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A Forgery in The Herald

----- Original Message -----
To: ;
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2008 11:50 PM
Subject: zimbabwe situation

Herewith our response to a letter published on page 2 of today's Herald.


Grace Mutandwa
Head: Press and Public Affairs
Harare Press and Public Affairs
Tel: 263 4 774616
Fax: 263 4 774617
FTN: 8498 Ext 2261
Visit our blogs at







                                                                                                 17 April 2008


Statement from the British Embassy


The alleged letter from the British Prime Minister to Morgan Tsvangirai, printed in The Herald on 17 April, is a forgery.  No such letter, or wider correspondence, exists.  It reflects this regime's desperation that ZANU(PF) and state-controlled media have resorted to faking documents for crude propaganda purposes, and not for the first time. 


As Prime Minister Brown said at the United Nations in New York on 16 April, three weeks ago the people of Zimbabwe sent a strong message of their commitment to democracy.  No one believes, having seen the results at polling stations, that President Mugabe has won this election.  A stolen election would not be a democratic election at all.  The United Kingdom stands solidly behind democracy and human rights for Zimbabwe and is ready to help Zimbabweans build a better future.  We are increasingly concerned at reports of beatings and violence being unleashed against electoral officials and opposition supporters. The EU and G8 are also united in their condemnation of violence and in their calls for the results of the presidential election to be released.


ZANU(PF) has also criticised SADC intervention, and claimed it was externally prompted.  One can see why.  SADC leaders have expressed public concern at the conduct of this election, the delay in announcing the results and the increase in intimidation.  The United Kingdom welcomes SADC leaders' efforts to address this crisis and ensure that the will of the Zimbabwean people is respected. 


We regret that The Herald continues to peddle the lie that the economic and social meltdown in Zimbabwe has been caused by external factors.  The Zimbabwean people are experiencing ever greater hardship as a direct result of the policies being pursued by the Zimbabwean government.  EU targeted measures impose a visa ban and asset freeze on President Mugabe and 130 named individuals.  They do not hurt ordinary Zimbabweans.  There are no EU economic sanctions.


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Zimbabwe at standstill: delayed vote results leave nation in power vacuum


HARARE, Zimbabwe - Things were bad even before Zimbabwe's presidential
election, with inflation so high workers sometimes couldn't afford the bus
fare to get to their jobs.

Now, government departments and factories report workers aren't coming
because of uncertainty about the future - and out of fear of unrest.

It's been 12 days since the vote, with no word on who won, leaving an entire
nation wondering who's running things while the opposition and President
Robert Mugabe's regime trade accusations over who is to blame for the
political turmoil.

"We cannot keep our production lines going in this atmosphere," said one
Harare executive who asked not to be identified out of fear of official

"We need some sort of closure on the elections. Thirty per cent of our
employees are staying home."

He said normal contacts between businesses and government trade and industry
officials had come to a standstill. "It's impossible to get any answers on
day-to-day problems," he said.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says its candidate, Morgan
Tsvangirai, won the March 29 vote outright.

Projections from independent observers put Tsvangirai ahead, but not far
enough to avoid a runoff, leading to speculation that Mugabe is delaying the
release of results so he can orchestrate a second-round victory.

Mugabe dissolved parliament on the eve of polling. Under the constitution,
he remains president until the confirmation of the election winner and the
swearing in of the victor.

Mugabe, though, has made few public appearances since the vote. In apparent
response to the worries over a vacuum, the state-controlled Herald on
Thursday published a statement from Minister of Information and Publicity
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu saying cabinet ministers will remain in office until a new
cabinet is announced.

But there has been little evidence of high-level government decision making.

Routine functions of state and local council authorities have virtually
collapsed. Drivers in Harare parked their vehicles in restricted zones with
little fear of being ticketed or prosecuted. Police checkpoints on main
highways were unusually lax.

While police may be neglecting routine duties, their presence in Harare has
been beefed up, with uniformed officers on most street corners in groups of
two and up to eight. That has contributed to fears of potential unrest.

The power and water outages that had been symptoms of the economic collapse
under Mugabe continued. Shops are emptier than before the vote. Daily
deliveries, however small, of bread and other basics are intermittent and in
some areas have ceased altogether.

Prices have soared in the past week. The Herald went up Thursday from three
million Zimbabwe dollars to 20 million Zimbabwe dollars. Independent finance
houses calculate inflation at around 290,000 per cent compared to the
official 100,500 per cent.

The dominant black market exchange rate was at about 36 million Zimbabwe
dollars for a single U.S. dollar after poll results showed Mugabe's party
lost control of the parliament in voting held alongside the presidential
election. But with the stalemate over the presidential results, the black
market rate has moved to 50 million to one U.S. dollar.

Chronic milk shortages worsened Thursday as ruling party militants disrupted
milking in the Beatrice dairy area southwest of Harare, farmers said.

Mugabe's party has focused on white farmers, apparently as part of its
runoff campaign, portraying the opposition as poised to reverse Mugabe's
drive to put more land in black hands. Mugabe claimed his land reform was to
benefit poor blacks, but gave most seized farms to relatives, friends and
cronies, and agricultural production has plunged.

"If Mugabe had won the election, we would have had the results after a
couple of days," said Jacob Kufandikwa, a Harare businessman.

"We all thought the clock was ticking fast for him to go, but now it has

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What are Chinese troops doing on Zimbabwe's streets?

Zimbabwe Today

Armed and uniformed Chinese force reported to be on patrol

Mystery surrounds alleged sightings of a troop of 20 armed Chinese soldiers,
said to be patrolling the streets of Mutare, the eastern border town,
shoulder-to-shoulder with Zimbabwean security forces this week.

The Chinese, witnesses say, patrol in full uniform, and carry pistols, and
their sudden appearance has terrified some local residents. The unit formed
part of a heavy security deployment in the city centre, used to crush the
MDC's nationwide strike designed to force the release of the election

The Chinese Embassy in Harare has denied any knowledge of Chinese troops in
the area, and has suggested that they might be a privately-hired force,
there to protect the interests of local Chinese-owned companies.

The Chinese unit is believed to be accommodated in the Holiday Inn in the
centre of Mutare. Their behaviour in the hotel has caused comment amongst
the hotel employees.

One told me: "It was a great shock when they checked in, wearing full
military regalia and carrying pistols openly. They don't allow us access to
their rooms for cleaning purposes, and they do not eat here, although they
have paid for full accommodation including meals."

The unit is said to move out on patrol, then return to the hotel every two
hours. They are booked in at the hotel for one week, ending this weekend.

Further evidence of Chinese involvement in Zimbabwe came with the
confirmation that a Chinese freighter loaded with arms destined for Harare
has been cleared to dock in Durban, South Africa.

The ship is the An Yue Jiang, and South African police are said to have
confirmed that the cargo is armaments and weapons. It is thought that the
Zimbabwe government ordered the consignment to bolster its depleted arsenal,
amid fears of anti-government riots in the aftermath of the elections.

Meanwhile the leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is said to have
survived two recent attempts on his life, has taken steps to secure the
safety of his family, his staff and himself by moving to a new base in
neighbouring Botswana. He met the new president of Botswana, Ian Khama, last

Today he was expected to fly in to Harare, by private jet, for a press
conference. He has been meeting with other heads of state this week, and
also with the leader of the minority MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara. The two
met in Johannesburg to discuss ways of working together in a new parliament

Posted on Thursday, 17 April 2008 at 16:25

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South Africa won't block Chinese weapons for Zimbabwe


CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) -- South Africa will not intervene to stop a
shipment of Chinese-made weapons from reaching Zimbabwe, even though the
political situation in the neighboring nation is "dire," a government
spokesman said Thursday.

 Spokesman Themba Maseko said as long as administrative papers are in order,
South Africa cannot intervene to prevent weapons being transported through
its territory to its landlocked neighbor, despite concerns about mounting
tensions in Zimbabwe.

But he issued the strongest comment on Zimbabwe so far by the South African
government, saying: "When elections are held and results are not released
two weeks after, it is obviously of great concern. The situation is dire."

The ship, the An Yue Jiang, was anchored just outside Durban harbor after
receiving permission late Wednesday to dock.

The Beeld newspaper reported it is carrying nearly 3 million rounds of
ammunitions for small arms and AK-47s, about 3,500 mortars and mortar
launchers, as well as 1,500 rockets for rocket-propelled grenades. The paper
said it had a copy of the ship's cargo documentation, finalized on April
1 -- three days after Zimbabwe's election.

A South African government official, speaking on condition of anonymity
because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed that there were weapons
on board but gave no further details. Durban port authorities and police
explosives inspectors could not be reached for comment.

Defense Secretary January Masilela confirmed to South African radio that the
National Conventional Arms Control Committee granted approval for the
transit of the weapons.

"If the buyer is the Zimbabwean sovereign government and the seller is the
Chinese sovereign government, South Africa has nothing to do with that," he
told the radio. He said South Africa worked according to established
international conventions but had no jurisdiction over goods in transit.
The government official who approved the transit, Sydney Mufamadi, is the
same official who heads the team mediating in the Zimbabwe crisis.

On Thursday, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called on South
Africa and President Thabo Mbeki to step aside as mediator for Zimbabwe in
favor of Zambia's president, who has taken a tougher stance toward Mugabe.

AfriForum, a lobbying group representing mainly white South Africans,
criticized the decision to approve the arms shipment and said it would
organize protests along the route to Zimbabwe.

"The South African government's approval for the transport of the arms
across South African territory will in effect mean that the government is
replacing its ineffective policy of 'silent diplomacy' with an even more
catastrophic policy of complicity to the state violence and human rights
violations committed by the Zimbabwean government against its own citizens,"
Afriforum's Kallie Kriel said.

The South African Revenue Service said customs officials were bound by
confidentiality rules and could not give details of the content of the
cargo. It said the vessel would be subject to standard inspection procedures
and the cargo would not be released until it was proved that it complied to
customs formalities -- which can be a lengthy process.

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'I'm no longer ready to forgive Mugabe'


    April 17 2008 at 02:54PM

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says President Robert
Mugabe's continued abuses mean he may have to face justice.

In the past, Tsvangirai has said he would not be interested in a
"witch hunt" against Mugabe because it would distract a new government from
Zimbabwe's economic and political crises.

But in an with The Associated Press on Thursday, he said he
is now no longer so ready to "forgive" Mugabe.

Tsvangirai says he beat Mugabe in presidential elections nearly three
weeks ago and that Mugabe is holding on to power. Human rights groups say
the post-election period has seen increasing violence against Tsvangirai's
supporters. - Sapa-AP

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'Move over, Mbeki'


    April 17 2008 at 05:48PM

Zimbabwe's opposition leader on Thursday called for South African
President Thabo Mbeki to be "relieved of his duties" as mediator in Zimbabwe
after last month's elections.

"We want to thank President Mbeki for all of his efforts but President
Mbeki needs to be relieved of his duties," Morgan Tsvangirai said in

Tsvangirai said that he had made a request to Zambian President Levy
Mwanawasa, the current chair person of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), to begin a new mediation effort.

"I made a specific request to President Mwanawasa to say he needs to
lead a new initiative, an initiative that will expand beyond that of Mr

Tsvangirai's comments come after Mbeki said at the weekend that he saw
"no crisis" in Zimbabwe where there have still been no results from
presidential elections held on March 29.

Mbeki has been widely taken to task for his failure to publicly
criticise his northern neighbour under a policy known as quiet diplomacy.

Even his own ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has
described the situation in Zimbabwe, where inflation is running at over 165
000 percent, as dire.

In a press conference, Tsvangirai reiterated his conviction that he
had won the election without any need for a second round run-off against
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

"The regime is conditioning people to believe there's a run-off.
There's no run-off because we won this election decisively," he said.

Tsvangirai also accused Mugabe supporters of being behind a wave of
violent attacks against opposition followers.

"As I speak, our people are being murdered, homes burned, children
molested, women raped," said the leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change. - Sapa-AFP

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Opposition chief wants UN tribunal for Zimbabwe



Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called Thursday for a special United
Nations tribunal to be set up to bring perpetrators of human rights abuses
in Zimbabwe to justice.

Tsvangirai said while his party had opposed pursuing retribution against
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF regime, it now
appeared to be the only way to deter them from committing abuse.

"I think the current wave of violence against the people must stop and the
only way to stop is that those who are committing those crimes must know
they will be answerable one day," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

"In fact we are actually considering that the United Nations must actually
consider setting up an international crimes court just like they set up one
in Sierra Leone, in DRC (the Democratic Republic of Congo) and others."

Tsvangirai said that Mugabe supporters had embarked on a wave of attacks in
the aftermath of disputed elections on March 29.

"As I speak, our people are being murdered, homes burned, children molested,
women raped," said the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Tsvangirai, who ended up with serious head injuries after being assaulted by
the security forces in March last year, said that the recent attacks
followed a long pattern dating back to the early 1980s when up to 20,000
people were killed in clashes with soldiers in southern Matabeleland.

"There was violence against the opposition when we formed the (MDC) party.
There is violence now against the poeple as we stand," he said.

"It's a record of human rights abuses... It would be very difficult to
convince even the most forgiving to say let him (Mugabe) go scot free."

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Is Mbeki a True Mediator on Zimbabwe?


Mugabe shifts blame to Britain

Nelson G. Katsande

     Published 2008-04-14 03:49 (KST)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The case for military action on Zimbabwe


    April 17 2008 at 01:02PM

By Laurence Caromba

In 1997, Nigeria sent troops into Sierra Leone to depose Major Johnny
Koromah, a young military officer who had successfully toppled the elected
government of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. The Nigerians were initially beaten back,
but in 1998 they invaded again, expelling the junta from the capital.

Critics were quick to accuse Nigeria of hypocrisy, noting that it too
was led by a coupist - General Sani Abacha. But the mission was a success,
and Kabbah was restored to office. Kabbah went on to serve two terms before
stepping down, during which he successfully brought the Sierra Leone civil
war to a conclusion.

In 1998, SADC forces invaded Lesotho to prevent an imminent military
coup and restore the civilian government to power. The media focused
obsessively on the tactical failures of the operation, such as poor
intelligence and lack of co-ordination between the South African and
Botswana contingents. These mistakes, coupled with unexpectedly heavy
resistance from mutinous elements of the Lesotho Defence Force, delayed the
arrival of the SADC force and allowed widespread looting in Maseru.

In strategic terms, however, the operation was a success. Order was
restored, military rule was averted and, as a result, Lesotho is today a
reasonably healthy and robust democracy.

Pro-democracy intervention

A few weeks ago, the African Union launched an amphibious invasion of
Anjouan, an island in the Comoros. The goal of the operation was the
overthrow of Colonel Mohamed Bacar, who had ruled the island as a virtual
fiefdom after holding rigged elections and declaring himself president.

Troops from Sudan, Tanzania and Senegal participated in the operation,
with logistical support from Libya and France. After one day of fighting,
Bacar's forces were routed, and Bacar fled to the nearby French island of

These operations have two things in common. All of them were
successful, and none of them fits the traditional archetype of "humanitarian
intervention" - a situation where one state sends troops into another state
to prevent civil war, stop an unfolding genocide, or alleviate human
suffering. They are examples of something qualitatively different: military
intervention in which the primary goal is the restoration of a
constitutional government.

Some scholars refer to this as "pro-democracy intervention", but the
term is misleading, since these missions tend to focus less on restoring
democracy than on restoring legal governance, irrespective of whether it
takes democratic form. Nonetheless, "legal government intervention" is an
important tool in the conduct of foreign policy.

In the midst of the unfolding crisis in Zimbabwe, South African
policy-makers should not forget that this option is available to them.

At present, the situation in Zimbabwe is growing increasingly dire.
After two weeks in which Zanu-PF grappled with its losses in the March
elections and "hawkish" and "dovish" factions in Mugabe's government debated
their course of action, there are now troubling signs that the hawks are

Last Sunday, Mugabe delivered a fiery speech in which he deliberately
stoked racial tensions between blacks and whites.

Zimbabwean "war veteran" groups have been mobilised to invade the
country's few remaining white-owned farms and intimidate opposition

On Friday, a thousand war veterans marched through the streets of
Harare in a show of force. Zimbabwean soldiers subsequently beat up 17
opposition supporters for holding a "premature" victory celebration. Last
week, police ransacked the MDC's headquarters and began arresting foreign
journalists. Zanu-PF has begun calling for a recount in the parliamentary
elections. This weekend, Mugabe pointedly refused to attend a SADC summit
aimed at defusing the crisis.

Until the official results are announced, we will not know with
certainty which faction of Zanu-PF has won the internal debate. However, the
bulk of the evidence suggests that Mugabe is getting ready to unleash
pro-government militias and effectively dismantle the constitutional order.
Other states in the region should, at the very least, begin preparing for
such a scenario.

Legal government intervention

If Mugabe does indeed follow this course of action, would South
Africa - in conjunction with fellow SADC members - have a legal right to
intervene? I believe so. This right would stem not only from humanitarian
concerns, but from Mugabe's illegal seizure of power.

"Legal government intervention" is an African innovation: an
international law response to the cycle of coups that have plagued African
states for decades. Both in treaties and in practice, African states have
subtly shifted away from their traditional fixation on sovereignty, and
begun to assert the right to intervene to prevent unconstitutional changes
of government.

In 2003, the AU charter was amended to permit military intervention in
countries facing "a serious threat to legitimate order". The trend has been
reinforced at sub-regional level: In 2004, the SADC Protocol on Politics,
Defence and Security legalised intervention in cases of "a threat to the
legitimate authority of the government (such as a military coup)".

Most importantly, these agreements have been actively enforced. In
addition to Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Anjouan, African states have used
military intervention, or the threat thereof, to prevent unconstitutional
changes of government in Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo and the
Central African Republic.

Zimbabwe has one important difference with all these cases. Previous
African interventions were directed against actors who illegally seized
power from outside the incumbent government. In Zimbabwe, by contrast, the
threat to the constitutional order comes from the incumbent government
itself. That distinction is politically important, but legally irrelevant.

The AU charter does not call on member states merely to prop up
incumbent governments, but to protect the "legitimate order".

Conceptually, there is little difference between illegally assuming
power and illegally maintaining power after losing an election. In the event
that Mugabe's regime attempts to subvert Zimbabwe's constitution, either by
altering election results or resorting to undisguised military rule, it will
constitute a threat to legitimate order as grave as any military coup, and
create a legal basis for military intervention under both AU and SADC

Is it in South Africa's national interests to intervene? Resorting to
military force is always costly and can result in dangerous outcomes.
Nevertheless, the severity of the situation justifies it.

The entire SADC region has been destabilised by the massive flow of
refugees leaving Zimbabwe: more than three million since 2000, according to
UNHCR estimates. In 2007, Aziz Pahad warned that Zambia, Botswana and South
Africa "will not be able to sustain the levels of refugees" if current
trends continue. The South African government conservatively estimates that
several hundred Zimbabweans attempt to enter the country illegally every
day; the Zambian government puts that number at roughly 1 000.

In addition, Zimbabwe's economic implosion deprived the rest of SADC
of a trading partner, a food producer and an important hub in the regional
economy. It has given our foreign trading and investment partners cause to
be sceptical of our own commitment to good governance and regional

Mocking Nepad and the African Renaissance

Finally, the chaos in Zimbabwe has made a mockery of President Thabo
Mbeki's most important foreign policy initiatives: Nepad and the African

A final question remains. Does South Africa have the ability to

Lesotho and the Comoros are tiny countries with small armies, while
Zimbabwe is a medium-size African power with a much larger military. Yet,
South Africa does have the requisite capability, with certain caveats.

In a best-case scenario, with the benefit of effective diplomacy,
South Africa can rely on the support of Botswana and Zambia, fellow
democracies in the region that both have strong incentives to bring the
Zimbabwean crisis to a conclusion.

Even without material support from allies, the South African military
is larger, better-trained and better-equipped than its Zimbabwean
counterpart, and is manifestly superior in terms of logistics, armour,
artillery and air power.

Most importantly, the enlisted corps of Zimbabwean military is as
hungry and demoralised as the rest of Zimbabwe's population. Last year more
than 1 500 troops deserted and fled across the border to South Africa. The
bulk of the Zimbabwean military is stretched thin, deployed throughout the
country to protect the government from its own citizens.

Mugabe's core support should not be underestimated, especially among
the security services. Nevertheless, the domestic situation in Zimbabwe has
deteriorated so severely that any foreign intervention would likely be a
catalyst for further desertions, mass uprisings among the civilian
population and the rapid collapse of the government.

Last resort

One final remark is in order. Military force should always be a last
resort and should never be entered into lightly. The use of force
automatically entails great costs and risks to the lives of both South
African soldiers and Zimbabwean civilians.

In any case, Robert Mugabe may yet decide to obey his own
constitution, rendering such action unnecessary. However, Mugabe will be
more inclined to relinquish control if he is assured that the consequences
of illegally holding on to power would be calamitous.

By making the possibility of military intervention explicit, South
African diplomats would actually reduce the likelihood of this scenario
materialising. Remember the famous maxim of the Roman historian Vegetius: If
you desire peace, prepare for war.

Laurence Caromba is a research assistant at the Centre for
International Political Studies (CiPS), University of Pretoria. The views
expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views
of the CiPS or the university.

This article was originally published on page 17 of Cape Argus on
April 17, 2008

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Zimbabwe opposition supporters murdered, abducted: US

Yahoo News

2 hours, 31 minutes ago

HARARE (AFP) - The US ambassador to Zimbabwe on Thursday said opposition
supporters had been murdered, abducted and forced from their homes in a
spate of violence in rural areas since last month's elections.

"There is growing evidence that rural communities are being punished for
their support for opposition candidates," Ambassador James McGee said in a
message to Zimbabweans delivered on the eve of independence day.

"We have disturbing and confirmed reports of threats, beatings, abductions,
burning of homes and even murder, from many parts of the country."

McGee, whose government has been one of the leading critics of Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe, is the first ambassador to back claims by the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that its supporters are being targeted.

The MDC says two of its supporters have been killed by followers of Mugabe's
ZANU-PF. The police have only confirmed one of the killings, and say the
motive has yet to be established.

A coalition of Zimbabwean doctors says its members have seen and treated
more than 150 patients who had been beaten and tortured since the elections.

McGee said an atmosphere of fear meant that many Zimbabweans were unable to
celebrate their independence from Britain.

"Independence days provide a chance to reflect on proud achievements, a
united sense of purpose and the future," he said.

"Sadly, as Zimbabwe celebrates its 28th birthday, many Zimbabweans are
unable to celebrate. What should be a proud and joyful day for Zimbabweans
is overshadowed by uncertainty and fear."

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Zim NGOs launch peace campaign


    April 17 2008 at 04:15PM

Harare - The civil society movement in Zimbabwe on Thursday launched a
non-violent campaign to push for publication of the results of last month's
elections in the wake of growing reports of violence.

Dubbed the 'Make Our Vote Count Campaign', the initiative by dozens of
organisations demanded the dismantling and disarming of pro-government
militia groups said to have set up bases in rural areas across the country.

Since the March 29 polls, the opposition, rights bodies, farmers'
organisations and diplomats have reported a wave of violence against
perceived opposition supporters, especially in remote rural areas.

Launched under the aegis of a coalition of non-governmental
organisations, NANGO, the civil society movement demanded that "immediate
action be taken to ensure the closure of youth militia and war
veteran/military base camps that have been set up in various areas around
the country, and oversee the disarmament and disbanding of these groups".

They also demanded that the country's security chiefs "immediately
retract inflammatory and partisan statements, threatening a possible
unconstitutional takeover of the government."

Zimbabwe went to the polls on March 29, and 19 days on, presidential
election results remained unknown in this country ruled for by Robert Mugabe
since 1980.

The civil movement which includes church, student, labour, women's and
human rights as well as HIV and Aids support groups, said the campaign would
mobilise Zimbabweans "to reclaim their votes through mass-based, peaceful
non-violent social action".

The NGOs said the deteriorating political, social, security and human
rights climate had "rendered it increasingly difficult for humanitarian
organisations to dispense life-serving support services to the most

The continuation of this "untenable situation poses a serious threat
to democracy, socio-economic development and peace," warned the head of
Zimbabwe's National Association of Non-governmental Organisations (NANGO)
John Chitekuteku.

"Wherever you are, talk peace, preach peace, even to the one who is
withholding the election results," said Sydney Chisi of the Youth Democracy

The campaign will encourage the wearing of white clothes, scarves and
ribbons to express the need for peace. - Sapa-AFP

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Call for international action as violence worsens

HARARE, 17 April 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabweans will commemorate independence day
on Friday as a deeply divided and uncertain nation, shaken by a rising tide
of political violence in the aftermath of last month’s election in which the
opposition for the first time won a parliamentary majority.

Human rights organisations say hundreds of people have fled rural areas
where the army, police and war veterans have spearheaded terror campaigns
against civilians for daring to vote against ZANU-PF, the party of President
Robert Mugabe, in the 29 March poll.

“This government has declared war on its citizens and we don’t know what it
will take to get the world to pay attention,” said a doctor working with the
displaced, who asked to remain anonymous.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai on
Thursday called for an international criminal court to try the perpetrators
of the crackdown. “We cannot watch Zimbabweans being brutalised by their own
government. Brutalised, raped, their homes burned because they just decided
to vote otherwise,” he told the news network CNN.

According to partial election results, ZANU-PF won 99 parliamentary seats,
Tsvangirai’s MDC took 97, a rival MDC faction 10, with one seat going to an
independent. Three seats in known opposition strongholds were not contested.

But the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is yet to release the tally of
the presidential poll, despite international condemnation of the delay. ZEC
has insisted it was still “meticulously verifying” the result, and ordered a
recount in 23 constituencies. Tsvangirai has nonetheless declared himself
the winner, based on his party’s count of election returns, and has
challenged the results in 60 constituencies won by ZANU-PF.

Mashonaland mayhem

The political violence has been at its worst in the three northern
Mashonaland provinces, home of Mugabe’s Zezuru people, one of the five main
clans of Zimbabwe’s majority Shona ethnic group. After 28 years in power,
ZANU-PF has been shocked by the political rebellion in its heartland, where
MDC scored significant wins.

IRIN on Thursday witnessed hundreds of MDC supporters at the party’s
headquarters in the capital, Harare, most with serious injuries, some in
improvised slings and bandages. Zvondai Gwasira, from Mutoko district in
Mashonaland East, said he had been assaulted by armed soldiers, which left
him with a broken rib and head wounds.

“I am a known MDC supporter and the village head alerted soldiers who are
based in the area that I was responsible for ‘misleading’ people into voting
for the opposition. The soldiers assaulted me with sticks until I fainted.
When I came to, I was lying in a pool of blood. I immediately fled to the
capital and approached the party offices to assist me with sanctuary,” he
told IRIN.

A 70-year-old grandmother from Murehwa district in Mashonaland East said she
had run after ZANU-PF supporters and traditional leaders threatened her. “My
grandchildren are MDC supporters. In the run up to the elections, they were
campaigning for the opposition and would wear party regalia. I am now being
accused of encouraging my grandchildren to campaign for the MDC.”

A civil servant, also displaced by the violence in Mashonaland East, accused
the world of standing by. “What is happening in the countryside requires the
intervention of the international community. There are serious human rights
violations taking place. Soldiers and armed war veterans are on the rampage.
We have not been able to confirm anything, but people are being beaten so
much that it would be a miracle if scores have not died by now.

“In some communities, MDC and ZANU-PF supporters have fought using spears
and axes resulting in near fatalities. ZANU-PF supporters always turn to
soldiers or police for back up,” he told IRIN.

The civil servant, who was assaulted after being accused of campaigning for
the opposition, alleged ZANU-PF’s plan was to banish known MDC supporters
before a possible presidential run-off - a constitutional necessity if ZEC
determines that no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote.

“All opposition supporters are being beaten up to ensure they flee to other
areas. This will have a bearing on a run-off as it would mean they will not
be able to vote. Because the elections are ward based, armed soldiers,
police and militia have been threatening civilians and telling them that if
they vote for the opposition in the future, they will shoot them.”

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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South Africa's president has prolonged Zimbabwe's agony

Africa's shame
Apr 17th 2008
From The Economist print edition

CAN Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's lame-duck president, truly believe there is
no crisis in Zimbabwe? If so, it must be concluded that there is a crisis
also in South Africa—a moral one. For it is unconscionable that the man who
leads by far the most powerful country in Africa should shrug off the horror
that persists in neighbouring Zimbabwe as a procedural hiccup in a perfectly
normal election. By every objective calculation, Robert Mugabe, despite
using an array of dirty tricks in a presidential contest nearly three weeks
ago, was trounced by the challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai. As The Economist
went to press, Zimbabwe's electoral commission, plainly under duress, is
still refusing to divulge the figures (see article). Can Mr Mbeki seriously
suggest, with a straight face, that the result would have been held back if
Mr Mugabe had not lost?

If Mr Mbeki had an iota of honour or courage or sense, he could have
squeezed Mr Mugabe out of power several years ago—just as South Africa's
leaders pulled the plug on the nastily bigoted Rhodesian regime of Ian Smith
three decades ago, albeit after succouring it for far too long. Most of the
other leaders in southern Africa—with a few notable exceptions, including
Jacob Zuma, Mr Mbeki's rival and possible successor—have been equally feeble
and downright dishonest. By failing to come together to denounce Mr Mugabe
unequivocally, they have not only prolonged Zimbabwe's agony; they have
damaged the whole of southern Africa, both materially and in terms of
Africa's reputation.

As many as 4m Zimbabweans, one-third of the population, may have fled the
ruins of their once blooming country. Western governments are rightly poised
to offer generous backing to a new government that would represent the
wishes of Zimbabwe's battered survivors. The rich world also seeks, with
offers of all kinds of aid, to bring other countries in Africa out of their
poverty. But why should it help the governments in the region that seem
blind to the monstrosity of Mr Mugabe, whose venality has helped impoverish
much of the rest of the region too? Why should Africa as a whole be taken
seriously when its leaders, on the whole, refuse to co-operate to remove
such a cancer from their midst?

Flouting the people's wishes
Mr Mbeki's apologists will argue that his vaunted “quiet” diplomacy has
worked—or may yet work. They say that he helped cajole Mr Mugabe into
holding an election in the first place. As a result of negotiations that Mr
Mbeki's people oversaw between representatives of Messrs Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, some procedures were improved. In particular, the results of the
count now must be made public outside every polling station; that limits the
scope of the electoral commission, most of whose members are picked by Mr
Mugabe, to fiddle the figures at a central count. But the list of criteria
for a fair election, repeatedly drawn up for Mr Mugabe by Mr Mbeki and his
fellow SADC leaders, had been habitually ignored by Mr Mugabe, without a
squeak of protest from his conniving African counterparts. There is little
evidence that Mr Mbeki intended to enforce the departure of Zimbabwe's
disastrous leader.

Even now, Mr Mbeki seems to be hoping for a government of national unity,
with Mr Mugabe graciously agreeing to step down some time soon, to be
replaced by a fellow villain from within his brutal and corrupt ZANU-PF
party, perhaps alongside Mr Tsvangirai and an assortment of others. This
would be quite wrong. ZANU-PF is as rotten as Mr Mugabe. It has ruined and
pillaged the country. Most Zimbabweans do not want to be ruled by it any
more. Mr Tsvangirai, by contrast, says he will gather a government of all
the talents, looking beyond his own party perhaps to include a few
exceptional ZANU-PF people, maybe—if he is wise—along with the likes of
Simba Makoni, the able ZANU-PF man who bravely broke with Mr Mugabe to
emerge as a third man in the election. Why should Mr Mbeki seek to flout the
wishes of the Zimbabwean majority?

It is a sad truth that the main reason for Africa's malaise has been bad
government. In the past decade Western leaders have made big efforts to
right the wrongs of the past, above all by rewarding and encouraging better
government. They should go on doing so. But it is not surprising that
Western taxpayers feel loth to be generous when African leaders en masse
refuse to help boot out one of their most wicked colleagues.

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AP : Tsvangirai can't predict end to crisis

Chicago Tribune

  By DONNA BRYSON | Associated Press Writer
  1:18 PM CDT, April 17, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Protests are fizzling at home, and his efforts
to rally the world to the cause of democracy in Zimbabwe are being stymied
by fellow Africans.

Morgan Tsvangirai -- who has been beaten, accused of treason and nearly
killed since founding Zimbabwe's main opposition movement in 1999 -- 
wouldn't hazard a guess as to when the crisis over an election he says he
won will be resolved.

If he knew who could persuade Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step
down, he said in an with The Associated Press, "certainly that
person should be contacted immediately."

Tsvangirai was relaxed, even able to joke about reports from his homeland
Thursday that Mugabe's regime considers him a traitor. But he is a man under
considerable pressure.

Nearly three weeks have passed since the presidential vote. No official
results have been released, and the opposition, which says Tsvangirai won,
accuses Mugabe of withholding the results to stay in power after a campaign
that focused on Zimbabwe's shell-shocked economy.

There has been talk of a recount or a runoff. But Mugabe could well simply
continue to suppress the results and cling to power.

Human rights groups report increasing violence against Tsvangirai's
supporters. Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights said Tuesday its members had
treated more than 150 cases of injuries consistent with assault and torture
since the March 29 poll, including a rash of recent ones linked to a
crackdown sparked by the opposition's call for a stay-away from work

The stay-away call was little heeded, both because few Zimbabweans can
afford to miss even a day of work, and because police and militants loyal to
Mugabe cracked down.

Tsvangirai said the stay-away "may have been an exhausted strategy." But he
wasn't home to help his aides plot tactics. He has been traveling outside
Zimbabwe for most of the period since the election, and acknowledged his
homeland was a dangerous place for him.

"There are rogue elements there who might take the law into their own
hands," he said.

The former trade union leader said diplomacy, not fear, was the main reason
he was abroad. He would not say when he would return, saying his priority
now is mobilizing international pressure on Mugabe.

Tsvangirai's comments came the same day Zimbabwean state media reported
allegations the opposition leader was plotting an "illegal regime change"
with former colonial ruler Britain.

The opposition leader dismissed the treason charges and said accusations
that he was plotting to overthrow the Mugabe regime were "outrageous."

"We are determined to have democratic change through democratic means," not
through violence, Tsvangirai said. "The people themselves are the ones that
will change the government."

In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters Thursday
that Mugabe's recent rule has been an "abomination" and urged Zimbabwe to
release election results.

"It's time for Africa to step up" and denounce the government campaign of
arrests and intimidation that followed the vote, she said. "Where is the
concern from the African Union and from Zimbabwe's neighbors about what is
going on in Zimbabwe?"

But African leaders rarely criticize one of their own. And Mugabe, for his
part, regards the U.S. as the enemy and is unlikely to be influenced by such

South African President Thabo Mbeki, a key leader appointed last year by a
regional grouping to mediate between Tsvangirai and Mugabe, has said Mugabe
will not respond to a confrontational approach. Mbeki has been widely
criticized for saying last weekend that Zimbabwe was not in crisis.

At a news conference Thursday, Tsvangirai called Mbeki's comments
disappointing. He thanked the South African leader for his mediation efforts
so far, but said it was time for him to step aside as an intermediary.

Tsvangirai called for Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who has been
critical of Mugabe, to take over mediation. However, Zambia's information
minister, George Mulongoti, said that because Mbeki's appointment came from
a regional group, "any decision to change that would have to be done
collectively." Mbeki's spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

At a weekend summit, Mwanawasa, Mbeki and other regional leaders issued a
weak declaration that failed to criticize Mugabe.

South Africa, which holds the U.N. Security Council presidency this month,
kept Zimbabwe off the agenda of a U.N. meeting it organized to address
African crises. The U.N. secretary-general and the leaders of Britain and
the African Union did, however, urge Zimbabwe at the meeting Wednesday to
ensure the outcome of the presidential election reflects the will of the
people and is not rigged.

In his struggle for democracy, Tsvangirai has survived three assassination
attempts, including one in 1997 by unidentified assailants who tried to
throw him from a 10th-floor window of the Zimbabwean trade union congress's

In 2003, after an 18-month trial, Tsvangirai was acquitted of treason in a
case stemming from an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe.

Treason carries the death penalty in Zimbabwe, so the renewed treason
allegations against Tsvangirai in the state-controlled media Thursday were

"Tsvangirai, along with (British Prime Minister Gordon Brown), are seeking
an illegal regime change in Zimbabwe, and on the part of Tsvangirai, this is
treasonous," The Herald quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying.

Rice told reporters Thursday the U.S. is concerned about the treason
accusations. Tsvangirai played them down, joking he may earn a place in
record books for facing the most treason trials.

He was sober on the subject of Mugabe.

Tsvangirai has said in the past he is not interested in a "witch hunt" if he
were to oust Mugabe because that would distract attention from Zimbabwe's
economic and political crises.

"There was a point where everyone would have respected that Mugabe must exit
honorably. But the more he is digging in, the more he's abusing people. I
think that opportunity is being lost," Tsvangirai said. "I still think we
should forgive and forget. But given the current wave of violence against
the people, how do you sell that to the people?"

That stance could make it even more difficult to dislodge Mugabe -- who,
according to some critics, is holding onto power because he fears he will be
dragged to court to face human rights abuse charges if he steps down.

In addition to the recent violence, Mugabe's troops were accused of
massacres in the western Matabeleland province during an armed rebellion
after independence in 1980. His brutal countrywide slum clearance operation
in 2005 also has been decried as a violation of human rights.

"Those who are responsible ... for gross human rights abuses" should face
justice, Tsvangirai said, arguing that Mugabe would be at the head of this

Mugabe "is the ultimate authority. The buck stops with him."

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UK toughens travel warning for Zimbabwe


Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:05pm BST

LONDON (Reuters) - The government advised citizens on Thursday against all
but essential travel to Zimbabwe because of heightened tension following
elections that the opposition says it won.

The Foreign Office issued new, stricter travel advice a day after Prime
Minister Gordon Brown increased criticism of the conduct of the March 29
elections, saying no one believed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had

"We advise against all but essential travel to Zimbabwe at this time due to
the continuing tension surrounding the election and the deployment of
uniformed forces (police and military) and war veterans across the country,"
the Foreign Office said.

Previously, Britain, the former colonial power, had advised only against
travel to farming areas of Zimbabwe.

"The current situation is unpredictable, volatile and could deteriorate
quickly, without warning," the Foreign Office said.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party lost control of parliament for the first time in the

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he won the presidential poll, but
no official results have been released.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has accused Mugabe's government of delaying
the results to give it time to find an "alternative to the will of the

Zimbabwe's justice minister accused Brown on Thursday of treating Zimbabwe
like a British colony.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

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JAG - urgent appeal for iformation

Email: :

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799 410.  If you are in trouble
or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!

This is an urgent appeal for any information, within your direct knowledge
(i.e. first hand information), of any incidents of violence perpetrated
since the election on the 29th of March 2008, on those commercial farms
still in operation and on former commercial farms. Please contact JAG office
direct by e-mail. In response to this communiqué please include "Violence
Report" in the subject field. If you do not have access to e-mail, and wish
to make a report, please call us on the above telephone numbers.

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EU Adds to Pressure on Zimbabwe for Election Results


By Tendai Maphosa
17 April 2008

The European Commission has said further delay in releasing Zimbabwe's
presidential election results is unacceptable. As Tendai Maphosa reports
from London the EU call is part of the ever-growing chorus for the result to
be published without further delay.

In Brussels, EU spokesman John Clancy said the publication of the results is
needed now. He added that the European Commission, along with the rest of
the international community continues to watch and wait for action.

"The publication of the results is also in the interests of the Zimbabwe
people, who want democracy and they simply want better living conditions. So
further delays are in our viewpoint are unacceptable and will just be
considered as stalling the democratic process," he said.

Clancy's comments follow British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's criticism of
Zimbabwe's authorities Wednesday during a U.N. Security Council meeting. He
openly accused President Robert Mugabe of stealing the election. Mr. Brown
said having seen the results at polling stations, it is clear Mr. Mugabe

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also repeated his call for the results to
be released.

He warned that unless there is a transparent solution to the deadlock, the
situation could deteriorate further, with serious implications for the
people of Zimbabwe. Mr. Ban again offered U.N. assistance, especially if a
second round of "fair and transparent" elections if needed.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Thursday for Zimbabwe's
neighbors to press for an end to the post-election political crisis. Rice
called the last few years of Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe, "an abomination,"
and said its up to that country whether he should step down.

In South Africa, government communications chief Themba Maseko described the
situation as dire. He said there is a need for further talks. Maseko said
the delay in releasing the results is cause for great concern.

"South Africa, like the rest of the world, is concerned about the delay in
the release of the results and the anxiety that this was generating," he
said. "We are keen to see a speedy release of the election results as soon
as possible."

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change's leader Morgan Tsvangirai
claims victory over President Robert Mugabe who has led the country since
independence in 1980. He has accused Mugabe of delaying in order to rig the

The ruling ZANU-PF and some independent observers say Tsvangirai did not get
the more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a second round run-off.
Zimbabwe's government accuses the opposition leader of plotting with former
colonial power Britain to bring about regime change.

Meanwhile, Britain's Foreign Office issued a statement advising against all
but essential travel to Zimbabwe, citing the continuing tension surrounding
the election and the deployment of uniformed forces (police and military)
and war veterans around the country. The statement described the situation
in Zimbabwe as "unpredictable, volatile and could deteriorate quickly,
without warning."

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Crisis? What crisis?

Apr 17th 2008 | JOHANNESBURG
From The Economist print edition

The country is frozen in a frightening post-election limbo, while regional
leaders are still failing to shove Robert Mugabe into retirement

ACCORDING to Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, there is no crisis in
Zimbabwe, though its electoral commission has refused to publish the results
of a presidential election nearly three weeks after the people voted.
Instead, after meeting his counterpart, Robert Mugabe, for a cosy chat in
Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, he emerged holding hands and smiling benignly
before flying to the capital of next-door Zambia. Zambia's president, Levy
Mwanawasa, dissenting from Mr Mbeki's bizarre assessment, had called a
special meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a club
of 14 countries in the region, to discuss Zimbabwe's predicament. But with
Africa's most powerful leader still refusing to condemn him, Mr Mugabe
seemed determined, by any means possible, to hang on to power. The
enthusiasm and hope that were palpable after the election on March 29th are
giving way to fear and despair.

Even leaders of Mr Mbeki's own party, the African National Congress (ANC),
disagreed with him. They described Zimbabwe's state as “dire” and called for
the results to be published at once. Jacob Zuma, who ousted Mr Mbeki as the
ANC's leader last year, said the situation was “worrying”. At a meeting at
the UN in New York Western diplomats tried to make Mr Mbeki budge; Britain's
Gordon Brown declared that “No one thinks...President Mugabe has won.”

Mr Mugabe had earlier snubbed the SADC gathering in Zambia, while the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), plausibly insisting it had
won the presidential vote, called on the region's leaders to persuade Mr
Mugabe to step down, and urged Mr Mbeki to abandon his “quiet diplomacy”.
The MDC's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, had accepted SADC's invitation to the

But the club was once again split between those fed up with Mr Mugabe's
antics, such as Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia, and those loth to see an
opposition party dethrone a liberation movement, such as Angola, Namibia and
South Africa. After 12 hours of discussion behind closed doors, the meeting
concluded at dawn with a muted statement asking Zimbabwe to release the
results of the presidential election “expeditiously”. Mr Mbeki, who mediated
talks last year between representatives of Messrs Mugabe and Tsvangirai, was
asked to resume his efforts.

Though there were contacts between the opposition and the ruling party
immediately after the election of March 29th, there may be less appetite for
talks now. The MDC questions Mr Mbeki's impartiality. Pro-government
militias have started to terrorise the countryside, hunting down opposition
people and telling voters to back Mr Mugabe in a second round—or else.
Political rallies have been banned and security forces deployed across the
country. The MDC says two of its people have been murdered, dozens arrested
and hundreds beaten up. Plainly, though there was less violence in the first
round than there had been in previous elections, with results openly posted
at polling stations, the government is reverting to dirty tricks and

Basing its calculations on those public local tallies, the MDC says it won
over 50% of the vote, enough to give Mr Tsvangirai the presidency. It
petitioned the High Court to force an announcement of the results but was
turned down. But the MDC's call for people to stay at home on April 15th and
until results were announced was generally ignored; banks, shops and markets
in Harare stayed open, and traffic was normal. With 80% of Zimbabweans
jobless in the midst of an economic catastrophe, few can afford a strike.
Fear of repression also deterred mass action; all general strikes in the
past few years have flopped.

Instead, the electoral commission said it would start recounting votes in 23
constituencies on April 19th. Even though ZANU-PF's own electoral agents
endorsed the counts in polling stations, it is disputing results in 22 of
the 210 parliamentary constituencies. As the combined opposition won 109
seats against 97 for ZANU-PF, the MDC's victory would be snatched away if
results are reversed in just nine constituencies. The MDC launched court
challenges to block the recount as illegal and to contest 60 seats won by
the ruling party. But the electoral command centre, where all results were
being totted up, has been dismantled and ballot boxes taken away. The MDC
says it can no longer verify procedures and that the ruling party is
stuffing ballot boxes before the recount.

After declaring it would boycott a second round, the MDC now says it would
take part in a run-off only if international observers are allowed in. This
is unlikely. Yet a boycott would hand Mr Mugabe victory unopposed, in a
silent coup.

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Tsvangirai: Mugabe could face justice for Zimbabwe abuses

By DONNA BRYSON – 2 hours ago

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe may be
forced to face justice by a citizenry that has run out of patience with his
regime's abuses, his main rival said in an Thursday.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's new stance could make it
even harder to dislodge Mugabe, who according to some critics is holding
onto power because he fears he and his top aides will be dragged to court to
face human rights abuse charges if he steps down.

Tsvangirai's hardened position on Mugabe came the same day Zimbabwean state
media reported that the ruling party accused the opposition leader of
plotting with former colonial ruler Britain.

The opposition leader dismissed the treason charges and said accusations
that he was plotting to overthrow the Mugabe regime were "outrageous."

"We are determined to have democratic change through democratic means," not
through violence, Tsvangirai told The Associated Press. "The people
themselves are the ones that will change the government."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Mugabe's recent rule has been
an "abomination."

"It's time for Africa to step up," she said. "Where is the concern from the
African Union and from Zimbabwe's neighbors about what is going on in

South African President Thabo Mbeki has said Mugabe will not respond to a
confrontational approach, and has been widely criticized for saying over the
weekend that Zimbabwe was not in crisis.

At a news conference later Thursday, Tsvangirai called Mbeki's comments
disappointing and said that it was time for him to step aside as a mediator
in the crisis. Tsvangirai called instead for Zambian President Levy
Mwanawasa, who has been more critical of Mugabe than Mbeki has been, to take
over mediation.

Zambian Information Minister George Mulongoti said Mbeki has been appointed
to mediate by a regional group of which Zambia also is a member, and "any
decision to change that would have to be done collectively." Mbeki's
spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Tsvangirai has said in the past that he is not interested in a "witch hunt"
if he were to oust Mugabe because that would distract a new government from
Zimbabwe's economic and political crises.

"There was a point where everyone would have respected that Mugabe must exit
honorably. But the more he is digging in, the more he's abusing people. I
think that opportunity is being lost," Tsvangirai told the AP. "I still
think we should forgive and forget. But given the current wave of violence
against the people, how do you sell that to the people?"

Nearly three weeks have passed since a presidential vote that Mugabe,
accused of destroying his country's economy, is widely believe to have lost.
No official results have been released, and the opposition, which says
Tsvangirai won, accuses Mugabe of withholding the results to stay in power.

Human rights groups say the postelection period has seen increasing violence
against Tsvangirai's supporters. Mugabe's troops also were accused of
massacres in the western Matabeleland province during an armed rebellion
after independence in 1980. And his brutal countrywide slum clearance
operation in 2005 has been decried as a violation of human rights.

"Those who are responsible ... for gross human rights abuses" should face
justice, Tsvangirai said, arguing that Mugabe would be at the head of this

Mugabe "is the ultimate authority. The buck stops with him," Tsvangirai

Tsvangirai, relaxed in a dark suit, joked during the that he may
earn a place in record books for facing the most treason trials. In 2003,
after an 18-month trial, Tsvangirai was acquitted of treason in a case
stemming from an alleged a plot to assassinate Mugabe.

Tsvangirai has survived three assassination attempts, including one in 1997
by unidentified assailants trying to throw him from a 10th floor window of
the trade union congress's headquarters.

Treason carries the death penalty in Zimbabwe, so Chinamasa's comments in
The Herald could be seen as a new threat to Tsvangirai's life.

Tsvangirai, who has been traveling outside Zimbabwe for most of the period
since the election, acknowledged in the that his homeland was a
dangerous place for him.

"There are rogue elements there who might take the law into their own
hands," he said.

But he said diplomacy, not fear, was the main reason he was not at home. He
would not say when he would return, saying his priority now is mobilizing
international pressure on Mugabe.

"I'll go back. It's just that I've got work to do," he said.

Tsvangirai was away from home at a time his movement was struggling. A
stay-away called to force election officials to release the presidential
vote count fizzled — both because few Zimbabweans can afford to miss even a
day of work, and because police and militants loyal to Mugabe cracked down.

Tsvangirai said he did not participate in the decision to call the
stay-away, and said it "may have been an exhausted strategy."

"I would have cautioned we must not engage in strategies that will only
confirm that people are afraid," he said.

Tsvangirai's attempts to keep Zimbabwe on the international agenda were
showing little result.

At the United Nations, the U.N. secretary-general and the leaders of Britain
and the African Union urged Zimbabwe on Wednesday to ensure that the outcome
of the presidential election reflects the will of the people and is not

But South Africa, which holds the U.N. Security Council presidency this
month and organized the meeting, did not put Zimbabwe on the agenda.

At a weekend summit, the leaders of the countries neighboring Zimbabwe
followed Mbeki's lead, issuing a weak declaration that did not criticize
Mugabe, who did not attend.

Tsvangirai said he could not predict how long his country's political
impasse would continue, and acknowledged there are limits to what the
outside world can do. He said he did not know who could persuade Mugabe to
step down.

"If we knew, certainly that person should be contacted immediately," he said.

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Appeal by the Secretary General of Amnesty International

AFR 46/009/2008

At the time of Zimbabwe’s 28th anniversary of independence, Amnesty
International is deeply concerned about reports of the deteriorating human
rights situation in Zimbabwe following presidential, parliamentary and local
government elections which took place on 29 March 2008. The organization is
particularly concerned about apparent retribution attacks against opposition
supporters in rural areas, townships and farms across the country. Victims
allege that they have been assaulted by soldiers, police, so-called “war
veterans” and supporters of the ruling party, ZANU-PF, and have been accused
of not having voted “correctly.”

These assaults appear to be targeted at people in rural areas and low income
suburbs where the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) seems to
have gained more votes than the ruling ZANU-PF party. For example,

· On 6 April, about 10 soldiers and two people dressed in police uniform,
reportedly went to the home of a known MDC activist in Gweru, assaulted him
with sticks and kicked him and two of his friends. The activists sustained
injuries and required medical treatment.

· On 11 April, a man was attacked in his shop in Mashonaland East Province
by persons believed to be ZANU-PF supporters who reportedly broke into his
shop, dragged him out the building and accused him of being an MDC member.
The victim alleges that the ZANU-PF youth stole groceries from his shop and
that they burned grass on both of his hands before beating his hands and
back with wooden poles. The victim sustained injuries including burns to
both of his hands and his left arm as well as broken bones in one of his
arms and in both of his hands.

Though some victims have reported these crimes to the police, no arrests
have been reported and it appears that perpetrators continue to commit
abuses with impunity.

Violations of national and international law
These assaults violate both national and international human rights law.
Section 15(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states: “No person shall be
subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other such

Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are
prohibited absolutely under international law, for example under Article 5
of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 7 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Zimbabwe is a state
party to both instruments.

It is also widely agreed that a state has violated the prohibition on
torture and other ill-treatment not only when a state official physically
commits the act, but also when such an act is committed at the instigation
of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person
acting in an official capacity.

To President Robert Mugabe…

I call on you in your capacity as head of state and as leader of the ruling
ZANU-PF party to denounce and bring to an end all human rights abuses,
including violent attacks by soldiers, police, “war veterans” and ZANU-PF

I am appealing to you to bring about a prompt, independent and impartial
investigation into the reported acts of human rights abuses, including all
reports of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment and to bring to justice all suspected perpetrators.

To the Commissioner-General of Police, Augustine Chihuri, and Army
Commander, General Constantine Chiwenga…

I call on the Commissioner-General of Police and the Zimbabwe National Army
Commander to bring an immediate end to human rights violations being
perpetrated directly or condoned by police officers and soldiers.
I urge you to ensure that all allegations of police and military involvement
in human rights abuses including violent attacks on individuals are
promptly, independently and impartially investigated. The Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe National Army must cooperate fully with
investigations. Those suspected of involvement must be brought to justice in
proceedings which meet international standards of fairness. Victims must be
awarded full reparations in accordance with international standards.

Police officers and soldiers should operate in a non-partisan manner and
respect human rights law. They should act to prevent human rights abuses,
not perpetrate them or allow a climate of impunity for others who may be

To Jabulani Sibanda, Chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Association…
I call on you to publicly call on your members to end immediately all acts
of violence against real or suspected supporters of the political
opposition. The alleged abuses by members of your organization may
constitute crimes under national and international law. Those committing the
abuses as well as those instigating them should be held accountable.

To Heads of states and governments of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC)…
Amnesty International welcomes the emergency summit held by SADC in Lusaka
on 12 April but urges you to redouble your diplomatic efforts to avoid
further deterioration of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. I call on
you to acknowledge publicly and express concern at the human rights abuses
being perpetrated by members of state security organizations, “war veterans”,
and ZANU-PF supporters.

The Zimbabwean authorities have operated in violation of regional and
international human rights law and standards for too long. Urgent action is
needed to end human rights abuses, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure
reparation for the victims.

Irene Khan
Secretary General

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'War Vets' Unleash Orgy of Violence in Umguza, Mat North

SW Radio Africa (London)

17 April 2008
Posted to the web 17 April 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

Gangs of Zanu-PF youths, labelling themselves war veterans, have unleashed a
reign of terror in Umguza on the outskirts of Bulawayo.

Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us the youths are believed
to be loyal to Obert Mpofu, the Zanu-PF MP for the area and they also
attacked and seriously injured the MDC senatorial candidate there, Moses

'The so-called war vets visited the Umguza neighbourhood and unleashed a
campaign of terror against the terrified villagers. They beat up anyone they
came across, from the young to the elderly,' Saungweme said.

The Zanu-PF supporters were chanting slogans telling the villagers they had
come back to protect land which the MDC planned to return to the whites.
Saungweme said the gangs were using the propaganda that a desperate Zanu PF
is using to try to discredit the MDC.

'Whether they think this is true, I don't know but people in the villagers
believe these were rented crowds by the chefs, to cause havoc in the area
and intimidate people before another election can be held,' Saungweme said.

Meanwhile a student leader from the National University of Science and
Technology was tortured in police custody after being picked up after the
student protests at the university on Thursday.

Venancio Jachi was detained overnight at Bulawayo central police station,
together with two other students identified as Trevor Chizanga and Tendai.

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Sites of Human Rights Violations

Fahamu (Oxford)

17 April 2008
Posted to the web 17 April 2008

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) as an organisation has strength in its
permanent deployment of two monitors in each electoral constituency of
Zimbabwe ensuring a grassroots presence. ZPP monitors work in the
communities of their ordinary residence, which gives ZPP the leverage to
sense potential violations and record incidents swiftly and discretely with
a high degree of accuracy. ZPP received a worrisome report last week of the
existence of torture bases in Mutoko and Mudzi constituencies in Mashonaland
East province and our Provincial Coordinator took time during the weekend to
investigate the incidents and gave us the following report:

War Veterans have unleashed terror in Mashonaland East with the assistance
of the ruling party Zanu PF. War Veterans, youths and war collaborators are
beating and torturing suspected opposition party supporters and local
observers of the harmonised elections like ZESN.


About ten war veterans using a new B1800 truck and two Toyota trucks all
armed are moving around Mutoko beating up people suspected to have voted for
MDC Tsvangirai they are forcing villagers to attend meetings during the day
and in the evening with the help of Zanu PF youths beat up people. Bases of
torture have been established at Corner Store, Kushinga, Jari, Nyahondo and

Last week on Friday, 11 April 2008 around 1900hrs about twenty people were
beaten at Corner Store Base and those assaulted included Desmond Dovi
residing in Village 13. The war veterans are led by one Chimhini and youths
are led by Brighton Mutendera and Jimmy Chivambu. Our Coordinator spoke to a
policeman who confirmed the beatings and the bases. The Coordinator said all
those who observed elections on the ZESN ticket have been allegedly listed
for beatings.


Armed veterans are moving around villages forcing people to meetings where
suspected MDC members are being beaten up. Bases have been established at
Charehwa, Chitekwe, Nyamuzuwe, All souls mission where doctors have fled for
their lives.

On Thursday, 10 April a police officer by the name Ngorima said war veterans
visited Mutoko police station where they ordered the Member in Charge to
call all police officers at the station for a meeting. They were allegedly
threatened with death if they arrest any of the perpetrators and were also
ordered that during the run off all police officers should cast their votes
at the office before the member in charge. Bases were also established in
Mutoko East at Lot and Kawere villages and Bondamakara and Chikuhwa schools.


Bases have been established at Nyamapanda, Dendera, Kotwa, Suswe and
Chifamba. The same war veterans stated above are holding meetings in
villages and people are being beaten. On Thursday, 10 April 2008 three MDC
activists were heavily assaulted at Kotwa and are detained at Kotwa
hospital. These war veterans have instructed all hospitals not to attend to
these victims. ZPP is still trying to establish the identity of the three
MDC activists.


On Friday 11 April 2008, war veterans and Zanu PF youths held a meeting at
Murehwa Centre around 1600hrs. All shops were closed and war veterans fired
two shots in the air to instil fear in the people. At around 17.30 hrs more
than 100 MDC supporters toyi toyied in the centre and the war veterans and
Zanu PF youths were outnumbered and were forced to disperse.

In Matenda village two ZESN observers Blessing Chirambadoro and another were
threatened with eviction and are now living in fear.


ZPP Provincial Coordinator also visited the constituency and reported that
by Friday 11 April 2008 three houses had been burnt down and people were
being assaulted by Zanu PF supporters. On Friday three MDC activists were
heavily assaulted at Rapid farm and they are being guarded by Zanu PF youths
so that they do not access treatment. The victims were assaulted by war


One polling agent Aaron and three MDC activists Broderick Marigawa, Taka
Ganje and Caleb Marufu were for the past two weeks living in mountains in
Kanzamba village, Makonde constituency. The four are said to have ran away
from their homes after serious threats of violence from Zanu PF men namely,
Black Jesus of Mhangura, Thomas Ganure a soldier from the village, Lovemore
Mupoto, Marko Gungungu, a Mashintini and one Brown all from the same
constituency are said to be the perpetrators haunting the polling agent and
the activists. The polling agent's plight has been allegedly heightened
because his parents belong to Zanu PF and are aiding the perpetrators in
threatening the activists. The four are in dire need of legal and
counselling services.

As ZPP we are getting frustrated with the situation prevailing in
Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West and in other parts of Zimbabwe in
direct contravention of the country's laws and international laws that the
Government is a signatory. These actions should come to a quick stop as no
people should be terrorised continuously with perpetrators threatening
police officers that they should not carry out their law enforcing duties by
arresting perpetrators and intimidating Doctors and victims that they should
not get medical assistance. These are serious forms of politically motivated
violations and they should just come to a stop in the spirit of letting
Peace Prevail.

Let Peace Prevail

*ZPP envision a Zimbabwe that would transform into a society that cherishes
the pursuit and realisation of justice, freedom, peace, human dignity and

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MDC press statement on the 'crude propaganda' of Zanu PF

Press Statement
17th April 2008

The MDC distances itself from the crude propaganda being distributed on the
streets of Harare and Bulawayo by Zanu PF and their agents and calling for
violence against the regime and its supporters.

A pamphlet is being distributed today purporting to come from the Movement
for Democratic Change and advocating violence against members of Zanu PF and
the destruction of their property and businesses.

The MDC has never advocated violence in any form. We disassociate ourselves
from the content and purpose of these pamphlets and call on our members and
supporters to continue to observe our peaceful non-violent means of
democratic resistance to the illegal regime led by Robert Mugabe.

Our call for a national “stay at home” campaign was precisely for this
purpose; to provide ordinary Zimbabweans with a chance to show their
displeasure at the refusal of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release
the results of the recently held elections that were clearly won outright by
the MDC.

It is the view of the MDC that these pamphlets are a crude attempt to incite
the people to commit acts of violence and thereby justify the present
violent clamp down on all MDC structures around Zimbabwe and against MDC
supporters. It will also be used to justify a state of emergency and this
can only further heighten tensions and exacerbate the existing crisis in the

The MDC urges all its members to ignore this call to violence and to
recognise that this is a just another attempt to force an escalation of the
tensions and chaos in the country.

Nelson Chamisa
Secretary for Information and Publicity.


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“My feet are killing me, but my heart is strong!”


This amazing blog sent to us for publication. South Africans - please
contact your friends who live en route to Musina and ask them to make an
effort to go out there and cheer these guys on. Take them refreshments and
walk with them for a bit to keep them going. We are going to try and find
out where they are and if possible give you updates on their route in time
for you to meet them.


My feet are killing me, but my heart is strong! We are Zimbabwean exiles in
South Africa and we are marching from outside of Pretoria to Musina, the
border with Zimbabwe, to demonstrate against our government’s refusal to
release the presidential election results.

We are also demonstrating against the violent retribution which the Mugabe
regime has unleashed on our people for voting for the Movement for
Democratic Change. President Morgan Tsvangirai is now our legitimate leader
but Zanu PF is holding onto power and holding our people to ransom.

The distance is 540km and we will get to Musina on Friday 18 April, the day
Zimbabweans should be celebrating independence. But there is nothing to
celebrate. Our beautiful country has been ruined by the Zimbabwean regime
and our people are starving.

We are marching under the banner of the Peace and Democracy Movement of
Zimbabwe and we are holding our heads high under the hot South African sun.

The support of South Africans along the road has been wonderful.

The municipalities have been very helpful and we were met and encouraged by
one of the mayors.

People have offered to buy us water and food and have even offered us money.
In fact, we could almost be millionaires by now (and not Zimbabwean
millionaires either!) but this march is to raise awareness, it is not about
making money.

The last 100 km are going to be very tough. But we have South African
farmers in dusty 4×4s hooting and cheering us along and some have even
driven behind us as a show of support.

We hope you will see our faces tomorrow on television when we reach Musina.
We will continue with our campaign of action until we have a legitimate
government in power in Zimbabwe. Mugabe is now our former president. The
people of Zimbabwe have spoken.

Peace and Democracy Movement of Zimbabw

This entry was written by Sokwanele on Thursday, April 17th, 2008

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Zimbabwe Independence Day- message from U.S. Ambassador

U.S. Embassy, Harare

Independence Day Message

April 17, 2008

I would like to join all Zimbabweans in commemorating the 28th anniversary
of independence. Independence days provide a chance to reflect on proud
achievements, a united sense of purpose and the future. Sadly, as Zimbabwe
celebrates its 28th birthday, many Zimbabweans are unable to celebrate. What
should be a proud and joyful day for Zimbabweans is overshadowed by
uncertainty and fear.

Nearly three weeks after elections, the results are still not known, the
economic tailspin continues and for many, hope is fading. Even more
disturbing are the many reports of violent retribution being carried out in
rural communities. Since April 8, there is growing evidence that rural
communities are being punished for their support for opposition candidates.
We have disturbing and confirmed reports of threats, beatings, abductions,
burning of homes and even murder, from many parts of the country. I call on
the government to protect the human rights of all Zimbabweans, on the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the results of the March 29
elections immediately, and for all parties to respect the outcome.

In the meantime, I hope that Zimbabwe can find inspiration in the
anniversary of its independence to move forward. Zimbabweans have expressed
their desire for change and that will must be respected. I look forward to
the day when the United States is able to fully support the Government of
Zimbabwe's efforts to serve the interests of all Zimbabweans. On April 18,
1980, the U.S. warmly welcomed Zimbabwe’s independence, and we look forward
to regaining the sense of cooperation and achievement we shared on that day.

James D. McGee

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe

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Pretoria and AU demand immediate release of Zimbabwe poll results

Urging the authorities in Zimbabwe to declare the results of the
general elections held last month, the African Union (AU) Thursday warned
that further delay of the announcement "creates an atmosphere of tension
that is not in the least conducive to the consolidation of the democratic
process." Meanwhile, the South African Government also called for the urgent
release of delayed results from Zimbabwe’s presidential election on

Thursday 17 April 2008

AU calls for Zimbabwe election results

Urging the authorities in Zimbabwe to declare the results of the general
elections held last month, the African Union (AU) Thursday warned that
further delay of the announcement "creates an atmosphere of tension that is
not in the least conducive to the consolidation of the democratic process."

In a statement, the AU Commission stressed that the poll results should be
announced in a transparent way in order to reduce the prevailing tension in
the southern Africa country.

"The AU calls on all the parties concerned to show restraint pending the
announc ement of the results and invites them to accept the results in good
faith, once they are announced," the commission said.

Expressing satisfaction over the 29 March 2008 elections, which, it claimed,
"were conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner" the commission said
Zimbabwe’s democratic process was "so felicitously launched through the
organisation of the elections."

"The AU reiterates its willingness to work in concert with all the parties
concerned, SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) and the
international community, to ensure the successful completion of the ongoing
electoral process in Zimbabwe for the good of the people of Zimbabwe," added
the commission.

South Africa Calls for Zimbabwe election results

The South African Government Thursday called for the urgent release of
delayed results from Zimbabwe’s presidential election.

"The Zimbabweans need to be informed about these reasons for holding the

"But the most important thing is that the results need to be verified and
released as soon as possible," said government spokesman Themba Maseko.

He said the situation was "obviously of great concern."

Nevertheless, he reiterated that government and Southern African Development
Community (SADC) heads of state were satisfied that South Africa had
"contributed substantially" to the peaceful atmosphere in which the country’s
29 March elections took place.

Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said it had been informed
by the Speaker of South Africa’s National Assembly, Baleka Mbete that there
was to be a re-count of the presidential election results in Zimbabwe and
that a request had been made for a delegation of South African
parliamentarians, including a DA representative, to be sent to help observe
the process.

The DA said it has provisionally accepted this invitation, but will seek
assurances on whether the results of the presidential election will be
released without delay.

"It is pointless to have a re-count unless the original results are
forthcoming," said DA MP Lindiwe Mazibuko.

Mazibuko said the DA was also calling for an explanation as to why a recount
is necessary, "explaining exactly what the problems were with the polling

"The situation in Zimbabwe remains very serious, and the DA will do its part
to help ensure the democratic will of the Zimbabwean people is upheld and

"We will not however be part of a process that is designed to legitimise
what we have already highlighted as a deeply flawed electoral process," she

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