The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Recount confirms Zimbabwe opposition control of parliament; envoy calls for intl intervention

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 27, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Results so far from a recount of disputed seats confirm
the opposition's majority in parliament, a government-run newspaper reported
Sunday as a top U.S. envoy called for international intervention against
state-sponsored violence.

Completion of the recount, expected Monday, should also pave the way for
first release of results from Zimbabwe's March 29 presidential election,
state media reported Sunday — nearly a month after the polls were held.

But there was little appetite for celebrations amid reports of mounting
violence and intimidation. The top U.S. envoy for Africa called Sunday for
international intervention.

"When a government deploys its military — and its police and its
intelligence operatives, as well as mobilizing youth militia — then the
international community has a responsibility to step in and to try to stop
that government from beating its own population," Jendayi Frazer said in an
interview with The Associated Press in Zambia.

Frazer, the assistant U.S. secretary of state for African affairs, is
touring the region to press leaders to take a tougher stance against
longtime leader Robert Mugabe.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights also voiced concern about an
"emerging pattern of political violence" directed at opposition supporters,
election monitors and human rights activists.
"If tolerance and respect for human rights continue their steep decline, the
consequences will be grave for all Zimbabweans, and lead to further problems
for neighbouring states," Louise Arbour said in a statement released in

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is believed to have won the presidential
election, though not with enough votes to avoid a runoff.

However, no results from the presidential poll have been released, and
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has accused Mugabe of
engineering a delay — and a campaign of intimidation and violence — in a bid
to hold onto power.

In the parliamentary race, results from 18 of 23 contested seats were enough
to confirm opposition control of parliament for the first time since
Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980, the state-run Sunday Mail

The electoral commission had confirmed the results from a recount of 10
disputed parliamentary votes Saturday. Tallies from eight more seats have
not been released but Judge George Chiweshe, head of the electoral
commission, said there were no significant differences between the two
counts — effectively confirming the opposition's control of the main
210-seat House of Assembly.

Original results from the March 29 elections showed opposition parties
winning 110 seats to the ruling ZANU-PF's 97. Three vacant seats are
awaiting by-elections after the deaths of candidates.

For the presidential race, the electoral commission will invite Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, or their polling agents, to a final "verification and collation
exercise" on the tallies on Monday, said the Sunday Mail, a government

Chiweshe said the candidates or their representatives will have a chance to
examine the tallies before the results are released. Leaving room for a
further delay, he said election authorities agreed that each party would
collate its own figures during the final verification stage.

Political tensions have mounted since security forces raided the offices of
the opposition and the independent observers Friday, seizing materials
related to the vote count. More than 200 people were arrested in the raid on
opposition headquarters, police said.

The oppositions said those arrested had been seeking refuge in Harare after
being attacked by ruling party loyalists in the countryside.

Human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama said 24 children — "some still
suckling" — were among the detained and that there were reports of
widespread beatings in police stations.

Hundreds of opposition supporters have been abducted, tortured and assaulted
in recent weeks in what independent religious and human rights groups call a
violent crackdown on dissent.

Exiled Zimbabwean human rights activists said Sunday that they had set up a
Truth and Justice Commission to "identify perpetrators and seek legal
redress for the victims of crimes against humanity and other serious crimes
in Zimbabwe."

The commission said it has gathered the names of more than 200 names from
the ruling party and the armed forces accused of unleashing "unleashed
terror and tyranny against civilians" in recent months.

It said the names formed part of a criminal dossier being compiled to
support prosecutions in South Africa, where those responsible for crimes
against humanity can be apprehended and prosecuted. It said it would
highlight their personal assets and illicit money laundering.

Mugabe's name was not on the list but some in his trusted inner circle were,
including the commander of the armed forces, Gen. Constantine Chiwenga, who
said before the elections that his soldiers would not serve anyone but

"He has personally rejected democracy and has also instructed a military
rollout which includes the deployment of militia, soldiers, army brigadiers
and war veterans into rural areas to torture at will, and in some instances
kill mainly opposition supporters," the document said.

Nicole Fritz, Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, said
Chiwenga bears the same responsibility under international law as the
"warlords" of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu-PF now the opposition in Parliament

By Our Correspondent

HARARE, April 27, 2008 ( - The Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), now the majority party in Zimbabwe’s Parliament and the new
opposition, Zanu-PF, both retailed their seats in constituencies where a
recount was conducted after the original election results were challenged.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced on Saturday that it had
completed the recounting of ballot papers in 18 constituencies with no major
change from the results announced after the initial count being revealed.

The commission said 18 constituencies had completed the recounting exercise
leaving a balance of only five constituencies still to be settled.
Addressing reporters in Harare commission chairman George Chiweshe said the
outstanding five constituencies were on the verge of completion.

The trend so far shows that the ruling Zanu-PF has failed to overturn the
MDC’s majority in parliament as had been anticipated by ruling party

The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai is likely to retain the remaining five
constituencies according to partial recount results provided by election
officials monitoring the recounting exercise. The commission said the latest
results from eight more constituencies had shown that candidates had
retained their seats although a few anomalies involving inflated or deflated
poll figures were discovered at various polling centers.

Chiweshe said: “As I speak 18 constituencies have completed their recounting
exercise, leaving a balance of five constituencies. These five are on the
verge of completion”.

The electoral commission chairman revealed that there had been no major
changes to the results as all candidates had retained their seats after
completion of the recounts.

He said: “Unfortunately I do not have specific figures for each of the 18
recounted constituencies. But in as far as I know no major changes have
taken place so far.”

The commission said the results of the recounted constituencies could
however be found at the respective centers where they are being declared and
posted outside the precincts.

Chiweshe said: “Results of the recounted constituencies have already been
declared at the various counting centers. We at the national office will be
the last to know the results.”

The first three results released during the week had shown that Zanu-PF had
retained Goromonzi West and Zvimba North while the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai had retained Zaka West constituency.

Earlier ZEC chief elections officer, Utloile Silaigwana, announced that
candidates had retained their seats in seven more constituencies with
Zanu-PF holding on to Chiredzi North and Mberengwa South while Tsvangirai’s
MDC held on to Gutu Central, Gutu North, Gutu South and Buhera South.

He said the smaller faction of the MDC had retained Lupane East bringing the
total of recounted seats then to 10.

The latest results show that Zanu PF has retained Mberengwa West, Mberengwa
East and Mberengwa North while Tsvangirai’s MDC has retained Chimanimani
West, Mutare West, Gokwe-Kabuyuni and Zhombe constituencies.

Recounting which continues in Bikita West, Bikita South, Masvingo West,
Masvingo Central and Silobela constituencies is expected to be completed
today, Sunday, according to ZEC.

However MDC officials in Masvingo said recounting had been completed in all
but one constituency adding that the opposition had retained all its seats.

MDC secretary for Masvingo Province Tongai Matutu confirmed Thursday his
party had retained Masvingo West, Central and Bikita South constituencies
after the close of recounting on Thursday.

Matutu said: “Recounting is still going on in Bikita West but results have
been declared for Bikita South and we have retained our seat there. We have
also retained Masvingo Central and Masvingo West. In fact we have increased
the margin in all the cases.”

Matutu said on Saturday he was not sure why ZEC officials in Harare had not
yet received the results of the recount two days after completion.

Zanu-PF has already retained all seven seats after ZEC ordered the recounts
at the request of the ruling party in 16 constituencies and of the MDC in
seven constituencies.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim vote recount 'tactical'


27/04/2008 20:45  - (SA)

Harare - A disputed recount in Zimbabwe's elections that was widely expected
to overturn an opposition victory in parliament was in fact aimed at
securing the presidency through violence, political analysts say.

Many observers were surprised when officials on Saturday conceded that
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party had lost control of parliament for
the first time in 28 years, ever since independence from Britain.

But the political analysts on Sunday said the partial recount demanded by
Zanu-PF after the March 29 parliamentary elections was in fact aimed at
staving off a second round in the presidential vote to secure a Mugabe

Parliamentary, presidential and local elections were held on the same day,
but the result of the presidential election has never been made public, with
officials saying that no candidate had won outright.

Presidential outcome

"It is clear that the recount was a tactical retreat meant to re-organise,
re-strategise and galvanise diminishing support through violence," Takura
Zhangazha, a Harare-based political commentator, told AFP.

The Zimbabwean African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party "is
now more concerned about the presidential outcome than the parliamentary
results," Zhangazha said.

"In the event of a run-off, the strategy is to ensure that there is limited
access to some rural areas through violence."

Lovemore Madhuku, a lawyer and constitutional activist, agreed, saying:
"It's actually showing the desperation of Zanu-PF. They wanted to buy time."

Mugabe, 84, who has ruled uninterruptedly since 1980, has presided over a
dramatic economic collapse of a country which how has the world's highest
inflation rate, officially put at 165 :000%.

Ballots in 23 of the country's 210 constituencies have been under the
microscope over the past week after allegations by Zanu-PF of vote fraud by
the opposition. The recount was expected to be complete by Monday.

Results so far show that the ruling party has lost control of parliament -
an outcome that officials said reflected how transparent Zimbabwe's
electoral system was and contradicted critics.

Electoral officials were to due meet representatives of the main
presidential candidates - Mugabe and opposition challenger Morgan
Tsvangirai - on Monday to discuss the results of the presidential vote.

Since the recount began, opposition and human rights groups have reported an
upsurge in politically-motivated violence allegedly perpetrated by
pro-Mugabe militias and the military against opposition supporters.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Persecution Video

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Alarmed by violence in Zimbabwe, Arbour urges restraint

 27 April 2008

GENEVA — The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said Sunday that she was alarmed by reports of continuing violence in the aftermath of the Zimbabwe elections, and called for political leaders to restrain their supporters.

She said she had received reports of acts of violence, including serious human rights violations, by an array of different forces apparently including agents of the state and various groups supporting the government or other political parties.

“I am particularly concerned about reports of threats, intimidation, abuse and violence directed against NGOs, election monitors, human rights defenders and other representatives of civil society,” Arbour said. “The information I have received suggests an emerging pattern of political violence inflicted mainly, but not exclusively, on rural supporters of the opposition MDC party. However, there are also some reports of MDC supporters resorting to violence and intimidation.”

Arbour called on the political leadership on both sides to restrain their supporters and clearly renounce the use of threats, intimidation and violence against opponents.

“If tolerance and respect for human rights continue their steep decline, the consequences will be grave for all  Zimbabweans, and  lead to further problems for neighbouring states,” Arbour said. “If serious and systematic human rights violations persist, they will undermine national and regional attempts to diffuse the present political crisis.”

Arbour called on the Government of Zimbabwe and its legitimate security forces “to discharge their lawful responsibilities in a non-partisan manner, in order to restore the rule of law, and ensure the protection of all Zimbabweans, irrespective of whom they do or do not support politically..”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US envoy threatens Zimbabwe with UN sanctions: report

Yahoo News

1 hour, 37 minutes ago

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - The US envoy for Africa threatened Zimbabwe with UN
sanctions in an interview with the BBC released Sunday if the post-election
crisis in the southern African nation is not resolved.

If the dispute does not change "we should contemplate multilateral sanctions
through the UN," US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer was quoted
as saying in the interview published on the BBC website.
The UN Security Council will discuss the Zimbabwe crisis on Tuesday, with
permanent members Britain and the United States ratcheting up the pressure
on President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled for 28 years.

Frazer earlier called for an end to the violence in Zimbabwe and said
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai should head up any new government,
dismissing the prospect of a second round of the presidential election.

Results from the March 29 presidential election have still not been released
but officials have said no candidate won more than 50 percent and there
should be a run-off between Tsvangirai and Mugabe.

Frazer has been on a tour of the region, which began in South Africa, to put
pressure on Mugabe to step down. She has met with South African officials
and the presidents of Angola and Zambia.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Boy, 5, among Zimbabwe's political victims: opposition


HARARE, April 27 (AFP)

A five-year-old boy was listed by the main opposition party on Sunday as one
of the victims of politically-inspired violence in the aftermath of
Zimbabwe's disputed elections.

The name of Brighton Mbwera appeared among seven other "Martyrs for
Democracy" in a full page notice published in the independent newspaper, The
Standard, by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The notice said that Mbwera died after his home in the remote northeastern
district of Uzumba was set on fire by supporters of President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party while he was sleeping.

The MDC says a total of 15 of its supporters have been killed since the
March 29 elections. "Count the votes, not the dead bodies," the MDC said in
the notice, warning that crimes against humanity would be prosecuted.

"These military and militia acts are senseless and will be prosecuted in due
course," MDC leader and presidential hopeful Morgan Tsvangirai said in a
condolence message on the same notice.

"I will be with you shortly," said Tsvangirai, who has been abroad on a
diplomatic campaign to put pressure on Mugabe since he proclaimed himself
victor of the March 29 elections.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Tsvangirai was currently in South Africa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hold on. Do not be afraid. Change is coming.

Saturday 27th April 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
I am sitting in the shade of a big old Msasa tree writing this letter by
hand because yet again the electricity is off. It is a magnificent day so
typical of early winter in Zimbabwe: a wide blue sky, comforting warm sun
and a refreshing gentle breeze. It's hard to concentrate on telling this
tragic story of events here when so many jewels are on display just a few
feet away: a blue headed lizard nodding on a lichen covered branch; lines of
red soil left by white ants climbing ever higher into the tree; bright
orange crane flowers and an exquisite red firefinch collecting feathers and
fluff for his nest. Its a deceptive paradise where violence rages just out
of sight and final election results have still not been released four weeks
after people voted. Its a paradise which can only momentarily take our minds
off the nightmare that has become Zimbabwe.

What a disgraceful insult these 2008 elections have become to the people of
Zimbabwe who have suffered so much, lost so much and yet have remained
peaceful and turned the other cheek despite the most extreme provocation and
deprivation. As we stand now without a parliament, with no sworn in MP's and
still not knowing who the newly elected President of Zimbabwe is, we find
ourselves stuck in a frightening and barbaric No Man's Land.

Every day the reports of horror continue to emerge. Youngsters in uniform
going door to door in villages at night; men with guns; beatings, house
burnings and torture. People having burning, molten plastic dripped onto
their backs and doctors treating patients who have been whipped with bicycle
chains. The MDC reports that 10 of their supporters have been murdered, 3000
displaced from their homes and 500 hospitalized since the elections. Listed
amongst the people murdered is a five year old boy, Brighton Mbwera from
Manyika Village. This little boy, too young to read or write and a complete
innocent in this month of hell, burnt to death in a house set on fire during
the rampage of political vengeance that is tearing our country apart.

As each day has passed since the elections, Zimbabwe has drawn quieter and
quieter - silenced by fear. No one knows who to trust, who they can talk to
or who might be listening. One man described how he and his family eat a
small plate of sadza at dusk and then go indoors and sit in silence in the
dark just listening to the noises in the village. The slightest change, an
unfamiliar sound, the alarming of a night bird, an unknown voice and the
family immediately get outside and hide in the bush. People are living in
constant fear of burnings and beatings and are ready, always, to take flight
at a moments notice. This week even our own church leaders warned of
genocide being a real possibility if these events are not stopped

While the voices of Zimbabweans have been silenced, the calls from outside
continue to rise and for this we are deeply grateful. Ordinary men and women
in South Africa, civic society leaders, churches, political leaders - a
great roar of disapproval over events in Zimbabwe is reaching a crescendo.
Most touching in the last few days was the voice of the Archbishop of York,
John Sentamu, speaking on BBC radio. Asked if he had a message for the
ordinary people of Zimbabwe, Archbishop Sentamu said: "Hold on. Do Not be
afraid. Change is coming."

Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Suspense mounts in Zimbabwe over presidential election

Yahoo News

by Susan Njanji Sun Apr 27, 10:07 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - The suspense mounted in Zimbabwe on Sunday over the outcome
of a presidential election four weeks on from voting day, as lawyers applied
for the release of more than 200 opposition activists.

A partial recount of the ballots in the March 29 parliamentary and
presidential elections has already handed the opposition an historic victory
in parliament over President Robert Mugabe's ruling party.

The chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, George Chiweshe, said on
Saturday he expected the recount of the presidential vote to be completed by
Monday but could not say when the results would be released.

A state newspaper meanwhile called on Zimbabweans to defend the country's
national liberation "revolution" against foreign intervention as Britain and
the United States kept up pressure on Mugabe.

Analysts said they believed the presidential election results would be
published this week but supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) sounded a sceptical note.

The opposition mantains its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won an outright
majority against 84-year-old Mugabe. The country's main independent election
monitoring body said Tsvangirai won but failed to get more than 50 percent.

"I think we will get them this week. They have delayed them for too long,
and, given the pressure from the international community, there is no doubt
they will be announced this week," said Lovemore Madhuku, a political

"It is very likely that they will announce that Mugabe did not get a 50
percent majority, but will show him ahead of Tsvangirai," Madhuku said.

But chief opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa expressed doubt.

"It is very difficult to believe a person who has failed to produce results
for the past four weeks who says that he can deliver within days," he said.

"We consider it as empty talk which has to be validated by some kind of
action and concrete steps that inspire confidence."

Zimbabweans went to the polls a month ago to elect a president,
parliamentarians and local government councillors, but the results of the
presidential vote have not yet been made public.

The authorities have blamed the delays on transport and logistics problems.

Following the elections, the authorities also ordered a partial vote recount
after allegations made by Mugabe's Zimbabwean African National Union -
Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party of vote fraud by the opposition.

Under Zimbabwean law, a second round of voting will have to be held if there
is no outright winner but the MDC has said it will not take part in any
run-off, accusing the authorities of trying to rig the result.

As international pressure on the government to release the results
increased, the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper, a government mouthpiece,
called on Zimbabweans to reject foreign interference.

"Never, since independence in 1980, has the liberation struggle been under
such a threat. Will true revolutionaries please stand up!" the paper's
political editor, Munyaradzi Huni, wrote in an opinion piece.

Meanwhile lawyers for the opposition said on Sunday they were seeking a
court order for access to more than 200 activists detained by armed riot
police in a swoop on MDC headquarters in Harare on Friday.

Lawyers said the activists should be either charged or released by Monday.

The MDC also took out a full page in The Standard, an independent newspaper,
listing eight of the 15 people it says have been killed by government
supporters in post-election violence.

Among the victims listed was a five-year old boy, Brighton Mbwera, who
allegedly burnt to death after his home in the northeastern district of
Uzumba was set on fire by ZANU-PF supporters.

Police could not immediately be reached to comment on the report.

The main US envoy for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer,
has said the violence means a second round of voting is now impossible and
opposition leader Tsvangirai should be declared the winner.

During a visit to Zambia on Sunday, Frazer urged African leaders to put
pressure on Mugabe. The UN Security Council was set to discuss the Zimbabwe
crisis at a meeting on Tuesday.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Is Zim on the brink of civil war?


    April 27 2008 at 10:59AM

By Fred Kockott, Chiara Carter and Peta Thornycroft

Zimbabwe could soon be in the throes of a civil war. It has emerged
that supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who have been
victims of attacks from armed militia and law enforcement agencies, have
begun to retaliate.

Human Rights Watch in Zimbabwe said that, for the first time, it had
documented several incidents of violence by supporters of the MDC. But it
said the scope of those incidents was incomparable to those perpetrated by
the state security agents and Zanu-PF militia.

Human Rights Watch warned that the emergence of "tit-for-tat
retaliatory attacks" between Zanu-PF and MDC supporters would escalate the

A report in The Zimbabwean on Friday said army barracks across the
country were now issuing war veterans and former military and police
officers with AK-47 assault rifles.

"The official line is that they need to protect themselves against
anticipated attacks by the MDC and its foreign supporters, particularly on
former white-owned farms. But the real intention is to use the weapons
against opposition supporters in the rural areas," the report said.

"MDC supporters in Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces have
organised themselves into local defence units to fight back violence and
intimidation by war veterans, military personnel and Zanu-PF militia."

On Thursday, there were "fierce battles" in the village of Makaha in
Mashonaland East as MDC supporters repelled an attack by Zanu-PF.

"Reports are still coming in but indications are that Zanu militiamen
were badly mauled," The Zimbabwean reported.

On Friday, Zimbabwean police raided the MDC headquarters in Harare,
Harvest House, which had become a refuge for opposition supporters. They
arrested 300 people in the biggest crackdown on the MDC since last month's

The raids came hours before the first results of the recount were

The results show that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has failed to secure
control of parliament, handing the ruling party its first defeat in 28

Results of a parallel presidential poll have not been released and
Mugabe has been preparing for a run-off against Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC
leader. Tsvangirai says he won outright and his party has rejected both the
recount and any run-off.

Mukoni Ratshitanga, the spokesperson for President Thabo Mbeki, said,
as far he was he aware, no plans had been made by the South African
government or the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to deploy
any teams of human rights observers and peace monitors.

"As a mediator, the president is constantly in touch with the
political leadership in Zimbabwe - of both parties," Ratshitanga said. "The
situation is being addressed. There is confidence that a solution can be
found," he said.

But Georgette Gagnon, the director of Human Rights Watch Africa, said
the SADC mediation process had now decisively failed and urged that the
African Union step in urgently "to protect civilians and resolve this crisis
before it gets any worse".

She said: "Anyone opposing Mugabe is in danger."

Cosatu on Saturday described the Zimbabwe election crisis as an
"abortion of democracy in Africa", and called for civil action worldwide to
end the rule of the "illegal Zanu-PF regime".

"War has been declared on unarmed citizens. People are being
assaulted, homes burned and people killed. This is all state sponsored,"
said Zwelinzima Vavi, the Cosatu general secretary.

"We need to send out a clear, decisive message that this regime cannot
be tolerated in Africa.

"They have staged a coup d'etat - refused to play the game according
to the rules and assembled in defiance of what people voted on March 29,"
said Vavi.

He warned that continued failure of African and regional leaders to
ensure that a new government of Zimbabwe was constituted, as elected through
the polls, could see the crisis unfold "into another major genocide, right
under our noses".

Vavi called on not only workers and labour movements worldwide, but
also on all governments, institutions, civil society and individuals "to
make it clear that this illegal regime in Zimbabwe will not be tolerated in

Vavi agreed with Gagnon, and said that, instead of facing isolation
for subverting the electoral process and orchestrating violence, invitations
were being extended to the likes of Patrick Chinamasa, the former justice
minister, and other Zanu-PF leaders to African Union and SADC summits, such
as this week's conference on poverty in Mauritius.

"Look at Chinamasa, parading as a Zimbabwe government minister,
attending SADC meetings, being quoted in the media as a minister - yet he
lost his parliamentary seats in the elections, as did three quarters of
other senior Zanu-PF leaders," said Vavi.

Jacob Zuma, the ANC president, described Zimbabwe as a "police state".
This was after Zimbabwe riot police raided offices of opposition
organisations on Friday, including the Harare headquarters of the MDC.

Police reportedly smashed their way through groups of injured
refugees, then beat their way upstairs into the MDC's main offices to arrest
hundreds of its officials and confiscate computers and the party's election

Human Rights Watch said there was also "grave concern" about 500
people, including more than 100 children, believed to be sheltering in the
MDC's regional headquarters in Mutare. It said Mutare's country club has
been turned into an "informal torture centre" by militia.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Sunday Independent
on April 27, 2008

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bishop of Harare on persecution in Zimbabwe

Christian Today

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2008, 7:34 (BST)

As the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) I would like to
express by profound shock at the way lawlessness is being perpetrated by
some of our law enforcement agents, namely the police against innocent
citizens who have not committed any crime but were merely gathering for
prayer as usual.

As a person who was equally involved in the liberation struggle of this
nation, I never dreamt that after getting rid of a colonial system which
denied me basic human rights, I would one day lead a church that is being
persecuted by our own government.

The events of the past weekend have led me to believe that there is a
deliberate attempt to persecute Anglican Christians in this diocese. It
makes me wonder whether the Anglican Church in Harare Diocese is an easy
target because it was once associated closely with the colonial government.
Or else, why has it become a scapegoat to the point that even the legal
system has remained indifferent to pass a judgment on a case that was
submitted in October 2007 concerning the ownership of the assets of the
Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) which Kunonga is claiming
ownership of, after having left the very Church Province and formed his own

Why do the police enforcement agents keep on telling us that they are
getting “orders from above” when they come to interfere with our services?
After all Kunonga has no followers except a few clergy and their families.

The events of Saturday 19th April where 3200 members of Mothers’ Union had
gathered at St. Michael’s Church Mbare to commemorate Mary’s Day and were
chased away by riot police under the so-called directive from above, are a
case in point.

The mothers had gathered from 7 am onward coming from distant places as far
as Kariba, and had spent several hours praying and singing as is usually
done on such a day, only to be told by police that they were no longer
allowed to use the premises of this church and should disperse forthwith.

The women continued praying only to be surprised a little later by riot
police driving into the crowd at a high speed so as to intimidate the women.
Many of them were crying and began to run away leaving old ladies with
walking sticks behind who started walking slowly towards the gate.

They could not believe that this is how the Anglican Church is being treated
at the hands of Kunonga and his henchmen in the police in a country that is
celebrating 28 years of independence. I ask myself: What does independence
mean for these women? Indeed the suffering they endured during colonial days
come back to their memories, but this time perpetrated by their own people.

As a Bishop of this Diocese I was reminded of Christian churches who were
persecuted in communist countries before the fall of the iron curtain. What
is sad though in our situation is that we claim to be a Christian country
whose constitution also upholds freedom of worship.

The other aspect which is very confusing is that only a day before on
Independence Day, President Mugabe had made it very clear at Gwanzura
Stadium that Zimbabweans should not have to use violence against one another
as members of one family. One really wonders whether this lawlessness we are
experiencing remains unnoticed.

The Saturday events were followed by more disturbances of our church
services throughout the Diocese on Sunday 20th April based on an appeal by
Kunonga’s church to the Supreme Court which has not been heard to date, and
assisted by police officers and so-called ex-combattants who once again
claim to have received orders from above.

Any genuine ex-combattant would be shocked by such a criminal behaviour. The
Sunday events resulted in many of our Anglicans not being able to attend
their normal church services. There is absolutely no justification for such
kind of unruly behaviour perpetrated against innocent people and their

I feel extremely dismayed at how the rights of my people in my diocese have
been seriously eroded, and I condemn these acts of lawlessness in the
strongest terms. I call upon the courts for justice to be done to the
Anglican Diocese of Harare (CPCA).

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Opposition should lead any Zimbabwe unity government: U.S.

Yahoo News

By Henry Ngilazi Sun Apr 27, 8:52 AM ET

LUSAKA (Reuters) - The United States' top diplomat for Africa said on Sunday
any national unity government in Zimbabwe should be headed by opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who Washington believes won a March 29 election.

While a partial election recount showed the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) wrested a parliamentary majority from veteran
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF for the first time since independence in
1980, results of a parallel presidential poll have not been released.

Election officials said they hoped to compile all statistics by Monday for
opposition verification before they are published.

"The key here is that the people's will be respected," Assistant Secretary
of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer told Reuters Television in an

"So if there is going be an inclusive government ..., if you want to use the
word, government of national unity, I believe it should be led by whom the
people voted for which is Morgan Tsvangirai," she said in Zambia, part of a
regional tour in which Zimbabwe has been a focus of talks.

A commentary in Zimbabwe's state-run newspaper The Herald last week floated
the idea of a unity government, led by Mugabe. The MDC has said any
government it would form would be inclusive, but has not spelled out

Frazer, who has also visited South Africa and Angola, also said regional
leaders had to tell Mugabe loud and clear that post-election violence -- in
which the MDC says at least 15 people have been killed -- had to end

Africa's response to the post-election turmoil including the arrest of
scores of opposition members has been muted overall, although states have
called for a speedy release of results.

"I think that the region needs to speak very, very loudly and very clearly
to President Mugabe and his government to say that the violence must come to
an end immediately. It's unacceptable to beat people just because they
decided to go out and vote, and apparently to vote for change."

The government denies it is waging a campaign of violence.


The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said on Saturday it did not know when the
presidential results would be published, but it hoped to compile the recount
statistics by Monday and then invite candidates to check results before
making them public.

The parliamentary defeat has increased pressure on Mugabe ahead of an
expected run-off against Tsvangirai.

Until know, parliament has been little more than a rubber-stamp for Mugabe's
policies. But if he remains president, his loss of parliament would make
governing more difficult because he would need opposition support to pass

An editorial in Zimbabwe's pro-opposition The Standard weekly urged
Tsvangirai on Sunday to boycott any run-off since it would be a "charade."

The paper said a free and fair vote was not possible in the current
environment, and called on the MDC to focus on collecting evidence of
violence to help prosecute Mugabe's ZANU-PF supporters in the future.

Tsvangirai has given mixed signals on whether he would participate in a
run-off with Mugabe.

The MDC initially said they would take part, but only under protest because
they felt elections had been rigged. Then Tsvangirai said he would not
accept a runoff. He has also said he would only contest another election if
it was supervised by international observers, led by the United Nations.

Mugabe, a hero of the independence struggle, accuses the opposition of
plotting with Western critics to end his three decades in power, which began
with hopes that Zimbabwe would become an African model of democratic and
economic success.

Today, Zimbabweans face severe shortages of basic goods and an inflation
rate of 165,000 percent -- the world's highest.

(Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka in Harare; Writing by Caroline Drees)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US envoy denounces Zimbabwe violence; says presidential runoff would be unfair

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 27, 2008

LUSAKA, Zambia: The top American diplomat for Africa called Sunday for
international intervention in Zimbabwe, saying government-sponsored violence
has made a credible presidential election run-off unlikely.

"The most important thing is that the violence has to stop," Jendayi Frazer
said in an interview with The Associated Press during a visit to Zambia.

"There's no neutrality when people are being beaten," Frazer said. "When a
government deploys its military, and its police, and its intelligence
operatives, as well as mobilizing youth militia, then the international
community has a responsibility to step in and to try to stop that government
from beating its own population."

Frazer, the assistant U.S. secretary of state for African affairs, is
touring the region to press leaders to take a tougher stance against
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. She met Saturday night with Zambian
President Levy Mwanwasa, current chairman of a southern African regional
bloc and one of the area's more outspoken heads of state on the Zimbabwean
turmoil. She is due to meet with former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda on

Results from Zimbabwe's presidential elections — held one month ago — still
have not been announced. The delay has been accompanied by an upsurge in
violence and arrests of opposition supporters. Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai is widely believed to have won the elections, though not with an
outright majority.

Asked whether she thought the international community could have confidence
in the result of any run-off, Frazer said: "No, not under the current
She left open the possibility of supporting a national unity government — an
idea floated last Wednesday in a state-owned Zimbabwean newspaper — but said
the opposition should lead it.

"Any national unity government or inclusive government that comes about
through negotiation has to reflect the population," Frazer said. "So we will
wait to see."

Frazer said the United States would work with the World Bank and other
donors to mobilize an assistance package for a new Zimbabwean government.

Last week, she called Tsvangirai the "clear victor" in the presidential
election, prompting the Zimbabwean justice minister to respond that Frazer
"has no "moral or legal authority to make unfounded announcements on our
domestic processes."

Zimbabwe was not on the envoy's tour.

"President Mugabe isn't speaking to very many people," Frazer said. "He's
not even speaking to some of the regional leaders."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition to present case to UN Security Council

Monsters and Critics

Apr 27, 2008, 18:48 GMT

Harare/Lusaka, Zambia - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
will take its claim of victory in last month's election over President
Robert Mugabe to the United Nations Security Council this week, the party
said Sunday.

MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti will lead a delegation to New York, where
he will tell a Security Council session on Zimbabwe's post-election standoff
that the party is not prepared to partake in a second round, an MDC
statement said.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims he won the March 29 election outright, a
claim Zanu-PF rejects, saying neither he nor Mugabe won an outright majority
and that a run-off is needed.

The official results have not yet been released but the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission said it would begin verifying and collating results from a
partial recount of the votes on Monday, sparking fresh hopes that the
outcome might shortly be known.

Bolstered by confirmation of its historic victory over Mugabe's party in the
parliamentary component of the elections the MDC said Sunday it tell the UN
Security Council it would not participate in a presidential runoff,
'whatever the circumstances and conditions.'

The party has touted an 'inclusive' transitional government, led by

A partial recount of some seats in the parliamentary election showed the MDC
retaining it majority over Zanu-PF, which was relegated to a minority party
for the first time since coming to power at independence in 1980.

The MDC won 109 seats in the 210-seat House of Assembly in the first count
of votes, against 97 for Zanu-PF.

Tsvangirai's party had feared Zanu-PF might try to claw back parliament by
rigging the recount but with 18 of 23 seats recounted the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) said there had been 'no major changes.'

As the recount dragged on, the US appealed to Zimbabwe's neighbours to put
pressure on the government to halt violence against civilians.

After talks Sunday with Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, US Assistant
Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer said: 'I think the region needs
to be speaking very loudly and clearly to President Mugabe and his
government to say that the violence must come to an end immediately.

It was 'unacceptable' that people were being punished for voting for change,
said Frazer, who has declared Tsvangirai the 'clear winner' of the election.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa claimed over 15 party members have been killed
in attacks by mostly Zanu-PF youth militia and soldiers against people in
rural areas suspected of 'voting wrongly.' He also claims more than 3,000
houses had been burnt down and 5,000 families displaced.

The MDC blasted South Africa's silence on the violence - South African
President Thabo Mbeki said recently there was 'no crisis' in Zimbabwe - and
called on the UN to send an envoy to work with the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) on resolving the impasse.

Within South Africa, pressure is also growing on Mbeki, SADC' mediator in
Zimbabwe, to take a harder line with 84-year-old Mugabe, who has shown no
signs of readiness to retire despite his party's admission he did not win
the presidency.

Speaking on South Africa's Freedom Day Sunday, well-known activist Winnie
Madikizela-Mandela told South African radio: 'We wish that they would stop
the violence in Zimbabwe. If the Zimbabweans are not free, we (South
Africans) are not free.'

This week's UN Security Council session on Zimbabwe comes amid concerns at
the first sign of a 'fight back' by MDC members.

Human Rights Watch said Friday it had documented several incidents of
'retaliatory violence by MDC supporters' but that 'the scope of these
incidents bears no comparison to the widespread state-sponsored violence by
ZANU-PF and its allies.'

The council meeting also follows a forceful police raid on MDC headquarters
Friday, in which over 200 people - mostly people displaced by the violence
in rural areas - were arrested.

By Sunday the detainees had not yet been brought to court to be formally

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Truth and Justice Coalition formed by the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM)


This press release just received.

  Press Release: Truth and Justice Coalition formed by the Institute for a
Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM)

  “The destruction of democracy begins when good people just people or
merely those who are well intentioned do nothing”, Gabriel Shumba, a torture
victim, human rights lawyer, exile and spokesperson for the Truth and
Justice Coalition announced. The Institute for a Democratic Alternative for
Zimbabwe (IDAZIM) has initiated, with full support from civil society,
labour and legal organizations, the Truth and Justice Coalition on Zimbabwe.
Its objectives are to identify perpetrators and seek legal redress for the
victims of crimes against humanity and other serious crimes in Zimbabwe.

  Shumba announced yesterday that the coalition had now assembled over 200
names of ZANU (PF) military, militia, members of parliament and war veterans
who in their personal and/or professional capacity have unleashed terror and
tyranny against civilians in recent months. More importantly, their
complicity with a cabal of high-ranking Zimbabwean politicians and military
personnel with links to other countries is now documented for public
release. Shumba said, “today we shall begin the rollout of disgrace for
people driven by personal greed, who have defamed and destroyed democracy in
our nation. These names are part of a criminal dossier being compiled to
support prosecutions in South Africa and other jurisdictions.” He added, “we
begin with names like Brigadier Nyikayaramba, who is based in Mudzi South
and commanding the indiscriminate torture, rape and beating of innocent

  “The Truth and Justice Coalition will not stop pursuing these perpetrators
of crimes until they are brought to justice. In addition, the Coalition
shall highlight their personal assets, illicit money laundering and
collusion with some Asian and other African states in disclosing their
criminal activity. Bright Matonga, MP for Mhondoro-Ngezi and former Deputy
Information Minister has been identified for acts of property destruction,
including farm looting and public transportation fraud. In addition the
blood diamonds trail may lead us to the DRC, where senior government
officials and their families have already been implicated.

  The TJC believes that one of the most tragic betrayals of this once proud
liberation movement in Zimbabwe is the subversion of institutions of
government like the army, the police and the judiciary whose loyalty is now
not to the citizenry but ruling clique. For example, the Commander of the
Armed Forces, General Chiwenga, in his personal capacity is the architect of
military madness and murder nationwide. He has personally lied to and
advised the caretaker President to subvert the peoples’ will, due to his
personal interest and those of his colleagues.

  The General has personally accumulated an estimated US$3 million worth of
minerals and assets including a palatial home at Borrowdale Brooke in
Harare. His wife, Jocelyn Chiwenga, receives the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
main supply contracts. He has personally rejected democracy and has also
instructed a military roll out which includes the deployment of militia,
soldiers, army brigadiers and war veterans into rural areas to torture at
will, and in some instances kill mainly opposition MDC supporters.

  In Mudzi North, General Chiwenga is working in cahoots with Assistant
Commissioner Pfumvute assisted by war veteran Zvidzai Katsande, Councilor
Nyakumba, Asst Commissioner Nikati and, as a particular shame of justice,
Member of Parliament Newton Kachedza. These people were in positions of
command and authority at the time of the tragic death of Murunde Tembo who
was attacked in Mashonaland East on Tuesday the 15th of April. Tembo
sustained serious injuries to his body including broken legs. He died on his
way to hospital.

  Davie Malungisa, Executive Director of IDAZIM explained “these profiles
are real stories of ordinary people, not only tortured, but silenced forever
because of their decision to exercise their right to vote. General Chiwenga,
by virtue of the principle of command responsibility, in his personal
capacity, will be charged under local and international laws for these

  One of the most shameful assaults on innocents to date ironically occurred
on 18 April, Zimbabwe’s Independence Day. On this fateful day, five-year
old, Brighton Mabwera from Manyika village in Uzumba was murdered in his
sleep when the hut he was sleeping in was set on fire by ZANU (PF) thugs.
After the discovery of his charred remains, his grieving parents were
compelled to bury the body in the absence of a post-mortem so that evidence
will be hidden. Little Brighton’s only crime is that his parents belong to a
different party than the ruling one.

  The Coalition’s legal coordinator, Nicole Fritz, Director of the Southern
Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which was responsible for the court action
that prevented the Chinese arms shipment from docking in South Africa,
commented: “Mr Chiwenga in his personal and professional capacity attracts
the same responsibility in international law as did the warlords of Bosnia
Herzegovina, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. This course of action has legal
precedent. This Coalition will seek legal representation in South Africa
where, in terms of South African law, those responsible for crimes against
humanity can be apprehended and prosecuted. We have been receiving
unprecedented reports of widespread, state-sponsored killing, rape, assault,
damage to property, and large-scale displacement.”

  The Truth and Justice Coalition will shortly reveal names of other
Zimbabwean officials– including their business, financial and possible
political associations that are protecting or even perhaps preventing Mugabe
from following democratic resolve.

  *For more information contact: *

  Gabriel Shumba - Spokesperson: +27-726393795

  Davie Malungisa - Campaign Co-ordinator: +27-739649585

  Landlines: +27123226969 and +27113121183

This entry was written by Sokwanele on Sunday, April 27th, 2008 at 11:27 am.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 26th April 2008

It was a day of glorious sunshine in London - a welcome relief from the
cold, wet weather we have been experiencing at the Vigil. Supporters
expressed growing anger at the Mugabe regime's crazed efforts to remain in
power and at the reign of terror inflicted on opposition supporters. We had
lots of new posters at the Vigil featuring victims of the violence and many
people stopped to look at them.  Many thanks to David McAllister for
producing the posters.

Vigil spokesman Ephraim Tapa expressed his admiration for the bravery of
those confronting the regime. He said an injury to one was an injury to us
all.  Stendrick Zvorwadza of our partner organization Restoration of Human
Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) said change could only come about through people
standing up for their rights. He said that his deputy in Zimbabwe Tichanzii
Gandanga was abducted on Tuesday and found in the bush 80 miles East of
Harare on Thursday very badly injured.  Apparently he was forced to lie down
on the road and then his abductors drove over his legs four times.  He is
now in hospital in Harare.

The Vigil and ROHR resolved that next week's Vigil will be dedicated to our
suffering, abused, starved and tortured brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe. We
will be their voice and will run a petition calling on President Mbeki to
intervene to stop the violence because we believe that only South Africa can
bring it to an end.

One of our supporters had a chilling experience at the Zimbabwe Embassy. She
lost her Zimbabwean passport and had to visit the Embassy to get it
replaced.  She was thoroughly interrogated and shown a photograph of herself
at the Vigil.

For this week's Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD: 160 signed the register.

·   Wednesday, 30th April - Saturday, 10th May.  "I will tell" a
Christian film festival from Jericho Films
(  They are inviting
Zimbabwe Vigil supporters to take part in discussion panels about 4 of the
-  3rd May - WORLD UNSEEN (High Holborn) a South African film about
racism, relationships and politics
-  7th May - ESCAPE FROM LUANDA (Greenwich) a  story of the power of
music in overcoming adversity after the civil war in Angola
-  8th May - SON OF MAN (Mayfair) a South African re-interpretation of
the story of Jesus against the backdrop of violence, racism and political
-  9th May - EZRA (Euston) a story about the experiences of a child
If you wish to take part please contact Jenny on 07961 371 676,
·   Saturday, 10th May 2008, 2 - 6 pm. Next Glasgow Vigil. Venue:
Argyle Street Precinct. For more information, contact: Ancilla Chifamba,
07770 291 150 and Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137.

Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim lawyers seek release of activists


    April 27 2008 at 12:44PM

Harare - Lawyers for Zimbabwe's opposition turned to the courts on
Sunday to seek the release of more than 200 activists detained in a swoop on
the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change.

"We are trying to get an urgent court order to be allowed access to
them, for them to given food and for those who need medical attention to be
examined by doctors of their own choice," said Alec Muchadehama, one of the

"And if they have committed an offence, for them to be formally
charged and taken to court by 1500 hours tomorrow, failure of which they
should be released," he added.

Muchadehama said he was planning to lodge the application on Sunday.

Lawyers said they had not seen the 215 opposition supporters arrested
on Friday in a raid on MDC offices in downtown Harare in an operation that
police said was aimed at finding suspects in recent arson attacks.

The opposition said 245 people, including women and children, were
rounded up during the raid. Around 30 people, mainly those with children and
the elderly were later released. - Sapa-AFP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MPs want answers on 'arms-for-Zim scandal'


     April 27 2008 at 10:32AM

MPs have squared up to the top brass of the government committee that
oversees South Africa's arms transactions and ordered its members to explain
their part in the international furore over the Chinese arms shipment for

The members of the national conventional arms control committee will
be on the carpet before the parliamentary portfolio committee on defence
when parliament reconvenes in the middle of next month.

The portfolio committee also wants to discuss the arms control
committee's reports on South Africa's arms trade dating back to 2005, and it
wants the reports to be tabled in parliament and made public.

On Friday, Fezile Bhengu, the chairperson of the portfolio committee,
revealed that he had written a "strong letter" to the arms control committee
instructing its officials to appear before him.

The arms control committee is chaired by Sydney Mufamadi, the local
and provincial government minister.

A fed-up Bhengu said he had struggled to get the arms control
committee to brief MPs, though it is required to report to parliament every
quarter. He was told by Mufamadi that prior commitments caused the delays in
the arms control committee reporting to the portfolio committee.

Bhengu said he had complained to Baleka Mbete, the speaker of
parliament, about the arms control committee's failure to report to

He said he was warned that the arms control committee dealt with
"sensitive issues" and discussions might have to be in closed session.

The last straw for Bhengu was the international furore that erupted
earlier this month over the arms control committee issuing a permit for the
large arms consignment aboard the Chinese ship the An Yue Jiang to be
transported through South Africa to Zimbabwe.

The consignment's passage was thwarted by court action, international
trade unions and a global outcry.

Rafeek Shah, the Democratic Alliance's spokesperson on defence, this
week accused the arms control committee of failing to fulfil its reporting
obligations to parliament. Shah called for an urgent review of how the arms
control committee functioned.

The arms control committee responded by saying it had provided
parliament with its reports for 2005 and 2006.

But Bhengu said this was disingenuous. He said that though the arms
control committee had given the defence committee copies of its 2005 and
2006 reports, the reports had not been tabled in parliament and the arms
control committee had not appeared before MPs to present them - and so they
remained immune from public scrutiny.

The 2007 report, which was due at the end of last year, has not been

The arms control committee oversees South African trade in
conventional arms. Its reports detail arms exports and imports, and list the
arms-related permits granted.

Dumisani Dladla, the director of conventional arms controls, this
weekend confirmed that he had received the defence committee's letter.

"The arms control committee has filed with parliament all its annual
reports from 2004 to 2006. The 2007 report will be submitted very soon,"
said Dladla.

Shah said the absence of tabled reports and other records of arms
sales made it virtually impossible to exercise oversight of weapons

He said the arms control committee's previous reports had indicated
areas of concern - including sales of arms to Columbia, Ivory Coast, China
and Zimbabwe.

Shah said: "Sources have indicated to the DA that they believe that
the arms control committee is being deliberately undermined so that weapons
sales to foreign countries do not have to undergo extensive scrutiny."

In response, Dladla said: "The arms control committee has previously
had a lengthy discussion with the portfolio committee on defence about arms

"Mr Shah was part of these discussions. It is irresponsible for Mr
Shah to make such a reckless statement about [South Africa's] arms-export

The arms control committee's decision to grant a permit for the
consignment of arms aboard the An Yue Jiang caused a furore at home and

The Durban High Court last week ordered that the weapons be impounded
and suspended the ship's conveyancing permit pending further court action.
The arms were said to include tons of ammunition, assault rifles, mortar
bombs and rockets.

Before the sheriff could serve the court papers on the master of the
vessel, the An Yue Jiang fled to international waters and sailed around the
South African coast. It is now believed to be returning to China.

Mufamadi - who is President Thabo Mbeki's special envoy to Zimbabwe -
has said nothing about the shipment.

January Masilela, the defence secretary, who heads the sub-committee
that granted the permit, defended the decision by saying that there is no
arms embargo against Zimbabwe. But the Arms Control Committee Act provides
for the cancellation, suspension or amendment of an arms conveyance permit
in the interests of maintaining peace and avoiding contributing to

The arms control committee's guiding principles purportedly include
human rights and preventing the transfer of arms to unstable regions.

Though mystery surrounds the contents of the arms control committee
annual reports for the past few years, the committee has submitted annual
reports to the United Nations. But these reports lack the detail of those
the committee presents to parliament.

According to the UN conventional arms register, recipients of
conventional weaponry from South Africa in recent years include Angola,
Ghana, Senegal, Sweden, Zambia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Gabon, the United Arab
Emirates and Brazil.

The register lists China as reporting last year that it sold six
aircrafts to Zimbabwe.

This article was originally published on page 4 of Sunday Independent
on April 27, 2008

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA hurt by Zimbabwe crisis: Madikizela-Mandela


April 27, 2008, 12:15

ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member Winnie Madikizela-Mandela says
right-thinking South Africans are hurt by the plight of Zimbabweans. She was
speaking in an interview with the SABC.

Madikizela-Mandela says the hearts of women of South Africa are bleeding
because of what is happening in Zimbabwe. "We wish that the recount will be
speeded up and hopefully the violence in Zimbabwe will end," says

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has confirmed that the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will have a majority in the
next parliament. The ZEC says the results in 18 of 23 constituencies where
the votes were recounted have remained unchanged.

The remaining five seats are not enough for President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF to reverse the initial result of the March 29 vote, which was won by
the MDC.

The ZEC said it did not know when the presidential results would be
published. It hoped to compile the recount statistics by tomorrow and then
invite candidates to verify results before making them public.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mnangagwa and Sekeramayi in Angola

Zimbabwe Metro

By Raymond Mhaka ⋅ April 27, 2008
Media in Angola report that Mugabe’s Rural Housing and Social Amenities
minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Defense Minister Sydney Sekeramayi arrived
in the country on Friday morning, in the capacity of special envoy of

ANGOP learnt at “4 de Fevereiro” International Airport, moments after his
arrival, that the envoy is the bearer of a message of President Mugabe to
his Angolan counterpart, José Eduardo dos Santos.

Minister Emmerson Munangagwa, is accompanied by the Minister of Defence
Sydney Sekeramayi.

The chinese ship An Yue Jiang has been given permission to dock in Angola,
but it will not be allowed to offload the weapons.

State news agency Angop reports that the government has authorised the ship,
the An Yue Jiang to dock in the capital Luanda, but it may only offload
merchandise destined for Angola.

“The weaponry that the ship brings destined for Zimbabwe is not authorised
to be unloaded on national territory,” the statement was quoted as saying.

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.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Inflation, roads, eggs and Robert Mugabe


The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair came to a close yesterday. I laughed because rather than celebrating huge deals, the State Press has given more column inches to moaning about the price hikes at hotels in Bulawayo, saying:

During ZITF, hotels have a tendency of hiking their charges and this is like killing the goose which lays the golden egg. This time around they increased their rates from about $2,2 billion to $18 billion for a three star hotel.

The reaction to the prices by the state?

..three general managers of leading hotels and 15 lodge operators in Bulawayo were nabbed [sic] during the fair for increasing their rates without approval of NIPC [National Incomes and Pricing Commission].

For those who don’t know, the rough description of how the above arrests could come about is because the government attempts to control inflation by forcing people to sell products at prices dictated by the government. Unfortunately for the people trying to run businesses, the Zanu PF government lives in cloud cuckoo-land and pretends inflation is never as bad as it really is, and their dictated prices most often do not cover basic costs of production.

Businesses that comply with the price controls find themselves selling at a loss and consequently end up having to shut down. Which brings in the next bit of ‘inflation control stick’ from the government; namely, the threat that any business that cannot survive by selling at the prices they dictate will be taken over as ‘failed businesses’ and given to someone else to run. Businesses are therefore backed into a corner with zero support or solutions from the government.

Most people flout the controls - they have to - and the economy is driven deeper underground into the blackmarket with quiet deals made under the counter.

Inflation has been going crazy in the last week - all prices have been skyrocketing. I have huge sympathy for the three hotel managers who were arrested last week for overcharging, because my own experience tells me that the prices for their breakfasts (included in bed and breakfast rates) probably increased by over 100% in a single day. I say this because the price of eggs went up from Z$100mil to Z$210mil in just one day. How are they supposed to accommodate inflation like that and stick to state-dictated pricing?

In one shop I gasped when I saw the price of yoghurt (yoghurt is a luxury that not many - including me - can afford anymore and I doubt this is included in hotel breakfasts anymore). The shop owner was in despair while explaining it to a customer who was bitterly complaining. The customer had previously paid Z$40mil for yoghurt in this shop. The owner said that when he went to re-stock the yoghurt, the next batch came in at Z$95mil wholesale. He was explaining that with tax and his profit margins the best price he could pass it on the customer was for Z$145mil. So you can work out for yourselves the increase in price and the reason for the customer’s annoyance.

The shop owner went on to explain that he would no longer be selling yoghurt at all because with that sort of price on it, he only need to have two or three tubs left on the shelf - unsold and spoiled - to put him out of business.

This is a dairy-product we’re talking about, not gold or real estate. But the smallest things can be the tipping point these days.

In a nutshell, this is why Mugabe and Zanu PF have got to go. This - their failure to manage the economy - is the reason why they were voted out. The narrative about Britain and re-colonisation is the biggest load of rubbish ever. No one who lives in Zimbabwe even thinks about that; we just need to eat and we need a government capable of ensuring there is affordable food in the country. We voted for the same things that bother everyone in every other part of the world: food, health, education, homes, jobs.

Against this reality, we had the Trade Fair going on perpetuating a smoke and mirror myth that Zimbabwe, under Zanu PF, is a country that can effectively trade with the world.

The lie of that is symbolically represented to me in the state of the roads. One road, just outside the Trade Fair, has had its pot-holes filled and lines re-painted. But drive onwards and turn off into town and you hit cavernous holes and traffic lights that don’t work while you have to play dodgems with oncoming traffic that is swerving to avoid the holes in their side of the road.

Who is Zanu PF trying to fool? Because we the people are not fooled, and surely even the people who came to set up stands at the fair have to leave the one smooth road at some point and see the road for the lie it is.

I actually find it highly amusing, because it has little to do with me; but if I were a Zanu PF supporter I’d find this kind of stupidity humiliating and depressing. Is this the best solution they have?

And that might explain why they too voted away from Zanu PF in the last elections.

None of this is a negative comment on the ingenuity and capacity of Zimbabweans to work hard and succeed in business. If the one road outside the Trade Fair represent Zanu PF’s blinkered attitude to the economy and their capacity for lies and decpetion, then the roads in our country also showcase Zimbabwean ingenuity and potential for a positive future.

The potholes have presented smart youngsters with a money-making scheme. They fill the holes with sand and then clamour for tips when cars slow down at intersections. The sand doesn’t last long, but they are there to re-fill them and we need them filled and I try to give them money when I can.

I admire their cheekiness and ingenuity and I long for that kind of bright engaging bold mind to have an education and to be put towards re-building our country.

We have won the elections and despite the grotesque violence in our country at the moment its very hard for me to imagine that Zanu PF or Mugabe could continue in power for much longer. We all know we won and the contempt for Zanu PF and their actions is openly expressed now. I don’t believe Zanu PF will ever be able to put the lid on our scorn and disgust ever again.

On Friday Robert Mugabe came to the Trade Fair. The whole town knew he was about to arrive because there were hoardes of black Mercedes Benzs suddenly around. I was in another queue at one point in the day and people were trying to speculate which car Bob was in: “You’d never be able to tell”, said one person, “because the car windows are all so dark”. The chat continued backwards and forwards until someone at the back retorted loudly: “Oh who cares which car he is on; he’s history. Forget about him”.

And there was a chorus of agreement and approval amongst strangers.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Thanks for the land Mr Mugabe, but…

BDAfrica, Nairobi

Written by Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

April 28, 2008: Martin Luther King Junior said: “Evil triumphs because
good men refuse to speak up”. Zimbabwe and President Mugabe is a situation
we cannot in all good conscience continue to ignore around anymore. It is
indefensible that one man, no matter what his contribution to the country,
should be holding the people to ransom.

I know that one tree does not make a forest and that Mr Mugabe alone
is not responsible for the situation. There are many interests hiding behind
him. It is even conceivable that despite all the rhetoric and masochistic
belligerence, the old man has become an executive prisoner trapped in a
power system he pioneered, which now has him cornered without an escape

This kind of structural analysis whilst important, risks however
underestimating human agency and individual responsibility. Its primitive
determinism may even be used to justify any situation, rendering
intervention impossible. If individuals are not important why do we have
heroes and heroines? Why do we have leaders? We are neither zombies nor
automatons who behave in a predetermined way.

Choices are made and unmade by human beings; accountability is first
and foremost individual. Mugabe is no longer merely part of the problem of
Zimbabwe: now he is the problem.

The choices that he will or will not make, can either help to resolve
the crisis or accentuate it. No one will force him to remain in office if he
chooses to step down: neither the dreaded Security Services nor the aged
ZANU-PF nomenclatural have the power to force him to remain in the
presidential palace. The fact that he has not taken that option is a
deliberate personal choice, just as his one-man contest for candidacy of the
party has always been his choice.

It is simply unacceptable that weeks after the March 29 general
election, the result of the Presidential contest is yet to be declared and
meanwhile there is a re-count of the declared Parliamentary results! Even
those who were willing to stretch their good will to Mugabe must be finding
it ridiculous or running out of excuses. Some of them continue to beg the
issue by forcing parallels with other botched elections.

They point out that it took six weeks and the Supreme Court to declare
Bush President of the USA in 2001. Why should an avowed Pan Africanist
leader vomiting all kinds of anti-imperialist attacks be defended by
Washington’s non-standard? They also point to the two months it took before
the final results of the 2005 controversial elections in Ethiopia could be

I am surprised they are not saying that Mugabe is better than Meles,
who jailed those who defeated his party! Why should Africans always judge
themselves by looking down instead of looking up to higher standards? The
hypocrisies and bad manners of others should not justify the mischief making
by Mugabe and his hirelings.

It is really sad that President Mugabe who is probably one of the
better (if not the best) prepared leaders for the job should end like this.
He has seven degrees (not honorary) for goodness sake! A man who acquired a
mosaic of degrees in an academic cocktail of humanities and social science
disciplines and led one of the most successful liberation movements in
Africa, could not be accused of arriving in the State House by accident.

But he is ending his rule and life as a tragic figure hanging on and
increasingly sounding and behaving like a man trapped in a time warp. It
must sadden all Africans and is good ammunition for all enemies of Africa
who believe that nothing good comes from us no matter how well and promising
the beginning was.

Unfortunately for Africa, when one of us fails it is blamed on all. No
one will blame Americans and other westerners for all the atrocities of
George Bush. No one will even blame Brown for Blair’s evil fraternity with
Bush and other Europeans will quickly wash their hands clean of him. Yet
these same people use Zimbabwe and Mugabe to beat our heads with all the

Consequently many Africans, whether Presidents or peasants, have
become defensive about the situation. The fear of not being seen as echoing
London and Washington, has policed many of us into silence which ZANU-PF and
Mugabe hardliners have harvested as popular support among Africans.  It is
moral cowardice and politically irresponsible for us to hide indecision and
inertia behind anti-Western postures. It is time to speak out and stand up
for what we believe in.

Tajudeen is deputy director, Africa - UN Millennium Campaign.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Help Zimbabwe

Sunday, 27 April 2008 08:03
The current scope of the internally displaced persons is:
(Note that the numbers below refer to "family units" which vary from 4
to 8 people and for planning purposes they assume 5 people)

Harare 300

Mutoko 300

Mudzi 300

Chipinge 300

Buhera 100

Mutare (ex Mutasa South) 105

Mvuma 7 (huts burnt last night).

This amounts to approximately 1,400 family units and therefore about
7,000 people. The situation is getting worse over time

Many of the displaced are children (no longer able to go to school) ,
elderly folk.

The main challenge is to provide food and blankets as they do not have
many, or any, belongings nor shelter.

Even one blanket per person would be very helpful, two would be ideal
with winter coming. But then they can share. I am looking for costs and

Food hampers  would be  issued per family unit on the basis of two for
the first monthand  then one per month for two more months by which time we
hope that they are able to return home. A food hamper consists of the
following, if we can find it, (again I am awaiting prices and availability):

10 kgs mealie meal, 500 gms dried fish, 500 gms sugar beans, 2 kg
sugar, 500 gms salt, 750 mls cooking oil, 1 bar soap.

We would also need fuel to transport food and relocate people. This
can be purchased by way of a coupon system.

"We would also like to try and re-build some of their huts."

Eddie Cross

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Statement by the Government of Jamaica on the situation in Zimbabwe

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jamaica has been following the developments in Zimbabwe, and is concerned
that, to date, results of the 29th March presidential elections have not
been released. We are further disturbed at talk of a run-off election, even
before the release of those results. This, we believe, compromises the
transparency and credibility of the electoral process.

Whilst noting the efforts of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to assist Zimbabwe in the post electoral-crisis, it is regretted that
the intervention of the regional leaders has not, so far, been able to
resolve the impasse.

Jamaica was at the forefront of the international campaign against
apartheid, injustice and oppression in Southern Africa which eventually led
to, among other things, Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, the celebration of
which included participation of our own cultural icon, the late Robert "Bob"
Nesta Marley as a special guest. We recognize the important role played by
President Robert Mugabe in the struggle for freedom and democracy in
Zimbabwe. We are, therefore, profoundly saddened at the seeming failure to
consolidate democracy in Zimbabwe.

We commend the resilience and fortitude of the people of Zimbabwe in the
face of the extraordinary challenges and hope that the situation does not
deteriorate into chaos or lead to a humanitarian crisis.

Jamaica calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate its commitment to
democratic principles and to allow the will of the Zimbabwean people, as
expressed in the elections of the 29th March, to be recognized and made
known. We urge all parties to engage in a process of national reconciliation
aimed at achieving lasting peace and harmony, and fostering economic growth
and development in Zimbabwe.

Kenneth Baugh
Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bishop leads prayers for Zimbabwe in Lichfield Cathedral

Date 27/04/08

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, today led prayers for the people of Zimbabwe during a service at Lichfield Cathedral.

The service was the bi-annual Lichfield City twinning service, which rotates between Limburg an der Lahn, near Frankfurt in Germany; Sainte Foy lès Lyon, in France; and Lichfield.

During the prayers the bishop prayed especially for the Children of Zimbabwe, and called for leadership from the United Nations and pressure from neighbouring countries for a peaceful political solution..  He prayed:

We pray today for peace in the world;
and especially for peace in the land of Zimbabwe.
We pray for an end to terror.
We pray for a peaceful political solution,
pressure from neighbouring countries for peace.
We pray for leadership from the United Nations.
We pray especially for the children of Zimbabwe.
And we pray for the churches who have asked us to
make today a special day of prayer for Zimbabwe.
Lord, let your spirit come and bring peace and mercy to Zimbabwe.
Lord, in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Back to the Top
Back to Index