April 15, 2008
Jamie Walker in Harare
Harold was just another footsore traveller when Robert Mugabe’s thugs came
for him. Spotting his Movement for Democratic Change T-shirt, they
surrounded him and marched him off to “try” him before a “people’s court”,
denounce him as a traitor, before beating him, stripping him, sexually
abusing him and tying him up with his own shoelaces with his head forced
between his legs.
Harold endured a seven-hour ordeal before he was able to escape his captors,
by then drunk on cheap homemade spirit. Others were less lucky. Yesterday
news of the first killings emerged in what is becoming a coordinated and
escalating terror campaign against the Opposition before an expected
Tapiwa Mubwanda, an MDC electoral agent, was stabbed to death on Saturday
night by a mob of Zanu (PF) militiamen while an unnamed teacher and
opposition supporter was beaten to death in Mudzi, north of Harare.
News of the fatalities came as the High Court in Harare delivered another
blow to opposition hopes of an end to the crisis with its refusal to order
the immediate release of results from last month’s presidential election.
Alongside the refusal of Zimbabwe’s neighbours to take a strong line at
their emergency weekend summit, the judgment has effectively bought time for
the violence to continue. “It’s a very sad day in Zimbabwe,” said Andrew
Makoni, the MDC lawyer, as he emerged defeated from the court.
a.. Mugabe defies summit and calls election recount
a.. Brown puts faith in Zimbabwe's neighbours
a.. Electoral Theft
a.. Full coverage of the elections crisis
Zimbabwe’s police threatened to “deal severely” with those participating in
a general strike that the Opposition has called starting today, an attempt
to protest peacefully about the electoral stalemate. But yesterday it looked
like a militia-led crackdown was already well under way.
The Times visited eight victims of torture and beatings — including two
women — taken to hospital in Harare over the past two days, hearing stories
of nocturnal abductions and beatings. Most were from the areas of Mudzi and
Mutoko, also north of Harare, long-time Zanu (PF) strongholds that dared for
the first time to vote for the Opposition. Yet these are only a tiny handful
of the confirmed reports being documented by human rights groups. “It is
escalating very seriously now,” one worker said. The first confirmed
killings reflect this escalation, part of a pattern in which the violence
has spread from beatings in newly lost ruling party areas to torture and
murder across all parts of the country.
Most victims said they were set upon late at night at their homes by mobs
they identified as Zanu (PF) youth militia and veterans from the liberation
bush war. Precious and her sister were asleep when 20 men and women burst
through their door and started screaming at them to bring out their bags of
MDC T-shirts that they had been selling around Mudzi.
Precious tried to explain that they were all gone but the mob kept beating
her on the back and buttocks with large sticks until she fell to the ground.
One man cracked her hand with the stick and then stamped on it, breaking a
bone in her hand. “I felt that they would kill me,” she said.
Blessing, a teacher, was also asleep when the mob of 40 young men broke into
his house, wielding sticks. “They shouted, ‘Where are your colleagues? We
will kill you unless you tell us’,” he recalled in a shaky voice, shifting
painfully in his hospital bed. The men wanted to know the names of other
teachers who were MDC members. When he refused, they beat him.
Harold was simply standing by the road trying to hitch a lift, like millions
of Zimbabweans who cannot afford their own transport, when a passing Zanu
(PF) militia member spotted his MDC T-shirt. Harold recognised him as a
local war veteran leader called Churio. “[The court] said I was a traitor
and the youth militia took me off into bush to beat me,” he said. After
beating him, they took his money and stripped him naked before forcing him
to dig a hole and simulate sex with it. “Then they forced me to sing songs
denouncing Morgan Tsvangirai [the MDC leader],” he said. After that they
tied him up with his shoelaces, threaded through his hunched-up knees and
painfully forced his head under them.
Victims in Mudzi and Matoko report the mobs referring to their actions as
Operation Mavhoterapapi or “Operation where you put your X” — a reference to
their efforts to “reeducate” MDC supporters to “vote the right way next
While the militias have readily accessed lists of MDC polling agents and
workers from their military backers, ordinary opposition voters are finding
themselves caught up in sweeps of collective punishment of areas with high
opposition scores. The posting of results on the outside of every polling
station, intended to thwart rigging by allowing the Opposition to tabulate
the figures with which they claim victory, is now being used to identify
areas where the Opposition scored well.
By Graham Boynton
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 15/04/2008
Ten days ago, I was in Zimbabwe watching joy turn to heartbreak.
As the early election results came through, ordinary Zimbabweans -
bank clerks, shop assistants, domestic servants - who have endured years of
destructive, violent rule under Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF cronies, were
dancing in the streets with delight.
These were the people who had risked their necks to vote against a
hated regime and they sensed an opposition victory.
By the end of the week, the mood had changed: it was obvious that the
election was being stolen and, with the prospect of more years of poverty
and suffering under Mugabe's kleptocracy, the dancing had stopped.
Once more, they have been abandoned by their African neighbours and by
the world. Several young Zimbabweans whom I spoke to in the country's second
city, Bulawayo, said they were certain that the world would only take notice
of their plight "when the streets are running with blood".
Some old hands had known this was coming. Mugabe and his henchmen may
have proved to be the worst leaders on the continent in terms of economic
management and the betterment of their people, but they have been the most
cunning and tenacious in terms of retaining power.
Mugabe was always going to steal this election; the clues were there
for those who knew what to look for.
We can only presume that South Africa's Thabo Mbeki must have known
this, too, even as he described the situation as "manageable" last week and
claimed there was "no crisis in Zimbabwe" at the weekend.
Likewise, African leaders at the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) meeting in Zambia at the weekend must also have seen the
The first indication that trouble was to come could be seen in the
week following the polls: a laughing and playful Mugabe bade farewell to the
last of the election monitor groups, the African Union group led by Ahmed
Tejan Kabbah, President of Sierra Leone.
At the time, the country was anticipating a landslide opposition
victory. But Mugabe was smiling, happy in the knowledge that, with the
monitors gone, he could get down to serious business.
Then, the "war veterans", Mugabe's very unpleasant informal army of
thugs who had been invisible while the monitors were around, gave a press
Their leader, Jabulani Sibanda, who was four or five years old at the
end of the bush war - and hence an unlikely veteran - railed against
"sanctions employed against us as a weapon by imperial countries trying to
bend the minds of our people".
This was Mugabe-speak for: the "British-backed MDC" will never rule
Zimbabwe. Within days, gangs of "veterans" were roaming rural areas, burning
down huts and grain silos, torturing and, from what we now hear, murdering
people who had voted for the opposition.
There was more to come. Election monitors - who had been appointed by
Mugabe's people - were arrested on fraud charges and then, the most telling,
Kafkaesque twist: a recount was ordered in 23 constituencies, all but one
having been won by the opposition.
There is still talk of a presidential election run-off; but this must
take place within 21 days of the vote, and is required by law if neither of
the main candidates achieves 50 per cent of the vote. Surely this is nothing
but empty rhetoric, since, according to the Electoral Act, the re-run would
have to take place by this Saturday; the Mugabe government will be illegal
by its own legislation come Sunday. It just isn't going to happen.
Meanwhile, to add to the surreal mix, fantastical reports are
circulating in the state-owned media which suggest that the white commercial
farmers who had been run off their land over the past eight years and had
fled the country are massing at the borders waiting to re-invade. In
Mugabe's world, no fictional tale is too far-fetched to peddle.
It is clear now. Whatever glimmers of hope the opposition's victory at
the polls had offered, there was never any chance of Mugabe or his
beneficiaries loosening their grip on power. With the gangs of thugs now let
loose on dissident voters, the last pretences of a democratic process have
finally fallen away.
So who is going to answer the pleas of the majority of starving,
violated, vanquished Zimbabweans? They have been let down by their fellow
Africans and by the indifference to their plight of the outside world. One
can't help feeling that the young men of Bulawayo are correct in presuming
that blood has to run in the streets before any serious intervention is
In the mid 1970s, when it was politically appropriate, the then South
African prime minister John Vorster was leant on by the Americans and
brought Rhodesia's rebel leader Ian Smith to the negotiating table by
threatening to switch off his petrol and electricity supplies. The same
pressure must now be put on Africa's apologist leaders and the Mugabe regime
must be brought to its knees by concerted international action led by the
Anything short of that would be a betrayal of those brave Zimbabweans
who voted for change two weeks ago.
With few exceptions, the new judges have actively collaborated with the
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
The decision of Zimbabwe's High Court not to compel the immediate release of
the 29 March presidential election results comes as no surprise to most
seasoned observers. Over the past seven years, the judges of Zimbabwe's
courts – virtually all of whom owe their jobs to Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF
party – have operated, day in and day out, in a world suffused with
Judges appointed or retained on the bench after 2001 were chosen for one
quality above all others: their apparent willingness to lend the court's
process to the service of Mugabe's Executive. In numerous cases challenging
the legitimacy of the executive measures that were palpably in violation of
the law and the norms of justice, the new judges departed from established
legal principles in order to legitimate executive action.
In electoral cases, a particularly favoured strategy for facilitating ruling
party purposes was to mothball matters until a decision, when rendered, was
of no more than academic interest. With few exceptions, the newly-appointed
judges have actively collaborated with a regime that has systematically
violated human rights and subverted the rule of law in order to maintain its
hold on power.
No one is appointed to Zimbabwe's benches without deep political
connections, especially not since about 2000, when the ruling party's hold
on power was seriously threatened.
Judge Tendai Uchena came to international prominence for presiding over the
petition by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to compel
Zimbabwe's electoral authorities to release the results of an election held
more than two weeks ago. He was, insiders say, given a helpful lift up the
ladder by a relative. Former Judge President, Paddington Garwe, a ruling
party loyalist previously tasked with recommending appointees to President
Robert Mugabe, is Mr Uchena's cousin. He could personally vouch for Uchena's
political credentials when his name came up for appointment in 2001.
Whatever the immediate circumstances of his appointment to the High Court
may have been, what is not in doubt is that Uchena is one among a number of
judges who were appointed to their positions after Zanu-PF decided to purge
the bench of independently-minded judges whose decisions did not please the
authorities. Asked to explain the policies of the Mugabe government on
judicial independence, the then Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamsa,
famously said, "we cannot have judges operating like unguided missiles".
Mugabe's government has ensured their compliance by co-opting them into a
number of schemes that compromised their independence. Independent audits of
Zimbabwe's Fast-track Land Resettlement Scheme show that, with the exception
of two or three individuals, all judges serving in the High Court were
propelled to the front of a long queue of ruling party cronies who were
given farms acquired from white commercial farmers under legally
Over the years, the farming judges have benefited from preferential loans,
subsidised farming equipment, fuel and other government assistance to enable
their farming enterprises, which they juggle with regular court duties.
Authorities turn a blind eye while judges spend most of their working hours
farming instead of hearing cases, or use their clerks to sell tomatoes and
chickens in Court premises to a captive market of litigation lawyers.
Undoubtedly the politics of the day weighed heavily on Judge Uchena's mind
as he decided the petition by the Movement for Democratic Change to compel
Zimbabwe's electoral Commission to publish results from the 29 March
election. Zimbabwe's political sands are shifting, and judges who have for
years sacrificed legal principle to implement illegitimate policies of the
Zimbabwean government, wrapping them up in the mantle of law, face the real
possibility that they will lose their jobs under an MDC government that has
promised to clean up the benches and restore the rule of law.
The government-run media reinforce their fears: An ominous article appeared
in yesterday's Herald, publishing details of the MDC's plan to sack
prominent judges as soon as it assumes power. Uchena would probably have
read today's paper.
Though he is yet to reveal the reason for his decisions, it can certainly be
justified in pure terms of the law. But no one who has observed the workings
of Zimbabwe's legal system in recent years will believe that this case
turned anything but the whims of the ruling party.
Gugulethu Moyo is a Zimbabwean lawyer. She is editor of the book 'The Day
SW Radio Africa (London)
14 April 2008
Posted to the web 14 April 2008
Reports of violence by the youth militia and so-called war veterans have
intensified in the Murehwa North Constituencies.
We understand that this violent campaign aimed at opposition activists and
officials has now been code named "Operation Mavhotera papi".
Our Murehwa contact Kumbirai reported on Monday that all their youth
members, candidates, polling agents and known supporters have been on the
run all weekend. They are being hunted down by ZANU-PF's political commissar
for Murehwa, va Mavhungire, who is also the District Coordinating Committee
chairperson for the area. He is moving around wearing an army uniform and
summoning villagers to come to a meeting "yema soldier". Known opposition
supporters are being beaten at these meetings.
Our contacts said Mavhungire is accompanied by a former war veteran named
Kahuni, who is now chairperson of ZANU-PF Murehwa district. A youth leader
named Murefu is alleged to be helping Kahuni to point out opposition
supporters to be victimized.
In Ward 16 on Monday, youth members of the MDC were sent to assist abducted
members. But it was feared that the MDC youth might be outnumbered because
there were many government vehicles in that area.
Kumbirai said in Village 10, which borders Murehwa and Mutoko, there were
some women abducted this weekend. A group of youth members sent there
managed to get the women freed before they were beaten severely. Sadly
though, a youth member who helped on Sunday was found dead on the road in
Mhondoro on Monday.
In Ward 3 Murehwa, Mavhungire and his team gathered villagers for a meeting
on Sunday. MDC youth who went to check out the meeting arrived to see some
of their members and women from their families being severely assaulted.
In Makoni South, newly elected MDC MP Pishai Muchauraya reports that over
500 MDC supporters were displaced after their homes were attacked by a war
veteran and his colleagues. We have no other details of the attacks.
The violence in Murehwa was threatened by the Minister of Health David
Parirenyatwa, who is also the MP for Murehwa North. As we reported on
Friday, Parirenyatwa addressed a meeting in Murehwa town on Friday where he
said that ZANU-PF has the names of opposition activists and sympathizers and
would be going round on Friday night to beat them up as a lesson. He kept
Mon 14 Apr 2008, 19:57 GMT
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, April 14 (Reuters) - The United States and Britain said on
Monday they were determined to push the U.N. Security Council to discuss the
worsening situation in Zimbabwe this week, despite strong South African
Britain accused the government of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe of
delaying a the results of the country's March 29 election to try to subvert
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he won the election
and accuses Mugabe of planning violence to overturn the results.
Zimbabwe "will have to come up" in some form at Wednesday's summit meeting
of leaders and top officials from the African Union and Security Council
member states, British Ambassador to the United Nations John Sawers told
This was confirmed by Douglas Alexander, Britain's minister for
The diplomats spoke after British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in
London that Zimbabwean authorities were delaying the election results to
allow them time to find an "alternative to the will of the people."
A spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, Benjamin Chang, made
clear the United States would also press for a Security Council discussion
about Zimbabwe's election.
"We consider the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe as a concern for the
international community," he said. "We intend to raise that concern on
Diplomats said several other Western countries were also likely to raise the
South Africa, which holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation Security
Council, opposes putting Zimbabwe on the meeting's agenda, saying the issue
has nothing to do with international peace and security.
Although South Africa's U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo said Zimbabwe
remained off the official agenda, this does not prevent countries like
Britain and the United States from forcing a discussion on the issue by
raising it in their statements.
SOUTH AFRICAN RESISTANCE
The Security Council is not expected to take any action against Zimbabwe in
the form of a unanimous statement or resolution because of resistance from
South Africa and other council members. But any mention of the issue at the
meeting will increase the pressure on Mugabe, Western diplomats said.
One diplomat said some discussion of Zimbabwe was inevitable because of what
he described as the "failure" of a Southern Africa Development Community
summit in Zambia over the weekend, which resisted calls for greater pressure
South African President Thabo Mbeki played a key role at the weekend
meeting, which decided
HARARE, April 14 (AFP)
Zimbabwe's opposition launched an application in the country's electoral
court on Tuesday to challenge the results of 60 seats won by the ruling
party in the 210-seat parliament, their lawyer said.
Charles Kwaramba, a lawyer for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told
AFP the party was challenging constituencies won by the ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) through violence and
"Our law firm has handled about 40 and the other lawyers have filed a total
of 20 which brings the total to 60," Kwaramba said.
"We are fighting a lot of issues. There was a lot of malpractice in most
rural areas. There was violence, intimidation," he said adding that
traditional chiefs and war veterans had been used to intimidate opposition
"We have filed these applications on behalf of the MDC. In terms of the
electoral act these cases must be heard within six months."
ZANU-PF lost parliamentary control to the opposition for the first time in
the March 29 legislative vote with the MDC and its splinter faction winning
a combined 109 seats to just 97 for the ruling party.
As the two parties traded vote-rigging allegations, the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission announced this weekend it would recount the results of 23
constituencies, the majority of which had been won by the MDC.
The MDC launched a court bid in response to challenge the recount, planned
for Saturday, which in theory could lead to President Robert Mugabe's ruling
party regaining control of parliament.
The court battle comes amid rising tensions over the outcome of the
presidential poll, with the MDC calling for Zimbabweans to hold a general
strike from Tuesday until the long-awaited results are released.
National police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said officers and soldiers were
being deployed throughout the country in anticipation of the strike, which
he said was an attempt by the MDC to cause mayhem.
22:27 GMT, Monday, 14 April 2008 23:27 UK
By Jorn Madslien
Business reporter, BBC News
More than two weeks after Zimbabwe held its elections, the dithering
over the result shows little sign of ending.
Meanwhile Africa's worst basket-case economy continues to flounder,
without a leader to take stock of what needs to be done.
In terms of statistics, Zimbabwe's plight is pretty much immeasurable.
Figures such as a rate of inflation of more than 100,000% and an
unemployment rate said to be in excess of 80% are startling, but also
After 28 brutal years under Robert Mugabe, emotive terminology such as
utter despair and desperate destitution describe the situation in Zimbabwe
better than any maths and statistics can ever do.
This is certainly the case for the 700,000 people who have been robbed
of everything, even their homes in urban slums that were razed by Mr Mugabe
who had deemed them an embarrassment.
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party is
expected to ultimately take control of the country.
And his political ally, Washington Ali, former chairman of the MDC,
He told BBC News that the party had "learned from the past" and
adopted a five-year reform plan that "would take into consideration both the
economy, the security of the country, the investment - basically bringing
the economy from the dead weight it is at the moment".
There is plenty of work to do.
Roads and sewers must be repaired. Power supplies must be restored.
The homeless need roofs over their heads. The wounded, the famished and the
mentally scarred will need treatment.
But, in economists' terminology, the nation's human capital has been
There are even doubts about the actual size of its population -
estimated at some 13 million people, though migration and early deaths on a
vast scale mean nobody can say for sure.
Millions of those able to do so have fled to seek better lives abroad
and to provide for relatives back in Zimbabwe.
Life expectancy has plunged to 37 years from 60 years in 1990, World
Bank and UN figures indicate.
Infant death rates have soared to more than 123 per 1,000 in 2004, the
latest year when figures were available, from 59 less than a decade ago.
Half the remaining population is now under the age of 18, according to
Save the Children estimates. More than one in four of those under 18 are
orphans, many of them because their parents have died from HIV/Aids which,
according to the United Nations Development Programme, kills 3,200 people
So there is a great shortage of experienced managers who can lead the
And although literacy rates and education levels are relatively high,
at least by African standards, many workers will nevertheless lack the
skills to get the jobs done.
Zimbabwe's farms are in a similarly sorry state.
Looted by Mr Mugabe's cronies during the early 2000s from white
farmers - many of whom had stayed when Ian Smith's white minority-ruled
Rhodesia became Zimbabwe in 1980 - the country's most productive grain and
tobacco farms have been either actively wrecked or sadly neglected.
Farm failures have hampered the nation's ability both to feed its
people and earn foreign currency. More than eight out of 10 people survive
on less than $2 (£1) per day and almost half the population suffer from
So although an agricultural revival is both desirable and feasible, it
will require skills and experience that in most cases have left the country.
Foreign assistance will be required.
But even so, farm reform will be hugely controversial. Some 4,000
white-owned farms were forcefully handed over to landless black people under
Mr Mugabe, often to his supporters.
So expect disputes over land ownership.
Zimbabwe's lucrative mining sector is in better shape and could offer
a great economic boost for the country.
Zimbabwe has massive reserves of platinum, believed to be the
second-biggest in the world and operated by Zimbabwe Platinum Mines and
Mimosa Platinum Mines and Impala Platinum. Anglo Platinum is developing a
new mine in the Midlands, Unki.
Rio Tinto is active in diamond mining in the country, Zimasco
Consolidated Enterprises owns the country's largest ferrochrome producer,
and there are activities by major gold mining companies.
But resource development in Zimbabwe has declined in recent years,
with many mines closing.
Costs have been pushed higher by strict exchange rate regulations and
operating the mines has been made difficult by the collapsing infrastructure
and the growing economic crisis.
Tourism is another potential source of foreign earnings for Zimbabwe,
though it could take time before travellers return.
Yet the underlying fundamentals of Zimbabwe's economy, resource base
and even parts of the corporate sector remain reasonably robust.
Many foreign investors are sitting on the fence, eager to get in -
provided that Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is ousted,
Aid, loans or other economic assistance from the likes of the
International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Union should
supplement an anticipated inflow of foreign investment.
But much like the wranglings over the election, when it comes to the
eocnomy, nobody expects a quick fix.
April 14, 2008, 20:30
ANC chairperson and National Executive Committee member, Baleka Mbete, has
called for the Zimbabwean election results to be released urgently.
Over the past few days, ANC members appear divided on their stance towards
Zimbabwe. Mbete says the election results should not be withheld. The ANC
National Working Committee has been locked in talks at Parliament. The ANC's
stance towards the delay in the outcome of the Zimbabwean elections was
raised in the meeting.
Earlier, the committee concluded that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe. This
is in direct contrast with President Thabo Mbeki's statement at the weekend
that there was no crisis. He was speaking on his way to Zambia's capital,
Lusaka, for the SADC extraordinary summit.
ANC general-secretary Gwede Mantashe says the ANC will engage Zimbabwe's
ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC on a party level.
Mbete says when two weeks later the results are not announced, it indicates
that something is not right.
"So we are expressing concern and we are saying that the issue must be
addressed as soon as possible by releasing the results..." says Mbete.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF says it is not surprised by a high
court decision to throw out a request by the opposition MDC to force the
immediate release of presidential elections.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa says they knew from the outset that
the application by the MDC had no merit. He has accused the MDC of aiming at
post-electoral unrest in the southern African country.
The MDC has called for an indefinite nationwide stayaway following the court
by Patricia Mpofu Tuesday 15 April 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe police on Monday accused the opposition of plotting
violence and said they were ready for “any eventuality” ahead of a
nationwide work boycott called by the opposition to press for the release of
results of last month’s presidential election.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which on Monday
lost a court bid to force electoral authorities to release results of the
March 29 poll, has called on Zimbabweans to boycott work beginning Tuesday
until results were released.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the police had stepped up patrols in
residential areas and city centres across the nation and were ready to crush
any disturbances, as Zimbabwe’s election stalemate increasingly looks like
it will degenerate into violent conflict between MDC supporters and state
Bvudzijena said: “The police are ready for any eventuality. We are aware
that the opposition wants to cause unnecessary violence but the police will
be ready for them.”
He spoke as more police, some of them heavily armed, increased their
presence on Harare’s streets, in what seemed a show of force designed to
intimidate the opposition and workers not to go ahead with the job boycott,
let alone take to the streets in protest.
Public political gatherings and rallies have been banned in the capital
But the MDC remained defiant, vowing to mobilise workers to never go to work
until the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) released the results of the
presidential election held on March 29 together with elections for
parliament and local councils.
“We are calling on the people of Zimbabwe to speak against ZEC's failure to
release the results. We are calling for a mass stay-away until the results
are released,” MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe told journalists in
The ZEC has released results for the other polls but withheld those of the
presidential election that President Robert Mugabe is believed to have lost
to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
High Court Judge Tendai Uchena earlier on Monday dismissed an MDC
application demanding an immediate release of the results. He did not give
reasons for his ruling.
The MDC went to court to force the ZEC to release results, saying the
commission was withholding results in a bid to fix the vote and force a
re-run of the poll that it says Mugabe is preparing to use violence and
terror to win.
Tsvangirai says he won the presidential race with more than 50 percent of
the vote, which is enough to avoid a second round run-off. But the ruling
ZANU PF party and independent election observers say Tsvangirai won with
less than 50 percent of the vote, warranting a re-run of the ballot.
Delays in announcing results for the presidential poll have plunged Zimbabwe
into a crisis and southern African leaders who met in Zambia at the weekend
urged ZEC to release the results expeditiously. They called on the Harare
government to ensure a second round ballot between Mugabe and Tsvangirai is
held in a “secure environment”.
Meanwhile, the High Court is on Tuesday set to hear an application by the
MDC challenging attempts by the ZEC to recount votes for the presidential
and parliamentary election in 23 constituencies.
The opposition party wants the commission blocked from recounting votes for
the presidential election before it has announced results and argues that
recounts in the parliamentary vote are illegal because they should have been
ordered within 48 hours after the announcement of the results.
ZANU PF, which lost control of parliament for the first time in 28 years
when it won 97 seats against 106 taken by the MDC and other opposition
candidates, appears to have resigned itself to a run-off election between
Mugabe and Tsvangirai to decide who becomes president of Zimbabwe.
But the party could easily take back control of parliament without the need
for a new election if it wins nine more seats on the recount. – ZimOnline.
SW Radio Africa (London)
14 April 2008
Posted to the web 14 April 2008
The MDC said on Monday that it has 'irrefutable evidence' that Morgan
Tsvangirai got enough votes from last month's elections be declared the next
President of Zimbabwe.
The party's secretary for elections, Ian Makone, said all their information
was now kept at a safe location on a computer database. It contains results
collated from across the country, including photographs of results, text
messages and paperwork from all the 207 polling stations. Results collated
by the MDC show Tsvangirai as a clear winner to Mugabe by a wide margin,
gaining more than the percentage required to avoid a run-off.
'We have made no secret of the fact that we know Tsvangirai beat Mugabe
convincingly and we have been consistent about it,' Makone said.
It's believed the MDC has photographic evidence of all results posted
outside the 207 constituencies. This information was supplied by it's
winning and losing candidates.
Makone added that any day that goes by without the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission publishing results, is further proof that there is every
intention to try and rig the outcome of the results.
'If anybody comes up with a figure that places Morgan Tsvangirai below 50
percent, then we know it's a clear case of rigging,' Makone said.
by Prince Nyathi and Ntando Ncube Tuesday 15 April 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition has called for an indefinite work boycott
beginning today to put pressure on election authorities to release results
for a presidential election held more than two weeks ago.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party vice-president Thokozani Khupe
urged Zimbabweans to stay at home to protest against delays by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release results of the March 29 poll that
President Robert Mugabe is believed to have lost.
“We are calling on the people of Zimbabwe to speak against ZEC’s failure to
release the results. We are calling for a mass stay-away until the results
are released,” Khupe told a press briefing in Harare.
The call for the stay-away comes soon after the High Court ruled on Monday
that it would not force ZEC to release the results of the presidential vote.
The MDC was anticipating that the court would force ZEC to announce the
results and thereby ending an election deadlock that the opposition has
warned could lead to violence and bloodshed.
The opposition party, which has already claimed victory, has accused Mugabe,
who has ruled Zimbabwe since the country’s independence from Britain in
1980, of holding back the release of the results while he prepares to launch
a campaign of violence to cow voters to back him in an anticipated second
round run-off ballot.
Khupe said the MDC would also push to block the recounting of votes ordered
by ZEC in 23 constituencies allegedly at the instigation of Mugabe’s ruling
ZANU PF party.
The opposition official said it would be illegal to recount votes because
the law says such recounts should have been ordered within 48 hours after
the announcement of the results.
Khupe said attempts to intervene in Zimbabwe by regional leaders, who held
an emergency summit to discuss the election stalemate, were welcome and
necessary to help end the crisis.
The MDC deputy leader however, expressed concern at increasing violence and
human rights abuses against supporters of the opposition party.
Khupe said at least one MDC activists was murdered by suspected ZANU PF
militants while at least 20 supporters of the opposition party were admitted
at various hospitals in after suffering injuries from attacks by militants
of Mugabe’s party.
“One of our activists Tapiwa Mugwada of Hurungwe was killed recently by ZANU
PF supporters and we have received many reports of people being assaulted
for supporting the MDC,” said Khupe.
Most of those assaulted are supporters living in the country’s rural areas,
Khupe said. – ZimOnline.
Mail and Guardian
Godfrey Marawanyika | Harare, Zimbabwe
14 April 2008 06:45
Zimbabwe's post-election crisis intensified on Monday after a
high court judge threw out an opposition demand for the immediate release of
results from the March 29 presidential polls.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) reacted
angrily to the ruling, urging Zimbabweans to show their disgust at the
continuing hold-up by launching a general strike from Tuesday until the
result is released.
"We have called for a mass stay-in, starting tomorrow [Tuesday],
until the results are released," the party's vice-president, Thokhozani
Khupe, told reporters.
Zimbabwe police, however, pledged to deal severely with any
unrest during the general strike called by the opposition, announcing extra
officers and soldiers were deploying across the country.
"As everyone is aware, the past stayaways have been
characterised by random destruction of property and threats to life," said
police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena.
"Those who breach the peace will be dealt with severely and
Dozens of riot police hovered outside the court room as Justice
Tendai Uchena delivered his ruling, rejecting an MDC petition calling for
the Zimbabwe electoral commission to immediately declare the result.
"The matter has been dismissed with costs," Uchena said.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has already claimed outright
victory over President Robert Mugabe in the poll and the party said it was
now calling on the public to speak up against the commission.
"What we want is for the ZEC [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] to
announce the results. We hope every Zimbabwean takes it upon themselves to
speak out and be heard. Voting alone was not enough. We want our results,
the time has come," said Khupe.
The ruling was welcomed by Mugabe's camp with his Justice
Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, saying it would have made no sense to order the
ZEC to release the results before they were ready.
"We are not surprised that the court has dismissed the
application. We knew from the outset that the application by the MDC had no
merit," he told reporters.
"How can you force the electoral commission to release results
when it is not ready?"
The ruling is a double blow to the opposition after a summit of
Southern African leaders in Zambia at the weekend merely called for the
results to be announced "expeditiously", saying the matter should be decided
by the courts.
The impact of any general strike is likely to be muted as
unemployment is already running at more than 80%.
Previous stayaways called by the opposition and its allies in
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have flopped with few of the people
still in work wanting to risk a day's pay.
However, the opposition is aware that Mugabe still exerts an
iron grip over the security forces and is wary of sending its supporters on
to the streets to protest the current impasse. Police have anyway banned all
Flyers handed out since the MDC first threatened on Friday to
stage the general strike have called on everyone from bus drivers to street
vendors to join in.
"The power is in our hands. Zimbabweans have been taken for
granted for too long. We demand that the presidential election results be
At Saturday's emergency summit in Lusaka, regional leaders
discussed the post-election impasse long into the night, but they stopped
short of criticising the Zimbabwean government or Mugabe, who was not even
mentioned in a four-page joint statement.
Regional leaders have been chided for their traditional
reluctance to speak out against 84-year-old Mugabe, seen by many as an elder
statesman who still deserves respect for his role in winning Zimbabwe's
Tsvangirai, still trying to drum up regional support to keep the
pressure on Mugabe, was in Zimbabwe's eastern neighbour, Mozambique, on
Monday. Sources said that he was to meet with Mozambican opposition leader
No meetings, however, had so far been held with President
About three million Zimbabweans have fled to neighbouring
countries in the wake of the country's economic collapse under Mugabe who
has ruled uninterrupted since independence from Britain in 1980.
A one-time regional model, Zimbabwe is now groaning under the
impact of the world's highest rate of inflation which is well into six
figures. -- AFP
Monday, Apr. 14, 2008 By MEGAN LINDOW
Zimbabwe's political opposition is fast finding itself in the uncomfortable,
but familiar position of having few good options for ending the 28-year rule
of President Robert Mugabe.
Sure, the electorate on March 29 voted the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change into a dominant position in the legislature, but more than
two weeks after the presidential poll on the same day that MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai claims to have won, the results have not yet been released. And
even the opposition gains in parliament are in danger of being reversed, now
that Zimbabwe's election commission has reportedly decided to recount the
tally from polling stations in 23 constituencies, 22 of which were won by
the opposition. A summit of leaders of neighboring southern African states
last weekend produced only a tepid call for the release of the results to be
expedited, although the MDC is pressing the issue by urging its supporters
to join a general strike on Tuesday to demand the release of the election
Any hope for recourse through Zimbabwe's legal system suffered a blow on
Monday, when the high court rejected an appeal by the MDC for the results to
be immediately released — the opposition party claims to have won both the
parliamentary and presidential vote. With the Electoral Commission
announcing Sunday that a recount of presidential and parliamentary votes
would take place the following Saturday, opposition leaders believe the
ruling party is buying time to rig results and terrorize voters ahead of any
runoff presidential election (which would be required if no candidate won
more than 50% of the vote). The decision by a court stacked with Mugabe
supporters was a setback, but not a surprise.
The election recount order was reported Sunday by the pro-government
Zimbabwe Standard newspaper. Last week, police arrested several electoral
officials for allegedly tampering with the vote counting. On Tuesday, the
courts will hear pleas from the MDC to stop the recount from taking place.
But the track record suggests that few will expect the court to rule in
favor of the opposition.
After the euphoria of the days following the election, when it appeared that
Mugabe's grip on power was weakening, the mood in Zimbabwe now grows
increasingly somber. There have been numerous reports of riot police on the
streets, and of growing intimidation and violence by the secret police and
by militant groups of pro-government "war veterans" in both urban and rural
opposition strongholds. In a further draconian move, the government on
Friday also banned political rallies.
Despite urging its supporters to observe the general strike called for
Tuesday, the MDC has not previously had much luck in mobilizing its base
when the authorities have shown a willingness to use violence to suppress
dissent. A year ago, Tsvangirai was arrested and his skull cracked during a
brutal beating after one attempted street demonstration. With numerous
opposition supporters having endured similar treatment, even many of those
most ardently opposed to Mugabe's regime have nevertheless shied away from
previous strike actions.
Still, some in in the opposition believe that this time will be different.
"I'm sure that it could escalate to a lot of bloodshed," MDC Treasurer Roy
Bennett told TIME from South Africa. "That's what ZANU-PF wants. But how do
you keep people down when they know they have won an election, the situation
in the country is untenable, and they are starving."
Following the failure of last weekend's regional summit to apply any
noticeable pressure on Mugabe, South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki's has
come under mounting fire at home for his reliance on "quiet diplomacy" to
coax concessions from the Zimbabwean strongman. Passing through Harare to
meet with Mugabe on his way to a summit in Zambia that the Zimbabwean leader
had chosen to boycott, Mbeki told reporters there was "no crisis" in
Zimbabwe. But there is growing impatience with this approach even within
Mbeki's own ruling African National Congress. New ANC President Jacob Zuma
recently spoke out against the delay in releasing Zimbabwe's election
results, criticizing it for "keeping the nation in suspense [and] keeping
the international community in suspense." Still, there's no sign yet that
the options available to the opposition by way of street protest or regional
pressure adds up to sufficient leverage to enforce what the MDC says was the
will expressed by the people two weeks ago.
14 April 2008
Statement issued in reaction to dismissal of application April 14 2008.
Zimbabweans to stage a massive stay-away
Zimbabweans will from tomorrow embark on a nationwide stay-away demanding
their Presidential election results of the 29 March harmonized elections.
Today the High Court dismissed with costs an urgent court application that
had been filed by the MDC demanding the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
to release the results.
For over two weeks since 29 March, ZEC is failing to release the
Presidential poll results, a situation that has caused an electoral impasse
as the people of Zimbabwe who voted in their millions have been waiting
patiently for the results.
As Zimbabweans it is not enough to just stand by and do nothing when we are
facing untold political and economic pain.
It is now time that all the people of Zimbabwe who voted in the just ended
elections took the destiny of the beloved Zimbabwe into their own hands as
the Zanu PF regime is not going to let them have peace and democracy.
Every Zimbabwean worker, business people, informal traders are being
encouraged to stay at home until our demands are met by ZEC.
Every Zimbabwean should stay at home until ZEC announces the results for the
It is now known internationally that the MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai won
the election by over 50, 3 percent.
However, a shocked Zanu PF regime has failed to come to terms with the
defeat and is doing everything in its power in order to subvert the people
of Zimbabwe's will.
Lets all stay at home in demand of our results. The 29 March elections were
for jobs, food and a better Zimbabwe.
Statement issued by the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe, April 14
by Tendai Maronga Tuesday 15 April 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition says suspected ruling ZANU PF party militants
murdered one of its supporters in an orgy of violence that began after last
month’s election but denied reports its leader has sought asylum in the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) deputy leader Thokozani Khupe said
party president Morgan Tsvangirai was in neighbouring South Africa on
business and was expected back in Zimbabwe this week.
“Morgan Tsvangirai is in South Africa right now and has not sought any
asylum,” Khupe said to quash widespread speculation in Harare that the MDC
leader had fled the country fearing for his life.
Some reports had suggested Tsvangirai, who attended the Lusaka regional
summit that discussed Zimbabwe’s election stalemate last Saturday, has
sought asylum in neighbouring Botswana while others said he was seeking
refuge in the West.
But Khupe said violence was on the rise against the MDC. She said at least
one MDC activists was murdered by suspected ZANU PF militants while at least
20 supporters of the opposition party were admitted at various hospitals
across the country after suffering injuries from attacks by militants of
“One of our activists Tapiwa Mugwada of Hurungwe was killed recently by ZANU
PF supporters and we have received many reports of people being assaulted
for supporting the MDC,” said Khupe.
Most of those assaulted are supporters living in the country’s rural areas,
Khupe said. – ZimOnline.
April 14, 2008 11:17
AMBy Trust Matsilele
PRETORIA: A visiting Zimbabwe delegation to the Institute of Democracy
Alternatives in Zimbabwe (IDAZIM) in South Africa said the only way to deal
with Mugabe if he denies to concede is for SADC to impose smart sanctions.
A representative of the delegation which among others included Zimbabwe
Union of Journalists, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, National Constitutional
Assembly, Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum and Zimbabwe congress of Trade Unions
were also in agreement that SADC was mediating in bad faith.
Gordon Moyo from the Bulawayo agenda said SADC was failing to rescue
Zimbabwe who had done all they could to ensure a smooth and democratic
transition in Zimbabwe.
"We are calling for smart sanctions if Mugabe continues clinging on power
even after losing the elections to the opposition. The sanctions should be
similar with those imposed by the European Union thats one way SADC can
assist Zimbabwe," lamented Moyo.
However Wellington Chibhebhe from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions had
harsh words for the diplomatic community and SADC for one he labelled
'cheering Mugabe up' for butchering own citizens.
"The international community included the United Nations, South Africa, SADC
and Africa Union are not doing anything to help ordinary Zimbabwe who voted
Mugabe out on the 29th of March. We hope that when tables turn you will
continue cheering him up," warned Chibhebhe.
Arnold Tsunga a renowned human rights lawyer said there was a constitutional
crisis in Zimbabwe and that this amounted to a coup that it was unfortunate
for President Mbeki to describe Zimbabwe as saying there was no crisis.
Elinor Sisulu, Irene Petras and Foster Dongozi also said it was unfortunate
for the observer meeting to have left Zimbabwe and declare that elections
were credible when the process is not over. The trio also lashed at the way
state media is being manipulated to meet ZANU PF patronage line.
Petras from Zimbabwe Human Forum also told the meeting that already over
hundred individuals have visited the offices over post election violence
with two deaths have been reported in Hurungwe and Mudzi.
"We can confirm that two people have since died due to the post elections
related violence and these are some of the developments that SADC was
supposed to be monitoring as mandated by the electoral act until results are
out," lamented Petras.
IDAZIM is a public interest policy institute that facilitates platform
collaborating with interest groups in providing leadership in harnessing
domestic and international efforts advocating for transition to democracy in
Police ban demonstrations
Zambian president and SADC chair Levy Mwanawasa called the extraordinary meeting of the regional body in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, to discuss mounting tensions after the result of Zimbabwe's presidential poll had yet to be announced more than two weeks after the election.
The MDC claim that their leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, defeated President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. Tsvangirai and a third presidential candidate, Simba Makoni, attended the crisis meeting in Lusaka but Mugabe opted out and instead sent three of his cabinet ministers.
Since the combined elections on 29 March, in which voters elected municipal councillors, members of the House of Assembly, senators, and the president, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has only announced the results for members of the lower house and the senate.
The MDC petitioned the High Court to force the electoral body to announce the results of the presidential race, but this was dismissed with costs by presiding Judge Tendai Uchena. The reasoning of the decision will be made available on 15 April.
Zimbabwean electorate is disappointed that nothing substantial came out of the
SADC summit. For many it is back to drawing board
At the close of the summit, the SADC urged that if no candidate achieved the 50-plus-one vote required for an outright win, the second round of voting should take place in a free environment, and said it would send another delegation to observe this ballot.
"The Zimbabwean electorate is disappointed that nothing substantial came out of the SADC summit. For many, it is back to the drawing board because the regional leaders failed to address fundamental issues, instead almost endorsing ZEC's unjustified delay in announcing the results," David Chimhini, director of the Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET), an organisation working to promote voter rights, told IRIN.
SADC ignores rising violence
"One would have expected the SADC leaders to come out more firmly than they did. They failed to make pronouncements on rising violence, the failure by Mugabe to attend [the Lusaka summit], the closure of the ZEC command centre without informing interested parties, observers being brutalised, journalists being arrested, and the heavy deployment of soldiers and police officers across the country," Chimhini said.
"SADC diplomacy has proved once more that it cannot address the concerns of the people when they need regional support most," he commented.
"How come they did not tell us whether it was normal or not to wait for two full weeks for the presidential results to be made public, when polls that took place on the same day have been announced?"
SADC observers endorsed the 29 March poll as free and fair before the vote count began.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said, "We are not as satisfied as we would have wanted to be, but half a loaf is better than nothing because, at least, you have something to eat. We are gratified that the regional leaders saw it prudent to call an emergency meeting because that exhibited a sense of solidarity on their part."
Chimhini said SADC's failure to condemn Mugabe's government for banning political rallies "definitely should not have escaped their attention, considering that it happened on the eve of the Lusaka summit".
A day before the summit, police commanders in Harare announced at press briefing that no political rallies would be permitted until all election results had been announced.
"Surely, those who want to provoke the breach of peace, whoever they are and whatever office they hold, will be dealt with severely," said Faustino Mazango, who is responsible for maintaining order nationally during the election period. He added that the MDC was "spoiling for a fight".
Police ban political rallies
The ban on political rallies was instituted in the wake of an MDC application for a rally in Harare because the police felt the political atmosphere was too tense.
"There is no justification in announcing a ban of political rallies. Zimbabwe is not at war, but if there is such war, it is not declared as such officially. How can the police say they have inadequate manpower to monitor a rally when there are hundreds of police officers in the streets who are apparently just loitering?" Chimhini said.
He said the ban on rallies was a government tactic to suppress the views of people disgruntled by the current political and economic crises and that it might "provoke people to engage in civil unrest as a way of protesting the trampling of their liberties".
Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of a breakaway faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara, which won six seats in parliament and five in the senate, said the police ban was illegal.
Clearly, the ban is unlawful. This is just an insidious move to attempt
to subvert the will of the people, to deny them their constitutional right of
assembly. We have been put in a permanent state of armed suppression
He said the ban was "the coercive work of a government that is beleaguered and knows force is the only way to maintain its hold on power".
Chamisa said the ban was a joke and his party would not heed it. "That is nonsense, and one of those jokes by Mugabe's desperate government. We say 'no' to a police state."
Zimbabweans cast their ballots amid an economic crisis marked by the world's highest annual inflation rate - more than 100,000 percent - an unemployment rate of about 80 percent, and shortages of food, medicines, fuel and foreign currency.
ZANU-PF lost its majority in parliament for the first time since independence, but has called for a recount of votes in 23 constituencies where it claims its candidates were cheated. The ZEC said the recount would take place on 19 April.
According to local reports the High Court issued an order on 12 April prohibiting the recount. A ZEC official was quoted by the state-run daily newspaper, The Herald, as saying that it would go ahead with the recount because it had not yet seen the court judgement.
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)
14 April 2008
Posted to the web 14 April 2008
The two-week delay in announcing Zimbabwe's presidential election results
has raised fears of violence.
That was why the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) on Saturday
called an emergency summit to discuss Zimbabwe's stalemate. President Mugabe
did not attend the event.
The meeting, convened by the Sadc chairman Levy Mwanawasa has called for the
rapid release of the results.
Sadc urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release them expeditiously
in accordance with the law.
The summit also called on Mugabe to ensure that a possible run-off against
opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai be held
in a peaceful and transparent environment.
Sadc needs to stop Zimbabwe from denegerating into the kind of the Kenyan
conflicts in which more than 1,000 died and thousands were displaced.
It has been reported that the Mugabe government intends to recount all votes
from both the parliamentary and presidential elections.
MDC has rejected the approach and its lawyers will tomorrow go to court to
challenge the vote recount.
The fact that authorities in Zimbabwe are suggesting the recount even before
the actual results have been released raises doubts as to whether Sadc's
call will be heeded.
Sadc must ensure that its resolutions are respected and implemented. All
peace-loving people are watching and eagerly waiting for the Zimbabwean
imbroglio to be sold immediately. And Sadc must prove that it is able to
resolve the matter.
By Geoffrey Nyarota
April 14, 2008
THE constant and blatant refusal by President Mbeki of South Africa the
SADC-appointed mediator in Zimbabwe’s ongoing calamity to acknowledge that a
crisis prevails in the country, in the first place, has now become a
contributory factor to the worsening catastrophe.
Whether Mbeki defines a crisis as a catastrophe, an emergency, calamity, a
predicament or a decisive or critical moment, Zimbabwe has been in the
throes of one over the past eight years. Millions of words have been written
and published on that subject. The dire situation has now been aggravated by
events in the country in the aftermath of the harmonised elections held a
It is insulting, insensitive and disrespectful of the long-suffering people
of Zimbabwe for the South African President to state, as he did before the
SADC heads of state in Lusaka late on Saturday night, that, as far as he is
concerned, there is no crisis in Zimbabwe. Mr Mbeki remains firmly stuck in
his customary state of denial.
As far as he is concerned any talk of a crisis in Zimbabwe is nothing but a
figment of the collective imagination of the long-suffering people of
Zimbabwe. To him the crisis is a creation of an opposition MDC anxious to
win the sympathy of the international community. The fact that the results
of presidential elections conducted two weeks ago remain a closely guarded
secret appears to be of no consequence to the South African leader. “Let us
wait for the outcome of the results,” he enjoined us all while in London
Mr Mbeki is not perturbed that, instead of waiting for the controversial
results, Mr Mugabe and his party started to prepare for a re-run of the
presidential poll. Neither does he seem concerned that this particular
strategy now appears to have been abandoned in favour of a ballot recount,
not only of the presidential election, but also of the parliamentary, senate
and local government elections in 23 of the 108 constituencies where Zanu-PF
lost to the MDC.
Mr Mbeki’s problem is quite clear. He is totally at a loss as to what
exactly is happening on the Zimbabwe political landscape, his handicap being
compounded by the fact that his major source of information on the Zimbabwe
crisis is none other than the major cause of the disaster, President Mugabe.
The Lusaka Summit was still-born the moment President Mbeki decided to
engage in a last round of “quiet diplomacy” in Harare before proceeding to
attend the summit. But Mr Mbeki has effectively squandered the last
opportunity at his disposal to salvage or redeem whatever remained of his
much tarnished reputation and credibility vis a vis the Zimbabwe situation.
Mr Mbeki has revealed that, like many politicians, he is a man of double
standards. Recently he emerged with a bruised image from the ANC congress in
Pholokwane where his party ditched him as leader in favour of his erstwhile
deputy, Jacob Zuma, warts and all.
Mr Mbeki was gracious and exemplary in his acceptance of defeat. He never
challenged the outcome. Neither did he request that announcement of results
be postponed while he secretly arranged to take on Zuma again in a recount.
He did not demand a recount, a luxury that has been denied to the Zimbabwean
opposition each time they have complained of blatant electoral theft by Mr
The ANC had spoken and Mr Mbeki respected the will of the people.
In a functioning democracy the vote is the ultimate weapon in the hands of a
citizenry fighting against willful abuse of their civil rights and against
their subjection to violence, lawlessness, deprivation, humiliation as well
as corrupt and incompetent governance.
Zimbabweans have over the years been accused and ridiculed for having too
high a thresh-hold for tolerance and patience. But, being law-abiding
citizens they patiently bided their time. On March 29 they finally spoke.
Now Mr Mbeki tells the world that the people of Zimbabwe must continue to
wait for “the outcome of the results”, whatever that means.
He does not see any linkage between the ongoing drama and the statement by
Mr Mugabe that Mr Morgan Tsvangirai would “never ever” be President of
Zimbabwe. He is deaf to the threat by the security chiefs that they would
never salute Tsvangirai if he won the election.
This was no idle threat.
In fact, Mr Mbeki does not seem to understand what is really happening in
Zimbabwe. His misunderstanding emanates from his resort to entirely
inappropriate sources of information, foremost among them President Mugabe
himself. Mr Mbeki would have nodded his head vigorously as his peer reminded
him on Saturday that the MDC was a latter-day British strategy for the
re-colonization of Zimbabwe.
He would have been told that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was
overwhelmed by the pressure of counting; that some ZEC members succumbed to
temptation and were bribed by the MDC. Above all, Mr Mugabe would have
driven it into his guest’s head that what the opposition, civil society and
the international community viewed as a crisis was nothing other than a ploy
by the MDC to gain international recognition and sympathy.
This is the message he limply and shamelessly regurgitated in Lusaka.
What President Mbeki fails to appreciate is that his counterpart in Harare
has long ceased to be a free man and a powerful head of state, acting in the
interests of the people of Zimbabwe. Mr Mugabe has effectively become a
prisoner inside State House. It is very likely that the decision not to
attend the summit in Lusaka was thrust upon him by the military, now
effectively the powers behind the throne in Harare.
For it is quite clear that it is they who now run the show in a state that
has over the years been gradually militarized. That they would not salute
anyone who did not go to war was a provident slip of the tongue that
Zimbabweans made the costly mistake of not taking seriously.
It is patently clear that it is not Mugabe who is refusing to leave office.
After all he vacated State House a long time ago and moved into his own
private residence. The whole electoral process was travesty conducted under
the watchful eye of the military. The top ZEC officials were recruited from
the ranks of the military. The Joint Operations Command is a military
institution which has usurped civilian presidential powers. It is they who
have been manipulating the whole electoral process since March 29; they who
conveyed the tragic news about Mugabe’s humiliation at the polls and they
who have been manipulating him and running the show ever since.
They swung into instant action to stage-manage what now amounts to a
military coup with an elderly civilian face.
It is they, after all, who stand to lose the most in the event of a change
“The President will most likely be pardoned,” they say. “What about us?”
While the rest of Zimbabwe misplaced its collective faith in Mbeki, the
military stage-managed a gradual transfer of power to themselves. This
happened once they realised that the civilian challenge to Mugabe was
ineffectual, being entirely engrossed in squabbling over power and perks and
in a public and arrogant display of their high-sounding yet mostly
irrelevant academic credentials. If it wasn’t for the greed, vanity and
total loss of focus among the ranks of the opposition, last weeks electoral
victory would not have been delivered on a plate to the military, as has now
happened. History will judge them harshly.
The least that the opposition leaders can do to redeem themselves is
distance themselves from the dictatorship and place nation before self for a
The military now control Mugabe and have acquired economic power through
looting of state resources and looting of diamonds during their profitable
deployment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Now they seek total control of political power. They have talented
strategists among them. They realised over the course of last week that
Mugabe would lose a re-run of the presidential election. So they embarked on
a new strategy - a recount this week of the ballots in 23 constituencies
disputed by Zanu-PF. At the end of the process the ZEC will declare Mr
Mugabe and Zanu-PF the winners by an appropriately clear majority.
Meanwhile the military have deployed strategically throughout the country to
enforce acceptance of the new result. It is no coincidence that ruthless
violence has reared its ugly head in the countryside again.
Very soon our educated politicians will salute General Constantine Chiwenga,
commander of the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe. The more opportunistic among
them will be co-opted into some military-controlled government of national
unity. Effectively the capricious Mrs Jocelyn Chiwenga will become the First
Lady of Zimbabwe. Many more educated and skilled Zimbabweans will join the
exodus into the Diaspora as they flee from a deepening economic morass,
worsening political instability and, possibly, bloodshed – all in a bid to
safe-guard the mansions and other filthy wealth of the Chiwengas.
President Mbeki obviously does not see any crisis on our continent, unless
there is bloodshed. In Zimbabwe his wishes could soon be fulfilled. Mr
Mugabe has been effectively emasculated by the security chiefs, who will try
this week to impose on the people the result of a manipulated recount.
Unfortunately, the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe could easily say:
Enough is enough.
When that happens the blood of the people of Zimbabwe will, to a
considerable extent, be on the hands of the President of South Africa.
Nevertheless, it is clear that brave but beleaguered Zimbabweans need and
deserve all the support they can muster from those responsible leaders of
the SADC and AU, who clearly recognize the urgent need for an end to the
ongoing madness. The will of the Zimbabwe people, so clearly expressed
through the ballot box, must be respected and fully acknowledged.
Democracy, not the military, must emerge triumphant, however much President
Mbeki and other gullible Mugabe apologists, especially inside Zimbabwe,
remain in a state of maddening denial.
Yes, enough is enough. And African leaders are now rightly in the
international spotlight to see whether democracy can start its fight back
against military oppression in Zimbabwe. Indeed, Africa, not just Zimbabwe,
must now choose between a peaceful and effective solution or violent chaos.
And the growing pressure for meaningful democratic change will not be
silenced, however violent the internal military efforts to snuff it out.
The people of Zimbabwe must march triumphantly at long last, their march
being much deserved reward for their wonderful display of endurance and
maturity in the face of acute provocation.
As for Mr Mugabe and General Chiwenga, they have been adequately compensated
for their contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe from colonial rule. As
a further token of their gratitude, I believe Zimbabweans are prepared to
forgive them for their brazen measures to clandestinely augment that reward.
(Geoffrey Nyarota is the Managing Editor of thezimbabwetimes.com and author
of Against the Grain, Memoirs of a Zimbabwean Newsman.)
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
14 April 2008
Posted to the web 14 April 2008
IT is not difficult to understand the reasons behind the calling of the
Extraordinary Summit of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads
of State over the weekend.
There is growing anxiety all round, within the Southern African region and
beyond. And these anxieties regarding the outcome of an election are not
unfounded. The Zimbabwe elections come hot on the heels of the troubles
witnessed after the recent Kenyan presidential election.
Although the situations in the two countries are not identical, there is a
troubling similarity - an inordinate delay in announcing much anticipated
presidential election results. In the case of Kenya, the opposition went to
the streets to protest the delay, believing the government candidate wanted
to "steal" the election.
The results were sad. Hundreds of people lost their lives in post-election
violence that rocked some parts of Kenya.
It took mediatory efforts of the African Union and former United Nations
secretary general, Kofi Annan, to calm things down, and facilitate formation
of a government of national unity.
The government of President Robert Mugabe has also submitted itself to the
dictates of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, and have sought legal
recourse to force a verification.
Thirdly, the role of facilitator for Zimbabwe, played by South African
President Thabo Mbeki, has been critical.
President Mbeki has refused to play to the international gallery, which he
could have accomplished by issuing quick condemnations of the Zimbabwe
government. Instead he has continued to quietly engage President Mugabe and
In fact, when it looked like the Zimbabwe elections would be held under a
volatile atmosphere, President Mbeki stepped in to mediate between the
ZANU-PF government and opposition political parties.
It is that SADC effort that is responsible for what all players testified
before the Lusaka Summit that the last Zimbabwe elections were held in a
free and fair atmosphere.
Hopefully, all sides in Zimbabwe will now heed the resolution terms agreed
upon by the Lusaka Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Zimbabwe
Peaceful, quiet engagement is still the best way to help Zimbabwe along in
this phase of its transformation.
By Peter Worthington April 12, 2008
Even back in 1982, Zimbabwe was a place to be avoided
Now that Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party has lost the election in
Zimbabwe –although he’s still clinging to power until a runoff election is
held — there’s speculation whether there will be an investigation into the
brutalities waged by Mugabe over the years.
The most brutal period of Mugabe’s reign was 1982-85 when he used his
infamous Fifth Brigade, trained by North Koreans, to tame Matabeleland,
controlled by Joshua Nkomo, whom he had fired from his cabinet. Nkomo’s
record as a fighter for independence was greater than Mugabe’s. Nkomo headed
the rival ZAPU, eventually crushed by Mugabe.
I was in the heart of Matebeleland in 1982, a witness to the Fifth Brigade’s
treatment of civilians and tribes people.
That summer of 1982, the big international story out of Zimbabwe was six
young tourists — two Americans, two Brits and two Aussies — who had been
ambushed and kidnapped near Victoria Falls, and being held by insurgents who
said the tourists would be killed unless 200 political prisoners held by
Mugabe were released.
The tour leader and three women were released with the ransom demand, while
the six were taken away at gunpoint: Aussies Tony Bajzell, 25, and Bill
Butler, 32; Americans Bruce Baldwin, 23, and Kevin Ellis, 24; Britons Jim
Greenwell, 18, and Martyn Hodgson, 35.
Negotiations and counter-demands went on all summer, with various sightings
of the hostages being reported.
Mugabe unleashed his Fifth Brigade to scour Matebeleland villages for the
I had been travelling in the southern U.S. when I got a call from a longtime
family friend — Lt.-Col. Tom Finan, retired commanding officer of the Royal
Canadian Dragoons (RCD) and a tank officer with an enviable record in war
Finan, since deceased, was a newsworthy personality at the time. The British
media had discovered he’d become an international mercenary soldier and arms
dealer, allegedly heading an abortive coup in Togo.
Finan was widely reputed to have been the inspiration for Frederick Forsyth’s
best-selling novel, The Dogs of War — which both Finan and Forsyth
vehemently denied, but which not everyone believed.
Tommy Finan — known as “Colonel Tom” — was mentioned in various media
stories involving trouble in Libya, Lebanon, Tanzania, even Idi Amin’s
Uganda. In our conversations, Finan was guarded but adamant that his arms
dealing and mercenary business was never against the West. He considered
himself a “patriot” using unconventional means to advance Western interests.
To cut to the chase, Finan had contacted families and lawyers of the
kidnapped tourists, and had arranged for $500,000 to be paid to the
kidnappers for their release. He had no way of reaching them, and wanted me
to go to Zimbabwe and try to contact the dissidents with the offer, which
would be deposited in a Swiss bank.
He teamed me up with one Bill Howe, an all-purpose journalistic adventurer
who had worked in far eastern hot spots, and was said to have good contacts
among Mugabe’s people in Zimbabwe.
The Sun financed the trip — their reward to be the stories I’d write. I
wrote at the time that our mission was more mindful of the comedy TV show
Get Smart than the Scarlet Pimpernel, but it had touches of Evelyn Waugh’s
great journalistic novel, Scoop.
Our idea was to rent a car in Bulawayo, capital of Matebeleland, and drive
into what was regarded as the wild west — nether regions beyond the domain
of local police, where small villages existed and where it was believed the
kidnappers held the young tourists. Our goal was to make contact with the
kidnappers and persuade them to take the money, which would be transferred
to a bank of their choice. We had no substantial cash.
We first visited Joshua Nkomo, whom we assumed might know who the kidnappers
were and get word to them that we had $500,000 for the return of the
I liked Nkomo. I found him brave and curiously honest — and in considerable
danger from Mugabe’s vindictiveness. Nkomo eventually sent his wife and
family to live in Canada, fearing for their safety in Zimbabwe. He warned us
of the Fifth Brigade, which was hated by all who had encountered them.
Looking back, until it was disbanded around 1984, the Fifth Brigade ran
rough in Matebeleland, killing and beating, and burying their crimes in mass
graves — some 20,000 to 40,000 victims.
The Fifth Brigade were not regular soldiers. They were Mugabe’s personal
army, answerable only to him and his appointees. Often they operated in
civilian clothes, to infiltrate and intimidate, and were a law unto
themselves in the bush.
After our meeting with Nkomo, Howe and I waited a day or so for him to pass
the word that we were here to deal (assuming he knew how to reach the
INTO THE UNKNOWN
Then we headed into the unknown. We checked with police posts as we
encountered them, wanting to leave a record that we’d been there. We were
regarded as nuts. We didn’t tell the police what our mission was, since that
might alert authorities who’d take a dim view of the project.
We veered off the road to visit villages — some comprising a few dozen
people, others maybe 100 or more inhabitants. Questions about the tourists
caused considerable alarm. No one had seen anything.
But we got tales of horror about how the Fifth Brigade operated. In general,
when Fifth Brigade troops moved in, villagers were questioned and then
individually were beaten until they confessed to whatever was being asked.
After everyone in the village had been beaten, confessions and statements
were compared, and the majority opinion or answers was regarded as the
It was a brutal albeit efficient way to get answers, but a sorry way to
establish either truth or justice.
The fear and hate generated was palpable, and both Howe and I worried at
what would happen if these villagers were ever questioned about us — or us
if we were questioned by the Fifth Brigade.
A rough alternative plan, had we found the tourists and paid the ransom, was
to dash for the relatively close Botswana border where, by previous
arrangement, a South African helicopter would lift us out.
We hoped it wouldn’t come to that and had let the Zimbabwe CIO (Central
Intelligence Organization) know what we were trying to do. They already
knew, of course, because we had likely been bugged, or others had told. We
were not being foolishly secretive.
At the time, my contact with Finan (persona non grata in African countries)
was through Barbara Amiel, at the time deputy editor at the Sun and my
eventual successor. We had a series of code words and phrases with double
meanings: “Danielle is well … mother is sick … weather looks threatening …
how’s your health?” That sort of thing.
I couldn’t resist the occasional quip: “Send 200 Rembrandts, size 12 x 22 x
6 … code blue … the swallows fly at midnight.” Spy novel talk. Amiel would
disintegrate into giggles.
Anyway, the venture turned to naught. We found no tourists — or kidnappers.
It later turned out that the tourists had all died soon after capture — by
infections and disease.
I returned to Canada with a relatively positive series on Zimbabwe — years
ahead of most other black countries, if Mugabe remained reasonable.
Mugabe, of course, got worse, not better. After initially thanking Ian Smith
for making what used to be Rhodesia into an economically self-sufficient
country, Mugabe became more paranoid, corrupt and brutal. He blamed
colonialism for the ills he forced on what could have been Africa’s most
contented and racially harmonious country.
For that, he cannot and should not be forgiven.
Reproduced with permission from Toronto Sun Mon, April 7, 2008
by Edward Cline (April 14, 2008)
Scant news coverage has been devoted to the continuing chaos and brutality
in Zimbabwe, once the “breadbasket” of Africa when it was known as Rhodesia
(and for a few years after its “liberation” from white rule). It is now a
destitute, starving nation whose citizens choose flight to neighboring
states in search of food and employment. Nearly a third of the country’s 12
million population has fled.
The life expectancy of males has dropped from 60 years to 37, and for women,
to 34 years. Unemployment stands at over 80 percent. In 2005, the government
decided to embark on a program of “urban renewal,” and demolished the
shantytowns and black markets that had sprung up around Harare (formerly
Salisbury) and other towns and cities as a consequence of the systematic
impoverishment of farm workers and city dwellers by the government. New
housing was promised but never built.
Private schools were marked for extinction through the regulation of
tuition, and government-run schools, when they are open, are worse than even
the worst American public schools. Over more than a generation, since
Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, adult literacy has fallen from 90 percent
to about 40 percent.
Occasionally one will see brief reports on the morning or evening news of
the arrest and beatings of opposition leaders, of journalists, of long
queues of people waiting to buy scarce commodities from the bare shelves of
stores. Inflation is currently measured at 150,000 percent and climbing
(after the issue of new paper currency, it is a “mere” 1,700 percent, but
that does not disguise the true inflation rate); it takes a wheelbarrow of
paper money to buy a small bag of flour, when it is available.
President Robert Mugabe’s Marxist government has banned foreign journalists,
and the few who have ventured into the country have broadcast their reports
with hidden cellphones. BBC News, Sky News, and CNN have been banned from
the country. Independent newspapers were bombed and not permitted to reopen.
The government controls the television and radio stations and its remaining
newspaper is state-run.
It is interesting to note that Mugabe’s party, Zanu-PF, originated decades
ago as a solely Marxist rival to other “black power” guerilla factions.
After a short flirtation with “free trade” when it came to power, the party
returned to its founding ideology, one of whose goals was to redistribute
white-owned farmland to the black poor. This campaign began in violent
earnest in 2000, when mobs of squatters and “war veterans” (who purportedly
fought in the guerilla war against Ian Smith’s Rhodesia) invaded white-owned
farms. Whites were murdered, raped, beaten, driven from their homes.
Paramilitary patrols of whites attempted to protect lives and property
rights and to ensure the safety of the farms. But a Marxist government
determined to impose racial “justice” (or any kind of collectivist
“justice”) is inherently lawless and renders such efforts hopelessly doomed
The production and export of the chief crops of tobacco, soya, and maize
plummeted dramatically after the farms were expropriated by
government-supported squatters and cronies of Mugabe’s.
The economy followed suit. Once second only to South Africa as the most
prosperous economy in Africa, Mugabe has reduced Zimbabwe to a condition
only a slightly better than the Darfur region of the Sudan.
A presidential election was held on March 29, and in spite of the best
efforts of Mugabe’s party to rig another “unanimous reelection,” all
indications are that he lost it, just as he did in 2000. Several Western
newspapers prematurely wondered how he would make his exit after this
defeat, where he would settle, and how much he would take with him. The
Zimbabwean court, doubtless under pressure from Mugabe, has postponed
revealing the election results.
Several election officials were arrested and charged, reported the Daily
Telegraph of April 8, with “under-counting votes cast for Mr. Mugabe.” An
election run-off is scheduled for April 19. Whether or not it will occur is
a matter of speculation. Voters suspected of casting ballots for Mugabe’s
political opponents – whose solutions for turning the country around are not
much better than the policies that are destroying it – have been accosted by
soldiers and youth gangs and beaten up, or have been threatened with death
if they vote against Mugabe in the run-off.
To distract attention from his apparent loss, Mugabe, reports the Daily
Telegraph, in an attempt to extend his 28-year rule, has dispatched new
gangs to invade and expropriate the country’s remaining 200 white-owned
farms. Once there were 1,500 of them. He also blames “British imperialism”
(Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are imperialists? British imperialism is dead,
and Britain itself is under siege by the European Union), United Nations
sanctions, foreign bankers and other external factors for the country’s
The original plan was to buy the farms with foreign aid under a “willing
buyer-willing seller” land reform program, the “willing buyer” being the
government. But when the money never materialized to buy the farms, or when
farmers were not willing to sell, Mugabe’s solution was simply to resort to
Recall the government’s staged riot to justify the “nationalization” of
Readen Steel in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, or its expropriation of Ellis
Wyatt’s oil property in Colorado. It is as though Mugabe and his government
were following a playbook of the novel with the express purpose of
destroying the country. That, however, would be giving Mugabe and his
cronies too much credit. In the face of the destruction of the country with
policies that do not “work,” they still “believe” in the efficacy and
justice of collectivism.
So do the Western critics of Mugabe, who believe that the idea is noble and
feasible, but that he was the wrong man to apply the idea. This is the same
rationalization that many Western communist and socialist intellectuals made
when they saw the consequences and horrors of collectivism in Soviet Russia,
Red China, and other communist regimes.
Western and African politicians have little to say about what is happening
in Zimbabwe. “Zimbabwe situation ‘embarrassing’ – AU [African Union] chief,”
reads a Reuters headline from March 14. They are more or less mute. What is
“embarrassing” is that their collectivist dreams are being exposed for what
they are: prescriptions for destruction, collapse, death and near civil war.
However, it is not as though Mugabe were looking for answers to why the
country is in a state of economic, political and social free-fall. He is a
psychopathic tyrant; reality is his enemy, and his answer to it is force.
"Liberation," in any political sense, is basically theft, by legerdemain or
by naked force.
The chief subject here is the racist nature of this brand of collectivism.
Before being “colonized” by mostly British whites (under the aegis of Cecil
Rhodes in the 19th century), the region was just another African backwater
populated by people who had no drive, reason or imagination to exploit the
region’s potential. Their cultural glory, such as it was, lay centuries in
the past. It is not as though blacks there were inherently unable to
generate Western ideas and reason and profit by them. The historical fact is
that those values originated and thrived in the West. Conversely, whites are
not inherently susceptible to those values; Nazi Germany and other
disastrous and costly European collectivist movements explode that myth, as
well. Reason and rational, pro-life values are a matter of choice, of
volition. Race is not a determinant of anyone's character or the contents of
Mugabe’s own “liberation” ideology is fundamentally the same as that of
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s spiritual guide and mentor,
Reverend Jeremiah Wright, which is to make whites “pay” for “exploiting”
blacks. It is surprising that Wright has not made a pilgrimage to Zimbabwe
to see his malicious ideology in action. He might observe that it is chiefly
blacks who are suffering, starving, and dying under Mugabe's regime. Perhaps
if he did travel there, his mind would be shaken and he would emulate
Eldridge Cleaver, who, as a fugitive, lived in a few “third world”
countries, but returned to America a changed man.
But, having watched Wright’s performance as a rabble-rousing, emotionalist
preacher, I doubt that his fundamental malignancy could undergo an epiphany.
I believe his mind is so poisonously venomous that he is beyond correction.
He consciously appeals to looters, thugs, and killers. He appeals to a
desire for the unearned. He appeals to racism.
Kyle-Anne Shiver, in an article in American Thinker, “Obama’s Politics of
Collective Redemption” on February 11, observed that
“Little has been made in the mainstream press of the brand of black
liberation theology preached by Obama’s pastor and spiritual mentor, Rev.
Jeremiah Wright, Jr., who holds a master’s degree on world religions with a
focus on Islam, and who has traveled to Middle East countries in the company
of Louis Farrakhan. Rev. Wright created and presides over the Center for
African Biblical Studies, whose mission is African-centered Bible studies:
“We are an African people, and we remain true to our native land, the mother
continent, the cradle of civilization.”
In short, Wright contends that blacks are born with certain uncorrectable
attitudes and dispositions and should remain loyal to them. Blacks who
reject racism, who wish to act as individuals and to be treated as
individuals, are the equivalent of Muslim apostates, to be despised, reviled
and ostracized. Note how prominent pro-reason, “conservative” black
intellectuals, thinkers, teachers and columnists are shut out of any kind of
‘discourse’ about race, how they are treated as non-persons by the
liberal/left black establishment. Reason, rationality and self-respect as
individuals in blacks are deemed corrupting instruments of “black
exploitation” in a “white” culture.
Do Obama’s undefined notions of “change” and “hope” and “bitterness” differ
in essence from any from Hitler’s notions of them? Hitler’s chief siren song
was how the “pride” of Germans and Germany was injured by the Versailles
Treaty, how Germans, as a race, were “victimized” by a conspiracy of
international bankers and financiers, all controlled by the Jews, to keep
Germany poor and dependent.
Wright, for his part, is as much a racist as was Hitler. The hysterical
shrillness of his speaking style is reminiscent of the Fuhrer’s. Obama, as a
member of Wright’s church, must have witnessed this vociferous brand of
religious/political demagoguery countless times, and read the racist
propaganda that appeared in the church publication.
Barack Obama is a much more soft-spoken and articulate public speaker. His
smooth sophistry has charmed and inspired the unwary and the unthinking; it
is no less calculated than is Wright’s to appeal to emotions, not minds. If
he wins the White House in November, soon after his swearing in – but not
before that -- we should expect to hear again calls for “black reparations.”
Never mind the fact that the blacks who lived in slavery are long dead, as
well as their enslavers; never mind the fact that no American black has
lived in slavery for generations, and that, logically, living blacks today
cannot be “owed” anything by any living white (nor by Americans of Asian,
Latinos, or European descent). Reason is not his oracle, not his guide, not
on the issue of racism nor on any of his other policy positions.
Fact-based logic is the enemy of racial or collectivist “logic.” As the sins
of white ancestors are “inherited” by living whites, regardless of whether
or not they are descendents of slave owners, the suffering and injustices
endured by black ancestors are likewise inexplicably transmitted to or
“inherited” by living blacks, regardless of whether or not they are
descendents of slaves. Ergo, they must be “compensated.” That is a form of
Hitler’s demand for lebensraum, that is a yearning for liberation from
For this reason alone – aside from whatever other irrationality he is the
symbol of – because Obama has not publicly and without qualification
repudiated that brand of ideology, but merely papered it over with
sentimental, excuse-laden apologies, he cannot be absolved of complicity in
its advocacy by the likes of Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton,
Louis Farrakhan – and Robert Mugabe.
Views expressed are the author's and may not represent the views of
The Times, SA
Sapa Published:Apr 14, 2008
Two South African technicians arrested under Zimbabwe’s media and defeating
the course of justice laws a fortnight ago have been acquitted and freed
today, a colleague said.
"We heard a few minutes ago - they were acquitted on all charges," said
Abdulhak Gardee, financial director of their employer GlobeCast Africa.
"Finally they are coming home."
After their acquittal Sipho Maseko and Abdulla Gaibee were rushed to the
South African embassy in Harare so that they would not be re-arrested, as
happened on their first acquittal.
"They are also quite relieved but they will be more relieved as soon as they
are out of the country," said Gardee.
"We are just waiting for the passports. We will get their passports and get
them out of the country as soon as possible."
The two, a satellite engineer and a cameraman, were arrested on March 27
under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which
governs the terms of media work in the country.
They were arrested after facilitating a link-up for CNN ahead of the March
29 elections, because they did not have their media accreditation card,
although they had a letter of authority to enable them to work legally.
The defeating the course of justice charge related to them allegedly
colluding with a magistrate who acquitted them after their initial court
appearances. After this they were arrested again by police who did not
accept the magistrate’s ruling.
The Times, SA
Raenette Taljaard: Another Take
Published:Apr 15, 2008
Images of Mbeki holding hands with Mugabe were beamed all over the world
The Zimbabwe election’s woeful aftermath has created a number of gargantuan
credibility gaps for South African foreign policy. While we already had a
woeful UN Security Council record, we added to it a week ago by ensuring no
discussions about Zimbabwe reached the Security Council chamber under our
tenure as its chair.
With the South African Development Community already causing its own
credibility gaps by sending an observer mission that prejudged the elections
before any votes were counted or results released, the SADC summit again all
but buried its head in the sand.
The only successful dimension of the summit was that Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe was not there.
For all other purposes its communique fell short of what it ought to have
called for in stronger terms — an immediate release of all results and
crucially, the presidential polling results.
The summit still called on the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission to find a way
out of the malaise — despite it being cracked down on by Mugabe in recent
Worst of all, and despite the fact that SADC extended his mandate, the
credibility gap of Mbeki’s mediation has grown ever wider with images of him
and Mugabe hand in hand in Zimbabwe being beamed across the globe .
For the first time post-Polokwane, it is ironic that the two centres of
power in South Africa — party and state — became a useful device with
respect to Zimbabwe. As the commission failed to release results and the
days ticked by without any credible formal response from Mbeki, the ANC’s
president Jacob Zuma and the party stepped into the breach and met MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai before he secured a meeting with Mbeki.
It was almost comical how formal state structures tried to scramble to keep
up with the party and Zuma’s pronouncements and call on the electoral
commission to make the results available forthwith.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad’s press conference had the script
all but dictated by the manner in which the president of the ANC made the
right noises on matters of principle, long before the president of the
country had anything to say beyond calling for patience. Mbeki’s excuses
that he had to protect his role as mediator by not making pronouncements
lacked credibility .
South Africa’s speaker of parliament also spoke out bravely about the
electoral atrocities in Zimbabwe — providing another echo of how far Mbeki
seems to be drifting from the new ANC leadership’s growing concerns about
And despite the initially sound party pronouncements of last week, there are
also ghosts that haunt South Africa’s ruling party that must not be allowed
to upstage principled action. It is encouraging to see that Cosatu continues
to speak out on the manner of democracy’s violation in Zimbabwe.
Unless South Africans, and our leaders, irrespective of whether they are in
state or party office, heed the call of ordinary Zimbabweans that they have
had enough of the stalemate, we will have the violations of their civil,
political and human rights on our collective hands.
Zimbabwe’s military slowly taking over the government
By Geoffrey Nyarota
(The Financial Gazette, October 19, 2006)
AT THE rate at which retired soldiers are taking over various facets of the
administration of state affairs, Zimbabwe could soon become a fully-fledged
Meanwhile, independent Zimbabwe’s first defence forces commander has
phenomenally entrenched himself as undisputed king-maker.
The military has, over the past few years grown in both stature and
influence to become a dominant factor in the balance of political power
within President Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF - and beyond. In the run-up to the
presidential election in 2002, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, the then
commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, shocked both the electorate and
observers when he publicly declared that the armed forces would not
recognize any new President, unless he fought in the war to liberate
Zimbabwe from colonial oppression.
There was genuine concern at the time that should Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai win the election, as he was heavily
tipped to, he was bound to encounter fierce resistance from a partisan army
leadership and a likely military coup. The man behind the growing influence
and clout of the military is Retired General Solomon Tapfumaneyi Mujuru,
first commander of the Zimbabwe National Army.
Mujuru is a humble and unassuming man. His demeanour, however, belies a
dogged determination and a relentless pursuit of political power through
behind-the-scenes manipulation and skillful networking.
He is far from an eloquent or commanding speaker, even in his native Shona
language. Mujuru’s speech is blighted by a pronounced stammer. He seems,
however, to overcome his handicap to communicate and exert his influence in
the highest offices of government. A man of limited academic credentials,
Mujuru entered the world of African nationalist politics during Ian Smith’s
Rhodesia, curtailing his educational career at a young age.
His future military role in Rhodesia’s guerilla war and in the army of the
new republic of Zimbabwe was, defined in Lusaka, Zambia, when he enrolled
for military training. When the former Zanla supremo, Josiah Magama
Tongogara perished in a car accident in the dying moments of the armed
struggle, as he prepared to lead his guerilla army triumphantly back to
Rhodesia and independence, Mujuru emerged in 1980 as the new commander of
Zanu-PF’s military wing.
Mujuru’s most significant contribution to the armed struggle and in
determining the future destiny of both Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe was his role in
laying the groundwork for the ascendancy of Mugabe, then recently arrived in
Mozambique, to the leadership of the party that would form the first
government of an independent Zimbabwe four years later. Those closely linked
to the party say Mugabe has not forgotten his benefactor and Mujuru now
reaps the benefits of this early association between the two men in
When Mugabe became Prime Minister in 1980 he appointed Mujuru to head the
newly created Zimbabwe National Army. The former guerilla leader became a
man of immense power and political influence. Zanla had spearheaded the
final stage of the armed struggle. By the time of his retirement from the
army Mujuru had become immensely wealthy. The most persuasive evidence of
Mujuru’s mounting clout was the victory in 2004 of his own spouse, Joice,
over powerful and much-feared politician, Emmerson Mngangwa, for long touted
as the hot favourite to succeed Mugabe as President. Joice Mujuru subdued
the challenge posed by Mnangagwa and is now Vice-President. Her husband has
emerged as a decisive player in the so-called succession battle in
preparation for Mugabe’s controversial retirement.
Mujuru hails from a bastion of political power, the Chikomba District of
Mashonaland East Province. Chikomba has spawned influential players on
Zimbabwe’s political landscape. Charles Utete, who served as Principal
Secretary to the President and the Cabinet, became extremely powerful,
functioning virtually as Prime Minister, once Mugabe abolished that post
with his ascendancy to the presidency in 1987.
The First Lady of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe, is perhaps the most famous
daughter of Chikomba. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, who has been close to the
Mugabe family, reputedly as their purse-keeper, going back many years, also
hails from Chikomba. Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Air Marshall Perrence
Shiri is perhaps the most detested son of Chikomba. Other notables include
recently deceased Information Minister, Tichaona Jokonya, former Political
Affairs Minister, Ernest Kadungure, now late, and the mercurial former
chairman of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association, Chenjerai
Hunzvi, now also late.
Hunzvi spearheaded a campaign of terror and mayhem at the height of the
violent farm invasions in 2000. Kadungure is said to have organized the
training of Zanu-PF youths to wreak violence on the ranks of political
opposition parties. MDC Member of Parliament Gabriel Chaibva disclosed in
the House of Assembly details of the training, which he claims he underwent.
“There was this training camp called Robert Gabriel Mugabe in Marondera,”
Chaibva said. “When we went there, we were taught by the late Ernest
Kadungure how to deal with ZAPU and to kill opponents to Zanu-PF’s rule
during those days in the 1980s.”
Mujuru’s amassing of power has been largely devoid of the crude violence
preached by Kadungure and Hunzvi.
With the growth in political stature of Mujuru, a large number of former
army brigadiers and colonels, most of them bearing allegiance to him, have
moved in unobtrusively to occupy positions of influence in government and in
parastatal organizations, as well as within the diplomatic corps.
The Attorney General Sobuza Gula Ndebele, was previously an intelligence
officer in the army. He is alleged to be aligned to Mujuru in the ongoing
succession battle. The Mujuru camp is alleged to have attempted to use Gula
Ndebele as a weapon of mass distraction (WMD) when he unsuccessfully
prosecuted his own boss, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, recently on
charges of corruption. Chinamasa is known to be aligned to the rival
Zimbabwe is not a fully-fledged military dictatorship in-so-far-as the
political power resides with an elected civilian president. Amid escalating
authoritarian rule, the military, however wield an inordinate amount of
power and influence outside the ranks of the army. This is facilitated by a
network of former high-ranking officers who hold positions of power in
government and are largely loyal to their former commander, Mujuru. While
living in prosperous retirement, the former army commander has now emerged
as, perhaps, the most politically dominant single individual in present-day
Zimbabwe, wielding more power than the ageing President.
Fawning articles in the government media call Mujuru the “kingmaker”. The
title occasionally appears in the independent press as well. Senior army
officers, both serving and retired have benefited as a result.
Three retired army officers serve government in the capacity of cabinet
minister or deputy.
The man who heads the Ministry of Energy and Power Development is Retired
Lieutenant-General Michael Reuben Nyambuya, while Retired Brigadier-General
Ambrose Mutinhiri is his counterpart at the Ministry of Youth Development
and Employment Creation. Meanwhile, Retired Lt.-Colonel Hubert Magadzire
Nyanhongo is the Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications.
Justice George Chiweshe, who is a High Court Judge as well as chairman of
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is a former advocate-general in the
Zimbabwe National Army and is still responsible for court-martials.
Another ex-military man, Retired Colonel Christian Katsande heads the
Ministry of Industry and International Trade as permanent secretary. Justin
Mupamhanga, the permanent secretary for Energy and Power Development does
not have a military background, strictly speaking, but his credentials are
close enough. He is formerly a senior officer of the Central Intelligence
By some coincidence the transport sector has become a preserve of retired
army personnel. While Nyanhongo is Deputy Minister, retired Air-Commodore
Mike Karakadzai presides over what remains of the National Railways of
Zimbabwe (NRZ) in his capacity as general manager. The chairman of the NRZ
board is – you guessed right – another military man. Brigadier-General
Douglas Nyikayaramba is still serving, however.
For some unfathomable reason the administration of sport has become the
exclusive preserve of soldiers, both serving and retired. The chairman of
the Sport and Recreation Commission is Brigadier-General Gibson Mashingaidze
(still serving), while the director-general of the same commission is
Retired Lt. Colonel Charles Nhemachena. One of the commissioners is
Brigadier-General Justin Mujaji, who is also still serving.
Not to be outdone, the parastatals have their own sprinkling of senior
executives who were appointed after they retired from the armed forces.
Retired Colonel Samuel Muvuti is the acting chief executive officer of the
perennially loss-making Grain Marketing Board. Muvuti was suspended from
employment in August, two days after his arrest on allegations of defrauding
the parastatal of close to $1 million.
Agriculture Minister, the thespian Joseph Made, vetoed the suspension. It
boggles the mind that the said retired colonel was embroiled in allegedly
fraudulent conduct while he was still acting. But let me not digress.
The military have spread their wings into the banking sector as well,
Retired Colonel Godfrey Nhemachena is general manager of CBZ Nominees (Pvt)
Limited. Government is a major shareholder of CBZ, the bank where Reserve
Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, cut his banking teeth.
Retired Brigadier Elisha Muzonzini, who became director of the Central
Intelligence Oranisation was appointed Zimbabwe’s High Commissioner to Kenya
On his recent visit to Cuba, where he attended last month’s summit of the
Non-Aligned Movement in Havana, President Mugabe was welcomed at Jose Marti
International Airport by another retired soldier. Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to
Cuba is Retired Major General Jevan Maseko. The line-up of dignitaries who
saw him off at Harare International Airport would have included a large
number of both serving and retired soldiers.
One would expect Mugabe, as an ex-school teacher himself, to be partial to
the appointment of members of his former profession to the structures that
keep the wheels of his government well oiled. Instead, it is the military
personnel who have become favoured citizens in Zimbabwe. When soldiers,
whatever their rank, succumb to illness, whether long or short, their
departure is routinely announced on the front page of The Herald. This
privelege is not extended to members of the teaching fraternity, university
professors, doctors, accountants, bank managers, nurses or anyone else,
unless they die in a horrific car accident.
Some men are obviously more equal than others.
A question that goes begging for an answer, however, is why so many
supposedly talented, enterprising and still active officers retired from
active service with the army, in the first place.
The disbursement of favours and other resources of patronage to a network of
supporters in government, the military and the police, which is so prevalent
in Zimbabwe is a symptom of deep-rooted corruption.