officer must inform the candidates of the time and place of verification and collation. The Act does not specify when this time must be. However, by using "time" rather than day, given that this is the penultimate act in a series which all take place "forthwith" "immediately" or "without delay", and given that there are no further acts to be completed before convening the verification and collation, one can assume that the legislature contemplated hours rather than weeks as is the current position. Furthermore, if there is no candidate with an absolute majority, a second election must be held within 21 days of "the previous election". The legislation does not say 21 days from the date the result is announced. And if it had meant such it would have said so. "Previous election" cannot mean from the day a person was elected as president, as in the case of the need for a run off this will not have happened. It can only refer to election day; i.e. 29th March 2008. This fact supports the contention that the legislature expected each of the electoral processes to take place one after the other and immediately after the preceding one is completed. The time for the process is not stipulated in days. By the use of the words immediately, forthwith etc, the legislature expects each process to commence immediately and the next to commence without delay after the previous one is completed. Accordingly, the time allowed for the completion of the process is implied and cannot be stipulated specifically. The legislated deadline is as long as it takes to undertake the steps outlined by the Electoral Act, all of which must be done without delay.
Thus the time given for announcing the presidential result is as long as it takes to verify 210 constituency returns and then add them together. The announcement is made immediately that is done. Not when Mugabe says if the results are OK it can be done. Not when ZEC says when we are ready. Not when ZEC says we want to check out what happened in a polling station in Chitungwiza, not when the CIO says when we have finished ferreting around amongst ballots which are supposed to be sealed and finished cooking the books. Not when the Mugabe's thugs indicate they have had enough time to soften up the rural populace before observers arrive for the run off. Immediately.
ZEC's excuse for not following the procedures it outlined and which are set out in the Electoral Act is that section 67A says they can investigate any complaint of a miscount. Indeed they can. But the complaint raised by ZANU PF relates to the House of Assembly count and must be made within 48 hours of the result being announced. Not only was ZANU PF's complaint raised one week later but the result of the Presidential Election, as we all know has not been announced. The alleged miscount must be large enough to affect the result. ZANU PF claims a few hundred votes missing here and there. Accordingly, ZEC cannot act under section 67A.
We, however, are supposed, says Mr. Mbeki, to be patient, stand back and watch the master thief violate the clear provisions of the Act. If Tsvangirai has won with an absolute majority, which may well be the case, then the failure to announce the result can be described in one word: coup. QED.
The Kubatana Trust of Zimbabwe and
The NGO Network Alliance Project
PO Box GD 376
Visit www.kubatana.net Zimbabwe's civic and human rights web site incorporating an on line directory for the non-profit sector
Africa News, Netherlands
Posted on Thursday 10 April 2008 - 11:02
Zimbabwe could erupt into a post election violence seen in Kenya if the
electoral continue unresolved, a European diplomat Javier Solana have said
"We are very concerned that the results of the presidential election have
still not been published nine days after the vote, that raises suspicions,"
said the diplomat close to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
Solana said Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should have announced the
results within the protracted period and avoid any clashes that would result
in the loss of lives. This however could be sparked by the continued delay
in announcing the results. The Movement for Democratic Change have claimed
that they won the elections despite the dilly dallying.
A survey in most of the cities revealed that police officers have been
deployed all over the city to curb any acts of violence that may disturb the
nation. President Robert Mugabe is seeking his sixth term in office while
the populace wants him out and there is increasing pressure for the official
vote results to be made public.
The European Union have been concerned with the current state of events
and contacted Zimbabwe’s neighboring countries notably South Africa,
Botswana and Tanzania, which heads the African Union to quickly intervene
to resolve the crisis.
The opposition also made an urgent application to the High Court in order
to force ZEC to announce the results. More than 1600 people perished after
the December 27 presidential poll. Mwai Kibaki pipped pre-election
frontrunner Raila Odinga to retain the top job but Odinga accused Kibaki of
rigging the results, sparking nationwide riots.
Apr 10th 2008 | JOHANNESBURG
From The Economist print edition
After seeming to totter, Zimbabwe's president now looks determined to hang
on by hook or by crook
THE opposition says it has won, but Zimbabwe is holding its breath, with the
official results of the presidential election still undeclared 12 days after
the poll. In the meantime, Robert Mugabe is tightening the grip he seemed to
have lost last week. People in his ruling ZANU-PF have been hinting at a
second round; after a five-hour meeting of its top body on April 4th, the
party said it would be firmly behind Mr Mugabe in the event of a run-off.
Hundreds of war veterans, who have been used in the past to bully people,
marched through the streets of Harare, the capital; others began invading
some of the farms still in white hands. The opposition says that dozens of
its people in rural areas have been assaulted by pro-government militias.
Two foreign journalists have been arrested but were freed on bail after a
few days behind bars. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
has asked the courts to make the electoral commission announce the results,
and is accusing the authorities of wanting to impose a state of emergency.
The MDC says its presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won outright,
with 50.3% of the vote in the first round, based on results posted outside
polling stations. The electoral commission acknowledged that ZANU-PF had
lost its majority in Parliament. But the ruling party is demanding recounts
in enough seats to reverse its loss if it were awarded them. It has also
demanded a full recount of the presidential vote, though official results
have not even been announced. Several election officials have been arrested,
accused of undercounting votes for Mr Mugabe.
Meanwhile, Mr Tsvangirai flew to South Africa, where Jacob Zuma, the ruling
party's leader, sounded friendlier than President Thabo Mbeki, with whom he
is often at odds. Mr Tsvangirai also visited other neighbouring countries to
drum up support. His MDC has upbraided regional leaders for their deafening
silence and has called on the rest of Africa to intervene rather than wait
for “dead bodies on the streets of Harare”. Zambia's president called an
emergency meeting of the influential 14-country Southern African Development
Community, which he chairs.
Rumours of back-room deals swirled. Some senior figures in Zimbabwe's ruling
party and security forces were said to have been in contact with the
opposition. Diplomats from the region were reported to be trying to persuade
Mr Mugabe to step down. But some African leaders, including Jakaya Kikwete,
Tanzania's president who also chairs the African Union, privately complained
that the Zimbabwean president would not take their calls.
So Mr Mugabe has decided to fight on. Though the ruling party is divided,
those in it who want him to go have so far been afraid to stand up to him.
When Simba Makoni, a former finance minister, openly broke ranks and stood
as an independent, few party bigwigs dared back him openly.
Ahead of the poll, security chiefs said they would obey only Mr Mugabe, and
there were fears of a coup immediately after the elections. The top ranks of
the army and police control swathes of the state apparatus and play a big
part in running the country. Officials who have grown rich from Mr Mugabe's
patronage have a vested interest in his staying on.
Mr Mugabe is again playing the emotive land card, with the daily Herald
newspaper, a government mouthpiece, fanning rumours that farms confiscated
during the government's land reforms would be returned to white farmers if
the opposition won. So-called war veterans, many of them too young to have
fought in the country's independence war of the 1970s, have again invaded
farms in an apparently orchestrated move to punish those believed to help
the opposition. According to the Commercial Farmers' Union, some 60 farmers
have fled their homes in the past few days. Diehard Mugabe backers have
derided the MDC's victory claims as a “provocation” and say they will fight
to defend the country's supposed sovereignty.
No one knows how long the electoral commission will sit on the presidential
results while a divided ZANU-PF ponders what to do. A state of emergency
would mean suspending the electoral process. A run-off, if it came to that,
should take place within three weeks from the date of the first election,
but some suggest Mr Mugabe may postpone it for 90 days, to give his party
time to flex its muscle and re-establish control over voters, especially in
the countryside. In any event, the incidents of the past few days point to a
blunt counter-offensive. But heavy-handed violence or massive fraud look
like the only things that could now keep Mr Mugabe in power.
2 hours, 44 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush on Thursday called on
Zimbabwe's election authorities to release the results from the country's
disputed March 29 presidential vote, the White House said.
In a telephone conversation with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Bush
"reiterated calls by the United States for the Zimbabwean Electoral
Commission to release the presidential election results as soon as possible
and that they reflect the will of the people," said spokesman Gordon
"President Bush thanked President Kikwete for his work as African Union
president and the two leaders discussed their shared, strong concern about
the need for a peaceful resolution to the electoral crisis in Zimbabwe," he
"Recent arrests of journalists and activists are deeply troubling and need
to stop," Johndroe said in a statement.
His comments came as Zimbabwe's opposition said its leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, will not take part in a presidential run-off against incumbent
Tsvangirai has already claimed to have won enough votes to avoid a second
round run-off against Mugabe. The president's party however says a run-off
will take place with Mugabe again as its candidate.
The electoral commission says it needs more time to collate and verify the
votes, even though the body has already begun dismantling its operations
center in the capital Harare.
Outside intervention now remains perhaps the only solution to save Zimbabwe
The country’s strongman, Robert Mugabe, refuses to accept the outcome of the
March 29 elections, which were held to simultaneously elect presidential,
parliamentary and local representatives.
The main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, won the
parliamentary elections -- whose results have been released -- decisively.
The as-yet unreleased presidential vote results show that the opposition
won -- a result that independent monitors confirm. The MDC has declared
itself the victor. Yet, Zanu-PF has delayed releasing the presidential
results to sort out “errors and miscalculations”. And Mugabe has ordered the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to stop releasing further election
results, and for good measure told the police to arrest senior electoral
It appears that Mugabe wants to reverse the presidential result from a loss
into a narrow, less-than-50% win -- which would require a second run-off for
the opposition. The MDC has asked for help from the United Nations and the
rest of the world. It will be shameful if their calls are ignored.
International intervention in Zimbabwe, were it to occur, would not be an
Iraq-like regime change. The Zimbabwean people are asking the world for
help. So far, Zimbabwe’s African countries have scandalously done nothing –
by doing so, they only propped up Mugabe, and throw the long-suffering
Zimbabwean people under the proverbial bus.
African leaders say they are worried about outside intervention and say
neighbors should sort things out. Yet, for African leaders, "sorting things
out locally" invariably means cushioning the local tyrant instead of helping
the long-suffering people.
Most African leaders are democrats of the most basic sort. So they no doubt
fear their own people will also rise up against them – and would like to be
able to count on the support of neighboring leaders.
South African President Thabo Mbeki astonishingly says the situation in
Zimbabwe is ‘manageable’. Other leaders agree. They argue wrong-headedly
that the recent elections were ‘more peaceful’ than last time. Forget about
the fact that Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF battered the opposition and
starved them from outside funding during the campaign, that they banned all
independent media, selected friendly election observers from China, Libya
and Iran, and stacked the electoral commission with friends. Yet, they still
lost the elections.
Should Zimbabwe be razed to the ground before the situation becomes
‘unmanageable’ in the eyes of Mbeki and his fellow African leaders? Their
stance is absolutely disgraceful. Mugabe is trying to turn this into a war
between Zimbabwe and the ‘imperialist’ West, supposedly a continuation of
the war of liberation against former colonial power, Britain. In reality, it
is nothing of this sort. This is a war waged by Zanu-PF thugs against
defenseless Zimbabweans. The only beneficiaries of the liberation struggle
in Zimbabwe are Robert Mugabe and his friends. The ordinary people who
suffered the most from colonialism are now even worse off. In Zimbabwe, even
the vote of the masses is limited, unless it goes to Mugabe.
Posted by William M. Gumede on April 10, 2008 12:18 PM
William M. Gumede is Associate Editor at Africa Confidential.
South Africa betrays black Zimbabweans
Call for African Union pressure
Oxford – 10 April 2008
"Nelson Mandela should publicly urge Robert Mugabe to stand down. He should
denounce the recent election fraud and the withholding of the poll results."
This call comes from human rights campaigner and Green Party candidate for
Oxford East, Peter Tatchell, who has twice attempted a citizen's arrest of
the Zimbabwean dictator – in London in 1999 and in Brussels in 2001.
"Nelson is the hero of the anti-apartheid movement, but his silence on
Zimbabwe's unfree and unfair elections is collusion with tyranny. He is
betraying his fellow Africans in Zimbabwe," Mr Tatchell added.
"Britain should be pressing African Union leaders, including South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki and other top ANC officials, to call on Mugabe to
retire. They should offer him a face-saving exit strategy.
The Zimbabwean crisis needs an African solution.
"People around the world, including Zimbabweans, supported Nelson Mandela's
freedom struggle against apartheid. It is now time that Mandela reciprocated
this solidarity by calling for the release of the election results and for
Mugabe to concede that he lost the presidential poll.
"Other African leaders also need to speak out against Mugabe's despotism.
The people of Zimbabwe deserve a democratic, representative government that
ensures equality and justice for all its citizens.
These were the goals of the African liberation movements of the last 60
years. They are still worthy goals today.
"Predictions of Mugabe's election defeat and his exit as president were
"The failure to release the election results is fairly conclusive evidence
that Mugabe was defeated, otherwise he would have published the figures and
boasted of victory.
"The beatings, raids and arrests of opposition supporters and the renewed
seizures of white-owned farms are being orchestrated by Mugabe's police and
military. They show that he is determined to stand and fight. He won't go
quietly. Yet again, the Movement for Democratic Change and the international
community have under-estimated Mugabe.
"The Zimbabwean tyrant and his political party, ZANU-PF, have lost the
election, clearly and conclusively. Even his three-card box of tricks
- intimidating the media and opposition, bribing the electorate with land
and food, and stuffing the ballot boxes - was not enough to secure him
"The people of Zimbabwe have spoken: there has been a mass rejection of
Mugabe's many years of fiddled elections, economic mismanagement and human
"The election results were posted at many polling stations the day after the
elections. Most showed substantial wins for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in both the presidential and parliamentary ballots.
The delayed release of the ballot results by the Mugabe-controlled Election
Commission has been a vain attempt to massage the results in favour of
ZANU-PF," said Mr Tatchell.
The situation in Zimbabwe is not a new development. It is a festering matter
put on the low or no priority list of international debate. The actions of
the President Mugabe are a mere repeat of playbooks of strongmen in the same
league -- Pakistan under President Musharraf, Serbia run by Mr. Milosevic,
and the early days of the Ugandan Idi Amin come to mind.
Most powerful countries have tried to encourage change on the cheap. This
exercise to isolate Zimbabwe has produced talk and hollow posturing, but
hardly any tangible help for ordinary people there. The economic implosion
of Zimbabwe -- once known for its humming agricultural and mining sectors, a
respectable education system, and hard working people -- is the net product
of disengagement. For the time being, local institutions are in the
spotlight to see if the intended functions and independence of state bodies
are effective. Election commissions, demands for recount, and courts are
running the course.
What to do next? That is probably an unanswered question in most foreign
capitals as news in English language media is snuffed out by other
worries -- domestic economic pains, American elections, the Olympic torch,
or the worn Iraq-Afghanistan pair of topics.
South Africa is best positioned to take the lead as it is the main economic
and trading gateway of Zimbabwe. Other countries ought to encourage South
Africa to be a forceful conduit and coordinator of international pressure
and serve a bankruptcy and eviction notice on President Mugabe. All must
remind him that his policies and administration of the last 20 years
(especially the disingenuous land reform ordeal) are not a defendable résumé
to remain at the helm of a country that has suffered a 50% reduction of
planted land since 2000. An internationally recognized envoy ought to
deliver such strong and unified message (as Kofi Annan managed in Kenya).
Unavoidably, it is time for change. In concert, laying down the law will
also serve notice on bickering South African players -- President Thabo
Mbeki and ANC leader Jacob Zuma -- that the interests of people ought to
rise above the private interests of political personalities.
Posted by Ali Ettefagh on April 9, 2008 11:21 PM
Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an
investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the
Intervention is a must. The world cannot afford to stand by and allow
another Rwanda to unfold in Zimbabwe. It will be an insult to entertain
future generations of Zimbabweans with another Hollywood blockbuster of an
African buffoon who ruined his country while the civilized world remained
President Robert Mugabe has shown his contempt for democracy and his hatred
for his people. He is one of those dictators who cannot see beyond the
cheering cronies around him. He wears suits, lives in palaces and is
welcomed by dancing and drum beating crowds. He is not the first African
leader to live in fantasy while the world collapses around him. We have seen
how such crazy men have squandered the meager resources of their countries
and reduced their citizens to abject poverty and humiliation. The world has
witnessed the genocides they committed when their people dared to stand
against them. Siyad Barre of Somalia, Mubuto Sese Seko of Zaire, Idi Amin
Dada of Uganda, and Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African Republic and
Omar El Beshir of Sudan are but only a few of the tyrants that the world let
to dehumanize their citizens.
It is therefore the duty of African leaders to act before it is too late.
They should freeze Zimbabe’s membership in the African Union until Mugabe
accepts to bow to the will of the people. They should send a clear message
to him that they will not allow him to rob the elections and hold the
The Bush Administration should use its political and economic influence to
urge neighboring African leaders to stop apologizing for Mugabe and treating
him as an equal. Mugabe should be isolated and the MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, should be accepted as the elected leader and the legitimate
voice of the Zimbabean people.
Posted by Bashir Goth on April 10, 2008 10:29 AM
Bashir Goth is a veteran journalist, freelance writer, the first Somali
blogger and editor of a leading news website
10 April 2008
Posted to the web 10 April 2008
I have been following Zimbabwe's 2008 elections closely. My emotions have
mutated with alacrity, checking news sites more often than I should, and
receiving calls and messages from family and political contacts in Zimbabwe.
Since last week, I have gone from 'Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF will win' to
'it will be a landslide victory for the opposition' to 'Mugabe has already
fled the country fearing retribution' to 'the army has ordered the electoral
commission to declare Mugabe the winner' and now, my present mood and
thinking is that a lot of people are going to be disappointed by the
eventual outcome of the presidential poll because we are headed for a do or
die run-off between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.
The two things that stand out about Mugabe's political pattern is his
consistency, and that he is too wily and resolute in power to be swept away
in a pseudo democratic election. Zimbabwe is better off without him at the
helm but we must temper our emotions and stop our imagination from running
wild. Mugabe has been in difficult situations before and wriggled out of
them amazingly. 'Jesus rose from the dead once but I have come back from the
dead several times', he once boasted. The probability is high that Mugabe
can come back from the dead once again. I would not bet against it. This is
my position now, after what has been a rollercoster week of miraculous
flip-flopping on my part.
Sovereignty is a vehicle towards the good life for the ZANU PF political
elite. The font of sovereignty is the powerful executive presidency through
which ZANU PF has privatised the institution of the state as a means to
authoritarian rule and personal aggrandisement: 'the desire to retain
sovereignty and not to surrender it or even share it is a powerful motive
perpetuating the ex-colonial status quo in Sub Saharan Africa. Sovereignty
gives a relatively small number of people control of state positions which
confer enormous palpable advantages and privileges. Ruling elites literally
live off sovereignty and most live very well indeed - as long as they live.
They fight to keep it and others fight to take it away from them'.
When Mugabe and ZANU PF play up sovereignty it is in order to protect their
hold on power and its benefits. Their uses of sovereignty are less about
protecting the country and its inhabitants' sovereignty but more about
protecting the 'enormous palpable advantages and privileges' sovereignty
affords them. In Zimbabwe it is not the governed who are sovereign - it is
ZANU PF that is sovereign. ZANU PF elites live off sovereignty. Thus,
sovereignty is one of the themes commanding broad consensus in ZANU PF and
the party will strive - at all costs - to keep its hold on sovereignty by
retaining the presidency in the looming run off.
A run off between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai may suit Mugabe better than
facing Simba Makoni in a runoff because if there is anything many in ZANU PF
and Zimbabwe's top security officials are united on, it is that Tsvangirai
must not rule. Those comprising the status quo not only stand to lose their
sovereignty but also fear prosecution for crimes committed in office if
ZANU PF was divided in this election but expect it to put its differences
aside and to rally behind Mugabe forcefully in a run off with Tsvangirai.
Mugabe risked damaging defections if he had faced Makoni in a run off. A
Mugabe-Makoni run off would have presented Makoni's secret and powerful
backers in ZANU PF, such as Solomon Mujuru, with the opportune moment to
abandon Mugabe in favour of Makoni. Mugabe will also find it easier to
marshal ZANU PF's rank and file to campaign for him against Tsvangirai as
opposed to Makoni who has many sympathisers in the ruling party. Indeed some
will not need to be marshaled at all for retaining the presidency means
guaranteeing their life of privilege.
ZANU PF will leave no stone unturned in a Mugabe-Tsvangirai face off. ZANU
PF was complacent in the rural areas and some of its rural party structures
were not as formidable as they normally are. It underestimated the extent to
which Tsvangirai would make significant in roads into its rural strongholds.
The free political space Tsvangirai enjoyed in the rural areas during this
campaign will be gone in the run off. A run off in 3 weeks, or 90 days as
has been suggested, also allows ZANU PF some time to tinker its rigging
machinery. The war veterans have started making threats. There is a
developing discourse proclaiming the return of white farmers and how the
land revolution can only be defended by re-electing Mugabe. The military
looks set to be more involved than ever before in guaranteeing Mugabe's
re-election. We are about to be blitzed with everything ZANU PF has left.
* Blessing-Miles Tendi is a researcher at Oxford University.
JOHANNESBURG, 10 April 2008 (IRIN) - A combination of post election turmoil
and arid weather conditions are presenting a bleak scenario for food
security in Zimbabwe.
The UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) said in a statement on 10
April that "extreme dry weather in several provinces of Zimbabwe is likely
to cause serious damage to the main 2008 maize harvest. This could aggravate
an already precarious food security situation in the country."
The new year ushered in widespread flooding in low lying areas, FAO said,
and this gave way "to prolonged dry spells since February. This will affect
maize growth and yields to be harvested in May/June."
Zimbabwe's stagnating economy suffers the world's highest inflation rate of
more than 100,000 percent and this had resulted in farmers being unable to
source key inputs, such as fertilizer, seed and fuel.
"The food security situation in Zimbabwe is critical," FAO said. "Of the
estimated 1.03 million tonnes of cereal import requirement for 2007/08, some
839,000mt, or about 81 percent of the total, have reportedly been imported
"With dwindling foreign exchange reserves and shrinking purchasing power,
another year of low cereal production would severely affect the food
security condition for a significant part of the population unless
substantial assistance is provided," the UN agency said.
About one third of Zimbabwe's about 12 million population is currently
receiving emergency food aid.
In the aftermath of the March 29 presidential and parliamentary poll, in
which President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party lost control of
parliament for the first time since independence from Britain in 1980,
veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war have reportedly begun evictions of the
country's last remaining white farmers.
The opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has also
claimed victory for their leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential poll.
The official results have yet to be released.
South Africa's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad reportedly said on
10 April, following a meeting last week by South African diplomats with the
Zimbabwean Commercial Farmers' Union president Trevor Gifford, that "The
problem here...is that most of the farmers are about to harvest their crops
and as a result Zimbabwe is at risk of losing food worth millions of
The South African government had sent a diplomatic note to the Zimbabwean
Ministry of Foreign Affairs after war veterans had allegedly forced two
South Africans nationals from their land. "[The note was] to plead for the
protection of our farmers in Zimbabwe," Pahad said.
Gifford reportedly told international media that veterans loyal to Mugabe
had evicted about 60 farmers since the results of the parliamentary
elections, including a black commercial farmer for his alleged support of
the MDC, from their farms.
In 2000, war veterans loyal to ZANU-PF, were at the forefront of Zimbabwe's
fast track land reform programme that saw white commercial farmland
redistributed to landless blacks.
Eight years ago there were about 4,500 white owned farms in Zimbabwe,
currently there are about 300 white commercial farmers remaining on their
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Written by Rejoice Ngwenya
April 11, 2008: The diabolical context with which African ruling elite
generally perceive democratic processes is currently on the manifest in
Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe’s egotistical clinging to power, two weeks
after two million Zimbabweans showed him the red card only confirms
speculations by ‘ Western detractors’ that left to our own devices, we
Africans can never get the model of good governance right.
Among other paranoid claims, Mugabe is questioning the credibility of
the Zimbabwe Election Committee (ZEC), staffed and literally owned by his
men — Chairman Justice George Chiweshe and CEO Lovemore Sekeramayi — in
their ability to tally votes!
Civil society and opposition parties have always proven beyond
reasonable doubt that the Zanu-PF-bankrolled ZEC is totally partisan, biased
and inherently incompetent of running a composite election process.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Mugabe himself insisted the
ZEC was composed of professionals whose credentials are beyond reproach.
These are the characters that took eight days to pronounce parliamentary and
senate results, and are still labouring under the undue influence of the
ruling party Zanu-PF to tell the nation who between Morgan Tsvangirai and
Mugabe won the ticket to the presidency.
The paradox is that Mugabe has thus far no problem accepting that 97
of his parliamentary and 30 of his senate candidates won fairly.
Infact, Zanu-PF rubbed their hands with glee a few days ago as SADC
and other so-called level-headed African election observers praised him for
conducting an election in a ‘free and fair’ environment.
He never raised an eyebrow, because he was confident that results
would sway in his favour. Now faced with the prospect of losing to
Tsvangirai, his politburo met on April 4 and resolved to fight MDC in a
What re-run when we do not know what votes each of the contestants
The fact is that because the ZEC is controlled by Mugabe’s cronies, he
has had a preview of the outcome and now wants to subvert the will of the
Meanwhile, he still plays president by changing monetary and tax
regulations, arresting foreign journalists and getting his barking dogs, the
war veterans, to threaten more violence against remnant white commercial
On the other side, the restive Tsvangirai of Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has taken his case to the High Court in order to compel the ZEC
to release ‘pre-run off’ presidential results.
Tsvangirai is a slow learner. Since 2000, literally all election
results have been manipulated and disputed, wherefore MDC subjected Zanu-PF
to litigation that up to today has never seen the light of day.
Both Constitutional amendment number 18 and new electoral laws that
were supported by MDC created an Electoral Court, which one would have hoped
Tsvangirai and his legal team would use in the event of a dispute.
Now what this new case may create is another torturous delay in the
results, since both ZEC and Zanu-PF will counter MDC’s court case. Zanu-PF
is now asking for a recount of the presidential ballots, which they
tampered with in transit to the National Command Centre.
MDC’s spokesperson, George Sibotshiwe, correctly observes that results
were compiled at polling stations and signed for by all contesting parties
on official government stationery and transported and transmitted to ZEC
headquarters, so a recount is an unnecessary evil.
The question that therefore lingers and baffles the mind is how on
earth Mr Mugabe claims his votes were miscounted in such an elaborate and
‘free and fair’ system?
However, why I say Tsvangirai is a slow leaner is entirely based on
subjective fact. By allowing his ‘kitchen cabinet’ to scuttle coalition
agreements with other opposition forces, he was driven by greed and
exaggerated expectations of an outright 52 per cent majority win against a
beleaguered Zanu-PF government.
He should have learnt that in Kenya, Zambia and Malawi, dictatorships
were eliminated by critical mass of combined opposition, rather than a
charismatic popular outcry against authoritarian dictatorship.
For many months, Thabo Mbeki gave him an opportunity to collaborate
against a 28-year old dictatorship, but the prospect of presidential
glamour, a large share of the national cake and pay offs to his personal
campaign team shrouded his judgment.
As it is now, his court application is bringing him face to face with
the same judiciary system that denied him a hearing from 2000. The
Zimbabwean justice system, including the entire Supreme Court bench, is
staffed with Mugabe loyalists. The expulsion of Zanu-PF fair-man Sobusa
Gula-Ndebele from position of attorney-general a few weeks before the
elections was a strong signal that Mugabe wanted fools not thinkers in his
Therefore, I will not be surprised if the courts accede to Mugabe’s
request for a re-count of votes by simply ignoring Tsvangirai’s whimper and
playing from the Zanu-PF symphony of electoral deceit.
In the meantime, the provocative war veterans spreading rumours of a
‘ white invasion’ are preparing Zimbabweans for a bloody confrontation.
Disgraced war veteran ‘leader’ Jabulani Sibanda, who was refused permission
to address delegates at the last Zanu-PF congress in December is back on the
front page, urging his members to resist a ‘take over of the farms’ by
What this means is that in the event of either a presidential run-off,
or a re-count, MDC members, sympathisers and exasperated Zimbabweans will
take the fight to the streets, and before you know it, we are in a ‘Kenyan
scenario’. This will be fodder for Mugabe to declare a state of emergency
and rule by decree until death do us part.
Ngwenya is a regular columnist for AfricanLiberty.org. He is a
Zimbabwean Freemarket Activist and Political Analyst based in Harare.
firstname.lastname@example.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots,
Hey - but am I missing something here? Zim has an independent electoral
body - the Zimbabwe Electoral Comission (ZEC) - who are appointed by the
President, and are supposedly completely autonomous. On TV they display
their logo, surrounded by the words “INDEPENDENCE”, “TRANSPARENCY”, and
We also have a government and a ruling party that insist that they have run
a free and fair election. Then again, several groups of international
observers have departed from Zim after echoing the government’s mantra of
“free and fair”.
Since 29 March we have had several developments that are so bizarre and so
completely ludicrous that they effectively rubbish any pretence that the
just-held Zimbabweean harmonised elections (Presidential, House of Assembly,
Senatorial and Local Government) were free or fair.
Firstly, after an emergency meeting of the ruling party’s politburo last
week, they issued a statement saying that they would participate in a
run-off for the presidential poll.
Secondly, shortly after that, the very same zanupf announced that they will
be demanding a recount on the presidential vote. Last but not least, the
government has ordered the arrest of ZEC officials for allegedly
understating the official presidential vote figures!
This is all very well, but the difficulty I have with this is that ZEC
have - to date - refused to publish the results of the presidential poll.
So what run-off are zanupf talking about? What result are they basing their
decision to demand a recount on? How indeed do they intend to prosecute
people for understating the count, when only ZEC should actually have the
In fact, the only presidential results that have been put on the table are
the unofficial results collected and put forward by the MDC. Surely zanupf
would not act on onofficial results, and surely not those from their mortal
enemies? Theoretically, there are no other results until ZEC makes the
official results public.
Or could it be that ZEC has handed the results over to zanupf? Surely not,
because they are independent, transparent and impartial? Surely the
government would never stoop so low as to accepting/taking the official
results from ZEC prior to their official announcement?
But there are only two sources of the results: so which is it zanupf? Are
you cribbing MDC’s figures (which would be a really stupid move), or have
you stolen/appropriated the official figures from ZEC - which has to be
illegal in itself?
Time to resign Bob. You are a failed politician - you can’t even tell a good
lie any more!
This entry was written by Dad on Thursday, April 10th, 2008 at 1:45 pm.