2 hours ago
HARARE (AFP) — Zimbabweans awaited Monday a court ruling that could finally
mean they will find out whether Robert Mugabe or opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai won the presidential election more than two weeks ago.
All eyes will be on Justice Tendai Uchena as he decides whether to force
Zimbabwe's electoral commission to immediately declare the result of the
March 29 poll. A ruling was expected from around 1230 GMT.
Zimbabwe's opposition challenged Sunday a recount it said was loaded towards
President Mugabe's party as rigging allegations were traded and regional
leaders failed to apply much pressure on the situation.
State media reported that 23 of Zimbabwe's 210 constituencies would be
recounted next Saturday, three weeks after general elections.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it was
mounting a legal challenge to the recount order, which in theory could lead
to Mugabe's ruling party regaining control of parliament.
At Saturday's emergency summit in Lusaka, Southern African leaders discussed
the post-election impasse long into the night, but were always unlikely to
find a swift solution after Mugabe decided to stay away.
They stopped short of criticising the Zimbabwean government or Mugabe, who
was not even mentioned in a four-page joint statement that called only for
the result of the presidential poll to be delivered as "expeditiously" as
Regional leaders have been chided for their traditional reluctance to speak
out against Mugabe, seen by many as an elder statesman who still deserves
respect for his role in winning Zimbabwe's independence.
Nevertheless many are fed up with the economic mess on their doorstep with
inflation in Zimbabwe now well into six figures, unemployment at over 80
percent and average life expectancy down to 36 years of age.
Opposition leader Tsvangirai was in Lusaka trying to press his claim of
outright victory in the March 29 presidential election and persuade
participants to apply pressure on Mugabe to end his 28-year rule.
His number two, MDC secretary general Tendai Biti, said the opposition was
broadly happy with the outcome of the summit but expressed reservations over
the continuation of South African President Thabo Mbeki's role.
Mbeki was chief mediator between the governing ZANU-PF party and
Tsvangirai's MDC in the build-up to the election, but has come under fire
for his policy of "quiet diplomacy".
On his way to Lusaka to join other leaders and delegations of the 14-nation
Southern African Development Community (SADC), Mbeki dropped in on Harare
and held his first face-to-face talks with Mugabe since the disputed
"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, insisting there was "no crisis" in his northern
Mbeki must show "more vigour, more openness and a complete abandonment of
the policy of quiet diplomacy," Biti told journalists in Lusaka.
Meanwhile a British national and an American journalist charged with
reporting on Zimbabwe's election without official accreditation were due to
appear in Harare magistrate court later on Monday.
14th Apr 2008 01:44 GMT
By SADC Secretariat
2008 FIRST EXTRA-ORDINARY SADC SUMMIT OF HEADS
OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
13 APRIL 2008
1. The Extra-ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government or their
representatives of SADC met in Lusaka, Zambia to discuss the political
developments in Zimbabwe following the recent Presidential, Senatorial,
National Assembly and Local Authorities elections’ held on 29 March 2008.
2. The meeting was chaired by His Excellency, President Dr Levy Patrick
Mwanawasa S.C, Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and President of the Republic of Zambia.
3. The Extra-ordinary Summit was attended by the following Heads of State
Zambia H.E. President Dr. Levy P. Mwanawasa,
Chairperson of SADC
Angola H.E President José Eduardo dos Santos
Chairperson of Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation
Botswana H.E. President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama
DRC H.E. President Joseph Kabila
Mozambique H.E. President Armando Emilio Guebuza
Namibia H.E. President Hifikepunye Pohamba
South Africa H.E. President Thabo Mbeki
Malawi H.E. President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika
Kingdom of Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla
Mauritius Hon. James B. David, Minister for Local Government
Kingdom of Hon. Charles S. Magongo, Minister for Public
Swaziland Service and Information
United Republic Hon. Seif A. Iddi, Deputy Minister for
of Tanzania Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Zimbabwe Hon. Emmerson D. Mnangagwa, Minister of Rural Housing and
Madagascar H.E. Ambassador Dr. Dennis Andriamandroso
4. In his opening remarks, the SADC Chairperson welcomed their Excellencies,
Heads of State and Government to Lusaka, Zambia and indicated that the
purpose of the Extra-ordinary Summit was to discuss the recent events in
Zimbabwe following the elections in Zimbabwe in an open, objective and
honest manner. In this regard, SADC re-affirmed its commitment to assist the
parties to deal with the current situation.
5. The Extra-ordinary Summit was held in line with SADC objectives to
promote common political values and systems transmitted through institutions
that are democratic, legitimate and effective to facilitate the
consolidation of democracy, peace, security and stability.
6. The Summit welcomed and congratulated H.E. Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian
Khama, President of Botswana on his assumption of office.
7. The Extra-ordinary Summit noted and appreciated the briefing by H.E
President José Eduardo dos Santos, Chairperson of the Organ on Politics,
Defense and Security Cooperation on the Report of the SADC Electoral
Observer Mission deployed in Zimbabwe during the election.
8. The Summit noted that the Report of the Chairperson of the Organ, on the
elections in Zimbabwe indicated that the electoral process was acceptable to
all parties. Summit commended the Chairperson of the Organ for the manner in
which the Observer Mission was handled. At the time of holding the
Extra-ordinary Summit, the results of the Presidential election had not been
announced by the election authorities.
9. The Summit commended the people of Zimbabwe for the peaceful and orderly
manner in which they conducted themselves before, during and after the
10. The Summit commended the Government of Zimbabwe for ensuring that
elections were conducted in a peaceful environment.
11. The Summit congratulated and thanked the SADC Facilitator, President
Mbeki and his Facilitation Team, for the role they had played in helping to
contribute to the successful holding of elections. Summit requested
President Mbeki to continue in his role as Facilitator on Zimbabwe on the
12. The Extra-ordinary Summit noted and appreciated the brief by the
delegation of the Government of Zimbabwe on the elections held in Zimbabwe.
The Government of Zimbabwe indicated that the elections were held in a free
and peaceful environment. The Government expressed concerns at instances of
inaccuracy of some figures relating to the House of Assembly, Senate and
13. Member States, with the exception of Zimbabwe, held informal
consultations with Presidential candidates, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and independent candidate, Dr. Simba
Makoni. Both, opposition leaders confirmed that the elections were held in a
free, fair and peaceful environment. Whilst they do not have a problem with
the election results of the Senatorial, Parliamentary and Local Authority
elections, they expressed concerns on the delay in announcing the results as
well as lack of their participation in the verification process of the
Presidential results currently being conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral
14. 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. Summit also urged all the parties in the electoral process
in Zimbabwe to accept the results when they are announced. By due process
of law, Summit understood to mean that:
(a) the verification and counting must be done in the presence of
candidates and/or their agents, if they so wish, who must all sign the
authenticity of such verification and counting.
(b) SADC offers to send its Election Observer Mission who would be present
throughout such verification and counting.
15. If such verification and counting makes it necessary for the parties to
go for a run-off, the Government is urged to ensure that the run-off
elections are held in a secure environment. SADC offers to send an Election
16. The Summit appeals to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to ensure strict
compliance with the rule of law and SADC Principles and Guidelines governing
17. The Summit expressed its deep appreciation for the gracious hospitality
extended to them by the Government of Zambia.
Done at Mulungushi International Conference Centre
13 April 2008
Updated 1 hour 53 minutes ago
Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party is urging an indefinite strike and has
rejected the Election Commission's announcement that a partial recount will
be held. [Reuters]
Zimbabwe's opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change has called
for an indefinite national strike tomorrow.
It says it is also mounting a legal challenge to the Election Commision's
announcement that a recount is to be held in 23 consitutencies.
The MDC claims the recount will be loaded towards favouring the ruling
ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.
"We reject any attempt to recount the votes that were cast on the 29th March
for the simple reason that it is not legal," Movement for Democratic Change
spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.
"It is a serious trap; they would want to reverse the people's vote, they
would want to discount the people's vote and the people's verdict and that
is why we are not going to allow and accept this situation whereby they're
talking about a recount," he added.
MDC opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims to have won the presidential
Reports from Zimbabwe say independent tallies found Mr Tsvangirai did win
the most votes, but not enough to avoid a run-off.
Emergency summit in Zambia 'a failure'
The recount was announced at the weekend as southern African leaders held an
emergency summit in neighbouring Zambia.
The all-night, marathon meeting ended on Sunday without issuing a demand for
results from the March 29 elections to be announced immediately, as
requested by the Zimbabwean opposition and members of the international
community, including Britain.
"This is a completely intolerable situation, its now time that having had an
election the democratic rights of Zimbabwe are now respected," British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown told reporters on Sunday.
" think it's important that if an election took place two weeks ago, a
presidential election, where we know the votes have been counted and that
the votes are published, and I think its important to send a message that
the right, the democratic rights of the Zimbabwean people, who have voted in
these elections, have got to be respected.
"And I think the whole international community wants not only the results to
be published but wants to know that the election were fair and can be seen
to be fair."
By Peter Clottey
14 April 2008
Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangira is calling for mass protest today (Monday) across the
country to press home the opposition’s demand for incumbent President Robert
Mugabe to step down. The MDC has accused the government of an attempt to
thwart its victory in the March 29 election in order to force a run-off. The
MDC has also expressed dissatisfaction with the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission’s refusal to release results of the presidential election more
than two weeks after the vote, saying it will legally challenge the
commission’s plan for a partial poll recount.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe High Court is due to rule today on the opposition
MDC’s application to force the electoral commission to announce the results
of the presidential election.
Mark Fungano is a Zimbabwean political analyst with the University of Cape
Town in South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey Zimbabweans need to
stand up to protect their votes.
“Morgan has called for a general strike today (Monday) in Zimbabwe, and what
we now need to see is whether the people of Zimbabwe are going to heed to
his call. As you are aware, previous calls for strike and protests and
boycotts in Zimbabwe have not been really successful, and one hopes that he
can be able to capitalize on the anxiety and the frustration in Zimbabwe,
and these people are likely to boycott,” Fungano pointed.
He said Tsvangirai’s call for a mass protest could be detrimental to the MDC’s
objective if it fails to materialize.
“I know that boycotts and mass stay-aways in Zimbabwe are highly successful.
But what I’m it sure about is people marching in the streets of Harare in
this time. And looking at the current environment where all the police and
the militias have been deployed, I think it would be a very risky venture
and to be playing into the hands of Robert Mugabe who is waiting for an
opportunity to declare a state of emergency,” he said.
Fungano said the weekend’s meeting of heads of state and government of
Southern African Development Community (SADC) to find a way out of the
Zimbabwe’s political crisis would be insignificant.
“I don’t think much is going to come out of the SADC initiative. I think we’ve
had numerous meetings that have been held by SADC and the best that they are
able to come up with is a communiqué that would say both parties need to
communicate and they need to discuss,” Fungano noted.
He said South African President Thabo Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy towards the
Zimbabwe crisis would not significantly change anytime soon.
“I don’t think that Thabo Mbeki is going to shift from his stands unless the
ANC (South Africa’s Ruling African National Congress party) leadership led
by Jacob Zuma who has categorically stated that the results needs to be
released and they are taking a different approach to Zimbabwe, I think that
is the only thing that can push him (Mbeki). But other than that, I think he
is going to maintain his quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe because the risky thing
about him being confrontational on Zimbabwe is that Mugabe is waiting for an
opportunity to also shut the door from SADC. And I think the moment that
happens I think the laws of the jungle will prevail in Zimbabwe and Mugabe
will not communicate with anybody and he will ensure that he can now become
an outright dictatorship in Zimbabwe,” he said.
April 14, 2008
The next 48 hours could shape the fate of Zimbabwe
Any remaining doubts about Robert Mugabe's response to Zimbabwe's
presidential election were demolished at the weekend. He intends to steal
it. Gone are the hopes that he might retreat to his suburban mansion under
cover of a guarantee of immunity from prosecution. The idea that he might
heed a united call to step down at Saturday's emergency regional summit is,
likewise, a memory. It is now painfully clear that Mr Mugabe intends to keep
the presidency by force if necessary, and reverse his historic parliamentary
defeat of March 29 into the bargain.
This is the significance of the 23 recounts demanded by Mr Mugabe's Zanu
(PF) party and granted by the Zimbabwe electoral commission. Zanu (PF) needs
only nine more seats to win back control of Parliament. Given the
intimidation already unleashed by loyalist “war veterans” in key
constituencies, the regime's desired result appears a foregone conclusion.
But it would be a crime against the people of Zimbabwe. It would mark the
worst failure to date of the policy of “quiet diplomacy” by which South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has claimed for eight years to be reining in
Mr Mugabe's de facto dictatorship. And it would make a mockery of Britain's
longstanding support for this policy.
Western governments hoped the weekend summit in Lusaka would produce a
regional solution to Zimbabwe's crisis. It did not. Mr Mugabe said he would
attend, then decided not to. Mr Mbeki paid court to him instead, declaring
afterwards, against the evidence of four million Zimbabwean refugees in his
own country, that were was “no crisis”. The SADC summit closed with a
statement that made no mention of Mr Mugabe but did include a surreal plea
for the release of election results “in accordance with the due process of
law” - in a country that tore up due process nearly ten years ago. In London
yesterday, Downing Street welcomed that statement.
The Movement for Democratic Change has vowed to challenge the proposed
recounts in court tomorrow, and has called a general strike for the same
day. If the intimidation of the past two weeks is any guide, both
initiatives appear doomed. But on Wednesday the spotlight will shift from
Harare to New York, where Mr Mbeki and Gordon Brown will have a chance -
perhaps their last - to pluck diplomatic victory from the jaws of
humiliation. British efforts to lead effective action against Mr Mugabe at
the UN have hitherto foundered on two obstacles: the non-cooperation of
powerful members, notably China, out of narrow self-interest, and Mr
Mugabe's skill in turning criticism by Zimbabwe's former colonial master to
domestic advantage. But his rhetoric no longer wins elections, and as the
Olympic torch stumbles round the world, China's overwhelming need is to
burnish its image, not tarnish it further.
This is decision time for Mr Brown. Has “quiet diplomacy” worked? After
eight years, the only positive item on the balance sheet is one tolerably
fair election, and it is about to be stolen. At the UN Mr Brown should
therefore heed his bolder advisers and, with Mr Mbeki, call for a resolution
that would demand full publication of the election results and reserve the
power to imposed targeted sanctions on Mr Mugabe's inner circle, who are
clinging to power even more anxiously than their leader. They have brought
their people purgatory, not liberation, and they have blood on their hands.
If the UN fails to act, it will be complicit.
The longer Mugabe and Zanu (PF) remain in power, the worse Zimbabwe's
already apalling condition will become, and the more reconstruction will
cost. The West will, inevitably, be called upon to pay for it. However, if
Western leaders make it clear that the costs will be borne out of the
overall Africa aid budget, which is what largely funds Mbeki and co's
opulent lifestyles, it might just concentrate their minds a little.
gordon w, didcot, UK
By Peta Thornycroft and Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg
Last Updated: 2:41am BST 14/04/2008
The Zimbabwe Election Commission ordered a recount of votes in more
than a tenth of constituencies yesterday in a move condemned by the
opposition as ballot rigging.
The decision by the ZEC - which has still to announce the result of
the presidential election held more than two weeks ago - was in response to
claims by the ruling Zanu-PF party that the parliamentary results had been
rigged by the opposition.
The Movement for Democratic Change won 109 seats in the 210-member
House of Assembly, with Zanu-PF on 97.
The Daily Telegraph revealed last week that ballot boxes were being
stuffed with extra papers at a police station in Harare to boost Zanu-PF's
The MDC said it would challenge the decision in court.
Welshman Ncube, an opposition activist and a co-author of Zimbabwe's
electoral law, said: "ZEC is acting in collusion with Zanu-PF, and if they
think any of us believe them when they are a gang of fraudsters they can go
"They have custody of the ballot boxes and so what guarantee have we
got they didn't go back and tamper with the ballots? Clearly they have
opened these boxes and put ballots in there. So the outcome of the recount
is a foregone conclusion.
"Morgan Tsvangirai [leader of the MDC] won a clear majority - that is
why the results have not been released."
George Chiweshe, the ZEC chairman, said both the commission and
Zanu-PF were complying with the law. "Are you calling me a liar?" he
challenged The Daily Telegraph.
As tension rose in the wake of the disputed results, Zanu-PF militants
continued to carry out violent reprisals against people suspected of voting
for the MDC.
Sikhoanyiso Ndlovu, Zimbabwe's information minister, said the army
would not intervene in the crisis and rejected MDC claims that the country
was being run by a military junta.
"The army will not fight against Zimbabweans because it is there to
protect them, but it will definitely meet any foreign invading forces bent
on reversing the gains of our independence," he said.
Zimbabwe's elections were discussed at an emergency summit of the
Southern African Development Community on Saturday. Mr Mugabe boycotted the
meeting in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, in protest at what he regarded as
meddling in his country's affairs.
The Zambian president, Levy Mwanawasa, who called Zimbabwe a "sinking
Titanic" last year, gave a clear hint for Mr Mugabe to stand down.
"At critical times great men and women have taken bold steps for the
benefit of posterity," he said. "That critical time has come."
Zimbabwe's neighbours called for the rule of law to be maintained and
an "expeditious" release of the presidential result, but gave no deadline.
The leaders' communiqué misrepresented the opposition view of the
elections, stating that: "Both opposition leaders confirmed that the
elections were held in a free, fair and peaceful environment."
New York Times
By CELIA W. DUGGER and LYDIA POLGREEN
Published: April 13, 2008
LUSAKA, Zambia — After a marathon session to address Zimbabwe’s political
impasse, southern Africa’s political leaders on Sunday urged the government
of President Robert Mugabe to permit representatives of the opposition to be
present when vote tabulations are verified, handing the opposition a
Zimbabwean election officials have yet to announce the winner of the
presidential election held two weeks ago, spawning widespread suspicions
that Mr. Mugabe was refusing to accept his own defeat. Opposition parties
and independent election observers have complained that government
authorities have denied their access to the command center where the final
stage of vote counting is conducted.
In a statement after its all-night, 12-hour session, the Southern African
Development Community, a regional bloc of 14 nations, also implicitly
acknowledged reports that the governing party had sponsored violent attacks
on opposition supporters since the election on March 29 by urging the
government to ensure that a runoff, if needed, will be held “in a secure
The bloc of nations, known as S.A.D.C., offered to send election observers
to monitor the vote counting process and a possible runoff.
Mr. Mugabe did not attend the summit meeting, and his representatives left
the session without making any public comments.
Kabinga Pande, Zambia’s minister of foreign affairs, said Sunday morning,
after the heads of state and ministers had adjourned at 5 a.m., that the
main opposition presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, who made his case
to the leaders on Saturday night, should be pleased with the outcome of the
meeting “because we’ve taken care of all his concerns.”
And, indeed, when the No. 2 man in Mr. Tsvangirai’s party, Tendai Biti, took
questions after Mr. Pande finished speaking, he praised the African leaders.
“This is a major improvement and S.A.D.C. has acquitted itself relatively
well,” he said.
But Mr. Biti did not answer a question about whether Mr. Tsvangirai would
participate in a runoff if recommendations from the summit meeting were
carried out. Instead he reiterated the party’s position. “We won this
election without need of a runoff and that position has not changed,” he
But it will be difficult for Mr. Tsvangirai to justify a boycott at this
In an interview on Friday, Mr. Tsvangirai said his goal from the meeting was
to win guarantees that the vote counting would be fairly conducted and the
results were credible, and that a runoff, if needed, would be closely
monitored by outsiders to ensure it took place free of intimidation,
harassment and violence against his supporters.
“I know we can win an election and humiliate Mugabe in a second round of
voting,” Mr. Tsvangirai said then.
Results were posted for legislative elections held on the same day as the
presidential vote, and Mr. Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, lost its majority in
Parliament. Over the past week the governing party has demanded recounts
involving an increasing number of seats.
On Sunday, a state-owned newspaper, The Sunday Mail, reported that votes for
23 seats would be recounted Saturday, raising the possibility that the
opposition’s victory could be reversed, Reuters reported.
Zimbabwe’s people are already suffering from hyperinflation of more than
100,000 percent. Essentials like bread and soap have all but disappeared
from many shops, according to news reports.
The government has banned political rallies, while the opposition called for
a general strike.
Mr. Mugabe’s decision not to attend the meeting in Lusaka was apparently a
snub to Zambia’s president, Levy Mwanawasa, who leads the regional bloc and
once compared Zimbabwe to a sinking ship.
Celia W. Dugger reported from Lusaka, and Lydia Polgreen from Dakar,
The Times, SA
Justice Malala: Monday Morning Matters Published:Apr 14, 2008
Master of denial’s latest gaffe
I have to confess that I am plunged into a deep, dark well of despair every
time President Thabo Mbeki opens his mouth on Zimbabwe. I am praying for the
elections next year so that this incompetent can be bundled out of office.
He is a disgrace to South Africa and to Africa.
On Saturday, Mbeki had an hour-long meeting with the election-thief Robert
Mugabe in Harare. Emerging from this meeting, our wonderful president said:
“There is no crisis in Zimbabwe.”
According to the Sunday Times, when Mbeki was asked about the invasion of
white- owned farms and the beating-up of farm workers, he said: “I wouldn’t
describe that as a crisis. It’s a normal electoral process in Zimbabwe. We
have to wait for the Zimbabwe electoral commission to release the results.”
Mbeki says there is no crisis but, more than two weeks after they voted, the
Zimbabwean people are being denied the right to an election result. He says
there is no crisis, but the people are living under martial law. Opposition
MDC lawyers have been harassed, South African equipment seized, and
thousands of soldiers, police and members of youth militias are roaming the
On April 7 2004, Mbeki made a speech in Kigali, Rwanda, where, in 1994, at
least 800000 people were killed while the world looked on. Mbeki apologised
to the people of Rwanda, saying that South Africa had been looking inwards,
at its own elections and transition, and had not spoken up about what was
happening in that country.
Then he said: “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 recur anywhere
in the world, stand by as Africans were exterminated like pernicious vermin?
“Why were General Romeo Dallaire and his undermanned contingent of UN
peacekeepers abandoned by the same people who sent them to Rwanda?
“Why did those who dispose of enormous global power that has been used to
determine the fate of all humanity decide that the slaughter in Yugoslavia
had to be stopped at all costs, whereas the bigger slaughter in Rwanda
should be allowed to run its course?
“Have all the guilty been identified, whatever their contribution to the
commission of the genocide? Have the necessary lessons been learnt? What are
those lessons? Who has learnt them? What have these people done with the
knowledge they have acquired?”
Reading these words today, and looking at the tragedy of Zimbabwe, one
wonders what lessons Mbeki himself has drawn. Is his silence and conniving
with Mugabe – and now with the military chiefs who have stolen the
election – what has he learnt?
Mbeki has for ages blamed the West and the UN for the Rwanda genocide. No
doubt, when Zimbabwe is discussed, he will once again conveniently blame the
West. But truth is persistent.
Mbeki supports and connives with Mugabe. When the war crimes tribunal for
Zimbabwe is set up, Mbeki will loom over it as a supporter of Mugabe.
There is an inexplicable impulse in Mbeki to refuse to see the truth . In
the run-up to the ANC’s Polokwane conference last year, he repeatedly
refused to step away from the presidential race, despite incontrovertible
evidence that he was going to humiliate himself. Indeed, after Mbeki lost
even the nomination of the ANC Women’s League to Jacob Zuma, he nevertheless
said on TV that he would contest the presidency.
What is happening in the South African government today with regard to
Zimbabwe is not foreign policy. It is what happens when a single individual
ignores the voice of his own party and people to ram through his own
personal and jaundiced view. Our foreign policy has been hijacked to suit
Mbeki’s misguided whims.
It is exactly this tendency in Mbeki – an obsessive refusal to back down and
acknowledge the truth – that led to him getting whipped in Polokwane.
By Jane Fields
THE ex-soldiers came for Tapiwa Mbwada late on Saturday.
Mr Mbwada was the organising secretary for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in Hurungwe East, northern Zimbabwe.
The attackers beat Mr Mbwada to death, according to the party's secretary
for welfare, Kerry Kay.
Mr Mbwada's wife and brother were also badly injured in the attack, carried
out by at least two men known to be former soldiers in Robert Mugabe's army,
Mrs Kay said.
Last night, there was mounting evidence that Mr Mugabe's thugs had begun
brutalising villagers and farm workers who voted against him two weeks ago,
dealing the dictator a defeat he refuses to accept.
As the official Sunday Mail newspaper proudly headlined South African
president Thabo Mbeki's claim there was "no crisis in Zimbabwe", opposition
officials spoke of beatings, burnings and villagers being driven from their
"It's mayhem out there," said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.
More than 100 people have been injured and treated since the elections,
while many more brutalised villagers are "still hiding in the bush", said
About 55 families are believed to have been chased away from a tea estate in
southern Chipinge. Meanwhile, up to 300 workers have been kicked off a farm
in the eastern Mutasa district.
War veterans and Zanu-PF thugs burnt down 30 workers' homes at Silver Stream
farm in Centenary, northern Zimbabwe after a vote count at a polling station
on the farm showed "a slight difference" between votes for Mr Mugabe and for
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader.
"They're on a rampage," said Mrs Kay. "When they're beating, they are
saying, 'We're going to teach you a lesson so next time you vote properly'."
None of the attacks has been confirmed by the police – nor are they likely
to be. Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the information minister, said Zimbabwe was at
peace. He added: "The army will not fight against Zimbabweans."
Zimbabweans, meanwhile, face another week of waiting for presidential
election results after the state electoral commission announced it would run
a recount next Saturday.
There are fears Mr Mugabe intends to use thousands of spare ballot papers
printed ahead of the polls to overturn the MDC's slim parliamentary majority
and rule by decree. Opposition lawyers said yesterday they would challenge
A judge is due to rule tomorrow on an earlier application from the
opposition to force the electoral commission to release results immediately.
The MDC has said it will embark on a national strike tomorrow if no results
Mr Tsvangirai says he won the poll outright with at least 50.3 per cent of
votes. His party says he will not take part in a second round of voting
because of the intimidation supporters face.
RIGHTS GROUP DEMANDS POLL ANSWER
AN EYE-catching advert (see above), illustrating the frustrations felt by a
growing number of Zimbabweans and calling for
the immediate release of election results, was created by the Youth
Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe (Yidez).
The group targets women aged 18-30 – which covers the majority of Zimbabwe's
female population, who have an average life expectancy of just 34.
Like another local rights group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Yidez says it
wants to empower women who have suffered socioeconomic and political
injustice in the country, where more than 80 per cent of the population
currently live below the poverty line.
Yidez is outspoken in its opposition to Robert Mugabe, whose daughter Bona
is a teenage student who voted for the first time in this year's elections.
In an article on the group's website, entitled How to Deal With Fear as a
Dictator: A Letter to My Daughter on the group's website, an activist
claims: "The most frightened person in our society is the president
The full article contains 632 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.
Last Updated: 13 April 2008 11:41 PM
The Times, SA
Charles Molele: Harare Published:Apr 13,
Despite the tension and fear of a violent crackdown on the opposition,
Zimbabweans went about their business as usual this week.
In hair salons, bars and hotel lobbies people said they were “extremely
depressed” by the political climate in the country.
“We don’t know what’s happening,” said a hairdresser in Harare. “But I can
tell you things are going to change.”
When asked how things would change when people were not on the streets to
show their outrage at the government, the hairdresser said: “We prefer it
this way. It’s calm but a lot is happening. Wait for another few days and
you will see what I mean.”
Contrary to her optimism, the crisis pervades Zimbabwean life.
The queues for bread, fuel and foreign currency are not getting any shorter.
At a Nando’s fast-food outlet there are shortages.
“Sorry, we don’t have burgers today. Only chicken. The only cool drink we
have for now is Fanta Orange.”
At a nearby store, it was the same.
“Sorry, we have no cool drinks at the moment,” said one of the cashiers at a
restaurant, with typical Zimbabwean politeness and a smile.
At Stanbic bank’s biggest branch in Harare, in Samora Machel Avenue,
desperate Zimbabweans waiting in a queue for foreign currency from their
families in foreign lands such as South Africa, the US and Britain were sent
home for the umpteenth time after the bank ran out of money again on Friday.
“I’ve been told the same story again and again for more than a week now,”
said one of the men in the queue.
Most businesses prefer to be paid cash in US dollars because the central
bank has allegedly been withholding foreign reserves to pay for the
Though times are dire in the city, nightclubs are packed with patrons eager
to drink and forget their political problems.
Harare means the place of no sleep, and it lives up to its name.
At night there are high-rollers everywhere in Hummers and BMW sedans,
dressed to the nines and looking for young women.
“I am a businessman. I work hard but I also like to have a good time. The
Hummer you saw outside is mine,” said one of the well-dressed patrons at the
popular Mannenberg jazz club.
The nightclubs Circus, Sports Diner and Tipperary’s were packed to capacity
as clubgoers partied.
Prostitutes said they were making a killing as the demand for sex had grown
during the elections.
“I make more dollars per day — close to Z200 — than when visitors are not
here,” one prostitute said outside the Sports Diner.
But by the end of the week the city’s nightlife was almost back to normal as
international journalists and election observers left the country as their
The people that remained behind held their breath.
By R.W. JOHNSON
FROM TODAY'S WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE
April 14, 2008
The mood here has greatly darkened with each sign that the regime is intent
on reversing by force the popular verdict of Zimbabwe's March 29 election.
Robert Mugabe announced last week that his ruling ZANU-PF is challenging 21
parliamentary results and recounting the presidential vote in 23
constituencies. The electoral commission has been removed to a secret venue
to which the opposition has no access. Major ballot-stuffing is feared.
Electoral officials have been arrested, and the Mugabe-loyal war veterans
It was all very different 10 days ago. The body language on the streets of
Harare was notably more up-beat as the election results slowly dribbled in.
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change had, with its allies, a
clear majority of 121-96 in parliament, and the opposition leader was ahead
of Mr. Mugabe by roughly 49% to 42% in the presidential vote. Everywhere you
could see people, beaten down by years of terror and appalling economic
adversity, just daring to hope for the first time. You even began to notice
the odd MDC T-shirt and even, very daringly, an MDC-marked vehicle parked
outside party headquarters at Harvest House on Nelson Mandela Street.
Harvest House itself, so often the focus of police raids, wore a proud
ribbon of bunting announcing that it housed the MDC. Whenever the crowd in
the street thought Mr. Tsvangirai might be about to arrive there were shouts
of euphoria and triumph.
Everywhere people talked excitedly of the changes they wanted to see.
Despite Mr. Mugabe's ceaseless propaganda attacks on Britain and the U.S.,
these two countries were seen as saviors, the ones most likely to help
quickly with food aid to prevent further starvation and with emergency funds
to restabilize the currency. It was useless for ZANU-PF to talk of this as a
neocolonial outcome: Neocolonialism sounds pretty good to the man in the
Harare street, and he would happily vote for just that.
The news traveled fast that Gordon Brown had said that, if there was a
democratic change, British aid could be there in just three days. Around the
long queues waiting outside every bank – you can only draw out half a
billion Zimbabwean dollars a day (about $12) – you saw many torn bank notes
lying on the pavement, for all notes now bear an expiry date after which
they cease to be valid. The thought of money which is actually worth
something, which can buy real goods, is now as exciting to people in the
queues as manna from heaven.
By the end of the week before last, the question being asked was: If Mr.
Mugabe unleashes a fresh wave of terror, using the Green Bombers (his youth
movement thugs) and the war vets (strengthened by placing senior army
officers, masquerading as veterans, at the head of every unit), how would
this affect the voting in the presidential run-off? My own estimate was that
this would not be enough to prevent Mr. Tsvangirai from winning: The
prospect of change was too exciting and too many people had glimpsed it.
In any case, Simba Makoni, the third-place candidate, had already lent his
support to Mr. Tsvangirai, so pushing him over the 50% line would be almost
a formality – provided there was an honest count. And provided, in
particular, that officials adhered to the new rule of counting ballot boxes
at the polling station at which they were cast, with the results posted
publicly outside. This rule has made cheating a great deal harder in this
election. So a key question is whether that rule will be upheld for the
In the days which have since elapsed it has become clear that Mr. Mugabe and
his hard-liners are willing to do whatever is required to cheat their way
back to power. The Zimbabwe Election Commission members have been forcibly
hidden away where no one but ZANU-PF can have access to them, and the
election data is now classified as a matter of national security. No one
doubts that Mr. Mugabe has appointed enough crooked judges to be able to
rely on them to reverse results in his favor.
Of course the theft of the election will be obvious to the world, but the
regime's credibility could hardly be lower anyway. And you can see why. Take
Gideon Gono, governor of the central bank, the man who prints all the money.
He has now acquired huge land holdings – one stolen farm after another – and
should Mr. Mugabe lose power he will surely cease to be a land holder on
such a scale. Most of the other ZANU-PF elite are in the same position and a
lot of their wealth is inside Zimbabwe: They cannot just flit abroad and
continue to live the same lifestyle there. So they will do whatever is
necessary to hang on.
Does that mean they will just hang on forever? No, says Tony Hawkins, the
country's top economist. Mr. Hawkins reckons that inflation is now nearing
200,000% and has worked out that if you count in what is already in the
pipeline – the huge wage increases conceded on election eve, the ratcheting
up of the government debt at enormous rates of interest, and so forth – then
the inflation rate will hit 500,000% by June. He cannot imagine any
government coping with that. Normal life of any kind will simply become
impossible. Instead, whoever is in government will simply have to throw
themselves on the mercy of the international financial community – whose
first demand will be for Mr. Mugabe to stand down.
One cannot rule out this scenario. It is doubtful if the hard-liners now
making decisions are relying on anything but gut instinct. They have no
medium- or long-term plan; they just know desperately that they don't want
to lose power or their ill-gotten gains. However, Mr. Mugabe will not go
just because it's rational to do so. He will get into his bunker and rage
against the world from there, just as Hitler did. In the end someone will
have to push him. It would have been better by far if the electorate had
been allowed to push him out now.
The alternative, if we're forced to that, will be a push from some sort of
warlord or military renegade as the economy, society and political power all
break down together. Not only is that situation likely to be very messy, but
many more people will die on the way to it.
Mr. Johnson is southern Africa correspondent for the London Sunday Times
13/04/2008 23:01 - (SA)
Cape Town - Parliamentarians cannot remain silent about Zimbabwe, a case of
"democracy gone wrong", National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete said in Cape
Town on Sunday.
A SADC special meeting in Lusaka on Saturday had urged a speedy resolution
to a "democratic process gone wrong", Mbete said to applause at the opening
of the 118th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting.
"We look forward to a lasting solution in the interest of peace and
stability in Zimbabwe and in the SADC region."
Another major concern was the "rapidly deteriorating situation" in several
countries in the world.
Economic slowdown in US
The Middle East, particularly Palestine, remained a "serious threat" to
peace and stability, she said, again to applause.
"The building of the wall, the violations of human rights and the continuous
aggression must stop immediately."
Also of concern was the economic slowdown in the United States and rising
food and oil prices which had severely affected developing nations.
The IPU, a gathering of over 140 parliaments worldwide, would try to find
solutions to the problem during the week's discussions.
Mbete also called for the IPU to work more closely with the United Nations.
More also had to be done to ensure more women were represented in the IPU
and in the delegations of member countries.
She said parliamentarians had to claim back their role as overseers of
government, both domestically and internationally.
"The view has developed among parliamentarians around the globe that we have
deferred foreign policy to the executive and have failed to ensure that the
voice of the people we represent is articulated in those policies," she
Emancipation of women
In his speech President Thabo Mbeki congratulated the IPU for its stance on
gender equality in government and programmes that focused on the
emancipation of women.
Rising food prices and the subsequent protests across the globe and in
several African countries were an "increasingly serious problem" that was
impacting negatively on efforts to fight poverty.
Hopefully the critical nature of the matter would give "some impetus" to
World Trade Organisation negotiations, he said.
He criticised the response of "very tepid, weak," to the UN's millennium
development goals, one of which was halving poverty worldwide by 2015.
Ending poverty required significant and sustained transfers of resources
from rich to poor countries.
This would not happen automatically or be driven by market forces, he said.
In his written speech, from which Mbeki omitted large sections in the
interest of brevity, he wrote that farming subsidies had allowed
"agribusiness" to expand its grip on world markets.
"Clearly, such industry concentration makes for unfair competition,
inefficient markets and inappropriate influence over policy areas such as
Mail and Guardian
Tawanda Mutasah: COMMENT
13 April 2008 11:59
On the surface, South Africa’s assumption of the presidency of
the United Nations Security Council earlier this month has no relevance for
the Zimbabwe electoral crisis. Desperate Zimbabweans could call for help
from the UN, but this call comes when South Africa is gatekeeper at the
Security Council. Pretoria has said in the past that it does not believe
Zimbabwe is an agenda item for the UN.
President Thabo Mbeki has carved himself a role in which he asks
the rest of the world to leave Zimbabwe to itself -- or in his hands. In the
wake of his meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Mbeki has
said Zimbabwe is “manageable”.
This is his verdict on a situation where presidential election
results already known at polling stations could not be released by the
National Command Centre for more than a tense week; a clear popular vote
against Robert Mugabe is being reversed; opposition offices have been
raided; farm invasions once again staged; journalists arrested. A situation
where police and electoral officers languish in custody for asking why
opposition votes were being undercounted is … manageable. And the world
should do nothing about it.
In the past eight years Pretoria has helped sustain the
dictatorship in Harare in a number of ways, including voting at the UN Human
Rights Council and its predecessor to block discussion on human rights in
Zimbabwe; seeking to block the expulsion of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth;
certifying fraudulent elections in Zimbabwe as “legitimate” and thus
providing Mugabe with much-needed political oxygen in his battle for
electoral legitimacy; allowing parastatal bad debt on electricity supplies
to Zimbabwe, even as South Africans experience power cuts; soft-landing the
effect on Harare of international policy sanctions; and framing the Zimbabwe
problem in terms so nebulous as to obfuscate any meaningful diplomatic
action at the African or global level.
Misconstruing his position as an advancement of African
political self-reliance, Mbeki has consistently gone against African opinion
that rejects Mugabe’s humiliation of his own people behind a smokescreen of
Africanist rhetoric. Nelson Mandela, presidents Jakaya Kikwete and John
Kufuor and former UN chief Kofi Annan are just a few of the leading Africans
who realise that Mugabe does not represent the future that Africa seeks for
itself. So are various civil society organisations, as well as the Southern
Africa Development Community’s parliamentarians.
In the past two weeks Mugabe has finally removed the patina of
democratic pretence. His boot is firmly on the neck of his people.
Zimbabweans cannot bear Mbeki saying the situation is “manageable”. The
pretence that Mbeki understands his responsibility to protect defenceless
Zimbabweans is now dangerous: possible other contributions to resolving the
crisis could continue to be fenced out.
African and international leaders should demand that Mugabe
respect the will of the voters and that the rule of law be restored in
Zimbabwe. Mbeki should join these leaders in calling for a genuine return to
legitimacy in Zimbabwe through the creation of human rights and democratic
conditions such as Mbeki would expect in his own country.
This is to ask nothing more than that, in a manner of speaking,
Mbeki reads aloud the Constitution of South Africa while sitting next to
Tawanda Mutasah is executive director of the Open Society
Initiative for Southern Africa
by Own Correspondent Monday 14 April 2008
HARARE – South Africa’s official opposition on Sunday criticised President
Thabo Mbeki for failure to use a weekend regional summit to pressure
President Robert Mugabe to release results of a presidential poll two weeks
ago and to conceded defeat if he lost the vote.
An emergency summit of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) leaders
called to discuss Zimbabwe’s election stalemate ended with a rather tame
statement calling on Harare election authorities to release results for the
presidential poll "expeditiously."
Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance opposition party said in a
statement that Mbeki – the region’s official mediator in Zimbabwe as well as
its most powerful president – should have used his muscle to urge Mugabe to
allow the release of the results of the election he is believed to have
Zille said: “President Mbeki had one last chance at the SADC summit to force
Mugabe's hand. Mbeki had to urge Mugabe to accept the results of the
parliamentary election and push for the immediate release of the
presidential poll results.
“Mbeki's tacit support for the dictator on our doorstep is not only an
embarrassment for South Africa, but causes millions of inhabitants of
Southern Africa and the international community to lose faith in the
subcontinent’s ability to establish sustainable democracy.”
Reports suggest it was Mbeki who was instrumental in blocking SADC from
taking a tougher stance against Mugabe’s government for failure to ensure
poll results are released.
The South African leader, who stopped by in Harare for an hour-long meeting
with Mugabe before proceeding to Lusaka, told journalists that Zimbabwe's
election deadlock was not a crisis and that the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission had to be given time to release the results of the March 29
The ZEC has released results of the House of Assembly and Senate elections
but withheld results of the presidential poll, plunging Zimbabwe into a
political stalemate that the opposition has warned could lead to violence
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai says he won sufficient votes to takeover the presidency but
projections by the ruling ZANU-PF and independent observers show that the
MDC leader won with less than 50 percent of the vote, warranting a second
round run-off against Mugabe.
The opposition leader, who accuses Mugabe of staging a coup to keep himself
in power, says the veteran leader is delaying issuing of presidential
election results to use the time to prepare for a campaign of violence and
intimidation to cow Zimbabweans to vote for him in the anticipated
run-off. — ZimOnline.
April 14, 2008
Hopes that the Southern African Development Community would act to end the
deepening crisis were dashed when the group failed to acknowledge an
Philip Webster, Political Editor, and Catherine Philp in Harare
Gordon Brown will continue to put his faith in Zimbabwe’s neighbours to help
to resolve the crisis there, despite growing international condemnation of
Mr Brown began preparing yesterday for meetings at the United Nations on
Wednesday with President Mbeki of South Africa and Ban Ki Moon, the UN
Secretary-General. He is unlikely to push for a resolution authorising
mediation in Zimbabwe.
The Prime Minister’s stance will dismay those calling for the international
community to take a tough line against the Mugabe regime. Hopes that
Zimbabwe’s neighbours would act to end the deepening crisis were dashed
yesterday when an allnight emergency summit of the 14-nation Southern
African Development Community (SADC) failed to acknowledge an emergency and
called only for the immediate release of election results.
Even that call looked toothless as Zimbabwe announced that there would be a
recount of results in 23 constituencies, 22 of them at the demand of the
ruling Zanu (PF) party.
SADC leaders talked through the night in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, to try
to reach agreement on what they could do about the election impasse. Mr
Mugabe’s eleventh-hour withdrawal from the summit had raised hopes among the
contingent from Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
that their voices would be better heard in his absence.
But the surprise arrival in Harare of President Mbeki only hours before the
summit meant that Mr Mugabe’s case was well heard. Western diplomats, who
were instrumental in setting up the summit, were appalled to hear Mr Mbeki
announced that there was “no crisis in Zimbabwe” after his meeting with Mr
Mugabe – a sentiment later echoed by Zambia, previously the strongest Mugabe
critic in the region.
Mr Mugabe reportedly voiced outrage over the summit and at the invitation
extended to Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, who claims to have won the
presidential vote outright.
Two weeks after the vote no official presidential results have been
announced. Even after yesterday’s announcement of a partial recount, British
officials said that Mr Brown still saw the SADC and Mr Mbeki as the keys to
progress. An informed source said that whenever Britain had tried to get a
UN resolution on Zimbabwe in the past it had failed because of opposition
from some members, and that Mr Mugabe had ended up in a stronger position as
a result. “We do not want to do anything to undermine SADC and Mr Mbeki,”
the source added.
However, Mr Brown used his strongest language against Mr Mugabe at the
weekend. He described the situation in Zimbabwe as “appalling” and said that
the world’s patience was “running thin”.
For his part, the Zimbabwean leader dismissed Mr Brown as “a little tiny dot
on this world”.
Mr Brown said: “The democratic rights of the Zimbabwean people have got to
be respected. We cannot wait any longer for the announcement of these
“It is appalling if there is intimidation and violence. It is completely
unacceptable and the whole eyes of the world are on Zimbabwe now.”
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, insisted that there was a
“constitutional crisis” in Zimbabwe and that the Mugabe regime lacked
legitimacy. “The scale of Morgan Tsvangirai’s lead in the presidential
elections may not have been made public.
“However, it is clear that there was a majority of people who voted against
President Mugabe, despite the conditions under which the vote was held,” he
wrote in a letter to his Tory and Liberal Democrat shadow spokesmen.
“Nine Zimbabwe electoral commission officials have been arrested. There are
widespread reports of state-sponsored violence against opposition activists.
No one can be in any doubt that these are the measures of a regime whose
legitimacy has gone but whose capacity to rule through fear and
intimidation, though dented, remains potent.”
Mr Miliband added: “SADC states have most to lose from the continued crisis
in Zimbabwe and they need to make clear their interest in swift release of
the real results.”
The MDC condemned the partial recount and said they would be challenging it
in court. An earlier petition demanding the release of presidential results
is to be ruled on today, but with the presiding judge under increasing
pressure, hopes of a resolution were not high.
The electoral commission announced that recounts of parliamentary and
presidential results would take place next Saturday, delaying matters for at
least 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 run-off
14th Apr 2008 01:47 GMT
By Civil Society Organisations
Joint Statement on Zimbabwe by Civil Societies of Botswana, Zambia and
The People of Zimbabwe and Zambia are one, despite the false barriers of
colonial boundaries. Our struggles for democracy and dignity are the same
although the local contexts may differ.
We, the undersigned representatives of Civil Society Organisations in our
countries, have met to discuss the electoral crisis in Zimbabwe in the
spirit of genuine Pan-African solidarity.
We appreciate the efforts of the SADC Heads of State to address the crisis
through the Extraordinary Summit of 12 April 2008 in Lusaka, Zambia.
The statement released by the SADC leaders attempts to address some of the
issues that concern us. However, the statement falls short of the
expectations of the peoples of our countries.
We expected the SADC leaders to make specific demands upon the Zimbabwean
regime, including demands to:
1. Compel Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to immediately announce the
true results of the Presidential election of 29th March 2008.
2. Prevent Robert Mugabe and his security personnel from tampering with the
3. Call upon the current Zimbabwean regime to stop the continued arbitrary
arrests and detentions of the non-military personnel of the ZEC.
4. Dismantle the de facto coup and apply pressure on the military to hand
over power to a civilian government.
5. And in the event that the results show no winner of 50% plus one vote, to
set up a Heads of State team that will mediate between ZANU PF and MDC in
a. Set an election run-off time line.
b. Establish a credible, independent and impartial election management body
to replace ZEC whose credibility and reputation has been damaged beyond
repair that will implement the election run-off without fear or favour and
constituted by people acceptable to all parties.
c. Ensure that the election run-off is internationally supported, supervised
and observed and run under circumstances where Zimbabweans are able to fully
and effectively participate in their national affairs in an environment of
peace and tranquillity, free from intimidation and political violence and
d. Demand that the duly elected and constituted parliament is immediately
convened and allowed to carry out their constitutional duties.
e. Demand free access for regional observers including the media during the
run-off period until after the results are accepted by the majority.
6. Ensure measures are in place, until the run-off is held, that Robert
Mugabe is not allowed to rule by decree supported by the military.
The SADC Heads of States, ZANU PF, MDC and other concerned parties to take
cognisant of the fact that should violence erupt in Zimbabwe, it is
especially women and children that will be affected the most, therefore this
situation should be treated with urgency.
African Agenda for Peace Initiatives and Conflict Management (AAPICOM)
Anti Voter Apathy Project
Churches in Manicaland
Civil Society APRM Secretariat
Combined Harare Residents’ Association
Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe
Ditshwanelo – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights
Foundation for Democratic Process
General Agricultural Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
International Federation For Human Rights (FIDH)
International Socialist Organisation
Manicaland Legal Practitioners’ Association
Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Namibia National Society for Human Rights (NSHR)
National Constitutional Assembly
National Organisation of Non-Governmental Organisations
Non Governmental Organisations Coordinatiing Council
Organisation Development and Community Management Trust
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe
Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe
Save Zimbabwe Campaign
Southern Africa Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes
Students’ Solidarity Trust
Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) Kenya
Transparency International Zambia
We the People
Women of Zimbabwe Arise
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe
Zambia Council for Social Development
Zambia Social Forum
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rghts
Zimbabwe Coalition of Debt and Development
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
Zimbabwe Students Christian Movement
Zimbabwe Youth Movement
Published: April 14, 2008
South Africa's Catholic bishops have accused Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe of failing to respect the democratic process and called for
international mediation to end the political stalemate over the country's
disputed national elections.
Catholic News Agency reports that Johannesburg Archbishop Buti Thlagale,
described the situation in Zimbabwe as a matter of regional, continental,
and international concern.
"As President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and on
behalf of the Catholic Community in Southern Africa, I call on the leaders
of the Southern African Development Community and the African Union to act
swiftly to diffuse this tension by mandating a mediator of sufficient
international repute, such as Kofi Annan, to ensure a solution that is
acceptable to all Zimbabweans," Archbishop Thlagale said.
"The postponement of the release of the results has only fuelled tension and
fear in Zimbabwe,” the archbishop said.
"The credibility of a peaceful vote has been undermined by this delay and
the posturing by political parties. This time of uncertainty has created an
opportunity for lawlessness."
Meanwhile, an emergency summit of southern African political leaders called
for the swift verification of the results in the presence of all parties,
Associated Press reports.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it would conduct a full recount of
the presidential and parliamentary ballots cast in 23 constituencies — all
but one of them won by the opposition.
by Lizwe Sebatha Monday 14 April 2008
BULAWAYO – A British journalist will appear in a Zimbabwe court today
to face trial for violating the country’s immigration laws when he allegedly
falsely declared on arrival at an airport that he was a tourist.
The journalist, Clayton Jonathan Michael, 54, was arrested last
Wednesday on arrival at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in
Zimbabwe’s second largest city of Bulawayo. He is detained at Bulawayo
Central police station.
“He was denied bail and is appearing in court on Monday (today),” his
lawyer Josephat Tshuma told ZimOnline.
Michael is the third Western journalist arrested in Zimbabwe in the
past three weeks for allegedly reporting without official permission from
the government’s Media and Information Commission (MIC).
New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak and British journalist
Stephen Bevan were held in jail for days for allegedly covering Zimbabwe's
just-ended election without accreditation. They were later released on bail.
Two South African satellite technicians, Sipho Maseko and Abdulla
Gaibee, also spent several days in jail after police arrested them for
allegedly covering the election without accreditation.
Zimbabwean authorities barred most foreign media from covering the
March 29 elections and warned that it would deal severely with journalists
who sneaked into the country to report illegally.
Scores of foreign journalists sneaked into the country but the dangers
were highlighted when police pounced on those unlucky to be discovered.
Both local and foreign journalists must be accredited with the MIC in
order to practice their profession in Zimbabwe, with those failing to do so
facing arrest and imprisonment.
Zimbabwe is widely regarded as one of the most difficult countries in
the world for journalists to work in.
In addition to laws requiring journalists to seek accreditation in
order to work in the country, newspapers are also required to register with
the state media commission, with those failing to do so facing closure and
seizure of their property by the police.
Another law, the Public Order and Security Act, imposes a sentence of
up to two years in jail on journalists convicted of publishing falsehoods
that may cause public alarm and despondency, while the Criminal Codification
Act imposes up to 20-year jail terms on journalists convicted of denigrating
President Robert Mugabe in their articles.
Repression against the independent media usually peaks during
elections. – ZimOnline
By Tafadzwa Musekiwa
Last updated: 04/14/2008 07:24:27
THERE is already talk that Zimbabweans are preparing for Robert Mugabe to
stay. The reality is very different from what political analysts want us to
Let’s put this into perspective. Initially, we were told before the
elections that Morgan Tsvangirai stood no chance in hell of winning these
elections, because of the Simba Makoni and Arthur Mutambara alliance which
would split the opposition vote, in the process giving Mugabe an absolute
That turned out to be the opposite, Tsvangirai won resoundingly and the
other MDC faction and Makoni only managed to minimally influence the vote.
We were also told that the delimitation of boundaries for the constituencies
had favoured Zanu PF, and Zanu PF would get a majority in parliament, yet
the reverse was also true. In fact, for the first time Zanu PF are in the
minority in parliament since 1980.
I have tended to take some of these analysts’ views with a pinch of salt.
Whilst they are occasionally accurate, most of the times they are not only
inaccurate, but tend to paint a gloomy picture about the political reality
on the ground.
Today, there are a lot of theories being thrown around about how the
situation will unfold in Zimbabwe. The reality of the matter is that
Mugabe – not necessarily Zanu PF -- is going down, but that doesn’t mean
without a fight. What analysts are failing to tell us is that at the end of
the fight, he will go down, which is what Zimbabweans are waiting to see
happen in the very near future.
A seriously significant political development has taken place in
post-independence Zimbabwe after this election, i.e., Zanu PF has lost a
parliamentary majority and yet we are not being told the implications of
There is still disillusionment and hopelessness among fellow countrymen at
the mere fact that Mugabe is still the President of Zimbabwe as we speak. It
goes without saying Mugabe’s departure was not going to be easy, and it’s
proving already that it’s obviously not the end, it’s certainly not the
beginning, but in fact, it’s just in the middle of the struggle.
In the absence of an expert view regarding the implications of Zanu PF’s
defeat in parliament, I will try and explain it in simpler terms, assuming
though hook or crook, Mugabe remains president, which is unlikely anyway. I
will just briefly explain why it’s very unlikely that Mugabe will retain
power as things stand. This will help in explaining why we need not be
For any government under a parliamentary democracy like Zimbabwe to
function, no President, unless in a state of emergency which has to be
justifiable, can effectively run the country without a majority in
If, for argument sake, he has a minority, that majority has to support him
otherwise it’s just impossible to run the country. I know some of you are
beginning to think about Bingu Wamtarika in Malawi and Musharaff in
Pakistan. Hold your horses. These presidents are not anywhere close to the
situation as we have in Zimbabwe.
Bingu is effectively ruling by decree, but he can afford it, at least in the
short term. As for Musharaff, well everyone knows that he is America’s pawn
and can effectively do it without a problem, but even he might not be in
office for long regardless.
The question is: can Zimbabwe afford it? Or rather can Mugabe afford it? The
answer is a big NO, not at the moment. For everyone to understand, let’s put
it simply and take one instance.
With inflation pegged at over 100 00%, the likelihood that parliament will
need to approve e.g. salaries for civil servants through a supplementary
budget almost every month is real. Government or ministries can’t just go to
the Reserve Bank to print money for their salaries. It will be possible but
very illegal and unconstitutional.
No-one can argue that Mugabe has ever done this, because he hasn’t, much as
we know him as a despot who has no respect for the rule of law, he has
followed the law and procedure in this regard. Parliament has always been
there and wiling to approve yearly and supplementary budgets without a
problem. Will Mugabe do it knowing that parliament won’t approve it? The
answer is, very unlikely, why not? It effectively means if the problem
persists, he will have to declare a state of emergency, something Mugabe
doesn’t want to do and won’t do as long as he insists on being the
legitimate ‘democratic’ leader.
I am aware that he is effectively running the country under emergency rule,
but that is different from actually declaring it. I have just given one
simple example to illustrate where the struggle is so far. The real
significance of his party’s defeat in parliament is a major development that
has devastating implications to Zanu PF and Mugabe, no wonder they a running
around looking for 22 seats to contest under the assumption that they will
regain them and retain a majority in parliament.
To my fellow countrymen, let’s take pride in the fact that so far, half the
job is done and the MDC is doing the finishing touches on the other half,
i.e. getting rid of Mugabe. Everyone is aware of Mugabe’s pre-election
warnings that “Tsvangirai will never rule Zimbabwe, not in my lifetime”,
“your votes are a waste if you vote the MDC” and so on. The fact of the
matter, as opposed to political rhetoric, is that it is very possible and it
is going to happen as long as the people of Zimbabwe have a final say on who
they want to be their legitimate leader.
In the parliamentary elections, let’s not forget that 54% of the electorate
voted against Zanu PF. This is evidence enough to show that Mugabe has lost
support of the majority of Zimbabwe’s electorate and will never rule
Zimbabwe again as long as the people have a voice.
If and when Zimbabwe goes for a run off or a rerun, the likelihood that the
54% that voted against Zanu PF will do it again is self-evident. With the
voter turnout in the urban areas around 45% in the March 29 parliamentary
elections, this time round be rest assured that it will be around 75% if not
more, thus giving a resounding win to Tsvangirai.
There is no other explanation that can convince any sober person that Mugabe
will win the run off or a rerun. Like I said before, as long as the people
have a final say, Tsvangirai will be President of Zimbabwe and Mugabe will
never again rule Zimbabwe in my lifetime.
Change is inevitable, but the man won’t go down without a fight, yet the
most important thing is that he will go down after that fight. The focus on
the opposition front should be the minimisation of casualties in this battle
as the man goes down, and avoid being distracted by sideshows like getting
caught up defending ourselves from baseless allegations.
Tafadzwa Musekiwa is a former MDC MP currently exiled in England. He can be
contacted on e-mail: tafadzwa_Musekiwa@yahoo.co.uk
By Gilbert Muponda
Last updated: 04/14/2008 06:20:20
ZIMBABWE’S economic meltdown may show signs of receding should the political
impasse be amicably resolved.
The latest official inflation figure for February is reportedly 165 ,000%.
Should the inflationary pressure maintain its recent momentum till year end,
then Zimbabwe’s official inflation will be 2,017, 000 % by mid year further
worsening to 24,672,000% by year end.
Once inflation reaches such high levels as Zimbabwe's, it tends to move at
an accelerated pace. This is based on current trends -- price controls,
shortages, money supply and exchange rate disequilibrium. It should be noted
that only three months ago, inflation was around 20,000, now it’s 10 times
Whilst price controls and other strong arm tactics can temporarily delay the
slide, the presence of the black market makes it difficult to contain
inflation by simply imposing price controls or threatening business. Major
policy shift will be required to get Zimbabwe back on track.
It is difficult to conceive how inflation can be stabilised first, then
reduced subsequently, without political settlement. During the election
period, every province got some ploughs, tractors, combine harvesters,
computers and a whole lot of other goodies as is normal in our motherland
ahead of elections.
The policy is: give now and pay later. So the full price of such unbudgeted
expenditure will have to be factored into future inflation, since the money
printing machines worked overtime ahead of elections. Inflation rate is,
therefore, expected to worsen before it can be tamed.
This could get worse should there be a run-off election, since more money
will be printed to fund that campaign as well. The above inflation forecasts
could turn out to be very conservative.
Price controls as an inflation busting measure have created a new problem --
that of having driven up activities in the informal market. Zimbabwe’s
formal sector has been shrinking at an alarming rate since everything is now
available on the black market or underground.
This trend has disastrous consequences for the fiscus. Black market
activities are difficult if not impossible to tax. This means the government
loses an important tax base which would have normally been available under
normal circumstances. This represents multiple revenue loss since
underground hustlers can’t be taxed: no income tax, no V.A.T and no sales
Once the tax base starts eroding, it’s almost impossible to re-cast the net
effectively to return to optimal revenue collection through taxation. The
tax system is central to the public finance system. This is why governments
the world over try to please tax payers. But once the nation relies on
printing money, the importance of tax payers and the tax systems is
diminished. Any other public finance pattern that’s materially divorced from
the tax system is likely to result in a fatal outcome such as unsustainable
budget deficit or hyper inflation as in Zimbabwe’s case.
Given that Zimbabwe is at such an important transitional period, it is
important that the tax base be widened and strengthened. This requires
deliberate and careful planning as many stakeholders are likely to be
suspicious of any attempts to make them accountable in a manor that does not
show any clear benefits for them. This will build a long term revenue base
for Zimbabwe without over-reliance on donor aid and borrowings.
Zimbabwe's financial markets do not yet possess the width and depth required
to support an isolated economy. The lack of access to foreign financial
markets and normal balance of payment support has limited the options
available to raise funds for the government. Further, the shrinkage of the
formal sector and closure of many businesses has eroded the revenue base in
form of taxes.
A starting point would be for the new authorities to acknowledge the
critical role played by the informal sector. There is a need to absorb and
transform this sector into the formal complex, and assist this sector to be
able to have infrastructure that will allow it to access technical
expertise, financial resources and grow.
Obviously, the informal sector alone cannot be expected to resolve the
economic challenges facing Zimbabwe. In order to help a speedy recovery of
the formal sector, Zimbabwe can borrow ideas from leading nations such as
Israel which have well developed policies and systems to help non-resident
citizens to return home and fill in a skills gap and strengthen the tax
base. This is central in resource mobilisation to sustain any reconstruction
Whilst foreigners will come and invest, it is important that Zimbabweans
take their destiny into their own hands in terms of developing the nation.
Gilbert Muponda is a Zimbabwe-born entrepreneur, exiled in Canada. He can be
contacted at email@example.com. See his website:
By Mutumwa D. Mawere
Last updated: 04/14/2008 05:42:19
ANY birth brings with it hope and optimism.
However, it cannot be said that the birth of a New Zimbabwe was ever
expected to be easy. The delay in announcing the Presidential election
results and the attempt to revisit the parliamentary and senatorial results
clearly expose the fact that both President Robert Mugabe and his former
ruling party are facing a real and fundamental difficulty.
It cannot be said that the election results are not known, but what is
significant is that no-one has the courage to announce the bad news. One has
to ask whether it is an easy task to be bearer of bad news to President
Mugabe. Is he the type that will accept wily that Zimbabweans are capable
and competent to know what is good for them?
Hope is really about imagining the unimaginable and it seems that the people
of Zimbabwe have through the ballot expressed themselves eloquently that the
days of a Great Leader supported by a compliant legislature are gone.
Whatever happens, President Mugabe’s legitimacy is on the line. He clearly
is no longer the favorite First Son of Zimbabwe and now has to live with the
fact that he is number two, a position to which the late Vice President
Muzenda was condemned to. Vice President Muzenda often observed that he had
erased the words “number one” from his vocabulary and had resigned himself
to believe that being Vice President was all God had destined for him.
If ever Zimbabwe needed the kind of hope and renewal that the world has been
waiting for, the hour is almost upon us. What is required now is a
demonstration of maturity and focus and not the political games that have
been on display in the post-election period. The world already knows that
Mugabe has been dealt a severe blow and change is unavoidable. Mugabe is
clearly under siege and all he needs are excuses for remaining in power.
When the election date was proclaimed, many believed that the SADC-mediated
process could not be trusted to produce a desirable outcome that we now have
characterised by Zanu PF conveniently playing victim.
No-one trusted President Mugabe to be the author of his own demise and all
rational minds were expecting that the elections would favour Zanu PF. It is
not absurd to ask the question of how could a President and a party accused
of being masters at election rigging be stupid enough to preside over a
process that undermines their own existence.
Is there something we need to learn about election rigging in Zimbabwe? It
occurs to me that at this defining hour in Zimbabwe’s history, we should
learn to trust President Mbeki for helping facilitate a process that has
produced the unimaginable outcome.
It would be wrong to suggest that MDC-T’s support is a mirage and equally it
would be naïve to accept the proposition that Zanu PF does not have its own
If it is accepted that both Zanu PF and MDC-T are repositories of Zimbabwean
people’s confidence at this defining hour, it is important that minds are
put to use to build a foundation for a new Zimbabwe. In 1980, when
Zimbabweans voted ZANU into office, it must be accepted that hope was placed
on people whose thinking may have been poisoned by hate than challenged by
President Mugabe with limited experience in managing economic processes was
placed at the helm of a relatively dynamic and sophisticated dualistic
economic structure and after 28 years in power we can safely conclude that a
post-colonial Zimbabwe may have benefited from a different leader.
We have to accept that an ideology that informed the liberation struggle may
not be suitable for prosecuting a national democratic revolution in as much
as the anti-Mugabe rhetoric may not provide the required fuel to advance the
struggle for a better Zimbabwe.
What kind of Zimbabwe do Zimbabweans want to see? Do Zimbabweans want a
country where the winner takes all or one that departs from the politics of
hate, past and division to a new way of thinking that encourages Zimbabweans
to use the minds and energy for positive change?
What Dr. Martin Luther King called the “fierce urgency of now” best captures
the Zimbabwean condition. The economy cannot afford five more years of
Mugabe. Even if there is a runoff, it is important that Zimbabweans put
their differences aside and focus on bringing the change that is believable.
I am not convinced that the urgency of now is a monopoly of political
parties, but should inform the actions of all role players in the unfolding
drama of Zimbabwean politics and comedy.
Even if there is a runoff, which seems more than likely; President Mugabe
will enter the race for the first time since independence as an underdog. We
have to congratulate MDC-T for making Mugabe eat humble pie for the first
time and, if anything, it is important that this opportunity be seized by
all concerned to send the message home that Zimbabwe can only have a
brighter future without President Mugabe at the helm.
By pointing a finger at the alleged hand of imperialists in the pre-election
and electoral process, President Mugabe has already inadvertently conceded
defeat and we all now know that even if he were to win, the future of
Zimbabwe will require the re-integration of the country in the global
community of progressive nations. President Mugabe and his government will
not be able to deliver any good news to Zimbabweans and it is obvious that
there is a clear choice to be made between the past and the future.
The hour of hope is fast approaching and it is important that change agents
manage this final mile with maturity and focus. The real price is evident
and the people have already spoken about what they want to see. All we can
do is support the momentum of change and no force will stand in the way of
change whose hour has arrived.
Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column is published on New Zimbabwe.com every
Monday. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
14 April 2008
Zanu-PF’s rule is founded, as Stalin’s was, on the ordinary human emotion of
The decision of the states of the Southern African Development Conference to
endorse the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe under the fiction of a
re-run election was anticipated in an analysis of totalitarianism by the
English philosopher, Roger Scruton.
In an essay, "The Totalitarian Temptation", delivered in an address in 2003
to a conference on totalitarianism organised by the University of Krakow in
Poland (a country that knew both Hitler's and Stalin's boot), Professor
Scruton considered the origin of totalitarianism to lie in the ordinary
human emotion of resentment. Totalitarianism he considers to be present when
there is the "absence of any fundamental constraint on the central
authority." It is a form of government that "does not respect or acknowledge
the distinction between civil society and the State.... [N]othing limits the
power of the State in the way that might be limited by a representative
legislature or a system of judge-made, or judge-discovered, law." Following
the model pioneered in Russia by Lenin and Trotsky and perfected by Stalin,
its form is as follows: "Society was controlled by the State, the State was
controlled by the party, and the party was controlled from the top by the
leadership." This conception fits the reign of Zanu PF as led by Mugabe in
This party leadership defines itself by its particular ideology. This
ideology is "not a truth-seeking device but a power-seeking device." It is
"a power-directed system of thought". Scruton suggests that "the interests
advanced by totalitarian ideology are those of an aspiring elite". What is
important, according to Scruton's analysis, following Nietzsche, is that
totalitarian ideologies - like the race and class ideology of Zanu PF - are
"ways to recruit resentment", or as Nietzsche put it, using a French word,
ressentiment. This is a "virulent and implacable state of mind, that
precedes the injury complained of".
Resentment occurs in all societies, but what is unique about totalitarian
ideologies is that they "rationalize resentment, and also unite the
resentful around a common cause. Totalitarian systems arise when the
resentful, having seized power, proceed to abolish the institutions that
have conferred power on others: institutions like law, property and religion
which create hierarchies, authorities and privileges, and which enable
individuals to asset sovereignty over their own lives...Once institutions of
law, property and religion are destroyed - and their destruction is the
normal result of totalitarian government - resentment takes up its place
immovably, as the ruling principle of the State."
That is the case in Zimbabwe , with the endorsement of the SADC. Once in
power, "the resentful are inclined to dispense with mediating institutions,
and erect a system of pure power relations, in which individual sovereignty
is extinguished by central control. They may do this in the name of
equality, meaning thereby to dispossess the rich and the privileged. Or they
may do it in the name of racial purity, meaning thereby to dispossess the
aliens who have stolen their birthright. One thing is certain, however,
which is that there will be target groups." In Zimbabwe , the totalitarian
project exercises its right to rule through a combination of the two forms,
the appeal to equality and to race (and, more specifically, but implicitly,
to tribe). It unites both the Stalin (hostility to privilege) and the Hitler
(hostility to race) forms. As such, it is "directed collectively against
groups, conceived as collectively offensive and bearing a collective guilt".
As Scruton argues, this project is "not conducted from below by the people,
but from above, in the name of the people, by as aspiring elite".
Totalitarian ideologies, very widely endorsed in southern Africa , as the
decision of the SADC shows, "legitimize the resentments of an elite, while
recruiting the resentment of those needed to support the elite in its
pursuit of hitherto inaccessible advantages. The elite derives its identity
from repudiating the old order. And it casts itself in a pastoral role, as
leader and teacher of the people", as if it were a "priestly caste". The
elite then "justifies its seizure of power by referring to its solidarity
with those who have been unjustly excluded".
The leader of such a totalitarian project, according to Scruton, is
frequently an embittered and isolated person, who seeks "some opportunity to
take revenge on the world that has denied him his due". Such people are
"fired by a negative energy, and are never at ease unless bent on the task
of destruction". When such a person achieves power, he will "compensate for
his isolation by establishing, in the place of friendship, a military
command, with himself at the head of it. He will demand absolute loyalty and
obedience, in return for a share in the reward. And he will admit no one
into his circle who is not animated by resentment, which is the only emotion
that he has learned to trust". Such a characterisation suits Mugabe.
The political project of this leader "will not be to gain a share of power
within existing structures, but to gain total power, so as to abolish the
structures themselves. He will set himself against all forms of mediation,
compromise and debate, and against the legal and moral norms which give a
voice to the dissenter and sovereignty to the ordinary unresentful person.
He will set about destroying the enemy, whom he will conceive in collective
terms, as the class, group or race that hitherto controlled the world and
which must now be controlled. And all institutions that grant protection to
that class or a voice in the political process will be targets for his
At this point Scruton very precisely identifies the sham and scam that the
electoral process has revealed itself to be in Zimbabwe , as a typical
feature of the totalitarian regime. He writes that the inevitable result of
the seizure of power in this project will be the "establishment of a
militarized core to the State - whether in the form of a party, a committee
or simply an army which does not bother to disguise its military purpose.
This core will have absolute power and will operate outside the law. This
law will itself be replaced by a Potemkin version that can be invoked
whenever it is necessary to remind the people of their subordinate
In citing this "Potemkin version" of law, Scruton refers to the supposed
tricky practice of Prince Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin when acting as
chief minister to Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, who held absolute
power in the late 18th century. The Russian peasantry lived in abysmal
poverty and shabbiness. Empress Catherine wanted however to believe that
everything was for the best under her enlightened government. Potemkin was
alleged to have squared the circle by having fake, cardboard villages
erected along the route the Empress travelled on her tour of the Crimea.
Constitution, law and elections in Zimbabwe are a Potemkin village. By
implication they are also actually or potentially so throughout the states
of the SADC, South Africa included, their leaders having so crassly endorsed
Mugabe's Potemkin-type electoral scam.
As Scruton writes, under the totalitarian regime this "Potemkin law" will be
a "prominent and omnipresent feature of society, constantly invoked and
paraded, in order to imbue all acts of the ruling party with an unassailable
air of legitimacy. The ‘revolutionary vanguard' will be more prodigal of
legal forms and official stamps than any of the regimes that it
displaces.... In this way the new order will be both utterly lawless and
entirely concealed by law." In this way, as Scruton quotes the former
President of the Czech Republic , Vaclav Havel, the people oppressed under
the totalitarian regime are required to "live within the lie".
Scruton gives also a telling characterisation of the Mugabe type. He notes
the pathological character of the resentments carried by the great leader in
the totalitarian project, people who "have an exaggerated sense of their own
entitlements, and a diminutive capacity to observe them...Their resentments
are not concrete responses to momentary rebuffs but accumulating rejections
of the system in which they have failed to advance." Intellectuals, it
seems, are "particularly prone to this generalized resentment....Hence we
should not be surprised to find intellectuals in the forefront of radical
movements, or to discover that they are more disposed than ordinary mortals
to adopt theories and ideologies that have nothing to recommend them apart
from the power that they promise." This fits Mugabe to the tip of his little
[Roger Scruton's essay, "The Totalitarian Temptation" is in Roger Scruton, A
Political Philosophy (Continuum, London and New York , 2006. pp.146-160)].
This is a transcript from AM. The program is broadcast around Australia at
08:00 on ABC Local Radio.
AM - Monday, 14 April , 2008 08:19:00
Reporter: Peter Cave
TONY EASTLEY: Attempts by southern African leaders to build a unity
government to replace the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe fell apart last night
increasing fears that the country is heading into an even more dangerous
The political problems are enormous but they could be overshadowed by a
What was once one of the most productive agricultural economies in Africa is
now a shambles and its people are going hungry. It's not the only country
suffering food shortages and we'll have more on that story in a moment.
Our foreign affairs editor Peter Cave spoke to Sarah Jacobs from Save the
Children Fund in Harare about the pitiful plight of Zimbabwe's children.
SARAH JACOBS: Conditions of those children in Zimbabwe has really reached
rock bottom. Obviously the whole country is in complete economic meltdown
and its children are the most vulnerable who are really baring the brunt of
And Save the Children have been working in Zimbabwe for nearly 25 years and
we're now seeing one in 10 children dying before they reach the age of five.
A very high figure.
PETER CAVE: And most of them, according to the latest figures, aren't
expected to see the age of 40.
SARAH JACOBS: Yes. The Zimbabwe have the highest female mortality rates. The
average is for a woman who's dying at the age of 34, for both women and
children, families just cannot afford to buy or even manage too grow enough
to eat. The health service is in complete shatters and they are, then we
have children dying from easily preventable diseases such as malaria and
They've got no way of getting drugs, they have got no way of getting any
health care. And of course here there's also an extremely high rate of HIV,
which is resulting in Zimbabwe having the highest number of orphans in the
world. They're about 1.8 million orphans here now.
PETER CAVE: How easy is it to fix something like that?
SARAH JACOBS: It's obviously a massive challenge. Zimbabwe's been going into
decline for the last 10 years and the numbers and the problems are huge.
However, there is a lot that's is being done, and it can be done. There are
numerous organisations, aid agencies, like Save the Children, working on the
ground to get help directly to communities who so desperately need it.
Save the Children, for example, is delivering malaria nets to protect
children and families from mosquito bites and malaria which is such a big
killer. We're working as well with the orphans, because of the situation;
there are many, many children who are, whose parents have died. They may be
13, 14-years-old and they're responsible for looking after their entire
family, often other relatives also who are suffering from HIV and AIDS.
So we deliver life-saving kits to them, we have been delivering food aid and
we're also working with families and communities to help them establish a
way of living. So, for example, distributing seeds, helping them to
cultivate drought-resistant crops to help build up their ability to last
through these very difficult times.
TONY EASTLEY: Sarah Jacobs from Save the Children Fund in Harare, speaking
there to our foreign affairs editor Peter Cave.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe needs to go. That much is clear to just
about the whole world — except for Mugabe himself, along with the corrupt
officials and others who have profited from his misrule.
Yet, in what amounts to just the latest chapter in an increasingly horrific
farce, the 84-year-old Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruler for 28 years, is determined
to cling to power. More than two weeks after parliamentary and presidential
elections, a time in which he has been virtually silent as rumors swirled
that he would accept an opposition offer to exit quietly, he is instead
forcing a recount.
No prizes for guessing the outcome. The new results are all but certain to
reverse mostly unofficial tallies in which his party lost its majority in
parliament and in which, at the very least, Mugabe would be forced into a
runoff for the presidency with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Dictators tend to lose touch with reality as they surround themselves with
sycophants too scared to tell them the truth. Clearly, Mugabe was taken by
surprise when the unofficial election results, posted at polling stations
and tabulated by opposition and outside groups, showed his party had lost.
There is no other logical explanation for why he allowed such open
procedures in the first place, and for why he is retroactively rigging the
outcome. For good measure, as the recount takes place, he has unleashed
attackers on the opposition and its sympathizers.
If Mugabe won't see the truth written so plainly in the election results,
the international community needs to step up with the kind of pressure that
could force him to exit. The horror he has perpetrated on his people is
staggering. Because of his mismanagement and brutality, stores are empty,
inflation is at tens of thousands of percentage points per year, many are
starving and refugees are pouring into neighboring countries. Zimbabwe is,
almost literally, hell on earth.
The question is who and what might force him to go. Neighboring countries in
southern Africa held an emergency meeting about the crisis in the past few
days. Tellingly, Mugabe refused to attend, though he did send a delegation.
But the regional summit's attendants behaved little better than the
sycophants in Zimbabwe, offering only a mild rebuke.
A graceful exit for Mugabe is unsatisfactory on one level. It's always best
if brutal leaders face their misdeeds. Even so, it's preferable to years of
How to get him to accept? The best stick: the threat of possible charges in
an international tribunal — not just for Mugabe but also for those around
him. He might not have perpetrated genocide, but the treatment of his people
could well rise to the level of crimes against humanity. Adding that stick
now, at a time when Mugabe is weakened, has to be an international priority.
Posted at 12:21 AM/ET, April 14, 2008
Posted 5 hours 27 minutes ago
Updated 3 hours 33 minutes ago
Zimbabwe is braced for what the Opposition hopes will be the first day of an
indefinite national strike on Tuesday (local time).
The Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has called the strike
amid continuing unrest in the wake of last month's elections.
The country's electoral commission has ordered recounts in 23 constituencies
in what the MDC has denounced as an attempt to rig the parliamentary
election in favour of President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.
The MDC insists its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won a clear majority in
the presidential poll, the results of which are yet to be released.
Zimbabwe's High Court is due to rule tonight (Australian time) on whether to
force Zimbabwe's electoral commission to immediately declare the result of
the March 29 presidential poll.
A regional summit in Zambia over the weekend failed to broker an end to the
The summit stopped short of criticising the Zimbabwean Government or Mr
Mugabe, who was not even mentioned in a four-page joint statement that
called only for the result of the presidential poll to be delivered as
"expeditiously" as possible.
HARARE - 14 April 2008
The following eyewitness account was sent to us last night by
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION. The correspondent's name has been withheld for
Third Sunday after Easter. Third Sunday after Zimbabwe Presidential
We still have no official result to the election and the situation is
deteriorating. Violence and intimidation is definitely occurring in the
rural areas. The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, who look
after torture victims at the main Harare private hospital are seeing many
patients. Some have wounds, already infected, as clinic nurses in some areas
refuse to see them, no doubt because they are scared. At least one badly
burnt patient has been admitted. Mbecki (President of South Africa) says
there is no crisis. What makes a crisis?
The remaining white farmers are being attacked and told to leave their
farms. It is said that villagers are being made to attack them. If they
refuse their houses are being torched. One report from a mission farm said
they (the farmers) were turned off last week. Then the police came and drove
off the invaders. Today they have been attacked again.
Our church was as usual at 11 o'clock, the required 90 minutes after the
start of the original 8.30 am service (following the legal restraints
imposed to separate the Kunonga faction from the Provincial diocese of
Harare). The church was packed, perhaps 300 people but only 47 in the Sunday
School. There are usually rather more (parents are afraid).
When we got to the prayers for the nation, many people chipped in in
anguished tones - so different to two weeks ago, when it was 'Tinotenda
Mwari', (Thank you, thank you Lord.) One beautiful prayer said in English,
asked the Lord 'to come among us, and guide the nation'.
The notices were given and Bishop Sebastian Bakare has produced a booklet
for those preparing confirmation candidates. Everyone has been asked to
study it in the house groups. He will conduct a confirmation at the Bernard
Misecki Shrine in June. Those who were confirmed by Kunonga after he was
sacked are invited to be presented again. People were very frightened of
Another notice was an appeal for funds for the legal cases. Everyone was
asked to donate $100 million. They started the collection there and then and
collected $5 billion. ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports that this is hugely
generous but with 100,000%+ inflation will be valueless in months.
There are rumours of fighting in one of the township churches involving
former Bishop Kunonga's paid thugs. The situation in Zimbabwe is extremely
volatile and the Central African Province in the thick if it. Pray for
Bishop Sebastian Bakare and the people and priests.
We will release more information as it becomes available.
ANGLICAN-INFORMATION is a network acting as a free conduit for news and
information related to the Anglican Diocese of Lake Malawi, and the Province
of Central Africa. It is organised by an international team of those who
know and love Africa and Malawi well. We reserve the right to reflect on the
news as we receive it for the benefit of our worldwide audience.
© Independent Catholic News 2008