Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:12pm EDT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - The United States accused President Robert Mugabe on
Thursday of delaying Zimbabwe's election results because he had lost and
joined a call for an arms embargo to push for change.
In a sign of the growing international pressure on Mugabe, China said a
shipment of arms for the country was being recalled after South African
workers refused to unload the vessel and other regional countries barred it
from their ports.
The top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, on a tour of Zimbabwe's
most influential neighbors, said opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
appeared to have won the March 29 presidential vote -- for which no results
have been announced.
"This is a government that is essentially rejecting the will of the people.
If they had voted for Mugabe we would have the results," Assistant Secretary
of State Frazer told reporters in Pretoria.
"As far as we know in the first round Morgan won and people voted for
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai has said he won the
presidential poll and accused Mugabe of delaying results to rig victory and
keep his 28-year hold over Zimbabwe, whose economy lies in ruins.
The outcome of a parliamentary poll which the opposition won is also in
doubt because of partial recounts.
The recount in 23 of 210 constituencies could overturn the results of the
parliamentary election, which showed Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF losing its
majority for the first time.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has recounted nine constituencies,
Utoile Silaigwana, ZEC deputy chief election officer, told Reuters. He said
candidates that were originally declared winners retained their position,
Frazer said she expects to meet Tsvangirai in the next 24 hours, possibly
giving him diplomatic leverage in his relentless regional tour aimed at
persuading leaders to push Mugabe aside.
Mugabe has capitalized on his status as a former African liberation hero.
But regional countries awed by his struggle against former colonial power
Britain are taking a tougher line against him in the election crisis.
Frazer is due to visit Zambia, chair of the SADC regional group of nations,
and African oil power Angola.
The poll deadlock has raised fears of widespread bloodshed in Zimbabwe,
which could have dire consequences for a region that already hosts millions
of Zimbabweans who have fled economic collapse.
The recall of the Chinese ship An Yue Jiang, carrying 77 metric tons of
assault rifle ammunition, mortars and rifle grenades, came after
unprecedented regional opposition in addition to Western pressure over the
Frazer stood behind a British proposal for an arms embargo to put pressure
"It will send a great warning to those who would send arms into Zimbabwe,
including the Chinese," she said.
The European Union already has an arms embargo on Zimbabwe, part of
sanctions in place since 2002. Washington has also imposed sanctions and
Britain wants a wider arms embargo.
The measures have failed to weaken Mugabe, who critics accuse of ruining
Zimbabwe's economy and keeping a grip on power through tough security
measures and a patronage network. Mugabe blames Western foes and the MDC for
South African ruling African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, who has
become the most outspoken African leader on Zimbabwe, said it was not yet
time to impose an arms embargo.
"I think it is going too far and I think it complicates a situation that
needs to be handled with great care," he told reporters in London.
Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he supported all efforts
to stop arms flowing into Zimbabwe. He also called on African leaders to
persuade Mugabe to step down.
"I want to call on African leaders to show that they really care by speaking
quietly to Mr. Mugabe and say: 'Step down, you've been there for 20 years,
man'," Tutu told reporters in the South African university town of
Zimbabweans want relief from chronic food, fuel and foreign currency
shortages and a staggering inflation rate of 165,000 percent -- the world's
At the press briefing with Frazer, U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee
said Zimbabweans should expect an economic package worth billions of dollars
if a new democratic government that embraces free markets is formed.
(Reporting by Lindsay Beck in Beijing, Matthew Tostevin in London, Cris
Chinaka in Harare, Wendell Roelf in Cape Town and Paul Simao in Pretoria;
Writing by Michael Georgy; editing by Sami Aboudi)
PRETORIA (AFP) - The United States called time on Robert Mugabe's 28 years
as leader of Zimbabwe on Thursday, saying he had clearly lost an election
last month and his opponent should now head a new government.
After talks with officials in neighbouring South Africa, US Assistant
Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer said the people of Zimbabwe had voted for
a change on March 29 even though results have still to be announced.
"According to what we know, Morgan (Tsvangirai) won in the first round and
there should be a change," Frazer told reporters in Pretoria, citing results
given by the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN).
"The most credible results we have today are a clear victory for Morgan
Tsvangirai in the first round and maybe a total victory," said Frazer, who
was due to hold talks with Tsvangirai later on Thursday.
Frazer suggested that there should be no second round in the presidential
vote, saying: "We feel that the political space in Zimbabwe has closed and
so that would make it very difficult for any notion of a run-off."
Asked about the political future for 84-year-old Mugabe, a former guerrilla
leader, Frazer said: "Normally when you contest for president, you're
finished if you lose. That's how democracies work."
Independent data shows Tsvangirai beating Mugabe but failing to win an
outright victory. Tsvangirai says he won more than 50 percent of the vote,
but Mugabe's supporters have said a second round is inevitable.
Frazer also responded coolly to the idea of a national unity government to
end the political deadlock between Mugabe's ruling party and the opposition,
saying there was no way the president should stay in office.
"You don't need a government of national unity, you simply have to respect
the result of the election," she said.
"There may need to be a political solution, a negotiated solution.... but
any government should be led by Morgan Tsvangirai."
While the United States has heavily criticised the delay in releasing the
results of the polls, Frazer's comments mark the first time the Bush
administration has declared that Tsvangirai was the winner.
While Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party was initially
declared the winner of simultaneous parliamentary elections, that result is
also now up in the air as officials stage a partial recount.
Frazer was to meet Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Zambian
President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, head of the Southern African Development
Community, a key regional group, to up the pressure on Zimbabwe.
Frazer also said that Washington was "increasingly concerned about the
violence and human rights abuses taking place in Zimbabwe after the
"This has created a climate of intimidation and violence.... We can't stand
back and wait for this to escalate further."
Speaking alongside Frazer, US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee said
hospitals were overflowing with victims of state-sponsored violence and said
there was a growing number of refugees in the country.
"The situation has changed from an electoral crisis to what is now a human
rights crisis, a humanitarian crisis," McGee said.
He also said that the US would lift sanctions and disburse billions of
dollars to Zimbabwe if a new government were to take power.
His comments came after an association of Zimbabwean doctors said its
members had treated at least 323 patients who had been beaten and tortured
since the elections.
Frazer's onslaught represented a further tightening of the diplomatic
pressure on Mugabe after a controversial Chinese arms shipment which was
headed for Zimbabwe turned back.
China had been under massive international pressure not to go through with
the planned delivery of a massive cache of weapons from a ship, the An Yue
Jiang, despite defending the purchase by the Mugabe regime.
After the United States publicly called for the ship to turn back, and
lobbied neighbouring countries not to help it reach its final destination,
the Chinese government announced that the mission was being abandoned.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for an arms embargo on
Zimbabwe. Frazer on Thursday said the United States would "seriously
consider" the proposal and called on China to "act responsibly."
HARARE, April 24 (AFP)
Zimbabwe's opposition has retained its hold of one of 23 constituencies
where votes are being recounted from last month's general elections, the
electoral commission said on Thursday.
Commission spokesman Utloile Silaigwana said candidates for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) had been confirmed as the winners of the contests
for a seat in parliament and the largely ceremonial senate in Zaka West.
The constituency is the second to have completed its recount from the March
29 joint parliamentary and presidential polls, with President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF having been confirmed the winner in Goromonzi West on
ZANU-PF lost control of the 210-seat parliament to the MDC when the initial
results were announced but it will regain its majority if it can reverse the
outcome of seven of the constituencies under the microscope.
No results have so far been released from the presidential election.
Silaigwana meanwhile confirmed that the commission expected the recounting
in the other 21 constituencies to be completed by the weekend.
"We expect the recount to be finished by the weekend because quite a number
of constituences have finished the counting," he told AFP.
"I hope the politicians will not raise issues at the last minute which delay
By Fikile Mapala
Last updated: 04/24/2008 04:22:54
THE losing Zanu PF Senate candidate for Gutu constituency General Vitalis
Zvinavashe has blamed President Robert Mugabe for the party’s poor showing
in Masvingo Province after a recount of ballots in his constituency failed
to change the party’s fortunes.
The former army commander also urged fellow Zanu PF candidates at a counting
centre in the province to live with the reality that they had indeed lost
the elections to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by
Zvinavashe, a former army commander who once vowed he would never salute
Tsvangirai, spoke Wednesday while addressing Zanu PF House of Assembly and
local council election candidates during the recounting of ballots for three
constituencies at Gutu rural district council offices in Masvingo.
Zvinavashe said: “There is no need to fight over these results. We must
accept the reality that we have lost these elections to the MDC. What is
important is to live together in peace, both losers and winners. We do not
want violence in this area. We are relatives.”
The former Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief startled election officials and
agents when he publicly suggested that Zanu PF candidates in Masvingo had
lost because of the party’s presidential candidate President Robert Mugabe.
He said: “Most of us lost these elections not because we are not popular in
our constituencies. We lost these harmonised elections because of one man.
“People rejected us because we were campaigning for Mugabe. People in
Masvingo have rejected him and we became collateral damage. There is no
reason to fight with the MDC over this election. The real problem is that
man not us.”
The revealing remarks by Zvinavashe were made in the presence of MDC
candidates and polling agents who were at the counting centre.
Recounts were underway in 23 constituencies where Zanu PF claimed President
Mugabe and Zanu PF’s ballots had been undercounted by corrupt election
officials who took money from the MDC. Of the 23, two recounts were
triggered by the MDC.
Zanu PF hopes to overturn its defeat in parliamentary elections after losing
its majority to the MDC for the first time in the March 29 elections.
Results of the presidential election are still being withheld almost a month
after voting, amid growing international concerns that the country could be
lurching towards violence.
Zvinavashe is said to have advised his chief election agent Bertha
Chikwama -- the losing Zanu PF parliamentary candidate for Gutu East -- to
abandon the recounting process saying it was “a waste of time” since nothing
On Sartuday, police had to intervene when Zanu PF candidates Lovemore
Matuke, Shuvai Mahofa and their polling agents threatened to attack
opposition candidates following a misunderstanding over the recounting
Zvinavashe, who lost the election to Empire Makamure of the MDC, urged Zanu
PF candidates to shun violence but to ensure peaceful co-existence with
members of the opposition in the province.
The MDC retained all the three recounted constituencies in the rural
district – a former Zanu PF stronghold. MDC candidates Eliphas Mukonoweshuro
(Gutu South), Oliver Chirume (Gutu Central) and Edmore Maramwidze (Gutu
North) said they had retained their seats at the close of recounting
Gutu central legislator Chirume said it he was now the official MP for Gutu
Central after ZEC officials announced the new results which had given him an
He said: “It’s now official. The recounting is over and I am still the
winner. The only difference now is that the margin is now wider than before.
Zanu PF is history here.”
The MP confirmed his two colleagues had also retained their seats after the
Recounts are also being carried out in Chimanimani West, Mutare West, Bikita
West, Bikita South, Bulilima East, Zhombe, Zaka East, Zvimba North,
Silobela, Chiredzi North, Gokwe-Kabuyuni, Buhera South, Lupane East,
Mberengwa East, West, South, North, Masvingo Central and Masvingo West.
Goromonzi West has already been declared to Zanu PF almost unchanged from
the initial result.
» ZANU PF has retained Goromonzi West
» The MDC has retained Gutu North,Central and Zaka West
» No major changes so far
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claim that since the 29 March poll, in which the ruling ZANU-PF lost their majority in parliament for the first time since independence from Britain in 1980, at least 10 of their supporters have been killed and hundreds assaulted.
The MDC contend that Operation Mavhoterapapi is intended to intimidate voters ahead of an expected second-round presidential ballot, which ZANU-PF claim had no clear winner, against the opposition claim that their leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won by more than the 50 percent plus one vote required, a result that negates a second round of voting.
"If anyone has information [about assaults and killings of opposition supporters], they should approach the police and furnish them with the details, so that full investigations are instituted," said the current justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who lost his seat in the election to the opposition MDC candidate.
"Why go to the media and splash unsubstantiated pictures and stories? For your own information, some of those pictures being carried by the media date back to 2000 [when state-sponsored violence targeted the newly-formed MDC in the run-up to parliamentary elections]," he commented.
Police spokesman and assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said no formal complaints of abuse by the security forces and ruling party militants had been received. "It is unfortunate that these reports of political violence are only surfacing on the internet, with no formal reports being made. We respond to information supplied to us by the public and we have nothing to hide."
IRIN interviewed several MDC supporters who were hospitalised after attacks by people they said were either members of the army, police or ZANU-PF militia, otherwise known as war veterans. Most were too afraid to be identified and said that during their beatings they were warned not to speak to the media or report the attacks to the police.
The following testimonies are by two men willing to be named and photographed, who told IRIN they had been the victims of unprovoked assaults by armed soldiers loyal to Mugabe and the ZANU-PF government.
Norton Makoni is a prominent MDC activist in Mufakose, a working-class township in the capital, Harare. Heavily bandaged, he is still recovering from the beating he received from soldiers at his home.
"On 20 April, at about 3 a.m., I was woken by the sound of a person crying in anguish. I peeped through the window and saw about 20 uniformed and armed soldiers in my yard. Some of them were beating up the security guard on duty with their rifle butts.
"The guard was screaming agonisingly and begging for mercy telling them they had broken his arm. One of the soldiers kicked him in the head several times with his booted feet until he lay still."
They threw me in the back of
the truck, where the assaults continued. They wanted to know where I had stowed
the weapons to fight the government, and what role I was going to play in
toppling the government
He said the soldiers took a break during the beating for some hurried consultations. "He is definitely the one," Makoni overhead one of them saying. He was then carried to a truck parked a short distance from his house. "They threw me in the back of the truck, where the assaults continued. They wanted to know where I had stowed the weapons to fight the government, and what role I was going to play in toppling the government."
Makoni told the soldiers he was unaware of any weapons or any plans of insurrection, but it did not stop the assault. "By then they had stopped their truck outside the capital and had thrown me to the ground ... As it was becoming light, the soldiers left. I only realised that the torture had stopped when I heard them drive off.
"With blood oozing from my body and my head swollen, I sat by the roadside until well-wishers offered to drive me home. My wife was safe but the guard had sustained a broken arm, while my cousin sustained body injuries. They are both in hospital."
Makoni remains defiant. "The state is trying to frighten people into voting for the ruling party during an anticipated run-off in the presidential race. But we will not be frightened. We will vote for the opposition again."
Mathew Takaona is president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, which represents about 98 percent of Zimbabwe's working journalists.
"On 17 March, on the eve of our independence celebrations, I was parked outside a hotel in Chitungwiza [a dormitory town on the outskirts of Harare]. I was sitting in my car with a cousin when we suddenly realised that people were running at full speed towards the hotel entrance. We also noticed that there were several uniformed soldiers who were in pursuit. Sensing danger, I tried to reverse the car to leave the scene."
"As I was trying to pull out from the parking area, two soldiers pointed guns at us and ordered us to stop. They ordered us out of the car and pushed us to the ground."
He said his cousin was the first to be attacked. "He was moaning and whimpering as they rained lashes with a whip on his back. One of the soldiers then picked up a log and hit my cousin with it on his back. Suddenly they turned to me and beat me up with a whip and hard instruments, which I assumed were butts of guns or logs."
"Of course, I had received reports that people were being beaten by people alleged to be members of state security. The reality and extent of the abuses assumed a new dimension when I became one of the victims.
"As a journalist and a fairly well known citizen, I do not only have a voice to say what happened, but I have a moral obligation to give this testimony so that thousands of Zimbabweans under this predicament can be heard. I shudder to imagine the levels of hopelessness and despair that have affected ordinary Zimbabweans, especially in the rural areas, who have no-one to turn to when state brutality visits them."
Takaona said that after the beating his assailants had robbed him of a substantial amount of money.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Apr 24th 2008 | JOHANNESBURG
From The Economist print edition
Could Africa turn against Robert Mugabe?
AMID reports of widespread and systematic violence along with persisting
post-electoral shenanigans, Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, seems
grimly bent on staying in power. The mood among Zimbabweans hoping for his
demise has swung from euphoria in the immediate aftermath of the election to
fear, despair and even horror. But hope still flickers that regional
diplomacy may yet persuade Mr Mugabe to go.
Nearly a month after the election on March 29th, the presidential result had
still to be announced, though independent observers reckon that the
challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, won far more votes, if not an outright
majority. The first results of a recount in some 23 of the 210 parliamentary
constituencies have, however, started to come in. If Mr Mugabe reversed the
results in just nine of them, he would win back a majority in Parliament,
which the electoral commission had previously declared to have been won by
A recount may also enable Mr Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF to declare that the
presidential contest must go to a second round (at a date not yet announced,
though the electoral act says it should be within three weeks of the first
round if no candidate wins an outright majority). The fear is that the
84-year-old Mr Mugabe would then order the security forces and party thugs
to bully the voters, especially in the rural areas, into plumping for him
second time round, with the aid of more thorough rigging. So far the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said it would boycott a
second poll; plainly, it would then lose by default. But if it competed, it
would risk defeat due to intimidation and more blatant rigging.
Instead, Mr Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary-general, toured
Africa to beg its leaders to persuade Mr Mugabe to go. There were signs that
they wanted him to, though none has publicly said so outright. After South
African dockers sympathetic to Mr Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist,
refused to offload a cargo of arms bound for Zimbabwe from a Chinese
merchant ship at a South African port, an array of southern African
governments eventually also refused to accept the ship.
Jacob Zuma, leader of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, has
criticised the delay and the violence as “tantamount to sabotaging the
democratic process”, in contrast to the continuing but increasingly derided
“quiet diplomacy” of South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki. “I imagine that
the leaders in Africa should really move in to unlock this logjam,” said Mr
Zuma, suggesting that a team of African leaders should go to Harare,
Zimbabwe's capital. South Africa's main trade union group, which strongly
backs Mr Zuma, has called on African leaders to refuse to recognise Mr
Other African figures have begun to express disquiet. Raila Odinga, Kenya's
new prime minister, and Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian who was the UN's
secretary-general, said southern Africa's leaders must do more to resolve
the impasse. Yet the official response of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), a club of 14 countries that has led the diplomacy for the
past few years and in the present crisis, has been muted. Their leaders say
they still have faith in Mr Mbeki's mediation.
It was notable, however, that Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president who
chairs SADC, asked member countries to refuse to offload or transport
weapons from the Chinese ship. Mozambique and Angola also declined to accept
it. Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, has proposed an arms embargo
against Zimbabwe. For the MDC these were small but encouraging signs that
international anger may start to weaken Mr Mugabe.
There was also a wave of muttering, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, about a
“managed transition”. An article in Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper, usually a
government mouthpiece, suggested a government of national unity, albeit with
Mr Mugabe still as president, to be followed by fresh elections. This
resembles what happened in Kenya, where Mwai Kibaki, who is generally
thought to have lost an election in December, remains president in return
for sharing power with the opposition. But Mr Mugabe's spokesman dismissed
Meanwhile, the violence is sharply worsening. Mr Biti compared it to war.
Pro-government militias are roaming the countryside, terrorising and beating
up suspected opposition supporters; the police usually remain idle or in
some cases even take part in the violence. The Zimbabwe Association of
Doctors for Human Rights says it has treated at least 323 cases of injury
resulting from organised violence and torture since the election.
Human Rights Watch, a global watchdog, says that the ruling party has set up
torture camps across the country as part of a systematic and orchestrated
campaign. Victims are rounded up and taken to the camps at night and beaten
for hours on end. Hundreds of huts and houses have been burnt down. In the
poor suburbs of Harare militias and soldiers are enforcing an unofficial
curfew and have abducted MDC campaigners. The MDC says that at least ten
people have been killed since the election, 3,000 families have fled their
homes, 500 people have been hospitalised and over 400 party activists
arrested, making it hard for the MDC to function.
Outrage in southern Africa, perhaps even in government circles, seems to be
growing. But in the face of a resurgent Mr Mugabe's determination to hang
on, it is unclear what the MDC or governments in Africa and elsewhere will
do. Zimbabwe's agony is far from over.
SW Radio Africa (London)
23 April 2008
Posted to the web 24 April 2008
Reports of shocking incidents of torture and assault, perpetrated by state
agents against innocent civilians, continue to be documented around Zimbabwe
as the world community watches.
Zimbabweans participated in the March 29th election trusting that this
democratic process would resolve the political crisis that has crippled
their lives. But now they find themselves victimised by the party that lost
the election and is refusing to accept defeat. The word "genocide" is
already being applied to the situation as more and more officials and
supporters of the opposition turn up as victims at treatment centres and
Children and the elderly are not escaping the brutality. A girl of 7 and a
boy 10 years of age were seen and treated by physicians from the Zimbabwe
Association of Doctors for Human Rights this week. The organisation reported
a cumulative total of 323 cases of organised violence and torture in April
alone. 81 of the cases they treated were within a 3-day period.
There are numerous, confirmed reports from around the country, of brutal
attacks. In Chiweshe villagers were forced to plunge their voting hands into
boiling water while being told 'this is the hand that betrayed the nation'.
Driefontein Hospital in Chirumhanzu, Mindlands province has been closed down
after a group of 300 Zanu PF youth militia besieged it. The hospital
authorities were accused of treating MDC members and the medical staff were
beaten up. It is alleged that the youths then attacked the patients.
Reporters on the ground working at great risk have managed to capture and
smuggle out many images. The victims' stories confirm that the violent
campaign is about retribution for not voting for Mugabe and ZANU-PF. They
also confirm that the perpetrators are members of the Zimbabwe Republic
Police, the Zimbabwe National Army and ZANU-PF youths.
Global television audiences have seen displaced people by the roadside,
their few worldly belongings in plastic bags or sitting in tears, with
nothing but the clothes on their backs. Disturbing images of serious cuts,
burns and bruises have also been broadcast.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) have been documenting and reporting cases
of politically motivated violations in all the country's provinces. Their
latest report shows an alarming increase of incidents of gross forms of
physical attack by soldiers in army gear. There has also been a continuation
of politically motivated in the Midlands and Matabeleland North.
How one man escaped death at the hands of a Zanu-PF terror squad
It was midnight last Tuesday, and 55-year-old Manyika Kashiri was asleep in
the Chigumbu village home in Uzumba that he shares with his wife and four
grandchildren. Without warning 50 War Veterans and Zanu-PF youth militia
They threw stones through his windows and pounded on his door. They shouted
curses, demanding to know why he had voted against Mugabe in the election.
And it was true, Manyika had indeed, like millions of his
fellow-Zimbabweans, voted for Morgan Tsvangirai and the oppositon MDC.
For a few frightening moments Manyika hesitated. But he knew he had to go
out and face the mob, to protect his wife and grandchildren. He stepped
through the door.
"At once I was hit in the face with a piece of wood. Then somone hacked at
my legs with a machete, and I fell. At once they started beating me all over
my body, cutting at me with their weapons.
"One of them tried to crush my head with a rock, but I saw it coming and
moved, and it his my shoiulder."
He doesn't remember much more from then on. HIs last memory is of the
screams of his grandchildren as they watched from the doorway. Then he
passed out. The Mugabe mob pushed their way into the house, stole a mobile
phone and a shot gun, and left.
It was Manyika's wife who got him to safety. In the morning light she
half-supported, half-carried him to a clinic at the Katiyo Business Centre,
12 kilometres away, That's where I met him. still bleeding from the cuts
made by machetes and axes, still swollen from club blows.
Doctors at the clinic told me they had been overwhelmed with victims of the
random politically-inspired violence that is spreading like a deadly rash
across our country today.
And Manyika himself told me that he and his family can never go home again.
Posted on Thursday, 24 April 2008 at 16:57
By Liberty Mupakati,
ONCE a criminal, always a criminal, so the saying goes.
In Mugabe’s case, it would be apt to amend it to once a murderer, always a
There are compelling grounds to draw parallels between what the murderous
regime of Robert Mugabe is engaging in now, and what happened to
Matabeleland in the 1980s.
Then, Mugabe never forgave the people of Matabeleland and some areas of the
Midlands for overwhelmingly rejecting him in the 1980 and 1985 elections in
favour of Joshua Nkomo, then leader of PF-Zapu. He dispatched his crack
North Korean trained 5th Brigade under the command of Perence Shiri to exact
revenge for his rejection. What followed was untold and unprecedented
suffering that Mugabe has refused to apologise for, let alone acknowledge.
The current crusade against opposition supporters in the provinces of
Mashonaland, Masvingo, Midlands and Manicaland is a re-enactment of those
days as he is now punishing the people that he previously regarded as his
bona fide supporters for having also, overwhelmingly rejected him in favour
of the winner of the March 29th elections, Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe has
unleashed his whole army and other security machinery against the people for
simply having exercised their universal right of electing who they want as
their leader. Mugabe simply did not have the stomach to accept the will of
the people and resorted to what he knows best, violence.
The brutality and dehumanizing treatment that is being wrought on ordinary
Zimbabweans for having exercised their right is a blight not only on Africa
and its leaders but on the whole world, whose leadership is just content
with making noises in forums without showing any real intent to bring Mugabe
to account for his actions. Mugabe has been emboldened by the lack of action
that the world took against him after his first genocidal actions in
That there are other people such as the lamentable Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa that are prepared to endorse his dastardly behaviour and the
treatment of people who did not vote for him has spurred him to escalate the
violence against innocent Zimbabweans who are said to have authored their
own misfortune by voting for Morgan Tsvangirai.
There has been a surge in incidence of violence and deaths of opposition
supporters since Mbeki left Harare on that fateful day he travelled to
Lusaka to attend the SADC meeting. The regime has become more arrogant after
Mbeki’s infamous statement about there being no crisis in Zimbabwe. It was
an endorsement that the cornered Mugabe regime was desperately seeking and
waiting for with bated breath. Given that it was issued by none other than
Thabo Mbeki, referred to variously as the West’s point man on Zimbabwe,
meant that Mugabe could do as he pleases.
Surely, given that the problems in Zimbabwe are spawning a crisis in the
region, one would have expected Mbeki to be more proactive in his efforts to
find a solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe as this is going to definitely
affect his country’s ability to host the 2010 World Cup. I think that the
time has now come for the world leaders to start questioning the efficacy of
holding such a tournament in a region that is best by strife.
Mbeki has proved time and again that he is all for the maintenance of the
status-quo and is averse to a new dispensation taking over in Zimbabwe.
Apart from Mugabe, Mbeki has made himself the number one enemy of the
Zimbabwean people and had it not been for the robust judicial system and the
trade union movement in South Africa, he would have happily acquiesced to
the passage of arms of war that were to be used on innocent and defenceless
Zimbabweans for having had dared to vote for Morgan Tsvangirai.
I wonder how Mbeki can honestly talk of giving more time to ZEC to do the
verification of the results, when he is aware that the said verification is
actually the opposite of the results that they already have in their
possession. Where in this world had it ever taken three weeks to come up
with elections results? Please spare us the comparisons with Mozambique as
there simply are no grounds for comparison.
For starters, Mozambique was coming out of a long civil war and to the best
of my knowledge there is currently no civil war in Zimbabwe. Besides, we
have the manpower, skills, experience and knowledge in conducting elections
that Mozambique did not have. Paraguay, an impoverished country of 5.6
million held its elections on April 20, 2006 and results were out by the
following day. If it could be done in Paraguay, why could it not be done in
Zimbabwe? In Paraguay, they had international observers to ensure the
credibility of the elections, something that is an anathema to Mugabe given
that he does not want to be held to account.
Paraguay had an impartial and professional Electoral Commission, something
that Zimbabweans crave and yearn for, and instead they get the same recycled
faces as Commissioners for ZEC, people who have been at the heart of stolen
elections since 2000.
How in all earnest can the appointment of Joyce Kazembe (she was in the
Electoral Supervisory Commission and was one of the vice chairs of the
Constitutional Commission), Jonathan Siyachitema, (former Anglican Church
Bishop and a staunch supporter of Nolbert Kunonga) or Prof George Kahari, (a
former Ambassador to West Germany and allegedly an advisor to Mugabe),
Vivian Ncube, Sarah Kachingwe ( a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry
of Information), Theophilus Pharaoh Gambe (former chairman of the Electoral
Supervisory Commission and Zanu-PF lawyer) be viewed as consistent with the
notion of an independent commission given that they are all Mugabe acolytes?
Kazembe came to prominence through her association with Dr Ibbo Mandaza who
was a staunch defender of Mugabe and is now Dr Simba Makoni’s leading
Zimbabweans yearn for an impartial and independent judiciary, and instead
they get a bench that is blatantly pro-Zanu-PF, a bench and a legal system
that allows the same person to defend ZEC and Zanu-PF in court. It is wrong
for George Chikumbirike can represent both ZEC and Zanu PF in the current
electoral disputes as this smack of gross conflict of interest.
If that does not expose how compromised ZEC has become as an institution
then what else can?
(Liberty Mupakati writes from Leeds in the United Kingdom.)
By Our Correspondent
HARARE, April 24, 2008 (thezimbabwetimes.com) - The Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) on Thursday addressed correspondence to the Police
Commissioner-General holding him personally liable for the escalating
post-election murders and human rights violations.
In correspondence to police Augustine Chihuri, MDC secretary general Tendai
Biti said the police had turned a blind eye to the violence perpetrated on a
defenceless population by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and Zanu-PF youth
The letter, which is dated April 24, was sent as a group of human rights
doctors reported that it had treated 81 cases of people who had been
bludgeoned by Zanu-PF thugs and armed forces.
In the three days up to April 21, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for
Human Rights, reported a further 81 cases of organised violence and torture
which have been treated by members of the association, including cases of a
seven year old girl and a boy of 10.
“This is not a cumulative total – this is the number of cases seen in these
3 days alone,” said a report issued by the doctors yesterday. “The total
number of cases seen since 1 April 2008 is 323.”
Biti in his letter alleged that the police were failing to carry out their
constitutional duty and that there had been selective arrests and
prosecution of members of the MDC.
“We have it on good authority that you have ordered members of the police
not to interfere in the orgy of violence perpetrated on the civilian
population,” Biti’s letter to Chihuri says.
“It is clear that members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and Zanu-PF youth
and militia are immune from arrest and persecution despite their brazen
The MDC says in the past three weeks, 10 of its supporters have been
murdered, hundreds brutalized and thousands internally displaced.
Biti said the police was abdicating its responsibility.
“Your conduct is in clear violation of the Constitution which obliges the
police, in terms of Section 93 thereof, to preserve the internal security of
Zimbabwe and maintain law and order therein. You are ultimately responsible
and liable for the failure in carrying out this constitutional
“We hereby demand that you order the police to carry out their duties in
accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and without fear or favour. In
particular, we demand that members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and
Zanu-PF youth and militia who have offended against the law be brought to
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena declined comment saying the police had not
yet received the letter.
Zanu-PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa dismissed the MDC violence allegations
and said he had studied their violence report and said it did not contain
any names or specific locations where the alleged violence or deaths
“I cannot dignify that with a response. Its propaganda,” he said.
April 24 2008 at 03:31PM
Harare - President Robert Mugabe is fast running out of options as he
scrambles to extend his 28-year rule after failing to win an outright
majority in Zimbabwe's elections last month, according to analysts.
Mugabe, who only a month ago proclaimed opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai would never rule in his lifetime, is under growing pressure to
stand down after his Zanu-PF party lost its parliamentary majority in the
March 29 elections.
So far the 84-year-old has clung doggedly to office, as the electoral
commission sits on the results of the simultaneous presidential election.
But with almost four weeks now gone since polling, excuses for the
delay are wearing thin, while the international spotlight on a partial
recount has made the possibility of fixing the outcome that bit harder.
Even regional allies are losing patience with Mugabe and the
prospects of a military crackdown have lengthened after a Chinese ship laden
with weapons for Mugabe abandoned its efforts to deliver the cargo.
In an apparent acceptance of his limited room for manoeuvre, state
media has even floated the possibility of a unity government with Zanu-PF
and the opposition Movement for Democratic - albeit headed by Mugabe.
"He is now trying to find a way to go with dignity but it's not going
to be easy," said Bill Saidi, editor of the independent weekly The Standard.
"He had hoped to regain some seats that were won by the MDC but it's
proving not to work.
"He can depend on the army but they can't kill the whole country. All
odds are against Mugabe."
Although Mugabe himself has said next to nothing about the election
outcome, he has been endorsed by Zanu-PF to stand in a possible run-off
However Jonathan Moyo, once Mugabe's information minister but now an
independent lawmaker, said there was no chance Mugabe could win in a run-off
as his control of the electoral machinery was weakening.
"It's no longer possible for Mugabe to win any election," Moyo said.
Attempts by Mugabe's camp to persuade countries that events in
Zimbabwe are none of their business have met with little success.
The Southern African Development Community, a 14-nation regional bloc,
infuriated Zimbabwe by convening an emergency summit earlier this month
devoted to the post-election crisis, a gathering boycotted by Mugabe.
Even though there was no direct criticism of Mugabe, the SADC leaders
made an unprecedented decision to invite Tsvangirai to the meeting and
called for results to be released as soon as possible.
Saidi said Mugabe was obviously in trouble if his traditional allies
were cooling towards him.
"There is a realisation in SADC that they can't go on backing Mugabe."
In an apparent sign of the confusion over the post-election strategy,
the normally tightly-controlled state media has been sending out mixed
On Wednesday, one columnist in The Herald newspaper said SADC should
broker a deal for a transitional unity government as there was a consensus
that the elections "did not produce an outright winner".
However on Thursday, Mabasa Sasa, another columnist in The Herald,
said "the differences between the two (MDC and Zanu-PF) are too vast to even
start contemplating the establishment of a government, even a transitional
Elizabeth Marunda, a political analyst based in Harare, said Zanu-PF
would ultimately have no other option but to hold dialogue with the MDC.
Tsvangirai has offered to engage in a dialogue with Mugabe over "an
all-inclusive" government but Zanu-PF has rebuffed the offer.
"They have to come together and talk," Marunda said. "They need to
stop these fights and come together and sit down for the benefit of the
Moyo agreed that dialogue rather than fresh elections was Zanu-PF's
only real option.
"I don't think that it would make sense to solve an electoral deadlock
through another election." - Sapa-AFP
Thu 24 Apr 2008, 6:28 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, April 24 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is becoming
dangerously isolated among traditional regional allies as he toughs out the
greatest crisis of his rule with a typically defiant response, analysts say.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party lost control of parliament for the first time in a
March 29 election and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he has also
won the parallel presidential poll.
After wavering in the days after the vote, Mugabe, 84, has come back
fighting, extending a three week delay in issuing the presidential result
and calling for recounts in the parliamentary poll.
The waiting-game strategy has had some success, pushing Zimbabwe down the
news agenda and diminishing the impact of a storm of international
Insiders say ZANU-PF is pressing ahead with preparations for an expected
election runoff against Tsvangirai and Mugabe, backed by army and party
hardliners, looks as defiant as ever.
Analysts say he can by no means be counted out, but a significant shift in
regional opinion has dealt him a severe blow. Maritime states in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) this week refused to allow a
Chinese ship carrying arms to landlocked Zimbabwe to unload at their ports.
At the same time, some long-passive neighbours began piling pressure on
Mugabe to release the results. South African ruling party leader Jacob Zuma
has been particularly vocal, in contrast to President Thabo Mbeki, widely
seen as too soft on Mugabe.
Since ousting Mbeki as party leader, Zuma has eroded the president's power
to rival him as the most powerful man in South Africa.
"The apparent shift that we are witnessing is tipping the scales against him
(Mugabe), and he is going to need all his political skills to pull this one
off," said Professor Eldred Masunungure, of the University of Zimbabwe in
"I think for the first time at a very crucial moment, Mugabe is losing
diplomatic support in the region and without that support his ability to
survive politically is diminished."
Mugabe has over his 28 years in power weathered the challenge of a robust
opposition at home and loud Western pressure by maintaining support among
neighbouring countries where many still hold him in awe as an African
But analysts say Zimbabwe's deepening economic turmoil, with a contagion
effect on a region hosting millions of Zimbabwean economic refugees, and the
clumsily botched election may start to turn the tide.
"This election has been handled so badly that even some of Mugabe's friends
are embarrassed and that is why we are seeing all these statements now,"
said Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of political pressure group National
"But I still don't think they will go the extra mile to join in efforts to
get Mugabe and ZANU-PF out of power," he said.
Zimbabwe's neighbours do not have a huge number of options for tightening
the screws on Mugabe's government, but could theoretically cut credit lines
to state-owned transport and electricity firms.
Tsvangirai and foreign powers including former colonial ruler Britain accuse
Mugabe of seeking a run-off to rig victory.
Mugabe's government has studiously avoided commenting on suggestions that
SADC and Africa are turning against it.
Neither have they commented on an article by a pro-government commentator
suggesting the veteran leader should lead a national unity administration.
Rights groups back charges by Tsvangirai that Mugabe has deployed militias
to cow the opposition ahead of the runoff.
No date has been set, pending an official result, but analysts estimate it
could be held at the end of May. They believe Mugabe cancelled a summit of
Africa's largest trade bloc, Comesa, in Zimbabwe next month to avoid a
boycott by some leaders or pressure from his allies.
Tsvangirai has threatened to shun a runoff unless it is supervised by
international observers, including the United Nations. But Mugabe is
unlikely to budge on that.
Mugabe, who came to power in 1980 after leading a guerrilla war, is still
pursuing his classic strategy of trying to deflect public attention away
from Zimbabwe's economic collapse by condemning his Western foes, especially
The analysts say he has dragged out the election deadlock not only to give
ZANU-PF time to prepare for a runoff but also to try to draw Britain into a
quarrel, fuelling his constant theme that London is trying to recolonise the
"The more they talk about us, the more they talk about Mugabe, Zimbabwe and
Tsvangirai, the better for ZANU-PF because some of our own people were
beginning to doubt that we are fighting a power seeking to make Zimbabwe a
colony again," said one ZANU-PF official who asked not to be named.
Critics say while Mugabe might still manage to hang onto power, he would
have to contend with rising anger on the streets despite his readiness to
crack down hard on dissent, a readiness that has drawn repeated accusations
of human rights abuses, including arbitrary detentions and torture.
Food, fuel and foreign currency shortages and the world's highest inflation
rate of more than 164,000 percent show no signs of easing in an economy
which many say was destroyed by Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms for
"Even if Mugabe manages to hang on, he is going to be dogged by questions of
legitimacy, questions that he is hanging on by sheer force," said
"His image is never going to be the same." (For full Reuters Africa coverage
and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/ )
(Editing by Barry Moody)
Mail and Guardian
Riaan Wolmarans | Johannesburg, South Africa
24 April 2008 09:19
A crisis in Zimbabwe? What crisis? This question was debated by
three high-ranking Zimbabwean opposition politicians at the Mail &
Guardian's Critical Thinking Forum in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening.
Two weeks ago, ahead of an emergency Southern African
Development Community (SADC) meeting on Zimbabwe's post-election troubles,
President Thabo Mbeki met Robert Mugabe and declared there was no crisis in
that country. Later he qualified his statement by saying there was,
specifically, no electoral crisis and that he had been misquoted.
Still, results of the presidential election have not been
released weeks after the votes had been cast, and a controversial recount of
parliamentary votes is under way. "Even those who are quite careful with
words should be quite comfortable with this description [of Zimbabwe in
crisis]," said Institute for Democracy in South Africa chief executive Paul
Graham in his brief opening address.
But what else can South Africa do at present? Moderator Judge
Dennis Davis posed this question to panellist Ibbo Mandaza, author, former
Zimbabwean MP and, in this year's elections, a backer of independent
candidate Simba Makoni.
"We expect too much of South Africa," said Mandaza. "There is a
limit to what South Africa can do." Zimbabweans need to take the initiative,
he added, but they need South Africa's support.
"It is important that the entire international community
understand that Mugabe has lost the election," he said. "He should step
aside and allow the new [democratic] process to take place."
On the same topic, Jonathan Moyo, political scientist and former
Zanu-PF Cabinet minister of information, said that whatever South Africans
do, "it will have to be through their government. The recent election would
not have been as peaceful, free and fair as it was if not for the mediation
led by South Africa and mandated by SADC."
This mediation, between Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), led to some legal reforms ahead of the elections,
he said, but while there were positive improvements, it did not lead to a
final agreement -- meaning the opposition was not ready for an election. "We
did not as a country need that election," he said.
Still, South Africa has played a leadership role throughout
Zimbabwe's history, even when it was still Rhodesia under Ian Smith, said
Heneri Dzinotyiweyi, a member of the national executive committee of the MDC
under Morgan Tsvangirai. "We look to South Africa to play this role once
more," he said.
The situation remains tense in Zimbabwe, he said. Referring to
the "genocide" that followed Kenya's elections earlier this year, he said:
"Anything of that magnitude can happen in Zimbabwe."
He believes South Africa should take a firmer stance. "If South
Africa says the [election] results must be out, that will happen." But,
asked Davis, wouldn't Mugabe simply refuse to do so? "South Africa can't be
treated that way by Zimbabwe," said Dzinotyiweyi.
Mandaza agreed. "Let them [South Africa and SADC] say publicly
that there's no doubt that Robert Mugabe lost. There must be insistence that
the results be announced ... There should be no run-off [presidential
election] as violence in the country is already at a high level."
Asked how the Mugabe-controlled military -- currently involved
in a violent crackdown on opposition supporters, according to the MDC --
would react to an opposition victory, he said: "I do not believe the
military will not accept change."
Moyo also opposed a run-off election. "It is not possible for
Mugabe to win any election, crooked or not," he said. "What is possible is
that if there is any rigging, it will be against him," he said to laughter
from the audience. "There is no rational person who wants to see Mugabe in
office again in Zimbabwe."
After the delays in announcing election results, these will now
not be accepted by anyone, he said. Even if Tsvangirai is victorious, "that
would be unbelievable", he said. "The process has been compromised. They
[Zanu-PF] have been using the time to figure out an exit strategy."
He added: "There is no sense in resolving the election deadlock
through another election ... but there are some who are prepared to dig in,
people around Mugabe who have the means to cause big-time trouble."
Said Mandaza: "The MDC won. We must allow them to form the next
government ... Even Mugabe's people know that. There is no doubt that
Tsvangirai will extend his hand to all others [to form a government of
national unity] ... Everyone knows any free and fair run-off will yield
disastrous results for Robert Mugabe."
Looking ahead, Mandaza said he expects election results to be
released next week. There is bargaining behind the scenes, he said, but
complained that opposition groups have not been able to "sit down together".
Moyo backed the idea of a transitional government, as, according
to him, Tsvangirai did not quite get enough votes in the election to win the
presidency, even though he beat Mugabe. A transitional government "would
look like a government of national unity" and would facilitate Mugabe's
exit. It would operate between 24 and 36 months, with Tsvangirai as its
leader, and formulate a new constitution. "Elections would come much later
down the line," said Moyo.
Dzinotyiweyi disputed Moyo's figures, though, saying that
Tsvangirai got 53% of votes. Davis asked him what the MDC would do if the
electoral commission said Tsvangirai got less than that. "We would explain
that it was defective," said Dzinotyiweyi. "We would not accept it."
He would not be drawn, however, on exactly what actions the MDC
would take in that situation, also pointing out that the MDC's main staff
cannot even meet at present as some members are in jail and others fear
retribution from the ruling party.
Replied Mandaza: "The MDC should have a provisional idea of how
they will run the government ... The MDC should take the initiative and
there has been no initiative."
Moyo also criticised the MDC, saying: "It is obvious that Morgan
Tsvangirai won the parliamentary elections. All opposition [groups] are
willing to work with them, but they are not willing."
Dzinotyiweyi denied this charge, simply saying: "He [Moyo] is
not telling the truth."
Globe and Mail, Canada
Driven from their homes by pro-Mugabe thugs, 300 bloodied, beaten people
have turned the MDC's office into a squalid refugee camp
With a report from a Globe and Mail contributor in Harare
April 24, 2008
JOHANNESBURG -- The attack was nine days ago, but the axe wound on Martin
Mandava's head is still raw and the flesh of his buttocks has been turned to
pulp by whips. He rested gingerly on a blanket yesterday morning in a rank,
overstuffed office in the headquarters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, surrounded by 300 people just like him - bloodied and
bandaged and scared, with nowhere to go but here, a political headquarters
turned fetid refugee camp.
Nine days ago, a gang of youths who support Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party broke through Mr. Mandava's front door and dragged
him, his heavily pregnant wife and their five-year-old son out into the
"They said my wife and kid should stand there and watch while they show them
what they do to MDC fathers," Mr. Mandava, a 29-year-old farmer, recounted
softly to a Globe and Mail contributor in Harare. Mr. Mandava is from Mutoko
in the west, a rural constituency where people have in the past always
supported ZANU-PF, but voted overwhelmingly for the MDC in a national
election held nearly a month ago.
The youths, members of a ZANU-PF militia, began to hurl stones at Mr.
Mandava, to hit him with sticks and to swing at him with an axe. When his
wife screamed, one of the youths threatened to drive a knife into her belly.
"The gang leader ... pulled out his knife and asked his gang members what he
should do to a traitor like me. One of them said, 'Cut the genitals, because
that's the only way to ensure that there won't be any MDC babies in their
area,' " Mr. Mandava recalled. The gang leader yanked down his trousers and
grabbed his genitals, he said, while his wife screamed and clamped her hands
over their son's eyes so he would not see what happened next.
"Then he spat into my face and said he would spare me if I sang one
liberation war chorus. I sang while he held my genitals. He let go of me,
put his boot on my neck and he lit his cigarette. He smoked the whole
cigarette whilst his boot was pressed against my neck. I was bleeding all
over from the ax wound on my head."
The beating went on for four hours; when they were done, the youths dumped
him on his doorstep, and told his wife not to try to get help or they'd kill
her. "They also bragged that this is what they had done to other traitors in
the area, so no one was going to help me." Leaving, the youths burned down
Neighbours took Mr. Mandava to a local clinic, and the next day he was
transferred to a hospital in the capital. He has since been discharged. He
can't go home, he said. "They will kill me." And so he has joined 300 other
opposition supporters taking shelter in two big rooms in the MDC
headquarters in Harare.
"We are facing a serious crisis," said Thokozani Khupe, the MDC's
vice-president, as she surveyed the refugees and their small heaps of
salvaged possessions. They last had a meal the day before, when a benefactor
dropped off food supplies, she said. "There is no water in the building. ...
The party does not have the resources to feed 200 people [and] the number of
people is increasing every day. I don't know what we will do now."
Ms. Khupe is left to make that decision largely on her own because the
senior leadership of the MDC is all outside Zimbabwe. Presidential candidate
Morgan Tsvangirai is reported to be in West Africa, lobbying leaders for
support. He told The Globe and Mail last week that he was sure he would face
arrest and possible attack when he returns home. MDC secretary-general
Tendai Biti addressed a crowd of MDC supporters last night, but in
Johannesburg, in neighbouring South Africa.
Nearly four weeks after the election, Zimbabwe's government-controlled
electoral commission has yet to release results from the presidential
ballot. It is in the process of recounting the parliamentary votes from 23
constituencies where it alleges opposition cheating. ZANU-PF lost control of
parliament in the election, but could easily retake a majority if the
original results in even half of those 23 constituencies are overturned.
Mr. Tsvangirai is widely believed to have won the presidential election, but
ZANU-PF insists he did not obtain an outright majority and that a runoff is
required. Militias such as the one that attacked Mr. Mandava have been
deployed across the country.
Now the victims of that campaign are making their way to Harare, saying they
have nowhere else to go but the MDC headquarters in Harvest House, where a
banner with an avuncular photo of Mr. Tsvangirai ("Morgan has More!")
flutters from the first-floor windows.
The stories the refugees tell are chilling. Takawira Mandere, a 34-year-old
farmer from Gokwe, 300 kilometres southwest of Harare, was shot once in each
leg on April 12 by a ZANU-PF-affiliated shop owner. "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," Mr. Mandere
On April 19, Moreblessing Chigadza, 35, was working in her fields in
Murewha, 100 kilometres outside Harare, with her three-month-old baby on her
back, when she saw thick smoke rising from her home. She rushed there to
find it on fire, with a gang of five youths watching it burn and three
others in the process of shoving her struggling husband, a local MDC
organizer, into a white pickup truck without licence plates.
One of the five young men who stayed behind turned to her and told her to
take the baby off her back: "He said they wanted to deal with me alone
because my child was innocent." She set her child down, and the men began to
beat her. "I had heard that they used sticks and did not imagine that they
could use a motorbike chain to beat another human being. But that is what
they used on me."
When she tried to run, one of the youths tripped her and she fell and broke
her leg. Eventually the youths moved off, and neighbours took her to the
hospital. Now she is at Harvest House with the baby, one of 40 children
among the refugees, but she has had no word of her husband.
"Once you escape that hell you will never want to go back," she said. "There
is no way I am going back."
If the president of South Africa had an iota of honour or
courage or sense, he could have squeezed Robert Mugabe out of power several
Published: 39 minutes ago
Can Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's lame-duck president, truly believe there is
no crisis in Zimbabwe? If so, it must be concluded that there is a crisis
also in South Africa - a moral one. For it is unconscionable that the man
who leads by far the most powerful country in Africa should shrug off the
horror that persists in neighbouring Zimbabwe as a procedural hiccup in a
perfectly normal election.
By every objective calculation, Robert Mugabe, despite using an array of
dirty tricks in a presidential contest nearly three weeks ago, was trounced
by the challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai.
As the Economist went to press, Zimbabwe's electoral commission, plainly
under duress, is still refusing to divulge the figures. Can Mbeki seriously
suggest, with a straight face, that the result would have been held back if
Mugabe had not lost?
If Mbeki had an iota of honour or courage or sense, he could have squeezed
Mugabe out of power several years ago - just as South Africa's leaders
pulled the plug on the nastily bigoted Rhodesian regime of Ian Smith three
decades ago, albeit after succouring it for far too long.
Most of the other leaders in southern Africa - with a few notable
exceptions, including Jacob Zuma, Mbeki's rival and possible successor -
have been equally feeble and downright dishonest.
By failing to come together to denounce Mugabe unequivocally, they have not
only prolonged Zimbabwe's agony; they have damaged the whole of southern
Africa, both materially and in terms of Africa's reputation.
As many as 4 million Zimbabweans, one-third of the population, may have fled
the ruins of their once blooming country. Western governments are rightly
poised to offer generous backing to a new government that would represent
the wishes of Zimbabwe's battered survivors.
The rich world also seeks, with offers of all kinds of aid, to bring other
countries in Africa out of their poverty. But why should it help the
governments in the region that seem blind to the monstrosity of Mugabe,
whose venality has helped impoverish much of the rest of the region too?
Why should Africa as a whole be taken seriously when its leaders, on the
whole, refuse to co-operate to remove such a cancer from their midst?
Mbeki's apologists will argue that his vaunted "quiet" diplomacy has
worked - or might yet work. They say that he helped cajole Mugabe into
holding an election in the first place.
As a result of negotiations that Mbeki's people oversaw between
representatives of Mugabe and Tsvangirai, some procedures were improved. In
particular, the results of the count now must be made public outside every
polling station; that limits the scope of the electoral commission, most of
whose members are picked by Mugabe, to fiddle the figures at a central
But the list of criteria for a fair election, drawn up for Mugabe by Mbeki
and his fellow SADC leaders, had been habitually ignored by Mugabe, without
a squeak of protest from his conniving African counterparts. There is little
evidence that Mbeki intended to enforce the departure of Zimbabwe's
Even now, Mbeki seems to be hoping for a government of national unity, with
Mugabe graciously agreeing to step down some time soon, to be replaced by a
fellow villain from within his brutal and corrupt ZANU-PF party, perhaps
alongside Tsvangirai and an assortment of others. This would be quite wrong.
ZANU-PF is as rotten as Mugabe. It has ruined and pillaged the country. Most
Zimbabweans do not want to be ruled by it any more.
Tsvangirai, by contrast, says he will gather a government of all the
talents, looking beyond his own party perhaps to include a few exceptional
ZANU-PF people, maybe - if he is wise - along with the likes of Simba
Makoni, the able ZANU-PF man who bravely broke with Mugabe to emerge as a
third man in the election. Why should Mbeki seek to flout the wishes of the
It is a sad truth that the main reason for Africa's malaise has been bad
government. In the past decade Western leaders have made big efforts to
right the wrongs of the past, above all by rewarding and encouraging better
They should go on doing so. But it is not surprising that Western taxpayers
feel loath to be generous when African leaders en masse refuse to help boot
out one of their most wicked colleagues.
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2008
Thu 24 Apr 2008, 7:23 GMT
BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Thursday a shipment of weapons bound for
Zimbabwe would be recalled after South African port workers refused to
Zambia, which chairs the Southern African Development Community grouping,
had urged regional states to bar the An Yue Jiang from entering their
waters, saying the weapons could deepen Zimbabwe's election crisis.
"To my knowledge, the Chinese company has decided to recall the ship and the
relevant goods bound for Zimbabwe," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman
Jiang Yu told a news conference.
She said the reason was the same she gave on Tuesday -- that the ship had
been unable to unload its goods, but she defended the shipment.
"In the field of conventional weapons, we have trade relations with some
countries. These are consistent with our laws and with Security Council
resolutions and China's international obligations.
"We have been very responsible and cautious with regards to weapons
No results have been announced from the March 29 presidential vote, while
the outcome of a parliamentary poll is also in doubt because of partial
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it won the
elections and the delay in releasing the results extends a deadlock in which
the MDC says 10 members have been killed.
New Vision (Kampala)
23 April 2008
Posted to the web 24 April 2008
President Thabo Mbeki and his infamous colleague Robert Mugabe are marooned
on an isolated political island, under siege by diplomatic brickbats and
flotsam. their old bodies are quivering and shivering in cold winds of
backlash from Mbeki's unpopular proclamation that Zimbabwe is not a crisis
While Mbeki ponders thoughtfully on the next move to restore a badly
mutilated credibility, Mugabe conspires with China to fend off a deluge of
inevitable popular electoral discontent with Chinese AK-47s, bullets‚ and
Israeli water cannons.
Meanwhile, the April 18 Independence celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium was
nothing more than a display of military force, a sure sign that the civilian
centre can no longer hold at Mugabe's ZANU-pf camp. He is doing want he
knows best, defending his political space with stolen ballots and Chinese
In addition, Mugabe told us that "ZANU-pf brought democracy to Zimbabwe"
and‚ roasted Gordon Brown, as predicted, for attempting to buy Britain's way
back to state house via 'MDC puppets'.
Harare residents were chided for voting for MDC whose agenda Mugabe claims
is only one- giving‚ Zimbabwe back‚ to its former colonial power wherefore
he vowed the opposition would never ever assume political control of the
country as long as he is alive. Herein lies the contradiction.
Mugabe's narrow perception of democracy is one of a commodity that can be
bought, sold and exchanged on the political marketplace. It is a preserve
only for ZANU-pf, and therefore anyone who encroaches onto this context must
be a sell- out.
We progressive Zimbabweans would now like to expose this gigantic act of
archaic self-delusion. Since 1980, Zimbabwe has been, in Mugabe's own words,
religiously holding elections every five years. He won each one of them
until last month, pumping in millions in USA dollars of state resources in
campaigns, materials, publicity, vote buying-all in the name of 'democracy'.
In the process - that is from 1985-thousands of innocent citizens have died
in defence of this 'democracy', mostly at the hands of Mugabe's own
repressive machinery. Therefore, if he accuses the British of racist
hypocrisy during the reign of Ian Smith, what does‚ he himself have to show
for his ZANU-pf brand of democracy in the past 28 years of his reign?
Moreover the 'good' president has completely got his facts wrong. Robert
Mugabe‚was not even part of a rebellion within the Zimbabwe African People's
Union‚ (ZAPU) in 1963 that formed ZANU, but the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole.
In 1965, Ian Smith rebelled against Britain by the Unilateral Declaration of
Independence (UDI) and later proclaimed that Africans (like Mugabe and
Joshua Nkomo) would not rule Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was then known, in a
Mugabe then enters the fray long after by deposing the Reverend Sithole in a
'prison room' coup, before taking over the reins from Ian Smith's Rhodesian
Front on April 18, 1980. To say ZANU-pf shot‚ the Conservative party of
Margaret Thatcher out of power in Rhodesia is political gibberish. All the
British did, at Lancaster House and through Lord Soames, was to facilitate a
democratic process that entirely benefited Mugabe, even though they were not
the best of friends.
So Mugabe and his apparently educated cronies should know by now that even
if one does not like an election observer, one can still win that election.
The second revelation one can make is about the trinity of evil that is
colluding to deprive Zimbabweans of true liberty. ZANU-pf, the Judiciary and
the Zimbabwe Election Commission are a diabolical axis of vampires whose
agenda is to perpetuate fascist dictatorship. So if Mugabe is such a
democrat, why are his institutions of governance so frightened by political
The more pertinent question really is: has he ever been loved by anyone
enough to be voted for purely on a voluntary basis -the essence of true
democracy? Of course not!
Since the early 70s, Mugabe has been at the helm of his party, ZANU-pf. Does
this mean no-one, in these 35 years, has ever been good enough to beat him
in an internal leadership contest?
Perhaps history will one day expose the myth, but there have been questions
raised about the 'assassination' of firebrand barrister Herbert Chitepo and
the motor vehicle 'accident' of‚ military genius Josiah Tongogara, who many
believe were ideally positioned to replace Mugabe long before he felt
The last revelation on Mugabe is about his humaneness or lack of it. The
1980s Matabeleland genocide was clear testimony that Mugabe does not have a
conscience that an average human being possesses. This is not about the
length of his pre-independence incarceration at Wha Wha prison. If it were,
then Nelson Mandela would not have been the saint that he is now.
Eyewitnesses at Nyadzonia and Chimhoio-the refugee and military camps where
Mugabe was based during the war of liberation-allege that he never shed a
single tear for the hundreds of children that were napalm-bombed by Ian
Smith's commandos. He dismissed the Matabeleland carnage merely as a moment
Hundreds of young men were murdered in the Democratic Republic of Congo
protecting the interests of a few of his cronies, some of who were named in
blood diamond scandals by the United Nations.
Operation Murambatsvina drove one million citizens to homelessness while
Mugabe's devastating price control decree in July 2007 left an entire nation
on the verge of starvation.
As you read this piece, scores of villagers have been tortured and displaced
by Mugabe's rogue elements rampaging in Zimbabwe's rural areas as
post-election retribution for voting for the MDC.
Therefore, stealing and cheating in an election would hardly appear as an
'event' in Mugabe's contaminated political dictionary. So while the world is
screaming at him, he has sealed his ears andâ-‚is now preparing to die in
The writer is a columnist for AfricaLiberty.org and a Zimbabwean activist
and political analyst based in harare
By Peter Chikondi [24/04/2008 08:32]
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has failed to pay $36 trillion owed
to civil servants who participated in the voter education exercise and
polling officers who manned polling stations during last month’s harmonized
Civil servants most of whom were taken from their areas to undertake voter
education and polling on polling day had been promised $300 million per day.
Some of them took part in the voter education exercise for at least one
month while polling officers were engaged for at least three days. Close to
121 000 civil servants drawn from the public service took part in the two
ZEC spokesperson Utoile Silaigwana said the commission was “still paying”
the civil servants but would not be drawn to confirm how much the civil
servants were being owed. He said the Registrar General was responsible for
the voter education exercise and was therefore liable to pay the civil
servants who took part in the exercise.
“We are still paying the polling officers but I cannot comment on the
officers who took part in the voter education exercise because they were not
under ZEC but the Registrar General,” said Silaigwana.
The registrar general could not be contacted to comment on the matter.
Polling officers who spoke to Zimeye said they were owed more than three
weeks’ allowances despite several calls and visits to the electoral
“We have made several calls but there is nothing coming. We are worried the
money is fast losing value and by the time we get receive the allowances, it
will be useless due to inflation, “ they said.
April 24 2008 at 09:39AM
By Cris Chinaka
Harare - 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
Zuma, who has become 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 stress the
importance of respect for the sovereign people of Zimbabwe and the choice
they have made at the ballot box."
No results have been announced from the March 29 presidential vote,
while the outcome of a parliamentary poll is also in doubt because of
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said
he won the presidential election outright and accused Mugabe of delaying
results to rig victory.
Officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF and the MDC had each retained one constituency in the
recount, the state-run Herald newspaper reported in its online version.
It quoted ZEC deputy chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana as
saying the recount would end by the weekend.
Zanu-PF lost 16 of those 23 constituencies in the original count, and
needs to win nine more seats to overturn the MDC's parliament victory, the
first in Mugabe's 28-year rule.
The government has clearly indicated it expects a presidential
runoff - necessary if neither candidate wins an absolute majority.
Zuma's backing for Brown's position over the Zimbabwe election could
anger Mugabe, who accuses former colonial master Britain of plotting to oust
him and sabotaging the economy with sanctions, which have failed to loosen
his grip on power.
Britain called for an arms embargo on Zimbabwe while analysts
dismissed as unlikely a proposal that Mugabe should lead a unity government
until new polls.
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, arrived 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 a rule that critics say has relied on
tough security crackdowns and an elaborate patronage system.
"I think the situation for the people (in Zimbabwe) is unacceptable.
We want a fair election result," she said at a news conference with Rwandan
President Paul Kagame.
Zimbabweans just want relief from shortages of basic goods and the
world's highest inflation rate of 165 000 percent.
Zuma and Brown promised that would come in the form of humanitarian
aid and international efforts to secure Zimbabwe's economic recovery once
the election process ends.
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, took a harder line towards Mugabe this week, refusing to
allow a Chinese ship to unload arms headed for the landlocked country.
Pro-government commentator Obediah Mukura Mazombwe add to uncertainty
by suggesting Mugabe should lead a transitional government to end the
deadlock while new polls 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.
Mazombwe holds no position in the ruling Zanu-PF party and his
comments may not have official backing, analysts say.
In another opinion piece on Thursday, Herald political reporter Mabasa
Sasa said a unity government was not feasible because Zanu-PF's radical
nationalist policies were sharply different from the MDC's pro-Western
Tsvangirai pressed ahead on a relentless regional drive seeking help
from leaders to push aside Mugabe. On a visit to Mozambique on Wednesday, he
rejected the idea of national unity government but said there were other
"The government of national unity does not arise because we won
outright," he told a news conference.
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.
(Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka, Adrian Croft in London and the
Berlin bureau; Writing by Barry Moody and Michael Georgy; editing by Sami
April 24, 2008
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent of the Times
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have joined international church
leaders in declaring this Sunday a special "day of prayer" for Zimbabwe.
In a joint statement, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu called for
Christians worldwide to pray for an end to the "mayhem" in Zimbabwe
Their intervention comes after the country's own church leaders earlier this
week warned that violence in Zimbabwe will reach full-scale genocide if the
international community doesn’t intervene.
In a joint statement, Zimbabwe's Catholic, Anglican and evangelical church
leaders warned that violence following the elections last month would turn
to genocide as bad as that of Rwanda if the world failed to act.
“We warn 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,” they said.
Dr Williams and Dr Sentamu echoed their concerns, warning that without help,
the continuing political violence "could unleash spiralling communal
violence" as has happened elsewhere in Africa.
The Church of England's two senior Archbishops said: “The current climate of
political intimidation, violence, vote rigging and delay has left the
presidential election process without credibility. Now the people of
Zimbabwe are left even more vulnerable to conflict heaped upon poverty and
the threat of national disintegration.”
The average life expectancy of Zimbabweans hovers around 35, lower than any
war zone. Since 1994 it has fallen from 57 to 34 for women and from 54 to 37
Zimbabwe has the highest proportion of orphans in the world,1.3 million,
largely due to the devastation caused by HIV and Aids. Aids-related
illnesses kill 3,200 people each week
By staff writers
24 Apr 2008
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev Thabo Makgoba, has called
for an arms embargo against Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, amid growing
evidence that his government is planning a campaign of intimidation against
Archbishop Makgoba issued a statement yesterday, which has been released
through the Anglican Communion News Service. In contrast to what many have
sen as the uncertain and confused viewpoint of the South African government,
which has been keen not to rock the boat in southern Africa, and which has
many allies associated with the current government in Zimbabwe, the church
leader is outspoken.
In full, the statement reads as follows:
"The plight of the people of Zimbabwe is heart-breaking. Already bruised,
broken and crushed by oppression and economic hardship before the elections,
they are now even more divided, despondent and, in many cases, hopeless than
they were before. At a time of growing global hunger, their situation is
particularly acute - four million Zimbabweans depend on food aid and NGOs
are reporting that in some areas political violence is making it difficult
to supply food.
"After the March 29 elections we were told that if there had to be a second
round of voting in the presidential election, it would be held within 21
days. That date has now passed, and every day that goes by without the
release of presidential election results erodes yet further any remaining
trust people may have in the electoral process.
"From the church in Limpopo Province, we receive reports that the influx
of Zimbabwean refugees is steadily growing. Within Zimbabwe, those who have
benefitted from Zanu PF rule are locked in fear of what may happen to them;
those who support the opposition live in fear of retribution for voting
against the government.
"It is distressing to South Africans that our rulers, whom we know to be
compassionate people, currently appear to many beyond our borders as
heartless and unmoved by the suffering of Zimbabweans. We recognise that the
imperatives of acting as honest brokers in a mediation impose constraints on
our leaders. However, our failure to communicate our reverence for the
dignity of every individual threatens the success of our diplomacy just as
surely as would the perception of bias. I appeal to President Thabo Mbeki
urgently to seek creative ways of reaching out to our neighbours to reassure
them that we care about them deeply.
"As a church committed to fighting the arms trade in Africa and the world,
we strenuously oppose the sale and transport of weapons to Zimbabwe. We
commend the successful efforts of the Bishop of Natal, the Right Revd Rubin
Phillip, and the Diakonia Council of Churches to prevent a consignment of
weapons for Zimbabwe from being offloaded in Durban, and I intend consulting
with my brother bishops in Namibia and Angola on ecumenical action to
prevent the shipment from being transported through their countries.
"On the basis that a heavily-armed Zimbabwe would threaten peace, security
and stability in southern Africa, we call upon the Security Council of the
United Nations to impose an arms embargo on its government. We appeal to the
South African Government to support such an embargo. We will ask our sister
churches in countries which are also members of the Security Council to urge
their governments to do likewise."
Monsters and Critics
Apr 24, 2008, 11:06 GMT
Johannesburg - South Africa's Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner
Desmond Tutu on Thursday urged southern African leaders to persuade
embattled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down.
Making his second emphatic call for Mugabe to step aside since Zimbabwe's
disputed March 29 elections, Tutu said southern African countries could no
longer afford leaders who wanted to cling to power for egotistical reasons.
They had other issues to contend with, such as poverty and the HIV/AIDS
Addressing a conference on education and leadership in Western Cape province
Tutu said he hoped South Africa would take charge of convincing the
84-year-old president to salvage his legacy by stepping down with dignity.
Mugabe has so far rejected calls to resign after his apparent second-place
finish in last month's presidential elections to opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai claims he won the election outright. Mugabe's Zanu-PF party says
a runoff is needed to establish a clear winner - a tacit admission Mugabe
took fewer votes.
The state-controlled election commission has withheld the results of the
election from the public for close to four weeks citing first the need for
'verification,' then a partial recount.
Doctors at two secret medical centers set up in Harare and Bulawayo
speak of being overwhelmed with patients suffering burns, beatings and
wounds received during torture sessions by youth militia and aging veterans
loyal to Robert Mugabe.
Thursday 24 April 2008, by Bruce Sibanda
from our correspondent in Harare
A doctor at the clinic, set up on March 15, who spoke on condition of
anonymity says he and his staff members were working "impossible hours" to
cope with admissions. "All the private clinics across the country are
receiving people burned and whipped as well as 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.
In Bulawayo, an organizer for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) said the area was "like a war zone."
Youth militia and veterans are forcing people to admit they had voted the
wrong way in the March 29 election, in which the MDC won a parliamentary
majority from Mugabe"s party.
Last week MDC claimed that 10 of there supporters had been killed. The
militia who go around in groups of 10 to 20, beat people and threaten to
burn down their huts, doctors say.
One doctor who prefers to be called Dr Chris say that one of his patients
had told him that the militia group which beat him up carried Chinese-made
"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
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.
SW Radio Africa (London)
24 April 2008
Posted to the web 24 April 2008
Students at the Harare Polytechnic on Thursday were shocked to see riot
police living in their hostels on the day the college opened for the new
Newsreel understands that two police vehicles, fitted with water cannons,
were stationed just outside the hostels in anticipation of opening day
demonstrations that have characterised other universities and colleges
around the country. Students in Bulawayo, Bindura and the University of
Zimbabwe have all demonstrated for the release of presidential election
results. Riot police in each case have used brute force to crush the
A student at the Harare Polytechnic said riot police have taken over Hostels
F and G while students are being crammed into groups of 9 in the common
rooms, that are mainly used for watching television. The hostels set aside
for the female students are still available to them, but their male
counterparts have been displaced into using the few remaining hostels and
common rooms. The college is only a stones throw away from the city centre
and state security details are said to have pointed out the likelihood of
students streaming into town and demonstrating. The deployment of riot
police was seen as a pre-emptive move.
Not only is the atmosphere intimidating but also the college is charging
Z$17 billion in residence fees and demanded Z$3 billion in caution fees (a
security deposit). This fee was later reduced to Z$196 million but the costs
have forced a number of students to drop out. A student whose father is a
civil servant queried the fees saying; 'Where is my father going to get Z$17
billion when he earns around Z$1,4 billion?'
There are no lessons taking place on campus and students are milling around
not knowing what to do. Adding to their woes is the fact that they have no
substantive Students Representative Council. The last elections were held 3
years ago. The authorities are blocking the holding of elections and
students do not trust the interim council that is in place.
SW Radio Africa (London)
24 April 2008
Posted to the web 24 April 2008
Cash shortages and queues are back once again, as the dithering over the
presidential result shows little sign of ending. In the meantime the economy
continues to flounder, without a leader to take stock of what needs to be
Our Harare correspondent Tagu Mukwenyani said the cash crisis has come back
to haunt the country because of the massive inflation, despite the Reserve
Bank introducing a Z$50 million denomination note in February. In the last
week, the price for a loaf of bread has jumped from Z$65 to Z$100 million,
while one egg now costs Z$20 million.
'These are the consequences of a power vacuum currently prevailing in the
country. This was the last thing the country needed in an economy whose
inflation is hovering above 165,000 percent,' Mukwenyani said.
In the capital Harare, some banks are reported to be running out of cash
whilst some are only allowing clients to withdraw Z$30 million per day.
People are reportedly spending five to six hours in bank queues - sometimes
The country's economy has been in free-fall over the last decade. At least
80 percent of the population is living below the poverty line and an
estimated three million people have fled into South Africa.
The government has done nothing to deal with these crises, which have been
worsened by Mugabe's refusal to relinquish power, despite his electoral
defeat to the MDC. Mukwenyani believes the regime is currently trying to buy
time in preparation for a presidential run-off: 'It's shocking that the
presidential results are still not out three weeks after the elections, but
political analysts believe the regime has tried but failed to change the
outcome of the poll,' Mukwenyani said.
20:00 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 21:00 UK