» Recounting has ended in Bikita West,sources tell us they has been no change in winners,but ZEC says announcements will be made on Thursday, however according to Section 66(4) of the Electoral Act, regardless of the recount, winners announced at the constituency centre remain the winners unless and until that result is set aside by the Electoral Court after petition & trial.
» Observers say new boxes seen at Masvingo West and new presiding officers are overseeing the recount.
» Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC-Tsvangirai won in all 23 constituencies including where ZANU PF won the House of Assembly and Senate except Bulilima East and Lupane East won by Simba H.Makoni.
» MDC-Tsvangirai is contesting Goromonzi West,where the seat
was initially declared as theirs.
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:57
THE MDC has claimed that 10 of its supporters have been killed, 3 000
internally displaced while scores of others have been injured by soldiers,
war veterans and youth militia in retribution for voting against President
Robert Mugabe in last month’s election.
In the rural areas, war veterans and Zanu PF youth militia have gone
on the rampage, beating up MDC supporters and torching their houses and
killing their livestock for food.
In towns and cities, heavily armed police and soldiers have virtually
imposed curfews, beating and torturing anyone they come across.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the escalating violence targeting
MDC supporters around the country “is very disturbing and depressing”.
Chamisa said at least 10 MDC members had died in political violence.
Four of the victims died last week, he said.
He named them as Tapiwa Mubwanda of Hurungwe East, Murunde Tembo of
Mudzi North, Tendai Chibika of Mutoko East and Moses Bashitiyawo of Maramba
The Standard could not independently verify the deaths.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena told The Standard the MDC “should
not claim their supporters were killed by Zanu PF supporters” as the police
were still investigating all cases of political violence.
“I only know the case of a person who was killed in Hurungwe and the
police are still investigating the case.
I am not aware of the other three people you are talking about but we
are investigating,” he said.
Chamisa said: “There is chaos in this country. We are very worried
about this retribution campaign by Zanu PF.
The violence is well-coordinated from the top and is being fuelled by
hate speeches by the president of this country.
This is how the genocide in Rwanda began, through such hate speeches.”
More than 20 MDC supporters are in hospitals in Harare alone with
broken arms, hands, and head injuries after Zanu PF militia and war veterans
The MDC said the violence was widespread and had created a
humanitarian crisis, particularly in the rural areas.
Some have fled their homes to stay with relatives in urban areas.
Others, said the MDC, were destitute after their houses were burnt down.
“As we speak more than 3 000 families have been displaced with at
least 800 homes burnt down.
All this is happening because of the vacuum created by not announcing
the presidential election results but the courts are not concerned about
this,” Chamisa said.
The MDC secretary for social welfare, Kerry Kay, yesterday appealed to
individuals, non-governmental organisations for any assistance they could
provide to the internally displaced people.
She said Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo had been thronged by MDC
activists fleeing from Zanu PF militia and war veterans in the rural areas.
In Harare’s high-density areas, scores of people have for the past
week been brutally beaten by heavily armed soldiers and the police. Among
the most affected suburbs are Kuwadzana, Glen View, Glen Norah, Budiriro,
Epworth, Dzivarasekwa and Chitungwiza.
The security forces have virtually imposed a curfew, forcing the
closure of shops at 6PM and beating up anyone they see in the streets after
Even those returning from work are not spared.
“I was going home from Kuwadzana IV shopping centre on Wednesday
around 6PM and some soldiers approached and accused me of stoning a commuter
bus,” said Gannet Shapiro of Kuwadzana. “One of them clapped and kicked me
in the legs repeatedly.”
In another incident, soldiers pursued a dreadlocked man and used a
bread knife to cut off his locks because “they made him look bigger than
In Mabvuku, Bernard Chapingidza lost his cellphone in a beating that
followed after he got off a commuter bus.
“After they butchered my backside with rubber rods they assaulted me
with clenched fists.
This was after I asked for my phone, which I lost in their melee.”
Chapingidza had scars all over his body and his left eardrum might
have been ruptured.
He could barely walk.
Last week, MDC polling agents fled their homes in Glen View as the
army tracked them.
The soldiers confiscated MDC T-shirts and thoroughly beat up people.
On Wednesday, soldiers reportedly beat up patrons at a bar around 8PM
in Dzivarasekwa III. According to eyewitnesses the soldiers told people to
“go home and sleep with their wives rather than spend time discussing plans
to overthrow Mugabe”.
On Thursday around 7PM The Standard witnessed a group of soldiers
harassing civilians in Glen Norah.
“What are you doing at this hour?” the soldiers could be heard
shouting. “Run or we will beat you.”
A young woman from Glen View told of how she was brutally beaten by
“I was coming from town.
The soldiers approached me and asked if I was married.
When I said I wasn’t they beat me up, telling me not to loiter around
like a prostitute,” she said, asking not to be named.
On Wednesday evening at a bar in Chitungwiza, armed soldiers forced
patrons to lick beer spilled on the dirty floor and perform 50 press-ups,
before beating them up.
One victim, Stephen Mutiti (27) said: “It was a horrible experience.
Just imagine licking beer from the floor in a public bar!”
Mutiti suffered multiple bruises all over the body
By Caiphas Chimhete, Bertha Shoko, Sandra Mandizvidza and John
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:49
THE MDC said yesterday it had boycotted the recounting of the votes
for Parliament and the Presidency after it alleged the discovery of ballot
boxes being opened and the seals broken, while former UN Secretary General,
Kofi Annan, urged African leaders to do more to address the crisis in
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said it had found problems
with tallies in 23 of the 210 constituencies.
But MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said yesterday his party would not
take part in “a manipulated process whose results are predetermined”.
He said some of MDC polling agents had been driven away from counting
centres by soldiers and Zanu PF militia, leaving the recounting to ZEC and
ruling party officials.
Chamisa said some polling agents had fled into the nearby mountains
after riot police raided their homes. Others fled into urban centres fearing
for their lives.
“We reject the process and the outcome because we have discovered that
ballot boxes were opened and the seals broken,” Chamisa said.
Among the areas the MDC claimed to have discovered ballot boxes were
tampered with are Bikita South, Bikita West, Zaka South, Zhombe and
“Now, with all this happening we don’t have confidence in ZEC and the
whole recounting process. What we recognise are the initial results, not the
ones they have rigged,” Chamisa said.
ZEC deputy chief elections officer, Utoile Silayigwana, said he was
not aware that ballot boxes were opened, but he would investigate, but
efforts to get his comment later were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, recounting started late in most constituencies.
Vote recounting for the Goromonzi West constituency at Domboshava
Training Centre started after 1 PM with officials from the MDC-Tsvangirai
camp saying they were shocked at the slow process.
Out of the 43 polling stations in the constituency, recounting had
been partly covered in six polling stations — Glen Forest, Resthaven,
Joanine, Mistress, Sally Mugabe Heights and Rankine — by 4PM.
But MDC officials alleged that the voters’ roll for one polling
station, Domboshava Primary School, was missing.
They allege that ballot boxes were in disarray and that material used
and unused were in a mess.
They said officials had given the excuse of auditing as the main cause
of the mess.
In Matabeleland’s Bulilima East constituency the recounting started
There was confusion over the venue.
They also realised that Plumtree VID, the venue, was small and had to
take the ballot boxes to Plumtree High School.
They started counting ballots for the councillors. ZEC officials said
the process would take at least three days.
Norman Mpofu of the MDC Mutambara won Bulilima East.
The recounting was delayed because some of the candidates were not
There was no major incident.
In urging African leaders to do more to address the crisis in
Zimbabwe, Annan said the situation was dangerous, and could have an impact
beyond the country’s borders.
Annan made his comments to reporters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi,
where he held talks with Zimbabwean opposition leaders on Friday.
“On the question of Zimbabwe there has been substantial international
“The question which has been posed is: where are the Africans? Where
are their leaders and the countries in the region, what are they doing?
“It is a rather dangerous situation. It’s a serious crisis with impact
He said action by African leaders had helped resolve the post-election
crisis in Kenya, where mediation led to the formation of a coalition
“You’ve just been through a crisis here, and you’ve managed to solve
it, and I must say the credit goes to the Kenyan people, to the African
Union — it was an African solution to an African problem,” Annan said.
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:45
CEPHAS Nyaungwe and his wife, Nyarai, woke up at around 11pm on 10
April to a deafening knock on their door.
Cephas says from the noise outside he could tell there were many
people in his yard. But he could not make out what they were saying as they
were speaking almost at the same time, in angry voices.
“All I could hear was ‘MDC’, ‘elections’, ‘kill’, ‘posters’ and I knew
I was in serious trouble,” Cephas told The Standard from his hospital bed at
a private hospital in Harare on Thursday.
“In the dark, I quickly reached out for my clothes. My wife was about
to scream for the neighbours to come and assist us but I told her to remain
calm until I had escaped through the window.”
But as soon as Cephas leapt through the window, he was met by more
than five people who began assaulting him.
Meanwhile the other attackers had forced open the door to his house
and began assaulting his wife and children.
Nyarai said: “They (Zanu PF supporters) were kicking and beating me,
saying I should have advised my husband to stay out of politics.
They asked me to scream loud enough so that Morgan Tsvangirai would
come and rescue me. Before they left they told me that everyone in Mutoko
should support Zanu PF, not the MDC.”
On the other side of yard the attackers were determined to maim her
“I was beaten up with knobkerries, electric cables, sjamboks and heavy
logs until I could not even feel the pain,” Cephas said.
“As they were beating me they said they wanted to cripple me so that I
would never be able to do any MDC business again.
They broke both my hands and legs and left when I had passed out. I
know they were Zanu PF youths and I recognized some of them.”
In the same village of Mawere in Mutoko, on the same night, another
attack was launched in the home of the Kapikinyu family.
Batsirai and his wife, Sarah, also awoke in the middle of the night
after hearing voices outside.
As soon as he opened the door he saw more than 10 Zanu PF supporters
who began assaulting him.
Batsirai sustained a broken leg and seriously injured his back. He was
ferried to hospital in a scotch-cart by his brother, Patrick.
That same night the Kapikinyus and the Nyaungwes met by coincidence at
the local clinic where both families sought treatment.
All victims of this brutal attack, they helped each other make the
journey to Harare after being referred there for specialized treatment.
While Cephas and Batsirai were admitted to a private hospital in
Harare and are lucky to be alive, many victims of the political violence —
now widespread in the rural areas and farming communities — have not been so
The MDC reports that at least four activists have died from injuries
sustained after attacks by Zanu PF supporters and war veterans.
The deaths have been reported in Karoi and Mutoko.
Following the 29 March elections there have been mounting incidents of
political violence which human rights activists have accused Zanu PF of
The MDC says its members —mostly in the rural areas — are being
punished by war veterans and Zanu PF youths for voting for the opposition.
For the first time in independent Zimbabwe Zanu PF lost its majority
in the House of Assembly to the opposition.
Although the Zimbabwe Election Commission is yet to announce the
results of the presidential election, the MDC has declared its president the
In Mutoko Zanu PF supporters have evicted hundreds of villagers from
their homes, says the MDC.
Among the displaced are women and children who have been assisted
through the MDC provincial offices to seek refuge here in Harare.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday last week, MDC deputy
president Thokozani Khupe said reports of violence, being condoned by
police, were “very disturbing”.
Khupe said the MDC party headquarters had received hundreds of
supporters displaced in the political attacks while more than 20 were
admitted at a private hospital in Harare on 14 April with serious injuries.
“We are deeply disturbed by the situation.
We have written to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
to come and monitor the situation here because it is getting out of hand,”
“Many people will die if we stand around and do nothing. We want Sadc
and the world to realize we have a really big problem before it’s too late.”
By Bertha Shoko
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:42
BULAWAYO — The United States state department has warned its citizens
not to travel to Zimbabwe, for safety and security concerns, in the wake of
escalating political violence against MDC activists and supporters.
In an update of warnings issued ahead of the 29 March elections, the
US last week said the situation had become more volatile following delays in
the release of the results of the presidential election.
Human rights groups and opposition parties have reported an upsurge in
political violence blamed on Zanu PF militias and war veterans.
“While the country awaits the results of the 29 March presidential
elections, security forces including some military and police, as well as
war veterans, are creating a climate of intimidation and fear across the
country, particularly in rural areas and high-density suburbs,” the US
embassy in Harare said in a statement.
It said the update was aimed at alerting US citizens on safety and
security concerns throughout Zimbabwe due to ongoing political instability
US nationals were advised to carefully consider the risks before
visiting the country.
No comment could be obtained from the Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the
Information Minister on the latest travel warning.
The government has in the past dismissed US travel warnings.
The US also warned American citizens against taking pictures or using
video cameras in an urban setting, especially where there is political
activity, to avoid arrest on charges of illegally practising journalism.
in Zimbabwe without accreditation.
“Americans should be particularly aware of using video or telephone
cameras in any urban setting or in the vicinity of any political activity,
as this could be construed by Zimbabwean authorities as practising
journalism without accreditation, a crime punishable by arrest,
incarceration and or deportation.”
The travel warning expires in June.
Foreign journalists must be accredited by the Media and Information
Commission to practise journalism in Zimbabwe.
About six foreign journalists were recently arrested on charges of
covering the elections without official accreditation.
Last week, an American and a Briton were acquitted of charges that
they violated the draconian Access to Information and Prevention of Privacy
Zimbabwean authorities barred most foreign media from covering the 29
March elections and warned that it would deal severely with journalists
sneaking into the country to report illegally.
Post-election violence has escalated in Zimbabwe following the
elections with war veterans and Zanu-PF militia launching attacks on the
There have also been indications of steady military build-up around
the country amid reports of security forces co-ordinating the attacks.
The MDC says the violent campaigns are part of a Zanu PF strategy to
intimidate the rural electorate where the party made inroads into ruling
party strongholds during the elections.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:39
LONDON — An exhibition showcasing the work of one of Zimbabwe’s
prominent photojournalists, Urginia Mauluka, opened in central London on
Hosted by the Outer Chambers, the exhibition and reception were
organised by the Refugee Council, which helped her settle in the UK after
she fled Zimbabwe.
She had been badly beaten up by the riot police while covering an MDC
rally to commemorate Soweto Day for The Daily News before it was banned in
Soweto Day had also been set aside by MDC youths to remember
opposition members and supporters killed ahead of the disputed 2002
President Robert Mugabe won that election and quickly signed into law
the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Urginia’s pictures on exhibition were supported by those of her late
grandfather, the veteran John Mauluka.
Mauluka worked for The Daily News until he retired in 2001. He died
later in Malawi.
One poignant set showed Zimbabwean women celebrating the birth of a
new Zimbabwe in 1980, when the country gained independence from the British.
Urginia’s photos of political violence included one of a scarred
opposition activist, with his back inscribed “MDC”.
This was alleged to be the work of a Zanu PF youth gang.
Also on exhibition are happy pictures of Zimbabwe, taken by Urginia
and her grandfather, a major influence in her career in photography.
She joined The Daily News when he retired in 2001.
Urginia talked about her love for photojournalism and how sad it was
that after learning to take beautiful pictures in her grandfather’s studio,
representing him at weddings and other happy occasions, her camera lens had
in the end been used to capture political violence, hunger, diseases,
despair and other such ills in Zimbabwe.
She narrated her trials and tribulations as a photojournalist with The
Daily News: being beaten up on countless occasions by war veterans and Zanu
PF youths as she went about doing her job.
Some of the pictures on display show a battered Urginia in tears after
being beaten up by the anti-riot police.
Another shows her disembarking from the back of a police vehicle after
In another, she is shown limping, with a colleague, Daily News
reporter Guthrie Munyuki, his arm in plaster.
They had been beaten up and arrested, then locked up by the police for
days before being released.
They were charged with violent disorder and participating in an
“illegal” gathering under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and
denied access to the company lawyer and medical attention.
In fact, the two were on assignment when they were arrested.
The charges were later dropped for lack of evidence.
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:07
LONDON — Britain advised citizens on Thursday against all but
essential travel to Zimbabwe because of heightened tension following
elections that the opposition says it won.
Britain’s Foreign Office issued new, stricter travel advice a day
after Prime Minister Gordon Brown increased criticism of the conduct of the
29 March elections, saying no one believed Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe had won.
“We advise against all but essential travel to Zimbabwe at this time
due to the continuing tension surrounding the election and the deployment of
uniformed forces (police and military) and war veterans across the country,”
the Foreign Office said.
Previously, Britain, the former colonial power, had advised only
against travel to farming areas of Zimbabwe.
“The current situation is unpredictable, volatile and could
deteriorate quickly, without warning,” the Foreign Office said.
Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party lost control of parliament for the first time
in the election.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he won the presidential poll,
but no official results have been released.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has accused Mugabe’s
government of delaying the results to give it time to find an “alternative
to the will of the people”.
Zimbabwe’s justice minister accused Brown on Thursday of treating
Zimbabwe like a British colony. — Reuters.
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:30
STATE universities have more than quadrupled fees for this semester,
The Standard has learnt.
Many students, turning up for the beginning of the semester were
shocked to find fees had been hiked beyond their reach.
This led to riots at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and the National
University of Science and Technology (NUST) on Tuesday and Wednesday last
At NUST, a number of cars and buildings were stoned during the
skirmishes. At the UZ, a bank building on campus was damaged.
At the Midlands State University (MSU) students had been told to set
aside between $300m and $400m for fees. But when they went for registration,
they were informed the fees at all state universities had been reviewed to
between $3.7 billion and $4.34 billion.
At the UZ, students pay an additional $10 billion for accommodation on
The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU) says the new fees are
“nefarious and insensitive”.
“The government has surely reneged on its social responsibility of
ensuring support for students in institutions of higher learning and
guaranteeing the provision of the right to education,” said Zinasu secretary
general, Lovemore Chinoputsa.
He said “such absurd amounts of fees are beyond the reach of many and
are just a measure to malign and segregate the elite from the non-elite”.
Repeated attempts to get a comment from Higher and Tertiary Education
Minister, Stan Mudenge were fruitless last week.
But in his last interview with The Standard, on Wednesday 27 February,
Mudenge said they had “great plans” for the students when they re-open.
Mudenge said then: “They will see what we are doing for them when they
open for the new semester.
They should wait and see what we are doing to address their present
plight and situation when they open.”
Although the fees being charged at State universities may appear less
by Zimbabwean standards today, Chinoputsa said “many students are sons and
daughters of poor peasant farmers” who have no reliable source of income.
“This is a deliberate move to deny the students of Zimbabwe their
right to education.
Most government officials have their children learning at
international universities where large sums of the much-needed foreign
currency are paid to the prejudice of the nation,” Chinoputsa said.
On Wednesday, UZ Vice-Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura was quoted as
saying the fees were “very little to attract this attack”.
NUST spokesperson, Felix Moyo would not provide details, saying the
violent incident happened when he was away.
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:26
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe failed to rise to the occasion during his
independence anniversary address to the nation, Zimbabweans who listened to
the speech told The Standard.
Those who called on Friday afternoon, said they had expected Mugabe to
speak on the burning issues facing the nation.
They were not alone in sharing their dismay at an opportunity
squandered. The Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn formation and the MDC described Friday
as one of the saddest days in Zimbabwe’s 28 years of independence.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC-MT, described Friday “the
saddest Independence Day since our independence from colonial rule in 1980”.
He used the opportunity to thank President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa
for his efforts in trying to bring an end to the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Effectively, Tsvangirai relieved Mbeki of the burden of the mediation
“However,” Tsvangirai said, “we’ve asked President (Levy) Mwanawasa
(of Zambia) to lead a new initiative to urgently deal with the extraordinary
situation we face at this moment.”
In a reaction to Mugabe’s address at Gwanzura Stadium in Highfield,
Harare, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn said: “This Independence Day, Zimbabweans
deserved independence from threats, from fear, tension and stress.
“They deserved freedom from hunger, want. They expected a
reaffirmation of the rights they fought for: one man, one vote, that vote to
be given to whomsoever they please.
“Today was a momentous occasion, one which called for statesmanship
and leadership, humility and recognition that this is a nation divided, a
people on their knees and an economy paralysed by human action.
It was time to speak of the big issues facing us, of answering the big
questions confronting our nation, our people and our leadership.”
Gwanzura is in Highfield whose two seats in the 29 March elections
went to the MDC.
Zimbabweans expected to hear from Mugabe what was happening to the
results of the presidential elections since it is his party and government
who are holding back the announcement.
Instead, Zimbabweans were treated to banal platitudes, a list of the
problems facing the country and a promise that these would not be solved any
“This is highly disappointing,” Mavambo said. “This was his chance to
clarify matters, to clear the foggy and polluted air that surrounds his
party, government and ZEC on the election results.
No mention was made of the results.
What the people of Zimbabwe got instead was a warning that they will
be dealt with severely if they asked in protest about these results.
“This is not leadership. This is not statesmanship. This is not the
behaviour of a man on whom the responsibility of running the affairs of our
Instead of leadership and wisdom, the president professed ignorance
and pretended that there is nothing untoward in our nation.”
Dr Simba Makoni, who leads Mavambo, called for the release of the
presidential election results.
“Clear leadership and guidance is what was needed today. Instead, the
business community, yet again, heard a Head of State threatening them,”
Makoni said. “Confrontational attitudes have no place in the modern era.”
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:24
THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) last week said it would not
be joining the MDC in the post-Zanu PF era, insisting its job was to ensure
the Constitution was changed and respected thereafter.
Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, spoke to The Standard on the
sidelines of a Zimbabwe civil society press conference in Harare.
He said the NCA, even with the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai in power, would
continue its campaign of ensuring the Constitution was adhered to.
Madhuku said: “Who said we were going to join the MDC? No, that is not
the case. We remain what we are, even if Tsvangirai changes the Constitution
should he get into power.
The NCA will be there to check if it is being followed seriously.”
Civil society organisations at the meeting including Crisis Coalition
of Zimbabwe, Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe (YIDZ) added their
voices to the chorus of protest at the “unacceptable delay” in the release
of the presidential poll results.
A joint statement read: “We find the reasons given by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) for this delay to be inadequate, as all of the
results were displayed outside polling stations at the close of counting and
verification on 29 March and were therefore in the public domain.”
By lunchtime yesterday, the ZEC had still not announced the results of
the presidential race.
There was concern among the organisations on reports Zanu PF had
already embarked on a campaign of “violent retribution”.
“In Chimanimani and Chipinge, we hear intimidation and violence has
started. It is our view this shows lack of respect for the will of the
people,” read the statement.
Sydney Chisi of YIDZ said: “For the sake of democracy we all should
remain peaceful and vigilant as Zimbabweans.
It is sad that citizens are being denied their simple right of knowing
their leaders after voting. We all believe good will triumph over evil.”
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:18
TALKS aimed at securing a comprehensive trade deal between Africa and
Europe are headed for the rocks as it emerged that finance and trade
ministers from Africa sought the removal of certain clauses from interim
pacts signed between the two blocs.
Trade and finance ministers met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 10 days ago
and agreed that among issues requiring definition were substantially all
trade, transitional periods, export taxes and free circulation of goods.
Others included national treatment, bilateral safeguards, infant
industry, non-execution clause and the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause.
The MFN clause binds its members not to discriminate between their
trading partners by granting special favours, such as lower customs duty
rate for one of their products.
If such special favours were to be granted, they had to apply across
all other World Trade Organisation (WTO) members.
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries used to enjoy
unilateral trade preferences with the EU for almost three decades under the
The Fourth Lomé Convention was replaced by the Cotonou Partnership
Agreement in 2000, which extended these unilateral trade preferences up to
the end of 2007.
Most poor nations were unable to beat the 31 December deadline and
instead signed temporary deals that run up to December in preparation for
the full Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in line with World Trade
Organisation (WTO) regulations.
WTO rules advocate reciprocal trade among members.
The ministers said the issues needed to be reviewed and re-negotiated
“within the context of a comprehensive and full EPA to ensure an all
inclusive comprehensive EPA that would safeguard development and regional
Already, 18 African countries have initialled the Interim Economic
Partnership Agreements and have committed themselves to continue with the
negotiations with a view to concluding comprehensive and full EPAs.
The ministers said the interim agreements were initiated in order “to
avoid trade disruption that could result from failure to conclude WTO
compatible arrangements by the deadline of 31 December, 2007”
The ministers proposed a road map in which the African Union
Commission, in collaboration with United Nations Economic Commission for
Africa and Regional Economic Communities would work “urgently” to “develop a
model/template of a full EPA to serve as a guide for EPA negotiating groups,
as need arises”.
The AU will encourage the negotiating groups to use the proposed
template as a guide for harmonising the texts of the comprehensive and full
EPAs with respect to areas of common interest to ensure coherence and
consistency with the African agenda on regional integration, they said.
The concerns raised by African ministers came against a backdrop of
similar protests raised by civil society organisations who have already
given EPAs a wild card.
A policy series document has been published by the Regional Network
for Equity in Health in East and Southern Africa, the Southern and Eastern
African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute and Training and
Research Support Centre.
It says countries under the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) bloc
would lose a staggering US$473 million on import tariff revenue.
Zimbabwe is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) bloc
that is negotiating for reciprocal trade agreements with the EU.
African ministers raised concern that their countries were set to lose
as they did not have the capacity to compete on an equal footing with the
“The EU should provide adequate and predictable additional resources
beyond European Development Fund to meet adjustment costs, to support supply
side capacity and build infrastructure, regulatory capacity, competitiveness
and national and regional interconnectivity,” the declaration said.
EPAs cover trade issues in six areas: fisheries; services;
agriculture; market access; development and trade-related issues.
By Ndamu Sandu in Brussels
Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:11
MORE than three weeks after Zimbabwe held its elections, the dithering
over the result shows little sign of ending.
Meanwhile Africa’s worst basket-case economy continues to flounder,
without a leader to take stock of what needs to be done.
In terms of statistics, Zimbabwe’s plight is pretty much immeasurable.
Figures such as a rate of inflation of more than 150 000% and an
unemployment rate said to be in excess of 80% are startling, but also
After 28 years under Robert Mugabe, emotive terminology such as utter
despair and desperate destitution describe the situation in Zimbabwe better
than any maths and statistics can ever do.
This is certainly the case for the 700 000 people who have been robbed
of everything, even their homes in urban slums that were razed by Mugabe
under his controversial“Murambatsvina” (get rid of filth) programme.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party is
expected to ultimately take control of the country.
The MDC says it has “learned from the past” and adopted a five-year
reform plan that “would take into consideration both the economy, the
security of the country, the investment — basically bringing the economy
from the dead weight it is at the moment”.
Roads and sewers must be repaired. Power supplies must be restored.
The homeless need roofs over their heads.
The wounded, the famished and the mentally scarred will need
In economists’ terminology, the nation’s human capital has been
There are even doubts about the actual size of its population —
estimated at some 13 million people, though migration and early deaths on a
vast scale mean nobody can say for sure.
Millions of those able to do so have fled to seek better lives abroad
and to provide for relatives back in Zimbabwe.
Life expectancy has plunged to 37 years from 60 years in 1990, World
Bank and UN figures indicate — though this is largely due to the HIV/Aids
Infant death rates have soared to more than 123 per 1 000 in 2004, the
latest year when figures were available, from 59 less than a decade ago.
Half the remaining population is now under the age of 18, according to
Save the Children estimates. More than one in four of those under 18 are
orphans, many of them because their parents have died from HIV/Aids which,
according to the United Nations Development Programme, kills 3 200 people
So there is a great shortage of experienced managers who can lead the
And although literacy rates and education levels are relatively high,
at least by African standards, many workers will nevertheless lack the
skills to get the jobs done.
Zimbabwe’s farms are in a similarly sorry state.
Looted by Mugabe’s cronies during the early 2000s from white farmers —
many of whom had stayed when Ian Smith’s white minority-ruled Rhodesia
became Zimbabwe in 1980 — the country’s most productive grain and tobacco
farms have been either actively wrecked or sadly neglected.
Farm failures have hampered the nation’s ability both to feed its
people and earn foreign currency.
More than eight out of 10 people survive on less than US$2 per day and
almost half the population is at risk of malnutrition.
So although an agricultural revival is both desirable and feasible, it
will require skills and experience that in most cases have left the country.
Foreign assistance will be required.
But even so, farm reform will be hugely controversial.
An estimated 4 000 white-owned farms were forcefully handed over to
landless black people under Mugabe, often to his supporters.
So there are likely to be disputes over land ownership after Mugabe.
Zimbabwe’s lucrative mining sector is still in a better shape and
could offer a great economic boost for the country, but there is growing
apprehension over a new law that requires that at least 51% ownership of any
businesses and mines be in black hands.
Zimbabwe has massive reserves of platinum, believed to be the
second-biggest in the world and operated by Zimbabwe Platinum Mines and
Mimosa Platinum Mines and Impala Platinum.
Anglo Platinum is developing a new mine in the Midlands, Unki.
Rio Tinto is active in diamond mining in the country, Zimasco
Consolidated Enterprises owns the country’s largest ferrochrome producer,
and there are activities by major gold mining companies.
But resource development in Zimbabwe has declined in recent years,
with many mines closing.
Costs have been pushed higher by strict exchange rate regulations and
operating the mines has been made difficult by the collapsing infrastructure
and the growing economic crisis.
Tourism is another potential source of foreign earnings for Zimbabwe,
though it could take time before travellers return.
Yet the underlying fundamentals of Zimbabwe’s economy, resource base
and even parts of the corporate sector remain reasonably robust.
Many foreign investors are sitting on the fence, eager to get in —
provided that Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party is ousted.
Aid, loans or other economic assistance from the likes of the
International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Union should
supplement an anticipated inflow of foreign investment.
But much like the wranglings over the election, when it comes to the
economy, nobody expects a quick fix. — BBC News.
Saturday, 19 April 2008 19:15
JOHANNESBURG — South African President Thabo Mbeki has been lampooned
and condemned across the world for saying there is “no crisis” in Zimbabwe
on his brief stopover in the capital, Harare, on the way to an emergency
summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Zambia to
discuss Zimbabwe’s disputed 29 March elections.
Now there is also a growing chorus from within the African National
Congress (ANC), Mbeki’s own party, in South Africa, the continent and the
world for Mbeki to discard his much-maligned policy of “quiet diplomacy” and
get tough on Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.
Mbeki’s comment that “there is no crisis in Zimbabwe” drew a sharp
response from Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition MDC, that Mbeki
“needs to be relieved of his duties” as a mediator.
The SADC appointed Mbeki to mediate between the MDC and Zanu PF in
One of the key provisions governing elections in Zimbabwe — that
results be displayed outside polling stations — allowed Tsvangirai to claim
victory in the presidential race by 50% plus one vote, which negates the
need for a second round of voting.
The MDC overturned Zanu PF’s parliamentary majority for the first time
since independence from Britain in 1980, but the official result of the
presidential election has still not been published, nearly three weeks after
Britain’s Economist magazine said in an editorial: “Can Mr Mbeki
seriously suggest, with a straight face, that the result would have been
held back if Mr Mugabe had not lost?”
The Washington Post, under the headline “Rogue Democrat”, commented in
an editorial: “The government of President Thabo Mbeki has consistently
allied itself with the world’s rogue states and against the Western
“It has defended Iran’s nuclear programme and resisted sanctions
against it; shielded Sudan and Burma from the sort of pressure the United
Nations once directed at the apartheid regime . . . Now Mr Mbeki’s perverse
and immoral policy is reaching its nadir — in South Africa’s neighbour,
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed “deep concern” over the
delay in publishing the presidential ballot at a UN Security Council meeting
in New York, chaired by South Africa this week, and noted that “the
credibility of the democratic process in Africa could be at stake here.”
ANC spokesperson Jesse Duarte added to the Mbeki bashing: “It (the
ANC) is concerned with the state of crisis that Zimbabwe is in and perceives
this as negative for the entire SADC region.”
It is not the first time that the ANC’s and Mbeki’s views on Zimbabwe
have been out of step.
In 1980, when Mugabe won Zimbabwe’s first democratic elections, Mark
Gevisser recounts in his biography, “Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred”, that
“Thabo Mbeki seemed to be one of the only ANC comrades (at a meeting) in the
whole of Lusaka who was not devastated (by the then Zanu party’s victory).”
During the struggle against apartheid, the ANC was allied to Joshua
Nkomo’s rival Zapu party.
That night, Gevisser recounts in an interview with a mid-level ANC
exile, the celebrations of Zimbabwe’s independence and shedding white rule
were as if “at a wake.
I think we even said we would rather have had (Ian) Smith than
In the early 1980s Mbeki was tasked with building relations between
the ANC and Mugabe’s Zanu party.
Gevisser wrote on 17 April in the South African weekly newspaper, The
Mail and & Guardian, that Mbeki admitted this relationship developed into
one of “father (Mugabe) and son (Mbeki)”.
Chris Maroleng, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security
Studies, a Pretoria-based think-tank, told IRIN the “quiet diplomacy” label
was a misnomer, as “all diplomacy is quiet.”
He said, “Mbeki knows South Africa learnt to its cost that public
criticism of other African governments, even ones that had no pretensions to
democracy, was a high-risk game.”
Maroleng pointed out that the 1995 execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and
eight other political activists in Nigeria on trumped-up charges by Sani
Abacha’s military dictatorship saw a “serious backlash” from other African
countries after South Africa’s founding president, Nelson Mandela, called
for sanctions against the oil-rich nation.
From then on, Maroleng said, South Africa’s foreign policy has been
multilateral in its approach and always “wary of pushing a Western agenda,
in case it is seen as a proxy or lackey of the West”.
South Africa’s economic clout on the continent — it produces 25% of
Africa’s GDP — has led to it being given disparaging labels such as the
“Yanks of Africa”, but this is not mirrored in its broad diplomatic
engagement on the continent.
On 17 April, after the UN Security Council meeting, Themba Maseko,
South Africa’s ambassador to the UN, said the situation in Zimbabwe was
“dire”, and the delay in releasing the poll results was “obviously of great
Maroleng said this was being interpreted by many as a policy shift,
but South Africa had criticised human rights abuses by Mugabe in the past,
although “maybe not in the manner people would like to see.”
Mbeki has always sought “homegrown” solutions rather than imposing
them, Maroleng commented, and while “strong on pragmatism, it (this
approach) can be weak on principle”, but he (Mbeki) has “an aversion to
In March 2008, on the eve of an African Union (AU) military operation
to reclaim Anjouan, an island in the Comoros archipelago, from renegade
leader Mohamed Bacar after nine months of fruitless negotiations, Mbeki said
the operation should be delayed.
Much to the chagrin of the AU, Mbeki told an international news agency
on 12 March that Bacar had offered to hold fresh elections, and “this is
really the way that we should go.
I don’t think there is any need to do anything apart or additional to
that.” AU troops landed on the island a few days later and encountered
SADC member states and the AU are not contemplating any military
action against Zimbabwe, and probably never would, although Article 4 of the
AU Constitution gives permission “to intervene in grave circumstances that
include war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as a
serious threat to legitimate order”.
A shipment of Chinese small arms, ammunition and rocket propelled
grenades en route to Zimbabwe was diverted from the South African port city
of Durban, not by Mbeki’s government, but by unionised workers refusing to
unload the ship’s cargo because they are concerned that the weapons could be
used against Mugabe’s opponents.
Maroleng said such a worst-case scenario “is a continuation of what is
going on now [the refusal to announce presidential results, and the alleged
beatings and assaults of MDC supporters] and ultimately a clampdown by
Mugabe, backed by the military, and a worsening of the humanitarian
situation and the inability of the region [SADC] to change things.”
A more likely scenario might be a second round of voting, with an
enhanced mission of SADC observers, and assistance by South Africa’s
Independent Electoral Commission.
However, Tsvangirai has said that the MDC would not take part in a
presidential run-off ballot, as the high levels of violence and intimidation
by Zimbabwe’s police and army since the first round of voting would amount
to Mugabe “stealing the election”.
Saturday, 19 April 2008 19:09
INDEPENDENCE is your 28-year-old son. He looks 50, with a body so
ravaged by HIV and Aids and a hard drug habit that his clothes hang on him
as if on a scare-crow.
He is a chain-smoker and when he coughs his body rattles as if the
bones were pieces of tin tied together with wire.
After each cough, the sweat pours out of his body like from a sieve.
To be gender sensitive, let’s make it the daughter. Apart from the
drug addiction, she is a prostitute and, of course, has Aids, for which she
uses ARVs, supplied by a fat cat in exchange for you-know-what.
She too looks 50, with dark blotches under her eyes, which she tries
to conceal behind the thick lenses of the most haute couture dark glasses,
bought by you-know-who.
She chain-smokes and has such a controversial personal hygiene problem
most clients buy her an expensive deodorant before transacting business with
I grant you these are terrifying portraits of our independence.
Yet the only people who can swear on a Bible that our 28th anniversary
of independence entitles us to robust celebrations are the fat cats, the
thieves, the swindlers, the embezzlers, the corrupt politicians and, in
general, the people who have blighted our independence until it is one big
It’s probably difficult to distinguish between the aforementioned and
the people who lost the recent elections, but are now trying to “fix” things
to turn a rout into a victory.
Each individual has their own expectation of independence. It could be
a castle in Spain or a dacha outside Moscow or a penthouse in Manhattan: the
ideal is a version of dolce vita.
For most in Zimbabwe it is breakfast, lunch and dinner of maputi. For
the very filthy rich few it’s a banquet with Beluga caviar and the finest
Scotch whisky to round it off.
This is the real Zimbabwe — a country ruled by people who look so
well-fed it’s almost obscene to count them among our compatriots.
Even more disgustingly, they insist the country is suffering under
Western sanctions — but cannot explain their expensive suits, cars, houses
(big and small).
Then, in the suburbs, the soldiers were beating up people, a day
before Independence Day.
A few spent Independence eve in hospital or holed up in their houses,
scared of venturing out for fear of the soldiers.
All this because Zanu PF has no stomach for defeat, or is frightened
to contemplate the aftermath of a thorough hiding at the polls. Question:
Would all those involved in Gukurahundi please stand up and be counted?
Question: Who ordered the hits on Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika
and many, many others in 2000?
After 2000, the meaning of Independence became, for many people,
fuzzy, problematical. Freedom from colonialism — Yes. Freedom from Want —
No. Freedom of Bashing —No. Freedom from Poverty, an emphatic, loud NO.
Zanu PF has made spirited attempts to put a strange spin on the
meaning of independence: land, sovereignty, and empowerment.
The reality: food is still to be imported. Power and water may not be
luxuries now, but they could be as scarce as caviar in Muzarabani.
Eighty percent of the able-bodied population is out of employment.
Their empowerment is a myth, unless they are in the Zanu PF youth
militia, or are soldiers and police officers, or sons, daughters, cousins,
nieces and nephews, sisters-or brothers-in-law of the aforementioned fat
About the elections — what elections? At the time of writing, the only
results made public were announced by the MDC. Zanu PF doesn’t believe the
MDC figures and is depending on a recount to adjust the outcome.
It’s probably a gross injustice to allege that Zanu PF is determined
to alter all the figures to suit its own devilish designs.
But what has this party not done, over the last 28 years, to ensure it
remains in the saddle for all time?
It has killed, it has bashed, it has cheated, it has used terror. It
has used water cannons, batons and guns to warn the people against
But in the elections, the people stood up to them are now paying the
price, with more bashing.
Meanwhile, regional leaders can only whisper their protests. Not one
of them can publicly declare that President Robert Mugabe is a disgrace to
all who consider themselves model African leaders — if there are any.
People who look forward to a different Independence Day celebration in
2009 must be counted among our Regular Pollyannas: their infectious sense of
optimistic is sickening, unless . . .
Unless Zanu PF bashes itself senseless, either by accident, or in an
act of hara kiri.
email@example.comThis e-mail address is being protected from
Saturday, 19 April 2008 19:06
ZANU PF’s presidential candidate in the 29 March harmonised elections,
Robert Mugabe, presided over Friday’s Independence Day ceremonies in
complete disregard of the will of voters as he sought to project the party
as the movement that brought about liberation.
It was a farce.
The true face and character of Zanu PF is being played out in
villages, on farms and in the high-density areas, where a curfew has been
declared and a wave of terror attacks has driven hundreds from their rural
The scenes are reminiscent of the terror campaign of 2002 which
secured the rural vote for President Mugabe.
Zanu PF’s worst excesses have been played out in the rural areas
during the past three weeks.
The murderers of Talent Mabika, Tichaona Chiminya, Martin Stevens,
Gift Tandare, and Gloria and Martin Olds have launched a campaign of terror
that confirms the often misunderstood meaning of the war cry, “Zanu
Ndeyeropa – (Zanu is a murderous party and not an organisation that waged a
bloody and protracted guerrilla campaign)”.
Since 14 April at least 150 people have been arrested and detained in
custody at Harare Central Police Station in the wake of Zanu PF’s
spectacular defeat in the 29 March poll, while Zimbabwe Doctors for Human
Rights says it has so far seen and treated 173 cases of injury resulting
from organised violence and torture.
Zanu PF is prepared to employ terror tactics and maim and murder
because the people dared to vote for the opposition.
The same pattern witnessed during the 2000 and 2002 parliamentary and
presidential elections is emerging: police make it clear they cannot act
against known Zanu PF perpetrators of terror and so the abuses continue with
What is happening in Zimbabwe is one of the greatest tragedies of
modern times. People believed in the promises of the former liberation
movement but it turns out this is a movement of power-hungry criminals.
The people who hijacked the revolution in 1963, when they split from
Zapu, are today hijacking the will of the people and are determined to use
the full force of the State’s repressive machinery and other extra-legal
processes in order to exert their will over the people of this country who
spoke on 29 March and declared they desired a new beginning.
These people, who will not brook a change to the status quo, also have
a record of unfulfilled promises. Before the March elections they promised
starving communities throughout the country in general but in particular the
western part of the country that maize shipments were on their way from
Malawi and Zambia.
They hurriedly unveiled “Freedom Trains” and commuter buses, in
response to the worst transport problems in this country’s history.
They promised an end to recurrent water and power shortages.
In health institutions across the country, people are dying needlessly
because there are no drugs, contrary to promises made before last month’s
elections. Zanu PF’s record of broken pledges is incomparable.
Friday’s independence anniversary activities were a grotesque
celebration of total subjugation of the will of the people to determine
It was a sham celebration. Zanu PF’s terror campaign is a declaration
of its determination to eliminate anyone challenging its unquenched desire
to exercise unelected power.
In the face of State terror, the majority of us who believe in
democracy must confront it on a different platform by continuing to
communicate the illegitimacy of the dictatorship in a forceful and
uncompromising language of rejection, deflating its pretensions to power.
Saturday, 19 April 2008 18:56
AFTER reading the judgment of Justice Uchena in the case of the MDC
against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), one is left with an empty
feeling; a realisation of the worst fears about the judiciary; that in
Zimbabwe, the wheels of justice turn slowly and erratically.
With respect, it is a judgment whose conclusion is as startling as it
is questionable on the merits.
On 4 April 2008, the MDC made an urgent application at the High Court,
to compel the ZEC to release the results of the Presidential election held
on 29 March 2008.
The matter came before Justice Uchena and with it the whole weight of
the key election rested on his shoulders.
Justice Uchena initially acknowledged the urgency of the matter of
announcing the results. He said at page 11: “In the absence of an
explanation the delay between 29 March 2008 and 4 April 2008 seems to be
unjustifiable and points to a lack of efficiency (on the part of the ZEC) ”.
Ironically, notwithstanding his acknowledgement of urgency, it took
the learned judge 10 days to deal with the matter and deliver judgment on 14
That is four days more than the delay initially complained of. As if
that was not enough, the learned judge dismissed the application with costs.
A lot was said in the judgment but everything came down to one crucial
point: the power and discretion of the ZEC to order a recount hence
necessitating a delay in the announcement of the result of the presidential
The ZEC explained that the delay was caused by the complaints that had
been raised by a party, presumably Zanu PF, under Section 67A of the
Electoral Act in relation to counting of the votes.
Section 67A – Fish out of Water?
The judge had to deal with the important question of whether S. 67A of
the Electoral Act was applicable to the Presidential election because it is
a provision that specifically deals with parliamentary elections.
After considering the arguments, the judge decided that it applied
because it was not specifically excluded by Section 112 of the Electoral Act
as is the case with surrounding and related provisions.
In this case the judge’s hands appeared to be tied because the statute
does not exclude S. 67A from application to Presidential elections and he
could not legislate even if he thought that in this case it was like fish
out of water.
The 48-Hour Window
Nevertheless, S. 67A(1) on which the ZEC was relying requires that the
recount may be demanded by a party/candidate within 48 hours of the
announcement of the result. The rationale is clear: one cannot demand a
recount unless he knows the result.
The judge found, correctly it has to be said, that S. 67A(1) could not
apply in this case because a request could only have been made within 48
hours after the declaration of the result of the presidential election and
clearly this had (and still has) not been done.
The matter could have ended at that point because this was the
erroneous basis on which the ZEC relied for the delay.
This was not a proper legal basis for delaying the announcement of the
results and the judge should have dismissed the defence on that basis.
ZEC Discretion to Order a Recount
But the judge went further to consider another provision, namely, S.
67A(4) and found that the ZEC has a very wide discretion to order a recount
“on its own initiative”.
It is on the interpretation of this provision that the Judge dismissed
the MDC application.
The judge stated that the ZEC could order the recount “on its own
initiative”. Having failed to place the matter under S. 67A(1) because there
had been no announcement to trigger the 48-hour window, the matter was,
therefore, placed under this catch-all provision.
You have to wonder, however, why the legislature made provision for
the 48-hour window under S. 67A(1) if the ZEC can receive complaints at any
point (even before announcement of the result) which it can then use as a
basis for delaying the announcement, allegedly “on its own initiative” under
In any event, it seems fairly clear from the ZEC explanation that the
decision to perform a recount is not “on its own initiative” but has been
prompted by the alleged complaints by, presumably Zanu PF.
Curiously, the judge makes no specific enquiry on this matter except
to conclude that the ZEC was entitled to act “on its own initiative”.
Surely, in drafting these two separate provisions, Parliament intended
there to be a difference between the ZEC acting “on its own initiative”
under S. 67A(4) and acting on the basis of a complaint under S. 67A(1)? But
in this case, the judge has read the complaints supposedly made under S.
67A(1) as if they apply equally where the ZEC acts “on its own initiative”
under S. 67A(4).
Further, Justice Uchena states that S. 67A(4) does not state the time
when the ZEC may order a recount “on its own initiative”. This is
interpreted as granting a wide discretion to the ZEC.
But, with respect, it is incorrect to read this provision in isolation
from the rest of the provisions relating to elections.
In particular, there is a clear Constitutional standard for judging
the conduct of the ZEC which is to be found under Section 64(1) of the
Constitution and the judge had correctly acknowledged this in the earlier
part of the judgment.
It states that the ZEC must ensure that elections are conducted
“efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law”.
Having accepted that Constitutional standard, surely, the conduct of
the ZEC in using its discretion must be measured accordingly.
But there is another important shortcoming in the judgment. It is that
the judge appears to give way too much discretion to the ZEC,
notwithstanding that the statute itself limits the extent of such
It goes without saying that in any case discretion must be exercised
But in this case the provision states clearly that in deciding whether
or not to order a recount the ZEC must have “reasonable grounds for
believing that the votes were miscounted and that, if they were, the
miscount would have affected the result of the election”.
It is clear that this provision imports a clear standard of
reasonableness in the exercise of the ZEC discretion.
On the contrary, the judge states at page 14, that, “It (ZEC) simply
should have grounds for believing that the votes were miscounted” (emphasis
With respect, it is incorrect to omit the important factor of
reasonableness stated in the law because it makes a big difference to the
exercise of discretion.
“Grounds” and “Reasonable Grounds” are two different standards at law
and the learned judge should know this.
The judge refers to “grounds”, contrary to the statute’s wording which
requires there to be “reasonable grounds” for the ZEC decision.
The standard of reasonableness means that the ZEC must be objective in
its conduct and, crucially, it provides a basis upon which its conduct may
In other words, the ZEC cannot get away with giving flimsy and
unreasonable basis for ordering a recount.
If the legislature intended it to be subjective reasons that could not
be challenged for their unreasonableness, it would not have used the term
“reasonable grounds” as it did.
The judge appears to deal with this as if the ZEC only needs to have
subjective grounds as opposed to an objective basis for its decision.
Appealability of the ZEC Decision
In order to bolster the view that the ZEC has wide discretion on this
matter, the judge refers to S. 67A(7) of the Electoral Act which states that
the ZEC decision for a recount is not subject to an appeal.
On the face of it, there must, surely, be strong reservations as to
the constitutionality of this provision, given that it is inconsistent with
the provisions that require the ZEC to act reasonably a ground upon which
its acts or omissions may, surely, be challenged.
What if it does not act reasonably and continues to delay the
announcement because of a purported need to count and re-count the votes ad
nauseam? Surely, that has to be and can be challenged for lacking
In any event, as shown above the Constitutional standard requires the
ZEC to act “efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance
with the law”.
That Constitutional test matters because the Constitution is the
supreme law of the land and, surely, the ZEC is required to act accordingly.
If it fails, the ZEC can be challenged notwithstanding the Electoral
Act provision preventing appeals.
To talk of a very wide discretion appears to be giving undue weight to
this Electoral Act provision at the expense of the general constitutional
context in which the ZEC operates and is expected to act.
In any event, the judge could surely have taken into account that
notwithstanding the no-appeal provision, the decision could surely be
subject to review on the manner in which the discretion is exercised.
Parliament is very clear in the statute that it must meet the
It is difficult to understand how the learned judge came to his
conclusion given his positive findings throughout in favour of the
applicant. Perhaps it is our collective folly to have expected too much of
Perhaps this was a load that one man could have only carried so far
and when it became too much he just had to offload it somewhere.
Just a pity that he left it in the wilderness.
Is there a way out of this?
I am not sure the judiciary has the wheels to carry justice in these
As the famed American Judge Learned Hand said many years ago, “Liberty
lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no
law, no court can even do much to help it ...”
Alex Magaisa is based at The University of Kent Law School and can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from
Recounting The Counted
Saturday, 19 April 2008 19:59
A fair selection system will naturally include a process of recounting
your chickens before they hatch.
No one in their right mind could possibly object to this process.
Regrettably, however, there are people around who have entered into an
advanced state of mental incompetence, either by over-indulgence in fomented
vegetable matter or by prolonged exposure to Western neo-colonialism.
Such delusional persons will, without hesitation, rush to court to
raise captious objections to this process.
They will waste valuable court time that could be far better spent on
farming activities by making ridiculous submissions such as that you should
only be permitted to recount your unhatched poultry if you have not only
counted them first, but have also announced how many unborn chicks you have
Equally fatuous will be their claim that the result of the first count
must be announced as quickly as possible, rather than treating the count as
a closely guarded state secret.
The judge will, of course, laugh out of court such baseless
contentions and rule that the official body in charge of this process must
have an absolute discretion to do what it likes, when it likes, whether
others like what it is doing and the pace at which it is doing it.
Now that we have demonstrated the undoubted need for a recount, it is
important to provide careful instruction on the method that should be used
when carrying out the recount.
This is necessary because the counters messed up so badly the first
time around. The same mistakes must not be made during the recount.
One basic error was to treat the count as requiring a simple
arithmetical process of adding up the agreed figures to arrive at a total.
The mathematical principles that apply to a recount are substantially
different from those applicable to a count.
With a recount, the basic formula that should be used is Z=X+E+M. Here
Z is the party that must win; X is votes actually received; E is extra
ballots erroneously omitted; M is even more extra ballots kept in reserve in
case they are needed to tip the balance.
The extra and even more extra ballots can be derived from a variety of
sources, such as dead people and people who are entitled to vote more than
A second formula should also be used to make sure that the process is
completely above board.
This is as follows: L=X-D-M. Here L is the party pre-destined to lose;
X is the number of votes actually received; D is the number of its votes
that have mysteriously gone missing, using a prestidigitation technique
known as Now you see them and now you don’t; M is the number of further
votes that may have to be disappeared should this be necessary.
At the conclusion of this process there is an obligation to inform the
party who is claiming to have far more hatched chickens than the winner that
it is sadly misguided and should accept that it is a perennial loser, and
should not compound matters by being a sore loser.
Its imperialist backers should also be told to keep their filthy
mouths shut, instead of trying to invent a crisis when Thabo has told
everyone that there is none.
So, let no one make false allegations there was industrial strength
rigging. The legal protections are foolproof and absolutely guarantee that
the whole process will be squeaky clean and fantastically fair.
The problem lies not in the process but in unrealistic expectations by
anyone that they can harvest more chickens than jongwe. Surely everyone
knows by now that only the party which is able to extract refined diesel
from a stone can have a legitimate right and duty to rule the roost forever.
The detractors must be re-educated as soon as possible and it is
reassuring that re-educators have been dispatched to every part of the
country to engage in gentle persuasion which often results in self-inflicted
The best way to reform misguided persons who have false hopes and
dreams is to subject them to the same sort of treatment that was meted out
to King Tantulus who was surrounded by water and fruit that was just out of
This may prove somewhat difficult, however, as both these commodities
are in short supply, and even if they are available they are unaffordable.
MDC Must Resist Zanu PF Attempts To Steal Election
Saturday, 19 April 2008 19:56
MY heart bleeds at what is happening in Kenya and Zimbabwe. One cannot
help but mourn the curse that has befallen this beautiful continent.
Africa is full of leaders who are obsessed with power. Building
consensus outside ethnic numbers is a strange development in Africa that has
resulted in our loss of opportunities and hence has resulted in the culture
Fear of retribution results in leaders refusing to leave office
irrespective of whether they are delivering on their mandates or not.
African leaders are cowards who fear retribution for their mistakes
and hence try to entrench their position through patronage in order to
In Kenya we have two very rich and educated leaders who have no
remorse in making poor people suffer to promote their personal interests to
the highest office in their land, instead of using their wealth to develop
Africa’ s leading elite are the new slave masters of the continent and
would be more than happy to parade their wealth alongside their capitalist
friends in the West.
What they fail to realise is that capitalists in the West have
mastered the art of sustainable development and are aware that their
position is only sustainable in the long run through growth and general
trickle down of benefits.
Developments on the subject of visionless leadership bring us to the
situation in Zimbabwe. One of the key elements missing in our leadership
across the greater part of the continent is the absence of the truth.
Our continent has become a place of the rich few with a lot of poor
people cheering them on and only for the poor to be abused as pawns during
elections to lend credence and legitimacy to their exploitative behaviour
and policies of mass exclusion from the mainstream economy.
It is therefore not surprising that things in Zimbabwe have turned out
to be what they are today.
A challenge to the hegemony of the ruling elite is regarded as
treasonous misconduct. During the elections of 2002 we had the service
chiefs led by Retired General Vitalis Zvinavashe declaring before the
elections that they (army) would not salute a leader who does not have war
What they failed to recognize was that the issue was not about an
individual or his personality but about the people of Zimbabwe. Whoever
garners most votes assumes an office in a representative capacity of all the
people of Zimbabwe irrespective of their background, colour or creed.
During the countdown to the 2008 harmonized elections a similar
development was precipitated by the utterances by security service chiefs.
By pre-empting the results of the electoral process the service chiefs
committed a serious treasonous crime in any democracy.
The demand by the service chiefs suggested that the people of Zimbabwe
have no rights other than through submission to the will of the ruling
elite. Ironically, the service chiefs are also the beneficiaries of
patronage and are a part of the entrenchment.
Some of them are beneficiaries of more than one farm against the
government’s own policy of one man one farm, hence their resistance to
A recent press report on Leo Mugabe’s divorce proceedings speaks
volumes of the double standards of his uncle’s corrupt regime. So we are now
made to understand that Leo Mugabe owns three farms against government
policy. If Leo has been allowed to violate national policy then it must be
far worse with his superiors within Zanu PF.
My advice to the MDC is that they should not be part to a process of a
run-off, re-run or recount in which they are set up to lose.
The constituencies where recounts have been ordered will go to Zanu PF
with a few going to opposition as a smoke screen but this is intended to
ensure that Zanu PF ends up with a majority in both the House of Assembly
and Senate, so that the emperor is granted a new lease of life.
Saturday, 19 April 2008 19:51
ZANU PF is resorting to desperate propaganda, which shows that it is
trying to divert the nation’s attention on the unreleased results of the
presidential poll by claiming that Morgan Tsvangirai is begging for a
position of vice-president.
How can Tsvangirai beg for the vice-presidency when everyone,
including those in Zanu PF are fully aware that Tsvangirai won a majority
vote and as the party has repeatedly said, there is no need for a re-run
because Robert Mugabe was heavily defeated in the 29 March election, which
is the reason the results have not been released.
It is therefore baffling that a winner could beg for the
vice-presidency to a loser.
The MDC has never approached Zanu PF and it has no intention of
approaching the former ruling party over this issue because it is fully
aware from the returns posted outside polling stations that it won the
At no time did the MDC’s deputy treasurer and newly appointed MP for
Makoni North and Ian Makone, the MDC’s secretary for elections approach
Patrick Chinamasa with a request from Tsvangirai, for him to be appointed
vice-president of Zimbabwe.
Efforts by the MDC to have The Herald correct its and Zanu PF’s lies
have been denied.
The MDC is already finalising the formation of a government that will
provide people with jobs, food, health and education, contrary to what Zanu
PF is doing by providing cheap propaganda to a starving nation.
MDC Department of
Information and Publicity.
Independence Day message to Zimbabweans
Saturday, 19 April 2008 19:49
I would like to join all Zimbabweans in commemorating the 28th
anniversary of independence.
Independence days provide a chance to reflect on proud achievements, a
united sense of purpose and the future.
Sadly, as Zimbabwe celebrates its 28th birthday, many Zimbabweans are
unable to celebrate.
What should be a proud and joyful day for Zimbabweans is overshadowed
by uncertainty and fear.
Nearly three weeks after elections, the results are still not known,
the economic tailspin continues and for many, hope is fading.
Even more disturbing are the many reports of violent retribution being
carried out in rural communities.
Since 8 April, there is growing evidence that rural communities are
being punished for their support for opposition candidates.
We have disturbing and confirmed reports of threats, beatings,
abductions, burning of homes and even murder, from many parts of the
I call on the government to protect the human rights of all
Zimbabweans, on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the results of
the 29 March elections immediately, and for all parties to respect the
In the meantime, I hope that Zimbabwe can find inspiration in the
anniversary of its independence to move forward.
Zimbabweans have expressed their desire for change and that will must
be respected. I look forward to the day when the United States is able to
fully support the Government of Zimbabwe’s efforts to serve the interests of
On 18 April 1980, the US warmly welcomed Zimbabwe’s independence, and
we look forward to regaining the sense of co-operation and achievement we
shared on that day.
James D McGee
Ambassador of the United States of America