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A call for a government of National Unity - from The Herald..?


Is this a sign that Zanu PF are recognising they cannot simply steal the
elections and get away with it?

The state controlled Herald (aka The Horrid) has an article today which
proposes a government of National Unity lead by Robert Mugabe and outlines
what they (read Zanu PF because The Herald is their mouthpiece) want SADC to
The Zimbabwe Government and independent international observers are agreed
that the just-ended harmonised elections did not produce an outright winner
in the presidential race. It is unlikely that the on-going recount will
substantively alter that position.

  Accordingly, 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.

  For the above scenario to materialise, there needs to be a major paradigm
shift in the thinking of three major players.

  It is up to Sadc, assisted by the progressive international community, to
ensure that such a shift does take place.

  The three players are the ruling Zanu-PF party, the opposition MDC-T
party, and the UK/US establishments.

Personally, I think that since they are now acknowledging the results are
probably not as flawed or corrupted as they initially tried to claim, then
perhaps the Presidential should be released so we all (officially) who the
real winner is.

This entry was written by Hope on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 at 12:06 pm.

17 Responses to ?A call for a government of National Unity - from The
  1.. scotchcart
  April 23rd, 2008 12:37
  Yeah, they have just admitted that there was no reason to recount and/or
that the recount is changing anything!

  This is not about reason though, is it? And it cannot be over in a stroke,
as you say.

  This is about the building dams and reservoirs so the river flows towards
a giant dam which will supply water, irrigation, power, fishing and a source
of life!

  2.. BM
  April 23rd, 2008 12:40
  Much as I hate to let go of the win - we know the MDC and Morgan won - and
having rejected it before, this seems to be perhaps the only way out without
massive violence and continuing tragedy. Mugabe gets his exit, the armed
forces and police save face, and a new government can start. Even if
transitional, it is a major victory. The points to watch are who controls
the negotiations, who is ?the mediator? and ? the incumbent?? as ?leader?.
Past experience demands caution, but? ?

  3.. Bugs
  April 23rd, 2008 13:04
  BBC is reporting that Zanupf has won the first seat in the recount (wot a
surprise) Anyone got details?

  4.. BM
  April 23rd, 2008 13:24
  Following my earlier optimistic comment, everyone needs to read this
article on the dangers that may be being cooked up for ?transition?.

  5.. BM
  April 23rd, 2008 13:28
  Goromonzi West recount:

  Goromonzi West
  Mp Party PVT ZEC Recount
  Biata Nyamupinga ZanuPF 6193 6193 6194
  Ian Makone MDC Tsvangirai 5931 5931 5931
  Registered: 27980 Totals 12124 12124

  Zanu PF gained a single vote in the House of Assembly recount. The Senate
results remained unchanged.

  Interestingly, the Goromonzi West election was one of two claimed to be
?fatally flawed? when the recount began by SADC election observer Dianne
Kohler-Barnard. She reported ?ballot boxes with keys missing. One had a
padlock open. Some had the envelopes with the keys sealed with Sellotape
instead of wax? It tells me the box was opened, the ballots were fiddled
with and it was repackaged but the person did it badly.?

  So is this recount, which was the one constituency the MDC called for, a
decoy? I.e. is it to ?show? there is no rigging in the recount process
despite boxes tampered with? To ?prove? Zanu-pf is not rigging the other

  6.. Bugs
  April 23rd, 2008 13:30
  This Herald report reminds me of all the hassle around the time ?he? got
married. It was reported by independent journalists who were then beaten
within an inch of their lives, charged with treason?. all the usual stuff.
Then not long afterward the Herald made the big announcement, national
celebrations etc etc?.

  7.. dave from bulawayo
  April 23rd, 2008 13:32
  Apparently Goromonzi West constituency - ZANU-PF had won this seat before
the recount.

  8.. Ants
  April 23rd, 2008 14:42
  If I know anything about Cde Robert (Houdini) Mugabe, if he so much as
gets a foot in the door, there will be NO true Government of Unity! He will
simply squash dissenting voices in Parliament, and re-instate what suits him
and his cronies.

  And Zim will loose the next five years to chaos, starvation, inflation and

  And ? don?t forget ? Bob?s very best efforts to re-educate the people with
regards their wavering choice of President. He will simply attempt to beat
every ounce of opposition from the Opposition till it no longer exists.

  Remember ? he is a most malicious, vindictive, dangerous, immoral,
selfish, underhand man! Anybody who thinks Bob can be made to reason or
behave in a civilised fashion is terribly na?ve.

  MDC won ? and that is it. Even winning an election as rigged as much it
must have been before re-counting?

  No ? I say ? this is NOT the time for condescension, and capitulation. I
would suggest that to do so would be to unleash horror even worse than we
can imagine now, upon the people of Zim.

  But, how? Well that is the real question!

  9.. sijabuliso mburuma
  April 23rd, 2008 15:08
  Government of National Unity Will not work!
  There is an old adage, ?you cannot put new wine in old wine skins.? This
is so true in the case of Zimbabwe. Some of those in power right now need to
become the new Diaspora while we return to rebuild what they have destroyed.
Tsvangirai needs to learn from the difficulties he is facing right now with
Mugabe and his cohorts before any government of national unity (GNU) is
formed. Every time I hear somebody talk about a GNU, in my mind I will be
hearing, ?hey let?s have a government in which we will not hold each other
accountable for our actions, as a starting point?. If they cannot understand
that the people have voted and that their time is up, then make no mistake
they will not be easy to sit down with and teach new ideas. That?s why it is
said that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. They have already proved
that the law of diminishing returns has set in and they cannot offer any new
solution to the problems that the country is facing. Mugabe and his cohorts
are part of the problem and cannot be trusted to lay any new bricks on the
foundation of a NEW ZIMBABWE!

  I believe that a GNU will not do our country any good. If we take a look
at the situation in Kenya right now, indications are that there is a lot of
turbulence and undercurrents threatening the sustainability of that
government of national unity. They cannot agree on the cabinet as we speak.
Recent reports indicate that all is not well and we could see more trouble
in Kenya than we have already witnessed. In our case, we have witnessed a
government of national unity before. The merger of Zanu PF and Zapu PF or
takeover if you will. Although this eased the tension between the two major
tribal factions. This fostered an atmosphere of complacency on the part of
that government. It is my conviction that if the two had not merged, Zanu PF
would not have been able to remain in power for as long as it did. This is
because that merger or takeover effectively killed the prospects of a viable
opposition, thereby creating an atmosphere of complacency and corruption.
And that is one of the major contributing factors that has brought about
this social and economic decay that we have witnessed in our country. There
was no outside force or opposition to contest the actions of Zanu PF for a
long time. So they became reluctant and unresponsive to the needs of the

  Zanu PF enjoyed a majority in parliament for at least two decades after
the GNU, thats why they were able to amend and manipulate the constitution
as they pleased. This is not healthy, and should not be repeated. Think
about the journey that MDC has travelled to get to a place where the
electorate can trust them to do a better job. Are we prepared to go through
this lengthy transition again? I ask this question because there is talk
about having another GNU? Why should we always appease people with another
day in power? I believe that MDC should take the reigns and Zanu Pf should
go back to the drawing board, if at all they have one. They should become
the new opposition. Maybe this time they will give the electorate reasons
why they should be trusted again. At the same time the existence of Zanu Pf
on the sidelines will help keep MDC competent in its pursuits. As much as I
love and support MDC, I believe that a viable opposition will keep any
incumbent party or government, on its heels of peak performance, to justify
its stay in power. Democracy is functional in America because there is
viable opposition and in most cases a balance of power in the legislative
body (congress). Given that a two thirds majority is required in order to
pass legislation, this is only possible by winning at least some of the
opposition party?s members, in order for the legislation to sail through.
Hence legislatures have to come up with very sound and unbiased legislation
which is not designed to benefit one party at the expense of the other, or
the electorate for that matter. It?s almost like the electorate is protected
from abuse of power by its government. This is what we need if at all we are
ever going to hold our members of parliament accountable for their actions.

  Now the fundamental question is; when a GNU is formed are we not back to a
new ?Zanu PF scenario? from which we will need deliverance again? I believe
that a GNU is synonymous with a one party state and that is not healthy at

  I also believe that when there is viable opposition, corruption can not
only be confronted but tackled and contained, which is something that
Zimbabwe desperately needs, going forward. This will force corrupt officials
to leave office when they are exposed. The presidential term also needs to
be reduced to a maximum of two (Four Year) terms. It doesn?t matter how
brilliant the president may be. They need to leave office before they
overstay their welcome. Contrary to what is taking place in Zimbabwe,
president Festus G Mogae of Botswana has just retired at 69 with two years
to spare on his second term. That is food for thought for Mugabe, who is now
looking for a seventh term at 84, thanks to our open ended constitution.
Freedom of the press and broadcasting must be expanded to accommodate other
players instead of having one mouth piece ?ZBC and its cousin, The Herald?.
If a government of national unity is formed I doubt very much that it will
open up to other media. We will probably be back to where we are before

  Let us not forget that the entire Zanu PF leadership is OLD and simply
needs to retire! We need new blood in the country?s leadership. Besides the
old guards, have a lot of baggage which may be difficult to deal with in a
GNU setup. Some (like Leo Mugabe) have three, four farms and huge government
contracts which they have received without any proper tender system. MDC
does not need to appease this corrupt Zanu PF leadership. I believe that a
new Government needs to clean house. They cannot do that while they are
harboring old garbage at the same time. The people have voted for change,
and that?s precisely what they are expecting MDC to deliver. Tsvangirai
should not be afraid of running this country with his cabinet. Besides we
will cut you some slack Mr. Tsvangirai. We are aware that the country has
been taken back to the Stone Age.

  Mugabe has made it difficult to even imagine that in 1980 the Zimbabwe
dollar was equivalent to The British pound. The people were more oppressed
during his leadership than they were during the Smith regime. The only thing
that they have managed to show us is how to destroy a country in 28 years.
This leadership reached its lowest point when Mugabe sent his ministers to
go and look for diesel from that diesel mystic. If anybody had any doubt
about whether or not there is anything left in their tank (Zanu PF
leadership) you simply need to reflect on that incident. That ought to tell
you that you cannot ask for a GNU with people that are bankrupt of ideas. It?s
not workable, and should not be attempted. Besides a GNU will spend more
time fighting within and make very little progress. The only way they can
stop that infighting is, if they start giving each other candy and that
means more corruption and cover-up will be required to sustain the GNU.I
think we have seen enough of this!

  Sijabuliso Mburuma - USA
  Can be reached at

  10.. Anonymous
  April 23rd, 2008 15:43
  can?t something be done about mbeki ,cn he not be replaced by zuma or
someone else before these recount results are out becoz as much as we had
admitting apa zanu pf ichatohwina chete vakatogadzirisa kare.

  11.. 4th Chimurenga
  April 23rd, 2008 17:18
  No NO No.. Govt of national disunity is totally unacceptable. Why mix oil
with water. Was wasn?t it proposed after the 2002 elections when ZANU PF
managed to falsify the results. And who would be Mugabe in that kind of
govt? We elected Tsvangirai not Mugabe. Why is ZANU afraid to respect the
electorate? The Kenyan situation is TOTALLY different from the Zim one so we
cannot solve different problems with a similar solution. Mugabe & his
cronies should get ready to face the full wrath of a the law. We need
transparency? ZANU pf should be accountable for ALL the killings and illegal
farm seizures?..

  12.. anon
  April 23rd, 2008 17:28
  @ Sijabuliso

  Good quote?unfortunately the situation is a fudge because people are
trying to square a circle?how do we remove the Mugabe / military regime?
using the same tried and tested methods and old ideas THAT DONT WORK????Its
a dilemma.

  The main issue is the total underestimation of the nature of the regime.
How can you defeat it if you dont even bother to properly understand its
nature or networks?

  Imagine the difference in ethos between a regime prepared to destroy its
own population to keep power?as you said from the internal killings that saw
Mugabe lead Zanu ?to the fight with Zapu?to the farm invasions to
Ghukurahundi, to Operation Mavoterapapi

  And an opposition that cant even be bothered to protect its own members
and supporters and uses their torture and death as a means of getting money
and the support of a world that talks alot but does very little of real

  10 years of this act is atrocious opposition by any stretch of the

  People forget the issue will be decided on the ground in Zimbabwe?the
hypocrisy is that they want conditions to become so bad that unarmed,
untrained, inexperienced people will face armed thugs?on the streets yet
they are non violent.

  From the early part of 2005 the regime has been in survival mode?(but what
does it mean when a former guerrilla movement is in survival mode??? What
are the ramifications for the people on the ground when such a group is
backed into a corner?Sadly people dont understand that most of the people
being killed are clubbed, or burnt, or hacked, to death?so Chinese bullets
are of limited value when repressing a rural area)

  The whole point of the recent mess is that when the people were ready MDC
should have been forceful but they stood and waited?and let ZANU rest and
reconfigure and set the pace and they still have no internal plan all the
pressure is from outside. MDC seems to lose the initiative like a bad
gambler loses bets.

  Making noise outside Zimbabwe for ELECTION RESULTS???..25 days after its
clear Zanu rigged the whole show.

  Britain and the West and many civic minded liberals are making beligerent
noises but have no force in Zimbabwe to protect people from the internal
progom that follows all that noise. Why not???

  Who is advising these people??? What happens next week when those results
that all are clamouring for come out confirmed in Zanus favour??? Who will
be lobbied then and for what???

  Because the focus is based upon civilising MUGABE / MILITARY JUNTA rather
than understanding them, you get a perennial case of a fudge.

  All the talk of a GNU is just ZANU seeming reasonable while taking a
breather until the next unwelcome development?its the same old pattern of

  But until something takes place within Zimbabwe?

  13.. BM
  April 23rd, 2008 17:56
  Sijabuliso, yes, I agree. My first reaction was grasping at empty air,
probably fatigue and overactive optimism that we can begin moving forward.
GNU was not what people voted for.

  Associated Press reports: ?The first view of a prospective unity
government aired in the state media was expected to be seen as preparing the
ground for Mugabe to stay in control and even pave the way for an effective
nullification of the March elections ahead of new polls.?

  Just another decoy then. Problem may be that many SADC governments may try
to pressure for it.

  14.. dave from bulawayo
  April 23rd, 2008 18:01
  Remove the military regime with force, hold the ENTIRE cabal to account,
recover the money,allow only legitimate transparent foreign access to Zim,
and start to rebuild the people and country. That?s the only way forward.

  15.. Kim
  April 23rd, 2008 18:31
  GNU with Mugabe at the helm??????????? How is that National Unity???????

  16.. Sally D
  April 23rd, 2008 18:32
  Agreed, no GNU. In South Africa, the Mandela unity government appointed a
few members of opposition parties to cabinet posts, thus extending a hand of
friendship but retaining the leadership clearly with ANC, who won fair and
square at the polls. That was a good approach that worked (more or less).
There may be some ZANU0-PF people who could bring experience to the new
government, but not under Mugabe, the habit of submission to him seems too
entrenched (it?s even affected our own Incumbent).

  He must go, and all the bloodthirsty, grasping old warlords along with
him. As the Sunday Times headlined a couple of weeks back, ?Save us from
this vampire?! A good analogy. They?re just like the undead, draining the
lifeblood of the living to sustain life beyond the grave. The best option
for them is decent burial!

  17.. Malcolm
  April 23rd, 2008 19:59
  GNU!?with Mugabe at the helm. Sounds like a contradiction of the term
National Unity. Who believes that Mugabe will suddenly become squeaky clean?
The man is over-stuffed with self-pride and is vindictive. He will never
reconcile the fact that a GNU is a ?second prize? to him. The army trucks
will be lying in wait once more at rail-road crossings, and other forms of
sideways promotions will be effected on anyone he percieves to be opposing
or curtailing his lust for absolute power. Even now he drags up conspiratory
theories from over 3 decades ago. A leopard does not change its spots.

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The ghost of Kwame Nkrumah

International Herald Tribune

By Jonathan Zimmerman Published: April 23, 2008

ACCRA, Ghana:

'It's time for Africa to step up." That's what Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice told a news conference last week, speaking of Zimbabwe's
post-election deadlock.

President Robert Mugabe most likely lost the March 29 contest, but his
handpicked electoral commission has refused to release the results. "Where
is the concern from the African Union and from Zimbabwe's neighbors?" Rice

I put the same question to a Ghanaian colleague the other day, and she
grimaced. "Everyone wants Mugabe gone, but nobody wants to do anything about
it," she said. "Too risky."

Part of the risk, of course, comes from democracy itself. If Zimbabwe
successfully topples its longtime tyrant, other African despots fear, their
citizens might be emboldened to do the same.

But there's more. Especially in Ghana, sub-Saharan Africa's first
independent nation, Mugabe represents one of the last links to the heroic
struggle against colonialism. But that struggle brought all kinds of evils
in its wake, which many Africans would just as soon forget.
It also brought Mugabe to Ghana, where he worked as a teacher in the late
1950s and met his first wife. Like many other freedom fighters, Mugabe was
inspired by the pan-African doctrines of the Ghanaian independence leader,
Kwame Nkrumah. To throw off the colonial yoke, Nkrumah believed, African
nations had to join together.

"I started telling people how free the Ghanaians were, and what the feeling
was in a newly independent African state," Mugabe told a 2003 interviewer,
recalling his return home in 1960. "I told them also about Nkrumah's own
political ideology. Unless every inch of African soil was free, then Ghana
would not regard itself as free."

But Ghana itself wasn't "free." A year after independence, Nkrumah's
government enacted a law allowing it to jail anyone suspected of harming
national security. By 1960, Nkrumah had bestowed a new title upon himself:
Osagyefo, meaning "Redeemer." As the savior of Ghana - and, by extension, of
Africa - he could do whatever he wanted to.

So he crushed a railway strike, deeming it a "neocolonial conspiracy." He
banned opposition parties, interfered with the courts and jailed several of
his leading critics. Two of them died in prison under mysterious

Instead of addressing this painful history, however, most Ghanaians prefer
to airbrush it out. The new national currency features drawings of Nkrumah's
two prison victims alongside Osagyefo himself, as if the three of them were
bosom buddies. At Nkrumah's mausoleum here in Accra, an elaborate exhibit
omits any mention of his dictatorial behavior. It does note in small type
that Nkrumah was deposed in a 1966 coup, but the visitor is left to wonder

So it's no wonder, really, that African leaders are reluctant to condemn
Mugabe. Like Nkrumah and so many others, he was a valiant anti-colonial
figure who ended up tyrannizing his own people. Who wants to be reminded of

That's why southern African leaders gave Mugabe a standing ovation at a
summit meeting last August - just months after his police beat opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai so badly that he had to be hospitalized. And that's
why so few of them have rallied behind Tsvangirai, despite reports that he
tallied more votes than Mugabe last month.

To be sure, Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general and a Ghanaian, has
condemned Mugabe's thuggish actions. So has Jacob Zuma, leader of South
Africa's ruling African National Congress.

But South African President Thabo Mbeki continues to stand by Mugabe, his
old comrade-in-arms, insisting that "there is no crisis" in Zimbabwe. And
Mugabe himself has played the anti-colonial card to the hilt, even
suggesting that Tsvangirai was joining hands with Britain, Zimbabwe's former
colonial master, in a plot for "regime change."

In many ways, Mugabe's recent behavior echoes Kwame Nkrumah at his worst:
paranoid, brutal and repressive. At the same time, the post-election debacle
in Zimbabwe confirms the wisdom of Nkrumah's original pan-African vision. On
this long-suffering continent, no single nation can win its freedom unless
all of the others help. Too bad they're not doing it.

Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of history and education at New York
University, is teaching this semester in Accra, Ghana. He is the author of
"Innocents Abroad: American Teachers in the American Century."

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Analyst Questions Call for Zimbabwe National Unity Government


By Joe De Capua
23 April 2008

In Zimbabwe, the state-run Herald newspaper published an opinion piece today
calling for a government of national unity led by President Robert Mugabe.

Pro-government commentator Obediah Mukura Mazombwe says neighboring
countries should help broker a deal, political tensions make it difficult
for a presidential run-off between Mr. Mugabe and MDC opposition party
candidate Morgan Tsvangirai. Weeks after the election, results in the
presidential race still have not been released, despite talk of a run-off.
The MDC says it won the election outright.

Some question the validity of the opinion piece, saying Mazombwe holds no
official position in the ZANU-PF ruling party.

For an analysis of what appeared in The Herald newspaper, VOA English to
Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua spoke to independent analyst Herman
Hanekom. From Cape Town, he reacted to the call for a national unity
government led by Robert Mugabe.

“I find it rather strange because (Tendai) Biti, the secretary-general of
the MDC, yesterday (Tuesday) in an interview, said that the MDC, if they’re
in power, will install a government of national unity, but not including
Mugabe. He will have to gracefully retire from politics. So we have the
government-supported newspaper and the opposition in conflict with one
another again,” he says.

The article suggests that political tensions make a run-off impossible.
Asked whether this might be a way for ZANU-PF to admit defeat and yet save
face by having Mugabe party of a national unity government, Hanekom says,
“Yes, I think you’ve got a point there, that they definitely have been
defeated but they don’t know how to handle the issue. They’re trying their
best through [the] delayed announcement of results and recounting at the
insistence of ZANU-PF of certain constituency votes, hoping to find
sufficient errors to get them in the majority again. But I think the fact
that the results for parliament were posted outside the polling stations,
that to gerrymander the results now will give their game away. So, I don’t
expect that we will even hear results this week, maybe one or two, but not

On attempts to end the political crisis in Zimbabwe, Hanekom says, “They
(ZANU-PF) definitely are playing for a second round of presidential
elections, where I am quite sure they have sufficiently cooked the books,
but now how to release those figures without provoking what I will call
violent reaction from the opposition is the problem that they are struggling
with at the moment. However, the longer they keep it in abeyance, the
greater the suspicion on the final count that the electoral commission will
release, which of course brings into play the question of credibility of the
election results and then the candidates.”

Hanekom says he doesn’t foresee large-scale violence against the Mugabe
government, but rather “independent little pockets” around the country. “The
major problem I see at the moment for the MDC is that both Biti and Morgan
Tsvangirai are outside the country, which leaves us to look upon the party
as suffering from a leadership void at the present moment, regardless of
modern communication techniques.”

Tsvangirai is visiting Mozambique, after recent trips to Ghana and Nigeria,
trying to gain support from other African countries.

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Rift Over Zimbabwe Unity Plan

New York Times

Published: April 24, 2008
JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwe’s government quickly distanced itself from an
editorial in the state-run newspaper on Wednesday that called for a
transitional unity government headed by the country’s longtime strongman,
Robert Mugabe, until new elections could be organized.

Victims of violence alleged to have been committed by pro-government
supporters sought help at an opposition organization in Harare, Zimbabwe on

Zimbabwe has been plunged into political crisis since its disputed elections
last month, with the government refusing to announce who won the race for
president. Still, the ruling party has repeatedly argued that neither Mr.
Mugabe nor his chief rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, won a majority of the votes,
forcing the two into a runoff.
But on Wednesday, The Herald, the state-run newspaper often used as a
mouthpiece for Mr. Mugabe and the ruling party, described the country’s
political dynamics as “so distorted that holding a free and fair election
runoff in the immediate term is literally impossible.”

Swiftly disavowing that position, Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga
told the BBC on Wednesday that the editorial had not been sanctioned by the
government, and that the ruling party, ZANU-PF, was still gearing up for a

Despite its grip on the nation, the ruling party has endured rifts and
recriminations over its poor showing in the elections, particularly its
losses in the lower house of Parliament. The mixed signals from the
state-run paper and the government raised the possibility of continued
divisions within the ruling apparatus.

For its part, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, which says it won an
outright victory in the March 29 elections, immediately rejected the
proposal and any resolution of the crisis that left Mr. Mugabe in power.

Meanwhile, in Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in Parliament that
he would “promote proposals for an embargo on all arms to Zimbabwe,” but
gave no further details. Amid the political crisis in Zimbabwe, its
government has been awaiting a shipment of Chinese-made bullets, mortars and
other weaponry, but the prospect of the delivery when opposition supporters
are being beaten and harassed has raised an international uproar. On
Tuesday, China said it might turn the shipment around.

At the behest of the ruling party, Zimbabwean authorities have undertaken a
recount in 23 parliamentary constituencies — enough to swing back control of
Parliament to ZANU-PF.

The leading opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has
denounced the recount as an effort by ZANU-PF to steal an election it lost
and reclaim its majority in Parliament.

The idea of a unity government was put forward in The Herald by Obediah
Mukura Mazombwe, an academic at a university that counts Mr. Mugabe as its

The article argued that a power-sharing government be formed, with Mr.
Mugabe at its head. It also pressed for an end to sanctions that largely
freeze the foreign assets of Zimbabwe’s top officials and bar them from
traveling to Western nations.

“Whilst the ruling party must stop behaving like a wounded buffalo,” the
article said, “the opposition party must stop its hysterics and lapses into

But the opposition categorically rejected any government headed by Mr.

“We are prepared to engage progressive forces in ZANU-PF, but the future of
Zimbabwe must exclude Mugabe,” said Nquobizitha Mlilo, a spokesman for the
Movement for Democratic Change. “He’s the author of the problems we have.”

Over the past decade, as Mr. Mugabe’s rule has become more authoritarian and
the country’s economy has crumbled into ruins, he has counted on the open
support or tacit acquiescence of other African leaders, but that solidarity
appears to be cracking.

Still, it is far from clear that any outsiders — even those in his own
region — can influence Mr. Mugabe or the military leaders around him.

South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki, has acted as the main mediator in the
crisis and has pursued a policy of “quiet diplomacy” that many critics here
have likened to appeasement of Mr. Mugabe.

But Jacob Zuma, who last year defeated Mr. Mbeki for the leadership of South
Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress, on Tuesday called
for other African leaders to “move in to unlock this logjam.”

Mr. Zuma, who is expected to become president of South Africa, the region’s
most powerful country, if he is not convicted on corruption charges, harshly
criticized the Zimbabwean government for failing to disclose who won the
presidential race, saying the country’s electoral commission was destroying
its credibility.

Mr. Zuma was in Europe this week and was due to hold discussions with Mr.
Brown in London on Wednesday.

The efforts of a Chinese ship to deliver Chinese-made arms to Zimbabwe this
past week have also drawn an open rebuff from another important player in
the region, Levy Mwanawasa, the president of Zambia, who heads a bloc of 14
southern African nations.

Mr. Mwanawasa has called on other countries in the region not to let the
ship dock in their ports — and has told China it should “play a more useful
role in the Zimbabwe crisis than supplying arms,” according to a spokesman
for the Zambian government. “We don’t want a situation which will escalate
the situation in Zimbabwe more than what it is,” the spokesman said.

Mr. Mwanawasa’s statements, made to reporters as he returned from a regional
conference in Mauritius, were remarkable because few African heads of state
have been openly critical of Zimbabwe.
The bloc he heads, the Southern African Development Community, has come
under sharp criticism for failing to censure the Zimbabwean government for
refusing to publish the results of the presidential election.

Jendayi E. Frazer, a senior American diplomat, was to arrive Wednesday in
South Africa to talk to regional leaders about the need to press Zimbabwe to
release the results of the election and end the political violence in that

The United States has been lobbying the governments of Angola and Namibia
not to allow the ship bearing armaments to dock and unload. At a news
briefing on Tuesday in Washington, Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman,
said American officials had taken up the issue with China as well.

“We don’t think it’s appropriate at this point, given the political upheaval
that’s occurring in Zimbabwe, for anyone to be adding extra tinder to that
situation by providing additional weapons to Zimbabwe security forces,” Mr.
Casey said.

It was still not clear Wednesday where the ship, which was still at sea, was
headed as protests against the delivery continued. A spokesman for Namibia’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Isak Hamata, said Wednesday in a telephone
interview that its government had received no request to allow the ship to
use its port facilities.

China’s Foreign Ministry in Beijing said Tuesday that the ship carrying the
arms — owned by a large Chinese state-owned company, Cosco — might return to
China because of the difficulties in delivering the goods.

South Africa’s High Court on Friday temporarily barred transport of the arms
across South Africa from the port of Durban to landlocked Zimbabwe after an
Anglican archbishop argued that the arms were likely to be used to crush the
Zimbabwean opposition after last month’s disputed election.

South Africa’s dock workers also said they would refuse to unload the
shipment, a call backed up by the country’s powerful coalition of trade
unions. On Friday, the ship, An Yue Jiang, left Durban for the open seas,
and on Tuesday South Africa’s Defense Ministry said it was somewhere off
Africa’s west coast.

Jiang Yu, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a news
briefing in Beijing that the shipment was part of “normal military trade”
between Zimbabwe and China, and called on other nations not to politicize
the issue. But acknowledging the resistance to the shipment, she said China
was considering shipping the arms back to China.

The fear of human rights and religious leaders in Zimbabwe is that the
weapons would be used to repress the opposition.

Church leaders in Zimbabwe said Tuesday that organized violence had been
unleashed throughout the country, including abductions and torture of
opposition supporters, and called on the Southern African Development
Community, the African Union and the United Nations to intervene.

“We warn the world that 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,” the church leaders said in a statement, Agence France-Presse
reported. The statement was signed by the Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Zimbabwe Council
of Churches.

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Zuma supports idea of unity government in Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

By Alan Cowell Published: April 23, 2008

LONDON: One of South Africa's most senior political leaders lent support
Wednesday to the idea of forming a national unity government in Zimbabwe to
resolve its deepening crisis.

The politician, Jacob Zuma, the head of the ruling African National Congress
and potentially a future president of South Africa, said both the United
States and Britain had undermined their own ability to play a role in the
Zimbabwe political crisis because of the vehemence of their criticism of the

Zuma was speaking in an interview here shortly before Prime Minister Gordon
Brown of Britain urged the imposition of an arms embargo on Zimbabwe. In the
interview, Zuma warned against any "forceful intervention" in Zimbabwe's

Zuma was asked to comment on an article in Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald
newspaper on Wednesday proposing a government of national unity grouping
President Robert Mugabe and his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai, but led by

The two bitter adversaries fought presidential and parliamentary elections
on March 29 but the outcome of the presidential vote has not been announced,
while Mugabe's ZANU-PF has challenged the results of 23 constituencies in
the parliamentary ballot, most of which Tsvangirai initially seemed to have

The stalemate appears to have spilled into increasing violence with
widespread claims by human rights groups and church figures that opposition
supporters have been beaten and arrested in advance of a likely run-off in
the presidential vote.
Zuma is visiting several European countries and has spoken out frequently in
favor of renewed intervention by southern African leaders to restart some
form of dialogue between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

His readiness to comment has been taken by some analysts as a departure from
South Africa's previous "quiet diplomacy" followed by South African
President Thabo Mbeki, which seemed to favor Mugabe and shield his
oppressive regime from criticism.

But Zuma denied that "quiet diplomacy" had failed, saying South Africa had
decided "not to stand on rooftops and criticize Mugabe" in order to be able
to talk to both sides in the dispute. "Quiet diplomacy has not failed," he
said. "Zimbabwe is our neighbor. We need to engage Zimbabweans on both
sides. It would not have been prudent for us to stand there and criticize
them. How could we have engaged with both sides if we did so?"

He added: "We decided to engage Zimbabweans quietly and it was dubbed quiet
diplomacy. We can produce a better report than anyone else on what

Asked if the idea of a national unity government in Zimbabwe was premature,
Zuma said: "I don't think it is premature because you are dealing with a
situation where we are almost three weeks after the election and there has
been no announcement of the results." Regional diplomacy had not resolved
the crisis, he said, "so we have to say what do we do?"

"The natural thing is that there should be discussions," he said. The call
for a unity government "is not premature, it is actually appropriate at this
time," he said.

Zuma said the presidential election appeared to have produced a very narrow
margin between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, meaning that both men commanded
significant support among Zimbabweans.

But he was keen to avoid the impression that he was initiating the call for
a unity government, which was a model used to resolve Kenya's bloodstained
post-election crisis earlier this year.

"I'm not necessarily making a call," he said. "This is what should be looked
at as one option."

He was speaking shortly before a scheduled meeting with Brown, the British
Prime Minister, who has accused Mugabe of stealing the Zimbabwean election.

Zuma said: "The unfortunate thing for Britain was the extreme position
Britain took in relation to Zimbabwe. It then became difficult for Britain
to play any role without people being suspicious."

The British attitude, he said, "in a sense undermined the role it could play
in Zimbabwe" and the United States authorities "also took the same position
as Britain."

"I'm not saying they are disqualified" from influencing events in Zimbabwe,
Zuma continued, but "their action undermined the possibility of their
playing a meaningful role in Zimbabwe."

The interview with Zuma took place before Brown, the British prime minister,
speaking in Parliament, referred to the saga of a Chinese vessel carrying an
arms shipment bound for Zimbabwe, which South African port workers in Durban
refused to unload.

"Because of what has happened in South Africa, where there is an arms
shipment trying to get to Zimbabwe, we will promote proposals for an embargo
on all arms to Zimbabwe," Brown said, without giving further details.

In the interview, however, Zuma declined to characterize the actions of the
South African port workers in Durban as a form of sanction and said it had
been inspired by a sentiment among them that, if they unloaded the arms
bound for Zimbabwe, they would exacerbate the crisis there.

"There is a situation in Zimbabwe which is not like a normal situation,"
Zuma said. "If the situation was normal, the arms trade is a normal thing."
But he spoke out firmly against South African military action against

"I don't think Mbeki must apply force in Zimbabwe," he said. "This is what
countries in the world are urging South Africa to do and it is wrong. I
don't think if you are a stronger country you must then use force.
Negotiations and persuasions is a necessary thing to do rather than use

"All that we should do from the outside is to help what the Zimbabweans do,"
he said.

He took issue, however, with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, blaming it
for the delays in publicizing the results of the March 29 election.

Zuma said: "The Electoral Commission has discredited the elections. It ought
to remain as an independent body. By the manner in which it has operated, it
has caused a lot of doubt in its independence."

"It has not explained why it is not releasing the results," he said.

He also suggested a role in mediating the Zimbabwe crisis for African elder
statesmen such as former President Sam Nujoma of Namibia, former President
Joaquin Chissano of Mozambique and others from Botswana and Tanzania.

And he acknowledged that Zimbabwe's economic plight, which has forced
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans to flee across the razor wire frontier
fence to South Africa, betokened a political failure.

"We need to govern a country in such a way as it does not lead people to
cross under the barbed wire," he said. "Once that happens it means
politically things have gone wrong and we have got to correct them."

Zuma is widely tipped to succeed Mbeki as South Africa's leader if he is
acquitted on corruption charges at a trial later this year. Asked if he
believed the trial would exonerate him, he said: "Absolutely, I am

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Britain's PM calls for world arms embargo against Zimbabwe

Yahoo News

By DAVID STRINGER, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 22 minutes ago

LONDON - Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday called for an
international arms embargo on Zimbabwe, following a Chinese ship's efforts
to deliver arms to the southern African nation.

Brown outlined the plan as he met for talks in London with Jacob Zuma, the
leader of South Africa's dominant political party.

The proposed embargo comes after South African dock workers refused last
week to unload a Chinese ship carrying arms bound for Zimbabwe because of
worries that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe plans to use them against
political opponents.

"Because of what has happened in South Africa, where there is an arms
shipment trying to get to Zimbabwe, we will promote proposals for an embargo
on all arms to Zimbabwe," Brown told lawmakers during his weekly question

Union, church and human rights leaders across southern Africa rallied
against allowing the Chinese freighter to dock at ports in any of landlocked
Zimbabwe's neighbors.

They were bolstered by behind-the-scenes pressure from the State Department,
which said it had urged countries in southern Africa 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.

The Zimbabwean government has not published the results of the presidential
election held more than three weeks ago, and the opposition says that is
part of a ploy to steal the vote. There are reports of increasing violence
and Mugabe's government is being accused of cracking down on dissenters.

The prime minister is seeking support for what he views as a de facto
embargo already imposed by many of Zimbabwe's neighbors, said a spokesman
for Brown's office, on condition of anonymity in line with government

"We've seen action not just in South Africa, but also in Mozambique,
Namibia, Angola and from the Southern African Development Community," the
spokesman said.

Officials were not immediately able to give specifics on how the proposed
wider embargo would be enforced.

The proposal did not win support from Zuma, who said he does not believe a
wider embargo is necessary yet.

"I don't think we have reached the stage where we have to call for an arms
embargo," Zuma said as he left the meeting with Brown.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, leader of South Africa's Anglicans, called on the
U.N. Security Council Wednesday for an arms embargo against Zimbabwe "on the
basis that a heavily armed Zimbabwe would threaten peace, security and
stability in southern Africa."

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change claims postelection
violence has displaced 3,000 people, injured 500 and left 10 dead. There is
no way to verify the claims because of reporting restrictions in Zimbabwe.

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'Elder statesmen can't help MDC'


    April 23 2008 at 08:08PM

Maputo - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, during a
visit to Mozambique on Wednesday, appealed to former African leaders to
intervene in Zimbabwe's post-election standoff.

Tsvangirai met former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano and the
leader of the opposition Renamo party Afonso Dhlakama in the capital Maputo
to discuss tensions in Zimbabwe following last month's presidential

Tsvangirai has claimed victory over President Robert Mugabe in the
election - a claim Mugabe's party rejects. The state election body has
withheld the official results for nearly a month.

Chissano told reporters that Tsvangirai had asked him, as chairman of
the African Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government, for his
help in ending the deadlock.

"I clarified to the MDC leader that the Zimbabwe issue is at this very
moment being dealt with through SADC (Southern African Development
Community) leadership," said Chissano, who has been close to Mugabe in the

"The most we can do is to make ourselves available to regional leaders
to take part in any initiatives they wish," Chissano said.

"We will follow the events, we'll be in touch and, if possible, we'll
act. But for now there is nothing we can do".

The 56-year-old opposition leader was due to meet Wednesday evening
with President Armando Guebuza.

Tsvangirai is touring African countries to curry support for his
victory claim over Mugabe. Mugabe's Zanu-PF says neither Tsvangirai nor
Mugabe won the election outright and that a runoff vote is needed.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has ignored international appeals to
release the results of the election, while agreeing to carry out a partial
recount of the votes. - Sapa-dpa

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Brown, Zuma call for Zimbabwe election results


Wed 23 Apr 2008, 17:26 GMT

* Brown, Zuma call for poll results

* Britain wants arms embargo

* Transitional government proposal

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, April 23 (Reuters) - Britain and South Africa's ruling party leader
Jacob Zuma made a united call on Wednesday for an end to the election
stalemate in Zimbabwe, stepping up pressure on President Robert Mugabe to
release results.

Zuma, who has emerged as the most outspoken African leader on Zimbabwe, held
talks in London with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, one of Mugabe's
harshest critics.

"We resolved on the crisis in Zimbabwe to redouble our efforts to secure
early publication of election results," they said in a joint statement after
their meeting.

"We call for an end to any violence and intimidation and stressed the
importance of respect for the sovereign people of Zimbabwe and the choice
they have made at the ballot box."

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said he won the election outright and accused Mugabe of delaying results to
rig victory.

Zuma's backing from Brown could anger Mugabe, who said former colonial
master Britain was plotting with the opposition to oust him.

Britain called for an arms embargo on Zimbabwe while analysts dismissed as
unlikely a proposal that Mugabe should lead a unity government until new

Brown said he would propose an arms embargo, joining calls by South Africa's
Anglican church leader and Amnesty International. He repeated British
accusations that Mugabe was trying to rig the elections and said this was
"completely unacceptable".

The United States has led international calls for Africa to do more to end
the Zimbabwe crisis. Washington's chief Africa diplomat, Assistant Secretary
of State Jendayi Frazer, was due in South Africa on a previously-arranged
regional tour.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel added to growing pressure on Mugabe, who
faces the toughest challenge to his 28-year rule.

"I think the situation for the people (in Zimbabwe) is unacceptable. We want
a fair election result," she said at a news conference with Rwanda President
Paul Kagame.


Zuma, who has distanced himself from the "quiet diplomacy" of South African
President Thabo Mbeki over Zimbabwe, has called on African leaders to take
action to unlock the stalemate.

Zimbabwe's neighbours, previously passive despite the collapse of the
country's economy, this week took a harder line towards Mugabe, refusing to
allow a Chinese ship to unload arms headed for the landlocked country.

The election crisis has given Zuma a golden opportunity to improve his
international image and influence.

Tension increased in Zimbabwe over the disputed election as pressure
intensified for results to be announced from a presidential vote more than
three weeks ago.

Pro-government commentator Obediah Mukura Mazombwe introduced new
uncertainty by suggesting Mugabe should lead a transitional government to
end the deadlock while new elections were organised.

He said the solution should be mediated by Zimbabwe's neighbours. But
analysts said Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party were pressing ahead with plans
for a runoff vote against Tsvangirai.

If adopted, Mazombwe's idea would delay even longer any outcome from an
electoral process that Zimbabweans hoped would end their misery under an
economic collapse that has saddled them with the world's highest inflation
rate -- 165,000 percent.

No results have been announced from a March 29 presidential vote which the
opposition says it won, while the outcome of a parliamentary poll is also in
doubt because of partial recounts. Officials said the first of 23 recounts
had confirmed victory in one constituency for the ruling ZANU-PF party,
which lost control of parliament for the first time in the election.

The recounts could overturn the MDC parliamentary victory.

Analysts said Mazombwe holds no position in the ruling ZANU-PF party and his
comments may not have official backing.

The MDC, human rights groups and Western powers accuse ZANU-PF of launching
a campaign of post-election violence. Tsvangirai says 10-15 MDC supporters
have already been killed in the crackdown.

The government has clearly indicated it expects a runoff -- necessary if
neither candidate wins an absolute majority. Such a vote would be held three
weeks after the result is announced.

Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba called for a U.N. arms embargo against
Zimbabwe, saying the plight of its people was heartbreaking.

He said the delay in releasing election results eroded "any remaining trust
the people may have in the electoral process".

Archbishop Makgoba, in a clear reference to Mbeki's softly softly approach
to Zimbabwe, said South Africa's leaders appeared to many outside the
country to be "heartless and unmoved by the suffering of Zimbabweans".
(Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka, Adrian Croft in London and the Berlin
bureau; Writing by Barry Moody; Editing by Michael Georgy)

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Zanu-PF wins recount by one vote


Published: April 23, 2008 at 9:50 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe, April 23 (UPI) -- The Zimbabwean ruling Zanu-PF party said
Wednesday it won the first of the 23 recounted districts by a single vote.

The official Zimbabwean electoral commission said a recount of the vote in
the Goromonzi West constituency handed Zanu-PF, the ruling party of
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, a victory by one vote, the BBC said.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, whose Morgan Tsvangirai ran
against Mugabe, says the recount is an attempt to refute its parliamentary

An editorial in the state-owned Herald newspaper calls for a power sharing
transitional government to take power with Mugabe at the lead.

"It stands to reason that, the transitional government of national unity,
negotiated by the two leading contending parties … should be led by the
incumbent president," The Times of London quotes the newspaper.

Tsvangirai's party opposes the calls for a unity government saying it won
the March presidential elections outright. The election results haven't been

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Mugabe postpones regional meeting as crisis rages on

Kenya Today

By KITSEPILE NYATHI, NATION Correspondent, HARARE, Wednesday
Last updated: 15 minutes ago

Embattled Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has been forced to postpone the
convening of the 13th summit of Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (Comesa) where the country’s deepening post election crisis was
expected to dominate proceedings.

Zimbabwe was expected to take over the chairmanship of Comesa from Kenya at
the organisation’s summit that was scheduled for 5-22 May in the resort town
of Victoria Falls.

But after regional leaders turned the heat on Mr Mugabe in the aftermath of
the three week delay in the release of results of presidential elections
showing the veteran ruler losing to opposition leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai,
the government announced that the summit had been put on hold indefinitely.

Mr Tsvangirai whose Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) also defeated the
ruling Zanu PF in parallel parliamentary elections has been on a whirlwind
tour of African countries urging them to pile pressure on Mr Mugabe to hand
over power.

Some of them are Comesa members and were expected to raise the issue at the

In a statement published in the state media on Wednesday, the government
said the new dates for the summit would be announced after the political
impasse had been resolved.

“Due to the necessity to fulfil constitutional requirements as a result of
the recently held harmonised elections, the government of Zimbabwe has
decided to postpone the convening of the Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa summit to a later date,” said Mr Joey Bimha, the Secretary
for Foreign Affairs.

Exercise might delay

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has ordered a partial recount of
votes in 23 constituencies and the exercise might delay the announcement of
the presidential election even further.

Zanu PF says Mr Tsvangirai’s victory margin did not carry him over the 51
percent threshold thereby making a run-off necessary.  The run-off should
have been held 21 days after the polls and it is now unclear when it will be
conducted because of the delays in the announcement of the results.

“This (the cancellation) follows a realisation that the original summit
dates might coincide with the uncompleted electoral process,” Mr Bimha

During Zimbabwe’s 28 independence celebrations on Friday last week, Mr
Mugabe whose government is under sanctions from Western countries protesting
human rights violations blamed on his ruling Zanu PF had said he was looking
forward to taking over the chairmanship of Comesa.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s main international trade fair began on Tuesday with no
foreign leader expected to grace the occasion as has been the tradition in
the past, adds Reuters.

But the government was quick to emphasise that this did not mean other
countries were shunning President Mugabe’s increasingly isolated government.
Western companies will again boycott the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
(ZITF) as they have done since 2000 in protest against Mugabe’s
controversial economic policies and human rights accord.

Mr Mugabe will Friday open the fair in the second city of Bulawayo for the
second year running. The last foreign head of state to official open the
ZITF was Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete in 2006.

Meanwhile, Mr Tsvangirai has called on all of Africa’s leaders to
acknowledge he won last month’s disputed election, and promised an
“honourable exit” for President Mugabe.

Speaking on the sidelines of a UN trade and development conference in Ghana,
Tsvangirai repeated accusations that Mr Mugabe’s government had launched a
post-poll security crackdown against opposition supporters, killing between
10 and 15, arresting hundreds and driving thousands from their homes.

“Zimbabwe as I speak is burning. President Mugabe and his band of criminals
have unleashed violence on the people as a punishment for choosing to vote
for change,” he told a news conference in Accra. Zimbabwe’s government
denies launching a crackdown.

International pressure has been building for Mugabe to announce the poll
outcome, but Tsvangirai said more was needed. “Our reputation as a continent
may suffer serious disrepute if we ... allow Robert Mugabe to undermine the
results of the democratic election by refusing to transfer power knowing he
has lost the popular support of the people,” he said.

“We are calling ... on every head of state in Africa to stand in defence of
the people of Zimbabwe,” he added.

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Zimbabwe journalists living in fear: media groups


HARARE, April 23 (AFP)

Media groups in Zimbabwe on Wednesday deplored a government crackdown that
has led to the jailing and beating of journalists as a bid by the regime to
spread fear after disputed elections.

"The security and safety of journalists is under serious threat in this
country, judging by the trends in recent weeks," said Takura Zhangazha,
spokesman for the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern

"We condemn the deliberate attempts to muzzle the media," he said.

Foster Dongozi, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
(ZUJ), said: "Journalists have been abducted, beaten and illegally detained
and we condemn this abuse of power."

The crackdown was "to strike fear in the hearts of journalists," he said.

Several journalists have been jailed and beaten since the March 29 elections
as the increasingly isolated African regime continues to enforce strict
controls, granting accreditation to all but a handful of foreign media.

The one journalist known to be still in prison is freelancer Frank
Chikowore, who was charged on Monday along with scores of opposition
activists with violent incidents linked to a strike declared by the

The Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said in a
statement that it believed the charges against Chikowore were "without
merit" and has called for his immediate release.

"We are very worried about the worsening conditions journalists face in
Zimbabwe," said Gabriel Baglo, director of IFJ's Africa office.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has said there is a
"pattern of arbitrary arrests" and has called on the authorities "to end
this pernicious trend and release Frank Chikowore immediately."

Among the attacks listed by media groups was that of ZUJ president Matthew
Takaona, who was beaten up by soldiers in Harare's dormitory town of
Chitungwiza where he had gone to buy cornmeal.

In another incident, freelance journalist Stanley Karombo was detained for
three days after state security agents took him away from a stadium in
Harare where President Robert Mugabe was giving an Independence Day speech.

Former ZUJ secretary general Luke Tamborinyoka, now director of information
for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has also been
jailed over last week's strike.

The MDC has declared victory in both the parliamentary and presidential
elections in Zimbabwe, but veteran leader Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF
party have signalled they will battle to stay in power.

"Our fear is that as we go to the presidential run-off the state will step
up its crackdown to ensure that whatever corruption and misdeeds are
happening go unreported," Dongozi said.

The incidents with Zimbabwean journalists came on the back of the arrests of
New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak and British freelancer Stephen
Bevan who were accused of reporting without accreditation and later

Another journalist, The Times of London's Africa correspondent Jonathan
Clayton, was detained on arrival at Bulawayo airport and held in prison for
eight days before being deported to South Africa.

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Violent Assault and Torture Remains Unchecked

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
Violent Assault and Torture Remains Unchecked

23 April 2008

Further to the two statements ZADHR issued last week we report a further 81
cases of organised violence and torture which have been seen and treated by
members of the Association in the three days ending Monday 21 April 2008.
This is not a cumulative total – this is the number of cases seen in these 3
days alone. The total number of cases seen since 1 April 2008 is 323. It
seems likely that there are substantial numbers of similar cases occurring
across the country which have not presented to ZADHR members and are
therefore not represented in these figures.

54 of these cases occurred in Harare, Chitungwiza or Epworth, 20 in Glen
View alone. 13 more occurred in Mudzi and Murewa, 4 in Mount Darwin, and 6
in different areas of Manicaland.

By far the commonest alleged perpetrators are now the uniformed forces (ZRP
and ZNA).

Fourteen (17%) of these 81 patients were women. They include a 7 year old
girl who suffered a fracture of her right radius and ulna on falling down
while running after her father who was being chased by members of the
security forces, and a 10 year old boy with a probable dislocation of the
right elbow resulting from being kicked by a soldier who was trying to kick
someone else. One 47 year old woman reported being sexually assaulted.

Soft tissue injuries again predominate, with 6 probable fractures. These
include the case of a 39 year old man who was abducted from his home at
midnight, was beaten and suffered a fractured left ulna, fractured ribs on
the left side, and a pneumothorax underlying the rib fractures. A
pneumothorax is when air leaks out of the lung through a hole in the lining
of the lung, caused for example by a broken rib, and collects in the virtual
space between the linings of the lung and the inner surface of the chest
wall. It can rapidly threaten life because it may enlarge and cause collapse
of the lung itself and distortion of the large blood vessels arising from
and draining into the heart. This patient required a tube to be inserted
into his chest to prevent that complication.

4 cases of falanga were recorded. Falanga is torture in which the soles of
the feet are repeatedly beaten with a hard object such as a baton or bar.
There is often severe tissue damage beneath the skin, within the sole of the
foot, which never fully heals, resulting in walking being painful for the
rest of the victim’s life.

Physical injuries are the most visible. Many of these patients report
extreme psychological stress which itself results in both mental and
physical symptoms. The stresses reported include many having had their homes
and property completely burnt, being forced to roll in muddy or
sewage-containing water, running and hiding in ‘the bush’ from fear of
assault, being abducted and detained with beatings continuing over several
days with no knowledge of when it will end, and having no knowledge of the
safety of spouse or children. One 64 year old man presented with full-blown
‘Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’, the major manifestation of which was his
being incapable of speech.

Some of the reported physical and psychological wounds will take a long time
and require much care and attention to heal.

ZADHR condemns the continuing violent assault and torture on Zimbabwean
citizens, in particular that allegedly perpetrated by security forces. We
continue to appeal to the UN, AU and SADC to engage with the authorities to
bring an end to this systematic assault on large numbers of Zimbabweans.

ZADHR further appeals to the Zimbabwe Medical Association, the World Medical
Association and other concerned national medical associations to condemn
these acts of violence, and engage their Governments in working towards
resolution of the crisis in Zimbabwe.

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Mugabe Must Go

The Point, Gambia

Wednesday, April 23, 2008
And what exactly did the government of Zimbabwe want with three million
rounds of ammunition, 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades and 2,500 mortar
rounds? It is now clear beyond any reasonable doubt that Robert Mugabe will
not let go of power without a fight. This massive stockpile of weapons and
ammunition was not intended to feed his people it was intended to suppress
them. For this reason it is horrifying to hear that some African leaders are
still refusing to condemn him outright. This man is a menace to his people
and should be forced by all African leaders to simply accept the results of
the elections and step down.

Well done to the Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa who has urged other
African leaders not to allow the ship carrying the aforementioned arms for
Zimbabwe to enter their territorial waters. Mr. Mwanawasa said the tension
in Zimbabwe, following last month’s disputed elections, should not be
allowed to escalate further. This is the correct approach. For any African
leader,  not to openly demand that Mugabe step down is a disgrace.

Post-election violence 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”.

Is this democracy? Is this kind of behaviour acceptable? The answer to both
these questions is a resounding no! It is for this reason that Mugabe must
go. He is a dictator and his people need to be freed from the yolk of his

Hiding behind talk of the white man interfering whenever he is critisised by
the West is a sham. The people of the world critisise him because of what he
is doing to his people not because they want to take the land from the
people of Zimbabwe. There is no doubting the horrors of colonialism but this
must be consigned to the past. The best way for Africa to take revenge for
the wrongs done on the continent is to continue developing into the vibrant,
democratic and progressive society that it is becoming.

Robert Mugabe must also consigned to the past. He is drunk on power and
damaging the lives of his people for his own selfish purposes. This is not
leadership or good governance. It is greed and madness.

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Children the latest victims of Robert Mugabe's onslaught

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 2:47pm BST 23/04/2008

President Robert Mugabe’s onslaught against his own people is
spreading into Zimbabwe’s poorest rural areas where children have joined the
rising toll of innocent victims.

People carrying bundles of possessions have fled their villages for
the relative safety of Mutare, the country’s third city found 160 miles
south-east of Harare.

The surrounding province of Manicaland is a stronghold of support for
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, making it a target for gangs
loyal to Mr Mugabe as they seek to guarantee his victory in the presidential

About 350 fugitives from the ruling Zanu-PF party’s mobs were camping
outside the MDC’s office in the city. Many others were in a local hospital.

Fungai Sithole, 64, is from the village of Nyanadazi, 60 miles south
of Mutare.

Struggling to speak, he said that Zanu-PF youths had dragged him from
his hut and subjected him to three days of torture.

His ordeal was so great that he could not recall the details, nor how
he had managed to reach the hospital.

A hospital visitor said that Mr Sithole had a “huge” wound on the back
of his head, adding: “His medical records show that his back is damaged. He
is in too much pain and cannot walk.”

But the children of those who have fled the violence are suffering

At a stroke, they have been deprived of their homes and whatever
meagre supply of food their parents had managed to secure amid the poverty
of rural Zimbabwe.

Jessy Sazukwa, only 21 months old and small for her age, was sleeping
peacefully in the hospital.

The tiny girl’s home on a formerly white-owned farm was burned to the
ground by Zanu-PF youths this week.

Malnourished babies have been brought into the hospital after their
parents fled the violence.

But those who are caring for them are struggling to cope.

“We don’t have any resources in Mutare, I don’t know where the
international community or the NGOs are. We have no food or blankets for all
those who need feeding,” said a hospital worker.

“There is so little available in Mutare. Some of the babies are
clearly malnourished and we are buying them clothes in the market.”

Almost four weeks after polling day, no official results from the
presidential election have yet been released.

Independent observers believe that Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition
leader, defeated Mr Mugabe, although not by a sufficient margin to avoid a
second round. Under the Electoral Act, however, the run-off should have
happened last Saturday.

Instead, the authorities are concentrating on recounting the vote in
23 constituencies.

This exercise was completed in one seat held by Zanu-PF - and the
ruling party’s victory was reconfirmed.

The wave of violence, masterminded by Zanu-PF using a national network
of command centres, is designed to guarantee victory for Mr Mugabe if a
second round is eventually held. Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister,
told the state press that the government knew nothing of any violence.

“Why go to the media and splash unsubstantiated pictures and stories?
At present we are not aware of any such violence,” he said.

Gordon Brown said yesterday that Britain favours imposing an arms
embargo on Zimbabwe.

If agreed, this would prevent a shipment of Chinese arms from reaching
the country.

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Border jumpers on the rise


    April 23 2008 at 02:35PM

There has been a clear increase in the number of Zimbabweans trying to
cross the border illegally into South Africa since the March 29 election,
the SA National Defence Force said on Wednesday.

The Defence Force have three companies which total more than 500
soldiers patrolling the border in support of police border operations and
have already up to the start of the week apprehended 1780 Zimbabwean trying
to cross the border illegally.

"There is a clear increase in foreigners crossing the border," Major
General Barny Hlatshwayo said in Pretoria during a briefing on the internal
and external operations of the SANDF.

The SANDF said it was not planning to send more soldiers to the area.

"The situation doesn't warrant, at present, to deploy more forces,"
department of defence head of communication Siphiwe Dlamini said.

Hlatshwayo said the commander in Limpopo responsible for the border
operations had indicated that he was satisfied that no additional troops
were needed.

"He is happy to conduct business as usual," Hlatshwayo said. He added
that the defence force was monitoring the situation in co-operation with the

The responsibility of securing the borders have been taken over by
police and the SANDF expected to stand down the last three companies
patrolling the Zimbabwean border by March next year.

On a question whether there were any contingency plans for military
intervention in Zimbabwe, should the situation decline rapidly, Dlamini said
no instruction had been received from government for such a contingency.

"The political processes have not been exhausted," he said.

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US deploys official to resolve Zimbabwe impasse


April 23, 2008, 17:30

The US government has dispatched the Assistant Secretary of State for
Africa, Jendayi Frazer, to the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
region to exert pressure on regional leaders to save the people of Zimbabwe.

Frazer arrived in South Africa this afternoon, in a bid to persuade
government to urge Zimbabwean officials to release the presidential election

However, SABC reporters were barred from getting her pictures. Analysts say
there is little that the world's powerhouse can do to resolve the current
political impasse in Zimbabwe.

The American Embassy declined to elaborate on Fraser's meeting with
government. She is expected to address the media tomorrow.

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Annan Urges African Countries to Put More Pressure on Zimbabwe


By Lisa Schlein
23 April 2008

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has criticized African countries
for not pressuring Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, to release the
results of last month's presidential elections. Mr. Annan had more positive
comments regarding the resolution of the political crisis that erupted in
the aftermath of Kenya's presidential elections late last year. Lisa Schlein
reports for VOA from Geneva.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls it totally unacceptable for
officials in Zimbabwe to withhold the results of the presidential election
more than three weeks after the vote took place.

He says the neighboring countries have to exert the necessary pressure to
get this issue resolved.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says its candidate, Morgan
Tsvangirai, won March's presidential vote outright, a claim President Robert
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party denies.

Mr. Annan says African governments cannot turn a blind eye to what is
happening. He says they must intervene.

"The countries of the region have to come together and find a way of doing
it and not treat it as an internal problem of Zimbabwe alone," he said. "An
internal problem that creates three million refugees in South Africa alone,
an internal problem that creates almost an economic collapse and forces
people to leave the country can no longer be defined as an internal problem.
There is a regional dimension. There is a human rights aspect that
governments in the region have to take seriously and the African Union as

Annan says he regrets the United Nations and the African Union have not
taken any effective or serious action to diffuse the political crisis in

Turning to another part of the continent, the former U.N. chief has kinder
words to say about the manner in which Kenya's political crisis has been

He says the international community got it right in this instance. He says
visits from high-level leaders to Kenya were discouraged and only he was
left to mediate a deal between the two rival political parties.

After several months of wrangling, President Mwai Kibaki and opposition
leader Raila Odinga named a 40-member cabinet as part of the national-unity

Annan says he believes the government will succeed because Kenyan civil
society and the people are more engaged in the country's political life.

"I walked away from Kenya last Saturday very encouraged," he said. "I am
confident they will make it work. I think we should give them a chance. I am
very confident they can do it. And, the two leaders, President Kibaki and
Prime Minister Odinga have different incentives to make it work."

Annan notes the instability in Kenya had a bad impact on the economies of
its neighboring countries. He says these governments have an incentive to
make sure Kenya does not fall apart.

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'I can help break Zim impasse'


    April 23 2008 at 10:21AM

By Fiona Forde

Dr Kenneth Kaunda would willingly negotiate in the Zimbabwe crisis if
he were given the nod from the appropriate powers.

"If I got the call, I would go. Right now," the former Zambian
president told The Star at his Lusaka home last weekend. "I don't want an

Almost four weeks after Zimbabweans cast their vote in the
controversial poll, the elderly statesman says he struggles to understand
why a verdict has not been forthcoming.

"I don't understand how an election can take place and they don't have
an announcement. I don't know what's happening. There's something missing.
And there is some form of a crisis (because of that)." He is loath to
suggest that he is pushing for change. "That's for Zimbabweans to decide.
It's their duty to ask for it, not ours."

That they may have already asked for it, but that their wishes are
falling on deaf ears, is not for him to decide either, he says, "because I
don't know" what is happening behind the scenes in Harare right now. "And we
need to know."

However, he agrees the situation requires "urgent attention", because
"it can go wrong. We need the country to start moving. And it's not moving
at all at the moment."

The name of the statesman, who will celebrate his 84th birthday on
Monday, has been bantered around in various quarters in recent weeks as one
of a number of eminent persons who might negotiate in the critical election
aftermath, following failed attempts on the part of incumbent regional heads
to broker a solution to the conflict.

Although long seen as an ally of Robert Mugabe in the region, the
elder statesman's latest views on Zimbabwe suggest his reasoning on the
crisis could go well beyond his reckoning of the past.

If Kaunda were to travel to Harare - which he notes is not his
decision but that of Joaquim Chissano, the chairperson of the Africa Forum -
it would not be merely to talk to Mugabe, "but to the entire leadership of
the whole country, those in authority, those in opposition … to try and find
a solution. It's gone beyond the point of just speaking to one person. We
must speak to everyone, to all groups. That is what is required."

Three months ago Kaunda was part of a four-man team who travelled to
Kenya in the aftermath of the disputed poll, under the banner of the Africa

Along with Chissano of Mozambique, he joined former Botswana president
Ketumile Masire and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania to assess the unfolding

Although their contribution to a settlement in the Nairobi conflict
was minimal, he believes a similar mission is what's begging in Zimbabwe
today to help break the electoral impasse.

"If us old timers, the retirees, went there, we could begin to talk.
But this is something that must be done properly. I'm not looking for a job.
But I am concerned now. Everybody is concerned."

Kaunda will not be drawn on what the direction such talks could and
should take if they were to happen - "I can't advise him (Mugabe) through
the press," he says with due caution.

"Although I am a believer in (a government of) national unity,
whatever I might contribute, I must say it there, in Zimbabwe, not now."

Like Mugabe, Kaunda served close to three decades in office before he
was voted out in 1991 on the back of grinding poverty, a drastically
weakened kwacha and growing intolerance for his policy of single-party rule
that he had instigated in 1972.

No sooner had he changed the rules that kept him in power for 27 years
than he was forced to face defeat in the country's first multi-party

To the outside world Kaunda was a benign dictator. To the people of
Zambia he is still the man who set them free. To this day, it is hard to
find anyone on the streets of Lusaka who doesn't talk about "the old man"
with enormous affection.

He gave them free education and free health care, and despite his
mistakes they will tell you he was a far cry from Frederick Chiluba, the man
who ousted him from power and forced him to accept defeat on November 2,

"That was the situation in Zambia and I left," Kaunda says.

"I said to myself, whatever happens it must not appear that I am
hanging on to power. I must leave and find out later what happened."

To this day he still believes that there were votes cast in his favour
that were never duly registered. "But I really cannot say what happened in
Zambia is similar to what is happening in Zimbabwe because I don't know.
There is nothing from Zambia that we should use to apply to any other
situation outside Zambia."

Just as he believes the "retirees" could go a long way to ending the
unfathomable election aftermath, Kaunda also argues that Britain could do
much by talking to Mugabe at this stage.

He himself would welcome the opportunity to liaise with Gordon Brown
to pave the way for that vital liaison.

Kaunda is one of many who still feels that the failure on the part of
the British to honour the land agreement reached at Lancaster House in
London in 1979 goes a long way in explaining much of Mugabe's own failure to
successfully head the neighbouring country in a sustainable manner.

Although Zambia had gained independence in 1964, Kaunda stayed close
to other liberation movements in the region which were still struggling to
free themselves from colonialism.

"Do onto others as you would have them do unto you. That is what
guided me," he says. When Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo dug in their in heels in
1979 and refused to attend the scheduled talks in London - "We don't trust
that woman (Margaret) Thatcher," they told Kaunda - it was the founding
father of Zambia who urged them to make the journey.

"When Margaret Thatcher heard that, I think she was worried that they
might create some problems and she said I must be there," he recalls. "If
there are any problems that might arise, you will be there to help us," she
instructed Kaunda. And so he witnessed the Lancaster talks first hand.

Those talks paved the way for the elections that took place the
following year when Mugabe swept the polls and became Zimbabwe's founding
leader. But Kaunda recalls the crucial agreement over land that was reached
around that table in London at the same time.

"Look, this question of land in Zimbabwe is our problem, the problem
of the British Government, and therefore don't touch it," he remembers
Thatcher telling the African delegates. "We will handle it ourselves in the
first ten years."

Mugabe and Nkomo agreed. "The settlers had taken all the major
portions of land. How could the freedom fighters be expected to buy them
out? It was their (British government) duty, to pay for them to get them

However, Britain reneged on the land deals in the years that followed.
After Thatcher's demise in 1990, John Major continued with the land
negotiations. "But then when my fellow Socialists, the Labour Party, took
over (in 1989) they dropped that agreement."

"How could they, just like that, withdraw," he asks. "It's criminal."
"If Mugabe had done anything wrong, why didn't they go to him and discuss
this matter with him?

"The British Government rebuked Mugabe and they have a duty to discuss
this matter with him now," is Kaunda's firm view.

In 2007 the former Zambian president was due to travel to Scotland on
matters relating to the charity he now runs. He had hoped to meet with
Gordon Brown, as the incoming premier, "to address him, as I understood this
situation" and to urge him to talk to Mugabe.

But last-minute health complications prevented him making the
long-distance journey, "and I lost that opportunity." But he would still
welcome a meeting with Brown, even at this late hour.

Although many more would argue that it was not only the land issue
that led to Zimbabwe's critical economic and social decline a decade ago
that has left its people destitute, Kaunda chooses to see it differently.

"There is no other reason at all. If he was playing the land
distribution weapon, the British Government had the responsibility and duty
to say, 'Look, Mugabe, we had agreed this and this. Why are you doing it
this way?' they should have asked him."

Once again, he argues that they should have talked to him, rather than
turn their backs on him. Reason with him, rather than rebuke him.

Kaunda leaves little doubt that whoever or whatever can contribute to
ending the current conflict, the time to act is now. Twenty-six days of
disturbing silence on the part of the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission are 26
days too many. And recent reports of renewed violence and intimidation do
not inspire confidence in an imminent peaceful solution to what should have
been a democratic process. "It's a sad case. And we didn't expect this to
happen," he concludes. "We have to go there and talk."

This article was originally published on page 10 of The Star on April
23, 2008

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NGOs Withering Under Foreign Currency Shortages

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

23 April 2008
Posted to the web 23 April 2008


Scores of nongovernmental (NGO) and humanitarian organisations are
threatened with collapse after Zimbabwe's central bank failed to release
money required for their operational costs.

Cephas Zinhumwe, chief executive officer of the National Association of
Nongovernmental Organisations (NANGO), the national NGO umbrella body, told
IRIN the financial situation for his members was "desperate".

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in September 2007 demanded that all
foreign currency deposits of foreign funded NGOs and humanitarian
organisations were kept by the central bank on their behalf. The
organisations then had to maintain 'mirror' accounts, which reflected the
amount of foreign currency in their local banks, which was then reconciled
by the central bank.

Zinhumwe said when the programme was introduced, organisations would apply
to the central bank to access foreign currency. Foreign embassies and United
Nations agencies were excluded from the RBZ's foreign currency management of

"Initially, it took about three days to get foreign currency cleared by the
RBZ. As far as I know, it now takes more than three months before being
cleared to use your money by the RBZ. Some of our member organisations have
not been able to access their money since the beginning of the year and they
say they are facing closure because they have not been able to pay workers,
rentals and to run programmes for which they are funded," Zinhumwe told

Initially it took about three days to get foreign currency cleared by the
RBZ. As far as I know, it now takes more than three months before being

He said since last year, NGOs had tried, without any success, to meet with
the RBZ governor Gideon Gono.

Zinhumwe said the RBZ strategy to manage the foreign currency had
exacerbated the foreign currency shortage and impacted negatively on an
already collapsing economy.

"Indications are that since that decision was taken, foreign currency
inflows have reduced dramatically. Some organisations are looking at the
option of opening off shore accounts but there are very stringent
requirements that have to be met in order to get such accounts. But the
situation is very grave. Another month or two of this then NGOs will close
en masse," he said.

Thabani Moyo, the information officer for Crisis Coalition, a grouping of
pro-democracy organisations, said the move was a deliberate attempt by the
government and the RBZ to financially throttle NGOs.

"The government has for years accused the NGO sector of supporting the
opposition MDC. The same government tried two years ago to shut down NGOs
through the proposed NGO Bill which was never signed into law," Moyo said.

Election costs

Moyo said in the run up to the 29 March presidential and parliamentary
elections the ruling ZANU-PF government had used scarce foreign currency
reserves to bribe voters ahead of the poll.

"The RBZ was responsible for the purchase of farming equipment and buses
which were used by the ruling ZANU-PF to entice and bribe voters. The RBZ
cannot use the people's money to prop up the ruling party."

Vukile Mkushi, a programme officer for a civic society organisation that he
declined to name, told IRIN he had not been paid since the beginning of the

"By the end of April, I would have exhausted all my savings because we are
now in the fourth month without receiving a salary. My wife who is paid in
local currency has been keeping the family going and I am getting frustrated
with the RBZ for failing to give us our money," he said.

The scarce availability of foreign currency is also affecting people living
with HIV and AIDS.

Lindiwe Mhunduru, the spokesperson for the country's largest medical aid
service provider, Cimas, told The Herald, the state owned daily newspaper,
that her organisation had stopped supplying antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for
HIV positive clients.

"The inability to get hard currency to import ARVs has in part caused the
disruption. Some of the drugs that are manufactured locally were in short
supply and we could not buy the quantities which we required."

Now I am told that my medical aid company cannot access foreign currency to
provide the life saving (ARV) drugs

Mhunduru said foreign currency was needed to both import the drugs and to
equip local manufacturers to ensure adequate supplies, while other ARV drug
manufacturers had stopped production because of a government price control
regime that forced companies to sell commodities at unrealistic prices.

This, according to Mhunduru, had forced medical aid service providers to
approach the government. "We understand that medical aid societies and
service providers have set up a task force which is preparing a paper
detailing foreign currency requirements for pharmaceutical and other service
providers to be submitted to the government."

Reverend Maxwell Kapachawo, Zimbabwe's first religious leader to publicly
disclose his HIV status, told IRIN "My salary has not come in as one of the
people who work in the NGO sector because of problems at the Reserve Bank.

"Now I am told that my medical aid company cannot access foreign currency to
provide the life saving (ARV) drugs. The Reserve Bank should do all in its
power to provide foreign currency so that ARVs are available at affordable

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

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Zimbabwe opposition leader calls for 'inclusive government'


MAPUTO, April 23 (AFP)

Zimbabwe's opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai called for an "inclusive
government" on Wednesday following disputed elections but stopped short of
backing a power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe.

"We want an inclusive government, we are in a transition," Tsvangirai told
reporters in Maputo after meeting Mozambican President Armando Guebuza in
the latest stop on a regional diplomatic tour aimed at raising support.

But Tsvangirai said the question of a national unity government, which was
suggested on Wednesday by state-run Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald -- a
government mouthpiece -- "does not arise at the moment."

"I am sure that the ongoing political impasse can be solved," he added.

Tsvangirai also called for an end to the post-election violence that his
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says has taken the lives of 10
opposition activists since the March 29 polls.

The MDC was the winner of the parliamentary elections and Tsvangirai says he
also won the presidential race against Mugabe, the official results of which
have not yet been announced.

Both elections are still up in the air amid a partial vote recount.

In Mozambique, Tsvangirai also met with Afonso Dhlakama, head of the
opposition former rebel Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) movement,
and former president Joaquim Chissano, a Mugabe ally.

"I do not advise Tsvangirai to take up arms. He needs to tell regional
leaders that he will set up a government of national unity," Dhlakama told
reporters after meeting Tsvangirai.

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MDC's Information Director Arrested, Charged

MDC's Information Director Arrested, Charged; Student Journalist Fined
Before Release; Misa Condemns Discriminatory Treatment of Detained

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

23 April 2008
Posted to the web 23 April 2008

Freelance journalist and registered media student of the University of
Witwatersrand, Stanley Karombo, was arrested on 18 April 2008 at Gwanzura
stadium in Harare's suburb of Highfield while taking notes during Zimbabwe's
28th independence celebrations.

At the time of his arrest, the police contemplated charging Karombo for
contravening the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA). However, the charge could not be sustained and was changed to that
of "conduct likely to cause public disorder".

Karombo, who spent three nights in police custody at the Harare central
police station's law and order section, was later forced to pay a Z$14
million (approx. US$470) "admission of guilt" fine.

Karombo was released on 21 April.

In a separate development, on 21 April freelance journalist Frank Chikowore
was finally charged with public violence, appearing in court almost a week
after his arrest together with six other accused persons, among them the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party's director of
information and publicity, Luke Tamborinyoka.

Chikowore was remanded in custody until 22 April, when Magistrate Olivia
Mariga was expected to make a decision on whether to grant the accused bail.
The allegations of public violence relate to the torching in Harare's suburb
of Warren Park of a long-distance bus that was travelling from Botswana on
15 April between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. (local time).

According to his lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, engaged by MISA-Zimbabwe under its
Media Defence Fund facility, the police initially wanted to charge Chikowore
with contravening the repressive Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) by practicing journalism without accreditation.

However, Chikowore is duly accredited with the state-controlled Media and
Information Commission (MIC) and was similarly accredited by the Zimbabwe
Election Commission (ZEC) to cover the elections held on 29 March.

Nkomo said the police had also contemplated charging him with malicious
injury to property as well as attempted murder before settling for the
charge of public violence.

According to the "Herald" newspaper of Zimbabwe, the public (or political)
violence charge encompassed "suspected MDC (opposition party) activists who
were arrested on various allegations including setting ablaze a Mandaza Bus
Service coach last week, barricading roads, stoning vehicles and circulating
inciting messages".

Chikowore was on freelance work reporting the elections when he was picked
up with various other people.

The "Herald" reported on 22 April that "according to official police
records, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Law and Order Section
has dealt with 33 cases of violence, most of them stemming from the failed
stay-away called for by MDC-T last week."

So far, some people had appeared in court with one of the cases having
already been finalised. Eleven people had since paid "admission of guilt"
fines while 13 were still under investigation.

MISA strongly condemns the selective treatment being handed out to
Chikowore. It is clear that people on similar charges have been released on
bail or on payment of a fine. The MISA lawyers are in the process of
preparing an urgent bail application for the journalist to be delivered 23
April. MISA maintains that the present charges brought against the
journalist are ones for which a detainee should be released on bail pending
trial, and that Chikowore should be dealt with according to the provisions
of the law.


According to his wife, Chikowore left their home in Harare's suburb of
Warren Park early in the morning on 15 April on his way to work only to
return later in the company of seven police officers, four of whom were in
riot gear and three in plainclothes. The police then reportedly searched the
house and confiscated a laptop, recorder and camera.

New case (Tamborinyoka) and update to the Chikowore and Karombo cases:

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Passop Launch Campaign Demanding Democracy

SW Radio Africa (London)

22 April 2008
Posted to the web 23 April 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) is a
South African organisation that has embarked on a campaign to demand the
restoration of democracy in Zimbabwe.

The group is also demanding an end to what they called a "Mugabe coup",
making reference to the refusal by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to
announce results from the Presidential poll.

Braam Hanekom from Passop said they will organise protest actions
consistently until they achieve their goal. He told Newsreel that the
campaign started on April 17 with a demonstration at the Inter-Parliamentary
Union meeting that was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre
last Thursday.

The event was a gathering of parliamentarians from all over Africa. Hanekom
said the speaker of South Africa's National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, chaired
the IPU meeting. He praised Mbete for her recent comments acknowledging that
there is indeed a crisis in Zimbabwe, adding to the list of African leaders
who are beginning to speak publicly about the abuses of the Mugabe regime.
But they chose this occasion for their demonstration to send a strong
message to other African parliamentarians.

Hanekom criticised the government of President Thabo Mbeki for failing to
deal with the problem of so many Zimbabweans fleeing from the chaos, into
South Africa. Simply deporting them is not a solution.

Passop was especially appalled by the xenophobic attacks that took place in
the Diepsloot area of Cape Town this month. At least 30 shacks were
destroyed and more than 100 people displaced. Of even greater concern were
reports that a meeting took place between the police, a local councillor and
the community ahead of the attacks.

At the meeting the South African locals allegedly declared that the attack
would follow. But the police took no action. In fact they responded several
hours after the attacks had started. Witnesses said the police were laughing
at the scene and they apparently arrested 20 Zimbabweans for being
undocumented, and not the South Africans who were attacking.

Next on the agenda for Passop is a demonstration at the Angolan Embassy.
Hanekom said this was decided after hearing reports that Angolan troops are
on standby to go to Zimbabwe to assist Robert Mugabe. Passop want the
Angolans to know there is no war in Zimbabwe and therefore no need to send

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Zambia's ruling party suspends official for urging Mugabe ouster


LUSAKA, April 23 (AFP)

A top official from Zambia's governing party was suspended on Wednesday
after he called for the forcible removal from power of Robert Mugabe, the
president of neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Geoffrey Chumbwe, chairman of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy for
Lusaka province, was suspended with immediate effect after President Levy
Mwanawasa expressed his concern at his remarks, said the MMD's acting

"As a party, we regret this irresponsible statement," the acting chairman
Jeff Kande said.

"In view of the serious nature of the statement, Chumbwe has been suspended
with immediate effect until further notice."

Chumbwe, who called for Mugabe's ouster after accusing him of trying to
cling to power following last month's disputed election in Zimbabwe, has
refused to apologise over his comments.

Mwanawasa also distanced himself from Chumbwe, who is a member of the
executive committee of the governing party, saying his statement does not
represent the views of his party or government.

"In fact I was personally embarrassed when I heard the statement," Mwanawasa
said, urging his senior party officials to stop commenting on the Zimbabwe

Mugabe has come under increasing international pressure as the March 29
presidential poll results have yet to be revealed, amid reports of
election-linked violence.

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Amnesty International - No supply arms until state sponsored violence ceases

Posted: 23 April 2008

Amnesty International said today (23 April) that all shipments of
small arms, light weapons and ammunition ordered from China by the Zimbabwe
Government must be halted as there is a real risk that it may lead to
increased human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK's Arms Programme Director
'Until the present wave of state sponsored violence comes to an end
and the rule of law is established, no weapons should be supplied to

'In addition no other pieces of security equipment - including tear
gas, water canons - should be sold to Zimbabwe during this turbulent time.
In the past, Zimbabwe Riot Police have used excessive force against human
rights defenders with such equipment to suppress the right to peaceful

Amnesty International welcomed the trade union movement's appeal to
its members not to offload the cargo if the ship docks at any African port.
The organisation also supported the legal and civil action taken by members
of civil society - in solidarity with victims of state sponsored violence in
Zimbabwe - to stop the delivery of arms to Zimbabwe.

Oliver Sprague continued:
'The mobilisation of civil society has proved critical in view of the
inaction of governments to put an end to arms trade to countries where there
is a pattern of gross human rights violations.

'All political leaders in southern African must urgently support the
efforts of civil society and demand an end to state-sponsored violence in
Zimbabwe and the return of the rule of law.'

The An Yue Jiang Chinese cargo ship carrying arms supplies to
Zimbabwe, highlights the absence of a global treaty to ensure proper
regulation of the conventional arms trade.

Following a vote of 153 states in favour to one against, Member States
of the United Nations are considering the feasibility, scope and parameters
for a global Arms Trade Treaty that would prevent the irresponsible trade in
conventional arms, and Amnesty International and its partners are appealing
for such a treaty to contain provisions to fully respect international human
rights and humanitarian law.

Following the elections held on 29 March 2008, Amnesty International
has documented serious human rights violations committed by soldiers and
police in Zimbabwe against opposition supporters.

Soldiers, police, so-called 'war veterans' and supporters of the
ruling party, ZANU-PF have assaulted and tortured people who have been
accused of not having voted 'correctly'.

Though some victims have reported these crimes to the police, no
arrests have been reported and it appears that perpetrators continue to
commit abuses with impunity.


The International Action Network on Small Arms - a coalition of which
Amnesty International is part - has issued a petition relating to the
Chinese consignment of arms heading to Zimbabwe. For more information,
please visit:

On 10 April 2008 the arms shipment arrived aboard a Chinese cargo
ship - the MV 'An Yue Jiang' - in Durban, South Africa.

The ship's owner was the Chinese Ocean Shipping Company and it was
carrying cases of weaponry and ammunition in six containers. The shipper of
the arms was Poly Technologies Inc of Beijing China, the delivery address on
the shipping documents was the Zimbabwe Defence Force, Harare, and the point
of origin on the cargo manifest is Beijing, China. The cargo in question
consisted of 3080 cases of arms. The Arrival Notification described the
contents as follows:

        7.62 x 54mm Ball - 1000 cases containing 1 million rounds
        7.62 x 39mm Ball - 1331 cases containing 2 million rounds
        RPC7, 40mm Rockets - 250 cases containing 1500 rounds
        60 mm mortar bombs - 227 cases containing 2703 rounds
        31mm mortar bombs - 176 cases containing 581 rounds
        31mm mortar tubes - 93 cases containing 31 items

Legal action to stop this Chinese arms consignment was taken on 18
April by concerned South Africans with the support of human rights legal
organisations in a bid to constrain the authorities from allowing
transhipment of the arms through South Africa to Zimbabwe.

The application was brought in the Durban High Court on the grounds of
South African national law, which prohibits arms transfers that may
contribute 'to internal repression or suppression of human rights and
fundamental freedom' or 'to governments that systematically violate or
suppress human rights and fundamental freedoms'.

An interim ruling was issued on 18 April to confine the arms to Durban
harbour pending a final court hearing but the ship sailed away. Currently
many governments, including in the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) region, and organisations worldwide are appealing for the arms
transfer to be prevented to Zimbabwe, but it is feared that the arms cargo
may be delivered to Zimbabwe through another route.

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Zim possibly in violation of African Charter

The Citizen

23/04/2008 18:08:09

PRETORIA - The delay in the release of Zimbabwe’s presidential results might
be a violation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights said on Wednesday.

In a statement released from The Gambia on Wednesday, the commission said
the delay also flew in the face of the Southern African Development
Community principles on elections.

“The African Commission is of the view that the right to vote and
participate in government is not limited to the casting of a ballot paper
but invariably includes the individual right to know, and in a timely
manner, the outcome of the voting exercise,” it said.

“The African Commission is concerned that the delay in the publication of
the results has the potential of undermining human rights and the rule of
law and may compromise an already volatile and tense situation.”

The commission called on the Zimbabwe government to provide the Zimbabwe
Elections Commission with all the necessary assistance it may require to
enable it release the elections results immediately.

The commission’s authority rests on the African Charter, which was adopted
by the African Union’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity.

It however still reports to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of
the African Union.

- Sapa

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Zimbabwe continues to wait as humanitarian crisis worsens


Date: 23 Apr 2008

Join our call for the Zimbabwean election results to be peacefully honoured

The Zimbabwean air is becoming unbearable, even in Harare. The government
have shown that they have no intention of losing this fight, and the waiting
is made all the more frustrating for the many who believe the result is
already known.

Even though the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has still not announced the
result of the Presidential election on March 29, people’s interest in the
result is waning. It seems the longer we wait, the higher tensions rise, and
the more difficult the next period will be.

But lack of interest in the actual result is down to the lack of credibility
of the process, rather than mere complacency. Zimbabweans are very sensitive
to claims that they are passive victims in this drama. Since early this year
Trócaire partner organisations and other civic organisations have been
working tirelessly on voter education and mobilisation, election monitoring
as well as humanitarian response. These organisations are not working on
either side of the political chasm.

The current situation in Zimbabwe, according to one Trócaire partner, is now
one of tension and fear marked with beatings and even torture.

The independent newspapers, or what remain of them in an increasingly
paranoid state, have been carrying stories of beatings of suspected
MDC-voters for a few days now. In some cases being suspected of voting the
‘wrong way’ is enough to have you taken by the so-called war veterans (who
claim to be have fought in the liberation struggle of the 1970’s but who are
popularly thought to be opportunists) or ‘green bombers’ (youth militia).

There are firm reports of MDC activists from rural areas being taken from
their homes and threatened with castration. Their cows set on fire and the
eyes of their goats gouged out. Their homes torched and their family

What has disappointed, but possibly not surprised, many people here is just
how far Robert Mugabe will go to remain in position. The news of the arms
shipment that he (or his military apparatus, which most believe to be the
true power in the country) ordered from China solicited many grave words.

It is now likely that the arms will never make it to Zimbabwe, thanks to the
solidarity of Durban’s dockworkers, the South African church and the
governments of Mozambique and Angola. But the questions remain: what weapons
can the government obtain by other means (such as air), and what would it
take for them to use them against an increasingly agitated population?

But there is defiance and resistance. One prominent commentator told
Trócaire about small resistance groups being set up in villages to defend
against government-sanctioned thugs. But more significantly, civil society
organisations are stressing the importance of non-violent action. Women’s
groups, journalists and others are reminding the population of their rights
and ability to tackle this situation peacefully.

Humanitarian agencies have little or no access to the most remote areas,
many of their Zimbabwean employees are afraid to go to work and, politically
motivated violence aside, the security situation is having real
repercussions for the most vulnerable.

The actions of the regional governments of Southern Africa and civil society
have prevented Chinese weapons from landing in the hands of the military
here and are to be commended. This kind of solidarity and concerted action
on the part of the region needs to continue and even be stepped up. Today’s
call by Caritas Internationalis for an international arms embargo against
Zimbabwe consolidates attention on the international community’s role.

Churches and civil society in Zimbabwe are desperately trying to draw
attention to the crisis in Zimbabwe. International attention has been
welcomed, but more action, such as the call for an arms embargo which
Trócaire supports, must be taken. The humanitarian and security situation is
bad – and deteriorating.

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