Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which has been riven by a split since senate elections three years ago, has announced that its two factions will unite in the country’s parliament.
The move gives the combined MDC majority control of the house of assembly, with 109 seats out of 210, after a partial recount by the country’s election commission did not materially change any of the results.
The two faction leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai, who says he won an absolute majority in the presidential election last month, and Arthur Mutambara, a scientist and academic, appeared together at a press conference in Johannesburg to make the announcement.
"It’s our pleasure to announce that our two formations in parliament have agreed to work together," said Mr Tsvangirai.
"There will be no division amongst ourselves vis-a-vis the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis. I’m here to show solidarity to the winner of the presidential election in Zimbabwe," said Mr Mutambara.
But it comes too late to save several former MDC MPs who lost their seats in the poll as the party’s vote split between the two factions in its Matabeleland heartland.
It could also have given Mr Tsvangirai an unquestionable majority in the presidential poll, as the Mutambara faction backed a third candidate, the former Zanu-PF finance minister Simba Makoni, who is estimated to have taken eight per cent of the votes.
Independent monitors say Mr Tsvangirai came first, but fell just short of the absolute majority needed for victory in the first round.
The Zimbabwe Election Commission is expected to finally announce its presidential result this week, after a month-long delay which president Robert Mugabe has used to launch a campaign of violence and intimidation intended to pave his way to claiming re-election to a sixth term in a run-off.
Analysts say that with Mr Mugabe shocked at the scale of his defeat, the time has also been used in a failed attempt to rig the vote, as shown by the partial parliamentary recount, which did not materially change the results.
The difference is the blue V11 forms posted up outside each polling station, showing the turnout and vote shares.
With 9,000 polling stations getting an average 265 electors each, removing and replacing ballot papers proved an impossible task.
"They had to rig at the micro level compared with previous polls where they just changed the figures at the macro level as there was no V11 form," said Mike Davies, of the Combined Harare Residents Association.
Zanu-PF could not increase the number of votes cast to, say 2,000 per polling station as that would have "rung alarm bells", he pointed out.
But Mr Mugabe has other methods of seeking to retain power, and has again unleashed his land invaders.
At Friedawell farm in Chinhoyi, the screams of piglets dying can be heard as they are eaten alive by their mothers, who have not been fed.
Edwin Mashiringwani, a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, hired a group of men to take over the farm from its original owner, Louis Fick, and they have refused to allow his workers to feed the livestock.
"Pigs in maternity need about 40 litres of water a day," Mr Fick said. "Without it they go mad and that is why they eat their own."
An official from the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals said it had sent a truck with food and water to the farm, but had been refused entry.
"We believe about 30 pigs have died already," the official said. "The person who has custody or is in control of those animals will be prosecuted for cruelty."
Mr Mashiringwani answered his phone and then switched it off after questions were put to him.
James Orr and agencies
Monday April 28 2008
The results of Zimbabwe's disputed presidential election could finally be
released tomorrow, the country's electoral commission has announced.
The news comes after a month-long standoff between the ruling party and
opposition supporters which has led to widespread fears of violence.
Accusations that Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, was seeking to rig the
outcome of the election and maintain his grip on power provoked
But today, following the completion of a partial recount of the
parliamentary election, election officials said the full results of the
presidential vote would now be published.
"I'm getting the information that they are now collating the results, which
will be available tomorrow," said Utoile Silaigwana, a spokesman for the
Zimbabwe electoral commission.
The results would still need to be verified by the candidates, which could
take a further week if disputed, Silaigwana told Reuters.
Many Zimbabweans had hoped that the country's elections, held on March 29,
would go some way in easing the nation's spiralling economic decline.
Instead however, the disputed results led to further insecurity, with the
threat of bloodshed between rival parties becoming increasingly likely.
Political analysts believe a win for Mugabe, whose ruling party lost control
of parliament in the election, would deepen the financial collapse of the
country. But western countries are likely to offer aid and investment if
victory is handed to Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
Earlier, Tsvangirai, who says he won an outright majority in the first round
of voting, urged 84-year-old Mugabe to step down.
"Old man, go and have an honourable exit," Tsvangirai, 56, told a news
conference in neighbouring South Africa.
Mugabe's Zanu-PF lost control of parliament for the first time since he took
office in 1980, weakening the former liberation hero's grip on the country.
Tsvangirai said his supporters had united with a breakaway faction of the
MDC, led by Arthur Mutambara, and would work together in parliament.
SW Radio Africa (London)
28 April 2008
Posted to the web 28 April 2008
A crackdown on opposition activists primarily targeting Mashonaland,
Masvingo and Manicaland areas will soon be extended to Matabeleland,
opposition sources suggest.
Although there have been cases of political violence in Matabeleland areas
like Nkayi, Newsreel understands the International Trade Fair that ended
over the weekend in Bulawayo was the prime reason for state security details
holding back in other areas. Leaked documents suggest military, militia and
police details will begin operations after May 1 and will be targeting MDC
activists in terror campaigns.
According to a leaked Zanu PF memo that ended up in the hands of a villager
in the area, the Matobo district in Matabeleland South will be targeted
first. He has since forwarded it to the opposition. Details of the terror
campaign coincide with war veterans chairman Jabulani Sibanda moving from
Harare to his traditional Bulawayo base last week Thursday. Mugabe's regime
rewarded the war vets leader with a plush home and 4x4 vehicle for his use
in the capital. While in Harare, Sibanda allegedly axed an MDC supporter in
the head during one of the campaigns he directed. The wounded activist was
one of the hundreds who sought refuge at the MDC Harvest House headquarters
in the city.
Police on Friday raided the offices and arrested over 250 of the victims
before loading them onto buses and lorries parked outside. According to the
MDC 24 babies and 40 children under the age of six, plus 30 elderly
villagers, were among the arrested. Meanwhile High Court Judge Mary Anne
Gowora had ordered the police to release the activists arrested in the raids
or bring them to court by 4pm on Monday. The ruling followed an urgent
application by opposition lawyers demanding their immediate release. The
High Court granted an order allowing those detained to have access to
medical treatment, food and their lawyers. Late Monday the MDC said none of
these orders had been complied with.
On Friday we reported that a female MDC activist was shot and killed by war
veterans in Rusape. New information suggests she was part of a group of 7
MDC activists who were shot at after they went to a torture base at Manonga
School, demanding the release of their colleagues who had been abducted by
soldiers. Tabith Marume was shot in the stomach and died on her way to
Mutare General Hospital.
How Mugabe's hard men are attempting to eliminate the opposition activists
Many totally innocent and non-political Zimbabweans have fallen victim to
the Zanu-PF terror gangs who roam both town and countryside today. But
behind the picture of random persecution and death it is possible to isolate
many deliberate and targeted attacks. Here are two of them.
Tichanzii Gandanga was the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party's
election agent for Harare province, and indeed, with no thanks to Robert
Mugabe, he still is. But he can barely stand today, let alone walk. Last
Wednesday, at about 6.0 pm, four men arrived suddenly at his central Harare
"They told me I knew my crimes, and had to confess," Gandanga told me, from
his bed in a private hospital, which I've been asked not to name.
"They blindfolded me, bundled me into a truck, then drove out into the
country. Throughout the journey they beat me on the head, on the back,
everywhere. They played loud music so no-one could hear me scream."
The men also questioned Gandanga about the whereabouts of MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. He couldn't tell them, he didn't know.
Eventually he was dumped in the bush and left for dead. He crawled to a
road, and was taken to a nearby village, where the local people nursed him
for two days, until he was rescued by relatives who took him to the
Survival for one victim. Death for another. Tapiwa Mubanda, 54, the
organising secretary for the MDC in Hurungwe East, was going back to his
village with his wife and family when they were ambushed by a gang of
Zanu-PF youth militia.
His wife and children fled into the bush, but Mubanda was beaten to death
His wife, now his widow, heard them shouting at Mubanda as they killed him.
"You voted for the MDC" they told him. "Tsvangirai will never be president
of Zimbabwe. We must teach you how to vote."
Posted on Monday, 28 April 2008 at 16:43
Three days after the harmonised election last month,Robert Mugabe ’s spokeman wrote in The Herald that the initial presidential results were wrong and had to be corrected.
From what it appears MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai according to George Charamba had 50% of the vote enough to avoid a runoff, but Charamba said that result was rigged and needed to be “corrected”.
Here is the quote from the article:
‘Quite a clever posture, if you ask me. But never important enough to decide who governs Zimbabwe after those 21 days. What does is whoever rouses the sleeping vote which materially is a Zanu-PF vote. The MDC knows this, and so does the British. Which is why there was a bit of desperation to stampede both Government and ZEC into announcing faulty results that would have rigged Tsvangirai into an outright win. Or triggering civil unrest to open the way for international mediation which would have handed power over to Tsvangirai. ‘
What followed the article’s publication were developments reported in the Metro that the government of Zimbabwe had taken over the functions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission(ZEC) and it announced recounts of 23 constituencies mostly in which ZANU PF had lost narrowly to the MDC,but ZANU PF also challenged results in some seats it had won after it emerged that despite their win they had lost the presidential vote in those constituencies.
New staff were appointed to complete the collation and verification of results of the presidential vote and reported to ministers Patrick Chinamasa,Saviour Kasukuwere and Didymus Mutasa.
All election material was removed from the election command Centre at the Harare International Conference Centre and re located at Munhomutapa offices of Vice president Joseph Msika.
Asked about the new developments the head of the election commission said then the body was hampered by financial and personnel problems.
“We have scaled down because most of the people were support staff for the house of assembly, senatorial and council results. We are also scaling down because of costs,” said ZEC chairperson George Chiweshe.
Morgan Tsvangirai’s chief election agents Chris Mbanga and Morgan Komichi, were excluded from the verification process and have since been invited back after exclusion from the process for a full month.
A source told Metro after the developments,”If none of the candidates did not get the required majority and a runoff was indeed needed why do you think the results are still being held,the situation is really bad.”
“What is happening is that they are infact trying to reduce Tsvangirai’s votes to fall below 50% and necessitate a runoff”said the source.
A polling officer in Harare said Mugabe’s votes were inflated to reduce margins using postal ballots.Some polling officers who questioned the procedure have since been arrested.
“All the votes were for Zanu-PF. There were no names for us to cross out in the voters roll in case the voters would have voted already. Many ballot papers could not be accounted for.”
Julian Borger, diplomatic editor
Monday April 28 2008
The US today increased diplomatic pressure on Robert Mugabe after a recount
in Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections confirmed an opposition win, paving
the way for the possible release of presidential results.
The US state department's chief Africa envoy, Jendayi Frazer, said the
international community had a responsibility to intervene to prevent human
rights abuses reported since the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) claimed victory in the March 29 elections.
"When a government deploys its military and its police and its intelligence
operatives, as well as mobilising 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 told the Associated Press.
In a separate interview with the BBC, she was more specific about the sort
of international action she was advocating, saying the US would back UN
sanctions against Zimbabwe if the post-election crisis continued.
The UN high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour, also expressed
concern about the extent of political violence directed at opposition
activists and independent monitors.
"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," she said in a statement.
The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused the Mugabe government of
delaying the results from the presidential and parliamentary elections in
order to buy time for a campaign of intimidation aimed at winning a second
round of presidential polling.
After a delay of nearly a month, Zimbabwe's official media reported partial
results from a recount in the parliamentary poll. These confirmed an MDC
majority in parliament, marking the first time the ruling Zanu-PF party has
lost control in the Zimbabwe's 28-year history as an independent nation.
Representatives of Mugabe and Tsvangirai were due to meet the country's
electoral commission today to compare their vote tallies with the
commission's. A challenge by either party was likely to lead to further
delays, the commission said.
By Staff ⋅ April 28, 2008
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 presidential
Official results have not yet been released in the presidential election,
but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it would begin verifying and
collating results from a partial recount of the votes today. The ZEC says
the candidates or their representatives will have a chance to examine the
tallies before the results are released.
Judge George Chiweshe, head of the electoral commission, said election
authorities had agreed that each party would collate its own figures during
the final verification. This could create a further delay.
Among opposition supporters, there was little appetite for celebration of
this news and of the recount results on Sunday as reports mounted of
increasing violence and intimidation.
Meanwhile, the South African Communist Party (SACP) called on Mugabe to step
down as president and, if regional leaders fail to intervene within days to
resolve the “dangerous impasse” in Zimbabwe, for the UN to do so.
The SACP’s politburo said Mugabe and his “ruling clique” should accept
It called on the governments of the Southern African Development Community
and particularly President Thabo Mbeki, as leader of the region’s mediation
attempt, to take some responsibility for the “deepening crisis”.
“President Mbeki, in particular, stubbornly refused to learn anything from
the previous electoral events in Zimbabwe,” said the SACP, an alliance
partner of the ANC.
“This time around, once more (the) SADC allowed Mugabe to run circles around
it. This denialist complacency once more raised false hopes and once more
exposed millions of ordinary Zimbabweans to the wrath of Mugabe’s police
The SACP also denounced “the state-sponsored violence and harassment” of
opposition supporters in Zimbabwe.
It said it was time for “maximum isolation” of the Mugabe regime and it
“saluted” Cosatu for calling on union members to refuse to offload and
transport the Chinese arms ordered by Zimbabwe and shipped to South African
waters by a Chinese vessel earlier this month.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, who
is touring the region to press leaders to take a tougher stance against
Mugabe, also called for international intervention. “When a government
deploys its military - and its police and its intelligence operatives, as
well as mobilising youth militia - then the international community has a
responsibility to step in and try to stop that government from beating its
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, expressed 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,” Arbour said in a statement released in Geneva.
Political tension has mounted since security forces raided the offices of
the opposition and independent observers on Friday, seizing material
relating to the vote count.
Police confirmed they had arrested 215 people in a raid on opposition
headquarters in Harare. They also said they searched the offices of the
independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network for evidence that the
organisation bribed state election officials to rig polling results.
The opposition said those arrested had fled attacks by ruling party
loyalists in the countryside and had sought refuge in Harare.
Human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama said 24 children and infants were among
the detained and there were reports of widespread beatings at police
1 hour, 6 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States pressed South Africa on Monday to use
its influence to defuse the post-election crisis in Zimbabwe, without openly
criticizing South African President Thabo Mbeki.
"We continue to urge anybody who has leverage with the Zimbabwean government
to use it to avoid any further downward spiral," State Department spokesman
Sean McCormack told reporters.
The countries of southern Africa have influence on Zimbawean President
Robert Mugabe, he added. "It is no secret that South Africa probably has
closer relations to the Mugabe government than any other."
But asked about the role Mbeki could play personally in the crisis,
McCormack declined to respond. "I will leave it where I left it," he said.
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai urged the United Nations on
Monday to name a special envoy to Zimbabwe to investigate attacks and help
resolve the crisis, while Mbeki is expected to be a mediator.
More than four weeks after general elections in Zimbabwe, the official
results for the presidential vote have yet to be announced. The contest
pitted Mugabe, the 84-year-old who has been in power for 28 years, and
You can also download transcript via this link:
SW Radio Africa Transcript
This week journalist Violet Gonda interviews MDC Secretary General Tendai
Broadcast 25 April 2008
Violet Gonda: Tendai Biti the Secretary General of the MDC is my guest on
the programme Hot Seat today. Welcome Tendai.
Tendai Biti: Thank you Violet.
Violet: Let me start by asking about your present situation as many people
are wondering about your status in Zimbabwe , do you feel safe or have you
taken up residence outside the country?
Tendai: Well I have a lot of work to do. It was important that we carry our
story, that no one privatizes our story and that no one reinterprets our
story and so I have had extensive meetings. Here in South Africa I have met
the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the South African Communist
Party and a few hours ago I was in a lengthy meeting with Secretary General
of the ANC Cde Mandashe. I have also been meeting the civil society from
Zimbabwe in South Africa and doing a lot of press work. But more importantly
I have been gallivanting on the continent. I have been to Ghana , I have
been to Kenya , I have been to Zambia - during the Mulungushi conference and
to a few other African countries.
These are the kind of things that are very difficult to do at home and these
are the kind of things that are more problematic to try and de-construct
when you are at home. But of course the situation at home is a war zone. I
am aware that they have got a hit list and I am aware that they have people
that they have targeted - that they want to put inside and lock inside. I
will go back home and I suspect they will lock me inside. So I want to be as
useful as I can before I go back home because I may not know what will
happen to me. But we have been there before. We were there last year on
March 11 when they beat us up. Every year since 2000 I have been in prison.
There is no prison in Harare that I don ' t know. So we will go back and
confront the dictator but this work that we are doing right now is
Violet: There are numerous press reports saying you and Mr Morgan Tsvangirai
are in virtual exile. Do you know when you will return to Zimbabwe exactly?
Tendai: Well the President has been very busy. As you know he has virtually
visited every country in the region - Botswana , Zambia , Mozambique - he
was in Mozambique yesterday and today, South Africa . He was in Nigeria , he
has been to Ghana and we are basically doing the same job - which is
articulating our story because there is a coterie of people that could at
least represent us. So we are telling our story and remember this is not
opposition politics anymore. This is about a transition and how you
carefully manage that transition. So we are not in exile. We have not sort
asylum from anyone and we will not seek asylum from anyone but we will go
back home. We are aware of the trumped up, fictitious documents that they
have been authoring. We are aware that they want to destroy our Movement in
the same manner that they destroyed ZAPU.
They are busy beating up our people, they are busy killing our people and
they are busy burning people ' s homes. Harvest House (MDC headquarters) at
the present moment has been turned into a refugee centre. So it ' s the old
matrix which they did and applied to ZAPU. You beat the supporters and then
you beat the Movement itself. You destroy it morally, physically, mentally,
spiritually and then you force the same people to accept an unpalatable
package. So we have walked this road before but we will not be seduced to
take any short cuts and we will not accept to take the same route that they
used against ZAPU.
Violet: And Tendai you said you have been "gallivanting" across Africa .Is
the tide in Africa changing and do you believe it i s to do with your
Tendai: The tide has definitely changed. In fact I would argue that it
changed even before this election. But what the people of Zimbabwe did in
almost impossible conditions was to show that you can defeat the dictator
and you can defeat the dictator in peaceful, non violent peaceful change.
That five minutes in the ballot box on the 29 th of March 2008 was freedom
and our people used pens instead of bombs and they struck a blow at the
dictator. So we have been vindicated. The people of Zimbabwe have been
vindicated. Everything that we have been saying in the last 15 years that:
We have a dictator; that this dictator is unpopular and that we want
change - has been vindicated. So there is no problem with that argument, it
is yesterday ' s debate. Today ' s debate is of course 'what is the way
forward' and I suspect you are going to ask me questions on that.
But I think it is gratifying - I have done radio interviews in South Africa
, in Kenya , in Ghana , in other African countries and you are shocked by
the level of transformation, you are shocked by the level of universality of
African opinion against the dictator, against the gerontocracy . And I would
say for someone like myself who was involved in the anti-apartheid Movement
that in the minds of many African people Mugabe is exactly on par with the
apartheid state, with the apartheid regime - that is a thing of the past
that has done injustice to its people and a thing that will go whether he
likes it or not.
So the response particularly of the citizenship, particularly of the
Wananahoyi, particularly of the Wananchi (Kenyans) has been amazing and that
includes Zambia and that includes . (Interrupted)
Violet: I understand you actually had a meeting with Kenyan Prime Minister
Raila Odinga. What did you ask him and what did he have to say about the
situation in Zimbabwe ?
Tendai: Well it was a very historic meeting in that our delegation was the
first to meet him. It was his first official job as a Prime Minister so in
that respect it was a very historic meeting at the Prime Minister's office
in Nairobi . I think that he is a dedicated and committed Pan Africanist who
fully understands what we are going through and as I said to him we were
proud to be in Nairobi .
His DNA is the DNA of the opposition. In other words his Movement like our
Movement represents Movements in the post colonial state in the neo colonial
state who are fighting a tired Nationalism, who are fighting exhausted
nationalism. I've always argued together with others that nationalism agenda
beyond the aspect of democratization, beyond the aspect of one man one vote
is very limited and in most African situations the revolution of nationalism
begins to eat its own children. And in our case in the Zimbabwean case the
revolution is not eating its children the revolution is eating the
grandchildren of its grandchildren. I am a great great grandchild to Robert
Mugabe. Nelson Chamisa is a great great grandchild to Robert Mugabe; Violet
Gonda is a great great grandchild to Robert Mugabe so the revolution is
eating its great great grandchildren.
So our Movements therefore are important Movements in that they are dealing
with a form, a new matrix. The matrix of African oppression, the matrix of
African failure, the matrix of founding fathers who had a crab-like grip or
a crocodile grip on the State. And how you unpack that, how you reinterpret
that and how you find that is a challenge and you find that there is no
book, there is no dictionary, there is no encyclopedia that you can look to
for answers unlike the struggle against colonialism which had precedent -
which you could look into a book, which you could safely challenge. So it's
difficult it takes its toll on yourself as an individual as a person but
there is nothing as gratifying as knowing that history is using you, the
people of Zimbabwe are using you. It's also humbling when you know that you
are in the middle of history and you are nothing but a servant of history of
Violet: But Tendai going back to the question that I asked about Raila
Odinga - what exactly do you want from these African governments? The reason
I am asking this is because there are people who say when all is said and
done, to date, there have only been talk shops from Africa from African
Union or the SADC region and that African governments have not done much to
assist the people of Zimbabwe ?
Tendai: That ' s an armchair a-historical analysis. The struggle for
democratization whether in the pre-independence matrix or in the
post-independence matrix is not an event. It is a process. So you are not
going to expect an immediate result. We fought apartheid for over a hundred
years. The ANC for instance was formed in 1912 but democratization only came
to South Africa in 1994. Independence in Zimbabwe only came on the 18 th of
April 2000 sorry, 18 th of April 1980 and of course you've got other
situations - the situation in Zambia and the situations in other countries.
So this is a process and even getting to a situation where Mugabe is totally
delegitimized - Mugabe is the Frankenstein in the region, Mugabe is the sick
man of Africa - that has not come easily. The fact that under more conducive
circumstances, the circumstances of June 2000, the circumstances of March
2002, we could not defeat the dictator, we managed to defeat the dictator on
the 29 th of March 2008 is an acknowledgement this is a process. So one must
not underestimate and one must not seek to undermine the work that we are
doing and the positions that are being taken by African leaders.
Speaking for Prime Minister Odinga in particular, he was very clear; in fact
he has gone on record publicly to say that Mugabe is an embarrassment and
that the new Africa has no room for dinosaurs like Mugabe. I think that he
of all the leaders has actually been more outspoken. He has promised
concrete action that he will raise the issue with his cabinet and that he
will seek to use his wise counsel and influence to ensure that there is a
meeting of the African Union as soon as possible. And again that you cannot
say is talk shop more so when you consider that the linchpin, the stanchion,
the midfield of the Mugabe regime has been its reliance on Africans, its
reliance on SADC and its amazing how that goodwill is lost it is gone in a
short period of time. It is amazing that in every capital in the region
where we have been the doors have been opened and it is not deliberate
Violet that you are not going to find us in Brussels , you are not going to
find us in London . If we are going to cross the Atlantic it will be to go
to the United Nations and to the United Nations Security Council and you
know six months ago it would not be possible, six months ago
Violet: Tendai while you are on that issue let me go down South and find out
your thoughts on President Thabo Mbeki who has used the South African State
to protect Mugabe on forums like the United Nations that you have just
mentioned - where South Africa has moved for motions of no debate and in
other forums. Thabo Mbeki has shown absolute consistency in using a ruse
called quiet diplomacy to the exact opposite of what many believe. Now with
that background, the region has said Mbeki stays as mediator even though you
as the MDC have appealed for President Levy Mwanawasa to step in. Obviously
South Africa is important but Mbeki has been silent while people have been
killed and arrested in Zimbabwe . Is SADC imposing Mbeki on you?
Tendai: Well I like the way you put the question because you r question is a
conclusion. The conclusion you make which is your own conclusion is that
Mbeki has abused Zimbabweans. So proceeding on that matrix, we have said it
very carefully, we have said it very carefully because President Mbeki is
the President of South Africa, President Mbeki is a Nationalist, President
Mbeki is a man who has committed his entire life to the struggle. If you
take him out of the struggle you have taken a fish out of water. So we
respect him which is why for a long time we have resisted having any
personal - if you like - confrontation, personal acrimony with President
Mbeki. But of course people's patience has run out which is why I am not
surprised that the National Executive of the MDC took the decision that it
took that the trust had been broken between the people of Zimbabwe and
President Mbeki. When trust has been broken you cannot have that particular
individual working and acting as a mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator
and remember mediation, facilitation or arbitration are voluntary processes
unlike going to court when you are served with summons - where you have to
defend yourself whether you like it or not by a judge. You have to appear
whether you like it or not. Arbitration, facilitation and mediation are
voluntary and it is fine for SADC to impose the facilitator and we
appreciate this but we must underline the fact that these are voluntary
processes. I think one must understand the level of our frustration and some
of the comments you have already made - the role of South Africa in blocking
any efforts to deal decisively with the dictator in Zimbabwe .
I am concerned particularly with the failure to acknowledge the truth. Right
now its 24 days before the election result has been announced. That will not
happen in South Africa ; that will not happen anywhere; that would not
happen even in Kenya where the election was stolen; but there is deafening
silence, in fact there is artificial construction that there is no crisis.
Our people right now Violet, 3 million people are in the Diaspora. If you go
to the United Kingdom , every second nursing home is staffed by Zimbabweans.
If you come here to South Africa where I am in, every restaurant is
dominated by Zimbabweans and these are doctors, these are engineers, these
are scientists who are being forced to do these things and all we are asking
is to say, if yesterday we fought the enemy and the aberration of apartheid,
surely we must be strong enough, decent enough, truthful enough, strong
enough, equitable enough, bold enough to fight the aberration of black
misrule and that ' s what we are asking our brothers in the region. That ' s
what we are asking for our brothers on the continent.
Violet: Is it true that the ANC leader Jacob Zuma is more interested in
solving the problems in Zimbabwe than Thabo Mbeki has been?
Tendai: I don ' t want to put a chasm between Comrade Zuma and Comrade Mbeki
but all I can say is that the ANC, the South African Communist Party have
been decent and also I have looked at some of the statements and I think
they have been at pains to show that there is no difference between
President Mbeki ' s position and President Zuma ' s counsel. But all I can
say and I am not so sure that I should say this publicly, you know, I have
sat eight months in the SADC dialogue facilitated by President Mbeki and I
have heard these things from the people here. I am amazed by the interest of
the South African Comrades in the Zimbabwe situation and I feel hopeful that
a solution will arise. And one must not underplay the role that President
Mbeki played in facilitating the dialogue to some of us. Welsh (Ncube) and I
spent literally an entire lifetime last year working very hard to do the
best for our country.
Violet: And speaking about that dialogue,for the first time the results of
the elections were counted and posted outside the individual polling
stations and you were able to actually announce your victories as a result
of that. Should President Thabo Mbeki take some credit for that?
Tendai: Well I want to make one thing very clear there Violet, dialogue
failed that dialogue failed. The purpose of the dialogue was to create
conditions in respect of which Zimbabwe will hold an uncontested election.
That was the purpose of the dialogue. Vis-à-vis that we failed, we failed.
This election was held in an un-free and unfair environment and you know I
can take a whole day talking about that. So the dialogue failed but however
there were things that we agreed with, there were things that were agreed
upon in particular the reform of the electoral law, you know small things.
Our attitude during the process of the dialogue was that; look this struggle
is a process so we will seat this incrementally. Every small thing that we
are going to take from this table we will take and beg, which is why we
agreed to amendments to the Electoral Act, amendments to the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, amendments to the Broadcasting
Services Act, amendments to the Public Order and Security Act. The ideal
situation would have been to repeal those legislations because they are
fascist pieces of legislations but the negotiator is only as good as his
outside context, the negotiator is only as strong as those who have given
him a mandate to negotiate to negotiate. And as long as we didn't have guns
and as long as we didn't have five million people that we could put in the
streets then our negotiating team was not strong. We were only strong
technically because we were over prepared we were better prepared than ZANU
But what we then said as a negotiating team was that we will take
everything, every small little thing and believe it or not Violet, one of
the smallest things that we put in almost inconspicuously was amendment to
Section 64 of the Electoral Act - the new provision in Section 64.1a that
says that the election results have to be posted outside the polling
stations. The other thing that we put which appeared very small at that
particular time but has had fundamental effect was the provision we put in
Section 54a of the Electoral Act which says that before voting takes place
ballot papers received at the polling stations must be counted and serial
numbers recorded. At that time these appeared to be small things but I can
assure you Violet, this election would not have achieved what we did without
those very small fortuitous gains. So I am very grateful that at least
something came out from a process that largely failed and of course
President Mbeki is right to claim the credit. We cannot take that away from
Violet: Sorry to interrupt you there Tendai but I am running out of time and
I need your opinion on a few other issues. On the issue of the way forward
what do you think needs to be done to make Robert Mugabe and the Joint
Operations Command to actually wake up and face the reality that they no
longer have the mandate of the people?
Tendai: Well, my mother is a Christian, my mother says, "That's not your
problem that's God's problem." and I tell my mother, it is our problem and
God helps those who help themselves. I'll tell you the following Violet;
Mugabe doesn't have a choice, his choice is either to assist the people's
victory on the 29 th March 2008, allow a new government to be formed and he
will go home to Zvimba to farm and nobody will follow him, nobody will be
vindictive or retributive. Or alternately he hangs on, but the more he hangs
on the more he guarantees himself a dishonourable exit because attitudes are
hardening very quickly and opinions are hardening very quickly and the
weight of African opinion which is already gathered against him will now
coalesce into decisive access. So Mugabe really doesn't have a choice. His
choice is either to go now or to go dishonourably later.
And there are four things that are critical Violet; the first thing is that
we have won this election and that is beyond a reasonable doubt. The second
thing Violet is this economy which he doesn't control anymore. Where in the
world have you ever heard of real inflation in a country that has not gone
in a war of real inflation of 500 000%? Where in the world have you heard of
a situation where the economy operates at 5% of normal production capacity?
If your body Violet was operating at 5% you'll be dead, you'll be clinically
dead. So the economy is critical. Third is isolation. The isolation of the
West was okay because Mugabe survived that, but he cannot survive the
isolation of SADC. He cannot survive the isolation of the region and I want
to give you one example of that Violet; look at the way that Chinese ship
was chased away from Durban and no African country could grant it the right
to harbour. That's a reflection Violet of the capacity of the region. But
there it was not just the official of South African government, what
happened there was that SATAWU the South African Transport and Allied
Workers Union refused to deal with that ship. So all I am saying Violet is
that the region either through its governments or through its workers or
through its people is going to react and has already reacted and Mugabe
cannot survive that. The fourth thing is the internal collapse or civil war
in ZANU PF itself. There is a war in ZANU PF, the whole thing has collapsed
and this is only Mugabe's force that is keeping it together. ZANU PF won't
last, it is going to implode and explode as a matter of urgency. The fifth
thing is of course the fact that we are organising as a political party, we
are organising as civic society, we are organising as Zimbabweans and we are
ready for the dictator. So Mugabe will not last.
Violet: The regime is reversing your gains through violence. What sort of
countermeasures are you taking to ensure that the momentum is not reversed?
Tendai: We are having a National Executive Committee tomorrow. We are
sending our leaders; I've just been speaking to many civic organisations
today who are going to set up what they are calling a coalition against
resistance to fight back. There are people in the villages right now feeding
people. As I said before Harvest House is an International Red Cross centre
right now. There are hundreds of people that have had there houses burnt so
civic society and the MDC itself are moving to simply say to people we have
hope. I've just been talking to people from Zimbabwe who are so excited
about the fact that they have been watching the work we are doing in Kenya
and so forth. So there is hope I would say Violet that we are in a very
strong position, we are in a very, very strong position and I can assure you
that it is my last word Violet that there is a God out there.
Violet: And finally Tendai what is your concept of a government of national
unity in the interim?
Tendai: We have said that we have no problem with a transitional government
but our terms are as follows: Mugabe cannot be part of it, Mugabe belongs to
the past he is a Hyena. The new Zimbabwe belongs to Cheetahs so that is our
answer basically that the new Zimbabwe needs everyone to be a shareholder.
You cannot afford a winner take all situation. You need everyone together to
be shareholders so that we can reconstruct a Zimbabwe that we are proud of,
not a Zimbabwe that belongs to the MDC, not a Zimbabwe that belongs to ZANU
PF because that isolates and alienates others. It has to be a Zimbabwe that
belongs to everyone but it cannot be a transitional government in which
Mugabe is at the helm. Quite clearly Morgan Tsvangirai won this election so
he has to be the dominant player but everyone must play a role in it. So we
are drawing a line vis-à-vis Mugabe. But in principle we have no problem
Violet: Thank you very much Tendai Biti.
Tendai: Thanks Violet.
Comments and feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Monsters and Critics
Apr 28, 2008, 16:32 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - Lawyers for the Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change have accused the country's police of being in contempt of
court Monday after to follow a court order to release about 250 detained
The High Court in Zimbabwe's capital Harare earlier in the day ordered the
police to release the opposition supporters or bring them to court Monday.
The ruling by Justice Mary-Anne Gora followed an urgent appeal by opposition
MDC lawyers for the release of the activists rounded up in a raid on the
party's offices in Harare, saying they needed medical treatment.
Speaking outside the Harare magistrate court, MDC lawyer Alec Muchadehama
said 'we are of the view that this is tantamount to contempt of court by the
'My colleagues are at the various police stations where they are still
detained. This is now an extended unlawful detention.'
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment.
Police raided the headquarters of the opposition MDC on Friday in an
operation they said was aimed at finding suspects accused of arson attacks
in Mashonaland East province, a stronghold of the ruling ZANU PF party.
The opposition claims that there were people who had sought shelter at the
offices from retributive attack at the hands of war veterans and ruling
party militants in the province.
According to Muchadehama, about 30, among them elderly villagers and
breastfeeding mothers and children, have been released since they were
arrested on Friday.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--A court in Zimbabwe has ordered the release of more
than 200 jailed opposition activists if police failed to press charges
against them amid fears over their condition, a lawyer said Monday.
"We got an order from the High Court...that they be released immediately. If
not, they should be charged and be brought to court by 1600 hours (1400
GMT)," Alec Muchadehama, one of the lawyers for the detainees, told AFP.
The activists were rounded up by armed riot police at the headquarters of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, in the capital Harare
on Friday in a raid to find suspects in a series of arson attacks.
Muchadehama said the court order also allowed for lawyers to have access to
the activists, who were being held at various police stations across the
capital, and gave the detainees the right to seek medical attention.
Police said they detained 215 people when they raided the MDC offices.
But the MDC said at least 245 who had sought shelter from retributive
attacks at the hands of pro-government militias had been rounded up and 30
of them, including young mothers and children, were later released.
Also Friday, police raided the offices of the only independent local
election observer group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, and took
away some files and computer equipment.
The MDC says at least 15 of its supporters have been killed and thousands
displaced following attacks by Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-
Patriotic Front, or ZANU-PF, militants after last month's general elections.
Although presidential election results are yet to be officially announced,
the MDC says its leader Morgan Tsvangirai was the outright winner, while
ZANU-PF says there was no clear winner and should be a run-off.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Mon 28 Apr 2008, 17:59 GMT
WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - The White House on Monday urged against
sending arms to Zimbabwe where a disputed presidential election has provoked
a tense standoff and raised fears of bloodshed.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino did not mention any country by name but
said: "We urge anyone who is thinking about sending arms to the region to
rethink that, so that we can try to solve this peacefully."
Earlier this month, states in the region had refused to allow a Chinese ship
to unload arms destined for Zimbabwe.
A delay in issuing the result of the presidential election had raised fears
of bloodshed in a country already suffering an economic collapse.
The results of the March 29 election were to be released on Tuesday, a month
after the vote.
The delay had led to a tense standoff that drew opposition accusations that
President Robert Mugabe was trying to rig the outcome to keep his 28-year
hold on power.
Analysts say a win for Mugabe, whose ruling party lost control of parliament
in the election, would deepen the economic collapse in the once prosperous
Zimbabwe has been hit with severe shortages in food, fuel and foreign
currency, and the world's highest inflation rate.
"We remain very concerned about the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe,
especially when you see reports of people being persecuted for expressing
their political views," Perino said.
(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
JOHANNESBURG (AFP)--Zimbabwe's main opposition leader called on the U.N.
Monday to send a special envoy to investigate attacks and resolve the
political crisis there.
The U.N. should "send a special envoy to investigate this violence and
recommend a way to resolve the issue," Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the
Movement for Democratic Change, told reporters in neighboring South Africa.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION
the global voice of the legal profession
Zimbabwe: SADC, AU and UN should immediately deploy human rights monitors to
protect Zimbabwe’s citizens from violence
The Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the United
Nations should urgently deploy human rights monitors to independently
observe and report on the escalating political violence in Zimbabwe, the
International Bar Association (IBA) said today.
Violence following the 29 March 2008 elections has reportedly left at least
ten people dead, hundreds seriously injured and thousands at grave risk of
displacement. The current violence follows a longstanding pattern of human
rights violations carried out by Robert Mugabe’s government: abuses are
systematic, widespread and egregious.
‘It is time for the international community to take effective action to halt
Robert Mugabe’s campaign of violence against those who oppose him. To date,
the international community’s response to the crisis in Zimbabwe has been
feeble, and its condemnation ineffective and disheartening,’ said Mark
Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association.
‘An international presence on the ground will help to protect people at the
mercy of a volatile and dangerous regime, and it will send a clear message
that those responsible for human rights violations will be held accountable,’
United Nations must move
from rhetoric into action
Press release, CIDSE and the Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network, Brussels 25/04/08
CIDSE and the Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network, as agencies supporting relief and
development work in Zimbabwe are deeply concerned about the country’s
deteriorating security and the resulting humanitarian crisis. The
intimidating presence of security personnel and the physical violence taking
place across the country is severely limiting our partners’ ability to
fulfill their humanitarian mission.
“People are being abducted, tortured, humiliated … and, in some cases,
people are murdered” stated the leaders of the three main church bodies The
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’
Conference (ZCBC) and The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC). The Zimbabwe
Christian Alliance, a network of Christian leaders and organizations,
confirmed that “Churches in Bulawayo and Masvingo are already sheltering
people fleeing violence in the rural areas.” These statements were
corroborated by the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights who
reported over 300 cases of organised violence and torture since 1st of
April. Their reports name the Zimbabwean police and army as the alleged
This security situation severely limits access to certain areas of the
country. Our partners cannot carry out food security assessments in the
post-harvest season and are unable to plan properly the appropriate support
to the most vulnerable sectors of the population in this coming year.
Zimbabwe’s three main church bodies highlight that “There is widespread
famine in most parts of the country…. The shops are empty and basic
foodstuffs are unavailable”.
In this volatile environment, we call upon the United Nations (UN) to fulfil
their mandate and start playing a much more significant role in Zimbabwe. We
also want to recall that it is the duty of The United Nations to conform
with its own Security Council resolution 1674, which confirms the
“Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic
cleansing, and crimes against humanity” as an international norm. It is now
time for the UN and its member states to move from rhetoric into action and
provide the people of Zimbabwe with protection, a peaceful environment and
humanitarian aid, which is delivered swiftly and effectively. We call on the
UN to facilitate and coordinate principled humanitarian action in
partnership with all national and international agencies.
This is a matter of utmost urgency as ZCC, ZCBC and EFZ warn of possible
escalation. Their warning could not be starker - "if nothing is done to help
the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing
genocide similar to that experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hot
spots in Africa and elsewhere".
Notes to the editor:
• Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network: The network comprises over 20 faith based
organisations in Europe working in solidarity with their partner
organisations in Zimbabwe.
• CIDSE: CIDSE is an alliance of 15 catholic development organizations from
Europe and North America (www.cidse.org). CIDSE is based in Brussels.
by Fanuel Jongwe 2 hours, 29 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader on Monday called on
President Robert Mugabe to step down after 28 years in power following an
historic victory by the opposition in parliament.
The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai,
spoke in neighbouring South Africa as the authorities in Harare kept more
than 200 opposition supporters behind bars in defiance of a court order.
"Mugabe should concede that he cannot be president without controlling the
parliament," Tsvangirai told reporters in Johannesburg.
"The old man must go and have an honourable exit," he added.
Tsvangirai has proclaimed himself the winner against Mugabe in a
presidential election on March 29 from which official results have never
been released despite mounting international pressure on Zimbabwe to do so.
The UN Security Council was set to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis on Tuesday,
with permanent members Britain and the United States putting pressure on
Mugabe to step down and for the United Nations to intervene.
The main US envoy for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer,
has threatened Zimbabwe with UN sanctions if the crisis continues and
Britain has called for a UN mission to verify human rights abuses.
A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Utloile Silaigwana, said
a partial recount of ballots from the elections would be completed by Monday
but could not say when exactly the results would be released.
"I can't put a timeframe on it," Silaigwana said.
The opposition accuses Mugabe of ordering the recount in order to buy time
to unleash a campaign of violence in rural areas that voted against him so
as to secure victory in a possible second round of the presidential
The opposition says that at least 15 of its supporters have been killed in
politically motivated attacks since the elections, hundreds injured and
thousands more forced to flee their homes by pro-government militias.
The government has dismissed these reports as "lies" aimed at stirring up
unrest in Zimbabwe and has accused Western countries of seeking to undermine
Zimbabwe's independence and ruining the country with their sanctions.
The political crisis in this troubled southern African state comes on top of
an economic collapse, with shortages of most basic foodstuffs and an
inflation rate officially put at 165,000 percent -- the highest in the
Official results from parliamentary elections also held on March 29 show
that Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party has lost control of the legislature for
the first time since independence from Britain in 1980.
Tsvangirai said on Monday that the MDC would work together with a breakaway
faction of the movement to form a majority in parliament.
Zimbabwe has a strong presidential system of government but analysts say the
president still needs the support of parliament to pass key legislation.
The opposition leader also called for the United Nations to send a special
envoy to investigate the violence and ease a transition of power, accusing
the government of "crimes against humanity."
The fate of 215 opposition activists rounded up by armed riot police in a
swoop on the headquarters of the MDC on Friday remained uncertain despite an
international outcry calling for their release.
"We haven't had any access to them. We served the court order on the various
police stations but they are still being held and this is in contempt of the
court order," Alec Muchadehama, a lawyer for the detainees, told AFP on
Muchadehama said some of the detainees needed urgent medical attention.
Also on Monday, a group of veterans from the country's national liberation
war that has been critical of Mugabe in the past accused the 84-year-old
leader of imposing "a fascist dictatorship."
In a statement issued on Sunday, Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights, condemned politically motivated attacks and called on both
government and opposition supporters to refrain from violence.
Reflecting on the crisis in Zimbabwe, one is immediately struck by the
preoccupation of most commentators with President Robert Mugabe and the land
reform programme. Many have touted the confluence of these two issues as the
main drivers of that country’s political, economic and humanitarian woes.
This particular perspective, which is most dominant in the media, has
captured popular attention. This is another indication of the prevailing
“event centric” analysis on Zimbabwe that i referred to in my last
However, while these two factors are certainly important to understanding
the current problems faced by Zimbabwe, little room has been left for the
consideration of a number of underlying dynamics that have also contributed
to the current stalemate. This omission encourages the perpetuation of myths
and rumour, and leads to serious miscalculations in the various transition
scenarios that have been mooted. One of the dynamics that has been largely
omitted from the debate is the critical role played by what I have chosen to
term the “security dilemma” faced by Zimbabwe’s elite.
In this regard, for the purposes of this particular assessment, I have
located Zimbabwe’s political crisis as the result of attempts by the ruling
elite to block the transition to enhanced democracy. Also central to the
argument that I present, is a brief conceptual framework that explains how
this powerful ruling group has responded to the threat implicit in political
transformation, and how the dominant nationalist ideology represented by the
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu–PF) has fed into this
The celebratory mood that should have marked Zimbabwe’s independence
celebrations has eluded a large proportion of Zimbabwe’s’ population, who
find themselves in the throes of the worst social and economic depression to
have hit the country since it became independent. The current economic and
political crisis has reversed the social and economic gains that the country
experienced under the leadership of President Mugabe in the first decade of
his administration. These positive developments were brought about by
massive investment in such sectors as education and primary healthcare. In
contrast, Zimbabweans are currently faced with an economy that is nearing
collapse. It is characterised by hyperinflation, rampant unemployment, food
and fuel shortages, and has been rated by some economists as the
fastest-shrinking economy in the world.
The steady decline in living standards for most Zimbabweans throughout the
1990s was generally identified as one of the main reasons for the growing
dissatisfaction with the government felt in society. This prompted civic
groups and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to form a political
party, the MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, in September 1999. Judging by its
track record, Zanu–PF has failed to provide the broad mass of the people
with either human security or social peace, despite its nationalist
rhetoric. This deficiency is examined by Patrick Bond and Masimba Manyanya
in their work Zimbabwe’s plunge: Exhausted nationalism, neoliberalism, and
the search for social justice. They argue that after two decades of
independence, the country’s voters are experiencing “fatigue” arising from
the ruling party’s misgovernment and economic mismanagement.
Unfortunately the MDC has not been able to translate the popular discontent
over the government’s policies into mobilisation in support of the
opposition, which might ordinarily lead to a transition in its favour. This
failure stems not only from deficiencies within the opposition, but also
from extreme structural bias in the electoral process. The MDC has yet to
participate in an election that can objectively be deemed free and fair, and
to express the will of the people. It is ironic, particularly in the year
that marks 28 years of independence, that the early struggle for liberation
from colonial rule was based on extending the vote to all, regardless of
ethnicity, race or affiliation (whether political or religious). The
Zanu–PF-led government through its conduct, especially during the last four
elections, seems to have disregarded this aspect of the nationalist struggle
for liberation in which it took part.
But this argument may be challenged. Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, as
positive as its intentions were, may have had the unintended effect of
adding certain tendencies or ideologies to the whole nationalist movement
that may account for the ruling party’s apparently revisionist and
counter-revolutionary stance. It can be argued that Zanu-PF nationalism,
seen as a social movement, was basically hegemonic and intolerant of
diversity, internal and external criticism and dissent. As a movement it was
basically sweeping in what it claimed and annihilatory in what it rejected.
This negative aspect of the legacy of liberation is particularly evident in
the electoral politics of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe illustrated this
phenomenon when he said in 1976: “Our votes must go together with our guns;
after all, any vote we shall have, shall have been the product of the gun.
The gun, which produces the votes, should remain its security officer, its
guarantor. The people’s vote and the people’s guns are always inseparable
While the liberation struggle was necessary and indeed instrumental in the
country’s gaining independence, the style of rule in Zimbabwe has scarcely
evolved in institutional terms. It is still characterised by intolerance,
intimidation and violence. The political culture derived from Zimbabwe’s
liberation struggle seems to have instilled in many political leaders and
their supporters a militaristic conception and perception of politics and
political process. These elements in Zimbabwe’s political culture are the
main reasons that many observers have argued that in the current political
context the prospect of holding a free and fair election that can result in
the peaceful transfer of power is unlikely, if not impossible. This will
probably be the case until the present style of government, which is
predicated on the importance of regime security, is replaced or radically
transformed. What is needed is a political dispensation that embraces a more
pluralistic conception of political competition, based on democracy, human
security, tolerance, rule of law, consent of the governed, and respect for
human rights. The crisis in Zimbabwe is essentially structural and
deep-rooted. It cannot be resolved through tinkering with peripheral
symptoms or piecemeal measures. Instead it requires far-reaching, honest and
What follows is an attempt to establish the extent to which the insecurity
felt by the regime helps to explain the manner in which Zimbabwe’s political
elite has behaved in response to the political and socio-economic challenges
that have brought about the country’s present state of near-collapse. As
such, I would also argue that the political elite in Zimbabwe are
increasingly trapped in an “insecurity dilemma”. This formulation not only
supplies a reason for the uncompromising rigidity and resistance to change
currently evident in the higher echelons of Zimbabwe’s government, but,
equally important, it may contribute to a more realistic assessment of
possible models for transition.
Change has, in and of itself, become an anathema to Harare’s ruling elite, a
social evil that must be opposed at all costs. While it is expected as
normal political behaviour that an elite should attempt to control the pace
and the nature of political change, the degree to which President Mugabe and
his Cabinet have directed the political process goes beyond the simple
perpetuation of Zanu–PF’s regime.
The process of regime change in Africa, as in most of the world, has
typically occurred during periods that are characterised by political and/or
economic crises. While the general expectation is that peaceful, negotiated
regime change will result in more inclusive (and, many would hope, more
democratic) political systems, the reality is that political change rarely
occurs in a linear manner. However, the question that the Zimbabwean crisis
also poses is what prompts authoritarian regimes to liberalise, to become
more democratic, to accept political competition?
Traditional political scholarship has often put forward expected-utility
theories, and in particular used rational-choice models of decision-making
as the conceptual framework most suitable to explain political behaviour. In
this sense, as Nicholson points out, “actors behave in circumstances of risk
as if they were maximising the expected value of some defined concept of
utility”. Applied to Zimbabwe, this would mean that the use of violence or
other means of coercion would cease when the cost of coercion is estimated
as being higher than the benefits of liberalisation. Yet, even when faced
with economic collapse, a deteriorating humanitarian situation and the
increasing likelihood of social unrest, Zimbabwe’s ruling elite continues to
view the use of violence as an acceptable means of attaining its political
Zimbabwe has historically been characterised by a culture of impunity that
allows those in power to use it without restraint. This has continued from
colonial times, through the Smith regime, the Gukurahundi massacres in
Matabeleland and the Midlands in the 1980s, to the more recent wave of
organised violence and torture, particularly since April 2000.
It has been argued that the impartial application of justice will convey the
message to present and future generations in that country that perpetrators
of politically motivated acts of torture and assault will be held
accountable and punished.
Such a message could presage an end to the cycles of political repression
and violence that have afflicted Zimbabwe for decades. However, very few
countries including Zimbabwe have constitutional provisions that allow for
the prosecution of sitting presidents. Furthermore, the international norm
has tended to protect a head of state and, in certain instances, government
officials, giving them immunity from prosecution while in office.
The modern trend seems to run contrary to this, especially when the state
takes the dual principles of accountability and transparency seriously.
There is also the possibility that a head of state may face two kinds of
prosecution. While an agreement may be made to grant amnesty to perpetrators
of gross human rights violations (notably Mugabe himself) in order to smooth
the political transition and act in the spirit of reconciliation, national
amnesties do not protect individuals from international prosecution.
Charges can be brought either by other states, using the principle of
universal jurisdiction, or by the recently established International
Criminal Court. This prospect, in and of itself, has contributed to a
heightened sense of vulnerability in Harare’s inner circles. Undoubtedly
this has been the reason for their increasingly inflexible attitude towards
negotiation with the MDC.
The now internationally accepted trend to hold heads of state and other
government officials accountable for their actions after their term in
office has been most evident in the cases of Augusto Pinochet and Charles
Taylor. According to the developing international legal position on crimes
against humanity (including other gross human rights violations such as
torture), no immunity can be granted for such crimes, there is no statute of
limitations, and any state can try offenders in terms of international law.
So, even when hiding in foreign countries, tyrants and torturers can only be
assured of safety only while their host governments remain in power. A
pragmatic reason that international law provides for universal jurisdiction
is to ensure that there is no safe haven for those responsible for the most
While Zimbabwe has not ratified the statute of the International Criminal
Court and is therefore not bound by it, ratification by a future government
in Zimbabwe or jurisdiction granted through a United Nations Security
Council resolution could mean that those responsible for directing,
inflicting or condoning torture and like crimes might well find themselves
before a court. Alternatively the perpetrators will have to spend the rest
of their lives under threat of prosecution. The Pinochet case established,
as a historic precedent, that former heads of state and their officials are
no longer immune from international prosecution for crimes against humanity
committed while in power.
As a result of the above, a dilemma arises, particularly for authoritarian
and undemocratic political cabals confronted with the possibility of change.
This centres on whether they should reach an accommodation with opposition
forces when there can be no guarantee of immunity from prosecution. In
Zimbabwe, the spectre of the prosecution of Zanu–PF’s most prominent members
for gross human rights abuses has created a feeling of insecurity in their
minds, particularly President Mugabe’s and some of his security chiefs. To a
certain extent this may help to explain the unwillingness of the political
elite to share power, contemplate the possibility of a government of unity
and national reconciliation, or negotiate a peaceful change. This phenomenon
is referred to as “the insecurity dilemma of the elite”.
Transitions of the kind Zimbabwe is facing at present would be negotiators
with the problem of balancing the need for justice for the victims with the
needs of the perpetrators for amnesty and/or immunity from prosecution. In
Zimbabwe, negotiators or would-be negotiators are faced with the added
pressure that a transition is urgently required to bring the country out of
its political and economic quagmire. Yet, is it possible to grant exemption
when there are strong prima facie grounds for charging the Zanu-PF regime
with gross human rights violations? These have involved “the concerted
conduct of many and [are] liable to involve the complicity of the officials
of the state in which they occur, if not of the state itself”. How is it
possible to bring the regime to the negotiating table without making
concessions that compromise justice? On the other hand, how can those
managing the negotiations prevent justice itself from holding Zimbabwe’s
political change to ransom? Is it simply a matter of a clash between
principle and expediency? Another consideration is that, while political
pragmatism may lead those who will negotiate Zimbabwe’s political future to
reach an internal compromise by granting amnesty and immunity to members of
the regime, there can be no guarantees that crimes committed by them will
not be prosecuted outside the borders of Zimbabwe.
One solution to the problems of balancing the principle of justice against
that of political expediency is to separate the issues of transition and
accountability. For Zimbabwe, the current economic and political crisis
requires a solution without delay. This does not and should not mean that
investigations should not take place, or that crimes against humanity should
not be examined. While there should never be a trade-off between addressing
the regime’s history of gross human rights violations and finding a
political and economic solution to the country’s crisis, actions to redress
human rights violations should wait until the transition has been
negotiated. At this stage accountability should not be made a matter for
negotiation, but be left to the (as yet hypothetical) new democratic regime
If progress is to be made in moving Zimbabwe on from its current stalemate,
negotiations will have to take place between the two main political parties.
To most observers, a negotiated settlement between these parties offers the
best way forward. Any process initiated to solve the multi-layered national
crisis should include a participatory and comprehensive review of the
Constitution and of the country’s electoral laws and institutions. These
reviews should involve the full participation of civil society, political
parties, the business community and faith-based organisations, and their
recommendations should include provision for a comprehensive and equitable
redistribution of resources. Afterwards preparations for fresh national
elections should begin, and a truth, justice and reconciliation body that
interrogates Zimbabwe’s past and present injustices should be established.
The current dilemma facing the Zimbabwean elite has arisen to a great degree
out of uncertainty and fear of prosecution. This group’s need to secure
itself and the state against change has worked both ways. It has attempted
to preserve itself by excluding alternative political and social influences
but it has created a protective iron cage that imprisons its members. The
dangers faced by the political elite in Zimbabwe can be expressed in another
way. As Mohamad Ayoob puts it in, The Third World Security Predicament:
“[I]n most Third World states there are competing forces of authority,
usually weaker than the state in terms of coercive capacity, but equal or
stronger in terms of legitimacy.
“This greater credibility of political forces outside government leads to
greater domestic insecurity for the ruler, creating “vulnerabilities that
threaten to, or have [the] potential to, bring down or significantly weaken
state structure, both territorial and institutional[,] and regimes”.
One implication of this theory is that transitional times in authoritarian
states such as Zimbabwe are especially difficult for the governing regime,
as they become exposed to domestic challenges. If this is true, then one can
expect that in such periods as the one that Zimbabwe is currently facing,
the elite will turn to repression of political opposition and co-optation as
a means of addressing its insecurity and regaining legitimacy.
However, this may well be counter-productive: the desire for legitimacy and
increased security may well push the elite back into its iron cage and stall
any prospects that justice and a negotiated political settlement may
prevail. The words of James Der Derian encapsulate the current situation in
Zimbabwe: “A safe life requires safe truths. The strange and the alien
remain unexamined, the unknown becomes identified as evil, and evil provokes
hostility — recycling the desire for security.”
To avoid recycling old insecurities that may very well result in the
perpetuation of the current political stalemate, there is a need to balance
the desire of the victims of the regime for justice against the wishes of
the perpetrators for amnesty and /or immunity from prosecution. Failure to
balance these contending needs could result in the principle of justice
becoming a retardant to Zimbabwe’s political transformation. One solution to
the problem is to separate the issues of transition and accountability. For
Zimbabwe, there is an urgent need to solve the current economic and
political crisis. Therefore it is a question of deciding whether calling to
account those responsible for the regime’s appalling history of gross human
rights violations is as imperative as finding a political and economic
resolution to its woes.
P Bond & M Manyanya, Zimbabwe’s plunge: Exhausted nationalism,
neoliberalism, and the search for social justice, Weaver Press, Harare,
These sentiments expressing his view of electoral democracy were uttered
during a radio broadcast from Maputo in 1976.
This view camouflages a basic contempt for electoral democracy in that it is
actually saying the gun is the more important of the “inseparable twins”. If
the twins have to be separated, the vote is readily sacrificed for the gun.
Zanu-PF has demonstrated this philosophy ever since it attained power in
1980, although admittedly this was power guaranteed it by its control of the
gun. Zimbabweans have, therefore, been held hostage by the gun ever since
independence. The Zanu-PF regime consolidated itself in the 1980s through
the use of the gun that crushed the rival PF-Zapu and culminated in the
forced Unity Accord of 22 December 1987. In each successive election since
independence, the gun has been the “security officer”, the “guarantor” of
the votes for Mugabe and Zanu-PF who have not hesitated to use it. Zanu-PF’s
commitment to the use of the gun has increased as its popularity has
decreased, particularly since the party was defeated in the referendum held
in February 2000 and the advent of a formidable opposition party in the MDC.
For a more detailed discussion of this topic, see the late great Masipula
Sithole’s The fight for democracy needs commitment to democracy, Financial
Gazette, 6 January 2002.
M Nicholson, The conceptual bases of the war trap, Journal of Conflict
Resolution 13(2), June 1987. The earlier description of expected-utility
analysis is taken from J von Neumann & O Morgenstern, Theory of games and
economic behavior, Princeton University Press, 1944.
Ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No 3) (1999).
A P Reeler, Crimes against humanity and the Zimbabwe transition, Pretoria, 6
This entry was posted on Friday, April 25th, 2008 at 9:48
25 April 2008
ALTHOUGH the government has ruled out military intervention in Zimbabwe,
there is a case for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to
save what is left of its credibility by making clear to President Robert
Mugabe the possibility of such intervention.
Analysts argue that doing so could reduce the likelihood that Mugabe will
proceed with the coup-by-stealth that appears to be under way, subverting
the will of his people as expressed in the March 29 presidential elections.
Two weeks ago, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told the media: “I want to
stress what the Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has said (on her
visit to the Netherlands last week), that if we South Africans suddenly go
into an illusionary frame of mind that what we think can happen, or must
happen, then we are living in very dangerous times.
“There is no South African government that will try to impose its will by
force, and that will never happen,” he said emphatically.
But Laurence Caromba of the Centre for International Political Studies
argues that Mugabe could be more inclined to relinquish control if he was
convinced that the consequences of illegally holding on to power might
include regional military intervention.
Caromba, a researcher at the University of Pretoria, says that President
Thabo Mbeki — in conjunction with fellow SADC members — has a legal right to
launch military action intervene in Zimbabwe to defend the election results
in that country.
Such action would be to in line with the African Union (AU) charter, which
was amended in 2003 to permit military intervention in countries facing “a
serious threat to legitimate order”.
This move was also reinforced at subregional level in 2004, when the SADC
Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security legalised intervention in cases
of “a threat to the legitimate authority of the government (such as a
Caromba says that such a “legal government intervention” is an important
tool in the conduct of foreign policy. It was used successfully in three
instances in the past 10 years to restore order in Sierra Leone, Lesotho
and, most recently, in the Comoros.
In 1997, Nigeria sent troops into Sierra Leone to depose Maj Johnny Koroma ,
a young military officer who had successfully toppled the elected government
of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.
“Kabbah went on to serve two terms before stepping down, during which he
successfully brought the Sierra Leone civil war to a conclusion. Sierra
Leone has remained a constitutional democracy to this day,” Caromba says.
In 1998, SADC forces invaded Lesotho to prevent an imminent military coup
and restore the civilian government to power. Despite the grave mistakes,
coupled with unexpectedly heavy resistance from mutinous elements of the
Lesotho Defence Force, and widespread looting in Maseru, “order was
restored, military rule was averted and, as a result, Lesotho is today a
reasonably healthy and robust democracy”.
As recently as a month ago, the AU launched an amphibious invasion of
Anjouan, an island in the Comoros, to overthrow Col Mohamed Bacar, who had
ruled the island as a virtual fiefdom after holding rigged elections and
declaring himself president.
After a day of fighting, with troops from Sudan, Tanzania and Senegal
participating, aided by logistical support from Libya and France, the
intervention forces routed Bacar’s forces, and the colonel fled to the
nearby French island of Mayotte.
As with previous African interventions, this right would stem not only from
humanitarian concerns, but from Mugabe’s illegal seizure of power.
“Legal government intervention” is an African innovation: an international
law response to the cycle of coups and counter-coups that has plagued
African states for decades. Both in treaties and in practice, African states
have subtly shifted away from their traditional fixation on sovereignty, and
begun to assert the right to intervene to prevent unconstitutional changes
As the situation stands in Zimbabwe, the bulk of the evidence suggests
Mugabe is slowly unleashing pro-government militias and effectively
dismantling the constitutional order. He pointedly refused to attend a SADC
summit aimed at defusing the crisis, while war veterans march through the
streets of Harare in shows of force and soldiers beat up opposition
supporters for holding “premature” victory celebrations, pending the release
of delayed presidential election results.
“The AU charter does not call on member states merely to prop up incumbent
governments, but to protect the legitimate order. Conceptually, there is
little difference between illegally assuming power and illegally maintaining
power after losing an election,” Caromba says.
“In the event that Mugabe’s regime attempts to subvert Zimbabwe’s
constitution, either by altering election results or resorting to
undisguised military rule, it will constitute a threat to legitimate order
as grave as any military coup, and create a legal basis for military
intervention under both AU and SADC agreements,” he says.
Therefore, states in the region should, at the very least, begin preparing
for such a scenario.
Analyst Kuseni Dlamini says it is highly unlikely that the region would
consider such a drastic step because the consequences may be “as
far-reaching as they may be irreversible for Zimbabwe, southern Africa and
Africa at large”.
“It is vital to consider both the intended and unintended consequences of
military intervention in a country such as Zimbabwe, which has a military
pact with Angola, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he says.
Admittedly, military force should always be a last resort and should never
be entered into lightly, as its use would automatically entail “great costs
and risks” to the lives of both soldiers in the region and Zimbabwean
However, Caromba argues that by making the possibility of military
intervention explicit, South African diplomats would actually reduce the
likelihood of Mugabe risking such a scenario.
Analyst Martin Rupiya of the Institute for Security Studies says the SADC
still has several other instruments, such as sanctions, to explore before
entertaining the idea of military intervention. “One cannot see that
happening” especially since other countries within the AU, such as the
Sudan, have been treated differently to this day.
“The joint UN-AU peace mission for Darfur is struggling to deal with
Khartoum just to deploy its forces that have long been approved, even by the
United Nations Security Council,” he says.
Rupiya says the AU structures on peace and security are still fragile and
too stretched to dare to take on countries such as Zimbabwe, while it seemed
easier to take on the Comoros or Lesotho.
“There are different rules for bigger boys and small boys.”
a.. Radebe is diplomatic editor.
Something tells me that confirmation by the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission
(ZEC) that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will hang onto its
parliamentary majority, is just a ruse to lend credibility to the latest of
Mugabe’s insane schemes — that the “Old Man” has won the presidential
Wild and woolly?
Let’s look at a few givens.
a.. The election was rigged and yet Mugabe and the Zanu-PF still lost
b.. Instead of simply releasing the results as any normal electoral body
would do, the ZEC allowed them to filter out as if the MDC and Zanu-PF were
running neck and neck
c.. A recount was required even though certain results were not yet
d.. Mugabe was trying to re-arm his forces
e.. Wholesale murder, torture and intimidation are on the go and,
f.. We still await the presidential election result.
Why after all this time would the presidential result still be outstanding?
I know many schools have closed but surely there must be someone left who
can count in Zimbabwe. It is inconceivable that the puppets of the ZEC could
not count them all by this time? In South Africa, with a far larger
electorate, the results are in within a couple of days at worst, usually
within hours of the last ballot having been cast.
In terms of strategy let’s look at what Mugabe has tried. Firstly, filtering
the results out slowly to make it seem as if a fair, but close contest, was
under way. We know that’s garbage because only his newspapers and media were
allowed to cover the election. Constituencies were managed to ensure that
all of his people voted while urban voters struggled, civil servants and
security personel were caught voting before their superiors instead of in
private. Moreover, four million exiles — an entire anti Mugabe bloc — were
denied the vote, etc, etc, and yet he still managed to lose. (Man oh man
they must really hate Uncle Bob badly up there).
Secondly, trying to bring in arms to slaughter those with bad voting habits.
The trade unions saw that off and now the African National Congress and
other parties are becoming highly annoyed at being used. Go you good things,
go! Let Uncle Bob know exactly how you feel and then some.
Thirdly, by ignoring a crisis summit called to try and deal with the
deteriorating humanitarian nightmare that is Zimbabwe.
The SADC leaders, on cue, fiddled while Zimbabwe burned but this time
powerful African groups inside the ANC and outside are telling Bob it’s time
Worse, while South Africa tried to keep Zimbabwe off the United Nations
Security Council agenda others would not allow it. Worse yet, Britain has
put it on the table for Tuesday.
So Mugabe and the Zanu-PF are fast running out of time and options.
Suddenly we are told the presidential result is imminent? From the people
who told us “we want recounts of unreleased results and we can’t count fast
enough” — the ZEC — we suddenly hear they’ve got the whole result in their
Accordingly, it seems that the only tactic left to Bob’s-your-tyrant is to
declare himself the winner — perhaps a run-off will be needed — and then
point out that the ZEC who gave the MDC the parliamentary decision are not
only impartial but even transparent.
In answer to that rubbish is the following: the ZEC have shown they are
idiots who cannot count, release results at the whim of Mugabe and are about
as impartial as Mugabe’s wife to the election results. So anything they say
must be disregarded unless they say that Tsvangirai has won which proves
that even Mad-Bob can’t fart against thunder.
If, despite all the rigging, violence, threats, failure of exiles to vote
and Bobby organising the count the MDC won a parliamentary majority then
only Bob and his uncle Ned from lower Harare-on-the-Wold voted for him to be
The planet must do its worst!
This entry was posted on Sunday, April 27th, 2008 at 1:15 pm
World Net Daily
Posted: April 28, 2008
1:00 am Eastern
The vise-like grip of Robert Mugabe on the country and people of Zimbabwe is
as strong as ever, and he continues flexing his muscle to maintain control
over the country he's nearly destroyed.
Zimbabwe's election was March 29, and the final presidential results still
haven't been announced. They probably won't be, until the desired results
are attained – meaning Mugabe is re-elected.
That's what happens in a dictatorship when the election results are not what
the top guy had in mind. Mugabe, a trained and avowed Marxist, is that guy,
and he's not happy. He's been president since 1980 and doesn't plan to give
Mugabe assumed re-election, not because of his track record but because he
has total control of the country and is backed up by the police, the Central
Intelligence Organization, the army and "war veterans," (in reality, gangs
of youth thugs) who do his bidding to keep the people in line.
The latest example was April 25, when at least 250 riot police stormed
headquarters of offices of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change, or MDC, in the capital city of Harare. They ransacked everything,
confiscating computers, election documents and equipment – anything relating
to the election, which might support the claims Mugabe lost.
Police also rounded up and arrested at least 300 people who were in the
offices as refuge from the countrywide attacks by Mugabe's thugs on people
thought to have voted against him.
The AP said those arrested and hauled off included pregnant women, mothers
with babies, girls threatened with rape and men with broken bones and other
The reaction of the head of South Africa's ruling party was laughable. As
reported by the AP, Jacob Zuma said it appeared "somebody is sabotaging the
elections" in Zimbabwe and that it makes the country resemble a police
The offices of the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network were also
raided and materials seized. It monitored the voting, and the projection
showed Mugabe losing to Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader.
Tsvangirai may be the winner, but his life is in danger in Zimbabwe. He's
been charged with treason and because of serious and repeated threats
against his life, has been in South Africa. It's reported he has no
immediate return plans until there is some resolution to the conflicts.
Tsvangirai's caution is justified. In the past, there was an attempt to
throw him out the window of an office building and in another incident, he
was beaten almost to death by police in a raid on a peace march.
The presidency wasn't all that was at stake in the election. Parliamentary
seats were also involved, and those votes were counted and posted at each
polling place. For the first time ever, Mugabe's African National Union lost
Mugabe challenged the results of 23 seats and ordered a recount, which is
ongoing. The results seem to confirm Mugabe's losses.
But Mugabe's real problem is the presidential vote. Returns were counted,
and estimates show Tsvangirai won more popular votes. Estimates based on
tallies at polling stations show Tsvangirai with 49.4 percent, Mugabe 42
percent and Simba Makoni, an independent, with 8 percent.
But according to Mugabe, it wasn't enough for the opposition to win. He
maintains no one got the simple majority required but refuses to release the
final tally and wants a runoff election.
He demanded and ordered a recount but not before he called out the goons to
"communicate" with the people about their voting habits and urge them to
They moved into the countryside and attacked people at will. Hundreds have
been intimidated, assaulted, arrested, beaten, tortured and at least 14
killed. Hospitals are jammed with the injured. Hundreds of houses and
businesses have been burned and property destroyed. More than a thousand
people are homeless, and the coercion continues.
It's not subtle. The message is clear. Mugabe has no plan to give up the
The usual chaos is worse because of conflicting reports as to what's
happening. Even The Herald, the government-controlled newspaper, last week
call for a transitional "unity" government because of the "impossibility" of
a fair runoff.
The U.S. envoy to Africa has spoken up, saying that the opposition won the
election and Robert Mugabe should step down.
Jendayi Frazer, assistant U.S. secretary of state for African affairs, urged
Mugabe to accept the results. "President Mugabe should respect the will of
the people and allow a new president to come in. He contested for president,
and he lost."
According to Frazer, Morgan Tsvangirai should be president
The Movement for Democratic Change opposition party also says it will
neither cooperate with, nor recognize, any runoff. However, it's expected it
will take place by early May, giving Mugabe and his henchmen the time to use
enough fear tactics to get the election results he wants.
Zimbabweans are an amazingly brave people to have survived the chaos Mugabe
has wreaked on their country. They've been under his thumb for 28 years.
They've seen their country dismantled and destroyed by their own leader who
also disarmed them.
Inflation is nearing 200,000 percent.
Unemployment is at more than 80 percent.
Thousands are homeless because the government deliberately bulldozed their
Store shelves are empty and gasoline scarce. Hospitals have no supplies;
there are few doctors. What's left of media is under government control; no
reporters allowed. The infrastructure is destroyed, utilities work
intermittently, schools are a shambles and businesses are gone or bankrupt.
The once productive farming industry is gone literally destroyed by Mugabe
who confiscated the properties, giving the best ones to cronies and the rest
to people who didn't know how to farm.
The contrast between good and evil is nowhere more evident than in this
horrific disaster in Zimbabwe.
Who owns the post colonial state? Who should govern and for whose benefit?
What was the revolution all about? These are some of the questions that I
have been thinking about as Zimbabweans continue to be kept in the dark
about who they elected as President.
It is now evident that President Mugabe believes that for as long as he is
willing and able to lead, no other Zimbabwean is qualified to be the head of
state and government.
Indeed, he continues to occupy both the statehouse, previously President
Banana’s residence before the constitutional amendment making President
Mugabe the Executive President, and the government house where he still
There is no indication that he intends to vacate the free accommodation that
he has enjoyed for 28 years irrespective of what the election results will
An argument has been advanced by ZANU-PF that any change of leadership will
necessarily mean a negation of the principles of the national democratic
revolution. Using this construction, a proposition is then made that if
Morgan Tsvangirai became President of Zimbabwe the revolution will have been
In fact, it is President Mugabe’s case that the results announced so far
cannot represent a genuine expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people
for it is not conceivable to him that a party with liberation credentials
like ZANU-PF can ever be unseated by any other movement.
As the bizarre post-election drama unfolds it is reasonable to begin to ask
who Mugabe is and what informs his thinking. We have all speculated about
what kind of a person Mugabe is and may never get to know him.
What is clear is that he has managed to maintain his pre-liberation message
and his team has largely remained intact notwithstanding the perilous state
of the economy.
By all standards, any rational person would have deserted ZANU-PF but alas
it appears that there is something that glues the party to its President.
It has been argued that corruption, human and property rights abuses have
all combined to keep the party together. Some have even gone further to
argue that the real reason President Mugabe does not support change is
because of fear of retribution and possibly being joining former President
I do not believe that President Mugabe believes that he has a case to
answer. In fact, his main case is that apart from the land issue which is
presented in revolutionary terms, he has been an exemplary and principled
It is also evident that President Mugabe does not recognise any black
victims of his rule. Deep in his veins he believes that any misfortune that
visits his opponents is deserved and he has nothing to apologise for the
abuse of state power for in his psyche he holds the view that the revolution
was really about seizing state power to allow only revolutionaries to
engineer social and economic changes.
After 28 years in power, President Mugabe’s colleagues in the party now
pretty much know what he wants to hear. So when the parliamentary and
senatorial results were announced, one can imagine what thoughts went into
the minds of ZANU-PF loyalists and what kind of explanation they had to give
to the President given his belief that he has served the republic with
distinction and honour.
Although President Mugabe accepts the sovereignty of citizens, he will not
accept that any result that places the country in the hands of lesser
mortals necessarily reflects a genuine will of the people.
He must have accepted the logic presented to him at the politburo meeting
after the elections that MDC with the support of imperialist forces had
manipulated the election results hence the unprecedented decision to recount
the votes and the incapacitation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Now that the recount has been completed and the results re-confirmed,
President Mugabe is now definitely in a corner not only because for the
first time even if he is to win the run off, he will face an opposition-led
parliament with a speaker elected by the opposition.
Since 1987, President Mugabe has been ruling largely by decrees and it is
inconceivable that he will adjust to a situation in which he has to consult
and negotiate his way. What must be frightening President Mugabe is that
with the loss of ZANU-PF’s parliamentary majority, he has to swallow some of
the bitter words he has spoken about Tsvangirai and his party?
Is President Mugabe capable of accepting a situation in which he is not
totally in control? There is no evidence to suggest that President Mugabe is
capable of rising above the bitter partisanship that has unfortunately
helped define who he is.
I have no doubt that the run off will be held since it is highly probable
that the Presidential results will confirm that no candidate received the
minimum required votes. However, there is a dispute as to the actual results
but if it is accepted that the participation of Simba Makoni had an impact
on the outcome then it is conceivable that it may actually be true that a
run off is the only viable option.
What seems to complicate the issue is that President Mugabe obviously having
been privileged with the results has been using the state machinery to
undermine Tsvangirai and intimidate the voters in anticipation of the run
off. In pursuing this strategy, it is evident that a calculation has been
made that Tsvangirai may well be too scared to participate in the run off in
which case President Mugabe will be the sole beneficiary.
Will President Mugabe accept that he goes into the run off as an underdog?
It appears that President Mugabe is prepared for this defining battle in
which he will continue to make the case that only he can deliver the promise
and protect the so-called gains of land reform and the anti-imperialist
President Mugabe is too old to change his ways and will continue to dwell on
the past and refuse to look himself in the eye to see whether he is the
right person to lead a dying and battered nation at this defining hour.
Tsvangirai must appreciate and understand the kind of person his competitor
is. He is a complex human being who genuinely believes that the prospect of
re-colonisation exists if a vanguard party like ZANU-PF were to become an
Allegations have been made about Mugabe’s rigging tactics but a case can
legitimately be made that the election results confirm that, in fact, Mugabe
may not be a good cheater but a good intimidator. If this is true, we need
to acknowledge the positive aspect of Mugabe’s often misunderstood
personality and properly record his legacy for if we choose to be selective,
he may turn out to be the monster that the world wants out of office.
The change agenda must be located in the global framework of the national
democratic revolution and a case needs to be made even to President Mugabe
like the British made to Ian Smith that it is not in the national interest
that he, being the second choice, should not dare embarrass himself by going
for run off in an election observed by third parties.
Even Tsvangirai must accept that the need for international observers may
serve to infuriate Mugabe if without them an absurd outcome was delivered.
If anything, it is hoped that President Mbeki will convince President Mugabe
about the urgency of vacating statehouse and government house to allow the
country to finally heal and move forward.
Surely, if the MDC could in the face of a hostile environment produce an
upset of the ruling party, it must be accepted that the change that
Tsvangirai has been advocating has been accepted by the majority of
Zimbabweans as the best way forward.
President Mugabe believes like many former liberation movements that he is
destined to rule Zimbabwe and he alone knows what is best for the country.
There is need to educate the President that in the final analysis people are
smarter than what politicians may think.
The post-election experience should scare all democrats in Africa for
without an independent judiciary and electoral commission the gains of
independence are a mere illusion. The real revolution has to begin now and
people must own and jealously guard their freedom.
Does anyone know who ZANU PF really is?
Does Anyone Know which party the ordinary massess of Zimbabwe support?
Allow me space in this very informative way.
MDC was formed by members of ZANU PF including Tsvangirai himself and
others who could see the current Zanu pf leadership plundering the country's
resources, at the expense of the ordinary people of Zimbabwe. Their actions
were not time bound but a long mission that sort to cripple the country's
economy and make them rich. It is unfortunate that the uniformed forces who
are the least paid civil servants have been used to safeguard the elite and
make their own families suffer. If anyone in the uniformed forces think they
are protecting the Zimbabwean sovereinty from another British Colonisation
they are just fooling themselves and their masters as in this century
Britain will not do the unthinkable. It is mere propaganda that does not
have any direction at all. Any Propagandist think of the benefits of
propaganda to the ordinary people of Zimbabwe than to their pockets. People
of Zimbabwe today have no food, employment, education and health system,
peace and anything else that an ordinary citizen of a country should have,
and yet Mugabe spends a lot of airtime fooling the massess. This is why the
same ordinary citizens the electorate denied him.
Every Zimbabwean supported Zanu pf, were proud of the independence it
brought and felt proud of being ruled by one of your own but now its time to
go Comrade Mugabe we dont need you as President but as granddad because you
are an asset in the later role than the former.When the ordinary people deny
you, you have got to accept because they are the ones who voted for you in
the first place.
MDC is a product of Zanu pf's mismanagement.
To you Comrade Mugabe, the henchmen around you are a bunch of liers,
they have never told you the trueth. This once beautiful country started
crumbling when you printed money unbudgeted for to pay war veterans, when
you went into a war in DRC that killed a lot of our relatives, when you
indescriminately took away productive land for a good cause and gave it to
lazy and unproductive associates, when you forced the productive sector into
the diaspora, when you refused to hear people's problems and leadership
renewal in your own party. Dont tell the lies about Britain anymore because
its the Zimbabwean people who want you out and they have voted so.
CDE Mugabe was going to be very much respected in the world if he
hands over power to the people's choice.
To you Mbeki, do you remember you refused to acknowledge the existence
of the AIDS pandemic that is killing a lot of people in Africa including
South Africa. You have refused to acknowledge the masacres of the rural
Zimbabwean electorate by so doing the world is wondering what sort of leader
you are. Open your eyes and started doing the right thing.
From Me the ordinary Zim
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 12:10 PM
Subject: Urgent Message - Must read!!!
I write you on a very urgent matter. Please read the attached document,
which was sent to me by “O.” I am not revealing his full name because I do
not know if doing so would compromise his position (this is because I do not
know who this person is). Prior to the SADC ‘extraordinary summit’ that
President Mwanawasa called to address the situation in Zimbabwe, I sent an
e-mail to Mukoni Ratshitanga (Mr. Ratshitanga is President Thabo Mbeki’s
Today, I received this e-mail from “O” which had an attachment. When I
opened that attachment, I found an attached e-mail that had been forwarded
from Ratshitanga to “O”. Attached to that message that Ratshitanga sent to
“O,” was a 22 page document. Ratshitanga’s message to “O” was:
It's been a long time since we spoke. I have just finished reading the
attached paper by Eddy Maloka and Prof Magubane. Please read it and let's
discuss - maybe I can come your way on May Day.
The forwarded document (“Document”) is a position paper entitled “Zimbabwe
an International Pariah! What are the Revolutionary Tasks of the South
African Democratic Movement?” written by Edward Maloka and Ben Magubane.
The Document purports to analyze the current situation in Zimbabwe through
the lens and perspective of the African Liberation movement generally, and
South Africa specifically. The authors argue that Zimbabwe’s situation is
being framed by the western media in such a way that it distorts the actual
state of affairs there. While admitting that Mugabe/ZANU PF may have reacted
in a repressive fashion against the population, the authors conclude that as
a result of Africa’s natural resources, western nations are opposed to any
government stemming from the liberation struggle. In discussing the efforts
of western nations to thwart liberation based governments, the Document
“With regard to the latter, this has already found expression in the attempt
to persuade sections of our movement to repudiate the mediation work in
which our Government has been engaged with regard to Zimbabwe, with the full
support of our region, Africa and the rest of the non-aligned world.
Accordingly, in its own interest, our movement will have to abandon all
illusion and understand that the sustained offensive to defeat ZANU PF is
but a curtain-raiser to what will inevitably follow – a sustained offensive
to defeat our very own movement!”
Document p. 19 (emphasis in original)
In discussing how to react to this perceived threat, the Document’s authors
argue that the following steps must be taken:
∑ vigorously and unequivocally defend the gains of our Democratic
∑ defend our country’s democratically elected Government;
∑ defend ZANU PF in Zimbabwe; and,
∑ work to strengthen the African and global anti-imperialist movement.
I have no idea why “O” forwarded me this e-mail from Ratshitanga. It could
be that : (1) “O” is somebody sympathetic to the plight of Zimbabweans; (2)
the e-mail was inadvertently sent to me; or (3) some other reason unknown to
me. However, I think that there are some very serious questions raised by
the fact that President Mbeki’s spokesperson is interested in discussing the
viewpoint expressed in the Document.
Some of the questions that Mbeki needs to answer – especially in light of
his position on the Security Council and as SADC’s designated mediator --
are whether he agrees with the position taken by the authors of the
Document. To whit: The West’s current stance on Zimbabwe is but a stepping
stone to turning South Africa into a “client state”? Does he believe that
he must protect ZANU-PF?
I’m sending this Document to you in order that it may be distributed to as
wide an audience as possible. My initial reaction is that this Document
should be brought to the attention of as many journalists and politicians as
possible. Mbeki needs to explain why people under his direct control find it
necessary to disseminate and discuss a policy paper that clearly espouses
protecting a repressive regime when he is supposed to be a neutral
Should it be necessary, I am willing to discuss disclosing the identity of
“O”. In addition, the Document was sent to me in Microsoft Word format.
“Word” documents contain “metadata” that can be accessed to show when the
document was created and every revision that was ever made to it. I do not
know at this point how to access the metadata, but doing so may show a
wealth of information about the authors’ thinking. Please feel free to
contact me with further questions.
Click here to read the attachment
Kerry Senate Resolution on Zimbabwe Urges Mugabe to Step Aside
Kerry, Coleman, Isakson, Obama, Feingold, Durbin, and Dodd Push for Timely
and Peaceful Transition to Legitimate Democratic Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. John Kerry introduced a resolution to urge President
Robert Mugabe to accept the results of Zimbabwe’s elections and effect a
peaceful democratic transition.
“It’s clear that the people of Zimbabwe have voted for a new beginning, and
it’s imperative that President Mugabe accept their will and effect a timely
and peaceful transition to genuine democratic rule,” said Kerry. “Key
regional players need to take the lead in bringing about a peaceful
resolution that respects the will of the people, but the United States, as
the world’s leading democracy, has a responsibility to speak out at this
time of crisis.”
Below is the full text of Kerry’s Sense of the Senate Resolution:
Whereas, on March 29, 2008, parliamentary and presidential elections were
held in Zimbabwe amid widespread reports of voting irregularities in favor
of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)
party and President Robert Mugabe, including, according to the State
Department, “production of far more ballots than there were registered
voters…[and] the allowance of police in polling places”;
Whereas, official results showed that the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) won a majority of seats in the parliamentary elections, and
independent monitors concluded based on initially posted results that MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai received substantially more votes than President
Mugabe in the presidential election;
Whereas, as of April 24, 2008, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has still
not released the results of the presidential election despite calls to do so
by the African Union (AU), the European Union, the Government of South
Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), United Nations
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the United States;
Whereas, on April 19, 2008, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officially
commenced recounting ballots in 23 parliamentary constituencies, primarily
in districts that did not support candidates affiliated with ZANU-PF;
Whereas, on April 21, 2008, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband stated
that the ongoing recount was potentially a “charade of democracy” that “only
serves to fuel suspicion that President Mugabe is seeking to reverse the
results that have been published, to regain a majority in parliament, and to
amplify his own count in the presidential election,” and accused him of
trying “to steal the election”;
Whereas, the Government of Zimbabwe has arrested numerous members of the
media and election officials, and over 1,000 Zimbabweans have reportedly
been fleeing into South Africa every day while forces loyal to the
government have engaged in a brutal and systematic effort to intimidate
Whereas, on April 20, 2008 the MDC released a detailed report showing that
more than 400 of its supporters had been arrested, 500 had been attacked, 10
had been killed and 3,000 families had been displaced, and Human Rights
Watch reported on April 19, 2008 that ZANU-PF is operating “torture camps”
where opposition supporters are being beaten;
Whereas, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad
stated on April 16, 2008 that he was "gravely concerned about the escalating
politically motivated violence perpetrated by security forces and ruling
Whereas, while there is currently no international embargo on arms transfers
to Zimbabwe, a Chinese ship carrying weapons destined for Zimbabwe was
recently prevented from unloading its cargo in Durban, South Africa, and has
been denied access to other ports in the region due to concerns that the
weapons could further destabilize the situation; Whereas, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice stated on April 17, 2008 that President Mugabe has “done
more harm to his country than would have been imaginable…the last years have
been really an abomination...,” and called for the AU and SADC to play a
greater role in resolving the crisis;
Whereas, the State Department’s 2007 Country Report on Human Rights
Practices stated that in Zimbabwe “the ruling party’s dominant control and
manipulation of the political process through intimidation and corruption
effectively negated the right of citizens to change their government.
Unlawful killings and politically motivated abductions occurred.
State-sanctioned use of excessive force increased, and security forces
tortured members of the opposition, student leaders, and civil society
Whereas, annual inflation in Zimbabwe is reportedly running over 150,000
percent, unemployment stands at over 80 percent, hunger affects over four
million people and an estimated 3,500 people die each week from hunger,
disease and other causes related to extremely poor living conditions.
Now, Therefore, be it resolved, that it is the Sense of the Senate:
To support the people of Zimbabwe, who have been subjected to incredible
hardships including violence, political repression and severe economic
deprivation, in their aspirations for a free, democratic and more prosperous
To call for an immediate cessation of politically motivated violence,
detentions and efforts to intimidate the people of Zimbabwe perpetrated by
Zimbabwe’s security forces and militias loyal to ZANU-PF;
That the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should immediately release the
legitimate results of the presidential election and ratify the previously
announced results of the parliamentary elections;
That President Mugabe should accept the will of the people of Zimbabwe in
order to effect a timely and peaceful transition to genuine democratic rule;
That regional organizations, including SADC and the AU, should play a
sustained and active role in resolving the crisis peacefully and in a manner
that respects the will of the people of Zimbabwe;
That the United Nations Security Council should be seized of the issue of
Zimbabwe, support efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis
that respects the will of the people of Zimbabwe, and impose an
international arms embargo on Zimbabwe until a legitimate democratic
government has taken power;
That the United States Government and the international community should
impose targeted sanctions against additional individuals in the Government
of Zimbabwe, state security services and militias who are responsible for
human rights abuses and interference in the legitimate conduct of the
That the United States Government and the international community should
work together to prepare a comprehensive economic and political recovery
package for Zimbabwe in the event that a genuinely democratic government is
formed and commits to implementing key constitutional, economic and
Ralph B. Black B.Th CRCST
28th Apr 2008 18:55 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
THE other day, we watched an officious-looking character telling television
viewers the most incredible theory: if all the dealers at the Roadport in
Harare took their businsess to the Reserve of Zimbabwe, the country would
soon turn into the Paradise that the government had always intended it to
I exaggerate… only a little. What he was suggesting was that if everybody
dealing in foreign currency on the parallel market sent their business to
the central bank, our economy would soon achieve the much-ballyhooed
turnaround that Gideon Gono has spoken of so passionately.
It reminded me of a ten thousand dollar note I have spotted outside my gate
for some time now. During its heyday, this note was BIG money. Today, it's
worth less than nothing.
I can't think, offhand, of anything you could buy for ten thousand
Zimdollars. The officious-looking character I have referred to must have
concluded that we were a bunch of dumb-bells: we didn't know that the
inflation rate in our country was the world's highest, soaring to 200 000
He must have also concluded that we were in the dark about the exchange rate
between the Zimdollar and every other currency in the world, including that
of Vanuatu , which most Zimbabweans have probably never heard of.
I think the government propaganda machinery has been creaking to a halt.
Imagine someone, styled as a commentator, telling the Zimbabwean public that
it was Goden Brown who wanted to bring the Zimbabwe subject to the United
Nations Security Council.
Perhaps Mr Brown does indeed wish to do this, but the man who has spoken of
it before is Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader. His reasons may jibe with
those of Mr Brown, but that can be pure coincidence: Tsvangirai's gripe is
very Zimbabwean: his compatriots took part in an election recently and, by
all accounts, decided the government of President Robert Mugabe had so
disappointed them that they wanted it replaced by another one, led by
What the people wanted the Security Council to consider was whether it was
legitimate for Mugabe to reject the people's verdict, then order his
soldiers and police officers and other auxiliary members of his party to
beat up anyone who had not voted for him.
Zimbabwe is a member of the UN and can be answerable to the councils of that
organization, if enough members feel there is a legitimate cause for such an
occasion. So, if there was a vote of ordinary citizens in this country about
the wisdom of bringing the Zimbabwe case to the UN, there is no doubt a
majority would be in favour.
The real problem in Zimbabwe is Zanu PF's obsession with the one-party
system of government. Once it was challenged, first in 1990, the party
unleashed a wave of violence which resulted in the attempted assassination
of Patrick Kombayi, then with Edgar Tekere's Zimbabwe Unity Movement.
Kombayi will apparently seat in the Senate after the elections last month –
poetic justice of sorts. Speaking of the Senate ought to remind us all of
the decision by Zanu PF to revive this upper house.
At the time, most critics thought it was a self-serving gesture by Zanu PF.
There were many who thought all they wanted was to reward senior members of
the party by giving them these "cushy" seats in the upper house, which they
figured would be our version of the House of Lords.
The idea that it would ber a retirement chamber for Zanu PF geriatrics has
not panned out. Half the Senators will be from the opposition and there are
not old people either. We should also not forget that it was the decision to
participate or not to ptrici[pte in the Senatorial elections which broke up
It is probably profitless for us to dwell for long on the merits or demerits
of the decision to take part in the Senat e elections. Yet the opposition
must have learnt some lessons from that decision, which they ought to
consider handy for the future.
Zanu PF had cynically decided to revive this absolutely useless and
expensive chamber for its own selfish purposes. There was no way, in terms
of the economy or the politics of the country, that an upper chamber could
contribute anything meaningful to the running of the country.
Mind you, Zanu PF had always seen Parliament as something of a huge
nuisance, an impediment to the implementation to its nefarious plans to run
the country as a one-party state. In fact, after the creation of the
Executive presidency and the promulgation of the notoriously undemocratic
Presidential Powers Act, Parliament degenerated into a chamber from which
only sound and fury signifying nothing emerged.
To be sure, from 2000, when the MDC first entered Parliament, there was an
element of heightened tension. With MPs like Job Sikala on the opposition
benches, we were treated to some exciting times, initially.
A few oppositio0n MPs were sent out of the chamber for one instance of
indiscipline or another, but there was no lack of upheaval at any one time.
Typically, Zanu PF tried to interfere with the opposition MPs' freedom to
express themselves, even in the august House.
The MDC MPs wanted to be free to walk out if they thought the government
benches were spouting so much hogwash, or the kind of insults some of their
loud- and foul-mouthed leaders are capable of. Parliament seemed to come
alive with the MDC giving Zanu PF a real hard time. In terms of legislation,
unfortunately, the impact was woefully minimal.
For instance, most journalists were exasperated with the opposition
performance on the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA). Zanu PF, using its numerical muscle eventually got the Bill passed.
Yet, during debate, the late Eddison Zvobgo had made an epoch-making defence
of the freedom of the media in condemnation of the proposed law.
The country did not deserve such a law, he said. At the very least, the
journalism fraternity expected a number of Zanu PF members to vote with the
opposition in rejecting the obnoxious law. That the law was passed is
testimony, if any were still needed, of Zanu PF's lip-service to democracy.
It has taken a long time for the people to finally tell this party, run like
a tuck shop by its geriatric leadership that their regime has done enough
damage to this country.
AIPPA and its twin brother, the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) should
be on the priority list of laws to be repealed by the new Parliament. All
vestiges of the obsession of Zanu PF with the one-party system of government
must be examined closely and, where possible, removed from our statute
There is so much we have to catch up with to bring the real fruits of
independence to all the people of Zimbabwe, so far enjoyed only by the
members of the vanquished Stone Age party.
East African Business Week (Kampala)
28 April 2008
Posted to the web 28 April 2008
This past week, the media was awash with Zimbabwe - for the obvious reason
the country is falling short of the glory of democratic ideals.
In Dar es Salaam, the East Africa Law Society (EALS) in partnership with the
Open Society of Eastern Africa and their Southern Africa counterparts,
called for an emergency Pan- African consultative meeting to discuss the
The meeting attended by over 100 representatives of the legal fraternity and
civil society, ended with a calling on the African Union to speak with
finality on the on-going crisis, prompted by the failure of Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce the results of the elections held a
Over in NBI, a strong Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) delegation led by
its Secretary General, Tendai Biti, met with Prime Minister Raila Odinga. In
the discussions, the premier whose party ODM was locked in a bitter feud
over election results last December is understood, to have implored heads of
African countries to act with speed to stop Zimbabwe from imminent collapse.
The Premier gave the assurance that his office would table the issue before
Kenya's cabinet for discussions.
And in the troubled Southern Africa country, a recount ordered by ZEC seemed
to over-turn results putting Mugabe's party in the lead. This took place
despite the opposition's efforts to block the same amid widespread fears
that violence would erupt.
Internationally, China came into sharp focus with Beijing accused of
propping up an illegitimate regime through a range of activities from
diplomatic silence to the provision of arms and ammunition to ZANU PF.
Zimbabwe's neighbours have since declined requests by Chinese authorities to
allow the ship access to the dock thus avoiding any would be attempts by the
authorities to intimidate Zimbabweans whose populace is estimated atat
thirteen million. For all purposes, Zimbabwe's crisis came hot on the heels
of the recently resolved crisis in Kenya. Based on this experience, the
region needs to come out forcefully in seeking for a solution to an end of
the saga. This is evident by the two events - MDC's visit by its top brass
to Nairobi to seek solace with Kenyan colleagues, and the meeting of the
lawyers in Dar. The region is also special taking into consideration the
fact that one of its own, President Jakaya Kikwete, is currently chairing
the African Union.
EAC needs to make a special appeal to the African Union to act decisively.
The above notion is likewise consistent with Article 4 of the African Union
Constitutive Act which provides for the "right of the Union to intervene in
a Member State pursuant to a decision of the Assembly, in respect of grave
circumstances", that is war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
There is every indication that the populace of the country could suffer this
indignity thus the need for the African Union to protect the Zimbabwean
population against the military and paramilitary retribution that
communities are currently being subjected to.
The case for Zimbabwe and Kenya present various moral lessons for our
region. Collectively, we need to ensure that democracy is seen to prevail.
The Partner States also need to take the bold step to review their election
manifests, processes and procedures.
In future, the region needs to look into the possibility to having a joint
election calendar as it moves towards the integration and strengthening the
East African Community political federation.
The writer comments on socio-economic issues and is based in Arusha
Ministry for Foreign
Affairs 25 April 2008 Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs
- The situation in
Zimbabwe runs the risk of spiralling out of control. I am deeply concerned about
the current crisis. Friday’s police attacks against the opposition’s
headquarters and against the respected independent organisation ZESN (Zimbabwe
Election Support Network) that monitored the election are yet another setback
for democracy in Zimbabwe.
- It is unacceptable
that almost four weeks have passed and the result of the presidential election
has still not been announced. This major delay and the non-transparent way in
which the votes have been counted raises questions about the credibility of the
election process. We question the Zimbabwean government’s will to respect the
voice of the people. The goal must be a government that has a democratic mandate
and that is reform-oriented.
- The politically
motivated violence and harassment that is being directed against members of the
civil opposition in Zimbabwe must cease. These serious developments could - as
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pointed out - affect democracy’s
credibility throughout Africa.
- Zimbabwe’s neighbours
in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have a responsibility to
step up their efforts to reach a solution. It is also essential that the African
Union now take on a key role to do right by the people of Zimbabwe and by
- Following talks with the Nordic foreign ministers in Stockholm last week, Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spoke for all of the Nordic governments when he passed on a message about the crisis in Zimbabwe to leaders in southern Africa during his visit to Africa. The Nordic countries have strong and trusting relations with the countries of that region. These relations are important in our future dialogue. Similarly, I will speak at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting on Tuesday in favour of continuing strong international commitment, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt in a statement.