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

China says arms bound for Zimbabwe may be recalled


Tue 22 Apr 2008, 8:07 GMT

BEIJING, April 22 (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday a shipment of weapons
bound for Zimbabwe may head back after the vessel was unable to unload, but
defended the cargo as "perfectly normal trade".

Zambia's president urged regional states on Monday to bar the An Yue Jiang
from entering their waters, saying the weapons could deepen Zimbabwe's
election crisis. The ship already failed to unload its cargo in South
Africa, and Mozambique and Angola have denied it access to their ports.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the contract for the
shipment was signed last year and was "unrelated to recent developments" in

Jiang said the arms shipment was "perfectly normal trade in military goods
between China and Zimbabwe", but because it was impossible for Zimbabwe to
receive the goods, the company involved is now considering shipping the
cargo back.

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

The recount could overturn the results of the parliamentary election, which
showed the ruling ZANU-PF losing its majority to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) for the first time.

The MDC says its leader Morgan Tsvangirai won presidential elections also
held on March 29, and that President Robert Mugabe is attempting to cling to
power by delaying the result.

The MDC said in a statement on Tuesday, "Those weapons were not going to be
used on mosquitoes, but (were) clearly meant to butcher innocent civilians
whose only crime is rejecting dictatorship and voting (for) change." The
statement was carried by South Africa's SAPA news agency.

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

The ship left South Africa on Friday. Mozambique said on Saturday the vessel
would not be allowed into its waters.

Angola said on Monday the ship was not welcome there either.

"This ship has not sought a request to enter Angolan territorial waters and
it's not authorised to enter Angolan ports," Filomeno Mendonca, director of
the Institute of Angolan Ports, told Luanda Radio LAC, a private Angolan
radio station.

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. Sometimes-violent protests have followed the Olympic torch across
the globe. (Reporting by Chris Buckley; Additional reporting by Paul Simao
in Johannesburg; Writing by Nick Macfie and Caroline Drees; Editing by Ibon

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim arms ship due in Walvis Bay today

The Namibian

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - Web posted at 7:37:08 GMT

A CHINESE ship carrying six containers of ammunition for Zimbabwe has
applied to take on fuel at Walvis Bay this morning.

The An Yue Jiang is carrying three million rounds of AK-47 ammunition,
1 500 rocket-propelled grenades and more than 3 000 mortar rounds and mortar

Attempts to get comment from Government yesterday were unsuccessful.

Messages were left for Minister of Information, Joel Kaapanda, but he
had not returned them by the time of going to press.

Yesterday, the Legal Assistance Centre said it would approach the High
Court to stop the ship from entering Namibia at Walvis Bay.

Interviewed on One Africa TV News last night, Kaapanda said he didn't
know anything about the ship.

He said if it docked at Walvis Bay, Government would consider "any
appropriate measures", but did not elaborate.

The Minister said he wondered why such a big deal was being made about
the ship.

The vessel is carrying a lethal cargo.

He noted that Zimbabwe was a landlocked country and often used Walvis

"I don't understand why this ship is so special," he said.

The LAC called on all concerned citizens in Namibia to raise their
voice against the An Yue Jiang docking in a Namibian harbour.

The ship left the South African port of Durban last week after
dockworkers refused to unload the shipment and the Durban High Court barred
its cargo from being transported to landlocked Zimbabwe.

The LAC's partners in South Africa - the Southern African Litigation
Centre and the International Action Network on Small Arms - obtained a court
order that the weapons could not be transported through South Africa.

The vessel is now reported to be heading to either Walvis Bay or
Luanda in Angola.

"Our concern is that Zimbabwe is a nation that has been in an
escalating state of crisis," said Norman Tjombe, Director of the LAC.

"To allow more weapons to enter Zimbabwe will only fuel more violence,
with the serious consequence of more deaths and suffering."

The escalating violation and suppression of human rights in Zimbabwe
was exacerbated by last month's disputed elections, of which the results
have yet to be announced, he said.

"Namibia, and its institutions, such as the Namibia Ports Authority,
has obligations under national and international law to foster international
peace and the peaceful resolutions of disputes, and the responsibility and
accountability in the regulation and control of the trade in conventional
arms," said Tjombe.

He said in terms of the Namibian Constitution, the Namibian State is
obligated to promote international co-operation, peace and security and
foster respect for international law and treaty obligations.

Namibia was also a signatory to several other international treaties,
such as SADC Firearms Protocol, Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security,
and the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light
Weapons in All Its Aspects, which would all be violated if it allowed arms
to enter Zimbabwe, he said.

"In the light of these obligations, it will be prudent for the Namibia
Ports Authority not to allow the offloading of the deadly cargo of the An
Yue Jiang vessel if and when the vessel calls on any port in Namibia,"
Tjombe said.

If the ship was allowed to offload and transport overland in Namibia,
he said, the LAC would approach the courts.

"We nonetheless trust that Namibia would adhere to its obligations
under the Constitution and international law, without the need for us to
approach the High Court of Namibia," Tjombe said.

Transport workers in Africa were also called on to help prevent the
shipment from reaching Zimbabwe.

The International Transport Workers Federation said its member trade
unions and the International Trade Union Confederation must stop what it
calls the "dangerous and destabilising shipment."

The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) has also
appealed to the governments of SADC, especially Namibia, Angola and
Mozambique, to prevent the arms cargo from reaching its destination.

Trade unionists in the South African transport industry also announced
a boycott of the cargo.

IANSA wants the weaponry detained until Zimbabwe can prove it will not
be misused to suppress the Zimbabwean people.

"We remind all southern African countries, including neighbouring
Namibia and Mozambique, that they have ratified the Southern African
Development Community 2004 Firearms Protocol," said IANSA communications
officer, Louise Rimmer.

"The Protocol explicitly states that all Southern African states
should harmonise their arms control laws to prevent conflict in the region
and destabilising accumulations of arms.

South African and international law has been used to prevent the
transportation of these arms to Zimbabwe across South Africa, so other SADC
authorities must stop it too."

Opponents claim that it is highly likely that the weapons will be used
to fuel violence, killings and intimidation in Zimbabwe's growing political

The six containers were initially shipped to Durban by the Chinese
government-controlled conglomerate Poly Technologies for onward transport to

It is now trying to find another dock to unload its weapons and
transport them to landlocked Zimbabwe.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has also called on
African governments and port authorities to deny entry to the vessel.

"This is just the beginning of the campaign; the fight is however not
yet over, as the ship heads in the direction of Angola.

Cosatu is doing everything possible to alert African transport workers
in both the maritime and road freight industries not to allow the vessel to
dock nor to handle or transport its cargo," Cosatu National Spokesperson
Patrick Craven told a press conference in Johannesburg yesterday.

Craven said Africa governments and international trade union movements
should know the danger to the workers of Zimbabwe if the cargo was allowed
to be unloaded and delivered to Mugabe's forces.

Cosatu reiterated that Africa could not be seen to be facilitating the
flow of weapons to Zimbabwe which is in the grip of a tense electoral

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Namibian rights group out to prevent Chinese arms ship docking

Monsters and Critics

Apr 22, 2008, 9:08 GMT

Windhoek, Namibia - A Namibian rights organization was preparing Tuesday to
go to court to try to stop a Chinese freighter carrying weapons destined for
Zimbabwe from offloading at Walvis Bay port in Namibia but port control
there said it had received no such request from the vessel.

'We're trying to get a court order to stop the ship from offloading at
Walvis Bay,' Norman Tjombe, director of the Legal Assistance Centre in
Windhoek, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa Tuesday.

'We have written letters to the relevant ministries to refrain from allowing
the ship to dock here and we're preparing papers for the High Court now.'

But port control in Walvis Bay told dpa they had received no request from
the vessel to refuel or dock at the port so far and had no idea of its

Speculation in Namibia is rife about whether the ship that hightailed it out
of Durban harbour after a court there barred the transport of the cargo
across South Africa would now try to access Zimbabwe via the Atlantic coast
port of Walvis Bay in Namibia or the harbours of Namibe or Luanda in Angola.

Namibia has excellent roads that directly connect to Zimbabwe via the
north-eastern Caprivi Strip.

Namibia also has close ties with both Zimbabwe and China dating back to its
liberation struggle that brought about independence from South Africa in

The exact whereabouts of the An Yue Jiang Tuesday was not clear. A
spokeswoman for the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) claimed Monday
the vessel was still within South African waters - a claim South Africa's
Defence Ministry rejected.

The Namibian newspaper had reported Tuesday that the ship, which is carrying
six containers of weapons and ammunition, had applied to take on fuel at
Walvis Bay Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Dawid Tjombe, president of the Namibian Transport and Allied
Workers' Union (NATAU), said their members were guided by the International
Transport Federation and would thus act in accordance with their directives.

'Should the ship dock at this stage, because of international and national
labour involvement, we will not offload,' he told dpa, hastening to add: 'I
am not against the politics of Zimbabwe, but we are waiting for the results
to be released.'

Tjombe's union is also affiliated to the National Union of Namibian Workers
(NUNW), which in turn is affiliated to Namibia's ruling party SWAPO.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe arms ship headed for Angola - shipping agent

2008-04-22 10:41:15

JOHANNESBURG (Thomson Financial) - A Chinese ship loaded with weapons
intended for Zimbabwe is headed to the Angolan capital Luanda, the agent
handling the ship told Agence-France Presse on Tuesday.

"According to the documentation, the next calling port is Angola. This
vessel is causing a lot of attention. The information is very sensitive,"
said Wang Kun Hui, representative of the Cosren shipping agency in Durban.

Asked where exactly in Angola, Wang replied: "Luanda."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zuma says Zimbabwe situation not acceptable


Tue 22 Apr 2008, 8:12 GMT

BERLIN (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling party leader Jacob Zuma said on
Tuesday the delay to Zimbabwe's election results was not acceptable and
called on African leaders to take action to solve the post-poll deadlock.

"It's not acceptable," Zuma told Reuters in an interview in Berlin. "It's
not helping the Zimbabwean people who have gone out to... elect the kind of
party and presidential candidate they want, exercising their constitutional

Zimbabwe held elections on March 29, but no result has been announced from
the presidential ballot in which the opposition says it defeated veteran
President Robert Mugabe. There has also been a delay to a partial recount of
votes from the parallel parliamentary vote, in which the ruling party lost
its majority.

"At this point in time...I imagine that the leaders in Africa should really
move in to unlock this logjam," African National Congress leader Zuma said.

"Concretely this means African countries should identify some people to go
in there, probably talk to both parties, call them and ask them what the
problem is, as well as the electoral commission," Zuma said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition leader urges Nigeria to intervene: report

Yahoo News

LAGOS (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader has met former Nigerian president
Olusegun Obasanjo and urged the west African nation to intervene in his
country's post-election crisis, local media said Tuesday.

"Nigeria played a significant role during our struggle for independence and
the crisis in Zimbabwe requires the attention of a country like Nigeria,"
Morgan Tsvangirai was quoted as saying during a visit to Obasanjo's Ota
farm, near Lagos, on Monday.

He said his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) -- which claimed victory in
the March 29 presidential poll in Zimbabwe -- would also reach out to other
African leaders to seek an end to the election impasse.

"With the situation we are facing in the country, especially with regard to
the violence and manipulation of the electoral commission, we require a
broader dimension," he added.

Tsvangirai met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Ghana on Monday and urged
the United Nations and the African Union to intervene in the crisis.

The MDC leader has spent most of his time in recent weeks lobbying regional
and international support for his argument that President Robert Mugabe is
trying to rig his re-election after 28 years in power.

Zimbabwe's government last week accused Tsvangirai of treason by plotting
with former colonial power Britain to oust veteran Mugabe.

After the last presidential elections, which he narrowly lost in 2002,
Tsvangirai was tried for treason before being later acquitted.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Churches warn of Zimbabwe 'genocide'

Evening Echo

22/04/2008 - 10:21:03 AM

Church leaders in Zimbabwe today warned that Robert Mugabe’s opponents were
being tortured and murdered in a deliberate campaign that could reach
“genocidal” proportions.

Leaders of all denominations called for international intervention to help
end the country’s post-election crisis.

They also demanded the immediate announcement of results from the March 29
presidential election that long-time Mugabe is widely believed to have lost.

In a joint statement the leaders said “the nation is in a crisis.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare diary: Politicised grain

09:18 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 10:18 UK

A Zimbabwean dancer performs during celebrations marking the 28th anniversary of the country"s Independence at a stadium in Harare, on April 18, 2008.

Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of leading a normal life.

Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the world's highest rate of annual inflation and just one in five has an official job.

It has been a long weekend in Harare.

Friday was 'Independence Day'. I watched clips of the broadcast from Gwanzura stadium, where official celebrations were held.

The whole time I was wondering: "who is R G Mugabe?"

Cabinet was dissolved just before elections, so who is he? I mean what office does he hold?

My father went to our rural home in the east of Zimbabwe on Friday, and came back on Sunday with the news that the GMB (Grain Marketing Board) there shut down on the Wednesday after elections.

People were told that in future they should purchase grain from the opposition, since they voted for an opposition MP.

So even the purchase of grain is politicised.

Leaving the church in tears

My mother on the other hand went to an Anglican church gathering to celebrate the role of mothers, I think its called Mother Mary's day.

She says there were thousands of women, from all over Zimbabwe.

The event started at 0900, and as they were having lunch at around 1300, a couple of police officers told them to disperse as they were not supposed to be there, which the women refused to do.

The policemen then left but came back a short time later with a truckload of more police officers - this time in full riot gear.

They repeated their order to disperse, and this time of course they did.

At least none of them was beaten, but my mother was in tears as she told us the story.

She says as they drove away from the venue for the event (the Anglican church grounds in Mbare, a township in Harare) most of the women were crying.

On Saturday, we got bread from a supermarket for the first time in two or three weeks without having to queue for it.

We just walked in and simply picked it off a shelf. Wow!

It must have something to do with the new price - a jump from 25m Zimbabwean dollars to 65m.

The hottest topic of conversation in Harare at the moment is the shipload of arms.

People are wondering when the order was placed, before or after the elections?

And where is it now?

What if it lands on a coast where the government does not believe in human rights?

Will the arms eventually find their way here, despite the efforts of the unions in South Africa and Mozambique?

So life goes on in Zimbabwe.

We are slowly resigning ourselves to more of RG's rule.

It does not look as if he going anywhere.

I keep imagining that we are drowning and people on the shore can see we are in distress.

But there is someone with us, and this is the person they ask, "Is everything ok?" The person replies, "Yes, yes, no need to worry, I'll have you out in a minute."

So the onlookers go on with what they were doing, only to read about how we were found washed up on the shore, dead, the next day.

Zimbabwe's maize harvest should reduce need for food relief, says UN

Business Report

April 22, 2008

By Donwald Pressly

Cape Town - The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is cutting supplies to
Zimbabwe because it has calculated that harvests will come in from this

The programme reported that it had begun to "drastically scale down" its
activities from this month, when the maize harvest began.

About 300 000 Zimbabweans would be supported this month, compared to about
2.4 million who received WFP support in the last few months.

From next month, through the programme's relief and recovery operation, WFP
expected to raise this figure again to 825 000 people each year for the next
two years, but the operation would "seasonally expand its assistance" to
cover as many as another 1 million highly vulnerable people "if they are
affected by crop failure".

Although "early indications" were that this year's harvest might be lower
than expected due to insufficient inputs - in particular fertiliser - and
floods, Marcus Prior, the regional manager for central, eastern and southern
Africa, said yesterday that it was too early to give an accurate estimate of
the harvest - and far too early to say whether WFP would have to scale up
its operations later in the year.

The programme reported that supply routes had not been disrupted by the
unsettled political environment - including post-election violence as the
country awaits, after three weeks, the result of the presidential election.

Prior said from Nairobi that food was procured from Zambia, Malawi, South
Africa and Mozambique for the WFP operation in Zimbabwe "and moved into the
country by road".

He said: "There have not been any problems moving food into Zimbabwe." The
WFP had "no reports" of any of its distributions being disrupted over the
past few weeks.

Richard Lee, of the WFP information office in Johannesburg, said in a
statement that the UN agency had completed food distributions last month,
earlier than usual, to avoid any overlap with the final run-up to the
presidential and parliamentary poll on March 29.

Mugabe’s Political Gambling

Korea Times

By Rejoice Ngwenya

HARARE ― On the 28th anniversary of throwing off colonial rule, we still
cannot throw off one-man rule as President Robert Mugabe's clings to power
after two million Zimbabweans showed him the red card.

Among other accusations, Mugabe is questioning the credibility of the
Zimbabwe Election Committee (ZEC), staffed by his men, and its ability to
count votes.

These are the characters who have taken eight days to pronounce
parliamentary and senatorial results and have yet to tell us who won the
ticket to the presidency, Morgan Tsvangirai or Robert Mugabe.

Of course, Mugabe has no problem accepting that 97 of his parliamentary and
30 of his senatorial candidates won fairly. In fact, his ZANUpf party was
delighted when the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other
African election monitors praised him for conducting a ``free and fair"

Now, faced with the prospect of relinquishing the presidency to Tsvangirai,
he has resolved to fight him in a presidential run-off ― although we still
do not know how many votes the contestants got.

We can assume Mugabe has had a preview of the outcome and now needs to
subvert the will of the people: ZANUpf is now asking for a recount of the
presidential ballots amid fears they have been tampered with.

The results were compiled at polling stations and signed for by all
contesting parties on official government stationery and transported to the
headquarters of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). How on earth can
Mugabe claim his votes were miscounted in such an elaborate free and fair

Meanwhile, Mugabe still plays president by changing monetary and tax
regulations, arresting foreign journalists and getting the so-called war
veterans to threaten more violence against the few remaining white farmers.

On the other side, the restive Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has taken his case to the High Court in order to
compel the ZEC to release presidential results.

Tsvangirai is a slow learner. Since 2000, all election results have been
manipulated and the MDC has challenged them in the courts but we have yet to
see any ruling.

Tsvangirai now needs to do everything he can to unite the opposition at this
moment of crisis. He allowed his advisors to scuttle coalition agreements
with other opposition forces, driven by exaggerated expectations of an
outright 52 percent majority win against a beleaguered ZANUpf government.

He should have learnt that in Kenya, Zambia and Malawi, dictatorships were
eliminated by a critical mass of combined opposition, not by a charismatic
opponent. For many months, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki gave him an
opportunity to collaborate against the 28-year-long dictatorship but he
turned it down.

To compound the crisis, Mugabe's people are creating conspiracy theories.
``There have been widespread reports of white former farmers flocking back
into the country,'' the ZANUpf newspaper The Herald said.

Mugabe fuelled the rumors by saying: ``Land must remain in our hands. The
land is ours, it must not be allowed to slip back into the hands of whites."

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa took it further: ``The MDC claim they
have won and they are unleashing former white farmers on farms occupied by
new farmers to reverse the land reform program.''

With an entrenched ruling clique, we must fear that, in the event of either
a presidential run-off or a re-count, MDC members, sympathizers and
exasperated Zimbabweans will take the fight to the streets and, before you
know it, we will be in a Kenyan scenario.

This will be an excuse for Mugabe to declare a state of emergency and rule
by decree until death do us part.

Civil society organizations and parties have so far simply urged citizens to
remain calm, while asking the ZEC to complete its legal mandate. Sooner or
later they will have to say that they are willing to defend the choice that
Zimbabweans made on March 29.

Fearing civil unrest, the National Association of Non- Governmental
Organizations, representing about 500 civil society groups, has launched a
national campaign for peace and respect for the voice of the people.

Communities all over the country will be encouraged to conduct various
non-violent social actions such as marches, prayer meetings and public
meetings. Citizens are asked to wear white ribons, scarfs and clothes as a
sign of support for peace in Zimbabwe.

Rejoice Ngwenya, a Zimbabwean freelance columnist since 1986 and civil
society strategy consultant, has been involved in constitutional research
and electoral supervision from 2000 to the present. He can be reached at

Top ANC men off to Europe

The Citizen

Published: 4/22/2008 07:53:04


JOHANNESBURG - The president of the African National Congress (ANC), Jacob
Zuma and a delegation of top ANC officials are visiting three European
capitals (Berlin, London and Paris), as part of a damage-control mission.

The delegation includes ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe,
treasurer-general Mathews Phosa, head of international relations Ebrahim
Ebrahim and national working committee (NEC) member Maite Nkoane-Mashabane.

ANC spokesman Speed Styn said: “The delegation will travel to London this
afternoon, where they will hold meetings with various business leaders,
opinion makers and civil society representatives. Zuma is also scheduled to
pay a courtesy call on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.”

Meanwhile, the ANC isgoing over President Thabo Mbeki’s head in a new
initiative to meet Zimbabwean political parties in an attempt to harmonise
the situation in Zimbabwe.

A source within the ANC told The Citizen the decision was taken because
President Thabo Mbeki had failed to act on Zimbabwe, as he had a “soft spot”
for Robert Mugabe, the “caretaker president” of Zimbabwe.

“Mbeki has failed the people of Zimbabwe, African leaders and international
leaders. He also made disturbing comments, saying there is no crisis in
Zimbabwe while people are being beaten up, evicted and killed.

“The ANC had no choice but to take action directly to speak to political
protagonists in Zimbabwe,” said a source. But ANC spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso
said the decision had not been meant to undermine President Mbeki.

More Poll Officers Arrested

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

22 April 2008
Posted to the web 22 April 2008


Two more Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials, including the provincial
election officer have appeared before a Bindura magistrate charged with
electoral fraud or alternatively breaching the Electoral Act.

This brings to nine the number of ZEC officials who have been arrested in
the province on similar charges.

Thenjiwe Mnkandla (47), the Mashonaland Central provincial elections officer
and Brian Rufu Munakira (62) the Bindura South constituency election
officer, separately appeared before magistrate Mr Charles Murove who
remanded them out of custody to Monday next week.

Prosecutor Mr Emmanuel Muchenga had opposed bail citing the serious nature
of the allegations.

Allegations against Mnkandla are that during the March 29 elections, she
received House of Assembly results for the Mazowe South constituency at the
provincial command centre.

As part of her duties, the State alleged, she was supposed to transmit the
results to the national command centre only after cross-checking and
correcting errors or other anomalies before relaying them to the national
command centre.

But Mnkandla, the State said, allegedly sent the results to the national
command centre and had certified that they were correct. It was later
discovered that the results sent reflected the opposite of what had occurred
on the ground.

Thus the MDC-T candidate Modern Chitenga was declared the winner of the seat
yet Cde Margaret Zinyemba of Zanu-PF party was the real winner. The anomaly
was only discovered after the results were broadcast on national television
and radio.

Members of the provincial elections committee had to revisit the election
results only to discover that Zanu-PF candidate Cde Zinyemba had garnered 4
109 while MDC candidate got 4 052 instead of the initial figures of 3 086
and 3 599 respectively.

In Munakira's case, the State alleged that he overstated results he sent to
the provincial command centre for ward 21 with independent presidential
candidate Simba Makoni said to have got 289 votes on the V23 form instead of

In a related matter, another ZEC official facing allegations of negligence
of duty which prejudiced candidates in the presidential election was
yesterday granted bail by the High Court. Stephen Mukoko (63), the
headmaster of Eastridge Primary School was arrested early this month on
charges of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer or alternatively
willfully failing to perform duty under the Electoral Act.

High Court Judge Joseph Musakwa yesterday granted Mukoko $500 million bail
with reporting conditions after he was refused bail pending trial by the
magistrates' courts. Harare Magistrate Ms Olivia Mariga dismissed his bail
application to give the State time to complete investigations. Mukoko was
the constituency election officer at the District Development Fund in
Manyame in Harare South House of Assembly constituency.

It is the State's case that Mukoko negligently and wrongfully completed a
V23 form, which was then forwarded to ZEC with errors. The form indicated
that President Mugabe polled 6 030 votes instead of 6 035, Morgan Tsvangirai
of MDC-T had 5 407 instead of 5 467 while Makoni had 860 votes instead of
865. The State is alleging that as a direct result of the abuse of duty by
the accused the presidential candidates did not get the correct and true
reflection of their votes.

According to the State, this had a serious impact on the final results of
the presidential poll.

However, Mukoko's lawyers in papers submitted to the court appealed for bail
on the grounds that he was a family man of an advanced age with property in
Zimbabwe which made it unlikely for him to abscond.

Personal observation

To whom it may concern

I am not sure if this will be of interest, but I felt that I should 
put out there what I observed on a 5 hour drive through Zimbabwe 
today. I drove from Chimanimani near the Eastern border, through 
Mutare and then on to Harare.

The Chimanimani Arts Festival was on over the weekend and the whole 3 
days passed peacefully and successfully by all accounts.

On the 80 km stretch between Chimanimani and Wengezi, at one small 
village on the road there were a crowd of villagers, about 60 strong, 
who had been lined up in seated rows in a clearing under some trees. 
They were being lectured to by a middle-aged man, in plain clothes, 
who appeared to be ranting at them. Church meeting? Village pungwe? 
Or ZANU PF re-education? I am not sure, but I know what it looked like.

Between Wengezi and Harare we also saw one ZANU PF pick up, with 
several males on board, and 4 other trucks with government plates 
with fair numbers of men aboard, 2 large army trucks filled with 
uniformed soldiers, 2 police pick ups with passengers and 4 new 4 x 4 
vehicles with no number plates each with 3 to 4 male passengers.

There were around 8 police blocks altogther, mostly manned by police 
women and we were only stopped at one, at which the officer was very 
pleasant. Quite frankly the police did not seem to be interested in 
much butt buses and trucks.

We travel this road every 4 to 6 weeks and the military traffic on 
the road was unusually high. But what struck us more than anything 
was the exceptionally high number of civilians waiting by the road 
trying to find transport, both in the rural areas and the towns. In 
Rusape there were literally hundreds of people by the road side, all 
with large bundles.

I have heard several first-hand accounts now of beatings and torture, 
from people returning to work from the rural areas after the long 
weekend. Apparently many of them opting for lifts in private 
transport after hearing accounts of thugs getting on public transport 
and berating or beating their, then captive, audience.

I have not personally experienced any of the horror being presently 
inflicted on the people of this country, but feel all those 
Zimbabweans with access to email and internet should be relating all 
they see and hear, to make as many people aware as possible of the 
tragedy being played out here.

The elections are being stolen again, whilst the country bleeds. 
Enough is really enough...

Thanks for the news

Best regards

Say a prayer for Zimbabwe

Jamaica Gleaner

published: Tuesday | April 22, 2008

Devon Dick

Once again Zimbabwe is in a crisis and needs help. In spite of the
pronouncement of Thabo Mbeki, South Africa president, that there is no
crisis in Zimbabwe, there is a crisis and there has been a crisis for a
while. So clear is the crisis that President Mbeki's own ruling party, the
African National Congress (ANC) disagreed with Mbeki and claimed there was a

There is an electoral crisis. The opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) won the parliamentary elections.

Recount wanted

However, the Electoral Commission, after three weeks, has not declared the
result of the presidential election. However, the ruling party, aided by the
Electoral Commission wants to have a recount and, possibly, a run-off.
However, President Robert Mugabe is putting the horse before the cart. There
should not be a recount until the count is declared. The results need to be
known and then there can be recounts, challenges and a possible re-run.

I heard a South African diplomat at the United Nations (UN) trying to defend
what is happening in Zimbabwe by likening it to what happened in Florida,
USA in the 2000 presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore.
However, that is an unfair analogy because in that election the results were
declared and then there was a challenge leading to a recount. The
international community, including Jamaica, should support the UN Secretary
General and call for the immediate release of the results of the Zimbabwean
presidential race.

Strange ruling

There is also a judicial crisis. The Supreme Court made a strange ruling, to
say the least, when it did not force the Electoral Commission to release the
results immediately. One cannot help but feel that the judiciay is an arm of
the ruling party.

There is a serious economic crisis in Zimbabwe. When I visited Zimbabwe
about four years ago, as a guest of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair
(ZIBF), I was appalled that they had an inflation rate of 600 per cent. I
realised, then, that Zimbabwe was in a deep economic hole. Any country with
an inflation rate above nine per cent annually is in trouble. By May 2007,
the official annualised inflation rate was 4,500 per cent. By November it
was 26,000 and in February of this year, it was 66,212 per cent. These are
official statistics!

As Jamaicans know, from experience, a high inflation is one of the worst
forms of taxation. It stifles economic growth and erodes the purchasing
power and lifestyle of the citizens. Zimbabwe was in an economic free fall
and President Mugabe was, clearly, not managing the country and even for
that reason he should not have offered himself for re-election.

The country has a humanitarian crisis. Last December, while in England, I
watched a documentary about the plight of Zimbabweans who tried to smuggle
themselves into South Africa. People are suffering in Zimbabwe.

Say a prayer

But do not cry for Mugabe; instead say a prayer for Zimbabwe. Unbelievably,
the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai is offering Mugabe an amnesty.
Mugabe was a great freedom fighter against the oppressive British regime.

However, the oppressed became oppressive, having learnt well from the former
oppressors. However, if we continue to allow oppressive tyrants off the hook
then poor citizens will continue to suffer. Let international tribunals make
ruling on the Mugabes, Bothas, Pinochets, Blairs and Bushes of this world.

The electoral, the economic, the judicial and humanitarian crises are real.
Jamaica and the world needs to confront this present and immediate danger
and say a prayer for Zimbabwe. These problems require supernatural and
superhuman effort to save Zimbabwe.

Rev Devon Dick is pastor of Boulevard Baptist Church and author of
'Rebellion to Riot: the Church in Nation Building'.

Crisis Leaves Zimbabweans Hungry, Beaten


Election Results Still Hidden, Opposition Claims Brutal Crackdown, World
Slow To Help
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, April 22, 2008

(CBS) This story was written by CBS News' Sarah Carter, reporting from Cape
Town, South Africa.

The opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change says Zimbabwe is a
war zone. The MDC claims 10 of its supporters have been killed by President
Robert Mugabe's henchmen, more than 500 attacked, 400 arrested and more than
3,000 families displaced.

Several MDC supporters in hiding described to CBS News seeing camps set up
by military officers and members of youth militias. The claims are confirmed
by a report released on Saturday by Human Rights Watch, which said "torture
camps" had been set up in rural areas.

Three weeks after the March 29 election, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
has not released the results of the presidential race. The MDC has lost
repeated appeals to the High Court to force the commission to announce the
results. Instead, the commission has begun recounting votes in 23 districts,
where Mugabe's ZANU PF party claims there were counting irregularities.

Government soldiers went into the electoral centre last week and removed the
ballot boxes. No independent observers were allowed to remain with the boxes
or given any information about a possible recount. There has been no further
information on the location or security of the ballot boxes since.

Help From A Neighbor:

Across the border in South Africa, the ruling African National Congress
(ANC) party has decided to circumvent President Mbeki and deal directly with
the players in the Zimbabwe crisis. The move came after Mbeki said there was
no crisis in Zimbabwe, following a meeting eight days ago with his long-time
ally Mugabe.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said his party had decided to
dump Mbeki as chief mediator in the crisis. Tsvangirai has asked the
Southern African Development Community to recall Mbeki as the organization's

Last week the ANC took the unusual step of criticizing the country's
president, saying in a statement that Mbeki, seen at left, needed "to
observe a neutral position in this matter."

Tsvangirai, who left Zimbabwe 10 days after the election, says it's too
dangerous for him to return to Zimbabwe. He has been traveling from his new
base in Johannesburg garnering support from the continent's leaders. Monday
he met in Nigeria with President Umaru Yar'Adua and former President
Olusegun Obasanjo before flying to Accra, Ghana to attend the twelfth
session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Humanitarian Appeal:

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon planned to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis at
the conference. Tsvangirai met Ban Tuesday and pressed him to issue a firm
statement demanding the release of the election results.

While the political situation is volatile, the humanitarian crisis is
reaching dire levels.

Activists claim food is being denied to opposition supporters. Prior to last
month's election, more than 3 million people in Zimbabwe were being fed by
the World Food Program, according to MDC Secretary-General Tendayi Biti,
seen at left. With government soldiers now handing out much of the food aid,
basic food supplies have become scarce and unaffordable.

In a bid to gain favor Mugabe printed trillions of Zimbabwean dollars to
fund what's reported to be a 700 percent pay-rise for civil servants - this,
in a country with a 100,000 percent inflation rate that economists project
could grow to five-times that by May.

What little money the Zimbabwean government has cobbled together seems to be
going, not to food aid, but to arms.

Deadly Cargo:

The International Transport Worker's Federation (ITF) said Monday it was
organizing unions across Africa to prevent the unloading of a Chinese ship
carrying weapons destined for Zimbabwe.

The ship left the South African port of Durban on Friday after the country's
high court ruled it could be offloaded in Durban, but barred its cargo from
being transported to the boarder with Zimbabwe.

A South African newspaper published a list of the ship's inventory, which
includes 3 million rounds of AK47 ammunition, 1,500 rocket propelled
grenades and more than 3,000 mortar rounds. It's reported the ship is now
heading towards Luanda, Angola where it will send its contents by land to
the Zimbabwean Ministry of Defense.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the Bush administration was
intervening with governments in the region to prevent the ship's cargo from
reaching Zimbabwe.

Jendayi Frazer, the top American diplomat for Africa, was to meet leaders in
southern Africa this week to voice U.S. concerns over the deadly payload.

U.S. intelligence agencies were tracking the vessel, according to the AP
report, and American diplomats were under instructions to press officials in
South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola not to let it dock.

Weapons meant to 'butcher' Zimbabweans: MDC


April 22, 2008, 09:00

The weapons on board the Chinese ship which fled Durban harbour last week
were clearly meant to "butcher" innocent Zimbabweans, the country's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said today.

"Those weapons were not going to be used on mosquitoes, but (were) clearly
meant to butcher innocent civilians whose only crime is rejecting
dictatorship and voting for change, and change they can trust," the MDC said
in a statement ahead of talks with the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu).

In those discussions, it would convey its "appreciation" of the refusal by
the Cosatu-affiliated SA Transport Workers' Union to be party to the
movement of the weapons to landlocked Zimbabwe, it said.

Biti to brief Vavi on crisis
The MDC's secretary general Tendai Biti is to meet with Cosatu general
secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in SA today. Biti would brief Vavi on the crisis
in Zimbabwe as part of the MDC's "diplomatic offensive, informed by the need
for African solutions for African problems".

Biti would also convey appreciation for the solidarity Cosatu and South
African workers had shown the Zimbabwean people as they struggled to free
themselves "from the painful hand of the vampire dictatorship".

"The hour of change has come. We are confident of victory. However long it
may take, we have a date with Zimbabwe's prosperity and we will not be late,
neither will we miss it," the MDC said. The MDC won the majority of seats in
Zimbabwe's parliamentary election, but the results of its presidential
election have yet to be announced with recounts underway in several areas.

However, the MDC contends that this is an attempt by President Robert Mugabe
to "steal" the election. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has already claimed
victory. - Sapa

Mugabe clearly stealing election: Smith

Sydney Morning Herald

April 22, 2008 - 1:42PM

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will do anything in his power to steal
the recent election, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says.

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claimed victory
in the March 29 parliamentary poll but that result could be overturned by a

The MDC believes its leader Morgan Tsvangirai also won the presidential poll
and has accused Mugabe of attempting to cling to power by refusing to
declare the results.

Mr Smith on Tuesday said the Australian government was increasingly
concerned about claims of violence against MDC supporters.

"It is now absolutely apparent that Mr Mugabe will do anything to steal this
election," Mr Smith told reporters.

"It is quite clear that their so-called recount is nothing but a sham," he

"A blatant attempt by Mr Mugabe to either avoid a presidential run-off, or
have a presidential run-off in which intimidation, threats, thuggery prevent
the will of the Zimbabwean people."

Mr Smith urged the African Union and the international community to maintain
pressure on the "ruthless Mugabe regime" to ensure he could not get away
with stealing power.