The first solid evidence of ballot rigging in Zimbabwe's presidential election emerged yesterday when a senior policeman told The Daily Telegraph that officers marked extra votes for President Robert Mugabe.
Almost two weeks after polling day, the official result has
still not been announced. Independent monitors say that Morgan Tsvangirai, the
leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, came first.
The police officer, who cannot be identified for fear of reprisals, saw a number of ballot boxes carried into a room at police headquarters in Harare last weekend, seven days after the election.
Five or six new recruits from Morris Depot, all in uniform, then filled out extra votes for Mr Mugabe. Ballots for Mr Tsvangirai were removed, the officer added, to bolster the president's share of the vote.
"We were in the corridor and saw the ballot boxes being taken into Room 96," the officer said. The police headquaters is only about 300 yards from Mr Mugabe's office in Harare. "We asked somebody who went in there and saw the trainees filling out the ballot papers. I am not the only one who knows this, there are others. The recruits will do anything they are asked to do. They were all desperate for jobs. If they have to beat people they will do that."
The officer said that senior police commanders were desperate for 84-year-old Mr Mugabe to hold power to protect their own interests.
The force, he added, was "very, very corrupt because surely we cannot survive on what we earn". Despite recent salary rises, policemen earn only �10 a week, before tax.
Shortly before the election, the ruling Zanu-PF regime changed the rules to allow police to "assist voters" inside polling stations. The police were also responsible for transmitting the presidential results to the Electoral Commission's "command centre" in Harare.
Tendai Biti, the secretary-general of the MDC, said the party had evidence of nine million ballot papers being printed before the election, despite Zimbabwe's registered electorate of only 5.9 million.
Figures from the parliamentary election, held on the same day as the presidential poll, show that some 2.5 million people voted.
Mr Biti said: "They want to re-engineer the results. They have re-stuffed these ballot boxes. An illegitmate government is in place. The failure of the regime in Harare to give in to those who were elected in our view constitutes a constitutional coup d'etat."
The election crisis will be the subject of an emergency summit of southern African countries in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, tomorrow. Both Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai could attend, raising the possibility of a public row.
By Peter Clottey
11 April 2008
Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has
described as desperate measures by the ruling ZANU-PF party to move the
offices of the electoral commission to a secret location. The MDC says the
move is a calculated attempt by supporters of incumbent President Robert
Mugabe to thwart its victory and force a presidential election run-off. This
comes after supporters of incumbent President Robert Mugabe reportedly told
MDC officials as well as independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni
that they have no right to be present for the final count of the
The leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, says he will not be part of an
election run-off, claiming that he won the election with over 50 percent of
the votes. But the government dismissed Tsvangirai’s accusation as mere
Mark Fungano is a Zimbabwean political analyst at the University of Cape
Town in South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the delay in
announcing the presidential election results is an affront to Zimbabweans.
“I think my personal opinion about the latest development is that we should
not really be worried or be surprised by what ZANU-PF has done to move the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to a secret location because we have
already known from the onset that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission who is
not independent from the ruling party…I think that anybody outside Zimbabwe
knows that ZANU-PF has been trying as much as possible to discredit the
electoral process, and to try and rig the electoral process and to prove
that there were flaws in the electoral process,” Fungano noted.
He said Zimbabweans are not fully aware of what is going on.
“Obviously Zimbabweans have been kept in the dark for a long time. And I
think these developments what they simply do is that they further widen or
create stair within Zimbabweans in terms of this election. And I think what
people are just seeing is that the only option that we need to look at is to
say what are we going to do with a government that is denying us an
opportunity to express our voice? They now need a leadership from the
opposition and the civil society on what steps they can now take in terms of
dealing with this intransigence of ZANU-PF,” he said.
Fungano said he supports the main opposition’s stance of refusing to be part
of a possible election run-off.
“I think it is the right move because by them participating in the run-off
they are one, legitimizing the claims that are coming from the ZANU-PF, and
secondly, they are allowing ZANU-PF to use its extra tactics of brutalizing
people and of rigging elections for them to get an opportunity because
ZANU-PF will not accept any other victory other than themselves,” Fungano
Meanwhile, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is calling on African leaders to
help get rid of incumbent President Robert Mugabe, whom he accused of being
Mail and Guardian
Mandy Rossouw | Johannesburg, South Africa
11 April 2008 06:00
President Thabo Mbeki's cherished policy of "quiet diplomacy" on
Zimbabwe has been rejected by his own party.
The split between the Union Buildings and Luthuli House on the
issue became painfully apparent this week when Movement for Democratic
Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai chose to meet African National Congress
(ANC) president Jacob Zuma and secretary general Gwede Mantashe at ANC
headquarters in Johannesburg.
After the meeting Zuma said from his homestead in Nkandla,
KwaZulu-Natal, that it was wrong for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to
keep the world in suspense about the outcome of the election.
The Mail & Guardian understands that at its last meeting in
March, the ANC's national executive committee debated the quiet diplomacy
policy and concluded that it had been ineffective in dealing with the
The ANC has told its MPs who took part in the observer mission
for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to brief the party on
Previously the group was only accountable to Parliament, where
the official report of the 2005 elections was never debated.
ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa told a gathering of business
people in Somerset West outside Cape Town that quiet diplomacy did not work
and "Mugabe was using us".
Mantashe told the M&G this week that the withholding of the
election results by the ZEC is tantamount to a "coup".
"To me the proposals on putting together a government of
national unity make sense. This is what we as the ANC would like to see
This is a significant departure from the wait-and-see approach
adopted by Mbeki. On Sunday, he told a group of ambassadors and
businesspeople in London that the situation in Zimbabwe was "manageable" and
that people should be prepared to "wait" for the outcome.
A source in the Presidency said, however, that behind the scenes
Mbeki is "mulling over this thing".
"He sat around waiting for results from Zimbabwe all of last
week, which actually made him late for his meetings in London. It has been
12 days now [since the votes were counted]; we are all worried, we don't
know why they are waiting [to release them]."
The source said Mbeki is constrained because "he is dealing with
the president of a country".
"As mediator you can't talk too loud, you're running the risk of
upsetting the people involved. You don't have as many limits when you are
the president of a political party. You have more room to manoeuvre and
Mantashe said there were no plans to harmonise the policies of
the president and the ANC and tackle the Zimbabwe issue jointly. "The
president must do his thing as president of the country and play a role as
government; we must have party-to-party relationships. "
The ANC released a statement on Friday calling for the urgent
release of the election results, while the government said the ZEC should
explain the delay.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad appealed to all
parties to remain calm, because "when you lose patience you go to war".
The ANC has started to feel pressure from its alliance partners,
the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African
Communist Party, about the party's lack of decisive action on South Africa's
Cosatu, which met the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
in Johannesburg this week, lambasted Mbeki for his comments on in London
about the election.
It said that his "wait and see" approach was sending a message
to Mugabe "to sit and do whatever to the results".
Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said the trade-union
federation welcomed the shift in the ANC's perspective. "It is one of the
best features of the post-Polokwane outcome. There is an openness, a
willingness to discuss things and a willingness to look at different points
of view," he said.
Craven said quiet diplomacy had a role to play, but that
"because it was quiet, we never knew what was being negotiated". Cosatu
viewed as unfortunate government statements that "the situation is not as
serious as it is being made out to be".
He added: "We hope we played some part in influencing the ANC,
but the reality of Zimbabwe on the ground probably went further in
convincing them that all is not well there. They know now there is reason to
doubt that these elections are going to lead to a democratic solution and
that the election may well have been stolen."
Additional reporting by Warren Foster
By Dr Alex T. Magaisa
Last updated: 04/11/2008 10:06:57
THE lengths to which the Zanu PF regime is going to establish whatever
remains of the legitimacy of its authority over Zimbabwe are truly shocking
and in many ways embarrassing.
In a piece entitled ‘Cabinet Still Functional’ in The Herald of 10 April
2008, Justice Bharat Patel, the Acting Attorney General (AAG), is reported
to have given a legal opinion that the ‘dissolution’ of the Cabinet on 27
March 2008, was no more than ‘administrative practice’ with no effect on the
tenure of its members.
This article questions both the legal and moral legitimacy of the continued
authority of Ministers appointed by President Mugabe.
I have to acknowledge that The Herald may have been selective in its
representation of the AAG’s opinion so that it probably omitted some of the
more unfavourable and cautious advice that the honourable man may have
The AAG is quoted as having opined that “the reconstitution of Cabinet after
its “‘dissolution’ is not attended by any constitutional formality and
likewise the Cabinet’s reconstitution may be effected by dint of
administrative practice” (sic).
One can understand that Zanu PF is frantically trying to get out of the hole
it dug for itself by re-asserting its authority using the state
But with respect, it is not correct to suggest that there is no formality
attendant upon the ‘reconstitution’ of the Cabinet. The Cabinet is a
Constitutional body established in terms of Section 31G of the Constitution
and its ‘reconstitution’ cannot simply be reduced to the status of a mere
It is clearly stated that a member of the Cabinet holds office at the
President’s pleasure and that in terms of S. 31G (3) before taking office he
has to take and subscribe an oath before the President or some other person
in a form set out under Schedule 1. When he dissolved the cabinet he was
exercising his (dis)pleasure, to disappoint those who were in his cabinet.
If he must re-appoint them they, surely, should go through the rigmarole of
subscribing and taking the oath as required by the Constitution. But of
course we know the embarrassment that this formal process carries under the
present circumstances, hence the attempt to ‘reconstitute’ the Cabinet
‘administratively’ so that they can continue as if nothing has happened.
Granted the Constitution has loopholes. The AAG argues that Section 31E (2)
of the Constitution states that a person may hold Ministerial office without
being an MP for a period of up to three months. In fact, this does not give
the full picture.
There is a proviso to that section, which states that a person may continue
to hold ministerial office during the period of dissolution of Parliament
until such time that Parliament first meets after that dissolution. On this
generous interpretation, this suggests that the period during which a non-MP
can hold Ministerial office can even be extended beyond three months if
there is no Parliament due to dissolution until such time that the new
Parliament first meets.
In fact, the gap is so appallingly wide that if he wanted to, President
Mugabe could appoint a new set of Ministers at this stage using Section 31D.
But this too would be embarrassing. That’s why they would rather argue that
the ‘dissolution’ was of no effect to pretend that the old ministers are
continuing in office. Why then, it must be asked, did he dissolve Cabinet if
he intended that it would continue functioning after the election?
If what is being suggested were to hold, Zimbabwe may be subject to
government by a whole team of unelected individuals for quite a long period.
The trouble is that the commencement of the tenure of the new Parliament is
heavily dependent on the result of the Presidential election. This is
because Section 63(4) of the Constitution provides that the period of tenure
of parliament is deemed to commence on the day the person elected as
President enters office. Therefore, until such time that the result of the
Presidential election is known and that person enters office there is
effectively no Parliament.
I do not think Parliament intended provision for non-MPs to be appointed to
the Cabinet to be used in this way except perhaps in exceptional
circumstances. This may be where Parliament is dissolved during the period
of a war, not where such continued dissolution is by reason of deliberate
refusal to complete the electoral process. What is being proposed is a clear
abuse of the Constitution.
For surely, we have here a bizarre situation in which men and women who lost
(dismally) the people’s mandate in the recent Parliamentary elections
continue to be in charge of the country’s affairs.
The AG wants to downgrade the ‘dissolution’ of Cabinet to a purely
administrative practice by distinguishing it from removal under Section 31 E
Why then, it has to be asked, should the President take the burden of
ordering the ‘dissolution’ of the Cabinet when it is not required or
intended to have any legal effect? What is the purpose and effect of what is
now described as an ‘administrative practice’? What administrative goal is
intended to be achieved by doing something that is apparently not required
by the Constitution? Is this not, really, the practice by which Ministerial
tenure has traditionally been ended but because it does not now suit the
circumstances in which Zanu PF finds itself it is conveniently relegated to
an ‘administrative practice’?
The AAG’s assertions appear to be inconsistent with certain key events
showing the way these Ministers have traditionally understood to be the
effect of ‘dissolution’. Let us take the case of Aeneas Chigwedere, the
erstwhile Minister of Education.
Why, it must be asked, did the Chigwedere accept appointment as Headman
Mubaiwa, itself considered a public office, if indeed he was still holding
public office as a Minister? Never mind the legality or moral basis of his
appointment, this was surely a man who should have known that he could not
hold another public office during his Ministerial tenure as Section 31D
clearly states that no Minister or Deputy Minister ‘shall directly or
indirectly hold any other public office or any paid office in the employment
of any person’.
How does the AAG reconcile the conduct of Chigwedere, if indeed he is still
a Minister, with the argument that his Ministerial tenure still subsists? I
suspect it will be stated that Chigwedere resigned his Ministerial office
prior to becoming a Headman, even though it defies common sense to leave the
lavish lifestyle of a Minister to take up the lesser status of Headmanship,
unless of course one argues that the call of the ancestors, which Chigwedere
alleged, was too powerful to resist.
It is hard to overlook the unique political circumstances that Zanu PF finds
itself and simply accept at face value the opinion of the AAG as reported by
This is a party that is in serious trouble. They did things that they should
not have done and are now looking for Constitutional loopholes to legitimise
One is left to wonder whether this is a case, perhaps of the emperor
discovering that he really has no clothes and is, therefore, running around
to gather leaves to cover his modesty.
And at the end of it all, you have to wonder, what other Constitutional
loopholes and hideouts have they asked the AG’s Office to look for?
Alex Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, UK and can be contacted at
By Carole Gombakomba
10 April 2008
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has reconstituted the cabinet which sat
before the recent presidential and general elections, despite having
dissolved it before the March 29 polls and despite the loss of parliamentary
seats by some members.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who lost his house seat, and Information
Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said the constitution has a provision allowing
previous cabinet members including at least seven ministers who lost their
parliamentary seats, to resume their duties so long as a new cabinet has not
Tinoziva Bere of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Law Society
of Zimbabwe told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that although Mr Mugabe dissolved the cabinet prior to the elections, a
loophole in the constitution seems to have caught the opposition and the
public off guard.
In anticipation of the upcoming SADC meeting this Saturday, please
immediately: (1) copy the letter below between and including "Dear Sir" and
"Respectfully submitted," (2) sign your name at the end; (3) copy/paste and
send to every SADC members' e-mail listed below; and (4) forward this
message to all people concerned about Zimbabwe or human rights and have them
repeat steps (1), (2), (3), and (4). Of course, feel free to write your own
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.botswanaembassy.org/staff.html): email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
Dear Sir or Madam:
I implore you to not rubber stamp the blatant attempt at election theft
going on in Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe, and all people in this world,
deserve to have their democratic right to vote respected and upheld. It is
obvious to all that Zanu-PF is trying to steal this election. Please, at
this weekend's SADC summit take the steps of: (1) refusing to applaud
Mugabe; (2) demanding the immediate release of the election results; and (3)
should a run-off be necessary, demanding a flood of AU and SADC observers to
ensure the safety of the Zimbabwean people and sanctity of the voting
process. The people of Zimbabwe have suffered for too long and Mugabe is a
blight on the region. Thank you for your consideration.
by Fanuel Jongwe 2 hours, 22 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai prepared Friday to lock horns at a weekend summit of southern
African leaders aimed at sorting out Zimbabwe's election mess.
Thirteen days on from the country's presidential election on March 29 there
has still been no announcement on the outcome, and while Mugabe's ruling
party says there must be a run-off, the opposition says its man won
A legal bid by the opposition to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) to declare the result is still under consideration by a judge and no
decision on the matter is expected till Monday at the earliest.
The ZEC said that its hands are tied over the release of the presidential
election results because the matter is in court, state media said on Friday.
"The commission wishes to advise the public that the question of the results
of the presidential election is now the subject of legal proceedings in the
High Court," it said in a statement cited by the Herald newspaper.
"Pending determination by that court, and in line with established rules of
court, norms and procedures, the commission is unable to comment on this
subject," the ZEC said.
Not only is the ruling party contesting enough seats in the simultaneous
parliamentary elections to overturn a slim opposition majority, it has also
demanded a total recount of the presidential vote.
A clamour of appeals for outside help from Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) finally bore fruit on Wednesday when a regional bloc
announced an extraordinary summit to consider the crisis.
The mouthwatering prospect of bitter enemies Tsvangirai and Mugabe facing
off over the conference table in Lusaka became a real prospect on Thursday
when both men's parties confirmed their intentions to attend.
"Morgan has been formally invited to the SADC meeting and he will definitely
be there," Tsvangirai's number two Tendai Biti told AFP.
Mugabe's deputy information minister Bright Matonga said it was only to be
expected that the 84-year-old president would attend the summit of the
14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC).
"SADC has obviously come under a lot of international pressure over the
Zimbabwe elections and needs to be briefed about what is happening here,"
Matonga told AFP.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, the regional heavyweight, also
confirmed his attendance in Lusaka and there was speculation he could meet
Tsvangirai beforehand on Friday when he visits Mozambique.
Tsvangirai was in Botswana on Thursday as part of a diplomatic offensive
ahead of the summit and the MDC said he was due to go on to Mozambique and
"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," Mbeki
spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga had said earlier Thursday.
Southern African leaders have been heavily criticised over their 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
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY
These photographs were taken the day before yesterday. The two men are MDC MT supporters based on Mashonaland East. They, and others, were viciously assaulted by Zanu PF militia on Tuesday night. Three houses were burned down in the same area in ongoing attacks. This must be stopped!
The Zimbabwean people have spoken in the elections. We said NO to violence and NO to lawlessness. This is a new Zimbabwe: we must not tolerate this abuse of our right to a peaceful democratic country, and this abuse of our people. We must stand together against tyranny. Take Action!
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has called an emergency meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to discuss the Zimbabwean presidential poll delay. This is the first move by Zimbabwe's regional neighbours to intervene since the elections on 29th March 2008. President Mwanawasa is the current Chairman of the 14-nation South African Development Community. This is what he said yesterday:
Both President Morgan Tsvangirai and opposition leader Robert Mugabe will be attending the emergency meeting.
Support our democratically elected leader and take action.
What YOU can doYou can voice your feelings and SHOUT OUT for FREEDOM. Communicate with key SADC people attending the meeting. Tell them that Zimbabweans have the right to live in a democratic, free and peaceful country. Tell them your personal experiences and why you want change. Make them understand what it is like to be in Zimbabwe today. Tell them we voted for change, we got change, and we want change now. Speak the TRUTH.
HOW you can do it
Email, fax or phone using the details provided below. Keep your messages real and honest but also short and to the point. Remember: thousands of us will be doing this so they will have a lot to read. Let's make sure they can read and hear it all!
Be polite at all times. People don't pay attention to angry messages (look at us: Mugabe has been angry with the people for many years now and we just ignored him and voted him out anyway). Anger does not work.
1. Call or fax or email the Zambian State House with a message for President Levy Mwanawasa:
2. Call or fax a message to President Thabo Mbeki - President of South Africa
3. Call or email Lieutenant Colonel Tanki Mothae - Director of Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at SADC
4. Copy all your emails to this general SADC email address:
5. If you want to attach images to your emails, you can download copies of the photographs at the top of this mailing from the Sokwanele flickr account here:
6. Forward this action alert email to everyone you know and ask them to take action too.
7. Be positive, stay strong, and never forget that we have won.
Subscribe to receive mailings by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
Sokwanele does not endorse the editorial policy of any source or website except its own. It retains full copyright on its own articles, which may be reproduced or distributed but may not be materially altered in any way. Reproduced articles must clearly show the source and owner of copyright, together with any other notices originally contained therein, as well as the original date of publication. Sokwanele does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from receipt of this email or use thereof. This document, or any part thereof, may not be distributed for profit.
By Geoff Hill
April 11, 2008
JOHANNESBURG — Brigades of youth militia, and older men claiming to have
served in the civil war of the 1970s, have descended on rural areas of
Zimbabwe, beating villagers and burning their homes, according to
eyewitnesses reached by phone.
The violence, thought to have been ordered by President Robert Mugabe, has
been seen in areas where the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
won in the March 29 election.
In the Murehwa district, 30 miles east of the capital, Harare, MDC officials
say hundreds of people, including old women and children as young as 5, have
been beaten with clubs.
"Stores that put up posters for the MDC have been forced to shut," MDC local
organizer Peter Chitate said from Murehwa.
"Some of these thugs are armed, and they are targeting anyone who acted as a
polling officer for the opposition or helped with the rallies. It is
terrible; there are injured people everywhere.
"My own brother, Silas, has been beaten across his back with iron poles. He
can"t move, and the local clinic has been ordered not to treat him. There
are many like him, and we have taken photos so that no one can deny it."
Similar reports from other parts of the country were released by the MDC
head office in Harare and by the mostly white Commercial Farmers' Union.
In the two weeks since the elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) has not released results of the presidential vote, which pitted Mr.
Mugabe against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
In a simultaneous election for Parliament, Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) was defeated. Using a compilation
of results issued at each polling station, Mr. Tsvangirai last week claimed
to have won the presidency.
In Johannesburg yesterday, MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti said his
country was technically without a head of state.
"In reality, President Mugabe is a caretaker president. There is an
illegitimate government in place in Zimbabwe," he told journalists. Mr.
Mugabe's term expired at midnight March 28.
Mr. Biti said the MDC would not take part in presidential runoff, which has
been suggested by ministers close to Mr. Mugabe.
"The result of the election is clear and we are just waiting for them to be
published," he said.
Under law, the ZEC — whose members are appointed by Mr. Mugabe — was
required to publish a final tally within seven days, and no reason has been
given for the delay, although analysts say it is a stalling tactic to keep
Mr. Mugabe in power.
Regional leaders are to meet in Lusaka tomorrow to discuss the crisis, and
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who will host the summit, has confirmed
that Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai had been invited. The Associated Press
reported from Harare that both men will attend the meeting.
In South Africa, the issue has raised tensions between President Thabo Mbeki
and Jacob Zuma, who in December took over as leader of the ruling African
National Congress (ANC). Although Mr. Mbeki has been criticized for his
policy of "quiet diplomacy" toward Zimbabwe, Mr. Zuma, backed by the
Congress of South African Trade Unions has taken a tougher line.
Mr. Zuma had lunch Monday with Mr. Tsvangirai in Johannesburg and called for
the delayed results to be released. In addition, Mr. Tsvangirai met last
night in Pretoria with Mr. Mbeki.
Moreover, while Mr. Mbeki's government last night issued a softly worded
statement on how the Lusaka meeting might "assist the people of Zimbabwe to
address their political and economic challenges," the ANC repeated Mr.
Zuma's demand for an end to delays by the ZEC and called for disputes to be
settled, "through the appropriate legal channels," a reference to the new
wave of state-sponsored violence.
Friday 11 April 2008
By Marian L. Tupy
CLOSE to two weeks after the ballots were cast in Zimbabwe's pivotal
elections, two points appear to be clear. First, the opposition won. Second,
the Mugabe regime has no intention of relinquishing power.
Blatant disregard for democracy that flies in the face of numerous
pan-African and regional conventions would, in an ideal world, spur African
leaders into action. They are, alas, silent and so free nations are once
again forced to turn to South Africa, the regional superpower, urging it to
do “something”. Unfortunately, South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has not
only tolerated the Zimbabwean regime. He has actively helped Mugabe to
maintain his grip on power.
Speaking in London over the weekend, Mbeki said, “I must say that we have
been very pleased with the manner in which the elections have gone. For the
first time, the opposition parties had access to everywhere in the country,
including the urban areas.”
Of course, implicit in the admission that the victorious opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) was allowed to campaign throughout the country
“for the first time,” is Mbeki’s acknowledgment that the MDC was not allowed
to campaign freely on previous occasions. That begs a question: If the MDC
was not allowed to campaign freely previously, why did Mbeki's election
observers proclaim previous elections in Zimbabwe as free and fair?
In the past, Mbeki was criticized for not doing enough with regard to the
deteriorating economic and political situation in Zimbabwe. That puzzled
those who feared the negative consequences of Zimbabwe’s collapse on the
regional economy in general and South African economy in particular. Mbeki
claimed that his "quiet diplomacy" would prevent Zimbabwe from descending
into chaos. Today, chaos in Zimbabwe is, if anything, more likely. But Mbeki
has not only tolerated Mugabe's dictatorship. He has actively promoted it.
For example, Mbeki has attempted to legitimize the Zimbabwean regime
internationally. It was on Mbeki’s watch, after all, that the Mugabe regime
stole the 2000 and 2005 parliamentary poll and the 2002 presidential poll.
In all three cases, the Zimbabwean government's handling of the elections
was excoriated by the international community--except the Southern African
Development Community dominated by South Africa. Similarly, Mbeki's envoy to
the U.N. Security Council sidelined a debate on Mugabe’s human rights
Moreover, far from pulling the proverbial plug on Mugabe, South Africa
continues to sell electricity to Zimbabwe at a price that is 36 percent
lower than the price that the state-run ESKOM charges South African
consumers. In fact, according to South African press reports, South Africa
increased its electricity supplies to Zimbabwe earlier this year--just as
South Africa was being plunged into darkness by economically devastating
When, in 2003, President George W. Bush chose Mbeki as his “point-man” on
Zimbabwe, he could not have chosen a worse individual for the job. As Mark
Gevisser, author of Thabo Mbeki's biography The Dream Deferred, notes,
“Because of the history of their relationship ... [Mugabe is] not just a
father but a father whom he [Mbeki] sees some allegiance to ... Mbeki is
unable to bring enough pressure to bear on Mugabe to force him to some sort
of resolution. The opposition [MDC] doesn’t have any trust in him and the
[Zimbabwean] government doesn’t fear him enough to listen to his hard
As his presidency enters its last year, it is useful to contrast Mbeki’s
performance with that of his predecessor. After 27 years in jail, Mandela
emerged as a man of forgiveness and compassion, and set about to forge a
nation in which his former jailors had an important role to play. Mbeki
never overcame his past and never grew in his post. His views remain that of
a Soviet-schooled Marxist ideologue who sees the world in black and white.
That world is split into the oppressor and the oppressed - the West and the
rest. Obsessed with race and colonialism, Mbeki ignored the HIV/AIDS
pandemic in South Africa at the cost of millions of lives of his countrymen.
To him, orthodox science “portrayed black people ... [as] victims of a slave
mentality”. Rejection of the HIV/AIDS orthodoxy was necessary in order to
confront “centuries-old white racist beliefs and concepts about Africans”.
Similarly, Mbeki refused to confront Mugabe as long as the latter man
skillfully couched his devastating economic policies in terms of his fight
against British plots and other delusions.
Zimbabwe’s future hangs in the balance. Few people dare to predict the
outcome of this latest crisis and few doubt that the potential for violence
is very high. If a peaceful transfer of power somehow comes about, it will
not be because of South Africa's Mbeki, but in spite of him.
(Marian L. Tupy is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for
Global Liberty and Prosperity, which has followed events in Zimbabwe
By Staff ⋅ April 10, 2008
Tsvangirai invited to SADC meeting
SADC leaders become impatient with Mugabe
Morgan Tsvangirai met with newly elected Botswana President Ian Khama in the
Botswana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,
Phandu Skelemani confirmed that Tsvangirai’s visit prompted President Ian
Khama to contact SADC Chairman, President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, about
what to do.
“This is a matter that cannot be ignored, otherwise you would be saying ‘let
people die’ and Mwanawasa promised to contact other SADC Heads of State,” he
Skelemani revealed that even the government of Botswana is concerned at the
delay in the announcement of the results of the elections held on March 29.
“The delay is bad for all of us - neighbouring countries and Zimbabweans,”
he said with disappointment drawn on his face.
He said that should the delay continue, Botswana would continue engaging
SADC Heads of State and the international community to pressurise the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the results. It has since emerged
that the SADC heads of state and government summit is scheduled for Saturday
in Lusaka, Zambia.
Skelemani warned that Zimbabwe could go the Kenya way in which disputed
results claimed over a thousand lives when ethnic groups clashed. He said
that Botswana is already overwhelmed with refugees at Dukwi. However, he
said, “it would be inhuman to chase people away if they come to us looking
for refuge. It is not in accordance with our Setswana notion of Botho,” he
said. The SADC secretariat in Gaborone confirmed that Mwanawasa was
consulting with his colleagues about holding an extraordinary summit on the
situation in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai invited to SADC meeting
Morgan Tsvangirai has been invited to the emergency summit of regional
leaders to discuss Zimbabwe’s recent election.
MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti said Morgan Tsvangirai would tell the
leaders his opposition party won the elections and they needed to press Mr.
Mugabe to accept defeat.
“We hope that at SADC on Saturday the message that will be sent to President
Mugabe, loudly, very clearly, is that please Mr. President, you’ve done your
bit,” Biti said. “You’re a founding father, step down and let those who were
given a mandate to govern carry on with the business, the important
business, of rehabilitating that beautiful country called Zimbabwe.”
Saturday’s talks in Zambia were called amid the failure of Zimbabwe’s
election commission to publish results of the presidential election held 12
11 April 2008
By Tafadzwa Musekiwa (former Zengeza MP)
There is already talk that Zimbabweans are preparing for Mugabe to stay,
well the reality is very different from what political analysts want us to
believe. Let’s put this into perspective.
Initially we were told before the elections that Tsvangirai had no chance in
hell of winning these elections because of Simba Makoni and Mutambara were
going to split the vote in the opposition that will give Mugabe an absolute
That turned out to be the opposite, Tsvangirai won resoundingly and the
other faction and even Simba Makoni only managed to minimally influence the
vote. We were also told that the delimitation of boundaries for the
constituencies had favoured Zanu (PF) and Zanu (PF) would get a majority in
parliament, yet the reverse was also true.
In fact, for the first time Zanu (PF) are in the minority in parliament
since 1980. I have tended to take some of these analysts’ analysis’ and
views with a pinch of salt. Whilst sometimes they are accurate, some of the
times they are not only inaccurate, but tend to paint a gloomy picture about
the political reality on the ground.
At the moment there are a lot of theories being thrown around about how the
situation will unfold in Zimbabwe. The reality of the matter is that
Mugabe – not necessarily Zanu (PF) – is going down, but that doesn’t mean
without a fight. What analysts are failing to tell us is that at the end of
the fight, he will go down, which is what Zimbabweans are waiting to see
happen in the very near future.
A seriously significant political development has taken place in post
independence Zimbabwe after this election, i.e., Zanu (PF) has lost a
parliamentary majority and yet we are not being told the implications of
this. There is still disillusionment and hopelessness among fellow
countrymen, obviously, the main reason being that Mugabe is still the
president of Zimbabwe as we speak.
It goes without saying that the departure of Mugabe was not going to be
easy, and it’s proving already that it’s obviously not the end, it’s
certainly not the beginning, but in fact, it’s just in the middle of the
struggle. In the absence of an expert view regarding the implications of
Zanu (PF) defeat in parliament, I will try and explain it in simpler terms
assuming though hook or crook, Mugabe remains president, which is unlikely
anyway. I will just briefly explain why it’s very unlikely that Mugabe will
retain power as things stand. This will help in explaining why we need not
For any government under a parliamentary democracy like Zimbabwe to
function, no President, unless in a state of emergency which has to be
justifiable, can effectively run the country without a majority in
parliament. If, for argument sake, he has a minority, that majority has to
support him otherwise its just impossible to run the country. I know some of
you are beginning to think about Bingu Wamtarika in Malawi and Musharaff in
Pakistan. Hold your horses.
These presidents are not in any way close to the situation as we have in
Zimbabwe. Bingu is effectively ruling by decree, but he can afford it, at
least I the short term. As fro Musharaff, well everyone knows that he is
America’s pawn and can effectively do it without a problem but even he might
not be in office for long regardless .The question is can Zimbabwe afford
it? Or rather can Mugabe afford it .The answer is a big No, Not at the
moment. For everyone to understand, lets put it simply and take one
With inflation pegged at over 100 00 %, the likelihood that parliament will
need to approve e.g. salaries for civil servants through a supplementary
budget almost every month is real. Government or ministries can’t just go to
the Reserve Bank to print money for their salaries. It will be possible but
very illegal and unconstitutional. No one can argue that Mugabe has ever
done this, because he hasn’t, much as we know him as a despot who has no
respect for rule of law, he has followed the law and procedure in this
Parliament has always been there and wiling to approve yearly and
supplementary budget without a problem. Will Mugabe do it knowing that
parliament won’t approve it? The answer is, very unlikely, why not? It
effectively means if the problem persists he will have to declare a state of
emergency, something Mugabe doesn’t want to do and won’t do it as long as he
insists on being the legitimate leader. I am aware that he is effectively
running the country under emergency rule, but that is different from
actually declaring it.
I have just given one simple example just to illustrate where the struggle
is so far. The real significance of his party’s defeat in parliament is a
major development that has devastating implications to Zanu (PF) and Mugabe,
no wonder they a running around looking for 16 seats to contest under the
assumption that they will regain them and retain a majority in parliament.
What they are not aware of is that the MDC (Tsvangirai) is actually
preparing to challenge about 45 seats, which we have cited serious fraud and
irregularities committed by ZEC officials. (I still have to confirm this
To my fellow countrymen, lets take pride in the fact that so far, half of
the job is done and the MDC is doing the finishing touches on the other
half, i.e. of getting rid of Mugabe. Everyone is aware of Mugabe’s
statements that “Tsvangirai will never rule Zimbabwe …..not in my lifetime”,
“your votes are a waste if you vote the MDC” etc the fact of the matter, as
opposed to political rhetoric, is that it is very possible and it is going
to happen as long as the people of Zimbabwe have a final say on who they
want to be their legitimate leader.
In the parliamentary elections, let’s not forget that 54 % of the electorate
voted against Zanu (PF). This is evidence enough to show that Mugabe has
lost support of the majority of Zimbabwe’s electorate and will never rule
Zimbabwe again as long as the people have a voice…Only time will tell. If
and when Zimbabwe go for a run off or a rerun, the likelihood that the 54%
that voted against Zanu (PF) will do it again is self-evident.
With the voter turnout in the urban areas around 45% in the March 29
parliamentary elections, this time round be rest assured that it will be
around 75% if not more, thus giving a resounding win for Tsvangirai in the
run off. There is no other explanation that can convince any sober person
that Mugabe will win the run off or a rerun.
Like I said before, as long as the people have a final say, Tsvangirai will
be president of Zimbabwe and Mugabe will never again rule Zimbabwe in my
lifetime. Change is inevitable, but the man won’t go down without a fight,
the most important thing however is that he will go down after that fight.
The focus on the opposition front should be the minimisation of casualties
in this battle as the man goes down and avoid being distracted by sideshows
like getting caught up defending ourselves on baseless allegations of vote
rigging, propaganda that Tsvangirai begged for a vice presidential post from
Chinamasa , whites are going back to their farms , etc , etc.
Tafadzwa Musekiwa is a former MDC MP currently in exile in the United
Kingdom. he can be contacted on tafadzwa_Musekiwa@yahoo.co.uk.
Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel
11 April 2008
By Fortune Tazvida
Opposition lawyer Innocent Chagonda was on Thursday arrested by police after
asking them to release a helicopter impounded from a pilot hired to fly MDC
President Morgan Tsvangirai.
The flights were meant to transport Tsvangirai to his rural campaign rallies
just before the March 29 elections. Police however swooped on South African
pilot Brent Smyth accusing him of using a false name at a local hotel.
Although the courts later freed Smyth, the state is still holding on to the
helicopter claiming it was a threat to national security. Around 9am on
Thursday Chagonda went to the police and threatened to sue for the release
of the chopper.
This apparently did not go down well with the police who accused the veteran
lawyer of insulting and threatening them. At the time of writing Thursday
evening Chagonda was detained at Rhodesville police station in Harare.
Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.
HARARE, April 11 (AFP)
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said that its hands are tied over
the release of March 29 presidential election results because the matter is
in court, state media said on Friday.
"The commission wishes to advise the public that the question of the results
of the presidential election is now the subject of legal proceedings in the
High Court," it said in a statement cited by the Herald newspaper.
"Pending determination by that court, and in line with established rules of
court, norms and procedures, the commission is unable to comment on this
subject," the ZEC said.
The ZEC, breaking its silence since announcing the last senate results, said
it was not in a position to comment on the presidential election results as
the issue was now the subject of legal proceedings in a Harare high court.
A high court judge on Wednesday wrapped up hearing on an opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) petition demanding the immediate release of the
presidential election results and said he would deliver his judgement on
"Conscious of the urgency of the matter, I should be ready for a judgment on
Monday afternoon," Justice Tendai Uchena said.
The ZEC said it had received numerous inquiries from stakeholders, the
electorate, observers, local and foreign media with regard to the
compilation and publication of the presidential poll results, but was unable
The polling agency commended the nation for the peaceful environment that
prevailed before, during and after the elections.
"We urge all stakeholders to remain patient and allow the due process of the
law to run its course," said the commission, according to the newspaper.
The government on Thursday denied suggstions that it was stopping ZEC from
releasing results of the presidential election.
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said in a statement that the ruling
ZANU-PF was also keenly awaiting the release of the results.
"The ruling party and its presidential candidate Comrade Robert G. Mugabe
are also eagerly waiting for the ZEC to complete its ballot votes
verification freely without any interference and without pressure not to
release the results.
"I would like to state in unequivocal terms that it is not true that the
president nor government is holding the Zimbabwe election results," he said.
The ZEC has so far published the results of a simultaneous parliamentary
election about a week ago in which Mugabe's ZANU-PF party lost its majority
to the opposition for the first time.
The MDC on Thursday ruled out a run-off vote between its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and Mugabe as the two looked set for a weekend showdown at an
emergency summit convened by the 14-nation regional bloc, the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) in Lusaka, Zambia.
The Herald said three of 15 ZEC officials arrested for varying cases of
misconduct during the elections have been convicted for fraud arising from a
ballot box that went missing during transportation.
One was fined eight million dollars (266 US dollars or less than two dollars
at parallel market rates) for losing a ballot box when it was moved from a
polling station to a regional centre.
Two others facing similar charges await their sentencing.
Friday April 11 2008
A week after he wobbled, Robert Mugabe has banished thoughts of voluntary
retirement and is mustering all means at his disposal, including violent
press-ganging of voters, to hang on to power. But even if he succeeds in
clinging to office, analysts suggest the regime's shaken confidence, lack of
legitimacy, and Zimbabwe's paralysing economic crisis mean the Mugabe era is
inexorably drawing to a close.
Mugabe was so rocked by the scale of his defeat on March 29 that he
disappeared from public view and reportedly considered standing down.
"Mugabe appeared to lose focus. He was tired. Most of all, he was surprised.
He thought the rigging would work. It didn't. For a moment, he tottered,"
said a well-informed analyst based in Harare, confirming earlier reports in
Systematic manipulation of the voting process prior to the poll had
effectively disenfranchised 2.5 million people. But to the dismay of the
president and Zanu-PF officials, around 60% of the remaining 2.5 million
voters, mostly in rural areas, rejected the regime and supported either the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change or the independent Zanu-PF rebel,
According to the analyst's account, a small group of security service
hardliners and longtime political cronies, fearful of the possible security,
financial and legal implications of defeat for themselves and their
families, steeled Mugabe's nerve and convinced him to fight on. If the
election could not be stolen through delays, intimidation, and a rigged
run-off, then declaring a state of emergency and martial law was the final
Until recently the idea that even Mugabe's closest advisers could decisively
influence his actions was considered improbable. But the dynamic within the
inner circle is now said to have changed. Never before had Zanu-PF been
forced to admit defeat. Never since taking power after independence in 1980
had the scale of its leadership's unpopularity been so unavoidably apparent.
The president's authority had been seriously weakened.
"It was unprecedented. They realised things would never be quite the same
again in terms of Mugabe's power. To some extent he would have to rely on
the advice of those around him from now on," the analyst said.
The group is said to comprise General Constantine Chiwenga, head of the
defence force; Augustine Chihuri, the police commissioner; Paradzayi
Zimondi, the prisons commissioner; Didymus Mutasa, minister for security and
land; Nicholas Goche, public services minister; Gideon Gono, governor of
Zimbabwe's reserve bank; George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman; and Air
Marshal Perence Shiri, Mugabe's cousin and air force commander.
Although Mugabe is said to have "recovered some of his bounce" since staring
into the abyss last week, the prospects for him and the inner circle look
bleak even if they manage to retain power. Internally, the economy is in
meltdown, with the currency virtually worthless and most of the populace
malnourished, unemployed and alienated. More than one third of Zimbabweans
have fled. Many more may leave in coming months.
Externally, Mugabe's indulgent fellow African leaders are finally running
out of patience, alarmed at the consequences for them of a violent
implosion. An emergency summit called by the Southern African Development
Community in Lusaka tomorrow cannot force Mugabe to stand down. But by in
effect challenging his political legitimacy, African heads of state are
signalling that the end is nigh.
Much the same is true of the IMF and western bilateral aid donors. Instead
of the vital financial assistance they hoped would follow an ostensibly
"clean" poll, Mugabe and his group can expect further political ostracism
and tougher UN and EU sanctions. On top of all that, the regime is not sure
the security services' rank and file will obey orders if it comes to a
That is why some observers are predicting the group of insiders around
Mugabe will at some point suffer "a failure of will", decide the game is no
longer worth the candle, and sue for a deal - power-sharing, immunity from
prosecution, or an unimpeded withdrawal to a foreign sanctuary along with
accumulated funds and family.
Such an outcome would leave "old Bob" isolated and alone. But in truth that
has been the case for years.
Church Times, UK
11 April, 2008
by Pat Ashworth
Advertising anxiety: a poster in Musina, in South Africa, near the
border with Zimbabwe, expresses the fear that Robert Mugabe’s government
will rig the election result AP
CHURCH leaders in Zimbabwe were trying to remain optimistic this week
amid mounting fears of post-election violence, triggered by attacks on the
country’s remaining white commercial farmers.
The Bishop of Harare, Dr Sebastian Bakare, said in a brief message on
Tuesday: “I am reliably informed that results could be announced later this
week. We remain hopeful that change will indeed come, even though not as
swiftly as we had hoped.
“Zimbabwean churches are organising a day of prayer tomorrow
[Wednesday] all over the country to which both ZANU and MDC will be
The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, which fielded 400 election monitors
and liaised with a further 6000 from other civic society groups, is making
preparations in the event of a run-off (a new election between the top two
candidates), which it believes is likely. Useni Sibanda, the Alliance’s
co-ordinator, said on Monday: “We are already working in redeploying church
observers back as soon as official results are announced.”
More than 75 church leaders from the region had been denied
accreditation as observers, Mr Sibanda said. Churches in South Africa put
the figure even higher, expressing their frustration at being excluded from
observing the election. “Some 110 senior and eminent church leaders from
SADC [the Southern African Development Community], who arrived in the
country ten days before the election, were denied accreditation,” a
It continued: “We are shocked that Zimbabwe, being one of the
signatories to SADC guidelines adopted to form part of a democratic
framework for ensuring free and fair elections, has violated some of the
provisions of the guidelines. . . By denying our brothers and sisters from
the region a chance to witness the election, they were unable to make a
Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter
ZANU–PF has shifted the blame for its dismal performance in elections on
March 29 onto state media, accusing heads of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) and Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers) of not doing
enough to campaign for the party.
The top management of the three entities are, according to sources, being
accused of being sympathetic to the opposition.
The sources have reported clashes between the Ministry of Information and
Publicity and ZANU–PF’s information arm led by Nathan Shamhuyarira over the
role of state media in the polls.
The Ministry of Information and Publicity, which has for long been seen as
an extension of ZANU–PF, is under pressure to explain what went wrong for
the party in the elections. But the Ministry has passed the buck to public
Despite requirements by the Southern African Development Community and the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that political parties be given equal access
to public media, Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru at the weekend
complained about “copious (MDC) advertisements granted by a curious
management at ZBC.”
A source said: “Daggers have been drawn between the ZANU–PF information
department led by Nathan Shamhuyarira and the Ministry of Information ruling
party campaign team, seeking to clear themselves.” Backstabbing and
backbiting have ensued in the row, with junior public media officials going
behind the backs of their superiors to accuse them of supporting the MDC or
former finance minister Simba Makoni. The management and boards of state
media organisations were appointed by the late former minister of
information, Tichaona Jokonya. Henry Muradzikwa is chief executive officer
of ZBC, while Justin Mutasa, head of Zimpapers, also chairs the ZBC board.
A Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday discussed the possibility of dissolving
the boards of the two organisations, but no agreement was reached.
Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu however denied there
would be a purge of state media.
He said: “Maybe there is something that someone, somewhere knows that I do
not know. But as of now I will treat that as an unofficial rumour.”
THE sight of millions of people queuing to
vote for Morgan Tsvangirai in the elections on March 29, did not require a
rocket scientist to understand why. People are simply fed up with
(President) Mugabe and they want Tsvangirai to take over power in Zimbabwe.
I, nevertheless, sense serious danger if all
these people are imagining a situation where Tsvangirai gets into power, and
suddenly there is food on their tables, there is foreign investment and jobs
are there for everyone, repair of infrastructure goes underway, the army,
police and the judiciary become professional, and Zimbabwe reverts to the
pre-1997 era or even better.
I believe Tsvangirai and his government will
be faced with serious issues to deal with and there is need for Zimbabweans
to exercise serious patience with his government other than vice versa.
Firstly, as soon as Uncle Bob goes, i.e. (in
the next three weeks if he decides to go for a run-off) the MUGABE MUST GO
rallying point will be gone — because he will be.
Morgan Richard Tsvangirai will be President of
His first major task will be to form a
It is not given that the Arthur Mutambara
faction of the MDC will be on his side in parliament. So far they have shown
the propensity to go against the people and there is no guarantee that they
will be with the people even in their parliamentary voting patterns. The
likelihood that they can be stubborn as to frustrate the government in
parliament is real.
There is need for Tsvangirai to show
magnanimity in victory by extending an olive branch to this faction so as to
have a majority in Parliament. The politics has to be addressed first, since
realistically his government can be rendered impotent if the Mutambara
faction decides to join hands with ZANU-PF in Parliament, which, I am
afraid, can turn out to be a reality.
Secondly, there is the issue of expectations
by the electorate. Managing it is not an easy task. People are hungry.
Operation Murambatsvina and years of mismanagement and plunder by ZANU-PF
has made them homeless and disillusioned. They will have all the hope in
their new president and that requires the need to trust and work with him,
otherwise all the efforts will have gone to nought.
Extreme patience will be required in the first
12 if not 24 months,giving Tsvangirai and his government time to get on
People will have to realise that inflation,
which is pegged at over 100 000 percent, will not just disappear without
serious sacrifices, some of which will be painful.
Millions of people have fled into the Diaspora
(including myself) for various reasons. Many of Zimbabweans that have
remained have had to bear with critical shortages of basic commodities and a
collapsed health system. The first to know this should be his inner Cabinet
members and his top leadership.
Tsvangirai will need all help of sorts he can
get from everyone and I mean EVERYONE, including ZANU-PF, for the country to
move on. There will obviously be bitter elements out there, for one reason
or the other who will be waiting in the wings to pounce on Morgan Tsvangirai
and any of his Cabinet ministers’ first mistakes and quickly highlight
them — obviously masked in good vocabulary to confuse the people of their
real intentions. This cannot be ruled out.
One of the main reasons Tsvangirai’s MDC has
won popular vote is the economic environment that is prevailing in Zimbabwe
at the moment. The Zimbabweans believe that he is the best person qualified
to take them out of their economic quagmire ahead of Simba Makoni and
The way the country has been ravaged by hunger
and starvation doesn’t require analysts and opponents to be scrutinising and
criticising Tsvangirai and his government at every turn. It requires
constructive criticism for the good of the country and for the benefit of
With the vote having decided the winner, it
will be time for repairing the damaged and the wounded nation.
l Tafadzwa Musekiwa is a former MDC MP
currently in exile in the United Kingdom
FACED with soaring inflation, which is eroding workers’ measly disposable
incomes and depleting its own revenue base, government last week made a
knee-jerk response to the crisis but this is unlikely to get it out of the
If anything, the tinkering with the tax thresholds announced through the
Government Gazette last Wednesday might leave government finances in a worse
state should the workers hit back by withdrawing their labour.
As part of the new tax bands to come into effect this month, the first $300
million of an individual’s monthly income has been exempted from tax.
But income above that threshold is taxable, with the rate rising from 25
percent to as high as 60 percent, up from maximum tax of 47,5 percent on
It would appear by adjusting the tax levels government was hoping to lessen
the tax burden for those employees at the tail end of the market. With
inflation having breached 160,000 percent in February, labour unions were
ratcheting up pressure on President Robert Mugabe’s administration to relax
the tax bands in order to release more spending money into the shrinking
But the poor execution of what was otherwise a noble idea is fomenting
unrest among the labour unions, with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
this week demanding the immediate redress “of this scenario that has shown
the high levels of government’s insensitivity to the plight of the suffering
Critics now argue that the underlying objective was not to cushion the
poorly paid employees from the effects of inflation, but to take even more
from the embittered workers.
They said government had found itself bankrupt after ransacking every
resource it had to pay unbudgeted civil servants’ salaries ahead of the
March 29 polls. It had also found itself having to dig deeper into its
drying coffers in order to fund the synchronised elections, which now look
certain to go into extra time.
Costs have also risen exponentially ever since former finance minister
Samuel Mumbengegwi unveiled his unimaginative 2008 national budget.
It would appear therefore that government has exhausted the budget after
only three months into the year and is desperately hunting for additional
cash between now and the supplementary budget, likely to be presented this
With a re-run of the Presidential election a foregone conclusion, the
powers-that-be know only too well they cannot continue to fund the
ballooning budget deficit by taking recourse to the expensive domestic
sources without pouring fuel into the inflationary fires and compromising
their continued hold on power.
As far as government is concerned, the only viable option to attract cash
into the system in the short-term is to toy around with the pecuniary burden
laid upon the taxpayer. Once again, it was a case of too little, too late.
What the government has done is to put the cart before the horse – it has
neither assuaged its circumstances nor pacified the restive working
population. Whatever little it had hoped to pass on to the worker in
additional spending has been wiped off by inflation.
To get to and from work, an employee now requires over $1 billion per month
and this excludes lunch allowances, groceries, rent and rates among other
With the poverty datum line (PDL) at $3,5 billion, government has once again
shown how removed it is from the workers who are also made to pay the Aids
Levy (3 percent), NSSA (3 percent), Value Added Tax (17,5 percent) and
pension, leaving them with nothing to save.
It is morally wrong to tax workers earning below the PDL. It is also
retrogressive for government to drive the middle class and top executives
into the ranks of poverty by levying them at 60 percent.
The highest taxed employee has found himself or herself in a situation where
formal employment is now akin to corporate social responsibility. With the
State garnishing half the income through pay-as-you-earn is there a basis
for toiling throughout the month?
The exodus of skilled manpower into greener pastures or into the informal
sector might move a gear up going forward, prejudicing the country of
critical skills at a time when an estimated three million people or a
quarter of the country’s population have already left the country in search
of better paying jobs.
Government has itself to blame for the loss of revenue. It has done little
to widen the tax base by accessing the small-to-medium size enterprises and
encouraging growth. Its stop-go economic policies are also promoting the
proliferation of informal traders who fall outside its tax net.
To correct the situation, the country requires comprehensive economic
policies to stimulate production, create new jobs and widen the tax base.
Revenue is a function of economic activity, in other words the more activity
in the economy, the more revenue inflows into the government purse.
Except for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s exploits through the Basic
Commodities Supply Side Intervention (BACOSSI) facility, which came to the
rescue of business last year after a July 2007 price blitz left companies in
the lurch, there is nothing to suggest that government is serious about
Expending energy on correcting the symptoms of a problem is just but another
wild goose chase.
One of the points South African President Thabo Mbeki emphasised repeatedly
while overseeing the Southern African Development Community (SADC)-initiated
talks between ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), last
year was that Zimbabwe could not afford to have another disputed election
Mbeki, who stressed that the polls held on March 29 should produce an
outcome that would be accepted by all parties was mindful of electoral
disputes that have characterised polls in Zimbabwe since 2000 when the MDC
first contested parliamentary elections. The opposition cried foul in these
polls as it did in presidential elections held in 2002 and the 2005
parliamentary elections. It is fair to say that Mbeki, like everybody else,
could not have expected the outcome of the latest polls to be disputed by
the very ruling party that had been accused of resorting to violence,
intimidation, vote buying and outright rigging to keep itself in control.
But lo and behold, this time it is ZANU-PF that is crying foul, claiming to
have been short-changed by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials with
regard to the counting of votes. The ruling party is taking the matter so
seriously that some ZEC officials were reported by the state daily, The
Herald, to have been arrested for tampering with results and to have
allegedly prejudiced the ZANU-PF presidential candidate, President Robert
Mugabe, of 4 900 votes.
Considering the foot-dragging and time-wasting that has been resorted to
with respect to the electoral challenges mounted by the opposition in the
past, what is startling about the current scenario is not just the lightning
speed with which the officials are acting, but the bizarre fact that all
this commotion is taking place before the presidential poll results have
been officially announced. A finalisation of Tsvangirai’s legal challenge
against President Mugabe’s victory in the 2002 presidential election is for
example, still pending after all these years
Despite the fact that one of the fundamental requirements for the conducting
of free, fair ,transparent and democratic elections is the expeditious
announcement of the outcome, Zimbabweans have been officially kept in
suspense for more than a week since casting their ballots on March 29. As a
result the nation has become a hotbed of speculation and questions are
openly being asked whether the presidential election outcome is being
manipulated and doctored behind the scenes before the electorate can be
informed? Certainly, ZANU-PF has not done itself any favours by showing
itself to be such a bad loser.
The party is blaming everybody else for its poor showing, including ZEC,
which it has stubbornly defended in the past when other stakeholders have
expressed concern over its lack of autonomy and its domination by military
and ZANU PF operatives. It is ironic that after turning a deaf ear to past
complaints about the commission’s bias and lack of professionalism, ZANU PF
now accuses ZEC officials of being “thieves” simply because things did not
go its way. But unfortunately, even if claims that some ZEC officials
tampered with votes to prejudice ZANU-PF , this will not win the party any
sympathy. To those familiar with ZANU-PF’s ruthlessly undemocratic tactics,
this just goes to show how unpopular the party has become even among workers
it has allegedly previously coerced to cheat on its behalf.
Readers will recall the vicious attack United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe,
James McGee, was subjected to by outgoing Information and Publicity Minister
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu in February when he expressed concern over the country’s
preparedness to hold free and fair elections. It is incredible that ZANU-PF
officials are now complaining about shortcomings in the electoral system
about which Ndlovu said at the time: “We have put in place a conducive
environment for holding the elections with the amendments to the
constitution…There will be no interference from the government after setting
guidelines through the SADC Protocol on elections…” What a shame for them to
be singing a different tune in defeat and interfering with the electoral
process in the most blatant and unacceptable manner.
It has been reported that the party’s politburo has endorsed the security
chiefs’ stance that they will “do everything and anything in their power to
ensure that he (President Mugabe) beats Tsvangirai in the run-off”
Considering that a candidate can only win by having a majority of the
electorate voting for him or her, Zimbabweans have every reason to be
apprehensive about “the everything and anything” the security chiefs are
vowing to do to ensure victory for the ZANU-PF presidential candidate. Could
this entail the deployment of youth militias to unleash the violence ,
abductions and reign of terror that have characterised ZANU-PF’s election
campaigns in the past?
The South African newspaper, the Sunday Times, quotes a ZANU-PF official as
saying, “As the politburo, we agreed on Friday that we will not deliver the
country to Tsvangirai on a silver platter. President Mugabe will be our
candidate. We cannot allow Tsvangirai to return the country to the whites.”
This statement shows ZANU-PF’s utter contempt for the electorate and its
flagrant disregard for the right of the people of Zimbabwe to
self-determination. The number of votes Tsvangirai garnered in the elections
represents the expressed will of the majority of voters. He did not vote for
himself. To talk about handing the country over on a silver platter is to
altogether miss the point about holding elections in the first place. A
candidate gets his or her mandate from the expressed will of the people, not
service chiefs or the politburo. Why should the nation go through the
charade of holding elections if the expressed will of the people is to be
subverted and a candidate preferred by the electorate is to be crucified for
A wildly hilarious cartoon in the Sunday Times in which ZEC officials are
shown explaining to President Mugabe that the elections have been lost
despite their best efforts at cooking the votes, banning critical media,
using police intimidation, gerrymandering constituencies, barring the
hostile postal vote and packing the electoral commission with party
loyalists sums up the general perception of how ZANU-PF has “won” elections
in the past. It is ironic that a party that has arrogantly turned a deaf ear
to complaints about these anomalies when they have been raised by other
stakeholders is now pointing an accusing finger at a body it has actively
manipulated and compromised as long as this gave it an unfair advantage.
But make no mistake about it. Despite the vehemence of the rhetoric being
spewed about defending the country’s sovereignty and safeguarding against
its re-colonisation by Britain, the truth of the matter is that ZANU-PF’s
“fight back” war is in reality against the people of Zimbabwe who voted in
the March 29 polls. ZANU-PF is saying the sentiments and personal interests
of the three service chiefs breathing fire and brimstone against change
supersede those of the millions of Zimbabweans who voted for candidates of
their choice in the March 29 polls. It will take greatness for a party that
has been in power for almost three decades and has thus had it chance, to
abandon this unreasonable and intransigent posture.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
A GOVERNMENT-LED crackdown on enterprises has claimed the scalps of 400
employees at one of the country’s leading logistics and transport giants,
Pioneer Corporation Africa (PCA).
PCA chairman Patrick Chingoka disclosed that the populist price blitz last
year had forced the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company to trim its
labour force by 30 percent to contain rising production costs.
“A major retrenchment programme was undertaken in the last quarter of the
year and finalised in December at a historical cost of $587 billion, which
saw staff numbers being reduced by 400,” said Chingoka.
The price blitz, under which government forced prices of goods and services
down by at least 50 percent, adversely affected PCA’s operating margins as
volumes were eroded at a time of rising production costs.
The government accused the business sector of unjustifiable price hikes to
stir social discontent against President Robert Mugabe and his
The crackdown culminated in the arrest of several business executives whom
the government accused of profiteering and working with the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and some western governments to unseat the Harare
The blitz ended disastrously when most supermarket shelves became empty as
retailers failed to restock, while manufacturers stopped producing because
of unviable prices.
Businesses have been operating in a state of constant fear that their
enterprises could be grabbed after President Mugabe threatened last month to
seize all companies he accused of employing “regime change” tactics by
causing commodity shortages to influence last month’s election outcome,
which was largely in favour of the opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Yesterday the state-run National Incomes and Pricing Commission deployed its
price monitors to crackdown on an alleged illegal price increases.
But economic analysts warn that the fresh price blitz could deliver the
killer punch to a bed-bound economy already on the brink of total collapse
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
A GOVERNMENT directive that forced companies to slash prices by 50 percent
last year has taken a toll on industries, particularly the retail sector,
which is still smarting from the price blitz.
Recent financial results indicate that most retail operations on the bourse
suffered considerably from the price slash, which triggered unprecedented
shortages and ground the manufacturing sector down.
Most retail-based groups on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) revealed a
significant fall in volumes.
Clothing retailer, Truworths Limited, was among the worst affected.
Truworths said its three retail operations, Truworths, Topics and Number 1
Stores had a cumulative 48 percent decrease in volumes, against a 17 651
percent increase in value mainly driven by hyperinflation.
Topics was the largest loser with volumes down by 53,5 percent, followed by
Number 1 Stores with volumes down by 46,7 percent and Truworths trailing
after suffering a decline in volumes of 40,4 percent.
The declines in volumes followed a decline in deliveries after the July
blitz as suppliers withheld stock because they could not sell at a loss.
Until now, most of the outlets have not been fully stocked, and the future
of these operations was last week uncertain as key decisions across
companies were held until a clear winner in the presidential polls is known.
Retail operations at Kingdom Meikles Africa Limited (KMAL), as reported last
week, were depressed, with TM Supermarkets, Clicks, Greatermans and Barbours
struggling to grow volumes.
“Procurement of stock to appropriate levels has been extremely difficult
because of pricing and availability,” KMAL chairman John Moxon said in a
Moxon, however wrote to shareholders that KMAL’s retail operations were
salvaged the Basic Commodity Supply Side Intervention facility, provided by
the central bank after the blitz to restore capacity in the retail and
Innscor Africa Limited, a diversified retail and manufacturing company, also
suffered from the effects of the price blitz but a diversified portfolio
Against the prior year comparative period, Innscor Africa’s retail division
recorded a 62,327 percent increase in turnover to $14,9 trillion but volumes
were in the negative.
“Zimbabwe’s operations continue to be affected by an exceptionally
challenging environment,” the group said.
“This environment calls for all our businesses to be disciplined in
operating clear financial models and to ensure that profit is quickly placed
into inflation-hedging assets for future expansion opportunities.”
“Specifically on crocodile farming, we would like to explore the possibility
of adding farming operations in other species of crocodile, which service
different segments of the exotic leathers market. We also would like to
examine the early stages of tanning with the view to participating in the
value added process of the raw skin,” the group added.
THE National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) only imported 224 million
litres of fuel last year against a national annual requirement of 1.3
billion litres in what clearly demonstrates its lack of capacity and the
extent of the foreign currency shortages blighting the country’s economy.
Information obtained from Noczim sources by The Financial Gazette this week
shows that the fuel utility only imported 174.6 million litres of diesel
last year just 24 percent of the country’s annual demand of 730 million
litres. Noczim also imported 52.4 million litres of petrol out of a national
requirement of 547.5 million, or just 9.6 of the total petrol demand in the
The state-run fuel utility imported 3 million litres of the required 60
million litres of illuminating paraffin, which is 5 percent of requirements.
Noczim said the importation of fuel was hampered by the shortage of foreign
“Noczim can only import fuel using the available foreign currency
resources/facilities,” read part of a document detailing the oil parastatal’s
operations, which was seen by The Financial Gazette.
The fuel utility said the gap between demand and supply has been mitigated
through the Direct Fuel Imports facility.
“This allows individuals and corporates with access to foreign currency to
import fuel through registered oil companies.”
Noczim said the prevailing shortages of fuel caused by its inability to
source adequate foreign currency resources were affecting the company’s
ability to allocate more fuel to the various economic sectors.
Last year Noczim allocated 23 percent, the bulk of its imported fuel, to the
agriculture sector, 21 percent to the retail sector, 17 percent to
parastatals, 6 percent to public transporters and only 4 percent to oil
The decline in fuel supplies from Noczim has significantly hampered economic
activity in the country, which is grappling with an agonising nine year
economic recession blamed on mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe and
Noczim chief executive officer Zvinechimwe Churu could not confirm the
decline in quantities imported last year when contacted by The Financial
Churu said the country was currently consuming 2.5 million litres and 2
million litres of diesel and petrol per day respectively. He said if foreign
currency resources were easily available, demand could be as high as 3.5
million litres and 3 million litres for both diesel and petrol per day.
“I wouldn’t know where that information is coming but what I know are the
figures I gave you,” said Churu, dismissing figures obtained from sources.
Zimbabwe has since the last quarter of 1999 battled with serious fuel
shortages. Fuel supplies have been erratic to the extent that the country
had at times operated with as low as 12 percent of normal supplies. These
shortages have been attributed mainly to foreign exchange shortages,
non-viable fuel prices and alleged mismanagement at Noczim.
Last year the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe commissioned a joint venture company
Transload with a South Korean firm to commence production of bio-diesel as
part of the government’s investment into alternative sources of fuel.
Already Noczim is targeting to put an ambitious 40 000 hectares under
jatropha production in a desperate bid to boost production of bio-diesel and
end the country’s fuel crisis.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S agitated tobacco growers could withhold their crop from the
auction floors, which are scheduled to re–open this month.
The move could further batter the beleaguered economy and delay an expected
inflow of foreign currency into the country.
Tobacco farmers who spoke to The Financial Gazette this week said they were
concerned with the government’s pricing policies, which they feared could
undermine their operations.
Tobacco farmers have since last season been battling to get foreign currency
payments for tobacco auctioned in the last marketing season. Under the
payment plan, which was unveiled by the government last year, farmers were
supposed to receive 20 percent of their receipts in foreign currency. But
farmers said they had not received any foreign currency payments.
The farmers were expected to stage a protest before the auction floors open
to object the payment regime for tobacco, which is sold in US dollars, but
for which they are paid in Zimbabwe dollars.
The 20 percent foreign currency payment system had been unveiled to
encourage farmers to continue growing the crop and to ensure they remained
viable. Although the government has previously given tobacco farmers a
favourable exchange rate, different from the fixed exchange rate prevailing
on the market, this has not been sufficient to placate the farmers.
“The pricing structure is not viable. Farmers won’t recoup costs,” said
Mukwambo Beaven, a tobacco grower in Odzi, Manicaland.
The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) warned that the tobacco industry
could collapse if the government did not offer farmers a better exchange
“The real concern is hyperinflation and what is the selling package? If we
sell at the current prices we will be broke. We want a review of the tobacco
selling package,” said Andrew Ferreira, the ZTA President.
Tobacco growers have in recent years resorted to withholding their crop to
protest low prices and force government to meet their demands.
Small–scale growers charged that if the government failed to unveil a
lucrative selling package they could be pushed out of tobacco farming.
Ferreira also disclosed that intermittent power outages, which are affecting
curing of the crop, could result in losses.
“If you go beyond eight days of curing it affects the weight of cured leaf
and weight is money,” Ferreira said.
Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry, which was a key foreign currency earner for the
country over the past twenty years, is on the brink of collapse.
Last year only 73 million kg’s passed through the country’s three auction
floors and only a paltry 70 million kg’s are expected to be marketed this
The country sold more than 200 million kg’s of the golden leaf in 2000,
before the current decline, caused partly by a chaotic land reform.