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Mugabe bends law to retain power in post-election vacuum



Nearly four weeks after Zimbabwe held a general election, President Robert
Mugabe and his ministers are infuriating the opposition by continuing to
exercise power by bending the law to their will.

Opinion may be divided over whether Mugabe is still entitled to occupy State
House but his control over the electoral machinery means he is largely able
to determine the flow of events.

"This government is very sophisticated. The president can stay in office
until the new one takes office. Because of the recount, Mugabe can say he is
entitled to stay in office," said Nicole Fritz, director of the Southern
African Litigation Centre.

"It might be the case on paper, but this is an obvious deception. They delay
in order to keep control."

It had been taken as granted by government and opposition that any
presidential election run-off after the polls on March 29 would have to be
held within three weeks, in other words by April 19 at the latest.

But with the Mugabe-appointed electoral commission still to declare the
result of the presidential election and a partial recount currently under
way, that date is now academic.

According to the Harare-based constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, the
wording of the electoral law is vague enough to enable Mugabe to argue the
clock only starts ticking when results have been announced.

"You can interpret the law to mean 21 days after the result has been
announced, so it's after the announcement of the results, when you start
counting 21 days," Madhuku said.

Even though some of the cabinet's most prominent members lost seats in the
joint parliamentary and presidential polls on March 29, the government
remains intact.

Patrick Chinamasa is still justice minister even though he lost his seat.

Chinamasa, also constitutional affairs minister, had a predictably flexible
interpretation of the law.

"You should understand that an election is not an event, it is a process....
So my own interpretation is that it's 21 days from the announcement of
results," he told AFP.

That is the kind of attitude that infuriates the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

"Mugabe and company are not supposed to be where they are after the people
made their statement on the 29th of March," said MDC spokesman Nelson

"They were rejected by the people of Zimbabwe but they are now creating a
vacuum and want to be beneficiaries of that vacuum."

Derek Matyszak, a researcher on Zimbabwe for the pro-democracy regional
think tank Idasa, says the government's control of the nominally independent
electoral commission is key to its ability to keep hold of the reins of

The commission has insisted the delay to results is due to its meticulous
counting process but that excuse does not wash with many so long after

"It requires considerable talent to suppress the scepticism which ZEC's
shifting, vacillating, implausible and illegitimate excuses for the delay in
releasing the presidential results evokes," said Matyszak.

"The delay by ZEC has created the anomaly of continued governance by the
president and by ministers who have lost their parliament seats and thus
their democratic mandate."

Fritz said there was clear evidence the commission had bowed to pressure
from the government, including its decision to order a recount in nearly two
dozen constituencies a fortnight after polling following complaints by

"Complaints (are meant to be) lodged within 48 hours after the vote, which
was obviously not the case," she said.

However Madhuku, who has long campaigned for the constitution to be
tightened up, acknowledged Mugabe was within his rights to carry on in

"The constitution says the term of office of a president lasts six years,
but it can be extended for as long as there is no new president," he said.

"As long as there is a legal process in place... and so far there's nothing
illegal about it ... they remain in office until a new government is

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Zimbabwe’s Opposition Dismisses Call For Mugabe to Head Transitional Government


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

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) has
described as rubbish demands by supporters incumbent President Robert Mugabe
that he should lead a transitional government to end the deadlock while new
elections were organized. The MDC says the call by supporters of the ruling
ZANU-PF party is an affront to the democratic tenets after the failure of
the electoral commission to release presidential results three weeks after
the general elections.

But partisans of ZANU-PF said there was need for the post election impasse
to be solved adding that the only way to finding a solution is for Mugabe to
head a transitional government ahead of another round of elections. Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro is the international affairs secretary of the opposition MDC.
He tells reporter Peter Clottey that there was need for the electoral
commission to release the presidential results immediately.

“Our reaction is simple. Release the results and let us find out which
political party won the presidential poll. Any other discussion cannot be
entertained before we have closed that hurdle,” Mukonoweshuro pointed out.

He said the opposition MDC is prepared to participate in a credible election
that meets international standards.

“The President of the MDC was quite clear. His message was that election
results should be released immediately. He believes and we all believe in
the MDC that we have won the election resoundingly. However, if in the event
of the need for a run-off, the MDC is prepared for that provided that
certain conditions are met to guarantee the freedom of the vote to guarantee
that elections takes place in the context of a free and fair political
environment,” he said.

Mukonoweshuro denied British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s demand for the
immediate release of the presidential results would exacerbate the plight of
the opposition MDC as speculated by some political analysts.

“In the first place I do not hold a brief on behalf of Mr. Brown. However,
Mr. Brown’s expression seems to capture the growing mood in the
international community. And I think the growing mood in the international
community as we read it is that Mr. Mugabe cannot bargain with anybody in
order to retain the presidency where he has lost the election, and that the
international community should not entertain that idea whether Mr. Mugabe’s
opinion are hardened or not, the will of the people of Zimbabwe must prevail
as expressed through the voting process,” Mukonoweshuro noted.

He rejected treason charges being leveled against the leader of the
opposition by the ruling ZANU-PF government.

“Any treason charges that are against the president of the MDC will of
course be tramped up charges, and I don’t believe that Zimbabweans will take
that lying down. They will resist any attempt to steal their victory from
them through tramped up charges,” he said.

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Poll numbers just don’t add up — if you’re Zanu (PF)

Business Day

24 April 2008

Wyndham Hartley

Parliamentary Editor

THE pure statistics of Zimbabwe’s contested election demonstrate clearly
that the present recount of ballots from 23 constituencies is a sham
designed to improve the performance of Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF)
party, a senior opposition MP has said.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP from Bulawayo Eddie Cross, in an

e-mailed letter, has detailed exactly the procedures followed in the
counting of votes after polling closed, and which led to results being
posted on the walls of all voting stations.

He referred specifically to the 23 constituencies being recounted at the
behest of Zanu (PF), which claims that its results were undercounted.

“The statistics are awesome for an exercise of this nature. The 23 districts
had 1380 polling stations. At those polling were nearly 15000 staff —
excluding 5000 police officers — all on duty the whole day and well into the
night, who observed the whole process.

“The returning officers in charge were all senior public servants carefully
selected for this task and well paid for their time,” Cross said.

He explained that each team of more than 15 people had to watch while an
average of 275 voters went through the elaborate process of having their
names and identity documents checked against voters’ rolls before depositing
their ballot papers. Before being allowed to deposit the ballot the voter
had to show the polling station code number on his or her ballot paper to
the returning officer. They were all colour coded.

“In the evening, after closing the polling station, they had a short break
and then, in front of up to 20 party polling agents, they proceeded to empty
each box on to an open table and divide them into piles — one for each
candidate — before counting and recounting until everyone was satisfied with
the count, which was then recorded by all involved — agents on their own
returns and the staff on the official documents.”

Cross says the process continued for hours and when it was over the
returning officers recorded the results on the so-called V11 form, which was
then signed by all parties and posted on the polling station door. The
results were then transmitted to the district control centre where they were

Critically, at the same time “they announced the result of the presidential
poll”. Cross said the police watched every step of the process as was borne
out by their radio conversations with other police officers in other voting

“Now Zanu (PF) and the Mugabe regime want the world to accept this elaborate
and painstaking process at 1400 polling stations was flawed to the extent
that the results — drawn up by 15000 staff, watched by 5000 police
officers — were wrong!

“How wrong we are about to discover. They started at 8am (on Saturday) and
it will take three days to finish. The recount process will be elaborate for
the benefit of the press, Southern African Development Community observers
and the curious.

“But it is an elaborate sham, put on for the benefit of the gullible and the
region — which knows full well what is going on and yet will applaud the
process as being “transparent” and above board. Why have they not done this
with the V11 forms?

“Why not sit down with the four chief election agents and count the results
of 9400 forms filled in by returning officers on the night of March 29? Why
not simply verify the signatures on those forms and ask the parties to
justify any queries? Why this elaborate and time-consuming process when the
obvious has not been done?” Cross asked.

He said it was quite clear the exercise was a ploy to hide the fact fraud
was being committed in front of a watching world, and it should be recalled
Zanu (PF) had had control of the ballot boxes for about three weeks.

His view was supported by Democratic Alliance MP Dia ne Kohler-Barnard, who
was in Zimbabwe as an observer of the recount.

She said: “From what I have seen and experienced in Zimbabwe in the last
three days it is clear the process of recounting the contested wards from
the recent elections is fatally flawed.

“The process has been marred by delays, administrative problems and the
clear political intent of blaming the opposition MDC for all problems
associated with the recount. Of particular concern was evidence of
ballot-box tampering I witnessed personally, which points to a concerted
effort to rig the election results in order to bring about a Mugabe ‘victory’ ”

Some of the evidence backing this view was that protocol registers at
several counting stations were missing, bringing the counting to a halt in a
number of areas; on a number of ballot boxes, the seals holding the keys for
the two padlocks on each box had been broken; one set of ballot boxes was
missing a book of voting papers from the presidential election box, although
all other books were locked in.

A number of other boxes had broken or missing seals, missing keys, and no
voting paper books inside; and loose ballot box seals with serial numbers
identical to those on already sealed boxes were easily available, giving the
impression that ballot box seals could easily be replicated, opening the way
for large-scale vote-tampering, she said.

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Arm Zimbabwe's Opposition

Wall Street Journal

April 24, 2008; Page A13

Last July, former Zimbabwean Archbishop Pius Ncube raised the possibility of
a British invasion of his country to topple Robert Mugabe's regime. "I think
it is justified for Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe," he told the
Times of London. "We should do it ourselves but there's too much fear. I'm
ready to lead the people, guns blazing, but the people are not ready."

Perhaps the Zimbabwean people would be ready and less afraid if they
actually had guns to blaze. They do not lack a passion for freedom; it is
the necessary tools to wrest themselves from the yoke of tyranny that they

Ever since losing his country's March 29 presidential and parliamentary
elections, Mr. Mugabe, rather than step down, has unleashed his trademark
violence and intimidation to subvert the democratically expressed will of
his people. On Wednesday, a Zimbabwean state newspaper floated the idea of
Mr. Mugabe forming a unity government with Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mr. Tsvangirai's party won
the parliamentary elections, and he likely won the presidential elections
(the government has yet to release the presidential results, and this week
held a rigged "recount" of 23 parliamentary constituencies).

Unfortunately, this scheme has gained the support of Jacob Zuma, likely to
become the next president of South Africa. Mr. Zuma is widely praised for
taking a tougher stance on Mr. Mugabe than the country's current leader
Thabo Mbeki. Yet a "power-sharing" deal with a ruthless tyrant like Mr.
Mugabe will never work. After nearly a decade of struggle, Zimbabwe's
democratic opposition understands this. "We are prepared to engage
progressive forces in ZANU-PF, but the future of Zimbabwe must exclude
Mugabe," Nquobizitha Mlilo, a spokesman for the MDC told the New York Times.

It has been nearly a year since Bishop Ncube uttered his plea. The argument
for arming the Zimbabwean opposition has gained new urgency in light of the
news that three million rounds of ammunition, 3,500 mortars and 1,500
rocket-propelled grenades were on a Chinese ship, to be delivered to Harare,
the capital of Zimbabwe. Mercifully, the arms shipment was turned away by
South Africa, and Mozambique and Angola have said they will follow suit.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for an international arms
embargo on Zimbabwe. It's appalling that such a sanction has not already
been in force.

If the Chinese armaments reach landlocked Zimbabwe, it's clear what purpose
they will serve: strengthening Mr. Mugabe's hand as he attempts to steal yet
another election. Brutality is his main tool. Human Rights Watch reports
that the government has set up "torture camps" for opposition supporters.
The opposition MDC party says 400 of its members have been arrested, 500
have been injured, and 10 have been killed in regime-orchestrated violence.
Some 3,000 families have been driven from their homes.

"Zimbabwe as I speak is burning," Mr. Tsvangirai said this week from exile
in Ghana. "President Mugabe and his band of criminals have unleashed
violence on the people as a punishment for choosing to vote for change."

Everything in Mr. Mugabe's history suggests he will use whatever force is
necessary to maintain his grip on power. As a rebel leader participating in
the 1980 election, he promised to continue the country's civil war if he
lost. Not long after taking power, he murdered some 30,000 members of the
minority Ndebele tribe in what is known as the Matabeleland Massacre. In
2005, as punishment for voting against his ZANU-PF party, he destroyed the
homes of 700,000 poor Zimbabweans. He has killed untold numbers of political
opponents in the past and driven even more into exile.

Since so many of the country's security officials are prime beneficiaries of
Mr. Mugabe's kleptocracy (and might be implicated for human-rights abuses
were the regime to fall), it's doubtful that the military would ever allow a
peaceful "velvet revolution" to transpire – as many speculated in the days
after the election.

In short, Mr. Mugabe's opponents need weapons soon. This is not to effect
regime change, but for simple self-defense.

Critics of American support for dissidents abroad often cite how such
backing, once it becomes public, could endanger the dissidents' cause and
credibility. This critique might make sense in the Middle East, but it does
not carry much water in Africa.

There, as a well-publicized Pew poll last year found, widespread majorities
count the U.S. as their nation's "most dependable ally," and fault the U.S.
for not doing more to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Thanks to regime-induced famine, Zimbabwe has had one of the world's lowest
life expectancies, and a death rate higher than Darfur's for well over a
year. The mere existence of Mr. Mugabe's rule is a continuing crime against
humanity. Lest that not serve as a wake-up call to the world, last week the
MDC's secretary general, Tendai Biti, bluntly announced: "There is a war in
Zimbabwe being waged by Mugabe's regime against the people."

America has chosen a side in this war. Perhaps it's time we help it fight

Mr. Kirchick, an assistant editor at The New Republic, reported from
Zimbabwe in 2006.

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Troops option in Zimbabwe, says Boesak

Business Day

 24 April 2008

Chris van Gass

Cape Correspondent

CAPE TOWN — Two prominent South African clerics who returned yesterday from
a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe have called on the United Nations,
through the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to consider
sending troops into Zimbabwe to prevent the country sliding into a situation
similar to Kenya.

Allan Boesak, head of the Cape synod of the Uniting Reformed Church in
Southern Africa , and Braam Hanekom, of the Dutch Reformed Church , who
spent two-and-a-half days in Zimbabwe, also called on the African National
Congress (ANC) leadership to reconsider its role, and whether it should
become more directly involved.

Boesak said the ANC leadership, which clearly differed from President Thabo
Mbeki on the issue, should get in touch with SADC “and raise the level of SA’s

Describing what the group saw as a humanitarian crisis, Boesak said ordinary
Zimbabweans were living in “abject fear” of reprisals by militia of
President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party.

Boesak said some of the things he had heard during the visit had taken him
back to the “worst days of human rights abuses in the apartheid era”.

The delegation, which visited Harare and three rural former Mugabe
strongholds , which in the latest elections came out “strongly” for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had been shown the
“horrific” effects of repression by Zanu (PF) militia.

The delegation met political parties, locals, human rights activists and
church leaders and had been shown pictures and evidence of the “horrific"
methods of torture used by militias, wiping out half a village and killing

“These are people who as a result live in abject fear of reprisals and
intimidation that is going on all over the country,” Boesak said.

It appeared to be a tactic for the militia to be sent into areas where the
MDC had made strong electoral gains, he said.

“You really have to say the crisis in Zimbabwe is visible at every level,
whether economically, politically or in the ordinary subsistence and
survival of people getting enough to eat, in the courts and in terms of
(the) human rights situation.”

Boesak said what was clear was that SA had not done enough so far.

He said ordinary Zimbabweans had made a point of letting the delegation know
that they felt “almost betrayed by the process of mediation and methods that
have been followed up till now”.

He said among the specific concerns was the consignment of armaments from
China that was destined for Zimbabwe via SA. “There is fear on the ground
and people are deeply disturbed because they say these are weapons the
Zimbabwean government wants to use against them,” Boesak said.

He said the international community should force the Zimbabwe government to
release the election results .

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Torture victims seen in Zimbabwe

Washington Times

By Geoff Hill
April 24, 2008

JOHANNESBURG — Doctors at a secret medical center set up in Harare say they
have been inundated with patients suffering burns, beatings and wounds
received during torture sessions by youth militia and aging veterans loyal
to President Robert Mugabe.

A doctor at the clinic who asked not to be named told The Washington Times
that he and his staff were working "impossible hours" to cope with

"All the private clinics across the country are receiving people burned,
whipped and women who have been raped by militias," he said.

He said that some of the injuries had been inflicted by the Central
Intelligence Organization (CIO), a secret police organization that reports
directly to the president"s office.

"We have problems getting people in here because ambulances and even private
vehicles trying to ferry the wounded from rural areas are turned back by the
army or the CIO," he said.

At Mutoko, a farming district 70 miles northeast of Harare, an organizer for
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said the area was "like
a war zone."

Organizer Charm Chinyake said that youth militia and veterans of Zimbabwe's
war in the 1970s that brought Mr. Mugabe to power were forcing people to
admit they had voted the wrong way in the March 29 election, in which the
MDC won a parliamentary majority from Mr. Mugabe"s Zimbabwe African National
Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

"The militia go around in groups of 10 to 20, beating people and threatening
to burn down their huts," he said. "They demand the people confess they
voted the wrong way after which they must produce their MDC party cards and
T-shirts to be burned. They are then forced to buy cards for ZANU-PF."

In another area 45 miles east of the capital, MDC campaigner Maria Chanetsa
said her nephew had been tied in a sack that was then thrown in a river.

"He died in the bag by the time we got him out," she said. "Other people
have been beaten or had their huts burned."

Mrs. Chanetsa said that in one group of militia, two men had been issued
Chinese-made AK-47 rifles.

"They have no ammunition, but they have warned us that they will soon have
bullets and that by voting for the MDC, we have chosen to make war with the
government," she said.

Bullets were part of a shipment of arms on a Chinese ship that was forced to
turn back because neighbors of landlocked Zimbabwe refused to let the cargo
be unloaded.

The refusal marked a rare show of unity by regional leaders against Mr.
Mugabe. The exception was South Africa, where the government did not
intervene but the dockworkers union refused to unload the ship.

In the tourist town of Victoria Falls, there have also been reports of youth
militia armed with AK-47s.

MDC activist Tony Ncube said there had not been any beatings in the town,
but the militia had warned people to expect war in the near future.

"Some of them have guns, and they are saying that Robert Mugabe is president
for life and cannot be removed by an election or by anyone," he said.

Human rights organizations including Amnesty International have condemned
the latest violence, and some have published photographs of patients in
various medical centers, showing whip marks and burns.

Meanwhile, a prominently displayed column in the government-controlled
Herald newspaper yesterday suggested a "national unity" government to
resolve the crisis.

"The West, particularly the Anglo-American establishment, should stop
insisting that President Mugabe and ZANU-PF cannot be part of a future
prosperous Zimbabwe," opinion columnist Obediah Mazombwe wrote, according to
the Associated Press.

Mr. Mazombwe wrote that regional leaders, along with "the progressive
international community," could bring together key players: Mr. Mugabe's
party, the opposition, former colonial ruler Britain and the United States.

The first count in last month's parliamentary vote showed the opposition
winning a majority in Parliament for the first time during Mr. Mugabe's
28-year rule.

Electoral officials are recounting ballots in 23 districts, most won by
opposition candidates. Mr. Mugabe's party needs nine seats to win back a

No results of the March 29 presidential election, held the same day as
parliamentary voting, have been released.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party insists it won, and it has
called the government's refusal to release the results part of a ploy to
steal the vote, according to the AP dispatch from the Zimbabwean capital,

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Mugabe's 'Democracy'

Washington Post

By Morgan Tsvangirai
Thursday, April 24, 2008; Page A21

Words are deadly in today's Zimbabwe. "Winner," "recount," "treason" and
"democracy" carry barbs and built-in explosives. Ordinary Zimbabweans are
suffering at the hands of an authoritarian regime with no sense of
proportion or timing, a dictatorship with no scruples.

First, we are being led to believe that my party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, was not the winner of the March 29 election. The world is
expected to believe that the results are not only inconclusive but also
somehow wrong. According to Robert Mugabe's regime, "winner" means that the
MDC has garnered votes to which it has no right and that his party lost out
only through unfair means.

This ignores reality. If any party has been denied votes by foul means, it
is the MDC. But in today's Zimbabwe, "recount" means "stalling for more

Intimidation and stuffing of ballot boxes are common practices of Mugabe's
government. In fact, the regime has no qualms about demanding a recount when
the results have still not been fully released, raising questions as to just
what are the grounds for a recount.

In the tense aftermath of the election, those who acted upon their
convictions and voted their consciences, in hopes of establishing a true
democracy, have been branded as threats to the state. Panicked government
officials are bullying voters thought to have cast ballots for my party.
Already, casualty numbers are rising.

The accusation of treason has also been hurled at me. "Treason" means I am
unable to return home for fear of my life. But while I am used to these
sorts of abuses from Mugabe, we cannot allow the truth to be concealed.

Mugabe has attempted to sell the belief that this election was democratic
and that Zimbabwe is a functional democracy.

Let us take a closer look at democracy, Mugabe-style: His is a "democracy"
of votes obtained through violence and intimidation. This is a "democracy"
in which freedom is a faded banner, waved occasionally over the heads of a
battered people, and not the central foundation of a free nation. This is a
"democracy" built on human rights abuses, corruption, denial, widespread
injustice and the deaths of innocents.

Mugabe's "democracy" is a hollowed-out shell, and in his Zimbabwe, the term
"democracy" means "denial of truth."

The world must know: There is an all-out crisis in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately,
South African President Thabo Mbeki has sought to deny this truth, despite
all evidence to the contrary. Given his status as leader of the region's
major power, Mbeki's bizarre analysis has underpinned inaction not only in
Africa but also elsewhere within the international community.

Thankfully, wiser heads in South Africa's ruling party and elsewhere have
sought to marginalize Mbeki's disinformation. Those of us struggling for
true democracy in Zimbabwe hope that quiet diplomacy is being replaced by a
more active approach.

As that diplomatic process generates further discussion and assessment, we
who support democracy in Zimbabwe can only hope that the Mugabe regime's
actions are soon shown for what they are: attacks on democracy itself.

Morgan Tsvangirai is leader of the Movement for Democratic Change in

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Tales of Terror In Zimbabwe

Washington Post

Opposition Supporters Gather at HQ To Escape Violence by Youth Gangs
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, April 24, 2008;

HARARE, Zimbabwe, April 23 -- The beaten, the battered and the bruised have
straggled in from Zimbabwe's terrified countryside over the past two weeks.
And they have set up camp in Harvest House, a dingy downtown office block
that has long been the headquarters of opposition politics. Now it has the
grim, grimy look of a refugee camp in a war zone.

There are children screaming. There are adults starving, or stinking for
lack of running water. There are broken bones and bullet wounds and stories
of how an election that millions of Zimbabweans thought might be the end of
President Robert Mugabe's rule has instead produced violent reprisals
against those bold enough to work openly for his ouster.

Martin Mandava, 29, a farmer from Mutoko, one of many Mugabe rural
strongholds that supported the opposition in the March 29 presidential
election, told of how last week a gang of youths from the ruling ZANU-PF
party stoned him, tied his arms and legs, then beat him with sticks. They
gashed his head with an ax, he said, and threatened to stab his pregnant
wife through the womb. Then the gang leader pulled down Mandava's pants,
grabbed his genitals and held out a knife.

The leader asked the gang what should be done to an opposition supporter,
Mandava recalled. The answer: His genitals should be cut off, to keep
opposition party babies from being born there.

Mandava's wife screamed and covered the face of their 5-year-old child, he
said. Then the leader offered to put his weapon away if Mandava could sing a
song from Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, the guerrilla war led in the 1970s
by Mugabe. Mandava sang the song.

After four hours of abuse, he said, the youths burned down a thatch-roofed
hut the family used as a kitchen and left.

"They said my wife should not try to raise alarm or they will kill her,"
Mandava said. "They also bragged that this is what they had done to other
traitors in the area."

Such accounts have become increasingly common in the 25 days since the
historic national vote, whose results have yet to be released by an
electoral commission run by Mugabe allies.

About 300 opposition activists are living in Harvest House now. Hundreds of
other members of the Movement for Democratic Change have been beaten,
tortured, falsely arrested or chased from their homes, according to human
rights groups. The MDC says 10 of its members have been killed.

Many usual occupants of the headquarters, including opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, are traveling elsewhere in Africa to seek support for their
cause on a continent that traditionally has avoided interventions against
human rights abuses.

An opinion article in the state-owned Herald newspaper stirred widespread
speculation Wednesday that elements of Mugabe's ZANU-PF are angling for a
political deal with the opposition, which asserts that Tsvangirai won the
election outright. In the piece, an academic with ties to Mugabe's party
suggested that both sides agree to a government of national unity led by the
president. It would be charged with introducing a new constitution and
organizing new elections.

"The details in the story do mirror the feeling by some key members in the
party," said a top government official close to Mugabe, speaking on the
condition of anonymity. "There is a belief that even a runoff will not help
things at all."

There are few visible signs of an impending deal to break Zimbabwe's
political stalemate. Instead there is abundant and growing evidence that
Mugabe, who has been in power for 28 years, has let loose his army, secret
police and feared youth militias to brutalize the opposition in advance of a
runoff that could be scheduled as early as May.

Some victims are fleeing into the countryside with their families. Their
broken bodies are filling hospital wards. And some are coming here, to the
party's national headquarters, because they can think of nowhere else to go.

Most are sleeping in two large conference rooms, about 40 feet by 40 feet.
Crammed into these squalid spaces are young children, babies being
breast-fed and dozens upon dozens of adults dressed in the only tattered
clothes they have left.

"The number of people is increasing every day," said MDC deputy leader
Thokozani Khupe, who is attempting to manage the tumult at Harvest House. "I
have received reports that more are on their way to this place. I don't know
what we will do."

Mavis Mavhunga, 65, a widow, said four ruling party youths came to her hut
before dawn last week to punish her for attending opposition meetings before
the election.

"They said at my age I must be old enough to know that this country came
through the barrel of the gun. They said I should therefore be grateful" to
the ruling party, Mavhunga recalled.

The youths hit her with sticks and fists, then pulled up her dress to lash
her across the buttocks. When she fainted, one of the youths poured a bucket
of water on her head to revive her so the beating could continue, Mavhunga
said, weeping as she recalled the pain.

One of the youths then kicked her arm, breaking it. Two hours into the
assault, the youths burned down her hut and left. Mavhunga said she was so
weak that neighbors had to carry her to the hospital in a wheelbarrow. Her
entire village, she said, is now empty.

Moreblessing Chigadza, 35, said she was working in her field in another
village last week, with her 3-month-old tied to her back, when she saw smoke
rising from her family's compound. Rushing back, she saw her hut on fire and
eight ruling party youths shoving her husband into a white truck with no
license plate.

After the truck sped away, Chigadza said, the remaining youths ordered her
to set the child aside, then beat her with a motorbike chain. As she tried
to run, she said, one of the men tripped her, breaking her leg. She has not
seen her husband again.

Another party activist, Takawira Mandere, 34, said he was returning from a
political meeting in a rural town April 12 and wearing an MDC T-shirt when
he and several friends stopped at a store owned by an officer of the secret
police. When the officer demanded that they leave, he said, they refused.

"He said he was going to teach us a lesson," Mandere said. "He said the only
way to get order in the area was to kill at least one MDC member so that the
sellouts in the opposition know that ZANU-PF means business."

The officer shot Mandere in the right leg, then the left. When the officer
went to get more bullets, Mandere crawled away and hid, he said. After
treatment at a Harare hospital, he moved into opposition party headquarters,
where he has been living ever since.

Timberg reported from Johannesburg.

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Paranoia and prudence in a country filled with informers

Business Day

24 April 2008

Tafi Murinzi

Political Correspondent

SUPPOSE you have a Zimbabwean passport and work as a political journalist in

You want to cover the country’s elections in March. But you are told that,
like foreign scribes, you must send your application to the embassy for
forwarding to Harare. It is made clear that one may not work as a journalist
in Zimbabwe unless invited to do so.

Fair enough, you think, cognisant of the country’s strict media laws and the
possibility of prosecution. You demand some form of written acknowledgement
so that you can inquire should there be no response. “That is very rude,”
you are told at the Zimbabwe embassy in Pretoria. “Embassies don’t work like

This is the position I am in until I decide, after the elections, to cross
the Limpopo.

I begin to work at dismissing my paranoia. As a citizen, going home would
surely not be an illegal act? My initial inhibitions wane when a politically
involved friend in Harare says the spooks seem preoccupied with the election
results and the possibility of a new government.

Even then , passport control makes me anxious. I pray that the immigration
officer does not leaf through my passport and find the tiny reference to my
profession and employer. Luckily, he doesn’t.

Now the hardest thing is shaking off the nagging fear that there could be
people interested in my mundane routine as I meet friends, former colleagues
and the odd activist and opposition member .

I look over my shoulder and peer into faces hoping for a clue from the one
whose eyes betray more than cursory interest. But what would a spook look

With no sign that anyone is paying me any attention I relax. I even visit
the press club where the justice minister was to speak about the delay of
the election results. Regulars at Harare’s Quill Club are mainly freelance
journalists, writers who secretly feed the foreign media, some lawyers and
petty businesspeople — connected by a keen interest in current affairs.

It is a friendly enough place, and has become a fixture. It endured the
worst as Rhodesia gave way to Zimbabwe and may be seeing the beginning of
the end for the current order.

Having been to the club, I got to bed slightly inebriated. It hit me that
venturing into the Quill had been a blunder. It didn’t matter that a friend,
Stan Karombo, a recent returnee from SA, had confided that he was operating
without accreditation. “How will they know?” he retorted when I asked if he
wasn’t afraid of being caught.

For any spook on the media beat, a regular presence at the Quill Club would
yield good results. Since the minister did not show up for the talk, what if
the rumour was deliberately started to entice unaccredited reporters itching
for a scoop? The thought of having been spotted, even by another journalist
doubling as an informer, sent me into a panic. I left town without saying
goodbye to friends. Two days later, I read about Karombo’s kidnapping, but
he was released after three days. I wonder if carelessness, a loose tongue
or too many appearances at places like the Quill led to his undoing.

Since the elections, four foreign journalists in Zimbabwe were arrested, but
later cleared of charges and released.

A fifth was convicted of making a false declaration about the reasons for
his presence in the country and was deported.

a.. This report is written by a Zimbabwean journalist writing under a
pseudonym for personal security.

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Police to take on Zimbabwe border patrol

Business Day

24 April 2008

Wilson Johwa

Political Correspondent

THE South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will next year
pull its troops out of patrol duties at the Zimbabwe border — a move that
could worsen the capacity constraints at the country’s busiest land border.

Maj-Gen Barney Hlatshwayo of the joint operations division said
the military would withdraw from borderline operations in Limpopo at the end
of March next year. The responsibility w ould be handed to the South African
Police Service (SAPS).

“The decision was taken that the mandate should be given to the
police,” said defence department head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini
yesterday. This decision could be made by “political principals” only, he

Hlatshwayo said the handover of responsibility at the border was
in line with the military’s strategic requirements and constitutional
obligations. Unlike the police, the army had no powers of arrest and could
not use force when dealing with civilians.

Limpopo was the last area for military border operations since
the military began transferring responsibility to the police in a programme
that began four years ago. The SANDF ha s three companies of 500 soldiers in
Limpopo but they will return to their regular bases next year.

While he said the number of Zimbabweans crossing into SA had
increased since the country’s elections last month, handover plans were in
place. Sufficient warning had also been given to the police so as not to
create a vacuum, and the military would continue to support the police,
Hlatshwayo said.

The pending handover comes after a report by Auditor- general
Terence Nombembe, pointed to gaping inadequacies in the management of the
country’s borders.

The report said there were vacancies of 70% in the SAPS border
protection service. Nombembe also found that, since 2004, there was still no
overall plan relating to border policing.

SAPS spokesman Phuti Setati said the police service was up to
the task of managing SA’s Zimbabwe border. “As soon as the SANDF go, we will
increase capacity. Whatever challenge we meet, we will take it head on,” he

Phuti maintained the police had the capacity to perform policing
functions “along all border areas”.

However, earlier this week Mpumalanga MEC for safety and
security Fish Mahlalela appealed for the defence force to be brought back to
patrol SA’s borders with Mozambique and Swaziland. Police took over the
function in the province early this month. Crime was rocketing because of
the conditions on the border and there were no police officers to do the
job, Mahlalela told Beeld .

After a recent tour , he found the task to be too big for the
police. “The fence looks like a sieve. At certain places there aren’t even
fences,” he said, adding that he would ask Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota
to re-deploy the military.

The SANDF could not be drawn into revealing whether it had a
contingency plan for the situation in Zimbabwe, the source of over 1-million
migrants living in SA .

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Election Runoff 'Only Solution' to Impasse

Business Day (Johannesburg)

24 April 2008
Posted to the web 24 April 2008

Dumisani Muleya

AS A protracted stalemate continues over delayed election results,
Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said that a runoff
in the presidential poll was the "only possible solution" to ending the

In an interview with Business Day, he defended the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) and the delays, saying they were battling with a "mammoth

"We are preparing for the runoff. I don't know when it will be, but it's

Chinamasa said that votes were being recounted in 23 constituencies, and
that a runoff would follow soon after the results of the recount had been

The recount has been contentious and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) says it fears the results will be rigged in favour of President
Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF), which lost its parliamentary
majority in the election. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed victory
in the presidential poll.

Sources close to the ZEC said that the results would be finalised by the end
of this week and that the runoff would take place 21 days after all results
had been announced.

Chinamasa said Mugabe was awaiting the results and Zanu (PF) was ready for
the runoff. "We are ready and we will win."

The stalemate has led to Harare postponing a summit of the Common Market for
Eastern and Southern Africa slated for Victoria Falls next month, to
accommodate the rerun.

Foreign affairs spokesman Joey Bimha said new dates for the summit would be
announced after the necessary consultations.

Meanwhile, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has given conflicting messages on
whether he will contest the runoff. After saying early last week that he
would take part only if it was held under the auspices of the Southern
African Development Community with international observers, by the weekend
he was saying he had won the election and would not participate in a runoff.

If he boycotts the poll, which he is expected to win, Mugabe will be
declared the winner.

There are widespread fears that the runoff will be accompanied by violence.
Already there are reports of the army, police and intelligence units being
deployed around the country to campaign for Mugabe using state resources.

The MDC has said 10 of its supporters have been killed by Zanu (PF) agents
and hundreds more have been arrested and displaced.

"The MDC is just lying. I'm right now reading one of their documents about
violence, but it has no names, dates or places where these alleged
atrocities occurred. But I'm not surprised, because it's just propaganda,"
Chinamasa said.

Former Zanu (PF) politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa has warned that a runoff
election would plunge the country into chaos.

"I don't think the runoff would help resolve the crisis. The worst violence
and chaos is likely to come then, " he said.

The runoff, likely to be held in the third week of next month, means that
the election process would have taken nearly five months as preparations
started in January with the proclamation of the dates and nomination of

World leaders yesterday condemned the delay in the release of the
presidential election results.

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Nigeria Worried Over Zimbabwean Crisis
 April 24, 2008 |

Nigerian govern-ment has expressed great concern over the political crisis
rocking Zimbabwe since the last general elections in that country.

This was contained in a press statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
in Abuja. According to the statement, the Federal Government is concerned
about the political logjam in the South African nation.

Nigeria was particularly worried about the political situation over the past

The government viewed developments in Zimbabwe with a keen interest, and was

"The Federal Government has followed developments in Zimbabwe with abiding
interest but also with mounting concern", the statement noted.

Nigeria notes the commitment of regional organisation, the South African
Development Community (SADC) effort in finding an amicable solution to the
crisis unfolding in that country. While acknowledging the complex nature of
the problem in Zimbabwe the statement noted that no effort, both on the
continent and beyond, should be spared in finding viable and lasting
solutions to the crisis.

But the statement was quick to warn all parties to the crisis of the need to
put first the interest of Zimbabwe over and above other considerations.

And that as a result of this, the parties should engage each other in a
manner that is devoid of violence in accordance with the country’s
constitution. While appreciating President Thabo Mbeki, a South African in
finding peace in Zimbabwe, it noted that Nigeria in solidarity with sister
African countries would spare no effort in ensuring that peace return to the
troubled nation.

Zimbabwe has been facing a political crisis since a general election whose
presidential result is not yet public, with opposition Morgan Tsvangarai
claiming victory, despite the ruling ZANU PF insistence that there was no
clear winner.

Tsvangarai was in Nigeria early in the week on a visit to former president
Olusegun Obasanjo in Ota, Ogun State.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since described the visit as a private
one, disassociating the government from it.

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Chinese arms to come by air

Africa News, Netherlands

Posted on Thursday 24 April 2008 - 08:10

The Zimbabwean government has continued with its arms hoarding with reports
that a second shipment of Chinese weapons will be flown into the country
direct from China next week

The first consignment, which had been shipped from China , was denied
permission to offload at the port of Durban . The arms bound ship has
further corroborated media reports that there is serious violence towards
opposition members in the country.

The Zimbabwe military which is now making decisions following the Joint
Operations Command also come up with the resolution during an emergency

However, the second decision to use an aircraft apparently was taken to keep
the nature and extent of the load secret from the outside world.

The weapons which are intended to be used to perpetrate violence are said to
be of high quality.

South Africa through Durban High Court barred the ship from proceeding
resulting in the ship sailing to Namibian waters for possible docking at
Walvis Bay . The ship is also reported that it will reach Zimbabwe through
the Victoria Falls .
This is not the first time that President Mugabe’s government has been
importing dangerous weapons which now the Zanu PF political activists, war
veterans, army and youth militia are using to punish those they believe
voted for the opposition MDC party.

Later the government imported water cannons from Israel which were used to
quell the violence that erupted at Zimbabwe Grounds on March 11. The water
cannons are seen in the density suburbs of Harare as they violence continue
to escalate on daily basis.

Zimbabwe faces chronic food shortages, electricity, fuel shortages and
inflation has reached a record of 165 000 percent but the government is busy
spending money on weapons. There is no war in Zimbabwe but only Zanu PF
which is killing and assaulting the electorate who wanted change.

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Panel Examines Zimbabwe after Elections

The Crimson, Harvard

Published On Thursday, April 24, 2008  1:01 AM

Contributing Writer

After 28 years in power, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe seemed like he
would finally be ousted as the opposition party claimed victory following
the March 29 election, yet Mugabe has not accepted defeat.

In the face of the country’s current uncertainty, the Harvard College Africa
Business and Investment Club and the Committee on African Studies sponsored
a panel entitled “A Post Election Zimbabwe: What Next?” yesterday evening.

“The reason we wanted to do this was because we felt as Zimbabweans, since
we can’t vote in the country there was something we still wanted to do,”
said moderator Brian K. Chingono ’09, who organized the event alonged with
Brighton Mudzingwa ’09.

Chingono opened the panel by emphasizing the importance of Zimbabwe’s
current political struggle in determining the country’s future. “This
election is very important in the country’s history because for the first
time Mugabe’s political future hangs in the balance,” he said.

One of the four panelists, Zimbabwean graphic artist Chaz Maviyane-Davies,
has tried to use art to direct the attention of the international community
toward Zimbabwe’s political situation.

“My aim was to raise the consciousness of our situation by spending about
two to three hours a day on a simple graphic,” he said. He said his
graphics, which featured messages such as “Take your anger to the polls,”
were meant to encourage voter turnout and condemn leaders like Mugabe and
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

Yet panelist Tawanda Mutasah, the executive director of the Open Society
Initiative for Southern Africa, said that he believed that Muagabe has
continued to hold on to power in two ways: “one leg has been domestic
oppression, and the other leg on which he stands is his pretense at African

Chingono posed the question of the feasibility of pressuring Mugabe out of
power. Andrew Meldrum, an American reporter who lived in Zimbabwe for 23
years, answered by saying that “there is a light at the end of the tunnel,
but Robbert Mugabe keeps building more tunnel.”

Acknowledging the country’s continuing internal struggle, the panelists
agreed that outside pressure was necessary, citing other African countries’
refusal to allow a Chinese shipment of arms destined for Mugabe to enter
their waters.

Answering a question about whether Zimbabwe should pressure Mugabe to leave
under the conditions of amnesty, the panelists took differing views.
Chingono and Dambudzo J. Muzenda, a Zimbabwean student currently at the
Kennedy School, emphasized the importance of Mugabe’s exit at any cost,
while Meldrum and Mutasah indicated that it was necessary to hold political
leaders accountable for human rights violations.

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Look beyond Mugabe and rebuild the nation

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 24 April 2008 06:01

Look beyond Mugabe and rebuild the nation


On April 18, Zimbabwe turned 28. Though we suffered and sacrificed,
the promise of independence, peace, and prosperity offered us enough comfort
to soldier on undeterred. But, today poverty and political anxiety prevail.
Anyone who has picked up a newspaper in the last few years may well be
aware of the numerous reasons cited for Zimbabwe 's crisis. They include
colonialism, corruption, the government’s payout to war veterans, contempt
for the rule of law, an unnecessary war in the Congo, human rights
violations, the reckless land redistribution programme, and distortion of
economic policies. Some analysts have even mapped our crisis down to one
man – former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Thus, from Binga to Bangalore,
Facebook to France, a campaign, the purpose of which is to banish Robert
Mugabe, is now full-blown.
On March 29, an unknown number of Zimbabweans took the campaign to
oust Mugabe to the voting booths. Others have taken to the streets across
the world in protest.
Non-protestors and non-voters have adopted a wait-and-see attitude,
while others remain paralysed by the political impasse between the ruling
and opposition parties. The international community has promised financial
and material support to Zimbabwe, but on condition that we deliver Mugabe’s
head on a silver platter.
Those calling for Mugabe’s head have assumed the role of chief
firefighter. They do not want to hear anything other than the ‘Mugabe must
go now and Zimbabwe will be free’ soundtrack. Any talk of reconstruction,
economic revival to meet the needs of survivors stokes anger and accusations
of being insensitive or completely out of touch.
So, our nation is divided and our people are as angry as they are
hungry. They want a quick answer. Put simply, a leadership change. It is
hoped that this change of guard will extinguish the flames of poverty and
usher in a new Zimbabwe. But, therein lies the partial source of our
ailment. While, our short-term needs call for action, building a healthy
nation demands looking beyond Mugabe. The continual task of attaining and
sustaining a healthy Zimbabwe resides not solely with its political leaders
but rather with its people. We must assemble the infrastructure needed to
build our nation to last us for another 28 years and more.
[xhead]Removing Mugabe won’t end crisis
I do not mean to absolve Mugabe or any of our leaders of their sins.
And neither do I mean to blame the victims of economic, political, and
physical violence. But, all our energies cannot be focused on removing
Mugabe because that alone will not end our crisis. Suppose the ancestors
call Mugabe to the eternal resting place, then what? What if his ancestors
bestow another 28 years of life on him and he holds onto the throne? Are we
going to become a nation of professional protesters?
The national priority we must all work for is to build and maintain a
Zimbabwe that meets the best interests of our people. Such a task goes far
beyond Mugabe or any other leader for that matter. It may be common practice
to remove tree stumps or any other distractions to create some structures.
But, surely all of our cement mixers, builders, carpenters, plumbers,
electricians, energy and enthusiasm cannot be vested on bulldozing at the
expense of other equally important tasks. We would not have a house if all
we did were remove distractions. I am not suggesting that marches and
protests are bad per se; however, they cannot be our ONLY strategy for
Building a healthy and responsive Zimbabwe will require a lot of
resources, including large sums of money, skills, energy, and strategy.
Because of the great needs we have, perhaps it is time we started organising
ourselves around reconstruction.
Though it is widely acknowledged that Zimbabwe has diminished its
capacity to recover on its own without external help, we must not outsource
the task of rebuilding our nation. Planning for such recovery must begin
now, and before it is too late, we must take advantage of the international
media attention to mobilise the extra resources needed to rebuild our
country. The media suffers from attention deficit disorder and it is only a
matter of time before it loses concentration on Zimbabwe.
Whatever government the voting public chose, Zimbabwe will need help
to revive the economy. Hence, the diaspora must help raise financial and
material resources to help respond to national needs. Our infrastructure is
deteriorating, but unless we act, it will rot. The diaspora must also
contribute skills to address the serious brain-drain that has long been
affecting our country’s capacity for development. Harnessing and
successfully integrating our skills into public and private institutions at
home provides a powerful opportunity for building a better Zimbabwe.
While some people left Zimbabwe, not by choice, or chance, it is
essential that we repair the damage inflicted on our relationships with each
other and our public institutions. This we must do, to avoid the insanity of
walking on the same path that has led us here today. But, more than
anything, rebuilding robust institutions will demand major changes in
attitude and values.
[xhead]National well-being
For a start, we will need to be disciplined enough to work for and
protect the sacred promise of a healthy Zimbabwe for everyone. While we all
have immediate needs, we must control our urge to satisfy personal needs at
the expense of our national well-being. In practical terms, this means that
the diaspora must work to create a mechanism to channel remittances
officially to spread the benefits beyond immediate beneficiaries. Similarly,
government must work collectively to create structural and institutional
reforms to leverage remittances to address poverty. And those entrusted with
the momentous task of safeguarding our national resources must not violate
public trust for their own good.
Our success as a nation will depend on our ability to perform as an
effective team. This demands that we create an atmosphere of mutual support,
respect, and cooperation.
As a nation, we must take ownership and responsibility for our
country. Personal and professional integrity must be our guiding principles.
And more importantly, we must hold each other accountable – not for anyone’s
sake, but ours. Accountability requires that we embrace the humility to
accept when we are wrong.
We must change our complacency and apathy to concern and action. And
government must facilitate the creation of a mechanism for everyone to
partake in our national affairs.
While the 28 years that Mugabe has been in power is a long time in one
person’s lifetime, it is but a grain of sand in our country’s history.
Zimbabwe is too rich and precious to be left to a few individuals.
Protests will not be enough and neither will outsourcing the task to the
international community. The well-being of Zimbabwe is our collective
responsibility. Zimbabwe needs all of us. And, the question is: can we
depend on you to answer the call?

Dominic Muntanga is the Founder of the Council for Zimbabwe.

The national priority is to build and maintain a Zimbabwe that meets
the best interests of our people. Such a task goes far beyond Mugabe or any
other leader for that matter.

Accept defeat or come clean on dictatorship


There’s one thing that Zimbabwe’s elections of 29 March made
abundantly clear. This is the fact that Zimbabweans have declared that they
have no more use for Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF). This is a decision
that has been made by the majority of Zimbabweans, a decision made not only
by the “misguided” urban population who have been accused of “voting with
their stomachs”, as if that is a sin, but a decision also made by the rural
population, long considered to make up Mugabe’s unwavering support base.
Mugabe may carry out a campaign of terror against the people of
Zimbabwe, whom he has clearly identified as his enemies who have dared to
reject him for “the puppet” Tsvangirai, but there is no going back.
Zimbabweans may be forgiving and tolerant for the most part, but once we
make up our minds that we have heard enough, we are unwavering in that
An election period is supposed to be a transitional period and an
opportunity for the people to express their needs and have their voice
heard. After that, we should be able to get on with our lives, with the
government of our choice carrying out our instructions and protecting our
So much is being said about what the people, the MDC, the SADC and the
international community should do for Zimbabweans but I would like to focus
on what Mugabe and his regime should do.
Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) have been rejected. They can accept
the people’s will and make the period of transference of power to the MDC as
painless and smooth as possible without undue drama and resistance. The
other option that Zanu (PF) has is that of showing total disregard for the
people and openly rejecting the people’s voice. They have done so already,
but they can be more emphatic. Zanu (PF) can ban the MDC and other parties
and declare an outright dictatorship.
The Zanu (PF) regime can stop wasting the people’s time. The regime
has long shown tendencies of autocracy, but there have also been attempts at
hoodwinking the people into believing that the regime has a conscience and
tries to do things for our own good and by the book. Zanu (PF) has also been
willing to carry on the charade of an election process, although its
disregard for accepted standards and conditions was a great concern to us.
The regime has finally shown its true colours after being beaten in these
elections despite all attempts to distort results. Zanu (PF) has shown that
it will not relinquish power no matter what.
As someone put it, Zimbabweans did not vote “for entertainment”. Since
Zanu (PF) has decided that the vote is meaningless, the party must now just
go all the way and declare their intentions. Zanu (PF) must now proceed to
disband the ZEC and burn all election materials. They should then burn the
constitution, since they have been using it just as a list of suggestions
anyway. The regime must continue on that path and withdraw Zimbabwe from
such organisations as the SADC, the AU and the international community as a
whole. Zanu (PF) and Robert Mugabe must renounce membership to all
organisations and revoke all treaties, agreements and resolutions it has
been party to and confine Zimbabweans to an isolated existence. They must
close all borders, ban all flights in and out of the country and declare the
green document known as the Zimbabwean passport to be invalid.
There should no longer be any business carried out between the people
of Zimbabwe and other nations and our sportspersons should not take part in
internationally recognised competitions. In short, Zimbabwe should close
down by presidential decree. Zanu (PF) should effectively lift this façade
of a semblance of law and order in the country. They should show the world
its true character without apology or remorse. Robert Mugabe must
effectively sign the death warrant of this country.
After all this is done, I appeal to the international community to
allow the Chinese warship to dock and bring in their guns and ammunition.
These weapons can then be used on the people of Zimbabwe as Mugabe carries
out summary executions through firing squads and such methods as he may deem
appropriate in the expedient elimination of his Zimbabwean enemies. There
should be no more games. After all enemies have been eliminated, I would
like the international community to be invited to feast their eyes on the
results. All those with a liking for human flesh can be encouraged to please
themselves. Why waste good meat? The regime must be first in partaking in
this gruesome feast. They deserve that privilege. They have earned it.
Zanu (PF) is free to use any one of the two options I have suggested.
The beauty of these options is that they are both effective in that they can
effectively put Zimbabweans out of their misery.

Since Zanu (PF) has decided the vote is meaningless, the party must
now go all the way, disband the ZEC, burn all election materials and burn
the constitution – they have been using it only as a list of suggestions

“We neither face east nor west, but we face forward”

Dr Nkwame Nkrumah, whose words are echoed in the headline above, had
no guns to fight. He resorted to boycott, civil disobedience and strikes to
carry on the struggle.
In our present vigorous struggle for a democratic government, nothing
strikes so much terror into the hearts of our oppressors, their agents and
their informers like the term ‘positive action’.
It is a comforting fact to observe that the people have spoken that
they are fed up of the rogue regime and now want new government. Mugabe and
his thugs have failed to acknowledge the legitimacy of our demand for
people-driven government. However it is by our exertion and pressure that
Mugabe can relinguish power
There are two options to achieve a people-oriented government: armed
revolution and violent overthrowing of the existing regime; or
constitutional and non-violent methods – moral pressure.
Freedom will never be handed on a platter; instead we should therefore
render the country ungovernable. We have talked too much and hence the need
for constitutional positive action to achieve our result. It is time for
action in workplaces, streets, ghettos and villages.
By positive action, we mean the adoption of all legitimate and
constitutional means by which we cripple the forces of oppression in this
country. The weapons of positive action are legitimate political agitation;
newspapers and educational campaigns; continued pressure from NGOs and CSOs;
lobbying by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai on international platforms, and strikes,
boycotts and non-cooperation based on the principle of non-violence.
People have unduly criticised Tsvangirai for his non-violent approach
to attaining our freedom. They are saying Tsvangirai should do things behind
the government’s back. I say ‘no’, because he has nothing to hide. The
people shall surely win against the rogue regime, against all odds.
Judgement upon those who have made themselves demi-gods, torturing,
murdering and mocking is surely coming. They shall run. vakomana
muchamhanya. matsotsi muchamhanya zvisina akamboona. We have the records of
all your evil deeds against the people.
People of Zimbabwe, let us advance fearlessly and courageously, armed
with the MDC party’s programme of positive action, based on the principle of

Name withheld by request

Five ways to break the bank

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is currently surviving mostly on black
market-purchased forex, black market-purchased gold and ‘negotiated’ (black
market rates) currency exchange deals with exporters – notably the Platinum
Concentrate exporters, ZimPlats and Mimosa.
Traditional sources of forex have dried up. Agricultural and mineral
exports, and thus the RBZ, have more and more been depending on buying up
gold and forex on the black market. Ever wondered how the RBZ keeps going in
these difficult times?
If the diaspora (around three million people) send an average of US$50
each per month, that is around US$150m a month. Yes, the RBZ is still
getting a lot of this, and this is what we need to do.
You need to email the following points to as many Zimbabweans inside
and outside Zimbabwe, in particular the diaspora in the UK, USA, RSA,
Botswana and so on. We all get emails with multiple addresses, and we may
not know or trust them. So, open a Google mail or Hotmail account with a
false name. Dig out those old emails (with multiple addresses) and send this
to each one of the email addresses you have.
You will be safe from Zanu (PF) informers as they have absolutely no
way of tracing who sent your email.
So – the message is: five points to break the RBZ.
Stop selling your forex on the black market as most of it goes back to
the RBZ (via the street traders and Premier Bank) to feed the ZNA, ZRP and
If you have to change forex, make sure it is via TT Offshore or with a
direct importer.
Go to South Africa or Botswana and buy your groceries there – than
change forex locally to buy locally.
Tell the disapora to stop sending cash. I know this is difficult, but
there are other ways – fuel and food can be paid for in the UK, MAKRO in
Farmers and miners, hold back on gold and tobacco sales. Rather sell a
Mombe or some equipment to pay wages – those can always be replaced later.
If we can all try to implement at least two or three of these points,
inflation will skyrocket – as the RBZ will be forced into a desperate search
for forex to increase the black market rate they are buying forex with.
An increase in inflation will help us override the evil in Zimbabwe as
the few remaining Zanu (PF) supporters in the ZNA, ZRP etc will grow hungry
and will finally concede that Mugabe must go.

Name withheld by request

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Enabling Mugabe to Cling On

J. Peter Pham, Ph.D.


Last Friday was the 28th anniversary of Zimbabwe’s independence, although the country’s long-suffering people of the country might be forgiven for not exactly marking the occasion with dances in the streets. Sure, some 15,000 people were bussed to Gwanzura Stadium in the suburb of Highfield, southwest of Harare, to stomp their feet and chant “Ndibaba Vanogona” (Shona for “he is an able father”) as President Robert Mugabe arrived to treat them to an hour-long harangue, to which the listeners dutifully responded with cries of “Down with the British!” But overall the mood seemed to have been succinctly captured by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who, from the safety of his refuge abroad, noted that it was “the saddest Independence Day since our liberation from colonial rule.” And while the responsibility for this tragedy reposes primarily with the Mugabe regime, some of the blame must be shared by its enablers abroad.


Just four weeks ago, as I reported at the time, things seemed to be getting better for the 12.3 million Zimbabweans who had endured not only the uninterrupted and increasingly more despotic rule of Mugabe and his Zimbabwe Africa National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), but also borne the consequences of its criminal incompetence in such things as an annual inflation rate in excess of 100,000% (the actual figure is unknown since the government’s own statistical office gave up making calculations after that point for lack of a sufficient quantity of goods in shops for it to use as a measure of consumer prices). Despite intense pressure from the government not-too-subtle campaign of intimidation, the majority of the 2.4 million Zimbabweans who went to the polls on March 29th cast their ballots against the ruling party, awarding Tsvangirai’s MDC (along with a splinter faction headed by Arthur Mutambara) a majority in the House of Assembly and half of the seats in the Senate. In a direct repudiation of the “able father” Tsvangirai won close to 50% of the vote for the presidency, although accounts – which come exclusively from a tabulation by the MDC of results posted outside polling places and a national sampling the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of 38 civil society organizations – differ on whether or not he won the absolute majority necessary to avoid a run-off. No one knows for sure because the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has yet to release any presidential results.


So, instead of the change they had hoped for, Zimbabweans have been treated to more of the same by “Comrade Bob” and ZANU-PF hardliners bent not only on retaining the presidency, but overturning the parliamentary results as well. Over the weekend, ZEC started an unobserved recount of votes cast in for legislative seats in some 23 constituencies won by the opposition after a Mugabe-appointed judge on the High Court, Justice Antonia Guvava, dismissed a challenge to the move. A change of just nine seats after would allow ZANU-PF to reclaim the majority which it had lost in the House of Assembly. Meanwhile, hounded by reports in state-controlled media that he was guilty of “treason” for alleging plotting with the former colonial ruler, Great Britain, Tsvangirai – who, it should be noted, has been repeatedly jailed by the regime and last year was so badly beaten that he was hospitalized with severe head trauma – found discretion the better part of valor and, like the estimated one-fourth of his countrymen who have already fled the Mugabe dictatorship, slipped across the border to Botswana to try to rally support from other African leaders.


Batswana President Ian Khama, whose democratic and well-governed country, as I noted in last week’s column, stands in stark contrast with its neighbor to the east, not only took in the Zimbabwean opposition leader, but called on Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, current chairman of the fifteen-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), to convene an emergency summit of the subregional organization’s heads of state and government to discuss the volatile situation in Zimbabwe. Not surprisingly, Mugabe boycotted the meeting in Lusaka on April 11th and his neighbors accomplished little more after a marathon 13-hour session than issuing a communiqué urging the ZEC to release the presidential results “as expeditiously as possible.” A previously scheduled summit in Port Louis, Mauritius, of SADC presidents and ministers last weekend doggedly stuck to its agenda of development and poverty and failed to make any statement critical of Zimbabwe. The subregional club also rebuffed calls by Tsvangirai to relieve South Africa’s lame duck president, Thabo Mbeki, of his role as its lead mediator for Zimbabwe. Instead Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam said that the summiteers had “complete faith in President Mbeki” and had “renewed our confidence in him.”


Part of the blame for current impasse in Zimbabwe can actually be laid at the doorstep Mbeki. It was bad enough that, during his two terms in office, the South African leader repeatedly propped up the ZANU-PF regime, but he added insult to injury when, stopping off in Harare for a visit with Mugabe while en route to the Lusaka summit, Mbeki was seen walking literally hand-in-hand with Comrade Bob sharing a laugh. The joke, however, turned out to be Mbeki himself when he shamelessly responded negatively to a reporter who asked if he believed there was a crisis in Zimbabwe:


No…there’s been an electoral process that has taken place in Zimbabwe. Eh, we are waiting, everybody, everybody is waiting for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to announce all the results that are outstanding. Of course, there is also the matter of the court case, of the court to rule, I understand, on Monday. And, and if nobody wins a clear majority, in terms of presidential elections, the law provides that there should be a second round. So that's, that’s what’s happening…I wouldn’t describe that as a crisis. It’s the normal electoral process according to the law of Zimbabwe.


(The son of a prominent Communist Party activist who describes himself as “born into the struggle” and who spent nearly three decades in exile because of his work for the African National Congress, Mbeki is loath to see any liberation movement ousted from power. Moreover, he has a record of allowing personal idiosyncrasies and loyalties to trump sound judgment as evidenced by his own widely-condemned insistence that AIDS was not caused by the HIV and for his appointment of a health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who has questioned the efficacy of conventional anti-retroviral drugs in the treatment of the disease while simultaneously championing the allegedly therapeutic effects of a cocktail of beetroots, garlic, and African potatoes.)


Four days after his “no crisis” assessment, on April 16th, Mbeki was in New York for a special session of the United Nations Security Council which he had used South Africa’s chairmanship this month to convene for purposes of discussing improved cooperation between the African Union (AU) and the world body. Absent from the agenda was any mention of the outstanding crisis of the moment presented to the AU by its Zimbabwean member. Mbeki’s instance that there is “no crisis” is so surreal that Botswana’s foreign minister, Phandu Skelemani, took the unprecedented step of publicly criticizing him directly, telling South Africa’s Mail & Guardian last weekend: “Everyone agreed that things are not normal, except Mbeki. Maybe Mbeki is so deeply involved that he firmly believes things are going right.” Jacob Zuma, leader of the ruling African National Congress and likely next president of South Africa, likewise chimed in, telling a group of business leaders last Thursday that: “The region cannot afford a deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.”


While Africa can ill afford the crisis, its superannuated leaders apparently think they can. The credibility of the AU election observation mission was undermined from the beginning when its leadership was entrusted to former Sierra Leonean President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, a man whose own shamelessness with regard to manipulated election results I documented in my 2005 book Child Soldiers, Adult Interests: The Global Dimensions of the Sierra Leonean Tragedy. During his first campaign for the presidency in 1996, Kabbah officially beat his opponent, John Karefa-Smart, 35.9% to 22% in the first round and 59% to 41% in the second round. During the first round, voting took place in all of the country’s electoral districts except Karefa-Smart’s home district of Tonkolili, where it was cancelled, ostensibly security reasons relating to rebel activity on the eve of the poll. In at least four districts in the Kabbah’s southern stronghold, the returns suggested that more votes had been cast than there were registered voters. The electoral commission chaired by a former UN colleague of Kabbah’s, “solved” the problem by simply reducing Kabbah’s total votes by 70,000, thereby effectively adjusting the total vote in each of the four districts to award him “only” 100% of the vote. Overall, the reported voter turnouts defied expectations of observers in that the western and northern areas of Sierra Leone least affected by the conflict at the time registered consistently lower voter participation than the eastern and southern areas where displacement and continuing rebel violence would have been expected to lower the proportion of votes cast. During the second round of the election, the electoral commission initially reported the amazing voter turnouts in four key pro-Kabbah constituencies: Bonthe (155.2%), Kailahun (138.7%), Kenema (116.9%), and Pujehun (339.1%). Had the rather suspect results for these four districts alone been annulled, the national results would have given Karefa-Smart a 26% margin of victory over Kabbah. As expected, Kabbah duly heaped praise upon the ZEC, commending the electoral board for its commitment, professionalism and efficiency” and leaving town even before the vote count had even been concluded.


As for the AU itself, not only has the regional organization failed yet to back away from the embarrassingly sycophantic declaration from its election observers, but it went on to issue a communiqué last week to express “its satisfaction once more over the success of these elections,” although it acknowledged “concern over the delay observed in the announcement of the results” and urged “all the parties concerned to show restraint pending the announcement of the results accept the results in good faith” once they are published.


Speaking last Thursday in Washington at an on-the-record briefing, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed her frustration with African leaders whom she essentially accused of coddling Mugabe:


[F]rankly, the United States and the European Union and others have spoken out about this and we’ve made calls, but it's time for Africa to step up. Where is the concern from the African Union and from Zimbabwe’s neighbors about what is going on in Zimbabwe? ...We obviously stand with the Zimbabwean people for carrying out the results of an election, which means that they need to get the results and there needs to be a peaceful transfer of power, if that’s what’s necessitated. But again, the region also needs to be—to speak up here. It needs to be engaged. It needs to speak up. I’ve heard from some, well, outside interference of Western powers. Well, all right, then let the AU and SADC have a voice.


To be fair, other Africans were not the only foreigners buying Mugabe time to regroup and, potentially, to annul the popular will of Zimbabweans. For example, in a National Review Online commentary last week, the American Enterprise Institute’s Roger Bate notes that a German company, Giesecke & Devrient, was literally printing money which ZANU-PF used to try to purchase loyalty. Despite Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rhetorical denunciations of Mugabe, her government considers the firm’s complicity in the regime’s efforts to be “a private matter.”


Not surprisingly, one of Mugabe’s most important enablers has been the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). As I reported here last year, not only has Beijing sold Harare some thirty military aircraft, including FC-1 fighter jets and K-8 light attack aircraft, which the latter can ill afford, but it has also provided the ZANU-PF regime with the literal tools of repression, including radio-jamming equipment and listening devices. Mugabe, like his fellow despot, Sudan’s Umar al-Bashir, has come to expect “customer courtesies” from the PRC like the Chinese prevention of UN discussion of his situation last week (see my column on Beijing’s enabling of Khartoum). Last week, the mainland Chinese actually stepped up their support of the Mugabe regime, shipping some 70 tons of weapons, which reportedly included 3 million rounds of automatic ammunition, 3500 mortars and mortar tubes, as well as 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and their launchers. The materiel was onboard a freighter out of Guangzhou, the An Yue Jiang, which docked at Durban, South Africa, where dock workers belonging to the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union refused to unload the cargo for fear that it would be used against the people of Zimbabwe (the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai is a veteran labor unionist) and a South African human rights group brought a law suit against the government over its refusal to get involved. The ship left South African waters last Friday and, after being turned away from Mozambique and Tanzania – where union dock workers mobilized by the International Transport Workers’ Federation similarly refused to unload its cargo – reportedly set sail for Angola where the ruling Marxist-Leninist party, the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola-Partido do Trabalho (MPLA-PT, “Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola-Labor Party”) presumably keeps a better damper on the political consciousness of its longshoremen as well as the independence of its courts (just last week the Angolan government ordered UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, to close her office’s bureau in Luanda).


The concerns about the use of the munitions shipment are not exaggerated. In his message for Zimbabwean Independence Day, U.S. Ambassador James McGee noted “the many reports of violent retribution being carried out in rural communities” which were being punished for their support of the political opposition as well as “disturbing and confirmed reports of threats, beatings, abductions, burning of homes and even murder, from many parts of the country.” Meanwhile MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti has detailed at least ten killings and hundreds of injuries in a post-election campaign of orchestrated violence which has also displaced thousands and Human Rights Watch has issued a report accusing ZANU-PF of “using a network of informal detention centers to beat, torture, and intimidate opposition activists and ordinary Zimbabweans.” In the face of these abuses, the advocacy group’s Africa director lamented that “SADC and President Mbeki have completely failed Zimbabweans.”


The failure of African leaders act decisively against the instability that Mugabe is creating across region as well as the support which he has received from mainland China and other quarters only prolongs the current crisis by giving the Zimbabwean ruler reason to believe that he can, once again, escape accountability. Unfortunately, it is the people of Zimbabwe who will continue to bear most of the cost for an octogenarian megalomaniac’s refusal to bow out and the pusillanimous inability of his neighbors to acknowledge the situation for what it is.  

# # Contributing Editor

 J. Peter Pham is Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C., as well as Vice President of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA).

Note -- The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of The Family Security Foundation, Inc.

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Wilmington woman publishes book about her life in Zimbabwe

Submitted by Tim Pulliam on 23 April 2008 - 9:08pm.
WILMINGTON -- Author Ann Beattie wrote the book "Tengwe Garden Club." It's
the story of an American woman who falls in love with Zimbabwe. A memoir of
political upheaval in a troubled land. Beattie said, "It's a beautiful
country, the wildlife, the scenery, the animals the fauna, just so

Beattie tells the story of how she met her husband Dave. The couple settled
on a 2500-acre tobacco farm, while raising a son and daughter. They spent
seven years in community of tengwe under the fierce rule of Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe. In the book Beattie explains how around eight years
ago -- life on the farm took a turn for the worse. She says President Mugabe
took their farm and re-distributed the land forcing the Beatties to evacuate
their home.

"Oh, we were devastated we were devastated, worst part was uprooting from
our community, our family and friendwe had 75 family members living on our
farm and we felt responsible for them."

Beattie and her family left Zimbabwe and have been living here since.

"We've loved Wilmington and being here, but for dave zimbabwe is his home,
africa is his land, its his people and he missed it terribly," she said.

In March Ann's husband accepted a position with an American company doing
safari work in the northern region of Mozambique, they will live in Harare,

"I'm following my man, but more than that we're following our hearts," she

And a second chance to re-discover all the memories of Zimbabwe. Her earlier
experiences are passionately written in "Tengwe Garden Club."

If you're interested in hearing more of Ann Beatties story or finding out
how to order her book, log on to

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