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Release poll results by Saturday, SADC warns ZEC

Mail and Guardian

Mandy Rossouw and Jason Moyo | Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Harare,

24 April 2008 04:25

The Southern African Development Community has warned Zimbabwe
that it will accept no more excuses from the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission
(ZEC) if it fails to release the results of the Zimbabwean presidential
elections by Saturday.

SADC sent its observer team back to Harare last week to observe
the recount of the 23 disputed constituencies where Zanu-PF claims there
were irregularities.

The ballots for the disputed constituencies in presidential,
senatorial and parliamentary polls, which took place four weeks ago, are
being recounted.

Said a senior SADC observer who asked not to be named: “I don’t
know why we are recounting -- it doesn’t make sense to us. We are expecting
the recount to be done by Saturday, then it will be up to them to announce.
But, really, there is no excuse any more.”

Beyond Saturday the SADC would not accept claims that the
release of results had been affected by logistical difficulties, the initial
pretext, or by disputes, the reason given a week after polling.

And in another warning sign for President Robert Mugabe,
Tanzanian President Jikaya Kikwete, also the chairperson of the African
Union, has privately said he would be willing to explore the option of
convening an African Union summit on the issue, civil society activists in
Tanzania told the Mail & Guardian.

This would be a serious slap in the face for President Thabo
Mbeki as it would signal that regional mediation efforts have failed.

At a conference convened by the East African Law Society in Dar
es Salaam, Mbeki was widely mocked by delegates as “Thabo ‘no crisis’ Mbeki”.

Conference delegates said Kikwete had mooted the idea of an AU
summit to his advisers.

Civil society across Africa is looking to Kikwete -- who is
known to be critical of Mugabe’s regime -- to take a more energetic stance
on Zimbabwe after the SADC summit and statement reflecting Mbeki’s
softly-softly approach.

A post-conference communiqué, due to be handed to Kikwete in
person, called for AU intervention to supercede the SADC’s efforts.

On Thursday South Africa’s official opposition called on the
South African government to press for Zimbabwe’s expulsion from the AU and
the imposition of travel sanctions on Zimbabwean government officials
entering South Africa, in the manner of the European Union and the United

It is understood SADC observers have picked up discrepancies
during the recount, because some ballot books have gone missing.

Ballot papers were originally bound in a booklet resembling a
cheque book, from which they were torn and given to voters to cast their
votes. The stubs are used for verification.

SADC sources said ballot boxes had been moved from locations
where the ZEC had stored them to places such as shopping centres, where the
counting was done. Party agents brought their own tallies of the original

Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said anomalies noted
during the recount had resulted in police arresting presiding officers
suspected of malpractice.

At one recounting centre three presiding officers had reportedly
been arrested.

The ZLHR complained that “recounting has been notoriously slow
in an environment of increasing anxiety, violence and harassment of
perceived supporters of the opposition, with alleged active involvement of
senior members of the ruling party”.

In further pressure on Zimbabwe’s increasingly besieged ruling
party, ANC president Jacob Zuma has thrown his weight behind efforts to deal
with the electoral impasse in Zimbabwe. He told Reuters during a visit to
Europe this week that “leaders in Africa should really move in to unlock
this logjam”.

Zuma accused the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission of destroying
its own credibility by not releasing the results.

MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai this week also broadened his
campaign for regional support in the quest to break the impasse.

Tsvangirai is in Ghana, where he met President John Kufuor.

Last week, Tsvangirai asked the SADC to remove Mbeki as mediator
in the Zimbabwean crisis.

At least publicly, Zanu-PF is confident that the recount will
overturn the opposition’s parliamentary majority.

Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said Zanu-PF is “not
distracted” by the international controversy over the results delay and is
preparing for a run-off.
The MDC’s latest position is that it will contest the run-off on
condition it is supervised by the SADC.

But many MDC leaders appear to be on the run. MDC spokesperson
Nelson Chamisa said the party was setting up safe houses for activists
fleeing violence in the countryside. The party’s headquarters in Harare has
become a shelter for dozens of its supporters, who are sleeping in corridors
and in offices.

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Violent Assault and Torture Remains Unchecked

The Zimbabwean

 Friday, 25 April 2008 05:23

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights


Further to the two statements ZADHR issued last week we report a further 81
cases of organised violence and torture which have been seen and treated by
members of the Association in the three days ending Monday 21 April 2008.

This is not a cumulative total – this is the number of cases seen in these 3
days alone. The total number of cases seen since 1 April 2008 is 323. It
seems likely that there are substantial numbers of similar cases occurring
across the country which have not presented to ZADHR members and are
therefore not represented in these figures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mugabe fails to gain from poll recount

Business Day

25 April 2008

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

THE initial results of a recount of ballots from Zimbabwe’s March 29
elections have so far only confirmed the original count.

The recount has been contentious, as it was feared that President Robert
Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) would manipulate it to reverse their defeat
in the parliamentary poll.

Zanu (PF) lost its 28-year grip on power to the combined opposition.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
claimed victory in the presidential poll, the results of which have not been
released. The recount is for 23 out of 210 constituencies. Two were won by
Zanu (PF) and the rest by the MDC.

Sources close to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and both political
parties yesterday confirmed that nine recounts had been completed and the
original tallies were upheld.

The MDC had retained its seats in Zaka West and the three Gutu
constituencies. Zanu (PF) has retained its two. This means Zanu (PF) needs
to win the 14 remaining recounts to get a majority in parliament.

The lack of change in the recount so far has provided a glimmer of hope that
Mugabe is failing to “steal back the elections”.

Sources have attributed the failure to rig the recount to Mugabe no longer
being able to coerce polling officers — many of whom are teachers — and the
police. They are the state employees most discontented with their working

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The case for letting Mugabe feel threat of African force

Business Day

 25 April 2008

Hopewell Radebe
ALTHOUGH the government has ruled out military intervention in Zimbabwe,
there is a case for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to
save what is left of its credibility by making clear to President Robert
Mugabe the possibility of such intervention.

Analysts argue that doing so could reduce the likelihood that Mugabe will
proceed with the coup-by-stealth that appears to be under way, subverting
the will of his people as expressed in the March 29 presidential elections.

Two weeks ago, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told the media: “I want to
stress what the Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has said (on her
visit to the Netherlands last week), that if we South Africans suddenly go
into an illusionary frame of mind that what we think can happen, or must
happen, then we are living in very dangerous times.

“There is no South African government that will try to impose its will by
force, and that will never happen,” he said emphatically.

But Laurence Caromba of the Centre for International Political Studies
argues that Mugabe could be more inclined to relinquish control if he was
convinced that the consequences of illegally holding on to power might
include regional military intervention.

Caromba, a researcher at the University of Pretoria, says that President
Thabo Mbeki — in conjunction with fellow SADC members — has a legal right to
launch military action intervene in Zimbabwe to defend the election results
in that country.

Such action would be to in line with the African Union (AU) charter, which
was amended in 2003 to permit military intervention in countries facing “a
serious threat to legitimate order”.

This move was also reinforced at subregional level in 2004, when the SADC
Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security legalised intervention in cases
of “a threat to the legitimate authority of the government (such as a
military coup)”.

Caromba says that such a “legal government intervention” is an important
tool in the conduct of foreign policy. It was used successfully in three
instances in the past 10 years to restore order in Sierra Leone, Lesotho
and, most recently, in the Comoros.

In 1997, Nigeria sent troops into Sierra Leone to depose Maj Johnny Koroma ,
a young military officer who had successfully toppled the elected government
of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.

“Kabbah went on to serve two terms before stepping down, during which he
successfully brought the Sierra Leone civil war to a conclusion. Sierra
Leone has remained a constitutional democracy to this day,” Caromba says.

In 1998, SADC forces invaded Lesotho to prevent an imminent military coup
and restore the civilian government to power. Despite the grave mistakes,
coupled with unexpectedly heavy resistance from mutinous elements of the
Lesotho Defence Force, and widespread looting in Maseru, “order was
restored, military rule was averted and, as a result, Lesotho is today a
reasonably healthy and robust democracy”.

As recently as a month ago, the AU launched an amphibious invasion of
Anjouan, an island in the Comoros, to overthrow Col Mohamed Bacar, who had
ruled the island as a virtual fiefdom after holding rigged elections and
declaring himself president.

After a day of fighting, with troops from Sudan, Tanzania and Senegal
participating, aided by logistical support from Libya and France, the
intervention forces routed Bacar’s forces, and the colonel fled to the
nearby French island of Mayotte.

As with previous African interventions, this right would stem not only from
humanitarian concerns, but from Mugabe’s illegal seizure of power.

“Legal government intervention” is an African innovation: an international
law response to the cycle of coups and counter-coups that has plagued
African states for decades. Both in treaties and in practice, African states
have subtly shifted away from their traditional fixation on sovereignty, and
begun to assert the right to intervene to prevent unconstitutional changes
of government.

As the situation stands in Zimbabwe, the bulk of the evidence suggests
Mugabe is slowly unleashing pro-government militias and effectively
dismantling the constitutional order. He pointedly refused to attend a SADC
summit aimed at defusing the crisis, while war veterans march through the
streets of Harare in shows of force and soldiers beat up opposition
supporters for holding “premature” victory celebrations, pending the release
of delayed presidential election results.

“The AU charter does not call on member states merely to prop up incumbent
governments, but to protect the legitimate order. Conceptually, there is
little difference between illegally assuming power and illegally maintaining
power after losing an election,” Caromba says.

“In the event that Mugabe’s regime attempts to subvert Zimbabwe’s
constitution, either by altering election results or resorting to
undisguised military rule, it will constitute a threat to legitimate order
as grave as any military coup, and create a legal basis for military
intervention under both AU and SADC agreements,” he says.

Therefore, states in the region should, at the very least, begin preparing
for such a scenario.

Analyst Kuseni Dlamini says it is highly unlikely that the region would
consider such a drastic step because the consequences may be “as
far-reaching as they may be irreversible for Zimbabwe, southern Africa and
Africa at large”.

“It is vital to consider both the intended and unintended consequences of
military intervention in a country such as Zimbabwe, which has a military
pact with Angola, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he says.

Admittedly, military force should always be a last resort and should never
be entered into lightly, as its use would automatically entail “great costs
and risks” to the lives of both soldiers in the region and Zimbabwean

However, Caromba argues that by making the possibility of military
intervention explicit, South African diplomats would actually reduce the
likelihood of Mugabe risking such a scenario.

Analyst Martin Rupiya of the Institute for Security Studies says the SADC
still has several other instruments, such as sanctions, to explore before
entertaining the idea of military intervention. “One cannot see that
happening” especially since other countries within the AU, such as the
Sudan, have been treated differently to this day.

“The joint UN-AU peace mission for Darfur is struggling to deal with
Khartoum just to deploy its forces that have long been approved, even by the
United Nations Security Council,” he says.

Rupiya says the AU structures on peace and security are still fragile and
too stretched to dare to take on countries such as Zimbabwe, while it seemed
easier to take on the Comoros or Lesotho.

“There are different rules for bigger boys and small boys.”

Radebe is diplomatic editor.

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Rule by the plier

Mail and Guardian

Jason Moyo | Harare, Zimbabwe

24 April 2008 04:25

In their front room, 200m from Gwanzura stadium, the
Matizas could just hear President Robert Mugabe vow that he would never
allow the opposition to take power.

For the eight members of the family, Mugabe’s threats
during his Independence Day speech last Friday had special meaning.

A week earlier Patrick, a 26-year-old Movement for
Democratic Change activist and English teacher in Mutoko, north-east of
Harare, was dragged from his home at night and beaten to within an inch of
his life.

Easing back on to a mat, spluttering and cursing, he is as
bitter as the medicine he has to take.

With two other teachers, he was marched off to his Zanu-PF
assailants’ offices, where they kept the trio for two days and took turns
beating them.

They were then dumped by the roadside, where they were
found and taken to a clinic. “But we were followed there. The nurses were
beaten up and ordered not to treat us.”

Patrick received treatment only when his uncle convinced a
friend to drive him to Harare.

He is yet to learn the fate of his two colleagues. “I am
very angry. But what can I do?”
According to rights groups, Patrick is one of more than 20
people who have been beaten and displaced from their homes since Mugabe’s
defeat in the elections.

The doctors report that a third of the patients they have
treated are women. Some of the victims sustained injuries that could lead to
permanent disability.

Asked about pictures rights groups say are evidence of
beatings, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told journalists: “They are
showing us pictures from 2000 and 2002.”

Care workers in Harare and other urban centres are setting
up safe houses to accommodate people fleeing their rural homes. In one of
these havens MDC activist Alexander from Uzumba, a fiercely Zanu-PF area
north of Harare, told the Mail & Guardian how he had suffered for days in a
torture camp.

“They used a specially made whip -- a small iron rod with
wire at the end. They whipped me all over the body, but they targeted the
soles of my feet until they bled. Then they ordered me to run to Karimbika
[a business centre 5km away].

“All this time, my hands were tied with wire behind my

Another villager, from Murehwa, north of Harare, told how
a man in army uniform beat him for more than an hour and then ordered one of
his colleagues to hand him a castrating machine used for bulls.

“I was lucky,“ said the man, who identified himself only
as Farai. “Someone in the village had borrowed the pliers.”

Stella Gatsi (51) said she was forced to watch as Zanu-PF
militants burned down her home in Mutoko. Her son, Livingstone, had stood
for the MDC as a councillor in the elections.

Some of the reported acts of violence are “sadistic”, said
one doctor. She said one of her patients told her the militia had gouged out
the eyes of three of his goats before ordering his entire family to strip
naked. “They were then ordered to lie on concrete slabs and beaten,” the
doctor said.

This week Zimbabwean churches broke their silence.
“Organised violence perpetrated against individuals, families and
communities who are accused of campaigning or voting for the ‘wrong’
political party ... has been unleashed throughout the country, particularly
in the countryside and in some townships. People are being tortured,
abducted and humiliated,” a coalition of the main church groups said.

The churches said villagers are being force-marched to
“mass meetings” and forced to chant Zanu-PF slogans and renounce the MDC.

Saying “a pall of despondency hangs over the nation”, the
church leaders gave a stark warning: “We warn the world that if nothing is
done to help the people of Zimbabwe in their predicament, we shall soon be
witnessing genocide.”

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We must prevent a Zimbabwean genocide
Alex Matthews

Sokwanele [Enough is Enough], a Zimbabwean human rights NGO, has a flickr photo album that illustrates, rather graphically, the means that Zanu-PF and its fascist affiliates are using to cling to power.

Images copyright Sokwanele

The photos in this album are not of extras in Hollywood�s latest �Afritragedy�. Neither are they the spurious efforts of western imperialist media monoliths to smear what some readers consider to be a �saintly� Mugabe.

They show the results of systematic beatings and torture. They show the stirrings of what could ultimately become a genocide. Mugabe used crack troops for ethnic cleansing in Matabeleland in the early 1980s. It is quite possible he will resort to this sort of massacring again. After all, Angolan troops are allegedly ready for deployment to fight on his behalf. And Sokwanele�s blog has revealed that young men are being armed with AK47s; with a so-called war vet being quoted as saying: �Yes we are all being armed; we are going back to war�.

South Africa has a moral obligation � as a young democracy and a neighbour � to champion democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe.

Some of the readers of my previous post, Our president has blood on his hands, believe that Zimbabweans should be left to sort out their own problems. That is tantamount to claiming that South Africans should have fought the tyranny of apartheid by themselves without the support - in the form of sanctions and political pressure - of the international community.

Indeed, by the very same logic, people are justifying the world�s shocking indifference to the Rwandan genocide in which over 800 000 innocent people were murdered. Why? Because no country was bothered to stop the slaughter.

The Zimbabwean crisis could hardly be considered an �internal� issue anyway � not with approximately 2.5 million Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa and plenty more streaming across the Limpopo each day.

Thabo Mbeki and the rest of the lily-livered leaders that comprise the international community don�t just need to condemn the state-sponsored oppression in Zimbabwe. They need to actively work to resolve this crisis. Quiet diplomacy�s legacy is one third of Zimbabweans having fled their mother country and another third reliant on food aid to survive. The time for diplomacy � quiet or otherwise � is long over.

A few suggestions:

  • Leaders must ensure that no weapons destined for Zimbabwe enter the SADC.
  • Send in the AU troops! Mbeki didn�t seem to mind them farting about in the Comoros, deposing Anjouan island�s unofficially elected leader at the behest of the federal Comoros government. Why can�t they be deployed to Harare to ensure the election results are released and respected?
  • The UN should get involved. This could be in the form of a stern security council resolution or posting blue-helmeted troops to keep the peace and disarm Zanu PF militia. Preferably both (although with China and Russia on the security council this is admittedly wishful thinking).
  • Impose targeted sanctions and travel bans on Zanu PF bigwigs. Freeze their overseas bank accounts too.
  • Flick the switch! Eskom should stop providing electricity to power Zanu mansions (virtually no one else in Zim can afford electricity).

    The question the world must ask itself is whether the lives of helpless citizens in a distant African basket case are worth caring about.

    Let us hope that the verdict is �yes�.

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    Zimbabwe: House of Lords Debate
    25th Apr 2008 03:07 GMT

    By a Correspondent

    UK Parliament

    House of Lords

    Thursday 24 April 2008

    Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government:
    What is their response to the recent protest action called by the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe .

    The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown) : My Lords, the crisis in Zimbabwe continues. It is understandable that opposition parties and civil society organisations should call for peaceful protest. In a country with inflation at more than 165,000 per cent and unemployment above 80 per cent, it is not surprising, however, that many people who have jobs continue to go to work if they can in order to support their families. This crisis will continue until credible presidential election results are announced that reflect the will of the people.

    Baroness Northover: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. Some members of the defeated party are already using violence to try to hang on to power. What action can be taken through the region, the African Union or the UN to stop additional weapons getting into Zimbabwe ? Given the quantity of arms already in Zimbabwe, which from what we are hearing are clearly being used, what can be done, particularly by those in the region, to try to bring this situation to a peaceful conclusion?

    Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Baroness focuses on the current arms shipment on a Chinese ship, which still remains on the waters off southern Africa and has been refused entry to South Africa and Mozambique for unloading. I met the ambassador from Angola this morning and I believe that the ship will not be allowed to unload in Angola , either, so it will effectively be sent home. We will see huge action by civil society and the Governments of the region, if necessary through the UN and elsewhere, to make sure that no more arms arrive and reach this illegitimate Government to allow them to suppress their people.

    Lord Blaker: My Lords, is the Minister aware that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has just awarded a seat in Parliament to Mugabe’s party on the ground of an alleged miscount? Should we not bear in mind that the Electoral Commission is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mugabe’s party? The proposal that a number of people have put forward for a rerun of the election is regrettable at this time, because the violence of Mugabe’s party to the population is as fierce as it has been at any time in recent years. That had a bad effect on the turnout of MDC voters before the recent election and on previous occasions and it is likely to have a bad effect for some time ahead unless the violence stops.

    Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, while it remains the position of the Opposition to press for the immediate announcement of a presidential election result, the news that the noble Lord brings of an election seat being turned over and awarded to the government party, ZANU-PF, is a further indication that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the election process itself lack credibility. After a month of silence, we can conclude only that.

    Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, is my noble friend satisfied with the actions and the words of the South African Government in relation to this crisis?

    Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, as I have said before in this House, President Mbeki deserves credit for having created the conditions in which this election took place, which has begun the process that will lead to the departure from power of President Mugabe. The people of Zimbabwe have voted and the putting of ballot tallies on the doors of the polling stations, a reform for which President Mbeki pressed, means that it has been impossible to hide the result. Obviously, we would have wished for clearer public statements since the election from the leaders of the region that this stalemate cannot be allowed to last. We are impressed by a number of private statements that are being made, but the time has come for ever clearer public statements by the leaders of the region, including President Mbeki, that this election stalemate must be ended in favour of the people of the country.

    Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, further to the question asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, and the Minister’s comments, did he get the impression from talking to Mr Zuma, who is now in London , that South Africa will back an international arms embargo to prevent the coming genocide? That is an important part of the jigsaw building up to prevent the horrors to come. Secondly, the American authorities say that they would like to see Nigeria and, indeed, any country that has some influence on the situation weigh in to try to control the deteriorating situation. Does the Minister agree with that approach, which is outside the UN? What links can we establish with the Indian authorities and, indeed, with the Chinese authorities, as well as over the shipment issue, in order to bring global pressure on to this situation before it turns into a major bloodbath?

    Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the American position, like ours, is that it is important to engage the broader AU beyond the immediate neighbouring countries of SADC and, within the AU, countries such as Nigeria that are traditionally leaders in the region. It is clear that more straightforward public statements about the situation in Zimbabwe can be made by those countries not immediately adjacent to it. The initiative to press for broader AU engagement is very welcome. Just last week I raised in Beijing the broader issues of Zimbabwe with the Chinese authorities. I am confident that no Government—not the Chinese or any other—believe that this situation can be allowed to last. A month has passed without a result being announced. That is almost unique in the annals of elections. I do not think that any serious person anywhere can say that the status quo is sustainable. We need a result. Everybody needs to press for that in their own way.

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    Zimbabweans Welcome International Pressure on Mugabe


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

    Supporters of Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
    (MDC) party have welcomed international pressure on the ruling party to
    release the rest of the presidential results. The belated support three
    weeks after the vote comes from the chairman of South Africa’s ruling party
    Jacob Zuma and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who both demanded the
    immediate release the tally.

    The opposition party’s claim of winning the presidential vote also received
    a significant boost from an official of the US government, who reportedly
    said that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was the winner of the March 29
    vote. But partisans of the ruling ZANU-PF party describe US backing of the
    opposition as yet another attempt to re-colonize the country.  From Harare,
    University of Zimbabwe political science professor John Makumbe tells
    reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans want an end to the economic and
    political crisis.

    “They are liking this because for the first time there seems to be
    meaningful response from the international community and even from the SADC
    (Southern African Development Community) region and from the continent of
    Africa in favor of the people of Zimbabwe, rather than in favor of Robert
    Mugabe,” Makumbe noted.

     He said the international community seems to have come to the realization
    that the opposition MDC can play a significant role in resolving the
    Zimbabwe crisis.

     “Yes, I think there is a real recognition for the MDC here. But what’s
    important really is that the various groups seeming to be running onto the
    side of MDC are really shocked by a situation where elections are run
    reasonably free and fair and the ruling party or the president of Zimbabwe
    refuses to release the results. It is unprecedented, except in very awkward
    situations where results have been delayed unduly,” he said.

    Makumbe described as unfortunate the refusal of the electoral commission to
    release the presidential results three weeks after the general elections.

    “In this case they are even likely not to want to disclose the results at
    all and this is really shocking this region and shocking other political
    parties that Mugabe can think so low and ZANU-PF can really be so desperate
    to stay in power to the extent of refusing to release the results. And so
    everybody is now seeing the many stories that the MDC has been telling about
    what is going on in Zimbabwe, that is actually a dictatorship,” Makumbe
    pointed out.

    He said pressure by the international community would have an impact on
    President Mugabe and his hard-line supporters.

    “I think so, I think it is really an embarrassment to them, but above all it
    is really getting them really threatened because one of the consequences of
    all this international pressure is that it has now gone up to the United
    Nations Security Council. And there are a lot of voices at the UN Security
    Council asking that Zimbabwe be placed on the agenda of the UN Security
    Council and that possibly observers be sent into Zimbabwe if there is a
    run-off of the presidential election,” he said

    Makumbe said civil and non-governmental organizations are demanding that the
    government respect human rights.

    “We are also a civil society pushing for a United Nations human rights
    repertoire to be sent to Zimbabwe because there is lots of violence going
    on,” Makumbe said.

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    No miracle solutions for Zimbabwe

    Mail and Guardian

    Hany Besada

    25 April 2008 07:38

          As Zimbabwe marked 28 years of independence from minority rule
    last Friday, a feeling of despair and great anxiety loomed in all corners of
    this impoverished and increasingly turbulent Southern African state.

          Once regarded as the region’s bread basket, blessed with an
    abundance of mineral deposits and the most skilled and educated workforce on
    the continent, as well as a thriving agricultural sector, it has become a
    political liability and an economic and social basket case of unprecedented
    proportions over the past eight years or so.

          With the world’s highest inflation rate of 165 000%,
    unserviceable debts of more than $4,7-billion; a life expectancy of 36
    years; poverty rates of more than 80%; an unemployment rate of 85%; and more
    than 1,8-million Zimbabweans receiving food aid last year, a deepening
    crisis of disproportional levels is unfolding -- even by regional standards.

          This year’s independence festivities, punctuated with military
    and police displays, soccer matches, live music performances and the grand,
    yet rhetorical, speech made by the country’s autocratic and increasingly
    desperate President, Robert Mugabe, couldn’t mask the uncertainties and
    deep-seated fears of ordinary Zimbabweans that things could get even worse
    for them in the coming weeks.

           Although Zanu-PF lost its majority in Parliament for the first
    time since independence in 1980 (97 seats to 110 for the opposition), it has
    since been able to force the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to
    administer a recount in 23 constituencies where it claims its candidates had
    been cheated, due to voting irregularities and counting errors.

           Meanwhile, the results of the hotly contested presidential
    election are yet to be released -- more than three weeks after the ballot,
    fuelling international concerns that the recount is simply a ploy to buy
    time and coerce voters to vote for Mugabe in a run-off poll, thereby
    subverting the will of the electorate.

          Independent and ruling-party projections indicate that Movement
    for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai got most of the votes,
    although he is just shy of the required 50% plus one to avoid a second-round
    run-off. Meanwhile, an ongoing recount of ballots from the March polls
    continues amid fears on the side of the opposition, led by the MDC, that
    Zanu-PF’s strategy is to retain power by a combination of a show of force
    and violence towards opposition supporters designed to frustrate the
    opposition and drain their resources.

          The election saga has, without doubt, brought the nation to the
    brink of civil unrest and potential conflict. According to human rights
    groups, post-election violence has left 10 people dead, 500 injured and more
    than 3 000 displaced.

          Meanwhile, reports of rape, the burning of properties and
    torture aimed directly at opposition supporters and white farmers by
    so-called war veterans have increased sharply, increasingly pointing to the
    government’s resolve to stifle political opposition to its rule. However,
    this comes as no surprise to a number of analysts on the continent who have
    long predicted that Mugabe’s exit from political office would be anything
    but graceful and smooth.

          Independent observers and opposition groups have called on the
    international community, the African Union and the Southern African
    Development Community (SADC) to intervene in Zimbabwe to ensure that the
    rule of law is upheld and the elections results announced without further

          However, the international response thus far has been dismal at
    best. SADC election observers came out in praise of Mugabe for conducting
    elections in a “free and fair” environment, while South African President
    Thabo Mbeki’s so-called policy of “quiet diplomacy”, aimed at engaging
    Mugabe in a dialogue of reconciliation with the country’s opposition, has
    been widely discredited for having resulted in an impasse.

          Failure at the emergency SADC summit two weekends ago to
    criticise Mugabe for the delay further discredited SADC leaders and the
    organisation as a whole -- one that has tried to forge ahead in recent
    months on economic integration, democracy and peer reviews as regional

          SADC’s failure to make pronouncements on the rising violence, as
    well as the inclination of African leaders to stop short of criticising
    Mugabe, has only exacerbated an already tense political atmosphere.

          While the current crisis in Zimbabwe rests upon the assumption
    that African leaders are completely resistant to the idea of military
    intervention in Zimbabwe, Mugabe is slowly taking his country to the brink
    of complete collapse, as it has already been ostracised by the global
    political economy. This has become a domestic political issue that is
    turning into a destabilising force in a region, which is in the process of
    slowly shedding its turbulent past of wars, coups and minority apartheid

          A key to the resolution of the political crisis -- and,
    ultimately, economic recovery -- will be the resolution of the drawn-out
    struggle to oust Mugabe by means of a negotiated power-sharing agreement.
    The final outcome could be determined less by the electoral process in
    Zimbabwe and more by applied pressure from African statesmen and their
    Western counterparts to force Mugabe to negotiate a compromise with the MDC
    to avoid a similar tale to that which recently unfolded in Kenya.

          In the meantime, Zimbabweans anxiously awaits the election
    results, with great trepidation over what Mugabe and Zanu-PF may have in
    store for their country.

          Hany Besada is senior researcher working on weak and fragile
    states at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo,

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    Refer Zimbabwe crisis ‘to UN’

    Business Day

     25 April 2008

    Hopewell Radebe

    Diplomatic Editor

    THE US called yesterday for the Zimbabwe crisis to be brought to the United
    Nations (UN) Security Council, saying the country would soon face a grave
    humanitarian situation because of violence against rural communities.

    Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer told reporters in Pretoria the
    council would then debate the arms embargo on Zimbabwe proposed by British
    Prime Minister Gordon Brown. “We certainly support the prime minister’s

    She commended SA’s civil society and trade unions for “courageously”
    blocking the offloading of arms destined for Zimbabwe from a Chinese ship in

    She said the UN should go to Zimbabwe to investigate, and report to the
    council. A debate in the security council would discourage other countries
    from selling Zimbabwe weapons, and she believed China would act responsibly
    by no longer supplying arms.

    Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu has called for an arms embargo on
    Zimbabwe to avert the escalation of violence.

    Frazer said there was no doubt that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had
    achieved “a clear victory” over President Robert Mugabe in last month’s
    disputed elections.

    Given the delay in releasing the results, the US would greet any results
    coming out of Harare with great scepticism. She ruled out the possibility of
    military intervention. With Sapa-AFP

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    US Southern Africa Tour Focuses on Finding Zimbabwe Solution


    By Howard Lesser
    Washington, DC
    25 April 2008

    The top US diplomat for Africa has started off a visit to Southern African
    countries declaring that Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won a
    clear-cut victory over incumbent Robert Mugabe on March 29.  Assistant
    Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer made the comments to
    reporters in South Africa at the start of consultations on Zimbabwe with
    neighboring countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
    Zimbabwe-born Ken Mufuka, a history professor at South Carolina’s Lander
    University, also writes for Zimbabwe’s Financial Gazette newspaper.  He says
    that Secretary Frazer and the United States are making the right call in
    boosting Mr. Tsvangirai and bringing international pressure to resolve
    Zimbabwe’s post-election presidential crisis.

     “It is their role to do that because the SADC countries are not going to
    solve that problem without external pressures from the United States and
    from Britain.  Even if there was a political solution in Zimbabwe, economic
    help is very much needed, and only the United States and Great Britain have
    the capacity to do those things,” he noted.

    US resident Mufuka, who claims affiliation with Zimbabwe’s main opposition
    Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) confirms Frazer’s contention that
    Morgan Tsvangirai won an outright victory with something like 58 percent of
    the votes on March 29.

    “Under the new SADC rules, all the voting lists are posted outside the
    stations.  I’m a member of the MDC, and I’ve been sent lots of information.
    And the MDC took pictures of these postings.  So it was quite clear early on
    that the MDC had taken in that much support,” he said.

    Although Mufuka says it’s essential for Washington to weigh in heavily on
    Harare during Secretary Frazer’s current swing through the region, he admits
    there are some downsides.

    “That is problematic, because in 2002, there is a secret protocol among the
    SADC countries to their idea that ‘we don’t want American interference in
    Southern African affairs,’ something like the Monroe Doctrine (an 1823 US
    expression of disfavor with foreign intervention).  At that time, Mr. Mugabe
    started kicking away the white farmers.  So this will further inflame those
    who think that the opposition movement is being financed by foreign powers,”
    he said.

    Reacting to yesterday’s call for a Zimbabwe economic boycott by Archbishop
    Desmond Tutu and African National Congress President Jacob Zuma’s appeal for
    Zimbawe’s election commission to release results of the vote, Mufuka says
    that Secretary Frazer’s role in the region will make a difference.

    “Not with the government of Zimbabwe. But it may make a difference with the
    government of South Africa and the SADC countries if they withdraw their
    support.  This is why the United States must keep on pressuring those
    countries around,” he explains.

    Citing the delay of more than three weeks that the Mugabe government has
    failed to issue election results, Ken Mufuka says it is hard to predict the
    fallout when Zimbabwe’s electoral commission announces the results of the
    vote recount it is undertaking in several Zimbabwe precincts.  But he notes
    it is most likely that the long delay indicates that the government intends
    to cheat on the final tabulations.

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    Saving a nation and averting genocide

    l'express. Mauritius
    Vendredi 25 avril 2008 - No. 16501

    By Roukaya Kasenally,
    University of Mauritius

    In January 2006 in an article entitled The hopeful continent, The
    Economist referred to a Gallup International Poll that indicated that
    Africans are the world’s staunchest optimists. Indeed post colonial African
    politics has undergone positive developments, which saw in certain parts of
    Africa a significant shift from single to multi party systems, the presence
    of opposition parties, the demise of political parties founded by military
    leaders as well as the introduction of a two-term presidential limit.

    However these gains /advancements can easily be reversed, sending the
    continent and its people into the darkest of ages. In fact, the unfolding
    human tragedy in Zimbabwe and the recent traumatic post-election violence in
    Kenya bear witness to this.

    It will be nearly four weeks that the people of Zimbabwe have gone to
    the polls with a strong expectation to change their destiny and that of
    their country. Instead the country has entered into deep political limbo
    which has seen a series of absurd / bizarre events ranging from the non
    release of the presidential results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
    (ZEC), the High Court’s outright rejection of the MDC’s petition to force
    ZEC to release the presidential election results and the decision of ZEC to
    accede to the demand of ZANU-PF to conduct a recount of the presidential,
    parliamentary, and local council votes from 23 constituencies!

    Regular news feeds coming from Zimbabwe point to a country that is
    dangerously entering a point of no-return and, if allowed to go unchecked,
    may cause the genocide of a nation. The latest commando operation approved
    by Mugabe and his political cronies called Makavhoterapapi, a Shona word for
    ‘where did you put your cross?’ is profiling innocent Zimbabwean citizens
    who are being brutally mutilated and massacred. News of an ammunition cargo
    heading for Zimbabwe has accentuated the world’s concern and fear that
    Mugabe is gathering a war arsenal against his people.

    This year marks 28 years that Mugabe ‘ruled’ Zimbabwe during which he
    took the country from glorious independence to absolute economic meltdown.
    Once known as the bread basket of Africa, Zimbabwe currently runs a whopping
    inflation rate of 165,000 percent (up from the 100,000 pre election rate),
    has 80 percent of its people unemployed, has one of the lowest life
    expectancy in the world – 37 years and has some 3 million of its people
    living in exile.

    A decade of trauma and misery

    One would expect that these are rather exaggerated figures popularized
    by western media in an attempt to vilify the Mugabe regime. Alas there is
    nothing more real than the daily brunt of the average Zimbabwean citizen who
    has to develop extraordinary survival techniques just to exist. Supermarkets
    and shops remain constantly empty and if ever one is able to get one’s hands
    on ordinary bread the price is too high for most Zimbabwean citizens to

    I was recently talking to a colleague who is a senior academic at the
    University of Zimbabwe and was shocked to hear that his monthly salary is
    just enough to fill half the tank of his car with gasoline and that is if
    you are lucky enough to get it. To deal with inflation the central bank has
    resorted to the printing of a 50 million Zim note and even contemplating of
    releasing a 100 million note in the near future!

    The world has kept a close and constant eye on the Zimbabwe crisis and
    the question that has been on everyone’s lips is – how do we put a stop to
    the human carnage and free the Zimbabwean people? The West and especially
    Britain has been reprimanded for interfering into African matters and that
    it is up to Africa to find solutions to its problems. This no doubt is a
    fair argument which I strongly adhere to. Unfortunately no solution has yet
    been delivered except a quiet diplomacy approach of letting the electoral
    process follow its course!

    Two summits (Lusaka and SADC Poverty & Development) have been missed
    opportunities to deal with the Zimbabwean crisis in a direct and firm
    manner. For those of us who were there, Zimbabwe’s state of anarchy and
    crisis was mentioned only by civil society, the Prime minister of Norway and
    the European Union Commissioner! In fact, it is quite mind-boggling to deal
    with the thematic of poverty and development in the SADC region and
    ‘diplomatically’ avoid referring to the Zimbabwean case. It is imperative
    that SADC as a region bloc / community (if it wants to maintain its
    credibility as a relevant platform for people / countries of the region)
    takes an urgent stand on the Zimbabwe crisis. As Kofi Annan mentioned a
    couple of days ago “Where are the Africans? Where are the leaders and the
    countries in the region? What are they doing? It's a crisis that will impact
    beyond Zimbabwe and we have a responsibility to find viable solution.”

    Many observers believe that Mugabe has been tolerated for too long by
    his peers who have turned a lenient or at times a blind eye to his excessive
    and abusive behaviour. This can be partly explained by the prevailing
    African political culture where status, hierarchy and liberation solidarity
    forged during the battle for independence rank high and there is no doubt
    that Mugabe scores full marks in that register. Mugabe’s anti colonialism
    ranting against Britain has occasionally won him sympathy among other
    African leaders who found in him a convenient stick to use against the West.

    However, patience and solidarity is wearing thin as the quiet
    diplomacy favoured by the region’s appointed mediator – President Mbeki is
    not really delivering concrete results. Mbeki’s political autism on the
    Zimbabwe crisis has been contrasted by the outright position taken by ANC’s
    leader - Jacob Zuma. However there seems to be a glimmer of hope with the
    stepping up of international pressure through the harsh condemnation of UN’s
    secretary general and other foreign leaders. This saw the African Union this
    week add its voice to the chorus of disapproval; its current chairman, the
    president of Tanzania, is pressing within the AU and the SADC for action.

    The last decade has seen Zimbabwe and the majority of its people slip
    into a hell hole. At the moment all energies and efforts are concentrated on
    getting rid of someone who prides on calling himself the black Hitler,
    however it is imperative to reflect on the needs / requirements of a
    post-Mugabe era. A decade of trauma, misery and absolute dispossession
    should give way to prosperity, stability and dignity. The IMF has put aside
    a US $ 1 billion currency and stabilization fund and there are proposals
    around important infrastructure projects. Rebuilding and restructuring will
    also have to review the thorny issue of land reform and ensure that the
    people of Zimbabwe get their due.

    Zimbabwe is a nation in peril and time is of the essence as on a daily
    basis we hear of horror stories where our brothers and sisters are being
    savagely exterminated. As Africans we have the moral responsibility to
    intervene to avoid the genocide of a nation otherwise we shall be held
    account for the killing of our own people!

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    An Yue Jiang unloads in Angola

    Zimbabwe Metro

    By Raymond Mhaka ⋅ April 24, 2008
    Despite reports that the chinese ship An Yue Jiang has been recalled to
    China, emerging evidence suggests otherwise. The ship loaded with weapons
    for Zimbabwe, is expected to dock in Lobito, Angola at midday on Friday.

    International Transport Workers Federation’s spokesperson Sam Dawson said on
    Wednesday that they were “extremely confident” that the Chinese container
    ship was on its way to Lobito. Preparations would be made to prevent its
    cargo from being off-loaded by dock workers there.

    The Chinese ship had been spotted off the western coast of Africa, he said,
    but declined identify the ITFs sources, since they would be in danger of
    being exposed. He said the ship was sailing at 11 knots and would, by ITF
    calculations, be outside Lobito on Friday.

    Union preparations were continuing to block attempts to unload and transport
    the cargo “and any attempt to do so will be met by the strongest possible
    trade union response”.

    The ITF has two affiliates in Angola.

    Last week the An Yue Jiang lifted anchor in Durban harbour as it was about
    to receive a court interdict impounding its arsenal of weapons and

    The interdict was obtained by legal and church activists.

    Cape Town Archbishop Thomas Makgoba has said the Anglican Church will be in
    touch with religious bodies in Namibia and Angola to explore “ecumenical
    action” to prevent the cargo from being off-loaded.

    A western diplomatic source in Luanda said Angolan President Jose Eduardo
    dos Santos had sent a letter on Sunday to his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert
    Mugabe. The content of the letter was not officially disclosed.

    But an Angolan external relations ministry official, who requested
    anonymity, said this week that the Angolan government would not issue
    authorisation for the ship to dock in any of the country’s ports.

    “Given the ongoing volatile political situation in Zimbabwe, we believe we
    need to approach this issue very carefully,” he said.

    The official refused to confirm whether the vessel or the Chinese
    authorities had asked for permission, noting Angola was still following the
    issue in the international media.

    Dawson confirmed that the ITF had been in touch with the An Yue Jiang’s
    owner, Cosco, on Wednesday and had suggested to them that the proper course
    to take would be to return to China. Cosco replied that the request “would
    be going through our channels”.

    This contradicts statements by Chinese authorities that the ship had been
    recalled. Cosco, like most Chinese companies, is part-owned by the Chinese
    government, but China’s foreign ministry has said it will not interfere in
    what it called a normal commercial transaction.

    Sources said they expected an announcement on a recall would be made by
    Cosco itself, rather than the Chinese government, even though the order
    might be given by the latter.

    On Wednesday at 6pm, Steve Olley of the Maritime Intelligence Unit of
    Lloyds, which runs a 24-hour tracking operation, said it had been in the
    dark over the ship’s whereabouts since 5pm on Tuesday, when it was 25
    nautical miles off Cape Town.

    Either the ship had switched off its transponder, or it had sailed so close
    to the shore that the signal might have been blocked, he said.

    Angola sent 2500 ‘ninjas’ to Zimbabwe

    In March last year Angola sent 2500 of its feared paramilitary police to
    Zimbabwe, raising concerns of an escalation in violence against President
    Robert Mugabe’s opponents.

    Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi confirmed the imminent arrival
    of the Angolans then.

    Angola is regarded as the most powerful military nation in Africa, after
    South Africa.

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    Racist mass murder in Zimbabwe


    Paul Trewhela
    25 April 2008

    Elinor Sisulu on the 1983 to 1987 Gukurahandi in Matabeleland.

    Racist mass-murder of isiNdebele-speakers by the regime of President Robert
    Mugabe and the Zanu-PF party took place in Zimbabwe between 1983 and 1987.
    This is the subject of a factual investigative report, Gukurahundi in
    Zimbabwe (Hurst and Co., London, 2007), first published by the Catholic
    Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe and the Legal Resources
    Foundation in 1997 as Breaking the Silence: A Report on the Disturbances in
    Matabeleland and the Midlands. We print below passages from the Introduction
    to the 2007 edition, written by Elinor Sisulu.

    Part of the silence was that of leaders of the African National Congress,
    then fighting the apartheid regime of South Africa with an army based mainly
    in Angola. At the same time as the Mugabe regime was carrying out its
    Gukurahundi (or "washing away of the chaff") in Zimbabwe, the ANC exercised
    a repressive regime over its own members, a large number of whom were
    imprisoned and brutalised at Quatro detention camp in northern Angola. This
    took place especially after the mutiny in Angola in February and May 1984 of
    over 90 percent of the ANC's trained troops. (For a first-hand report, see

    The mutineers had been protesting against the lack of a democratic
    conference and the repressive character of the ANC Security Department,
    which they regarded as infiltrated by the security forces of the apartheid
    regime. Major General Andrew Masondo, who died on 20 April this year -
    former lecturer at the University College of Fort Hare, long-term prisoner
    on Robben Island, National Commissar of the ANC in exile and subsequent head
    of the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (Somafco) at Mazimbu in Tanzania
    (where he was later accused of having carried out sexual abuse of young
    women students) - was one of the architects of that repressive regime.
    Quatro in Angola found a still more terrible parallel in Gukurahundi in
    Zimbabwe .

    The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba, has stated
    that leaders of the government of South Africa "currently appear to many
    beyond our borders as heartless and unmoved by the suffering of
    Zimbabweans." (For full statement, see here). The Archbishop is too kind, to
    the South African government.

    The crime of Gukurahundi took place a quarter of a century ago. Based as
    they were in Lusaka in Zambia, immediately to the north of Zimbabwe, it is
    impossible that leaders of the ANC in exile at that time such as President
    Thabo Mbeki and Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan did not know. The
    Zimbabwean nationalist party, Zapu, led by Joshua Nkomo, had been one of
    their most intimate allies. The two organisations had together fought as
    allies in Zimbabwe. Had a white government conducted mass murder of black
    people in Rhodesia on even a fraction of the same scale, the ANC would have
    organised a tidal wave of protest across the globe.

    Instead, Mbeki and Jordan (re-elected last December as a member of the
    National Executive Committee of the ANC) have preserved a diplomatic silence
    for a quarter of a century on this great crime of southern Africa: a
    "Sharpeville massacre" replicated many times over. This might have been
    excused as pragmatic while the ANC was in exile, fighting a military and
    diplomatic struggle against the apartheid regime in Pretoria . Since
    publication of the report of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
    in 1997, it is open and unforgivable collusion with the murderers. The
    discrepancy between Minister Jordan's current outrage at the writings of a
    white columnist in South Africa (see here) and his silence over the regime
    of Gukurahundi is bare-faced hypocrisy.

    Elinor Sisulu is the daughter-in-law of the late Walter Sisulu and Albertina
    Sisulu, two of the most respected leaders of the ANC in South Africa over
    half a century. She is one of the first people from the ANC tradition in
    South Africa to break that terrible silence. As mentor and comrade to Nelson
    Mandela, her father-in-law served a life sentence on Robben Island, where
    Jacob Zuma - now president of the ANC - was a fellow prisoner. Elinor Sisulu
    herself has provided an inspirational lead to the ANC, the Congress of South
    African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party - and not least
    to the aged Mandela himself - in their moral responsibility towards the
    terrorist regime in their neighbour to the north. All the crimes of the
    Mugabe regime follow from its Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s. "Breaking
    the silence" must start with the government of South Africa. Ms Sisulu
    speaks to that government, and to former President Mandela himself.

    Elinor Sisulu, Introduction to the 2007 edition, Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe,
    (Hurst and Co, London, 2007)

    The Shona expression "Gukurahundi", meaning "the first rain that washes away
    the chaff of the last harvest before the spring rains", used to have
    pleasant connotations. ...In the 1980s the term Gukurahundi assumed an
    entirely new meaning when the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade murdered
    thousands of people in the Zimbabwean province of Matabeleland and parts of
    Midlands. Both the 5 Brigade and the period of mayhem and murder they caused
    were called Gukurahundi, which is why, since then, the word Gukurahundi
    invokes nothing but negative emotions among Zimbabweans, ranging from
    indifference, shame, denial, terror, bitter anger and deep trauma, depending
    on whether one is a victim, perpetrator or one of the millions of citizens
    who remained silent. ...

    ...Yolande Mukagasana [is] a Rwandan woman whose husband and three children
    were murdered in the 1994 genocide. ...The title of one of her books, Les
    Blessures du Silence (The Wounds of Silence), comes to mind whenever I
    grapple with the capacity of human societies to ignore gross human rights
    violations even if these happen right in their midst. Nelson Mandela
    commented on this tendency with reference to Rwanda: "The louder and more
    piercing the cries of despair - even when that despair results in
    half-a-million dead in Rwanda - the more these cries seem to encourage an
    instinctive reaction to raise our hands so as to close our eyes and ears".

    ...The report [by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace] points out
    that one of the most painful aspects of the Gukurahundi massacres was that
    the plight of the victims and survivors was and continues to be
    unacknowledged. They are still suffering from the wounds of silence. And who
    is responsible for inflicting these wounds? The perpetrators obviously have
    a vested interest in maintaining this silence. But what about the rest of us
    who lived through those years and continued our lives as if nothing was
    happening? Are we not equally responsible for the wounds of silence, both
    while the horrific events of Gukurahundi were unfolding, and in their
    aftermath? Even today many of us continue to be silent.

    As I read this report I felt a deep sense of shame about my own silence.
    ...[Those] of us who had family in Matabeleland had no excuse. Right from
    the start of the 5 Brigade campaign, news filtered out through family and
    community networks that there was something horrendous going on. ...

    ...The 5 Brigade did not fall within the army chain of command but was
    directly answerable to the highest office in the land. With hindsight we
    know without a doubt that President Robert Mugabe was fully aware and part
    of the campaign of mass murder in the Matabeleland hinterland. At the time
    many of us were too enamoured of our great liberation hero to allow
    ourselves to confront all the evidence of his direct complicity. ...The eyes
    and ears of the international community were also closed. In contrast to the
    propaganda image of the radical Marxist leader, Robert Mugabe was moderation
    itself during his first few years in office. ...The cries of the Ndebele
    people fell on deaf ears.

    ...The stories of physical and psychological torture, rape and other forms
    of sexual abuse, starvation of the population, burning of homes and
    granaries, disappearances, bodies thrown down mineshafts and murders are all
    familiar and consistent with what I heard described by relatives. However, I
    was taken aback by the account of the mass shooting of 62 young men and
    women on the banks of the Cewale River in Lupane on 5 March 1983. The
    silence that greeted this massacre is in direct contrast to the 1960
    Sharpeville Massacre, news of which reverberated around the world.

    The Gukurahundi operations came to an end with the 1987 Unity Accord between
    Zapu and Zanu. At the end of the Liberation War in 1980, all those guilty of
    violations were covered by a general amnesty. The report notes the important
    fact that once more in Zimbabwe's history, those responsible for the most
    heinous acts against unarmed civilians were not held accountable for their
    actions, thus strengthening the culture of impunity that prevails in
    Zimbabwe. The human rights violations since 2000 are a product of this
    culture of impunity. The same tools of intimidation, physical and
    psychological torture and murder have been used, albeit on a lesser scale,
    in the recent violations. The difference is that they are targeted not on a
    particular ethnic group but at opposition leaders throughout the country.

    Far from being a closed chapter, Gukurahundi has left a festering wound in
    the psyche of the Zimbabwean nation. ...The silence needs to be broken.
    Hopefully, one day the leaders of this region who have not cried out as
    loudly as they should have against the enormous and heinous crimes against
    the people of Zimbabwe that were committed in the past 23 years, will see
    fit to apologise to the people of Zimbabwe.

    Elinor Sisulu, December 2006

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    Election impasse spurs emigration

    Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)

    Date: 24 Apr 2008

    Zimbabweans have been voting with their feet amidst mounting political

    By Yamikani Mwando in Bulawayo (ZCR No. 143, 24-Apr-08)

    A few weeks before the March 29 elections in Zimbabwe, Timothy Mthombeni
    decided he was not going to wait long enough to cast his ballot.

    The 40-year-old father of four had a job but decided to leave for South
    Africa and send for his family once he had settled there.

    He was sure life would get worse after the elections, not just as the
    economic crisis deepened and food shortages became greater, but also because
    he foresaw an outbreak of violence if the outcome was disputed.

    He packed his bags and left to join a growing exodus from Zimbabwe.

    This week, almost a month after the elections, 50-year-old Tabeth Zvirevo, a
    former domestic worker in a Bulawayo suburb – where she said wages were not
    too bad – also crossed the border to South Africa to look for work, blaming
    continued economic hardship.

    "Maybe I would have stayed if [opposition leader Morgan] Tsvangirai had
    won," she said.

    Zvirevo has children to care for, and having worked all her life, was not
    about to sit around after her employers left the country leaving her without
    no source of income.

    “I don’t know what to do, but I am not staying here. There are no signs
    things will improve any time soon,” Zvirevo told IWPR.

    She was speaking as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission began controversial
    vote recounts in areas where the ruling ZANU-PF party says it was cheated of

    The threat of violence has become real for many in this troubled nation as
    they flee to neighbouring South Africa.

    Zimbabwean human rights groups say there has been a dramatic increase in
    politically motivated violence since the election, which Mugabe is widely
    believed to have lost.

    With the presidential election result still not announced, local private
    newspapers have been running adverts placed by human rights and faith-based
    groups showing images of the victims of political violence. The photographs
    show cracked heads, burnt buttocks, burnt feet and swollen mouths.

    Mugabe’s supporters are accused of orchestrating a countrywide crackdown
    against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC.

    MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa alleges that 10 supporters have so far been
    killed by ZANU-PF activists, but Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has
    accused the MDC of peddling falsehoods. The MDC’s claims however have been
    documented by groups including Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights, Zimbabwe
    Lawyers for Human Rights, the Zimbabwe Peace Project and Amnesty
    International, among others.

    Early this month, the Christian Alliance, an ecumenical grouping of local
    churches, demanded that “the state media, war veterans and other militias
    stop fanning the flames of conflict”, after state media showed images of
    pro-Mugabe war veterans threatening white commercial farmers with violence
    if they refused to vacate their farms.

    The remnants of the 1970s war of liberation have been prominent among the
    forces propping up Mugabe, and have been accused of unleashing a reign of
    terror across the country soon after the March 29 elections.

    Many observers say post-election violence has displaced civilians within
    Zimbabwe and prompted others to leave the country.

    “It is not surprising that many people do not see any reason why they should
    stay here when there are continuing fears of an outbreak of wide scale
    violence,” a teacher who resigned last year told IWPR. “The people of
    Zimbabwe are being pushed to the edge.”

    Last month, MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti warned that the international
    community would only be impelled to take action on the Zimbabwe crisis after
    bodies began filling the streets.

    It appears these fears are shared by many Zimbabweans.

    The Southern African Migration Project has reported an upsurge in the number
    of people seeking to cross into South Africa, impelled by the uncertainty
    created by the post-election situation.

    “No one wants to stay here any more,” said a young woman who had just
    obtained a travel visa to South Africa for herself and her two-month-old
    baby. “I am not coming back.”

    Despite the numbers of people arriving in his country, South African
    president Thabo Mbeki shocked the international community by claiming there
    was no crisis in Zimbabwe when he met Mugabe recently.

    In the past, organisations like the International Organisation for Migration
    have attempted to discourage the young, in particular, from leaving
    Zimbabwe. But for people of all generations, such pleas appear to have
    fallen on deaf ears.

    Yamikani Mwando is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.

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    Zimbabwe festival diary

    16:43 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 17:43 UK

    In the midst of the electoral crisis that has engulfed Zimbabwe, one man has been trying to do something different for the country's people - setting up an arts festival in Harare.

    These are extracts from the diary of Western-based Zimbabwean Manuel Bagorro, the founder and co-ordinator of the Harare International Festival of the Arts, also known as Hifa.

    29 JANUARY 2008

    Manuel Bagorro
    Manuel Bagorro established Hifa in 2001

    I've been in Zimbabwe for about a week, which has been something of an emotional rollercoaster.

    I arrived and it created all the sense of familiarity - all the childhood associations, the smells, the feel of the place that I remember very well, and that I associate with Zimbabwe.

    But at the same time, there is a very strong new feeling of desperation.

    There is a sense of panic about the disintegrating infrastructure, and there is a real sense of fear.

    There is a sense of "what if" of a million different kinds.

    One of the things that worries me about the festival is that it's difficult to know, arriving in a place like this, how an international arts festival can benefit people who are struggling with so many everyday necessities.

    It's something that worries me each time I come back - but I am reassured by people's response.

    When I start talking to people about the festival, I realise what a groundswell of support there is for a festival of this kind - an optimistic, forward-looking initiative at a time that's very challenging for a lot of Zimbabweans.

    I've met up with several people and what is clear is that the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) is seen as a focus for their whole year.

    That's both exciting for a festival director, but also terrifying - when the expectations of what a festival can give to the artistic community are so high, and when we're working in an environment that is so difficult in so many ways.

    The inflation rate is now officially about 100,000%, which makes budgeting impossible, and any sort of forward planning incredibly difficult.

    To set ticket prices, for example, is incredibly difficult because everything changes. A quote for paper for the festival programme came in at 10am - by 2pm it had changed radically as the US dollar black market rate changed.

    1 FEBRUARY 2008

    At the HIFA office - the house my parents lived in - we have had no running water for several of the days I have been here, and constant power cuts.

    It's amazing how this affects you. It isn't the inconvenience - that seems the least important aspect of this - what is much more distressing is the sense of decline, of things not working, and the worry created by people just accepting it.

    Zimbabwean man sits under election posters
    The festival is based around 'The Art of Determination'

    The truth is things are falling apart, the wheels are coming off, and that is becoming more and more apparent as time goes by. For me, having had a break and coming back to Zimbabwe, it's very striking.

    I love being here though, I love the feeling of the place and working with an artistic community for who everything is fresh and exciting.

    But one of the things that has been frustrating over the last few days is that we're getting a lot of cancellations as the situation in Kenya [post-election violence] gets worse and people begin to wonder whether Zimbabwe is going to go the same way, particularly with an election pending.

    This is hugely worrying for me. What do we do? There is a limit to the amount of reassurance one can give to the artists.

    One thing we have realised is we're going to have to run everything off generators because the power supply is so seriously disrupted. This means we have to find fuel, which is another challenge because our fuel sponsor has pulled out.

    6 FEBRUARY 2008

    Today is a really exciting day for the Zimbabwe political situation - a new presidential candidate has thrown his hat into the ring, Dr Simba Makoni.

    By coincidence, Dr Makoni is a trustee of the festival, so that is quite exciting for us. He wrote a letter to the board of trustees asking for a leave of absence while he pursues his campaign.

    We thought that was a reasonable excuse.

    17 FEBRUARY 2008

    I had a rather unpleasant experience today.

    I was driving along down a road that I particularly like - one of these colonial roads across town - and at the intersection close to the president's house I broke down.

    This is a terrifying thing, because so many people have been shot at that intersection, and beaten as a result of looking suspicious in that area.

    Crowd at Hifa 2006
    I love the feeling of the place and working with an artistic community for who everything is fresh and exciting
    I was with my assistant Joanna and she immediately said: "Jump out of the car and start pushing."

    A guy with a rifle came over and started screaming at us, so I continued to push, dressed in my suit - looking ridiculous and slipping all over the place.

    What was terrifying was the illogical, unreasonable response of someone on the military side.

    It struck me because suddenly I felt the type of fear that I'm trying to reassure international artists that they will not feel in this country.

    9 MARCH 2008

    I've spent the day being reminded why this is such a difficult place to be single.

    It's the lack of social options. It's quite scary, and I had forgotten just how that feels - where it's difficult to go out because you have to get through gates and locks, and there's nowhere to go because of the power cuts.

    It just seems to be terribly shut down and bleak. But I still feel lucky to be here and involved in the festival, and doing something positive.

    Meanwhile, I'm losing my sanity waiting for downloads on my computer - the internet speeds here are so incredibly slow. I just can't quite cope.

    12 MARCH 2008

    I've spent the day doing programming with my assistant Jojo, who's a young Zimbabwean.

    She's been in this country for most of her life, and talks about the future of this country in such a positive way that you can't help but be affected by it.

    Hifa stage at 2006
    Musicians are the highlight, including SA band Freshlyground

    She's so excited about the election - and so many people are.

    The sauna at the gym has become my new way of getting views - mostly from the black middle class who go there - and it's interesting to hear them talk about the election and what it means.

    It's much more about what it means for Zimbabwe, and how things move ahead. Everything is discussed, from corruption to holes in the road.

    My main worry for today is how long it will take the printers to print the programme.

    There are so many discussions that start, "What if?" - "What if the printers have a long power cut? What if we're competing with all the election posters for a second round?"

    18 MARCH 2008

    I think people in the office are feeling very stressed.

    They are feeling more worried about the election than they even admit to themselves. They are worried about what it means for themselves, for their children, and all the practical inconvenience they are facing at the moment.

    But there is also a buoyancy when you speak to people about what's happening in the country.

    Of any election that I've ever been around for, this is the one where there's a sense of meaning and importance. People really care, and they know that it means something significant to their lives.

    30 MARCH 2008

    I have arrived back from London after the election.

    The expectation after such a crucial election was that everything would feel different, but of course it does and it doesn't.

    Everyone is talking about the election - and the sense of community, how it has brought everyone together - but also there are still the same problems and frustrations.

    But people are smiling more in the street.

    31 MARCH 2008

    Today is not a good day.

    People are very frustrated in the delay in the announcement of the results. It was a sad day.

    We had a team lunch rather than working, because it is impossible to work in this environment.

    There is constant rumouring about every aspect of the election. And I have to admit that, selfishly, every single thing I hear about the election makes me think how it will affect the festival.

    This festival has become such a labour of love for everyone involved.

    1 APRIL 2008

    We're not a political organisation - we have no political axe to grind - but we are working in an incredibly politicised environment.

    Morgan Tsvangirai at his 2 April press conference
    Tsvangirai's press conference 'upstaged' Hifa's announcment

    The afternoon brought news of possible press conferences. Morgan Tsvangirai said there would be news, but that it would only come out tomorrow.

    By some bizarre and slightly comical chance, I have scheduled a press announcement for the festival tomorrow morning. So it could be that we are going to coincide with the biggest and most significant political announcement of the last 28 years in this country.

    Talk about being upstaged.

    2 APRIL 2008

    The press conference was a huge disappointment - an announcement of results that were not verified and were not commented upon by the other side.

    9 APRIL 2008

    Everyone is tiring of the election.

    Another problem is that the computers for the box office, which arrived in the country a few days ago, were fraudulently collected by someone and taken.

    They don't belong to us, they belong to the computer company that is our partner.

    It just seemed like a strange, dreadful thing. It's hard enough as it is, without having something so unlikely happen.

    I assume it is an inside job of some kind. But someone cleared the computers through customs and ran off with them.

    10 APRIL 2008

    This is my last diary entry.

    Despite this incredible political environment, I continue to get people coming up to me and telling me they are so excited about HIFA.

    It feels strange to be signing off almost 20 days before the festival happens - I'd love to tell you how things progress.

    In the meantime, I leave these diaries feeling that the festival is going to happen. I have no doubt about that.

    Whatever happens in the next couple of weeks, this festival will go ahead.