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Washington Post

Glimmers of Defiance In a Wary Zimbabwe
Even in Mugabe Strongholds, Discontent Evident

By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, April 5, 2005; Page A14

HARARE, Zimbabwe, April 4 -- As grim resignation settled over Zimbabwe's
capital, there were few visible signs that last week's parliamentary
elections -- and the resulting landslide for the party of President Robert
Mugabe -- had happened at all. Most people returned to the demanding
business of surviving in one of the world's worst economies and put aside
stirring notions of change, at least for now.

Mugabe, the vigorous and wily 81-year-old who is the only leader this nation
has had in 25 years of independence, is known here variously as "Uncle Bob,"
"Comrade Bob" or simply "the Old Man." And he is yet again seemingly in
complete command of Zimbabwe. Opposition leaders have denounced Thursday's
elections, which left them with 16 fewer seats in parliament than the 57
they once held, as fraudulent, but they have publicly ruled out either a
legal challenge or mass protests. A small protest attempted here Monday
afternoon quickly fizzled.

Yet despite the opposition's poor showing in official results, the final
days of last week's election campaign revealed a spirit of defiance rarely
seen in the five previous years of increasingly authoritarian rule by

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is viewed here as the
party of urban youth, a long-term advantage in a country that increasingly
is both urban and young. Most Zimbabweans are not old enough to have
experienced white minority rule or Mugabe's leadership of the 1970s
insurrection that helped end it.

Even in the countryside -- where support for Mugabe is supposedly strongest
and where official vote totals showed his party, the Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front, with huge margins of victory -- voters on
election day flashed the opposition's signature open-palm gesture. A group
of peasant women walking down a dirt road with sugar cane in their hands did
not want to talk to a stranger, but when pressed gently about the election,
they silently showed their open palms.

Elsewhere, former Mugabe loyalists said that his party's dominance of the
nation must end if Zimbabwe hopes to escape its international isolation and
halt a precipitous economic decline.

Four men, ranging in age from their twenties to their fifties, stood on the
side of the main road in a rural village west of here on voting day. Each
had voted for Mugabe in all previous elections, yet on this day they spoke
openly of their dissatisfaction and their longing to see the opposition take

Even more strikingly in a nation where to support the opposition is to risk
beating and torture, two of the four men willingly gave their names and ages
to a foreign journalist, despite knowing they might appear in a newspaper
that Mugabe's party officials would read. "Most people are suffering, no
food, no jobs. . . . Maybe the MDC will win," said Smart Madhola, 56, a
security guard.

The willingness to speak out dimmed a bit after the voting, as it became
clear that the overwhelming victory of Mugabe's party had given the
president an even freer hand to rewrite the constitution -- or do almost
anything else he pleased.

But on Saturday, opposition activist Aiden Turai Mpani, 28, said he was
prepared to demonstrate in the streets, risking almost certain arrest and
beating by police, to protest election results he was certain were the
result of rigging. Asked if he really wanted to be quoted by name under such
conditions, he said confidently, "With pleasure."

Though violence was down in the weeks before Thursday's elections, human
rights groups have reported widespread killings of opposition candidates and
supporters in the past five years. The opposition puts the total at more
than 300 since it formed in 1999.

Most Zimbabweans lack access to such reports, but they know the brutal
history of Mugabe and his supporters. They know he oversaw the slaughter of
as many as 20,000 Ndebeles, members of a large southern tribe that had
resisted his rule, in the 1980s. They know that more recently, opposition
activists often have simply disappeared or been arrested for crimes they
didn't commit. They know, as human rights groups have long detailed, that
torture and the withholding of food aid have been common government tactics.
So has threatening to burn down the house of an opposition member -- and
sometimes doing it.

On election day, a 34-year-old man in a town east of here spent several
minutes explaining his eagerness for the opposition to take power. He, too,
gave his name before thinking better of allowing it to be published. Even
though he knew the level of violence was relatively low in this election, he
also knew what had happened in 2000 and 2002.

Was he scared?

"Of course," he said simply, "from what I saw last time."

Did he know opposition supporters who had been beaten?

"A lot of people," he said.

These were not isolated conversations. To be in Zimbabwe during the past few
weeks was to see unmistakable signs of widespread frustration with Mugabe.
Opposition rallies throughout the nation, even in his heartland, drew loud
and enthusiastic crowds. And there was little evidence that the focus of
Mugabe's campaign -- the supposed intention of British Prime Minister Tony
Blair to reestablish Zimbabwe as a colony -- resonated with voters.

Those who said they supported Mugabe's party responded mostly to the
powerful issue of land redistribution. Though the violent farm seizures
carried out by the government in 2000 were widely criticized by Western
leaders, even opposition supporters in Zimbabwe are often critical of the
era that preceded them, when a tiny minority of white commercial farmers
held most of the nation's best agricultural land.

Edmore Guzha, 32, the proud owner of a 12-acre farm in an area where in the
past black Zimbabweans worked mostly as laborers, said his reason for
supporting Mugabe was simple: "He gave us land."

The day after the elections, some opposition supporters were so confident
that they dressed up in their best clothes in expectation of a victory
party. The first several hours of televised results, which showed an initial
surge for the MDC, only reinforced that optimism.

But the next morning, vote totals for Mugabe's party surged. These were
mostly from rural areas, where the opposition -- rooted in Zimbabwe's
cities -- had not expected to prevail. Still, the extent and scale of the
ruling party's victories sobered the opponents.

Seats previously held by the opposition disappeared. In some outlying areas,
results ran 2-1 or 3-1 against the opposition. Mugabe's party ended up with
78 seats to the opposition's 41 and one claimed by an independent. And
Mugabe would appoint 30 more members, giving him a commanding edge in a
parliament with 150 seats.

Though Mugabe's handpicked observers approved the conduct of the elections,
results in dozens of districts have turned up puzzling inconsistencies.

In some, the combined vote totals for individual candidates do not equal the
supposed number of voters who cast ballots. In others, polling place records
show a surge of voters in the final hours of balloting, a time when
witnesses have generally agreed that attendance was dwindling. All told, the
opposition contends that more than 50 seats were stolen.

On Saturday, Mugabe summoned reporters and representatives from the
state-owned television station, the only channel most Zimbabweans can

The United States, the European Union and every major human rights group
active in southern Africa had already denounced the poll as badly tainted.
But Mugabe had won the support of South Africa and other important
neighbors, and he appeared utterly at ease as he boasted of his party's
triumph. He parried with apparent relish with foreign journalists who -- 
except during a two-week stretch before the elections -- he had harangued
and threatened with jail if they dared enter his country.

"Are you frightened?" he challenged them, smiling as he emerged onto the
front patio of his elegant residence and sat down at a stately wooden table
between two life-size stuffed lions. He then suggested, with a widening
grin, that he shared the lions' temperament. "They don't bite, these two."

Over the next few minutes, Mugabe dismissed charges of cheating as "excuses"
that were not "sporting." He warned that any attempt by the opposition to
protest the results would be met with "conflict, serious conflict." He said
that the government had "two or three weapons" it might deploy to calm
unrest in a nation where demonstrations are illegal unless the police have
granted prior, written permission.

Yet evidence that Mugabe's popularity was waning did not disappear even as
the necessities of daily living reasserted themselves.

At a fast-food chicken restaurant in downtown Harare, a 25-year-old woman
wearing an unusually well-made outfit was eating lunch. When a foreign
journalist sought her opinion of the election results, she warily agreed to
speak and went on to defend the results as free and fair, echoing Mugabe's
contentions. Yet she declined to say how she had voted.

When asked about her profession, the woman identified herself as a
government worker.

What kind of government worker? "Intelligence."

She worked, she explained, as an officer for the Central Intelligence
Organization, Mugabe's feared secret police, whose ranks swelled this
election year.

The journalist then joked that, given her job, he had a good guess how she
had voted.

The woman fixed him with a gaze suggesting that in Zimbabwe things are not
always as they seem, and said, "No, you don't."
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Life under Mugabe

Tuesday April 5, 2005
The Guardian

There were few grounds to be optimistic about Zimbabwe's elections and the
grim result has vindicated those who warned that Robert Mugabe would stop at
nothing to ensure that he returned to power. The fact that the 81-year-old
leader of Zanu-PF has secured the necessary two-thirds majority means he is
now likely to rewrite the constitution to bolster his position in advance of
his expected retirement in 2008. Fewer violent incidents were recorded than
in the 2000 and 2002 elections, but abuses were rife: these included the use
of food aid as a weapon against hungry voters, the manipulation of the
electoral register, wide discrepancies between votes tallied and final
results, and restrictions on political gatherings and the media that weighed
heavily on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The detention of
two British journalists for working without official permits underlines the
lack of the most fundamental freedoms.

But worse, in some ways, was the complicity of other African governments who
failed to see the issue other than in terms of land redistribution and the
black versus white struggle trumpeted by the president and his cronies. They
preferred to fixate on Tony Blair - blaming him for the row with the
Commonwealth and the sanctions imposed by the EU - rather than address why a
country that was so promising on independence in 1980 has seen such a sharp
decline into poverty, hunger, mass unemployment and an HIV/aids crisis of
tragic proportions.
African election observers stayed in urban areas while ignoring rural
polling stations, but the South African mission endorsed the vote as "free
and fair" - a disturbing footnote to the fact that Thabo Mbeki's "quiet
diplomacy" has been an utter sham - and a self-defeating one at that - as an
imploding Zimbabwe will affect its neighbours worst. The result means a
grave crisis for the MDC, since any legal challenge would be delayed and
protests suppressed.

The repercussions of this phoney poll go far beyond Zimbabwe's 12 million
people. Issues of governance and corruption lie at the heart of efforts to
help Africa through the millennium development goals. The international
community must ensure that Mr Mugabe remains a pariah and hope that he is
swiftly replaced by colleagues who will work for a better future. He had the
effrontery to thank Zimbabweans for having "voted correctly". A more
authentic voice appeared on the web-log of the Sokwanele civic action
support group. It said: "Cry beloved Africa for the crimes against humanity
perpetrated on her people."
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Mugabe to Tighten Zezuru Clan Power

With an election victory behind him, president now sets sights on bolstering
his clan.

By Joseph Chinembiri in Harare (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 25,

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe, having guided his ruling ZANU PF party
to another parliamentary victory, will move quickly to consolidate the
control of his small Zezuru ethnic clan over the other clans that make up
the larger Shona tribal group.

Hidden from the view of most of the foreign correspondents who arrived to
report last month's sixth Zimbabwe general election has been a bitter
intra-ZANU PF war between the Zezuru and the bigger Karanga clan.

As Mugabe's confidence grew that the election had been fixed in ZANU PF's
favour, so the intensity grew behind the scenes of the Zezuru-Karanga

The daggers of Mugabe and his Zezuru henchmen were particularly drawn to get
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the once powerful ZANU PF secretary for legal affairs,
speaker of parliament and most influential Karanga leader.

Mnangagwa, long touted until recently as Mugabe's eventual successor as
president, was to be toppled in a carefully drawn Zezuru plot after the
election. But it has proved unnecessary because Mnangagwa was beaten in his
Kwekwe constituency by a candidate of the opposition MDC.

"We want Mnangagwa out, totally out," a senior source in the Zezuru faction
told IWPR before polling day. "We are hoping and crossing our fingers that
he loses his Kwekwe seat. If he does, that will be the end of him. He is not
going to be lucky this time."

To outsiders the great tribal split in Zimbabwe appears to be most visibly
that between the Shonas and the Ndebele - the latter an offshoot of the
Zulus of South Africa who now largely occupy the dry western part of the
country. But Zimbabweans themselves have long known that the critical ethnic
and cultural divide - the one that will in the long run decide the fate of
their troubled state - is between the distinctly different Shona clans.

The Shona, who began arriving from west central Africa more than a thousand
years ago, share a mutually intelligible language. But ethnically they are
not homogenous. Between the clans there is a diversity of dialects,
religious beliefs and customs.

The five principal clans are the Karanga, Zezuru, Manyika, Ndau and
Korekore. Of these, the biggest and most powerful clans are the Karanga and
the Zezuru. The Karanga are the largest clan, accounting for some 35 per
cent of Zimbabwe's 11.5 million citizens. The Zezuru are the second biggest,
and comprise around a quarter of the total population.

The Karanga provided the bulk of the fighting forces and military leaders
who fought the successful 1972-80 chimurenga (struggle) that secured
independence and black majority rule. Nevertheless, the ZANU movement -
since renamed ZANU PF - was led by a Zezuru intellectual with several
degrees, Mugabe, who did not do any fighting.

Clan differences surfaced with a vengeance in late 2004, after Mugabe filled
every top position in the state with members of his Zezuru clan and pushed
out the Karangas.

One of the last prominent Karangas in Mugabe's administration, Foreign
Minister Stan Mudenge, is almost certain to be sacked when Mugabe announces
his new governing team. He will be replaced by Tichaona Jokonya, a Zezuru
who was formerly a diplomat but who won a parliamentary seat in the March

The Karangas, who know that their men won the chimurenga, are angry but
emasculated. How they will react to Mugabe's consolidation of Zezuru power
is at present difficult to predict.

There are three other Shona clans - the Manyika, Ndau and Korekore. Of
these, the Manyika, from the Eastern Highlands, are the largest with perhaps
1.8 million of the 11.5 million Zimbabwean people.

Mugabe intends wooing the Manyika by appointing one of their number, Oppah
Muchinguri, as speaker of parliament in succession to Mnangagwa. In the
murky world of ZANU PF internal politics, Muchinguri holds a powerful and
dangerous card. In the bloody war that preceded Zimbabwe's independence in
1980, she was personal assistant to the ZANU guerrilla army chief, General
Josiah Tongogara.

Just weeks before independence, Tongogara died in a mysterious and as yet
unexplained car accident in Mozambique. Muchinguri has never spoken about
the circumstances of Tongogara's death, which is cloaked in mystery,
suspicion and rumour. Mugabe has kept Muchinguri close to him, and her
elevation will further secure her silence.

It will also help quell discontent in Manicaland, whose representatives at
the ZANU PF electoral congress last December cast their votes for Mnangagwa
against Mugabe's chosen Zezuru candidate, Joyce Mujuru, for the newly
created state post of second vice president. The Manyika provincial chairman
of ZANU PF, Mike Madiro, was subsequently expelled from the party along with
five other non-Zezuru provincial chairmen.

Assuming Muchinguri does become speaker of parliament, every other top post
in the land will be held by Zezurus.

Mugabe's other vice president, Joseph Msika, is a Zezuru. Defence Minister
Sydney Sekeramayi, who is also Mugabe's spymaster, is a Zezuru, as are the
chiefs of the three main security forces.

Armed Forces chief General Constantine Chiwenga - whose highly combative
wife Jocelyn threatened to eat a white farmer at the height of the 2000-2004
farm invasions - replaced a veteran Karanga fighter, General Vitalis

The Air Force chief is Air Marshal Perence Shiri, former commander of the
notorious North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade, which in 1983 swept though
Matabeleland destroying entire Ndebele villages and murdering more than
20,000 civilians. Shiri, also known as Black Jesus, christened his campaign
against the Ndebele with a Shona word, Gukurahundi, meaning "the early rain
that washes away the chaff before the spring rains".

Mugabe has since rewarded Shiri - who replaced a Karanga - with three
confiscated white farms.

The national police chief is Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, a Zezuru who
has publicly declared his personal unwavering support for Mugabe and ZANU

Further enhancing his grip on power, Mugabe has placed control of the
electoral process since 1985 in the hands of his fellow Zezuru - Tobaiwa
Mudede, the all-powerful registrar general. Mudede has been in charge of all
Zimbabwe's electoral bodies and has been widely accused of rigging all
elections for the past 20 years in favour of Mugabe, who has rewarded him
with two former white-owned commercial farms.

The judiciary also is in the hands of the Zezuru. Godfrey Chidyausiku, a
Zezuru, was appointed chief justice in 2001 after Mugabe toppled his
predecessor, Anthony Gubbay, one of the last white Zimbabweans on the bench.
With Chidyausiku's appointment came the gift of the 895-hectare Estees Park
farm, north of Harare, newly confiscated from its white owner. Chidyausiku
has ensured that all judges conform to Mugabe's decrees and has appointed
two Zezuru relatives as High Court judges to help him.

One of Zimbabwe's most independent judges, Justice Benjamin Paradza, a
Karanga, was forced out of office. Justice Moses Chinhengo, another Karanga
constantly criticised by Mugabe's ministers for his independent judgments,
resigned in disgust and said, "I hope that in future I will be able to serve
Zimbabwe in another capacity as the call of duty may demand."

The Karanga are concentrated mainly in the Masvingo and Midlands provinces.
Ironically, outgoing Home Affairs Deputy Minister Rugare Gumbo, a Karanga
from Mberengwa, several hundred kilometres west of Masvingo town, is being
groomed as one of the new Karanga ZANU PF "godfathers".

During one of the periods of internal ZANU bloodletting in its
pre-independence exile years in Mozambique and Zambia, Gumbo was imprisoned
in an underground dungeon from the mid-1970s until in 1980. His political
comeback was engineered by the late vice president Simon Muzenda, a powerful
Karanga, who Mugabe always used to cool anti-Zezuru sentiment among the

Joseph Chinembiri is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.
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Business Day

Uproar over Goniwe call to censure observers
Hopewell Radebe

Deputy Political Editor

OPPOSITION parties have lashed out at the African National Congress (ANC)
chief whip for demanding disciplinary action against MPs who did not endorse
the findings of the South African parliamentary observer team in Zimbabwe.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said ANC chief whip Mbulelo
Goniwe risked embarrassing himself and wasting Parliament's time because the
MPs reflected the mandate and political views of their respective parties.

The furore follows an election that Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana,
the head of SA's observer delegation, said reflected "the free will of the
people of Zimbabwe", but which the Southern African Development Community
observer mission said had some flaws.

Goniwe urged that Parliament reprimand two of its observers "for undermining
its mandate".

Vincent Gore of the Independent Democrats (ID) and Roy Jankielsohn of the
Democratic Alliance withdrew from the mission on instructions from party

Holomisa lambasted Goniwe as well as the two dissenting MPs for causing an
"unnecessary political sideshow", saying if they had a different view about
the elections they should have written a minority report reflecting their

Jankielsohn said there were disagreements about his leaving the mission two
days early and he was told to pay back his travel allowance for that period
by Goniwe.

Before the election, Gore stated that conditions were unlikely to render the
elections free and fair.

The ID said yesterday that it would fight any ANC attempt to stifle
dissenting views on the outcome of the Zimbabwe elections.
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Independent (UK)

Call for Tsvangirai to resign after poll
By Christopher Thompson in Harare
05 April 2005

Zimbabwe's main opposition party is in crisis as the fallout from a heavy,
if disputed, election defeat at the hands of President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF turned to criticism of its campaign and tactics. Morgan Tsvangirai,
the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is expected to face
calls to stand down in favour of its spokesman, Welshman Ncube.

Mr Tsvangirai has attacked the "rigged result" and called for a rerun but
has so far been unwilling or unable to mount mass popular protests in the
wake of a poll called "phoney" by the European Union and dismissed as flawed
by the United States.

Eric Bloch, a regional political analyst, said there was growing resentment
and "tremendous disillusionment" with the party among MDC supporters over
his handling of the election. It will now need a period of "extensive
restructuring" to survive, he told The Independent. The ruling Zanu-PF took
78 seats from a possible 120, with the MDC taking 41. That was 17 seats less
than in 2000 and the result gives Mr Mugabe the power to change the
constitution and install a successor without first having to call elections,
as presently necessary. It is feared that Mr Mugabe will use his majority to
bring in a senate system of government, which was rejected in a 2000

Mr Tsvangirai has come under fire for failing to sufficiently capitalise on
spiralling inflation, widespread unemployment and food shortages. His policy
of threatening to boycott the elections back in September 2004, only to do
an about turn in February this year, led to far fewer MDC voters registering
than anticipated. This was reflected in the low turn-out of MDC support,
especially in rural areas, where Zanu-PF dominated. Analysts said the MDC
had, in part, been a victim of its own early success.

Since 2000 Zimbabwe went from bad to worse, principally because of Mr
Mugabe's controversial land-reform programme, which saw the economy contract
by 30 per cent.

Instead of harnessing popular support by presenting alternative policies,
the MDC campaigned on an anti-Zanu-PF ticket. Consequently the opposition
was perceived as a party of protest rather than a credible alternative. Its
open-door approach to international financial institutions, such as the IMF
and World Bank, did not play well with an electorate that has painful
memories of the "structural adjustment" of the 1990s.
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Business calls for dicussion with Mbeki on Zimbabwe

April 05, 2005, 06:00

Business leaders have urged Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, to
discuss Zimbabwe's economic crisis with them to seek solutions. Business
Unity South Africa (Busa) says business in particular has a vital stake in
seeing Zimbabwe resolve its acute economic problems.

Busa says the inter-dependence of the two economies was highlighted in a
recent study assessing that the Zimbabwean crisis had cost the SADeC region
R17 billion between 2000 and 2003.

Meanwhile, the South African embassy in Harare has denied knowledge of the
alleged brutal treatment of 67 citizens held on mercenary charges. Kingsley
Sithole, the embassy spokesperson, says nobody has brought the allegations
to their attention. A Johannesburg newspaper reported yesterday that the men
had been without running water for nearly a month and were covered in lice.

Sithole says the men are visited by embassy staff once a week, and the
latest complaints have not been shared with South African officials.

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Annan worried over Zimbabwe poll
Monday, April 4, 2005 Posted: 11:22 PM EDT (0322 GMT)

UNITED NATIONS -- The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan,
has said he is concerned over aspects of last week's parliamentary elections
in Zimbabwe.

"The electoral process has not countered the sense of disadvantage felt by
opposition political parties who consider the conditions were unfair," a
spokesman for Annan said in a statement released last Monday.

Annan believed the government of Zimbabwe had a responsibility now to build
a climate of confidence that would be essential for national unity and
economic recovery in Zimbabwe, the statement says.

He called on all sides to engage in constructive dialogue in the period

Zimbabwe's embattled opposition on Sunday demanded new parliamentary
elections under a different constitution, saying voting could never be free
and fair under the current legislative framework.

President Robert Mugabe's party scored an overwhelming win in a poll
Thursday condemned by all but his closest African neighbors as severely

Citing major inconsistencies in the results, opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai maintained Sunday that his Movement for Democratic Change, or
MDC, won 94 of Parliament's 120 elected seats -- and not the 41 announced by
electoral officials. MDC officials did not specify how they calculated the

Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, ZANU-PF,
claimed 78 seats. One seat went to an independent candidate, according to
official results. Under Zimbabwean law, Mugabe gets to appoint another 30
seats, giving his party a more than two-thirds majority, to fill out the
150-seat legislature.

Opposition leaders and independent rights groups said years of violence,
intimidation and repressive laws skewed the election in Mugabe's favor -- a
view echoed by Britain and the United States.

"As long as we run elections under the same set of conditions, there is no
way that elections will be free and fair," opposition spokesman William
Bango said Sunday.

Tsvangirai did not specify how a new constitution would be drawn up or new
elections conducted. David Coltart, the opposition's spokesman on legal
issues, suggested the United Nations might have to step in.

Huge discrepancies reported
The opposition and independent rights groups have complained of huge
discrepancies in the results -- particularly in the government's rural
strongholds. In at least one area, the number of votes counted exceeded -- 
by more than 15,000 -- the number of people who cast ballots, according to
figures announced by the electoral commission.

By Sunday, the electoral officials had only released turnout figures for six
of the country's 10 provinces. They refused to explain the reason for the

The opposition charged the government had stuffed ballot boxes after turning
away its observers at some polling stations. The ruling ZANU-PF rejected the
accusation, saying opposition leaders had failed to produce evidence of
their claims.

"They should accept the verdict of the people," ruling party spokesman
William Nhara said.

He said South African President Thabo Mbeki and Mozambique's President
Armando Guebuza were quietly pressing Zimbabwe to form a power-sharing
government -- a move rejected by Mugabe.

"We don't need them to govern," Nhara said of the opposition. "This country
is not at war, we are not in crisis, and we had a fairly democratic

The 81-year-old Mugabe rejected criticism of the latest polls Saturday and
said he hopes to stay in power until he is 100.

Neighboring countries largely supportive of Mugabe's increasingly isolated
regime endorsed his party's sweeping win.

Observers from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community issued a
statement congratulating Zimbabwe on "peaceful, transparent, credible and
well managed elections, which reflect the will of the people."

But observers from the African Union were more cautious. Delegation chief
Kwadwo Afari-Gyano said the vote was "technically competent and
transparent." But he stopped short of calling it free and fair, noting
serious problems with the electoral roll.

The country was plunged into political and economic turmoil when Mugabe's
government began seizing thousands of white-owned commercial farms for
redistribution to black Zimbabweans in 2000. Combined with years of drought,
the often-violent land reform program has crippled agriculture -- the
country's economic base.

Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk 50 percent during the past five years, and the
unemployment and poverty rates are at least 70 percent.
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      Politics  The Sum of White Fears: Zimbabwe
      by Wayne Wides on Monday 04 April 2005 at 23:49:09

     I know, I know! It's the old cliché about how South African whites fear
South Africa may turn into the next Zimbabwe. Yes, there's plenty of counter
evidence to this stance. Witness the already higher rate and expenditure on
land reform locally along with better economic policies and fundamentals
than was ever accomplished in Zimbabwe. And yes, no doubt Zimbabwe's
questionable election played a role in it being re-elevated into the local
white psyche.

      But before dismissing it outright as another example of white
resistance or racism, it is worth looking at just what helps push it along -
because therein are also some valid criticisms against existing policies
even as they fuel this negative white outlook and conspiracy theories.

      It first begins with the question of AIDS. Thabo Mbeki and Manto
Tshabalala Msimang may have publicly accepted AIDS' nature and the need to
spend some money to confront it, but the Financial Mail had a small article
recently. One which tried to work out the rationale of existing ANC elites
attitudes and lack of prioritisation of it.

      Granted, many 'verkrampte' English and Afrikaans speaking whites alike
will think it's a good thing to have a high black death rate from the
disease, so as to slow population growth rate. But others realise that since
AIDS will rip the heart out of the 18 to 35 year old, and economically
productive, generation it'll leave many of the next generation illiterate
and impoverished. That will be another lost generation.

      That then has become the push start for a bigger conspiracy theory
about the ANC elite that Mbeki is part of. A theory that claims the ANC's
past ridiculous, and currently dubious, approach to confronting AIDS' spread
indicates they have a bigger and more sinister plan. That's supposed to be
about ensuring that their voter base doesn't become too inclined to think
too differently in future to vote them out for another black political
party, by both subtly impoverishing them while uplifting them by
paradoxically promoting dependence on the State. The recent M&G headlines
about treatment of the public primary and secondary school teaching
profession also only fed this perception.

      It may sound crocked but it also supposedly ties into how Black
Economic Empowerment, or the transfer of white ownership of capital and
assets in companies into black hands, has generally been conducted mostly
for the benefit of a privileged few. BEE in itself is not exactly a very
capitalistic notion, but a large body of whites and capitalists alike accept
its socialism as the price for stability and as penance for the past. But it's
mostly because they recognise an impoverished racial majority would not take
well being told to rely solely on a significant passage of time to see them
naturally achieve the same standards of living.

      Similarly, this is also my own political sin - one of political
expediency. Like them I do see BEE as being a 'quick and dirty' bridging
measure, but not a solution in itself as relying solely on it to achieve
parity in the private sector will inevitably result in failure. It is a
temporary panacea and it should not be promoted as a 'big fix' as many
proponents tout it.

      Yet the manner in which a large number of BEE deals have always had
either ANC linked or ANC Youth League figures involved has raised questions
about why this ANC linked elite has repeatedly been the major recipient of
the wealth. Only FirstRand's recent BEE deal, with its total lack of the
above parties' names in the list of beneficiaries, has seemed to defy that
rule. It is similarly distressing though that when adopting a policy that is
essentially socialist that it has defied the very essence of socialism - the
distribution of such wealth equally and created a strange bastardised form
instead. Again, only FirstRand's BEE deal did it properly in this regard.

      And this is the next component of whites underlying fears and
conspiracy theories - why have such an unequal disbursement of wealth in BEE
when the philosophy behind it is supposed to be one of at least
'semi-equally' uplifting the poor black masses? The answer proposed in
mutters seems to be that is yet another example of the ruling black elite
entrenching their power for the future via the economy itself.

      Throw in the ever tightening rules against ownership on gun ownership
and other whites suggest that is the black elite's attempt to consolidate
their power militarily through the State being the only entity to wield
weapons. All of which culminates in the example of Zimbabwe and Mbeki's
reaction to both its decline and Mugabe's rule. The whisper around many a
coffee table when it comes to the subject is that perhaps, just perhaps,
Mbeki knows fully well what is going on is wrong. Yet he takes enjoyment at
watching what is unfolding and it is a warning gesture to South African
whites as well.

      That's the final cue to catapult into why Zimbabwe haunts the white
South African psyche: the conclusion drawn from the above that when the ANC
elite seek control across the social, economic and political spectrums. And
when the black masses become unhappy per the scenario, the by then
un-opposable ANC elite will work instead through the systems it controls and
the conditions that exist to turn the unhappy supporters gaze to local
whites as happened in Zimbabwe.

      The above is actually not new, and is in fact a retooling and
retelling of original existing fears that the National Party played on in
its day. But it would allay it a lot if going forward BEE was subject to
rules disbursing its wealth to non-politically connected blacks. Similarly,
if AIDS the AIDS orphans problem were being properly tackled, if South
African teachers and doctors alike weren't being treated with such
disrespect by the State, and if the focus on cutting crime was instead on
the criminals rather than law abiding citizens wielding legal weapons it
would actually allay many whites' fears.

      But one of the greatest paradoxes would involving Cosatu breaking away
from the ANC. If they became the basis of a political opposition actually
capable of keeping the ANC more honest the socialist party might actually
get quiet approval from the majority of whites as well. Even if initially
they raise the specter of a disfigured economy with their economic policies.
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The Star

      ANC accused of 'bully-boy' tactics on Zim elections

      Independent Democrats claim decision to deem poll free and fair was
never in doubt
      April 5, 2005

      By Angela Quintal

      They didn't say it in quite as many words, but if you believe the
Independent Democrats, ANC chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe and Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe may have something in common.

      In the latest salvo in the row over South Africa's parliamentary
observer mission to Zimbabwe, ID MP Vincent Gore accused Goniwe of
"bully-boy tactics", "a blatant attempt to stifle debate" and a "feeble
attempt to railroad a predetermined decision" through a multiparty forum in
order to obtain some form of legitimacy.

      These are allegations that Mugabe himself has been accused of on many
occasions by his detractors .

      Gore withdrew from the observer mission three days after arriving in
Harare to observe the parliamentary poll along with his counterparts from
other parties.

      In a statement yesterday, he said the ID had withdrawn from the
mission after it became clear that the environment in which Zimbabwean
voters found themselves would not allow them to cast a free and fair ballot.

      Moreover, senior South African government ministers and ANC members
had "before, during and after" the election made it clear that a decision
had been made that the poll would be viewed as free and fair regardless of
the circumstances on the ground.

      "The Independent Democrats, in clear conscience, could not be part of
a rubber-stamping process and therefore decided to withdraw from the

      Noting that Goniwe had prior to the mission's departure said he would
not allow a minority report, Gore said: "Evidently the chief whip has little
regard for values such as freedom of expression, as enshrined in our

      Gore said his party would not accept the "blatant attempt to stifle
debate and dissenting views on the crisis within Zimbabwe".

      Democratic Alliance chief whip Douglas Gibson said yesterday Goniwe
was clearly embarrassed about his party's dismal performance on the issue of
Zimbabwe's election.

      "In an obvious attempt to distract attention from the election,
described by Mr Goniwe as free and fair, he has chosen to launch a personal
attack on DA MP Roy Jankielsohn, who was part of South Africa's
parliamentary observer mission."

      Gibson noted that Goniwe had twice on television accused Jankielsohn
of deserting his post, and said he should refund parliament for the costs of
the trip.

      "The truth of the matter is that Roy Jankielsohn carried out an
exemplary role both before and during the election. When the grossly
inadequate programme and arrangements permitted, for which Mr Goniwe must
take some responsibility, Mr Jankielsohn at his own expense travelled to
meetings and sought additional contacts with Zimbabwean voters."

      Gibson added that after the election there was no official programme
for the last two days of the visit.

      Gibson urged Goniwe to apologise to Jankielsohn, "who performed
splendidly throughout the more than two weeks he spent in Zimbabwe".

      "Because of Mr Jankielsohn's reports, the South African public was far
better informed than would have been the case had one relied upon Mr Goniwe
and his party for information," Gibson said.

      Goniwe was not immediately available for comment. - Group Political

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Editorial: Zimbabwe needs a real election, and soon

Jake Troughton

Calls for a new federal election have been increasingly loud over the last
week here in Canada. Some members of the opposition parties are hoping that
apparently damning evidence given at the federal sponsorship inquiry-a
publication ban has prevented the release of what, exactly, the evidence
is-may be the straw that breaks the Liberals' backs after years of various
corruption scandals that have yet to see them voted out of office.

Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, there are also loud calls for a new election after
the ruling ZANU-PF party earned huge gains in a parliamentary election that
the opposition says was plagued by intimidation and threats. Canada just
might get that new election; Zimbabwe, which is in far greater need of one,
almost certainly will not. If only there were some way we could give them

There was little or no open violence during Zimbabwe's election, unlike
previous votes in 2000 and 2002, but it nonetheless seems likely that the
process was anything but free and open. A report by the independent Zimbabwe
Election Support Network said that the election was conducted in "a climate
of fear," that "traditional leaders threatened their subjects with eviction
and sometimes unspecified action should they fail to vote for the ruling
party," and that "intimidation included the politicization of food

While an observer group from South Africa-American and European Union
observers were not allowed to enter the country-gave its approval to the
elections, Dianne Kohler, one of its members, disassociated herself from the
statement, saying, "This sham of an election has been one of the most
cynical electoral frauds perpetrated on the international community in
electoral history." And President Robert Mugabe has openly declared that he
will have police put a stop to any demonstrations against the election

Unfortunately, legitimate or not, the results proved disastrous. ZANU-PF's
electoral gains give President Robert Mugabe control of over two-thirds of
Zimbabwe's parliament-enough that he can now essentially amend the country's
constitution at will. He's already signaled that he intends to do so, in
multiple dangerous ways. The 81-year-old intends to replace the sections of
the constitution that would require a presidential election should he die
while in office, preferring that one of his deputies would automatically
succeed him. He also wants to create a Senate that he would appoint
personally (the obvious joke about Canada's Senate is out of place here),
which would make it virtually impossible for the opposition to pass reforms
even if it did eventually gain control of the parliament's "elected" House.

Zimbabwe is in a terrible situation right now. Violence, unemployment and
food shortages are commonplace, while HIV and AIDS continue to exacerbate
the situation. The country is in desperate need of change, but if the
election results are allowed to stand, that change could be a very long time
in coming.
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      Will Zimbabwe change Blair's Afro-optimism?
      April 5, 2005

      By Richard Dowden

      Zanu-PF's election victory is a reminder that Africa's politics
      have their own particular dynamics, writes Richard Dowden

      Suddenly the upbeat "let's celebrate Africa" mood and British Prime
Minister Tony Blair's grand plans to save the continent have hit reality:
African politics.

      In Zimbabwe, the overwhelming victory of Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF in
Thursday's parliamentary elections is a stark reminder that Africa's
politics have their own particular dynamics.

      For Zimbabwe it is the worst possible result. The next election there
will be the presidential one in 2008 and between now and then the country
will remain in limbo, its economy in ruins, its people racked by HIV/Aids
and its government shunned by Western donors.

      But the collapse of Zimbabwe is a minor setback to the Afro-optimism
and Blair's commitment to change Africa.

      The really serious blow is the reaction of the rest of the continent.

      The official South African observer mission declared the result "the
will of the people" on Saturday, even while other observers were trying to
check out allegations of massive fraud.

      The other African observer missions will almost certainly say there
were "irregularities", but that the election was basically free and fair, a
vast improvement on the 2000 elections.

      Africa does not support Western policy towards Zimbabwe. In fact, many
African politicians regard it as a "tiff" between Zimbabwe and Britain
caused by British concern for its own "kith and kin" there - the white

      Even President Ben Mkapa of Tanzania, hand-picked by Blair to serve on
his Africa Commission, says that what has happened to Zimbabwe is "the price
of transformation".

      It is hard to find a single African leader who is willing to criticise

      In jeopardy

      All this bodes badly for the New Deal for Africa laid out by Blair's
Commission for Africa under which rich countries level the playing field for
trade, raise massive funds for development and write off Africa's debts,
while, in return, African rulers commit themselves to good government and
monitoring each other's behaviour.

      The African Union's peer review mechanism, made up of Africa's great
and good, is supposed to police the continent's governments on everything
from human rights to economic management. This deal is in jeopardy.

      British government policy has hit a brick wall. Well might the Foreign
Office ponder how this small agricultural country in southern Africa has
produced only two leaders in 50 years, Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe, who have
both given the finger to the rest of the world.

      The diplomats must now work out how Mugabe turned near-defeat five
years ago - 61 seats to 58 - into a 78-41 victory on Thursday, while the
economy had declined by about 50%.

      There are factors: three million of Zimbabwe's 11.8 million people
have fled the country. The voters roll and the results were almost certainly
fixed. But that cannot explain it all.

      Many voted for Mugabe simply because he is president - a common
political view in rural Africa. Others have a tribal, one-of-us mentality.

      Some may have also been afraid, even though this election was far less
violent than its predecessor. Many may have feared that if they did not vote
for Zanu-PF, they would not get food aid.

      But the opinion polls showed that outside Zimbabwe's towns, Mugabe's
popularity had gone up in the past year.

      Singing the liberation struggle battle hymns against whites and
Britain, and handing out seized land and food aid, worked.

      As Jack Straw and others pick over the wreckage of British policy,
they will be forced to admit ruefully that it contributed to Mugabe's


      Trying to browbeat Mugabe with threats and condemnation played
straight into his hands as he turned every insult back on his accusers,
supercharged with anti-colonial rhetoric.

      British support for the opposition candidate and regime change also
boosted Mugabe by making Morgan Tsvangirai look like a British puppet.

      The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq was another gift proving that
Britain still acted in an imperial way.

      Britain can take some heart from Mugabe's own difficulties created by
this very success.

      He has secured the two-thirds majority in parliament needed to change
the constitution so, in theory, he can install the successor of his choice
on his own terms.

      In practice, his government is increasingly drawn from his own family
and members of his Zezuru people, alienating other Shona clans such as the
powerful Karanga.

      Britain has been forced to learn that the only way it can influence
Zimbabwe's future is through other African allies, particularly South

      As in the days of rebel Rhodesia, South Africa holds the key. But
Blair and President Thabo Mbeki fell out over Zimbabwe at the Commonwealth
summit in 2003.

      Since then, Mbeki has shown little sign of changing his mind and
announced before the election that he was confident it would comply with
regional standards.

      If Britain is going to go the diplomatic route, it will be a long

      In the meantime, the British sherpas carrying Africa to the top of the
agenda at the G8 summit at Gleneagles in July will find their route littered
with prickly obstacles marked "made in Zimbabwe". - The Independent

      a.. Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society

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