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Zimbabwe state media calls for Mugabe-led unity government

Times Online
April 23, 2008

Times Online
A Zimbabwean state newspaper called today for a transitional government of
national unity under Robert Mugabe.

The Herald, which is seen not just as a mouthpiece for President Mugabe's
Zanu (PF) party but also as a barometer of its mood, said that political
tensions in Zimbabwe made it impossible to hold a run-off vote.

In an editorial, the newspaper said that a transitional government should
seek the help of the South African Development Community (SADC) and beyond
to write a new constitution adopted after a national referendum, and to
organise new elections.

“It stands to reason that, the transitional government of national unity,
negotiated by the two leading contending parties, under the mediation of
SADC, supported by the international community, should be led by the
incumbent President,” it said.

Related Links
  a.. Zimbabwe church leaders warn of genocide
  a.. Zimbabwean arms ship 'may be recalled'
  a.. Neighbouring states lose patience with Mugabe
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has already rejected
suggestions of a second-round of voting because it claims that its leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, won the March 29 presidential contest.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has yet to release any results from the
presidential election, and has for some days been engaged in a recount of
the parliamentary ballot, after initially announcing that the MDC had
dislodged Zanu (PF) from power. Mr Tsvangirai - who was today visiting
Mozambique - has accused Mr Mugabe of trying to rig the election to cling on
to power after 28 years.

There are signs of growing regional impatience with Mr Mugabe from
neighbours, who have until now refused to take a hard line with the former
liberation hero despite an economic crisis that has brought unemployment and
hunger to millions of Zimbabweans.

In an unprecedented action, southern African states refused to allow a
Chinese ship carrying arms to landlocked Zimbabwe to unload.

In his toughest comments yet, Jacob Zuma, leader of South Africa's ruling
party leader and widely expected to be the country's next president, said:
“It’s not acceptable. 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 right.”

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Zimbabwe paper says poll run-off ‘impossible’

Financial Times

By Reuters, April 23

Regional countries should mediate negotiations in Zimbabwe for a
transitional government of national unity led by President Robert Mugabe to
organise new elections that are free, a state newspaper said on Wednesday.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe’s ZANU-PF are
locked in an election stalemate over delayed parliamentary results and a
possible presidential runoff that has raised fears of widespread violence.

Zimbabwe’s MDC seeks regional help - Apr-20
Mugabe accuses Britain of paying rivals - Apr-18
S African union blocks Zimbabwe arms cargo - Apr-18
Video: Rice on Zimbabwe - Apr-18
Mbeki told to quit Zimbabwe mediation - Apr-17
Pretoria clears arms for Harare - Apr-18
The editorial on The Herald’s website said political tensions make it
impossible to hold a run-off, which the MDC rejects.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he won the election outright and
accused Mugabe of seeking a run-off to rig victory in the biggest challenge
to his 28-year rule.

Tsvangirai has appealed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
and foreign powers to intervene to guarantee a democratic poll result and
prevent widespread violence.

There are signs of growing regional impatience with Mugabe from neighbours
who have refused to take a hard line with the former liberation hero despite
an economic crisis that has brought millions of Zimbabweans to their knees.

Maritime southern African states refused to allow a Chinese ship carrying
arms to landlocked Zimbabwe to unload, in unprecedented action towards
Mugabe by long-passive neighbours, including traditional allies.

The action indicated a tougher response by the region, which has been
criticised, particularly by the United States, for not doing more to end a
three-week delay in issuing results from a presidential election on March

In his toughest comments yet, South African ruling party leader Jacob Zuma
said in a Reuters interview in Berlin.

”It’s not acceptable. 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 right.”

Zuma, who has distanced himself from the ”quiet diplomacy” of South African
President Thabo Mbeki over Zimbabwe, added: ”I imagine that the leaders in
Africa should really move in to unlock this logjam.”

His comments were one factor helping to lift the rand currency to a
seven-week high against the dollar. Traders welcomed Zuma’s readiness to
take a lead on Zimbabwe after concern the crisis would hit Africa’s biggest


The Herald, seen as a barometer of the official mood, said a transitional
government should seek the help of the SADC and the international community
to write a new constitution adopted after a national referendum.

”It stands to reason that, the transitional government of national unity,
negotiated by the two leading contending parties, under the mediation of
SADC, supported by the international community, should be led by the
incumbent president,” it said.

The MDC deprived Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party of its majority in parliament in a
parallel vote on March 29 but there has also been a delay to a partial
recount of votes from that poll.

The recount could overturn the MDC victory. The opposition and Western
governments say it is merely another ploy by Mugabe to steal back the
election. The Herald said ZANU-PF retained one of the 23 seats being

Tsvangirai called for African leaders to acknowledge that he won the vote,
saying Mugabe would be allowed an honourable exit.

Africa’s reputation would suffer ”serious disrepute” if Mugabe stayed in
power, Tsvangirai said in Accra.

Tensions have been rising on the ground as Tsvangirai tours the region
seeking help in pushing aside Mugabe, a wily leader who critics say has used
ruthless security crackdowns and a vast patronage system to keep a tight
grip on power.

The MDC has accused ZANU-PF of killing 10 of its members and rounding up
hundreds, charges denied by the ruling party.

The Herald said police have handled over 75 cases of poltical violence
carried out by suspected MDC supporters.

The editorial called on both sides to compromise.

”The peace and security of Zimbabwe, that it has enjoyed since independence,
is at great risk,” it said.

”Whilst the ruling party must stop behaving like a wounded buffalo, the
opposition party must stop its hysterics and lapses into delusion.”

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'Angolan troops set to help Mugabe'


    April 23 2008 at 07:02AM

By Tawanda Mashingaidze, Basildon Peta, Hans Pienaar and Louise

Harare - Crack Angolan troops are on standby to fly to the aid of
President Robert Mugabe and his beleaguered Zanu-PF should the need arise,
according to senior military sources who are becoming increasingly concerned
about the turn of events.

They maintain that Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has
assured Mugabe that battle-hardened troops who have seen action in the DRC
conflict are ready to fly to the aid of Zanu-PF in the face of "an
imperialist onslaught".

What this indicates is that Mugabe and the ruling party can no longer
rely on the unswerving loyalty of his armed forces, if he steals the March
29 election and provokes violent resistance.

While the top brass in the military generally support the system, the
same cannot be said for many other officers. Among the ordinary ranks who,
along with their families, have suffered in the desperate economic
conditions, there is widespread disgruntlement.

Significantly, much of the reported terror being conducted against
suspected opposition supporters in the rural areas is being carried out by
Zanu-PF youth militia rather than the army or police.

The existence of these gangs of young thugs and the manner in which
they are conducting themselves has also contributed to the disquiet within
the military and, perhaps to a lesser degree, among the police.

Given rudimentary military training and immunity from prosecution,
they have been turned loose in a number of areas.

In the rural Mashonaland constituency of Mutoko North, the local
chairperson of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Themba
Muronde was last week beaten to death by "Green Bombers" as the youth
militia are known.

According to family members who have sought refuge in Harare, Muronde
was dragged from his home on Sunday and severely beaten.

He was still unable to move when the "Bombers" returned 24 hours
later. They dragged him from his home and beat him, apparently to death,
before taking his body with them.

Frightened families from rural areas in which the Bombers are
operating are continuing to drift into Harare.

Meanwhile, the An Yue Jiang and its consignment of weapons destined
for Zimbabwe continued to mystify as it appeared on Tuesday to do another
about turn and to start the long haul back home to China.

On Tuesday the container ship was spotted off Cape Town and by
mid-afternoon it had apparently abandoned its attempt to dock in Namibia or
Angola, and turned around to head back around the South African coast.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on April
23, 2008

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Violence in Chiredzi and Zaka

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 23 April 2008 06:41
Lowveld News:


I am getting reports from the Zaka and Chiredzi constituencies now of
threats and violence by youth militia perpetrated against MDC polling agents
and villagers who it was perceived voted for the MDC. In these
constituencies the army and police have not been involved in any violence
against the people, but have also not acted against Mugabe’s militia. These
attacks are mostly taking place on the resettled farms and in the communal
areas near these farms.

Farmers move to the towns

Several farmers spent the weekend in Chiredzi because they had
received word that they were going to be “JAMBANJAED”. (beaten up)

The guard on my ranch was told that we would be killed if we were not
off by the end of the month. I have taken this as a serious threat because
they are the same group who attacked my ranch in Feb.2002 and killed 3 off
my game scouts’ one of them being the brother of the threatened guard and
tried to kill me. I have, in person and in writing, reported this to Chief
Superintendent Dzaramba who is in charge of the Chiredzi district.,
hopefully he will act against them.

Dangerously unhappy

I am getting many SMS messages from the MDC youth now desperately
looking for guns, saying that they are tired of been chased and beaten by
Mugabe’s youth, obviously I do not have arms to give them and so tell them
that Morgan wants all his people to stay calm and peaceful.


If somebody has an answer to this question, please let me know so that
I can pass it on and so give hope to our people and help to prevent a blood
Gerry Whitehead

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Gugulethu Moyo: The poll was 'an African solution to an African problem'

Independent, UK

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

People speak of an African solution to an African problem. For Zimbabwe's
crisis, there has already been an African solution. The people of Zimbabwe,
who are of course African, voted over three weeks ago. They had hopes that
participating in an election would save them. Most likely, they voted for a
change of government, but regardless they, the sovereign people of the
republic, expressed their will.

But hopes for a rapid change have dimmed with every day that the results of
the election remain unannounced. Robert Mugabe and his party, Zanu-PF, are
now refusing to accept the will of the people and are, instead, clinging on
to power by force.

Their crude efforts to reverse their losses at the poll by ordering a
recount of the votes, combined with a naked campaign of violent retribution
against those thought to have voted for the opposition in the past few days
are factors confirming the illegitimacy of Mugabe's regime that even the
greatest apologists for the regime in Harare have not been able to ignore.

It is mildly encouraging that after years of efforts to maintain the
appearance of having a firm grip over the management of the process of
resolving the Zimbabwean crisis despite their obvious failure to influence
Mugabe, leaders of Africa, and Zimbabwe's neighbours in particular, are at
last dropping these pretences. They don't have Mugabe's ear and they are
plainly embarrassed by his and his regime's recalcitrance as the crisis in
the country deepens. This week, Africa's leadership – the African Union, the
South African government and the ruling African National Congress – at least
thought it necessary to again press Mugabe publicly to announce the results
of the election and to respect the result. Zambia and Mozambique's
leadership were bolder still. They distanced themselves from Zanu-PF's
further attempts to suppress the popular will through force.

The truth is that the gap between the African leaders and those of the wider
international community is narrow. But Mugabe survives on the sliver of an
illusion that there is some division. It is time for African leaders to make
the final leap and admit that the manifest challenge of ending the crisis
created by Mugabe's regime requires a united international effort. World
leaders, African and beyond, should openly work together towards a solution
to the crisis. Their responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe, to whom they
promised a free and fair election, demands nothing less.

Gugulethu Moyo is a Zimbabwean lawyer. She is editor of the book The Day
After Mugabe

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Zimbabwe needs more than quiet diplomacy

Independent, UK

Leading article:

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The recent history of Zimbabwe has felt like a series of false dawns. Hopes
that Robert Mugabe's cruel and chaotic rule might finally be over have been
repeatedly dashed, as the old dictator moved ruthlessly to steal the
election he had so obviously lost. He deployed a formidable array of sly
tactics: invasions of white farms, arrests of election officials, bogus
recounts and campaigns of intimidation in areas where the people had dared
to vote against him. And yet it seems that the tide has finally turned
against him.

Key in this change has been South Africa's leader-in-waiting, Jacob Zuma,
who arrives in London today for talks with Gordon Brown before moving on to
meet the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the German Chancellor,
Angela Merkel. Mr Zuma, in his toughest comments to date, yesterday called
on African leaders to move in to unblock the Zimbabwean logjam. The remarks
come all the more powerfully from the man who is now head of the African
National Congress and the front-runner to take over as South Africa's
president from Thabo Mbeki, whose "quiet diplomacy" approach is increasingly
seen as discredited at home and abroad.

To be fair, Mr Mbeki had his moment. It was his initiative which changed
election rules in Zimbabwe, requiring the results of each count to be nailed
to the door of each polling station. That was what made it clear to the
world, despite Mr Mugabe's attempt to stifle the result, that he had roundly
lost. But quiet diplomacy has had its day. Mr Brown realised that when he
spoke out against Mugabe vote-rigging at the United Nations, in a marked
departure from the silence Tony Blair kept for fear that public condemnation
merely fuelled Mugabe's rants about how everything was a plot by the
British. A new momentum is clear all across Africa.

The President of Zambia has just urged Angola to turn away a ship carrying
Chinese arms for the Mugabe regime, which South African trade unions refused
to unload in Durban last week. Kenya's new prime minister has appealed for
African heads of state to use force if necessary to remove Mugabe from
power. The African Union has this week added its voice to the chorus of
disapproval; its current chairman, the President of Tanzania, is pressing
within the AU and the Southern African Development Community for action. All
of that is far more important than condemnations from Western nations.

It is significant that, though the South African High Court suspended the
Chinese arms shipment's conveyance permit, it was the nation's transport
union, Satawu, which led the fight against allowing weapons to the Zimbabwe
regime. Satawu was a key force in the struggle against apartheid. It is also
now an important ally of Mr Zuma, whose power base is mainly among the trade
unions. Zimbabwe's rightful president, Morgan Tsvangirai, whom Mr Zuma went
out of his way to meet – in contrast to Mr Mbeki – is a former trade
unionist, too. He is also, like Mr Zuma, of Zulu tribal origin.

There is a power struggle between Mr Mbeki, who steps down as president next
year, and Mr Zuma, his former deputy. Its outcome is not absolutely certain;
for eight years, Mr Mbeki has spared no effort in trying to nail Mr Zuma,
with charges of tax evasion and rape which Zuma supporters say were trumped
up. He was acquitted of rape but faces a corruption trial in September. If
Zimbabwe is one of the key cards in the poker game between the two men, that
could yet work to the advantage of Zimbabweans. Mr Zuma knows that if he can
broker some kind of resolution in that benighted nation, it will go a long
way to alleviating concerns in the international community about his
leadership ability.It will raise his political stock at home and throughout
Africa. Change for Zimbabwe may, after all, be unstoppable.

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Zimbabwe's neighbors unite to block arms shipment

Washingtom Post

The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 22, 2008; 7:40 PM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Zimbabwe's regime got a taste of the
international isolation critics say it deserves, with its neighbors blocking
a shipment of Chinese arms to prevent them from being used against Robert
Mugabe's opponents. China said Tuesday the weapons might be returned home.

Union, church and human rights leaders across southern Africa rallied
against allowing the Chinese freighter An Yue Jiang to dock at ports in any
of landlocked Zimbabwe's neighbors, and they were bolstered by
behind-the-scenes pressure from the United States.

In the end, governments usually unwilling to criticize Mugabe barred the
ship at a time when Zimbabwe's government is being accused of cracking down
on dissenters.

On Tuesday, church leaders in Zimbabwe said people were being tortured,
abducted and murdered in a campaign of retribution against opposition
supporters following the March 29 election, and urged international

In Washington, the State Department said it had urged countries in southern
Africa _ notably South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia _ not to allow
the ship to dock or unload. It also asked the Chinese government to recall
the vessel and not to make further weapons shipments to Zimbabwe until the
postelection crisis is resolved.

China insisted the shipment of mortar grenades, ammunition and other weapons
was part of "normal military product trade between the two countries,"
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

"As far as I know, the carrier is now considering carrying back the cargo,"
she added.

Patrick Craven, spokesman for a South African trade union federation, which
helped lead the campaign, called it a "historic victory" that he hoped would
encourage Zimbabweans and lead to more grass-roots campaigns against Mugabe.

"So far the governments have clearly been lagging behind the people," Craven
said. "We're hoping now they will wake up."

A spokesman for Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai welcomed the
development. "It would be pleasing to the people of Zimbabwe to note that
there has been solidarity on the continent to stop the arming of the
(Mugabe) regime at the expense of the people," said the aide, Nelson

When the ship arrived in South Africa last week, the government said there
was no legal reason to stop its cargo from being unloaded and shipped on to
Zimbabwe. There is no international arms embargo against Zimbabwe.

The Southern Africa Litigation Center, a South Africa-based human rights
group, persuaded a judge to bar the weapons from transiting South Africa to
reach Zimbabwe. The ship then sailed away from South Africa, and private
groups and government officials in Mozambique, Angola and Namibia also
objected to the weapons.

Nicole Fritz, director of the center, said she believed Zimbabwe's neighbors
were not changing policy but were responding to pressure from civic groups
and the United States. She was particularly critical of South Africa, whose
President Thabo Mbeki was chosen by regional leaders to mediate between
Mugabe and his opponents and who has counseled against confronting Mugabe.

"The South African authorities' actions over this past week ... suggest that
South Africa cannot be perceived to be a good faith mediator," she said,
noting the Zimbabwean opposition has asked that Mbeki step aside.

Over 200 African bar associations, human rights groups and other independent
organizations met Monday in Tanzania and issued a demand that the African
Union get involved in Zimbabwe's crisis, saying the southern African
regional grouping that had appointed Mbeki mediator is not doing enough.

The Zimbabwe crisis "is serious enough that the AU must get involved and it
must de dealt with at a continental level because this is an issue that has
strong implications for the continent," Eleanor Sisulu of Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition told The Associated Press Tuesday.

The State Department also is urging governments in the region to step up
pressure on Mugabe's government to release the long-delayed results of the
election and said the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, would
leave Washington Tuesday for talks in Angola, South Africa and Zambia.

The Bush administration also pressured Zimbabwe's neighbors to turn away the
arms shipment.

"Right now, clearly, is not the time that we would want to see anyone
putting additional weapons or additional material into this system when the
situation is so unsettled and when we have seen real and visible instances
of abuses committed by the security forces," deputy spokesman Tom Casey told

He added that China had been encouraged in a message delivered by U.S.
diplomats in Beijing "to halt this shipment" and "to refrain from making
additional shipments."

Mugabe's deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, said Tuesday his
country had the right to acquire arms from legitimate sources. "We are not a
rebel country," he told The Associated Press.

The opposition says post-election violence had displaced 3,000 people,
injured 500 and left 10 dead.

Chamisa, the opposition spokesman, said he visited a hospital in
southeastern Zimbabwe on Monday where he saw cases of people injured in
postelection violence, including a pregnant woman who had a "wound in her
womb" after being stabbed. He said he also saw an 85-year-old woman whose
legs had been broken.

Mugabe's officials said such reports could not be confirmed, adding that if
there had been such violence, the opposition could be to blame.


Associated Press writers Christopher Bodeen in Beijing, Celean Jacobson in
Johannesburg and Tom Maliti in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.

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Mugabe's international enablers

National Post, Canada

National Post  Published: Saturday, April 19, 2008

We know most of our readers need no further proof that inter -nationalist
organizations such as the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the African
Union (AU) are nothing more than toothless debating societies. But those few
who need more convincing need look no further than Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe
is stealing last month's elections in plain sight, and not one of the major
talk-shops is lifting a finger to stop him.

Sunday will mark three weeks since Zimbabweans voted for a parliament and
president, and still the official results have not been released. The
country's national election commission, appointed by Mr. Mugabe, has offered
no convincing explanation for the delay, fuelling speculation that the
results favour the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and that
the commission is merely stalling

The world community has essentially washed its hands of Zimbabwe's crisis
until it can stuff enough ballot boxes to swing the tallies back in favour
of Mr. Mugabe's socialist ZANU-PF party.

This weekend will be crucial. If Zimbabwe's courts -- also full of Mugabe
appointees --permit the election commission to go ahead with recounts in the
22 constituencies whose results are disputed by Mr. Mugabe's followers, but
not in the 60 challenged by the MDC, then by Monday it may be possible for
ZANU-PF and Mr. Mugabe to claim re-election.

The local results that trickled out after the March 29 election showed the
main opposition winning 109 of 210 parliamentary seats to ZANUPF's 97.
Meanwhile, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai captured just over 50% of the
presidential ballots, while Mr. Mugabe received just under 50%. With such
slim margins, it would not be necessary for Mr. Mugabe's handpicked
commissioners to rig the vote much to reverse the results in his favour.
(Even if the Mugabefriendly courts rule against the recounts he has
demanded, the election commission says it will go ahead, another sure sign
that Mr. Mugabe and his cronies are intent on winning at all costs.)

So where are the Commonwealth, the UN and the AU? They have each essentially
washed their hands of the crisis. They all claim to have ceded
responsibility for breaking the Zimbabwean impasse to the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), an emerging union of 14 nations in the region,
patterned after the EU.

But the SADC is dominated by South Africa, and South African President Thabo
Mbeki is an old chum of Mr. Mugabe's. It is no coincidence that the SADC
last week appointed Mr. Mbeki to broker a deal between Mr. Mugabe and his
opponents, nor that Mr. Mugabe has felt free to crack down on the opposition
in the days since, arresting scores of MDC officials and accusing Mr.
Tsvangirai of treason, an offence punishable by death in Zimbabwe.

By off-loading responsibility to Mr. Mbeki, the Commonwealth, UN and AU
have, for all intents and purposes, given their blessing to Mr. Mugabe's
electoral theft. Mr. Mbeki is too cozy with Mr. Mugabe to force his old
anti-colonial warrior-in-arms to play fair, and the large international
organizations knew this when they agreed to step aside for the SADC.

On Friday, in a bizarre speech filled with the sort of conspiracy theories
that Mr. Mugabe is fond of peddling whenever his iron rule is jeopardized,
the 84-year-old strongman claimed that under his opponents, Zimbabwe would
"go back to white people, to the British."

Many Zimbabweans no doubt wish this were true. Since independence in 1980,
the annual income of the average Zimbabwean has fallen from $1,200 to under
$500. Unemployment is currently as high as 80%, and inflation is well over
120,000%. Mr. Mugabe's land reforms, corruption and flights of
central-planning fantasy are the reason, but the President has instead
blamed his problems on foreign (especially British) conspirators.

As clownish as Mr. Mugabe's threats are, the joke is very much on the world
community. For all our moralizing, he will never be forced from office so
long as cowardly international organizations refuse to act against him. And
Zimbabwe will never be able to recover so long as the international
community timidly leaves Mr. Mugabe in power.

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Will Neighbors Save Zimbabwe?


Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2008 By MEGAN LINDOW

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe appears increasingly unlikely to allow
the election he appears to have lost to end his 28-year tenure. Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission officials on Sunday announced a new delay in the
recounting of votes from 23 of the 210 constituencies in an election held
three weeks ago. Opposition leaders believe the results are being rigged to
deny them victory, but the growing campaign of violent intimidation against
opposition supporters makes it unlikely that the opposition would take
matters to the streets. So the search for a resolution to the crisis has
increasingly shifted the spotlight to the landlocked country's neighbors,
and the extent to which they might pressure Mugabe to respect the
electorate's verdict.

Opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai has fled the country,
while 10 opposition activists have been killed and hundreds more injured in
post-election violence — and refugees continue to stream across the border
into South Africa. Despite growing calls from around the region and the
world for the immediate release of the election results, Mugabe appears
unmoved. Last Friday he celebrated the 28th anniversary of Zimbabwean
independence by aiming his wrath against Britain, the former colonial power,
whose bidding he accuses the opposition of doing. "Down with thieves who
want to steal our country," he thundered, in his first speech since the
elections, calling on Zimbabweans to be vigilant "in the face of vicious
British machinations and the machinations of our other detractors, who are
the allies of Britain."
While Britain bluntly accuses Mugabe of "stealing" the election, reactions
from African leaders have been more restrained. On Sunday the African Union
joined the chorus of calls for the immediate release of poll results. Former
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan also weighed in, calling on
African leaders to find a solution to the situation, which he called "a
serious crisis with impact beyond Zimbabwe." But leaders of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) kept noticeably quiet on Zimbabwe at a
summit on poverty and development being held in Mauritius — except to ask
South African President Thabo Mbeki to continue to lead mediation efforts on
their behalf.

South Africa is the neighbor with the most leverage over Zimbabwe because of
economic ties, but President Mbeki has stuck fast to his policy of "quiet
diplomacy," refusing to apply visible pressure on Mugabe. Still, Mbeki's
political marginalization within his own party, which made him a lame duck
when it chose his arch-rival Jacob Zuma as ANC president last December, has
emboldened critics of his Zimbabwe policy. Trade union members in the South
African port of Durban refused to offload a Chinese ship carrying armaments
for the Zimbabwean government. The vessel, having also been denied entry to
Mozambique and Tanzania, had to leave the port and may be recalled to China,
according to news agencies. And Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa took the
unprecedented step of urging surrounding countries not to allow the cargo of
weapons to reach Zimbabwe for fear of escalating the crisis.

Analysts believe that only Zimbabwe's neighbors, particularly South Africa,
have the leverage to force Mugabe to resolve the crisis. But Zimbabwe's
neighbors are divided among themselves over how to respond, and all are wary
of an anarchic breakdown that brings thousands more refugees streaming
across the border. Although Mugabe has long traded on his credentials as an
anti-imperialist liberation hero, younger leaders in the region are
exasperated by Mugabe's behavior. On Friday, Botswana's foreign minister,
Phandu Skelemani, broke ranks with his SADC peers to publicly criticize
Mbeki's handling of the crisis and admit that leaders are more concerned
about the situation than is reflected in their public statements.

Referring to the extraordinary SADC summit called the previous weekend to
discuss Zimbabwe, he said: "Everyone agreed that things are not normal,
except Mbeki... But now he understands that the rest of SADC feels this is a
matter of urgency and we are risking lives and limbs being lost. He got that
message clearly." Still, Mugabe can count on a more sympathetic hearing from
such liberation-era stalwarts as Angola's President Eduardo Dos Santos.

Although Mugabe may be vulnerable to pressure from his neighbors, analysts
doubt that member states of the SADC will agree on any decisive action that
could force him to go. South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki and other
leaders have previously given Mugabe political cover by endorsing the
results of previous elections that have looked questionable to international
observers. "The one thing Mugabe has been able to do is rely on the support
of the region," says Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, national director of the South
African Institute for International Affairs. "So, the question is, at what
point do Mugabe and the [Zimbabwean] security forces think that the tide has

South Africa holds the ultimate leverage over Zimbabwe, because, as the
country's electricity supplier, it could simply turn out the lights. But
shutting down Zimbabwe would be considerably more painful for Mugabe's
long-suffering people than for the aging autocrat himself, and the resulting
refugee crisis would put a destabilizing strain on both South Africa and
other neighbors. Yet Chris Maroleng, a Zimbabwe expert at the Institute for
Security Studies in Pretoria, expects that regional leaders will toughen
their stance in time. "Following the recount [of votes in Zimbabwe], we will
probably see some kind of cohesive strategy to deal with Zimbabwe," he says.
"As the situation worsens in Zimbabwe, [regional leaders] will increasingly
see Mugabe as a liability." That, and the precarious state of Zimbabwe's
finances, may yet change the country's political calculus.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zuma in London for Zimbabwe talks

06:35 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 07:35 UK

The leader of South Africa's governing ANC, Jacob Zuma, is in London for talks with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown expected to centre on Zimbabwe.

Ahead of their meeting, Mr Zuma said the delay in publishing election results in Zimbabwe was unacceptable.

He also urged leaders of African countries to do more to break the political deadlock in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission has still not issued the results of the March's presidential election.

The opposition MDC says its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the poll outright and it accuses supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF of voter intimidation and beatings ahead of an expected second round.

On Tuesday, church leaders in Zimbabwe called for international action to prevent post-election violence developing into genocidal proportions.

On arrival in London, Mr Zuma denounced the violence and called for the speedy release of election results.

But, in a BBC interview, he insisted South African President Thabo Mbeki's mediation efforts had done more to help the situation than Western countries' sanctions.


Mr Mbeki has previously faced accusations of taking too soft a line with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.


Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has been under fire over March's disputed elections. His neighbours have been supportive but regional differences are now emerging.

South Africa's President Mbeki is the key Zimbabwe mediator. He has refused to criticise Robert Mugabe but the ruling ANC, and trade unions have urged him to take a stronger line.

Zambian President Mwanawasa has taken the region's strongest line on Zimbabwe. His call for Africa not to let a ship carrying weapons to Zimbabwe dock will outrage President Mugabe.

Angola's government has close ties to Zimbabwe's ruling party - both came to power after fighting colonial rule in the 1970s.

Botswana is not seen as an ally of Robert Mugabe. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai fled here after polls.

Namibia is a close ally of Zimbabwe - it too is planning to redistribute white-owned farms to black villagers.

Mozambique has hosted some white farmers forced from Zimbabwe and is seen as relatively sympathetic to Zimbabwe's opposition.

Tanzania's ruling party has a long history of close ties to Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and is unlikely to criticise him.

DR Congo's President Joseph Kabila is an ally of Robert Mugabe, who sent troops to help his father, Laurent Kabila, fight rebels.

Malawi is seen as neutral. But some 3m people of Malawian origin are in Zimbabwe, mostly farmworkers who have lost their jobs and were sometimes assaulted during farm invasions.

Mr Zuma also refused in the interview to lay any blame for the crisis on President Mugabe.

His reluctance to speak out while in London is perhaps understandable, says BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall, as it is British hostility which Mr Mugabe claims is the root cause of the problem.

Post-election violence in Zimbabwe has displaced 3,000 people, injured 500 and left 10 dead, according to MDC secretary general Tendai Biti.

Human rights groups say they have found camps where people are being tortured for having voted "the wrong way".

But Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa denies that anyone had died in political violence.

Zuma calls for African mission to Zim

The Herald, Port Elizabeth
Wednesday April 23, 2008

Berlin – ANC president Jacob Zuma said yesterday Africa must send a mission
to Zimbabwe to end the “unacceptable” delay in issuing election results.

In his toughest comments yet on the three-week delay, Zuma said: “It‘s not
acceptable. 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 right.”

Zuma has made several forthright comments on the election delay, distancing
himself from President Thabo Mbeki, who has long insisted on a discreet
diplomatic approach.

But Zuma made it clear he was talking about a new initiative in addition to
Mbeki‘s mediation.

“I don‘t think the Constitution says: ‘If you like, you can hold the results‘,”
Zuma said.

“The electoral commission must issue the results because it is actually
destroying its own credibility as an institution that is supposed to be

“The leaders in Africa should really move in to unlock this logjam,” said
Zuma, who has been quick to use Mbeki‘s unsuccessful mediation to boost his
own tarnished image.

Meanwhile, the chief overseer yesterday said the controversial partial
recount of the election was now not expected to be finalised before the

Initially slated to last three days when the exercise kicked off last
Saturday, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairman George Chiweshe said some
counting centres had lost two days due to wrangling by the party
representatives over procedures.

“I expect them to be through at the weekend, but this is just an
expectation.” – Sapa

Zimbabweans need our help now

The Sowetan

23 April 2008
Lucky Mazibuko

It seems to me that the crisis in Zimbabwe will be with us for a long time.
This much I regrettably accept.

Therefore, I wish to appeal to the World Health Organisation, through their
highest office in South Africa under the directorship of Dr Welile Shasha,
to play a more active role publicly in alleviating the plight of millions of
destitute citizens in that country.

I met Shasha many years ago when he was still with the United Nations in

I strongly believe that it is through the leadership and the vision of
humanitarians such as Shasha that some of the societal anomalies that
persist in Zimbabwe can be decisively tackled.

There is untold poverty, homelessness, deprivation and suffering as a direct
result of the economic and political stalemate that prevails.

Strategically, it is crucial that some of these social ills are addressed
simultaneously and with a sense of greater urgency shown towards resolving
the political shenanigans that continue to afflict and destroy innocent
lives of ordinary and poverty-stricken Zimbabweans.

Children are starving, there is a dearth of basic medicinal necessities,
people continue to be infected with HIV and there’s a visible lack of basic
foodstuffs to feed the nation.

If we can highlight, prioritise and provide for the day-to-day necessities
which are the side-effects of the political crisis that threaten to destroy
and bring Zimbabwe to its knees, then we can proudly declare that we are
responsible neighbours.

Secondly, it will unequivocally show that we accept our inherent
responsibility, by virtue of being members of the human race, to care, to
treat and to support our neighbours who are literally on the verge of
starving to death.

Let me hasten to remind all and sundry that in the not too distant past
Zimbabweans, among other Southern African countries, including Zambia,
provided shelter and sanctuary to our own political leaders and our own
people at a time when apartheid was at its worst.

Such sacrifices by the citizens of those countries came at a heavy price.

The apartheid regime brutally attacked, maimed, raped, killed and destroyed
these countries while pursuing our exiled leaders, but citizens of those
countries refused to be intimidated.

They stood by us through thick and thin, through bloodshed and fire.
Therefore, it pains my infected heart and my stained conscience, in this day
and age of suffering and trauma, that we are seen to be turning our backs on
those people.

It is imperative that the World Health Organisation is seen to be proactive
and committed to the cause of emancipating civilians in Zimbabwe from the
cruel and unflinching jaws of poverty, disease and trauma. I speak not for
the powers-that-be but for helpless, defenceless and vulnerable children of
the South.

I am sick and tired of so-called political leaders playing a game of Russian
roulette while the lives of the powerless majority rot on a daily basis.

COSATU mobilises against illegal Zimbabwe regime

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 23 April 2008 06:48

The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the statement by a
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman that the China Ocean Shipping Company
which owns the An Yue Jiang, has decided to recall the ship because Zimbabwe
cannot take delivery of the 77 tonnes of weapons and ammunition onboard.
If true, this is an historic victory for the international trade union
movement and civil society, and in particular for the South African
Transport and Allied Workers Union, whose members refused to unload or
transport its deadly cargo.

Today's meeting between the COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi
and the Secretary General of the Movement for Democratic Change, Tendai
Biti, confirmed beyond all doubt that the people of Zimbabwe are now facing
a massive crisis - a brutal onslaught from a regime that is determined to
cling to power by stealing the elections and imposing its will through

In COSATU's view the 'government' of Robert Mugabe is now illegal and
illegitimate. Its term of office expired at the end of March when the people
voted. Its has refused to release the results of the presidential election
and has illegally organised a recount of votes in 23 constituencies in which
the ruling ZANU-PF lost narrowly to the MDC, long after the time limit of 48
hours had expired. It has even been 'recounting' the presidential votes in
those constituencies before they had been announced.

Combined with this blatant vote-rigging, the ruling party has
unleashed a systematic campaign of violence against MDC members and
supporters, which has already claimed at least ten lives. Thousands have
been displaced from their homes, five hundred injured and hospitalised and
these numbers are increasing by the day.

Meanwhile the 'government' is continuing to rule illegally, with the
former ministers restored to their posts, even those who lost their seats in
the parliamentary elections. COSATU demands that the governments of Africa
refuse to recognise this despot who is desperately hanging on to power, and
to stop inviting him to meetings of the SADC or AU.

COSATU salutes the stand taken by its transport affiliate SATAWU and
other unions around the continent, and now calls upon all its affiliates and
Southern African trade union partners, to identify, and refuse to handle,
any goods destined for Zimbabwe which could be used to assist the illegal
government or be used to oppress the people.

The federation will be holding a meeting with civil society, church
and NGO groups on Thursday, 24 April, at which plans will be finalised for a
huge protest march in South Africa, in solidarity with the people of
Zimbabwe, and to demand the removal of the Mugabe dictatorship and the
installation of a government elected by a majority on 29 March 2008

Holomisa Calls for Mbeki to State Case On 'Crises'

Business Day (Johannesburg)

23 April 2008
Posted to the web 23 April 2008

Karima Brown

UNITED Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa has asked President
Thabo Mbeki to convene a meeting with SA's "collective leadership" in order
to promote a single view on the crisis in Zimbabwe, spiralling food prices
and the future of the Scorpions.

Holomisa, who made his call in an open letter, pointed to the divergence in
Mbeki's views and th ose of the African National Congress (ANC), saying
Mbeki's role as president meant his views were seen by everyone as the
position adopted by SA.

"There seem to be differences of opinion among South Africans about how we
should handle the unfolding election crisis in Zimbabwe, coupled with
uncertainty about exactly what SA's delegation under your leadership is
currently doing in Zimbabwe.

"Although some argue that this is a Southern African Development Community
initiative, the UDM feels strongly that you are representing SA when you are
mediating in the affairs of that country, as the involvement of South
African government officials and ministers confirms. South African taxpayers
are sponsoring these efforts and if there is success it will reflect well on
this country, just like failure would leave the image of our country in

"I believe it is important that your government should meet with the
collective leadership of South African society to brief South Africans on
what is happening," Holomisa said.

The public also required greater "clarification" on the future of the
Scorpions, he said.

"It has now been publicly confirmed by both the ANC secretary- general,
Gwede Mantashe, and national executive member Siphiwe Nyanda, that the
Scorpions are on the chopping block because they are targeting only ANC

Holomisa said SA's leaders deserved an "unambiguous" explanation from the
president .

He also said Mbeki should meet leaders in all sectors to deal with the
national and international food crisis. "Prices have soared and there is no
immediate end in sight because energy and fuel prices keep escalating and
interest rates are following suit. We are potentially on the eve of a winter
of great suffering," he warned.

Zimbabwe's church leaders warn the world: intervene to avert genocide

Independent, UK

By Raymond Whitaker in Harare
Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Zimbabwe is a deeply religious country. Daily discussions of the country's
crisis end with Zimbabweans, black and white, saying: "We can only pray." So
when the leaders of Zimbabwe's churches unanimously warn that the country
faces "genocide" unless the international community intervenes, it is an
important moment.

The clerics were speaking more than three weeks after a presidential
election whose result President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party refuse
to disclose, almost certainly because he was soundly defeated by Morgan
Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). A recount of 23 parliamentary seats is under way in an apparent
attempt to restore Zanu-PF's lost majority, and a wave of violence and
intimidation has swept the country ahead of any possible presidential

"Organised violence perpetrated against individuals, families and
communities who are accused of campaigning or voting for the 'wrong'
political party ... has been unleashed throughout the country," said a joint
statement by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic
Bishops' Conference and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.

"People are being abducted, tortured, humiliated by being asked to repeat
slogans of the political party they are alleged not to support, ordered to
attend mass meetings where they are told they voted for the 'wrong'

The religious leaders call for voter intimidation to stop, adding that there
is "widespread famine" in the countryside, that basic goods are unavailable
or too expensive and that there are no medicines to treat people injured in
the post-election violence. But their message to the international community
is an uncomfortable reminder of previous occasions on which the world failed
to act in time.

"If nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament,
we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that experienced in Kenya,
Rwanda, Burundi and other hot spots in Africa and elsewhere," they warn. "We
appeal to the Southern African Development Community [SADC], the African
Union and the United Nations to work towards arresting the deteriorating
political and security situation in Zimbabwe."

This directly confronts the issue of what other countries can, or should, do
to prevent abuses of the kind happening in Zimbabwe. Britain is in a
particularly difficult position: Mr Mugabe has cast Mr Tsvangirai as a
puppet of the former colonial power, and British criticism can be seen as
making the 84-year-old autocrat's case.

But Gordon Brown and now the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, who called
on African leaders this week to isolate Mr Mugabe, have clearly decided that
tactful silence is no longer an option when the Zimbabwean leader, in the
Foreign Secretary's words, is "clinging to power and beating his own people
to death to ensure he retains it".

There is very little that Britain, its European partners, the UN or even the
African Union can do about Zimbabwe if its neighbours are not prepared to
act, but here there is at last some hope for Mr Mugabe's battered opponents.

The feeble response of SADC at a summit called 10 days ago by Levy
Mwanawasa, Zambia's President, caused outrage among the more democratic of
its 14 member countries, particularly in South Africa, where the "quiet
diplomacy" of the designated mediator, President Thabo Mbeki, came to be
seen as simple appeasement of Mr Mugabe.

The rising tide of discontent at the region's failure found its bluntest
expression yesterday when Jacob Zuma, the man who ousted Mr Mbeki as
president of the African National Congress, said Africa must send a mission
to Zimbabwe to end the delay in issuing election results. "It's not
acceptable," said Mr Zuma, who is favourite to succeed Mr Mbeki as South
African president next year. "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 right."

Mr Zuma, who is visiting European countries and is due to meet Mr Brown in
London today, was the first to express public dissatisfaction with President
Mbeki's approach, drawing support from many sections of the ANC.

Eventually, Mr Mbeki himself was forced to acknowledge the inaccuracy of his
statement in Harare the weekend before last, while holding Mr Mugabe's hand,
that there was "no crisis" in Zimbabwe.

Breaking southern Africa's conspiracy of silence over Zimbabwe has now had a
tangible effect: yesterday Beijing said a shipment of weapons bound for the
landlocked country may head home after the vessel was turned away from one
port after another. First South African dockers refused to unload the
vessel, upon which it headed for Mozambique, then Angola.

There are tentative signs that Zimbabwe's neighbours, many of whom have
absorbed millions of economic migrants due to the ongoing crisis, may have
run out of patience with the erstwhile liberator in Harare.

Mr Mwanawasa yesterday called on all African countries to follow suit and
refuse entry to the arms. It seems that even those of Mr Mugabe's neighbours
who regard his oppression as none of their business, or possibly even
praiseworthy, could not quite stomach the idea of sending him bullets and
grenades for use on his own people.

The Rhodesian leader Ian Smith knew he was finished when South Africa pulled
the plug on him, and while no one expects Mr Mbeki to do the same to Mr
Mugabe, there is much that pressure groups in South Africa can do to squeeze
the regime in Harare, which is more fragile than it seems to the country's
desperate opposition. If Mr Mugabe is open to reason, he might realise it
would be better to do a deal before Mr Zuma takes over as leader of his
powerful southern neighbour.

What happens next?



Everyone except Thabo Mbeki agrees something must be done to get rid of the
Mugabe regime, but there is no clear strategy yet as all approaches have
been rejected. The international community needs to consult before taking a
rash decision that could backfire.


This crisis has been going on since Mugabe rigged the elections in 2000. How
many more million Zimbabweans will be forced out of the country or beaten up
by Mugabe's so-called war veterans before the international community takes
a stand? Handwringing brings nothing but shame on countries which have stood
by while other African dictators have ignored the will of their people.

How likely? 9/10



Mugabe's henchmen need more gentle persuasion to ditch their leader in
favour of a negotiated solution which would allow them to keep their
corruptly obtained wealth. Southern African leaders need to make Mugabe and
his allies aware that the game is up.


Mugabe should not be allowed to get off scot free but should pay the penalty
for his crimes against hispeople, preferably in court. There can be
nocompromise with members of a regime who have been tainted by their
association with Mugabe, who has deliberately isolated himself from the rest
of the world.

How likely? 6/10



A travel ban in the European Union and United States and an assets freeze is
already hurting Mugabe and 130 of his cronies, and tougher sanctions could
be put in place. An EU arms embargo has also been in place since 2002. The
existing sanctions could be tightened in order to be more effective, and
should not have get-out clauses.


Existing sanctions are a joke and have been waived at every opportunity,
allowing Mugabe to thumb his nose at the international community. Broader
economic sanctions would hurt the Zimbabwean people. And Mugabe has turned
to China for weapons.

How likely? 4/10



Even the Pope highlighted the UN principle of "responsibility to protect",
providing for collective action against states which refuse to protect their
citizens from human rights abuses. If UN Security Council authorisation
cannot be obtained, a coalition of the willing should go in to save the
Zimbabwean people from catastrophe.


South Africa, with a seat on the UN Security Council, will ensure no UN
action is ordered to unseat Mugabe by force. The Iraq invasion proved
military action can produce unintended consequences.

How likely? 0/10

Zimbabwe’s Opposition Party Gets International Support


By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C.
23 April 2008

Supporters of Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai have described
calls by the international community for the release of the presidential
results as a step in the right direction. The calls three weeks after the
general elections come after Tsvangirai reportedly met Ghana’s President
John Kufuor, who expressed the need for the resolution of Zimbabwe’s
post-election impasse.

The chairman of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party (ANC)
Jacob Zuma added his voice by calling on Zimbabwe’s electoral commission to
release the results. Zuma reportedly said it was important for the electoral
commission to maintain its non-partisan nature as well as its integrity by
releasing the results. But supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party dismissed
the calls, saying Zimbabweans are capable of solving their own problems.
Zimbabwean political analyst Glen Mpani of South Africa’s University of Cape
Town tells reporter Peter Clottey that the opposition is gradually gaining
international support.

“I think the impact of the shift in opinion has an impact in the sense that
for a long time, ever since the crisis in Zimbabwe started, African
governments had always given their support to Mugabe on the basis that they
believed that there was an agenda or there was interference coming from
Britain and America and they would believe that the central issue within
Zimbabwe had to deal with land. But over time now, they have realized that
the problem had to do with legitimacy and bad governance. They now know the
true story, and this has been assisted by the diplomatic initiative that the
opposition has done, approaching African leaders, communicating with them
directly, and visiting tier respective countries and explaining to them what
the problem is,” Mpani pointed out.

He said although the opposition leader faces possible charges of treason, he
should be commended for rallying international support for the opposition’s
course in resolving the post election impasse.

“I know there are different perspectives in terms of whether he (Tsvangirai)
should return to Zimbabwe or should be out of the country. But I think one
of the things that I would give him credit for is that being outside has
assisted a lot in terms of him being able to push for diplomatic support
within Africa. And I think if he goes back to Zimbabwe in the event that he
is arrested, I think that is simply going to permit him to be able to
support the argument that he has been putting across that the Zimbabwe
government does not accept a divergence of opinions. They are closing ranks
and they are trying as much as possible to gag him,” he said.

Mpani described as a bold step Jacob Zuma’s call for the immediate release
of Zimbabwe’s elections results.

“I think the reason is Zuma is positioning himself in contrast to Thabo
Mbeki (South Africa’s President) that you are aware that internally within
South Africa, he (Zuma) is in contestation within South Africa in terms of
Zuma trying to present himself as a credible candidate for the ANC to be the
president. So, he is also taking advantage of all the weaknesses during his
tenure, and Zimbabwe is one of the key issues. And I think for him to stand
up and say there is need to come up with a forceful and effective way to
deal with the Zimbabwe issues, obviously increases his ratings,” he noted.

Zimbabwe's opposition leader expected in Mozambique

Yahoo News

25 minutes ago

MAPUTO (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is expected
in Maputo on Wednesday, the former rebel Mozambique National Resistance
(RENAMO) opposition said.

"The president of MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) will arrive in Maputo
in the early hours of Wednesday and he will be received at the airport by
RENAMO president Afonso Dhlakama", RENAMO's spokesman Fernando Mazanga said
in a statement sent to AFP.

Tsvangirai will hold meetings with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and
former head of State Joaquim Chissano, he added.

The MDC leader, who was in Ghana on Tuesday, has said he will return home
"when appropriate", after being out of the country for more than two weeks
since proclaiming himself victor over Robert Mugabe in presidential
elections last month.

"I've not committed any crime -- I'll go back to Zimbabwe," the leader of
the MDC told reporters in Accra.

‘Chinese’ tanks not going to Zim

Dispatch, SA

Apr 23 2008 9:20AM


A TRUCKLOAD of “Chinese-looking” tanks spotted by a
military buff outside Pietermaritzburg early yesterday caused a brief stir
over whether the controversial arms consignment bound for Zimbabwe had
slipped through the net.

“Tanks? Did you say tanks,” asked Defence Secretary
January Masilela. “I know nothing about that.”

The tanks, under a partially open tarpaulin, were seen
being driven through Cato Ridge, outside Pietermaritzburg, at 7.40am.

A former military officer suggested they may form part of
the controversial consignment bound for Zimbabwe.

However, ship’s clearing agent Anton van Rensburg said:
“They are going to the military in the Northern Cape for joint military
exercises between Singapore and South Africa. They have been temporarily
imported for the exercises which will take place next week and finish in
May. They are Singaporean tanks . T hey are definitely not going to
Zimbabwe. They have got nothing to do with Zimbabwe. They will be
re-exported at the end of the month.”

Van Rensburg said members of the Singaporean armed forces
also arrived in South Africa, as they are the only people permitted to drive
the tanks. — Sapa