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Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" wins at SADC summit on Zimbabwe

Monsters and Critics

Apr 13, 2008, 17:00 GMT

Johannesburg - The hand holding and the complicit laughter set the tone from
the outset: Despite the two-week wait for election results and mounting
attacks on opposition supporters Zimbabwe's neighbours were not about to put
President Robert Mugabe in the dock.

The defining image of Saturday's extraordinary summit of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) on Zimbabwe will be that of a smiling
South African President Thabo Mbeki clasping the hands of a smiling Mugabe
on the airport tarmac in Harare.

Mbeki stopped over to meet with the elderly leader on his way to the SADC
summit in Zambia that Mugabe boycotted.

The South African's chuckle when Mugabe called British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown 'a little tiny dot on this world' and his po-faced declaration that
there was 'no crisis' in Zimbabwe bode badly for the tough-talking Western
leaders and rights groups had been hoping for.

'Everyone is waiting for the ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) to announce
all the results that are outstanding,' Mbeki, who is SADC's mediator in
Zimbabwe, said. But, he said, 'I wouldn't describe that as a crisis.'

Zimbabwe has been on a knife-edge since the March 29 elections, in which the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims to have ended
Mugabe's 28-year rule.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims to have won the presidency outright.
Mugabe's party says neither Tsvangirai nor Mugabe took more than 50 per cent
of the vote and is gearing up for a runoff.

'No crisis?,' the author of the popular This is Zimbabwe blog thundered.
'Tell that to all of us who have voted year after year after year,
democratically and peacefully, for change.'

As the two sides to the dispute become increasingly entrenched - the MDC has
called a nationwide work stayaway while police have banned political
rallies - fears of a violent flare-up have mounted, prompting the 14-member
SADC to intervene.

In the past, Zimbabwe's neighbours have rallied around Mugabe,
rubber-stamping flawed elections and refusing to condemn gross human rights
abuses to shield him from criticism from the West.

This time, former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan urged, SADC
had 'a grave responsibility to act' to uphold democracy, human rights and
the rule of law.

The summit was 'the last real chance to resolve Zimbabwe's worsening
political crisis,' Human Rights Watch said in a report ahead of the meeting,
drawing SADC leaders' attention to spiralling attacks on Zimbabwean
opposition supporters.

But the tepid communique issued by SADC leaders at the end of more than 12
hours of talks, which called for the presidential results to be released
'expeditiously,' was true to form.

Absent from the communique was any mention of attacks on the opposition or
the recent spate of invasions of white-owned farms by youth militia loyal to

SADC leaders, instead, praised the Zimbabwean government for ensuring that
the elections 'were conducted in a peaceful environment.'

Opening the summit, the most outspoken of SADC's leaders when it comes to
Zimbabwe, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa had warned members not to 'turn a
blind eye' to the situation in Zimbabwe.

But it was Mbeki's brand of 'quiet diplomacy' - which many analysts say is
code for 'turning a blind eye' to Mugabe's excesses - that won the day.

SADC urged the people of Zimbabwe to accept whatever poll outcome was
announced by the state-controlled election body, which has announced a
partial recount of the presidential vote even before the results are

Under pressure from Mugabe's Zanu-PF party the ZEC plans to recount votes in
23 constituencies, including votes for the lower house of parliament which
the opposition wrested from Zanu-PF by a clear majority.

The MDC, which went to the summit calling for SADC to pressure Mugabe to
step down, called for 'a complete abandonment of the policy of quiet

But compared with previous summits, a diplomatic MDC secretary general
Tendai Biti, said: 'This is a major improvement, SADC has acquitted itself
fairly well.'

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Crisis summit on Zimbabwe fails

The Australian

From correspondents in Lusaka

April 14, 2008 03:00am

ATTEMPTS by southern African leaders to build a unity government to replace
the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe fell apart last night as a regional summit
called to end the political crisis in Harare appeared to end in failure.

Reports yesterday said the southern African leaders meeting in Zambia had
wanted to build a unity government around President Robert Mugabe's former
finance minister Simba Makoni.

London's The Observer newspaper reported the regional leaders favoured Mr
Makoni, 51, as a successor to 84-year-old Mugabe because he came from
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, which has been in power since the end of
white rule in 1980 and has status with South Africa's ruling African
National Congress as a successful resistance movement.

But moments before the summit leaders began talks with Mr Makoni - who ran
as an independent and rival to Mugabe in the presidential elections and is
believed to have finished third - the leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, abruptly left the talks with his delegation, the
newspaper reported.

The marathon 12-hour summit then ended last night with a weak declaration
and a marked failure to criticise the absent Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai, who claims to have won the March 29 election outright, had
wanted the leaders to press Mugabe to resign after 28 years as Zimbabwe's

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said at the weekend it was ordering a
recount of ballots in 23 of the country's 210 constituencies contested on
March 29.

The MDC said last night it was challenging the recount.

"We are challenging the recount ordered by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, which we believe is designed to reverse the will of the people,"
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

The electoral commission has ordered a recount to be held on Saturday in 23
constituencies, raising new fears of violence over disputed results.

The recounts could enable Mugabe to overturn the opposition victory in the
March 29 election, when his ZANU-PF lost control of the parliament for the
first time in his 28-year rule.

Western powers, the UN and regional church, democracy and human rights
groups had called for the Lusaka meeting to demand an immediate announcement
of the election results.

The summit declaration last night called for the expeditious verification of
results in the presence of the candidates or their agents "within the rule
of law".

The declaration urged "all parties to accept the results when they are

Independent tallies indicate that Mugabe lost the election, but garnered
enough votes to force a runoff poll.

The Lusaka summit promised to send observers if there was a second round of
elections. The team it sent in March was led by a junior minister from
Angola, a country that has not held elections since 1992.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa had called the emergency summit at 48
hours' notice.

Afterwards, his foreign affairs minister told reporters at the summit there
was no crisis in Zimbabwe, echoing statements made at the weekend by South
African President Thabo Mbeki.

Mr Mbeki's policy of "quiet diplomacy" on Zimbabwe has been likened to
appeasement that allows Mugabe to continue his autocratic rule unimpeded.

The Southern African Development Community that held the summit has been
accused by critics of pandering to Mugabe with disregard for its own
constitution to promote democracy.

Mr Mbeki said there was "no crisis" after he had to fly to Zimbabwe before
the summit to engage Mugabe, who reportedly was not taking calls from
African leaders last week.

The presidents at the conference rushed away when the meeting ended,
refusing to answer media questions.

They left it to Zambia's Foreign Affairs Minister Kabinga Pande to declare:
"We listened to both parties, the opposition and the Government, and both
have said there is no crisis."

The MDC denied that was what it had said, but the statements came from
secretary-general Tendai Biti after Mr Tsvangirai hurriedly left the summit
four hours before it closed, and did not return as promised.

Mr Biti repeated charges that Mugabe has orchestrated a campaign of violence
to intimidate opponents who voted against him, with allegations of beatings
and burnings of huts corroborated by rights groups.

"We have a militarised, polarised situation," Mr Biti told a news
conference. "There is violence, intolerance, hate speech and vitriolic

Mr Pande said the rival parties had agreed at the summit that the elections
were free and fair.

However, Mr Biti said: "We maintain that Zimbabwe is not capable of
producing a free and fair election."

Still, he said, the summit leaders' response was "a major improvement" and
the economic bloc had "acquitted itself relatively well".

"The very fact they had the guts to actually hold this extraordinary summit
acknowledges that things are not right in Zimbabwe," Mr Biti said.

Inviting Mr Tsvangirai to the meeting was an unprecedented move that
probably accounted for Mugabe's absence.

Mr Pande said the summit could not demand election results while Zimbabwe's
High Court was considering an opposition application asking a judge to order
the immediate publication of the counts.

The court, stacked with judges loyal to Mugabe, has taken more than a week
over the urgent appeal.

There was no comment from Mugabe or the three ministers he had sent to
represent him at thesummit.

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Mugabe defies summit and calls Zimbabwe election recount

Times Online
April 13, 2008

Catherine Philp, Harare
Hopes that Zimbabwe's neighbours would act to end its deepening crisis were
dashed this morning when an all-night summit ended with a statement failing
to acknowledge an emergency and calling only for the immediate release of
election results.

Even that call looked toothless as Zimbabwe announced there would be a
recount of results in 23 constituencies, 22 of them at the demand of Robert
Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF Party.

Leaders of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community talked long
through the night in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, to try to reach agreement
on what they could do about the election impasse in Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe's eleventh-hour withdrawal from the summit had raised hopes among
the contingent from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change that their
voices would be better heard in his absence. But the surprise arrival in
Harare of Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, only hours before the
summit, meant that Mr Mugabe's case was well heard before talks in Lusaka

Western diplomats, who were instrumental in setting up the summit, were
appalled to hear Mr Mbeki announce that there was "no crisis in Zimbabwe"
after his meeting with Mr Mugabe — a sentiment echoed later by Zambia,
previously the strongest Mugabe critic in the region.
Mr Mugabe reportedly voiced outrage over the calling of the summit and the
invitation extended to Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, who claims
to have won the presidential vote outright.

Two weeks after the vote, no official presidential results have been
announced despite the figures having been published on the walls of polling
stations just hours after polls closed.

Parliamentary results handed a majority to the Opposition but that looked
under threat with the acceptance of Zanu PF's demand for recounts in 22
constituencies, enough to overturn its lead.

The MDC this morning condemned the recount and said it would challenge it in
court. An earlier petition demanding the release of presidential results is
to be ruled on tomorrow, but with the presiding judge under increasing
pressure, hopes of a resolution were not high.

The Election Commission announced that recounts of parliamentary and
presidential results would take place next Saturday, dragging out the
impasse for another week.

Reports of an orchestrated campaign of violence against opposition
supporters — especially in rural areas, where the ruling party lost for the
first time — have fuelled suspicions that Mr Mugabe is using delays to buy
time and cow opponents before a second-round run-off.

The SADC statement said this morning that any second round must be held in
secure conditions and promised to send an observer team. That is cold
comfort to the Opposition, who have seen three elections stolen from them
under the nose of African observers reluctant to criticise an elder
statesmen still viewed as a liberation hero.

Britain is pushing for Western observers to be allowed to monitor a second
election, mulling a move to the United Nations Security Council if
conditions do not improve. Mr Mugabe's ruinous reign has won him few friends
outside Africa and no big power is expected to stick its neck out to defend

In Lusaka, African leaders also held talks with Simba Makoni, the Zanu PF
defector who ran as an independent in the elections, coming third. South
Africa, among others, is known to be keen on Mr.Makoni's candidacy,
preferring him to Mr Tvsangirai, who had earned their unease because of his
high-profile embrace of white Zimbabwean politicians and business leaders.

Mr Makoni, whose liberation credentials match those of Mr Mugabe, is seen as
an ideal leader of a future unity government while still keeping Zanu PF in
power. But such a solution still depends on Mr Mugabe's giving up the reins,
which he appeared no closer to doing today.

Mr Mugabe was said to have been willing to concede and leave the country the
week before last, but was prevented from doing so by military leaders who
fear that they would be left without protection from prosecution for war
crimes, human rights abuses, corruption and embezzlement.

Zimbabwe's crashing economy, with inflation now estimated at well over
300,000 per cent, has provided abundant opportunities for self-enrichment,
with military and political leaders plundering foreign exchange reserves and
trading US and Zimbabwe dollars against each other for vast profit.

A campaign of violence against the Opposition is being led by selected
military leaders commanding cells of so-called war veterans and youth
militia, Mr Mugabe's long-time shock troops. Police and intelligence
officers are now reportedly being corralled into the intimidation efforts.

The Opposition has called the situation a "de facto coup", with the country
now effectively controlled by the military. There is speculation too that Mr
Mugabe may have been prevented from attending Lusaka for fear he would not

How can the rest of the world let this carry on in Zimbabwe amazes me after
we have gone into places like Afghanistan and Iraq, Mugabe is a defiant
dictate who refuses to give his power up and the military is scared anyone
else taking over from Mugabe because of war crimes, human rights abuses,
corruption, and embezzlement and they are scared for being hold accountable
to there actions, the people of Zimbabwe are being killed staved and have no
hope of work so they can support there family’s because the economy has
been so run down by Mugabe’s dictatorship and the people of Zimbabwe are
screaming out for change but the rest of the world is willing to sit back
and let this carry on, when will the United Nations take action and help the
people of Zimbabwe and send in peace keepers to force out Mugabe and hold
the people accountable for war crimes and human rights abuses and help the
country set up a proper democratically run government who looks after the
people of that nation, the people who have the power to change things in the
world have the responsibility to help the people in Zimbabwe to make the
changes and help the people of that country.

Nick, Manchester, England

If the nations of South Africa are not prepared to intervene in the Zimbabwe
debacle, then I am afraid they alone are the people to blame, and we have to
stay well clear. Sad but true, the poor people of Zimbabwe will be left to
suffer more because of the behaviour of the cowardly states of the southern

Ron O'Toole, Norwich, England

They have all had their fingers in the pie for such a long time and so are
delaying for fear they will all lose the lifestyles. Sick!

Mugabe and his cronies should be had up for war crimes and hanged for the
murder of millions.

Ann, Enfield , England

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More victims from Zanu PF’s Operation Mavhoterapapi (Where you put your ‘X’)


MURDER - Tapiwa Mbwada, MDC Organising secretary for Hurungwe East (Karoi area) was beaten to death on Saturday night 12/4/08. His wife and brother were badly beaten and are in a serious condition. According to the information we have received, this was organised by ZPF councilor from Kazangarare called Jawet and an ex-soldier named Madamombe.

It has been reported that a teacher in Mudzi has also been murdered and 8 women have been abducted. We are awaiting verification of this report.

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

The man above has a badly broken foot. The women shown in the following images below have all been viciously beaten and have all sustained deep tissue bruising of the buttocks. All have been admitted to hospital. These attacks took place on Friday night.

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

This 38 year old woman (above) from Chivaka Village, Mudzi, was beaten with poles for being MDC. The image below shows her fifteen year old daughter, who was also beaten.

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

This gentleman, pictured above, is a kraal head from Zimuto, Masvingo. He was accused of getting people to vote for MDC, he was stoned and beaten with logs. His lip was split and he lost two teeth, and he has also sustained fractured ribs. The picture below is of his wife. She is 50 years and was beaten viciously on her right leg.

Reprisal attacks against voters in Zimbabwe

In addition to these pictures and reports:

The MDC Secretary for Ward 1 Zimuto Masvinga, who is 36 years old, was attacked on Tuesday in Baradzi Village, Masvingo. ZPF youth broke his door down and dragged him outside insisting that he take them to all the other MDC members houses.

He refused so was beaten with iron bars and logs of wood. He slept the night in the bush and then found his way to medical facility.

The thugs referred to their actions as Operation Mavhoterapapi - “where you put your X”.

The Mudzi/Mutoko area is particularly bad, with homes being burned. One man had his home ransacked, and his chickens and goats burned alive. He and his family have left fearing for their lives.

We have also received information that one white farmer in Chipinge is in police cells (lawyers being denied access). And that 55 farmworker families have been displaced from Tanganda and Southdown holdings and are in need of urgent assistance.

There are also a number of injured people who have been beaten with logs requiring medical treatment. The local Doctor has been displaced. The situation is reported to be out of control.

You can download larger versions of these directly here from the links beow. Grab them and send them to everyone you know by email. Tell them what’s happening in Zimbabwe.

Send emails to SADC, again, asking them to go to Zimbabwe now to witness the violence on the ground. The reality of what is happening is not being reflected in their statements.

To download: right click on the link, and select ’save target as’ to download to your local machine.

Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, Picture 5, Picture 6, Picture 7, Picture 8, Picture 9, Picture 10

6 Responses to “More victims from Zanu PF’s Operation Mavhoterapapi (Where you put your ‘X’)”
  1. Kim
    April 13th, 2008 17:58

    Why is the world standing by watching this????????

    I am a Zimbabwean (resident only - although I am sure that being away for a while I would not be welcomed back with open arms), I went to school and grew up there and all of my memories of home are of Zim. I miss it every single day and am appalled and heartsore by what is happening. The gall of this animal, Robert Mugabe! Something needs doing desperately - this cannot go on. I have and continue to email all those whose addresses have been published and Gordon Brown and various other UK MPs but, nobody is doing anything! Why not!!

    Please somebody knock this monster off his perch and ensure he gets what he deserves!!!

    Let the people of Zimbabwe be heard!!

    And as for Thabo Mbeki, a more useless, ineffectual human being I have yet to discover!

  2. Rafiki
    April 13th, 2008 18:22

    This is insanity! The SADC must act to remove this madman. The people have spoken, and their will must be recognized. Like Kim, I have e-mailed every contact published in this blog, and we must keep the pressure on. For the love of God and humanity, let peace and justice prevail in Zimbabwe.

  3. scotchcart
    April 13th, 2008 19:12

    I think when we send out emails we need to (calmly) stress the urgency of the situation.
    It might be helpful to send information to Bishops and CEO of companies represented in Zimbabwe and to embassies within Zimbabwe.

    Can I urge calm as well? Reports are circulating around London of beatings perpetrated by MDC members. We should remember that the situation is like dry grass. Excitable words are like cigarettes thrown in the bush. Those of us not in the direct line of fire are sickened but not terrified. It is our job to be calm and to speak in a manner that attracts attention and respect.

    The purpose of the emails is to urge action before the situation gets worse. The leaders spent 12 hours talking. They are leaders of countries and know how these things work. Our job is to provide them with information and support so they do not have to guess or speculate. I might say, whatever side people are on, it is in our interest to stop the violence.

    A good way of phrasing an email is to apologize for not making information available to them before they left for Zambia and to invite them to visit Zimbabwe and meet the victims. Without being sarcastic, you might add, that you trust their representatives to Harare have safe passage and are able to investigate these reports to provide them with accurate information.

    Go quietly,bravely and carefully in peace.

  4. scotchcart
    April 13th, 2008 19:20

    I was very sad to see your headline and I have struggled to find the words to send to Tapiwa’s family. We cry with you. We send our best wishes to people in hospital and wish you the speediest of recoveries. We hope you will find the strength to go through this. Our thoughts are with you.


  5. Shame on you ZanuPF
    April 13th, 2008 19:54

    Please help Zimbabwe.

    We must do all we can and I will send this information by e-mail and fax to all the numbers I have.

    I also saw this effort to try stop Zanu PF thugs and let Zimbabwean live with the little dignity they have left.

    Just an hour now and again can make a difference for so many.

    Thanks you all at Sokwanele for your work and pain.
    Courage and may you be blessed.

  6. Kim
    April 13th, 2008 20:14

    Scotchcart, I hear your appeal for calm and have to respond in regard to my stance.

    I am nothing but polite when approaching anybody, whoever they are. Us Africans have good manners and have been brought up with respect and dignity. So, any emails I have sent have conveyed respect and calmness but, on a forum, you are able to release some of your anger and frustration at whatever cause you are following and actively seeking solutions to. Without being aggressive, rude or insensitve, it is somewhere to share your personal thoughts with like-minded individuals.

    We are all after the same solution - Peace, diginity, respect and the nurturing and rebuilding of Zimbabwe and its people. Being truly committed is demonstration of the peace and tranquility that drives our souls.

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MDC to legally challenge vote recount


    April 13 2008 at 11:44AM

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition said on Sunday it would legally
challenge an order for a recount of ballots in the contentious March 29

"We are challenging the recount ordered by Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission Commission (ZEC) which we believe is designed to reverse the will
of the people," Nelson Chamisa, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
spokesperson said.

ZEC chairperson George Chiweshe has ordered all votes cast in 23 of
the 210 constituencies in the presidential, parliamentary, senatorial and
council elections to be recounted.

In a statement published in both state and independent newspapers
Chiweshe said he had "reasonable grounds for believing that the votes were
miscounted and that the miscount would affect the results of this election".

The "ZEC and Zanu-PF (ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front) are the ones who want to discount the people's vote through
this recount," Chamisa said.

"The truth of the matter is that we won and we are not going to
cooperate with ZEC on this recount. The results that were announced are the
correct ones and we will not accept any attempt to reverse that."

Chamisa commended a just-ended emergency summit by the southern
African regional bloc SADC in Lusaka aimed at defusing tensions over the
delayed announcement of the results of the presidential election.

"It is a good starting point but we would like to see more concrete
steps emanating from the resolutions of the meeting," he said.

Zimbabweans went to the polls on March 29 to elect a president,
lawmakers and councillors but the results of the presidential poll are yet
to be officially published although the MDC has aready declared its leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, the winner.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit on Sunday
called on Zimbabwe to release the result of the presidential poll as soon as

"The summit urged the electoral authorities in Zimbabwe that
verification and release of results are expeditiously done in accordance
with the due process of law," a joint statement released after the summit

It also urged all the parties in the electoral process to accept the
results when they are announced.

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Partial recount threatens MDC

Sydney Morning Herald

Serena Chaudhry in Lusaka
April 14, 2008

SOUTHERN African leaders called yesterday for the rapid release of results
from Zimbabwe's election after a two-week delay that has raised fears of

However, in a bombshell announcement, a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
official confirmed a weekend newspaper report that ballots from 23
constituencies will be recounted on Saturday, raising the possibility an
opposition victory in the parliamentary poll could be reversed.

The result of the March 29 presidential vote has still not been announced
but officials said more than a week ago that President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party had lost control of parliament for the first time in his
28-year rule.

Zimbabwe's High Court is due to rule today on an application by the Movement
for Democratic Change to force the electoral commission to release the
results of the presidential poll.

The MDC says its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the poll. It has rejected
any recount.

Clarifying a report in the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper, the electoral
commission official, who asked not to be named, said: "The recount is not
for the whole election, but for the specific 23 constituencies mentioned."

The Sunday Mail reported that the recount followed 22 complaints about the
polling process by ZANU-PF and one by the MDC.

The MDC has a two-seat majority in the lower house of parliament after the
election but the combined opposition tally totals 12 more than ZANU-PF.

The Sunday Mail quoted the the electoral commission's chairman, Justice
George Chiweshe, as saying the ballots would be counted again in the
presence of party representatives, candidates and election observers.

In Lusaka yesterday the Zambian Foreign Minister, Kabinga Pande, told
reporters a 13-hour summit had also called on Mr Mugabe to ensure that a
possible run-off vote against Mr Tsvangirai be held "in a secure

The 14-nation Southern African Development Community "urged the electoral
authorities in Zimbabwe that verification and release of results are
expeditiously done in accordance with the due process of law", Mr Pande

The summit ran almost 10 hours over schedule and ended about 5am yesterday.
A senior Zambian official said earlier that the delay was caused by a
disagreement among leaders over whether the post-election impasse should be
called a crisis.

But Mr Pande said: "It is not a crisis at all."

Thabo Mbeki, the President of Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour South Africa,
said after meeting Mr Mugabe on his way to the summit that there was no
crisis. "'It's a normal electoral process in Zimbabwe."

Mr Mugabe claimed he was too busy to attend the summit, instead sending a
group of ministers to protest against the invitation of Mr Tsvangirai, who
did attend.

"This summit is clearly sponsored by the British Government," said Patrick
Chinamasa, Zimbabwe's Justice Minister. "We heard about it from our British
sources long before SADC made the announcement."

The summit meeting was unlikely to produce concrete results. In the clubby
world of African heads of state, few have dared to be even mildly critical
of the 84-year-old Mr Mugabe. Despite his problems at home, he remains a
potent symbol of African liberation.

Zimbabwe's people are already suffering from hyperinflation of more than
100,000 per cent, and the prices of basic goods have climbed higher still.
Essential items such as bread and soap have all but disappeared from many

Reuters; The New York Times; Telegraph, London

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Zimbabwe High Court orders ZEC to halt election recount

Monsters and Critics

Apr 13, 2008, 11:19 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe's High Court on Sunday ordered the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission to refrain from recounting the results of March 29 elections
because the presidential results have not yet been announced.

The court was approached Sunday by the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change Sunday for an order forcing ZEC to suspend the recount.

The ruling followed an announcement by ZEC that it would carry out a partial
recount of votes cast in the combined presidential, parliamentary and local
elections - despite the presidential results not having been released.

'The judge found it not just illegal but grossly unreasonable to order a
recount before the result is out. The law is clear about when the recount is
done. A candidate requests for a recount within 48 hours after the result
has been declared,' MDC lawyer Selby Hwacha told Deutsche Presse-Agentur

The High Court is also considering a separate application by the MDC for a
court order forcing ZEC to release the presidential results. A ruling in
that case was expected Monday.

ZEC announced Sunday it would recount votes cast in 23 out of 210
constituencies - at the instigation of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party - citing 'reasonable grounds' to suspect votes were miscounted in a
way that could affect the outcome.

The MDC has said it will not accept a vote recount.

'We will not accept any recount because for us that is accepting rigged
results. ZEC are in custody of the ballot boxes for two weeks and heavens
know what they have done to the ballot papers. They might have stuffed them
with their votes,' MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

Zanu-PF is accusing the MDC of vote buying and bribing ZEC officials to
inflate its vote after losing its majority in the 210-seat House of Assembly
to Morgan Tsvangirai's party - allegations the MDC rejects.

In the presidential vote the MDC has preemptively claimed victory for its
leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Zanu-PF says neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai won
outright and is gearing up for a runoff.

Zimbabwe's neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Sunday called on ZEC to release the remaining results 'expeditiously.'

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Mbeki's 'quiet diplomacy' doubted

20:01 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 21:01 UK

By Allan Little
BBC News, Johannesburg

To get a sense of why Zimbabwe's crisis matters to its southern African neighbours - and to South Africa in particular - go to the Central Methodist Church in central Johannesburg.

It has become a refuge for 2,000 refugees who have fled Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. They sleep in overcrowded corridors and meeting rooms. For the sick, there is a clinic.

"It is better than staying in Zimbabwe," one young mother told the BBC last week.

"At least here I can get something to eat. I can work as a cleaner and buy food for my children.

"In Zimbabwe there is nothing."

There are - at the very least - hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans in South Africa, most of them here illegally.

Some estimates put the figure at three million. If that is true, then about a quarter of the population of Zimbabwe has left the country.

Beaten to death

Zimbabwe's downward economic tumble exerts a drag on the entire region.

It causes instability. It scares potential foreign investors in neighbouring countries.

In short, it is a headache for South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki. And he has adopted what he calls a policy of "quiet diplomacy" to try to resolve the crisis.

In March last year, the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai suffered severe head injuries in police custody.

He was filmed in his hospital bed and the pictures flew around the world to predictable international outrage.

The cameraman who reportedly took the pictures was later abducted and beaten to death.

At a meeting of the South African Development Community, the region's leaders asked Mr Mbeki to lead mediation efforts aimed at brokering talks between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Mr Mbeki appointed two of his closest and most highly respected lieutenants, Frank Chikane and Sydney Mufamadi, to act as go-betweens.

The MDC, for its part, sent two of its senior leadership insiders - Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube - to take part in the talks.

Much less is known about the involvement of Zanu-PF and the notoriously proud and impervious Robert Mugabe, because the whole process has been discreet.

New openness

For a time, the quiet approach produced results.

South Africa brokered a new election law which could yet prove decisive.

For the first time, electoral officials have had to post the number of votes cast at individual polling stations, making it much harder to manipulate the figures centrally.

The MDC have been smart in exploiting this new openness - they say they have photographs of every result as it was posted on the day.

This is probably not true, but they have a lot, and Zanu-PF - and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission - do not know which ones they have, making any attempted rigging of the vote centrally a tricky business.

Many analysts say the talks also persuaded Mr Mugabe to keep the elections peaceful - keeping the security forces and the feared "war veterans" on a much tighter leash.

But by December last year the talks had run aground. The MDC later declared them a failure.

British dismay

Mr Mbeki says that his diplomacy is working.

Zimbabweans look at election results taped onto the wall of a polling station in the Harare suburb of Mbare (30 March 2008)
For the first time, results were posted outside each polling station

In London at the weekend, he declared himself satisfied with the election process on the grounds that the first round had passed off relatively peacefully.

To the evident dismay of his British hosts he had nothing to say about the mysterious failure of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to declare a result.

And so the criticism, and the frustration felt by many in the region, mount.

South Africa's Sunday Times at the weekend described Zimbabwe as a "festering sore". And, it went on, the South African government "must not allow Mugabe to subvert democracy again… South Africa's strategy of quiet diplomacy has done little more than to cosset Mugabe while he raped his country".

Mr Mugabe had shown repeatedly that he had no respect for Mr Mbeki, and that he had "made South Africa's president the laughing stock of the diplomatic world", the paper said.

Nonetheless, Mr Mbeki continues to carry the hopes of much of the world.

Commitment to discretion

Mr Tsvangirai may have called on the international community to intervene.

The danger is that there will come a point when Mr Mbeki's public silence will start to look like complicity

But even Mr Mugabe's most entrenched opponents - the British - continue to place their faith in Mr Mbeki, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown in constant touch, apparently urging Mr Mbeki to continue to press for a mediated solution.

Mr Mbeki's commitment to discretion, though, comes at a huge price in public credibility.

And the question is becoming more urgent, because nine days after polling, Zimbabwe's election result is still not announced.

The danger is that there will come a point when Mr Mbeki's public silence - and that of every other leader in the region - will start to look like complicity.

Bulawayo Morning Mirror Delay - Margaret has been in Jail since Thursday

[For those who do not know, Bulawayo Morning Mirror is a newsletter with
snippets about various local happenings, people having things for sale, the
water situation, etc]

Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 8:21 PM
Subject: Bulawayo Morning Mirror Delay - Margaret has been in Jail since

We apologise for the late production of the Morning Mirror!

Regrettably I have to advise that Margaret has been thrown in Jail
for practising as an unaccredited journalist! She was arrested on
Thursday 10th April and as I write this she is still being held at
the Sauerstown Police station. Her arrest is purely political and I
would ask that if you have the capability, that you contact your
Congressman / Local MP / Local Police. I believe that the greater
the reaction and outrage shown at this totally unwarranted
incarceration of a sixty year old Bulawayo born and bred woman who
has contributed hugely to the social fabric of Bulawayo, the sooner
she will be released.

She is in fine spirit giving any senior official hell, and being
extremely well treated by her handling officers. It appears that
virtually every police / prison official she deals with is supportive
of her, but unfortunately, they are answering to a much higher power.

Obviously we are cashing in all our chips to ensure her early release
but anything you are able to do to assist, will be most appreciated.

I detail below various links that can be accessed through the
website - The Zimbabwe Situation:-

Thank you
Rick Kriel

At his most disingenuous

Can you believe these guys! Mr. Mbeki flies into Harare where inflation is
raging at 500 000 percent. The wife of the President has fled with enough
foreign exchange to feed the whole country for 6 months, an election has
been held under totally unacceptable conditions. The results ­ legally due
in 6 days, are 14 days over due. The incumbent has illegally appointed a
government, holds onto power and deployed the army to maintain his grip on
the populace. He has ordered illegal and unconstitutional activities. The
economy is at a standstill, a national strike is threatened, there is no
food in the stores and what is available is at unaffordable prices. Yet Mr.
Mbeki climbs down from his luxury executive jet in Harare, embraces Mugabe
and declares, ³There is no crisis².

How difficult is it to tabulate 9 400 V11 forms and get a result? Would that
take any group of children more than a day? Those forms are the only basis
on which these elections can be determined. They are all in Harare and the
result of the count and recount is available ­ has been available for two
weeks. ³The results are too sensitive to release,² says the ZEC. Why,
because, they show that Mugabe has been soundly thrashed and his main
opponent has got more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Then onto Lusaka where 13 regional leaders have gathered for an emergency
summit to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe ³where there is no crisis!².
They debate the situation for several hours ­ late into the night. Then
issue a communiqué that declares that ZEC must release the results
expeditiously. The illegal regime in Harare promptly announced they would
defy the region, hold up the announcement until they had recounted 23
constituencies next Saturday.

In the meantime here in Harare MDC went to Court to demand that the illegal
recounts ordered by the regime and due to take place yesterday, be suspended
pending our application to the Courts to the effect that the act is illegal
and unconstitutional. The Court agreed and stopped all the recounts. Even so
they went ahead in Bikita and duly announce that the new count showed,
surprise, surprise that a MDC victory had been overturned and that Zanu PF
had won!

Remember we have been excluded from the counting of the V11 forms for the
presidency; ZEC has barred all independent observers and even moved the
whole operation to a secret ³high security² venue. They have had the ballot
boxes under their control for 14 days, rumors are flying that they have
printed ballots with the same numbers on them as those used in the original
election, they have also contacted a number of the returning officers who
have been intimidated and even arrested. They are perfectly capable of
falsifying the V11 forms and the ballots themselves.

Under these conditions a recount is a complete farce. One interesting
feature of the statement by the regime in Harare yesterday was that it was
only the presidential ballot that would be recounted in 23 constituencies.
Originally they listed 25 constituencies ­ no explanation of the
differential. Does this mean they are going to allow the parliamentary vote
and the local government votes to stand as they are?
They are committed to a re-run in 21 days after the final result is
announced. That will be on the 10th May ­ six weeks after the first
election. Six weeks of turmoil and mayhem simply because an old man and his
cohorts will not obey their own rules and constitution and leave office in
an orderly and peaceful way. All the rules of the SADC for this sort of
thing are being violated and blatantly so in front of the whole world. But
then Kibaki stole the Presidential election in Kenya and has been allowed by
the international community and Africa to get away with it.

Our own position at present is that we will not accept a re-run. But what is
the alternative? To go onto the streets and fight for our rights? The
illegal regime in Harare holds all the guns and levers of control. Does
blood have to spill to bring the UN into the situation; do principle and the
rule of law matter to nobody but us?

We always knew that the solution to this crisis was in our hands and that
the international community simply would not interfere or intervene unless
we started killing each other. The regional leaders who have the power to
influence the regime in Harare and who established mechanisms for just such
an eventuality have once again failed us. South Africa under present
leadership is inept and compliant.

So what do we do? We may simply have to bite the bullet and accept a re-run.
What if they recount 23 constituencies and hey presto!  Produce a victory
for Mugabe! Then we have real problems because then we have no alternative
but to fight for our rights and a bloody and extended conflict will ensue
that will draw in the UN and the international community and finally destroy
what is left of this benighted country.

If they compromise and do force a re-run, then the very least that the
region can do is deliver reasonable conditions ­ stop the present wave of
violence and intimidation that is regime managed and funded, order
independent observers into the country to monitor the election and ensure
that ZEC is allowed to do its job properly, professionally and without
interference or coercion.

On our side, we would have to struggle on trying to survive the next few
weeks and get our people ready. We would have to train and deploy up to 20
000 polling agents and make sure they were in position at every polling
station without exception. That will take money, real money and at least
1000 volunteers with vehicles and communications equipment. But we can do
that and then deliver a final blow to this regime from which they simply
cannot recover and then, we can get on with the task ahead of us.

Perhaps we need to do this even though it seems unthinkable at this stage ­
and then get final closure on this shameful episode. Its clear, Africa has a
long way to go before it can say it observes democratic practices and
principles despite all the high sounding rhetoric.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 13th April 2008

Is Mbeki a True Mediator on Zimbabwe?


      Mugabe shifts blame to Britain

       Nelson G. Katsande

     Published 2008-04-14 03:49 (KST)

After meeting President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in Harare on April
12, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa came short of announcing that the
people of Zimbabwe must wait impatiently for the "doctored" presidential

Mbeki, who like Mugabe also inferred to the possibility of a runoff,
is viewed with suspicion by the people of Zimbabwe.

Mbeki's "softly, softly" approach to Mugabe has been criticized in the
past. It is a known fact that the South African president is a close friend
of Mugabe. Mbeki is cautious when it comes to commenting on Zimbabwean
issues. On one occasion he said Zimbabwe was not "a South African province."

Even before meeting Mugabe on Saturday, most people were skeptical of
the outcome. Other opposition members said Mbeki's stopover was merely to
have lunch with the dictator.

Most people in Zimbabwe believe South Africa is benefitting from
Zimbabwe's woes. For example, doctors, nurses and other professionals who
fled Zimbabwe have secured jobs in neighboring South Africa. Even the
holding of talks on Zimbabwe by members of the Southern African Development
Coordination Conference was just a formality. SADCC itself is said to be
divided when it comes to Zimbabwean issues.

Mugabe is one of the longest serving presidents and is much adored and
respected by other African leaders, so condemning him publicly would be
"taboo." Despite growing evidence that Mugabe lost the presidential race to
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, no official results have been
published. ZANU-PF is now demanding a recount in 23 constituencies where the
opposition won. The opposition fears the recount will be to Mugabe's
advantage, as the new announced results will be rigged.

"If a recount is to be done, the electoral commission should first
announce the prevailing results," said Anthony Matienga, a war veteran. He
insisted that there was growing division among war veterans, with some fed
up of being used by Mugabe.

"Soon [we] will be up in arms with the government," he added.

Thabo Mbeki has said there is no conflict in Zimbabwe because of his
friendship with the beleaguered leader. In 1965, few people believed that
the still limited conflict in Vietnam would turn into full-scale war.

Lessons can be learned from Kenya, where thousands of people were
killed and displaced in post-election disturbances.

In Harare, the opposition's stronghold, thousands of soldiers have
been drafted onto the streets. The police have banned the holding of
political rallies by "all political parties." But ironically, a ZANU-PF
rally was held in Marondera without interference from the police.

There is growing concern that Mugabe is trying to steal the election
by calling for a runoff. Mugabe now vents his anger on Gordon Brown, the
British premier, by calling him a "tiny dot on the world." But that
confrontation will not solve Zimbabwe's political and economic woes.

The world's patience with Mugabe is waning fast. The voices of the
Zimbabwean people should be respected.

Zimbabwe used to be Africa's breadbasket; it is now has a runaway
inflation of over 150,000 percent. Unemployment is at its highest level and
the health delivery system has collapsed. Millions of children have dropped
out of school due to rising and unaffordable fees.

The number of deaths at government hospitals due to the lack of
medication and nursing staff is alarming.

Mugabe blames Britain for his country's woes. But many believe Mugabe
shot himself in the foot through his land reform program. More than 3,000
white commercial farmers were displaced after the war veterans went on a
rampage in 2000 following Mugabe's defeat to the opposition in the
parliamentary elections.

What has changed Mr Mbeki?

Speaking at the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the commencement of
the Rwandan genocide in Kigali in 2004, almost exactly 4 years ago to the
day, President Mbeki said:
". during the very same month that your country and people saw the beginning
of the unimaginable nightmare of a genocide, your brothers and sisters in
South Africa ended the apartheid system of white minority domination by
participating in how very first democratic elections.
"Because we were preoccupied with extricating ourselves from our own
nightmare, we did not cry out as loudly as we should have against the
enormous and heinous crime against the people of Rwanda .."
He went on to ask, "What did we as Africans do to stop the slaughter?  If we
did nothing, why did we do nothing?
"Why did the United Nations, set up to ensure that genocide, as occurred
when the Holocaust was visited on the Jewish people, did not reoccur
anywhere in the world, stand by as Africans were exterminated like
pernicious vermin?"
He went on to say:
"Why did those who dispose of enormous global power that has been used to
determine the fate of all humanity, decide that disorder in Yugoslavia had
to be stopped at all costs, while the bigger slaughter . should be allowed
to run its full course?"
"Every day, the severed heads and skeletons stored at the sites of the
massacres point an accusing finger at all of us who did not do what we
should have done to stop the murderous rampage.  Everyday they remind us
that we cannot really say . genocide occurred and treat it just as an
historical episode that has passed."
Today, when one looks at the unfolding tragedy in Zimbabwe one cannot help
wondering cynically, if Mr Mbeki thinks that the people of Zimbabwe are
lesser mortals than the Rwandans.
Where tyranny has halved the life expectancy of 10 to 12 million people, it
equates to mass murder on a horrendous, Stalinesque scale.  Against this
background, the lengths to which Mr Mbeki has gone to shield Mugabe from
criticism is mind-boggling.
The future will judge him for his role as a co-architect of what can best be
described as a cataclysmic chapter in African history.

gerald cubitt

Zimbabwe: A Nation Betrayed By Its "Allies"?

Nyasa Times, Malawi

Nyakuchenya Ganda on 13 April, 2008 21:48:00
The current crisis in Zimbabwe brings back very bad memories to those of us
who lived in the country during the colonial occupation and the Chimurenga

Suffice to say that despite the initial economic prosperity soon after
independence in 1980, Zimbabweans are a people that have suffered so much
under the dictatorial leadership of Robert Mugabe.

There have always been very serious atrocities committed against political
dissenters and ordinary people that will make any human being cringe in

Fresh to memory are the unpunished Gukurahundi Atrocities which means ("the
early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains"), and
Operation Murambatsvina ("Operation Drive out the Filth") that are still a
source of horrific memories and incurable psychological traumas to those who
experienced them in any form.

Colonel Perence Shiri, Robert Mugabe's cousin was the man in the driving
seat of the Gukurahundi killing machine that exterminated close to 20,000
civilians of mostly Ndebeles and their allies.

This cruel man led a ferocious, atrocious and vindictive campaign that will
remain a big and ugly scar on Zimbabwe's history. These are the kind of
people that have been getting support from some "wise" leaders in the SADCC

Talking about the innocent people who were killed during the Gukurahundi
campaign in April 1983 Mugabe; the Zimbabwean despot said; "We eradicate
them. We don't differentiate when we fight because we can't tell who is a
dissident and who is not."

Not any different from what Charles Taylor said when asked a similar
question in Monrovia years ago. No wonder, Perence Shiri's Terror Machine
murdered civilians in thousands in the Matebeleland and the aftermath was to
make ugly history in Zimbabwe.

But what is confounding to me is that the International Crimes Court, the
same one that is prosecuting Charles Taylor and prosecuted late Slobodan
Milesovic is just sitting on the buzzer: by not holding Robert Mugabe,
accountable for the monstrous crimes he has always committed against his

Mugabe and his accomplices both local and international, the ones who aided
his despotic regime must be held accountable for their criminal actions. Any
civilised people must view fuelling the fires of conflict oppression and
hatred in a foreign country as a very serious crime.

The current political crisis in Zimbabwe is the continuation of the
atrocities mentioned earlier intended to instil fear and force loyalty to
the tyrannical Octogenarian. Those that have been aiding and abating Mugabe
to advance these appalling policies should feel ashamed of their
irresponsible behaviour.

We saw how the tyrant from Liberia Charles Taylor was made to answer for his
interference in the war-torn Sierra Leone where he aided some of the warring
factions for the "Blood Diamonds". Such accountability through the
International Crimes Court can be sought of anybody who engaged in similar
atrocities anywhere.

Thus by giving financial aid and maize to the draconian regime the Malawi
government was fuelling the notorious events that finally led to the current
stalemate in Zimbabwe.

It is therefore an insult to Malawians living in Zimbabwe and the native
Zimbabweans themselves when we start beaming reckless disclaimers that the
"Zimbabweans must deal with their own situation since it is an internal

When did we realise that we don't need to interfere in Zimbabwean matters?
When we have been influencing political events there with our loop-sided
support? Obviously, we are going to pay a huge price for our actions once
the dust settles in Zimbabwe. Reprisals perhaps. Xenophobia may be.

Put it together; what we are currently witnessing in the Zimbabwean
elections saga as it continues to unfurl has the makings of a civil war and
we should brace ourselves to receive displaced Malawians and Zimbabweans who
will be fleeing that Country.

May be that will be the time when some "bogus visionaries" will see the need
of helping Zimbabwe to solve its internal problems.

The wounds of despair and dejection; the feeling of betrayal and duplicity
will always linger in Zimbabweans' minds, and will never heal the nation if
the criminal king makers, who have property and other personal interests in
that country, are not publicly rebuked and prosecuted for their bizarre

Moreover, the fundamental motivation for the behaviour of these Mugabe moon
shiners was exclusively for their selfish reasons. Nothing national and
patriotic. They never had the ethical standard to take far-sighted choices
for the sake of our nation and civilisation to avoid the current electoral
disaster in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe shames Africa

Times of Malta

Sunday, 13th April 2008

Anthony Manduca

Robert Mugabe seems determined to hang on to power in Zimbabwe, even though
everything points to him having lost the country's election. He was
officially declared the loser of the parliamentary election and he almost
certainly lost the presidential election - where we have a farcical
situation in which the country's Electoral Commission still has not yet
released the official result, two weeks after Zimbabweans went to the polls.

Mr Mugabe is now asking for a second run-off presidential election against
his opponent, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
because he claims no one candidate got over 50 per cent of the popular vote.

The reluctance by the country's Election Commission to officially announce
the result of the presidential election is not only shameful but points to a
conspiracy by the commission and Mr Mugabe to simply play for time and
intimidate voters before a second round presidential election, whenever this
may be held.

"If you look at his history, if he has been humiliated or rejected or
disillusioned, his response is revenge," Heidi Holland, the author of Dinner
With Mugabe, a new book about the Zimbabwean President, was recently quoted
as saying.

Since the election, security forces have beaten, arrested and threatened MDC
activists. Opposition MDC members were not allowed to present a petition in
court calling on the judicial branch to order the Electoral Commission to
publish the result of the presidential election.

To make matters worse and to really create tensions in the country, the
so-called war veterans - who fought with Mr Mugabe against white rule in the
1970s - and militias belonging to Mugabe's Zanu PF ruling party have been
unleashed on white-owned farms to stir up 'anti-colonial' feelings and to
intimidate the population.

This is typical Mugabe in action. When under pressure he creates another
conflict with an old enemy to win sympathy. It is no different from Saddam
Hussein firing missiles against Israel in the first Gulf War to get the
support of the Arab world.

In this case Mugabe is trying to get the backing of his African neighbours
as well as to associate white rule with the opposition MDC, which of course
is absolute nonsense. But his other motive is simply to create a climate of
fear and to intimidate his opponents. The pattern has always been the same:
ahead of elections in 2000 and 2002, security forces arrested, tortured and
killed hundreds of opposition activists.

The shift to the opposition is not at all surprising. Besides the violence
and intimidation, Zimbabwe has become an almost failed state, with an
inflation rate of 100,000 per cent and public services on the verge of
collapse. Zimbabwe has the semblance of a democracy, but this is meaningless
when you have a leader who does not play by the rules.

Robert Mugabe has trampled on the free press, interfered with the workings
of the courts, suppressed dissent and appointed cronies to run the army and
police. His crazy economic policies and confiscation of private farms
created unprecedented hardship and poverty.

Although Mugabe began his rule in 1980 by preaching reconciliation and
moderate economic policies, his authoritarian Marxist streak - which had
long been overlooked by the international community - soon emerged. Only two
years after he assumed power, he brutally put down a threat to his rule in
Matabeleland, the power base of his one-time ally in the war of liberation,
Joshwa Nkomo. A North Korean-trained army brigade was responsible for the
massacre of thousands of innocent civilians. Nobody in Africa or elsewhere
batted an eyelid.

Things got gradually worse and Mugabe's 2000 shock defeat in a referendum on
a new constitution to increase his powers was the last straw for the
Zimbabwean President. He played the race card, confiscated 90 per cent of
white-owned farms and further trampled on democracy.

Subsequent elections were characterised by vote-rigging allegations and the
political and economic situation got worse by the day. Once the bread basket
of Africa, half the country's population now lives on food aid.

The real tragedy about Zimbabwe is that the international community has
never really exerted enough pressure on Mugabe to respect the rule of law
and democratic values. Because the Zimbabwean president is regarded among
some circles as a hero of his country's revolution, many countries were
reluctant to take a strong stand against him.

The worst offenders are the African nations themselves, especially South
Africa, which has tremendous political, economic and moral clout in
Zimbabwe. South African president Thabo Mbeki has hid behind a policy of
'quiet diplomacy' in dealing with Mugabe, which in reality amounted to
exerting no pressure on the authoritarian leader.

It is indeed sad that the new South Africa, which managed to end apartheid
largely because of a very strong anti-apartheid international movement,
should now not be spearheading international support to get rid of Mugabe
and his authoritarian regime.

The Commonwealth too have been disgracefully silent on Mugabe. True,
Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth in 2003 a year after being suspended from the
organisation, but that is no excuse for this 53-nation bloc to remain silent
as Mugabe turns his country into a failed state. Surely the Commonwealth,
which includes so many of Zimbabwe's neighbours could act collectively
against Mugabe?

What is needed now is for the international community to make it clear that
it will not deal with Mugabe, who has not only shamed his country but the
whole of Africa, any further. Europe and the United States, in particular,
must promise to provide Zimbabwe with millions of dollars in much needed aid
and investment the moment Morgan Tsvangirai becomes President.

Perhaps this pledge of aid will convince the generals to urge Mugabe to step
down. Such international support for a new Zimbabwe is the least that can be
done for this country, which has suffered for far too long under Mugabe's
disastrous rule.

Hopes of returning home dashed


      Jeremy Gordin
    April 13 2008 at 10:10AM

Aaron Makuza, 35, used to be a captain in the Zimbabwean army's
presidential guard, responsible for taking care of President Robert Mugabe.

Then, on December 17, he made the mistake of being arrested by what he
calls "the civilian police" at a pro-Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
political rally in Harare.

They found his army identification document and handed him over to the
military police (MPs) - who treated him to two weeks of intermittent assault
for being "a sell-out".

Between blows, they wanted to know how a member of the Zimbabwean
defence force, and especially of a unit entrusted with protecting the
president, could attend a rally of the party opposed to Zanu-PF, Mugabe's

Makuza, who fled Zimbabwe in January and is now living on the floor of
the Central Methodist Church (CMC) in downtown Johannesburg, along with
about 1 200 other refugees, most of them fellow Zimbabweans, does not own
much, besides an olive-green cap with a picture of Bob Marley in the middle
of the peak.

But he does have "the report" from the Harare clinic to which he went
after being released by the MPs - and it seems that he received, courtesy of
the military police, crushed fingernails, continual internal and external
bleeding and livid bruises all over his body, especially the bottom of his

Three-and-a-half months later, Makuza is still missing a few
fingernails and his ankles and shins remain bruised and scarred.

Makuza spent Friday morning in Tshwane as part of a demonstration
calling on the leaders of the members of the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to ask the Zimbabwean leader to step down
without bloodshed.

He is just one of the Zimbabweans living in the church who last week -
when it seemed clear that the MDC had won the Zimbabwean elections - were
making preparations to go back home.

Sam Mavhunga, 33, one of Makuza's comrades, a father of four (they're
in Harare) and another habitul of the CMC, explained.

"Yeah, we were just waiting for the presidential results, we were
organising ourselves to return - but now it's all over, isn't it? Mugabe's
stolen it and no one's going to do anything about. We need to go to war."

His sentiments were echoed by Tendai Nyariya, 41, who said: "There's
going to be bloodshed now. We hear that soldiers are beating activists now.
They've been given a mandate to beat civilians."

Tafadzwa G, 27, who does not want his surname to be published or his
photograph taken - "because I fear exposure" - said that he was a school
teacher who had become ill with excruciating stomach pains in Harare towards
the end of last year.

He went to hospital - "but the medicine I required was simply not in
the hospital pharmacy. They said I had to go to a private pharmacy. But the
cost there was five times my monthly salary."

He asked the principal of his school for "indefinite sick leave".

"But the principal was not happy about this because of most of the
people who go on extended sick leave flee to South Africa. Which is exactly
what my mother suggested I should do, and I did. And here I got free health
treatment - and I got better in a couple of weeks."

But Tafadzwa said he would like to return to Zimbabwe, because it is
his home and also because there is no teaching work for him in South Africa.

"But Mugabe won't surrender," interpolated Makuza, "and also the men
around him won't. They got away with too much during their heydays".

"Yes, in fact," added Mavhunga, "we hear that what all the leaders and
generals are doing now - the reason for this delay - is that they are busy
destroying evidence."

"We have to return and we have to fight a war," said Makuza.

When it was put to him that guns are needed for a war and that the
Zimbabwean army seemed to be well-armed and prepared, he replied: "There are
a lot of soldiers here - right in this church. And some battles you win and
some you lose. But we will win in the end."

Zama Nthuli, 25, was also heading home after three years in South

"But now it's all smashed. I'm not going to go," he said.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Sunday Independent
on April 13, 2008

Weary Zimbabweans see no light at end of tunnel


HARARE, April 13 (AFP)

Harare barber Admire Muroyiwa says only divine intervention can save
Zimbabwe, where a post-election stalemate has added to the problems of
people already living with world record inflation.

Muroyiwa -- like many of his countrymen -- pins no hope on the 14-nation
Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc which ended
Sunday emergency talks to find an end to the deadlock arising from the
delayed release of results from March 29 presidential elections.

"This country only needs God's intervention," he said despondently,
adjusting his clippers and beating off hair from his white T-shirt
emblazoned with the face of ex-finance minister and presidential contestant
Simba Makoni.

"We might have SADC or (South Africa's President Thabo) Mbeki's intervention
but this will not take us anywhere," the 28-year-old said.

"The problem is that ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe's ruling party) think they are second
to God and they do whatever they want."

The SADC summit in the Zambian capital Lusaka stopped well short of
criticising the Zimbabwean government or veteran ruler Robert Mugabe -- in
power since 1980 -- and merely called for the results of the poll to be
delivered as "expeditiously" as possible.

Any hopes for a quick fix to the crisis were dashed by an election
commission announcement that all the votes in 23 of the country's 210
constituencies would be recounted next Saturday.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims to have won
the polls and says its presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai has beaten

Tsitsi Mpofu, a 40-year-old housewife, accused Mbeki -- who heads the
continent's economic powerhouse and is tasked with brokering a dialogue
between the ruling party and the opposition -- of treating Mugabe with kid

"SADC has not been helpful," Mpofu told AFP.

"Why not give Mugabe a deadline when the results should be released. Mbeki
... cannot say anything against Mugabe, but wants to confuse Zimbabweans
saying there is no crisis.

"What is he trying to say when he says there is no crisis," she said.

Mbeki dropped in on Harare on his way to the Lusaka summit and held his
first face-to-face talks with Mugabe since the disputed elections.

"The body authorised to release the results is the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, let's wait for them to announce the results," he told
journalists afterwards, adding that there was "no crisis" in his northern

Ice cream vendor Patson Muredzi said Zimbabweans should go about with their
lives and give up expecting any radical change.

"Mbeki cannot say anything against the old man, Zimbabweans should just
forget about him and move on," Muredzi said.

Despite exasperation at the economic mess in what was once the region's role
model and an official inflation rate of 100,000 percent, many SADC leaders
continue to regard Zimbabwean opposition leader Tsvangirai with suspicion.

One delegate at the Lusaka talks, from a country traditionally close to
Mugabe, however said there was a growing acknowledgement the veteran
leader's days were numbered.

He said that not only was there a widespread belief there that Mugabe lost
to Tsvangirai, even if he scrapes enough votes to make it into a second
round, but they also agreed any bid by the military to forestall the result
would be doomed in the long-run as it simply has no money.

However, according to the delegate, the leaders were unimpressed by
Tsvangirai's response when they pushed him to provide evidence of his claim
that he won enough to defeat Mugabe in the first round.

'Mugabe on borrowed time'

The Sun, UK

By Staff reporter

Published: Today

ROBERT Mugabe has been accused of trying to “reinvent” the Zimbabwean
election results by ordering a partial recount.

And as Zimbabwe opposition parties announced they would fight the move,
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg urged the international community to make
clear the president was “living on borrowed time”.

A summit of neighbouring African leaders has called for the results, kept
secret for two weeks since the poll, to be revealed as quickly as possible.

They are believed to show that Mr Mugabe lost but secured enough support to
force a presidential run-off with the Movement for Democratic Change, led by
Morgan Tsvangirai.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced it would conduct a full recount
in around one in 10 of the 210 constituencies - enough to overturn the MDC
victory in the parliamentary poll.

Mr Clegg said he was “extremely worried” about the move which “looks to me
dangerously like another attempt to reinvent the results of the elections”.

“It is absolutely clear in my view that we need full publication of the
presidential elections,” he told BB Radio 4’s The World This Weekend.

He added: “I am pleased the southern African political community has over
the last 24 hours sent out an unambiguous signal that they want this stand
off to be resolved.”

“And I think Mugabe needs to be left in absolutely no doubt at all by the
international community that he is living on borrowed time.”

Mr Clegg welcomed efforts to secure a cross-party approach to the crisis by
Foreign Secretary David Miliband who wrote yesterday to the Tories and Lib
Dems setting out the latest developments.

“The Government is acting more sensible and quickly on this than they did
for instance on Kenya where I was very critical and remain very critical of
what I think was foot dragging and dithering by Gordon Brown as a set of
fraudulent elections in effect went unchallenged,” Mr Clegg said.

The Prime Minister stepped into the controversy yesterday, denouncing the
“appalling” situation and warning Mr Mugabe that the world’s patience was
“running thin”.

“We cannot wait any longer for the announcement of these results,” Mr Brown

“It is appalling if there is intimidation and violence. It is completely
unacceptable and the whole eyes of the world are on Zimbabwe now.”

Hunting us down

Sunday 13th April 2008

Dear Family and Friends, I received a call early one morning this week from
a friend in a small country town. Speaking quickly and quietly for fear of
being overheard, he told me of the frightening events that were going on all
around him. Eight double cab vehicles had arrived in the town. Armed men in
civilian clothes alighted. They had lists of names of people who had been
involved in the election campaign for the opposition MDC in the area.

"They are hunting us down," he said. "Each and every one of us is being
sought out, beaten and punished for supporting the MDC." Some have had their
homes burnt down, large numbers of people have been beaten and a local
opposition organizer said :" it is terrible, there are injured people

Later another call came, this time the story was of events on one of the few
remaining commercial farms. Again the eye witness account was of armed men.
There were youths too, many scores of them and they were clearly high on
drugs and drink. The drumming, singing, shouting and intimidation carried
only one message: there will be no change in Zimbabwe.

Scores of stories like this are coming in from all over the country. Armed
men, drugged youths, lists of opposition supporters and activists, and a
wave of fear sweeping over our country. None are being spared : men, women,
children. Beating, burning, threatening and intimidating is the result of
the brave voices of Zimbabweans across the country who voted for change.

While this goes on the economic and domestic situation for families
everywhere has reached absolutely critical levels. In the fortnight since
the elections food supplies in the shops have dropped to almost nothing. One
major supermarket in my home town this weekend had lines and lines of
scouring powder but no basics at all - no rice, pasta, flour, cereals, tin,
jars or in fact anything edible. All fresh produce from milk and eggs to
vegetables and meat has become virtually unobtainable as thugs and mobs
close down farms, terrify workers and rob the nations shelves of the last
few mouthfuls of food. A friend who helps feed children whose parents have
died of AIDS, waited for almost 5 hours at the local Grain Marketing Board
Depot while every single bag of the precious staple grain was loaded onto
army trucks. She left empty handed and had also failed to find any beans,
fish or even soya to buy for vulnerable children hungry and alone.

The reaction of our neighbours to the terror and tragedy unravelling
Zimbabwe is beyond all understanding. South African president Thabo Mbeki
emerged from an hour long meeting with Mr Mugabe saying: "There is no crisis
in Zimbabwe." Fourteen African heads of state met for 12 hours in Zambia and
emerged saying: "election results must be released expeditiously."

Of course we don't know what went on behind closed doors but it seems like
quiet diplomacy has again been the convenient smoke screen for Africa's Big
It is no comfort whatsoever to us mums who can't find enough food for our
families. It is no comfort to frightened men whispering on crackly telephone
lines about men with guns on an opposition witch hunt. It is no comfort to
farmers trying to grow food but faced with drugged, drunken youths who want
what they've got.

Zimbabweans voted for change a fortnight ago, the MDC announced that it had
been achieved but day by day that change is being painfully, brutally
stripped away.
Until next week, love cathy.

A letter from the diaspora

12th April 2008

Dear Friends.
The phone rang at six thirty this Friday morning and I knew before I even
lifted the receiver that it was bad news. Let's face it, there's never any
other kind of news from Zimbabwe these days. I can't say that I wasn't
prepared; yesterday's detailed article in The UK Guardian by Chris McGreal
had vividly described what was going on in Mutoko just fifty kms down the
road, so I knew it was just a matter of time before Murehwa received the
same treatment.

What do you do when a friend phones you at that hour to tell you that he and
his family are in big trouble? You are thousands of miles away and down the
line you hear the quiet desperation in your friend's voice as he describes
the situation in the centre of the small town in Mashonaland East that used
to be your home. 'We feel betrayed,' he said. ' When is someone going to
intervene and help us?'

I couldn't answer that question, no one can, it seems. I could only listen
as he told me of the men who were systematically hunting down MDC supporters
and threatening them for 'Voting the wrong way'. Five activists were badly
beaten at a nearby mission yesterday; the police cannot or will not do
anything to intervene, they too have been threatened and intimidated they
say. Not by Green Bombers this time but by a much more organized group in
plain clothes. They emerge from expensive four by fours that are parked on
the dusty streets of this little town. They have sleeping bags and
mattresses in the back of their vehicles and that's where they sleep at
night. They are fed by the local Zanu PF chefs who provide them with mealie
meal and meat while everyone else goes hungry. And they are armed, the men
in the double cabs, a mobile hit squad ready to punish the people who dared
to exercise their democratic right and vote for Morgan Tsvangirai and the
opposition. Despite the fact that Zanu PF still won in this area, they
didn't like the fact that more people than ever before had voted for change.
So they called a meeting my friend told me and lectured the people about how
to vote next time. 'Taka chinga' the people replied. We have voted for
change. Like the wonderful WOZA women who demonstrated this week in
Bulawayo, such courage just takes your breath away but the men in the double
cabs won't give up, they are acting under orders, part of task force
organized at the highest level, that's what the people believe.

Mutoko/Murewha was once considered Zanu PF heartland. I lived and worked
there for twelve years and I know and love the place. I even built a little
house there, it was my home and I could picture every detail my friend
talked about; I could feel his pain and anxiety for his wife and children,
his ailing mother whom he cannot leave even if his life is in danger. All I
can do to help him is tell the story, alert the news media, make sure that
as many people as possible know what's happening in Murehwa.

It's not the first time Murehwa has been in the news. It was there that the
first white farmer was murdered back in 2000 in the original farm invasions.
Four of his colleagues from the Macheke area were brutally tortured as they
tried to rescue their friend David Stevens. I remember that weekend as if it
was yesterday, 'The Weekend from Hell' is how Cathy Buckle describes it in
her book Beyond Tears.
It was April 16th, just two day before Independence and I woke on the Sunday
to a peerless African morning with sun shining down on the granite gomo
behind my house. I turned on my radio and there was the BBC World Service
telling me that a white farmer had been murdered in Murehwa, of all places.
But I should not have been surprised, Murehwa was the place where Chengerai
Hitler Hunzvi had his headquarters and as well as being white, David Stevens
had been a supporter of the Movement for Democratic Change.
Now, eight years later, Zanu PF continues to harass and intimidate
opposition supporters in Murehwa and all over the country. It doesn't matter
what colour they are, if they are opposed to Robert Mugabe they are the
enemy. But I have one memory of that weekend that reminds me of why I love
Zimbabwe; it is the innate courtesy and loving human kindness of ordinary
Zimbabweans. On the Monday morning, a group of women came to my house to
offer their sympathy and comfort for a bereavement in the African way, even
though I had personally never met David Stevens. 'He was a good man' they
said as they shook my hand.

How many more good men and women have to die before Zimbabweans can rebuild
their shattered lives and live in peace again? Will the SADC leaders think
about that when they meet tomorrow or will they be congratulating Our Own
Dear Leader on yet another stolen election which they had described as free
and fair even before the first vote was cast.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle. PH

Zanu thugs in wave of violence, says MDC

From The Sunday Argus (SA), 13 April

The Zimbabwean opposition has accused the security forces and ruling party
militants of engaging in a wave of violence to intimidate voters and ensure
President Robert Mugabe wins a run-off. In Centenary, about 220km north of
Harare, militants attacked workers on at least two black-owned farms and
burnt their huts, the workers said. Ruling Zanu PF party officials had
encouraged militants to invade the few remaining white-owned farms, saying
they were trying to protect Zimbabweans from encroaching colonialism.
Opposition officials say such attacks are a smokescreen for assaults on
mainly black opposition supporters. Workers on the Mount Panis farm lost all
their belongings when a gang of about 50 men attacked them, accusing them of
being MDC supporters, the workers said. Several were hospitalised and many
fled into the mountains or to neighbouring farms. The black owner of a
nearby farm was beaten up, the workers said. Huts on both farms were torched
in Thursday's incidents. The US State Department's Sean McCormack said
Washington had "credible reports of violence and intimidation" against
opposition supporters and called on the government to end the attacks.
Amnesty International said the violence suggested a programme of
"co-ordinated retribution against known and suspected opposition

Tsvangirai must be cautious about 'gov't of national unity'

Mmegi, Botswana
 Friday, 11 April 2008


The people of Zimbabwe went to the polls almost two weeks ago and they have
still not been told the results of those elections, making the whole of the
African continent nervous in view of what happened in Kenya recently.

The Zimbabwean electorate surprised and shamed many who underestimated them,
including the old rogue, Robert Mugabe, himself.

The Zimbabwean electorate showed their independent way of thinking. For all
the political hype accompanying Simba Makoni's entry into the presidential
race, one would have been forgiven for thinking that Makoni actually had a
meaningful constituency.

Makoni could hardly garner 7percent of the presidential vote and he should
have learned a very important lesson not to take Zimbabweans for granted,
like Mugabe did for decades.

People rejected his obviously silly arrogance of "vote for me now and I will
form a political party later", especially having refused to distance himself
from tyrant Mugabe and ZANU-PF and surrounding himself with people who,
during their heydays as Mugabe's lieutenants, had tormented the populace.

We had heard and almost believed how respected Makoni was in and outside
Zimbabwe but the people knew where to place both ZANU-PF and its clones.

Not dwelling on the embarrassment, Makoni and his scant followers are now
projecting him as "a kingmaker", which is a load of nonsense.

What kingmaker? He could hardly get 7percent of the vote and they think
those who voted for him can make a difference in a run-off?

This is wishful thinking. Most of those who voted for Makoni were mostly
ZANU-PF followers who wanted more of the same but under a different ZANU-PF

And, of course, there were also the followers of the breakaway MDC faction
who abandoned Morgan Tsvangirai for Makoni.

Just as the electorate taught Makoni a lesson about opportunism, all those
who rocked the MDC boat by abandoning the main body lost their bid for

The people saw a real possibility for strength and change under Tsvangirai
and they showed it by voting for him while punishing those who wanted to
muddy the waters for their personal glorification.

Arthur Mutambara, leader of the breakaway MDC faction, lost his bid to enter
parliament. So did his Secretary General, Welshman Ncube, his former deputy
president, Gibson Sibanda, former spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi and
others like Priscilla Mushonga and Job Sikhala.

Before the elections, Mutambara and his little group wanted Tsvangirai to
accommodate them but Tsvangirai could spot losers 100 kilometers away.

The bunch then dashed across the isle and threw their support behind Makoni.
Makoni lost dismally and Mutambara's group did worse. Now Mutambara's group
is back again and announcing its intention to throw its weight behind

But what about the other loser, Makoni? "We are consulting every political
player in this election with a view to working together to move this country
forward," said third-placed Makoni on Wednesday still unwilling "to commit
himself to back main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in an anticipated
run-off against President Robert Mugabe."

No wonder they all lost. This is hardly the kind of conviction people want.
Last week, church groups warned the MDC to be careful about striking deals
with either ZANU-PF or the party-less Makoni because such deals might amount
to betrayal, especially in view of the fact that Makoni and ZANU-PF are not
totally divorced from each other and that both Makoni and ZANU-PF would
bring back the same people who have ruined the country and perpetrated
violence on the people.

Mugabe and Makoni have absolutely nothing to offer the MDC and Tsvangirai
and his advisers must be careful not to contaminate their mandate with the
same people so clearly rejected by the people.

Making any deals with the Mutambara faction at this stage is also
meaningless and could actually be counter-productive. Their concerted
efforts to sabotage the MDC are still too fresh in people's minds. People
still remember too clearly their arrogance when they were favoured by Mbeki
over Tsvangirai.

Remember what Mugabe himself did at independence? While he took Ian Smith's
able administrators, like Dennis Norman and David Smith, he left Ian Smith
out of his cabinet.

It was a wise tactical move because the unrepentant Ian Smith could have
easily eclipsed Mugabe.

Makoni is ambitious and obviously does not think much of Tsvangirai,
believing that whatever Tsvangirai can do, he can do better. Makoni could
give the MDC administrative problems.

To make matters worse, Makoni's background and the handful of his supporters
lie in ZANU-PF sympathizers and the MDC can well do without this unnecessary
baggage. The MDC will spend most of its time chiding Makoni, trying to pry
him away from Mugabe and ZANU-PF.

Thus, endorsement by Makoni is not, in itself, necessary although it can
help to remove suspicions among different party supporters. What is
necessary is for the MDC to make sure, yes, they somehow have to make sure
that their message reaches the people.

Again, ZANU-PF and PF-ZAPU, while having been bosom buddies during the war
of liberation and shortly before the elections, fought the 1980 elections
separately and re-united after the elections.

What this achieved was to identify and give each party a constituency and
showed who the majority of the people voted for and where the power lay. So
when ZANU-PF later invited PF-ZAPU into cabinet, it was viewed as a clean
meaningful gesture of unity because everyone knew how the people had voted.

What happened to the contestants in the long run is another matter but there
was meaning to the approach.

As I write, Morgan Tsvangirai is here in Botswana where he told the
government that his intelligence people had warned him of danger to his

Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa, SADC Chairman, called an emergency meeting for
tomorrow (Saturday) to discuss the simmering stalemate in Zimbabwe. When we
look at Kenya, and now Zimbabwe, we can see how powerful incumbent
presidents suddenly become once they lose elections.

Zimbabweans have done their part and conducted themselves with what remains
of their dignity, shying away from violence even under provocative
conditions. It is the hope of all Zimbabweans that SADC surely will see and
seize the opportunity presented to them by Mugabe and serve not only
Zimbabweans but the region.

Mugabe cannot complain against SADC for he would long have left office were
it not for the unwarranted cowardly support he got from SADC.

SADC, for once, should make Africa proud by heading off a tragedy instead of
coddling a murderer who will soon make them run around looking for donor
money to assist both the region and Zimbabwe.

Come on, SADC, justify your existence, for once!
*Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean journalist.

With flight of teachers, education collapses

Boston Globe

 By Los Angeles Times / April 13, 2008
MUFAKOSE, Zimbabwe - The first to go was the English teacher. Six months
later, the commerce teacher followed. The next year, 2005, the trickle
turned into an exodus.

By 2007, the departures from Mufakose 3 High School were like bricks in a
collapsing building: math, science, accounting and many other teachers, all
leaving their careers to work as cleaners, shop assistants, and laborers in
other countries.
Zimbabwe's education system, once the best in Africa, is being demolished
teacher by teacher.

Some of the teachers at Mufakose 3, outside the capital, Harare, called in
sick and were never seen at the school again. Others didn't bother to call
and just disappeared.

"You'd come to school and someone's not there, and next thing you hear, he's
gone," said Knox Sonopai, 43, a history teacher at Mufakose 3.

In 2007, about 25,000 teachers fled the country, according to the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe. In the first two months of this
year, 8,000 more disappeared. A staggering 150,000 teaching vacancies can't
be filled. The Education Ministry sends out high school graduates with no
degree or experience to do the job.

In a country where the official inflation rate is 100,000 percent, teachers
simply can't afford to teach.

Before last month's national elections, teachers went on strike to protest
salaries of 500 million Zimbabwean dollars a month, about $10 in US
currency. Their salaries went up 700 percent to end the strike - aid,
perhaps not coincidentally, just before the vote - but the raise is being
gobbled by hyperinflation.

"One hundred percent of teachers have resigned, mentally, even though they
remain in schools," said the teachers union president, Takavafira Zhou.
"They're no longer interested in teaching. They're just looking for
somewhere to go.

"The education system is a vital hub of the country. It has a ripple effect.
In the long term, the country will suffer very much."

Francis, a teacher at neighboring Mufakose 1 High School who declined to
give his last name for fear of dismissal, said 60 of 110 teachers there left
last year.

"Every holiday we lose more teachers," he said.

Last October, history teacher Sonopai and a colleague, Clever Mudadi, 33,
gambled their lives crossing the crocodile-infested Limpopo River into South
Africa. They tried to get work as teachers but ended up as laborers digging
foundations for about $15 a week. In the end, humiliated by the work, they
turned around and returned home.

"It was bad," Mudadi said. "We lost a lot of weight. We felt hurt. I can't
describe it."

Teachers used to be some of the most respected people in Zimbabwean
communities, but now "you are the laughingstock of the community," said
primary school teacher Richard Tshuma, 35.

At rallies before the elections, which saw the ruling ZANU-PF party lose its
parliamentary majority for the first time in 28 years, President Robert
Mugabe made a point of giving out computers to teach children computer
literacy. In most schools, computers are a dream. Textbooks are so scarce
that 35 children must share one, according to the teachers union. Children
sit crammed 80 to a classroom, sometimes on the floor.

With education standards plummeting, the pass rate for the high school exams
called the O-levels fell from about 70 percent in the mid-1990s to 13
percent last year. The higher education system is equally troubled, starving
Zimbabwe's hospitals of doctors and the mining sector of engineers.

"The technical institutions have been smashed," said Tony Hawkins, an
independent economist. "We can't regenerate our own skills."

News Analysis: Zimbabwe risks falling into Kenya-style

xinhua  2008-04-13 15:27:41

    HARARE, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Tensions in Zimbabwe escalated on
Sunday after announcement of a recount of the March 29 general elections'
votes, raising fears that the South African nation may fall into Kenya-style
post-election chaos.

    State media reported that 23 out of 210 constituencies will be
recounted next Saturday.

    As news of the recount came, leaders of Southern African countries
convened in the Zambian capital of Lusaka on Saturday for an emergency
meeting to break the impasse in Zimbabwe.

     Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was absent from the regional

    The African nation held elections for parliamentarians, local
councilors and president on March 29, but the failure to release
presidential results has triggered a serious crisis.

    Chairman of the Southern African Development Community and Zambian
President Levy Mwanawasa, who called the Lusaka summit several days ago,
said the delay in announcing the presidential race result has evoked "a
climate of tension" in the Zambian neighbor.

     After the March 29 elections, Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) claimed its leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won
outright in the presidential race.

    However, there were also reports indicating that neither incumbent
President Mugabe nor Tsvangirai has secured enough votesfor an outright

    While Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front envisions a run-off, the opposition has ruled out Tsvangirai's
participation, saying that a second round would be undemocratic due to
Mugabe's intimidation tactics.

    "What the war veterans are doing is preparing for a re-run because
Mugabe realizes that an announcement that he has won outright will not be
believed," said political analyst Lovemore Madhuku.

    Madhuku was referring to the independence war veterans that the
opposition said Mugabe had sent out to ensure a second round victory.

    "You will get the war veterans again on the war path. If there is
a runoff the war veterans would make it difficult for some people to turn
out to vote," said Madhuku, a critic of Mugabe and chairman of pressure
group, the National Constitutional Assembly.

     The opposition has also called for a general strike to be launched
from Tuesday, the day after a court is due to rule on its bid to force the
publication of the election result.

    The political turmoil has added insult to injury for a nation
which is deeply trapped in an economic crisis.

    With inflation raging at higher and prices soaring irrationally,
the government introduced earlier this month a 50-million-dollar Zimbabwe
note, which could only buy three loaves of bread then and is depreciating

    The International Monetary Fund said Saturday that even before the
disputed March 29 election, things were bad in Zimbabwe.

    It added that independent finance houses calculated inflation at
around 290,000 percent in Zimbabwe compared to the official figure of
100,500 percent.

    If not properly handled, the crisis in Zimbabwe has the risk of
escalating toward the style of the deadly riots in Kenya, which was once one
of Africa's most stable countries. The recent clashes in Kenya left more
than 1,000 people killed and 350,000 others displaced.

Britain to press China on Mugabe

The Australian

April 14, 2008

LONDON: A senior British cabinet minister has flown to Beijing in an attempt
to persuade China to drop its support for the Mugabe Government in Zimbabwe.

Amid a flurry of high-stakes diplomacy at the weekend to resolve the crisis
in the southern African nation, the British Foreign Office minister
responsible for Africa, Mark Malloch-Brown, paid a discreet visit to China.

In the past, the Chinese, who have a veto on the UN Security Council, have
prevented Zimbabwe from being raised at the council. China insisted the
crisis in Zimbabwe was an internal matter and did not constitute a
"violation of international peace and security", the prerequisite for UN
Security Council action.

With China under growing international pressure over Tibet, Darfur and
Burma, the British calculation was that Beijing was unlikely to take a stand
over the crumbling Mugabe regime.

The China visit comes as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sets off on a
four-day trip to the US this week, where he will attend a meeting at the UN
and meet US President George W. Bush for talks.

The key event could be the UN fixture rather than Mr Brown's White House
date. It is at the UN, in the company of President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa, that senior British officials hope progress may be made to hasten
the end of the rule of Robert Mugabe and begin Zimbabwe's path to

Western experts warn that dislodging the 84-year-old dictator and
orchestrating a peaceful handover of power is a huge challenge, one that
notably eluded Tony Blair and a succession of British foreign secretaries.

But there is a real sense in Whitehall that Mugabe has at most weeks or
months left in office, and that Britain can play a decisive role behind the
scenes to ensure the great survivor of southern African politics does not
wriggle off the hook.

The next challenge is to overcome the cautious behaviour of Zimbabwe's
African neighbours. This was being made easier by the refusal by Mugabe to
attend an emergency summit on Zimbabwe in Zambia yesterday of the 14-member
Southern African Development Community.

Mugabe's non-appearance reinforced the impression that he was no longer in
control of the country, which some suspect may already have passed into the
hands of the security elite around the President.

The recent violence, combined with the collapsing Zimbabwean economy, record
inflation and the flight of millions of citizens to neighbouring states,
will give Mr Brown the opportunity to argue that Zimbabwe now requires the
urgent attention of the UN Security Council.

Getting the issue before the security council could be a hugely significant
first step. The council has the power to enforce international law,
authorise the use of force and send in peace-keeping troops in the event of

- The Times

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 12th April 2008

There was gloom at Mugabe’s moves to prolong his regime. Hail in April matched the lousy situation in Zimbabwe.  Our tarpaulin protecting us from the rain was again a source of great entertainment as we prodded it with umbrellas to get rid of pools of water, showering unsuspecting people. 

Stendrick Zvorwadza of our partner organization Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR Zim) came to the Vigil straight from the airport to give us a first hard account of what is happening at home.  Meanwhile Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani was busy trying to organize medication for his nephew who had been beaten up by Zanu PF in Harare.

Lucky Moyo of Black Umfolozi fame has invited Zimbabwean musicians in the UK to join him at the Vigil next Saturday, 19th April to speak out on the situation in Zimbabwe. He says “as much as we may want to be apolitical we are social commentators.  We must play a part by reflecting in song what pathways our society has taken over the last 28 years”. Regular Vigil supporter Willard Karanga, formerly of Thomas Mapfumo’s band, will be one musician who will support Lucky’s initiative.

Before then Vigil supporters will be taking part in a demonstration outside the Embassy marking Independence Day on Friday, 18th April.  The event is organised by Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement.  We will be protesting about the way the election has been handled.

Our friends in Glasgow held their second Vigil today.  They report a successful afternoon with increased attendance and concern and interest from Scottish passers-by.  They are pleased that they now have their own drum.

For this week’s Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD: 136 signed the register.

·        Friday, 18th April 2008, 12 – 2 pm. Demonstration outside the Zimbabwe Embassy London with ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) to protest at the way the election has been handled.
·        Saturday, 19th April 2008 – Zimbabwean musicians in the UK will be joining Lucky Moyo at the Vigil to make their voices heard at this critical time in Zimbabwe.
·        Saturday, 26th April 2008, 2 – 6 pm. Next Glasgow Vigil. Venue: Argyle Street Precinct. For more information, contact: Ancilla Chifamba, 07770 291 150 and Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137.

Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.