The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

New arms for Zim being flown in


21/04/2008 23:13  - (SA)

Erika Gibson, Beeld

Pretoria - A second shipment of considerably-more-sophisticated Chinese
weaponry destined for Zimbabwe will be flown to Harare from China within the
next week.

It was going to be taken by aircraft to expedite the delivery and to
circumvent the controversy around last week's shipment by sea.

The decision apparently was made on Monday by Zimbabwean military generals
during an emergency meeting.

According to Beeld's sources, the meeting took place because the generals
apparently were worried that any further delays would run the delivery of
the really big guns into the ground.

The Zimbabwean military's operational planning could also suffer as a

Orders placed three days after poll

Both orders were apparently placed only weeks ago. The paperwork for the
ship carrying the weapons, the An Yue Jiang, was finalised in Beijing on
April 1 - three days after the Zimbabwean elections.

The step to rather use an aircraft apparently was taken to keep the nature
and extent of the load secret from the outside world.

"There is no way that anyone is going to determine what will be delivered,"
said Beeld's source.

"What is known is that the kind of weaponry which is manufactured in
Shenzhen, in the second consignment, is highly sophisticated and not just
the kind of basic mortars and ammunition that's on the ship," said Beeld's

Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, is one of China's core industrial
manufacturing cities.

Shortly after Durban High Court issued an order against the transport of the
weapons across South African territory, the ship fled.

Since then, it had sailed around Cape Point and was already in Namibian
territorial waters by early Monday morning.

Satawu makes appeal to African countries

The Zimbabwean generals decided that this consignment could take its time
from Luanda, but that the delivery of the second consignment could not be

In the meantime, the South African Transport Allied Workers Union (Satawu)
made an appeal in the interest of peace in the region to all countries in
Africa not to allow the Chinese ship into its harbours.

Satawu's general secretary Randall Howard said the pressure that had been
placed on the Mozambican government by the International Transport Workers'
Federation (ITF) was partially responsible for the fact that the country had
also refused the ship entry.

Howard appealed to Cosatu, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU)
and the ITF to sustain the pressure so that wherever the ship docked,
harbour workers or truck drivers could not be forced to unload the shipment.

René Lötter in Cape Town reported that, according to a source, the Namibian
government had said that if such a request were made, the An Yue Jiang would
be welcome to offload its cargo in Namibia and use the infrastructure to
transport the weapons to Zimbabwe.

Letters of opposition

Namibia's Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) said in a statement that it planned
to go to court if it appeared as if Namibia were to be used as a transit

LAC director Norman Tjombe confirmed that the centre had sent letters to the
Namibian Port Authority (Namport) and to the ministry of defence to express
its opposition.

By Monday evening, it seemed as if the ship would stop at the Namibian port
town Walvis Bay only to refuel on its way to Angola.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The inconvenient truth: A complete guide to the delay in releasing the results of Zimbabwe’s presidential poll

Derek Matyszak, Research and Advocacy Unit, Idasa
April 21, 2008

Download this document
- Acrobat PDF version (168KB)
If you do not have the free Acrobat reader on your computer, download it from the Adobe website by clicking here.


The media and several political analysts seem to be confused as to what precisely ought to have happened after people went to the polls in Zimbabwe on March 29th 2008 to vote in four "harmonised" elections - those for Local Government, the House of Assembly, the Senate and the president. This confusion could have been avoided by ignoring what Zanu PF and ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) spin doctors said after the initial results began to reveal that the opposition had won the elections, and looking to see what the Electoral Act ("the Act") prescribed. For example, when the results were not announced within a few days of the election, Zanu PF spokesperson Bright Matonga informed the media that this was normal as ZEC had six days within which to announce the result. The international media immediately accepted this statement at face value and the six day deadline was repeated as a fact in numerous broadcasts. After the six days had come and gone without the announcement of the presidential result, this "time limit" was quietly forgotten. Presumably the international media was too embarrassed at having been so easily duped, to remind Matonga subsequently of his earlier statement. In fact, as will be seen below, the time for announcing the results is not six days or any explicitly prescribed number of days.

However, Section 110(3) of the Act does provide that if no candidate receives an absolute majority in the presidential election, a run off between the two frontrunners must be held "within 21 days of the previous election." It has been suggested that this means 21 days from the declaration of the result. This is not the case. If the legislature had meant 21 days from "the declaration of the result" it would have said so. Elsewhere, it managed to use the phrase within 48 hours of "the declaration of the result" for purposes of the president elect's assumption of office. And it could have used this phrase if this is what was intended for the commencement of the 21 day period. It did not. "Election" cannot refer to the day the president is declared elected as in the case of a run off this will not have happened. It can only mean polling day. ZEC itself, in an announcement from its public relations office, accepting the need for a run off if none of the candidates achieved an absolute majority, stated that the 21 days runs from polling day.

By delaying the announcement of the result of the presidential poll by over 21 days there cannot be compliance with the 21 day requirement, which will expire on the 19th April, 2008, the day upon which ZEC has declared it will conduct a recount. This difficulty is likely to be resolved either by ZEC ignoring its previous announcement and holding that the phrase "previous election" means the announcement of the result (contrary to the plain language of the Act) or through Mugabe controversially (and probably unconstitutionally) exercising his power under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act which allows him to amend and enact legislation. He may thus purport to amend the 21 days to a period he finds amenable.

A second point of confusion that has arisen due to several articles in the media, is the legitimacy of the continued exercise of power by the President and his Ministers during the hiatus while the presidential results are announced. The President is reported to have "dissolved" his cabinet at the same time as parliament before the elections and it has thus been suggested that Ministers cannot continue to exercise their executive duties and privileges. This is not the case. In fact, a position as a member of Cabinet is different from a Ministerial appointment. In terms of section 31E(c) of the Constitution, Ministers remain in office until the assumption of office of the new President. It is also a misapprehension that a Minister must be a Member of Parliament. The requirement under section 31(E)(2) is that no person shall hold office as Vice-President, Minister or Deputy Minister for longer than three months unless he is a member of Parliament. However, after Parliament is dissolved, he may continue to hold such office without being a Member of Parliament until Parliament first meets after the dissolution. The President need not convene parliament for six months after its dissolution. The President remains in office until the assumption of office of the President Elect in terms of section 29 of the constitution. The current anomaly of continued governance by those who do not have a democratic mandate has been caused by the actions of ZEC and is itself a further factor which suggests the illegitimacy of ZEC's actions (discussed below) and that they violate the Electoral Act.

Download full document

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Now they are recounting the recounts

Zimbabwe Today

The real reason why it's all taking so long

It has been difficult to believe that the Zimbabwe elections, both
parliamentary and presidential, could be more farcical, more convoluted, and
more shameful. But they could, and they are. And my reliable source within
the Zimbabe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is watching it happen.

This is what he reports: the recounts of both votes, which are unjustified
and quite possibly illegal, began on Saturday - and by halfway through the
afternoon it became quite clear to the Zanu-PF officials in attendance that
those doing the counting had mis-counted yet again.

There were the piles of votes. The recounts of 16 parliamentary
constituencies had been completed. Each had originally been won by the MDC.
Each, in the recount, had also been won by the MDC - in some cases, by an
even greater majority than before.

The Presidential election recount was also proceeding on schedule. The
original count gave MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai a clear and conclusive lead
over President Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF. And the recount? Yes, it was
showing very much the same result.

At this point the Zanu-PF officials stepped in, to demand that the recount
be recounted, and, weak-kneed as ever, the ZEC people agreed. And the
counting began all over again. And is still going on. And on and on.

How long it will be, and what tricks will be used, until the recounted
recounts produce a result acceptable to Mugabe's men remains to be seen.
What we do know is this: our government, previously an object of contempt
and condemnation by the rest of the world, is now also a grim

Posted on Monday, 21 April 2008 at 13:39

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZEC unsure when presidential result will be ready

Zim Online

by Wayne Mafaro and Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Tuesday 22 April

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s electoral commission on Monday said it was not sure
whether it would be able to announce results for the country’s presidential
election immediately after an ongoing partial vote recount is completed.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) deputy chief elections officer Utoile
Silaigwana said the commission would need to reassess the situation at the
end of the recounting exercise – itself expected to last several more days
than the three originally planned.

“We have to see when this (recounting) exercise is going to be finished. At
the moment I cannot tell,” said Silaigwana, in what appeared confirmation
that Zimbabwe’s election stalemate could still run for several more days.

Political analysts have warned that the election stalemate if left
unresolved for too long could lead to violence and bloodshed while the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said on Sunday that
ruling ZANU PF militants had stepped up violence against its supporters.

The MDC said that 10 of its supporters had been killed in the violence,
while about 3 000 others had been displaced from their homes in a bid to cow
them to back President Robert Mugabe in an anticipated presidential second
round run-off election.

Zimbabwe, also battling its worst ever economic recession marked by the
world’s highest inflation of more than 160 00 percent, was plunged deeper
into political crisis after the ZEC withheld results of a March 29
presidential election that Mugabe is believed to have lost to MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change party defeated Mugabe’s
ZANU PF party in a parallel parliamentary poll, claims he won the
presidential ballot with more than 50 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a
second round run-off.

But ZANU PF party and independent election observers say the MDC leader came
a shade lower than 50 percent, warranting a rerun of the ballot against

ZANU PF, which won 97 seats compared to 110 won by the MDC and other minor
opposition candidates, could regain control of parliament if it captures
nine out of the 23 seats where vote recounts are taking place.

Meanwhile, a Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in
Mauritius on Sunday backed South African President Thabo Mbeki as mediator
in the Zimbabwean crisis.

"We have complete faith in President Mbeki. We have renewed our confidence
in him by asking him to continue the work of mediation and find a solution
to the situation in Zimbabwe," said Navin Ramgoolam, the Prime Minister of

Mbeki, leader of the region’s most powerful economy, had come under severe
criticisms for allegedly failing to apply pressure on Mugabe to allow
release of election results and remove all impediments to the democratic

Mbeki, heavily criticised by the international media over his handling of
Zimbabwe, has insisted on engaging Mugabe but his critics that policy has
failed to yield results in the past and has been misconstrued as support by
the 84-year old Zimbabwean leader.

Tsvangirai last week openly called for Mbeki to be replaced as SADC’s chief
mediator in Zimbabwe. – ZimOnline.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Union moves to block Chinese guns reaching Zimbabwe

Zim Online

by Ntando Ncube Tuesday 22 April 2008

JOHANESBURG – The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) said on
Monday that it was mobilising unions in Africa to block a Chinese ship
carrying weapons for Zimbabwe from offloading its cargo.

The ITF-affiliated South African Transport Workers' Union (SATAWU) last week
refused to offload the Chinese vessel saying it feared the weapons could be
used by President Robert Mugabe to crackdown on opponents as he battles to
reinforce his grip on power after surprise losses to the opposition in
elections last month.

The Chinese ship, known as An Yue Jiang eventually fled South Africa’s
Durban port after a High Court judge directed that the ship be offloaded but
refused to allow the weapons to be transported across South Africa to

ITF Inspector and spokesman in Durban Sprite Zungu told the press: "Our
objective is to mobilise and organise unions in Africa to take a firm stand
and try to stop the ship from offloading these dangerous weapons which could
be used to kill Zimbabweans."

It was not clear on Monday where the ship was headed but several reports
suggested it might be headed for Angola, a close ally of Zimbabwe, where
authorities might allow it to offload its cargo.

Zungu said the ITF, a federation of more than 650 unions representing 4.5
million transport workers in 148 countries across the world, was following
up on the ship to ensure they blocked it from offloading wherever it ended
up docking.

ITF secretary general David Cockroft said the union was also attempting to
contact the Chinese Seafarers’ Union (CSU) for support in its bid to stop
the weapons reaching Zimbabwe.

Cockroft said “The ITF is in contact with the CSU. This is a significant act
of solidarity with Zimbabwe’s working people. The ITF fully, strongly and
uncategorically supports SATAWU’s actions and will be following this case
with the closest of interests."

The Chinese vessel is believed to be carrying three million rounds of AK-47
ammunition, 1 500 rocket-propelled grenades and more than 3 000 mortar
rounds and mortar tubes destined for Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe, also battling its worst ever economic recession marked by the
world’s highest inflation of more than 160 00 percent, was plunged deeper
into political crisis after election authorities withheld results of a March
29 presidential election that Mugabe is believed to have lost to opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai, whose Moveemnt for Democratic Change party defeated Mugabe’s
ZANU PF party in a parallel parliamentary poll, claims he won the
presidential ballot with more than 50 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a
second round run-off.

But ZANU PF party and independent election observers say the MDC leader came
a shade lower than 50 percent, warranting a rerun of the ballot against

The MDC says ZANU PF militants and state security forces have stepped up a
campaign of violence and terror against the opposition party’s supporters in
a bid to cow them to support Mugabe in the second round vote.

The opposition party said on Sunday that 10 of its supporters had been
killed in the violence while about 3 000 others had been displaced from
their homes by ZANU PF militants and state security agents. – ZimOnline.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US seeks to block Zimbabwe-bound Chinese arms

Yahoo News

By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is intervening with governments in
southern Africa to prevent a Chinese ship carrying weapons for Zimbabwe's
security forces from unloading its cargo, The Associated Press has learned.

At the same time, the State Department's top Africa hand, Jendayi Frazer,
plans to visit the region this week to underscore U.S. concerns about the
shipment. Frazer also will try to persuade Zimbabwe's neighbors to step up
pressure on President Robert Mugabe's government to publish results from a
disputed election that the opposition claims to have won, administration
officials said Monday.

U.S. intelligence agencies are tracking the vessel, the An Yue Jiang, and
American diplomats have been instructed to press authorities in at least
four nations — South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola — not to allow
it to dock, the officials told The Associated Press. The officials spoke on
condition of anonymity in order to discuss delicate diplomatic talks.

The ship, which is laden with large amounts of weapons and ammunition,
already has been turned away from South Africa and Mozambique, and is now
believed to be headed for Angola, possibly with a refueling stop in Namibia.
The freighter left South Africa after a judge on Friday barred the arms from
transiting South Africa and it was not immediately clear if U.S. lobbying
had influenced authorities in Mozambique who stopped it from docking over
the weekend.

Two officials said Washington's effort to block the ship from unloading its
cargo was now concentrated on Namibia and Angola and that both countries
were being told that allowing the An Yue Jiang to dock could harm their
relations with the United States.

There are fears that the arms, which include mortar grenades and bullets,
could be used by Mugabe's regime to expand a clampdown on opposition
supporters. The government has refused to publish the results of
presidential elections held three weeks ago, and there are reports of
increasing violence against the opposition.

South Africa's main trade union confederation has called on workers in other
African countries to follow the example of South African dock and freight
workers who said Friday they would not unload the ship or transport its

The State Department endorsed that position on Monday.

"Given Zimbabwe's current electoral crisis, we do share the concerns ...
that these arms could be used against individuals who are merely trying to
freely express their political will," said Kurtis Cooper, a department

"We call on the Zimbabwe government to immediately cease the perpetration of
brutal acts against its citizens and strongly urge the regional leadership
to enhance its intervention for an expeditious solution to the postelection
crisis," Cooper said.

The comments, prepared ahead of an expected announcement that Frazer will
travel to southern Africa, come as the Bush administration has grown
increasingly impatient with Mugabe — whose recent rule Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice last week called "an abomination" — and with Zimbabwe's
neighbors for not taking a harder line against the octogenarian leader.

The 14-nation Southern African Development Community, known as SADC, has
been unwilling to take the tough stand on Zimbabwe as called for by western
countries, notably Britain and the United States.

Part of Frazer's planned trip is aimed at rallying support for action from
SADC members, whose leaders met in a mid-April summit on Zimbabwe but could
agree only on a weak declaration that failed to criticize the absent Mugabe,
officials said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zambia asks African states to bar Chinese ship


Mon 21 Apr 2008, 20:34 GMT

LUSAKA, April 21 (Reuters) - Zambia's president urged regional states on
Monday to bar a Chinese ship carrying arms to Zimbabwe from entering their
waters, saying the shipment could deepen the country's election crisis.

Zimbabwe announced a delay on Sunday in a partial recount of votes in March
29 parliamentary elections, extending a deadlock in which the opposition
says 10 of its members have been killed and hundreds arrested.

The opposition says its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won presidential elections
held on the same day, and that Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is
attempting to cling to power by delaying declaring the result.

The Chinese ship, An Yue Jiang, was turned away from South Africa and is
heading for Angola in the hope of docking there, Mozambique's transport
minister said on Saturday.

Mozambique did not allow it to enter its waters.

"I hope this will be the case with all the countries because we don't want a
situation which will escalate the (tension) in Zimbabwe more than what it
is," Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who is also chairman of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) regional grouping, told reporters.

The Chinese ship left South African waters on Friday after a court refused
to allow the arms to be transported across South Africa.

The 300,000-strong South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU)
refused to unload the weapons because of concerns Mugabe's government might
use them against opponents in the post-election stalemate.

For its part, China is trying to prevent the controversy from fuelling
criticism over its human rights record and rule in Tibet ahead of hosting
the Olympics in August. Violent protests have followed the Olympic torch
across the globe.

"The Chinese can play a very useful role in Zimbabwe without (offering)
firearms," Zambia's Mwanawasa said.

In Harare, Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said it was
Zimbabwe's sovereign right to defend itself and buy weapons from all
legitimate sources.

"I don't understand all this hullabaloo about a lone ship," he told a news
conference. (Reporting By Shapi Shacinda; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Min: Government Has Right To Buy Weapons From Legal Sources


HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--A Zimbabwe official Monday said the cash-strapped
government has a right to buy arms from any legal source as long as they are
needed to defend the country.

"It's our sovereign right to defend ourselves, it's our sovereign right to
buy weapons from any legitimate source worldwide and we don't need clearance
from anyone," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said.

A Chinese ship, An Yue Jiang, laden with Zimbabwean-bound weapons last week
failed to unload at a South African port after a court barred its cargo from
being transported overland to the land-locked crisis-torn country.

The vessel, which anchored off the South African port of Durban, sailed off
to an unknown destination on Friday.

Three million rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades
and more than 3,000 mortar rounds and mortar tubes are among the cargo on
the Chinese ship, according to copies of the inventory published by a South
African newspaper.

Chinamasa said Zimbabwe government has purchased weapons in previous years.
"I don't understand what the hullabaloo is all about," he said.

"As long as the need arises, we will buy," he said in response to a question
at a news conference.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

S. Africa's Mbeki, Under Fire Over Zimbabwe, Endorsed By Regional Peers


By Blessing Zulu
21 April 2008

Heads of state of the Southern African Development Community have asked
South African President Thabo Mbeki to continue as mediator in the Zimbabwe
crisis despite generally mounting criticism of his performance and a request
by both branches of the Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change
that he be replaced.

Mr. Mbeki’s role came up for discussion by the SADC leaders over the weekend
on the margins of a development summit in the island nation of Mauritius.

Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam said the SADC heads of state
expressed "complete faith" in Mr. Mbeki.  "We have renewed our confidence in
him by asking him to continue the work of mediation and find a solution to
the situation in Zimbabwe."

The Zimbabwean opposition has long felt that Mr. Mbeki fell short of
impartiality in his attempts at mediation in the crisis over the years, and
his statement April 12 in Harare on his way to another SADC summit in
Lusaka, Zambia, after meeting with President Robert Mugabe, that "there is
no crisis" in Zimbabwe, was the last straw.

That statement also galvanized Mr. Mbeki's critics at home in South Africa,
where his ruling African National Congress party is calling for a tougher
stance with Harare.

ANC President Jacob Zuma, leading a ruling-party delegation to Germany,
Britain and France, said Mr. Mugabe's government is undermining Zimbabwe's

Zuma was expected to meet Wednesday in London With British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown, who has been prominent in stoking international outrage at the
delay or more than three weeks in releasing the results of the March 29
presidential election.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband meanwhile accused Mr. Mugabe of
trying to steal the parliamentary elections, in which official results
showed the combined MDC claiming a majority in the lower house, through
fraudulent recounts.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon continues to lobby African leaders to
address the Zimbabwe crisis more energetically, most recently on the
sidelines of a trade and development conference under way this week in
Ghana. Reuters reported that Ban met with privately with Tsvangirai for
about half an hour on Monday in Accra.

Ban spokeswoman Michel Montas told journalists New York that Tsvangirai
“appealed for an intervention by the African Union and the United Nations"
as he "feels there is no progress" despite two rounds of SADC discussions in
recent weeks.

She said Ban had again called on Zimbabwean authorities to release the
results of the presidential election, and intended to consult further with
the president of the African Union, currently President Jakaya Kikwete of

South African-based political analyst Hermann Hanekom told reporter Blessing
Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Mbeki’s mediation has been a

Johannesburg-based political analyst Nickson Nyikadzino said SADC must have
more say in Mr. Mbeki's mediation approach rather than writing him a blank

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Delay and deception

The Guardian,
Tuesday April 22 2008

Robert Mugabe's strategy for staying in power after losing the popular vote
is painfully clear, even to those of his supporters - such as the South
African president, Thabo Mbeki - who look the other way. First, it is to
delay the announcement of the election results by yet another week. Three
weeks have now passed since the election was held in Zimbabwe, but as the
Herald, the regime's mouthpiece, said yesterday, more time is needed to
recount 23 contested parliamentary seats. "A lot of work is involved," the
newspaper said, with no irony intended.

It is not just a matter of breaking and entering, although there is plenty
of that going on with the ballot boxes, according to Dianne Kohler-Barnard,
the South African member of the observer team. Time is also needed for
assault and battery. The aim is to frighten the wits out of anyone who voted
against Zanu-PF in the rural areas. This is the second arm of Mr Mugabe's
strategy, and just because it is cruder than the first does not mean it is
any less effective. Intimidation comes from the top. The health minister, Dr
David Parirenyatwa, brandished a Kalashnikov at a meeting in which he
threatened to kill opposition supporters if they dared to vote for the
Movement for Democratic Change in the second round.

A fresh assault on white farmers has developed into an extensive campaign of
beatings, intimidation and torture in provinces such as Mashonaland East and
Masvingo where Zanu-PF lost ground three weeks ago. As Human Rights Watch
reported over the weekend, torture and violence are surging in detention
centres set up in opposition constituencies. Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary
general, said 10 people had been killed, 500 injured and 3,000 displaced. If
past experience is anything to go by, the thugs will run rampage until the
second round runoff is called and then vanish overnight. By the time
election monitors reappear, peace will have returned to the rural
constituencies but the damage will have been done.

While the Zanu-PF strategy is clear, what is less certain is how much longer
the rest of southern Africa is prepared to tolerate it. There are large
fissures opening up on the ground on which Mr Mbeki stands. The African
National Congress, under its new leader, Jacob Zuma, has broken with the
South African president over his handling of Mr Mugabe. This has emboldened
the MDC's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to call for Mr Mbeki to stand down as
mediator for the Southern African Development Community in favour of
Zambia's president, Levy Mwanawasa, who wants Mr Mugabe out. The SADC itself
is split. Zambia, Botswana and Malawi are pushing for a hard line against Mr
Mugabe. Mozambique, Angola and South Africa have thus far resisted.

A second-round runoff between Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai would provide the
acid test of the SADC's new-found resolve. If it insists that the runoff is
fully transparent, that Zimbabwe is flooded with observers, and that the
whole process is monitored from start to finish, it can still ensure a fair
result. Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, has no formal standing
in this dispute, but has emerged from his successful mediation in Kenya with
the stature to help solve the crisis in Zimbabwe. Both the African Union and
the UN could also be involved in monitoring.

Mr Tsvangirai has given contradictory statements on whether he would contest
a second round; there are two reasons why he should. First, by his own
contested figures, he only just won the election in the first round, and it
would look as if he were running away if he refused to participate. Second,
he could still win if he is allowed to campaign in the rural areas. He would
be relying on the fact that desperation overcomes fear, and that everyone
knows that the regime is finished. It is a big risk, but the prize of a
peaceful transition is even bigger.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mudslinging rife in post-election Zimbabwe


April 21, 2008, 22:00

The ruling Zanu-PF party has accused the MDC of supplying youth with drugs
and letting them loose on police and the public. It has also denied MDC
claims that it unleashed the militias who are terrorising opposition
supporters across the country.

The police and the army stand accused of imposing an unofficial curfew and
meting out random beatings on civilians. The MDC claims this is in
retribution for voting against President Robert Mugabe. But Zanu-PF says
this is not true.

"We stopped the issue of violence, so we are not going to allow that.
Zimbabwe has got no reputation to protect at the moment - if you come to
provoke the police or the army they will not let you get away with it," said
Zanu-PF spokesperson Bright Matonga.

Police have acknowledged politically related deaths but are downplaying
reports of widespread violence. However, civil society is growing
increasingly concerned.

Director of Zimbabwe Peace Project, Jestina Mukoko, says there are torture
camps that have been established in Mashonaland East province.

"A lot of people that have been targeted and victimised have had their
homesteads burned down," she said.

Many fear that acts of intimidation and violence will accelerate to levels
last seen in 2002, ahead of the anticipated re-run of the presidential

Meanwhile, the recount in 23 disputed constituencies continues, with results
from the process now also expected to be delayed.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Of Robert Mugabe’s Ballots and Bullets

Modern Ghana

By Rejoice Ngwenya,
Mon, 21 Apr 2008
Feature Article

"The Author's/Authors' views do not necessarily reflect those of

President Thabo Mbeki and his infamous colleague Robert Mugabe are marooned
on an isolated political island, under siege by diplomatic brickbats and
flotsam; their old bodies quivering and shivering in cold winds of backlash
from Mr. Mbeki’s unpopular proclamation that Zimbabwe is not a crisis
situation. While Mbeki ponders thoughtfully on the next move to restore a
badly mutilated credibility, Mugabe conspires with China to fend off a
deluge of inevitable popular electoral discontent with Chinese AK-47s,
bullets and Israeli water canons.

Meanwhile, 18 April Independence celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium was
nothing more than a display of military force, a sure sign that the civilian
centre can no longer hold at Mugabe’s ZANUpf camp. He is doing want he knows
best, defending his political space with stolen ballots and Chinese bullets.
In addition, Mr. Mugabe told us that “ZANUpf brought democracy to Zimbabwe”
and roasted Gordon Brown, as predicted, for attempting to buy Britain’s way
back to state house via ‘MDC puppets’. Harare residents were chided for
voting for MDC whose agenda Mugabe claims is only one – giving Zimbabwe back
to its former colonial power wherefore he vowed the opposition would never
ever assume political control of the country as long as he is alive.

Herein lays the contradiction. Mugabe’s narrow perception of democracy is
one of a commodity that can be bought, sold and exchanged on the political
market place. It is a preserve only for ZANUpf, and therefore anyone who
encroaches onto this context must be a sell out. We progressive Zimbabweans
would now like to expose this gigantic act of archaic self-delusion.

Since 1980, Zimbabwe has been, in Mugabe’s own words, religiously holding
elections every five years. He won each one of them up until last month,
pumping in millions in USA dollars of state resources in campaigns,
materials, publicity, vote buying – all in the name of 'democracy'. In the
process – that is from 1985 – thousands of innocent citizens have died in
defence of ‘this’ democracy, mostly under the hands of Mugabe’s own
repressive machinery. Therefore, if he accuses the British of racist
hypocrisy during the reign of Ian Smith, what does he himself have to show
for his ZANUpf brand of democracy in the past twenty eight years of his

Moreover the ‘good’ president has completely got his facts wrong. Robert
Mugabe was not even part of a rebellion within the Zimbabwe African People’s
Union [ZAPU] in 1963 that formed ZANU, but Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole. In
1965, Ian Smith rebelled against Britain by the Unilateral Declaration of
Independence [UDI] and later proclaimed that Africans [like Mugabe and
Joshua Nkomo] would not rule Rhodesia in a thousand years. Mugabe then
enters the fray long after by deposing Reverend Sithole in a 'prison room'
coup, before taking over the reigns from Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front on
April 18, 1980. To say ZANUpf shot the Conservative party of Margaret
Thatcher out of power in Rhodesia is political gibberish. All the British
did, at Lancaster House and through Lord Soames, was to facilitate a
democratic process that entirely benefited Mugabe, even though they were not
the best of friends. So Mugabe and his apparently educated cronies should
know by now that even if one does not like an election observer, one can
still win that election.

The second revelation one can make is about the trinity of evil that is
colluding to deprive Zimbabweans of true liberty. ZANUpf, the Judiciary and
the Zimbabwe Election Commission are a diabolical axis of vampires whose
agenda is to perpetuate fascist dictatorship. So if Mugabe is such a
democrat, why are his institutions of governance so frightened by political
competition? The more pertinent question really is: has he ever been loved
by anyone enough to be voted for purely on a voluntary basis – the essence
of true democracy? Of course not!. Since the early seventies, Mugabe has
been at the helm of his party, ZANUpf. Does this mean no one, in these
thirty-five years, has ever been good enough to beat him in an internal
leadership contest? Perhaps history will one day expose the myth, but there
have been questions raised about the ‘assassination’ of firebrand barrister
Hebert Chitepo and the motor vehicle 'accident' of military genius Josiah
Tongogara, who many believe were ideally positioned to replace Mugabe long
before he felt completely indispensable.

The last revelation on Mugabe is about his humaneness or lack of it. The
1980s Matabeleland genocide was clear testimony that Robert Mugabe does not
have a conscience that an average human being possesses. This is not about
the length of his pre-independence incarceration at Wha Wha prison. If it
were, then Nelson Mandela would not have been the saint that he is now.
Eyewitnesses at Nyadzonia and Chimhoio – the refugee and military camps were
Mugabe was based during the war of liberation – allege that he never shed a
single tear for the hundreds of children that were napalm bombed by Ian
Smith’s commandos. He dismissed the Matabeleland carnage merely as a moment
of madness. Hundreds of young men were murdered in the Democratic Republic
of Congo protecting the interests of a few of his cronies, some of who were
named in blood diamond scandals by the United Nations. Operation
Murambatsvina drove one million citizens to homelessness while Mugabe’s
devastating price control decree in July 2007 left an entire nation on the
verge of starvation. As you read this piece, scores of villagers have been
tortured and displaced by Mugabe’s rogue elements rampaging in Zimbabwe’s
rural areas as post-election retribution for voting for MDC.

Therefore, stealing and cheating in an election would hardly appear as an
‘event’ in Mugabe’s contaminated political dictionary. So while the world is
screaming at him, he has sealed his ears and is now preparing to die in
public office.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Villagers count the cost of voting MDC

By Our Correspondent

NYAMURIWO, April 21, 2008 ( - In the remote village of
Nyamuriwo in north-eastern Zimbabwe, supporters of the MDC are counting the
cost of
voting against President Robert Mugabe and the Zanu-PF party during the
March 29 poll.

The smouldering ruins of what were once three village dwellings serve as a
potent warning to
all those now regarded as traitors for having voted MDC. The houses were set
on fire under
cover of darkness in the early hours of Saturday morning. Families managed
to flee but lost
most of their belongings.

As he surveyed the ruins, Garikai Chitaunhike, 26, a supporter of the
MDC,was sorrowful as
he told The Zimbabwe Times: “It is a threat we are all taking very
seriously. There will be more
burnings and beatings, too.”

Zanu-PF lost the March 29 poll by 11,867 votes to 7,869 in this
constituency, which is a two
hour-drive north of Harare in an area where the MDC did not dare to campaign
openly in the
recent election and never in the past. The party was able to make a clean
sweep at the polls,

Unable to accept the defeat of their party and undeterred by the fact that
they are clearly a
minority, supporters of the ruling party have launched attacks on anyone
they accuse of betraying
their cause. The home of Hwande Mushore, a security guard in Harare, was
first to be attacked
. He had bravely refused to surrender his MDC card and T-shirt. Next to be
set alight was the
homestead of Frank Kaseke. His nephew Vincent was puzzled.

“My uncle’s daughter passed away last week, and there were many people at
the funeral,” he
said. “I think someone was wearing an MDC T-shirt. That’s the only reason I
can think why my
uncle became a target.”

Last to be targeted was the home of Nyasha Nheza, a father of nine, whose
family vehemently
denied supporting the MDC, but to no avail.

“We are card-carrying members of Zanu-PF,” insisted one of his sons.

In another incident, Sipho Dzapasi, an MDC supporter, was beaten up.
Reprisal attacks are seen
as inevitable after a poll that has caused Zanu-PF to lose its parliamentary
majority for the first
time since independence in 1980, amid fears that Mugabe was finally beaten
at the polls and by
the very candidate he swore would never be President of Zimbabwe, Morgan

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has failed to announce the results of the
election for three weeks, prompting wide-spread speculation that they are
protecting Mugabe
from the humiliation of defeat by Tsvangirai. Mugabe has routinely dismissed
Tsvangirai as a
“puppet of the West”. The defeat of Zanu-PF suggests that Zimbabweans may be
concerned with bread and butter issues than they are influenced by spurious
allegations of
neo-colonialism. It is for that rejection by the people of Zimbabwe that
Mugabe now seeks
to punish them.

He has ordered a recount in 23 constituencies where he alleges there was
electoral fraud by
the MDC. The recounts started Monday amid reports of tampering with ballot

The reprisal attacks against the MDC have escalated sharply throughout the
especially in villages such as Nyamuriwo, once a stronghold of Zanu-PF and
far from the eyes
of police.

The police said yesterday that they were investigating the raid on the
village. Three of the
alleged perpetrators had been arrested while the hunt continued for another
11 identified

Thousands of refugees from those rural areas worst hit by post-election
intimidation remain in
safe houses around the capital and in other urban centres. News of spreading
violence will not
encourage them to return home any soon.

Zimbabwe could soon be saddled with a refugee problem similar to the massive
drift from the rural areas into the urban areas as poor peasants fled from
persecution by
troops fighting to sustain Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front regime against
guerilla incursions.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Military junta sets run-off date

The Zimbabwean
 Sunday, 20 April 2008 08:27

Fears of teachers’ strike


HARARE –Monday May 26, the working day set aside for Africa Day (25), has
been set for the presidential election run-off, according to a senior
military source.
He told The Zimbabwean on Sunday that it had been agreed at a secret meeting
that the ZEC would delay the release of last month’s presidential election
results – which was won by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai - for another two
weeks, possibly using the excuse of the three by-elections.
The well-oiled, vicious Zanu (PF) election machine has been extremely busy
since it became obvious that Robert Mugabe lost.
The source gave details of a complex web of deception, coercion and violent
intimidation to ensure that another electoral defeat for Mugabe in the
presidential election run-off would not be remotely possible. The number of
polling stations to be reduced in the cities to discourage a large turnout
in MDC strongholds.
The CIO has a file on “each MDC activist detailed to the level of the
football club he or she supports together with family members details etc.,”
revealed the source.
Such personalities are being identified right across the country with
emphasis on the rural areas, and loyal Zanu cadres are to be assigned to
deal with them.
The source also said Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, would shortly
release RBZ funds for cooperatives and other rural ventures to boost Mugabe’s
“Each Headman is to receive Z$5 bln and each Chief Z$10 bln with
instructions to gather villagers for at least two meetings to enlist support
for in the runoff. This will be over the 21 day period. Then there will be
10 Star rallies,” he said.
In addition, a directive has been issued that no school fee increases will
be announced until after the elections which will be held after pay day.
During the 21 day period between now and the run-off, the winning Zanu
candidates for the House of Assembly will hold victory parties and
celebrations using funds provided by the RBZ to further coerce voters.
In an interesting development, showing some sensitivity to international
condemnation of human rights violations by the security forces, the ZRP has
been instructed not to provoke anyone in the cities and will only act as
intelligence gatherers. This is to put a “public shine” on the force as
agents of the government. They are presently visiting business in Bulawayo
demanding to know why companies were closed during the general strike.
Police officers were given their “election bonus” of Z$0 million at the end
of January, but have not been given their “top up” as promised after the
The source said all police officers had been asked to state their allegiance
to the ruling party as 4000 are required for “civilian duties”. Deployment
started last week and they have been instructed to wear old civilian
clothes, not to shave, not to carry ID and if possible, not to ear any
shoes. They are to report to the senior army officials from the Military
Junta commanding each province as listed in last week’s issue of The
Zimbabwean on Sunday.
“They have been told to focus more on the old,” revealed the source.
He also said Zanu (PF) was terrified of any potential strike action by
teachers, as the military junta would like to use them as pawns to garner
support for Mugabe in the rural areas, where they are still highly respected
by the communities. In order to prevent any strike action, the secret
meeting decided that an announcement should be made giving teachers a pay
increase – but this would not be implemented once the election had taken

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe finally accepts defeat-sort of

The Zimbabwean

Monday, 21 April 2008 14:57

Peter Chikondi

In a surprise turnaround, Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe on
finally admitted defeat in the past harmonised combined elections.

In a clear admission of defeat Mugabe told an independence
gathering at Gwanzura stadium in Harare that he would not allow the
opposition to lead the country and showed anger that people voted for

Mr Mugabe said opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement
Democratic Change (MDC) were sell outs who would never be allowed to
Zimbabwe although Tsvangirai and the MDC won the March 29 harmonized

There will never ever be change in Zimbabwe. We shall never reverse
gains of the liberation struggle. Zimbabwe will never be a colony
said Mugabe.

Mugabe castigated the electorate for voting for the MDC saying that
were being bought and corrupted by the British whom he alleged that
splashing money to pervert the electorate.

Digressing from his prepared speech which he rarely read from, Mugabe
revealed that war guerrillas had taken up arms to fight against the
leadership of the opposition despite having clearly won the elections.
Violence has erupted around the country and the opposition and human
groups have said that the coordinated attacks on the opposition are
led by the military and the former war veterans. He bitterly attacked
Britain for commenting on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe
saying the
British should not lecture Zimbabwe about democracy because ZANU PF
brought democracy in Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe also said that there will never be change in Zimbabwe in a
sign that the ruling elite were not willing to respect the outcome of
elections that go against them.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

More violence

The Zimbabwean

Monday, 21 April 2008 13:54
 We  have just received some more reports of violence in the Zishumbe
Resettlement Area i  of Masvingo North Constituency where  zanu pf youths
have severely beaten up 10 MDC polling agents – so much so that 7 of them
are unable to walk. These  polling agents are currently at the Masvingo
Central Police Station making a report, after which they will be ferried
Masvingo Hospital , according to eyewitness reports .
Apparently, the MDC people assigned to monitor the Bikita re-Count
have been chased away by zanu

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police to take Chikowore to Hospital - Court application

The Zimbabwean

Monday, 21 April 2008 06:09
Detained freelance journalist Frank Chikowore's lawyer, Harrison
Nkomo, has
filed an urgent High Court application compelling the police to take
Chikowore to hospital as he is complaining of abdominal and chest

The application also compelled the police to have Chikowore appear
before a
Magistrate on 17 April 2008, as the 48-hour period within which a
arrested by the police should appear before a Magistrate court, as
stipulated under Zimbabwean laws, has elapsed.

Chikowore, who was gathering news on the fateful day, was arrested on
April together with supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change
He and the MDC supporters are said to be facing charges of malicious
to property for allegedly torching a bus belonging to Nyamwenda Bus
in Warren Park.

According to Chikowore's lawyer, who was hired by MISA-Zimbabwe under
Media Defence Fund (MDF), the police initially wanted to charge
under the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
(AIPPA) but later discovered that he is an accredited journalist and
there was no offensive material on his laptop.


Chikowore was arrested in Harare on 15 April 2008 in unclear
According to his wife, Chikowore left their home in Harare's suburb of
Warren Park early in the morning on his way to work, only to return
later in

the company of seven police officers, four of whom were in riot gear
three in plainclothes. The police then reportedly searched the house
confiscated a laptop, recorder and camera.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai Meets Obasanjo, Seeks AU’s Support

This Day, Nigeria

From Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo in Ota, 04.22.2008

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe would not concede defeat without the
intervention of the African Union, the president of the Movement for
Democratic Coalition (MDC) and opposition leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, said
in Ota, Ogun State, yesterday .
Tsvangirai made the remark while visiting the former president, Chief
Olus-egun Obasanjo, in his farm house to enlist his assistance in drumming
up support for an urgent resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.
The results of the presidential election which was held three weeks ago are
yet to be released by the country's electoral commission, although
parliamentary results show that opposition parties have defeated Mugabe's
ZANU-PF for the first time since 1980.
MDC has insisted on the release of the presidential results which it claimed
went in MDC's favour.
He said: “President Mugabe wants to create a situation to buy time when he
rolled out this military situation. The violence has now become so endemic
to create a captive audience. By the time the announcement comes, he would
have prepared the population by this violence to create a new electoral
environment where he will have his own predetermined outcome.”
Tsvangirai arrived Lagos in the wee hours of Monday morning.
He met the press on the lawn in front of Obasanjo’s personal summer house
where Obasanjo, Tsvangirai, after a prayer meeting that lasted a few hours
ushered Tsvangirai to the high table and went on to play a game of local
Decked in a well-cut brown suit with a purple shirt and tie to match,
Tsvangirai saved no punches for Mugabe whom he accused of sponsoring state
terrorism against the people of Zimbabwe.
He added that his campaign is a diplomatic offensive against the regime of
He said: “This impasse has caused a tremendous crisis in my country. We now
face an extra-ordinary situation in which violence has erupted not because
the people are protesting but because the state has rolled out violence
against its people using the army, the police and the militias to the extent
that the Southern African Community Leaders had to convene a summit a week
ago, to try to attend to the crisis.”
He said the summit resolved that the results of the elections of three weeks
ago must be released expeditiously and it should be authenticated by the two
Explaining his mission to Nigeria, Tsvangirai said: “We in the MDC believe
that this matter must be taken to the level of the African Union. That’s why
I’m here in Nigeria. First of all to discuss with the former president
Obasanjo, who has been previously engaged in the Zimbabwean dispute.”
Tsvangirai also disclosed his mission to proceed to Ghana to build an
African coalition to try to find a solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe, just
like a solution was found to the Kenyan crisis, by Africans to resolve the
post-election conflict.

Back to the Top
Back to Index