Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY
Sokwanele : 5 April 2008
The ZEC has now announced all 60 Senate seats for those Senators who are elected by the people.
The final count, for those 60, is as follows: Zanu PF has 30 seats, the MDC MT has 24 seats and the MDC has 6 seats.
The Senate is actually made up of a total of 93 Senators:
60 directly elected by voters in 60 constituencies;
5 Senators appointed by the President;
10 Provincial Governors;
18 chiefs – 16 elected by fellow chiefs, plus the President and Deputy President of the Council of Chiefs ex officio.
These are the full details for the 60 Senators chosen by the people:
Beitbridge (Matabeleland South)
ZPF 9110 / MDC AM 2579 / MDC AM 2579 /
MDC MT 22303 / ZPF 17920 /
Bindura-Shamva (Mashonaland Central)
ZPF 35400 / MDC MT 19400 /
Binga (Matabeleland North)
MDC MT 28355 / ZPF 4840 /
Bubi-Umguza (Matabeleland North)
ZPF 15053 / MDC MT 5816 / MDC AM 5683 /
MDC MT 34023 / ZPF 30012 /
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 /
Chi manimani (Manicaland)
ZPF 30520 / MDC MT 30221 /
MDC MT 40599 / ZPF 23102 / Donga 2196 /
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 /
ZPF 36382 / MDC MT 23555 / MDC AM 8339 /
Goromonzi (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 16156 / MDC MT 15287 / MDC AM 4560 /
Guruve-Mbire (Mashonaland Central)
ZPF 32126 / UPP 11052 /
MDC MT 28975 / ZPF 23638 / I! ND 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 /
MD! C MT 26479 / ZPF 19059 / IND 2005 /
Lupane (Matabel eland North)
MDC AM 7929 / ZPF 6430 / MDC MT 4036 /
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 / IND 421 / 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 /
Mazowe (Mashonaland Central)
ZPF 19294 / MDC MT 14193 / MDC AM 3754 /
ZPF 30619 / MDC MT 10468 /
Mount Darwin (Mashonaland Central)ZPF 34139 / MDC MT 6581 / MDC AM 3130 /
Murewa (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 22429 / MDC MT 17401 /
MDC MT 31490 / ZPF 17734 / IND 2951 / IND 1835 /
MDC MT 37488 / ZPF 18747 / IND 2031 /
Mutoko (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 26144 / MDC MT 15345 /
Muzarabani (Mashonaland Central)
ZPF 16731 / MDC MT 5933 /
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 /
Rushinga (Mashonland Central)
ZPF Unopposed /
ZPF 24055 / MDC MT 11988 /! MDC AM 7034 / IND 2087 /
Tsholotsho (Matabeleland North)
MDC AM 8702 / ZPF 5409 / MDC MT 3769 /
UMP-Mudzi (Mashonaland East)
ZPF 54116 / MDC MT 18396 / UPP 1577 /
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 /
Subscribe to receive results by sending an email to email@example.com.
Please, it would be very helpful to us if you could subscribe yourselves automatically via our website at the following address: www.sokwanele.com/join.html. If you can't, we will still do our best to ensure your addresses are added to the list for successive mailings.
Election results are also being posted on our website at http://www.sokwanele.com/election2008 as we get them.
Visit our website at www.sokwanele.com
Visit our blog: This is Zimbabwe (Sokwanele blog)
Send an e-card! www.sokwanele.com/sendcard/
We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!
Sokwanele does not endorse the editorial policy of any source or website except its own. It retains full copyright on its own articles, which may be reproduced or distributed but may not be materially altered in any way. Reproduced articles must clearly show the source and owner of copyright, together with any other notices originally contained therein, as well as the original date of publication. Sokwanele does not accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from receipt of this email or use thereof. This document, or any part thereof, may not be distributed for profit.
April 5, 2008
Catherine Philp in Harare
Robert Mugabe unleashed his most feared thugs on the streets of the
Zimbabwean capital yesterday in a very public show of force as his party’s
leadership united in 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 last
night’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.
Yesterday 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 in a silent display of menace. Afterwards they addressed the
media, vowing to “defend the country’s sovereignty” against an opposition
takeover. 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
“The election has been seen as a way to reopen the invasion of our people by
whites,” Jabulani Sibanda, the veterans’ leader, said. A day earlier the
state newspaper carried a thinly sourced report about alleged attempts by
white farmers to reclaim their farms after the Opposition’s 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. Opposition MPs were astounded by the challenge,
backed by the accusation that they had bribed election officials; a tactic
more commonly associated with the ruling party.
Mr Sibanda said that the victory declaration by the MDC, which Mr Mugabe
casts as a colonial stooge, was “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 told 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 this time around.
Six days after the polls there was still no official result of the
presidential contest. Last night the Opposition filed an urgent suit in
court, demanding that the results be released immediately. The MDC said it
expected the case to be heard today.
Foreign governments have joined in the clamour for the results to be
announced, expressing 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.
Yesterday, a day after his first public appearance in nearly a week, Mr
Mugabe did not look like a man at the end of his reign; wisecracking in
front of the cameras as he convened the politburo meeting, joking with a
prominent election casualty that he had been “struck by lighting” at the
Opposition politicians met yesterday 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 as much as 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.
The MDC has said 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 yesterday for operating without
government accreditation. They are expected to appear in court today.
The United States called 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 programme
officer with the election monitor group the National Democratic Institute,
had been arrested at Harare airport as he tried to leave the country.
John Symon is, sadly, correct. However, we need to remember that we helped
Mugabe into power.
The west has a never-ending history of causing disaster when it interferes.
However, it would not do any harm if the U.S.A. and Europe were to suggest
to Mr Mugabe that he must leave now, or the consequences will be servere.
That said, history decrees that it would do immense harm if the "West" were
to interfere in any future elections.
If Mr Mugabe were not allowed to live the rest of his life out in luxurious
retirement, this might, also, be a lesson to others.
Marc, Paris, France
Daphne in Cambridge,
I am 52 years old, and since I was eight, I have helped to raise money for
many countries on the African continent, I remember the old Rhodesia and how
when we went to the supermarket in England and on the best quality fruit and
vegetables, there was a label, 'produce of Rhodesia'. I really do not
understand that a continent, so rich in resources of all kinds, cannot and
will not prosper.
It is really easy to blame the old colonialist countries for all of Africa's
problems, Zimbabwe has now been independent for 28 years, the rest of the
world has developed and progressed, Zimbabwe has gone back to the stone age
under Mugabwe's leadership. Africa is a shambles with Zimbabwe at the bottom
of a rotten compost heap.
How hard can it be? Think how much food a small country like Israel exports
all over the world. Zimbabwe has the climate, rich soil, but not the
knowhow, the people with that, have been dispossessed by a tyrant. I will no
longer donate to Africa.
Nick, Silkeborg, Denmark
As Stalin said, it's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes.
This vile man will never voluntarily give up power as long as he has a
breath left in him. Thinking he'd respect election results was a fantasy.
R M, London, UK
Santa Barbara News Press
ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer
April 5, 2008 7:15 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Armed police prevented opposition
lawyers from entering Zimbabwe's High Court on
Saturday to lodge an urgent suit
Opposition lawyer Alec Muchadehama said a senior
police officer wearing a ruling Zanu-PF shirt gave the
orders, amid increasing signs of a clampdown.
"No one is going to enter. They say they are going to
call the riot police," Muchadehama said. Journalists
waiting outside the court were also ordered to
The Movement for Democratic Change wanted the High
Court to force the electoral commission to publish
results of the March 29 presidential election.
Official results for the parliamentary elections
showed the ruling party lost its majority in the
110-seat parliament. Independent observers projected
that MDC candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won most of the
votes cast in the presidential contest but not enough
for an outright victory over longtime ruler Robert
The ruling ZANU-PF party announced Friday it was
endorsing Mugabe, whose 28-year rule led Zimbabwe from
liberation to ruin, in a runoff election.
Earlier, the opposition asked the United Nations to
intervene during the runoff campaign over fears that
Mugabe, 84, may stage a violent crackdown to retain
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the opposition, pointed
to signs of a coming clampdown, including a march in
Harare by war veterans loyal to Mugabe who have beat
up opponents in the past; a raid on opposition party
offices, and the detention of foreign journalists by
armed police in full riot gear.
"They are trying to intimidate people, they are trying
to set up the context for unleashing violence. The
vampire instincts of this regime are definitely going
to come out," Chamisa charged.
Zimbabwe needs the assistance of the international
community, he said.
"The U.N. has to make sure that there is no violence
in this country. ... They should not (wait to) come
when there is blood in the street, blood in the
Mugabe has ruled since his guerrilla army helped bring
about an independent Zimbabwe in 1980. His popularity
has been battered by an economic slide that followed
the often-violent seizures of white-owned commercial
farms since 2000. A third of the population have fled
the country, 80 percent of those who remain are
jobless and inflation is more than 100,000 percent.
Chamisa said he expected the court to answer its
petition for the election results immediately in
Saturday morning's hearing, but he was not hopeful of
Zimbabwe's courts are stacked with Mugabe sympathizers
who have delayed hearing opposition challenges to
results of 2002 and 2005 elections that international
observers said were marked by fraud and intimidation.
The U.S. and other Western nations also have been
pressing for the presidential results to be announced.
The law requires a runoff within 21 days of the first
elections. But diplomats in Harare and at the United
Nations said Mugabe was planning to declare a 90-day
delay to give security forces time to clamp down.
An African Union election observer team found no
evidence of fraud during voting last weekend,
according to the delegation's leader, former Sierra
Leone president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah.
Kabbah praised Mugabe as "a patriot," and said during
a meeting Thursday that the Zimbabwe leader was
"relaxed" despite his setback at the polls.
New York Times journalist Barry Bearak was among those
detained Thursday by heavily armed riot police who
surrounded and entered a Harare hotel frequented by
foreign reporters, lawyers said. The U.S.-based
National Democratic Institute said one of its staff,
American Dileepan Sivapathasundaram, was detained at
Harare's airport as he tried to leave the country
The government had rejected most foreign journalists'
applications to cover the elections and had barred
Western election observers.
Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said the attorney general
decided there was no case against the two Americans
and a third person who was not identified. However,
police decided to hold them. It was not clear whether
new charges would be filed.
State Department Tom Casey said four Americans were
detained Thursday, but two had been released and were
leaving the country. He said one of the two still in
custody was a reporter and had been seen by U.S.
officials. The other had not been located by U.S.
officials, he said.
Tsvangirai Accuses Mugabe of Planning a 'War Against the People'
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, April 5, 2008; 10:14 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe, April 5 -- Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai Saturday
told reporters that he believes he won the presidential election last
weekend and rejected claims from President Robert Mugabe's party that a
runoff election would be necessary.
"We won this election without the need for a runoff," he said, adding that
his party was concerned that a second round of voting would turn to
violence. He accused Mugabe of seeking to intimidate opponents and planning
a "war against the people" to maintain control of the country.
"Violence will be the new weapon to reverse the people's will," he said.
The results from last weekend's historic presidential election have not been
released by the government, but Mugabe's party acknowledged Friday that it
lost. Party leaders, however, vowed to fight back in a second round of
voting that many Zimbabweans fear will be much less peaceful than the first.
Tensions have been rising sharply in Harare, the capital, as signs mounted
that Mugabe was preparing to use extraordinary measures to regain control
amid the biggest challenge to his rule since Zimbabwe gained independence in
Lawyers for the opposition party were barred by armed guards Saturday from
entering the High Court building where they hoped to press a suit forcing
the government to release the vote tallies, news services reported.
"The case has been postponed until 12 noon tomorrow," Movement for
Democratic Change lawyer Andrew Makoni told the Reuters news service. He
said the electoral commission had asked for more time to file opposing
Riot police and trucks mounted with water cannons appeared on city streets
Friday. The country's feared association of liberation war veterans, which
has long served as Mugabe's enforcer, also threatened to deploy Friday.
A top ruling party official, Didymus Mutasa, said party officials were
planning to "purge" the electoral commission of alleged opposition
supporters and also would challenge the results of 16 seats in the lower
house of parliament, enough to let them retake control of the chamber they
lost in results announced this week.
Diplomats and opposition officials said Mugabe, 84, was considering whether
to invoke emergency powers to delay the presidential runoff election for 90
days in a bid to improve his chances of winning.
Mutasa did not say when the runoff would occur but said a second round was
necessary. "This time we will be more vigilant, and I'm sure we will win by
a wide margin," he said.
Mutasa said Mugabe got 43 percent of the vote in Saturday's election,
compared with 47 percent for Tsvangirai. The numbers are close to those
reported by independent observers. The opposition party says Tsvangirai
narrowly topped 50 percent, which would allow him to avoid the second round
of voting automatically required when no candidate wins a clear majority.
Official results in the presidential race remain unannounced.
After days of reports that Mugabe's closest associates were split over
whether he should participate in a runoff or step down, the 49-member ruling
body of his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front met for five
boisterous hours Friday. It voted unanimously to fight on in a second round,
"The old man is raring to go," he said.
The announcements came after days of rumors and reports that Mugabe, who has
led Zimbabwe into a devastating economic morass, was considering stepping
down at the urging of some family members and friends. Instead, Zimbabweans
braced for a return to the violent politics common in earlier elections but
largely absent in the run-up to Saturday's vote.
"Mugabe, after a defeat he did not expect, surely cannot want to face
another election without a bag of dirty tricks," said Nomore Mutizwa, 32,
who runs a cellphone shop in Harare. "I'm sure people will be beaten up and
intimidated, especially in the rural areas."
Others prepared to meet any violence with resistance.
"We need to fight for our country," said Calisto Sibanda, 23, a black-market
Adding to the tensions was the reemergence of the association of veterans
from Zimbabwe's liberation war in the 1970s. The veterans have long been
enforcers of Mugabe's policies and in 2000 led chaotic and often violent
invasions of white-owned commercial farms that gave land to many black
peasants but devastated the vital agricultural sector.
Hundreds of veterans marched silently through Harare's streets Friday,
according to news reports. Afterward, leaders announced that they had
accused Tsvangirai of seeking to help the white farmers reclaim their land
and said they were prepared to fight back.
"What I know is we will be compelled to repel the invasions," said Jabulani
Sibanda, head of the war veterans' association. He said the opposition
party, in claiming to have won last weekend's election, "is provoking us. .
. . They're provoking our spirit."
Fears also spread that Mugabe might activate the ruling party's notorious
youth militias, known as the Green Bombers for the color of their uniforms.
Although quiet recently, they have been key actors in Zimbabwe's history of
Police crackdowns on foreign journalists covering the elections and at least
one democracy activist group also fueled anxiety in the capital. Two
correspondents, including Barry Bearak of the New York Times, were charged
Friday with violating Zimbabwe's strict journalism laws.
Bearak was in a group of four foreigners arrested at a Harare hotel
Thursday. Zimbabwe has barred most foreign journalists from legally
reporting on the election.
The New York Times issued a statement saying Bearak "is being held in a
frigid cell without shoes, warm clothing or blankets."
His lawyer "informs us that the top legal officials in the office of the
attorney general agreed that the case . . . should be thrown out because the
police could produce no witnesses or other evidence against him. But somehow
the state's lawyers were overruled," the statement said.
Analysts say Mugabe would struggle to beat Tsvangirai in a runoff. An
independent candidate, Simba Makoni, formerly a ruling party official, is
expected to endorse Tsvangirai.
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the opposition party, said Friday that
government lawyers had begun drafting legislation to delay the vote. He said
then that Tsvangirai might boycott the election if it was not held on
Biti disputed allegations leveled by ruling party official Mutasa that the
electoral commission had opposition agents who manipulated the results.
"That's a joke," Biti said. "Those are the desperate maneuvers of a dinosaur
regime that has struggled to face the reality of extinction."
Sat 5 Apr 2008, 11:45 GMT
WATFORD, England (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on
Saturday that international observers must be allowed to monitor a rerun of
the disputed presidential election in Zimbabwe if no one is declared an
"We are determined that of course there are international observers if there
is a second round," Brown told reporters at a summit of "progressive
governance" leaders, including South African President Thabo Mbeki, near
Brown said "everybody" was anxious that results should not be delayed and
that the elections are seen to be fair.
By Tom Chivers and agencies
Last Updated: 4:02pm BST 05/04/2008
The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party has warned that the
country's president Robert Mugabe is preparing for a "war against the
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change
party, told reporters the MDC was reluctant to take part in a second round
of presidential elections because of the fear of violence.
However, he stopped short of threatening a boycott.
"Zanu-PF is preparing a war against the people," Tsvangirai said. "In
the runoff, violence will be the weapon. It is therefore unfair and
unreasonable for President Mugabe to call a runoff."
Earlier the MDC appealed for the UN to step in to prevent violence
ahead of a possible presidential run-off campaign.
However, South African president Thabo Mbeki urged the international
community to wait for the results of any election re-run.
Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, warned that there were signs incumbent president Robert Mugabe, 84,
was ready to begin a crackdown amid fears that he will use force in his
efforts to retain power.
"They are trying to intimidate people, they are trying to set up the
context for unleashing violence", Chamisa told reporters.
"The vampire instincts of this regime are definitely going to come
Armed police prevented the party's lawyers entering the country's High
Court to submit a legal challenge to release the full results of last week's
Feared veterans of the guerrilla war used in the past to beat up
opponents have held an intimidating march, while opposition party offices
were raided and armed police in full riot gear arrested foreign journalists
in a show of force.
Urging caution, the South African president disagreed, saying: "I
think it is time to wait. Let's see the outcome of the election results. "If
there is a re-run of the presidential election let us see what comes out of
that," he went on.
Zanu-PF, the ruling party, have said that they will endorse Mr Mugabe
as their candidate in a run-off despite his chastening electoral losses.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reiterated his calls for the
results of the presidential election to be announced.
He said that if there was a run-off between Mr Mugabe and Mr
Tsvangirai, international observers should be in place to ensure it was
carried out fairly.
"We are monitoring the situation closely. I think the important thing
is that the results have got to be published. They cannot be any longer
delayed. They have got to be seen to fair," he said.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband agreed that foreign observers must be
allowed into the country to scrutinize any possible run-off. Mr Mbeki will
meet with Mr Brown on the sidelines of the international summit to discuss
The Zimbabean opposition's legal bid to force release of presidential
election results was postponed to Sunday after armed police prevented its
lawyers entering the High Court on Saturday.
"The case has been postponed until 12 noon tomorrow," Movement for
Democratic Change lawyer Andrew Makoni said.
He said the electoral commission had asked for more time to file
Earlier armed police had prevented Makoni and another opposition
lawyer from entering the High Court building.
Sat 5 Apr 2008, 17:39 GMT
HARARE, April 5 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean liberation war veterans have vowed to
occupy all white-owned farms in Masvingo Province amid reports that white
farmers were returning to land seized by the government, state radio said on
"Masvingo War Veterans Liberation Association Chairman Isiah Muzenda says
their association has resolved to occupy all white-owned farms in the
province in reaction to reports of white commercial farmers who are
trickling back to re-occupy the land," it said.
HARARE, April 5 (AFP)
Supporters of President Robert Mugabe seized Saturday one of Zimbabwe's few
remaining white-owned farms, state media said, amid heightened tensions over
the unclear outcome of presidential elections.
State television reported that "war veterans, war collaborators and members
of (the ruling) ZANU-PF youth league have moved into a farm occupied by a
(white) man in Masvingo and have given him four hours to vacate the
Mugabe has often used the war veterans to intimidate opponents and they were
at the vanguard of the occupations of white-owned farms during his
controversial land reform programme which began in 2000.
HARARE, April 5 (AFP)
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai assured the army and even
President Robert Mugabe they had nothing to fear from a change of regime
Saturday as he claimed victory in a presidential election.
But Tsvangirai accompanied the olive branch with a sharp warning for
hardliners in Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party not to suppress "the will of the
people" as he accused them of preparing to wage a bloody fightback.
At a meeting of its politburo, ZANU-PF not only backed Mugabe to stand in a
second round of a presidential election but also announced plans to contest
its loss of parliamentary control to Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
"The MDC won the election and will not accept the suppression of the will of
the people," Tsvangirai said in a press conference in which he shrugged
aside his previous reluctance to declare himself the rightful next
"The result is known, that the MDC won the presidential and parliamentary
election. President Mugabe and ZANU-PF should accept the results."
But rather than castigate Mugabe, Tsvangirai said he wanted to hold talks
with the country's leader-since-independence and gave him guarantees about
his safety, promising that his own administration would eschew partisanship.
"I am calling on President Mugabe to begin a dialogue with me, to begin the
process of a peaceful, orderly and democratic transition," Tsvangirai said.
"In making this call, I believe it is in the interests of the people and the
future of this country not to create conditions of anxiety and instability."
Tsvangirai has twice been accused of treason and was badly beaten up by
Mugabe's security forces last year but he pledged he was not after
"I want to say to President Robert Mugabe: 'Please rest your mind, the new
Zimbabwe guarantees your safety'."
Mugabe's continued public silence since last Saturday's vote, in which even
ZANU-PF acknowledges he failed to win an outright majority against
Tsvangirai, has led to speculation that he may in fact be preparing an exit
However the decision to endorse him for a run-off against Tsvangirai if
neither man has won more than 50 percent, combined with the decision to
challenge the legislative results, has indicated hardliners may hold the
Tsvangirai said there was clear evidence that ZANU-PF was gearing up for a
fight to the finish.
"ZANU-PF is preparing a war against the people of Zimbabwe such as we
witnessed in 2000," when Mugabe failed to win backing in a referendum for a
broadening of his powers.
Shortly after that result, Mugabe loyalists embarked on a series of
invasions of white-owned farms after accusing the farmers of persuading
their workers to vote against the president's proposals.
"Thousands of army recruits are being recruited in militias and the reserve
bank's printing presses are in overdrive, printing for bribery activities,"
Diplomatic sources say Tsvangirai's camp has already been in touch with
senior figures in the armed forces to persuade them not to join in any
last-ditch stand to save the 84-year-old president from being ousted.
And Tsvangirai, aware that a smooth transition is largely dependent on the
attitude of the armed forces, went out of his way to tell them that he would
not bear grudges over the past.
"I want to assure those serving in state institutions, in particular those
in the army, the police, that their jobs are safe, that there will be no
retribution or vindictiveness."
Martin Rupiya, a former general in the Zimbabwean army who is now a South
Africa-based analyst, said it would be a mistake to think the hawks
predominated in the military.
ZANU-PF's reverse "has disarmed those on the hawkish side, most appear to go
along (with a hard line) but are actually pragmatists and moderates although
they keep being wound up by the irresponsible political rhetoric," he told
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: April 5, 2008
WATFORD, England: South African President Thabo Mbeki said Saturday that
international intervention is not needed to break the electoral deadlock in
Arriving at an international summit of around 20 world leaders on Saturday,
Mbeki said the dispute over electoral results could be managed internally.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has called on the United
Nations to ensure the country does not erupt into violence as the dispute
over last week's elections continues. Others have called on Mbeki to use his
relationship with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to stabilize the
impoverished southern African nation.
It has been a week since Zimbabwe's elections, and the country's electoral
commission has yet to publish the results, leading to criticisms that
pro-Mugabe officials intervened to prevent their release.
Opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, citing figures collated
by his party, has already claimed victory. Officials from Mugabe's Zanu PF
say he intends to fight to retain his grip on power in an election run-off
with the Tsvangirai if there is no outright winner.
"I think it is time to wait. Let's see the outcome of the election results.
If there is a re-run of the presidential election let us see what comes out
of that," Mbeki said.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said foreign observers must be
allowed into the country to scrutinize any possible run-off.
Mbeki will meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the sidelines of the
international summit to discuss the issue.
Sat 5 Apr 2008, 14:10 GMT
HARARE, April 5 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's electoral commission will release
results of the country's presidential elections a week ago "when they are
ready", a commission official said on Saturday.
The opposition says President Robert Mugabe's government is holding back the
results to buy time for a bid to hang on to power despite losing control of
parliament in the election.
HARARE (AFP)--Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called Saturday
for dialogue with President Robert Mugabe after declaring himself the winner
of last weekend's elections.
"I am calling on President Mugabe to begin a dialogue with me, to begin the
process of a peaceful, orderly and democratic transition," Tsvangirai told
"In making this call, I believe it is in the interests of the people and the
future of this country not to create conditions of anxiety and instability."
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
by Mandisa Mundawarara
5 April, 2008
Several hundred Zimbabweans took part in a mass protest organised by the MDC
outside the Zimbabwe embassy in London on Saturday.
For the past 6 years the Zimbabwe Vigil has met outside the embassy in the
Strand to demonstrate against the violation of human rights by the Zimbabwe
regime, and to rally for the holding of internationally observed free and
fair elections in the country.
Saturday’s protest was held exactly 7days after last weekend’s elections, to
protest ‘the manipulation of the voting.’ Ironically, it took place as the
MDC opposition party was being denied access by armed police to the High
Court in Zimbabwe, where they had filed a petition for the immediate release
of the presidential elections results.
Mathew Nyashanu, who was one of the organisers of the demonstration, said it
was “a direct response to ZANU-PF’s refusal to have the election commission
announce results of the election.”
He added that “the people were voicing their concerns about such behaviour
from a government that has lost the mandate of the people.”
The Vigil released a statement saying that, “Mugabe has been rejected by the
people and must not be allowed to cling to power.”
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Issue 145 , April 2008
The scale of Zanu-PF's loss in Zimbabwe's election, along with strong
pressure from South Africa, are closing the door on Robert Mugabe's reign
Stephen Chan spent ten days in Zimbabwe during the recent election
Robert Mugabe, it is said, contemplated conceding defeat with a degree of
grace, but was pressured by his army generals to fight to the end. But even
with the slow and determined efforts to bias the counting of results in
Mugabe's favour, it steadily became clear that the scale of the rigging
required would never win the support of even Zimbabwe's staunchest and most
patient allies. Then the generals discussed a coup, meaning that they
themselves would ditch Mugabe, or make him their puppet-which, to an extent,
he has been for some time. Then word came up, hard and clear from South
Africa, that they were not to do that. South African diplomatic pressure has
had a huge influence in turning back the course of what would have been a
rigged election towards a murky compromise negotiated in back rooms, but one
which might still see the retirement of Robert Mugabe.
I am writing this late in the afternoon of 2nd April. The parliamentary
seats have been almost fully counted. It is still neck and neck, but even if
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party wins a slender majority, Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) should win enough court challenges overturning
initial results to secure an eventual majority. The painstakingly slow
announcement of results-both to accommodate the attempt to rig and to allow
time for compromise diplomacy-gave Zanu-PF huge majorities in those rural
areas where opposition party agents and observers were thin on the ground.
The constituencies that were won by the MDC were done so with slender
majorities. In this way, the government hoped to coax a victory in the
presidential race for Mugabe or, at worst, the chance for him to fight a
run-off against Tsvangirai in three weeks' time.
But Mugabe must know by now that he cannot win a run-off. The South Africans
are telling him that as I write. Make one last gracious speech now, they
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has announced that he has won the Zimbabwean
presidency, but by a more slender margin than his party had first claimed-by
50.3 per cent against Mugabe's 43.8 per cent. But that leaves just 6.5 per
cent for Mugabe's other challenger, his former finance minister Simba
Makoni-a ridiculously low figure. It seems that the MDC either got its own
early figures wrong, or that this too is part of the South African effort to
achieve an endgame with as much face left for Mugabe as possible. The price
of his departure, they might be saying, is that there should be no
Either that, or all parties in this historic but vexed election have been
overplaying their hands. I myself have no doubts that Tsvangirai won the
presidential election with a vote of well over 50 per cent and that his MDC
captured an absolute majority in parliament.
But Mugabe and his people-whether they hold him captive or the other way
around-are never ones to be written off. Wily and ruthless, they have lasted
a very long distance at the expense of the vast majority of their people. As
a result of the country's soaring inflation, I had to carry a small
briefcase full of Zim$10m notes to make my way around in the ten days I was
in Zimbabwe. To put it in some sort of bleak perspective, I also had to
carry a suitcase of notes in the aftermath of Idi Amin in Uganda. But South
Africa and other countries in the region need Zimbabwe to be prosperous
again for the sake of the economic future of all the countries in southern
Africa. Mugabe, the denunciator of western neocolonialism, has been the one
to slow the growth rates of the independent countries that are his
neighbours. Finally, even though they supported him in public, no president
in southern Africa will breathe anything but a sigh of relief when the
brilliant but vainglorious Robert Mugabe slouches off into the ignominy of
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: April 5, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabweans ricocheted from euphoria to fear and finally
to anger in the tumultuous week after presidential elections that longtime
ruler Robert Mugabe almost certainly lost.
Hopes for change in the devastated southern African nation remained in limbo
Saturday. Presidential election results were still not released seven days
after the vote, security forces appeared poised to use violence to keep
Mugabe in power and the opposition called on the president to end his
28-year rule for the good of the country.
Immediately after the vote — seen as the best chance the opposition ever had
to oust Mugabe — both sides held their breath waiting for results that never
Finally, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, citing figures compiled by his
party, declared victory, and speculation grew that Mugabe was considering
conceding power. His electoral defeat was blamed on the economic ruin he has
wrought, starting in 2000 with seizures of white farms that made this
one-time food exporter dependent on international handouts.
News of the opposition victory sent supporters into the streets, dancing,
singing and waving the open hand that is the Movement for Democratic
The symbol of Mugabe's ZANU-PF is a clenched fist, and it didn't take long
for it to show.
Celebrations were cut short as riot police took to the streets, manning
roadblocks, closing beer halls and ordering people to stay home at night.
On Thursday, intruders raided opposition offices and police arrested foreign
journalists, with armed officers in full riot gear surrounding two hotels
popular with visiting media.
Feared veterans of the guerrilla war for black majority rule — used in the
past to beat up opponents and spearhead the violent takeover of white
farms — marched in a silent and intimidating parade through downtown Harare
"Mugabe has started a crackdown," warned Tendai Biti, secretary-general of
the Movement for Democratic Change.
On hopes Mugabe would retire and his successor would fix the economy, the
black market value of the Zimbabwe dollar fell from 44 million to the U.S.
dollar to 36 million. The stock exchange in neighboring South Africa perked
up — a sign of how Zimbabwe affects regional stability.
With inflation raging at beyond 100,000 percent, the government introduced
Friday a Zimbabwe $50 million note worth about US$1 on the black market. The
new note could buy three loaves of bread Friday but only two Saturday, as
Zimbabweans formed long queues outside bakeries. The U.S. and Zimbabwe
dollars were on a par in 1980, when Mugabe's guerrilla army helped oust a
white minority government and bring independence.
Marwick Khumalo, head of the Pan-African Parliament observer mission, said
Wednesday that leading members of Mugabe's party viewed defeat with
"I was talking to some of the bigwigs in the ruling party and they also are
concerned about the possibility of a change of guard," Khumalo said. "It is
not easy for anyone within the sphere of the ruling party to accept that
'Maybe we might be defeated.'"
Officials in both camps reported secret talks to negotiate a graceful exit
for the 84-year-old Mugabe, though aides to Mugabe and Tsvangirai denied it.
A businessman close to the state electoral commission said Mugabe had been
told he had lost the presidential elections and an uprising was likely if he
were declared the winner. Mugabe found the prospect of a runoff too
humiliating, the businessman said.
Mugabe's personal advisers and family were counseling him to accept defeat,
news reports said, while party hard-liners and security chiefs who benefit
from his patronage were urging a fight.
Tensions rose as the Electoral Commission, packed with current and former
military officers, slowly released Senate results — but no presidential
ones — delaying to give Mugabe and his party time to contemplate their
By Thursday, a decision appeared to have been made. Armani Countess, who
observed the elections for the Washington-based TransAfrica Forum, said a
senior ZANU-PF official "made it very, very clear that if there was a
run-off, that ZANU would use all the state organs at its disposal to ensure
Countess called the conversation frightening and "very, very worrisome"
given the violent tactics used in previous elections. Scores of opposition
supporters and candidates were killed in 2002 and 2005 elections, which
international observers said were marked by fraud, violence and
On Friday, ZANU-PF held its first politburo meeting since the elections and
endorsed Mugabe to contest a runoff. Having the first word of a runoff come
from the party, not the electoral commission, indicated that ZANU-PF still
considers itself the ruling authority in the country.
he Herald newspaper, a government and party mouthpiece, on Saturday hailed
the "massive show of unity and camaraderie" at the meeting, saying it put
paid to claims the party was in disarray and that some top leaders had cold
feet over the runoff.
"We stumbled, we did not fall," it quoted Didymus Mutasa, a powerful
minister and party leader, as saying.
In response, Tsvangirai ratcheted up the rhetoric, charging that "ZANU-PF is
preparing a war against the people," and appealing to Mugabe to step down
without a runoff.
"He cannot hold the country to ransom. He is the problem not the solution,"
Tsvangirai told reporters Saturday. He appealed to southern African leaders,
the African Union and the United Nations to "move in to prevent chaos."
Mugabe appears set to contest a runoff and use the emotional land issue as a
Asked what outcome he sees, political scientist Eldred Masunungure of the
University of Zimbabwe warned, "We should distinguish wishful thinking from
the reality on the ground. Mugabe still has many tricks up his sleeve."
In 2000, Mugabe promised to rectify the injustice of 4,000 white farmers
owning 80 percent of the best farmland in the country of about 13 million
people. Instead, he gave fertile farms to relatives, friends and cronies who
allowed fields to be taken over by weeds.
Mugabe and his party take every opportunity to accuse Tsvangirai's party of
planning to return the farms to whites. The opposition leader in fact has
promised an equitable distribution of land to people who know how to farm.
The election results "have reissued the land question and reissued it with
venom and vengeance," said an op-ed column in Saturday's Herald, written
under a pen name known to be used by chief presidential spokesman George
"Today even the most pragmatic member of ZANU-PF is agitated by the sheer
awesomeness of what the current results could have done to the gains of the
revolution," the column said. "This dynamic will be key in the runoff."
War veterans' leader Jabulani Sithole told reporters Friday that "It now
looks like these elections were a way to open Zimbabwe for re-invasion (by
Many Zimbabweans said they voted for ZANU-PF because traditional chiefs and
other Mugabe loyalists threatened to take away the land of anyone voting for
Zimbabwean civic, church and human rights groups say they fear a crackdown,
with attackers targeting election districts where Mugabe lost.
It's not clear how Zimbabwe's security forces will react.
Tsvangirai tried to reassure generals who, before the elections, threatened
not to serve anyone but Mugabe. But the generals called off a planned
meeting, saying they had been ordered not to attend, according to a
businessman close to Tsvangirai.
On Saturday, police prevented an opposition lawyer and others from entering
the High Court to fight a petition to compel the electoral commission to
publish presidential results.
But other officers abandoned patrol duties to sit and drink beer, in full
uniform and armed, at the mainly white City Bowling Club. It was an unheard
of and seemed to symbolize a refusal to participate in any crackdown, said a
white veteran who fought for the minority white government in the war.
"It seems they would rather drink with us now than shoot us," he said.
New York Times
By ALAN COWELL
Published: April 6, 2008
LONDON — Whatever convulsions are yet to come in Zimbabwe, and however short
or long the remaining tenure of Robert Mugabe may be, the tortured electoral
crisis that unfolded last week raised a question: In a post-Mugabe era, what
will Zimbabwe need?
No doubt, the dictator’s exit, whenever it happens, will unleash a torrent
of joy among his adversaries. But then will come the hard part — redeeming
the promise that Zimbabwe had at its birth.
In fact, Zimbabwe now confronts a longer road to prosperity and stability
than it did at its moment of independence; anyone who was there at the time
can testify that this was then a land of prosperity and hope after years of
I was a young reporter for Reuters, holding a crackling phone line open to
announce the new nation’s birth, when the British union flag — the colonial
emblem — slid down a white flagpole to be replaced by Zimbabwe’s new banner
in Harare’s Rufaro soccer stadium in April 1980. Certainly among whites,
there was trepidation; Mr. Mugabe had been depicted in their propaganda as
likely to drive the once omnipotent minority into the sea. But he amazed
many of his critics by appearing on national television to offer an
The economy, too, offered cause for hope. Perhaps paradoxically, years of
international sanctions against the previous white regime had also inspired
a degree of economic depth as the country replaced scarce imported goods
with its own products. Tourism, from Lake Kariba to the Victoria Falls to
the Eastern Highlands, offered alluring vacations. Tobacco farms were
bringing in dollars and pounds.
And even though land-ownership patterns were skewed and unjust, the system
allowed a few thousand white farmers to produce enough corn, wheat and beef
to feed Zimbabwe and the region around it.
Then, over the years, Mr. Mugabe turned the breadbasket into a basket case.
Most disastrously, he seized the farms and doled them out to loyalists who
squandered their bounty. Today, four people out of five have no job.
Inflation is said to be running at an annual 100,000 percent.
The macroeconomics can probably begin to be fixed with international aid.
The World Food Program is already feeding Zimbabweans. And Western countries
cannot afford to be seen as ungenerous after Mr. Mugabe leaves the scene.
But there is a much deeper malaise, posing challenges that simply did not
exist to the same degree in 1980. The AIDS epidemic has slashed life
expectancy for Zimbabwean women to 34 years. And millions of Zimbabweans
have gone into exile in South Africa, Britain and elsewhere.
Today, remittances from the exiles sustain what is left of the ruined
economy. But the exiles will not return while Mr. Mugabe is in power, and
when he goes, luring them back to a land of deep poverty will remain a major
challenge. As in the Balkans after the wars of the early 1990s, no
reconstruction plan will work without a citizenry to implement it.
In addition, to compete in a globalized world, Mr. Mugabe’s heirs will
confront a pragmatic new environment abroad, in which ideology has long
surrendered to material achievement. Postcolonial slogans of the type that
still dominate politics in Zimbabwe find little resonance outside Africa.
And reconciliation in Zimbabwe is no longer a racial issue, given the
brutality with which Mr. Mugabe has treated political opponents of whatever
More than that, any new government will be heir to a land where an elite has
acquired vast riches by siding with a despot who made most of his people
poor. Even if reconciliation is offered, a new social understanding will
probably require some form of atonement by those who have benefited from the
years of corruption, particularly in the military. Such a process might
start with injecting some justice into Mr. Mugabe’s capricious variety of
Oddly, Zimbabwe has experience in gestures of healing. After independence,
the two rebel armies and the white-led Rhodesian Army were fused into a
single force. Ian D. Smith, the last white leader of Rhodesia, was permitted
to stay on in Zimbabwe, to prosper and even to raise his voice against his
But since then, Mr. Mugabe has built a new catalog of memories, starting
just a couple of years after independence. I can recall traveling the empty
dirt roads of Matabeleland back then, hearing stories of atrocities by his
North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade against the Sindebele-speaking black
Unlike in the 1980s, moreover, there are mechanisms now for brutal dictators
and military commanders, from the Balkans to Africa’s Great Lakes, to be
sent for trial for war crimes. Surely, this is a horrifying nightmare for
Mr. Mugabe and his allies. Perhaps they would be offered an amnesty, in
hopes of obtaining the cooperation of Mr. Mugabe’s allies in a peaceable
transition, rather than their resistance . But as South Africans learned
from their Truth and Reconciliation Commission, reconciliation with the
perpetrator often means forfeiting justice for the victim.
Outsiders like to say Zimbabwe is inherently a gentle nation. But its people
have been traumatized, possibly beyond the forgiveness and magnanimity they
were prepared to show as victors in the struggle for independence. A
bloodletting cannot be ruled out.
I last visited Zimbabwe after a referendum in 2000, as the seizures of
white-owned farms were beginning and the economy started its inexorable
slide. As I drove through farmland and down into the Zambezi valley, in town
after town, the promise of independence had given way to sullen mistrust and
The election held eight days ago heralded a truly seismic shift: the party
that drew its legitimacy from the anticolonial struggle seemed on the brink
of rejection. Zimbabwe had reached a crossroads. Yet Mr. Mugabe and his
allies seemed to claim the right, as ever, to dictate which way the nation
It did not entirely surprise me. For four years before independence, I
covered Mr. Mugabe at his bases in exile, as his guerrillas fought white
rule in what was then Rhodesia. I traveled with him from Mozambique and
Zambia to international peace conferences, sipping whiskey with his aides
while the abstemious, irascible leader struggled to bring his fractious
military commanders under political control.
At times, in those years, he seemed as embattled and as determined to
prevail as he did last week. And for 28 years, he did prevail.
The Labour candidate for Manchester Withington recalls the time she spent in
the more prosperous Zimbabwe of 1996
April 4, 2008 12:14 PM
Like many I've been following with interest (in the Guardian) the outcomes
and consequences of the elections in Zimbabwe.
Back in 1996 I spent some time in Zimbabwe while staying with a friend who
was working in neighbouring Botswana. I often think about what may have come
of the people we met then. Among a group of young Zimbabwean college guys
who we met in a jazz club one evening was Steve, a young businessman, who I
kept in touch with for some months after I left.
As a graduate with ambitions and western cultural tastes, I think Steve had
hoped to visit Europe at some point, which is why he would periodically
phone me for a chat. At the time these hopes seemed entirely reasonable.
Unlike neighbouring Botswana and other African countries, Zimbabwe was
relatively prosperous and rich with an educated and sophisticated "middle
Today it seems unimaginable that just 12 years ago we were two English girls
enjoying jazz clubs, art galleries, shopping in department stores (OK, they
were a bit Are You Being Served? and imperial), and camping out in game
parks near Bulawayo.
The economic and social decline of Zimbabwe is shocking and appalling. Life
there is unrecognisable from that of the recent past. Each day is a struggle
for basic survival.
But the humanitarian consequences of Mugabe's regime are catastrophic.
Twenty million people have fled the country over recent years, most now
living as unwanted guests in nearby countries. Their previous existence as a
doctor, businessman or teacher means little as they struggle to begin a new
life. For those that remain in Zimbabwe, many live in fear of persecution
and are helpless.
I feel strongly that Europe and the rest of the world have been too slow and
too passive in responding to this crisis as it has developed over many
years. We have been willing to intervene in other places where the
opportunity for success is less obvious and the need not as great.
I just hope that the democratic will of the Zimbabwean people prevails. If
it does we must move quickly to help restore stability and prosperity.
But what if Mugabe digs in and ignores the will of the people? What then for
the international response? These are difficult decisions.
But for Steve and his friends, who will now be in their mid-30s, each moment
that passes is another lost. For their generation it may already be too
… and a week later we know we got it, but we’re waiting for the ‘official’
confirmation. I have to put the word ‘official’ in quote marks because
anything ‘official’ coming out of the Zimbabwean government is usually a
pack of lies and designed to prop up a certain old man.
I just learned that the MDC’s attempt to go to court to force ZEC to
announce the result we are all waiting to hear was thwarted by armed police:
Armed police in Zimbabwe have prevented lawyers from the opposition MDC
from entering the high court to file a petition on the presidential election
I have only just learned this because I finally fell asleep and slept
solidly for hours. As much as I needed the rest, I woke up with a stomach
lurching jolt not knowing if my world had been turned upside down or not in
the time I was unconscious (I lay there in my bed still feeling half-zonked
out thinking that things are so bizarre and surreal - this calm but uncalm
state we’re in - that if I opened the curtains to see an army of martians
wearing 5 Brigade red berets on my front lawn it probably wouldn’t surprise
An sms from a friend told me that it wasn’t armed police at the court but
Bob’s people - CIO type people. If this is true then it is good to think
that the circle around him might be thinning and he has to turn to his
closest and most trusted people for protection. I hope that circle thins
But the detail of that doesn’t matter a great deal. What I hope the world is
noticing and keeping in mind is that the delay in releasing results speaks
volumes, and attempts to prolong the delay says even more.
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the opposition won this election.
This was also true for 2005, 2002, and 2000, frankly. The numbers ZEC are
releasing are close and people keep talking about how close this contest is.
The implicit suggestion is that Bob is nearly as electable as Morgan
Tsvangirai. That’s a complete nonsense. Bob wouldn’t stand a chance in a
free and fair election and he knows that.
What isn’t being factored into this discussion too much is the fact that the
rigging that went on for months and months before. I will write a post on
this later to explain further, but trust me, the election playing field is
Zimbabwe is so heavily and sickeningly skewed in favour of Bob its unreal.
The fact that the ‘official’ results are ‘close’ in truth indicates a
massive tidalwave of votes away from Zanu PF. Go have a look at our map
which carries a small sample of things that went on in the months before to
see what I mean.
In my opinion, what happened here is Bob didn’t rig enough to secure the
‘victory’ for himself. He didn’t bash enough people, he didn’t bribe enough
people, he didn’t prevent enough people from getting through the polling
station door, and he wasn’t able to cram enough false votes into the boxes
in the way he usually does.
I think part of the reason he may have slightly held back on the day itself,
is because he craves and needs a victory that he can try and convince the
world is legitimate.
The other thing I think is that his antics last year sickened everyone,
African nations included, and I would like to believe that tolerance for the
things he has got away with in the past - outright murder and unspeakable
violence - is beginning to wear thin even among those nations that
previously turned a blind eye to his abuses. Last year the world clearly saw
what Zimbabweans already know about Mugabe. He looked like an uncivilised
brutish barbarian, and I wonder if it wasn’t a step too far that he now has
to try and draw back from. (See here, here and here.)
The country is dying by the day - because of things he and his government
have done - but the fact is they cannot fix it without outside help. That
help is not forthcoming from a world that doesn’t trust him anymore.
That tightrope he walks between rigging enough to win, but not so much
people think he’s a murdering thief and fraud, is becoming harder and harder
and harder for him to accomplish. It’s made even more and more difficult for
him by the fact that the population are getting hungrier and poorer and
sicker and more desperate for change every single day.
So he rigged and bashed and threatened in the months before, in the days
when the world’s media was focussed elsewhere, but it appears that he didn’t
do enough. He’s in a vice, really, and escape route options are being closed
off everywhere he turns. That’s more or less along the lines of what I think
we’re witnessing at the moment. (None of this means that I think he will
stop fighting though; that’s not in his nature at all: he is rabid and
ruthless when he feels he needs to be.)
The on-going delay in the results looks to me like a sign of shock and
disbelief from him. The thoughts going through his mind are probably along
the lines of, ‘How the hell did this happen?’ I imagine a bunch of people
probably got a serious shouting-at for not doing a good enough job. I think
Bob thought he had it in the bag - all rigged and wrapped up and ready to
present to the nation.
But he hasn’t. Sitting alone, isolated in his palace and surrounded by
‘yes-men’ who are enjoying the ride on his gravy-train, he has fatally
underestimated just how much the people want him to go. And as the days go
on he looks less and less confident; less and less a ‘winner’ (albeit a
lying cheating ‘winner’), and more and more like someone scheming to try and
find a way out of the corner he is backed into.
For example, Mugabe has in the past relished presenting his ‘victory’ to the
nation. I really feel that if Bob had had this election rigged enough to
allow him to walk that walk, we would have seen him strutting his stuff on
TV several days ago. We would have been subjected to the same brain-draining
boring speeches about the evils of the British and how through his victory
he has defeated imperialism again and blah blah blah all over again. But we
The other thing that convinces me that he is wriggling like a worm on a hook
is today’s news: why, if he has nothing to fear, would he or anyone - his
supporters even - try to stop the MDC from going to court to get ZEC to
release the results?
Surely they would be as keen as anyone else, if they believed in their
hearts that Mugabe had won, for ZEC to announce that result?
It suggests to me that it isn’t just the opposition who think the opposition
have won, but Mugabe’s diminishing pool of supporters appear to think so
This entry was written by Hope on Saturday, April 5th, 2008
Comment from The Star (SA), 5 April
The clampdown on the foreign media shows there's still a lot of fight left
in Mugabe, writes Fiona Forde
It started at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. A text message arrived to
say a woman had been arrested in the lobby of Harare's Meikles Hotel, where
I was staying. Within minutes, the hotel confirmed it. The Canadian
television reporter had been standing outside Meikles when she spotted a
group of riot police gathered on the opposite side of the street. She
pointed her camera in their direction. They gave chase. She darted for the
hotel. They caught up with her in the lobby and carted her away. That's when
the frantic text-messaging started. Throughout the city, word got round -
they were on to us all. And there were many of us illegal scribes all over
Zimbabwe, as the country braced for the results of last Saturday's
presidential poll between Robert Mugabe, Simba Makoni and Morgan Tsvangirai.
This week, Meikles alone has hosted more unwanted visitors than Mugabe would
care to contemplate, if not as paying guests then as frequent visitors
milling in the foyer, sipping coffee with the diplomats, each of us grasping
on to every last straw of information to try to piece together the puzzle
that the election aftermath had become. The texting continued. "I'm okay."
"I'm lying low." ." "Have you heard anything else?" And a flurry of other
brief communications to a similar effect was to follow. Within 40 minutes or
so, the hotel manager phoned to say the woman had been released. She was one
of the lucky ones, it transpired. She had accreditation. Within half an
hour, the phone was buzzing again. "The CIO [Central Intelligence
Organisation] are at the York Lodge" - a sprawling guesthouse on the
outskirts of the city and a longtime favourite for the hundreds of
journalists who have passed this way before.
A friend of mine, an NGO worker, was staying there. For an hour or so he
kept me updated, until we lost contact shortly after 6 o'clock. The lodge
had been raided and the guests had fled. Throughout the night, not a whisper
was heard from them. All the text messages went unanswered. But the phone
kept hissing. Barry Bearak, the Joburg-based correspondent for The New York
Times, had been arrested. Minutes later, another reporter was picked up -
this time Briton Stephen Bevan, a reporter for The Sunday Telegraph.
Yesterday, the authorities charged them for "practising without
accreditation" but promised to release them "soon after screening". Dileepan
Sivapathasundaram, an American who works for the US National Democratic
Institute (NDI), came next. He was picked up as he attempted to board his
evening flight to Joburg and detained at an unknown location throughout
Yesterday morning, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright, the NDI
chair, demanded to know his whereabouts as she called for his release. Two
more Americans who worked for the National Endowment of Democracy had met a
similar fate that evening. They were released later that night. But the
phone kept buzzing. A Spanish friend, one of the few European journalists
who was accredited, had driven to the outskirts of Harare in the early
afternoon with a local man, an NGO worker who earned a few extra US dollars
ferrying my friend around. They had gone to catch a glimpse of Mugabe's
sprawling estate. The Zimbabwean was arrested soon after he dropped my
friend off at the hotel. He was also released later that night. Meanwhile,
the Meikles Hotel was being raided - something that escaped my attention
until later in the night. While I was holed up on the ninth floor, members
of the country's secret service were raiding rooms that had been rented by
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on the sixth floor. No one was
arrested and nothing was taken.
It was around then that the phones went dead in Zimbabwe. And there wasn't a
whisper from the crew at York Lodge, among them foreign journalists and
activists who had escaped the raid and gone into hiding. No amount of
texting would raise a response. And still not a whisper by yesterday
morning. It all unfolded as the country was entering its sixth day without
knowing who was stepping into State House. There was movement behind the
scenes on Thursday, and the tension had begun to mount. By the afternoon it
was palpable. Something was afoot, but nobody knew what. In the absence of
any credible information, the rumour mill kicked into action. A coup d'etat
with the announcement of a rigged vote. A military clampdown. A state of
emergency. In essence, it was a scare tactic, and a carefully planned one at
In the run-up to the election, the notorious Minister for Information,
George Charamba, had made it clear that the Western media weren't welcome.
But, that didn't stop Charamba extending an invitation for the foreign media
to come. US$1 700 was the asking price for full accreditation (compared to
US$150 for the Southern African Development Community region). They all
applied. Less than a handful passed the test. It's like the Bible, Charamba
said. There are only a chosen few. It didn't stop them flocking to Zimbabwe
in recent weeks to cover the controversial poll. In recent days, more and
more familiar faces and names showed up on the Harare beat as the aftermath
of the vote became an even bigger story than the campaign itself. The end of
Mugabe's rule was nigh, and it was too good a story to miss. The enemy - as
he likes to call the West - was in his midst throughout this week, but
Mugabe didn't appear to be doing much about it.
Reports of the election aftermath were beamed into homes all over the world
by international media. Speculation about what Mugabe might do next was
filling newspaper columns all over the world. Hardly an hour went by when
news about Zimbabwe's tortuous wait was not covered on radio. Internet sites
were in full swing. And most of the information was being fed by
unaccredited journalists moving freely throughout the country this week. To
add to the irony, Charamba gave an interview to CNN on Monday in a desperate
bid to dismiss reports that his boss was about to step down. It was one of
the TV stations he had banned from the country. Yet when it came to
spreading the word to the world, it was to them he turned. You couldn't make
it up if you tried: the president's man reporting live on a banned TV
station that was being carried live in his own country.
For years the world has watched Mugabe take wobbly steps in the wrong
direction as his people flocked into our own backyards to seek shelter from
his brutal regime. Many a time have world leaders thrown their hands up in
the air in despair. Mugabe had become a force to be dealt with, but nobody
knew how. Just like nobody had any idea this week how the man from Matibiri
might play this election game. As he carefully managed the results this
week, he was also carefully managing emotions. There was a limit to the
number of times the MDC could speak out and claim a victory. They took to
the stage on Sunday, claiming they had won the vote. They repeated their
message on Monday. They wheeled out Tsvangirai on Tuesday. They reiterated
his message on Wednesday, hoping to force the hand of the state-run
electoral commission. But Mugabe must have been casting that characteristic
wry smile of his in the wings. There was no more the MDC could announce.
By Thursday, they had nothing left to say. The show was Mugabe's now. And
whatever he chooses to do next, he does without the intense gaze of the
hundreds of observers who were there earlier in the week. Some journalists
have begun to leave, too, promising to return for the expected second round.
Zimbabweans continue to go about their business. It has been a week now, and
life must go on. It's hard to find anyone to tell you they didn't vote for
change. But it's equally hard to find anyone who will tell you they are
prepared to do anything about it if they don't get it. The old man couldn't
have played his cards better. For six days, the Meikles Hotel has been the
epicentre of this race. It has been a meeting point for diplomats, media,
civil society groups, NGOs and the like. It was where the MDC hosted its
press conferences. It was where word went around like wildfire. Mugabe was
staying silent, so everyone else spoke in his name.
Text messages ripped through this hotel every other second. A different
version of the same story would follow seconds later. Other versions would
appear within minutes. Different talking heads confirmed their own versions
of events, everyone of them highly credible. Yet none of them based on fact.
Mugabe has done it again. He has pulled the wool over our eyes. He allowed
us to write the stories, to remake the history of this country. Zimbabwe
according to the world. All the while he was looking on. But, at the 11th
hour, he decided to pounce, to send a chill up our spines. The real story is
about to land. And it's according to him now, and not us.
Fri Apr 4, 2008 5:27pm BST
April 4 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's liberation war veterans, loyal backers of
President Robert Mugabe, said on Friday claims of election victory by the
opposition MDC were a "provocation against freedom fighters."
Below are some details about the war veterans.
* The veterans came to the fore in the late 1990s when the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association forced Mugabe's government to pay a huge
one-off gratuity to those who fought in the country's liberation war which
ended in 1980.
The government later introduced a pension scheme for them.
* They are estimated to be around 30,000 strong and often act alongside the
ruling ZANU-PF party's youth brigades -- known commonly as "green bombers"
because of the military style clothes they wear.
* Human rights groups and the opposition MDC have charged that the war
veterans had intimidated voters at each election since 2000 -- an accusation
denied by Mugabe and his government.
* The war veterans spearheaded the seizure of white-owned farms, which began
eight years ago. Human rights groups have accused veterans of occupying
farms and assaulting farm owners and workers.
* Since 2000, war veterans leaders have repeatedly said they will use
violence to prevent the MDC to come to power. Mugabe says the MDC is a
stooge of Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial master. Source: Reuters
(Writing by Marius Bosch)
Saturday, 05 April 2008 08:13
Election observers too busy to observe, car chases with Zanu thugs, and
always a Mugabe nephew just round the corner, Eric de Jong describes a
typical day in a free and fair election.
I travelled up to Zimbabwe on Tuesday, March 25 to help the MDC (Tsvangirai)
faction with election preparations. I volunteered to help three candidates:
Joseph Mutsvanga from Zvimba East, Knox Danda from Zimbabwe West and Edward
Musumbu from Norton. For those who don’t know, Zvimba is around 80
kilometres from Harare and is the area where Robert Mugabe was born. As such
it is regarded as the Zanu (PF) heartland. The job I was given was to help
prepare food packs for the MDC polling agents and to assist with deployment
of the agents on the Friday before the election.Knox Danda was unable to
attend our final planning meeting on the Friday morning. He had been placed
under house-arrest by Nelson Samkange, the Zanu (PF) candidate. Samkange was
the former governor of Mashonaland West. Knox was told that he would be
beaten or killed if he left his house to campaign on the Friday. Or what
remained of his house! Half of Knox’s home was burnt down by Samkange’s
thugs on Thursday, March 13 in an attack that followed an MDC rally.
Knox reported the incident to the police station 15 kilometres away, but
unfortunately the police said they were unable to attend. Two weeks later
and still the police had not reacted to the arson, despite being given the
names of the perpetrators. Busy, busy, busy these Zimbabwean
policemen!Observers unable to leave hotel.
Knox sent three of his polling agents to attend our planning meeting in his
absence. All had been beaten by Samkange’s thugs at the rally on the 13th.
Once again, the police had not yet been able to respond to the reports of
After we finished our planning meeting, I took one of the beaten polling
agents to see one of the election observer teams. We got in to see the
pan-African team. I explained to them that our candidate was unable to
campaign on the last day before elections. Whilst they agreed that this was
indeed unfortunate, they said they were unable to leave their office in the
Meikles Hotel. I said that this was unacceptable. They suggested I return at
1pm to meet with the head of their delegation, the Honorable Khumalo. This I
The Honorable Khumalo agreed that the fact that our candidate had his house
burnt down was unfortunate. Ditto his inability to campaign. Ditto the
numerous beatings that had been meted out to MDC supporters. But he was
unfortunately unable to travel to Zvimba to meet with Knox. The soonest he
would be able to do so would be the Sunday – the day after the election.
Take it or leave it. I said I’d take it and made arrangements to take him
out on the Sunday to show him the ruins of both Knox’s house and his
Whilst I was meeting with the observers, deployment of the agents was taking
place. With our limited resources – three pick-up trucks and a Mazda sedan –
deploying nearly 700 brave men and women across the width and breadth of the
three constituencies was a mammoth task that took the whole of Friday night.
It did not pass without incident. At 2am at Hilbre Estates in the Zvimba
East constituency one of our drivers was brutally assaulted by a Central
Intelligence Organisation operative. Coincidentally, he was a close relative
of Robert Mugabe and a candidate in the local government elections.
Mutandirwa chased the MDC driver in his pick-up truck and tried to run him
off the road on numerous occasions. The assault was reported to the Nyabira
Police Station but they were too busy to react.
John Stanton, a friend from Johannesburg, and I set out early on the
Saturday morning with Nixon the chief election agent and two other polling
agents to check that all the MDC polling agents at the 140 polling stations
were in place and that there was no funny-business on the go. Alas. We
bumped into said funny-business at one of the first polling stations we
visited – Gwebi College.
Zanu party at polling station.
We found a party on the go in the room right next to the polling station.
The party/ beer drink was being hosted by Frank Sada, the incumbent Zanu
(PF) councillor. Nixon felt that the sight of Zanu (PF) luminaries swilling
beer in full sight of queuing voters could be construed as intimidating. The
presiding officer, a government employee, felt differently. And so we set
off in search of an election observer. Eventually we found what I think was
the only observer assigned to Zvimba East and Zvimba West constituencies, an
area of around 1,000 square kilometres, at a polling station called Royden
Farm. We also found Patrick Zhwao, the incumbent Zanu (PF) MP and yet
another Mugabe nephew there – a charming, dreadlocked young man with
designer jeans, pointy Italian shoes and a crocodile smile.
Patrick engaged John and I in lighthearted banter. He wanted to know why we
had chosen a losing party to support. I suggested that given the fact the
votes hadn’t been counted that his observations were premature, unless of
course he knew something I didn’t. We left Zhwao and went to where the
lonely observer was sitting, to complain about the beer drink at the Gwebi
The observer tut-tutted quietly but said, unfortunately, due to a lack of
transport, he wasn’t going to be able to react. I offered him a lift. But
unfortunately with voters streaming into the Royden Farm polling station at
a rate of about five an hour he wasn’t going to be able to leave Royden.
Zhwaoa, who I am sure listened in on our conversation, left the polling
station with his groupies in his shiny new double-cab. After another five
minutes of Nixon trying to persuade the observer to do his duty, we followed
suit. After a kilometre, we were waved down by a group of very young
children. They warned us the road was blocked. And so it was. By Patrick
I assured John that Zhuwao wouldn’t try anything on polling day. The road we
were on was too narrow to overtake and we were forced to follow Zhwao as he
crept along at 20 kilometres an hour. Ever the optimist, I figured he was
nursing the aforementioned shiny new car.
[xhead]Truck of fist-waving thugs
About 300 metres from the main road, Patrick, with his crocodile smile,
pulled over and waved us on. I pulled onto the main road with a huge sense
of relief. Alas. Mutandariwa, the other Mugabe nephew, was waiting for us
with a truck full of fist-waving thugs. We fled at speeds I did not know my
Tata pick-up was capable of. At times we were driving at 160 kilometres an
hour over some of the worst roads I have ever driven on. With Mutandariwa
and friends right up my bum. And every time I looked in the rear-view
mirror, Nixon and his polling agents were throwing ‘Vote For Morgan’
stickers at Mutandariwa. Super. More reason for the veins on the man’s neck
to stick out.
We were 50 kilometres from Harare. I headed for Meikles Hotel with its rooms
bulging full of busy, busy observers. On the outskirts of Harare, though, I
bumped into a police roadblock. The police waved us down. Before we could
explain ourselves to the police, Mutandawira roared up. He identified
himself as Military Intelligence and grabbed my car keys and John’s and my
passports. He told the cops to hold us whilst he went off reinforcements.
In Zimbabwe, CIO or Charley Ten as they are more commonly known do not have
powers of arrest. I begged the young policeman who was in charge of the
roadblock to not let Mutandawira take us away when he returned. He was a
very brave young man and he stood his ground when Mutandawira and another
car full of thugs returned. He told them that he would hand us over to his
superior in the Traffic Department at Harare Central. Long story cut short –
we ended up in the Law and Order offices.
Law and Order handle political crimes and were the ones who beat Morgan to
within an inch of his life. Thankfully, John and I were travelling on
foreign passports. During the crazy car chase, John had banged off a million
text messages to observers, the media, Tendai Biti and Roy Bennett of the
MDC and anyone else he could think of. The Chief Superintendent of the Law
and Order section, a charming gentleman who had obviously never quite got
over the fact that his mother never loved him, didn’t bother to ask for our
version of events. He preferred the CIO version, which had us distributing
MDC campaign materials at polling stations.
We pointed out that the police at those polling stations would surely have
arrested us on the spot. Undaunted, he ordered us to be fingerprinted. We
also had to fill out Accused Profiles. The bit about what crimes we were
being accused of remained blank. Morgan had won.
Eventually, the lawyers arrived, organised by Tendai Biti. They were amazing
and had obviously been there and done that a million times. We weren’t their
only clients in the Law and Order section that night. They were looking
after some dastardly fiends accused of waving and even Chipo Chung, the
daughter of Fay, Mugabe’s former Minister of Education, who had committed
the heinous crime of taking a camera to within 300 metres of a polling
station. She never took a photo but just having the camera was enough to get
thrown into cells for the night.
At 10am, we were finally asked to give statements. Whilst doing this, a
junior policeman received a phone-call. She listened intently, hung up and
told us that we had won. She gave a little dance of celebration and then
hugged us. The MDC had won.
The call had been from a friend at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. I
burst into tears. Morgan and the MDC had cleaned up in both the House of
Assembly and Presidential races.
The only good thing that Thabo Mbeki managed to achieve in his months of
negotiations was to force Mugabe to allow the vote count to be posted
outside each and every polling station. And each and every Constituency
Command Post. In full view of the people of Zimbabwe, who then did the sums.
But the mood soured when a senior police officer entered the room. He was
also crying but his weren’t tears of joy. His career as a torturer was
nearing an end.
John and I flew out on a plane at 6pm, leaving behind a lot of brave people
who didn’t have the luxury of foreign passports. People like Knox Danda, who
phoned me on the Sunday, still too frightened to leave what remained of his
home, but still waiting for the Honourable Khumalo to come out and rescue
I see the Honourable Khumalo and his team have since described the elections
as being largely free and fair. I sit here in South Africa watching the
farce as Mugabe commits a massive crime and steals a whole country, again.
But an even bigger crime will be committed by the South African Government
if they let him get away with it.
We fled at speeds I did not know my Tata pick-up was capable of. At times we
were driving at 160 kilometres an hour over some of the worst roads I have
ever driven on. With Mutandariwa and friends right up my bum.
5 April, 2008
Two South African media technicians, who have been held by Zimbabwean
authorities since March 27th, were yesterday released by a Harare
magistrate, only to be immediately re-arrested and returned to police
Sipho Moses Maseko and Abdulla Ismael Gaibee are employed by Globecast
Satellite South Africa as engineers and were granted permission by the state
to cover a press conference on elections by Dr Sikanyiso Ndlovu, Minister of
Information and Publicity. But they were arrested and charged with violating
the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Their lawyer, Mr Wilbert Mandinde, explained how the two had spent the
better part of this week at Harare Magistrate Court as their matter has been
postponed from one day to another until they eventually appeared before
Harare Regional Magistrate Stephen Musona on 4th April. The prosecution
failed to show up for the case and the defence team then submitted an
application for the dismissal of the matter in terms of Section 320(1) of
Zimbabwe's Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which states that ‘if the
prosecutor does not appear in court on the day appointed for the trial, the
accused may move the court to discharge him and the charge may be dismissed.’
The Magistrate agreed with the defence and dismissed the matter, ordering
the immediate release of the accused mens’ passports, cameras and outside
broadcasting van, which had been confiscated by the state when they arrested
But immediately after the ruling detectives from the Law and Order Section
of Harare Central Police, who were led by Detective Chief Inspector
Rangwani, re-arrested the two men, saying that the Magistrate's ruling was
Mr Mandinde said that the men are engineers and not journalists, and do not
need journalistic accreditation under AIPPA. He added that he believes the
state has embarked on a campaign to pick up and detain international
journalists because they “do not want the international media to witness the
reactions of Zimbabweans to the fact that Mugabe actually lost the
elections, and because they don’t want the media to witness what they
believe will be a very bad and violent campaign for a run-off election.”
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
April 05, 2008
A determined activist protesting outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in
Washington DC, made so much noise that the officials there were forced to
invite him inside for a chat. Charles Mutama, a coordinator with the
Zimbabweans in Exile group, said he had invited Zimbabweans living in the
Washington DC area to join him in protesting against the handling of
election results. Unfortunately he was the only one who showed up Friday
Mutama said he brought a megaphone and stood outside the Embassy, shouting
out his displeasure at the delay in the announcement of the presidential
election result. The officials inside the Embassy eventually called secret
service agents who invited him inside to speak to Embassy officials.
Mutasa said: “I spoke to a Councillor and I thanked him for inviting me into
their cosy offices. I told them that we want the results of the elections
announced, especially the presidential elections.” The Councillor told
Mutasa that he had chosen the wrong method to get his message across.
As for Mutasa’s request regarding the results of the elections, he was told
that everyone is waiting and he should also wait patiently for the
announcements. “I told him you know the results already. You are part of the
system and you know what they are doing”, said Mutasa.
Mutasa said he plans to continue speaking out about issues that are
important to him. He said that he blamed himself for the zero turnout at the
Embassy because he publicised the event too late. He did wish that more
Zimbabweans would take the initiative to do something about the crisis back
home, because there is power in numbers.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
HARARE, April 5 (AFP)
Lawyers for two foreign journalists arrested in Zimbabwe lodged Saturday a
legal bid with the high court demanding their immediate release, but the
pair faced a third night in a Harare jail.
New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak, 58, and a 45-year-old journalist
from Britain were picked up at a Harare guest house on Thursday and later
charged with illegally reporting on Zimbabwe's general elections.
Their lawyers say the attorney general has decided the journalists have no
case to answer and have launched a legal effort to force their release.
"The police have refused to comply with the attorney-general's directive so
we are doing an urgent application today to compel the police to release
them," lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told AFP.
The application was later filed at the high court but the lawyers said they
were not given a hearing date and that this would not happen until Sunday at
The New York Times reported Saturday that their correspondent had been
recharged with "falsely presenting himself as a journalist" after police
realised that an earlier charge of working without accreditation was
Zimbabwean authorities barred most foreign media from covering last
Saturday's general elections and had warned they would deal severely with
journalists who sneaked into the country.
However a number of news organisations, including the BBC, have been filing
reports from correspondents operating under cover.
Mugabe's government passed a media law on the eve of the last presidential
elections in 2002 which has been invoked to expel foreign correspondents and
shut down at least four independent newspapers.