By Peta Thornycroft
03 April 2008
More than five days after voting ended for four national elections in
Zimbabwe, results for three of the contests are still outstanding.
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, will chair a meeting of his party's
leadership Friday as the country continues to await results from a tense
presidential vote. Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA from Harare, that rumor
and speculation continue to muddy the political waters as people wait for
results, in particular the presidential poll.
The long wait for the tally in the presidential poll has created
opportunities for interest groups to take public positions against their
The independent Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe says state-owned daily
newspapers and television are displaying strong bias towards President
Robert Mugabe and his party, ZANU-PF.
The Herald newspaper slammed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
which won a majority of the parliamentary seats. It again repeated ZANU-PF
allegations of the past eight years that the British government is the "real
power" behind the MDC.
By mid-day there was also no result from the Zimbabwe Elections Commission
in the race for the Senate. The newly created Senate can block legislation
passed by parliament.
For the first time since independence in 1980, ZANU-PF narrowly lost its
parliamentary majority late Wednesday when the Zimbabwe Election Commission
announced results for the assembly.
Results are also due for about 2,000 local government councilors.
But for most Zimbabweans, the news they want to hear is the tally in the
presidential poll. Zimbabwe's constitution, which has been amended many
times, accords the president enormous powers.
President Mugabe's deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, says if
President Mugabe does not win a clear majority of 50 percent plus one vote,
he will take part in a run-off election as demanded by law.
President Mugabe appeared relaxed when he appeared on state television
saying good-bye to a group of election observers from the African Union.
The opposition MDC presidential challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, says he
believes he has already won a small majority, but he has indicated he would
also participate in a run-off.
Meanwhile, South Africa's national broadcaster is reporting that the third
candidate in the presidential race, Simba Makoni, says he will throw his
weight behind Tsvangirai in any run-off.
Several vendors of imported groceries in a high-density suburb south of
Harare say they are certain the delay in announcing the results of the
presidential poll would rob Tsvangirai of victory.
One said he wanted revenge against Mr. Mugabe. He said he has been living in
poverty since 2005 when police broke down his small shop where he sold scrap
metal as well as second-hand tools.
Despite their obvious anxiety to know the outcome of the vote, Zimbabweans
continue to wait patiently and peacefully for results.
By MacDonald Dzirutwe Thu Apr 3, 8:07 PM ET
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabweans hoping elections will bring relief from an
economic catastrophe anxiously awaited a leadership meeting expected to
discuss the biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's 28-year rule.
Ruling ZANU-PF party sources said the president would chair a party
leadership meeting called for Friday.
Senior ZANU-PF official Didymus Mutasa declined to comment on whether the
party was planning for a runoff against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
although another official said earlier it was ready for a vote and would win
Mugabe faces deep discontent as Zimbabwe suffers the world's highest
inflation rate of more than 100,000 percent, a virtually worthless currency
and severe food and fuel shortages.
Delayed results of the election to the senate -- which must precede
presidential results -- trickled in on Thursday night.
First results issued by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) showed
Tsvangirai's MDC and Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF each winning five seats out of
60 contested for the senate, parliament's upper house.
Zimbabweans are most interested in word on Mugabe's intentions since he lost
control of parliament's lower house for the first time. They have been
waiting since Saturday's election to hear whether he was also defeated in
the presidential vote.
"I'm happy that the MDC has won the parliamentary elections, we needed the
change and I think things will start getting better now but the presidency
is the most important one and we need official results," said Kelvin
Matongo, an information technology technician.
MUGABE'S NEXT MOVE?
"ZEC is being very unfair. If it is our right to vote then it is also our
right to know the results as soon as possible after voting. The problem is
they (ZEC) are not explaining why they are delaying. All they are saying is
The MDC, and many Zimbabweans, believe the unprecedented delay in issuing
results masks attempts by Mugabe's entourage to find a way out of the
All the signs are that Mugabe, a liberation war leader still respected in
Africa, is in the worst trouble of his rule after facing an unprecedented
challenge in the elections because of the collapse of the Zimbabwean
Analysts said Mugabe was believed to have convened the leadership to discuss
their next move after ZANU-PF's first defeat in a parliamentary election and
to gauge how much support there was for him running in a second round
"Everyone knows that the presidency is the main post and that's why those
results are so important," said Tafara Butayi an account executive with a
cellular service provider.
"Until we know those I think people will continue to be skeptical."
The United States voiced concern about possible manipulation of the vote
"Any fair-minded observer has to have serious concerns about the fact that
these results have not been released yet," said State Department spokesman
Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan urged that the election results be
declared "faithfully and accurately."
"Any attempt to tamper with these results would be rejected by the people of
Zimbabwe as well as by the international community," he said in a statement.
ZANU-PF projections show Mugabe failing to win a majority for the first time
since he took power after independence from Britain in 1980. But they also
show Tsvangirai falling short of the required absolute majority to avoid a
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said the party was ready for a
second round, in the strongest indication yet that Mugabe intends to stand,
despite calls by the opposition to concede defeat and avoid embarrassment.
The MDC says Tsvangirai won an absolute majority, based on its own tallies,
and no re-run is necessary.
In his first public appearance since the March 29 election, Mugabe met the
head of an African Union election observer team at his residence in Harare,
state television reported.
Asked about his meeting with Mugabe, Sierra Leone's former President Ahmad
Tejan Kabbah told ZTV: "He looked very relaxed, and is of the view that the
problems of the country will be resolved amicably, and he is very relaxed
(Additional reporting by Nelson Banya, Muchena Zigomo, MacDonald Dzirutwe,
Cris Chinaka and Gordon Bell in Johannesburg; Writing by Michael Georgy;
Editing by Dominic Evans)
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY
The ZEC has finally started to announce the results of the Senate vote.
Their announcement of the first ten seats has the MDC MT and Zanu PF neck and neck with 5 Senate seats each. Here are the full details:Chisipite (Harare)
MDC MT 28031 / ZPF 8496 / IND 2774 /
MDC MT 37138 / ZPF 14533 / MDC AM 4413 /
MDC MT 13701 / ZPF 4034 / MDC AM 2487 /
Goromonzi (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 16156 / MDC MT 15287 / MDC AM 4560 /
MDC MT 67131 / ZPF 14582 / IND 2354 /
Marondera-Wedza (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 24571 / MDC MT 17370 / MDC AM 6994 / IND 1996 /
Murewa (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 22429 / MDC MT 17401 /
Mutoko (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 26144 / MDC MT 15345 /
MDC MT 13942 / ZPF 7897 / IND 2238 /
ZPF 44829 / MDC MT 20700 / IND 2323 /
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By Craig Timberg and Darlington Majonga
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, April 4, 2008; Page A14
HARARE, Zimbabwe, April 3 -- President Robert Mugabe's fractured inner
circle called an emergency meeting for Friday morning to debate whether the
president should step down or participate in a second round of voting
against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who appeared to receive more
votes in last weekend's election, ruling party sources said.
Several ruling party sources, including one of Mugabe's closest confidants,
said Thursday that three options were under discussion: a negotiated,
immediate departure for Mugabe; a second round of voting by April 19 as
required by law if no candidate has a majority; or a 90-day state of
emergency in hopes of improving conditions before an eventual runoff. The
sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
The dire state of Zimbabwe's finances make organizing a second round of
voting difficult, sources said. Some ruling party officials are arguing that
a runoff this month is impractical and that Mugabe must use emergency
presidential powers to delay that vote until June or July.
Amid anxiety about the election results, police in the capital, Harare,
raided opposition party hotel rooms and a lodge where several foreigners
were staying. Among those detained was New York Times correspondent Barry
Bearak, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Afghanistan in 2002.
Police also led away a second journalist and two other foreigners whose
identities were not immediately known.
The newspaper issued a statement saying Bearak was being held for violating
journalism laws. "We are making every effort to assure that he is well
treated, and to secure his prompt release," said Executive Editor Bill
Zimbabwean officials have barred all but a handful of foreign correspondents
from covering the election. Many of those working in the country are without
official credentials, which the Information Ministry gives out selectively,
mostly to journalists from countries seen as friendly to Mugabe's rule.
The pace of diplomatic activity intensified throughout the day, with South
African officials shuttling between Mugabe's camp and Tsvangirai's. Key
issues in their talks included whether Mugabe and his allies would receive
immunity from prosecution for any crimes against humanity, including the
slaughter of thousands from the Ndebele minority group in the 1980s, the
As the discussions continued, both sides prepared for the possibility of
another election in a little more than two weeks.
"We're ready for it," said Tendai Biti, secretary general of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. "We'll not just beat him, we'll embarrass
Mugabe's family members and several close friends are urging the 84-year-old
leader to retire, ruling party sources said, while a group of hard-liners is
calling on him to run in a second round.
The government's Herald newspaper, controlled by Mugabe's spokesman George
Charamba, implicitly acknowledged that the president did not win Saturday's
vote when it predicted a runoff.
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga, meanwhile, told the BBC that the
ruling party had let Mugabe down and would be better prepared for a second
round of voting. "This time it will be a resounding victory for the
president," Matonga said.
No results from the presidential election have been announced, but final
results from parliamentary elections also held Saturday showed that
opposition forces won 110 seats in the 210-member lower house. It was the
first time that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front,
generally called ZANU-PF, has lost control of a branch of government since
the creation of Zimbabwe in 1980 out of a former British colony.
"The vast majority in ZANU-PF, even at the top levels, accept that they were
defeated by a better party," said political analyst Eldred Masunungure.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who led a southern African regional
mediation effort over the past year to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe,
called for the results of the election to be respected.
"If indeed Tsvangirai has been elected, that's fine. And if there's a
runoff, that's fine," Mbeki said in Pretoria, according to news reports.
"That is a matter we must await."
04 April 2008
Pressure not placation is needed to finally effect change in Zimbabwe.
The interesting thing about the recent elections in Zimbabwe is not that
Zanu-PF and Robert Mugabe lost the vote (which has happened before) but that
they seem to have lost the count as well. In the March 2002 presidential
poll the Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won a
substantial majority of votes cast. However, the count was fixed to give
Mugabe victory. The International Herald Tribune reported at the time that
all results had been channelled through a Zanu-PF command centre in Harare
headed by two Mugabe loyalists.
"Officials at the ZANU-PF command centre realized that despite attempts to
reduce the opposition vote Mugabe was running well behind and was in danger
of losing by 200,000 to 300,000 votes. The Mugabe operatives were said to
have been surprised," the article continued, by how well Tsvangirai was
"doing in Mashonaland, a rural area in central Zimbabwe that was expected to
back Mugabe. Fearing they would lose, officials in the ZANU-PF command
center ‘fiddled the figures' by adding tens of thousands of names to
Mugabe's total before the ballots were sent on to the Registrar-General,
Tobaiwa Mudede, for a final count."
Zanu-PF certainly had the power to something similar this time around, as
the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission is completely under its control.
According to The Guardian (UK) Mugabe met with his intelligence and military
chiefs on Sunday evening to discuss their response to Tsvangirai's apparent
victory in the presidential poll. The article quoted a diplomatic source as
saying that one option was for Mugabe to simply "declare victory. Cooler
heads prevailed. It was decided to use the [election commission] process of
drip, drip where you release results over a long period, giving the
opposition gains at first but as time wears on Zanu-PF pulls ahead."
This may have been a fatal mistake. Because the count was posted at each
polling station - as well as sent through to the ZEC - the MDC and
independent monitors were able to collect these results, publish them, and
thereby pre-empt any Zanufication of the results. The regime was forced into
conceding through The Herald, firstly, that Mugabe had not won a majority of
votes cast; and, secondly, that Zanu-PF had lost its majority in the lower
house of parliament.
There is still some room to fiddle the totals. An article in The Herald on
Thursday claimed that in the parliamentary vote "Zanu-PF had won 45,94
percent of the votes, MDC-Tsvangirai 42,88 percent, the MDC 8,39 percent and
the minor parties and independent candidates 2,79 percent."
There is a very real possibility that Mugabe will tell the ZEC to declare
that he won a plurality of the vote. It is possible too that the senate will
also be packed, to offset the MDC's majority in the lower house. A rerun of
the presidential poll would allow Zanu-PF a second chance to intimidate the
electorate and fix the result. This is, after all, what happened in early
2000. Following Zanu-PF's loss in the constitutional referendum in February,
the regime was able to regroup. They then used violence, intimidation, and
vote-rigging to secure a slim majority in the parliamentary elections in
June of that year.
Zanu-PF has not yet given up, and it has every incentive to try and cling
onto power. The problem today is the same as it was in 2000. How can Zanu-PF
ever willingly hand over power to those it has brutalised and mistreated for
so long? This dilemma was well described by Benjamin Franklin in a letter to
Lord Howe during the American War of Independence. Were it possible for us
"to forget and forgive" the atrocities committed by the British in their
efforts to put down the American rebellion, he wrote, "it is not possible
for you (I mean the British Nation) to forgive the people you have so
heavily injured; you can never confide again in those as fellow subjects, &
permit them to enjoy equal freedom, to whom you know you have given such
just cause of lasting enmity. And this must impel you, where we again under
your Government, to endeavour the breaking our spirit by the severest
tyranny, & obstructing by every means in your power our growing strength and
The Zuma factor
It is notable that Robert Mugabe retained his grip on power for longer than
Thabo Mbeki did, but not much longer. It is only now that Mbeki is finished
politically that Mugabe's hold on power has begun to slip. In the last three
stolen elections Zanu-PF could always safely rely upon Mbeki to go to great
lengths to legitimise the results. Could it be that one reason for Zanu-PF's
prevarication last Sunday was that they were now suddenly unsure of the
ANC's continued support? Whatever his earlier complicity in keeping Zanu-PF
in power, Jacob Zuma certainly owes a moral and political debt to the
anti-Mugabe forces Zimbabwe.
As noted before, Aristotle observed in Politics, "it is not easy for a
person to do any great harm when his tenure of office is short, whereas long
possession begets tyranny in oligarchies and democracies." By keeping Mugabe
in power, and allowing him to bring ruin to Zimbabwe, Mbeki provided the ANC
with an object lesson in the danger of allowing a leader to extend his term
of office. The metaphor by which the delegates at Polokwane justified their
rejection of "Thabo Mugabeki" was that they didn't want "another Zimbabwe"
in South Africa.
The West can always be relied upon to do the wrong thing in Africa. The
Times reports that Western diplomats are involved in brokering a deal
whereby Mugabe will - in return for accepting his loss in the elections -
get immunity from prosecution and the right to retain his ill-gotten
property. Zanu-PF will meanwhile continue in power through a government of
national unity. The article quotes a Western diplomat as explaining way the
moral squalor of this proposal by describing it as "African solution to an
The ANC, to its great credit, did not buy into this kind of Afro-nonsense
when it came to jettisoning its own leader. It voted Mbeki and his cronies
out of office and they just had to accept it. There was no "African
solution" there, just a perfectly normal democratic one to a problem of a
leader who had outstayed his welcome.
[Analysis] Zimbabwe opposition MDC in for a hard time for winning the
vote last weekend
Isaac Hlekisani Dziya
Published 2008-04-04 10:37 (KST)
A crackdown on the opposition and the Press has started in Zimbabwe, with
two foreign journalists reportedly arrested at a Harare hotel for covering
the country's election without accreditation. Two other reporters have also
been arrested at York Lodge and are yet to be identified, according to
Other reports say that several rooms at a hotel used by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change have been raided by the Zimbabwe Republic
It is further alleged from unconfirmed sources that some houses have been
torched in Bikita as retribution begins for voting for MDC. In the just
ended parliamentary elections in Bikita West Elias Musakwa of Zanu (PF) was
beaten by Shoko Heya of the MDC Tsvangirai in a close election.
It seems we are beginning to see the sort of retribution that we witnessed
in 2000 after ZANU (PF) lost in a referendum and shortly after that white
farmers were thrown off the farms, and blacks were beaten into submission.
The international community may well be witnessing large-scale violence
before our very eyes.
Former ZANU (PF) deputy information minister in the dissolved government,
Bright Matongo, told the international press that the presidential elections
were neck in neck in the parliamentary elections, following the results
engineered to give a close run.
He further stated that there was no clear winner though MDC T had 99 to ZANU
(PF's) 96 and that Zanu (PF) was confident for a re run, even though
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has not announced the results of the
The hypocrisy of ZANU (PF) is too clear for all to see when they accuse the
MDC of publishing its own results (which results are public knowledge
anyway), when their own Bright Matonga is proclaiming a run-off before the
ZEC has announced the results.
It is understood that the returns from the presidential poll stand as
1,171,079 (50.3 percent) for the MDC, 1,043,349 (43.86 percent) for ZANU
(PF) and others (Makoni's movement) at 157,000 (5.9 percent) out of the
2,382,243 votes cast.
The mainstream MDC faction said Mr Tsvangirai had won 50.3 percent of the
presidential vote and Mugabe 43.8 percent according to its own tallies.
The beleaguered Mugabe has called a meeting of his top leadership (The
Politiburo) to discuss how to face the biggest crisis of his 28-year rule.
We have known from the utterances of the service chiefs in the very recent
two weeks where they publicly said that they would not honour any results
that did not favour their Mugabe.
The service chiefs are running the Joint Operations Command (JOC) which is
controlling what is happening at ZEC, thus a silent coup d'etat, for as long
as the correct presidential results remain unannounced.
The army Chief of Staff Constantine Chiwenga is frightened of losing power,
and is conscious of the atrocities that the top brass have perpetrated
against their own people, thus the reluctance to relinquish office.
The JOC now stands to lose out completely if Tsvangirai is declared the
winner, thus remaining as die-hards, pushing for a run-off which they would
do their utmost to commandeer a win.
The state-run Herald newspaper has admitted that Mugabe lost in the
elections in a front-page story which has been printed and distributed
around Zimbabwe and cannot be withdrawn.
The MDC has done very well to defeat and force the ruling party to admit
that it has lost in the Parliamentary election. The mildly democratic
conditions under which the election was held was a result of significant
concessions wrung out of Mr Mugabe.
The fact that the Zanu (PF) has had to go public and admit that it has not
won is itself a big step forward.
It is time for the international community to say enough is enough, and
support democracy, not tribalism, despotism and corruption, time for Mugabe
and his ilk to go.
By Basildon Peta
Friday, 4 April 2008
Will he or won't he? It has been nearly a week since the polls closed, and
still no word from Robert Mugabe on when he will begin his journey into
It now seems clear that the more Mr Mugabe's hand-picked electoral
authorities stall on announcing his apparent loss to long-time rival Morgan
Tsvangirai, the more manoeuvring Mr Mugabe is doing to hang on.
Yet my problem now is no longer with "Comrade Bob" but with the man I
actually want to see in the State House, Mr Tsvangirai himself.
There is no doubt Mr Tsvangirai is a man with nerves of steel – if only he
could bring them to bear when they are needed most.
I cannot fathom why he kept mum for three long days, then made a belated
appearance to claim victory before disappearing again. He has enough
frontline experience to know that this gentlemanly approach does not work in
the rough and tumble of African politics.
Perhaps he is indeed enmeshed in negotiations for a dignified exit for Mr
Mugabe, which he does not want to scupper by any public action. But should
that be his business?
A close aide tells me Mr Tsvangirai fears any action that may trigger the
imposition of a state of emergency, or even a nullification of the
parliamentary victory he has won. That is all beside the point.
Mr Mugabe is on his knees and what is needed is mass pressure to force his
hand. That pressure should begin from within the country, specifically from
Mr Tsvangirai and his victorious supporters.
If there was ever a time that Mr Tsvangirai ought to take a leaf from Raila
Odinga's book, it is now.
We all know how, after brazenly stealing the presidential vote, Mwai
Kibaki's hand in Kenya was forced by Mr Odinga's wise deployment of his most
vital asset; his mass support.
I am not advocating the mass murder and mayhem we saw in Kenya. But it is
within Mr Tsvangirai's rights to demand the immediate release of all
outstanding results or threaten peaceful mass protests by his ubiquitous
There is always the risk that such protests might turn violent or might be
brutally crushed. But this is not the time to be overly cautions.
It is not time to fear Mr Mugabe – a rash reaction will only hasten his
demise. His African peers, who tend to avoid nipping a problem in the bud
and prefer to react to escalations, will be emboldened to act against him,
were he to make any such move.
It pains me to see Mr Mugabe still in the driving seat, dictating the future
even after losing a popular election.
But let us hope that today –finally – we know at least what he has decided
about his future.
By JANE FIELDS
THE offices of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe were ransacked by
police and foreign journalists were detained last night in ominous signs
that Robert Mugabe is turning to intimidation and violence to stave off an
electoral threat to his 28-year rule.
Earlier, the 84-year-old dictator apparently launched his campaign for an
expected run-off presidential ballot even before the official results of
Saturday's election were announced.
Huge green banners with a picture of the president have appeared in the
centre of the capital. They bear his battle cry: "Our land, our
sovereignty." Yesterday, Mr Mugabe appeared on state TV for the first time
since the polls as he met election observers from the African Union.
Five days after the vote, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission still had not
released results on presidential election, despite increasing international
pressure, including from former UN chief Kofi Annan.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has already asserted that its
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the presidency outright, but said it was
prepared for a run-off vote.
The police raids came a day after official results showed Mr Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party had lost control of parliament's 210-member lower house. The
election commission was slow on the 60 elected seats in the Senate,
releasing the first returns late last night. These gave five seats each to
the opposition and ruling party.
Tendai Biti, the MDC's secretary-general, said rooms used as offices by the
party at a Harare hotel were ransacked by intruders he believed were either
police or agents of the feared Central Intelligence Organisation.
"Mugabe has started a crackdown," he said. "It is quite clear he has
unleashed a war."
Mr Biti said the raid at the Meikles Hotel targeted "certain people,
He added that Mr Tsvangirai was safe, but had cancelled plans for a news
conference. The MDC leader was arrested and beaten by police a year ago
after a banned opposition rally.
In a further signal of the government's hardening stance, heavily armed riot
police surrounded and entered a Harare hotel housing foreign correspondents
and took four away. Eight journalists were staying at the York Lodge.
Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, said correspondent
Barry Bearak, a winner of a 2002 Pulitzer Prize, was one of those taken into
He added: "An American consular official who visited him at the central
police station reported he was being held for 'violation of the journalism
The identities of the other reporters was not immediately clear last night.
Beatrice Mtetwa, a Zimbabwean lawyer, said "quite a few" Americans and
Britons had been detained by police, but no charges had been filed against
them. Some were being questioned individually, but were not allowed lawyers
Mr Mugabe has ruled since his guerrilla army helped to force an end to white
minority rule and bring about an independent Zimbabwe in 1980. However, his
popularity has been battered by an economic collapse which followed the
often violent seizures of white-owned commercial farms in 2000.
Seemingly laying the groundwork for a Mugabe run-off campaign, the state-run
Herald newspaper claimed Zanu-PF was running neck and neck with the
opposition in the vote count, and it highlighted divisions among Mr Mugabe's
The paper claimed Mr Tsvangirai would give farmland back to whites.
Independent election observers say their projections, based on results from
local polling stations, indicate Mr Tsvangirai won the most votes in the
presidential poll but not enough to avoid a run-off, which would have to be
held by 20 April.
There were reports Mr Mugabe was considering conflicting advice from
advisers on whether to cede power quietly, or face a run-off, both
humiliating prospects. But Bright Matonga, the deputy information minister,
insisted that Mr Mugabe was "going to fight", adding: He is not going
anywhere. He has not lost."
THERE is a proverb in Zimbabwe that partly explains why people aren't
running through the streets to get rid of Robert Mugabe.
It states: "When you're ploughing in the field and there's a tree stump, you
plough round it."
Substitute the stump for Mr Mugabe and you see why he has held power for so
My Shona friends are politely horrified by my British tendency to "take the
bull by the horns" if there's a problem.
"We don't like fighting," I've been told. Mostly, Zimbabweans work around
This isn't about strength, or a lack of it. It's about dignity, a dignity Mr
Mugabe can exploit. Dignity does not involve running amok through the
Memories of the brutal war for independence linger. A middle-aged teacher
said: "We don't want that again."
It now looks likely Mr Mugabe is digging in for a last battle. Zimbabweans
talk of disappointment and suffering No-one's told me yet they want to take
Last Updated: 04 April 2008 12:55 AM
· Opposition in secret talks with president's aides
· MDC fears refusal of offer will end in emergency rule
Chris McGreal in Harare
Friday April 4 2008
Robert Mugabe's aides have told Zimbabwe's opposition leaders that he is
prepared to give up power in return for guarantees, including immunity from
prosecution for past crimes.
But the aides have warned that if the Movement for Democratic Change does
not agree then Mugabe is threatening to declare emergency rule and force
another presidential election in 90 days, according to senior opposition
The opposition said the MDC leadership is in direct talks with the highest
levels of the army but it is treating the approach with caution because they
are distrustful of the individuals involved and calling for direct contact
with the president, fearing delaying tactics.
Those fears were reinforced last night when at one point Zimbabwe's election
commission abruptly halted the release of official results from the
Saturday's election for "logistical reasons" and the police raided
The MDC's presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, has already claimed
victory on the basis of his party's tally of the count at polling stations.
The police arrested at least two foreign journalists, one from Britain and a
New York Times correspondent, who are banned from Zimbabwe under draconian
A senior MDC source said "the ball is rolling" in persuading Mugabe to
recognise defeat in the presidential election after negotiations with the
security establishment and contacts with high levels of Zanu-PF.
The source said the party was approached by senior Zanu-PF officials who
said they were speaking for Mugabe and that he is prepared to resign if
there are guarantees that he and senior aides would not be prosecuted.
He said there were other demands which he did not specify but the approach
was being treated with caution because officials who negotiated for Mugabe
in the past had offered commitments which the president had not fulfilled.
The MDC wants to talk to Mugabe directly.
Another MDC official said the party is maintaining a tough negotiating
stance in contacts with other elements of the ruling party and had refused a
Zanu-PF demand for up to four seats in the cabinet.
He said the MDC had rejected power sharing offers because it had won the
presidential race outright even though the electoral commission has yet to
start releasing results.
"We cannot share power when we've won. If you've won the cup you don't share
it," the opposition official said.
But senior Zanu-PF officials are attempting to pressure the opposition with
the threat of a run-off presidential election by ensuring Tsvangirai's
proportion of the vote falls below 50% and then delaying the second round.
It should be should be held within 21 days but the ruling party is
threatening to postpone it for three months during which Mugabe's term in
office would expire and he would extend his rule by emergency decree.
The MDC's leadership has also opened direct talks with the "top, top" of the
army according to the source.
The source said that the military leadership is looking for "guarantees for
their conditions of service" and to keep farms confiscated from whites
provided they are productive. The MDC said it has no problems with those
Another MDC source said the party had assured Zanu-PF and security officials
they would not be prosecuted for past crimes.
The opposition believes the approaches mark a recognition by Mugabe that
support for him within Zanu-PF has eroded since the election. Now, important
elements of Mugabe's party are willing to do a deal because they realise the
election results could not be manipulated to overturn a clear opposition
victory and that there is little hope of winning a second round of
presidential elections without resorting to violence or fraud.
Mugabe's position was further undermined on Wednesday when Zanu-PF lost
control of parliament for the first time since independence in 1980.
Publicly Zanu-PF has vowed to "fight on" and the opposition said it was
still preparing for a second round of elections if Mugabe did not bow to
pressure to go.
Bright Matonga, Zanu-PF's deputy information minister, took a defiant
position, saying that the party had "let the president down" by not winning
"Zanu-PF is ready for a run-off, we are ready for a resulting victory," he
"In terms of strategy, we only applied 25% of our energy into this campaign
... (The run-off) is when we are going to unleash the other 75% that we did
not apply in the first case."
The MDC fears that what will be unleashed is an extremely violent campaign
because that is its last hope Zanu-PF has of curbing support for the
Updated 6 hours 57 minutes ago
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party says it is ready for a second round
vote to secure a fresh term. [AFP]
The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
party Morgan Tsvangirai is reported to have gone into hiding.
Mr Tsvangirai and other party leaders took refuge at an unknown location
after the Harare hotel being used as an MDC office was raided by Zimbabwean
Five days after elections, no official result has been declared, and
tensions have risen further after a New York Times correspondent and a
colleague were arrested for allegedly covering the elections without
The Times' executive editor Bill Keller says the paper is trying to secure
Mr Bearak's release, and not know where he is being held, or whether any
charges have been laid against him.
While the MDC has already declared Mr Tsvangirai has won the 50 percent of
the vote needed to avoid a second round, ZANU-PF officials say they are
prepared for a run-off after earlier losing control of parliament.
"ZANU-PF is ready for a run-off, we are ready for a resulting victory," said
deputy information minister Bright Matonga.
He said the party would "re-energise" its efforts if a run-off is called.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who mediated between the MDC and
ZANU-PF before the elections, has urged all sides to respect the official
"If indeed Tsvangirai has been elected that's fine and if there is a run-off
that's fine," he said.
That is a matter we must await."
4th Apr 2008 00:07 GMT
By a Correspondent
House of Lords
Thursday, 3 April 2008
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown)
: My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will now repeat a Statement made
yesterday in the other place by my right honourable friend the Foreign
Secretary. The Statement is as follows:
“Mr Speaker, the whole world is watching events unfolding in Zimbabwe and
with your permission I will make a Statement on the situation as we
understand it. I hope and believe that the people of Zimbabwe will hear one
message from this House: that we stand with them at this moment of
opportunity and that we share their demand for a democratic future.
“For obvious reasons, the delicacy of the current situation means that I
and, I am sure, all honourable Members will want to choose our words
carefully, given the risk that what we say will be distorted. That does not
mean that there are not some fundamental points that need to be expressed.
“I have within the last 30 minutes spoken to our ambassador in Harare. The
situation is fluid. Zimbabwe’s political, civic and economic leaders are
clearly engaged in intensive discussions. The full results of the
parliamentary elections are still unclear. The latest tally is that 188
seats have been declared and 80 remain to be declared. The two main parties
are running neck and neck. There is still no formal announcement about the
key presidential election.
“Though the situation in Harare is tense, there is no suggestion of crowds
massing and no reports of violence. But it is not business as usual: many
schools are still closed and people are watching and waiting to see what
“Let me assure the House that through both political and official channels
there has been a high degree of contact and consultation. The Prime
Minister, Lord Malloch-Brown and I have been in touch with Presidents, Prime
Ministers and Foreign Ministers in southern Africa and around the world.
There is an international consensus that the will of the Zimbabwean people
must be understood and respected.
“The people of Zimbabwe have made their choice. Outside the 9,400 polling
stations, the tallies have been posted. The Zimbabwean Electoral Commission
knows what those results are and has simply to announce them. The delay in
announcing the outcome can only be seen as a deliberate and calculated
tactic. It gives substance to the suspicion that the authorities are
reluctant to accept the will of the people. They have a responsibility to do
so, and Zimbabwe’s neighbours, who have borne a significant share of the
burden of Zimbabwe’s collapse, have a responsibility to ensure that that
“No one in this House would want me to hand ZANU-PF a propaganda coup by
endorsing one candidate or another, or by taking it on myself to announce
the result. In truth, in spite of what President Mugabe would want the world
to believe, the crisis in Zimbabwe has never been about personalities. It is
not a bilateral dispute between British and Zimbabwean politicians or anyone
else. It has always been about the policies that Robert Mugabe and his
Government have chosen to follow and the terrible destruction that has been
wreaked on the Zimbabwean people.
“The situation preceding these elections was shocking. The conditions for
free and fair elections were not in place. The playing field was tilted
heavily in favour of ZANU-PF. Up to 4 million people who had fled Zimbabwe’s
crisis could not vote. In some areas, between 18 per cent and 20 per cent of
those who tried to vote were frustrated by the inaccurate electoral roll. We
will probably never know how many dead people on that roll cast ghost votes.
But we do know that, in spite of those problems, millions of ordinary
Zimbabweans still queued peacefully and voted. Now they are holding their
breath: will their country reverse the spiral of decline or exacerbate it?
“The facts speak for themselves: life expectancy has halved to an average of
34, nearly 2,500 AIDS-related deaths occur per week, inflation is
practically incalculable and day-to-day abuse of human rights and freedoms
“Britain has always supported the Zimbabwean people through the pain of
their national trauma. We are the second largest bilateral donor and spent
over £40 million last year on aid. Our support provided HIV treatment for
more than 30,000 HIV patients and helped the World Food Programme to feed up
to 3 million people—about one quarter of Zimbabwe’s population.
“We will continue with our support. We want to do more to encourage
development within Zimbabwe. When there is real and positive policy change
on the ground, Britain will play a full part in supporting recovery. We know
that the Zimbabwean people face a massive rebuilding task. We will help them
to do that with EU and international colleagues. But that can happen only
when and if there is a return to real democracy and good governance in
“We will continue to do all that we can to encourage that to happen and to
encourage other countries in the region to exert what influence they have
over the situation in Zimbabwe. Those with greatest influence in Zimbabwe
are those closest to Zimbabwe, but we are clear that the situation will not
be one that Africans alone have to carry the burden of supporting.
“Our ambassador and the embassy staff, both local and UK-based, are working
tirelessly in difficult circumstances. They are in very close contact with a
wide range of Zimbabweans and stand ready to offer consular assistance to
the many British nationals in Zimbabwe.
“Many honourable Members have been tireless advocates for the people of
Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe have suffered for too long. Every British
citizen will yearn with them for that suffering to end and for it to end
now. I shall of course seek to keep the House fully informed of events and
the Government’s further actions to influence them”.
Further to the Statement delivered by my right honourable friend in the
other place yesterday, I would like to update the House on developments
overnight. The results of 207 Assembly seats have now been announced. The
final three results will be decided by by-election. The tally gives the
MDC—Morgan Tsvangirai’s party—99 seats, ZANU-PF 97 seats and the remaining
candidates 11 seats. There are still no results for the 60 Senate seats and
no announcement has been made concerning the result of the key presidential
election. More than four and a half days have passed since the polling
stations closed. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission knows the remaining
results. I reiterate that it should announce them immediately, without
further delay. I am placing a copy of this Statement in the Vote Office and
in the Library of the House of Commons.
Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, I thank the Minister for delivering the
Statement today, delaying its repetition from yesterday, and for adding a
brief update. I am sure that his colleagues on the justice team were
grateful that further progress at the Report stage of the Criminal Justice
and Immigration Bill was not delayed, given the enormous time pressure that
the Government find themselves under.
I had hoped that events in Zimbabwe would have moved on sufficiently
yesterday for much of the Minister’s Statement to be out of date, but I
regret that this is not the case. The confusion that the Secretary of State
spoke of yesterday has only partly been resolved. The Electoral Commission
has finally announced most of the results for the 207 House of Assembly
parliamentary seats, but there is still no official confirmation of the
result of the presidential vote. Without this announcement, the situation
grows even more dangerous. I am glad that the Secretary of State yesterday
gave an assurance that the Government have been seriously considering
contingency plans to ensure the safety of British citizens who could be
caught up in any violence.
One thing is clear: despite ZANU-PF’s claims that the premature announcement
of the results by opposition parties is “mischievous”, the delay of the
official announcement is far more pernicious. So are the rumbling threats
from leading ZANU-PF officials of punitive action should the “wrong” results
eventually be announced.
Zimbabwe is suffering from a grossly mismanaged economy, with inflation at
an unbelievable level and 4 million people dependent on food aid. The
political system is corrupted: instances of politically motivated torture
doubled over the last year and harassment of opposition politicians is
routine. There is an ongoing health crisis, with an estimated 1.7 million
HIV/AIDS sufferers and life expectancy among the lowest in Africa. That this
situation might continue is appalling. That it might get even worse and
degenerate into outright and widespread violence is heartbreaking.
A comprehensive international effort will be essential should these
elections follow the unfortunate example recently seen in Kenya. The
Secretary of State failed to answer my right honourable friend’s questions
on the Government’s preparation for either an international observer mission
or an over-the-horizon humanitarian force should the worst come to the
worst. I hope that the Minister will tell your Lordships how ready the
African Union is to step in, should that become necessary, and what the
Government would do in support. What preparations have been made for
emergency aid in the event of a crisis?
We would like to be optimistic, so I turn to what the Conservative Party
would like to see: a return to good governance in what used to be one of the
most successful countries in Africa. Of course, even in the best of all
possible worlds, Zimbabwe’s rehabilitation will not be easy. The Secretary
of State yesterday spoke of the misrepresentation of our support for NGOs
working to improve the situation in Zimbabwe. We should not allow our
colonial past, either in Zimbabwe or in other countries in the region, to be
used to obstruct our humanitarian support.
What are the Government doing to establish better understanding among
Zimbabwe’s neighbours of what we seek to achieve? What progress is being
made towards establishing a comprehensive international effort, under the
UN, the EU or the African Union, to forge better links with NGOs in
Zimbabwe? Without regional support, anything that we say in this House or
another place will remain empty words. I hope that the Minister will
reassure your Lordships that not only have this Government been working to
establish that support, but also that this country is ready to do everything
possible to offer support in the case of both the worst and the best
Baroness Northover: My Lords, I, too, thank the Minister for repeating the
Statement and for updating it. Things are moving very fast and much has
changed since yesterday. Because we were not given this Statement yesterday,
I asked for it to be taken today, to give us a chance to hear from the
Minister about this fast-developing area. I thank the usual channels for
I did not anticipate that Mugabe might be removed, as now seems possible, by
peaceful, democratic means. That makes me feel incredibly optimistic about
development in Africa. However, we must make sure that the citizens of
Zimbabwe, who are not resorting to violence, are supported and reinforced in
their exercise of democracy. We are still in very dangerous and fluid
circumstances and the present crisis is far from over.
Can the Minister update us on whether he feels that the parliamentary
elections have been fair? The new system of posting results outside polling
stations, which are then systematically recorded by the MDC, often on mobile
telephones, has made it much more difficult to rig this election. Will the
Government support pressure for full results to be published and compared?
What more can the Minister tell us of the presidential election? Does he
think that there might be a further contest?
What role is the military playing? Does the Minister that that, as is
rumoured, it plans a campaign of violence to keep Mugabe in power?
Yesterday, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Information Minister called the Opposition’s
claim of victory “irresponsible” and said:
“They think they can provoke the police and the army”.
Will the Minister do all that he can to ensure that any actions by the
police and the army to frustrate the will of the electorate will not be
countenanced by the international community, particularly by SADC, whose
declared standards would be breached by such political engagement by the
police and military? Will the noble Lord assure us that he will ask South
Africa, the AU and the UN to make that clear? What role is SADC playing? Is
it correct that SADC leaders are now pressing Morgan Tsvangirai to be
In the longer term, what we know about fragile states has immense importance
here. We cannot let Zimbabwe slide into chaos. Could the Minister assure us
that, even though we have pressing concerns in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will
not let Zimbabwe slide down the agenda? How does he think we should balance
the claims of those in the old regime? They did little to move this day
forward until they saw the economic and political writing on the wall, as it
is clear they now do. On the other hand, does he think it better for them to
be inside, rather than outside wishing any new regime ill?
Last year, the FCO gave us a full and impressive briefing on the plans of
the international community for a post-Mugabe era. Could the noble Lord
update us on those plans? The Guardian reports that £1 billion in aid is
likely to go to Zimbabwe. Can he confirm this and could he describe its
outlines? What will happen in the near future to food aid and, in the longer
term, to agricultural development and efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS, on which
we have just had a debate?
Aid must not be siphoned off by international corporations, as has happened
in Afghanistan. Local enterprises must be given the investment that they
need to build a stable foundation for a revived economy. The assistance
given to resettle returning exiles, as happened in the Balkans—albeit with
the possible resentment of those who stayed behind—will be important. There
will need to be programmes to reskill people. A quarter of Zimbabwe’s people
have fled abroad, many with the skills that are needed to restore the
institutions and the economy. Investment in education and training will be
vital, especially for the young people, many of them orphans, who have been
subjected to brainwashing in the youth militia. Free and open political
debate must be fostered. A reformed media environment will result in a
redrawing of the political landscape.
In conclusion, does the Minister share my optimism that, if Zimbabwe
successfully comes through this crisis, its future will be much brighter?
However, it will need sustained effort by the international community if the
long years of devastation are to be reversed. I have heard it said that it
would take seven years to turn around each year of the chaos caused by
Mugabe. Does the noble Lord agree that this means that the international
community needs to be there for the long haul and not simply for a year or
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Baronesses have made very important
points. They both understand that we speak in this House today under some
constraint. There is often a complaint that in the Lords we do not have an
audience. Today, we do. I shall quote from this morning’s Zimbabwean
newspaper, the Herald:
“Almost the entire British state machinery—from the BBC to its House of
Commons—was almost going hysterical over the delay in announcing the
election results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission”.
Apparently, the debate yesterday in the other place was broadcast live in
Zimbabwe and repeated throughout the evening. Therefore, as we discuss the
issue today, we do so under the burden that those who would seek to prolong
the current stalemate in Zimbabwean politics and those who would resist
change will fall on anything that we say to try to convert what should be a
judgment on the will of the Zimbabwean people into a diversion about whether
the British are “up to it again”. Therefore, as the two noble Baronesses
have done, we need to pick our words carefully and avoid anything that can
feed these last-minute tactics of a failed regime in Zimbabwe.
I turn to the points that have been made. As has been reported in the press,
ZANU-PF has indeed, with the completion of the returns for the lower House,
lost its majority. That is the good news, but the bad news is that the
results have not given the MDC a clear majority. It will be dependent on
independent votes to govern with a majority, so we face a prospect of a
rather unstable situation in the lower House. Whether the vote count was
done fairly remains to be seen. Certainly, we have heard that the MDC and
the Civil Society Network, which also made a poll analysis, both suspect
that at the very least some of the majorities notched up in the seats that
ZANU-PF won have been inflated and exaggerated.
However, the broader point is that this election was inherently unfair from
the beginning. Far from there being a level playing field, it was, as a
diplomat said to me today, more of a slalom course. Millions of people could
not vote because they were outside the country; opposition leaders were
allowed access to the media in a significant way only in the last days of
the campaign; up to 20 per cent of electors in some constituencies were
barred from voting on the pretence that their names were not on the
register; and perhaps the same number of dead people voted. All that makes
it an extraordinary achievement for the Opposition—and the people of
Zimbabwe—that they have prevailed and won the lower House election against
all the odds. One knows that if one was to assume what the real vote of the
people of Zimbabwe was, it would reflect a runaway victory for the
That brings me to the questions about what happens next. Clearly, at this
point there are two possible outcomes. One is that there is a second
round—that President Mugabe insists that Morgan Tsvangirai has not crossed
the 50 per cent mark in the first round and demands the right to challenge
him in a second round. If that were to happen, there would be a clear need
to ensure the deployment of a much strengthened international observer. In
the first round, the Zimbabweans did not allow observers from Europe, let
alone from the United Kingdom. They allowed to be present only those whom
they saw as observers from friendly neighbouring countries. I think that
those same friendly neighbours would be the first to agree with us that, in
the case of a second round, they would need the assistance of other
international observers, from Europe and elsewhere. With a leader who has
ruled in the way that President Mugabe has for the past 28 years, it is
impossible to conceive of him winning unless there were a massive effort to
steal the election result. Therefore, it would be very important to put in a
strong observer presence to ensure that the SADC principles of free
elections were respected.
If, on the other hand, Mr Tsvangirai has indeed triumphed on the first round
and has crossed the 50 per cent mark or if President Mugabe chooses not to
contest the second round, then the need immediately to try to support a new
Government with humanitarian assistance and longer-term reconstruction
assistance is critical and urgent. I think that the United Kingdom is well
placed to assist in that. We are already the second-largest humanitarian
donor, and we helped the WFP to feed 3 million people last year—almost a
quarter of the population of Zimbabwe. One can expect to see that programme
expanded in the immediate short term after the devastating impact on the
economy of these elections. We have just contributed to emergency drug
purchases for the country and we have plans to step up and expand that
emergency humanitarian operation.
Secondly, if, as I say, there is a transfer of power to a democratically
elected Government who move quickly to stabilise and restructure the
economy, we have every intention of being major development partners—both as
a principal bilateral donor and through our role as the largest donor to the
World Bank and the African Development Bank.
This morning’s report to which the noble Baroness referred muddled dollars
with pounds. The estimate is that the absorptive capacity of Zimbabwe in
these early stages will probably rise to $1 billion next year and perhaps
$1.3 billion in the year after that before levelling out and subsequently
falling. It is expected that Britain will play a major part in providing the
finance for that both bilaterally and through our multilateral efforts. I
say “a” major, not “the” major, because this will be an internationally
shared activity in which we would expect many others to play their role. I
can certainly assure the noble Baroness that there is no intention of this
being a short-term effort or of it taking second place to other priorities.
I think that everyone in this House and the other place is combined in our
desire to see Zimbabwe—that formerly prosperous country—put back on its feet
and able to enjoy the economic opportunity that it justly deserves after all
that has happened. The omens look better than they have in quite a long
time: finally, the long nightmare of the people of Zimbabwe is coming to an
Baroness D'Souza: My Lords, I hear what the Minister said about there being
an audience in Zimbabwe and, indeed, matters are moving very fast. However,
does he agree with the view expressed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu that now is
not the time for quiet diplomacy and that every possible and very strong
representation should be made to President Thabo Mbeki at this time?
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, all the leaders in southern Africa have been
attempting to speak directly to President Mugabe to try and make him aware
of the situation. In general, they have had a lot of difficulty reaching
him, but Thabo Mbeki plays a particularly important role. Disappointment and
frustration have been expressed in this House and the other place about the
negotiations and mediation he facilitated between ZANU-PF and the MDC.
However, let us remember that that negotiation created the moment of
opportunity we have now. He always argued that it was a case of getting to
elections and then there will finally be a change in Zimbabwe’s politics.
The Prime Minister has spoken to Mr Mbeki and will speak to him again, to
re-emphasise the need for consistency in finishing what he began. He can
take credit for having begun the change in Zimbabwe. We will press him to be
a prominent leader, both in public and private, and ensuring that he
finishes that work.
Lord Kinnock: My Lords, as someone who, for many years, throughout the
efforts of liberation, supported both ZANU and ZAPU, I say to this House—and
in the hope that it is broadcast in Zimbabwe—that I rejoice in the coming
end of the Mugabe regime. I welcome the very strong commitment given by Her
Majesty’s Government to providing sustained, effective, usable support to
democratic Zimbabwe, whenever that event really comes to pass, which I hope
will be in the next few weeks.
Will Her Majesty’s Government strongly emphasise to President Mbeki that it
is entirely consistent with the role given to him by the South African
Development Community to maximise and intensify pressure on Mugabe to quit
now, in order to minimise tension and crisis and provide the possibility of
a commencement to recovery to a country whose economy he has utterly
devastated but whose spirit, manifestly, he has never managed to kill.
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, I agree with all that my noble friend has said
and congratulate him and Mrs Kinnock on their roles, over many years, in
supporting the forces of freedom and human rights in Zimbabwe. Let me at
once say that we will certainly encourage President Mbeki—as the SADC leader
on this issue—to be as strong as he can be in his representations for the
need for President Mugabe to go now. I certainly defer to President Mbeki to
choose how he delivers that message.
The critical point now is for Zimbabwe’s neighbours to find a way to allow
President Mugabe to step down and out of a contest whose continuation and
prolongation can only bring him humiliation but possibly only after further
violence against the people of Zimbabwe.
Baroness Park of Monmouth: My Lords, does the Minister agree that we have
left the decisions too long to SADC? Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth because
Mugabe took it out, not because the people wanted to leave. We have said
before, in this House, that the precedent of South Africa—when we recognised
that we would still talk about South Africa at the Commonwealth meetings,
although the South African Government had withdrawn—should be applied now.
Therefore, I hope that the Secretary of State, who said that he would be
approaching the new head of the Commonwealth at the appropriate time, will
regard this as the appropriate time.
It is a time when the Commonwealth can do a great deal. Those African states
are members of the Commonwealth. I do not think that it is right, and I do
not think that anyone does, that one part of the Commonwealth should make
decisions for all of it. If the Commonwealth, as a whole, observed the next
round of elections, or the next situation, that would be a considerable
reassurance to the people of Zimbabwe, who have recognised that local
considerations—and African ones—have worked against them in many ways. There
can be nothing to stop us bringing in the whole Commonwealth—after all,
there are Zimbabweans in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The Commonwealth
is ready in all sorts of ways to help in terms of trade union activity and
education. A lot is there and it would encourage the people of Zimbabwe to
feel that they are part of that family again and have been recognised as
My other point is that, as I am optimistic enough to think that things are
going to change, it is extremely important that we have the right people
involved in the UN. Unless the present head of the UNDP is withdrawn, there
will not be very much confidence in the UN’s role in the future of Zimbabwe.
Two successive UNDP leaders have been far too close to Mugabe and indeed, in
one case, have taken land from him.
It will be extremely important to create confidence among the people of
Zimbabwe by telling them that the international community is going to come
to help them, but it will be the right people. I propose having Anna
Tibaijuka as the UN commissioner. She would have their total trust—she
reported honestly on the Murambatsvina. Her role in the UN is to do building
and that is what is going to be necessary. She understands the situation,
she is respected and she understands women’s issues. She would make an
excellent UN representative.
I hope that we will look ahead and not just sit down and wait. We will move
into the Commonwealth and we will bring the UN up to scratch.
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, I take the point of the noble Baroness about
Zimbabwe returning by its own choice to the Commonwealth and to be welcomed
back. However, I doubt whether that is likely to occur within the 21 days
before a second round in a presidential election and therefore whether it is
practical to have Commonwealth observers in Zimbabwe for a second round
cannot be resolved today. In the longer term, I very much hope that the
Commonwealth can be part of the international healing of Zimbabwe’s
relations with the rest of the international community.
Regarding the United Nations, the World Food Programme is feeding 3 million
people, and UNICEF has a major programme dealing with the horrendous problem
of HIV/AIDS orphans in the country. Because of the restrictions on
international NGOs operating in the country, those two parts of the UN and,
I suspect, others, will be critical parts of the first humanitarian
Lord Shutt of Greetland: My Lords, when democracies announce election
results, particularly in multiple elections, they are usually announced with
a certain hierarchy of power. If it happens in this country, the general
election is announced before the council results and the parish council
results would be the last to be announced . We have had the results for the
lower House of Parliament; I saw on a website an hour ago that we are now
going to have those for the Senate. Does the noble Lord expect the local
government results will then follow, before we even get the presidential
results? This seems a very strange way of announcing these results.
Secondly, we have heard about 100,000 per cent inflation. Shifting this and
changing that economy seems to be totally uncharted ground. If we are
talking about the demise of Mugabe and a fresh start, with Morgan Tsvangirai
coming in with new people who have never had political power, what
assistance can be given? Is it possible to scour the world for people who
can give assistance with that 100,000 per cent inflation rate?
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, let me immediately say that the noble Lord is
correct; we probably will get even the local election results before we get
the presidential count. But that is only one of many extraordinary factors
about this whole election. One can only hope that good sense and some
integrity from the system will prevail, not least that provided by the
extraordinary electoral breakthrough of having had the individual tallies
placed on polling station doors and having had civil society photograph them
and write down the numbers; all of that is impeding the scale of actual,
possible electoral theft. However, delay is becoming a substitute for owning
up to the truth of what the real results are. We continue to press for
announcements now—we imagine that the numbers have been known since the
beginning of the week—to the Electoral Commission and its supporters in
On ending hyperinflation, a new Government are obviously likely to need
expertise from around the world. There are an extraordinary number of
distinguished Zimbabwean economists living in exile in countries such as
Britain, Canada and the United States whom one hopes would be a lead part of
such an effort. They can certainly be supplemented by expertise from
organisations such as the Commonwealth. This is a time when help will be
needed, not least because ending 100,000 per cert hyperinflation is a very
difficult business. It involves a freeze on prices, which is immediately
followed by empty shelves; Zimbabweans will feel that they have had quite
enough of that. To manage this by using humanitarian interventions to
prevent too much hardship for people as the economy is stabilised and the
money supply brought down will be a challenge not just of economic
management but of political will and of the stability of the new Government.
Lord Morris of Handsworth: My Lords, I commend the people of Zimbabwe for
their calm and distinguished response to recent events. They have been
dignified and they deserve the support of the entire international
The people have shown themselves to be democrats and worthy of the real
fruits of democracy. I am sure that this House will welcome the Statement,
although it can only be work in progress. I recognise, as the Statement
suggests, that the Government are working extremely hard at all levels with
the international community to seek to build a progressive coalition for
real and lasting change in Zimbabwe. As I listened to the Statement, I
transported myself to a citizen living in Zimbabwe, who would like to put
one or two very simple questions to the Minister. They would say, “We have
tried soft diplomacy but it has not delivered for us. Have you got a plan
B?”. I feel sure that that is what they would demand. If the answer is yes,
what is it? Archbishop Tutu said publicly that he believed that soft
diplomacy is no longer an option; we will not mobilise the international
community to the point of action—real, tangible engagement—unless we are
seen to be committed and giving leadership.
The people would say, “We have suffered enough. We cannot suffer much more
from sanctions or sporting or cultural boycotts”. Above all, the people of
Zimbabwe are looking to the international community to build the capacity
for leadership. I sense, and I am confident that this House senses, that we
have now passed the tipping point, and we must not let this opportunity pass
without ensuring that we have the leadership capacity to take the
responsibility of government and rebuild that great country.
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, if my noble friend will forgive me, let me say
a word in praise of soft power. President Mbeki has been criticised in this
House—we have all expressed frustration about the slow progress of the
mediation—but it is that mediation that has got us to where we are today: a
moment at which, after 28 years of absolute power, President Mugabe is on
the edge; his days are over; the regime is finished. We are now debating the
manner of its ending, not its continuation.
I add, in praise of soft power, that, for the first time since 1980,
President Mugabe faced the people of Zimbabwe without his usual alibi; for
the first time, he was not able to campaign against a British Prime
Minister. In every other campaign, his opponent has not been someone in
Zimbabwe. When Morgan Tsvangirai ran against Mugabe before, you would have
thought, if you had looked at the campaign speeches and posters, that his
opponent was not Morgan Tsvangirai but the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
We have managed, on this occasion, to remain out of the firing line of
President Mugabe’s campaign rallies, leaving him with no excuse but to be
confronted by a people whose lives have been reduced to utter penury by his
mismanagement and misgovernment. That has brought us to this point. There is
a good answer to people on the first of my noble friend’s questions.
On my noble friend’s second question, there is, at this point, also a need
for firmness. Soft power should not be malleable power. At this point,
privately and publicly, President Mugabe needs to understand that his
choices have narrowed to two impossible options if he chooses to go forward:
a second round in an election that he would surely lose, now that his
political mortality and autocratic rule have been pierced by an inevitable
second-place finish in the first round; or the option of trying to steal the
election. The position of the SADC leaders, the position of the
international community more generally and the position of the people of
Zimbabwe, in view of the overwhelming sentiment that they currently feel,
rule that out. He faces departure from office. We must ensure that we say
and do nothing that gives him any wriggle room. He must now confront the
consequences of the electoral situation of this week.
The Earl of Sandwich: My Lords, the Minister rightly mentioned Zimbabweans
in this country. We should pay tribute to the thousands who sought asylum
here; they have made a real contribution. Unfortunately, a group of asylum
seekers is due to be removed from this country. Will he confirm that the
Government are considering this quite seriously at the moment, pending a
court case? Will he urge his colleagues in the Home Office and the Foreign
Office, who have made mistakes before—at considerable human cost—not to
remove Zimbabweans forcibly at this time?
Lord Malloch-Brown: As the noble Earl knows, the UK has believed that many
Zimbabweans completely deserve and need asylum but that a small group
perhaps did not meet those conditions. The enforced removal of failed
Zimbabwean asylum seekers was suspended, pending the outcome of the
so-called AIT litigation. That position will be maintained until any and all
applications for permission to appeal the determination are dealt with. In
light of those current circumstances, we are of course looking at this whole
issue with great care.
Lord Watson of Invergowrie: My Lords, I echo the comments of my noble friend
Lord Morris and other noble Lords in offering congratulations to the people
of Zimbabwe on their bravery and dignity in voting for change decisively—I
use that word because I believe that they have voted decisively, given all
the obstacles placed in their way, not least the fact that some 4 million
Zimbabweans abroad have been denied the right to return to vote. However, I
have some difficulty in echoing the views of my noble friend Lord Morris
about the tipping point. I fear the scenario alluded to by the noble
Baroness, Lady Northover—that if, as seems inevitable, the presidential
election goes to a run-off, ZANU-PF will invoke the military, as it did in
the 2002 elections, intimidating the MDC, preventing it from campaigning and
seeking to return Robert Mugabe to power.
I welcome the Minister’s confirmation that a $1 billion package is being
discussed. I hope that it will be further discussed at the IMF spring
meeting in Washington later this month. My question inevitably must be this.
If somehow Mugabe manages to hang on, I do not believe any longer that we
can leave the people of Zimbabwe on their own in light of the bravery that
they have shown, so what plans will the Government make as a contingency—a
so-called plan B—if the people are not given the outcome of the election
that they have claimed?
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, we are determined to make sure that, if the
election goes to a second round, President Mugabe will not with military or
any other help be able to steal it. Were he to do so, he would confront an
international community more united and determined to end this farce than
ever before. Let me say for I suspect the first time in this House in 28
years that this has been a terrible week for President Mugabe and a
wonderful one for the people of Zimbabwe.
Globe and Mail, Canada
With the country in a state of suspended animation over election results,
hawks and doves square off within the ruling party. A raid on an opposition
office and the arrest of two reporters suggest hardliners have the upper
From Friday's Globe and Mail
April 4, 2008 at 12:29 AM EDT
HARARE — Two factions of Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF party are battling over whether
President Robert Mugabe should step down or instead participate in a runoff
election after he failed to win an outright majority in last Saturday's
poll, according to senior ruling party sources.
Hard-liners in his inner circle are pushing Mr. Mugabe to use “presidential
powers” to postpone the second poll for 90 days, in order to buy time to
regain the control they have lost on the country that ZANU-PF has run since
independence 28 years ago. The other faction is encouraging the President to
compromise with the opposition.
The power struggle between the camps has the rest of the country in a state
of suspended animation, and makes clear that the fate of Zimbabwe rests,
now, on the fear, false confidence and desire for retribution driving Mr.
Mugabe and those around him.
The 49 members of the ZANU-PF politburo will hold an emergency meeting
Friday morning to try to resolve the standoff. Six days after the election,
the regime has yet to release its tally of the presidential vote, which by
law must be made public Friday.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says its collation of posted
election results shows that its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the vote, but
the party has nevertheless agreed to a runoff, a sign its leaders suspect he
did not capture 51 per cent either. Independent election observers gave him
49.4 per cent with a 2-per-cent margin of error.
Hawks in ZANU-PF are insisting that Mr. Mugabe can win the runoff. Their
position is stiffened by a determination to hold on to the vast personal
wealth they have acquired as members of the governing elite presiding over
Zimbabwe's implosion in the past eight years.
A few, including two of the security chiefs, the enforcer “youth league” and
former intelligence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, believe that ZANU-PF,
having captured the majority of the popular vote in parliamentary elections,
can win another contest outright, particularly if it makes use of rigging
tactics, such as “ghost voters” and unannounced polling stations, which
helped it win the last four elections here, according to international
“This time it will be a resounding victory for the President,” former deputy
information minister Bright Matonga said Thursday. He said the party “let
the President down” in the first round and would redouble its efforts in the
Others are less confident: A source with excellent knowledge of the
country's finances said the government exhausted every dollar of precious
foreign currency on last week's vote and has absolutely nothing left to put
into a new campaign.
This faction is pushing the President to use presidential powers to postpone
the second run for 90 days, effectively imposing a state of emergency. Under
Zimbabwean law, the runoff must be held on April 19, three weeks from the
first election. If the runoff is postponed, ZANU-PF would use that time to
harden its control over a country where its structures govern everything
from the price of bread to which village gets a bus or drugs for its clinic.
At the same time, members of Mr. Mugabe's family and many of his oldest
friends are advising him not to stand again. They are urging that he cut a
deal with the MDC that provides him a graceful way out and immunity from
prosecution for human-rights abuses.
Senior ZANU-PF members confirmed that an emissary for Mr. Mugabe, his former
national intelligence minister and long-time friend Nicholas Goche, is
talking to senior figures in the MDC about a possible government of national
unity, in which ZANU-PF and the MDC would govern together for six months
until Mr. Mugabe, 84, steps down with what would be considered dignity
All of Mr. Mugabe's negotiations in recent years have been handled by former
justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, but the ex-minister is in a rage over
having lost his seat and his aides said yesterday that he is refusing to
represent Mr. Mugabe in these talks.
“The vast majority in ZANU-PF, even at the top levels, accept that they were
defeated by a better party,” said Eldred Masunungure, a political analyst at
the University of Zimbabwe.
In the parliamentary election, the combined opposition took 110 seats, while
ZANU-PF took 97, according to official results confirmed Wednesday. It
marked the first-ever defeat for ZANU-PF since the country's independence.
There are initial signs that the hawks around Mr. Mugabe may have the
balance of power. Thursday night police raided MDC offices in a large Harare
hotel. And 30 police officers in riot gear raided a small Harare hotel,
detaining two foreign journalists, including New York Times correspondent
Barry Bearak, and two consultants with pro-democracy organizations.
The government began slowly to release results for the largely toothless
The active involvement of continental heavyweight South Africa was confirmed
Thursday when South African President Thabo Mbeki said he had spoken with
Mr. Tsvangirai. Mr. Mbeki has long had a policy of “quiet diplomacy,”
attempting to mediate a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, while hampered by
both Mr. Mugabe's intransigence and the considerable loyalty the President
still commands as the leader of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle.
“If indeed Tsvangirai has been elected, that's fine, and if there is a
runoff, that's fine. That is a matter we must await,” Mr. Mbeki told
journalists in Pretoria.
Kingsley Mamabolo, South Africa's former ambassador in Harare, is shuttling
between Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai, according to senior ZANU-PF members.
With a report from Shakeman Mugari
· Former African allies urge leader to quit, says MDC
· Warning as Zanu-PF hardliners talk tough
Chris McGreal in Harare
Friday April 4 2008
Zimbabwe's opposition yesterday said it was optimistic that Robert Mugabe
will recognise defeat in last Saturday's election and step down within days,
after negotiations with the security establishment and elements in his
Zanu-PF party forced the president's hand.
But in a sign of the deep divisions within the ruling party, hardline
elements of Zanu-PF said it would "fight on", and the opposition warned that
the situation remained volatile.
There was a further complication yesterday evening when the election
commission said it was delaying the release of official results for
"logistical reasons", reinforcing fears that Zanu-PF still intends to
manipulate the outcome.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has already claimed victory in
the presidential election on the basis of its own count at polling stations.
Mugabe is scheduled to chair a party politburo meeting today to discuss the
worst political crisis of his 28 years in power.
A source close to the MDC's presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, said
"the ball is rolling" after contacts with moderate elements within the
military and ruling party undercut attempts by hardliners around Mugabe to
hold on to power. The Zimbabwe leader's position was further undermined on
Wednesday when Zanu-PF lost control of parliament for the first time since
independence in 1980.
The MDC has said there have been no direct talks with Mugabe and cautioned
that he has appeared to be stepping aside in the past and then backtracked.
Others have noted that Mugabe described the election as war and said that
the MDC will "never, ever" rule Zimbabwe.
But the opposition believes the end may be close for Mugabe, saying support
within the Zanu-PF establishment has eroded since the election and important
elements of his own party are now willing to do a deal because they realise
the election results could not be manipulated to overturn a clear opposition
victory and that there is little hope of it winning a second round of
presidential elections without resorting to violence or fraud.
The MDC source indicated that the party was maintaining a tough negotiating
stance and had refused a Zanu-PF demand for about four seats in the cabinet.
He said the MDC had rejected power-sharing because it had won the
presidential race outright, even though the electoral commission has yet to
start releasing results.
"We cannot share power when we've won. If you've won the cup you don't share
it," the opposition official said.
Another party official said it had offered guarantees Zanu-PF and security
officials would not be prosecuted for past crimes.
Zimbabwe's leader has also been under pressure from regional leaders to
respect the results and leave office with dignity.
The former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, who has been close to
Mugabe since the liberation struggle, is among those who an MDC official
said had urged the Zimbabwean leader to recognise defeat.
Mugabe appeared on television yesterday, for the first time since Saturday's
election, meeting Sierra Leone's former president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who
told Zimbabwean television: "He looked very relaxed, and is of the view that
the problems of the country will be resolved amicably, and he is very
relaxed about it."
Publicly, Zanu-PF has vowed to "fight on", and the opposition said it was
still preparing for a second round of elections if Mugabe did not bow to
pressure to go.
Zanu-PF's deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, took a defiant
position, saying the party had "let the president down" by not winning
"Zanu-PF is ready for a run-off, we are ready for a resulting victory," he
"In terms of strategy, we only applied 25% of our energy into this campaign
... [the run-off] is when we are going to unleash the other 75% that we did
not apply in the first case."
The MDC fears that what will be unleashed is an extremely violent campaign,
because that is the last hope Zanu-PF has of curbing support for the
The state-run Herald newspaper gave a flavour yesterday of the tone of any
new campaign by warning that white farmers who lost land under Mugabe's
redistribution programme are planning to return to Zimbabwe and reclaim it.
But for all the defiance and bluster of the ruling party, it would be a huge
logistical and financial exercise to mount another election campaign when
Mugabe looks so vulnerable.
Among other things, Zanu-PF would go into a run-off amid another surge in
inflation caused by the flood of cash into the economy after the government
furiously printed money to pay for its election campaign.
Some economists estimate that inflation is now about 500,000%.
By ALEX PERRY Thu Apr 3, 3:55 PM ET
In the Harare township of Warren Park, for the first time that anyone can
remember, political graffiti has begun to appear on clapperboard walls and
the backs of tin sheds. Alongside election posters for Robert Mugabe, unseen
hands scrawl messages to the President. "Chinja Maitiro" reads one: "Change
Your Way." Another declares: "Zuakwana," meaning "Enough." Nearby, a picture
of the 84-year-old Zimbabwean leader has been defaced with blood-red tears
and underneath is written the word: "Cheat." These are state-run Herald
newspaper acknowledged that Mugabe had failed to win on the first round, and
predicted a run-off against Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The MDC, meanwhile, released its own
tally of the vote from lists posted outside polling stations, and claimed
that Tsvangirai had scored an outright victory with 50.3% of the vote.
If this were a normal democracy, Mugabe would have been turned out years
ago. He has presided over a social and economic crisis that has seen
unemployment reach 80% and inflation at more than 100,000%, while average
life expectancy has plunged to 34 for men and 37 for women. Mugabe had tried
to deflect attention from his own failings by championing the confiscation
and redistribution of white-owned farms - the legacy of a colonial past that
had left the lion's share of arable land in the hands of Zimbabwe's white
minority - but this only deepened the crisis: The pick of the confiscated
farms went to the President's cronies, and the country that had once been
the bread-basket of southern Africa was suddenly no longer able to feed
That is a lot more than most electorates would stand for, but Zimbabweans
had little redress. After the 1980 election that ended the white minority
regime of Rhodesia and brought him to power, Mugabe created a kind of
one-party democracy, in which elections and nominally independent state
institutions were dominated by his Zanu-PF party, which beat opponents and
rigged ballots, and where the organs of state, particularly the army and
police, were loyal to the party rather than the people. Left with no means
of redress as their homeland rotted, millions of Zimbabweans simply left the
As the weaker candidate with none of the MDC's momentum and little chance of
picking up support from other losing candidates, Mugabe would be extremely
unlikely to win a free and fair run-off vote. In the past, that fact alone
would have been a cue for repression and rigging. But this year's relatively
violence-free campaign suggests many soldiers and policemen are no longer so
willing to do their president's dirty work. The MDC still claims the regime
fixed many parliamentary seats. But reports in the government's primary
organ, the Herald, indicate that the regime has accepted that Mugabe failed
Dictators are rarely eased out gracefully, and Mugabe's departure now seems
a matter of time. "It's the beginning of the end for Mugabe," said Aubrey
Matshiqi of the Johannesburg-based Centre for Policy Studies. At a Harare
press conference on Tuesday, Tsvangirai declared: "After Saturday, March 29,
Zimbabwe will never be the same again. The votes cast on Saturday were for
change and a new beginning." Mugabe's exit, whenever it comes, would cue the
re-birth of a nation.
Zimbabwe's regeneration, says Michelle Gavin, Adjunct Scholar on Africa at
the Council on Foreign Relations, "would have to be an all-hands-on-deck
effort." International financial institutions and donors, which ended their
involvement to protest the regime's corruption and human rights abuses,
would likely to step in with emergency programs to bring Zimbabwe back from
the brink. And already international investors sense a bargain in the
making. LonZim, an investment fund set up by the Lonrho mining group last
December, has already raised $65 million to invest in Zimbabwe. "We're very
bullish that Zimbabwe as a country will become very strong again," said
LonZim director Geoffrey White. "Any economy that is in the position that
Zimbabwe is in will recover. That's the opportunity." Zimbabwe retains a
solid base of infrastructure, and considerable mineral deposits.
For Mugabe himself, the future may be less rosy. Leaving office might well
earn him a day in court to answer for some of his actions, particularly the
Matabeleland massacres in which tens of thousands of people were killed
after Mugabe ordered his army's North Korean-trained Brigade 5 into the
heartland of Mugabe's longtime political rival, Joshua Nkomo. But Mugabe may
be smarter than other strongmen, such as Liberia's Charles Taylor, who were
eased into exile with a promise of immunity, only to find themselves on
trial at The Hague. A spokesman for the International Criminal Court, in a
statement released to TIME, hinted that the Zimbabwean President ensured
long ago that he would outwit international justice. "Zimbabwe is not party
to the Rome statute [which created the court]," said the spokesman. "The
court does not have jurisdiction over crimes allegedly committed in Zimbabwe
or by Zimbabwe nationals." So, even when the writing is on the wall in
Harare, Robert Gabriel Mugabe may still have a few last tricks up his
- With reporting by Ian Evans/Harare and William Lee Adams/London Time.com
By Fred Bridgland
ROBERT Mugabe would rather be doing many things other than thinking about
the fight for his political future.
But with his presidency doomed, the 84-year-old will be more concerned about
the thousands who will demand justice and revenge for his myriad alleged
An educated man, even Mr Mugabe's blind arrogance of more recent years will
not blind him to the consequences of losing power.
He will be particularly worried about the fallout from his 2005 Operation
Drive Out The Trash, in which the homes of some 700,000 poor political
opponents were destroyed – ostensibly in a slum-clearance operation, but
which a Mugabe ally boasted was designed to "clean the country of the
crawling mass of maggots bent on destroying the economy".
If, as is certain, Morgan Tsvangirai, the president-in-waiting, makes
Zimbabwe a signatory to the 2002 Rome Treaty underpinning the International
Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Mr Mugabe would be eligible for trial for
crimes against humanity in relation to that operation.
He has already been condemned by Anna Tibaijuka, the special United Nations
envoy. In her report, she described the operation, carried out on Mr
Mugabe's orders by the military, the police and the president's personal
youth militia, as "a catastrophic injustice, carried out with disquieting
indifference to human suffering".
Mr Mugabe will want to negotiate with his successor an amnesty for his
alleged crimes while in office. But promises made to him by Mr Tsvangirai
might be worth little. There is nothing to stop any victim of the 2005
operation petitioning the ICC's chief prosecutor to prosecute him: officials
there would be legally obliged to investigate.
An estimated 2.5 million people were made homeless in the middle of
Zimbabwe's short but freezing winter by Operation Drive Out The Trash.
No-one knows how many died as a result, but Zimbabwean women now have by far
the lowest life expectancy in the world – 34 years, compared with nearly 60
at independence in 1980.
He will also be frantically worried about the consequence of the massacres
he ordered in 1983 of Ndebele people in the west of his country.
The full article contains 370 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.
Mail and Guardian
Mandy Rossouw, Percy Zvomuya and Jason Moyo
04 April 2008 06:00
The political and economic future of Zimbabwe is resting on a
razor's edge as hard-line military commanders and a more moderate faction of
Zanu-PF leaders vie to win over a defeated Robert Mugabe.
The former camp, led by Zimbabwe Defence Force chief Constantine
Chiwenga and police commissioner Augustine Chihuri, is understood to be
urging Mugabe to move to a second round of voting, extend the
constitutionally determined interim period by decree from 21 days to 90 days
and use the time to bludgeon opposition voters into submission,
The other Cabinet-based camp -- said to include Minister of
Defence Sidney Sekeramayi, Intelligence Minister Didymus Mutasa and Mugabe's
wife, Grace -- is apparently pressing Mugabe to acknowledge defeat and
negotiate a set of transitional and security arrangements.
The ministers met Mugabe on Monday, when the first signs of his
defeat in the presidential election became clear. He is said to have
resisted initially and blown his top, exclaiming: "We are sovereign and
should not negotiate!" However, he is said to have become more amenable to
stepping down as the extent of his defeat has emerged.
The results of the presidential poll had still not been
officially released on Thursday. However, the MDC claimed its leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, had won 50,3% of the presidential vote, with Mugabe winning
43,8% and Simba Makoni 5,9%. Zanu-PF has been quoted as conceding that
Mugabe did not win an overall majority, meaning that unless he withdraws, a
second round of voting for the two front-runners would be required in terms
of Zimbabwe's Constitution.
In another stunning setback this week, Zanu-PF lost control of
the Zimbabwe Parliament for the first time since independence, with the MDC
(Tsvangirai) winning 99 seats, Zanu-PF 97 and the MDC hive-off under Arthur
Mutambara winning nine.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is legally bound to
release the results of the presidential election by Friday, as they have to
be made public within six days of polling.
The Mail & Guardian understands that the military hardliners
intend using a 90-day window period before the run-off to deploy war
veterans and their associated youth militias.
The Zimbabwe National War Veterans' Association (ZNWVA), whose
members potentially face the loss of their land or even prosecution if
Tsvangirai carries out his threat to restore land to white farmers,
reportedly met on Wednesday and resolved to use any means to prevent a
It is reliably understood that the association would also
spearhead a propaganda war claiming that whites were excited by Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai's win and intended
returning to Zimbabwe in droves to run the government with the MDC leader as
The propaganda offensive already appeared to be under way on
Thursday, with government mouthpiece the Herald reporting that certain
commercial farmers had threatened new owners and workers that they would
soon be reclaiming their properties because they anticipated an MDC election
The Herald quoted ZNWVA official Edmore Matanhike as saying war
veterans would not sit by and watch the reversal of the gains of the
Mugabe-led liberation struggle.
In another ploy, the Herald reported that the government had
announced in an extraordinary gazette on Tuesday that the tax-free income
threshold had been increased from Z$30-million to Z$300-million "to increase
workers' disposable income".
The Constitution requires that a new president must garnered
more than 50% of the vote in the first round, meaning that if Mugabe does
not stand in the run-off, another Zanu-PF candidate will have to stand in
his place. However, officials insist that he will not do this.
The more moderate Cabinet-based faction is understood to favour
a strong Zanu-PF presence in a government of national unity from which
Mugabe would be excluded.
Although rumours of talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC are rife,
several sources said the two parties were not in direct contact.
The M&G was, however, told of at least one meeting between the
MDC director for international affairs, Elfas Mukunoweshuro, and a senior
member of the security establishment.
Reports of a possible national unity government were given a
fillip on Thursday when Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, head of the African Union
election observer team, met Mugabe and told reporters the Zimbabwean leader
believes "Zimbabwe's problems can be solved amicably".
Kabbah said he had also met Tsvangirai, who had told him "he
regards Mugabe as the father of the nation, for whom he has the greatest
Mugabe's politburo is said to be meeting on Friday to discuss
the way forward. It is understood that his aides are likely to advise him to
accept a unity government under Tsvangirai. Driving Zanu-PF are fears that a
second round of voting would mean a humiliating defeat for Mugabe as
opposition voters, scenting victory, combine against him.
It is understood that the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) has asked President Thabo Mbeki, together with former Zambian
president Kenneth Kaunda and former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano,
to remain on standby to intervene if Mugabe refuses to accept defeat.
"Mbeki still has a SADC mandate to see the mediation process
through. He would come with Chissano and Kaunda, statesmen of Mugabe's
generation, to talk to him and convince him to accept defeat," a SADC source
Mbeki had personally telephoned Mugabe's aides and other SADC
representatives early this week to ascertain why the poll results had not
been released. He was apparently told that because both Zanu-PF and Mugabe
had lost the election, the situation is volatile.
The generals in the security cluster also want guarantees that
their farms, given to them by Mugabe, will remain in their possession and
that they will be indemnified from prosecution.
The MDC has said that Mugabe need not fear prosecution once the
party comes into power.
"He is an old man. What is the point of marching him to jail? We
will offer him a deal -- he can go to his rural home and spend his last days
there. We will not send him to The Hague [the seat of the International
Criminal Court]," an MDC source said.
Mbeki will remain in Pretoria for the time being because he
cannot be seen to be intervening before the official results are made
Earlier in the week, it was reported that the military top brass
had advised Mugabe to seize power. However, the army and police are not
united in their loyalty to Mugabe, and the "Algerian" option no longer
appears to be on the cards.
A war veteran said that in the current climate it would be
difficult to convince troops to take up arms against citizens. Although the
generals were fanatical supporters of Mugabe and believed they were
protecting the legacy of the liberation movement against "imperialist agent"
Tsvangirai, middle-level officers did not necessarily share their view.
'I'd go to Zim to finish him off'
The M&G quizzed a number of Zimbabwean exiles living in South
Africa on whether they would return to their country for any run-off and how
they would cast their ballot. Up to three million Zimbabweans are thought to
be living in South Africa and many are still registered to vote.
Here are some responses, many of them by people who asked to
.. "I would go back to Zimbabwe to finish the old man off. A
run-off would actually present the opportunity to some of us who have been
disenfranchised. A run off is going to be embarrassing for Mugabe. It's the
beginning of a new era of freedom." -- Happy Madamombe, Johannesburg
.. "I won't go back to vote; I don't think my vote will make
much of a difference." -- Amos, Johannesburg
.. "I will certainly go back, and I think every other person
who didn't vote will see that a Mugabe defeat is possible. There was a lot
of disenchantment and people had lost faith in the system." -- Percy, Cape
.. "l'm going to vote for Morgan Richard Tsvangirai." -- Silas,
.. "Unfortunately I didn't go to vote, and it's highly unlikely
that I will do so should there be a run-off." -- Dumisani, Johannesburg
.. "If I had the money, I would go back to vote," -- Peter,
.. "I voted last Saturday, and in the event of a run-off I may
go back. By not registering and not voting we are indirectly voting. I voted
for change. People are starving there." -- Aaron, Johannesburg
By Msekiwa Makwanya
Last updated: 04/04/2008 11:49:07
ZIMBABWEANS wanted change more than a popularity contest, and the failure of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions to unite before the just
ended harmonised elections has proved what Zimbabweans knew –that there is
no such thing as a smaller faction when every vote has to be counted.
In past unity talks among the opposition forces, reality and rhetoric have
tended to diverge before agreements could be signed but this time history
might never absolve the opposition if they miss the chance to work together.
At times when the opposition forces demand change from the government, they
forget that they should change themselves.
From the media reports, it appears that the MDC faction led by Morgan
Tsvangirai has realise that the popularity contest manifested in the number
seats gained or lost in the just ended Zimbabwean elections is now over, but
they are still not in power.
Zimbabweans across the political spectrum have managed to hold their nerve
in the most difficult trying moments but we are now in a volatile situation,
with President Mugabe now a wounded and dangerous buffalo let-off by
vacillating leaders whose egos thwarted all chances of a united front
It now appears that the MDC Tsvangirai did not deliver the vital knock-out
blow that they needed to take Mugabe out of the presidential race. By all
accounts, and despite varying claims to the contrary, Tsvangirai did not get
the required 50% + 1 vote of the total presidential ballots, and now the
country is waiting with bated breath for that second round of a very tricky
run-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
It is a disaster that the MDC -- fighting a regime credited with 150 000
inflation, 80 percent unemployment and many other economic and political
crimes -- is still locked in a tight contest with the same opponent that
they would have vanquished, with little less pride.
Tsvangirai’s MDC has won most seats in parliament and the combined
opposition has the majority, but Zanu PF has a significant minority and
access to levers power such as the state security and resources at their
President Mugabe is still the head of state with some legitimate power and
authority still vested in him under the Presidential Powers Temporary
Measures Act, which he can use to override the Zimbabwe Electoral Act, the
part relating to the run-off in particular, to neutralise the opposition.
It will be very difficult for Mugabe to sustain any form of victory that
keeps him in power. His best security now is to take a rest.
Most Zimbabweans hope that Mugabe will listen to his conscience and do what
is best for Zimbabwe with the Presidential Powers and Temporary Measures Act
which gives him sweeping powers to positively change the rules.
It should be recognised that Mugabe also has the burden of convincing his
generals and party die-hards that it is best for him to negotiate a
transition or his exit and take a rest, but the behaviour of the opposition
and other outsiders should be measured.
Those of us who have always felt that the opposition forces needed to unite
before the elections if they were to win now feel that the need for unity
among opposition forces is even greater more than ever.
Arthur Mutambara’s MDC faction and independent Jonathan Moyo with their 10
seats in parliament seem to be in the “king making” position and probably
the best unintended outcome of the just ended election.
A lot now depends on how Mutambara’s MDC and Jonathan Moyo will vote in
houses of parliament and senate.
A fractured society like Zimbabwe does not need a party with an absolute
majority; political power should be distributed evenly across society to
allow people to regain confidence in themselves without any over-bearing
influence of one group on matters of governance.
Zimbabwe needs government by consensus and it might be the best model for
Africa. With 99 seats for MDC-Tsvangirai, 97 seats for Zanu PF, 10 seats for
MDC Mutambara and 1 seat for Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe is now in a situation
where political parties need each other more than before.
The fears and anxieties of the losers and winners can be best addressed if
the defeated can be humble and the victors are gracious and magnanimous. The
challenge for Zimbabwe is to come up with a government that can govern for
the country for everyone else not just its party members, as Dr Nkosana Moyo
once said. The just-ended elections might have given Zimbabwe a chance for a
non-partisan government in that no-one has an absolute majority.
The opposition now simply has to be disciplined and measured in their
approach and the ruling party has to exercise restraint. Zimbabwe is now at
its most delicate stage in history. The media, especially the foreign media,
is naturally desperate for news on the painfully slow Zimbabwe election
process and they can inflame situations.
The African Union and SADC have an important role in helping us manage and
conclude our delicate election process but the Western media have to be
careful in the way they portray Mugabe, it is humiliation and denigration
that he will not accept and which gets Africa on his side.
It is rare to have peaceful elections in Africa that Zimbabwe has had. In
fact, although elections are a democratic way of deciding leadership, they
tend to be divisive in most Third World countries.
A run-off will certainly raise political temperatures in Zimbabwe to a
boiling point which might unnecessarily leave the country more divided than
In light of the above, I strongly feel that a run-off will not be good for
Zimbabwe. The House of Assembly and Senate should be allowed to vote for the
next President of Zimbabwe.
In my view, the most ideal situation would be if Mugabe is persuaded to
avoid a presidential election run-off and asked to use the Presidential
Temporary Powers and Measures Act to override the Electoral Act, do away
with a run-off and swear in Members of Parliament and senate into office and
constitute them into an electoral college to decide the next President of
The candidate would be probably sponsored by parties whose MPs and Senators
are in parliament since they are the ones who will vote. It would be
expected that the MPs would consult on which candidate to vote. This
candidate does not need to be in parliament or senate.
The above theory is based on Constitutional Amendment No. 18 which might yet
turn out to be stroke of genius with the effect of achieving national
healing, and ushering a unique leadership by consensus in Africa and smooth
transition in Zimbabwe.
Prior to Constitutional Amendment 18 coming into play in 2007, in terms of
section 28(3) of the Constitution, if a President died, resigned or was
removed from office, an election was to be called within 90 days.
Following the change in law, that power has been transferred to Parliament
and the Senate. The law says an election to the office of President shall
take place (a) on the day or days fixed in a proclamation in terms of
section 58(1) as the day or days on which a general election is to be held
for the purpose of elect-ing members of Parliament; or (b) in accordance
with the Electoral Law by members of the Senate and the House of Assembly
sitting jointly as an electoral college within ninety days after the office
of President becomes vacant by reason of his death or his resignation or
removal from office in terms of this Constitution; as the case may be.
Mugabe can, and should take this easy and dignified route out. His MPs can
find a mutually acceptable candidate, say with the Mutambara MPs and
senators, and that individual can be elevated to President. The country
needs this to move forward.
With £100million invested in Zimbabwe, sinister property tycoon Nicholas
Hoogstraten is one of the few people shedding tears over the election defeat
of Robert Mugabe. Hoogstraten, 63, who was freed on appeal after being
convicted of killing a business rival, is a long-term friend and business
partner of the African dictator.
He returned to Britain from his Zimbabwe home at the weekend full of praise
for Mugabe. From a Brighton hotel, which he uses as a bolthole, he tells me:
"He has got a beautiful place all set up. He's prepared everything for a
"I still support him. The problem in the last few years has been Mugabe's
retinue. It's been some time since he's taken an active part in politics
because he is now surrounded by crooks and incompetents."
Of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Hoogstraten says: "Brain dead from
the neck up. Not president material."