Fri 25 Apr 2008, 23:23 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE, April 26 (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe appeared unlikely on
Saturday to win back control of parliament in a partial vote recount after a
police crackdown on members of the opposition, which accuses him of stealing
Some 13 seats have been recounted so far. Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF must win
nine of 10 remaining constituencies to take back control of parliament,
according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the state-run Herald
newspaper reported in its Saturday online version.
On Friday, Mugabe resorted to strong measures used in the past to keep the
opposition in check.
Armed riot police raided the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) and detained scores of people in the toughest measures against
the MDC since disputed elections last month, officials said.
Angola said a Chinese ship with arms bound for Zimbabwe would be allowed to
offload some cargo, but not the weapons, in a move that appeared to mark a
shift in policy by neighbours, South African President Thabo Mbeki in
The MDC says its leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat his old foe Mugabe in the
March 29 election, and results showed it had also ended the ruling party's
28-year hold on parliament.
A delay to the presidential result and a recount of some parliamentary votes
has brought growing international pressure on Mugabe, 84, and stoked fears
of bloodshed in a country already suffering an economic collapse.
Former colonial power Britain, which Mugabe blames for Zimbabwe's troubles,
requested a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, the first session on the
post-electoral crisis in Zimbabwe, said a Western diplomat.
South Africa's U.N. envoy Dumisani Kumalo said his country would not oppose
the move. He said someone from the U.N. secretariat would brief the
15-nation council, probably on Tuesday, on developments in Zimbabwe.
The Western diplomat on the council said any action in the form of a
statement or resolution was unlikely. But the meeting would be useful in
ratcheting up pressure on Mugabe, who the MDC accuses of delaying results of
the poll to rig victory.
Zimbabweans face severe shortages of basic goods and a staggering inflation
rate of 165,000 percent -- the world's highest.
Dozens of riot police detained around 100 MDC supporters who were taken away
in a crowded police bus, a Reuters witness said. The MDC said 200 to 250
police took part in the raid and they also took away computers used by the
election command centre.
An MDC statement said armed police took away hundreds of people who had
sought sanctuary at the party's headquarters after fleeing various parts of
Zimbabwe, "where the regime has been unleashing brutal violence".
Police said the raid had targeted people who had sought refuge with the
opposition after committing crimes outside Harare.
"Some of them are not office workers at all. We are busy screening them.
There are some cases we are investigating and we will release those who have
not committed any crime," said police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.
South Africa's eTV showed footage of heavily bandaged Zimbabweans in a
hospital who said they were tortured because they were suspected of being
MDC members. One of them had what he said were burn marks over much of his
Mugabe, a hero of the independence struggle, accuses the opposition of
conspiring with Western critics to end his 28-year rule, which began with
high hopes that Zimbabwe would become an African model of democratic and
Opening Zimbabwe's international trade fair in Bulawayo on Friday, Mugabe
renewed his attacks on Western foes for leading what he called a shameless
campaign against his government.
The state-run Herald newspaper called African leaders "myopic stooges" for
joining Western criticism of Zimbabwe's handling of the election.
The top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi
Frazer, met Tsvangirai in South Africa and "they agreed that, given the long
delay, any results will have limited credibility at this point," a U.S.
Embassy statement said.
"We assured the MDC that we would look at additional international action to
address, and bring attention to, the evolving human rights and humanitarian
crisis in Zimbabwe," Frazer said.
Zimbabwe's justice minister hit back.
"Frazer's comments expose Tsvangirai and his MDC for what they really are --
an Anglo-Saxon project designed to defeat the gains of the liberation
struggle," Patrick Chinamasa said in a statement on Zimbabwean television.
(Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare and Louis Charbonneau
at the United Nations; writing by Michael Georgy)
Friday, 25 April 2008 14:01
BY CHIEF REPORTER
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai actually garnered 51.7 percent in the first
round of voting, with Robert Mugabe garnering 43.3 percent, according to
official Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) figures leaked from the Police
General Headquarters (PGHQ).
The figures on the leaked official ZEC tally show Simba Makoni with 4.9
percent and Langton Towungana with 0.1 percent.
The PGHQ figures give Tsvangirai a marginally higher tally than what the MDC
parallel voter tabulation audit had revealed. The party had earlier said
Tsvangirai had garnered 50,3 percent.
MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti however stated then that there had been an
approximate three percent margin of error, which explains the small
discrepancy, but which still vindicates the MDC position that Tsvangirai had
won by an absolute majority.
But impeccable security sources said these official results would never see
the light of day, and had already been “classified.”
“There has been so much manipulation of figures and ballot boxes, were
secretly stored at the old Reserve Bank Building before the ongoing recount
in 23 constituencies,” our source said.
The recount has been called in a desperate bid to overturn the MDC’s
parliamentary majority and underestimate Tsvangirai’s presidential poll
tally so that it is shy of the 50 percent needed to assume the presidency.
And with the run-off to take place, the jostling for power has already
began. However, it all appears to be heading in one direction despite a
determined State-sponsored onslaught on the electorate.
All the opposition presidential candidates have publicly declared their
support for Tsvangirai - and between them they garnered 5 percent of the
vote, which will widen Tsvangirai’s lead.
“People are asking for change, and it’s a good thing Makoni, Mutambara and
the other guy have all said they will support Tsvangirai to complete the
change they have began,” said political commentator Ronald Shumba.
“A snake isn’t quite dead until you cut off its head, so they have united to
cut it off in the run-off. Mugabe is better advised to concede now and avoid
a run-off because he is set for an embarrassing defeat.”
Mugabe is increasingly becoming vulnerable as he is beginning to lose
regional diplomatic support over the results hold up and his attempts to
retain power through force. His erstwhile allies in SADC this week united in
condemning him and barring a 70-ton arms shipment from docking at their
ports, causing the ship to be recalled to China.
There is also pressure from SADC, whose chairman Levy Mwanawasa did not hide
his impatience with Mugabe this week, as well as South African ruling party
leader Jacob Zuma, who fired a broadside at the Mugabe regime, in stunning
contrast to Mbeki’s impotent quiet diplomacy.
The United States has also taken an active interest, dispatching its top
Africa envoy Jendayi Frazer to neighbouring South Africa on Thursday for a
round of shuttle diplomacy aimed at dealing firmly with Mugabe.
“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,” said University of Zimbabwe political
science professor, Eldred Masunungure.
By Staff ⋅ April 25, 2008
Considering excuse 67A(4) .
The alleged suspicion of the miscounts must have been raised immediately
otherwise it does not serve to explain why, in the hiatus between receiving
the constituency returns, and the suspicion of the miscount, the
presidential result was not announced.
Seven days passed before ZEC’s lawyer not (ZEC itself) first raised section
67A(4) as an excuse for not releasing the results during legal argument. The
are several reasons for believing that section 67A(4) does not allow
Chiweshe to delay the announcement of the presidential result by deploying
this procedure, and that this excuse likewise does not pass muster.
Firstly, the tenor of the section suggests that 67A(4) can only be deployed
within the 48 hour period and after the announcement of the result. Support
for this, and as an independent indication, is the tense used in 67A(4). The
section is to be used only if the miscount “would have affected the result.”
The use of the words “would have” rather than “will” or “would” is suggests
that the result has been disclosed.
In ZEC’s published notice concerning the miscount follows the section fairly
closely until coming to the crucial words which it alters to “the miscount
would affect the result of this election”, dropping the stipulated “would
Secondly, as indicated at the outset section 110(3) provides that if no
candidate receives an absolute majority a run off between the two
frontrunners must be held “within 21 days of the previous election”. Thus it
is implicit that the Act does not allow ZEC to delay the announcement of the
result for any period, let alone 21 days or more as is the case, and whether
acting under 67(A)(4) or otherwise.
Thirdly, common sense suggests that the legislature would not have intended
to give ZEC the power to delay the assumption of an office as important as
the President while it, engages in a forensic examination of the ballot, as
protracted and extensive as it, in its sole discretion, determines. The
delay by ZEC has created the anomaly, which could not have been intended by
the legislature, of continued governance by the President and by Ministers
who have lost their parliament seats and thus their democratic mandate.
Fourthly, from the notice published by ZEC, the miscounts relate to the
parliamentary and presidential elections. It is implausible that complaints
relating to the presidential count should be confined neatly to all polling
stations within specific House of Assembly constituencies, and that
miscounts in relation to the presidential poll occurred in exactly the same
polling stations where there was a miscount in relation to a House of
The House of Assembly count should have no bearing on the presidential
count, and thus should not be a ground to delay the release of the latter.
It should be noted that the notice published in the Herald also states that
after the recount the constituency elections officer shall act in terms of
section 67 to communicate the names of the persons duly elected to the Chief
Elections Officer and Clerk of Parliament. In so doing section 66(4) which
stipulates that the previous declaration by the constituency election
officer of the winner is final and may only be reversed on petition to the
Electoral Court is ignored.
The procedure for resolving a dispute of a House of Assembly seat, by way of
petition, should not have any impact on the presidential count and there is
no need to delay the result on this basis. A clear intention of the recount
is to unlawfully attempt to reverse the “final” declarations of duly elected
House of Assembly candidates in select constituencies.
Finally, it should be noted that a comparison of the House of Assembly and
Senate results suggests that Tsvangirai won at least between 48.55% and
50.76% of the vote, with Mugabe trailing at around at most 42%. (see
Zimbabwe Elections 2008: Examining The Popular and Presidential Choice -
Hiding or Run Off?). There thus are realistically only two possible outcomes
of the presidential poll, Tsvangirai winning with an absolute majority or
Tsvangirai winning with a simple majority.
For ZEC to act under 67(A)(4) there is the additional requirement that the
miscount must be thought to be significant enough to effect the result of
the poll. Accordingly, ZEC must reasonably believe the miscount significant
enough to take Tsvangirai below the threshold required for an absolute
majority. Since 1% of the poll is some 23 883 votes, ZEC must “reasonably”
believe either a substantial number of miscounted votes or Tsvangirai’s
total must be almost exactly 50% for the miscount to make any difference.
In the conduct of its duties, ZEC is not to be subject to the direction or
control of any authority - section 61(5) of the constitution. However, the
government has firm control over its composition. ZEC consists of a Chair
and seven other Commissioners. The President appoints the Chair after
consultation with the Judicial Services Commission, while the seven other
Commissioners are also appointed by the President from a list of nine
nominees submitted by the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and
Orders which was dominated by ZANU PF members.
The personnel comprising ZEC remains unchanged from the discredited 2005
elections (save for the secondment of two additional members from the now
defunct Electoral Supervisory Commission) and Justice George Chiweshe,
perceived as displaying bias towards the ruling party in previous elections,
remains as its chairperson.2 Justice Chiweshe joined the bench in 2001
following a purge of “reactionary judges” by the government. He is a former
judge advocate responsible for military tribunals in the Zimbabwe National
Army (ZNA), a veteran of the liberation struggle and was awarded a farm
under Zimbabwe’s land redistribution policy.
It requires considerable talent to suppress the scepticism which ZEC’s
shifting, shifty vacillating, implausible and illegitimate excuses for the
delay in releasing the presidential results evokes. Only South African
President, Thabo Mbeki appears to be sufficiently gifted in this regard.
Other SADC leaders had a good attempt.
The Communiqué issued by SADC after an emergency meeting on 13th April, 2008
included the following points:
The Summit urged the electoral authorities in Zimbabwe that verification and
release of results are expeditiously done in accordance with the due process
2 ZEC comprises Judge George Chiweshe (Chair), Mrs. Sarah Kachingwe, Mrs.
Vivian Ncube, Prof.George Kahari, Rev. Jonathan Siyachitema all members of
ZEC in 2005 with the addition of Joyce Kazembe and Theophilus Gambe formerly
members of the redundant Electoral Supervisory Commission.
The statement was piously made not withstanding the fact that, as indicated
above, at the time of the pronouncement by SADC the “due process of the law”
had already been violated more times than the Sabine women and required
release of the results nearly two weeks previously.
The Summit commended the people of Zimbabwe for the peaceful and orderly
manner in which they conducted themselves before, during and after the
SADC observers left before the announcement of the results and were not
present to witness the vicious retributive campaign unleashed by ZANU PF in
the rural areas in the wake of their defeat – a campaign which includes
multiple assaults, torture, arson and murder. At the time of writing the
death toll is currently at four and rising. When it has risen to a
sufficient level for Mugabe and his military service chiefs to deem the
rural electoral terrain suitable and the voter numbers massaged to allow for
a presidential run off, ZEC will release the results and a date convenient
to ZANU PF set for the run off.
Having bludgeoned his way to victory, Mugabe will then appoint a few venal
MDC MP’s as Ministers. This will help him secure the House of Assembly
majority which may need to be obtained by topping up in this fashion, even
after ZEC’s unlawful “unfinalising” of the already declared House of
Assembly seats through the “recount”. Elected as President and with his
parliamentary majority restored, all will be as before the elections – save
that with the amount of money printed to administer two electoral periods
and buy votes, inflation may reach 500 000% (sic) a little earlier than
anticipated. Never mind. This means that the foreign currency accessed by
Mugabe and his military cronies from the Reserve Bank at the official rate
of 30 000:1 United States dollar, when the black market rate is 60 000 000
(sic):1, will seem that much cheaper. Crisis, what crisis?
Excerpts from The Inconvenient Truth A complete guide to the delay in
releasing the results of Zimbabwe’s presidential poll.
Prepared by Derek Matyszak of the Research and Advocacy Unit,
Zimbabwe.SITO – States in Transition Observatory
By Staff ⋅ April 25, 2008
Justice George Chiweshe the chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
is a veteran of the liberation struggle and was awarded a farm in Mazowe
under the land redistribution policy dubbed “Third Chimurenga”.
He joined the bench in 2001 following a purge of “reactionary judges” by the
The purge occurred in 2001 after the 2000 elections when Judges who
delivered sentences that were not favourable to the government including the
nullification of the 2000 parliamentary results in some constituencies were
fired and replaced by a new crop of judges sympathetic to the government
which include Chiweshe,Tendai Uchena who sits on the Electoral Court and
dismissed the MDC petition to release Presidential poll results and Antonia
He is a former judge advocate responsible for military tribunals in the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA).
The raid on the opposition is just the beginning of a wider crackdown on the MDC. Metro has learnt that ZANU PF is plotting to arraign leading opposition figures on trumped-up charges of high treason.
Targeted for arrest and subsequent accusation are the MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai,Secretary-general Tendai Biti,Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa, Youth Chairman Thamsanqa Mahlangu and the executive director of the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) Rindai Chipfunde-Vava.
Before the raids three of the targeted indivuduals - Chamisa, Mahlangu, and Chipfunde-Vava - were reportedly tipped off about the raids and went gone into hiding. However 215 of those arrested were victims of militia violence, who were at the MDC board room at the Harvest House headquarters.
The charge against Biti and Chamisa will be that they committed treason by “falsely informing the nation, with intent to cause distress and promote public uprising and violence, by declaring the MDC presidential candidate winner of the election.”
The charge against Chipfunde-Vava will be that she committed treason by “publishing corroborating evidence to MDC claims that their candidate had emerged as clear winner.”
The hunt for the MDC leaders is underway and other party activists will also be arrested, on similar charges. The plot also involves huge arms dumps being “discovered”, and their existence blamed on the MDC.
April 26, 2008, 07:30
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Helen Zille, has called on the South
African government to abandon its so-called quiet diplomacy, and called for
tough action against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
Zille has been visiting her party's constituencies in Kimberley in the
Northern Cape, where she interacted with community members on issues
including drugs, crime and corruption in housing. Zille says Mugabe has
abandoned the principles of democracy.
Meanwhile, ANC President Jacob Zuma has commended Durban harbour workers who
refused to offload a Chinese ship's cargo of weapons destined for Zimbabwe.
Speaking in Paris, Zuma said their refusal was an indication of the concerns
of all South Africans and underscored the crisis in Zimbabwe.
The US government has praised Zuma for speaking out against the
deteriorating socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe. Zuma has adopted a tough
stand against the ruling Zanu-PF leadership, describing the failure by the
country's electoral commission to release results of the March 29
presidential poll as unacceptable.
Vote tallying continues
Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission says it has finished tallying the votes in
11 more of the 23 constituencies where a recount was ordered after last
month's elections. However election officials have refused to reveal the
While results from three of the recount constituencies have been announced,
the commission refused to declare who had come out on top in the 11 other
constituencies where the recount has now been finished. There is now doubt
that the recount, which had been expected to be completed over this weekend,
will be wrapped up on time.
The commission ordered a recount in 23 of the 210 constituencies after
Zanu-PF alleged that election officials had counted extra votes in favour of
Children among victims of torture
Nelson G. Katsande
Published 2008-04-26 14:17 (KST)
The Harare offices of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, now resemble a refugee camp following Mugabe's clampdown
on the party's supporters.
In the wake of the March 29 disputed presidential elections, ZANU-PF
supporters have embarked on a series of brutal attacks on opposition
Pregnant women and children have been forced to flee their homes after they
were set on fire by Mugabe's supporters and war veterans.
A nurse at Mutoko hospital told OhmyNews that the number of patients
admitted at the hospital due to severe burns is on the increase. The poorly
equipped hospital is reported to be turning away the victims of Mugabe's
brutality due to lack of medication.
"ZANU-PF supporters have threatened to burn down the hospital if we attend
to those they have brutally attacked," the nurse said.
"I have seen children aged 4 years with serious burns and badly bruised.
It's really pathetic," she added.
Most of those displaced from their homes had sought refuge at the
opposition's headquarters in Harare. But armed police and militia raided the
opposition's offices on Friday and arrested nearly 400 women and children.
The raid was in retaliation for the March 29 elections in which observers
believe Mugabe was defeated by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
In Mazowe, Mashonaland province, hungry police and militia raided a market
and helped themselves to foodstuff.
A junior reporter for the government-controlled Herald newspaper -- who
cannot be named for fear of reprisals -- told OhmyNews, "There is discontent
in the newsroom. I am tired of reporting falsehoods."
In a recent column that appeared in the state-controlled media, the
columnist suggested that a government of national unity headed by Mugabe was
likely. But there is growing concern that Mugabe's failure to concede defeat
to Tsvangirai will plunge the country further into a catastrophic economic
and political crisis.
Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world. Once Africa's
breadbasket, the country is now dependent on other countries for food,
medicines and other basic needs. In 2000, Mugabe embarked on the "ill-fated"
land reform program that left more than 3,000 farmers displaced. These
haphazard land seizures by Mugabe's war veterans plunged the agricultural
sector into crisis.
The farms seized from white commercial farmers were shared among Mugabe's
loyalists. Most of the once productive farms now lie idle now due to a lack
of farming skills and inputs from the "new" farmers.
Almost a month after the presidential election, the results have yet to be
announced. The delay has fueled speculation that the government is trying to
rig the election results in its favor.
The opposition has already claimed victory and has urged Mugabe to step down
But a defiant Mugabe is determined to hold on to power despite having lost
There is also growing pressure from the international community on Mugabe to
Mugabe has failed to condone the brutality being carried out by his
11:59 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 12:59 UK
It has been reported that China has finally recalled the An Yue Jiang, the ship allegedly loaded with arms for Zimbabwe.
Rights groups hailed the move as a major victory, a triumph of public opinion over political cynicism.
It seems civil society is taking the lead, well ahead of national leaders, on the question of Zimbabwe.
The An Yue Jiang is a container ship owned by China’s state-run shipping company COSCO, reported to be carrying millions of rounds of assault rifle, ammunition, mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades.
When the ship anchored off the South African port of Durban, a local news magazine revealed that it was about to off-load the weapons, and public opinion reacted with outrage.
Newspaper editorials condemned the shipment, callers rang radio talk shows complaining that the weapons could be used by the Zimbabwean government against its own people.
The South African government’s response was blunt. "So what?" they said.
Government spokesman Themba Maseko said they could do nothing to stop a perfectly legal and properly documented transaction between two sovereign states.
Then unions and human rights organisations intervened.
Dock-workers refused to handle the cargo, and a judge barred it from transiting through the country.
Demonstrators threatened to block its passage if it ever reached South Africa’s roads.
Now, after being refused entry in ports around the continent, the ship is finally thought to be heading home with its cargo still on board.
In a rare show of force, African public opinion and civil organisations mobilised on a single issue to force action that politicians seemed reluctant to take.
Peter Alexander, the director for Sociological Studies at the University of Johannesburg, says the ship’s departure was a triumph for civil society.
"I am amazed," he said. "It is very impressive that such a concerted action could have such a concrete result."
Nicole Fritz, of the Southern African Litigation Centre, which took the case to court, agrees: "The South African authorities have been driven by embarrassment in the face of what civil society has done."
The An Yue Jiang affair is probably the clearest example of African civil society leading the agenda on Zimbabwe.
But according to human rights organisations and academics, they are forcing politician’s hands in all sorts of subtle ways.
The region’s leaders, grouped together under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) were criticised by the media for their mild call on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release the results of the presidential election "as expeditiously as possible" within the bounds of the law.
Last weekend, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa held a summit of 105 civil society organisations in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
They released a communique condemning not just the Zimbabwean government, but the SADC region for failing to act decisively.
Zambia’s President Levy Mwanawasa then called on all of Africa’s coastal states to prevent the An Yue Jiang from entering their waters.
There is no direct link between the Dar es Salaam conference and President Mwanawasa’s comments, but it seems public opinion has moved faster than the politicians on the issue of Zimbabwe.
According to Elenor Sisulu of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the Kenyan experience in resolving that country’s post-election violence proved the value of pressure from civil society.
"Kenyan civil society made it very clear to us that you have to be very pro-active in addressing this kind of issue," she said.
The Council of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is also listening.
Its Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi hosted a meeting of civil groups, pledging to organise a series of demonstrations in South Africa’s major cities on 10 May.
Mr Vavi said much of the problem was rooted in the challenge that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) presented to the older political leaders who view themselves as standard-bearers of the liberation movements.
"It’s because of the fear that the MDC is led and supported by trade unions and civil society. They worry that initiative may just go on from one country to the next," he said.
"There’s paranoia and fear that suddenly the liberation movements are going to be coming under lots of pressure from these formations. That’s why there is this unwillingness to openly condemn what is wrong in Zimbabwe."
But whatever their motives, the Southern African leaders may have to take notice of public opinion, or risk being left dangerously out of touch with their own electorates.
By Geoff Hill
April 26, 2008
JOHANNESBURG — Zimbabwean army and police raided the headquarters of the
main opposition party in the capital, Harare, yesterday and arrested more
than 100 people, some of whom had taken shelter in the building after
falling victim to purported government-sponsored violence.
The police, who later also raided the office of the main election-observer
group, confiscated documents, computers and files that supported claims that
President Robert Mugabe, 84, lost the March 29 presidential election.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says its leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, won the vote.
A partial recount of the parliamentary vote suggests Mr. Mugabe's ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is unlikely to reverse the
opposition's victory, Reuters news agency reported.
Votes in 13 parliamentary races have been recounted so far. ZANU-PF must win
nine of 10 remaining constituencies to take back control of parliament,
according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's (ZEC) count, the state-run
Herald newspaper reported in its online version today.
One of the arrested activists who managed to escape from police custody said
the security officers took away at least 120 people in police and army
He spoke last night to The Washington Times but asked not to be identified
for fear the army would carry out reprisals against his family.
"At around 10 a.m. ... dozens of police and army trucks pulled up outside
the MDC headquarters at Harvest House in Harare. They swarmed into the
building, assaulting and handcuffing people as they went," he said.
Many of those attacked were refugees from the rural areas where they had
been tortured or beaten by Mr. Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, he added.
Among the injured who managed to escape with him, he said, were three women
who claimed to have been raped, several men who had been burned with molten
plastic and one woman whose left breast had been partially skinned with a
Others with injuries had been dragged from the building, he added.
Pregnant women, mothers with babies strapped to their backs, girls who had
been threatened with rape, and men with broken bones were among those herded
into a bus and pickup truck, the Associated Press reported. The AP said
about 300 people were arrested in the sweep.
A police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, said those
arrested were suspected of "crimes committed in the countryside," but denied
any of them were victims of torture.
Later in the day, police also entered the office of the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network (ZESN), an independent group that supports Mr. Tsvangirai's
assessment that he won the presidential election against Mr. Mugabe.
Nearly a month after the vote, the government has yet to release the
results. Senior members of the ZEC, which conducted the election, are
appointed by Mr. Mugabe.
Analysts say the raids are likely an effort by ZANU-PF to establish what
hard evidence the MDC and ZESN may hold on the election results before the
government releases its own account of the vote.
Meanwhile, opposition groups have warned that "a new Rwanda" may be brewing
in Zimbabwe after the army reportedly supplied AK-47 assault rifles to
Yesterday, members of the youth militia loyal to Mr. Mugabe and veterans of
the 1970s civil war that brought him to power in 1980 were reported to have
shot up to a dozen civilians suspected of supporting the MDC in the eastern
town of Rusape, 50 miles from the Mozambican border.
A Chinese ship carrying weapons for Zimbabwe was prevented from offloading
its cargo in the South African port of Durban last week. Yesterday, Angola
said the ship had been allowed to dock at the Angolan port of Lobito, but
only to unload cargo for Angola, the AP reported.
Veteran Zimbabwe journalist, Wilf Mbanga, now exiled in Britain, said last
night that the situation on the ground "paints a bloodcurdling picture."
"Army barracks across the country are issuing war veterans and former
military police officers with weapons, including AK-47 assault rifles," he
In response, he said, "MDC supporters have organized themselves into local
defense units to fight back violence and intimidation by war veterans,
military personnel and ZANU-PF militia."
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer met yesterday with
Mr. Tsvangirai in Pretoria, South Africa, shortly after the raid on his
party's offices. Ms. Frazer said Thursday that Washington believes Mr.
Tsvangirai won the presidential election and that it is time for Mr. Mugabe
to step down.
Mr. Tsvangirai said he was "happy and encouraged" by yesterday's meeting.
Ms. Frazer said she has been keen to hear from Mr. Tsvangirai details of his
recent meetings with African leaders on the Zimbabwe crisis, including the
presidents of Botswana, Kenya, Zambia and Ghana.
"We assured the MDC that we would look at additional international action to
address, and bring attention to, the evolving human rights and humanitarian
crisis in Zimbabwe," she said.
EXCLUSIVE INSIDE ZIMBABWE: TORTURE, TORMENT AND TYRANNY
By Stewart Whittinghan 26/04/2008
From the outside it is a miserable story of political corruption,
incompetence and impossible inflation.
But inside, on the city streets and in the villages and fields of Robert
Mugabe's Zimbabwe it is a bloody nightmare, a brutal reality of torture,
terror and vicious revenge.
The Daily Mirror, like all British media, is banned from Zimbabwe. But in a
secret and shocking journey through this desperate country I discovered that
Mugabe's thugs have been systematically cutting off the hands of activists
who had the courage to vote against him.
His tyranny under threat, Mugabe has unleashed his war veterans - the
so-called Green Bombers.
Nelson Ndlovu had voted for the opposition, the Movement of Democratic
Change, a simple act in any decent democracy. In Zimbabwe it can be a death
At least 10 people have died in postelection violence, with more than 500
injured. Thousands more have fled in terror.
Nelson, 28, was held down by four thugs while a fifth cut off his right
hand, an act of vicious significance - a raised right hand is the symbol of
the opposition party.
"They told me, 'you are a sell-out. You won't make the same mistake again,
you won't be able to raise your hand again.'
Mugabe is trying to kill us off."
They certainly tried to kill David Fombe.
David, from Mudzi, 150 miles north of the capital Harare, was locked in his
home by Mugabe's Zanu-PF thugs who then set it alight for voting against
Now he is in hospital with serious burns, recovering but terrified for his
Yesterday Mugabe's riot police raided the headquarters of the MDC and
arrested dozens of activists.
Mdc deputy general Victor Nyoni said: "Anyone who is against Mugabe isn't
safe. They are torturing our people and we have had to hide so many."
Mugabe - who once boasted he had a "degree in violence" - has refused to
release the results of the March 29 Presidential election.
The electoral commission says it still needs to complete recounts in 23 of
the 210 constituencies. Three have been completed - all confirmed the
Mdc Youth chairman Celestino Masvibo, 22, is being kept in a safe house
after he was badly beaten. Mugabe's gangsters - policemen and soldiers -
tried to force his feet into a bowl of boiling water after beating him with
sticks and the butts of their rifles Still shaking, Celestino said: "I was
terrified. They told me: 'You have being singing songs denouncing President
Mugabe. Now it is our turn.'
He added: "I knew they were going to kill me so I jumped out of an open
window to escape and then hid in the bush." Women have also been mercilessly
targeted. Grace Magwewzi was sleeping when Zanu-PF soldiers kicked her door
down in her Matebeland home. They were looking for her husband who is an MDC
supporter, but he was away.
Two of the men raped her on her own bed and spat in her face, saying: "This
is what you and your sell-out husband get for voting MDC."
Grace, who is now in hiding, said: "They have dark hearts and are filled
with evil spirits. Now I am scared they have given me Aids."
People here are struggling to survive on less than 400million Zim dollars -
£2 - a week. Inflation is running at 164,800 per cent. The price of petrol
and what little food there is goes up by the hour.
Hospitals have run out of drugs and doctors are walking away from their jobs
because they haven't been paid for months. In Bulawayo's Selborne Hotel,
teacher Patience, 28, is selling her body for sex as she is no longer paid
for working in the classroom.
She said: "How else can I feed my children? Mugabe has reduced me to this -
Zanu-PF men have foreign currency so they have wealth. I have to sleep with
them and it makes me sick."
Others survive by buying and selling on the black market and make weekly
trips to neighbouring South Africa to buy food to sell back in Zimbabwe.
Many educated people work as cleaners and waiters in South Africa or, like
Patience, are forced into prostitution.
The border crossing from Zimbabwe to South Africa is clogged with thousands
of desperate people.
It took me eight hours in a queue to get my passport stamped before I
crossed into Zimbabwe as a tourist - had they known I was a British
journalist I would have been arrested.
At the start of my journey taxi driver Fil Aicube, 44, told me: "Mugabe has
stolen his election and he is killing us.
"I can't feed my two kids and we are hungry all the time.
"We need the world to help us, we are all dying."
'We need the world to help us.. we are all dying. Mugabe is killing us all'
New York Times
Zimbabwe Rounds Up Opposition Members
By CELIA W. DUGGER
Published: April 26, 2008
JOHANNESBURG — Truckloads of heavily armed police officers rounded up
scores, if not hundreds, of people at the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s
opposition party on Friday as plainclothes investigators descended on
independent monitors of the nation’s disputed elections last month,
according to opposition officials, witnesses and the police.
Friday’s raid on the opposition’s nerve center and the election monitors
signaled a sharp and very public escalation of the country’s deepening and
increasingly violent political crisis, one that has been concentrated to
date in far less visible rural areas.
Both raids began around 11 a.m. in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Harvest
House, the rundown, six-story headquarters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, was still cordoned off by the police at midafternoon.
Computers and documents were seized.
The opposition’s offices had become an informal refugee camp for party
supporters, some visibly wounded, who had fled what human rights groups
describe as political repression in the countryside. Witnesses said they had
watched as the police herded more than 200 of these bedraggled people,
including pregnant women and children, onto buses.
At the same time, a smaller contingent of police investigators raided the
offices of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, an alliance of civic
groups that enraged the government by analyzing polling data and projecting
that the opposition had won the March 29 election, perhaps by enough to
avoid a runoff in the race for president. Its findings were cited Thursday
by the top American diplomat for Africa as the best evidence that the
opposition was the clear victor.
Noel Kututwa, chairman of the alliance, said he believed that the government
was trying to scare the civic groups into backing off and giving up on
monitoring a presidential runoff, should one be needed. Almost four weeks
after the election was held, election authorities have yet to say who won
the contest between President Robert Mugabe, who has led the nation for 28
years, and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr. Kututwa, interviewed on his cellphone, said the police came bearing a
warrant to search the network’s offices for materials aimed at overthrowing
the government. They were trying to locate him and the network’s director,
Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, whose home was also searched on Friday.
“The police here have a record of torturing people, and we’ve decided not to
make ourselves available for questioning until it’s very clear what they
want to do,” he said.
While opposition officials and witnesses estimated that more than 300 people
at Harvest House were arrested, the assistant police commissioner, Wayne
Bvudzijena, said that 70 to 80 people had been taken for questioning, and
that none had been arrested yet.
He said the people detained were wanted on suspicion of a number of crimes,
including “assault, grievous bodily harm and arson.” They had been taken by
bus to a police station less than a mile from the opposition headquarters,
Mr. Bvudzijena also confirmed the raids on the election monitors, saying a
magistrate had issued a warrant to search for evidence that the monitors had
tried to “alter the outcome of the election” through bribes or other means.
At a time when the pace of diplomatic activity to resolve the crisis has
quickened, the raids seemed to be a finger in the eye of the American,
British and African officials who have been denouncing attacks on opposition
supporters and demanding that Zimbabwean election authorities release the
“ZANU-PF are using state institutions like the army and police to cling onto
power,” said Nelson Chamisa, the opposition’s spokesman. “They’re desperate
and dangerous. This is a clear omen: If something isn’t done in a few days,
I tell you, this country is going to be converted into a genocide zone.”
Mr. Chamisa said he saw “busloads and lorries of police armed to the teeth”
pull up at the party headquarters Friday morning just as he was leaving. His
cellphone began ringing incessantly as police officers swarmed into the
building. He said his colleagues were telling him they were being herded
Another opposition spokesman, Nqobizitha Mlilo, said the police were after
materials supporting the party’s assertion that it had defeated Mr. Mugabe.
“They were searching for equipment and documents that formed the basis of
our claim that we won the election,” he said.
The opposition and some human rights groups have been saying a slow-motion
coup is under way in Zimbabwe, with the security forces exerting ever
greater sway. At a press briefing in Pretoria on Thursday, the United States’
most senior diplomat for Africa, Jendayi E. Frazer, raised questions about
whether the country’s autocratic president, Mr. Mugabe, was still in charge.
She said that there seemed to be at least two power centers in Zimbabwe: Mr.
Mugabe and the joint operations command, which includes the military, the
police and the intelligence agency.
“It does lead to a question of who’s running the country,” she said. “Since
we haven’t been able to talk to President Mugabe, and others haven’t been
able to talk to President Mugabe, those questions become even more salient.”
Even before Friday’s raid, the efforts of independent monitors had been
singled out by the government. Within days of the voting, as foreign
journalists covering the election were being swept up, an American program
officer for the National Democratic Institute — a Washington-based group
that describes the Zimbabwe Election Support Network as its “partner
organization” — was detained by Zimbabwean authorities and held in the
country for six days before being released.
On Friday, the institute said that one of the election network’s program
managers had now been detained in the raid in Harare. “The government should
not operate on the assumption that it can act with impunity,” the institute’s
president, Kenneth Wollack, said in a statement. “It should know that the
international community is watching and prepared to take action.”
Graham Bowley and Michael M. Grynbaum contributed reporting from New York.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada
April 25, 2008
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the
following statement condemning the mounting violence and intimidation in
"Canada is alarmed by reports that Zimbabwean state security services have
raided offices of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and of the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a non-governmental organization. Such
acts demonstrate an ever-increasing disregard for democracy on the part of
the Government of Zimbabwe.
"We are deeply concerned by the conduct of security and paramilitary forces
in the ongoing intimidation and persecution of opposition forces, and those
presumed to support the opposition. African leaders played a key role in
defusing Kenya's crisis, and we expect the same leadership on Zimbabwe. We
welcome the substantive efforts of regional leaders to address the troubling
and destabilizing events in Zimbabwe, and urge leaders of the continent to
support these efforts vigorously.
"I stand by my assertion that the people of Africa have struggled too long
and too hard to have their rights compromised and their systems distorted by
those who would seek to play the politics of power with the institutions of
Malcolm Speed's ousting as the ICC's CEO is an open
admission of the hypocrisy, factionalism and naked politicking that has
paralysed the game's governing body Andrew Miller April 25, 2008 On the one hand, the early end of Malcolm Speed's tenure as
ICC chief executive changes little within a blighted organisation. It had
already been announced that he was to stand down in July, after seven turbulent
years at the helm, and so all that has really changed is that he will now take
no part in the ICC's annual conference, which - as Cricinfo
yesterday revealed - will take place in Dubai instead of Lord's for the
first time in the organisation's 99-year history. In the grander scheme of things, however, Speed's ousting is
more than just a final humiliation for a man who has found himself at the sharp
end of every one of the game's myriad crises of the recent past. It is an open
admission of the hypocrisy, factionalism and naked politicking that has
paralysed the game's governing body, at precisely the moment when the global
game is most desperately in need of leadership and unity. This is a perilous period for world cricket, for the pace of
change this year has been rampant. The Twenty20 format has exploded into life
with a force that few could ever have contemplated, and cricket's elite players
are being transfixed by the life-transforming sums of money being dangled in
front of their faces. There is, in the opinion of one of the men of the moment,
Allen Stanford, a "900lb gorilla" running amok in the East, and yet his response
- to whack £10 million on the table and declare "take it or leave it" - seems no
less ape-ish. A strong sporting body - or even a weak sporting body that
actually cared for the game it governed - would find sufficient voice and
authority to declare that enough is enough. But the ICC is nothing more than a
burnt-out train-wreck of an organisation. For years it was run as a personal
fiefdom of England and Australia; now it's India's turn, as the game's financial
powerhouse, to ride roughshod over all comers - rarely more triumphantly than
during the recent Harbhajan Singh furore in Australia. Meanwhile, the rest of
the world clung meekly to the concept that unity, however unilateral, was better
than the anarchy that now threatens to engulf the game. Now, however, any board that values its integrity would do
well to give the ICC as little credence as possible. The fact that it is
Zimbabwe that has spread the rot so far and wide is no surprise, but it still
beggars belief how they are permitted to get away with it. Zimbabwe's domestic
structure is in chaos, they are incapable of raising a Test side and they are
barely competitive at any level of the game. And yet Peter Chingoka, their
stooge of a chairman, is arguably the most influential man in the game today,
all because he is willing to accede slavishly to the BCCI on any and every
issue. Thanks principally to Chingoka, a wedge has been driven
between (without putting too fine a point of it) the white countries and the
rest, but the man who has allowed this to get out of control in recent months is
Ray Mali, whom Peter Roebuck last week described as "a compromised and unworthy
president of the ICC". He is another official who is drunk on his own power,
which is incredible seeing as he shouldn't even be in the job in the first
place. He was only handed the reins as a stop-gap measure, following the death
of Percy Sonn in May 2007. According to those who have watched him in action in the ICC,
Mali is as reckless as he is power-happy, so prone to gaffes that he is rarely
trusted to speak publicly. Last October, at the Darrell Hair tribunal in London,
he stunned his employers - and effectively sealed the case in favour of the
defendant - when he declared: "I don't see any reason why Mr Hair should not
return to the Elite panel and umpire Test matches." Robert Griffiths, Hair's QC,
was obliged to repeat the words to make sure Mali was aware of what he was
saying. Today, Mali wasn't even trusted to comment on the schemozzle
emanating from Dubai. He was in South Africa and unavailable "for personal
reasons", leaving his successor, David Morgan, to issue the press release that
heralded Speed's departure, as well as to face the media at Lord's on Saturday
afternoon. Such was the complete confusion that Mali left behind, some of the
executive board didn't even know of the decision until it had been announced.
Rarely has the ICC moved with such haste - on the Zimbabwe
issue they have been dragging their feet for five years. However, the factions
within the ICC corridors of power have been gunning for Speed ever since that
fateful meeting in March, when the independent forensic audit into Zimbabwe's
financial irregularities was swept under the carpet. Speed refused to front up
to defend a decision with which he fundamentally disagreed, and from that moment
on, his fate was sealed. Tellingly, Mali and his cronies were desperate that Zimbabwe
should not been seen as the cause of Speed's downfall, Cricinfo has learnt.
Earlier this week, they saw an opportunity to strike when it emerged that the
rebel Indian Cricket League had written to the ICC to seek official status. By
dressing that up as an illicit approach to the CEO, they hoped to discredit
Speed. However, in a further indication that there are factions within the ICC's
factions, this morning's press release explicitly mentioned Zimbabwe as the core
issue. It seems there will be yet more power struggles to come. Speed will not be missed by those who equate his reign with
the erosion of the ICC's credibility, but his Teflon-like qualities most
certainly will. His stance throughout a dreadful last 18 months - from Hair-gate
to the World Cup and beyond - was an implacable calm that, superficially at
least, gave the impression that there was a modicum of control being exercised
at some level of the organisation. Now, the ICC is officially out of control - and with it the
world game. In a poll carried out today by the Professional Cricketers'
Association, a fifth of England's county cricketers admitted they would be
prepared to sign up for the reviled ICL. Meanwhile, the best players in the
world are preparing to grab whatever cash comes their way in their all-too-brief
careers, and hang the consequences. The concept of loyalty in professional sport
has long been an anachronism, but the way it is behaving, you'd assume the ICC
couldn't care less for the consequences of its actions. Andrew Miller is UK editor of
Any board that values its
integrity would do well to give the ICC as little credence as possible. The fact
that it is Zimbabwe that has spread the rot so far and wide is no surprise, but
it still beggars belief how they are permitted to get away with it
Malcolm Speed's ousting as the ICC's CEO is an open admission of the hypocrisy, factionalism and naked politicking that has paralysed the game's governing body
April 25, 2008
On the one hand, the early end of Malcolm Speed's tenure as ICC chief executive changes little within a blighted organisation. It had already been announced that he was to stand down in July, after seven turbulent years at the helm, and so all that has really changed is that he will now take no part in the ICC's annual conference, which - as Cricinfo yesterday revealed - will take place in Dubai instead of Lord's for the first time in the organisation's 99-year history.
In the grander scheme of things, however, Speed's ousting is more than just a final humiliation for a man who has found himself at the sharp end of every one of the game's myriad crises of the recent past. It is an open admission of the hypocrisy, factionalism and naked politicking that has paralysed the game's governing body, at precisely the moment when the global game is most desperately in need of leadership and unity.
This is a perilous period for world cricket, for the pace of change this year has been rampant. The Twenty20 format has exploded into life with a force that few could ever have contemplated, and cricket's elite players are being transfixed by the life-transforming sums of money being dangled in front of their faces. There is, in the opinion of one of the men of the moment, Allen Stanford, a "900lb gorilla" running amok in the East, and yet his response - to whack £10 million on the table and declare "take it or leave it" - seems no less ape-ish.
A strong sporting body - or even a weak sporting body that actually cared for the game it governed - would find sufficient voice and authority to declare that enough is enough. But the ICC is nothing more than a burnt-out train-wreck of an organisation. For years it was run as a personal fiefdom of England and Australia; now it's India's turn, as the game's financial powerhouse, to ride roughshod over all comers - rarely more triumphantly than during the recent Harbhajan Singh furore in Australia. Meanwhile, the rest of the world clung meekly to the concept that unity, however unilateral, was better than the anarchy that now threatens to engulf the game.
Now, however, any board that values its integrity would do well to give the ICC as little credence as possible. The fact that it is Zimbabwe that has spread the rot so far and wide is no surprise, but it still beggars belief how they are permitted to get away with it. Zimbabwe's domestic structure is in chaos, they are incapable of raising a Test side and they are barely competitive at any level of the game. And yet Peter Chingoka, their stooge of a chairman, is arguably the most influential man in the game today, all because he is willing to accede slavishly to the BCCI on any and every issue.
Thanks principally to Chingoka, a wedge has been driven between (without putting too fine a point of it) the white countries and the rest, but the man who has allowed this to get out of control in recent months is Ray Mali, whom Peter Roebuck last week described as "a compromised and unworthy president of the ICC". He is another official who is drunk on his own power, which is incredible seeing as he shouldn't even be in the job in the first place. He was only handed the reins as a stop-gap measure, following the death of Percy Sonn in May 2007.
According to those who have watched him in action in the ICC, Mali is as reckless as he is power-happy, so prone to gaffes that he is rarely trusted to speak publicly. Last October, at the Darrell Hair tribunal in London, he stunned his employers - and effectively sealed the case in favour of the defendant - when he declared: "I don't see any reason why Mr Hair should not return to the Elite panel and umpire Test matches." Robert Griffiths, Hair's QC, was obliged to repeat the words to make sure Mali was aware of what he was saying.
Today, Mali wasn't even trusted to comment on the schemozzle emanating from Dubai. He was in South Africa and unavailable "for personal reasons", leaving his successor, David Morgan, to issue the press release that heralded Speed's departure, as well as to face the media at Lord's on Saturday afternoon. Such was the complete confusion that Mali left behind, some of the executive board didn't even know of the decision until it had been announced.
Rarely has the ICC moved with such haste - on the Zimbabwe issue they have been dragging their feet for five years. However, the factions within the ICC corridors of power have been gunning for Speed ever since that fateful meeting in March, when the independent forensic audit into Zimbabwe's financial irregularities was swept under the carpet. Speed refused to front up to defend a decision with which he fundamentally disagreed, and from that moment on, his fate was sealed.
Tellingly, Mali and his cronies were desperate that Zimbabwe should not been seen as the cause of Speed's downfall, Cricinfo has learnt. Earlier this week, they saw an opportunity to strike when it emerged that the rebel Indian Cricket League had written to the ICC to seek official status. By dressing that up as an illicit approach to the CEO, they hoped to discredit Speed. However, in a further indication that there are factions within the ICC's factions, this morning's press release explicitly mentioned Zimbabwe as the core issue. It seems there will be yet more power struggles to come.
Speed will not be missed by those who equate his reign with the erosion of the ICC's credibility, but his Teflon-like qualities most certainly will. His stance throughout a dreadful last 18 months - from Hair-gate to the World Cup and beyond - was an implacable calm that, superficially at least, gave the impression that there was a modicum of control being exercised at some level of the organisation.
Now, the ICC is officially out of control - and with it the world game. In a poll carried out today by the Professional Cricketers' Association, a fifth of England's county cricketers admitted they would be prepared to sign up for the reviled ICL. Meanwhile, the best players in the world are preparing to grab whatever cash comes their way in their all-too-brief careers, and hang the consequences. The concept of loyalty in professional sport has long been an anachronism, but the way it is behaving, you'd assume the ICC couldn't care less for the consequences of its actions.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo