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Robert Mugabe 'mobilising command centres for national terror campaign'

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare

Last Updated: 8:06pm BST 18/04/2008

Hundreds of "command centres" led by war veterans in police uniforms
are being established across Zimbabwe to wage a national terror campaign,
The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

These centres are responsible for keeping President Robert Mugabe in
power through intimidation, violence and ballot-rigging.

By these methods, the regime plans to guarantee victory for Mr Mugabe
in the presidential election's second round.

Three weeks after the poll's first round, no official results have
been announced, but the regime has publicly acknowledged that Mr Mugabe fell
short of the 50 per cent threshold needed to avoid a run-off.

A senior army officer and a police chief described the president's
re-election plan to The Daily Telegraph in Harare.

At national level, the effort is being overseen by the Joint
Operations Command, a committee of armed service chiefs.

The two sources attended a meeting in a rural province on Monday

This gathering, which included traditional chiefs and local
politicians, was addressed by two senior members of Mr Mugabe's regime.

They said that "command centres" will be established in all the
province's local government wards. Zimbabwe has about 1,800 of these wards.

The network will probably not cover the cities, all strongholds of
support for Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader. Instead, they will be
concentrated in the rural areas where 70 per cent of Zimbabweans live.
Each command centre will consist of three policemen, one soldier, and
a war veteran who will be in charge.

They will dispatch militias, comprised of war veterans and the ruling
Zanu-PF party's youth wing, to assault and torture known opposition

They will also control the local police to ensure that the militias
are immune from arrest.

A terror campaign of this kind, organised in the same way, delivered
victory for Mr Mugabe in the parliamentary and presidential polls of 2000
and 2002.

Victims are likely to be taken to the "command centres" for beatings
and torture.

In the past, Zanu-PF's torture methods have included stripping victims
naked and dripping burning plastic over their bodies.

At the meeting on Monday, a senior member of the regime told the
chiefs that a "black against black" war will start if Mr Mugabe loses.

He added that even if the United Nations deploys peacekeepers, by then
people will have died.

"You have to defend the revolution," said the politician. "If you
don't and it is sold through the ballot we will go back to the bush and

Hundreds of people have been assaulted and at least two murdered since
the election on March 29.

 Mr Mugabe today claimed credit for introducing democracy in Zimbabwe.

Speaking on the 28th anniversary of independence from British rule, he
said: "Today we hear the British saying there's no democracy here, people
are being oppressed, there's dictatorship, there's no observance of human
rights, rule of law.

"We, not the British, established democracy based on one person, one
vote. We are the ones who brought democracy to this country, we are the ones
who removed the oppression which was here."

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Zim soldiers 'beat up citizens'


18/04/2008 11:01  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwean soldiers went house to house in a poor suburb of the
capital Harare on Friday, beating up men and youths shortly before embattled
President Robert Mugabe was due to give his first address to the nation
since last month's elections.

A Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa correspondent saw between 30 and 40 soldiers
travelling in two army trucks ordering families to come out of their homes
in Glenview suburb.

The soldiers then told the women and the elderly to get back inside and
turned on the men and boys, raining down blows on them with batons.

A bystander claimed the attack was in revenge for an assault on a soldier
living in the area earlier this week - a claim that could not be immediately

Otherwise Harare was quiet but the police presence heavy as Zimbabwe marked
the 28th anniversary of its independence from Britain.

President Robert Mugabe, leader since 1980, was due to address the nation
for the first time since March 29 elections the opposition claims he lost at
an annual Independence Day rally in Harare's Gwanzura Stadium.

A military display, a feast and a soccer match usually form part of the
celebrations but most people said they had little appetite for merrymaking
given the uncertainty gripping the country in the wake of the presidential

Nearly three weeks after the vote, the state-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission is still refusing to release the results.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims he defeated Mugabe squarely. Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party claims neither Tsvangirai nor Mugabe won outright and that a
run-off is required, but the MDC is vowing not to take part.

An independent electoral observation NGO also predicted neither took more
than 50% at the first round but had Tsvangirai very close.

Tsvangirai claimed in a BBC interview on Thursday the two parties had been
close to a deal that would have ended Mugabe's autocratic and economically
disastrous rule a few days after the election.

The MDC had been approached by Mugabe envoys about the formation of a unity
government but the talks broke down because there were "others in the
establishment who did not want to accept that".

Several newspapers have reported that hardliners in the security forces
opposed Mugabe stepping down. - Sapa-dpa

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'Down with the British,' says Mugabe in post-poll speech

National Post

Cris Chinaka, Reuters  Published: Friday, April 18, 2008

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks at the country's Independence celebrations in the capital Harare April 18, 2008.

Philimon Bulawayo/ReutersZimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks at the country's Independence celebrations in the capital Harare April 18, 2008.

HARARE -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe bitterly attacked former colonial ruler Britain on Friday in his first major speech since disputed elections, saying London was paying the population to turn against him.

Mugabe, 84, told 15,000 cheering supporters in a fiery address to mark independence day: "Down with the British. Down with thieves who want to steal our country."

In a stream of insults against Britain, Mugabe added: "Today they are like thieves fronting their lackeys among us, which they give money to confuse our people."

Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, is under heavy international pressure over a delay in releasing results from the March 29 presidential election, which the opposition says was won by its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

In a new setback for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) the Harare High Court on Friday rejected its bid to prevent a partial election recount on Saturday.

The recount, of 23 out of 210 constituencies, could overturn the MDC's win in the parliamentary vote, when Mugabe's ZANU-PF lost control of the assembly for the first time.

The court had previously rejected an MDC bid to force authorities to release the result of the presidential vote.

Mugabe, brushing aside the international pressure, struck a familiar theme in his speech, painting Britain and not the MDC as the real enemy.

"Today they have perfected their tactics to a more subtle form by using money literally to buy some people to turn against their government. We are being bought like livestock," he said.

The former guerrilla commander received a rousing welcome from his supporters at Gwanzura stadium in Highfield, a restive opposition stronghold on the edge of the capital Harare.

The carnival atmosphere in the stadium contrasted with the poverty outside, where the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy and the world's worst hyper-inflation have forced residents to contend with shortages of water and food, and 80 percent unemployment.

Critics accuse Mugabe of wrecking a once-prosperous country.

In a blog on the British Foreign Office website, Foreign Secretary David Miliband described the independence celebrations as "more bitter than sweet" and denied that Britain's support for democracy in Zimbabwe was a form of recolonisation.

"The best celebration of Zimbabwean independence would be for the will of the people, for change, to be followed," Miliband wrote.

The delay in issuing the presidential result has provoked a chorus of criticism including from the United States and the ruling party in neighbouring South Africa.

The MDC accuses Mugabe of unleashing loyal militias to help him rig victory in an expected runoff against Tsvangirai.


Mugabe said the government had intervened to stop independence war veterans from taking up arms against white farmers who were trying to reoccupy land which he has confiscated.

"Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Never shall we retreat," said Mugabe, wearing a dark suit and tie and speaking mostly in the local Shona language.

After a few days when he seemed badly wounded by the election, Mugabe -- backed by his military and hardliners in the cabinet -- has returned to his normal brash defiance.

Security forces paraded in the stadium before his speech and large posters denounced the opposition and Britain.

The British embassy in Harare, in a statement, said it was increasingly concerned at reports of beatings and violence against electoral officials and opposition supporters.

Both U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday called for more action from Africa to end the post-election deadlock in Zimbabwe.

African reaction has been subdued and the continent has largely taken its cue from South African President Thabo Mbeki, attacked both at home and abroad for insisting on a softly softly diplomatic approach to Mugabe.

South African unions have been among the sharpest critics of Mbeki's policy. Shipyard workers are refusing to unload arms headed for landlocked Zimbabwe from a Chinese ship docked in the east coast port of Durban.

Randall Howard, General Secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union said Mugabe might use the weapons against his opponents.

"The South African government cannot be seen as propping up a military regime," he told Reuters.

The Durban High Court on Friday ruled that the arms shipment could be offloaded from a Chinese ship but not transported across the country to its final destination, SAPA news agency reported.

© Thomson Reuters 2008

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Mugabe slams critics, silent on poll outcome

The Australian

From correspondents in Africa | April 19, 2008

ZIMBABWE President Robert Mugabe came out fighting today in his first major
speech since disputed polls, fending off criticism over his rights record
and accusing Britain of stirring up unrest.

In a wide-ranging speech to mark the 28th anniversary of independence from
Britain, the 84-year-old leader fired off a string of insults against the
former colonial power and said democracy had been established in Zimbabwe
only after the demise of whites-only rule.

Mr Mugabe did not speak about the outcome of the March 29 presidential
elections, the results of which are still to be announced, or whether he
would contest a second round run-off against opposition leader Morgan

Nor did he speak about his party's loss of control of parliament in
simultaneous legislative elections, a defeat which could be reversed after
the high court cleared the way for a recount in 23 constituencies from

In his address at a stadium in Harare, Mr Mugabe acknowledged his country
was facing hardships but reserved most of his energies for Britain, which he
accused of paying voters to back the opposition Movement for Democratic

"Through money as a weapon, (they) literally buy some of our people to turn
against their government, and accept to be politically manipulated in
abandoning their rights.

"We are being bought like sheep, like livestock.''

Mugabe took a swipe at Western critics over his country's right record.

"Today we hear the British saying there's no democracy here, people are
being oppressed, there's dictatorship, there's no observance of human
rights, rule of law.

"We, not the British, established democracy based on one person one vote,
democracy ...and observed human rights.

"We are the ones who brought democracy to this country, we are the ones who
removed the oppression which was here.''

Mr Mugabe, whose 28-year rule began at independence on April 18, 1980,
congratulated the people for taking part in what he called peaceful
elections on March 29 despite some irregularities, but said the British were
behind post-poll violence.

"We want peace and stability to be maintained but we understand that there
are some who have been planning political violence...(with) the support of
the British,'' he said.

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Sokwanele - Independence Day: 18 April 2008

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele : 18 April 2008

To my fellow Zimbabweans I cannot speak to you on the national media, but I speak to you from my heart - that freedom comes and your voice and your vote shall be heard.
Morgan Tsvangirai, 17 April 2008

Statement made by President Morgan Tsvangirai: 17 April 2008

Today on the eve of Independence Day in Zimbabwe, I'm here to thank the World for the help you are giving the liberation struggle of our nation.

This is, in many ways, the saddest Independence Day since our independence from colonial rule in 1980.

Our people are literally starving; Zimbabwe is amongst the worst humanitarian crisis of this new century.

Our humanitarian crisis has political roots, and that gives us hope, because political problems have political solutions.

Zimbabweans have no food because of the policies of President Robert Mugabe; Zimbabweans have no schools, because of the policies of President Robert Mugabe; Zimbabweans have no hospital care, because of President Robert Mugabe's policies.

And on March 29th, the people of Zimbabwe in their largely free election, repudiated President Robert Mugabe and Zanu pf and elected a new government.

For three weeks now, the people of Zimbabwe have waited peacefully.

They have waited for a peaceful transfer of power from the defeated old regime, to the democratically elected new government. So far that transition is not ok'd.

Within days, Italy has counted and announced a new president, in the stark contrast to our situation back home.

Zimbabwe waits.

How long shall Africa's millions wait for democracy to enlighten a continent so rich and endowed in potential?

How many more meetings to discuss crises from Rwanda, to Ethiopia, to Darfur, and to Zimbabwe?

So the nations of the World have done what good neighbours should do: they have enquired; they've asked what's wrong.

They've pounded on our doors. They fear that something is wrong in their neighbour's house and they've raised the cry of alarm.

I want to thank Southern African leaders who met recently in Lusaka. You have let your voice be heard.

I want to thank the leading industrial nations of the World, organised under G8. You have let your voices be heard.

I want to thank the Secretary General of the United Nations. Yours is the voice of the whole World, and you have let the World's voice be heard.

Each nation on its own Independence Day should celebrate its own independence; but it should rightly recognise the independence of others. Independence is raised on the fundamental rights of self-government which belongs to all people in all nations.

While the voices of the World have been raised, many in Zimbabwe have not yet been heard.

There remains no free press in Zimbabwe, so I am using the free news media of South Africa and the World so the people of Zimbabwe can be heard.

We are not alone. And the World is with us.

The World longs for us to take our rightful place again among the community of nations.

To my fellow Zimbabweans I cannot speak to you on the national media, but I speak to you from my heart - that freedom comes and your voice and your vote shall be heard.

The legal authority of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has expired.

Their moral authority has been laughed away. What ZEC says no longer matters.

What matters is the votes cast on 29th of March, and posted outside each polling station.

Those votes elected MDC as the majority in Parliament, and elected me as President of Zimbabwe.

The regime is conditioning people to believe that there is a run-off.

There is no run off: we won this election decisively.

In preparation for this, Robert Mugabe and his hand of criminals have unleashed an orgy of violence against the people.

As I speak, our people are being murdered, their homes are being burnt, children molested, women raped.

We have seen again the brutal vindictiveness of this man.

We want to thank President Mbeki for all his efforts, but President Mbeki needs to be relieved from his duty.

However, we've asked President Mwanawasa to lead a new initiative to urgently deal with the extraordinary situation we face at this moment.

We cannot wait another day, we cannot wait another week: we need a special envoy or a special committee or a delegation to come to Zimbabwe immediately, and deal with the issue following the Kenyan model. [A delegation] who will stay in the country until an agreement and a solution has been found.

Zanu-PF wants bloodshed, but instead we will shed light on that bloodshed.

We shall fight with the truth, and take the strength of our courage and conviction to see the value of life, law and liberty, return to our country and to our continent.

The movement has begun, and I ask you members of the media to join us in ensuring that the objective of democratic change in Zimbabwe is achieved.

I thank you.

In the absence of a free press in our country, Sokwanele is circulating this statement made by President Morgan Tsvangirai on the eve of our Independence Day. We are also including in this mailing a Statement released by the MDC party today (below), and we are providing a brief summary of some of the protests that have been taken place around the world, in support of the Zimbabwean pursuit of freedom and justice in our country.

We are not alone.

Statement from the MDC : 18 April 2008

Zanu PF hijacks people's independence

Today the MDC would like to join all Zimbabweans in commemorating their 28th Independence anniversary.

18th of April is a day that we all cherish as it has brought us the independence that make us proud to be Zimbabweans and hold our heads high among other nations.

However, as we celebrate this occasion, it is sad to note that our independence anniversary has been discredited by the Zanu PF regime that is masquerading as a government and as the custodians of our independence.

Today the people of Zimbabwe have been denied a chance to celebrate their independence by an illegal regime that is denying them a chance to make sure that their gains of independence are enjoyed.

In the 29 March elections, Zimbabweans went to the polls in their millions and voted for change and a new beginning.

They voted for Morgan Tsvangirai as the President of Zimbabwe but however, 20 days after that day, the people of Zimbabwe’s hopes are being dashed as the results of the Presidential poll that President Tsvangirai won are being kept a secret by a scared regime.

We are in a calamity as the people who are supposed to be celebrating are instead being beaten up by the police, the army and Zanu PF militia.

Hundreds of innocent people including journalists are today in police custody. Homes of innocent villagers have been burnt in areas such as Mutoko, Murehwa, Chimanimani, Chipinge and Mudzi have been burnt to ashes simply because the people voted for the MDC in the last elections.

In urban areas, residents are being forced to be indoors by 8.00 pm by a regime that is scared because it is in power through illegal means.

People are now living in fear as the Zanu PF regime is using all forms of brutality in order to stay in power.

As we commemorate this day lets remember our colleagues who have been killed, beaten and left homeless by the Robert Mugabe regime. Lets remember Tapiwa Mubwanda who was ruthlessly killed by Zanu PF militia in Hurungwe last Saturday.

The world is taking action

This banner, measuring 278m², was flown over the United Nations building in New York earlier this week at the same time that Thabo Mbeki was inside chairing a special meeting of the UN Security Council. To put the size into perspective, a football pitch measures approximately 210m²; there is no doubt that Thabo Mbeki saw the message - whether he got the message remains to be seen.

In addition to that,, the international organisation who organised the banner also delivered Thabo Mbeki a petition that has been signed by over 150,000 people so far. 150,000 people is a lot of signatures: it is the equivalent of the total number of people who voted in Matabeleland North province (according to ZEC figures!)

There are three days of protests taking place in London outside the Zimbabwean Embassy. They started yesterday and end tomorrow on the 19th April.

In Cape Town, two human rights groups joined forces and protested yesterday on behalf of Zimbabweans and against Thabo Mbeki's statement that there was "no crisis" in Zimbabwe - the signs at the protest say it all.

Tomorrow, a public event will be held in The Hague - Africa Day 2008 - where the situation in Zimbabwe will be openly debated.

In another gesture of support for the people of Zimbabwe, we have been told that there has been a 'media frenzy' over reports that a Chinese ship docked in Durban has a consignment of weapons destined for Zimbabwe. The South African people are not at all happy about having anything to do with the oppression of the Zimbabwean people. Satawu - the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union - have come out and refused to offload the ship. Their general secretary, Randall Howard, said:

“Satawu does not agree with the position of the South African government not to intervene with this shipment of weapons... Our members employed at Durban Container Terminal will not unload this cargo neither will any of our members in the truck driving sector move this cargo by road.” He said the ship, the An Yue Jiang, should not dock in Durban and should return to China.

Satawu are planning to enlist the support of COSATU to strengthen their position.

Finally, also in South Africa, a group of Zimbabwean refugees have embarked on an amazing journey - a real march for freedom. They are walking all the way from Johannesburg to Musina to protest the fact the Presidential results have not been released yet.

Apparently people are warmly greeting the walkers all along their route: cars are hooting in solidarity; they are being offered money, food and water; and people are coming out to join them and walk for a bit. We hear that in one town they passed through, the mayor came out and welcomed them. They will arrive in Musina today.

The whole world can see what Robert Mugabe is trying to do and they are angry with his attempts to subvert the will of the people. They are also becoming increasingly frustrated with Thabo Mbeki's ineffectual policy of 'quiet diplomacy' .

We all remember that Thabo Mbeki recently popped in to visit Robert Mugabe and emerged from the meeting to declare that there was "no crisis" in Zimbabwe. Well, five short days later - yesterday - the South African government's spokesperson has acknowledged the fact that "The situation is dire".

Non violent action is having an impact. We are not alone Zimbabwe.

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South African union workers: We won't move weapons bound for Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 18, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: South African port and truck workers are
refusing to move weapons from a ship that docked in their country on the way
to landlocked, politically troubled Zimbabwe, union officials said Friday.

The umbrella Congress of South African Trade Unions applauded the stance by
the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, and reiterated its
calls for Zimbabwean electoral officials to release the results of March 29
presidential elections.

The An Yue Jiang, a Chinese ship carrying the weapons, was anchored just
outside Durban harbor after receiving permission late Wednesday to dock. Its
arrival earlier this week has increased concern about tensions in Zimbabwe,
where the ruling party and the opposition are locked in a dispute over
presidential elections.

A South African government official, speaking on condition of anonymity
because of the sensitivity of the issue, had confirmed that there were
weapons on board but gave no further details.

"This vessel must return to China with the arms on board, as South Africa
cannot be seen to be facilitating the flow of weapons into Zimbabwe at a
time where there is a political dispute and a volatile situation," the union
congress said in a statement Friday.

China is one of Zimbabwe's main trade partners and allies.
A day earlier, South African government spokesman Themba Maseko said
officials will not intervene to stop the shipment from reaching Zimbabwe. He
said that despite the "dire" situation in South Africa's neighbor to the
north, as long as administrative papers were in order, South Africa cannot

He said there was presently no trade embargo against Zimbabwe.

The union move could add to pressure on President Thabo Mbeki to take a
harder line on Zimbabwe. Mbeki has argued that Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe, who is accused of withholding election results, is unlikely to
respond to a confrontational approach.

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the archbishop of Durban and spokesman of the
Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, called Friday for the South
African government "not to allow any more arms and munitions to enter
Zimbabwe through South Africa until an acceptable solution is found to the
present situation." The bishops also repeated appeals for an international
mediator to intervene in Zimbabwe.

The Southern Africa Litigation Center, an independent human rights group,
said Friday it has asked a court to intervene to stop the arms from being
transported on to Zimbabwe.

"Given the current situation in Zimbabwe, with increasing accounts of
widespread attacks on Zimbabwe's civilian population by government forces,
it is hard to imagine clearer circumstances in which South African
authorities were obliged to refuse the grant of any conveyance permit,"
director Nicole Fritz said in a statement. She added in an interview that if
South Africa allows the arms to reach Zimbabwe, it would undermine Mbeki's
standing as a mediator between Zimbabwe's ruling and opposition parties.

Mary Robinson, the former U.N. human rights chief, applauded the unions for
taking a stand.

"How positive it is that ordinary dockers have refused to allow that boat to
go further," Robinson said during a conference in Senegal on governance in
Africa. "They as individuals have taken the responsibility. Because they
believe it's not right."

She added she found the situation in Zimbabwe "distressing."

"Behind the scenes we are extremely concerned and trying to see what can be
done," she said.

Speaking at the same conference, Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born billionaire who
disburses a US$5 million annual award for African leaders who promote good
governance, said Mugabe's counterparts on the continent haven't done enough
to pressure him to release the final tally.

"I don't want to criticize any one African leader in particular," he said
when asked about Mbeki's role. "But more should have been done."


Associated Press writer Rukmini Callimachi contributed to this report from
Dakar, Senegal.

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Bishop stops Zim arms shipment


    April 18 2008 at 06:49PM

The Durban High Court on Friday ordered that a shipment of arms
destined for Zimbabwe may be offloaded in Durban's harbour but that the
controversial cargo cannot be transported across South Africa to that

Anglican bishop Rubin Phillips with Patrick Kearney, a former activist
and executive of the Diakonia Council of Churches, applied to the Durban
High Court to prevent the weapons from reaching Zimbabwe.

The papers were lodged with Judge Kate Pillay in chambers shortly
before 5pm.

About an hour later their attorney Ranjit Purshotam emerged from the
court and announced that Judge Pillay had ruled in favour of the
application - effectively barring the movement of the arms to Zimbabwe.

Their legal action was being sought in terms of the National
Conventional Arms Control Act (NCACC), which "requires that any transfer of
arms be authorised by a permit issued on terms of the NCACC".

On Monday South African defence secretary January Masilela, who chairs
the scrutiny committee of the NCACC, issued the conveyance permit.

The An Yue Jiang has been at anchor off Durban since Monday.

Noseweek editor Martin Welz told Sapa on Wednesday that "the cargo
ship was openly delivering a containment of arms for Zimbabwe".

He said he had copies of all the documents, including the bill of
lading and a packing list.

The controversial cargo packed into 3080 cases allegedly includes
three million rounds of 7.62mm bullets (used with the AK47 assault rifle),
69 rocket propelled grenades, as well as mortar bombs and tubes.

The cargo is, according to the documentation, valued at R9,88-million.

The seven respondents in the case are the NCACC, the minister of
defence, the secretary of defence, the minister of foreign affairs, a
company called AB Logistics, the Durban Port Captain and Transnet.

Pillay ordered that they return to court next Friday. - Sapa

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We call them guns; Mugabe calls them ‘campaign materials’


It seems that despite the fantastic news that Satawu workers are refusing to
offload or transport Mugabe’s consignment of Chinese weapons, the South
African government has been unbending in its stance. The Times (UK) reports

  January Masilela, the South African Defence Secretary, said yesterday that
the shipment had been approved this week by the National Conventional Arms
Control Committee (NCACC), which he chairs. “This is a normal transaction
between two sovereign states and we don’t have to interfere,” he said.

Can a transaction in arms ever be considered ‘normal’ during abnormal times?

I’m nothing more than a confused Zimbabwean, but I want to know what happens
when the postman arrives at the door of Zimbabwe’s State House asking for
the President to sign for the delivery… who signs for it?

We voted three weeks ago and we still don’t (officially) know who our
President is?

I haven’t seen the parade of elected MPs walking into Parliament ready to
take control of our nation’s affairs, so this confused Zimbabwean would
really like January Masilela to define normal for me and offer me and the
others (who are likely to be on the receiving end of those bullets) some
guarentee that he is very sure it is the elected government of Zimbabwe who
is about to receive the weapons, and not a gang of potential thugs who will
use them to create a civil war when things don’t go their way.

How can he possibly know who has been elected when we haven’t even been

If I understand it correctly, one of the duties of NCACC (which he chairs)
is to “ensure that arms trade and transfer policies conform to
internationally accepted practice”.

There’s a policy document buried deep on the South Africa Department of
Defence’s website in a Policy for the Control of Trade in Conventional Arms
(link to pdf file). It’s peppered with noble sentiments like these:

  South Africa is a responsible member of the international community and
contributes towards bringing about international peace and security through
maintaining integrity in the trade in conventional arms.

Wouldn’t it be a lot smarter for a South African government that claims to
care about things like ‘peace’ and ‘international security’ to hold off for
a bit on this delivery, and wait and see what happens?

I don’t think holding off would be a big problem because a little later in
the document, arms traders are warned of a few things that will be taken
into account by the NCACC when making decisions on trade in conventional
arms. Section 4.a.ii (page 8 ) includes this consideration:

  National policy decisions not to trade in conventional arms and military
equipment […] with […] countries involved in the systematic violation or
suppression of humanitarian rights and fundamental freedoms;

There’s the ‘get out of jail free’ card for the South African government
right there.

On the international side of things, apparently there are a range of
agreements which are on the brink of being violated, including the 1996
Wassenaar Arrangement. The Wassenaar Arrangement website explains one of the
principles behind the agreement:

  The Participating States seek through their national policies to ensure
that transfers of arms and dual-use goods and technologies do not contribute
to the development or enhancement of military capabilities that undermine
international and regional security and stability and are not diverted to
support such capabilities.

If the South African government held back on authorising the transfer of
this particular consignment, I expect the majority of freedom loving
countries in the world would support them in this sensible stance.

With this is mind, I am left in complete agreement with the comment made by
the South African Institute of Race Relations which said that if the
shipment goes ahead, “South Africa’s culpability in the Zimbabwe crisis
would then be without question.”

This afternoon, Anglican bishop Rubin Phillips arrived at the Durban High
Court “in a bid to obtain an urgent interdict to prevent the unloading of a
Chinese ship carrying arms and weapons destined for Zimbabwe”. He has the
backing of the SA Litigation Centre (Salc) whose Director, Nicole Fritz

“Given the current situation in Zimbabwe, with increasing attacks on
Zimbabwe’s civilian population by government forces, it is hard to imagine
clearer circumstances in which South African authorities were obliged to
refuse the grants of any conveyance permit” (link).

The result of this action - for which I am so grateful for - is that the
High Court has,

  granted an interim order that the controversial arms shipment on board the
Chinese cargo vessel, the An Yue Jiang, be placed under the curatorship of
the Sheriff of the Court. This effectively means that once the ship is
docked the cargo will be seized by the court.(via SABC news)

It’s another incredible step taken by South African civil society on behalf
of the people of Zimbabwe and we thank them with all our heart.

But what happens next is something we all need to consider. I may be just a
confused Zimbabwean, but experience as a Zimbabwean has educated me in the
vicious ruthless relentless ways of dictators and despots; the fact is, I
don’t think it will end here.

My fear here is that the ship simply won’t dock and may instead go to
Mozambique or Angola where the consignment may silently arrive and be
dispatched forthwith.

We need to prepare, well in advance, to lobby these governments and civil
society in those countries to follow the example set by South African civil
society and Satawu before the next ships arrive there.

My hope is that the rest of the cargo on board that ship poses too much of
financial loss to whoever owns the An Yue Jiang to do that. I really hope
the ship will dock, offload all their cargo, including the weapons, and then
return to China with the captain giving a fatalistic ‘not my problem’ shrug
of the shoulders.

This is one financial loss that I, a Zimbabwean taxpayer, am happy to just
write off.

I hope that people following this story have their eyebrows raised to
hairline level in China’s complicity in the Mugabe’s violent treatment of
the Zimbabean people. If you remember, we started following this story
because we’d learned of the presence of Chinese military in Mutare. This is
all utterly unacceptable. The idea that China is hosting the Olympics is
just too incredible for me to comprehend.

My mind is turning to ways we can lobby against them in that quarter.

Let’s be realistic about this: even if the weapons don’t get to Zimbabwe
this time, the existing presence of the Chinese military in Zimbabwe
indicates that China already has a vested interest in aiding and abetting
human rights violation in our country. That has to be stopped.

Update: Less than a few minutes after posting this, we got a call telling us
that the ship had left the port and was in international waters. That’s the
rumour anyway. I guess it’s on its way to Beira..?

This entry was written by Hope on Friday, April 18th, 2008 at 8:33 pm.

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Military Leaders Making the Decisions in Zimbabwe

Washington Post

Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, April 16, 2008; Page A12

JOHANNESBURG, April 15 -- Zimbabwe's military has taken day-to-day control
of key elements of the national government, limiting the authority of
President Robert Mugabe as he struggles to maintain power after 28 years,
according to senior government sources, Western diplomats and analysts.

Mugabe's clout has diminished as military forces deploy widely across
Zimbabwe's countryside and in government agencies. Among those agencies is
the electoral commission, which has refused to release results from the
March 29 election and would manage a runoff vote, if one is eventually

National decision-making increasingly has been consolidated within the Joint
Operations Command, a shadowy group consisting of the leaders of the army,
air force, police, intelligence agency and prison service -- a group
Zimbabweans call the "securocrats."

Although those officials long have been powerful, their authority in
government and political matters grew sharply in the days after the
election, when it became clear that Mugabe had lost a first round of
balloting to longtime opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Several of the
securocrats, whose ties to Mugabe date to Zimbabwe's liberation war in the
1970s, had vowed before the vote never to take orders from Tsvangirai, a
former trade union official with no military background.

The shift in power is "an interim measure that is meant to stabilize the
country at this critical moment," said a top government official and Mugabe
confidant, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "The arrangement is just
temporary because once he wins [a runoff vote], as the army expects him to,
he will be back in charge."

Zimbabwe's political crisis has shown no sign of abating since the election
17 days ago. All sides agree that Mugabe received fewer votes than
Tsvangirai, but they disagree as to whether the opposition candidate won the
clear majority needed for a decisive first-round victory.

The opposition party, which asserts that Tsvangirai did win enough votes to
become president, has tried various tactics to push Mugabe's government from
office. It sued unsuccessfully to force release of the results. It embraced
a runoff, announced a boycott of it, then reversed again and said it would
take part under certain conditions. On Tuesday, it called a general strike
only to see it fizzle.

Regional diplomatic efforts, including quiet negotiations between the ruling
party and the opposition, have failed so far. There are no official
presidential election results, no date for a runoff and no clear path for
resolving the crisis. That has made questions about who is in charge now all
the more pressing. The constitutional mandate for parliament and Mugabe's
cabinet expired at the end of March.

Opposition leaders have claimed for several days that the military has
quietly taken control of the government. "It's a coup in the guise of an
election," said opposition lawmaker David Coltart, who is part of a
breakaway faction that does not answer to Tsvangirai.

Mugabe's security minister, Didymus Mutasa, disputed Coltart's description,
saying, "President Mugabe is still in charge, and that is a fact. Those
people who are telling you that are wishing for bad things for this country.
Wait until the runoff. We will beat them overwhelmingly, and then they will
shut up."

Yet a Zimbabwean general, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described
a meeting between top military officers and Mugabe last week in Murombedzi,
about 55 miles southwest of Harare, the capital. After declaring to the
president that they were in charge, the officers laid out a plan by which he
would contest a runoff vote in conditions made far more favorable by
military control of polling stations and central counting centers, the
general said.

He added that the military has assigned two senior officers to oversee each
of Zimbabwe's dozens of local government districts. Their job, the general
said, is to coordinate political violence by ruling party groups that are
intimidating and attacking opposition supporters.

Two people have died since the election. Dozens of others have been beaten,
whipped and threatened by ruling party youth militias, opposition activists
say. Veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war have occupied many of the
remaining white-owned commercial farms. As police checkpoints on Zimbabwe's
highways have proliferated, a growing number are monitored by military
policemen or officers of Mugabe's secret police.

Such harsh tactics were common in previous elections, especially in 2000 and
2002; this year's vote was generally regarded as less violent. The following
day, results were posted at individual polling stations, which allowed both
the opposition and independent monitors to compile tallies showing the
extent of Mugabe's loss.

This more relaxed atmosphere, which resulted largely from pressure applied
by leaders of other countries of southern Africa, changed in the days after
the election. Through increasingly belligerent statements, ruling party
figures vowed to defeat Tsvangirai in a runoff and challenged the results of
several parliamentary seats they lost.

Seven election officials were arrested, as were several journalists covering
the election amid intensive restrictions on news gathering.

This crackdown has come since the Joint Operations Command took operational
control of the ruling party's political strategy and the country's electoral
mechanisms and internal security measures, the senior government sources,
diplomats and analysts said. The pretext, they said, is a national security
threat posed by a possible victory by Tsvangirai, whom officials long have
accused of colluding with Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, Britain, to help
it reassert control.

Former Mugabe information minister Jonathan Moyo, who broke with the
president and now is an independent lawmaker, said that when he was in the
cabinet from 2000 to 2005, major decisions needed the approval of the
securocrats, much as a company's chief executive officer submits major
initiatives to a board of directors.

Since the vote, Moyo said, power has shifted from Mugabe, whom he called "a
hostage president."

"His role is as a weakened CEO," Moyo said. "Still CEO, but one who cannot
disagree with his boss."

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Hope on Zimbabwe's independence day

Independent, UK - blog
Friday, 18 April 2008

By guest author, Zimbabwean blogger Sokwanele

It is Zimbabwe’s Independence Day today, but rather than living in a state of freedom and independence, Zimbabweans are trapped in an interregnum. These elections are different from all the previous elections that have been rigged by Mugabe because we know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we have proof we have won. We also know that most of the world believes we have won too. 

The international legitimacy that Mugabe craves and needs to economically survive has been lost to him forever. The political dynamic has shifted into a different phase. For the first time, the freedom loving forces in our country visibly have the upper hand, and it is Zanu PF and Mugabe who are scrabbling, violently, to retain control.

Our twilight period is banded at both ends with the faint glow of hope: the hope we felt when we cast our ballots and the hope we still have for the future we have voted for.

We have to find a way to get through this darkening phase as Mugabe cranks up his war against his own people. The conditions in our country are worsening by the day.

Yesterday we received leaked information from a member of the defence forces, outlining Mugabe’s run-off election campaign. (Please note, the votes haven’t been declared and the run-off announced, but Mugabe is ‘campaigning’ already).

Last night we watched the bribery phase kick into action on State TV news, with the announcement of funded projects in previously ignored rural areas; before that we heard reports of activists being harassed and arrested around the country; this morning we woke up to news and emails from people around and outside the county desperately telling us personal stories of violence and intimidation.

Those of us who are able to have been following South African media reports of a Chinese ship that has arrived in Durban with a consignment of weapons – Mugabe’s run-off campaign materials - destined for Zimbabwe. We are not a country at war; those bullets have our civilian names on them.

We receive emails from around the world asking us ‘What is wrong with the Zimbabwean people?’ and ‘Why don’t they do something?’

We HAVE done something: Zimbabweans struggled to register to vote despite all efforts by the regime to deny us that right. We turned out in large numbers. We queued for hours to vote – sometimes we even slept in the queue the night before to make sure we didn’t miss the chance. When our vote is stolen we turn to the courts of law, not to violence. 

On our Independence Day, we hope that the world will recognise that the Zimbabwean people are doing everything that they can to resist the African cliché that African nations can only solve problems through violence, and that Mugabe is doing everything he can to twist our country into the most grotesque version of the cliché possible. If Zimbabwe turns into a cauldron of terror and blood, it will not be because the Zimbabwean people are incapable of understanding or believing in democracy.

How can our future ever be anything other than glorious given the incredible dignity and character of the people who make up our country? We have a lot to hope for and much to look forward to.

Sokwanele's blog can be found here


Thank you very much Sokwanele. I am Zimbabwean and I know people had to muster all the courage they had to vote in the recent elections. I know that a lot of people who voted for the opposition expected the Zanu-pf reprisals to start the very next day. Still, they bravely voted for change.

I think it is time the world commended Zimbabweans for their non-violence stance. Would people have us kill eachother before they believed we mean't business with Mugabe? Or is there another way of doing this... possibly voting?

I think most people outside Zimbabwe think, voting is a happy little process where we all meet and voice our concerns through the ballot, kind of like a tea party. Taking time to let our neighbour know who we voted in and why. Please, understand voting in Zimbabwe is nothing like this. Weeks before the voting, would be rural voters are constantly intimidated into voting for Zanu-pf(usually by Zanu-pf militants wielding AK-47s). The Urban populace turn up on the voting day to find they have less voting centers making it close to impossible for the majority to vote. If you do manage to make it to the ballot box, you will most likely find your name is no longer on the voters role. Now that's just the tip of the iceberg...

No, I believe if we are to start a new responsible government we will do so with a clear conscience. Knowing we operated by the law. Besides how would we gain investor confidence if people are seen fighting an oppressive government using the same tactics they use?

That much can't be said for Zanu-Pf who are no doubt wanting to use the mortars greenades and goodness knows what else (ref: Chinese Ship docked in Durban carrying arms to be transported to Zimbabwe) on their own citizens and I suspect any foreigners still on Zimbabwean soil.

Well put Thembi.

It is nice to hear temperate language for a change. I think it would have been great to hear positive reporting of the courage, perseverance and hope of ordinary people.

Thanks to you both.

Let's hope that the African countries can bring pressure to bear on Mugabe as I doubt that our politicians are going to make a difference.

I agree with Thembi, the Zimbabwean voters are a good role model for us, who are now too lazy and stupid to turn out and vote.

Anyway, good luck and hope it all works out well for Zimbabwe.

I hear the dictator Mugabe said 'Down with the British'.
Let the guy come to the U.K and say that. He's brave when he is so far away from he U.K and surrounded by his thugs but we British will never allow a person like mugabe treat us the way he treats his own people. He needs to accept he is not wanted and stop acting like a spoilt child. Its a pity the western world doesnt get oil from zimbabwe otherwise wqe would most likely invade and kill mugabe just like we did with saddam and iraq. I hope Zimbabwe can depose this despot and allow the MDC to take its rightfull place as the leadership of the country.

But if not then its up to the people of Zimbabwe to rise up against him just as the french did with their revolution.

Why can't the South African government stop the transit of these weapons to Zimbabwe until the dictator Mugabe stands down? His immoral stance humiliates the proud people of Zimbabwe. They deserve a decent life without fear, violence and hunger. He is a foul blight on his country.


this is the time to send im the troops again mubabe needs to be removed we could have stoped him in a long time ago

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Zimbabwe victim: 'I wailed in pain'

9:25 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 10:25 UK

"Tendai" with bandages on his arms in hospital

Zimbabwean shopkeeper Tendai is being treated in private clinic in the capital, Harare, after being beaten up and tortured a week ago.

As the country awaits the results of presidential elections held on 29 March, he was accused of being a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

He told the BBC about his ordeal. We have changed his name for his own safety.

They stormed into my shop I was renting, around 2100 [1900 GMT] on 11th April - I was fast asleep when a loud bang on the door woke me up.

After burning my hands and back, I fainted

To my horror a group of about 40 Zanu-PF [ruling party] supporters had broken in.

Everything took me by surprise. The beatings began.

I was operating the business in Mashonaland East province, a Zanu-PF stronghold.

For years I have battled to keep my business afloat, given the economic hardships.

It's difficult to source basic commodities and villagers, with their meagre earnings, can't buy much to survive.

I am only 22 years old, but had already ventured into private business at my tender age as I only went as far as 'O' level education.

The shop serviced the rural community well and I never imagined that one day my usual customers would be overcome by greed.

But Zanu-PF militias, in political anger, turned against my business.


That day, when they got into my bedroom, inside the shopping complex, I was beaten all over my body with logs, iron bars and clenched fists.

"Tendai" with bandages on his arms in hospital
The war veterans are gods, feared in the villages

I could hardly identify them, everything was happening under the cover of darkness.

They shouted that I was a good-for-nothing MDC activist, out to effect a regime change.

They even doubted that I could run a shop, given my age.

They said I got the money from the MDC, through its British sponsors. Of course, that's not true.

After being subjected to thorough beatings that lasted until the early hours of the morning, something that I never imagined took place.

That was a sad ghastly side of human nature. I want to believe for now, it never happened.

They took dry grass from nearby, burnt it, and placed my hands above the flame for about three minutes.

I wailed, howled in pain, and many in the surrounding homesteads could hear my voice.

But they could do nothing to help.

The war veterans are gods, feared in the villages.

The situation is on edge in the whole constituency.

After burning my hands and back, I fainted.

Few drugs

They broke all the windows at the shop and ransacked it. I lost everything.

But this is the same shop that's been supporting them with basic food commodities all these years. It's like biting the hand that fed them.

Here we are suffering, being tortured, for making a political choice someone believes is wrong

They left me lying helpless, beside my shop. Broken windows, a terrible remainder of my broken existence.

I experienced an indescribable pain. Luckily I am still single. My children should not have witnessed this horror.

The police came early morning and took me to the closest hospital.

There were hardly any drugs, just a few painkillers, the nurses told us.

MDC officials then came and offered emergency vehicles to take us to Harare.

I can't sleep, and I always have nightmares. I'm in deep pain.

I always wonder if my business will ever operate my business again. I also doubt if I will ever set foot in the area again.

Where will I get the money to start my business all over again? It bothers me a lot.

'Forgive and forget?'

They may use violence, but the people have memories.

It will take time for us to forgive and forget.

History will judge some of these people harshly

We always wonder why our government turned against its own people.

Twenty-eight years after independence, it seemed unimaginable these things would ever happen.

But here we are suffering, being tortured, for making a political choice someone believes is wrong.

But the [election] campaigns had been peaceful.

I believe the establishment is generating more enemies than friends because of these indiscriminate acts of violence: history will judge some of these people harshly.

They should take a hard look in the mirror.

If it was me subjecting my tormentors' children in this brutal fashion, how would they feel in their sleep?

They need to interrogate themselves because history repeats itself.

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International MPs urge convening of new Zimbabwe parliament


CAPE TOWN, April 18 (AFP)

Representatives of 135 national parliaments ended a meeting Friday in Cape
Town with a call for an urgent convening of Zimbabwe's new parliament after
last month's disputed elections.

"We urge that parliament be convened as soon as possible so that the people
of Zimbabwe are not deprived of their rightful voice in the government of
their country," the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said in a statement at
the end of its 118th assembly.

"We call on the Zimbabwe authorities to exercise restraint and maintain
peace ... lift all restrictions on freedom of assembly and speech (and)
publish immediately results that have not been fully released."

While the results of parliamentary elections held on March 29 have been
released, giving the opposition a narrow victory over the ruling ZANU-PF
party, the outcome of a simultaneous presidential election has yet to be

President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is hoping to regain control of the
210-seat house of assembly with the electoral commission due to hold a
recount in 23 constituencies from Saturday.

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Mugabe's gall is breathtaking

The Guardian

The president and Zanu-PF are acting as if it's business as usual in
Zimbabwe, regardless of the minor inconvenience of losing an election

Gugulethu Moyo

April 18, 2008 12:00 PM
It is hard to imagine how Robert Mugabe could get any more audacious. The
man many of whose countrymen believe was voted out of office in an election
held 19 days ago, will today make his first public appearance since the
election as president of Zimbabwe, lording over a celebration of the
nation's 28th anniversary of independence from colonial rule.

Yesterday, Zimbabweans who may have opened their morning newspapers in the
hope of finding information about when the results of a presidential
election held on March 29 would be published, were greeted by news in the
state-run press that the president, Robert Mugabe, expects a "bumper crowd"
at an Independence Day party to be held today in a football stadium in
Highfield, Harare - an opposition stronghold in which people voted
overwhelmingly against him and his Zanu-PF party in the election three weeks

A Zanu-PF party spokesperson described variously in the government reports
as "comrade", "war veteran" and "minister" said of the planned ceremonies:
"We want it to stick in the minds of all people that Independence Day
signifies the day we liberated Zimbabwe."

I've always thought that Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party were shameless - some
of the most bare-faced rogues one could come across. But even in my harshest
musings about them, I never imagined a more breathtaking display of gall by
the man, and the party, who have ruined the lives of so many.

Today, the Zimbabwean nation, populated largely by indigents whose survival
depends upon money spared by their fellow citizens - who were forced by
Mugabe's ruinous rule to go and toil for subsistence in foreign lands - or
on food handouts paid for by more prosperous nations, including Zimbabwe's
former colonial master Britain, is expected, by Mugabe and his party, to
partake in a farce, called independence day, that dramatises their own

More than two weeks ago, Zimbabweans voted in a general election which they
believed empowered them to decide whether or not they wanted the man and the
party who in their 28-year-long rule have presided over their social and
economic ruin, to govern them for five more years. All the signs are that
the majority of people whose existence under conditions of chronic food
shortages, annual inflation of 165,000%, and collapsed essential public
services is barely tolerable, voted against the party and the man
responsible for the dire state of their nation.

But Mugabe and his party do not want to know. They are making it clear that
they will carry on business as usual, ruling regardless of the minor
inconvenience of a poll that may have voted them out of power. And to ensure
that voters understand who really wields power, large numbers of those
thought to oppose continued Zanu-PF rule have been beaten into submission in
a campaign of violence that followed the election. Today's news about an
arms shipment from China bound for Zimbabwe is a chilling reminder, if any
were needed, of how well equipped for repression the state is.

So there has been, so far, a great escape for Mugabe. The restraint of most
Zimbabweans under the extreme provocation of the past two weeks has
surprised even those who believe Zimbabweans to be an unusually peace-loving

But will Mugabe's independence celebrations really go on as before?

The opposition in Zimbabwe looks set to fall back on their default
position - their campaigners have called on their supporters to boycott the
celebrations. They appear to have conceded this important political ground
to Zanu-PF activists, many of whom will be bussed in from Zanu-PF support
bases outside the city, to be cast as euphoric patriots in order to feed
Mugabe's insatiable vanity.

If this ceremony follows the well-rehearsed script, Mugabe will use it as a
platform to rubbish the opposition and insult voters by making self-serving
claims that he, who is brazenly denying their right to self-determination,
is in fact the sole guarantor of their sovereignty.

But I for one, hope that opposition activists, seeing Mugabe's hubris for
what it is, will seize this opportunity to bring on a "Ceausescu moment".

Nicolae Ceausescu, the erstwhile Romanian despot of Mugabe's ilk, was driven
out of power by a sudden burst of rebellion by a people who for years, like
Zimbabweans, seemed hopelessly docile in the face of oppression.

For years Romanians, much like Zimbabweans, tolerated a violent
dictatorship. Fuel, electricity and bread were rationed under Ceausescu's
crackpot policies. In 1988, his regime bulldozed 8,000 villages in some
bizarre resettlement scheme. The parallels with Mugabe's Zimbabwe are

As the crisis deepened, Ceausescu resorted to more thuggery. Showing
contempt for his people, he gave his army orders to shoot protesters. The
soldiers obeyed him, and killed many people.

Following the killings Ceausescu, in a business-as-usual gesture, called a
huge public meeting in Palace Square in Bucharest. His evident aim was to
demonstrate the support of the masses for the repression with which they had
been threatened. It was set to be a familiar ritual in which apparently
abject people performed automatic rituals celebrating their oppressor.

But the rally was the pivotal moment that jolted Romanians from their long
torpor. At first the proceedings followed established rituals: the crowd
that was under the surveillance of police and Ceausescu's secret agents
cheered the dictator and waved flags as he started to speak. He thought he
was among friends and his speech left no doubt about his intransigence. But
the crowd unexpectedly turned against him.

Some say the revolution started with a few jeers and boos. His people had
enough of his insolence. And the moment Ceausescu registered the shock on
his face, was the moment Romanians realised he could defeated. A wave of
demonstrations and bloodshed was unleashed which ended in the execution,
eight days later, of Ceausescu and his wife. In the end, Romania's
long-ruling dictator may have been brought down by his own arrogance.

Zimbabwe today is of course not Romania in 1989. But, perhaps out of a sense
of outrage at Mugabe's audacity, I cannot stop hoping that this Independence
Day will be his Ceausescu moment.

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Zimbabweans protest in London as Mugabe slams Britain


LONDON, April 18 (AFP)

Zimbabweans protested outside their country's embassy in London on Friday
saying President Robert Mugabe had "robbed" the opposition of victory in
last month's elections.

Many of the 150 protesters gathered under a banner reading "No to Mugabe, No
to Starvation" said the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had scored a
clear victory, but Mugabe was trying to intimidate people to ensure his
ZANU-PF party won in a second round of voting.

"Mugabe had to doctor this election because his party lost it so dismally,"
said Ephraim Tapa, 45, who fled Zimbabwe in 2002 when he came under pressure
because of his role as head of the civil servants' union.

"Unfortunately what I think will happen is that there will be a second round
of voting and ZANU-PF will fix it so they win," said Tapa, who has chaired
the British branch of the MDC.

The demonstration came as Mugabe told supporters in Harare that Britain,
Zimbabwe's former colonial power, was trying to interfere in his country's
sovereignty and he accused London of sponsoring violence.

In London, Jack Madeu, 32, another exiled Zimbabwean, said Mugabe's taunts
were "the last kick of a dying horse."

"There is no doubt that the MDC won the election. If ZANU-PF had won, they
would have announced the results straight away," he said, pointing out that
the results were still to be announced three weeks after the vote.

Dillon Woods, 43, who has lived in Britain since the 1970s and runs a
charity to help the poor in his native South Africa, said he was attending
his first demonstration since the apartheid era.

"I think the most efficient way to alleviate poverty in Zimbabwe is to get
rid of Mugabe," he said.

He agreed that South African President Thabo Mbeki's role in resolving the
standoff was "absolutely central".

"I think there is a gathering groundswell of international opinion to get
rid of Mugabe. I think they will eventually buy him off," he said.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the UN Security Council in New York
on Wednesday that "no one thinks" Mugabe won the election.

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'We are not free at all' - Zimbabweans on Independence Day

Monsters and Critics

Apr 18, 2008, 18:45 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - President Robert Mugabe used his country's
independence celebrations speech to attack his perennial enemies - the
former colonial power Britain and the opposition Movement for Democratic

But while the elderly leader was pledging to uphold Zimbabwe's independence
the West some people were nursing wounds sustained for exercising a right
Mugabe and his fellow liberation struggle comrades had fought so hard for:
the right to vote for their preferred leader.

'Independence celebrations are meaningless,' said Matthew Takaona, president
of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, who was bruised after being beaten by
soldiers in a town on the edge of Harare called Chitungwiza a day earlier.

Zimbabwe is on a knife edge over the nearly three-week wait for results of
last month's presidential elections, in which opposition MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai claims to have ended Mugabe's 28-year rule.

Tsvangirai claims he won the election outright. Mugabe's party says neither
he nor Tsvangirai won decisively and that a runoff will be needed. The MDC
won the parliamentary vote.

The state-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has withheld the results,
while at the same time announcing a partial recount for Saturday.

In a by now familiar pattern of retribution against the population, soldiers
entered a bar where Takaona was drinking with friends and beat the patrons
for daring to 'enjoy themselves' after 'voting wrongly' in the March 29

The MDC claims four of its members have been killed in such attacks. The
Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights say they have treated scores of people for
injuries sustained in post-election violence.

'What independence is there when the security forces who are supposed to
protect you - when you see them you run away? We are not free at all,'
Takaona asked. 'We still have to be liberated in actual terms - economically
and politically.'

As Independence Day dawned the attacks continued. About 30 soldiers
travelling in two unregistered army trucks rounded up young men in the
low-income Harare suburb of Glen View Friday morning and took turns beating

According to bystanders the victims' offence had been to 'provoke a

'They think we will forget our results. We want election results,' Hilda
Garwe said. Garwe's brother in Mutoko (about 200 kilometres from Harare) was
beaten up by youth militia for urging people to vote for the MDC.

But Mugabe on Friday gave the delayed results and the international
opprobium it has caused little shrift, accusing Britain of using cash to
turn people away from him and warning Zimbabwe would 'never be a colony

His nationalist rhetoric got cheers from his 15,000-strong audience in
Gwanzuru stadium of mostly children, uniformed soldiers and people
shepherded there by youth militia.

But his critics worried that this was not the speech of a president on the

'It seems he wants to stay in power,' said Lovemore Madhuku, head of the
National Constitutional Assembly civil society umbrella group.

'You could tell even from the way he was using hate speech against whites.
On television or radio it is the same, we see very disturbing images of dead
bodies, war or disturbing songs and speeches.'

Over the past few weeks state-owned television and radio stations have been
playing 'political' songs and speeches to invoke memories of the 1970s
liberation war.

One of the songs, 'Mr Government' by Man Soul Jah, a supporter of Mugabe's
Zanu-PF, celebrates the government's seizures of white-owned farms and calls
for killing of perceived political sell-outs.

The song speaks of people living like squatters in the land of their
homeland and asking for spears so that they can kill the 'sellouts' in their
forefathers' country.

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Zimbabwe court refuses to block poll recount

Yahoo News

Fri Apr 18, 10:30 AM ET

HARARE (Reuters) - A Zimbabwe court on Friday rejected an opposition bid to
block a partial recount of votes from the March 29 election.

The recount of 23 out of 210 constituencies in the election was due to take
place on Saturday. It could overturn the biggest election defeat of
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, which lost control of parliament in
the election.

"I can find no merit in the application, accordingly the application is
dismissed with costs," High Court Judge Antonia Guvava said.

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Analyst Says Military May Have Quashed Zimbabwe National Unity Government Plan


By Joe De Capua
18 April 2008

With the continuing political turmoil in Zimbabwe, some say moves are
underway for a government of national unity. However, two university
professors in South Africa warn that such a government will fail unless it
reflects the popular will demonstrated by the apparent opposition victory in
the recent elections.

David Moore of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and David Sanders of the
University of the Western Cape have co-written an article on Zimbabwe.

From Durban, Professor Moore spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter
Joe De Capua about prospects for a national unity government.  He says it
appears the South African government and some members of the ruling ZANU-PF
party had a plan.

“This would be based on the government of national unity that came about in
South Africa after the long, long negotiations upon the demise of the
apartheid regime. So, the South Africans would like to see a government of
national unity, which would be an arrangement between the Movement for
Democratic Change, the MDC, which is the party which has won the elections
and indeed has won the elections since 2000. But they’ve been stolen. They
would like to have some segments of ZANU-PF, including perhaps (President)
Mugabe himself, and the MDC to create a transitional government that would
tide things over,” he says.

Moore says a government of national unity was seriously being considered.

“Now, indeed I think this is a very, very firm plan. And I think judging by
some sources that have been talking to me lately there was a plan that
apparently Mugabe agreed to that (opposition leader Morgan) Tsvangirai would
claim a majority and Mugabe would then claim that he had 47 percent or
something like that. But then they would agree to have a government of
national unity and Mugabe would be able to look like a real statesman and be
protected from the international court (ICC) and so on. Now apparently that
deal has been rejected probably by some of the leaders of the Zimbabwe
military. And so people are trying to negotiate a remaking of that deal,” he

Moore and Professor Sanders describe a government of national unity as a

“What I mean by a mirage is I don’t think it can happen and is probably not
right that it would happen anyway because…the democratic will of the people
has been expressed through a vote and the MDC has won. So if it is indeed a
government of national unity, it should be a government of national unity
coordinated by the winners,” he says.

He says that the military appears split on the political outcome. However,
he believes the majority of the rank and file and junior officers do not
support Mugabe.

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Campaigner urges Africa to pressure Mugabe on poll


Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:39pm BST

By Pascal Fletcher

DAKAR (Reuters) - The delay in the results from Zimbabwe's election is "a
joke" and African leaders should press President Robert Mugabe's government
to release them at once, a prominent African good governance campaigner said
on Friday.

Zimbabwe's opposition says its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the March 29
presidential poll, and Mugabe, who has ruled the southern African state
since independence in 1980, has come under international criticism over the
delay to the results.

Sudanese-born telecommunications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, who has
established a $5 million (2.5 million pounds) prize to reward good
government in Africa, said it was unacceptable that the outcome of the
ballot was still not known three weeks after it was held.

"It's a joke ... the results should be released immediately," Ibrahim, one
of Africa's most successful businessmen who is now lobbying for cleaner
government on the continent, told Reuters during a visit to Senegal.

Ibrahim, who in 2006 set up a foundation dedicated to improving African
leadership, said the continent's heads of state and government were not
doing enough to force Zimbabwean authorities to announce the presidential
poll outcome.

"I think they should be putting the pressure on," he said.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which beat Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF party in a parallel parliamentary vote last month, accuses
the Zimbabwean leader of using violence to try to rig a victory in an
expected presidential run-off vote against the opposition leader.

The inaugural $5 million Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African
Leadership -- the world's largest annual individual prize -- was awarded in
2007 to the former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano.


Ibrahim's Foundation last year started an Index of African Governance, which
ranks 48 Sub-Saharan African states on the quality of governance based on a
range of categories including security , rule of law, human rights and human

In the 2007 Index, Zimbabwe ranks 31, behind Mauritius at No. 1 and South
Africa at 5, but Zimbabwe scores highly on safety and security and comes
ahead of Nigeria at 37, Liberia at 43, Sudan at 45 and Somalia last at 48.

Ibrahim told a news conference earlier that economic development in Africa
depended on good government.

"Without good governance, forget it, nothing will happen. You can have all
the aid and oil in the world, and people will still live in poverty and
you'll still have genocide," he said.

"Bad governance here can lead to the death of millions of people," Ibrahim

He acknowledged his campaign would have to overcome years of resistance to
outside censure by long-serving African leaders, whom critics accuse of
closing ranks and turning a blind eye to graft, abuses and genocide
committed by some of their peers.

"We don't think that we just have a magic wand to wave and suddenly Africa
will turn into an oasis (of good governance) ... this will be a long road,"
Ibrahim said.

He added his campaign was seeking to mobilise ordinary Africans to demand
good governance from their leaders.

"No one can accuse us of being foreign colonisers or imperialists," he said.

Former United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, who is on
the board of Ibrahim's foundation, said she believed the governance index
could promote change in Africa. "We hope over time this index will be a real
tool for civil society," added Robinson, a former president of Ireland.

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Mugabe: lots of laughs, no answers

19:08 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 20:08 UK
Independence day dancers
Thousands took part in the independence day celebrations

By Farai Sevenzo

In a way, the vast majority of Zimbabweans had been waiting for this day, 18 April, to hear President Robert Mugabe address the nation for the first time since polls on 29 March.

There had been false alarms before - would he speak, would he say something on television? But Friday 18 April was unavoidable - because it was the country's 28th anniversary of independence.

They are so full of anger, the pressure of waiting for the results is just too much for them
MDC activist Tinei Munetsi

Coming as it did against the backdrop of no presidential poll results and great uncertainty throughout the land, President Mugabe's speech, when it did come, was eagerly listened to.

Sculptors at Domboshawa's ancient caves, decorated with Bushman paintings, downed their tools to listen; traffic was noticeably sparse - those drivers on the road slowed lest they miss a single word on car radios; and the state broadcaster beamed the speech live on television.

Just a day ago, victims of post-electoral violence were battling with their wounds and broken bones in Harare's Avenues Clinic, on the slow road to physical recovery.

In the Harare suburb of Warren Park, unconfirmed reports circulated that a policeman had been beaten to death by unruly youths, possibly from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

'Out of control'

Tinei Munetsi, an MDC activist in Goromonzi West, about 20km from the capital, told me it was more than likely that MDC youths were the killers.


"It is difficult to control them, especially in the townships. They are so full of anger, the pressure of waiting for the results is just too much for them," he says.

Earlier, I drove past Machipisa Shopping Centre, near where the president later addressed the independence-day crowds, to gauge the mood.

A man wearing a ruling party Zanu-PF T-shirt was stopped by a large group of people waiting for transport out of town.

They crowded around him and ask: "Where are our results?"

The young man had no choice but to flee, hastily removing the T-shirt bearing the president's image.


People acknowledged, in reaction to the presidential address, that this is a man they enjoy listening to.

Mr Mugabe lights a torch at the anniversary rally
Mugabe renewed his attack on Britain as he marked independence day

He is an able speaker, above average by any gauge of public speaking - effortlessly slipping from high-brow English to the deepest Shona, and cracking his audience into laughter at will.

"I'm most delighted to welcome all of you here on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of our independence," he began.

Then he slipped almost immediately from the erudite English charm of the true anglophile, to Shona: "Down with the British."

And the crowd chanted back: "Down!"

He taunted the British, the enemy in his head, and wondered how people could complain about how hard life was instead of looking at the reasons for that hardship - sanctions.

"We brought democracy to this country, not the British," he said.

He reminded his audience that people died for this country, that blood was spilt so that "Zimbabwe would never be a colony again".

And then the line, pushed by state media since the results no-show, that white farmers were gathering to take back the land - so haphazardly distributed since 2000.

"They came, from as far away as Australia, Britain, Canada as soon as they heard that the MDC were winning... We need to maintain utmost vigilance," he said.

Grandfatherly advice

Then the speech touched on all manner of subjects - from girls who show their belly buttons in public and athletes who are drug cheats to musicians who never tire because of the drugs pumping in their veins and a warning to the youth to lay off marijuana.

Today we ate and we were full, full of independence sadza
Young girl

It was like listening to your favourite grandfather imparting his wisdom on the folly and temptations of humanity.

"Every Monday the police commissioner meets me and the two vice-presidents and tells us of all these cases of child abuse. Why children?"

The crowd laughed as he threatened to castrate child abusers.

But there was little on the missing results.

It was a presidential speech given with an eye on tomorrow, it promised far-reaching research into alternative energy sources; it promised a crackdown on businesses which continue to raise prices.

In essence, this was a president very much looking forward to his next meeting with his police commissioner on Monday.

In the end, he said it as simply as he could: "Nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to change."

At the Chinamhora Show Grounds, as the crowds were dispersing after the rural independence day celebrations held there, a little girl of about 11 walked past my car with her friends.

I heard her tell them: "Today we ate and we were full, full of independence sadza [maize meal]."

How long before the next filling meal? And will the violence stop? And will the results be announced?

Harare and the country have too many questions.

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Blunt Talk


World leaders are—for the most part—becoming even more outspoken against
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

By Rod Nordland | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Apr 16, 2008 | Updated: 4:37  p.m. ET Apr 16, 2008

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his strongest remarks yet on
Zimbabwe, all but accused President Robert Mugabe of stealing the country's
disputed election. Addressing a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the
first day of his visit to the United States, Brown said bluntly that "no one
thinks, having seen the results at polling stations, that Robert Mugabe has
won this election. A stolen election would not be a democratic election at
all." Brown made the remarks at a special Security Council session chaired
by South African President Thabo Mbeki, who also heads the South African
Development Conference (SADC), which is mediating the crisis in Zimbabwe on
behalf of the region. Over the years Mbeki has come under fire for his
failure to criticize the despotic Mugabe, still seen by many as an African
hero for his role in overthrowing white minority rule in what was then
Rhodesia. Although the session's agenda was limited to African peacekeeping
problems, Brown and other leaders insisted on addressing Zimbabwe, in some
of the least diplomatic tones yet.

The U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, set the tone. "I am deeply
concerned at the uncertainty created by the prolonged nonrelease of the
election results in Zimbabwe," Ban said. "The credibility of the democratic
process could be at stake here." Even Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete,
the current chairman of the African Union, was implicitly critical. "SADC
has done a tremendous job," Kikwete said. "It's the reason that Zimbabwe was
able to hold peaceful elections this time around." But he added that the
SADC needed to continue to engage with Zimbabwe—and noted that a high-level
meeting was planned to do so this weekend. The Zimbabwean Election
Commission has failed to release the results of the March 29 presidential
poll, said to have been won by Mugabe's rival, Morgan Tsvangirai. The
commission has announced that opposition parties did win control of
parliament, but the ruling ZANU-PF party is now demanding a recount of that
ballot after accusing rivals of stealing votes in some districts. For his
part, Mugabe is also trying to prepare the ground for a possible runoff vote
in the presidential race.

Ban's remarks were also unusually direct for the normally cautious
secretary-general. He suggested that a possible compromise could be the
runoff vote, but only if international observers were called in to guarantee
that the polls were fair. "The U.N. stands ready to assist in that regard,"
he said.

Brown also supported the idea of an internationally monitored second round
of voting, which presumably would pit Mugabe against Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai
has publicly renounced participating in a second round, because he claims to
have won more than 50 percent of the vote in the first ballot. That makes it
hard to see how Brown could justify describing the election as stolen and
countenancing a runoff. Asked about that, he repeated his stand that
international observers would guarantee that it was fair. Privately, Brown
aides say they were encouraged by Ban's and Kikwete's stance, saying Mugabe
is increasingly isolated. "There's been a sea change," one said. "It's no
longer seen as just Britain and the United States, but the Africans are
concerned about it." They glossed over Mbeki's relative silence on the issue
and denied suggestions that he had snubbed Brown by canceling a planned
meeting before the Security Council session. Brown himself made light of it,
saying he had recently met with Mbeki and talked to him often by telephone.
But the South African leader's silence from the chair of the session was
remarkable compared with the stance of many of his fellow leaders.

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British reporter beaten, deported

The Australian

Alexi Mostrous | April 19, 2008

A BRITISH reporter was deported from Zimbabwe to South Africa yesterday
after being freed from jail, ending an eight-day ordeal in which he was
beaten and clamped in leg irons.

Jonathan Clayton, The Times's Africa correspondent, was arrested on
Wednesday last week on a minor immigration charge when he flew into
Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city. He was handed by police to
security services, who blindfolded and handcuffed him, deprived him of sleep
and water, and interrogated him for hours in a prison cell in Bulawayo.
After his initial ordeal, at just after midnight on Wednesday, the veteran
Africa correspondent was taken to a second interrogation centre.

When his blindfold was taken off, Clayton saw 14 men and one woman waiting
to question him. "They made me sit on the floor with my legs crossed," he
said yesterday from Johannesburg. "And they began interrogating me. It did
not go very well from their point of view.

"They wanted to know everything about me. Where I had gone to school, from
day one. They threatened me and they beat me. The chief interrogator kicked
the soles of my feet and then hit me across the face. He tried to make me
stand on my head and stand on one leg. I did very badly and got angry."

Clayton, 54, was held in a cell until Monday, when he appeared before a
local magistrate.

During the trial, he was remanded to Bulawayo prison and denied food and
water. "People from the local church brought me food," he said. "Without
that I would not have got through this."

Clayton was acquitted of falsifying his immigration form but found guilty of
making a false declaration to immigration officers. He was fined 20 billion
Zimbabwe dollars (about $425) and deported.

In Harare a, judge also freed New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak and
Stephen Bevan, a British journalist. They were accused of covering the
election illegally.

Unlike Bearak and Bevan, Clayton had not been working asa journalist when he
was arrested. A Times spokesman said the authorities had made an example of
Clayton as "they don't want the story to get out".

The Times

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Intention of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to continue with proposed recounts will be unlawful and in contempt of court

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
April 17, 2008

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has today urgently written to the
Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to highlight concerns
with the legality of ZEC’s actions in the event that ZEC proceeds with
recounts in 23 constituencies on 19 April 2008.

A “Notice to Local and Foreign Observers on Vote Recount” was published in
The Herald on Tuesday 15 April 2008, through which ZEC advised that recounts
will be carried out in 23 constituencies on 19 April 2008, commencing at
08:00hrs. The intention expressed in the Notice is to recount votes for
Presidential, House of Assembly, Senatorial and Local Authority elections in
these 23 constituencies. Such recounts are said by ZEC to have been
requested by affected candidates.

In terms of section 67 A (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act, the procedure for
recounting of votes on the written request of a candidate for a constituency
is that such recount must be done within 48 hours of the declaration of a
candidate to be duly elected. ZEC has publicly averred that such requests
were received within the stipulated time period. However it has not provided
any documentary evidence thereof. Without such evidence, ZLHR considers the
requests for recounts and the intended recounting of votes for Senatorial,
House of Assembly and Local Authority seats to be unlawful.

Even in the event that ZEC attempts to argue that it has itself ordered the
recounts, it is ZLHR’s considered view that the need for certainty and
finality of the electoral process would require that this, too, be done
within 48 hours of the declarations made to duly elect candidates at ward,
constituency, senatorial constituency and national level, and therefore they
are out of time.

In relation to the “recounting” of presidential votes, ZLHR has previously
advised its position that this is unlawful and unprocedural. There are no
provisions for a presidential recount in the Electoral Act. Even were ZEC to
follow the practice used for recounts of parliamentary constituencies, it
must first announce the result of the presidential election, and then await
a request for a recount from one of the candidates affected. The Second
Schedule (Section 110) of the Electoral Act, as amended, stipulates that
once the votes from each constituency have been added together, the Chief
Elections Officer shall forthwith declare the winning candidate to be duly
elected. It is only after such a declaration that a request for a recount
can be made, if it can be made at all. ZLHR therefore considers the intended
recounting of presidential votes to be unlawful.

Further, there is a pending court application challenging the intended
recount. An interim order has been granted in terms of which ZEC has been
ordered not to engage in recounts of specified constituencies until a final
judgment has been handed down and then, only if the judgment is in its
favour. We do not foresee such an outcome from an independent court, as the
law is very clear in relation to the process to be followed. Thus, not only
would ZEC’s actions again be unlawful, but also in contempt of court.

The ZEC has previously refused to answer allegations put to it in writing
about why extra ballot papers were printed indicating only that it “is under
no legal obligation to provide the information”. It has not denied that
extra ballot papers were printed. As also previously raised with ZEC but
never explained, ZLHR considers that inadequate security measures have been
put in place by ZEC to ensure the integrity and security of the ballot boxes
which would prevent tampering, especially during this inordinate delay in
completing verification and tabulation and announcing the presidential

It is therefore our considered and reasonable belief that the security and
integrity of all the ballot boxes for all the elections have been
compromised and that tampering may have occurred, wherein such extra ballot
papers may have been inserted, to the prejudice of one or other of the
candidates concerned. Any result arising from this illegal recount will
therefore be disputed.

ZLHR has advised ZEC to urgently reconsider its intention to proceed with
the recounts. Should ZEC refuse to halt these unlawful proceedings, and in
any event, ZLHR’s accredited observers shall be present at all the recounts
as allowed in terms of the law and will formally lodge their protest in
person before the proceedings commence. Our accredited observers will remain
in attendance throughout the recount, but under protest. Their presence
there should by no means be construed as an acceptance of the legality or
legitimacy of this entire charade which ZEC characterises as a lawful
recount. It is merely a means of complying with obligations of observers
under national and international law and for the purposes of documenting the
ongoing abuse of the electoral process.

Please credit if you make use of material from this
website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless
stated otherwise.

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South African dockers shame Mbeki

The First Post

Could refusal to unload Mugabe’s guns be dawn of a pan-African conscience,
asks ASH Smyth
It is hard to add injury to the insult of Robert Mugabe extolling the
virtues of Zimbabwean democracy. But Thabo Mbeki managed it, with the
announcement that the South African government had authorised the docking of
the An Yue Jiang, a Chinese freighter packed with mortars, rocket-propelled
grenades and three million rounds of ammunition ­ all bound for Harare.

It looked like there would be little to celebrate on this, Zimbabwe's
Independence Day. But then came the extraordinary news that Durban's
dock-workers have refused point-blank to unload the shipment of weapons.

Calling the docking permit "grossly irresponsible", members of the South
African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) said they "did not agree
with the position of the government not to intervene". Quite right, too.

It is clear enough that South Africa has no legal right to restrict trade
between the governments of China and Zimbabwe. But neither need they
facilitate it. (Just how much quieter could Pretoria's 'quiet diplomacy'
possibly be?)

Few, I imagine, thought it would be a crew of dockers who corrected the
imbalance between legality and justice in South African politics. But SATAWU
have found themselves uniquely placed to call their country's vacillating
government to account, and have acted with laudable humanity.

What Thabo Mbeki won't do for Zimbabwe, it seems, the South African people
are willing to do in his stead. Could these be the first fruits of the great
pan-African conscience this continent has been dreaming of for 60 years?

A year ago I argued that South Africa should isolate Zimbabwe
geographically, in order to bring about change.

Now SATAWU has taken it upon themselves, and they must stick to their guns
(as it were). They alone can ensure that if Mbeki wants that shipment to
reach Harare, the last shred of his political dignity will go there with it.


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William Hague: Government must take urgent action over arms bound for Zimbabwe

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, has today called on David Miliband
to take urgent action with regard to the Chinese ship, currently docked at
Durban carrying arms bound for Zimbabwe. He said:

"It is important that the Government urgently makes representations to China
and calls upon them to halt their shipments of arms to Zimbabwe.

"The international community must speak with one voice on Zimbabwe. As part
of that community, China must suspend arms sales to Zimbabwe.

"The Mugabe regime continues to deny the right of the people of Zimbabwe to
choose their leaders.
To supply arms to it at a time when opposition activists are being
intimidated and attacked, not only sends the wrong signal but will harm the
reputation of China.

"In addition, the Government should call on neighbouring states like South
Africa to make it clear that such shipments are not welcome on their

Rt Hon William Hague MP

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Nordic countries ready to boost aid to Zimbabwe 'at short notice'

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 18, 2008

STOCKHOLM, Sweden: Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland said Friday they are
ready to increase aid to Zimbabwe as soon as the African nation's political
crisis is resolved.

Foreign ministers from the four Nordic countries made the pledge at a news
conference after meeting to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe, where the
public is still awaiting results of the presidential vote nearly three weeks
after the election. Independent tallies suggest opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai won, but not by enough to prevent a runoff.

Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg met with Tsvangirai in
Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday to bring him "a message of Nordic
support for democracy in Zimbabwe," Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr
Stoere said.

Nordic aid to Zimbabwe is currently heavily reduced, but the four countries
are ready to step up their support "at short notice when the results of the
democratic election is transformed into reality," Stoere told The Associated
Press. "We will actively engage ourselves for the stability and development
of the country when the people's choice is realized."

Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said the Nordic countries would be
prepared to "discuss an acceleration of (foreign) aid and support to help
get the country on its feet."

Stoltenberg used his meeting the Tsvangirai to again urge authorities in
Zimbabwe to release the results of the presidential election.
"It is important to respect basic democratic principles and immediately find
a solution to the critical situation in the country," Stoltenberg said in a

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Zimbabwe opposition looks to Kenya for help

Irish Sun
Friday 18th April, 2008

Officials from Zimbabwe's beleaguered opposition were in Kenya Friday
seeking assistance from the country's new Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who
fought against disputed Kenyan elections in December, local media reported.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general Tendai Biti said the
party members were in the east African country looking for advice from
Odinga on how to resolve the political crisis, according to the state-run
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

'Kenya is special for us because of the special circumstances that people
here have gone through. There is a basic correlation. Your people feel our
bitterness and our people share your bitterness,' he told independent
television station NTV.

Presidential results from Zimbabwe's March 29 elections have not yet been
released despite opposition claims that its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was

After Kenya's flawed elections, Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)
led a campaign of protests against President Mwai Kibaki, who is charged
with stealing the vote.

When violence sparked by the polls spiralled, the African Union stepped in
with a mediation team, which brokered a peace deal that created a coalition
government, with Odinga as the prime minister.

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Zim youths ambush Tanzanian Kikwete's deputy over delayed poll results

18th Apr 2008 14:22 GMT

By a Correspondent

LONDON - In what they are calling "Operation Talk Talk African Union"   on
the delay in issuing the results of the Zimbabwe presidential elections held
March 29, the militant radical pressure group, Free-Zim Youth and Zimbabwe
Action Group (ZAG) acted jointly in ambushing Tanzania's deputy president
Ali Mohamed Shein.

He is in London today addressing the Tanzanian diaspora investment and
skills forum.

Tanzania is the chair of the continental bloc AU and has not taken public
position regarding the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's failure to release
results from the election. President Jakaya Kikwete, however, is believed to
be one of the young turks within the African Union and the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) who strongly oppose the situation in Zimbabwe
at the moment.

Kikwete is expected to attend a follow-up Sadc meeting on the Zimbabwe
crisis in Mauritius over the weekend seeking to end the impasse over the
poll results.

In London the youths ambushed Kikwete's deputy in dramatic fashion. The
ambush, according to the youths, was led by the Nehanda-inspired ladies and
Kaguvi gents.

The youths each took a chance to stand up in the middle of the forum to
challenge the high level delegation as to what was the African Union's
position on Zimbabwe, expressing anger over the recent statement by Kikwete
saying SADC was looking into the issue.

Just two minutes into his speech, Marceline Mutikori interjected,
interrupting the deputy president. Mutikoro was uncompromising in expressing
her anger over the AU inaction over the Zimbabwe crisis. "Cde vice president
as Tanzania is chairing the AU, why are you not taking a tougher stance
towards the Harare regime to make sure it plays within the norms and
standards of holding free and fair elections. You have a moral and ethnic
responsibility to make sure that democracy prevails in Zimbabwe"

While she was dragged out of the auditorium kicking and screaming chanted
"Africa liberate Zimbabwe". A colleague, Ezra Ben stood up holding a placard
inscribed "Solidarity with the Majority not Mugabe" and accused African
heads of states of hypocrisy over Zimbabwe.

The dramatic events continued as the vice president settled again into his

Osmen Chineka interjected holding his own placard writen "Zambia we salute
you" following Levy Mwanawasa's urgent call for a Sadc meeting to discuss

"Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar, Tanzania's High Commissioner to London in a bliss
of ignorance blurted out that Shein was not the Vice President of Zimbabwe
and it is not the right platform to address such issue," the youths said.

Anesu Ngarise angered by the sentiments of the High Commissioner demanded
better from the high commissioner. "You sitting on the fence with regards to
Zimbabwean elections, your silence means that you are content with it" - she

Free-Zim Youth and ZAG said they were using the protest to celebrate the day
Zimbabwe gained independence from  the British despite the fact that 28
years on the people of Zimbabwe are being denied a chance to choose a
leadership they want.

"We demand AU and SADC see to it that justice is done for Zimbabwean
voters," the youths said earlier today.

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