The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Vote Recount Analysis - clarification

The item posted in Batch 3 had a table listing results from the ORIGINAL results - some people apparently thought they were recount results. No recount results are yet available.

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Zimbabwe vote recount could take more than three days: official


HARARE, April 20 (AFP)

The ongoing partial vote recount from last month's general election in
Zimbabwe could go beyond the three days initially anticipated, the electoral
commission said on Sunday.

"Initially we had said it would take three days to complete the exercise but
since we had delays we may be going above the three days," Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) deputy chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana
told AFP.

"It is not a small exercise and we want to ensure that there are no mistakes
this time around," he said.

He said that the recount, which entered its second day on Sunday, was going
on smoothly but was likely to run on following delays at some polling
stations on the first day, Saturday.

"Everything is going on well so far. We have had no complaints from either
parties," the ruling ZANU-PF and opposition MDC, Silaigwana said Sunday.

"We had delays when we started yesterday because in some cases the initial
consultations took long but the process eventually started. In some cases
the starting was delayed by the late arrival of polling agents," he added.

But MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa on Sunday alleged "criminality" in the
vote-counting, accusing President Robert Mugabe's regime of "playing games
with the people."

"More than ever before, we are convinced that this regime is playing games
with the people," he told AFP.

"We have information that in some cases ballot boxes were not properly
sealed. This is just a circus and we are not going to endorse such a flawed
and criminal process," he said.

"The level of criminality has shown that ZEC is just an extension of
ZANU-PF", he said.

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MDC to hold press conference - 12 noon today


Word via the grapevine is that MDC will be holding a press conference today
in Johannesburg, South Africa. It looks like the announcement of the press
conference is being circulated by sms.

Heads up to journalists, the sms we’ve received says it will be held at the
Devonshire Hotel at 12 noon.

We’ve no idea what it’s about, but latest news on BBC is that Ban Ki-Moon
has said he will hold talks on Zimbabwe with a number of African leaders on
the sidelines of a UN summit in Ghana.

Mr Ban said he and the leaders at the talks in Accra would discuss “how to
get developments there back to normal”.

Earlier, it was reported that Kofi Annan said this:

  … asked what African governments were doing to resolve what he called a
“dangerous situation” in Zimbabwe following last month’s contested poll.

  “On the question of Zimbabwe there has been substantial international
attention,” he said.

  “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
beyond Zimbabwe.”

I hope Thabo Mbeki is noting his use of the words “serious crisis“.

This entry was written by Hope on Sunday, April 20th, 2008 at 9:39 am.

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Atrocities in Mashonaland East

The Zimbabwean

Sunday, 20 April 2008 07:10

A team has just returned from the atrocity zone of Mudzi and Mutoko in
the Mashonaland East Province of Zimbabwe.

They have reported as follows:

1.    Chidya Village, Mutoko East Constituency.
On 15 April 2008 persons in army uniform and lead by ZANU PF Member of
Parliament for Mutoko East, Ojo Nyakudanga and a Colonel Katsvairo arrived
in the village and ordered that everyone be rounded up, presumably for
re-education.  In panic the villagers fled in all directions  and in the
process Tendai Chibika, aged about 30 years, was shot in the head and died
instantly.  The team reports that his body remains in the open and no one is
being allowed to reclaim it for burial.  At any rate the inhabitants are now
all living in the mountains for fear of similar treatment at the hands of
these people.

On the same occasion Steven John Martin, of roughly the same age, was
seen to be arrested by this group, beaten up seriously and later taken away.
He has not been seen since and inhabitants fear for his life.

2.    Ward 17, Vondozi, Mudzi North Constituency.
The team reports that marauding groups of ZANU PF militia, war vets
and other people in army uniform have been responsible for the systematic
destruction of approximately 98% of all homesteads in the area.  The
inhabitants, numbering about 300, are living in the school yard at Vongozi
School, under armed guard.  Apparently this is being kept out of public
knowledge, the area having been sealed off to outsiders. Speculation is high
on the treatment that these people are receiving.

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UN chief to push Zimbabwe talks


04:51 GMT, Sunday, 20 April 2008 05:51 UK

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, says he will hold talks on
Zimbabwe with a number of African leaders on the sidelines of a UN summit in

Mr Ban said he and the leaders at the talks in Accra would discuss
"how to get developments there back to normal".

He was speaking hours after Kofi Annan, his predecessor, urged African
leaders to do more to address the crisis.

Three weeks after polls were held, the presidential result is still
unknown. Some votes are now being recounted.

'Serious crisis'

Speaking ahead of the five-day UN trade and development summit, which
starts on Sunday, Mr Ban said in addition to Zimbabwe, the problems in Ivory
Coast, Darfur and Kenya were also high on the agenda.

He said the conference could not have come at a more "crucial time",
with soaring food prices posing a threat to the stability of developing

Kofi Annan on the crisis in Zimbabawe

Earlier, former UN Secretary General, Mr Annan had asked what African
governments were doing to resolve what he called a "dangerous situation" in
Zimbabwe following last month's contested poll.

"On the question of Zimbabwe there has been substantial international
attention," he said.

"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
beyond Zimbabwe."

Mr Annan made his comments to reporters in the Kenyan capital,
Nairobi, where he held talks with Zimbabwean opposition leaders on Friday.

'Ballot stuffing'

Three weeks after polls were held, the Zimbabwean authorities have yet
to release the results of the presidential election, which the opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai insists he won.

  I predict that the situation will end up like Kenya. Mugabe will be
encouraged by the African Union to form a national unity government
Frank Hartry, South Africa
Send us your comments
The parliamentary vote was won by Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party.

But the election commission is conducting a recount in 23 of 210
constituencies that could overturn that result which saw President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF lose its majority for the first time since independence in

The MDC's secretary general, Tendai Biti, said the party would not
accept any recount in respect of parliamentary seats "because ballot boxes
have been stuffed".

"Those ballot boxes have become pregnant and reproduced," he said.

The government has dismissed the accusation of tampering.

It is thought the recount may also lead to a run-off vote in the
presidential poll.

Mr Tsvangirai, who is adamant he won the election outright, has fled
the country, saying he fears for his life.

His party has said Mr Tsvangirai will not contest a run-off unless
certain conditions are met - such as a secure environment, with thorough
international monitoring.

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Australia pushes for end to Zimbabwe election crisis

Radio New Zealand

Posted at 6:07pm on 20 Apr 2008

Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister says the country has been consistently
lobbying South Africa to play an active role in pushing for an outcome to
Zimbabwe's presidential election.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has criticised the inaction of
African leaders who he said could do more to solve the post-election crisis.

Australia's Foreign Minister Steven Smith says countries like South Africa
need to keep up the pressure on Zimbabwe.

He says Australia has been out there very robustly saying it's important
that the will of the Zimbabwe people should be respected.

Mr Smith says Zimbabwe's neighbours, the African Union and the South African
development community need to keep the pressure on.

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Ratchet Up SADC Intervention on Zimbabwe


[Opinion] SADC leaders must political mettle

Isaac Hlekisani Dziya

     Published 2008-04-19 03:32 (KST)

In the fast-developing world of international diplomacy, the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) needs to make speedy moves to build new
regional and international alliances for the fight for democracy or risk
becoming irrelevant.
Thousands of people are currently being beaten and even killed for having
voted "the wrong way" in Zimbabwe -- this happening in the 21st century
world in which Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa is the chairman of the SADC
and Tanzanian President Jikaya Kikwete is chairman of the African Union.

With the reports of one person being intimidated for having "voted the wrong
way," should that be sufficient cause for one to be criminalized under SADC
Protocols? Is SADC saying Zimbabweans are going to accept lower standards of
democracy for Southern Africa?

So besides guaranteeing Zimbabweans the president they voted for on March
29, SADC leaders meeting in a second summit in as many weeks this weekend,
should also craft an ambitious plan to revive the imploded state that is now

The extra-extraordinary SADC summit has been ordered by the unsatisfied
spirit of the people of Zimbabwe, and indeed the whole region who do not
like to see their brothers suffering. President Mwanawasa, in the chair,
will have to show courage and refuse to be bullied and even the smallest
SADC country will have to make its clear contribution.

Mwanawasa's clarion call last week that SADC should not stand idly by while
its neighbor is about to be engulfed by fire, must guide our leaders. His
courageous statement earlier, that Zimbabwe was a sinking Titanic -- the
embodiment of all that was great in our region now sinking into oblivion -- 
must also not be forgotten.

What we citizens of SADC want to see is a leadership that is proactive and
takes decisions that are going to make a difference in the lives of the
peoples of the region who are daily having to bear the brunt of misrule in
one country -- whether they are having to feed a beggar or refugee, or
having their precious possessions stolen by hungry beggars and refugees from
President Robert Mugabe's misrule. All compasses point to the need to solve
the political problem in Zimbabwe.

The catastrophic human rights abuses going on now, the humanitarian crisis
of hungry, jobless and hopeless Zimbabweans, the third of the population
that has left the country -- these are all a result of the failure on the
political level.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) endured and overcame intimidation and
violence. There was gerrymandering, merging of urban constituencies with
rural ones, creation of peri-urban constituencies in virtually all towns and
cities to dilute opposition stronghold. There was mass exodus to rural areas
because of the Murambatsvina and the imposition of price controls,
dismantling of the commercial farm industry, which reduced the voting
population on commercial farms from 2 million to about 600,000.

But the MDC, its members and supporters courageously overcame this and their
fear of the violence of the previous elections and went and voted with the
belief that their vote this time would make a difference.

It did, because, having had three or more elections stolen from it, MDC
employed anti-rigging tactics that included taking photographs and keeping
copies of polling station documentation showing the poll results, added them
up and announced their projection.

The government has now taken three weeks to "count the ballot" where it
normally took one night, and has betrayed its evil agenda by demanding a
recount without releasing the results of the presidential election.

And during the uncertainty as Zimbabweans patiently wait for the result,
they have reinstated the cabinet that lost the election and they have
started retributive violence against known supporters of the MDC. The clear
message is that Mugabe is not going anywhere.

South African President Thabo Mbeki's failure to inform the SADC heads of
state correctly about what was going on with Mugabe, particularly his
demeanor that he was only going along with the negotiations because he
thought doing so would guarantee him aid from the West was a catastrophic

We hope SADC leaders will see through the farce that Mugabe is trying to
present on Saturday with his "recounting" initiative and send him a clear
message that they are standing by the will of the people as expressed
through the ballot box of March 29.

Zimbabweans hope that they are granted the request for a mediator who is not
biased toward Mugabe, who is willing to take up the challenge of the global
place that the region finds itself in. A mediator who is willing to say that
the SADC will use all instruments available to it to ensure that the
Zimbabwean government responds to the will of its people and also lives up
to the commitments that Zimbabwe has made by being a member of the SADC.

We need a quick solution to the current problems, the recognition of the
will of the people's will, the re-establishment of constitutional
government, and a quick march back into the international community,
prosperity and development.

But for this all to take effect, a legitimate government has to be in place
and if this can be made a priority of the SADC, not the politics of their
own countries, not their own regional considerations, we know Zimbabweans
people will march with you toward the bold future.

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Regional leaders not about to change tack on Zimbabwe: analysts

Yahoo News

by Isabel Parenthoen

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Southern African leaders, under fire over their
softly-softly approach towards Zimbabwe's post-election crisis, are unlikely
to abandon their kid gloves any time soon, according to analysts.

Instead Robert Mugabe's neighbours will likely let the situation unravel of
its own accord, offering assurances to the Zimbabwean leader's top
lieutenants to prevent things getting out of hand, they added.

While US President George W. Bush and UN chief Ban Ki-moon have both called
for more leadership from the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
the 14 nation bloc has placed its mediation efforts in the hands of South
African President Thabo Mbeki -- a man who has denied there is a crisis in

And even though Mugabe snubbed an emergency meeting of SADC leaders in
Lusaka last weekend, the summit concluded with a timid call for results of
last month's elections to be be released "expeditiously".

"We are talking about a heads of state club, who obviously have their own
national priorities," said Olmo Von Meijenfeldt, an analyst at the Institute
for Democracy in South Africa.

"I don't think we should expect any prominent role from SADC."

Bush's annoyance with the SADC became clear on Thursday when he said that
"more leaders in the region need to speak out".

Ban also said last week the international community was waiting for
"decisive action" from the SADC, warning "the credibility of the democratic
process in Africa could be at stake".

However Chris Maroleng, an analyst at Pretoria's Institute for Security
Studies, said the SADC could not simply deal with Mugabe alone but also had
to take account of ultra hawks in his security services who are understood
to have urged the 84-year-old president to resist any idea of retiring

"The chiefs of security forces have become spoilers in the process of
change," he said.

Maroleng said the SADC was making some significant moves behind the scenes,
such as sending observers to Zimbabwe for a partial recount, and was in a
good position to reassure the security services there would be no backlash
after Mugabe's departure as "they presented themselves in good faith".

"They should be offered immunity from prosecution, guarantees for their
future," he said.

But Maroleng didn't envisage a major "change of tack", especially given
Mbeki's continued role as mediator.

The South African has been a long-time advocate of "quiet diplomacy",
resisting pressure to publicly criticise Mugabe who is still regarded by
many Africans as a hero for his leading role in the 1970s liberation

"The previous (Mbeki mediation) mandate was also very hush-hush. It is the
manner of the region," said Maroleng.

Peter Fabricius, foreign editor of the Johannesburg-based newspaper The
Star, said Mbeki may have deserved credit for helping to level the election
playing field but he had failed to appreciate that Mugabe was now playing
dirty in order to save his political life by unleashing his violent

"It is when confronted by such rough tactics that Mbeki and SADC lose the
plot," said Fabricius. "They carry on talking and acting as though Mugabe is
playing by the rules."

Von Meijenfeldt said that despite any crackdown, there were clear cracks
emerging in the Mugabe regime which could get the SADC off the hook.

"The capacity of the state is seriously undermined. They don't have the
resources any more, the capacity to transport troops, to feed them. They can
barely afford to keep the army in barracks," he said.

"There is a clear split within the Zanu-PF, which goes all the way
throughout the army, the police, the civil service.

"The system is crumbling from within."

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Secret imports of attack helicopters and weapons revealed

The Zimbabwean
Saturday, 19 April 2008 08:47

Mi24 Fighter

Ready for the attack. Mugabe ordered seven of these Russian assault helicopters, armed with guns, rockets and bombs.

Mugabe’ Chinese and US arms deals go bad

Robert Mugabe has no plans to relinquish power and has been surreptitiously buying weapons ready for full-scale armed conflict, according to secret dossiers that came to light this week.
Information given to The Zimbabwean on Sunday reveals that Mugabe placed a clandestine order for 10 Russian military helicopters with a United States-based businessman, who was arrested this week.
The US businessman, Peter Spitz (70), now faces charges of trying to sell 10 Russian military helicopters equipped with guns, rockets and bombs to Zimbabwe in defiance of a US military embargo which bars sale of weapons to Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean on Sunday understands Spitz appeared in a Federal Court in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday.
An affidavit says the order for seven MI-24 Russian attack helicopters and three MI-8T Russian military transport helicopters had been placed by the '”commercial entity set up by a cabinet member of the [Zimbabwe] government”.
Zimbabwe reportedly made a ‘test’ deposit of US$11,000 to Spitz’s Russian Aircraft Services LLC in separate accounts at Colonial and Wachovia banks on April 3.
Those transactions established Spitz’s intent to sell the helicopters to Zimbabwe, in violation of federal law. According to a criminal affidavit, the price for each helicopter was quoted at US$750,000.
In another deal, a ship laden with arms of war destined for Zimbabwe docked in Durban on April 14, but the authorities refused to clear it because it did not meet their procedures.
Durban harbour spokesperson Ricky Bhikraj said a Chinese vessel had entered the port without clearance and was currently docked at the outer anchorage. The ship – An Yue Jiang – was carrying a consignment comprising a variety of arms destined for Zimbabwe.
“We can confirm that there is an uncleared vessel by that name currently at the outer anchorage. The allegations are being handled by the various national security authorities,” Bhikraj said.
“There is a normal process for all ISPS (International Ship and Ports Security) vessels to be cleared to enter the port.”
The weapons are being ordered as a military junta has taken charge of the day-to-day running of the country, with Mugabe as its civilian head. Two hundred soldiers have been deployed in the countryside where they are unleashing a reign of terror, assaulting opposition activists who voted against Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) and grabbing the last remaining white farms using brute force.

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Prime Minister Stoltenberg meets with Tsvangirai

The Norway Post

During his visit to South Africa, Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
has had talks with Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, in
Johannesburg. He also met with former South African President Nelson

     20.04.2008 08:07

Stoltenberg said authorities in Zimbabwe should immediately publish the
results of the country’s presidential elections. ”It is vital to respect
basic democratic principles and to quickly find a solution to the critical
situation in the country”, Stoltenberg says.
The results of Zimbabwe’s presidential elections in late March have not yet
been published. Prime Minister Stoltenberg will discuss the situation in
Zimbabwe also with Southern African heads of state and government at the
SADC (Southern African Development Community) International Conference on
Poverty and Development, in Mauritius this weekend.

Norway and the other Nordic countries have special ties to Zimbabwe due to
their support for the country’s struggle for liberation. Norway is presently
contributing to the strengthening of democracy, human rights and civil
society in Zimbabwe.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg met with Morgan Tsvangirai right after talks with
former South African President Nelson Mandela.

They discussed efforts to fulfil the UN Millennium Goals.

“It is an honour to be able to meet with Nelson Mandela. We talked about
vaccination programmes and about how to reach UN Millennium Goals 4 and 5 to
reduce children and maternal mortality. Mr. Mandela’s personal involvement
in these issues has meant a lot. I thanked him for his visit to Norway in
2005 and for his participation at the Mandela Concert in Tromsø” Stoltenberg

The meeting between Stoltenberg and Mandela took place in Mandela’s office
at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. Stoltenberg’s visit to South
Africa is part of a tour where he will visit also Mauritius and Tanzania.
Climate issues, children mortality, maternal and children health and UN
reform are central topics for the tour.

(NRK/Press release)

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World cannot let Mugabe hold Zimbabwe hostage

The Zimbabwe Times

By Brighton Mutebuka

LIKE many Zimbabweans, I am greatly pained by what is happening in my
country. I am worried that the promise of change is in danger of suffering a

It is a great irony that Zimbabwe celebrated its “independence” very
recently, on the 18th of April. The advent of independence on the of April
18, 1980 was supposed to herald the beginning of a new era – an era of
tolerance, democracy, hope, freedom, justice, and equality, among other
things. The world held its breath waiting to hear the direction Robert
Mugabe, the new Prime Minister would take. In a great speech that earned him
accolades from people all over the world, he stated that he would pursue the
policy of reconciliation as he sought to build an all inclusive new
Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe’s rule for the last 3 decades has tragically
illustrated that the revolution that ushered him into power was a false

Currently, Zimbabwe is anything but free. The “liberator” has turned into a
ruthless and uncompromising tyrant. Zimbabwe’s recently held elections have
turned into a farce, with Robert Mugabe exerting undue pressure on the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) not to release the results. It is a
Commission that he personally appointed, and it is filled with Zanu-PF
functionaries. It is now three weeks since the elections were held.

The Commission closed its headquarters at a hotel – where the results were
being ‘verified’ and released from. No one knows where it took the ballot
boxes, and now, all of a sudden Zanu-PF wants a recount in 23
constituencies! Tallies posted outside polling stations immediately after
the votes were counted clearly suggest that Mugabe lost the election. His
party is already insisting on a recount even though no presidential results
have been released.

In the meantime, state media continues to churn out propaganda filled with
invective directed towards the opposition. Rural areas are filled with the
so called war veterans, the “green bombers”, the military and other party
and security functionaries engaged in a systematic terror campaign to exact
“revenge” on the rural population for “having voted the wrong way”.

Mugabe’s peers in the region convened an emergency meeting in Lusaka, Zambia
under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The
communiqué released afterwards came out with nothing new. It was very tame
and merely stated that ZEC should release the results of the elections
quickly. Its work had been shamefully cut short by Thabo Mbeki, the South
African President, who controversially had a meeting with Robert Mugabe in
Harare on the eve of the SADC summit and came out of that meeting to state
that he did not think there was a crisis in Zimbabwe.

It is interesting to note that Mbeki had walked hand in hand with a beaming
Mugabe soon after his arrival at Harare Airport – hardly the demeanour of a
neutral and honest broker.

From the above, it is clear that Zimbabwe is the throes of a huge political
crisis. Robert Mugabe and his party are openly trying to subvert the will of
the people. He is clearly refusing to accept defeat and is using state
machinery to interfere with ZEC’s mandate.

There is no doubt that there is collusion between ZEC and Robert Mugabe and
his party. A couple of days after the Parliamentary results were released
the outgoing Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa stated that Zanu-PF was
going to ask for a recount in a number of constituencies. He gave the game
away by stating that ZEC had already agreed to the recount. This is despite
the fact that this was way after the 48 hours that is provided for by the
law. In light of this it is plainly obvious that Zanu-PF wants a recount
because they know that the ballot boxes now contain different numbers from
the ones that were initially counted, and they will produce an outcome that
is in their favour.

They will then recapture their Parliamentary majority, and either “win” the
presidential vote, or tamper with the results sufficiently to enable the
final tally to create a run off with Morgan Tsvangirayi. It is hoped that
the deployment of Zanu-PF militias, war veterans and the military, and the
on going terror campaign plus additional rigging will then result in a
“convincing victory” for Robert Mugabe. I believe that there is a lot of
merit in Morgan Tsvangirayi’s claim that he won the election outright, which
explains why the result was not released in the first place, otherwise I do
not see the reason why Robert Mugabe would delay the release of presidential
elections in which he gets a second chance in a run off.

I am of the view that a lot of people across the world think that Robert
Mugabe would not manipulate the results in so blatant a manner – they are
wrong. They somehow believe that behind this whole madness, there is an
ounce of rationality that remains. They underestimate Robert Mugabe’s
obsession with power. Robert Mugabe has consistently and openly shown a
tendency to disregard the rule of law, and is contempt for accountability.
He believes that he personally secured the freedom of every Zimbabwean

He killed in Matebeleland during the dark days of Gukurahundi, he openly
encouraged impunity and the blatant disregard of law during the violent farm
invasions which he instigated when he lost the Constitutional Referendum, he
was equally cruel and indifferent to the plight of Zimbabweans when he
ordered his security to callously raze houses and business premises to the
ground during “Operation Murambatsvina” in 2005, leaving 1 million people
homeless and without a source of livelihood. He openly interfered with the
independence of the judiciary and intimidated some of them into quitting the
bench during the land invasions, and filling the replacements with heavily
compromised and pliant judges.

Recently, in March last year, after Morgan Tsvangirayi and other opposition
leaders were viciously assaulted and tortured by state security agents
Mugabe returned from a trip abroad to openly glorify violence against
legitimate opposition leaders. In a speech that would bring the office of
the presidency in any civilized country into disrepute, he stated that he
had instructed the police to “bash them” and he would order them to do so
again in future. The above should put paid to any notion that Robert Mugabe
and his regime have a veneer of decency left in them.

The world is in danger of folding its hands and lying idle whilst Robert
Mugabe is busy stealing the election in Zimbabwe with impunity, just like it
did in Rwanda in the 1990s. What British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said
recently at the United Nations is a very good start, but a lot more needs to
be done. The world must speak with one voice. They should tell Robert Mugabe
that they do not believe his tired mantra of the crisis in Zimbabwe being
about a bilateral dispute with Britain stemming from the land issue, nor do
they believe his tired hogwash about imperialism and colonialism.

Zimbabweans have spoken loudly in the election – they have told Mugabe that
they do not believe his diatribe and invective directed towards Britain and
the opposition MDC. They do not believe that the MDC is a puppet, and they
do not believe that voting for it will result in Zimbabwe being a British
colony again. In fact, they think that Mugabe insults their intelligence
greatly. Even rural folks saw his lies for what they are. There is a lot of
irony about the fact that he speaks about colonization by the British yet he
has now given virtually everything to the Chinese. The man is out of touch
with reality, and is now in power illegally with the 21 days provided in the
Constitution for a run off now lapsed.

The tragic and most unfortunate dynamic in the Zimbabwean situation is the
collusion of South Africa’s President with Robert Mugabe’s regime, and the
inaction of the African Union and SADC in resolving the political impasse.
Thabo Mbeki, the South African President has literally squandered all the
political capital that South Africa earned from Nelson Mandela’s era. As a
recent editorial in the Washington Post noted, he has now made it a habit to
use South Africa’s hallowed position in the UN Security Council to defend
regimes like the Sudanese, the Burmese, and now the Zimbabwean one from
being the subject of rigorous scrutiny.

The world recently watched in disbelief when Mbeki said there was no crisis
in Zimbabwe, and followed this up with deafening silence about the
Zimbabwean crisis at the UN Security Council meeting. As I mentioned earlier
in this article, he severely undermined and pre-emptied the SADC meeting
when he emerged from a meeting with Robert Mugabe (who had snubbed the
meeting having initially indicated that he would attend) to state that there
was no crisis in Zimbabwe. This is despite the fact that there are 3 million
Zimbabweans in his country who have run away from Mugabe’s regime, some of
whom are being lynched and murdered by South African citizens in xenophobic

His so called quiet diplomacy has achieved nothing. To him, quiet diplomacy
means deafening silence even when agreements reached during negotiations are
flagrantly breached. There are several examples of this, like when Robert
Mugabe “bashed” opposition leaders during the then on going negotiations,
when Robert Mugabe publicly refused to implement the process that would lead
to the ushering in of a new constitution, when Robert Mugabe unilaterally
declared the date of the elections before completion of the mediation

A lot of Zimbabweans are aware that Mbeki is compromised by the fact that he
was “hosted” by the Zimbabwean regime when he was in exile during the fight
against Apartheid. He was photographed walking hand in hand with Robert
Mugabe during their recent, now infamous meeting which preceded his
attendance at the SADC meeting in Zambia, this coming from a person who is
supposed to be neutral, at a very sensitive time for Zimbabweans. His
ideology is substantially similar to that of Robert Mugabe.

Whereas Nelson Mandela set out to build a rainbow nation, Thabo Mbeki sees
things through black and white lenses. During a recent African Union summit,
he stated that African countries should be vigilant towards the West, as it
wanted to replace African governments with liberation war credentials with
puppets. He warned that if this succeeded in Zimbabwe, other African
countries would follow suit. He consistently deflects genuine criticism of
his leadership with accusations that his critics are enemies of the
revolution sponsored by those who want to reverse gains of the revolution.

His “ANC Today” letter on line also expresses his rabid hatred and contempt
for those who do not agree with him. He sees conspiracies everywhere. He
sees himself as a towering intellectual, and wants to present the impression
that he will only implement a policy after it has been meticulously studied
in an academic context, hence his embarrassing and tragic reticence and
recalcitrance in relation to the link between HIV and Aids. This also
informs his high sounding nothings about NEPAD and the so called “African
Renaissance” that has not, and will never materialize.

There is no doubt in my mind that he should and would never have become
South Africa’s President had it not been for the fact that he was
wonderfully positioned to take over from the towering giant of our
generation, Nelson Mandela. He would perhaps have fared better as a
Professor of Philosophy at a university somewhere in Soviet Russia during
the Cold War era.

I make no apologies for my unflattering assessment of Thabo Mbeki, as I
believe that his collusion with Robert Mugabe’s regime is the sole reason
why the political, social and economic impasse in Zimbabwe is worsening. His
Reserve Bank Governor, Tito Mboweni has got an arrangement with Zimbabwe’s
Central Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, to access forex and lines of credit
which is used not for national development but for funding personal errands
on behalf of the regime and its charlatans. On the eve of the elections,
that facility was used to pay for the importation of tractors under the
government’s so called “mechanization programme”, which was used to bribe
the electorate. He shields him from scrutiny at regional and international
summits and this results in the regime feeling emboldened. No wonder Robert
Mugabe reserved “special thanks” for South Africa in his independence

There is no doubt that progress in Zimbabwe can only take place once the
regime understands that no one supports it within the region. The reason why
nothing came out of a very promising SADC meeting is Thabo Mbeki. People are
being murdered, raped, tortured, starved and their houses are being
destroyed and yet Mbeki sees no crisis. Had it not been for the actions of
the South African Litigation Centre, his government had shamefully agreed
for ammunition to pass through its soil on the way to propping up the regime
to be used to murder innocent Zimbabweans, whose only crime is to have voted
for Morgan Tsvangirayi. Mbeki’s hands drip with the blood of innocent

The outcome of the SADC summit in Lusaka tragically lends credence to the
fact that Africans can not resolve their own political problems. It would
appear that in Africa, oppression, repression and dictatorship by a black
leader is politically acceptable, for there is no doubt that, had what is
happening in Zimbabwe now been taking place under a white government, they
would have acted. This in turn leads any reasonable person to conclude that
African leaders have got a warped view of democracy, and to them, human life
and dignity are not sacred. A lot of people rightly express feelings of
revulsion towards racism directed at Africans and other black people across
the world, or condescending views about how civilized we are, as well as our
application of norms of democracy and system of governance but the ugly
truth is that the actions of our leaders perpetuate this view.

By siding with dictators, and not people, they encourage poor governance
which ultimately results in mass murder, poverty, starvation and anarchy.
These are the pictures that are then beamed right across the world over a
period of time, and this then culminates in the view that Africa is a place
of war, misery, poverty, and dictatorship that espouses “different standards
of democracy”. It then becomes “normal” when people talk of Africa in these
terms. It is no coincidence that the African continent is replete with
examples of the Zimbabwean situation and worse. You look at the recent
troubles in Kenya, the run away anarchy that Somalia is, the recent genocide
in Rwanda, the war and strife torn DRC, the skirmishes in Chad, the Darfur
crisis in Sudan, the recent troubles in Sierra Leone and Angola, as well as
Uganda, and there is a self evident pattern of a continent engulfed in a
perpetual war with itself.

African leaders have to step up and join the world and speak with one voice
consistently. They have to show that African lives do matter, that Africans
also value human rights and dignity, and equate a value to these norms that
is at par with the rest of the world. Africa and its leaders cannot fold
their arms in Zimbabwe and only speak in situations of perceived injustices
against the West. The time to start is now, in Zimbabwe. They should join
hands with the rest of the world.

They should join hands with Brown and Bush, and other leaders, and tell
Mugabe that they are aware that he is interfering with the work of the ZEC,
and they will not recognize his charade. They should tell him that this time
they are not prepared to be used as pawns in an imaginary fight against the
West. They should push for the UN to be involved in any run off election and
a high number of observers sufficient enough to cover the whole country, and
to be available at least three weeks before the election starts and until
all the results have been counted, verified and declared.

If the above does not take place, it is clear that Zimbabwe is destined for
an implosion. A lot of people think that Zimbabweans are docile people,
which would appear to be an accurate comment based on past behaviour. It
should be noted that all people have got their breaking point. The one ray
of hope is that Mugabe has got nothing to offer, and things can only get
worse. The people are aware that justice will never come from Zimbabwe’s
courts, which are heavily staffed with Mugabe’s lackeys.

They would have seen the MDC’s recent desperate unsuccessful attempts to
safeguard their interests in the High Court. Ultimately, every politician
will have their own Waterloo if they fail to heed the winds of change. Ian
Smith and his ruthless regime armed to the teeth fell. Apartheid was finally
dismantled in South Africa, Hitler’s regime fell, Idi Amin finally ran away.
There can be no doubt that it is now end game for Mugabe.

(Brighton Mutebuka is a lawyer based in the UK.)

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The dire situation in Zimbabwe

Boston Globe

By Jeff Jacoby
Globe Columnist / April 20, 2008
IN RETROSPECT , it was an exercise in naiveté to have imagined that
Zimbabwe's brutal strongman, Robert Mugabe, would relinquish power just
because he had lost an election. It has been more than three weeks since the
March 29 vote in which Mugabe's party, known as ZANU-PF, lost control of the
lower house of parliament. Yet official results in the presidential contest
between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have yet to be

more stories like this
There isn't much doubt who won. Public tallies posted at each polling
station showed Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
garnering more than 50 percent of the vote. Were the electoral commission to
certify those tallies, it would mean Mugabe's 28 years at the top had come
to an end. But the electoral commission, like everything else in Zimbabwe's
government, is controlled by ZANU-PF. So there will be no official results
until the books have been cooked to Mugabe's satisfaction.

Meanwhile, the regime's thugs have been busy, staging raids against foreign
journalists and opposition-party offices, invading farms owned by white
Zimbabweans, terrorizing voters in the countryside. US Ambassador James
McGee warned last week that Mugabe's goon squads were carrying out "threats,
beatings, abductions, burning of homes, and even murder" in areas where the
opposition party ran strong. A group of Zimbabwean doctors say they have
treated more than 150 people who had been beaten since the election.
Hundreds more have been detained, and the MDC says at least two of its
workers have been murdered.

Not for the first time, Mugabe is viciously stealing an election, and not
for the first time, the international community is doing nothing to stop
him. Particularly feckless has been South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki.
More than any other regional leader, he could exert the leverage to force
Mugabe to abide by the voters' decision. He has refused to do so. A week
after the election, Mbeki insisted there was "a hopeful picture" in
Zimbabwe; several days later he held a friendly session with Mugabe, then
declared to the world that "there is no crisis in Zimbabwe" - merely a
"natural process taking place."

Is it any wonder that Africa is so often thought of as the planet's most
miserable continent?

"By failing to come together to denounce Mugabe unequivocally," The
Economist concluded, Mbeki and other African leaders "have not only
prolonged Zimbabwe's agony; they have damaged the whole of southern Africa,
both materially and in terms of Africa's reputation."

Rarely has one man's misrule so horribly wrecked a country. The MDC's David
Coltart, a member of Zimbabwe's parliament, surveyed some of the data
recently in a study for the Cato Institute in Washington:

In a country once known as Africa's breadbasket, agriculture has been all
but destroyed. Manufacturing has collapsed. So has mining - gold production
has fallen to its lowest level since 1907, even as world gold prices soar to
record highs.

Thanks to ZANU-PF thuggery, 90 percent of foreign tourism to Zimbabwe has
evaporated. Insane economic policies have fueled an inflation rate of well
over 100,000 percent. Zimbabweans by the millions have fled the country, and
80 percent of those who remain live below the poverty line. Death from
disease and malnutrition has exploded. Life expectancy for men in Zimbabwe
has fallen to 37 years - 34 years for women.

Mugabe and his loyalists stop at nothing to ensure their grip on power,
Coltart writes. As of 2004, an astonishing "90 percent of the MDC members of
parliament elected in June 2000 had suffered some human rights violation; 24
percent survived murder attempts, and 42 percent had been tortured."

The government, meanwhile, is now accusing Tsvangirai of treason. State-run
media claims he was plotting with Great Britain to overthrow the regime. But
the real menace is Mugabe, who was preparing at week's end to receive a
77-ton shipment of Chinese arms, including AK-47 rifles, mortars,
rocket-propelled grenades, and more than 3 million rounds of ammunition.
What is he planning to do with so much additional firepower? That,
Zimbabwe's deputy information minister said, is "none of anybody's

On Thursday, a South African government spokesman belatedly acknowledged
that the situation in Zimbabwe "is dire." Now maybe he'll say how much more
dire it must get before South Africa - or any other country - finally does
something about it.

Jeff Jacoby can be reached at

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Exiles must get ready to come back home

The Zimbabwe Times

by Constance Manika

ON Saturday, March 29, I was one of the millions of Zimbabweans who went to
the polls to choose a new president. I cast my vote to choose both a lower
and upper house of assembly representative in parliament and a councilor in
my constituency.

Up to now I could not figure out why we had to go into such a huge election
when the current government is technically bankrupt and presiding over an
economy with an inflation rate of more than 140,000 percent at its highest

They say “your vote is secret” but mine is not: I went and voted President
Robert Mugabe and his cronies out of power. I believe their time is up -- 
they have done enough damage to our lives. This is why I woke up at 5am on
Saturday morning to vote, just like many other disheartened Zimbabweans who
are ready for change. I was determined to vote dictatorship and tyranny out.

And, so far it appears we have succeeded.

After waiting since Saturday for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to
announce the presidential results, we finally have the results of the lower
house of assembly elections.

Though the results have been announced at a snail’s pace over the past four
days (since Monday), they show that the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), led by former unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, has won 99 out of 210 lower
house of assembly seats.

The smaller MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara (that emerged after a split
in the opposition in 2005) obtained 10 seats while the Mugabe's ZANU PF
party won 97 seats. Another seat was taken by an independent candidate. All
total, the opposition has won 110 seats. The remaining three seats will be
contested since three of the candidates died before the poll.

This means the opposition has won control of the lower house of parliament,
upsetting the majority that ZANU PF has maintained since independence.

Zimbabwe is now awaiting the results of the elections for president and the
upper house of assembly which means senators and councilors. The slow pace
at which ZEC is announcing the results has triggered fears that Mugabe is up
to his usual tricks again and could be working to rig the election.

Former information minister Jonathan Moyo, who was once part of the ZANU PF
government and guest of honor at the journalist Quill Club in Harare on
April 2nd says this election is not "riggable."

"This election is very difficult to rig. I would actually be tempted to say
it is not 'riggable.' Part of the reason for the delay is because there is
anxiety in the security, especially those service chiefs who unwisely, or
rather foolishly, told the whole world that they would not salute any other
winner than Mugabe.

"ZANU PF is now history. The total disintegration of the party has started.
This time it's the real disintegration. Only if they are gracious in this
defeat will the people give them another chance. The authorities are
managing defeat, and they are not used to [that]."

But in light of the delay, Zimbabweans have been unusually calm after
heeding calls by Tsvangirai to remain patient for ZEC to announce the
results without looking for a confrontation. Tsvangirai fears Mugabe could
take advantage of violence or protest and declare a state of emergency,
effectively disregarding the election results.

In anticipation of post-election violence, police commissioner Augustine
Chihuri deployed thousands of police recruits supported by water cannons
imported from Israel. These recruits spent the day parked at shopping
centers in almost every residential suburb in Zimbabwe, itching to beat up
"over-zealous supporters of Tsvangirai," as they’ve been called by Chihuri.

Now because there has been no civil unrest, Mugabe's partisan police spend
the day harassing innocent civilians out of boredom. A few days ago they
chased and beat up patrons at bars in Mufakose and Kambuzuma, declaring that
there is now a 7pm curfew. At the market place in Mufakose recently, police
chased away vegetable vendors and traders. In the chaos, vendors lost
valuable stock. Eyewitnesses said the police were laughing the entire time
as frightened people fled in all directions.

It appears these are the same bad apples in the police force that are
obviously upset about the possibility of a new political dispensation in the
country that may bring them to trial for human rights violations.

Already the MDC has claimed victory of the presidential election with 50.3
percent of the vote, while asserting that Mugabe received 43 percent. I
believe them. Even during the early hours of Sunday, one day after the
election, MDC secretary-general of the Tsvangirai faction, Tendai Biti
declared his party had won both the presidential and house of assembly
elections. Biti based his claim on the figures that the MDC had collected
through its election agents around the country.

On Monday, March 31st the independent Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network
(ZESN) projected Tsvangirai's vote at 49.4 percent against 42 percent for
Mugabe; Simba Makoni who made a late entry into the presidential race after
recently splitting from Mugabe's party was projected to have taken seven
percent of the vote. The margin of error of these projections was 2.7
percent. Add that 2.7 percent to Tsvangirai's 49.4 percent and you have an
outright MDC victory.

At a press conference earlier in the week Biti said, "If the ZEC continues
to delay in announcing the official election results...Zimbabweans...will
have no option but to source the results from the parallel (black) market."

(Because of the country’s economic problems most basic commodities are now
found on the black market. The black market is also awash with foreign
currency that is in short supply in the official economy because the
official exchange rate of $1 USD to Z$30,000 is not as attractive as $1 USD
to Z$40 million, the black market rate. So needless to say many Zimbabweans
choose to sell their foreign currency to black market dealers at this higher

Although Mugabe's cronies have attacked the MDC for usurping the powers of
ZEC by announcing its own results, Mugabe himself has not been seen in
public since voting day when he cast his vote in the Highfield suburb of
Harare with his family.

He has not come out to claim victory as he has done in previous elections
and this has spurred speculation that indeed the projections by the MDC are
true and that Mugabe may have to concede defeat.

Earlier in the week, information leaked that Mugabe's Central Intelligence
Operatives planned to rig the election in his favor and declare him the
winner by 53 percent. However following the leak of this information, it
appears ZANU PF chickened out and went back to the drawing board.

Already the state media has begun to "prepare" the people of Zimbabwe for a
runoff in the next 21 days. The state-owned Herald newspaper declared that
"the pattern of returns" shows that no candidate would win the presidential
election by 50 percent or more required by the Zimbabwean constitution to
claim outright victory.

Although MDC insists it has won and that a runoff should not be necessary,
the opposition party says it will accept the runoff for one reason: to prove
that the people of Zimbabwe want Mugabe out.
It is quite clear that if Mugabe goes into a runoff, he will have been
ill-advised by his cronies who are bent on clinging to power to protect
their business interests. Because in the event of a runoff, all the
opposition parties and independent candidates will unite to remove Mugabe,
delivering to him a huge and humiliating defeat.

A new wave of change would be created in the event of a runoff; even those
people who had registered but failed to vote on March 29 (there was
significant voter apathy in Zimbabwean urban areas) will brave the long
queues and come out by the millions to vote Mugabe out.

As I write this piece I am beside myself with excitement - I can barely
believe that a new Zimbabwe is just around the corner. I am optimistic that
the MDC party will form a nationally united government with all those who
opposed Mugabe in the election so that we can all come together and build a
strong and prosperous future for our country.

There is a breath of fresh air blowing here and the patient, hard working
Zimbabweans are cherishing every minute of it.

We want ZEC to announce the results as soon as possible so that we can begin
rebuilding our nation, so that we may prosper again. The millions of
Zimbabweans, who are economic refugees now living in other countries but who
yearn for their home, must get ready to come back. Soon they can claim their
space in a new Zimbabwe.

(This article in published in co-operation with the Women’s International
Perspective, an online news website, written by women from around the world
and based in Monterey, California.)

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