April 30, 2008
James Bone in New York and Catherine Philp in Harare
South Africa led efforts to block the dispatch of a UN envoy to Zimbabwe
yesterday as the UN Security Council met on the election stand-off for the
Diplomats said that South African opposition to a UN mission meant that the
next step would probably be a public meeting of the 15-nation Security
Council on Zimbabwe under Britain’s presidency in May.
Britain and other Western nations have been pushing for a greater UN role in
resolving the month-old election crisis, since Gordon Brown, the Prime
Minister, raised it at a UN summit on Africa this month.
The Security Council held a closed-door session in New York yesterday after
Britain succeeded in pushing Zimbabwe on to its agenda under “other
business”. Britain, backed by the US, France and other Western nations,
called for the sending of a UN envoy and a moratorium on arms sales to
South Africa, China, Russia, Libya and Vietnam spoke up against any further
Security Council action at this stage, diplomats said, with Burkina Faso
saying that Africa should take the lead. A top official of Zimbabwe’s
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which claims that it won the March 29
election, held private meetings with key UN members in New York yesterday to
press for an envoy to be sent to the country.
Tendai Biti, the general-secretary of the MDC, travelled to New York to meet
Security Council members separately, although South Africa, Russia and China
appeared set to avoid him. He called for the UN to recognise the “illegality
of the regime of Mugabe” and oversee a transfer of power to an MDC-led
government of national unity.
A campaign of violence by government militias began a week after the poll
when unofficial results showed a swing to the MDC, handing it control of
parliament and the presidency to its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. A recount
ordered by the ruling Zanu (PF) party failed to overturn its parliamentary
losses but all eyes remain on the presidential results, still unreleased a
month after the poll.
Zimbabwe’s election commission moved to extend the disputed reign of Robert
Mugabe yesterday when it postponed once again the verification of disputed
results from last month’s presidential elections.
The UN Secretary-General said last night that he knew the outcome of the
election, even though results have not yet been released. “It is just
unacceptable that leaders of the Zimbabwe government have not yet released
presidential results after four weeks. We know who is the winner,” Ban Ki
Mr Ban's comments risked jeopardising any future role for the UN chief in
mediating the election stand-off.
www.chinaview.cn 2008-04-30 05:46:52Print
UNITED NATIONS, April 29 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council held
an informal meeting Tuesday to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe triggered
by a recent election dispute, but remained divided over how the world body
should respond to it.
The closed council meeting was held at the request of Western
powers who are pushing for increased UN engagement in Zimbabwe, where the
delayed release of March 29 presidential election results has triggered
strong opposition protest and some degree of international concern.
During the meeting, Lynn Pascoe, undersecretary-general for
political affairs, briefed the 15-member council on the recent developments
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Pascoe told reporters
that he briefed the council about the political situation in Zimbabwe, in
particular about the "non-announcement as yet of the results of the
He said he also expressed concern about incidents of violence and
the humanitarian situation in the country.
Pascoe said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "is ready to use his
good offices" in conjunction with the African Union and the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to help resolve the issue.
Pascoe said the UN chief is leaving open the possibility of
sending a special envoy or a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe because he has
not decided if it is necessary.
South Africa's UN ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, the council's
president for this month, said it is up to the UN chief to discuss with
Zimbabwe whether it is necessary to send a special envoy or a fact-finding
"Zimbabwe is not on the agenda of the Security Council," he
Kumalo said the only thing that council members "seem to agree
with is that the SADC should work with the Zimbabweans, especially the
independent electoral commission, to make sure that the results are coming
U.S. ambassador Alejandro Daniel Wolff acknowledged that there was
a clear division among council members over the idea of sending a special
envoy or a fact-finding mission to the country.
Wolff said the United States and some other council members voiced
support for the idea but there were others who "think the situation deserves
more time and ultimately it is up to the Zimbabwean people to resolve
Wolff said the UN Security Council may need to hold an open
meeting to further discuss the issue. But he did not specify a date nor
Wolff's British counterpart, Karen Pierce, echoed his call for
increased UN engagement, saying that Britain "supports the use of the
secretary-general's good offices in support of the SADC and the AU."
She said Britain expects the election results to be published
fully by Thursday, and if they are not, Britain may have to consider this
"important factor" with "like-minded" members on the Security Council.
Editor: Mu Xuequan
Monsters and Critics
Apr 29, 2008, 21:01 GMT
Harare - The US ambassador Tuesday said the delay to release results from
Zimbabwe's March elections has created a humanitarian crisis through
violence, and called for its perpetrators to account for their actions.
Washington's ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, told reporters that the
international community has identified victims and also perpetrators.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has refused to release the results
of the March 29 vote, despite intense pressure from the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and the international community.
'It started as a political crisis with the (ZEC's) delay to release the
presidential results, but it is now a humanitarian crisis or human rights
issue with the level of violence taking place (in the) countryside and in
the high density suburbs,' said McGee.
As the four-week wait for presidential results wore on, tension has been
rising and violence has flared in rural areas with the ruling Zanu PF and
the MDC trading accusations of who is behind it.
The MDC claims that at least 10 of its supporters have been killed. The
Geneva-based Human Rights council said Tuesday in New York that several
political murders had occurred, and at least 351 people had been
hospitalized for injuries related to political violence.
McGee said violence was mainly coming from people who were not happy with
the way others voted.
'I have seen a 75-year-old grandmother who was beaten simply because her
relative stood on an MDC ticket,' he said.
'Judging from the figures that were shown outside the polling stations it is
clear that people of Zimbabwe have voted for change,' McGee said.
McGee reiterated the US position that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had
beaten President Robert Mugabe in the March 29 election.
He, however, said he was not sure if Tsvangirai had attained the required
'That is the duty of the electoral commission,' said McGee.
In New York, the United Nations Security Council was unable to agree on
mounting a fact-finding or other kind of mission to Zimbabwe, with the 15
members split on the issue. South Africa, Zimbabwe's neighbour which
currently chairs the council, has defended Mugabe's handling of the election
aftermath, calling it an internal matter.
By Blessing Zulu
29 April 2008
Mounting and increasingly deadly post-election political violence in
Zimbabwe, alleged to be organized by the governing ZANU-PF party of
President Robert Mugabe, came under scrutiny Tuesday in the United Nations
Security Council which considered appeals for the U.N. to dispatch a special
envoy to intervene in the crisis.
The U.N. session came as pro-government youth militia and war veterans
stepped up savage attacks on rural residents suspected of supporting the
opposition in elections March 29 in which the Movement for Democratic Change
claimed a parliamentary majority, ending decades of dominance by President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
MDC officials said late Tuesday that more than 20 opposition activists have
died from injuries sustained in such attacks, which have recently escalated
U.N. special rapporteurs Tuesday in Geneva expressed “grave concern” that
the violence and torture have been “organized and coordinated," adding that
state-controlled media have been airing programs and songs encouraging
Secretary General Tendai Biti of the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai
briefed the U.N. secretariat, saying that Zimbabwe had become a "war zone."
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared at a forum in Geneva on Tuesday
that there is a serious humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. U.S. President
George Bush urged that the will of Zimbabwe’s voters be respected, calling
for increased pressure from neighboring countries on Harare to release the
results of the election.
But U.N. officials emphasized that the management of the crisis was
currently in the hands of the Southern African Development Community and the
African Union, though expressing readiness to send a U.N. envoy should that
be found necessary.
"We would be happy to cooperate with SADC and the AU, we would be happy to
provide any assistance we could," said U.N. Under Secretary General for
Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe, who briefed the Security Council.
Pascoe said whether a special envoy was sent would depend on the outcome of
talks between U.N. chief Ban and Southern African leaders.
France's permanent representative to the U.N., Jean-Maurice Ripert issued a
thinly veiled warning to the Harare government, telling reporters that the
Security Council session would signal that "we are looking very carefully at
what they are doing."
He said the Harare government should be "proclaiming the results" of the
election. "The people of Zimbabwe have expressed themselves, it's a victory
for democracy in Zimbabwe and Mr. Mugabe should accept that by publishing
the results," he said.
European Union foreign ministers called for a de facto worldwide moratorium
on arms sales to Zimbabwe. They said the EU should "explore…options for
increasing pressure on those who direct and engage in state-sponsored
violence and intimidation” following elections.
Mugabe spokesman George Charamba accused the MDC of fomenting violence. He
said the Zimbabwean police and army will use “the necessary and appropriate
force to ensure that life is respected and property protected."
Human rights lawyer Otto Saki told reporter Blessing Zulu that the Security
Council session focusing on Zimbabwe was an important development.
Despite growing international pressure, violence at home in Zimbabwe
intensified, sources said. An MDC statement cited "horrifying political
violence" which has led to the deaths of 20 activists in the past month,
five in the the past two days.
The statement detailed a number of alleged killings. "Tabitha Marume of
Makoni West in Manicaland was shot and killed by soldiers at Chiwetu Rest
Camp. Percy Muchiwa, a teacher in Guruve was on Monday beaten to death by
ZANU-PF supporters in Bakasa area. Tenos Manyimo and Bigboy Zhuwawo, both of
Mbire in Mashonaland Central, died on Sunday when they were seriously
attacked by ZANU-PF militia."
The statement said polling agent Clemence Dube of Poshayi village in
Midlands Province was killed by ZANU-PF militants on Monday.
It said thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, and
hundreds have been admitted to hospitals across the country following
MDC lawmaker Tongai Matutu of Masvingo Urban constituency, who has gone into
hiding fearing for his life, told reporter Blessing Zulu that the situation
in Masvingo has deteriorated, accusing Harare of arming war veterans in the
April 30, 2008
The International Criminal Court has every right to demand justice and
Mark S Ellis
The UN Security Council is to hold a critical session this week to discuss
the crisis in Zimbabwe. Conventional wisdom suggests that there are limited
options available for the international community to quell the crisis. This
is a misconception. There is an effective legal mechanism available to
counter Mugabe and demand justice and accountability.
The Security Council should immediately authorise the International Criminal
Court (ICC) to investigate the chain of command behind the most heinous
crimes committed by Robert Mugabe’s regime against the people of Zimbabwe.
An ICC investigation will not only open the doors to justice – long overdue
in this embattled country – but could deter Mugabe and others from further
crimes. The continued failure to act will likely result in a higher death
toll, and increasing violence against the Zimbabwean people. We are already
witnessing an escalation of widespread government violence against
After his 28-year reign Robert Mugabe has left his country and people
destitute. Zimbabwe is mired in corruption and political tyranny; its
economy has all but disintegrated. Mugabe is not just a despot; he is a
criminal, liable for crimes against humanity that go unpunished. The crimes
perpetrated by Mugabe’s repressive regime make a mockery of the most basic
principle of international criminal law: accountability.
The international community’s response to the crisis has been feeble. The
African Union has generally refused to condemn human rights abuses. South
Africa’s “quiet diplomacy” has been an unmitigated failure. The United
Nations’ response has been underwhelming. The collective failure of the
international community to intervene has enhanced Mugabe’s belief that he
can act with impunity.
Yet, international law is unequivocal in demanding that those who commit
crimes against humanity be held accountable. Global action is essential
because the crimes are so egregious. Crimes against humanity are committed
as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population,
and are usually carried out to a preconceived policy or plan by the
Government. Criminal acts can include killings, sexual violence, torture,
displacement and other inhuman acts such as using the distribution of food
aid as a political weapon, or depriving housing and medical care to those
who oppose the Government. Mugabe has committed or been complicit in all of
Under international law, Mugabe can be prosecuted under the concept of
“command responsibility”. This legal principle holds that those in a
position of authority can be held personally responsible for crimes
committed by subordinates, including the army and police. So long as Mugabe
knew or had reason to know that crimes were being committed by his henchmen
and did nothing to stop them, he can be held criminally liable; he did not
have to commit the crimes himself. The concept of command responsibility
provides the legal linchpin to ensure that government officials who
mastermind, incite or order the commission of crimes are brought to justice.
The legal basis for holding Mugabe accountable is straightforward.
The ICC was established in 2002 to end impunity for the most heinous crimes.
Because Zimbabwe has not recognised the court’s jurisdiction, the United
Nations Security Council can authorise the ICC to investigate crimes
committed by Mugabe and his regime. To do this, the UN Security Council need
determine only that crimes against humanity “appear to have been committed”
by Mugabe’s regime and that Zimbabwe’s crisis is a threat to regional peace
and security. These are not steep legal hurdles. The crisis is real and
evidence of Mugabe’s complicity is well-documented and overwhelming. The UN
Security Council used this same referral process to bring indictments
relating to the crimes committed in Darfur; the international precedent has
been set. As with Darfur, what is needed now in Zimbabwe is a collective
affirmation that justice is not expendable.
For beleaguered Zimbabweans suffering under Mugabe’s brutal regime, the
international community’s attempts at condemnation are ineffective and
disheartening. Condemnation is not enough. The international community must
take action. If the UN Security Council fails to refer the case to the ICC,
it must explain to the world why Mugabe is given safe harbour by the UN and
allowed to act with impunity.
The author is executive director of the International Bar Association
United Nations News Service
Date: 29 Apr 2008
The United Nations stands ready to support regional diplomacy to help end
the political crisis in Zimbabwe, where violence has flared after last month’s
presidential elections, the world body’s political chief, B. Lynn Pascoe,
Speaking after briefing the Security Council, Mr. Pascoe said he had a great
deal of concern about violence in the country, particularly from the
Government’s side, though he added that there had been reports of violence
from both sides.
He said that the Secretary-General was ready to use his ‘good offices’ to
work alongside the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) to help resolve Zimbabwe’s problems.
Mr. Pascoe also said he was very concerned about the humanitarian situation,
stating that the political turmoil had prevented some aid agencies from
delivering food and other relief.
Unrest and violence have been widespread in Zimbabwe following the 29 March
presidential election, in which the incumbent Robert Mugabe was challenged
by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). Full results of that poll have still not been announced.
Mr. Pascoe’s comments echo an earlier statement by the UN’s High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, who called on the country’s
political leaders to restrain their supporters and renounce the use of
threats, intimidation and violence against opponents.
by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 30 April 2008
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has put his hawkish right hand man Emmerson
Mnangagwa in charge of the joint operations committee (JOC), an influential
group of hardliner securocrats working to ensure the veteran leader wins a
second round presidential ballot.
The JOC comprises the commanders of the army, air force, police, prison and
intelligence services and was chaired by State Security Minister Didymus
Mutasa before Mnangagwa took over. The secretive JOC has played a major role
in Zimbabwe’s politics from behind the scenes.
Another Mugabe loyalist and central bank governor Gideon Gono sits on the
committee as an economic advisor with key responsibility to finance its
Impeccable sources said Mugabe replaced Mutasa with Mnangagwa as chairman of
JOC immediately when he became aware he had lost the March 29 presidential
election to opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader
According to the sources, Mnangagwa’s first action was to advise Mugabe not
to concede defeat but that he should force a second round run-off election
and that at the same time the veteran leader should put pressure on the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to delay official results of the
“Mugabe wanted to accept the outcome of the elections, but was advised by
Mnangagwa and other JOC members not to do so,” one of the highly reliable
sources said. “He was told to instruct ZEC not to announce the results while
the JOC worked out a plan to either rig the poll or ensure there would be a
run-off that the President would win.”
According to sources it was Mnangagwa who advised Mugabe and the ruling ZANU
PF party to demand vote recounts in 21 constituencies – all as a ploy to
further delay the release of the results and allow state security agents and
ZANU PF militants more time to terrorise voters and cow them to back Mugabe
in a second ballot.
The JOC, the sources said, rejected outright overtures from the MDC for a
government of national unity.
The powerful committee instead opted for a campaign of violence against
opposition supporters that has left many parts of Zimbabwe in a war-like
situation, with unofficial curfews imposed by security forces, while scores
of MDC supporters have been murdered and thousands others displaced from
“The violence in the countryside being perpetrated against opposition
supporters is the brainchild of the JOC. The idea is to force the electorate
into voting for Mugabe during the run-off,” said one source.
Mnangagwa, who helped Mugabe impose himself as ZANU PF’s presidential
candidate and is the 84-year old leader’s chief election agent, declined to
comment on his role in the JOC and in the deepening electoral crisis in the
“Since when have we revealed to the press how we are doing things in
government,” He said. “I have nothing to confirm or deny, besides to say we
are the government.”
Vote recounts completed this week confirmed the MDC’s historic victory over
ZANU PF in the parliamentary poll and left analysts wondering why in the
first place Mugabe’s party so adamantly demanded the recounts.
The ZEC announced on Tuesday it would meet presidential candidates or their
agents on Thursday to verify results before they are made public, as the
Harare authorities appeared to be bowing to pressure by the international
community for poll results to be released.
"Candidates who participated in the 2008 presidential election or their
chief election agents are urged to attend as this exercise will pave way for
the announcement of the result of the presidential election," state radio
announced, as the United Nations Security Council prepared to meet in New
York to discuss Zimbabwe’s post-election crisis and violence.
The MDC says at least 15 of its supporters have been murdered while another
3 000 have been displaced in the violence, which it the opposition party has
described as a war being waged by state security forces and ZANU PF
militants against Zimbabweans.
The opposition party’s secretary general Tendai Biti was expected to brief
the Security Council on the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and to ask
that the world body send a special envoy to probe violence and human rights
abuses committed by state agents against opposition supporters.
In a statement released ahead of the Security Council meeting, Louise
Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said she had received reports
of serious acts of violence against human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.
Arbour said: "I am particularly concerned about reports of threats,
intimidation, abuse and violence directed against NGOs, election monitors,
human rights defenders and other representatives of civil society."
Also speaking ahead of the Security Council meeting, the New York-based
Human Rights Watch urged the council to recognise violence in Zimbabwe as a
"threat to regional peace and security" in the rest of southern Africa and
called for targeted sanctions against those responsible for the violence. –
by Tafirei Shumba Wednesday 30 April 2008
HARARE – Artists from the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Brazil have
pulled out of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) which
roared into life yesterday citing safety concerns due the political
uncertainty in Zimbabwe.
HIFA's founder and artistic director Manuel Bagorro told ZimOnline yesterday
that the artists had indicated that they were worried about their safety and
would not be traveling to Harare.
The festival organisers had to frantically look for replacements to fill the
slots of the international artists.
"The artists were worried about their safety, citing the political friction
and uncertainty here and they will not be coming to Zimbabwe now," Bagorro
"The artists said they were not sure what would be awaiting them in Zimbabwe
and decided to stay away."
Politically motivated violence and human rights abuses have resurfaced in
many parts of Zimbabwe since the country’s disputed presidential and
parliamentary elections on March 29.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change party says 10 of its
supporters have been murdered and at least 3 000 others displaced in the
violence that the party says is meant to intimidate Zimbabweans to vote for
Mugabe in an anticipated second round run-off presidential election.
The withdrawal from HIFA by the international artists put a damper on the
multi-disciplinary arts festival that was looking forward to a rich
diversity of cultural and artistic performances from overseas.
HIFA is rated among the world's 10 best arts and culture festivals and has
attracted world-renowned artists over the years.
Dancer and choreographer Chipo Mambo who had traveled from Bulawayo –
Zimbabwe's second city south of the country – said that without the
participation of the international artists HIFA would not be truly
representative of world cultures.
"Its unfortunate that some of the international artists cannot be with us
because of political reasons that we have no control over. But we should now
use HIFA as artists to speak out against the politicians who are hampering
our social development," said Mambo.
Without much of the sought after international flavour, following the stay
away by the artists, HIFA was still determined to rumble on for the next six
days showcasing Zimbabwe's own artistic talent and ingenuity in music,
dance, poetry, visual art and theatre. – ZimOnline.
by Mutumwa Mawere Wednesday 30 April 2008
OPINION: 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 Robert 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
Canaan Banana’s residence before the constitutional amendment making Mugabe
the Executive President, and the government house where he still resides.
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
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai became president of Zimbabwe the
revolution will have been stolen.
In fact, it is 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 Mugabe does not support change is because of fear
of retribution and possibly being joining former Liberian President Charles
I do not believe that 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 leader.
It is also evident that 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, 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
Although 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 the 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, 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, 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 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 Mugabe capable of accepting a situation in which he is not totally in
control? There is no evidence to suggest that Mugabe is capable of rising
above the bitter partisanship that has unfortunately helped define who he
I have no doubt that the run off will be held since it is highly probable
that the presidential election 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 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 Mugabe will be the sole beneficiary.
Will Mugabe accept that he goes into the run-off as an underdog? It appears
that 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 struggle.
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 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 a
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 South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki will
convince 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.
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. – ZimOnline.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
29 April 2008
Many primary and secondary schools in Zimbabwe failed to open Tuesday for
the new term as returning teachers met with intimidation and violence by
ZANU-PF militants waging a campaign of violence in retribution for setbacks
in March elections.
Sources said torture centers have been set up at some schools, in particular
in the provinces of Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West,
Masvingo and Manicaland which were once ZANU-PF strongholds but where rural
inhabitants shifted electoral loyalties to strip ZANU-PF of its long-held
Sources in the region said teachers and residents are being beaten on a
Sources in the affected areas said ZANU-PF youth militia have virtually
taken over the homes of teachers, even to the extent of using their utensils
Teachers in Zimbabwe's towns and cities have also failed to report for duty
due to the soaring transport costs which eat up much if not most of
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has told the government that it
must protect teachers or it will stage a "solidarity action" or strike. The
union is demanding a net monthly salary for starting teacher of Z$18 billion
or some US$180 a month.
Progressive Teachers Union General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that schools should not have
opened before the results of the presidential election were released.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairman George Chiweshe said Saturday that
his panel would complete its presidential tally on Monday and then call in
candidates and their agents for "validation" of the results, but such
meetings are still awaited, as are the results of the presidential ballot
held one month ago.
29th Apr 2008 23:21 GMT
By a Correspondent
THE National Democratic Institute (NDI) has today condemned the brutal
actions of the Zimbabwe government following the March 29 elections and has
called on Harare to accept the results of the elections.
“By refusing to release the results of the presidential poll and engaging in
violence and intimidation, the government is violating the fundamental civil
and political rights of the Zimbabwean people,”
said NDI President Kenneth Wollack.
“The government should not operate on the assumption that it can act with
impunity,” he said. “It should know that the international community is
watching and prepared to take action.”
NDI expressed deep concern at the government’s decision to raid the offices
of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) in Harare and detain its
“This courageous group played a historic role by its election monitoring
efforts and by accurately projecting the outcome of the presidential
election through data collection of actual polling site
results,” Wollack said. That projection showed that the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, clearly won the popular
“These activities by ZESN were consistent with Zimbabwean laws and
international standards for democratic elections,” he said.
ZESN, an NDI partner organization, is composed of 38 leading Zimbabwean
civil society groups. It is a non-partisan, non-governmental organization
that has conducted election observation in
Zimbabwe since 2002.
For the March 29 election, ZESN used information gathered by accredited
observers from a random representative sample of polling stations in all
provinces of the country. ZESN’s results showed that
opposition presidential candidate Tsvangirai garnered 49.4 percent of the
vote with a margin of error that could have put him over the 50 percent plus
one needed for an outright victory.
President Robert Mugabe received 41.8 percent, according to ZESN. The
official results have never been released.
Wollack noted that since the election, the regime or its supporters have
arrested, detained, harassed and inflicted violence on opposition figures
and supporters, workers from non-governmental
organizations from inside and outside the country, journalists, and others
who have committed no crime and are operating within Zimbabwean law.
UNITED NATIONS, April 29 (AFP)
A top opponent of President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday demanded UN
intervention in Zimbabwe in the wake of disputed presidential polls but the
Security Council failed to agree on how to respond.
"There must be a call for Mugabe to step down. He's illegitimate. He lost
this (March 29) election," Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary
general Tendai Biti told AFP. "The UN must guarantee the transition and the
security of the new government."
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, 56, claims he defeated the 84-year-old Mugabe
in the March 29 presidential poll, based on his party's calculations.
But Mugabe supporters say no candidate won outright and there should be a
run-off. No official result has so far been released.
Biti called for a "strong and decisive" resolution from the 15-member
Security Council against the Mugabe regime as well as for the dispatch of a
UN envoy or fact-finding mission to his country.
"Zimbabwe is basically a war zone, militias have been deployed in every
district," he told reporters. "Systematic violence is being unleashed by the
state against the people. In every district, torture camps have been set
Zimbabwe's UN Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku dismissed the opposition
charges as "bullshit."
The council must call for "an immediate cessation of the violence, the
demilitarization of the countryside, the demobilization of the militias and
the shutting down of torture camps," Biti implored.
He spoke of a "deliberate use of food as a political weapon" in those areas
where the the MDC did particularly well during the March 29 polls.
Speaking from Geneva, UN boss Ban Ki-moon said the humanitarian situation in
Zimbabwe "is very worrisome" and urged the Harare government to immediately
release results of the presidential elections.
Biti appealed for UN emergency humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe.
He also suggested Ban send a fact-finding mission similar to the one
undertaken by UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka in July 2005 when she reported that
Zimbabwe's slum clearance campaign had left 700,000 Zimbabweans homeless and
destitute and affected a further 2.4 million.
US deputy ambassador to the UN Alejandro Wolff deplored the fact that the
council could not find common ground on how to respond.
"The council is divided," he said.
"There are a number of governments who were quite outspoken about the
importance of the council remaining engaged ... but there were others who
have different views and think that the situation deserves more time and
that ultimately it is up for the Zimbabwean people to resolve it
themselves," he said.
Biti said the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), which
has been trying to mediate an end to the crisis between Mugabe and his
opposition, did not have the capacity to do so.
"The (southern African) region is paralyzed between those who are fighting
in the people's corner and those that are fighting for the status quo," he
He added that UN involvement would "strengthen those positive elements
within SADC (referring to Zambia and Botswana) who have been paralyzed by
the defenders of the status quo."
He called South African President Thabo Mbeki "the key defender of the
status quo," in part due to the solidarity among former liberation
"But behind this facade of revolutionary solidarity, there are real material
and political interests that Mr Mbeki seeks to protect," MDC economic
analyst Wellington Chadehumba told AFP.
"The problems of Zimbabwe are good business for South Africa. The (Zimbabwe)
economy has collapsed. The country can't feed itself so it has become a vast
supermarket for South African goods and commodities," he said.
South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, the council president this month,
took strong exception to those remarks.
"South Africa is a mediator appointed by the (southern African) region (in
Zimbabwe)," he said. "We are hosting up to five million Zimbabwean refugees
without asking anybody to help us take care of them."
Daily Nation, Kenya
Story by DONALD MOGENI
Publication Date: 4/30/2008 IN 1991, A PROMINENT AFRICAN leader stood up
against injustice in a neighbouring land. “The cry for freedom, as well as
the cry for justice, stops at no border,” he declared.
That leader was Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. He was speaking in
Harare, opening the Commonwealth meeting that would decide to begin lifting
the people-to-people sanctions that had been imposed against South Africa.
“As you stand on Zimbabwean soil,” President Mugabe said, “only a
stone’s throw away from South Africa, the world expects us to spare no
effort in helping to achieve an outcome there which will bring comfort to
the oppressed people of South Africa”.
It is now well past time that South Africa returned the favour. Quiet
diplomacy is dead. One of Africa’s brightest hopes has turned into the
continent’s most dismal failures. In an era in which our continent is meant
to be embarking on an African Renaissance, Zimbabwe is both an obstacle and
President Thabo Mbeki’s policy of “quiet diplomacy” in Zimbabwe has
finally been denounced as a disaster by world leaders. The criticism has
extended beyond muted signs of displeasure to condemnation.
Senior ANC leaders have urged Mr Mbeki to alter his stance, while MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai has expressed a desire for South Africa to be
replaced as mediator in the crisis.
It is worth examining what effects this policy, which has led Mr Mbeki
to claim there is no electoral crisis in Zimbabwe, has had on the country.
Zimbabwe, once one of the healthiest economies in Africa, has been
plunged into a crisis that worsens every day. Inflation stands at over
100,000 per cent, and is predicted to hit the 1.5 million per cent mark by
the end of the year.
Its healthcare system has failed, with many children orphaned by an
Aids crisis, which Mr Mbeki refuses to take seriously. Political violence,
intimidation and corruption remain endemic. None of this has been
ameliorated by South Africa’s diplomatic efforts.
This policy has resulted in strengthening Dr Mugabe’s regime and other
countries’ desire to effectively address the plight of the Zimbabwean
By indulging Mugabe’s insistence that the criticisms levelled against
him are part of a neo-colonial plot, President Mbeki has granted the man a
legitimacy that he would not otherwise have.
It is never quite clear to anyone precisely what quiet diplomacy is
meant to accomplish. Is it supposed to bring about a fresh round of
elections — free and fair this time round? Is it meant to bring about a
transfer of power to the MDC or within a “reformed” Zanu-PF? Is it meant to
bring about some kind of government of national unity?
SOUTH AFRICA’S TREATMENT OF Zimbabwe’s opposition has been shameful.
President Mbeki’s public embraces of Mugabe and his Zanu-PF cronies
contrasts sharply with his studied avoidance of Mr Tsvangirai.
The ANC’s unswerving loyalty to its fellow liberation government has
undermined any claim it might have wished to make as to the even-handedness
of its approach. This, of course, reflects the ANC’s attitude towards
political opposition more generally.
The tragedy has been that it is in the interest of all to stand firm
in condemnation of the actions of the Zimbabwean government. It lacks the
economic and military clout to seriously threaten its international critics.
There is everything to gain in pragmatic terms by supporting reform in
a country that has demonstrated such economic potential, and a moral mandate
to criticise Mugabe’s corrupt despotism.
A far better response would have been the more robust one. Standing up
to the Zimbabwe government would have limited their ability to manoeuvre
diplomatically and politically, making it harder for them to acquiesce in
the current crisis.
Had South Africa been firmer from the outset in dealing with the
regime and challenging its actions, it might have been able to limit the
machinations of Zanu-PF and the generals now lining up to try and succeed
A tough stance that refused to indulge Mugabe’s delusions might not
wake him up to reality, but his isolation would afford him less political
protection than he currently has.
This is not to advocate a US-style hawkish diplomacy against Zimbabwe.
That would be entirely inappropriate for the situation and the country, and
would have a very dubious prospect of success.
Rather, to stand up to Zimbabwe would involve stronger words supported
by resolute action, a refusal to indulge Mugabe’s fantasies, and joining the
rest of the world in the sanctions they have placed on the regime.
The world currently awaits the results of this most contentious of
Zimbabwean elections. A change of stance from President Mbeki might go miles
in delivering a resolution. Let’s hope it’s not too late.
The South African government should tell Mugabe that the human rights
abuses, police brutality, arbitrary arrests and beatings of opposition
politicians have to stop. These actions should remind South Africans of the
worst days of apartheid.
Mr Mogeni works with ActionAid. The views expressed here are his own
and do not necessarily reflect those of ActionAid.
By Joe DeCapua
29 April 2008
South African President Thabo Mbeki has been involved in political mediation
efforts in Zimbabwe on behalf of SADC, the Southern African Development
Community. However, an analyst says despite that mediation, South Africa has
an illogical and inconsistent foreign policy towards Zimbabwe. In fact, he
likens it to the mental illness known as schizophrenia, which is described
as a chronic, severe and disabling brain disease.
Guy Lamb is head of the Arms Management Program at the Institute for
Security Studies in Pretoria. He spoke to VOA English to Africa Service
reporter Joe De Capua about South Africa’s dealings with Zimbabwe.
“On the one hand, South Africa has pursued a human rights-based foreign
policy, not only in Zimbabwe, but across the African continent, pursuing
peaceful conflict management approaches, adopting mediation approaches. And
this is the particular approach to Zimbabwe with South Africa as the
official Southern African Development Community mediator in terms of the
“However, South Africa also has an arms industry and is the largest arms
exporter on the African continent, that as an African country. The problem
with respect to Zimbabwe is that South Africa recently provided approval for
a shipment of arms and ammunition from China to be shipped across South
African soil to Zimbabwe. And this in a way runs contrary to South Africa’s
human rights-based approach to foreign policy. In a way, there is a bit of
schizophrenia there,” he says.
Some call the arms shipment a simple business transaction. But Lamb says,
“South Africa does have legislation. It’s the National Conventional Arms
Control Act, which governs South Africa’s arms trade, which doesn’t only
relate to the export of South African arms, but also relates to the shipment
or the transfer of arms from other countries across South African soil. And
when that happens, the South African government, namely the National
Conventional Arms Control Committee, which is a cabinet committee, they have
to apply their minds using particular criteria. And within that criteria,
which is stipulated in this arms control act, is [a stipulation] that they
should seriously consider restricting the movement of arms to another
country across South African soil when they may contribute to human rights
abuses or internal repression. And the concern here is given the uncertainty
and insecurity within Zimbabwe at this current point in time…the potential
for those particular arms and ammunition from China could contribute to
internal repression and human rights abuse.”
The United States Monday pressured South Africa to do more to help end the
political crisis in South Africa but stopped short of openly criticizing
Lamb says, “The challenge for South Africa as being a mediator in this
particular process is that…it’s difficult for President Mbeki as a mediator
to be critical. He can be critical of certain principle issues, but he can’t
be seen to be taking sides. And [that’s] why there hasn’t been a
considerable amount of criticism on what’s been going on by (the ruling)
Monsters and Critics
Apr 29, 2008, 12:04 GMT
Maputo, Mozamibique - The Mozambican Human Rights League (LDH) on Tuesday
urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) leadership to
publicly condemn Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's intentions to cling to
power using fraudulent means.
The regional grouping's leaders were failing to strongly condemn Mugabe by
resorting to what LDH President Alice Mobota alleged was a 'corporative
pact' by an alliance of liberation struggle leaders who plan to be loyal and
faithful to each other to the end.
'The silent diplomacy means governmental corporativism. Only two presidents
have condemned Robert Mugabe directly: Levy Mwanawasa from Zambia and Ian
Khama from Botswana. You know why? Because they do not belong to the
corporative pact,' Mobota said.
'We need to respect the role they (liberation leaders) played at the time,
but they must understand that their time has gone. It's time to leave the
power for younger generations. This is a moment of transition, for the
generation of peace times not from those who came from the bush,' she added.
Mobota also questions the existence in Africa of electoral commissions that
are not independent and forced to act under duress.
Zimbabwe's disputed elections was the second in Africa for the year, after
Kenya, and could set a precedent for elections that are coming up in
Mozambique, Angola and South Africa, Mobota warned.
She also urged regional leaders not to allow the shipment of arms from China
to reach Zimbabwe through SADC ports and to condemn Mugabe's allies,