The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
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Let SADC know how you feel!

Send a letter or email to these contacts before Saturday's meeting, and ask
your friends to do the same... the person who compiled the list says "I put
together this SADC Nation contact list.
If we flood every communication portal they have tomorrow, then maybe they
will do something besides pick their noses on Saturday.  Many of the
e-mail/physical addresses are for US Embassies,
but sometimes that was the only contact info I was able to gather in a short

SADC Contact List (Bulk e-mail list at the end)


Embassy of the Republic of Botswana
1531-3 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington DC 20036
Telephone: (202) 244-4990
Fax: (202) 244-4164

H.E. Mr. Lapologang Caesar Lekoa
Ambassador of the Republic of Botswana to the US

Ms. Sophie Heidi Mautle
Counsellor & Deputy Head of Mission

Other Staff from the US Embassy (names may be found at;;;;;;;

Note: Judging from the formula for the e-mails, you should be able to
reach any official with the first letter of the first name plus the entire
last   if this is true then the new president should be


State House Press and Public Relations

Independence Avenue




1          0101

  +260 1 266147/262094

            +260 1 266092

            P.O Box 30135

 E-mail form can be sent from the following web page:

The U.S. Embassy of the Republic of Zambia

2419 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington DC 20008

Telephone: +1 (202) 265-9717

Fax: +1 (202) 265- 9718




Tanzania US Embassy:

2139 R Street, NW

Washington, DC 20008

Telephone: +1 (202) 939 6125/7

           +1 (202) 884 1080

Fax:       +1 (202) 797 7408




Malawi - US Embassy

1029 Vermont Avenue, NW #1000

Washington, DC 20005

Telephone: +1 (202) 721-0274


Angola US Embassy:



Mozambique - US Embassy:

1525 New Hampshire Avenue, NW,

Washington, DC 20036

phone: +1 (202) 293-7146

fax: +1 (202) 835-0245



US Embassy of the Kingdom of Swaziland

International Dr. NW.

Washington, DC 20008

Telephone: +1 (202)362-6683 or 6685

FAX +1 (202)244-8059



His Majesty King Letsie III

Her Majesty Queen'Masenate Mohato Seeiso

Senior Private Secretary : Lerotholi Mabotse

Address: The Royal Palace Secretariat

P. 0. Box 527



Phone: (+266) 22 322170 / 22 312776




Office of the President

Hon. President:  Hon. Hifikepunye Pohamba

Postal Address:  Private Bag 13339,


Telephone Number:  (061) 270 7111

Fax Number:  (061) 245989

E-mail Address:

Office of the Founding President

Hon. President:  Hon. Dr. Sam Nujoma

Postal Address:  Private Bag 13220,


Telephone Number:  (061) 377700

Fax Number:  (061) 253098

E-mail Address:

Namibia: Office of the Prime Minister

Hon. Prime Minister:  Hon. Nahas Angula

Hon. Deputy Prime Minister:  Hon. Dr Libertina Amathila

Permanent Secretary:  Adv. Nangula Mbako

Postal Address:  Private Bag 13338,


Telephone Number:  (061) 287 9111

Fax Number:  (061) 230648

E-mail Address:

Namibia US Embassy

1605 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
telephone.: +1 202.986.0540
facsimile.: +1 202.986.0443


Dr The Honourable Navinchandra Ramgoolam
Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

Prime Minister's Office
New Treasury Building
Intendance Street`
Port Louis


Contact Us:  Thru' Confidential Secretary Tel. No 207-9400 / 207-2576

US Embassy of the Republic of Mauritius

4301 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 441
Washington DC 20008, USA
Tel.: (202) 244 1491/1492

Fax : (202) 966-0983

Democratic Republic of Congo

            Permanent Mission to the United Nations

            866 United Nations Plaza

Suite 511

New York, NY 10017

Tel.: +1 (212) 319-8061

Fax : +1 (212) 319-8232



U.S. Embassy

H.E. Ambassador Jocelyn Radifera
Embassy of the Republic of Madagascar
2374 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20008  USA
Tel:  +1 202-265-5525
Fax:  +1 202 265 3034


UN Diplomatic Mission

H.E. Ambassador Zina Andrianarivelo
Permanent Representative to the United Nations
820 Second Avenue, Suite 800
New York, NY 10017  USA
Tel:  +1 212-986-9491
Fax:  +1 212-599-5021

List of worldwide embassies:

Government Website (was not working when I checked):


            Government website:

Department of Information Communications Technology
P.O Box 737
               3rd Floor
               Caravelle House
               Manglier Street
Telephone Number: +248-286600
Telefax Number: +248-324643
E Mail:  or fill in form at

            Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website:

Seychelles Consulate , United States
309th Street, Federal Way
Seattle, WA 98023
Fax: +1-253-8382-787

Seychelles Embassy , United States
Suite 400C, 4th floor, 800 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: +1-212-972-1785
Fax: +1-212-972-1786

Seychelles Consulate , United States
P.O.Box 111909
Anchorage, Alaska 99511
Phone: +1-907-244-5375
Fax: +1-907-345-5607

South Africa

            US Embassy

3051 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: +1 (202) 232-4400
Fax: +1 (202) 265-1607

Union Buildings (Pretoria)
Telephone: +27 (0)12 300 5200
Fax: +27 (0)12 323 8246

Tuynhuys (Cape Town)
Telephone: +27 (0)21 464 2100
Fax: +27 (0)21 462 2838

Head of Communications

Telephone: (Union Buildings) +27 (0)12 300 5431
Telephone: (Tuynhuys) +27 (0)21 464 2216
Fax: (Union Buildings) +27 (0)12 300 5775

Presidential Spokesperson
Mr Mukoni Ratshitanga
Telephone: (Union Buildings) +27 (0)12 300 5436
Mobile: +27 (0)82 300 3447
Fax: (Union Buildings) +27 (0)12 323 6080
Postal Address: Private Bag X1000
Private Bag X1000
Postal Code: 0001

Reverend Frank Chikane
Telephone: (Union Buildings) 012 300 5351
Telephone: (Tuynhuys) 021 464 2110
Fax: (Union Buildings) 012 300 5755

Bulk E-Mail List (just copy and paste);;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

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Police arrest MDC lawyer

Zim Online

by Hendricks Chizhanje Friday 11 April 2008

HARARE – Police on Thursday arrested the lawyer of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai after he asked them to release a helicopter they impounded last

The lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, was still being detained in police cells at
Rhodesville in Harare by late evening yesterday.

Chagonda was arrested at around 0900hrs after he threatened to sue the
police if they did not let go of the chopper that was being used by
Tsvangirai to fly to political rallies in the run-up to the elections on
March 29.

“The police are saying he insulted and threatened them, and was interfering
with their work when he demanded the release of the aircraft,” said Chris
Mhike, a lawyer and friend of Chagonda who was present when he was arrested.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was not immediately available for comment
on the matter.

Police impounded the helicopter at Charles Prince airport juts outside
Harare. The helicopter pilot, Brent Smyth, who reportedly has dual British
and South African citizenship, was arrested but latter freed by the
courts. – ZimOnline

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Group says Zim army, militia planning to unleash violence

Zim Online

by Prince Nyathi Friday 11 April 2008

HARARE – The Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) said on Thursday that
it had information that Zimbabwe’s army and ruling party youth militia were
planning attacks on civilians in rural areas ahead of an anticipated
presidential election run-off.

A run-off is expected between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai after the two rivals failed to garner enough votes to
assume power in a March 29 presidential election.

The run-off was however, thrown into doubt after Tsvangirai’s Movement for
Democratic Change party said it would not participate because it strongly
believes that it won the first round with more than 50 percent of the vote
to avoid a second ballot.

The SALC said in statement: “We’ve received information, some of it from
sources inside Zimbabwe’s security establishment, indicating that youth
militias, central Intelligence operatives and war veterans are being
deployed, under the command of approximately 200 senior army officials,
throughout the rural areas.

“The intention seems to be to use violence to intimidate voters prior to any
run-off or rerun of the elections.”

The group, which recently handed a dossier to South Africa’s prosecution
authorities containing names of Zimbabwe officials it said should be
apprehended if they visit South Africa and be tried for committing human
rights abuses, said senior security officials who authorise violence against
villagers could charged under international law.

The group also urged the southern African community to act to prevent large
scale and state sponsored violence against innocent civilians in Zimbabwe.

“In the face of reports of such impending attack, the international and
regional community have a heightened responsibility,” it said.

Meanwhile, suspected ruling ZANU PF party activists burnt down several
houses belonging to MDC supporters in rural Muzarabani and Centenary
districts as punishment for supporting the opposition party.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the party’s supporters were under
attack especially in remote rural areas, away from the spotlight of the
press and human rights defenders.

"We have been saying this all along and this time they stepped up their
violent campaign in the rural areas," said Chamisa.

Politically motivated violence has resurfaced in parts of Zimbabwe since
elections two weeks ago while war veterans have also stepped up farm
invasions with at least 60 white farmers said to have been evicted from the
properties over the past few days.

Analysts see new farm invasions and resurgent political violence as part of
a well-orchestrated plan by Mugabe to regain the upper hand in rural and
farming areas, where ZANU PF surprisingly lost several seats to the MDC.

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Zimbabwe officials say results issue matter for court


Thu 10 Apr 2008, 20:22 GMT

HARARE, April 10 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's electoral commission on Thursday
indicated that it would not release results of the March 29 presidential
election as long as the matter was before a court in Harare.

"The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission advises members of the public that the
issue of presidential election results is now a subject of the High Court,"
state radio reported late on Thursday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has filed an application with
the High Court to compell election officials to release the results of the
poll, which the MDC said it had won. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe;
Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia)

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Ahead Of Regional Summit, Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Charges 'De Facto Coup'


      By Blessing Zulu
      10 April 2008

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has accused President Robert
Mugabe of mounting a "de facto military coup" in the wake of elections whose
results have not been fully disclosed, citing the deployment of troop into
rural areas ahead of a presidential runoff election the ruling party appears
determined to stage.

Tsvangirai, whose branch of the Movement for Democratic Change says he won
the presidential ballot with at least 50.3% of the vote, was in South Africa
Thursday for the second time in several days pursuing a regional diplomatic
offensive in the crisis.

Sources said Tsvangirai was set to meet late Thursday with President Thabo
Mbeki, but it was unclear whether that meeting came about. Mr. Mbeki was
said to be on his way to Mozambique on Friday to meet with President Armando
Guebuza ahead of a summit Saturday of the Southern African Development

Harare has confirmed President Mugabe will attend the summit. Tsvangirai
said he expects to be in Lusaka, Zambia, to present his side of the

Earlier, Tsvangirai expanded on his comments to Time magazine saying that
President Mugabe had mounted a "de facto coup" following the March 29

"You have for instance generals in charge of provinces, and various levels
of officers responsible for constituencies, and an execution plan which is
intimidating, harassing and beating up of people taking place," Tsvangirai
said in an interview with VOA. "That cannot be a normal civilian operation.
This is a military operation.

Meanwhile, international pressure continues to mount on the government.

Reports said U.S. President George Bush in a telephone conversation with
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete repeated American calls for the ballot
results to be issued by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as as possible,
saying they reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people. Kikwete is the
current chairman of the African Union.

The Catholic church in Southern Africa has called for the appointment of a
mediator such as former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to
resolve the crisis. But Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said
there was no need for such international intervention in the country's
post-election crisis.

South African Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said Pretoria will
work with other countries in the region to ensure the will of the Zimbabwean
people is reflected in the election follow-up. Pahad said ZEC must quickly
release the results.

Senior Researcher Chris Maroleng of South Africa's Institute for Security
Studies said from Pretoria that Harare's claim the situation is normal is
manifestly false, adding that the danger is increasing that popular
frustration will boil over into violence.

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Economic cost of Mugabe’s misrule

Business Day, Nigeria

10 April, 2008 12:00:00 Obi Iwuagwu

Seven days from today, infact on April 18, it would have been 28 years since
84 year old Robert Mugabe, became leader of Zimbabwe.

Of course, this is more than enough time for any focused person to transform
the fortunes of his/her society. But this is not so with Robert Mugabe and
Zimbabwe. Rather, under his leadership that country has practically been
ravaged and left desolate. Within these years, Zimbabwe’s economy has
transited from one of the strongest and fastest growing in Africa especially
in the 1980s, to perhaps, the weakest in the world today. Unemployment rate
is presently put at 85 percent, while inflation rate at 100, 000 percent,
has surpassed that of all other nations. As at now, Zimbabwe has the lowest
GDP real growth rate in the world with life expectancy put at barely 37
years. But this is only a tip of the iceberg.
With escalating economic conditions, President Mugabe’s effort to change the
laws of economics through his anti-inflationary order (Operation Slash
Prices) of 25th June, 2007, which tried to force merchants to cut prices by
50 percent, ended up achieving the opposite. Thus, bread, sugar and
cornmeal, staples of the people’s diet have vanished or become frequently
seized by mobs that denude stores like locusts in wheat fields. Similarly,
meat has become non-existent, even for the middleclass who have the money to
buy it, at least from ‘black markets’. Also hit are gasoline, which also
became unobtainable, hospital patients died daily on account of lack of
basic medical supplies; while power blackouts and water cuts are endemic.
Against this background, manufacturing slowed to a crawl because only few
businesses could produce goods for less than the government imposed sale
prices even as raw materials have dried up because suppliers are being
forced to sell to factories at a loss. Given this situation, businesses have
either laid off workers or reduced their working hours.
Of course, it could not have been different.
What currently rules the world are freedom and capitalism, not statism and
socialism. Not even the strongest unchallenged autocrat (including Robert
Mugabe himself) can repeal the natural laws of demand and supply. Between
2000 and 2007, Zimbabwe’s economy under Robert Mugabe contracted by as much
as 40 percent; inflation jumped to over 66, 000 percent and there were
persistent shortages of foreign exchange, local currency, fuel, medicine and
food. Also, GDP per capita dropped by 40 percent, agricultural output by 51
percent and industrial production by 47 percent. Similarly, foreign direct
investment (fdi) almost evaporated. Whereas in 1998, fdi accounted for
US$400 million, by 2007 it had fallen to just US$40 million.
In the same vein, the official Zimbabwean dollar exchange rate was frozen at
Z$101, 196 per US dollar from the beginning of 2006, but by July of that
year, the parallel (black market) rate had reached Z$550, 000 per US dollar.
By comparison, ten years earlier, the rate of exchange was only Z$9.13 to
the US dollar.
Expectedly, unemployment, poverty and malnutrition have taken centre stage,
driven by a shrinking economy and hyperinflation in a country that has high
reserves of metallurgical-grade chromites and other commercial mineral
deposits including coal, asbestos, copper, nickel, gold, platinum and iron
ore, which had fueled its high GDP growth rate (4.5 percent) between 1980
and 1990.
Nevertheless, reasons for Zimbabwe’s economic woes under President Robert
Mugabe are diverse. Many easily point to his obnoxious land policies, which
alienated land from white farmers; endemic corruption; involvement in the
war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); absence of rule of law; as
well as other ill conceived economic policies. Others point to high level
political intolerance, electoral fraud and gross human rights abuses that
characterized Mugabe’s administration. Yet others insist that Zimbabwe’s
economic woes are the direct result of a concerted and systematic campaign
to affect regime change by the west through an economic implosion. For these
people, all other factors would amount to child’s play when compared with
the direct impact of economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the U.S, EU
and Australia, resulting from Mugabe’s forceful expropriation of farmland
owned by the country’s white farmers.
Thus, under the Zimbabwean Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA)
introduced in 2001, the U.S government was empowered to use its voting
rights and influence (as the main donor) in multilateral lending
institutions, such as IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank to veto
any applications by Zimbabwe for finance, credit facilities, loan
rescheduling and international debt cancellation; citing the country’s poor
human rights record, political intolerance and absence of rule of law as
major reasons. By implication, once the IMF and World Bank stopped doing
business with Zimbabwe, it had an immediate and adverse impact on the
country’s credit and investment rating. And with the drop in its investment
rating went the dream of low cost capital on the international markets.
This is the economic yoke that Robert Mugabe has forced on his people.
However, no matter how long Zimbabweans would still have to suffer under
this evil, brutal and oppressive dictator; one thing is certain; Mugabe has
boldly written his name on the wrong side of Africa’s history. Only very few
of his people will eventually miss him when he exits power, which will come
much sooner than expected. Above all, he is no longer a candidate for the Mo
Ibrahim Foundation Prize for Achievement in African Leadership; recently set
up to celebrate the best of Africa’s leadership. These, for me, are enough

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Mugabe’s burden of guilt

The Times
April 11, 2008


Zimbabwe's problems are its own
Sir, Daniel Emlyn-Jones’s absurdly unbalanced description of our colonial
rule as a “history of humiliation, exploitation and degradation of native
peoples” as in some way explaining the chaos in Zimbabwe (letters, April 8)
can be refuted by literally millions of documented actions to the contrary.

The 1922 White Paper on the colonies, for instance, set the tone for all the
remaining colonial territories by roundly declaring in respect of Kenya,
where there was substantial European immigration, that the interests of the
native population were “paramount”.

To describe Robert Mugabe (born 1923) as “our monster” is likewise absurd.
Mugabe was educated in a Catholic mission school in what was then Southern
Rhodesia, which enjoyed complete internal self-government over which the
Colonial Office had no control whatsoever.

If anything created the monster in Mugabe it was his proclaimed belief in
Marxism, which really is responsible for untold misery, death and
degradation all over the world.

Professor Stephen Bush
Thurston, Suffolk

Sir, Lord Carrington is right when he states that Mugabe’s victory in the
1980 election reflected the majority opinion in Rhodesia. His and Margaret
Thatcher’s intervention via the Lancaster House initiative was timely and
courageous and cut short a war that the whites could not have won.

What Mr Hendry (letter, April 9) says is incorrect. I was a British election
supervisor and never heard in the district where I was based nor anywhere
else of any Patriotic Front “warriors” checking ballot papers. Neither the
Rhodesian election directorate nor the British Election Commission would
have put up with this. It is my opinion that the electorate voted the way it
did because it saw a vote for Smith and Muzorewa as risking a perpetuation
of a war that everyone wanted to see come to an end.

If only the votes of Zimbabweans in the recent elections could reflect their
opinion of a President who has grossly betrayed their trust.

Dr Jonathan Lawley
London SW12

Sir, Anybody wondering about the outcome of Zimbabwe’s recent presidential
election would do well to remember that as a Nanking military academy
student Mr Mugabe is likely to have encountered Joseph Stalin’s observation
that “the people who cast the votes do not decide an election, the people
who count the votes do”.

Luke Glass
London W4

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Zimbabwe's Opposition Leader Is This Close...Again


Thursday, Apr. 10, 2008 By ALEX PERRY/CAPE TOWN

Morgan Tsvangirai has been this close before. In 2002 he was widely thought
to have won Zimbabwe's presidential election, beating the country's
tyrannical leader, Robert Mugabe. But according to most independent
observers, Mugabe had the results fixed, extending his tenure as Zimbabwe's
only ruler since independence in 1980. Now Tsvangirai is trying to avoid
being robbed again. Results of the March 29 general election have not yet
been announced, but the Zimbabwe Election Commission indicates that his
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has seized the parliamentary majority
from Mugabe's Zanu-PF. Tsvangirai is sure he's won the presidential vote.
But Mugabe, 84, is demanding a recount and a runoff for the presidency,
fueling fears of another vote fix. His supporters have launched a campaign
of violence across the country. Tsvangirai calls it "a de facto military

Tsvangirai is trying to fight Mugabe in the courts and persuade other
African countries to pressure one of the continent's last Big Men--powerful
figures who, like Mugabe, led their nations to independence from colonial
rule but then turned into despots--to go quietly into the night. Zimbabwe's
turn, says Tsvangirai, is long overdue. Speaking to TIME by phone from an
undisclosed location in Zimbabwe, he said, "We need to shift from focusing
on our independence and start focusing on our prosperity and freedom."
It will be a long battle. Decades of misrule have turned Zimbabwe into an
economic basket case. Inflation is 100,000%, unemployment 80%, and up to 1
million people (out of a population of 12 million) have fled to neighboring
South Africa. "We are very conscious that it's very difficult to fight
dictatorship with democratic means," Tsvangirai says. "We're taking on the
whole edifice, a dictatorship that has been institutionalized into all the
organs of state. It's a very big mountain we have to climb." If replacing
Mugabe isn't hard enough, ruling the country he leaves behind will be a
herculean task.

Tsvangirai, 56, became accustomed to responsibility at an early age. The son
of a carpenter and bricklayer from Gutu, south of the capital, Harare, and
the eldest of nine, he quit school early to work the nickel mines of
Mashonaland in northern Zimbabwe. In 10 years, he rose from plant operator
to general foreman. Under the white government of the time, there was more
than one way for a political aspirant to agitate for change. Mugabe fought
for freedom; Tsvangirai chose the mine-workers union. In 1980, Mugabe, then
56, inaugurated a free Zimbabwe. Eight years later, Tsvangirai became
secretary-general of the Zimbabwean trade-union movement. Outraged by
Mugabe's growing tyranny, Tsvangirai's unions broke with the state.

The move earned him admirers and enemies. In 1997 a group of men thought to
be from Mugabe's secret service, the Central Intelligence Organization,
burst into Tsvangirai's 10th-floor offices in Harare and tried to hurl him
through a window, but Tsvangirai fought off his attackers. He formed the
opposition MDC in 1999. Despite at least three other attempts on his life
and, according to the MDC, four arrests, he has fought Mugabe in every
election since.

The physical contrast between Tsvangirai and Mugabe emphasizes the gulf
between them. Tsvangirai is ebullient and casual, wears cowboy hats and has
the burly figure of a man fond of food.Mugabe sports a tiny Hitler mustache
and favors tailored suits but sometimes wears shirts and baseball caps
bearing images of his own face. The two men appeal to different sections of
Zimbabwean society--Mugabe to rural villagers and liberation stalwarts,
Tsvangirai to the young and the urban.

Tsvangirai is short on specifics of how he would improve on Mugabe. The
emphasis is on doing what the 84-year-old has not done. The opposition's
manifesto promises "a sound economy, agriculture and livelihoods, a new
constitution and good governance"; leadership on HIV/AIDS, which has
infected 2.3 million people; and empowering the youth. In a softening of
Mugabe's policy, white-owned farms would not be handed back to their former
owners. Rather, the government would curb "corrupt and self-serving" land
seizures while remaining committed to "systematic land reform that benefits
the black people of Zimbabwe." On the question of whether to hold the Mugabe
regime accountable for its crimes, Tsvangirai has offered to be flexible in
order to secure its departure.

Tsvangirai's record as Zimbabwe's main opposition leader has some blemishes.
In 2005 the MDC split in two after a breakaway faction questioned what it
perceived as Tsvangirai's autocratic tendencies. The division led to doubts
about his leadership skills. "There are some real concerns about him and his
ability," says Alex Vines, head of the Africa Program at Chatham House in
London. Tsvangirai's reponse: "Every leader has his faults. I am not a
perfect human being." After 28 years of Mugabe, Zimbabweans may be happy to
settle for less than perfect.

With reporting by With Reporting by William Lee Adams/London

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Zimbabwe: they dragged me behind a truck to make me vote for Mugabe

The Times
April 11, 2008

Catherine Philp in Harare
It was midnight on Sunday and Sylvia was fast asleep when the white pick-up
truck pulled up outside her house. Barging their way in, ten men dragged
her, her sister and aunt from their beds and into the back of the vehicle.
“Your man did not win this election,” one shouted at her. “Next time you
must get it right or you will die.”

Sylvia, a youth volunteer for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), noticed that there were no numberplates on the vehicle — typical of
those used by the Central Intelligence Office, President Mugabe's secret
police. As they bounced along the road, the men set about tying the women's
wrists and ankles. The truck stopped outside town and the women were pulled
out on to the street and their bound hands tied to the tow bar.

Then the truck sped off again, dragging the women behind them, their flesh
scraping on the tarmac. Sylvia remembers only the searing pain in her
shoulder and breast before she passed out. “This is a war,” she heard them
shouting. “We will keep fighting until we win.” She was dumped on a roadside
and it was three days before she received hospital treatment for her wounds,
which had become infected.

Sylvia's story is only one of scores emerging from the terrorised Zimbabwean
countryside, where joy at the opposition election victory has turned to fear
and violence. Unwilling to allow Mr Mugabe to slope off to retirement and
immunity, the military has taken the reins, unleashing an orchestrated
campaign of terror against opposition activists, election observers and
ordinary voters in an attempt to secure Mr Mugabe victory in a second-round
poll. The results lists posted outside polling stations that made massive
rigging impossible are now being used to target those areas that voted “the
wrong way”.

Areas across Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland, which swung away from
the ruling Zanu (PF) party for the first time, have found themselves at the
forefront of the brutality.
White-owned farms were the first targets of the Zanu (PF) youth militias and
so-called war veterans but from there the militias have moved on to party
activists and even independent election observers. Insiders say that the
campaign is being co-ordinated by 200 handpicked military and intelligence
officers, each of whom is responsible for regional militia cells.

On Tuesday in Matabeleland South, to the east of Bulawayo, youth militia
armed with AK47s stopped traffic and ordered people off buses, rounding them
up and forcing them at gunpoint to chant slogans in praise of the ruling
party. If they could not, they were beaten. “There will be a rerun for the
presidential election and if you try and vote for the MDC again we will go
to war,” the militiamen said. “We are not asking you to vote Zanu, we are
ordering you - or else you will be killed.”

In Nyamuya Zoka, militiamen rounded up people from a market and marched them
to a rally at which they were forced to pledge that they would vote for Mr
Mugabe — “or you will die”. In the past two days the violence has become
more targeted, aimed at party polling agents and observers from the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network, an independent monitoring group.

On Wednesday in Seke Chintungwiza, a township south of Harare, 180 people
went from house to house with a list of MDC polling agents, demanding that
they be handed over. In Nyansa, in the east of the country, youth militia
set upon a group of observers, beating them and warning them not to return
for the second round.

Human rights groups believe that these cases represent the tip of the
iceberg, with many victims too afraid to report assaults, especially to
police who may be involved. In Masvingo, where four polling agents were
beaten severely, a doctor refused to treat the victims for fear that he,
too, could be attacked. “What we are seeing is escalating. It can only get
worse,” one human rights worker said.

Next week Zimbabwe celebrates Independence Day, a reminder of the liberation
war fought against white rule and a key date for the military and for war
veterans, who appear to have taken control of the country in what the
Opposition is now calling a de facto coup. “The military hardliners are
furious that they didn't use violence and intimidation before like they did
in the last two elections,” an informed source said. “Now it's a case of
better late than never.”

The MDC declared yesterday that it was no longer willing to take part in a
second election and called on Southern African leaders, meeting in Zambia
this weekend, to force Mr Mugabe to step down before the violence worsened.
“The lives of all pro-democracy actors are not safe,” Tendai Biti, the MDC
secretary-general, said.

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Zimbabweans flock to border amid crisis

Yahoo News

By CELEAN JACOBSON, Associated Press Writer

BEITBRIDGE, South Africa - The mother of six from Zimbabwe doesn't want to
have to cross the border to South Africa for essentials like soap and
cooking oil, so she voted for change in last month's elections.

What she got was a death threat.

Priscah Godzamutsipa sits next to a few sacks of nuts she it trying to sell
at this busy border post linking South Africa to its troubled neighbor. She
says she worries about going home, where militants loyal to President Robert
Mugabe are intimidating villagers who voted against the longtime leader.

"They say: 'We are going to kill you,'" said Godzamutsipa, 55. "We are
worried about them. They say: 'Why did you vote for Tsvangirai?'"

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
says he won Zimbabwe's March 29 presidential elections; no official results
have been released. His party has accused Mugabe of unleashing a campaign of
violence against opposition supporters, especially in former rural
strongholds of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Zimbabwean Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu called the claims lies,
saying the country is peaceful, with "no violence whatsoever."

Godzamutsipa lives in Masvingo, a cattle-ranching area where ruling party
militants began invading white-owned farms last weekend. By Wednesday,
dozens of white farmers had been driven off their land.

Across Zimbabwe, only a few hundred remain of the 4,500 white farmers who
once grew enough food to feed the nation and export to neighbors.

Godzamutsipa farms 10 acres of family land with her husband and was once a
staunch supporter of Mugabe, who led a seven-year bush war that helped end
white rule and bring independence to Zimbabwe.

But now she "wants change," the refrain of many Zimbabweans.

"Before Mugabe was very good. I could pay school fees. There was food in the
supermarkets," she said. "Now the shops are empty. You can have a billion
dollars, but you can't buy anything."

A lack of rain and fertilizer and only two oxen for tilling mean
Godzamutsipa can barely produce enough food for her six children as well as
the six nieces and nephews she looks after.

So, every month she makes the two-day bus journey to South Africa, hoping to
sell enough nuts to pay school fees and buy essentials such as cooking oil
and soap.

The Beitbridge border post, set in a dusty, scrubby landscape marked by
giant Baobab trees, has become a hive of trade and activity.

A stream of cars and small trucks laden with goods head north from South
Africa, destined for Zimbabwe's black market. At the gas station, a mass of
plastic drums lie waiting to be filled with fuel — a scarce commodity across
the border.

In the market, women sell tomatoes and sodas in the hot sun, while men with
minibuses do a roaring business ferrying day-trippers and shoppers. In a
darkened hut, a money changer counts out wads of U.S. dollars and South
African rands.

As Zimbabwe's economic and political woes have intensified, an increasing
number of Zimbabweans are fleeing to South Africa and other neighboring

There are few reliable figures, but estimates consistently put the number of
Zimbabweans in South Africa at 3 million — nearly a quarter of Zimbabwe's
total population.

The International Organization for Migration office in Zimbabwe says people
are crossing into South Africa at a rate of more than 1,000 a day.

Some cross legally but then let their visas expire; others get truck drivers
to smuggle them in.

"Most of the truck drivers do it now," said Tom Karonga, 34, who has been
waiting on the Zimbabwean side of the border for a week while his cargo of
luxury cars is being cleared, crossing daily into South Africa on foot for

"We know they are doing it for the better of their families or themselves,"
he said, adding that he had been approached by Zimbabweans on both sides of
the border desperate for a lift to "anywhere."

Some Zimbabweans choose to brave the crocodiles of the Limpopo River, often
paying exorbitant fees to guides.

The poorly patrolled border stretches for miles, with barbed wire marking
out a rocky patch of no man's land a few feet wide. Holes cut into the
bottom of the fence are large enough for adults to crawl through. In some
areas, there is no fence at all.

Once through, "border jumpers" make a dash across a narrow strip of tarmac,
duck through some more ripped fencing and disappear into the bush, leaving
behind an odd shoe or cap.

In the warm glow of the late afternoon sun, a man in a khaki shirt rushed
from the fence back into shadow on the Zimbabwean side. Disturbed by the
cars on the South African side, he made one more attempt to reach the fence
before retreating to wait for another, safer time to cross.

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Mining firms salivate over untapped areas of Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

By Daniel Magnowski ReutersPublished: April 10, 2008

LONDON: The world's resource companies could be lining up to rebuild
Zimbabwe's once mighty gold mines and metal refineries if President Robert
Mugabe's government falls.

"It is often painted as a treasure trove for miners, and with solid reason,"
said Anne Fruehauf, analyst for southern and east Africa at a consulting
company, Control Risks. The southern Africa country, once a big producer of
minerals, is hardly undiscovered ground for the world's miners.

Rio Tinto digs for diamonds there, while the country's platinum reserves,
among the largest on the planet, have attracted Anglo Platinum and Impala
Platinum, which are the two largest miners of the metal.

The company that later became BHP Billiton was active in the precious metal
until the end of the 1990s, while Zimbabwean rock also contains chromite,
coal, cobalt, copper, iron ore, nickel, palladium and tin - a rich spectrum
of mineral wealth.

By far the main event in Zimbabwean mining is gold, and with prices on world
markets close to all-time highs, miners are looking forward to start digging

"At its peak, Zimbabwe produced about 25 tons a year of gold," said Magnus
Ericsson, senior partner at Raw Materials Group, a research firm based in
Using current prices, 25 tons of gold would be worth nearly $750 million, no
small prize for miners willing to take a risk on the country.

"Not all the problems in Zimbabwe are just political," Ericsson said. "The
majority of mines were small scale, run in an industrial way by

First movers are likely to be small and medium-size companies rather than
multinational giants, which generally require huge deposits to justify

"The likelihood of finding an elephant in Zimbabwe is not that high because
of the geology there," Ericsson said about finding a huge deposit of metal.
After establishing that there is metal to be drawn from the ground, the
biggest concern for commercial miners is the legal framework which governs
where and for what they can dig, how they sell it and how much revenue the
government will claim.

"Potential investors would want to see a good mining law, with security of
tenure and a right to export metal," said George Rogers, head of commodities
and resource finance at Investec. "They would also want a stable tax

Under Mugabe, stability has been rare.

"A general concern with much legislation is, it has been used by the
government as an extortion tool," Fruehauf said. "It leaves the government
with a lot of room for maneuver, and confronts miners with a lot of
seemingly arbitrary and capricious decisions."

Most mining houses have delayed expansion decisions because they need
stability to make long-term investment worthwhile.

Those who have been able to operate have done so in the face of adversity
that would scarcely be imaginable in "safe" mining countries like Canada,
Australia or Chile.

"Under Mugabe, firms have operated under the threat of nationalization, gold
has had to be sold at artificial prices through the central bank, and spares
and diesel have been difficult to import," said Rogers from Investec.

Though damaged, infrastructure has not been completely ruined, and
investment would probably go a longer way than in a war-scarred economy like
Mozambique's, Fruehauf said. He noted that Zimbabwe also has a more skilled
work force than nearby countries.

"Despite significant brain drain, the foundation of human capital is still
solid, compared with the rest of the Southern African region," she said.

There are other sub-Saharan success stories to hearten investors.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, once viewed as untouchably dangerous,
recast its mining code with the help of the World Bank, recently completed a
review of previously agreed contracts with mining firms, and is now firmly
on the radar for majors like Anglo American, BHP and FreeportMcMoRan.

"If countries like the DRC can attract investors, so can Zimbabwe," Rogers

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Mugabe sets ground for reign of terror…Retains cabinet…..embarks on witch-hunt

Robert Mugabe, the losing Zanu (PF) presidential candidate for March 29
harmonised elections has decided to impose himself on the people of
Zimbabwe. He has done this by creating ground for unleashing a reign of
terror with special emphasis in the rural areas. This decision has been
passed at an 8 hour adhoc meeting held at state house from 9am-2pm yesterday
(Wednesday 9 April 2008). It has been agreed that war veterans are going to
be deployed to lead all rural police stations with immediate effect;
furthermore they have been promised handsome packages which are to be
disclosed next week. It has also been resolved that police and soldiers
should be on high alert to crush any possible uprising. This meeting
according to a member of the Central Intelligence Officer who preferred
anonymity for the fear of victimisation, who attended the meeting said the
cabinet which was dissolved before elections was retained. Skanyiso Ndlovu,
the outgoing minister of information and publicity, was instructed to issue
a statement to the effect that the cabinet is still functional till the run
off is over. The date for the runoff was however not disclosed, there was
only emphasis on strategising how to win the runoff election and the need to
deal with civil servants who were supporting the opposition.

With such a scenario, the rural areas are obviously going to once again
become opposition party no go areas and the electorate in those
constituencies is going to be in for a high jump as there is going to be a
witch-hunt for those who ‘dinned with the enemy’ in the recent harmonised
elections. This is going to intimidate the electorate ahead of this stage
managed runoff election whose date is yet to be announced. Despite the
physical and psychological torture associated with this premeditated move to
intimidate the electorate the voters are obviously going to be
disenfranchised as they flee for their dear lives from war tone zones as
designed by Robert Mugabe.This also creates an uphill task for organisations
like Youth Forum whose target group is mainly in the rural areas since such
areas will be inaccessible to non-ZANU PF players.

This is worrisome to any concerned Zimbabwean citizen, human rights
defenders and activists at large. Youth Forum regards this as a defacto
state of emergency which is very unhealthy for the development of any
nation; however Youth Forum is going to continue doing its work despite this
bumpy environment. This situation has further been aggravated by the
inciting headlines by the state media which promote violence by the defence
forces and war veterans as well as some senior government officials. For
example allegations that the opposition is planning to fire all service
chiefs and senior government officials as well as redistributing land to the
white commercial farmers. Some war veterans have already started occupying
farms for the white commercial farmers, Masvingo is one area where they have
done it and the state has kept queit about it. On the other hand, the high
court is keeping on postponing the ruling on the urgent high court
application by the opposition MDC demanding the quick release of
presidential election results and this shows how partisan they are.

In a separate incident a Masvingo magistrate, Timor Makunde has further
remanded the Youth Forum Board Chairperson for the 6th time to June 10 and
no reasons have been given to justify this move. Youth Forum takes this as a
deliberate move to frustrate a vibrant youth activist and stop him from
fighting for the democratization of this country. He is accused of labeling
the police as Mugabe’s dogs after they arrested him for addressing a public
meeting hosted by Youth Forum late last year. Despite this persistent
harassment of activists, Youth Forum encourages Zimbabweans to remain
steadfast in the face of such an evil regime. The road is obviously going to
be very thorn but Youth Forum encourages all Zimbabweans particularly the
youths to fight till we reach our final destiny, a democratic and people
driven nation.

Youth Forum Information And Publicity
+263 23 353 291, +263 913 022 368

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Like being asked to eat mbodza

10th Apr 2008 09:35 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

THERE have been comparisons, which some people might call malicious, between
what Zanu PF is trying cook up with the election results, with trying to get
us to eat very badly-cooked sadza/isitshwala, mbodza.

But I have extremist friends who go further: to them, what President
Robert Mugabe’s defeated party is trying to do is to lace our food with

In other words they could be trying to commit homicide, albeit political
homicide. If they succeed in implementing their devilish plan to somehow
invalidate the results, particularly of the presidential election, they will
have eliminated an opportunity for anyone other than President Robert Mugabe
to become president of the republic.
The legal shenanigans which they have resorted to are being taken in a
tandem with an all too-loud campaign of scare-mongering, using the threat of
the war veterans to complement other psychological weapons in heir arsenal.

Their major instrument of terror is that Morgan Tsvangirai, who says he won
the presidential election and has not had any substantial challenge to that
statement, intends to restore to white farmers the ownership of the farms
taken from them in 2000.

This could be in preparation for the run-off, for which they appear to
be ready to get involved  in. Their hope is that the voters, having learnt
that Tsvangirai is quietly trying to reverse the “gains of the land reform”
programme, will  be rejected in the run-off.

But their logic has something inherently awry in it. Before 29 March,
they preached this doctrine that the MDC wanted to hand back the country to
the British. In spite of that propaganda, the voters were not swayed – in
any case, not to the extent of voting overwhelmingly for Zanu PF.

The voters were not even swayed by the threat from the leaders of the
unformed forces: that they would not salute a new president who had no
liberation war credentials.

The voters dared the armed forces chiefs: if you won’t salute Tsvangirai
then you won’t salute Mugabe either, because he has just lost.

The threat of violence hangs in the air today. Ordinary people, so used to
the violence of which Zanu PF is capable, seem ready to confront it, not
perhaps with arms or other such weapons, but with a steely determination not
to be denied what they believe to be rightfully theirs – the chance for real
change, from the predictably false promises to something fresh…even if
Tsvangirai has not been tried and tested at this elevated level of power.

But compared with the performance of Robert Mugabe, with which they have
become so sickeningly familiar in 28 years of mostly bashing and
deprivation, not only of their dignity, but of food, shelter, schools and
health care, they can’t imagine Tsvangirai being worse.
Mugabe should really step down, if he has the welfare of this country
at heart.

Even he must be aware that his potential to contribute anything
meaningful to the development – economic, social or political – to this
country is zilch.

It is acknowledged, even by his fiercest critics, that he has an
honoured place among the nationalists of this country:  Joshua Nkomo, James
Chikerema, George Nyandoro, Herbert Chitepo, Charles Mzingeli, Josiah
Chinamano, Jason Moyo, Masotsha Ndhlovu and Reuben Jamela – among others.

But none of these people constituted a threat to the freedom of the
people in exactly the same way that Mugabe, towards the end of his reign,

He launched what is now recognised as a terror campaign against the
people’s free will to choose their own leaders. What some outsiders seem to
believe is that Mugabe, himself a very educated man
schooled in world history and the consequences of despotic tendencies among
leaders, was always willing to concede defeat and step down. It is people
named as his hangers-on who want him to hang on, for their own selfish
reasons, it is assumed.

Where does this stem from? Certainly not from any demonstration by the man
himself that he is willing to be gracious in defeat.
After he had lost the referendum in 2000, he did concede defeat “to
the voice of the people”, but did he show his graciousness by conceding to
the people’s desire for a constitution which did not entrench his indefinite
hold on power?

No. His response was to teach “these ingrates a lesson”.  He unleashed the
war veterans on the former white farms, where they killed and pillaged
almost at will as the police were told not to interfere until they had
finished their work.

In that “work” lay the origin of the country’s rapid economic decline.
Anybody clinging to the myth that it was only the sanctions of the
Western bloc which unleashed the hemorrhage of the economy is deliberately
pandering to the propaganda of Zanu PF.

It is not untrue that, among many Westerners, the grabbing of the white
farms was extremely offensive, both to their psyche as the former colonizers
and to their dignity as nations with the obvious advantage of advanced
technology and weapons of war.

Governments resisted the temptation to wage an “armed struggle” for the
recovery of the farms which previously belonged to their kit and kin.

Some, it must be accepted, used whatever sanctions they implemented to show
Mugabe that he could not do what he did and expect not to pay a price,
however symbolic it might be.
But Mugabe is a very proud man, politically as well as, perhaps, an
individual. He could not make any concessions for his blunders, Gukurahundi
and the farm invasions, which were “moments of madness” as terrible and
illogical as those of the massacre of 20 000 mostly unarmed civilians in the
early 1980s.

The attempt to blame Mugabe’s excesses on his colleagues suits his
purposes very well. Yet if the man had really plucked up enough courage to
leave the scene when it suited, not his own individual purposes, but those
of his party and his country, he would have kept his promise not to stand
for re-election in 2008 – come what might.

But he didn’t and the reason given – that he feared that might be
the end of his beloved Zanu PF – doesn’t really wash. Other parties which
held responsibility for leading their countries into independence survive in
spite of the absence of their founding leaders – Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania,
Mozambique and Angola, are examples.

True, they may not be ruling parties in all instances, but they still
exist and still have a chance to return to power. Mugabe’s excuse that
without him Zanu PF would perish cannot be anchored on
any other sentiment except his own estimate of his own importance in the
scheme of things.

There is always the argument that if Mugabe left the political scene
completely, he would need to be guaranteed safety from prosecution.
Paul Biya in Cameroon is apparently seeking the same privilege as he
campaigns for an umpteenth term of office, as Mugabe did.
This is the man who wanted to speak to Mugabe on the telephone – in French –
and was put on hold as Mugabe looked frantically for someone who could
translate for him.

The two men obviously share a love for power. They are of a breed quite
familiar in Africa today. Another such leader is Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal,
a visitor to Zimbabwe a few months ago and a man who warmed immediately to
Mugabe, ending up as one of his defenders at the African Union meeting with
the European Union.

There are many such leaders in Africa and it is the curse of the
continent that not many of them are wiling to pluck a leaf out of the system
entrenched by Botswana’s ruling party.

The succession pattern may not be entirely democratic, but the manner in
which Festus Mogae finished his ten-year reign and the way Seretse Ian Khama
succeeded him was so devoid of tension, it must put to shame other
countries – like Zimbabwe – which cling to the archaic method in which power
becomes a pursuit for its own sake – and not something from which leaders
can serve and save
the people.

In Zimbabwe, the least we can struggle to do is to prevent Mugabe and Zanu
PF from forcing mbodza down our throats.

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Zanu PF subverts the people’s will!

“Government and the party leadership gradually became alienated from the
ordinary working people; they formed elites that ignored the opinions and
needs of ordinary people. From the side of the leadership came propaganda of
success, notions of everything going according to plan, while on the other
side of the working people there was passivity and disbelief in the slogans
being proclaimed… the leadership organized pompous campaigns and the
celebration of numerous anniversaries. Political life became a move from one
anniversary celebration to another.” – Mikhail Gorbachev (Cited by Gumede W.
M; 2007)

Zimbabwe has entered its 12th day after holding the harmonized elections on
the 29th of March 2008. To this day, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
is still withholding results of the presidential elections after taking more
than a week to release the parliamentary and senatorial elections results.

At the core of the withholding of results is the Zanu PF interference with
the ZEC operations which is supposed to be highly impartial, transparent and
objective in the discharging its role. This is evidenced by how state
operatives shut down the ZEC National Command Center at the Rainbow Towers
Hotel which was supposed to announce the presidential outcomes, the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) forced the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation
(ZBC) from the command center on the 6th of April 2008, giving ample
evidence that the state operatives have taken over the activities of ZEC.

As if the interference was not enough, the ruling party is on a crusade of
accusations against ZEC officials of fraudulent and clandestine activities,
which the ruling party is flimsily maintaining were masterminded by the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in cahoots with ZEC officials as a ploy
to ouster the Zanu PF government. This has since triggered a wave of arrests
of supposed ZEC officials, clearly showing that the police officers are
working under the instructions of the ruling party elites whose motive is
found on maintaining power through extra-legal undertakings. It is however
shocking when the ruling party starts claiming the results being ‘wrong’
when firstly the results are not made public and secondly when the whole
process of counting and verification was done in the presence of both Zanu
PF and MDC polling agents who signed confirmation of what they witnessed.

The interference by the ruling party in ZEC’s activities were also confirmed
in the High Court yesterday in the Case of the MDC versus ZEC where the
former is calling upon the courts to order the latter to release the
election results. The ZEC lawyer Mr. Chikumbirike argued that an order,
demanding ZEC to release the results will lead to dangerous consequences,
giving an innuendo that ZEC was highly likely to defy the order.

Chikumbirike’s utterances point to the travesty of the concept of democracy.
It latently points that the ruling party was thumped in the democratic
process, hence the cooption of the rogue militant agents such as the war
veterans, service chiefs and other para-military arms to contain the growing
mood of tension which is looming in the country. Begging the question: If
Zanu PF had won the elections, why would they require virtually two weeks
announcing their victory?

That Zanu PF lost in this election is no longer a matter of contest but a
given reality which explains why the party administrator Didymus Mutasa was
quoted on the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC) as saying, “ …
why do you want us to release ‘wrong’ results? ZEC is still going through
the verification process!”

The process of going through an election in any democracy is founded on the
basic fundamentals that an election acts as a democratic thermometer which
gauges the temperatures of dissenting views and how the people’s choices on
who gets into the public office and those existing accept the people’s
wishes. Failure to salute such voices is a recipe for creating a
totalitarian establishment.

The lack of accountability is noted by how the losing government extended
the term of cabinet office and that of the president through the use to the
nefarious Presidential Power Act Temporary Measures to feel in the vacuum
left by the failure of the very same regime to announce the results of the
country’s top job. Zanu PF must be reminded that the reason they
participated in this election was to get the people’s mandate. ZEC displayed
results on the polling stations on the 29th of March 2008, which were
interpolated by the MDC and other independent groups showing that, the
ruling party lost. It must respect the wishes and aspirations of the people
of Zimbabwe who expressed their disapproval of the governance and legitimacy
crisis which besieged the country since 2000.

It is from such an end that the United Nations Secretary General, Ban
Ki-moon called upon the Harare administration to release the results
urgently, to avert looming chances of a conflict. As noted by the UN
Secretary General the Crisis Coalition can not agree any further. It is
increasingly becoming difficult to expect the nation to keep on waiting for
the results which the ruling party is sitting on. Such behavior breeds a
very fertile ground for nurturing conflict as people will be acting on
speculative information due to the information vacuum deliberately crafted
by the ruling party.

The Coalition welcomes the decision by the Zambian President, Levy
Mwanawasa, the current chair of the 14-nation Southern African Development
Community (SADC) of convening an extraordinary summit on Saturday 12 April
2008 to discuss the way forward given the behaviour by the region’s problem

However, the Coalition calls upon SADC to make a lasting intervention with
benchmarks of deliverables. This is specifically important given how the
ruling party has become an oasis of defiance on the recommendations of the
region and other international bodies such as the United Nations and other
regional blocks. A chance has therefore been presented to SADC to make a
lasting positive legacy on the Zimbabwean issue; the onus is on the region
to enter in the global memory bank as having played a fundamental role when
its decision was needed most or propping up an errant regime, which will
turn them into villains.

We therefore wish to bring to the SADC attention as they meet on Saturday
that the government of Zimbabwe is presided over a civilian coup where the
vanquished are acting as the victors. A coup where the functions of ZEC are
taken over by the Central Intelligence Organization; where the president
dissolves and extends cabinet in the same month without the mandate of the

We therefore call upon the region to send a strong message that they will
not entertain such an electoral fraud before it denigrates into a conflict
which will prove to be costly to resolve to both Zimbabwe and the region
than making a strong decision when it is timeous, which will save its
integrity and thousands of lives in Zimbabwe.

- Ends -

Issued by

McDonald Lewanika


Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

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There is one good thing about the present political impasse in Zimbabwe

Manchester Evening News

Exclusive guest blog - Petina Gappah on Zimbabwe

There is one good thing about the present political impasse in Zimbabwe. The
many African countries and African people who supported Robert Mugabe
finally get to see the brutish thuggishness that is a daily reality for

The polls were conducted on 29 March 2008, more than ten days ago. Results
from the bi-cameral parliament were announced after a tortuous wait. Of the
local elections, there has been no news. The opposition MDC party which
claims to have won the presidential poll has filed a High Court action to
compel the electoral commission to act.

The electoral commission for its part has hidden behind the need to verify
and collate all the results. These results were posted outside each of the
country's 9,000 polling stations and before they were posted, were verified
by the polling agents of each of the contesting parties, who signed to
confirm the results. It is these results that the commission is now
verifying and collating: it apparently takes more than a week to collate and
verify votes amounting to less than 3 million.

This would be quite comic if it were not so serious.

In the meantime, the ruling Zanu PF party's politburo held a five hour
meeting to discuss a possible run-off if none of the candidates get the
required majority. The Herald, the government paper, has worked itself into
a frenzy, with letters calling on Zimbabweans to be steadfast in the event
of a run-off, editorials predicting Mugabe prevailing in a run-off, reports
of electoral commission officials who have been arrested for
"under-counting" President Mugabe's votes and news articles in which
anonymous reporters quote anonymous sources stating that MDC President
Morgan Tsvangirai is so terrified of a run-off that he has begged to be made
a deputy to Mugabe.

More gravely, the government has deployed war veterans to invade farms,
evoking the memories of the violence that accompanied the last presidential
election in 2002: land has been brought again to the front and centre of the
ruling party's agenda. A pity, then, that so much of the land has already
been divvied up by Mugabe's cronies, judges and army chiefs, so that there
are a paltry 200 white farms left to invade. The winning solution may be for
the ruling party to resettle the former white farmers so that the war
veterans can invade the farms all over again, because at this rate, there
will be nothing to invade if there is a run-off.

And so Zimbabwe waits while Zanu PF prepares for a run-off only they know
about. There are also menacing signs that we may be looking not at a
run-off, but at a situation where the presidential election result is not
announced at all, but is said to be "unsafe". Under this scenario, Mugabe
would call for a re-run of the presidential poll, until, presumably,
Zimbabweans produce the result that he wants. Zanu PF wants nothing short of
a victory, however it may be achieved.

The question that they have not answered is what exactly they will do to
restore the economy's health if they do win. The statistics are well known
by now: inflation is at more than 100 000 per cent, only 20 per cent of the
working population in formal employment and thus able to contribute to the
fiscus, a cup of coffee costs 50 million dollars in a country where a
teacher earns maybe five times that amount. There was nothing in the Zanu PF
election manifesto to suggest that a Zanu PF president and government have
any ideas on how to address the economic crisis. This is, after all, a
government that blamed monkeys for power failures, that saw no irony in
asking dancehall Jamaican musician Luciano to go out in the world as an
unofficial an ambassador for Zimbabwe, and that consulted a medium to solve
the country's fuel problems. This last incident is particularly revealing.

A thirty-five-year old medium, Rotina Mavhunga, approached the government
and claimed that, with the spirit upon her, she could make refined diesel
sprout from a rock. The whole thing was later exposed as a scam of the
crudest kind; the Zambia-bought fuel was piped to the rocks from where it
sprouted quite magnificently. And yet government ministers fell for it; the
Central Mechanical Equipment Department passed the diesel as "pure", half
the cabinet was pictured kneeling and crouching before her, shoes off as
they waited for the spirit to reveal more of this precious fluid. 5 billion
dollars (she also received a farm, according to some reports) and a much
embarrassed government later, Rotina Mavhunga is now answering questions
before a magistrate's court. Her defence is particularly novel; it was not
her who is responsible for conning an entire cabinet, but Changamire Dombo,
the leader of the 17th century Rozvi Empire whose influence is apparently
strong enough to reach into this century.

The ruling party has largely followed a foreign policy of isolating the
country from those countries that disagree with its policies. No amount of
Changamire Dombo-inspired pan-Africanism can hide the fact that Zimbabwe's
crisis needs the active engagement of the international community, including
the IMF and the World Bank. Mugabe refuses to look west, but his much
vaunted Look East policy has largely failed; the African countries that have
successfully looked east have sufficient resources to sate the rapacious oil
and raw material hunger of the Chinese.

It is particularly galling to Zimbabweans that those Africans who cheer
Mugabe on for slamming George Bush's policies on Iraq in his infrequent
speeches to the General Assembly are happy to put out the welcome mat for
him when he visits their countries. They may cheer Mugabe on the sidelines,
but are involved in signing economic partnership agreements with the EU, are
keen to expand their tariff preferences under AGOA, are pushing, as they
should, for an equitable relationship with the west while enjoying good
diplomatic relations with its countries. Only Zimbabwe apparently, is to go
it alone.

The ruling party and the MDC represent two futures for Zimbabwe, one in
which children go to rural hospitals in ox-drawn scotch-carts and government
policy is dictated by long-gone emperors, or another in which Zimbabwe takes
its place along with Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Egypt,
Zambia and many other African countries that have embraced the reality of
our globalised world, and are making efforts to harness its benefits for the
betterment of their peoples.

In the recent elections, Zimbabweans made clear which future they want. The
world must help them achieve it.

Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean lawyer and author, based in Geneva

Posted by David Ottewell on April 10, 2008 09:12 AM

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