April 4, 2008
By Catherine Philp in Harare
Robert Mugabe unleashed his most-feared thugs on the streets of the
Zimbabwean capital today in a very public show of force as his party's
leadership united to back a last-ditch bid for him to stay in power.
At its first meeting since the party's shock defeat at polls held last
weekend, the Zanu (PF) politburo endorsed Mr Mugabe's bid for a second-round
run-off against his opposition challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai. The continued
absence of official results in the presidential race, which Mr Tsvangirai
says he has won outright, raised fears that the figures were being held back
and manipulated to ensure that a second round would take place.
After a week of high drama - from reports of his imminent concession to
tonight's sudden nocturnal crackdown on foreign journalists and raids on
opposition offices - fears are growing that Mr Mugabe is planning a violent,
protracted fight to the end.
More than 400 of his so-called war veterans, the shock troops that led the
violent invasions of white-owned farms, marched through the streets of
Harare today in a silent display of menace. Afterwards they addressed the
media, vowing to “defend the country's sovereignty” against an opposition
Echoing the fiery anti-British rhetoric of Mr Mugabe's election campaign,
they said that they would defend Zimbabwe against “a white invasion” under
the auspices of Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
“The election has been seen as a way to reopen the invasion of our people by
whites,” Jabulani Sibanda, the veterans' leader, said. The state newspaper
and mouthpiece for the Mugabe regime had carried yesterday a thinly sourced
report about alleged attempts by white farmers to reclaim their farms after
the Opposition's apparent victory.
A shadow fell over even that parliamentary win when Zanu (PF) claimed that
the Opposition had bribed electoral officials and that it would contest
results for 16 parliamentary seats. If they are overturned Zanu (PF) would
win back its majority.
Mr Sibanda said that the victory declaration by the MDC, whom Mr Mugabe
casts as colonial stooges, was “illegal” and “a provocation against us
freedom fighters”. The powerful militia supposedly comprises former rebel
fighters from the Rhodesian bush war, but many are young men born long after
independence was won 28 years ago.
Reports from rural areas talked of the mobilisation of youth militia, who
along with the veterans carried out much of the intimidation of voters in
past elections that was missing from this time around.
Six days after the historic polls brought millions hungry for change
flocking to the ballot box, there was still no sign of the official result
of the presidential contest, prompting the Opposition to prepare a case to
take to court demanding their immediate release. Under the country's
election law, authorities have one week to release all the results.
“So we want to see results by today. If that doesn't happen then we will
retrieve all our tools including court process to make sure we give
Zimbabweans the results as soon as possible,” Nelson Chamisa, the MDC
Foreign governments have joined in the clamour for the results to be
announced, expressing their fears of foul play. But in a serious blow for
the Opposition, South Africa yesterday slammed “a media conspiracy”, casting
aspersions on the reasons for the delay.
South Africa, the regional superpower, is regarded as the only Government
with any hope of pressuring Mr Mugabe into leaving quietly. Gordon Brown has
been in close contact with South African leaders over the past week in an
effort to persuade them that Mr Mugabe must be made to go.
But yesterday, a day after his first public appearance in nearly a week, Mr
Mugabe looked far from a man at the end of his reign, wisecracking in front
of the cameras as he convened the politburo meeting, joking with one
high-profile election casualty that he had been “struck by lighting” at the
Opposition politicians also met today to hammer out a joint strategy. By
law, a run-off should be held within 21 days of the elections, but
suspicions are building that Mr Mugabe intends to use controversial and
disputed presidential powers to put off a vote for up to three months, thus
giving himself time to intimidate the Opposition.
There are also fears he would seek to remove the electoral provisions that
made it so hard to steal the vote, such as the publication of results at
individual polling stations, which the MDC used to produce its own parallel
results showing an outright victory.
The MDC has said that Mr Tsvangirai will submit to a second round “under
protest” but still maintains he won the first round outright. Zanu (PF)
projections put Mr Tsvangirai as the winner but with just less than the 50
per cent required to win outright.
One British and one American journalist seized from their hotel on Thursday
night were charged under tough media laws today for operating without
government accreditation. The United States called today for the immediate
release of Barry Bearak, a Pulitzer prize winning correspondent for The New
York Times, and revealed that a second American, Dileepan Sivapathasundaram,
a senior officer with the election monitor group the National Democratic
Institute, had been arrested at Harare airport as he tried to leave the
Globe and Mail, Canada
April 4, 2008 at 1:30 PM EDT
HARARE — Zimbabwe's ruling party on Friday backed President Robert Mugabe to
fight an expected runoff vote against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
ending uncertainty over whether he would try to extend his long grip on
A senior party official said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would
schedule such a vote, suggesting it would be changed from the statutory
three weeks after election results.
Civil society organizations charged on Friday that Mr. Mugabe was trying to
delay the re-run for three months to give him time to regroup and ensure
ZANU-PF agreed on its strategy after a five-hour meeting to discuss the
biggest crisis of Mr. Mugabe's 28-year-old rule.
ZANU-PF lost control of parliament for the first time in last Saturday's
election but no official results have yet been released from the
Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it won the
presidential vote and he should be declared president, ending Mr. Mugabe's
uninterrupted rule since independence in 1980.
ZANU-PF and independent projections say that although Mr. Tsvangirai has
won, he will fall short of the absolute majority needed to avoid a runoff.
"We deliberated the rerun, there will be a rerun if ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission) compels us," said party administration secretary Didymus Mutasa.
Mr. Mutasa said parliamentary votes would be recounted in disputed areas --
an apparent bid to redress the balance in ZANU-PF's favour. He said there
had been bribery of electoral officials.
The long delay in announcing presidential votes has fueled opposition
suspicions that Mr. Mugabe is trying to engineer a way out of results that
went against him.
Mr. Mugabe faces deep discontent as Zimbabwe suffers the world's highest
inflation rate of more than 100,000 per cent, a virtually worthless currency
and severe food and fuel shortages.
Earlier, liberation war veterans -- a potent force backing former guerrilla
leader Mr. Mugabe -- attacked the opposition for claiming victory. "These
are all provocations against us freedom fighters," veterans' leader Jabulani
Sibanda told a news conference.
He said the veterans would repel any attempt by white farmers to reclaim
properties seized by Mr. Mugabe. "It now looks like these elections were a
way to open for the re-invasion of this country (by the British)," he said.
The state-owned Herald newspaper said there were reports of white farmers
threatening to grab back land.
Mr. Mutasa also warned the farmers.
"We are getting reports that some white farmers are going around the country
threatening the new farmers. They should stop that. They will be dealt with
in terms of the law."
Critics say the handing of the farms to inexperienced farmers and Mr. Mugabe
cronies is a key reason for Zimbabwe's economic collapse.
There is increasing impatience in Zimbabwe at a six-day wait for the results
of the presidential election.
The MDC said it would ask the High Court to order the immediate release of
Amid rumours that security forces planned to crack down on the opposition,
Mr. Tsvangirai spokesman George Sibotshiwe denied the MDC leader had gone
"He had a meeting with diplomats today and he is in his office. He has no
reason to hide."
Analysts believe Mr. Mugabe will try to ensure victory in the second vote by
using militias and powerful security forces to cow MDC supporters in the
interval before the runoff.
A statement by civil society organizations in Harare said they had "reliable
knowledge" that Mr. Mugabe intended to extend the interval before a runoff
"using disputed and autocratic presidential powers".
The statement read by human rights lawyer Lovemore Madhuku expressed
"gravest concern at the unacceptable delay in the release of poll results".
Riot police patrols were out in central Harare on Friday and two foreign
journalists were arrested on Thursday night for reporting the elections
The White House said it was "troubled" by the arrests and called for a swift
resolution of the post-election stalemate.
"We're troubled by the reports we're hearing on the ground," White House
spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters at the NATO summit in Bucharest.
"Journalists and NGOs should be permitted to go about their business."
The European Union called on electoral authorities to release the results as
soon as possible and protested over the arrest of journalists.
Mr. Madhuku, of rights group National Constitutional Assembly, denied
reports that the law required the electoral commission to issue presidential
election results by Friday.
"There is no such law. It is being said by non-lawyers, non-experts," he
April 04 2008 at 07:14PM
Harare - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF is to contest its defeat in last
weekend's parliamentary elections by demanding a recount in 16
constituencies, a party spokesperson said Friday. - Sapa-AFP
HARARE, 4 April 2008 (IRIN) - Veterans of Zimbabwe's
liberation war vowed to seize the remaining white-owned commercial farms if
President Robert Mugabe loses the expected second round of a presidential
Opposition parties have taken control of parliament for the first time since Zimbabwe won its independence from Britain in 1980, but the results of the 29 March presidential ballot have not yet been officially released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The reappearance of the war veterans on the political scene, who led the invasions of white farms in 2000 soon after Mugabe lost a referendum on a new constitution, has heightened fears that the ruling ZANU-PF will unleash state violence to coerce the electorate to ensure Mugabe wins the run off ballot.
According to independent assessments, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), received 49 percent of the presidential vote, Mugabe, who has been in power for 28 years, secured 42 percent of the ballot.
The MDC on 4 April filed a High Court application in the capital Harare, to force the ZEC, whose executive committee are appointed by Mugabe, to immediately release the results of the presidential vote.
At the same time ZANU-PF's politbureau, the party's most powerful decision making body, held a five-hour meeting and decided that Mugabe should contest a run off vote for president should none of the candidates attain the 50 percent plus one vote required for an outright win.
The return of British settlers
War veterans chairman, Jabulani Sibanda told IRIN the recent poll was an attempt to take the country back to 1890 when British settlers first occupied the territory.
Sibanda said: "It has come to our realisation that the elections were used as another war front to prepare for the re-invasion of our country. A large number of the remaining white commercial farmers were seen celebrating the alleged victory of Morgan Tsvangirai.
has come to our realisation that the elections were used as another war front to
prepare for the reinvasion of our country
Sibanda told IRIN the announcement by the MDC, who claimed Tsvangirai had won the presidential ballot without the neeed for a second round of voting, and before the ZEC - who has yet to announce the results - was provocative.
"As freedom fighters, we feel compelled to repel the invasion. We can not just sit back when there are all these provocations," he said. In 2000 Mugabe turned to former guerillas to save his political career after he had just lost a referendum.
The MDC leadership was not available for comment and were engaged in meetings, apparently concerned with taking over the reigns of government.
In the parliamentary elections Mugabe's ZANU-PF won 97 seats, compared to 99 seats secured by the MDC led by Tsvangirai, while an MDC breakway faction won 11 seats.
Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations, an umbrella body, warned ZANU-PF against embarking on violence as an alternative."We have it on good and reliable authority that there are plans to embark on a retributive and violent campaign before and after the final senate and presidential results are announced.
A second round of voting, according to the constitution, should be held within 21 days, but ZANU-PF has warned that this might be delayed to 90 days because there was not enough money to hold the run off ballot.
"This excuse would not be acceptable given the anxiety that is gripping the nation and given that in essence, such a move would be undemocratic and could create a serious constitutional crisis," said the umbrella group.
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY
ZEC: another 33 Senate seats announced
Sokwanele : 4 April 2008
The ZEC has now announced results for another 33 Senate seats, bringing the
total anounced to 43 seats.
The breakdown of 43 seats translates to Zanu PF having 20 seats, the MDC MT
has 19 seats and the MDC has 4 seats.
We are now waiting for the results of 17 senate seats to be announced by the
Please note: a subscriber alerted us to the fact that our final list of
results for all 207 House of Assembly seats actually only included details
for 206 constituencies. Thank you for bringing that to our attention and we
apologise for the error. The missing constituency from the list was
Muzarabani South. This is an unopposed Zanu PF seat. This does not affect
the final results per party that we sent you.
We do not have PVT results to send you for the Senate. However, we would
like to bring your attention to how the PVT data for the House of Assembly
results was obtained, using a combination of dedicated polling agents who
used cellphones, satellite phones and cameras to record the evidence of your
votes as soon as they were counted and posted outside the polling stations
where the public could see them.
This information has been published on the zimelectionresults.com website.
How the PVT information was obtained
In terms of Zimbabwean election law upon closure of the polling station
counting must begin immediately, and the result must be displayed outside
the polling stations to public view. Candidates and their polling agents
should be in attendance during the counting process.
zimelectionresults.com obtained the results using polling agents who were
specially trained to obtain data officially displayed. This information was
transmitted to a results centre in South Africa using cellphones and
satellite phones to the centre which was manned by call centre operators.
Fig 1. [above] shows a typical data file showing the flow of information.
Polling agents were also equipped with a camera to photograph the actual
official results posted by the ZEC. These will be archived on this web site
later as forensic evidence. The polling agents also counted the number of
people entering each polling station.
A separate report on discrepancies will be filed on the site later.
These are the full details for all 43 senate seats announced so far:
MDC MT 22303 / ZPF 17920 /
Bulilima-Mangwe (Matabeleland South)
MDC AM 10354 / ZPF 9303 / MDC MT 6752 /
Chegutu (Mashonaland West)
ZPF 23032 / MDC MT 14275 / MDC MT 7897 / MDC AM 4267 /
Chikomba-Seke (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 25266 / MDC MT 13520 / MDC MT 8690 /
MDC MT 34484 / ZPF 11681 / MDC AM 5122 / IND 3562 / IND 308 / ZPPDP 124 /
ZPF 30520 / MDC MT 30221 /
ZPF 33910 / MDC MT 12780 / MDC AM 4623 /
MDC MT 28031 / ZPF 8496 / IND 2774 /
MDC MT 37138 / ZPF 14533 / MDC AM 4413 /
MDC MT 13701 / ZPF 4034 / MDC AM 2487 /
MDC MT 8839 / MDC AM 5229 / ZPF 2909 / IND 899 / UPP 169 /
ZPF 30132 / MDC MT 24974 /
Goromonzi (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 16156 / MDC MT 15287 / MDC AM 4560 /
MDC MT 28975 / ZPF 23638 / IND 2050 /
MDC MT 7469 / MDC AM 5632 / ZPF 1434 / Zapu-FP 734 / FDU 303 / UPP 149 /
Gwanda (Matabeleland South)
ZPF 11873 / MDC AM 9310 / MDC MT 5334 / UPP 1213 /
MDC MT 31120 / ZPF 29784 / MDC AM 7379 /
Hurungwe (Mashonaland West)
ZPF 30162 / MDC MT 23786 /
Hwange (Matabeleland North)
MDC MT 18329 / ZPF 7327 / MDC AM 6334 /
MDC MT 67131 / ZPF 14582 / IND 2354 /
Insiza (Matabeleland South)
ZPF 10535 / MDC AM 7681 / MDC MT 2753 /
Kadoma (Mashonaland West)
ZPF 32463 / MDC MT 13172 / MDC MT 11758 /
Kariba (Mashonaland West)
MDC MT 7161 ! / ZPF 5562 /
MDC AM 8021 / MDC MT 6077 / ZPF 2002 / IND 498 / UPP 241 / PUMA 99 /
MDC MT 26479 / ZPF 19059 / IND 2005 /
MDC MT 8657 / MDC AM 3726 / ZPF 2309 / UPP 321 / PUMA 221 /
Makonde (Mashonaland West)
ZPF 22352 / MDC MT 11072 / MDC AM 2654 / UPP 1111 /
ZPF 28477 / MDC MT 24494 / MDC AM 9836 /
Marondera-Wedza (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 24571 / MDC MT 17370 / MDC AM 6994 / IND 1996 /
MDC MT 6225 / MDC AM 5426 / ZPF 1889 / UPP 277 /
ZPF 23529 / MDC MT 23332 / MDC AM 6399 / IND 1882 / UPP 765 /
Matobo (Matabeleland South)
MDC MT 6695 / ZPF 6083 / MDC AM 3434 /
Mount Darwin (Mashonaland Central)
ZPF 34139 / MDC MT 6581 / MDC AM 3130 /
Murewa (Mashonaland East)ZPF 22429 / MDC MT 17401 /
Mutoko (Mashonaland East)< br>ZPF 26144 / MDC MT 15345 /
MDC MT 13942 / ZPF 7897 / IND 2238 /
ZPF 44829 / MDC MT 20700 / IND 2323 /
MDC MT 9157 / MDC AM 4217 / ZPF 1785 / IND 418 / IND 216 /
Nkayi (Matabeleland North)
MDC AM 9181 / ZPF 7946 / MDC MT 2636 / IND 1719 /
ZPF 24055 / MDC MT 11988 / MDC AM 7034 / IND 2087 /
Umzingwane (Matabeleland South)
MDC AM 4964 / ZPF 4227 / MDC MT 2658 /
MDC MT 24202 / ZPF 18578 / IND 1296 /
Zvimba (Mashonaland West)
ZPF 26274 / MDC MT 12651 /
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Zimbabwean Civil Society Organisations
April 04, 2008
Zimbabwean civil society expresses its gravest concern at the unacceptable
delay in the release of poll results for local government, House of
Assembly, Senate and Presidential elections. We find the reasons given by
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for this delay to be inadequate as
all of the results were displayed outside all polling stations at the close
of counting and verification on 29 March 2008 and were therefore in the
public domain. We therefore call upon ZEC to release these results urgently
to restore some measure of public confidence in the electoral process.
We also call upon the establishment to desist from unlawfully arresting or
threatening with arrest, foreign or local journalists, opposition political
party leaders/activists and civil society leaders/activists at such a
sensitive national political moment in Zimbabwe. We have been informed that
as of last night (3 April 2008) armed Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
personnel had raided local hotels and arrested and detained at least 3
journalists and a number of people celebrating House of Assembly victories
in some parts of the country for reasons best known to themselves. Such
actions, on the part of the ZRP and those in charge of them can only but add
to the serious suspicions by the electorate that their vote is not being
We also have it on good and reliable record that the Zanu Pf party has
already embarked on a retributive and violent campaign before the final
results for the Senate and Presidential elections have been announced. It is
our view that such actions show lack of respect for the will of the people.
Further to this, and in the event that there is no clear winner in the
Presidential election result, a circumstance that will necessitate an
electoral run off in terms of Section 110 of the Electoral Act, we urge the
ZEC to ensure that said run-off is undertaken within 21 days as is outlined
by the Electoral Act. This is said because, we have it on reliable knowledge
that the government has the undemocratic intention of extending the period
for the holding of a run-off Presidential election from 21 to 90 days using
disputed and autocractic Presidential powers on the pretext that the ZEC is
ill-prepared to hold it in the stipulated period. We hold that this is
unacceptable given the anxiety that is gripping the nation and given that in
essence, such a move is patently undemocratic and has all the vestiges of
creating a serious constitutional and political crisis of tremendous
proportions. We therefore insist and call upon ZEC to follow the Electoral
Act and ensure that the processes of a run-off, should there be one, are
democratic and instil confidence in the electorate that the ballot will not
be subject to arbitrary and undemocratic procedures.
For more information contact MISA Zimbabwe
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this
website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
AU and SADC Should Intervene to Prevent More Intimidation
(Johannesburg, April 4, 2008) – African leaders should use their influence
to prevent a post-election crackdown in Zimbabwe, Human Rights Watch said
today. The recent arrest of two foreign journalists and a raid on offices
used by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) raise serious
concerns about widespread government repression in the aftermath of Zimbabwe’s
March 29, 2008 general elections.
“We fear this is the prelude to a government crackdown on the political
opposition and civil society in the wake of hotly contested elections,” said
Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Government
harassment of the opposition and journalists only serve to inflame the
political environment in Zimbabwe.”
On the evening of April 3, riot police arrested Barry Bearak, a
correspondent for the New York Times, and another as yet unnamed foreign
correspondent at the York Lodge guesthouse in the capital Harare. Police
arrested three other people at the lodge but later released them. Lawyers
representing the journalists told Human Rights Watch that police denied them
access to their clients and they had to file an urgent court application
requesting to see their clients. On the same evening police raided MDC
offices in another Harare hotel.
Human Rights Watch called on the African Union (AU) and the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to publicly urge the government of Zimbabwe to
stop engaging in acts of intimidation.
Human Rights Watch also said Zimbabwean authorities should immediately allow
lawyers to see the two journalists.
Zimbabwe held simultaneous presidential, parliamentary, senatorial, and
local council elections on March 29. A Human Rights Watch report on the
pre-election process concluded that it was deeply flawed and unlikely to
lead to elections that were free, fair, or credible.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena told the news agency Agence France
Presse that the journalists were arrested and charged with practicing
without accreditation under the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Human Rights Watch has long argued that the AIPPA severely restricts the
ability of journalists to report freely in the country, and violates the
rights to freedom of expression and information. Amendments to the AIPPA in
the run-up to the 2008 general elections have not removed the restrictive
requirements on reporting in Zimbabwe. The government denied media
accreditation to scores of foreign journalists from western governments such
as the United Kingdom and the United States who wanted to report on the
Despite these problems, Zimbabweans turned out to vote in an atmosphere that
was relatively calm and free of violence. After several days, on April 2 the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) finally concluded its announcement of
parliamentary results in which the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai party won 99
seats while the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front got
97 seats. Ten seats went to a smaller MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara,
and one seat went to independent candidate Jonathan Moyo.
However, almost a week after the vote, the electoral commission has yet to
announce the results of the presidential election. Predictions by
independent monitors of a close race between the two presidential
candidates, Tsvangirai and the incumbent, Robert Mugabe, suggest a possible
second round of elections.
Human Rights Watch also urged the AU and SADC to send in monitors to assess
the human rights environment as soon as the presidential results are
“It is commendable that Zimbabweans have remained calm in the face of
unnecessary delays in announcing the presidential results,” Gagnon said. “If
the presidential election goes to a second round the potential for political
violence and intimidation will increase. It’s critical that the AU and SADC
International Crisis Group
François Grignon in The East African
The East African
This Saturday [29 March], Zimbabwe holds elections that promise to be
chaotic and possibly violent. The international community needs to have
contingency plans to deal with further confrontation in a country steeped in
The polls mark several “firsts”. President Robert Mugabe faces the first
open challenge from within his ruling ZANU-PF party in the shape of Simba
Makoni, a former finance minister and respected technocrat. For the first
time then Mugabe faces two serious opponents: Makoni and opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai. The three-man race raises the possibility of yet another
first: a run-off election between the top two candidates if none captures
51% in the first round.
But this is where the firsts end. As usual, the government’s systematic
abuses that marred previous elections are being repeated and are expected to
continue up to, through and after the vote, especially as they spread
confusion over complex new election rules. Above all, 84-year old Mugabe, at
the helm for almost three decades, shows no sign of being prepared to accept
defeat. He is apt to do whatever it takes to stay at State House, including
A year ago, the Southern African Development Community nominated President
Thabo Mbeki to mediate talks between ZANU-PF and the divided opposition.
Mbeki publicly stated that the priority of his mediation was to guarantee
free, fair and undisputed elections. Mugabe vetoed this. No matter what
happens on polling day, the election is already marred by pre-poll
misbehaviour and the outcome likely to be hotly disputed.
Only “friendly” international observers will be allowed on the ground for
these elections. But it is critical that the African Union and the Southern
African Development Community judge the overall electoral environment, and
not just the voting on the day itself, in strict accordance with their
regional principles. The refusal of all-African observer missions to endorse
Kenya’s rigged elections is an example worth following.
Across the board, electoral preparations have been flawed. Constituency
demarcation was an exercise in gerrymandering, the voters roll is littered
with dead, ghost and transferred voters, and there are too few polling
stations in urban centres where opposition support is strongest. While
cleverly conceding to a package of reforms, ZANU-PF has used all the
extensive means at its disposal to maintain an unfair advantage. It has
waged a campaign of intimidation against all perceived opponents, and the
state media is tantamount to a Mugabe mouthpiece. The military-security
complex remains as entrenched as ever.
Saturday’s election takes place amid widespread suffering. Astronomic
inflation has made the currency worthless. The new ten million dollar note
buys just a loaf of bread. Food, fuel and essential medicines are in
chronically short supply, and much of the working population has fled to
South Africa and other neighbours in search of jobs. The government has
cynically exploited this humanitarian catastrophe by manipulating aid and
buying votes. Zimbabweans desperately want all this to end, but have little
confidence elections can produce the change they desire.
Makoni’s late entry into the race has, however, generated some excitement.
His challenge is engineered by ZANU-PF heavyweights -- though all but a
handful remain in background. It has thrown the ruling party into turmoil
and left Mugabe unsure of his allies. Makoni’s limited grassroots support
and opaque establishment backing work against him but his challenge could
open space at the top as it accelerates realignments in the faction-riddled
ruling party. Whatever the outcome of the elections, ZANU-PF is a changed
Three main election scenarios are possible:
Mugabe is declared winner in the first round. That would likely require
massive rigging, even given the uneven playing field. It is expected to take
five days for the election results to be announced. That provides the
government-controlled electoral commission plenty of time for chicanery.
Run-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Depending on the scale of the
rigging, the opposition leader stands a good chance of reaching a run-off.
He commands loyal following even if his image has been tarnished by
opposition in-fighting. If he must fight a run-off, Mugabe would prefer it
to be against Tsvangirai because the ruling party would more readily rally
behind the incumbent.
Run-off between Mugabe and Makoni. If party insiders mobilised sufficient
support, Makoni could also reach a run-off. This is the worse-case scenario
for Mugabe. ZANU-PF could split asunder and critical mass build if Makoni
formed a united front with the opposition. The risk of factional violence
would be high.
Mugabe could well power his way to victory even in such a scenario. But none
of the three scenarios, in the extent to which they result in his
re-election, can produce a government capable of ending Zimbabwe’s crisis.
In the face of massive rigging and a bitter election dispute, the African
Union must stand ready to mediate a power-sharing agreement to produce a
transitional government with a reformist agenda. A settlement need not
necessarily remove Mugabe. However unpalatable, it might be necessary for
Mugabe to serve as a non-executive head of state during a transitional
period in advance of fresh elections.
As in Kenya, the region’s leaders, with support from the West, must act
quickly and robustly if the elections do not produce a legitimate
government. Anything less and Zimbabwe’s dramatic downward slide will
continue, and the ongoing struggle over Mugabe’s succession could easily
provoke more bloodshed.
François Grignon is Africa Program Director of the International Crisis
ZANU-PF party has decided that its leader Robert Mugabe should contest
a run-off vote against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai if neither wins a
majority in a presidential election.
Friday 4 April 2008, by Bruce Sibanda
from our correspondent in Harare
The party politburo met for close to five hours at its headquarters to
discuss Mugabe’s next move to face the greatest crisis of his 28-year rule.
The party’s top leaders met to decide how to react to election results that
have yet to be announced, six days after the presidential poll. The
opposition MDC claims its leader received enough votes to win outright.
Emerging from the meeting Zanu-PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa
said there would be a re-run if the election commission "compels us" He
admitted that the revolutionary party is “ down but not out," "Absolutely
the candidate will be Robert Gabriel Mugabe - who else would it be other
than our dear old man?" he said
However the emergency meeting was delayed by to hours after hours as members
present it could not make a quorum.
By 10 am, the scheduled time, only 10 members had turned up. It only kicked
off around launch time with 31 members.
Robert Mugabe arrived well on time. This time the cheering women’s league
members were there to greet him.
Journalists were told to leave the politburo meeting after Mugabe formally
"Our meeting is now called to order," he said. Before taking the chair,
Mugabe could be seen cracking jokes with some of the politburo members,
telling one who lost his parliamentary seat: "You were struck by lightning."
Three issues topped ZANU PF emergency meeting agenda. The 49-member
Politburo was split on whether Mugabe should fight on amid claims by
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai that he has won.
The election commission has to announce the presidential election result by
the end of Friday to meet a legal deadline.
Plans to postpone run-off
A camp on Mugabe’s side is led by Zimbabwe Defence Force chief Constantine
Chiwenga and police commissioner Augustine Chihuri. It 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 is apparently pressing
Mugabe to acknowledge defeat and negotiate a set of transitional and
Several ruling party sources say that three options were discussed: 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
Finances might hamper run-off
But the dire state of Zimbabwe’s finances makes 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.
ZANU-PF lost control of parliament for the first time in elections last
Saturday but no results have so far emerged from the presidential vote,
prompting opposition suspicions that Mugabe is trying to engineer a way out
of the crisis.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says Tsvangirai won an
absolute majority in the presidential vote and should be declared president,
ending Mugabe’s long rule since independence in 1980. ZANU-PF and
independent projections show Tsvangirai winning the presidential vote but
falling short of the absolute majority needed to avoid a runoff.
Winning at all cost
One politburo member, speaking anonymously after the meeting, favoured a
run-off while acknowledging the MDC had inflicted a major blow.
"We had under-estimated the [opposition] threat, but this time we will
properly strategise for the run-off, and we will get it, without doubt.
There is increasing impatience in Zimbabwe at a six-day wait for the results
of the presidential election.
The MDC said it would ask the High Court to order the immediate release of
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.
A runoff should be held on April 19, three weeks after the elections, but
civil society groups said Mugabe plans to extend that to 90 days to buy time
Meanwhile, according to the latests senatorial results announced at 6:30 pm,
the ruling ZANU-PF was leading with 21 seats against the opposition MDC’s 18
with the breakaway MDC faction 4.
A total of 60 seats are being contested. No official results have been
published yet from the presidential election, also held on March 29.
Dar Al-Hayat, Lebanon
Elias Harfoush Alhayat - 04/04/08//
Like many leaders who do not leave power unless they guarantee that their
people have gone into exile or to the grave before them, Zimbabwe's
president insists that his country does not deserve a president who is
better than him and that the people who have evidently voted against him,
have taken a "wrong" decision that serves the enemies of Zimbabwe which has
been plagued by Robert Mugabe for 28 years.
Zimbabwe now stands as a shining example of the many states where
independence becomes a hollow word indistinguishable from colonialism,
perhaps even less merciful than colonialism and racism. Unfortunately, it
seems to resemble the regimes systems ruling in our region. Such nations
have escaped the oppression of imperialisms and foreign rule, only to fall
under the rule of so-called nationalists and revolutionists who decorate
radios and cable TV with their glorious speeches: "No voice rises above
sound of battle." The battle, in most cases, is against helpless nations
drowning in their worries to secure their daily living and distracted from
political affairs that are left to the ruler runs affairs with his inherited
If Ian Smith were alive and in power, it would be difficult to imagine him
doing to the blacks of Rhodesia, which he ruled with unprecedented and
despicable racism, what the hero of independence is doing to them today. Of
the twelve million people in this "independent" nation, two million are
afflicted with AIDS, three million scattered as refugees in neighboring
countries such as Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa; and 80% are
unemployed. While illiteracy stands at 90%, the average life expectancy is
37 years for males and 34 for females; and food prices continue to rise on a
daily basis, with inflation reaching 150,000 percent! Still, there is no
alternative to the great leader who lacks no admirers of his "historical
struggle" against colonialism and his daily insults at the British and
Americans who want to "steal" the wealth of his country while he works hard
to ensure that there is nothing left to steal!
Of course there must be foreigners to blame. Mugabe shields himself from the
will of his people with his war against western states. He accuses them of
waging a war to starve Zimbabweans. Were it not for colonialism, all
economic plans would have succeeded, and Zimbabwe would have been in its
best days. Were it not for Israel, our regimes would also have been feeding
us democracy along with fruit and honey, morning and night. However, given
the status quo, governments are preoccupied with the historic battle and
opposition is prohibited by virtue of its loyalty that definitely belongs to
Have we not recently heard the famous adage in the media of one of the
regimes in our region: any opposition that disagrees with the regime is
loyal to foreigners?!
So is the case with the opposition in Zimbabwe, according to its ruler. As
long as the foreigners are trying to change the regime, because it has
become a disaster for its people, and its presence a recipe for the spread
of poverty and famine, and as long as the opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai agrees with this goal of change, then he must be a foreign agent
too. Consequently, he should be prevented from assuming power, even if he
won the elections. Mugabe's slogan has always been: the opposition will
never rule this country. However, his major "mistake", a "mistake" that is
difficult to commit in our countries, was that he called for elections in
response to African pressures, especially from the leaders of South Africa,
his comrades in confronting apartheid. He assumed that people would not
"make the mistake" of demanding change and would find no one better than
Mugabe to preside over their annihilation.
How could a ruler who has done what he has done to his people nominate
himself as a candidate, if it were not for the fact that he thinks so
lightly of them? How could this ruler leave office before ending his battle
against colonialism by annihilating the last citizen in his country?
By Peta Thornycroft
04 April 2008
The politburo of Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF party has endorsed President Robert
Mugabe as its candidate for president if a run-off election is necessary.
Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA from Harare that the endorsement came as
the country waited for a sixth day for official results from Saturday's
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai Friday told foreign diplomats that
verification of the counting of the presidential vote from Saturday's
election has not yet begun. He said officials of his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party would be carefully checking each of more than
two million votes cast. He said this would take at least three days
indicating he did not expect results from the presidential poll before
Tsvangirai also told diplomats he still believes he won the presidential
election with more than 50 percent of the vote, but he said Mr. Mugabe would
be more likely to seek a run-off election than concede defeat.
Returns from the senate elections were still trickling showing ZANU-PF and
the MDC with an equal number of seats.
ZANU-PF narrowly lost its majority in the national assembly when results of
the parliamentary elections were announced Wednesday by the Zimbabwe
Harare seems quiet, subdued even, although groups of ZANU-PF militants
marched quietly through the city center Friday.
Independent analysts and opposition parties say there does not appear to be
any concerted political crackdown underway, but Tsvangirai Friday said he
regretted the delay in announcing the election results because it was
causing tension and hindering the process of political reconciliation and
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who mediated talks between the
governing and opposition parties, urged patience.
"We would hope that again everybody would accept those results in a way that
those results have been accepted up until now," he said. "And then the
legal constitutional processes of Zimbabwe would then proceed. If indeed
Morgan Tsvangirai has been elected in terms of the electoral law and so on,
that's fine. If there is to be a run-off, that's fine. So it's a matter that
we must await."
Two foreign journalists, one from the New York Times and the other from the
London's Sunday Telegraph were arrested late Thursday on charges of working
in Zimbabwe without accreditation.
In addition, three pro-democracy activists from the United States were
reportedly being detained. A western diplomat said Friday that the
whereabouts of one of them, a staff member of the National Democratic
Institute arrested at Harare airport, are not known.
The signs of Zimbabwe's economic collapse are everywhere. Stocks of
groceries are low and the staple, corn meal, is not available in the shops.
The central bank said Friday it had released a new 50 million Zimbabwe
dollar note, worth about $1 US on the parallel market. And the central
statistical office announced that inflation had reached 165,000 percent.
Several diplomats said Friday they wondered whether Zimbabwe would be able
to fund and organize the expected presidential run-off election.
Authorities in Zimbabwe have issued a new mega bank note in an attempt to cope with the troubled African country's runaway inflation.
The size of the new note? Fifty million Zimbabwean dollars.
An unidentified man holds the new $50 million Zimbabwean dollar note introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in Harare, April, 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
The new bill, issued Friday, marks the third time in three months that the central bank in Harare has issued a higher denomination note in response to the country's 100,000 per cent annual inflation rate.
In practical terms, the $50-million bill is worth just $1 US in trading on Zimbabwe's widely used black market.
That means it can buy just three loaves of bread.
Fri 4 Apr 2008, 17:35 GMT
(Repeats to additional subscribers)
HARARE, April 4 (Reuters) - Two foreign journalists, including a New York
Times correspondent, have been charged with violating the country's media
laws, a police spokesman said on Friday.
"They are being charged with working without accreditation, they should
appear in court tomorrow (Saturday)," said the spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena.
The New York Times said its reporter, Barry Bearak, who is based in
neighbouring South Africa, was taken into custody from his hotel in the
capital, Harare, where he is covering the country's election.
The police have not revealed the identity of the other foreign journalist.
Both were arrested on Thursday night.
Human Rights Watch said in a statement it was concerned that the reporters
were being held, and called on the Zimbabwean authorities to "immediately
allow lawyers to see the two journalists."
Zimbabwean authorities are also holding another American, while two other
U.S. citizens have been freed, the State Department said on Friday.
The other American is a senior program officer with the National Democratic
Institute, a U.S. organization that monitors elections worldwide and
The institute said Dileepan Sivapathasundaram was arrested on Thursday at
After more than 22 hours during which authorities said he was not being
held, Sivapathasundaram was finally tracked down to Harare's central police
station where U.S. diplomats and Zimbabwean human rights lawyers were
briefly allowed to see him on Friday, the institute said.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey, who declined to release the names of
those held because of U.S. Privacy Act concerns, called for their immediate
He said U.S. consular officials had visited the Americans, jailed on
Thursday. "They have not been mistreated...as far as I am aware," said
"They were picked up for no legitimate reason." (Reporting by MacDonald
Dzirutwe; Editing by Jon Boyle)
April 04 2008 at 07:42PM
Zimbabwe's attorney general has concluded that there is no case
against two foreign journalists who were arrested for operating without
accreditation, their lawyer said on Friday.
"The attorney general's office says there is no case to answer,"
lawyer Harrison Nkomo said.
"Legally, this means the attorney general's office has refused to
prosecute them on those particular charges and this means they should be
"What we do not know is whether the police are going to release them
or they will prefer other charges."
New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak, 58, and a 45-year-old
journalist from Britain were both detained on Thursday during a raid on a
Harare guest house and later charged with breaching the country's tough
Police say the reporters had been trying to cover the country's
general election without authorisation. - Sapa-AFP
4 April 2008
Reports coming through from Zimbabwe indicate that the stalling of an
announcement on the results of the Presidential elections could be a
mechanism for buying time and provoking violence in order to mobilise the
armed forces and militia against the people.
Yesterday afternoon, Zanu PF youths dressed in the regalia of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party visited the MDC’s headquarters at
Harvest House in Harare, saying that "we must demonstrate on the streets".
Fortunately, the MDC received prior warning and the situation was defused.
This was followed by an intelligence report earlier this morning that Zanu
PF had called in youths to their headquarters in Harare. They were told
that the MDC had brought back all of the white people from the region to
take back the farms. They were also fed the traditional Zanu PF rhetoric
that Zimbabweans – through their voting - have demonstrated they no longer
According to our sources, they were then planning to march to Harvest House
and provoke a situation. Riot police have been put on stand by to "deal
with any situations".
A report just received from the Masvingo in the south of the country warns
that armed men are being deployed in the rural areas.
Zimbabwe is on a knife edge. The MDC says it is absolutely essential for
South Africa and neighbouring countries to act now as the situation is
The Zimbabwean government has acted with ruthlessness in the past and all
indications are that it will do so again.
We will keep you informed of developments.
Thursday 3 April 2008
Police raided a hotel used by the MDC and ransacked some of the rooms. Riot
police also surrounded another hotel where foreign journalists were staying
and arrested two journalists.
The New York Times confirmed that its correspondent, Barry Bearak, had been
taken into custody by the police.
In February 2000, the electorate delivered a resounding “no” vote on a new
constitution that would have further entrenched President Mugabe’s power.
Retribution was swift and ruthless. Three days later, the violent invasions
of the commercial farms began. Both the farmers and farm workers were
believed to have supported the fledgling opposition MDC.
In March 2005, the MDC won the Parliamentary elections. The announcement
was also delayed as massive rigging was required in order to deliver a
After votes had been counted at the polling stations in the 2005 election,
the results were not posted outside polling station for civil society, the
opposition and members of the public to view.
This was the reason for the opposition’s insistence that the 2008 results be
displayed publicly at the polling station directly they had been confirmed.
Immediately they were posted, the results were photographed and logged by
the opposition using the parallel vote tabulation system.
Retribution for the March 2005 elections took the form of Operation
Murambatsvina. During May, at the height of the cold winter, the government
bulldozed countless homes in cities and towns across the country, leaving
more than 700 000 people homeless. The United Nations said more than 2.4
million people were affected.
Operation Murambatsvina also resulted in the destruction of at least 32 500
small and micro-businesses across the country, creating a loss of livelihood
for more than 96 600 people, mostly women.
Although the state claimed the operation was a slum clearance exercise,
commentators said the objective was to reduce the opposition’s urban power
base and to force the victims into the rural areas where they would be
widely dispersed and easier to control.
The highly criticised delimitation process in the 2008 elections has
resulted in the rural constituencies being substantially divided. This is
believed to be an attempt to gain advantage and to garner more seats for
Zanu PF in their strongholds.
Secondly, the increase in the number of constituencies has resulted in
smaller voting areas, making it possible for Zanu PF to identify those which
did not vote for them.
As a highly respected Zimbabwean explained prior to the election, the
election period itself is usually deceptively calm, especially when the
observer missions are in place. The danger comes after the monitors have
left, when the people are once again highly vulnerable.
According to Politicsweb SA of 4 April, 2008, “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.”
Media release supplied by:
Zimbabwe Democracy Now, Zimbabwe – location unspecified.
The number one priority is to remove Robert Mugabe from power. Dealing with
his many crimes may have to come later
April 4, 2008 6:30 PM
President Robert Mugabe is on his way out. The Zimbabwean tyrant and his
political party, Zanu-PF, have lost the election, clearly and conclusively.
Even his three-card box of tricks - intimidating the media and opposition,
bribing the electorate with land and food, and stuffing the ballot boxes -
was not enough to secure him victory.
The people of Zimbabwe have spoken: there has been a mass rejection of
Mugabe's many years of fiddled elections, economic mismanagement and human
The election results were posted at many polling stations the day after the
elections. Most showed substantial wins for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in both the presidential and parliamentary ballots.
The delayed release of the ballot results by the Mugabe-controlled electoral
commission has been a vain attempt to massage the results in favour of
For Mugabe's men, removing large numbers of MDC votes and secretly disposing
of them, and then substituting fake ballot papers in favour of Zanu-PF, was
a task too big to complete in a short space of time for both the
presidential and parliamentary elections. Moreover, the delays in declaring
the results have fuelled suspicions of large-scale voting fraud and this has
left Mugabe's men in an embarrassing quandary: they don't mind rigging
elections but they don't like to be seen as having done so. Even they care
about issues of credibility.
Whatever the results that are finally announced by the electoral commission,
we are now witnessing the end game of Mugabe's 28-year rule. The delay in
announcing the results and the failure of Mugabe to claim victory is a sign
of defeat and weakness. It also signifies possible splits within Zanu-PF
about how to respond to their party's electoral meltdown.
Mugabe's end may come quickly if the Zanu-PF leadership withdraw their
support. Alternatively, the finale demise of the liberation hero turned
despot could be long and drawn out if Mugabe's cronies decide to stand
defiant and defend their man.
There are a number of possible scenarios:
First, the electoral commission could announce an election stalemate: that
no presidential candidate has won more than 50% of the vote, and therefore
order a runoff election between Mugabe and the MDC candidate, Morgan
Tsvangirai. Zanu-PF's hope is that next time, without the distraction of
having to simultaneously rig the parliamentary election, they will have the
people and resources to fix the second presidential vote.
The second scenario is that at Mugabe's instigation, the electoral
commission could declare the recent poll neither free or fair (without
specifying the culprits). It could then order a new poll, with a promise to
clean up the electoral register and the vote counting process. Since this
would take time to put in place, the electoral commission could set the new
presidential poll date in three or more month's time. In this scenario, a
month or so later, Mugabe could retire on health grounds and be replaced by
a less tainted Zanu-PF leader who might stand a better chance of winning
(especially with more sophisticated and discreet ballot rigging), thereby
retaining power for Zanu-PF and protecting Mugabe's legacy.
A third possible scenario is that Mugabe might agree to stand down in
exchange for immunity from prosecution for crimes against humanity. They
fact that he is apparently contemplating such a deal is a tacit admission of
his guilt. He knows that he has committed crimes under Zimbabwean and
international law. That's why he wants a deal.
Mugabe has good reasons to fear prosecution. He could be arraigned on
charges of war crimes, such as the massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s
when around 20,000 civilians were slaughtered on the suspicion that they
supported Mugabe's rival liberation hero, Joshua Nkomo. There are also
torture and rape charges, arising from the mass torture and rape of
political detainees. And there are charges of kidnapping, detaining without
trial and murdering of oppositionists.
These abuses have been confirmed by a wide range of human rights
organisations. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch,
Mugabe's regime is guilty of detention without trial, torture, rape,
extra-judicial killings, media censorship, financial corruption, election
fraud, mass starvation and the violent suppression of strikes and protests.
Mugabe is not the world's only tyrant and not the worst. Nevertheless, he
has killed more black Africans than even the murderous apartheid regime in
South Africa. His slaughter of 20,000 civilians in Matabeleland was the
equivalent of a Sharpeville massacre every day for over nine months. Once a
freedom fighter, he became the moral equivalent of PW Botha, but with a
black face - only many times worse, particularly over the last decade.
As well as Mugabe, at least 500 top Zanu-PF leaders, police and military
officials are directly implicated in serious human rights abuses - plus
several thousand lower level party activists, militia members and war
Should Mugabe and his accomplices get immunity from prosecution in exchange
for stepping down and going quietly?
The number one priority right now is to remove Mugabe from power. This is
the most likely way, although no absolute guarantee, of unravelling the
Zanu-PF apparatus of fraud and repression. With Mugabe gone, the ruling
party will lose its main authority. Lacking another giant Mugabe-like
leader, Zanu-PF will be severely weakened. This will be good for democratic
governance and accountability.
If giving Mugabe immunity from prosecution for crimes against humanity is
the way to ensure that he goes quickly and quietly, and avoids the risk of
Kenya-style bloodletting, then it might be the best option. But this is, of
course, something that the people of Zimbabwe must decide.
What happens in the long-term is something else. Even if an MDC government
grants him immunity, this deal is not binding on the international
community. Under international human rights law, such as the UN convention
against torture, Mugabe would still be liable to arrest and trial if he set
foot in any of the 130-plus countries that have signed the convention.
A different option would be a South African-style truth and reconciliation
commission, where Mugabe and other Zanu-PF leaders would be granted
exemption from prosecution if they confessed to their crimes and apologised
to their victims. This model seems to have mostly worked well in
post-apartheid South Africa - although it fell way short of giving justice
to the victims of terrible, ruthless crimes, including torture and murder by
the South African police and military.
Is this the model for Zimbabwe, in order to overcome the divisions caused by
the terror of the Mugabe era and to rebuild a peaceful, democratic and
prosperous nation? It is up to Zimbabweans to decide. But many will
doubtless ask, if Slobodan Milosevic can be put on trial in The Hague, why
not Robert Mugabe and his henchmen?
If major human rights abusers like Mugabe are allowed to escape prosecution,
it signals to tyrants everywhere that they can get away with war crimes and
crimes against humanity. It makes a mockery of international humanitarian
law, which exists to prevent such crimes and, failing that, to punish the
On the other hand, if Mugabe and other human rights abusers (for example
George Bush of the US, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, King Abdullah of Saudi
Arabia and General Than Shwe of Burma) start facing justice in courts of
law, it acts as a deterrent and warning that those who commit crimes against
humanity will be caught and punished.
Human rights law is meant to be enforced. It will never be respected and
observed, as long as violators like Mugabe know they can make deals to avoid
What is now needed is a global people's movement to demand the universal
enforcement of humanitarian law, and this includes its enforcement against
our own government when it commits illegal acts against the people of our
country and against the people of other countries like Iraq. Mugabe isn't
the only leader who deserves to be in the dock - not by a long way.
04 April 2008
DID you hear that? It was the sound of another African dictator biting the
dust. Or is it too early to celebrate the demise of Robert Mugabe? Last week
I wrote about his legendary middle finger and how in the past he has used it
in defiance of international opinion and the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
I hope that he will not use it this time to subvert what seems to have been
an imperfect but largely democratic electoral process. Despite the misplaced
confidence of the opposition in Mugabe's ability to rig the election, the
national assembly results suggest that Zanu (PF) and its strongman have lost
not only the support of Zimbabweans but also their capacity to effect
democratic reversals. Yet the opposition should not be sanguine until the
results of the presidential election are known.
If Wednesday's front-page story in Mugabe's Herald is anything to go by, the
Zimbabwean authorities will announce a run-off election irrespective of
whether this is a reflection of the will of the Zimbabwean people or not.
Our understanding of why a run-off is likely to be the preferred option of
the Zimbabwean authorities depends on what we think has been going on behind
the scenes since polling stations closed on Saturday. It is not unreasonable
to surmise that by Monday, at least, the results must have been known to key
actors, such as Zanu(PF) and Mugabe, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and Morgan Tsvangirai, the African Union (AU), Southern African
Development Community (SADC), the British and the Americans.
THIS partly explains why the Zimbabwean Election Commission (ZEC) announced
the results at snail's pace . If we give the ZEC the benefit of the doubt,
the task of supervising four elections at the same time must have been more
than daunting. On the other hand, the lethargy of the election authorities
has given Mugabe the time and space to consider several tactical options,
since constitutional amendment 18 imposed serious constraints on his ability
to rig elections. The delay also gave other actors the opportunity to
consider options for an exit strategy for Mugabe .
If I am correct, actors such as SADC and the AU must have been working
frantically to find a compromise that excludes an outright win by
Tsvangirai. The idea behind such a strategy would be to sell a run-off
election as a compromise to both Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Since the
Organisation of African Unity's instincts are still very strong in the AU,
the primary objective would be to ensure that Mugabe emerges with as little
egg on his face as possible.
Tsvangirai's less-than-bullish "presidential" demeanour at a media briefing
on Tuesday may be a sign of the pressure he is under to accept a run-off
election, despite his belief that he has trounced Mugabe.
The responses of Mugabe and Tsvangirai will, among other things, be shaped
by their respective reading of the balance of forces within Zanu (PF) and
the security establishment. It must be clear to many within the ruling party
by now that they need to separate their political interests from those of
Mugabe or risk sinking with him.
If Tsvangirai has already received clear messages of support from security
chiefs in favour of a run-off election, we might see the MDC lowering the
volume on their insistence that Tsvangirai's performance has exceeded the
constitutional requirement. Tsvangirai may accept a run-off in exchange for
assurances that Mugabe will not participate, or for assurances from the
security establishment that it will defend a run-off election from the
possibility of an undemocratic reversal of last week's election result.
What should Mugabe do? Well, he should step down and do it yesterday. If he
tries to test his rigging skills, the AU must grow a spine. Don't they have
a principle that forbids change through unconstitutional means? Mugabe must
not be allowed to stage a coup. I suspect, though, that his army and party
will not allow him. But I have been wrong before.
a.. Matshiqi is senior associate political analyst at the Centre for Policy
Friday, April 4, 2008 - Web posted at 6:26:51 GMT
HARARE - Zimbabwe's election results were further delayed yesterday as
President Robert Mugabe called a meeting of his top leadership to discuss
how to face the biggest crisis of his 28-year rule.
Amid uncertainty over whether Mugabe will be able to hang on to power,
authorities said results of elections to the upper house of parliament -
which must precede the presidential results - had been delayed by
They had been expected yesterday.
Zimbabweans have been waiting since last Saturday to hear whether
Mugabe was defeated in the vote, as the Movement for Democratic Change
opposition says based on its own tallies.
The opposition, and many Zimbabweans, believe the unprecedented delay
in issuing results masks attempts by Mugabe's entourage to find a way out of
Ruling Zanu-PF party sources said Mugabe would chair a leadership
meeting called for today.
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
"All I can confirm is there is a politburo meeting.
That's enough, that's all I can say at the moment," said Mutasa, the
party secretary for administration.
State media gave Zimbabweans a hint of how President Mugabe's
embattled party might wage its campaign for a presidential runoff, with
stories yesterday portraying the opposition as divided, controlled by former
colonial ruler Britain and as posing a threat to land reform.
War veteran Garikai Sithole urged Zimbabweans to "avoid aborting the
revolution at this critical stage", according to the state-run Herald
NEXT MOVE 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.
Party 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 second round.
Political commentator John Makumbe, a fierce Mugabe critic, said there
was concern that the party would try to engineer a way of staying in power
despite election defeat.
"The concern for the people on Zimbabwe is, are the members of the
politburo going to stick to the laws of the land or are they going to
backtrack," he said.
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
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said earlier the party was
ready for a second round, in the strongest indication yet that Mugabe
intended to stand, despite calls by the opposition to concede defeat and
The MDC says Tsvangirai won an absolute majority and no re-run is
BALLOT MYSTERY In an interview with Reuters Television, Matonga added:
"We think, and it is my assumption ...
there may not be a clear winner of the presidential one (vote) and it
points to a re-run."
In his first public appearance since the March 29 election, Mugabe
yesterday met the head of an African Union election observer team at his
residence in Harare, state television reported.
Asked by 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 about it."
Jonathan Moyo, Mugabe's former information minister who is now an
independent in parliament, said authorities were not coping well with
Security chiefs, who have said they would not accept an opposition
victory, were anxious.
"You have generals who unwisely, or rather foolishly, told the world
that they would only salute one candidate, who happened to have lost the
election," he told reporters.
An election commission member indicated presidential results would be
announced today, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorised to speak to the media.
The commission said it still was receiving ballot boxes from the
provinces, raising questions about where those votes had been since
Saturday's elections, amid charges there was a plot to rig the results.
On Wednesday, official election returns showed Mugabe's Zanu-PF party
had lost its parliamentary majority.
Yesterday, The Herald charged Tsvangirai would hand back farmland to
Tsvangirai has not said that, promising instead an equitable
distribution of land to people who know how to farm.
Mugabe claimed his land reforms were to benefit poor blacks, but gave
most seized farms to relatives, friends and cronies, with some senior
officials and military commanders receiving several fertile farms that have
been overtaken by weeds.
The Herald said white farmers had returned from Zambia and Mozambique
and were threatening to evict blacks.
It quoted the war veterans association that spearheaded violent land
grabs as saying, "We will be left with no option except to take up arms and
defend our pieces of land."
Religious leaders and diplomats were involved in a flurry of
initiatives yesterday to try to persuade Mugabe to step down.
Diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the issue said Western leaders were contacting southern
Amani Countess of the Washington-based TransAfrica Forum said
religious leaders were asking counterparts in the region to pressure
presidents to approach Mugabe.
April 04 2008 at 06:51AM
By Moshoeshoe Monare
Zanu-PF hawks were due to tell President Robert Mugabe on Friday to
fight for his presidency at all costs, even if it meant mobilising the war
veterans to "defend the revolution".
The politburo - the most influential organ in the ruling party - is
meeting for the first time since March 5 to fortify the party's and Mugabe's
Diplomatic sources said the party would insist on a runoff to wrest
the presidency from Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
who has won but without the required majority threshold.
The Zimbabwean Electoral Commission was still mum on the official
presidential results late on Thursday. The delay is fuelling speculation
that this is a ploy to give Mugabe an excuse to postpone holding a runoff
from within 21 days to three months.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira said on Thursday the agenda of
the politburo meeting was not for public consumption.
Asked about the possibility of a rerun, he said: "I cannot say
anything about that because it is not yet certain whether it will be part of
However, a politburo insider said Mugabe - who was seen on state
television on Thursday for the first time since Saturday - would feel
humiliated to go for a runoff.
"Politburo diehards will try to convince him that he is not up to it.
He still can't believe this is happening to him. But they still believe they
own this country, and he will agree," said the insider.
However, he said "moderates" would suggest that Mugabe concede defeat.
Shortly after he cast his vote on Saturday, Mugabe told reporters that
those who crafted the runoff clause should have looked "at what the
president gets, combining that with what his party gets and the sum total
should be the winner".
Zanu-PF - which won a two-thirds majority in 2005 - has lost control
of parliament to the opposition, thus forfeiting the Speaker position.
Zanu-PF hawks believe they could twist the hand of the rural voters,
their traditional power base, after the elimination of independent
presidential candidate Simba Makoni in the second round.
However, a Zanu-PF-sympathetic academic, Joseph Kurebwa, warned that
Makoni, the two Movement for Democratic Change factions and some in Zanu-PF
could club together to punish Mugabe.
The politburo is not united and it is meeting for the first time since
a senior member, Dumiso Dabengwa, rebelled and supported Makoni.
The politburo failed to meet on March 19, a crisis assembly at which
Mugabe was expected to conduct a loyalty audit after Dabengwa claimed that
60 percent of politburo members supported Makoni.
Dabengwa said on Thursday he wasn't invited to the politburo meeting,
but it is believed the party would formally expel him - as they did Makoni.
Analysts fear that the party would use violent tactics during the
runoff, shutting some areas as no-go ones for the opposition.
The party is already provoking the emotions of the war veterans by
insisting that white farmers evicted from their farms during the land-grab
campaign are threatening to reclaim their property if the MDC wins.
Independent Newspapers understands that some farmers have lodged a
case with the Southern African Development Community tribunal to reclaim
The state-owned Herald newspaper quoted Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans' Association junior leader Edmore Matanhike as saying they
would not sit and watch the white farmers reversing the gains of the
Zimbabwean lawyer and political analyst Brian Kagoro said Mugabe might
want more than three months to rearm the veterans.
"We are likely to see an announcement that we require a little more
time, more than 21 days to go into the rerun, particularly because, even if
you deploy war veterans and other forms of militia in the rural areas, it is
impossible within 21 days to turn around what we saw as the new tsunami in
the rural sector," Kagoro told the Harare-based Quill Press Club.
"I believe we are likely to see war veterans re-emerging. Of course, a
lot of money was put into war veteran mobilisation . I am not persuaded that
terror won't be reintroduced, whether covert or overt," said Kagoro.
Zanu-PF's Shamuyarira could not be reached for comment.
.. Sapa reports that South African helicopter pilot Brent Smyth was
acquitted of immigration transgressions in a Harare court on Thursday and
was flying back to South Africa.
Smyth was arrested last week for alleged fraud and immigration
transgressions as he was preparing to ferry Tsvangirai.
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on April
April 3, 2008, 11:25PM
Police forces stage raids against opposition party, foreign journalists
By MICHAEL WINES
New York Times
Zimbabwe's government staged separate police raids on Thursday against the
main opposition party, foreign journalists and at least one democracy
advocate, raising the specter of a broad crackdown aimed at keeping the
country's imperiled leaders in power.
With the government facing election results that threaten its 28-year reign,
security officers raided the Miekles Hotel in central Harare on Thursday
afternoon, searching rooms that the main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, had rented for election operations, said Tendai Biti, the
party's general secretary.
A second group of riot officers sealed off the York Lodge, a small hotel in
suburban Harare frequented by foreign journalists, at about the same time.
A lodge worker who refused to be identified said six people were detained,
including Barry Bearak, a correspondent for The New York Times.
The identities of the other journalists could not be learned, but Bearak was
later located in a Harare jail.
Zimbabwe lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said two of the journalists were jailed and
told they would be charged Friday with practicing journalism without
Zimbabwe prohibits foreign journalists from reporting there without
government approval, which is granted only rarely. In recent years, Western
journalists lacking accreditation have routinely entered the nation openly,
although quietly, to chronicle political and economic problems there.
Leaders of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
said the raids heralded a campaign of political repression to safeguard
President Robert Mugabe. His party, ZANU-PF, has already lost control of the
lower house of Parliament, according to results from Saturday's elections —
a huge turnabout in a nation where Mugabe has long controlled all levers of
But the government has not released the outcome of the race for president,
inviting international criticism over the delay and concern that attempts
were underway to manipulate the results. The government has said the vote
has been slow because this was the first simultaneous election for all
The opposition says that tallies posted at each polling place show that its
presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won 50.3 percent of the vote,
barely enough to avert a second runoff election against Mugabe.
But the outcome is far less certain. One independent projection of polling
data estimated that Tsvangirai was well in the lead, but that a run-off
would still be necessary.
Beyond that, Mugabe repeatedly said before the election that he would not
allow the opposition to take power.
"He's not giving up; he's not going anywhere," Bright Matonga, the
government's deputy information minister, told the British Broadcasting
Corp. "He hasn't lost the election."
Zimbabwe has been tense, and police officers have been deployed in force
since before the election. But except for the raids and detentions, both
Harare and Bulawayo were generally quiet, according to observers in both
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Friday, April 4, 2008 - Web posted at 8:24:27 GMT
I AM one of the SADC lawyers who were refused accreditation to observe
elections in Zimbabwe.
The decision of the Zimbabwean government was a disappointment for all
So what do we do? We considered going in without visas, but decided
For one, chances a that we will not even get into Harare and none of
us had the time for trip to Johannesburg and Harare and back.
Some of the delegation suggested that we go in as independent legal
auditors, in other words we get work permits not be arrested as working
But instead of monitoring the elections - which we could not do
without accreditation, we planned to observe the process from a distance and
try to establish if the role players abide by the election laws and SADC
By Thursday we were informed by our colleagues in Zimbabwe that we
will not get work permits and that it will not be safe to proceed with the
It was called off.
Some of (including myself) remained on standby hoping for a miracle
that will eventually let us in.
It never happened.
SADC lawyers were turned down.
I was comforted by the pre-election statements of Jose Marcos Barrica,
head of the official SADC mission.
He assured us that they are in Zimbabwe without preconceived ideas.
Their only purpose was to monitor the elections objectively and
without any bias.
Really? Then why were they so eager to declare the elections peaceful,
credible and an expression of the will of the people before even one result
was announced? To leave is in no doubt of their intentions when they
encourage Zimbabweans to accept the results, which they describe as the will
of the people? What results? If nothing is on the table to accept, how can
the SADC observers be so sure that the will of the people will be
triumphant? Angolan sports minister is here to explain.
If Zimbabweans are not going to accept the results, they may end in an
Angolan type civil war? But he fails to tell us why Zimbabweans will revolt.
Is it because he expects President Mugabe to rig the elections and
drive the MDC people to the streets? Or is he expecting that the heads of
police and the defence force will keep the president in power even if he
loses? Well, please tell us, Mister Observer.
We are unable to read your mind.
Can we get one thing straight here: Will the elections still be a
reflection of the will of the people if the election results are falsified
during the counting process? By the way, why using the words peaceful and
credible? Maybe the team had too much self-respect to use the words that we
all wanted to hear: FREE AND FAIR.
After all, this is the primary mandate of observers: To find out if
the elections were free and fair.
Will the SADC observers then give us a new evaluation? How about a new
one after every suspicious act during the last two days? Please evaluate the
meaning of President's Mugabe's statement that the early announcement of
results will amount to a coup d'état; And the fact that the presidential
ballots were not counted in the constituencies; The slow counting and
reluctant results; The co-incidence that every MDC victory was matched by a
ZANU-PF victory; The anger of the electoral commission when political
observers and the opposition announced a huge victory for the opposition
based on exit polls; The fact than no presidential result was announced yet
48 hours after the closing of the ballots.
The list goes on.
The SADC observers criticised the heads of police, the army and
prisons for announcing they will only serve under Mugabe, but still believe
it did not have an effect on the elections.
Come on, was it not meant to intimidate the voters and the opposition?
And what about the fact that the press did not treat the opposition and the
ruling party equal? Does the SADC Protocol on the role of the press mean
nothing to the leaders who are supposed to represent us? We can go on
forever criticizing the declaration of Jose Marcos Barrica.
Suffice to say that the biggest losers will once again be the
SADC did not even wait to find out if their expressions were going to
The jury was out the moment the biggest danger for election rigging
started: the counting process.
I, as a citizen of a SADC country, apologise to the people of
Nico Horn, Via e-mail
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: April 1, 2008
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Robert Gabriel Mugabe once assured Zimbabwe's
fleeing whites that "there is a place for you in the sun." Now his own place
in the country he has ruled for 28 years is uncertain.
Mugabe was born in 1924, the son of a village carpenter in Zvimba, 40 miles
west of Zimbabwe's capital Harare. As a child, he tended his grandfather's
cattle, fished for bream in muddy water holes, played football and "boxed a
lot," as he recalled later.
Few blacks at the time learned to write their names. But Mugabe went to
school, where he was taught by Jesuit priests. Classmates described him as
shy and bookish, a loner deeply attached to his mother and resentful of his
absent father, according to Heidi Holland, author of "Dinner with Mugabe."
Mugabe later became a primary school teacher himself, and taught at mission
schools until he won a scholarship to all-black Fort Hare University in
neighboring South Africa.
There he underwent a political baptism of sorts. He avidly studied Karl
Marx. Gripped by the "passive resistance" movement of Mahatma Gandhi in
India, he vowed to play a similar role in helping his own country to end
In 1951, he earned a bachelor of arts degree. It was the first of seven
degrees, including one in law.
Back in Zimbabwe — then known as Rhodesia — Mugabe quickly became
disenchanted with the white government. In 1958 he flew to Ghana, a newly
independent former British colony, to teach. There he married his
Ghanaian-born first wife, Sally Hayfron.
He was known as austere, a non-smoking, non-drinking Roman Catholic. Mrs.
Mugabe said of her husband: "He's very warm and gentle at home. He is very
fair. He will go to any limits to see that justice is done. He has never
been violent for the sake of violence, though we have both struggled for our
Upon his return to Zimbabwe, Mugabe became a political activist and was
jailed for 10 years by the white minority regime of Ian Smith. While in
jail, his son died from malaria, and his appeal for parole to attend the
funeral was denied.
When he was released, he fled into exile in neighboring Mozambique. There he
became the head of a liberation movement and guerrilla army and dreamed of a
one-party Marxist state.
He came to power in 1980 after a seven-year bush war for black rule, serving
first as prime minister and then as president. At independence, he was
hailed for his policies of racial reconciliation and development that
brought education and health to millions. Zimbabwe's economy thrived, and
Mugabe appealed to whites to stay in the country.
Twenty years later, many wished they hadn't.
Mugabe ordered the often-violent seizure of white-owned farms on behalf of a
landless black majority. But instead, he gave the farms to black relatives,
friends and cronies.
Mugabe also lost no time in establishing his absolute power. He quickly
crushed political opponents, and sent North Korean-trained troops into
Matabeleland to hunt down armed anti-government rebels in the 1980s.
Thousands of people, mainly civilians of the minority Ndebele tribe, were
Using the same draconian regulations used to keep him in jail for a decade,
he put scores of political opponents in detention without trial. Zimbabwe's
economy gradually fell apart, and a third of the country fled.
In 1992, Mugabe's first wife died of kidney failure. He married Grace
Marufu, his former secretary, 40 years his junior. He had three children
with Marufu, and was 73 when she gave birth to their third child.
Mugabe is now 84 years old. During his rule, the average life expectancy of
Zimbabweans has fallen from 60 to 35 years.
By Grant Ferrett
BBC News, Johannesburg
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF has for several days been on the defensive.
In the face of the party's defeat in parliamentary elections, losing its majority for the first time in 28 years of independence, the leadership had nothing to say in public.
Requests for interviews were summarily dismissed. In private, Zanu-PF was trying to work out how to respond to what a serious and unexpected blow.
Joyce Mujuru is thought to have led a faction seeking to replace Mr Mugabe
Although the results of the presidential election had not been officially released, Zanu-PF knew the outcome.
Its candidate, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, had failed to pass the 50% barrier needed to avoid a second-round run-off.
The 84-year-old president had never before come close to losing other elections, according to the official results.
What is more, with the independent candidate Simba Makoni out of the running after trailing a distant third place, in the next round of voting Mr Mugabe would face a single opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai.
If the results of the parliamentary ballot were to be replicated, President Mugabe would lose.
The broad choice facing the Zanu-PF bosses was a simple one: unite once again behind the man who helped the country win independence and keep the party in power for almost three decades, or abandon him.
Past outweighs the future
Zanu-PF has split badly in recent years. The Vice-President, Joyce Mujuru, is thought to have led a faction seeking to replace the party's ageing leader.
There's little that can be done but stay in and fight
Zanu-PF's Didymus Mutasa
A former finance minister, Mr Makoni went so far as to stand against Mr Mugabe for the presidency.
The divisions clearly helped to undermine the party's performance at the polls.
Mr Mugabe is likely to have told the politburo that the lesson was a clear one: the party had to rally around him and stand firm against what he calls "Western stooges" of the opposition, or face defeat in the run-off for the presidency.
"There's little that can be done but stay in and fight," said Didymus Mutasa, one of Mr Mugabe's closest and most loyal aides.
He pointed out that Zanu-PF won the most votes of any single party in the parliamentary vote, and would clinch a second-round victory in the presidential poll.
In effect, the past outweighed the future.
The risk of a humiliating defeat at the hands of an emboldened opposition was outweighed by the need to show loyalty.
Campaign posters are being taken down
Put more crudely, members of the politburo do not tell Robert Mugabe what to do; he tells them.
So he will stand in the second round, if - as expected - the electoral commission show the need of a second round.
The strategy for the campaign ahead is likely to be based on the one employed for the year 2000, the last time Mr Mugabe's authority was seriously challenged.
Hard-line party supporters, known as the war veterans, are likely to be deployed.
Their reputation for violence is well-deserved.
In the first round of the vote, they were conspicuously absent.
Even as the politburo met to consider its plans at Zanu-PF headquarters in the capital, Harare, several hundred war veterans marched through the centre of the city with a police escort.
Intimidation is also likely to be a part of the second round.
Offices used by the opposition were ransacked on Thursday night. Two foreign nationals accused of violating the country's media laws have been detained.
A non-governmental organisation worker involved in promoting democracy was detained as he tried to leave Zimbabwe.
Mr Mugabe was said to be ready to fight 'to the last'
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga has talked of "unleashing" greater effort in the political fight to come.
Given that towns and cities have long since been lost to the opposition, Zanu-PF will once again be relying on it traditional supporters in rural areas to go out and vote in overwhelming numbers.
But with the economy in meltdown and the land redistribution card already played, Mr Mugabe and his party have little to offer.
Appeals to loyalty, combined with intimidation and violence are likely to be key components of what could well be a turbulent campaign.
But will the party which Robert Mugabe has utterly dominated for so long back his campaign?
Mr Mugabe ensured that the presidential and parliamentary elections were held simultaneously in March precisely to ensure that his fortunes and those of the wider party were tied up together.
With the parliamentary elections now over, it is possible that Zanu-PF MPs will step back, and leave their president to campaign alone.
What is more, many Zimbabweans who previously felt their votes did not count may feel emboldened to cast their ballots in the second round after watching Zanu-PF lose its majority in parliament.
In one of his last rallies before the vote in March, Mr Mugabe was asked if he was confident of victory.
He replied with a single utterance: "Overconfident."
He is unlikely to make that mistake again.
April 04 2008 at 06:53PM
Harare - Zimbabwe's electoral commission will decide the date for a
presidential run-off vote if one is necessary, a senior ruling party
official said on Friday.
The statement by Zanu-PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa
suggested President Robert Mugabe's government would change the expected
date for the run-off on April 19.
No results have been issued from the presidential election but the
opposition MDC says its leader won an absolute majority. - Reuters
By Susan Njanji, Of AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's one-time
mouthpiece Jonathan Moyo is convinced Africa's oldest leader intends to rule
for life despite his setback in last weekend's general election.
Moyo, now a maverick opposition politician, dismissed in an interview with
AFP the prospect of the veteran leader retiring from the political scene
gracefully and said Mugabe's aides were prepared to "fight to the bitter
"Mugabe has always wanted to remain in power for life" and any talk that the
84-year-old strongman might step down of his own accord is only
"politicking", Moyo said, the day Mugabe's party announced he would fight a
second run-off presidential round.
Moyo, known by critics as 'Mugabe's Goebbels' until the two fell out in 2005
as part of a power-struggle over a possible successor, said the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front was determined to find a
way to keep the president in power.
The party's politburo held a meeting Friday, six days after simultaneous
parliamentary and presidential polls which have left Mugabe facing his
toughest political battle since he came to power in 1980.
The electoral commission has announced the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change has taken control of parliament. Its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai looks to have soundly beaten Mugabe in the presidential count
even if he is short of the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second round
The prospect of another poll is hardly appetizing for Mugabe himself as the
MDC is expected to win the support of smaller opposition factions.
Moyo said a delay in announcing the results was just a way of "managing
shock and defeat" and suggested it was still to early to count his former
boss out with the ruling party gearing up for a second ballot.
"There is a serious post-mortem going on to enable ZANU-PF...to shut the
opposition MDC out of (Mugabe strongholds in the populous) rural areas. They
are saying where did we go wrong (in the first round) and are trying to
close the gaps they will have identified."
Moyo predicted things could get messy.
"So we will see the (independence) war veterans and militias terrorize the
villagers, but Zimbabweans have become immune to violence. There is no
amount of violence that will influence the electorate," he said.
Even if Mugabe stood down for Tsvangirai - whom the president has described
as a stooge of Western powers that will never rule the country as long as he
lives - the country still faced a major upheaval, Moyo said.
"In the 28 years of independence in Zimbabwe there has never been a change
of government so any scenario to that effect presents shock to the
Moyo said whoever takes over the running of the country which has been
ravaged by a record economic meltdown would have to reach out to the poll
losers in a bid to "heal" the much polarized nation of 13 million people.
"There is no way the economy will turn around and stabilize unless the
political house is put in order...without the winner reaching out to the
losers, " he said.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Digby and Jessie Nesbitt have been held captive on their Farm by the
Commissioner of Police – Edmore Veterai. He has stated he is “above the law”
and continues to defy court orders, to leave the Nesbitts and their farming
operation, that supports the community and an orphanage in peace.
This is Jessie’s story of the happenings in their house hat they have not
left for over a month.
INVASION OF FARM 30 – N & B SUGAR ESTATES – D.NESBITT
The following is the story of our nightmare that began weeks ago with no end
in sight as yet. We had numerous phone calls from various people wanting us
to go public with what was happening on the farm. However, we were reluctant
to do so, hoping that the justice system in this country would prevail
because we had various court orders supposedly preventing this nightmare
Because we had not evacuated our farm by 30th November, 2007 we were
summonsed to court at 9 a.m. on the morning of 28th January, 2008
The reason we had not left our farm by that date was because we had been
informed by four top government officials, one of which was a minister who
informed us that the honourable minister Mutasa was coming down to the
Lowveld on the 19th December to resolve our issue on the farm.
On the 18th we were informed that the honourable minister Mutusa could not
come down on that date due to other commitments but would come in early
January. During the month of January my husband, Digby was asked to report
to the Police Station in Chiredzi to be charged. He had to give a statement
and was told to report to the court on the 28th January at 9 a.m. When he
arrived there, he was told that the court case was postponed to 12 p.m. He
went back at 12 p.m. only to be told that it was now postponed to the 10th
That afternoon when returning to work in Chiredzi from farm 30, Digby met up
with Mr Veterai, the assist commissioner in the Police. He stopped Digby and
said that he did not care about the court case as he was above the law and
that he was taking over the farm immediately. He ranted and raved like a
madman and said that he was going to kick Digby’s white arse of the farm no
Digby drove to town and reported the incident to the member-in-charge at the
Police Station, who said that they could only intervene if there was
violence as this was a land issue and unless he had some kind of court
order, they could do nothing. He then went straight home as he was afraid
for my safety as we had had previous altercations with Veterai before and he
has a temper on him and always walks around armed with a pistol and
sometimes also a folding buttAK 47 rifle.
On the Tuesday morning at 6.30 Veterai arrived at our house with about 15
people including his wife and green bombers. Veterai showed us his new offer
letter which said that he was taking over 71 hectares instead of the
original 40 that he had been allocated. This meant that absolutely nothing
was left for us. When I told the governor, Mr Chiwewe, he said that Veterai’s
offer letter was fraudulent and he said that I should tell Veterai that he
had said that. Veterai said that he did not care and that he was taking his
71 hectares and that no politician would stop him because they are all
Veterai had just broken into our office down at the compound and taken
everything out and dumped it on the lawn. He also broke into my mother’s
cottage and took all the keys with the result that every time I went to feed
her cats, I had to climb through the lounge window where two louvers were
Veterai threatened our crocodile manager, Sam and said that he was going to
kill him and throw his body into the croc pen. A couple of weeks before, Sam
was told that he was going to be castrated if he did not move out of his
house. While we were in South Africa during the month of December, his
furniture was thrown out of his house into the mud as it had been raining.
Since then he and his family had been living in the little cottage next to
our house. He was scared out of his wits.
Veterai came into our lounge and sat down, saying that he and his family and
guards would be moving in with us that day, whether we liked it or not. When
I said that I objected, he called me a racist and said that it was because
he is black that we did not want him living with us. He shouted and ranted
and raved like a madman again, saying that he knew how to eat with a knife
and fork and that he knew how to use the bathroom properly. Anyway, he just
made himself at home in the lounge for the rest of the day while his family
moved their pots and pans etc into our kitchen. They took over the three
guest rooms down the passage and the guards were posted in the lounge and
dining room. Our front gate was locked and two booms were put up, one down
at the compound and one just outside by the stables. We were prevented from
leaving the house - just pure intimidation.
On the Wednesday morning–the guards unlocked our front gate obviously
wanting us to leave everything and run. Our minister’s wife and another
friend came to see how we were doing and we were sitting in the one section
of the lounge, away from where the guards were. Veterai walked in from the
bedroom where he had locked himself in until that time. He said that I had
called him a baboon and started shouting and screaming and going beserk like
a lunatic. I was flabbergasted as it was a total lie – I would never insult
anyone like that, no matter what. Anyway, he calmed down eventually and went
out of the room. After my visitors had left and I was walking back to the
lounge, Veterai came walking out and as I passed him, my dogs (dachsi, jack
Russell and two very gentle mongrel crosses) started barking at him. He
immediately lashed out at me, saying that I had set the dogs on him and
kicked them, at the same time pulling out his pistol and pointing it at
them, saying that he would shoot them and anyone else who got in his way.
That night we locked ourselves in our bedroom at about 5.30 and went to bed
absolutely exhausted. My poor dogs and cats were absolutely terrified with
all these strangers traipsing in out of our house like they owned the place.
On the Thursday morning we woke up, got dressed and went through to the
kitchen to organize breakfast only to find about four women busy cooking
sadza on our stove. We then proceeded to the lounge and found an absolute
mess, obviously a party had been held the previous night as there were empty
beer, liquor and coke bottles scattered all over the carpet and the
furniture was in disarray.
When Digby confronted Veterai about the mess and said that it was
disgusting, he immediately twisted what he said and accused Digby of calling
him disgusting. Later that morning the member-in-charge from the Police
Station in Chiredzi came out to the farm and basically informed us that
there was nothing they could do about the situation unless there was any
violence as this is a land issue.
On the Friday morning no visitors were allowed to come out and see us at the
house. We were sitting in the one section of the lounge listening to some
Christian music and minding our own business. What happened next was just
pure intimidation and when I think about it now I can’t believe what a cheek
these people had – doing this to us in our own home where we have lived
One of Veterai’s green bombers came and put a C.D. player on the little
table right next to me where I was sitting and plugged it in. He then put a
C.D. in and turned the volume up, trying his utmost to really irritate and
infuriate me. My immediate reaction was to get up and turn up the volume of
my Christian music that we had been listening to. This carried on for some
time and then we decided we would move to the other part of the lounge and
turn our music down and just pretend that we could not even hear their
music. They were trying their level best to irritate us and get us all
worked up, so that we would say “enough, I am out of here” but they were
wrong as it takes a lot more than that to get us out of our home where we
have spent so many happy years. This is the house where our three children
had grown up and also, it had taken us many years to pay the farm off when
we bought it. We had to sell our transport business to pay the deposit.
Veterai carried his pistol with him at all times but when he arrived back
from Harare which was normally late at night, he always arrived carrying his
folding AK 47 machine gun as well. It was almost like he feared for his life
and seemed to think that we might try to harm him during the night, as he
always locked his bedroom door as well.
Our staff were prevented from coming to work for two days as they were told
by the green bombers to stay away. My poor maid, Chipo, at this stage, was
crying constantly and was suffering from severe headaches. She had also been
chased away from her house in December and was having to share a room with a
friend in the main compound.
On the Saturday we had a few visitors during the morning which we really
appreciated as they brought us groceries which we really needed by this time
and it was just no nice to see some friendly faces. While we were talking,
the green bombers and Veterai’s relatives were playing their music loudly,
trying to irritate us.
That evening while we were sitting on the steps outside the lounge with our
doctor and his wife ; our lounge had people coming in and out all afternoon–
the doctor had come out to check our blood pressure just to make sure we
were okay – men dressed in army uniforms started arriving as well as other
people. Next minute we saw crates of beer, liquor and cokes being carried
into the lounge so obviously a big party was being planned for that night.
We just sat chatting, pretending we were not perturbed but knew we were in
for a night of intimidation. As soon as our guests had left, we went through
to the bedroom and locked ourselves in for the night. Fortunately the power
that had gone out at 5 p.m. stayed off until 11 p.m. and it seemed that the
party was a flop as the whole house was in darkness. We had our invertor on
in the bedroom so we had a light and a fan. As you can imagine, we did not
fall asleep for a long time as there were vehicles coming and going
throughout the night and we heard people walking past our bedroom until
On the Sunday morning I went to my mother’s cottage (she is in South Africa
with her sister and is unable to come back until things are back to normal)
to feed her two cats. I had to climb through the window again. Veterai’s
manager and another man have been sleeping in the lounge every night. On the
way back I saw Veterai and about 12 of his guards sitting with him having a
meeting. He was speaking on his cell phone at the time.
Later that morning about ten or twelve members from our church tried to come
and visit us after church but were not allowed in. They tried everything to
persuade the guards to let them in and spent a couple of hours arguing with
them until eventually our minister and his wife were allowed through. They
gave us communion and were only allowed to stay for about 15 minutes.
On the Monday I went to my mother’s cottage to feed the cats and when I
arrived there, I saw that the lounge door was open. I walked in, only to
find Veterai sprawled on the couch in the lounge with three or four men
around him having a meeting. I was taken aback but said nothing and just
walked through to the kitchen and fed the cats. I then walked straight
through the lounge again and pretended they were not there. They said
nothing. The reason I did not say anything is because I had sworn on the
Bible that I would never in my life say another word to Veterai because I
had realized by this time that he was trying to provoke me and if I said
nothing, then he could not accuse me of saying something I did not say,
which was his way of provoking me and intimidating us.
By Tuesday our lawyers in Masvingo had managed to draw up a court order to
have Veterai evicted from the farm until such time as the court case on 10th
March. The court order stated that he had to evacuate the farm with
immediate effect and that he could not come within 30 metres of the farm.
Needless to say, this was totally ignored and nothing happened.
By this time the guards were allowing us to have visitors but not more than
two cars at one time. They wanted everyone’s names, I.D. numbers, vehicle
registration numbers and the reason for visiting.
For the rest of the week there were comings and goings of Veterai and his
family and staff. The only way we were coping with this unbelievable
invasion of our privacy and intimidation was through our faith in God and
our many friends and family who prayed continually and sent many sms’s
giving us encouragement and support. Many people brought us groceries which
were accepted with gratitude because by this time we had very little food
left in our kitchen. I just want to mention that we had incredible support
from many blacks as well as whites. We had many visits and phone calls from
black friends and people we hardly knew which we really appreciated.
On the Saturday afternoon we were in our bedroom when the dogs started
barking like mad. We saw two black men walking past from our bedroom, one
who was carrying a firearm. I thought “what now?” Digby went outside only to
find that it was our groom who was bringing the war veteran by the name of
Satan from the farm next door. He wanted to see Digby and said to Digby that
he is on our side and that he does not want to us leave our farm. He also
said that he does not want Digby to get BP (blood pressure) which I found
rather amusing. This guy Satan is one of the genuine war vets and has been
on the farm next door for about six years now. He said that all the local
war vets support us as they do not want Veterai taking over our farm. He
said that Veterai had approached him and other war vets in the area and
asked them to help jambanja us and they refused as they have the utmost
respect for Digby He said he knew how much we have done for the community in
the Lowveld, such as building an orphanage in Chiredzi which has 47 orphans
in at present. He also built a clinic on the farm (which has been occupied
by some of Veterai’s staff for the past year)and he had helped many people
over the years.
On the Sunday morning we woke up to the sound of rapid gun fire just outside
our yard. We immediately panicked, wondering what on earth was going on. The
dogs were barking like crazy so I went through to the kitchen to find about
four women cooking on my stove. I then went through to the dining room and
there was Veterai sitting at my dining room table with about six other men,
eating sadza and having a meeting. They stayed most of the morning and we
had people all over the house and in the garden. Our friend, Leon Kruger
came around for tea and a visit so we went to sit outside in the corner of
the garden, far from the maddening crowd. While we were sitting there, I
felt like I had such a weight on my chest and I put my hand on my heart
which by this time was beating so fast, I thought I was on the verge of
having a heart attack. I got up, went to the lounge, passed Veterai who was
still sitting in the dining room with his children and another man, just
ignored him and went to sit in the lounge and listened to my Christian C.D.
I just needed something to calm my nerves – the green bombers stared at me
as though I was mad because I was singing with the music. I then sat on the
carpet, in full view of Veterai, and played with my dogs while listening to
the music. The next minute Veterai disappeared down the passage and came
back with two bags in his hands and went out the door. He must have gone to
Harare because with the elections coming on so soon and with him being so
high up in the Police, he no doubt has his work cut out for him.
We discovered later that the gun shots that we had heard that morning was
some of Veterai’s men doing target practice right outside our yard!! Pure
By the Thursday Leon Kruger, a director in our company and Johan Hundermark,
a member of our staff at the head office were no longer allowed to come and
see us – what the reason is, I don’t know but I can only guess it is because
they always bring us papers from the office or come to discuss business and
it seems that, according to stories we have heard from various staff
members, mine and his, is that Veterai wants us to go off the farm, to work
or church and then he has given his guards instructions to lock us out once
we go through the boom. Another two people who were banned from coming to
see us was our son Rory and also Mike Clark.
Later that morning Veterai’s manager came up the driveway in his pick-up to
ask Digby when the pump, which had broken a few days before, was going to be
ready and he must hurry up and get it fixed. Incidently the quote Digby got
for having the pump repaired, was$15 billion.
On Sunday morning at about 2 a.m. we were woken up to the sound of a vehicle
coming up our driveway and car lights shining through our bedroom window.
Digby peeped through the curtain and saw Veterai and his wife get of the
vehicle which was a brand new silver twin cab. Veterai was armed with a
pistol and his AK47. He and his wife came inside and went and slept in the
guestrooms down the passage. The dogs were at this stage barking like crazy
and needless to say, we hardly slept for the rest of the night. Thankfully
he left early the next morning.
We could not believe that we had now been prisoners in our own home for
almost three weeks. If it was not for the incredible support of our family,
friends and church members, we would never have survived up to now. We had
so many sms’s, phone calls and e-mails from people near and far. They were
so worried about our safety especially with Veterai walking around armed all
On the Sunday we were lying on our bed feeling very despondent as the court
order had been totally ignored and we did know which way to turn now.
We think back to 1980 and where we are right now. The honourable president
Robert Mugabe said in his speech that any whites who wanted to stay after
Independence and help to build a new Zimbabwe, were welcome. In 1990 when he
said “one man, one farm” we realized that land reform was inevitable and we
did not contest it when our two ranches, totaling 15,000 acres was taken for
resettlement. These ranches were in the Chiredzi River Conservancy which
would eventually become part of the trans-frontier park and we had bought
all the game that was on the ranch and built a safari camp and a compound
for our staff. Both properties were totally resettled and we did not protest
as we believed in land reform even though this safari camp would have
attracted tourists and brought in foreign currency. We thought back to what
the President had said about one man, one farm and accepted the inevitable.
After that, suddenly three A2 settlers were allocated 20 hectares of sugar
cane each on my remaining sugar cane farm. This cane had just been
replanted. The farm is only 126 hectares altogether so this left us with 66
hectares which included the houses, compounds, crocodile operation and a
hill behind the house.
Then in March 2007 Veterai arrived on the farm with an offer letter for 40
hectares which would mean that we were only left with 26 hectares which we
did not agree with but we thought at least our house, my mothers’ cottage,
our manager’s house and small compound and the crocodile set-up (a total of
8000 crocodiles) would not be included in the deal. Veterai said he wanted
all the houses for himself, his family and staff and that afternoon he
arrived at the house while Digby was at work and said that if we did not
move out, he and I would sleep together that night. He then left and that
night he returned at about 9.30 and said that he wanted the houses
immediately. He got in his car and drove to our manager’s house where our
operations manager was living and started harassing her and intimidating
her, banging on the windows and scaring her half to death. Digby got a
frantic sms from her and immediately got in his truck and drove over there.
When he got there, there was Veterai at the house armed with an AK 47 and
his wife was standing next to him, also armed and six armed guards were
standing behind them. Digby, who was unarmed and had no weapon on him
whatsoever, thought that this was the end of the road and expected to be
shot any minute. Anyway he managed to get the operations manager out of the
house and they came home shaken but thankfully unharmed, where she spent the
night. She was totally traumatized by this event.
The next morning we found that our gates were locked and that we were unable
to get to work. There were armed guards at the gate. At about 11 a.m. the
D.A., the lands committee and about eight other people arrived to tell me
that my manager had 24 hours to move out of her house because Veterai wanted
to move in with his family. Digby kept asking them which 40 hectares was Mr
Veterai taking over and they could not answer but they insisted that he was
allowed to move into that house immediately. By this time our manager was so
distraught that she just wanted to move out of her house and move into town
where fortunately we had a little flat available.
Digby took the incident up with the local authorities and various ministers
and was told that a meeting had been held with minister Mutasa and he had
agreed that Veterai’s offer letter had been withdrawn and that he himself
would come down to sort out the matter in December.
During the second week of December, we went to Pretoria to visit my brother
for four days. While we were away, we got an urgent phone call from our
manager to say that Veterai had chased all our senior staff and domestic
staff out of their houses on the farm. Their furniture had been thrown out
in the mud as it had been raining and they had to ask various friends if
they had a spare room for them to move into. Veterai did this in the same
way that he had conducted Operation Murambatsvina in Harare in 2006. He
seemed to care very little about people’s feelings.
We left as soon as we could and wondered what was going to happen when we
crossed the border at Beit Bridge as our staff had been told that Digby was
going to be arrested and put in jail the moment we arrived in Zimbabwe. When
we arrived home, there was a seven ton trailer parked in our driveway that
prevented us from driving up to the house. We had picked up some of our
staff from our office in town and they towed the trailer out of the way.
Veterai had taken our landcruiser out of our garage and towed it to the
compound and then parked his landrover in our garage in its place. He took
our four vintage cars that were parked in our hangar and towed them to the
compound too and then put some of his equipment there. He had also parked an
old trailer full of old tyres on our lawn. Our staff took everything of
Veterai’s out of our yard and left them outside our gate.
Our crocodile manager, Sam moved into the little cottage right next to our
house where he and his family are still living.
Six weeks later Veterai moved into our house with his family and staff. And
that is where we are now.
On Saturday 16th February Veterai and family came to stay in our guestroom
for the night. Thankfully they left quite early the next morning. He as
usual locked the bedroom when he left.
From the Monday to the Friday there were no incidents – we just had the
guard sitting in our lounge or should I say, sleeping on our chaise longue
with his army boots on. We had a number of visitors and numerous sms’s and
e-mails which was great.
On the Saturday night Veterai and wife arrived late yet again and spent the
night in our guestrooms. They left early the next morning.
On Monday the 25th February Nathan and Tessa and Mark and Meghan came to
visit us. We had a nice time and that was the last time we saw Mark and
Meghan as they were leaving to go back to the States on the Wednesday.
On Tuesday morning Barry and Kim Styles and their little baby girl Brianna
came to have tea which was lovely.
On Wednesday morning at 3.00 we were woken by the sound of a vehicle and saw
the headlights shining through the window of our bedroom. The dogs were
barking like mad. Veterai came in and went down the passage to the
guestroom. The power went out at 5 a.m. so the house was in total darkness.
Veterai left at about 6.30 after having used our house like a guesthouse
where he can just come and go free of charge. His family has been in our
manager’s house for a year and he has not paid one cent towards rent,
lights, water and repairs and maintenance of pumps etc. The audacity of the
man boggles the mind.
Tore, Leon and Nathan came to visit and to give us some moral support. At
this stage all we know is that Vet is in the wrong and we are in the right
and are fighting for what is right in God’s eyes and our eyes.
On Thursday we had lights and power and cellphone signal after having had
none the previous day. We had had no rain for five weeks and everything was
starting to look dry and wilted.
I was just sitting there thinking that we could not get on with the every
day running of our business because all we were doing was fighting to stay
ino ur house and trying to hold onto what is rightfully ours. How absolutely
We spent our days sitting in the garden under the trees because we did not
want to sit in the lounge with the guards. We spent much of our time on the
cellphone trying to keep our businesses from falling apart.
At night we would go through to the bedroom and lock ourselves in for the
night. We have a drink and some snacks before retiring to bed early,
exhausted even though we were not doing much – I think it was just pure
mental and emotional exhaustion. This we had been doing for six weeks now.
Gina, Julie and Brian came for tea and to see how we were doing. Lucy sent
all our groceries that she had bought for us in S.A. with Brian which was so
kind of her as we now at least had some fruit, vegetables and various other
groceries to carry us through. Gina brought us some muffins and some lovely
homemade lemon juice.
On Friday morning Norton came for coffee. Val and Susan came out to bring
some cheques for signing and to go through various documents. Tommy and
Molly sent us some mealies, bananas and avos which was so sweet of them.
Gary and Theresa sent us some meat and biltong which we received with much
Alex Gagiani popped around in the afternoon – it was great to see him.
At about 4.30 Tracy and Matthew arrived to visit us and spend the night. We
had snacks and drinks outside as we were not using the lounge because of the
Saturday 1st March, Noeline, bless her soul, arrived to do my hair which was
by now showing the grey hairs profusely. She very kindly coloured and
trimmed my hair as well as giving me a blow dry. I felt a different person
afterwards! Tracy and Matt left at about 12.30 as we did not want them
spending another night in case Veterai arrived which he had been doing every
Saturday for five weeks already.
That afternoon Paul and Christine came for tea – they are now living in
Mocambique and just came to Chiredzi to collect their deep freeze. They had
lost their sugarcane farm in the Lowveld a couple of years before.
On Sunday 2nd March Tessa, Nathan, Norton, Noeline and Leon all came for
lunch. They all brought a dish of some sort which was great and we had a
nice lunch together. Rory arrived just after lunch from Bulawayo. That
afternoon Zebedee, Fran and Tore came for tea and to see how we were doing.
So it was a very busy day with all the visitors but most enjoyable. That
night the phone rang and somebody asked to speak to Veterai, obviously
expecting him to answer the phone.
On Monday 3rd March Norton phoned to say that he had heard that Veterai was
trying to get the war vets in the area to come and jambanja us, but they did
not want to know his troubles.
We had now been prisoners in our home for five weeks but it is amazing how
the time flew by. Rory went to the office to do some work. Greg, Claire and
Mac came for tea about mid morning.
On Tuesday 4th March Veterai and wife arrived at 2.00 a.m. and spent the
night. He left early the next morning as he had to be in Masvingo for the
court case re the farm. Rory left at 5.00 a.m. as he was going up to the
court case on behalf of Digby.
At about 8.00 a.m. Veterai’s guards were waiting to see Digby. They
complained that our staff were stealing and eating “their” sugarcane. This
was the very sugarcane that they had taken from us and they were complaining
about theft. The mind boggles! Anyway, Digby said to them they must report
them to the police but that our staff would lay assault charges against them
as apparently the guards had beaten our staff and the one had a very sore
hand. When Digby asked the guards if they had hit them, they said they had
not and that they had chased the guys and they had fallen, hurting
themselves in that way. We knew that was not true. They left the matter at
that and did nothing.
We managed to get hold of Rory in the afternoon to find out how the court
case went and he said it went well. The court ruling was that Veterai had to
get out of our house and Digby’s mom’s house with immediate effect.
Theoretically the guards had to move out too.
On Wednesday the guards were still here. Veterai had not given them
instructions to move out. The court order was supposed to be ready on
Thursday afternoon. Penny and Maureen came for tea and to see how we were
On Thursday Noeline, Sally and Eric Bemont came for tea. Had a lovely time
We had no cellphone signal in the afternoon.
Pete and Morag came to visit on Friday morning. It was good to see them as
they had been away in S.A. for about a month. They had smsed us daily while
they were away to see what the situation was on the farm. Ben Fayd’herbe
came around too to chat to Digby about crocodile food. Tore popped in during
the afternoon – he has been so good to us and has visited about a dozen
Still waiting for court ruling which has not yet arrived.
On Saturday 8th March Lucy and Rob came to see us and we had a great time
In the afternoon Penny, Gerry and Rose came to visit. No sooner had they
arrived, when Norton, Noeline, Nathan and Tessa came so we all had a
wonderful time together. We were able to sit in the lounge for the second
time in a very long time as the guards had now moved out of the house.
On Sunday we had a quiet uneventful day. At about 5.30 Brian and Sally and
kids came around to see how we were doing. They had lost both their farms
where they farmed sugarcane, citrus and various other crops and they had the
only dairy in the Lowveld. They were planning on going to the U.S.A. They
will be a great loss to the community.
That night we were watching “The last king of Scotland” when we looked out
the window and saw Veterai’s vehicle parked outside. He and his wife and
another couple came and spent the night, totally defying the court ruling
which said that he was not allowed to do so. As usual Veterai came in armed
with his AK rifle. They left quite early the next morning. Our court case
which was postponed from the 28th January to 10th March was due to be held
that morning, but we had not yet had the summons for it. We got hold of our
lawyer and he said that they had managed to postpone the court case to the
7th April which we were pleased about. We still do not have a copy of the
court ruling from last Tuesday’s court case but have been told that it will
be here tomorrow.
Since Veterai’s stay here on Sunday night, his guards have moved back to
outside the house. Apparently Vet told his guards that they must spit in our
faces when they see us.
On Tuesday the 11th March we finally received the second court ruling which
stated that Veterai must move out of our house and my mother’s house and
that everything must revert to the way it was in 2007, meaning that Veterai
must move back to the manager’s house which is a big three-bedroomed house
where he has been for a year already.
I informed the guard who was sitting outside our lounge that we had received
the court order and told him to call his supervisor so that I could tell him
as well. They did not return and still had not done so by the evening.
We were feeling very positive about everything when we received the court
order and really thought that the situation on the farm would now change and
we would be able to go back to work. It was already over six weeks that we
had been virtual prisoners in our home.
However, that night we went to bed at 8.30 only to be awakened at 10.30 by
voices in our passage. I got out of bed and went to see who in their right
mind would have the nerve to come into our house at that hour of the night.
Lo and behold, there was Mrs Veterai and her children plus a number of
guards walking down the passage. I asked them if they realized that they
were contravening the court order and they said that it did not matter and
they were going to spend the night. They then went down the passage to the
guest bedrooms and proceeded to make themselves comfortable for the night.
The next morning I saw Veterai’s manager coming out of our guest bathroom so
he must have spent the night as well.
This came as no surprise to us as this is the second court order that we
have received that has been totally defied by Veterai. We received a court
order for the 5th February banning him from coming within 30 metres of our
house. This was ignored by him and he and his family continued to come and
stay at our house on numerous occasions. And his guards were still posted
outside our lounge.
This latest violation comes one day after we received the new provisional
The court case which was due on the 7th April has now been suddenly moved to
the 19th March. A summons was received on Friday. Our Lawyers now
That night Veterai’s manager and wife and children as well as the guard came
and slept in our house yet again. We did and said nothing as they left early
the next morning. All we knew was that they were totally and blatantly
defying the court order that had been issued the previous day.
That afternoon Veterai’s senior guard came to see me together with their
tractor driver. When I asked him about he and Veterai’s manager and wife
staying in our house for the two previous nights and said that they were
contravening the court order, he just said that he was taking instructions
from Veterai and that he was just doing his job. That night nobody came to
stay. I think he was beginning to feel afraid as we had heard that four of
his security guards had run away the previous day and two had run away the
previous week. I think they were getting fed up and were obviously not paid
enough to want to stay.
On Thursday morning we were sitting outside in the garden when two
youngsters came walking through the gate. The older one shook hands and
introduced himself very politely as Veterai’s nephew. The younger was
Veterai’s maid’s son. The older one sat and chatted and said that he has
just written his O levels and that he has many ideas as to what he wants to
do with his life. He asked if he could please borrow our cellphone charger
which we lent him. He said that he would bring it back as soon he was
finished with it and could he please come and chat to me and get some advice
from me about various business ideas that he had. He spoke very good English
and was a nice-looking and extremely pleasant young lad. I thought how
bizarre that was and we think he must take after his grandfather who we have
heard is a very nice and respected gentleman.
On Friday Penny came to visit and to give us some moral support. She was
been so supportive and has been praying constantly for us. On the Saturday
Pete and Morag came to see how we were doing and then Tore and Smithy
arrived for tea. Everyone has been so wonderful to us that we feel
absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness and prayers from friends near and
far. It has really touched our hearts in such a big way and made us realize
again just what an incredible place the Lowveld is because the people are so
special and care so much for one another.
That night about six guards arrived and took over the lounge. I asked them
what was going on and they said that Veterai was coming. Quite early in the
evening Veterai, his wife and family and the manager and his family arrived
and made themselves at home in our house. Then about four more guards
arrived. At about midnight the guards started playing the bongo drums and
singing just outside out bedroom and this carried on for about two hours.
They were trying their best to scare and intimidate us but fortunately with
our air conditioner on, we hardly even heard them. Needless to say, we did
not get much sleep as the dogs barked throughout the night.
The next morning which was the Sunday we were having breakfast in the dining
room as it was drizzling outside. We noticed that there were election
posters on the lounge walls, on the trees outside, on the bonnet of our car
and on the table where we always sit outside in order to keep away from the
guards. The guards were sitting in the lounge eating huge bowls of sadza
that had been cooked in a half drum right outside the dining room. Two of
the guards got up and came and sat down at the table with us. They began
talking to us and one of them asked me if I had a spare bible for him. I
said that I did and went through to the bedroom to fetch it for him. When I
tried to hand it to him, he said that he had better not take it then as he
would get into trouble. I said that I would leave it on the table and he
could take it when he felt it was safe to do so. Just shows how petrified
these guards are of Veterai and how intimidating he is to them.
The next minute Veterai came strutting through from the bedroom, walked past
us and went outside, with his AK rifle over his shoulder. Then our maid who
was in a state of panic came to me and said that Veterai had gone into their
little guestroom next to our house where her husband was. I asked him what
he was doing and then he started screaming and shouting and asking why we
had locked the one interleading door in the house. When I asked him to show
me which door it was, I explained to him that the door sticks and it looks
like it is locked, but it is not. He then ranted and raved saying that we
were planning all kinds of things to harm him. He swore like a trooper and
called Jessie “that stupid girl” because of the article that had appeared in
the newspaper. Jessie did say a word as she had sworn that she would never
say another word to him again. He then stormed off. Just then our friends,
Rob and Lucy arrived so we went outside and had tea with them in the garden.
It started raining so we went into the lounge. No long afterwards two
policemen arrived to ask Rob and Lucy why their new single twin cab did not
have licence plates. Rob explained that they had just bought the vehicle and
that the papers were at Croco Motors whom they had bought the truck from.
The one policemen asked them to go with them to the police station and prove
that what they said was true. This they did and everything was in order.
Veterai had phoned the police to tell them about the truck and was wanting
to get them into trouble.
That afternoon our friends Norton and Noeline came for tea so again we sat
in the lounge because it was drizzling outside. We sat on the one side of
the lounge and the guards sat on the other side. That night it was fairly
quiet but the guards and Veterai’s family were still using our house like it
was theirs. They were using our bathrooms, leaving them in a mess by not
cleaning up after they had bathed or used the toilet. They stole my soap and
my candle out of the bathroom. I also noticed a number of other items
missing too. One of my brass ornaments in the lounge went missing, a carving
knife and bread out of the kitchen as well as the soap that was next to the
basin. Almost every day there were things being taken.
On Monday afternoon our friend Penny came to see how we were after the
traumatic weekend as she knew we were feeling down. That night the power
went out and we were sitting locked in our bedroom when at about 7.00 p.m.
there was a knock at our door. It was our maid Esnat with her son and they
said that the guards were in the dining room waiting to see me. I went
through and there were about 16 guards all in all and they said that they
had been given instructions by Veterai that our crocodile manager who was
living with his family in the little guestroom next to our house had to move
out immediately. I could see that some of the guards had been drinking and
smoking dagga as they had a glazed look in their eyes. They needed something
to give them the courage to confront me. I said that we would sort something
out the following day, but I knew that Sam was afraid for his safety and his
family’s and would have to move him the next morning.
Two of the guards and their families moved into the outside guestroom. Poor
Sam and his wife have to come in from town every morning, do their work and
then return to town in the evening. Rather expensive considering that diesel
is now 60 million dollars a litre.
On Tuesday Tore and Smithy came to have tea and to give us a bit of moral
support. We really appreciated our friends coming around as it always
brightened our day.
That night Veterai arrived just after midnight. We knew he was coming
because suddenly their were a lot more guards in the lounge and dining doom.
We also knew he had to come for the court case which was being held in
Chiredzi the following morning.
The next day I got dressed and left for the court case at 7.30 a.m.– this
was the first time I had left the house for over seven weeks. Eight of our
friends came to the house so that they could keep Jessie company while I was
at the court case. I got to the court room and my lawyer, Mr Rodney Makausi
was already there. Veterai arrived with his wife but without a lawyer, so he
must have been very sure that he was going to win the case. The magistrate
said because not enough time had been given to prepare for the case, the
court case was postponed to the 9th April. I was very relieved to hear this
but could see that Veterai was furious.
I arrived back home with my lawyer as I was not sure if I would be allowed
back through the boom. Everyone was overjoyed and relieved about the outcome
of the court case.
I just want to mention that we had three anonymous calls warning me that I
must make sure that I attend the court case as the police had been given
instructions to arrest me if I did not do so. We also a visit from one of
the A2’s who lives near us, just to see how we were doing.
On Thursday morning Tommy and Mollie Warth arrived to visit with us. They
are an elderly couple who live on a ranch about 50 kilometres out of
Chirdezi. Shame, they got stuck on our road and had to get our tractor to
pull them out. Poor Mollie had to walk about two kilometers through the mud
to call the driver and then got on the tractor with the driver and drove
back to their vehicle where he managed to pull them out. Then there was
nobody manning the boom so Mollie who is in her mid seventies, had to get
out the truck and open the boom herself.
Needless to say, they were exhausted by the time they arrived at the house.
They stayed for lunch and caught up with all the news from the past two
At lunchtime on Friday our son Rory and our daughter Tracy arrived from
Bulawayo to spend the night and to see how we are doing. They brought us
some meat, vegetables and various groceries as we were beginning to run
out – have not been to town for almost 8 weeks now. It was so wonderful to
see them as we are a very close family and they have been very worried about
us. They did not bring their spouses and our granddaughter as we never know
how safe it is. Also, most of our guestrooms are being used by Veterai,
family and guards. I only have one guestroom that we are able to use for our
family and it is does not have a lock on it – that is why they do not use
That night Rory, Tracy, Jessie and I locked ourselves in our bedroom and had
a few snacks and just chatted about all the good times we had had on the
farm when the kids were young. We had so many happy memories and now some
total stranger had come along and wanted to take all this away from us. This
makes us even more determined to stay and not be intimidated. Although I
must admit, the invasion of our privacy gets us down at times.
I slept on a mattress on the floor that night so that Tracy could sleep in
the kingsize bed with Jessie. Rory slept in the guest room. Rory and Tracy
both wanted to sleep on the floor instead of me but I would not hear of it.
When we woke up the next morning and looked out of the window, as sure as
eggs, there was Veterai’s twincab vehicle. Then I heard him right outside of
our bedrom door talking on his cellphone. I am sick to death of the audacity
of this man who keeps blatantly defying all the court orders and thinks that
he is above the law and openly says so. His day of reckoning is coming, it
is just a matter of time.
The next morning, Saturday, we got up and had breakfast in our bedroom.
There were guards all over the house again because of Veterai’s presence.
Thankfully he left early and we could relax and enjoy one another’s company.
We had an early lunch and Rory and Tracy left soon after to go back to
Then we just lay on the bed most of the afternoon, feeling rather down since
the kids had left. The guards and their wives and babies were sitting in the
lounge talking and making themselves right at home. I felt angry but tried
not to let my emotions get the better of me.
On Easter Sunday our minister, his wife and another friend, Noeline came to
have lunch with us. We had been feeling very down and welcomed the visitors
with open arms.
On the Monday we had a very quiet day with no visitors and were feeling
terribly isolated and cut off from everybody. This was definitely the worst
Easter we had ever experienced. It was now exactly eight weeks that we had
been virtual prisoners in our home. We are hoping that the situation will
change after the elections which are in three days time. This and the SADC
tribunal outcome is the only hope we have left.
On Tuesday Rory drove down from Bulawayo to Masvingo for the court case re
Veterai’s failure to the two previous orders. He met our lawyers, Rodnay
Makausi and Miss Maposa who are representing us at the court. To the disgust
of both lawyers, they were told that the decision was postponed to the 3rd
April, and no reasons were given, although we had overwhelming evidence that
he had contravened the court orders.
On Wednesday I noticed that some sugar had been stolen out of the kitchen. I
mentioned it to one of Veterai’s staff and he assured that it would be
replaced. Another one of his staff came to me in the afternoon and asked me
if we had any old clothes for her because her house in the T.T.L. had burned
down. I said to her that if she worked for me, I would willingly help her
but told her that she needs to ask her boss, Veterai, for help. She could
not understand why I declined to give her any assistance.
Later that morning one of my staff came to see me and told me that Veterai
said that if things did not go according to plan in the upcoming elections,
then he would shoot Jessie and I. When I told my brother in Jo’burg what he
had said, he said that we should pack our bags and leave. Of course we would
not do that and that is when he said that if anything should happen to us,
then he would get the best lawyers and fight this case to the bitter end.
We have just had a phone call from a total stranger in Harare, a lady by the
name of Agnes who goes to the Celebration Centre Church. She said that she
and the other ladies in her church are getting together to-morrow morning to
pray for us. I thought that was just so amazing and can just see how God is
working in our and so many people’s lives because of what we are going