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Zimbabwe's Ruling Party Loses its Majority in Parliament


02 April 2008

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has lost its majority in parliament according to the latest official result from the Zimbabwe Election Commission. And, as Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA from Harare, this news follows an earlier announcement from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change that it believes its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, has won more than 50 percent of the vote in the presidential race.

Morgan Tsvangirai addresses press conference in Harare, 02 Apr 2008
Morgan Tsvangirai addresses press conference in Harare, 02 Apr 2008
The Zimbabwe Election Commission's latest results indicate that the MDC and its allies will have an historic, small, parliamentary majority. ZANU-PF has held the majority in parliament since independence from Britain in 1980.

But this news was pre-empted by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which in a media conference announced that its tally, which it says coincides with that of the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network, shows that its presidential candidate Tsvangirai got 50.3 percent of the vote. So far there is no official tally of votes cast in the race for president.

If the MDC tally of the presidential race is correct, this would mean that Tsvangirai has won an outright victory over the 84-year-old incumbent, President Robert Mugabe.

MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti, 02 Apr 2008
Tendai Biti, 02 Apr 2008
MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti says this means there should be no need for a run-off in the presidential race which would have to take place in 21 days from when the result is officially announced. But he said Tsvangirai would be willing to contest a run-off, if the Commission insists one is required.

"A runoff in 21 days," said Biti. "That is what the law says. If that is the case, without prejudice to our position this party will contest the runoff, but we would have hoped for a situation that there will be a conceding of the result for a number of reasons, and the number of reasons being that it is unlikely that the people's will, will in any way be reversed in that run-off. If anything, there will actually be an embarrassing margin in favor of the opposition in the runoff. There is no question about that.

Biti said he hopes President Mugabe will realize that any run-off would deliver him a smashing defeat.

He adds that the party's assessment of the election results are based on actual votes cast, counted and verified by the Zimbabwe Election Commission at each individual polling station. But he notes that there are some outstanding results which have not yet been released.

Political analysts say the margins are so narrow that the MDC might be forced to accept a run-off because disputes about even one or two voting stations could significantly change the overall percentages.

Biti said the margin of error was very small, adding that his party has already called for verification of the officially announced results at some polling stations because of discrepancies with its own records.

Meanwhile the ruling ZANU-PF has described the MDC's tally of the presidential race as "wishful". Party spokesman Bright Matonga said no party could decide the winner but suggested ZANU-PF has accepted there might be a run-off for the presidential election.

The elections last Saturday were for four contests, the presidency, parliament, senate and local government.

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ZEC: 200 constituencies announced; Zanu-PF loses parliamentary majority

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele : 2 April 2008

Results for 200 constituencies have now been announced by the ZEC.

Zanu PF has lost its lead and have a total of 94 seats. MDC Tsvangirai now lead by 4 seats with a total of 98 seats. MDC Mutambara have gained an extra 2 seats, and now has a total of 7 seats. Finally, Jonothan Moyo, who stood as an Independent, has won his seat in Tsholotsho North.

Zanu PF has lost its parliamentary majority.

We are now awaiting for the ZEC announcement of results for Hwange Central, Nkayi North, Beitbridge West, Gwanda North, Insiza North, Matobo South, and Umzingwane.

In addition to the above, there will be by-elections for the following three constituencies: Pelandaba/Mpopoma, Gwanda South, and Redcliff . This is due to the deaths of three candidates prior to the March 29th elections.

The share of the vote, so far and according to ZEC announced figures, is as follows:

  • Total votes: 2352944
  • ZPF: 1082752
  • MDC MT: 1021125
  • MDC AM: 182084
  • Others: 66983

Binga North
MDC MT 16335 / ZPF 2946 /

Nkayi South
MDC MT 5958 / ZPF 3198 / MDC AM 1478 /

Tsholotsho North
IND 3532 / MDC AM 3305 / ZPF 2085 /

Lupane East
MDC AM 5424 / ZPF 3368 / MDC MT 1352 /

Makoni South
MDC MT 6501 / ZPF 5230 / MDC AM 1530 / IND 791 /

Tsholotsho South
MDC AM 5651 / ZPF 3328 /

Binga South
MDC MT 9818 / MDC AM 2136 / ZPF 1766 /

Hwange East
MDC MT 5140 / ZPF 3320 / MDC AM 2387 /

Hwange West
MDC MT 6318 / MDC AM 3561 / ZPF 2840 /

ZPF 7065 / MDC MT 2846 / MDC AM 2120 / IND 555 / UPP 226 /

MDC MT 3443 / MDC AM 2751 / ZPF 1220 / FDU 126 / UPP 100 /

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MDC claims Tsvangirai as 'next president of Zimbabwe' 10 seats left in counting

Monsters and Critics

Apr 2, 2008, 17:24 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on
Wednesday rejected the need for a second round in the presidential contest
between MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and longtime leader Robert Mugabe, as
it emerged Mugabe's party had lost its parliamentary majority.

The MDC said its own count of results from Saturday's elections showed 'that
Morgan Richard Tsvangirai is the next president of the Republic of Zimbabwe
without (the need for) a runoff (vote).'

But a second round of voting, which the constitution calls for in the event
neither candidate takes more than 50 per cent, emerged as a possible option
after the MDC conceded it would participate in a runoff, albeit 'under

The MDC claimed victory based on results from the combined presidential,
parliamentary and local elections posted outside the 9,100 polling stations
since Sunday. The official electoral commission has not yet released any
results from the presidential vote.

Bright Matonga, a government spokesman, called the MDC declaration 'a
mischievous way to instigate an uprising' and warned the party to be 'very

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told a press conference Tsvangirai, 56,
had taken 50.3 per cent of the vote, against 43.8 per cent for longtime
President Robert Mugabe, 84, and 6 per cent for former finance minister
Simba Makoni, 58.

Meanwhile, official figures from the state-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission showing Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party had lost its majority in
the 210-seat House of Assembly.

With 200 of 210 seats counted, Zanu-PF had taken 94 against 98 for
Tsvangirai's MDC faction, 7 seats for a smaller MDC faction and one for an
independent. Even if Zanu-PF took all 12 remaining seats it would not have a
majority. The MDC needs just one more seat for a majority.

Analysts said his party's weakened assembly presence would make it difficult
for Mugabe to claim he had won the presidency.

Biti said Tsvangirai would take part in a presidential runoff vote 'under
protest' but preferred to spare Mugabe the 'humiliation'.

It was not clear whether Mugabe himself was keen to go to a runoff, in which
most pundits predict he would be defeated if the divided opposition united
against him.

At the weekend Mugabe said a runoff vote would 'not be necessary.'

The MDC quoted an estimate produced by the independent Zimbabwe Election
Support Network to back up its win claim.

ZESN's estimate, based on a random sample of results from polling stations,
shows Tsvangirai taking 49.2 per cent of the vote against 41.8 per cent for
Mugabe and 8.2 per cent for Makoni. That estimate had contained a margin of
error of 2.4 per cent.

The MDC's announcement, coming a day after Tsvangirai's vowed to wait for
the outcome of the official count before declaring victory, appeared
designed to apply pressure on Mugabe to concede defeat.

Sources close to the MDC said Tuesday that the MDC, Zanu-PF and the military
were in talks on the election outcome but the government and Tsvangirai have
rejected rumours a deal had been struck on Mugabe's exit.

The administration of US President George W Bush earlier stopped short of
calling on Mugabe to step aside but said it was 'clear the people of
Zimbabwe have voted for change.'

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told his parliament that any runoff
vote would have to meet the standards of the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community, with whom Britain 'remained in contact' about the
Zimbabwe situation.

As tension mounts in Zimbabwe South Africa's Nobel Peace Prize winner
Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for all sides to avoid bloodshed.

'The people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough,' he said in a BBC interview,
suggesting a peacekeeping mission should be sent to the southern African

Saturday's elections, which got a qualified thumbs-up from African observers
despite widespread irregularities, including the presence of police in
polling stations, was seen mainly as a vote on the economic chaos wrought by
Mugabe's populist policies, which have resulted in 100,000-per-cent
inflation and brought millions to the brink of starvation.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

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Presdential Election Count

From: Veritas <>
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 20:11:17 +0200

The only results that have not yet been legally declared are the Presidential results
Legally effective declarations of all the successful Parliamentary and Council candidates have already been made at ward and constituency levels.  It is not an offence to publicise the already declared Council and Parliamentary Results.  These do not depend on the announcements by the ZEC National Command Centre.  Nor is it an offence to add up and publicise polling station and constituency totals for the Presidential election which have already been publicly displayed [see below].
Clarification of Position on Counting and Display of Votes Received in Presidential Election
There is a public paper trail of results in the Presidential Election - from the polling station level, through the ward and constituency levels up to the National Command Centre.
Votes cast at polling stations are counted on the spot at each polling station and the results immediately displayed outside each polling station.  [Ref: Electoral Act, section 64(1)(e) as read with section 112].  Each polling station sends the results [as posted outside the polling station] to the relevant ward centre and these are totalled and displayed outside the ward centre.  [Ref: ZEC publication]
Ward results are sent to the relevant House of Assembly constituency centre.  Here they are added together.  These totals are displayed outside the House of Assembly constituency centres.  These results go to the relevant Senatorial constituency centre for further totalling and display.  These results [only sixty] are sent to the National Command Centre [ref: Electoral Act, Second Schedule, paragraph 1(1)(c)]. The figures must be recorded on the constituency return in such a manner that the results of the count for each polling station are shown on the return.  [Ref: Electoral Act, Second Schedule, paragraph 1(1)(a)]
There is no actual counting of votes at the National Command Centre.  What takes place at the National Command Centre is the adding together of the figures contained in these sixty returns received from the Senate constituency centres.  [Ref: Electoral Act, Second Schedule, paragraphs 2 and 3]  The candidates, their chief election agents and accredited observers are entitled to be present throughout.  The Chief Elections Officer must display each constituency return to those present and allow notes to be made of the contents of each return.  The declaration of the result by the Chief Elections Officer follows immediately on the completion of the collation process.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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MDC don't want to 'humiliate' Mugabe


    April 02 2008 at 08:37PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on
Wednesday rejected the need for a second round in the presidential contest
between MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and longtime leader Robert Mugabe, as
it emerged Mugabe's party had lost its parliamentary majority.

The MDC said its own count of results from Saturday's elections showed
"that Morgan Richard Tsvangirai is the next president of the Republic of
Zimbabwe without (the need for) a run-off (vote)."

But a second round of voting, which the constitution calls for in the
event neither candidate takes more than 50 percent, emerged as a possible
option after the MDC conceded it would participate in a run-off, albeit
"under protest."

The MDC claimed victory based on results from the combined
presidential, parliamentary and local elections posted outside the 9 100
polling stations since Sunday. The official electoral commission has not yet
released any results from the presidential vote.

Bright Matonga, a government spokesperson, called the MDC declaration
"a mischievous way to instigate an uprising" and warned the party to be
"very careful".

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told a press conference Tsvangirai,
56, had taken 50.3 percent of the vote, against 43.8 percent for longtime
President Robert Mugabe, 84, and 6 percent for former finance minister Simba
Makoni, 58.

Meanwhile, official figures from the state-controlled Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission showing Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party had lost its
majority in the 210-seat House of Assembly.

With 200 of 210 seats counted, Zanu-PF had taken 94 against 98 for
Tsvangirai's MDC faction, 7 seats for a smaller MDC faction and one for an
independent. Even if Zanu-PF took all 12 remaining seats it would not have a
majority. The MDC needs just one more seat for a majority.

Analysts said his party's weakened assembly presence would make it
difficult for Mugabe to claim he had won the presidency.

Biti said Tsvangirai would take part in a presidential run-off vote
"under protest" but preferred to spare Mugabe the "humiliation".

It was not clear whether Mugabe himself was keen to go to a run-off,
in which most pundits predict he would be defeated if the divided opposition
united against him.

At the weekend Mugabe said a run-off vote would "not be necessary."

The MDC quoted an estimate produced by the independent Zimbabwe
Election Support Network to back up its win claim.

ZESN's estimate, based on a random sample of results from polling
stations, shows Tsvangirai taking 49.2 percent of the vote against 41.8
percent for Mugabe and 8.2 percent for Makoni. That estimate had contained a
margin of error of 2.4 percent.

The MDC's announcement, coming a day after Tsvangirai's vowed to wait
for the outcome of the official count before declaring victory, appeared
designed to apply pressure on Mugabe to concede defeat.

Sources close to the MDC said Tuesday that the MDC, Zanu-PF and the
military were in talks on the election outcome but the government and
Tsvangirai have rejected rumours a deal had been struck on Mugabe's exit.

The administration of US President George W Bush earlier stopped short
of calling on Mugabe to step aside but said it was "clear the people of
Zimbabwe have voted for change."

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told his parliament that any
run-off vote would have to meet the standards of the 14-nation Southern
African Development Community, with whom Britain "remained in contact" about
the Zimbabwe situation.

As tension mounts in Zimbabwe South Africa's Nobel Peace Prize winner
Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for all sides to avoid bloodshed.

"The people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough," he said in a BBC
interview, suggesting a peacekeeping mission should be sent to the southern
African country.

Saturday's elections, which got a qualified thumbs-up from African
observers despite widespread irregularities, including the presence of
police in polling stations, was seen mainly as a vote on the economic chaos
wrought by Mugabe's populist policies, which have resulted in 100
000-per-cent inflation and brought millions to the brink of starvation.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. - Sapa-dpa

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Mugabe to go down fighting - analysts


Wed 2 Apr 2008, 14:58 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is likely to resist
pressure to make a graceful exit and go down fighting in an election runoff
with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, analysts said on Wednesday.

"Mugabe is a high stakes political gambler, and I think he is going to go
for it with everything he can marshall. But I don't think he can reverse his
fortunes," said Brian Kagoro, a lawyer and political commentator.

A senior Western diplomat, who asked not to be named, said "He is not the
type that quietly walks away into the sunset. I don't think he will take up
any of these offers of an exit deal."

The signs are clear that Mugabe's iron grip on the country is slipping after
28 years in power and even his control of powerful security forces and
militias will not save him.

Official results on Wednesday showed Mugabe's ZANU-PF party had lost control
of parliament after the combined opposition parties built an unassailable
lead. This will weaken Mugabe's important powers of patronage.

Cracks have appeared in the previously monolithic ZANU-PF even if fear has
stopped many powerful figures openly backing former finance minister Simba
Makoni, the third candidate in the election.

Makoni and a breakaway faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) are likely to unite behind veteran Mugabe rival Tsvangirai in a

"Mugabe will go into any re-run a very desperate man, and I see him being
beaten very badly, getting humiliated," said Eldred Masunungure, a political
science professor at the University of Zimbabwe.

Kagoro agreed: "He cannot win this election because he is fighting the
economy, and the economy is in such bad shape you cannot gloss over it
without looking ridiculous."


Mugabe's hardline politics have pushed the former British colony's economy
into freefall, with the world's highest inflation at more than 100,000
percent, a virtually worthless currency, shortages of food and fuel and an
HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Tsvangirai's MDC said on Wednesday it had won the presidential election
despite charging widespread government vote-rigging.

MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti said they would accept a runoff even
though they had won an absolute majority of 50.3 percent of the presidential
vote. They said Mugabe would be embarrassed by any runoff.

Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga, however, said "President Mugabe
is going nowhere" and emphasised the support he has from his security

Asked if Mugabe would accept defeat in a runoff, he told Sky television: "He
is a gentleman. He is professional and he understands these things."

Projections by the governing ZANU-PF party say Tsvangirai will fall short of
an outright victory. No official presidential results have been released
four days after the poll.

Even the state-run Herald newspaper -- normally a loyal mouthpiece for
Mugabe -- conceded on Wednesday that he had failed to win a majority for the
first time and would be forced into a runoff.

With the countryside now suffering as much as the urban opposition
strongholds, the MDC has made major inroads into Mugabe's traditional rural

"I just don't see how he is going to recover from this now because
pyschologically there is a momentum building up for the final blow,"
Masunungure said.

In the three weeks before a presidential re-run Mugabe is expected to deploy
his political shock troops -- independence war veterans and youth brigades
commonly known as "green bombers".

But analysts say they will find it much harder to be able to cow an
opposition riding a wave of success, despite a fearsome reputation.

The veteran Zimbabwean leader has survived through a political patronage
system rewarding loyalists, including rural chiefs, and an iron fist that
punishes dissenters.

But his ranks have suffered divisions and desertions over his refusal to
hand over power to a younger leadership.


Makoni abandoned ZANU-PF to enter the presidential race as an independent,
accusing Mugabe of stifling political reforms and wrecking one of Africa's
most promising economies.

Zimbabweans, who once had one of the region's highest standards of living
now scrounge to survive in what many call a "destitute economy." The cost of
living is way above average salaries, and people carry bags of money for
simple shopping.

Unemployment is 80 percent.

Mugabe's seizure and redistribution of white-owned farms to unqualified
farmers, many of them his cronies, have left a country which used to export
food surviving on aid supplies.

His latest plan to nationalise foreign companies, including mines and banks,
merely accelerated the economy's death spiral.

A quarter of Zimbabwe's 13 million population has already fled abroad to
find jobs and decent lives.

Some critics say Mugabe is probably hanging onto power as long as possible
because of fears he could be dragged before an international court for
rights abuse charges if he left office.

But his hardline entourage, including security chiefs, may now be thinking
about their own survival and considering whether the time has come to
finally abandon the 84-year-old leader.

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MDC Claims It Has Support of the Defence Forces

SW Radio Africa (London)

2 April 2008
Posted to the web 2 April 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

The rank and file members of the country's defence forces are fully behind
the MDC forming a new government, according to a senior legislator in the

Giles Mutsekwa, the MDC MP for Dangamvura-Chikanga in Mutare, said he has
received assurances from several senior military officers that they would
pledge their allegiance to the next commander-in-chief of the defence

Reports in Harare say the defence chiefs, led by General Constantine
Chiwenga, are reluctant to let Robert Mugabe concede defeat to Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC.

Mutsekwa, a retired army Major claimed there were a few 'rotten eggs' within
the defence forces that were against a change of government through
democracy, because they've benefited hugely from Robert Mugabe's patronage.

'Look, I'm in daily contact with several senior officers from the army,
airforce, the police and CIO who say they will salute the office of the Head
of State,' Mutsekwa said.

He added; 'these are professional soldiers who were trained to salute the
office of the Head of State and not personalities like Robert Mugabe. If
General Chiwenga and company are uncomfortable with saluting the next head
of state, then we may as well start working on their golden handshakes for

A week before the elections General Chiwenga threatened voters who backed
Robert Mugabe, saying Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni, were sell-outs and
agents of the west's regime change agenda in the country.

He declared that the military would not salute anyone except Mugabe, in what
analysts said was a clear threat to stage a military coup in the event the
Zanu-PF leader lost the polls.

The military is credited with keeping Mugabe in power and being always ready
to use brutal tactics to keep public discontent in check, in the face of the
economic meltdown that has spawned hyperinflation and shortages of food,
fuel, essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic survival

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Opposition Supporters Wary Of Rejoicing

Sky News

Emma Hurd
Africa correspondent
Updated:18:21, Wednesday April 02, 2008

There is a strange sense of calm in Zimbabwe.

It might be fatalism or exhaustion but, away from the increasingly
hysterical rhetoric of the politicians, most of the people here are waiting
patiently for the final drama of this election to play out.

They are used to waiting. The queues for bread stretch around street
corners, past the telephone boxes and lamp posts plastered with election

Some of them show the face of Robert Mugabe, the leader who has reduced them
to this.

There's another line outside the bank where people are withdrawing blocks of
$10 million dollar notes from the cash point.

With inflation at more than 100,000 per cent they will have to spend it
fast, but many of the supermarket shelves are bare.

A few people at the street stalls huddle around radios to listen out for the
election results but most have given up and turned the dial to music

The 8 o'clock news on ZBC, the state broadcaster, is required viewing for
those able to afford a television and a generators to power it through the
frequent power cuts.

Rumours swirl about Mr Mugabe making an official announcement about stepping
down on the bulletin, but it does not come.

Instead the newsreader lists the latest parliamentary results in a slow,
monotonous voice.

He might just be bored by the whole process, but more likely he's worried
about displaying enthusiasm while announcing an opposition gain.

Even in the opposition strongholds people are wary of celebrating. We found
a group of MDC supporters, with the face of their leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
splashed across their white T-shirts.

"He's won, but Mugabe will steal it," one of them told me. "If he does that
we will fight a war," another said.

But there is no sign of unrest yet. The security forces are on the streets
but not in huge numbers and the opposition claim the rank and file will
desert if Mr Mugabe orders them to crush dissent.

And so they wait. For bread, for money and for the results of the election
that will decide the whether their country is about to change.

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MDC will participate in run-off under protest

2nd Apr 2008 17:21 GMT

By a Correspondent

HARARE - Zimbabwe main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change(MDC)
will contest in a run-off under protest after claiming winning majority
votes in the presidential race.

MDC claimed victory over President Robert Mugabe through their own
collection and collation of votes in the presidential race from results that
were posted outside polling stations.

According to the Electoral Act the presidential winner must have 50 percent
of the total vote plus one vote. The latest official election results show
Zanu PF has lost its control of parliament.

The results show the combined opposition Movement for Democratic Change has
won 105 seats in the House of Assembly so far, while the ruling party has
won 93 seats.

Earlier Wednesday, the opposition claimed outright victory in the
presidential election, but the ruling Zanu PF party rejected that claim.

MDC secretary general, Tendai Biti said: "President Morgan Tsvangirai has
won this election. Tsvangirai will be next president of the republic of
Zimbabwe, out of the total 2 382 243 votes cast in this election President
Tsvangirai got more than 50 percent to avoid a run-off."

Biti said his party will contest in a run-off under protest, adding that a
run-off will further embarass President Mugabe.

"We will contest in a run-off under protest.It is clear that we have won. It
appears the state media is preparing the public for a run-off though it is
clear we won this election.We will wait for ZEC to announce their results,"
Biti said.

The government controlled daily, The Herald, reported that the pattern of
parliamentary results shows that they would be a run-off as neither of the
candidates got more than 50 percent.

MDC says through their collection and tabulation of results show Tsvangirai
garnered 50,3 percent of the total vote Robert Mugabe 43,8 percent while
Simba Makoni an independent presidential candidate got 7 percent.

The MDC claims it got a total of 99 seats parliamentary seats, Zanu PF 96,
MDC led by Professor Arthur Mutambara got 11 seats while one seat went to
professor Jonathan Moyo an independent.

The opposition party dismissed rumours that they have been approached by
Zanu PF to form a governmnent of national unity.
Election results have been trickling into the national centre being manned
by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which is announcing the results.

By 4 p.m today, according to official results MDC led by Tsvangirai was
leading with 96 parlimentarians, Zanu PF had 94 and MDC led by Mutambara
nine seats while Professor Jonathan Moyo is the only independent to win.

Three constituencies Gwanda South, Redcliff and Mpopoma Pelandaba are not
being contested following the death of contesting candidates.

Zanu PF won the Muzarabani house of assembly seat before the elections on
March 29 following failure by the opposition to field candidates in the

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Election Re-Run 'Would Be Bloody'

Sky News

Updated:19:54, Wednesday April 02, 2008

Zimbabwe will see a bloodbath the likes of which it has never seen before if
a re-run is called for the presidential election, a well-placed source has
told Sky News Online.

Lawrence Zinzigi (not his real name), makes the dire prediction from the
capital Harare, where he says the delay in the release of results may be a
sign some members of the military are questioning their support of their
commander-in-chief, Robert Mugabe.

No more information can be revealed about the identity of Mr Zinzigi, a
political analyst, in order to protect him and the people who put him in
contact with Sky News.

This is his account:

"Zimbabweans have slowly become aware that the country has been governed by
the Joint Operations Command (JOC) for some time. The JOC is chaired by the
Commander in Chief of the armed forces, President Mugabe, and its members
include all of the service chiefs and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of

What has surprised most Zimbabweans is that going back to 2002 elections,
all election results have been forwarded to the JOC for approval, before
being sent back to the Election Command Centre for release.

In effect therefore, Zimbabwe has been ruled by a military 'junta' and
claims that service chiefs will never accept a win by anyone other than
Mugabe have real meaning.

The delay in releasing results at present, is solely due to the fact that
the JOC doesn't know how to handle the real results - and there has been a
great deal of debate as to whether the JOC can continue to support Mugabe.

One gathers that this has been division on the issue - some members of the
JOC have more personal culpability than others when it comes to the abuse of
power, human rights abuses and blatant enrichment by corrupt means.

In deciding whether to support Mugabe, members of the JOC will be

a) His age and health
b) His record of success in recent years - of course it could be argued that
the JOC has actually been in control over the period of decline
c) The increasing frustration and anger of the Zimbabwean people generally,
and of the armed forces in particular

Most thinking people believe that events such as have occurred in Zimbabwe
are part of a process, and this process is virtually complete.

Any attempts to 'turn back the clock' now, will have catastrophic
consequences for the county - and the people - the biggest challenge?

You can be sure that Mugabe's men will lean towards a fight - and we should
expect that the 21 days before any re-run is held to be incredibly ruthless,
bloody and as draconian as the worst of Mugabe's previous endeavours to
cling onto power."

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SA will react on Zimbabwe when 'time is right'


April 02, 2008, 19:00

Foreign Affairs says South Africa will only comment on the neighbouring
state's elections when the entire electoral process is concluded.

Department spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa says all eyes will be on President
Thabo Mbeki to see how he will react to the latest developments in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile media reports say leaders like US President George W Bush and
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have both asked Mbeki to use his
influence on Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has announced that Mugabe's ZANU-PF party
has lost its majority in parliament.

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Zimbabwe's 2nd chance begins now

International Herald Tribune

By Alan Cowell Published: April 2, 2008

LONDON: For a brief moment, before the slow-motion unfolding of the vote in
Zimbabwe began this week, a window seemed to be nudging open, offering the
distant vision of a land that might finally hope for renewal, however
painful and protracted.

And whatever the outcome of what some British newspapers are calling the
endgame in Zimbabwe after 28 years of increasingly iron-fisted rule by
Robert Mugabe, the requirements for the rebirth will be the same.

Zimbabwe achieved lawful independence from Britain in 1980 after years of
guerrilla warfare. Anyone who was there at the time Mugabe first won power
in British-supervised elections will testify that his was a land of
prosperity and hope. It can be the same again, but it has a longer road to
travel now than it did in those heady moments surrounding independence.

Look first at the economy - then and now.

In 1980, years of international sanctions against the white regime led by
Ian Smith had inspired a degree of economic depth as the country replaced
imported goods with its own products. Tourism - from Lake Kariba to the
Victoria Falls to the Eastern Highlands - offered alluring vacations.
Tobacco farms earned hard dollars and pounds.

Mugabe inherited a nation whose skewed and unjust patterns of land ownership
nonetheless enable a few thousand white farmers to produce corn, wheat and
beef to feed the region. Since those days, he has turned a breadbasket into
a basket case. Four people out of five have no jobs. Inflation is said to be
running at an annual 100,000 percent, an almost unimaginable concept.
All that can begin to be fixed with international aid given with good will.
The World Food Program is already feeding Zimbabweans. Western countries -
like the United States and Britain, the former colonial power reviled and
frequently manipulated by Mugabe - could not afford to be seen to be
ungenerous toward a Zimbabwean phoenix.

But there is a much deeper malaise, offering challenges that simply did not
exist to the same degree in 1980. The AIDS epidemic has slashed life
expectancy for Zimbabwean women to 34 years. Long before the ballot last
weekend, millions of Zimbabweans had voted with their feet, swelling the
ranks of exiles in South Africa and Britain. It is their remittances, sent
home in hard currency immunized from the cruel inflation, that sustains what
is left of the ruined economy.

But, as in the Balkans after the wars of early 1990s, no reconstruction plan
will work without people to implement it. Zimbabwe needs aid on the scale of
the postwar Marshall Plan. But the Marshall Plan achieved the successes it
did - the Wirtschaftswunder in Germany, for instance - because the people of
ruined lands worked hard at it.

Like the offers of aid, the return home of Zimbabwe's exiles simply will not
happen while Mugabe is in power.

That is the hard reality beyond the colonial-era rhetoric Mugabe has used so
successfully to cloak his failed stewardship as a continuation of the bush
war in the 1970s. To compete in a globalized world, Mugabe's heirs will
confront a hard-nosed new reality where ideology has long surrendered to
material achievement. Postcolonial anachronisms hold no sway outside Africa.

And they will be challenged by a problem that has precedents, but no easy
solution. After independence in 1980, Zimbabwe did not attempt the same
self-examination as South Africa with its Truth and Reconciliation
Commission. True, the South African process was flawed, but it did at least
shine a bright light into some of the dark corners of white oppression and
black resistance.

Reconciliation in Zimbabwe is no longer a racial issue. But any new
government will be heir to a land where an elite has acquired vast riches by
siding with a despot who has made most of his people poor. If reconciliation
is to be offered by those who have been exploited, then atonement should be
offered by those who have benefited from the years of corruption,
particularly in the military. That might start with handing back farms
expropriated from white farmers or, at least, injecting some justice into
Mugabe's capricious concept of land reform.

Zimbabwe, of course, has long experience in the gestures of healing. After
independence, the former bush-war adversaries - two guerrilla armies and the
white-led Rhodesian Army - were fused into a single force mostly loyal to
the new state. Smith, the last white leader of Rhodesia, was permitted to
stay on, prosper and even raise his voice against his successors.

But Mugabe has built a new catalogue of memories among Zimbabweans, starting
with the brutal oppression by the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade of his
army in Matabeleland in the early 1980s. And, unlike in the 1980s, there are
mechanisms now for brutal dictators and military commanders, from the
Balkans to Africa's Great Lakes, to be sent for trial in The Hague - surely
Mugabe's most horrifying nightmare.

As South Africans learned from their Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
the price of reconciliation with the perpetrator was often the forfeit of
justice for the victim. That would be the price, too, that Zimbabweans would
pay for an amnesty for Mugabe and his acolytes.

Outsiders like to say Zimbabwe is inherently a gentle nation, but its people
have been traumatized, possibly beyond the forgiveness and magnanimity they
were prepared to show as victors in the struggle for independence. The
Kenyan option, bloodletting before negotiation, cannot be dismissed as

Mugabe has been given critical support by the heads of his police and armed
forces, who have sworn publicly that they would not accept an electoral
victory by Morgan Tsvangirai. Indeed, during the election campaign, Mugabe
pointedly reminded an audience that Zimbabwe's democracy emerged from the
barrel of the gun. Now, his military commanders must decide which way those
gun barrels should face.

The election Saturday heralded a truly seismic shift: the political party
that drew its legitimacy from the anti-colonial struggle seemed to be on the
brink of being discarded, against Mugabe's deep desire to maintain power and
avert painful humiliation.

Zimbabwe seemed finally to reach the crossroads. Yet, as ever, Mugabe
demanded the right to dictate which way the nation should turn.

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‘Mugabe must step down with dignity’

The Times. SA

Sapa Published:Apr 02, 2008
Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu expressed hope today that Zimbabwean
president Robert Mugabe would be able to step down with dignity.

He was speaking as election results showed that Mugabe’s Zanu-PF had lost
control of the country’s Parliament, and as the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) claimed it had also won the presidency.

"That is democracy. Democracy is, you change government when people decide,"
Tutu said in Cape Town, speaking to journalists after a memorial service for
anti-apartheid activist Ivan Toms. "I mean when your time is over, your time
is over.

"We hope the transition will be a peaceful one, relatively peaceful, and
that Mr Mugabe will step down with dignity, gracefully."

Tutu said Mugabe, who played a pivotal role in the armed struggle that
toppled the Rhodesian regime, was "someone we were very proud of".

"He did a fantastic job, and it’s such a great shame, because he had a
wonderful legacy. If he had stepped down ten or so years ago he would be
held in very, very high regard.

"And I still want to say we must honour him for the things that he did do,
and just say what a shame.

"We hope he will be able to step down gracefully, with dignity."

Echoing a theme he had preached at Toms’ funeral, Tutu said: "Justice will
ultimately have the last word."

Earlier today, in an interview with the BBC, he proposed sending an
international peacekeeping force to Zimbabwe.

He told the BBC he favoured "a mixed force of Africans and others" to
protect human rights in the beleaguered African country. "It is a
peacekeeping force," he said. "It is not one that is going to be aggressive.
It is merely ensuring that human rights are maintained."

The former archbishop said he supported any deal that would stave off
conflict in Zimbabwe, but added that he believed the evidence supported
claims by the opposition MDC that it had unseated Mugabe.

"Anything that would save the possibilities of bloodshed, of conflict, I am
quite willing to support," he said. "The people of Zimbabwe have suffered
enough, and we don’t...want any more possibilities of bloodshed."

He continued: "In a fraught situation such as we have had in Zimbabwe,
anything that is helping towards a move, a transition, from the repression
to the possibilities of democracy and freedom, oh, for goodness sake, please
let us accept that."

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Zimbabweans 'itching for change'


02/04/2008 15:54  - (SA)

Verashni Pillay

Harare - Zimbabweans were growing increasingly optimistic on Wednesday as
official poll results continued trickling in.

"The Zimabwean people are already calling it a 'New Zimbabwe' and say they
will pronounce a Freedom Day," said Chris Muronzi, a Zimbabwean journalist
based in the capital. "All that is left for them is to hear an official
announcement but it is already imprinted on their minds that Mugabe is

Many Zimbabweans were hopeful that this year's elections would see an end to
President Robert Mugabe's dictatorial rule since the country's independence
from Britain in 1980.

Zimbabweans went to the polls on Saturday to vote in their most important
election since independence. Parliamentary results have been trickling in
since Sunday showing the two parties closely tied. Presidential results have
not been released yet.

Under Mugabe the country has faced one economic crisis after the other.
Zimbabweans were suffering the world's highest inflation of more than 100
000%, food and fuel shortages, and an HIV/Aids epidemic that had contributed
to a steep decline in life expectancy.

Tension rising

While the mood was tense in Zimbabwe, the election has been mostly
violence-free. However Mugabe has vowed to crack down on premature
celebrations, viewing these as an act of treason or a coup attempt.

Riot police have continued to patrol suburbs and streets throughout Harare.

"Tension is definitely rising because this is such an emotional issue for
many Zimbabweans," said Muronzi. "They are itching for change."

Zimbabweans were very optimistic about an opposition win, according to
Muronzi, despite official parliamentary results largely showing ruling party
Zanu-PF neck-in-neck with opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

The MDC has started to show a slim lead over Zanu-PF though results have
been constantly delayed, leading to suspicions that Mugabe was delaying the
announcement of his defeat in an attempt to rig the vote.

"I want to believe Zanu-PF would be honourable enough to respect the will of
the people," said Muronzi about a possible MDC win. Officials within Zanu-PF
have said the party will step down if they were to lose.

However Muronzi pointed out that "Zanu-PF by nature is not a very tolerant
party," and there are fears that Mugabe would continue clinging to power
whatever the election results.

A big problem

"Should Mugabe choose not to respect the outcome of the election, it could
be a big problem for the Zimbabwean people," said Muronzi.

The armed forces who have kept Mugabe in power have remained largely loyal
to him. Chief of staff Constantine Chiwenga said prior to the poll he would
not salute anyone who not fought in the country's liberation war, a
reference to MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

But election results have surprised observers, with the MDC winning former
Zanu-PF strongholds in the rural areas.

"Years ago, it would have been inconceivable to imagine an MDC victory in
these parts of the country but it is now clear to all and sundry that
Mugabe's political star is not shining any more," said Muronzi.

"It just goes to show without contest that Mugabe's long stay in power is
unwanted and unwarranted."

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Investors eye Zimbabwe with new interest


Wed Apr 2, 2008 4:34pm BST

By Peter Apps - Analysis

LONDON (Reuters) - Having long written off Zimbabwe as one of the world's
least appealing economies, international investors are beginning to show
signs of interest as they suspect the end of President Robert Mugabe's rule

After often violent seizures of white-owned farms and slum clearances raised
fears over the safety of any outside investments and with inflation
officially at 100,586 percent, even most risk-hungry investors have avoided
it in recent years.

But with Mugabe failing to win a majority in an election for the first time
in nearly three decades and prospects for a run-off with opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, sentiment is beginning
to shift.

"It is too early to tell but it looks like the endgame is very close," said
Renaissance Capital strategist Richard Segal.

"It's impossible to tell what is happening behind the scenes but there is
certainly more interest. Hopefully we'll have a unity government with a
reasonable stance on property rights. That could work out quite well for
foreign investors."

Renaissance, a Russian investment bank aiming to become the market leader in
Africa, says it has been pushing Zimbabwe as a good opportunity for around
six months, with interest rising in the last six weeks in the run-up to the

Renaissance snapped up a shareholding sold by South African banking group
Absalast year while Zimbabwean bank African Banking Corporation (ABC) says
Citigroup has approved a $25 million (12.5 million pounds) deal for taking a
20 percent stake.

The end of Mugabe's rule would probably see a donor conference bringing in
some $1.5 billion of international aid, Segal said, with the situation
possibly resembling that in Serbia after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic.

Over time, he said up to 2 million Zimbabweans who left during the economic
crisis could return home, potentially bringing with them another $2-3
billion. An estimated 3 million people have fled the country in total.

China says it invested $1.6 billion in Zimbabwe in 2007, and analysts say
again it may increase its flows.


Analysts say Zimbabwean equities already looked cheap and there is
enthusiasm for stocks such as mobile operator Econet and retailer and hotel
chain Meikles Africa.

African equity markets rose some 60 percent in 2007 and the continent
expects ongoing growth of around 7 percent, but Zimbabwe has long bucked the

Zimbabwe's gross domestic product has contracted each year since 2000, the
biggest decline in 2003 when it fell 10.4 percent. The IMF estimates that
GDP will fall by 4.5 percent this year.

Bond brokerage Exotix said it had received new enquiries from investors
wanting prices for Zimbabwean traded debt, even though as far as it knew
none existed.

Zimbabwe's outstanding debt was $3.3 billion medium-term with $1 billion
short term, it said, 95 percent of it official debt with the Paris Club of
rich nations, World Bank or other multilateral lenders.

But given the scale of Zimbabwe's decline, most remain cautious. Even if the
MDC won outright and Mugabe was completely gone, some say it would take much
more to tempt them in. The presence of established names from the ruling
ZANU-PF party in a unity government could further spook investors.

In a worst-case scenario, Zimbabwe could slip at least briefly into the kind
of violence that damaged Kenya's economy and reputation for stability after
a disputed December election.

One Africa fund said it was simply refusing to comment on Zimbabwe, while
another major bank said it would not talk about the country for fears over
staff safety there.

"We have to meet the companies first, but in the short term it's not a place
we will be rushing to take a look at," said Aberdeen Asset Management
emerging equities fund manager Andrew Brown.

"You'd have to see inflation come under control and the business environment
improve. Political change might be the catalyst for that but we want to
stand back. It's probably more the sort of place you would find private

Some companies have already taken the plunge. Shares in London of
Africa-focused miner Mwana, which has a nickel project in Zimbabwe, climbed
20 percent in early trade on Tuesday on talk of an opposition election

"Once Bob (Mugabe) goes, there will be a rush to get in," said one South
African analyst asking not to be named. "People who are already positioned
will make a lot of money."


London-listed Lonhro Plc recently announced plans to raise around $140
million to expand in Zimbabwe.

With its gold, nickel, platinum, palladium and steelmaking alloy ferrochrome
reserves, Zimbabwe could potentially benefit from continued high global
commodity prices.

But huge constraints remain. Analysts warn the country's electricity system
is already failing to properly supply its shrunken manufacturing sector,
only 30 percent of the size it once was, making any sudden increase in
production impossible.

Even with high global food prices, suddenly rebuilding the devastated
agricultural sector would also be difficult, with some former white-owned
farms still under the control of squatters. Simply handing farms back to
white control might be politically difficult if not impossible.

"There are still questions over property rights," said analyst Mike Davies
at risk consultancy Eurasia Group.

"Some sort of commission of enquiry would have to be set up to establish
that ... people are going to be cautious given the history of land grabs. It
will take time to clear that sentiment."

(Additional reporting by Eric Onstad, Sebastian Tong, Carolyn Cohn and
Daniel Magnowski; editing by David Christian-Edwards)

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Zimbabweans jam phones tracking vote

Yahoo News

By ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Phone service already was iffy because of Zimbabwe's
economic meltdown, but landline and mobile circuits have been virtually
paralyzed as voters try to call each other seeking information about
Saturday's election.

"This has been the cell phone and text message election," Ephraim Choto, a
Harare accountant, said Wednesday as people angrily complained about the
trickle of official results.

Repeated attempts to get phone calls through were cut off with beeps,
"network busy" signals or just dead silence.

"It's frustrating not to be able to communicate and you just throw up your
hands in despair," Choto said.

He said relatives across the country who saw results posted outside local
polling stations had called or sent text messages to compare notes.

The biggest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, said it
had thousands of poll agents and supporters texting in results. Party
members also were equipped with camera phones or digital cameras to
photograph results displayed at voting stations.

In downtown Harare, people crowded around parked cars with radios turned on
so they could monitor the latest official results announced on state radio.

"I can't see why it's taking so long. Last time we had all the results in a
day or two. It stinks," said one women, who gave her name only as Ziyambi.

Some in the crowd around one car speculated that the delay was a ploy to
portray a close race between the opposition and President Robert Mugabe's
longtime ruling party.

"It's been crazy. My phone hasn't stopped with friends calling in from all
over the country," businessman Thomas Bute said as he walked past a car with
radio blaring.

Well-to-do Zimbabweans with computers relied on specialized Web sites for
tallies compiled by independent monitors and the main opposition party.

Only about 30,000 Zimbabweans own satellite television dishes. One Harare
family asked a relative in Britain to listen to world broadcasts about
Zimbabwe and text them results reported by international media.

"My uncle got through from London yesterday and held his phone to the radio
news there for us to listen to," said Peter Jampies, a car mechanic.

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Tipping point at hand for Mugabe’s party

Financial Times

By Alec Russell in Harare,

Published: April 2 2008 18:22 | Last updated: April 2 2008 18:22

Ishmael Dube, a former diplomat and senior intelligence officer under
President Robert Mugabe, was sitting at home last Sunday when a state
vehicle drew up at his door with a director of the feared Central
Intelligence Organisation and a special presidential aide.

It was the day after Zimbabwe’s election and, with early results indicating
an opposition victory, the first tremors were starting to shake the ruling
party, Zanu-PF. The more astute cadres were starting to think the previously
unthinkable: after 28 years in charge of the country, the party could soon
lose power.

“They said they had come to us as friends and colleagues,” Mr Dube said on
Wednesday. “They wanted to know what we thought about the unravelling of the
party and they wanted us to put them in touch with the [opposition Movement
for Democratic Change’s] intelligence.”
Mr Dube, 60, was an obvious choice as an intermediary. As a veteran of the
liberation war who spent 10 years in prison on terrorism charges, and a
former intelligence officer and diplomat in Beijing and Washington in the
first decade of independence, he has impeccable anti-colonial credentials.

Yet he broke with Mr Mugabe’s government a decade ago, criticising it, he
says, for abandoning the genuine war veterans and instead busying itself
with enriching a few. He now straddles the political divide with links to
both Zanu-PF and the MDC.

“He [the CIO officer] was very concerned,” Mr Dube stressed. “He said this
is the right time to get in touch with the opposition, and that it looks
like the old man [as 84-year-old Mr Mugabe is widely known] is going,
whether he likes it or not.

“‘We don’t want to be associated with torturers,’ he told me. ‘We daren’t go
to Chitungwiza [the sprawling township south-east of Harare] right now for
fear of being stoned.’”

There comes a time in all decaying regimes when its enforcers and senior
functionaries sense that a “tipping point” may be near and that it is
expedient to start making discreet contacts with the opposition.

That delicate moment now appears to be at hand for Zanu-PF. The party’s
core, although shaky, has not disintegrated. Hardliners are, a senior former
government official told the Financial Times on Wednesday, still urging Mr
Mugabe to cling to power. “The problem is at the top. The hawks, including
the head of the police and combined head of the armed forces, are telling
him to fight,” he said.

Official Zimbabwean results on Wednesday gave a very narrow victory in the
parliamentary election to the opposition.

While the party has received its first defeat since independence in 1980, it
does not appear to have suffered the fate of the United National
Independence party, which led neighbouring Zambia for 27 years until it was
all but annihilated in 1991 in the country’s first multi-party elections.
Then, the opposition won about 80 per cent of the vote.

And Mr Mugabe’s repeated denunciations of Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the
MDC, as a puppet of the white population who will take back the thousands of
farms Zanu-PF supporters expropriated eight years ago, have resonance for
some, particularly those who gained farms.

“One Zanu-PF guy I spoke to, when he heard Mugabe was going to lose, he
collapsed. Until a new rumour came out that Mugabe was to get 52 per cent
[of the vote and so avoid a presidential run-off], and then he celebrated,”
said Mr Dube.

“He doesn’t want to hear about a Tsvangirai victory. He has the notion that
when Tsvangirai takes over, the white people will return to take over the

Yet it is also clear that many in the party are wondering whether their
interests still coincide with those of the man who has led Zanu-PF for the
past 34 years. Mr Mugabe was elected party leader while he was in a
Rhodesian jail as a political prisoner.

“Mr Mugabe knows only too well that his party is not united,” said Jonathan
Moyo, a close former aide who has fallen out with his old boss and won a
parliamentary seat in the weekend elections as an independent.

“Zanu-PF is disintegrating as we are talking now,” said Happy Mariri,
another veteran of the liberation war, who spent three years on death row in
a Rhodesian prison before serving a further 12 years in jail.

“The pressure is mounting. They realise [that] even if Mugabe is thinking of
staging a coup or fighting on, it will just in the long run make things more

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Recession slows election results

HARARE, 2 April 2008 (IRIN) - The painful slowness of announcing the results
of Zimbabwe's 29 March poll is being condemned internationally as
"suspicious", but the accusations do not take account of the debilitating
affects of the country's eight-year long recession and its impact on the
electoral process.

In past elections, results were announced almost immediately by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC). But this time, the battered economy and the
world's highest inflation rate in excess of 100,000 percent, could mean that
final results may only be finalised on 11 April, election officials and
candidates told IRIN.

"We could have expected more in terms of preparations for such major
elections, but the current economic problems naturally constrained the
voting process,"
David Chimhini, candidate for the opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in the rural province of Manicaland, told IRIN.

Chimhini, who is also the director of Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust
(ZIMCET), said: "Worse still, the ruling party hurried the elections in
spite of protestations from the opposition that the polls should be
postponed to June, all because they thought they wanted to retain power
before our crisis got out of hand."

"There were hardly enough vehicles to ensure smooth voting in the province,"
said Chimhini, who won his seat. "The transportation of ballot boxes after
voting on Saturday was a real headache. Officials ended up resorting to
unreliable transport such as private lorries and tractors that broke down.

"To make matters worse, there was little fuel and in one case in my
constituency, the lorry that was used because there was no official vehicle
ran out of fuel on its way to [ZEC's] command centre, and that meant a big
delay in relaying the results," Chimini said.

Shortages of fuel, food and energy have become commonplace, but the election
placed extra demands on an economy which has become shadow of its former

In the run-up to the polls, fuel shortages became even more acute as
supplies were procured by the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), a
state parastatal, for election purposes.

Ballot shortages

Ballot paper ran short and hasty arrangements had to be made to get more;
and even though polling stations were equipped with generators for lighting,
there was no fuel to power them. "While candles might have been made
available, how far do you go with candles in the windy darkness?," noted

Samson Phiri, a school teacher, was deployed as a polling officer to a
constituency in the Mhondoro district of Mashonaland West province, about
60km southwest of the capital, Harare. He said they were not provided with
sufficient candles to provide light at night.

"We ended up using our own money to buy candles from the nearby shopping
centre, but there was a further problem in that the only shop that had them
was overwhelmed by demand from other polling stations, and the result was
that we carried out our duties under extremely difficult conditions," Phiri
told IRIN.

Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist, commented: "It is possible
that even up to now, some remote areas have not sent in their results. I
have heard of ox-drawn carts being used to transport ballot boxes, and one
wonders how long it would take to get them to their intended destinations
for purposes of verification.

"The fact is that the economic crisis that we are experiencing now, that has
made so many people fervently wish for leadership change, has managed to
throw its own spanners into the very process that would bring about the much
desired change in our fortunes."

He said more problems would be experienced if there was a second round
run-off in the presidential poll, required if no candidate received more
than 50 percent of the vote, as the "government is too broke to sustain
another round of elections".

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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US urges Zimbabwe gov't to respect will of people


Wed 2 Apr 2008, 15:50 GMT

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday urged Zimbabwe's
government to respect the will of the people, after Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe lost control of parliament in last Saturday's elections.

"We continue to monitor the situation and expect the will of the people of
Zimbabwe to be respected," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in
Bucharest, where U.S. President George W. Bush was attending a NATO summit.

The White House issued its new statement after Zimbabwe's opposition also
said Mugabe, a stridently anti-U.S. leader and a frequent target of
criticism by Bush, had been defeated for the first time in a presidential

Official results, which have trickled out slowly since last Saturday's
election, showed that Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF could not outvote the combined
opposition seats in parliament.

Mugabe, 84, faced an unprecedented challenge in the elections after being
widely blamed for the economic collapse of the once prosperous nation which
the former guerrilla leader has ruled since independence from Britain 28
years ago.

The mainstream MDC faction said its leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won 50.3
percent of the presidential vote and Mugabe 43.8 percent according to its
own tallies of results posted outside polling stations.

No official results have emerged in the presidential election and the
government dismissed the opposition claim.

But all the signs are that Mugabe is in the worst trouble of his rule.

The White House on Tuesday had called on Zimbabwe's electoral commission to
issue election results, saying "it's clear the people of Zimbabwe have voted
for change."

Bush, before leaving on a five-nation Africa tour last month, had assailed
Mugabe as a "discredited dictator" and had expressed solidarity with "all in
Africa who live in the quiet pain of tyranny."

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Will MDC admit mistake?


    April 02 2008 at 03:52PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition on Wednesday pre-empted the official
results of the country's general elections, declaring its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai had delivered a knock-out blow to President Robert Mugabe.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general Tendai Biti
told a press conference that Tsvangirai had won 50.2 percent of the votes in
Saturday's presidential election against 43.8 percent for Mugabe, and it had
also beaten the ruling Zanu-PF party in a simultaneous parliamentary poll.

The announcement prompted an angry reaction from the government in
Harare, with the information minister saying the party should have waited
for the official electoral commission to make an announcement.

"He (Tsvangirai) is above the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a
run-off," Biti told reporters in the capital Harare.

"Put simply he has won this election... Morgan Richard Tsvangirai is
the next president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, without a run-off."

Biti said the party believed that the government was trying to massage
the results and pointed to a front-page story in Wednesday's Herald
newspaper that said there was now likely to be a run-off as neither man had
a clear majority.

"The state media has already begin to prepare the people for a run-off
in 21 days... If that is the position this party will contest the run-off,"
he added.

Biti also said that, based on its own calculations, the MDC had won a
total of 110 seats, including 11 lawmakers who are part of a splinter

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party had won 96 out of the overall 210 seats, he

The party decided to release its own figures as the official electoral
commission had so far failed to declare any results from the presidential
election which took place on Saturday.

The commission has also yet to declare the final outcome of the
parliamentary election which was held simultaneously.

In a press conference on Tuesday night, Tsvangirai had declined to
proclaim himself the winner and said that he was prepared to wait for the
commission to make an announcement.

Information Minister Ndlovu Sikhoanyiso slammed the MDC for jumping
the gun.

"Why rush to announce the results before the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission finishes?" he said.

"What if the final results are contrary to what they claim? Let's let
the electoral commission complete its job then we can start talking from

The MDC has consistently questioned the impartiality of the
commission, a theoretically independent body whose leadership was appointed
by Mugabe.

The commission has been under growing pressure, including from foreign
governments to declare the official results, with the opposition charging
that the hold-up is designed to buy time for Mugabe to fix the outcome.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Wednesday that "a delay
in announcing the outcome can only be seen as a deliberate and calculated

"It gives substance to the suspicion that the authorities are
reluctant to accept the will of the people," Miliband added in a statement
on Zimbabwe in the House of Commons.

He said that there was "an international consensus that the will of
the Zimbabwean people must be properly revealed and respected."

The commission has said the hold-up is down to the complex nature of
the polls, the first time that the contest for president and parliament has
been held at the same time.

Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in
1980, said before the election that his old rival Tsvangirai would never
rule the country in his lifetime. - Sapa-AFP

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Hope for change in hungry Zimbabwe

13:23 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 14:23 UK
By Ian Pannell
BBC News, Zimbabwe

Disfigured posters of Robert Mugabe, 2 April 2008
Support for Mugabe is waning in traditional strongholds
For a country whose future is in the balance, Zimbabwe is a remarkably calm place.

We have spent the last four days since the country went to the polls, travelling around and talking to people.

There is normally only one topic of conversation here and that is the disastrous state of the economy. You simply cannot avoid it.

I changed money when we arrived in the country. At that point, US$1 was worth 20m Zimbabwean dollars. Four days later and the rate has gone up to 45m. The figures and the zeros are simply mind-boggling.

Empty shelves

Daily life has become a struggle to make ends meet. People spend hours queuing at the bank or waiting in line at a bakery where the lines stretch around street corners.

Most shops have as many empty shelves as full ones. You have to work hard here to get even basic goods like milk, cheese, bread and meat.

What everyone tells you is that this used to be a prosperous country, the so-called bread-basket of the region. Not anymore. Inflation is running at more than 100,000% and 80% of the workforce is without a regular job.

Women and man pushing cart in Harare, 1 April 2008
Life goes on, but ordinary Zimbabweans find it a struggle

I spoke to one man who did casual labouring work. He told me that there was not much point trying to get a job because inflation left his salary worthless.

That does not mean people are not surviving. There is a thriving black market and many people are sent remittances from friends and family overseas but it is a struggle and many people go to bed hungry.

Travelling across the country you get a sense of what it is that has driven people into the arms of the opposition - fields without crops, shops without goods, petrol stations that are low or empty, women at the side of the road begging for food, traders desperate for customers and hard currency.

Almost everyone we have been able to speak to has said they voted for the opposition. Under the circumstances it is impossible to be empirical about this and there are no doubt many pro-government supporters with very different stories. But two words crop up in conversation - hope and change.

'Try something different'

We visited a former white-owned farm that had been "repossessed" and given to black war veterans. A group of young men were hanging around the local store. Inside the shelves were dusty and empty save for a few bars of soap and the odd packet of tea.

Every tree and post on the farm was adorned with President Mugabe's face, the posters were promising prosperity for all.

But the farmers are not buying it anymore. They have voted for the ruling party in the past and this time they said it was time for a change, they would "try something different".

Tyre fixer next to Mugabe posters in Harare, 2 April 2008
There have been false dawns before in Zimbabwe

The farmers showed me their fields, row upon row of dried maize. Without the tools, the fertilizer or a proper irrigation system they stand little chance of making this once-fertile land productive again.

If men like this have turned their back on Robert Mugabe it explains why his chances of re-election do not look good.

But they know he is a man who does not like to lose and there have been false dawns before now in Zimbabwe.

So the hoping and the waiting will continue for a little while longer.

Humorous Zimbabweans find way to deal with election anxieties

2nd Apr 2008 14:25 GMT

By Rhoda Mashavave in Italy

"PLEASE tell Robert Mugabe to leave the keys under the doormate or under the
bin outside the main gate as he leaves the State House to pave way for
Morgan Tsvangirai," read one text message doing the rounds as people in
Zimbabwe find ways to deal with the long wait for the presidential election

In another one, the text reads; "We would like to apologise for the late
release of results,  this was due to the rigging process which was more
difficult than we anticipated"

Zimbabweans have always been known for their humour in the way they deal
with their anxities, hopes and wishes especially as the country has been
grappling with a terrible economy and political crisis.

As Zimbabweans continue to wait patiently for the final election results
text messages (sms) have been used as a means to communicate their anger,
frustration and happiness.

For the past three days I have followed the election drama taking place in
my home country with much interest than before.
Most Zimbabweans want  Robert Gabriel Mugabe to vacate the presidential seat
but will he ever do that?

He will give what it takes to keep on controlling Zimbabwe even it is on the
verge of “sinking”. In his pre-elections campaigns Mugabe was quoted in the
media saying, “Tsvangirai will never, never rule this country, Those who
want to vote for him can do so but those votes will be wasted votes.''

Raising concerns that the elections are likely to be rigged after declaring
that the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai would never rule Zimbabwe.
Moreover elections results have been trickling out slowly since Sunday,
raising serious concerns on vote rigging.

On Saturday night I started receiving text messages from friends and
relatives in Zimbabwe saying mockingingly telling Mugabe to concede defeat
and leave office.

Another text read: “Tell Mugabe to leave the State house keys at the gate or
at corner 7th and Samora Machel before he flies out of the country. Please
tell him not to take the curtains like Sekesayi Makwavarara" - in apparent
reference to a political turncoat, who left the MDC to join Zanu PF and then
took all the curtains with her when she was asked to leave the mayoral

In another one, a man dies and goes to hell, he asks Satan to make a call,
Satan said to ring England its £8, America US$10. Man replies, what about
Zimbabwe, Satan answers, 50 cents. Why is it so cheap, the man asks, because
it's a local call!

Another one; Do you know someone with a pick-up truck. I have found someone
who can pay using US dollars for everything, including fuel to take Mugabe's
belongings to his rural home in Zvimba.

In another text doing the rounds; Bob 23 verse 1-5 as invented by
Zimbabweans read: "Mugabe is not my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me
to lie down on the park benches. He leads me to be a thief, a prostitute, a
liar and an asylum seeker.

"He restores my faith in the MDC. He guides me in the path of unemployment.
Though I walk through the valley of Zimbabwe, I shall still be hungry for I
feel my income is peanuts. My expenses run over my salary. Surely poverty
and hard-living shall follow me forever and ever. Amen."

In another one, the Zimbabweans text each other; History tends to repeat
itself but differently. Mugabe was 56 years old when he got into office in
1980, this year Morgan Tsvangirai is 56 years old and it is his turn.

And in another hilarious one, the Zimbabweans mock each other; "Don't talk
to me anymore or even tell you friends that you know me. You have really let
me down my friend. I dreamt that you actually voted for Zanu PF!!!!!!!"

And Mugabe talking to his wife, Grace; "If I lose elections against Morgan
what will you do?"

Grace replies: "Isn't it that Zimbabweans were voting for a president. If
you lose you can go and I can stay here with him!"

And in headlines they have been inventing in their usual humourous way, the
Zimbabweans continue:

1 - Makoni admits he was sent by Mugabe

2 - Chihuri escapes to South Africa

3- War veteran leader Joseph Chinotimba is now polishing shoes in Mozambique
to make a living

4 - First Lady Susan Tsvangirai visits Murambatsvina victims

The texts continue to come and some get modified as the results continue to
trickle in.

Already Zimbabweans are celebrating the partial results which had been
released by the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC).
I called my several former colleagues in Zimbabwe for the results, most were
still struggling to get the “real” results.

Because there is nothing more embarrassing than to write false results or
stories. Many told me to wait for the “real” results to be announced. Within
a few minutes I got another text message which was addressed to Mugabe
saying, “ I arrived safely in heaven. Please tell Mugabe to switch on his
phone the devil wants to speak to him concerning his death sentence on the
29th of March, from Saddam Hussein.”  - this was a text from the grave
purportedly sent by Saddam Hussein the former and late president of Iraq who
was executed on 30 December 2006.

I could not to ignore the text messages which continued to fly on my mobile.

Zimbabweans still have great of humour though they are hopeless about the
future of their country.

Its so sad that the glimmer of hope for a better future for many struggling
Zimbabweans seems to be near but very far away especially with the way the
elections results are being released.

“Our president who art in the Harvest house. How Tsvangson be thy name. Thy
state house come. Thy will be done in parliament as it is done in Harvest
house. Give us real money and not bearer cheques. Lead us to State house and
deliver us from Zhing Zhong colonialism. Rule forever and ever MDC,” read
another hilarious text message.

This reveals how most Zimbabweans are hoping for change of government but I
am not sure if that is going to be an easy victory for the opposition.
Chinese products have besieged shops in Zimbabwe, they are selling cheap and
not durable goods which have been described as “zhing zhong”.

Inflation is running over 100 000 and the world’s highest. Whoever wins the
presidential elections will have to work hard to turn around the economy.

Short message services (SMS) will continue to be used by many Zimbabweans as
they wait for presidential results from the historic election held  on 29
March 2008.

Civil society urges SADC and AU to force release of election results

By Tererai Karimakwenda
02 April, 2008

A coalition of 18 civil society groups in Zimbabwe have signed an urgent
petition addressed to the heads of SADC countries and to the African Union,
urging them to intervene in the crisis that has developed over the election
results. The Zimbabwe Electoral commission has been releasing results from
Saturday’s elections a few constituencies at a time. It has not yet released
the completed the parliamentary election results, and has not even begun to
release presidential, senatorial and council results.

The groups believe that the delay betrays an attempt by the ruling party to
manipulate the numbers in order to favour ZANU-PF. They fear this will
create a volatile situation in the country that could lead to “complete
anarchy”. To avoid this outcome the civil groups urge the SADC leaders and
the AU to pressure Robert Mugabe to ensure that the elections results are
released immediately, without being tampered with. They also want pressure
to be applied to the military and intelligence officials to accept the
people’s verdict and not to manipulate the elections results.

Pedzisai Ruhanya from Crisis Coalition said: “We know that they want to rig
the election to give favour to Mugabe and ZANU-PF. What we are saying is
that SADC and the AU must warn Mugabe to make sure that we do not drift into
anarchy, we do not become another Somali.”

Describing the mood on the ground, Ruhanya said Zimbabweans are tired of
Mugabe. They believe his removal will give the country a new lease of life
and we can begin developing again. The outspoken activist pointed to the low
voter turnout on Saturday as a sign that people had lost faith in the
electoral process under Mugabe.

Commenting on the final report on the elections that was given by the head
of the SADC Observer Mission, Jose Marcos Barrica, Ruhanya said the Angolan
official had no experience with elections because Angola has never had a
democratic election.

The civil groups’ petition is being distributed to each SADC country,
through their embassies in Harare. Among the groups that signed the petition
were the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe National Students
Union, Zimbabwe Congress Of Trade Unions, Media Institute Of Southern Africa
and the Zimbabwe Coalition On Debt and Development.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

African church leaders urge Zimbabweans to exercise restraint

Catholic News Service

By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Southern African church leaders urged
Zimbabweans and their leaders to exercise restraint as results of the March
29 presidential and parliamentary elections were announced.

"We appeal to political leaders to pursue the path of peace and to restrain
their supporters from violence during his period," the Regional Faith-Based
Initiative said in an April 2 statement from Harare, Zimbabwe. The
initiative includes the Interregional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa,
the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa and the Association
of Evangelicals in Africa.

Zimbabwe's combined opposition has won a majority in parliament, defeating
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
said April 2.

No official numbers were released in the presidential vote, in which a
candidate needs 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff.

Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, says
that its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has won presidential elections outright
with 50.3 percent of the vote.

The churches expressed their "frustrations and disappointment" that they
were barred by the government from observing the elections.

Kabelo Selema, one of more than 100 regional church officials who worked as
an election observer, visited polling places in Mutare, an opposition
stronghold, despite being denied accreditation by the state.

Despite the risk of arrest, "we felt it was important to be there," Selema,
who heads the justice and peace department for the Southern African Catholic
Bishops' Conference in Pretoria, South Africa, said in an April 2 telephone

No reason was given for the denial of accreditation, he said, noting that he
has observed previous elections in Zimbabwe as part of the Interregional
Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa.

Although voting took place peacefully, "many people we spoke to said it felt
very tense with the outcome so critical," Selema said.

Most voting stations he visited recorded that only up to 45 percent of those
registered turned out to vote, which could indicate intimidation, he said.

International observers cited incidents of ruling-party supporters harassing
opposition supporters and bribing rural voters with state-subsidized food.

With "the tension and anxiety" in Zimbabwe as people await election results,
Selema and other South Africans returned to Pretoria April 1, earlier than
planned, he said.

Several nongovernmental organizations, including the Irish Catholic
development agency Trocaire, called for a regional probe into international
and domestic allegations of electoral fraud.

"With Kenya's violence so fresh in our minds, it is not acceptable to delay
the timely announcement of results as if to provoke the already highly
charged electorate," the organizations said in a March 31 statement.

'SA pilot used as a pawn'


April 02, 2008, 15:15

The CEO of charter plane company Aviation Towards Success (ATS), Wessel van
den Bergh, says he believes his employee, Brent Smythe, is being held in
Zimbabwe as a pawn to further a political agenda to which he has no

Smythe was arrested last Tuesday while preparing to fly Zimbabwean
opposition leader Morgan Tshvingirai to election rallies. He is facing
charges of being in contravention of immigration policy and staying in the
country too long.

Van den Bergh was briefing the media at Grand Central Airport, Midrand. He
says it is laughable that Smythe could possibly be considered a spy.

Meanwhile Smythe could have all charges against him dropped when he appears
in a Harare Court tomorrow. Smythe who was initially charged with fraud when
his hotel room was booked under another name.