by Edith Kaseke Monday 07 April 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has set up a crack taskforce
committee headed by a senior army general to try to reverse a humiliating
defeat at the hands of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, ruling ZANU-PF
Although there are no official results from the March 29 presidential poll,
it is common knowledge that the 84-year-old leader was beaten by long time
ZANU-PF and independent projections however show that Tsvangirai was a shade
below the 50-plus percent required to take power from Mugabe, but Tsvangirai
has claimed victory saying he won enough votes to avoid a second round of
The sources said the committee comprises central bank chief Gideon Gono,
Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, ZANU-PF national commissar Elliot
Manyika, trained secret service operative and ZANU-PF legislator Saviour
Kasukuwere and a top army general.
The team draws in Gono’s expertise to mobilise financial resources, Manyika’s
usually crude mobilisation tactics and the army’s logistical expertise in a
desperate bid to keep the ageing Mugabe in power.
“I can confirm that the taskforce is in place and will be running Comrade
Mugabe’s run-off campaign,” a knowledgeable ruling ZANU-PF party source told
On Friday night Manyika held a marathon meeting with the leaders of the war
veterans and collaborators for “serious briefing” on how Mugabe’s campaign
will be handled.
“The groundwork is being laid as we speak. You can not rule out coercion and
violence,” said the source, who is among senior politburo members who failed
to convince Mugabe at last Friday’s politburo meeting to negotiate a safe
exit with Tsvangirai.
ZANU PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa refused take questions
on the matter.
"What business is it of yours? You want me to tell you how we are going to
campaign, certainly not," Mutasa said curtly before switching off his mobile
Our sources said the committee’s terms of reference are to raise money for
Mugabe during what would be an intense three weeks of campaigning ahead of
the presidential run-off.
The source said the money would be used to buy voters outright and to pay
war veterans and ZANU-PF militia, all Mugabe’s shock troops who have
anchored his past election campaigns.
Despite being suspended from ZANU-PF, war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda
has been re-called to lead the campaign in rural areas and is using the
ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare as the war veterans’ command centre.
Some war veterans have already been given Chinese-made pick up trucks and
have been cited in rural provinces to prepare the groundwork for what could
turn out to be another violent campaign.
Reports on Sunday said war veterans and militant ZANU PF youths had begun
seizing some of the few remaining white-owned farms, especially in parts of
the southern Masvingo province.
Three cattle ranchers said they were forced off their land on Saturday while
a fourth farmer was on Sunday reportedly still holding out, with about 50
militants threatening to break down his farm gates.
Sources say farm invasions will spread across the countryside in days to
come as ZANU PF pushes to regain the upper hand in rural and farming areas
where it surprisingly lost several seats to Tsvangirai’s MDC party.
Zimbabwe looks set to be plunged into political violence as Mugabe seeks to
defend his turf from a resurgent Tsvangirai, some quarters had long written
off as a fading opposition leader.
There are suggestions Mugabe did not want a run-off with Tsvangirai and had
instead opted for a transitional period to safeguard himself and his family,
but was pushed to stand by a small cabal of loyalists that do not see any
future without him.
Security has been beefed around Zimbabwe’s only ruler since independence
from Britain in 1980, with tankers now seen outside his official State House
residence since Monday when he was told he had lost the election.
“But what is more interesting is the inclusion of Gono, he seems to have
tied his fate to President Mugabe. I don’t know whether that is a wise move
or not given the political climate prevailing at the moment,” the source
said. – ZimOnline.
by Farisai Gonye Monday 07 April 2008
MASVINGO – Zimbabwe police authorities have jailed an officer who
questioned election officials at a polling station why they were recounting
votes after four previous counts had shown President Robert Mugabe trailing
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Police sources said constable Admire Makaya has been languishing in
cells at Masvingo Rural police camp since his arrest last week. They said
the secret service ordered the detention of Makaya, who has not yet appeared
in court or before the internal police disciplinary committee.
Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka confirmed Makaya's arrest, who he
accused of contravening the Police Act, which bars offices from engaging in
Mandipaka said: "He conducted himself in a manner that contravened the
Police Act. We warn other officers to desist from engaging in political
But sources said Makaya was arrested for querying Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) staff on what he believed to have been unfair handling of
Tsvangirai's votes at a polling station in the town, about 300 km south of
The sources said Makaya was last Tuesday morning picked up by members
of the state’s spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), who went away
"The CIO operatives retuned with him after four hours of interrogation
and they ordered that we detain him. He is still in the cells," said a
police officer, who did not want to be named for fear of victmisation.
Votes for joint presidential, parliamentary, and council elections
held on 29 March were counted and declared at polling stations. Analysts say
this has made vote rigging by Mugabe difficult.
Tsvangirai's main opposition MDC has won the majority of parliamentary
seats in results announced by ZEC.
However, the opposition leader has had to go to court seeking to force
ZEC to announce presidential election results. A High Court judge will on
Monday rule on the opposition application seeking to compel the ZERC to
release results of the presidential poll. – ZimOnline.
This is a press release, just received. For the context to this please see our previous post:
REQUEST FOR A RECOUNT OF PRESIDENTIAL BALLOTS BEFORE RESULTS ARE ANNOUNCED IS UNPROCEDURAL AND PREMATURE
The state-controlled Sunday Mail edition of 6-12 April 2008 contains a front-page story indicating that ZANU-PF has requested the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to “recount and audit all its election material relating to last week’s presidential election following revelations of errors and miscalculations in the compilation of the poll result“.
Should this report be accurate, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) wishes to express its grave concern at such unprocedural action which has the potential to compromise the entire electoral process.
Assumedly, the Chief Elections Officer is purporting to currently be in the verification, collation and addition phase of the presidential election results from the constituencies although this cannot be confirmed due to the lack of information from ZEC and the non-transparency of the entire process. ZLHR understands “verification” to entail scrutiny of the original returns from the constituency centres to ensure that they have not been tampered with. Verification does not include reopening ballot boxes, and re-scrutinizing and recounting ballot papers. In relation to a presidential election, the Electoral Act, as amended, does not have any provision for a recount of the votes at all, and especially during the verification process.
Should reliance be placed on the recount provisions relating to a dispute about a duly declared member of the House of Assembly or Senate, then such a recount can only be requested once the declaration of due election has been made by the constituency elections officer or the senatorial constituency elections officer respectively.
Section 67 A (1) and (2) of the Electoral Act, as amended, set out the procedure for recounting of votes on the written request of a candidate for a constituency. Such recount must be done within 48 hours of the declaration of a candidate to be duly elected. The party requesting the recount must also set out the number of votes believed to have been miscounted, how the miscount occurred (if known), and how the results have been affected by the alleged miscount. The recount will be allowed where ZEC considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the alleged miscount occurred and that, if it did occur, it would have affected the result of the election. Representatives of the contesting political parties and accredited observers are entitled to be advised of the date, place and time of the recount and to observe the process.
Best international practice would require that the same procedure be followed in respect of dispute of the results of the presidential election.
The Second Schedule (Section 110) of the Electoral Act, as amended, stipulates that once the votes from each constituency have been added together, the Chief Elections Officer shall forthwith declare the winning candidate to be duly elected. It is only after such a declaration that a request for a recount can be made.
ZLHR is further concerned that the inordinate delay in releasing the results of the presidential election, coupled with the lack of information as to the whereabouts and security of the ballot boxes during this time, has created a perception in the minds of the ordinary interested voter and member of the public that tampering may have occurred, which would compromise the integrity of the election material in any recount.
ZLHR has written urgently to the Chairperson of ZEC to provide information in this regard.
In the meantime, we reiterate our call to the Chief Elections Officer of ZEC to announce the results of the presidential election forthwith, and to ensure that ZEC maintains and displays its independence in carrying out its duties in terms of the law. We further condemn the attempts of an interested party to unlawfully influence the electoral process by pressuring ZEC to undertake illegal and unprocedural processes, thus further delaying the announcement of the results.
19:41 GMT, Sunday, 6 April 2008 20:41 UK
Gordon Brown has held private talks with South African President Thabo
Mbeki over the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Mr Brown spent more than two hours trying to persuade Mr Mbeki to use
his influence to end the situation.
A Number 10 spokesperson said the private meeting had involved "in
depth" discussions on the issue.
Meanwhile Robert Mugabe's party has asked Zimbabwe's electoral
officials to delay presidential poll results to check "errors and
As he left Downing Street, reporters asked Mr Mbeki whether there had
been any progress, to which he replied: "I don't know, we will see."
As Zimbabwe's most important neighbour and ally Mr Mbeki is seen as
one of the few world leaders capable of exerting influence on President
But he has been reluctant to criticise the Zimbabwean leader and has
rejected calls for international intervention.
Mr Mbeki came to Britain for the Progressive Governance summit of
centre left leaders which ended on Saturday.
Speaking about Zimbabwe at the close of the conference in Watford, he
said: "The situation for now is manageable.
"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
April 7, 2008
Is Thabo Mbeki's quiet diplomacy' part of the running gag in Zimbabwe?
Robert Mugabe in all his 84 years has not until now been known for comedic
flair. But what else other than a keen sense of humour could explain his
claim - made via his Zanu-PF allies - that the Opposition had cheated in
Zimbabwe's election, hence the need for a recount in 16 constituencies? With
a wit like that, the President could spend his overdue retirement wowing
crowds at seaside and spa towns across Britain with lines like “How do you
blow up the world's biggest balloon? With 100,000 per cent inflation” or
“There is supposed to be an obesity crisis, isn't there? Someone had to have
the courage to stop his people overeating.” Ken Dodd must be quaking at the
There is, alas, no evidence that Mr Mugabe intends to abandon Harare for
Harrogate. He is instead preparing for a second round in the presidential
election where he will use every possible trick to have himself declared the
victor. This is obvious to virtually all of Africa (and beyond) except one
individual, Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's President and architect of a “quiet
diplomacy” approach towards his neighbour.
Before meeting Gordon Brown this weekend, surreally opting to be in
Hertfordshire at an hour when the southern half of his continent is in
meltdown, Mr Mbeki said that the present situation in Zimbabwe is
“manageable” and this is “not the time to interfere”.
It is difficult to decide which of those two statements is the more
fantastic. If today's circumstances in Zimbabwe - in which an election
result has been shamelessly held back until the incumbent figures out what
the numbers released should be, real GDP has shrunk by half since 2000,
production of maize has fallen by 90 per cent from then, inducing
starvation, and unemployment is at an effective rate of 80 per cent - are
manageable, one struggles to divine what might be the kind of conditions
that Mr Mbeki would deem “not very manageable”. And if this is “not the time
to interfere”, precisely what scale of political malpractice and economic
anarchy would prompt him to back “limited intervention”? In his own way, Mr
Mbeki could rival Mr Mugabe when it comes to Tommy Cooper territory.
The South African President has, unfortunately, form on this question. When
Mr Mugabe swiped the last presidential contest in 2002, Mr Mbeki said his
win was valid. In advance of the 2005 parliamentary poll in Zimbabwe, marked
by massive intimidation and a media muzzling of the Movement for Democratic
Change, Mr Mbeki announced that “I have no reason to think that anything
will happen... that anybody in Zimbabwe will act in a way that will militate
against the elections being free and fair.” Despite the fact that the ballot
conducted was more rigged than a 150ft clipper ship, Mr Mbeki's chosen
observers published an account in which they “congratulated the people of
Zimbabwe for holding a peaceful, credible and well-managed election which
reflects the will of the people”. Not long afterwards, Mr Mbeki used a
television interview to blame “divisions within the MDC” as the main reason
why he had, sadly, been unable to broker a settlement.
This is not “quiet diplomacy”, it is naked appeasement. It also makes the
South African President the second-most responsible man for the catastrophe
that is modern Zimbabwe.
The only reason why Mr Mugabe did not declare himself re-elected instantly
is because election monitors from South Africa who were independent of Mr
Mbeki insisted that the results be posted locally. This enabled a reasonably
accurate assessment to be made of the numbers which would be difficult for
the Zimbabwean Election Commission to overturn. This information should have
been sufficient for Mr Mbeki to have stated that, at a minimum, Morgan
Tsvangirai had outscored Mr Mugabe in the initial election and that more
external observers should be in a position to scrutinise the final run-off
closely. If he had done this a week ago, Mr Mugabe may well already have
been heading out of his office.
Britain has been exercising its own version of “quiet diplomacy” on Mr
Mbeki. Mr Brown seems to have stuck with this softly, softly strategy. The
theory is that if we keep the volume down in public and persuade in private,
Mr Mbeki in turn will convince Comrade Bob to be less beastly to his
opponents and his population and take off for a villa somewhere. Yet this
low-key approach has yielded almost nothing, and probably never will.
This is the moment to be ready to adopt the only course of action that might
humiliate Mr Mbeki into finally taking decisive measures. Britain should
overtly open a direct dialogue about Zimbabwe with Jacob Zuma, the South
African President's deputy, the man who recently defeated him for control
over the ANC and hence his heir apparent. Mr Zuma is not the most appealing
of men, with accusations of corruption as well as sexual impropriety
surrounding him, but on the Zimbabwe matter he is a comparative pragmatist
and does not seem to believe that Mr Mugabe is owed any favours for his
stance in the 1970s.
Mr Zuma would relish the chance to take centre stage and emerge as
Zimbabwe's saviour and a regional statesman, 12 months before he prepares to
assume the presidency. That this would profoundly embarrass Mr Mbeki, whom
he loathes, would be an added bonus. It would also allow him to rebuild
personal links with his own business community which has been desperately
lobbying for something to be done about the economic damage being done to
South Africa by Zimbabwe's collapse.
Zimbabwe and Africa cannot afford Mr Mugabe to be in office a year hence. If
he is, then the exodus of people, perhaps two million more, will reduce what
little is left of the country to total destitution. The task of salvaging
its economy would be all but impossible. Zimbabwe's very last hope depends
upon a transfer of power in the next few weeks. The idea that the MDC has
stolen the parliamentary election might be side-splittingly funny. The
notion of Mr Mugabe carrying on, by contrast, is no joke.
By Alec Russell, Southern Africa Correspondent
Published: April 6 2008 22:02 | Last updated: April 6 2008 22:02
Vigilante gangs loyal to President Robert Mugabe and claiming to be veterans
of the war of independence have begun a campaign of intimidation in rural
areas where opposition support is strong, intensifying concerns that a
presidential run-off will be scarred by violence.
On Sunday, it emerged that gangs of self-styled war-veterans had surrounded
six farms in the central Zimbabwean area of Masvingo.
The province is traditionally one of Mr Mugabe’s strongholds, but in the
March 29 presidential and parliamentary elections, it recorded a marked
shift in support to Mr Tsvangirai.
Officials from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said on Sunday
that a dozen election campaigners in areas that were formerly Zanu-PF
strongholds but now backed the MDC, had been arrested and charged with
provoking a breach of the peace. “It’s really the old subversion and
intimidation,” said Ian Makone, the party’s chief election strategist.
The show of force in Masvingo, clearly orchestrated by the state, was widely
interpreted as the clearest sign yet that Mr Mugabe was determined to fight
on to stay in power.
It came as the MDC sought a court order to force the release of last month’s
Eight days after the polls closed, the state-appointed Zimbabwe Election
Commission had last night still not released the results of the most
important election in Zimbabwe since Mr Mugabe took power at independence in
MDC officials say their figures show that the party’s leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, won an outright majority in the first round, meaning there was
no need for a run-off. They fear, however, that Zanu-PF is delaying the
release of the results, which had been collated and counted over a week ago,
either to falsify the figures or to buy time to prepare a fight-back.
According to the election rules, a second round should be held within three
weeks. However, there is mounting speculation inside the ruling Zanu-PF that
Mr Mugabe might use his special presidential powers to delay a run-off by 90
Harare on Sunday night faced increasing international pressure for the
results to be released. Australia’s foreign minister, Stephen Smith, said he
was increasingly concerned that Mr Mugabe was about to use ”brutal habits”
to retain power.
But Zanu-PF shrugged off the calls and instead appealed for another
postponement by demanding a recount.
April 7, 2008
Jonathan Clayton, Africa Correspondent
Commentators and political analysts across Africa expressed mounting
frustration yesterday at the near silence of African leaders on the Zimbabwe
With presidential results still not announced more than a week after the
poll, many also voiced concern that continuing turmoil in the country could
have damaging economic consequences for the entire region.
South Africa's Sunday Times said that the “festering sore” of Zimbabwe must
be brought to an end and lambasted the “quiet diplomacy” of President Mbeki.
“The South African Government must not allow Mugabe to subvert democracy
again. No matter what Pretoria's spin doctors say, South Africa's strategy
of quiet diplomacy has done little more than to cosset Mugabe while he raped
his country,” it said. “Mugabe has over the past eight years shown that he
has no respect for Thabo Mbeki and has made South Africa's President the
laughing stock of the diplomatic world.”
The weekly Mail & Guardian took a more positive line. It emphasised that Mr
Mugabe had been dealt a mortal blow and no matter how protracted and bloody
it may be that the end was finally in sight. “His halo of invincibility has
been damaged beyond repair,” it said.
Amid reports from Zimbabwe of a hardening of positions by hawks within the
ruling Zanu (PF) party, the paper again reiterated that Mr Mugabe had to
leave office for any negotiations to succeed. “No progress can be made until
he is forced off the body politic he has clung to, like a blood-sucking
parasite, for so many years,” it said.
Many analysts called on Mr Mbeki, mandated by the Southern African
Development Community to be the mediator for Zimbabwe, to come out more
forcefully and call for the results to be made public.
Reports from Zimbabwe indicated that the military were in no mood to let Mr
Mugabe, 84, step down, even if he wanted to do so, and had won the day over
others, such as his wife, Grace, who were urging him to depart the scene.
“We told him: 'Papa, you are not going anywhere. We are in this together, to
the end',” a senior army officer told The Times.
Military and security hardliners are apparently preparing to retake control
of parliament and put Mr Mugabe back in charge by alleging that the
Opposition bribed members of the Electoral Commission. Such a scenario
terrifies neighbouring countries, such as Zambia, which has put its army on
high alert and wants to see an end to the crisis so that a British-led £1
billion-a-year rescue package can start taking effect. African diplomats say
that a military crackdown is “too dreadful to contemplate”.
April 7, 2008
Catherine Philp in Harare
Militant supporters of Robert Mugabe descended on some of Zimbabwe's last
white-owned farms yesterday in an orchestrated campaign of intimidation
designed to keep him in power.
The invasions, which sparked memories of the farm seizures that ultimately
brought the economy to its knees, got under way as the ruling party and
opposition both launched legal battles over the release of election results.
Lawyers for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) appeared in court to
press for the immediate release of presidential poll results, more than a
week after the election. Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF), meanwhile, hit back
with a demand that results be withheld and a recount taken.
MDC leaders reacted with disbelief at the Zanu (PF) petition, questioning
how the party could dispute results yet to be released. Zanu (PF) has
already demanded a recount of 16 seats it lost in the parliamentary
contest - enough to overturn the majority won by the opposition in its shock
The MDC believes that its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the presidential
contest outright with more than 50 per cent, but on Friday Zanu (PF) paved
the way for a second round run-off, when it endorsed Mr Mugabe for the
fight. Fears that Mr. Mugabe would launch a “dirty war” of violence and
intimidation ahead of the vote materialised in southern Masvingo province on
Saturday when drunken war veterans invaded six white-owned farms, ordering
the farmers to leave.
A thousand veterans marched through Harare on Saturday in a show of force
for Mr Mugabe, vowing to defend the country against a new “white invasion”.
State media last week began a campaign claiming ousted white farmers were
returning in droves following Mr Mugabe's apparent defeat. The feared mob of
former bush guerrillas led the bloody takeover of white-owned farms
beginning in 2000.
In Masvingo state-run television filmed as livestock and farm machinery were
looted and ranchers forced off the land. Attackers also forced owners and
staff to flee Paynanda Lodge, a game lodge. Police later intervened and
persuaded them to leave, a sign that rank-and-file security forces may not
be prepared to carry out Mr Mugabe's will.
Senior security officials, many of whom are now the owners of confiscated
farms, have backed Mr Mugabe's bid to cling to power, fearful of their own
future should the regime fall. But ordinary police and soldiers have seen
their real incomes plummet as hyperinflation, now at an unofficial 250,000
per cent, takes grip, and may be less willing to shore up the regime.
In the northern town of Centenary veterans were reportedly still laying
siege to two white-owned farms. Hendrik Olivier, the head of the Commercial
Farmers' Union, said: “I've got one farmer and his wife with two children
and people banging on windows, ululating and telling them to vacate.”
In Harare the streets were almost deserted as MDC lawyers returned to the
High Court to file an urgent suit seeking the immediate release of
presidential election results, eight days after the polls. On Saturday a
first attempt to file the case was thwarted when riot police barred the
Foreign governments have joined the opposition clamour for the results to be
released, as fears grow that the electoral commission is using the delay to
massage the figures on Mr Mugabe's orders. The judge, after hearing
petitions from the MDC and the Electoral Commission, said that she would
issue her ruling today. But the state-run Sunday Mail, Zanu (PF)'s
mouthpiece, announced yesterday that its officials would be seeking a
recount of the presidential polls, claiming “miscalculations in the
compilation of the result”.
The public posting of results from individual stations after the polls shut
closed some of the better-worn avenues for vote rigging used by Zanu (PF) in
the past. The MDC furiously rejected the recount demand, and retracted its
willingness to take part in a second round run-off, fearful that the
Government was plotting a campaign of terror to steal the vote.
Nelson Chamisa, the opposition spokesman, told reporters that the opposition
had been contacted by sympathetic police alleging ballot-tampering efforts
by the ruling party. Under current election law, any run-off must be held
within three weeks of the original vote, but diplomats are fearful that Mr
Mugabe plans to use special powers to delay the poll for up to three months,
buying time to cow his opponents.
Mugabe's land grab
— 4,000 white-owned farms have been taken over since 2000
— 18 white farmers have been killed since the farm invasions began
— In 2007 one of the last remaining white farmers was strangled by intruders
in what campaigners called a “political hit”
— An estimated 400 white farmers remain in Zimbabwe
— 44 per cent of land seized was being cultivated in 2005 and the remainder
was lying fallow
— Maize production fell by 74 per cent between 1999 and 2004
Sources: Agencies; Times archive
By Akwei Thompson
06 April 2008
Last Saturday the people of Zimbabwe went to the polls to elect a new
president and a new parliament. Although the opposition MDC has won a narrow
majority in parliament, still, a week later, the final official outcome of
the presidential poll is not known.
On March 20th the International Crisis Group issued an executive summary and
recommendations on the Zimbabwe Elections. In it, It predicted that the
election results were likely to be heated and disputed.
Andebrhan Giorgis is an ICG Ambassador and Senior Advisor on African Affairs
in Nairobi, Kenya. VOA’s Akwei Thompson reached him by phone to discuss the
current political situation in Zimbabwe.
The situation in Zimbabwe after the elections “pretty much bears out what we
said in our executive summary.”
The executive summary had said: “84-year old Mugabe has the means to
manipulate the process sufficiently to retain his office”, though possibly,
only after a violent run-off….”
Giorgis said “we had quite frankly hoped that the mediation effort
undertaken by President Mbeki, under the auspices of SADC, that delivered a
set of agreed reforms…that these reforms, had they been implemented prior to
the elections would have created a level playing field for holding free and
He added that “under the circumstances, although the paying field was not so
level and there was an element of unfairness injected prior to the
elections, the outcome has seen the inability for the ruling ZANU-PF party
of Robert Mugabe to win outright…”
The ICG ambassador said “there is a need for a government of national unity
to implement the reforms required to resolve Zimbabwe’s to resolve Zimbabwe’s
political crisis, to reverse Zimbabwe’s economic decline and to get Zimbabwe
out of it’s prevailing international isolation.”
Last Saturday the people of Zimbabwe went to the polls to elect a new
president and a new parliament. Although the opposition MDC has won a narrow
majority in parliament, still, a week later, the final official outcome of
the presidential poll is not known.
Daily Nation, Kenya
Story by DONALD B. MOGENI
Publication Date: 4/7/2008 THOUGH THE RESULTS OF THE elections held last
weekend in Zimbabwe are still inconclusive, it is not too early to start
planning for a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.
This country is in a perilous state of decline and could face a major
transition at any time. The government, led since independence in 1980 by
President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front (Zanu-PF), appears impervious to international pressure to reform or
even moderate political repression and disastrous economic policies.
The elections have just presented another political crisis. Zimbabwe
is now an international pariah, having quit the Commonwealth, and having
been listed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as an ‘‘outpost of
tyranny’’ alongside Burma and North Korea.
It is also clear that the situation inside the country is both fragile
and ultimately unsustainable: tensions are high, there are serious divisions
within the ruling party and the military, and the economy is dangerously
close to collapse.
IMPORTANTLY, THIS PRECARIOUS state of affairs is being held together
mainly by Mugabe himself. Although resilient and politically cunning, he is
nonetheless 84 years old, and should the opposition win, a new regime will
be at the helm.
Nonetheless, even if the status quo is maintained, it remains
imperative that the international community start thinking of a post-Mugabe
Once Mugabe is gone, the reality of his misrule will be immediately
faced by a new government. Several post-Mugabe scenarios are possible,
including a transition to a new MDC government, the rise of a reformist
faction within Zanu-PF, a broad government of national unity, a military
coup, or a descent into chaos.
It is, of course, impossible to predict the outcome. What is likely is
that the change will come without much warning, and a speedy and substantial
international response will be necessary.
However, as the transition unfolds, the international community should
avoid getting caught flat-footed. As in post-conflict situations, Mugabe’s
departure will create a brief “golden hour,” a fluid situation in which
expectations are high and multiple possibilities quickly emerge.
The international community can exploit this window of opportunity
before it is hijacked by emerging interests pushed by the political class,
through targeted interventions to help set Zimbabwe on the right path to
sustainable peace and recovery. Once this window closes, the odds of making
a difference will become much longer.
Zimbabwe has not been at war since 1979, so it may seem strange to
treat its upcoming transition as a post-conflict one. But the country
nonetheless exhibits many characteristics of a society in violent conflict —
the scale of economic collapse, political violence and social trauma,
breakdown of basic services, the erosion of economic foundations, and the
mass flight of people and capital.
The extreme conditions nevertheless suggest that the revitalisation of
Zimbabwe’s society and economy will require many elements typically
associated with post-conflict reconstruction.
The main impetus for recovery will, of course, have to come from
within Zimbabwe itself. Any revival will depend on domestic groups willing
to reconcile and organise to rebuild and, fortuitously, the country has a
wealth of capable people who can contribute to a rebound.
Zimbabwe is also fortunate to have within reach South Africa, a large
and relatively wealthy neighbour with a strong interest in fostering a
South Africa and other regional players under the African Union, the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Nigeria should more
vigorously pursue diplomatic engagement.
THE BROAD PRIORITY TASKS ESPEcially relevant for Zimbabwe are:
Establishing security and the rule of law; fostering political
reconciliation and legitimate institutions of government; rebuilding the
institutional capacities of the state; encouraging a comprehensive and
inclusive economic recovery, including timely normalisation of relations
with the international community.
Since Zimbabwe’s troubles are at root political, getting the politics
right is a necessary precondition for recovery. The international community
must be prepared to help provide the political neutrality required for such
an arrangement, including the facilitation of either a government of
national unity or temporary third-party management.
Zimbabwe is a country on the edge. It may technically be at peace, but
it is suffering war-like trauma to its polity and economy.
Fortunately, the world has learned lessons from post-conflict
interventions in other countries, many of which it can apply to Zimbabwe.
Mr Mogeni works with ActionAid. The views expressed here do not
necessarily reflect those of ActionAid.
From The Sunday Independent (SA), 6 April
Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe tried unsuccessfully to dissuade
President Robert Mugabe from running for a sixth term while the 84-year old
leader was being pressured by his generals and party hawks to defend his
28-year rule. The Sunday Independent understands that Grace told Mugabe that
the situation was too traumatic for their children. "Apparently, the
children were being taunted at school that their father had brought this
suffering upon the country. She also told Mugabe that he was 84 and if he
were to go for a sixth term he would not have a chance or time to spend with
the family," an insider well connected to the family said. is believed that
Mugabe promised Grace that he would stand for one last term "just to defend
the revolution against the MDC and the imperialists".
Grace put on a smiling face and appeared with Mugabe when the president cast
his vote in his home township of Highfields on Saturday last week. But last
Sunday, when it was clear that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had presented
Mugabe with the toughest election contest in the history of his leadership,
Grace is said to have gone to the president and said: "I told you so."
Mugabe and his vice-president, Joyce Mujuru, blamed the electoral defeat on
water affairs minister Munacho Mutezo because there was no water in Harare
days before the elections. Security chiefs convened a Joint Operations
Command last Sunday to decide on how to prevent a Tsvangirai presidency. The
generals were led by Defence Force chief General Constantine Chiwenga, whose
wife, Jocelyn, is understood to be pushing her husband to preserve "their
lifestyle" at all costs.
This week Chiwenga said he was determined to defend the Mugabe presidency at
all costs, even if it meant a coup. He was supported by Air Force Marshall
Perence Shiri. Both men commanded the notorious Fifth Brigade, which was
involved in the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s. Security
and diplomatic sources said the two men were "seriously worried" that they
would be arrested if Tsvangirai took over. Chiwenga, police commissioner
Augustine Chihuri, and the director of prisons, retired brigadier Paradzai
Zimondi, said they would not salute a puppet. But the security chiefs were
persuaded by a powerful outsider, as well as by army chief Major General
Philip Sibanda, to negotiate with Tsvangirai. Other security chiefs, such as
intelligence director Happyton Bonyongwe, are said to have crossed to
To all the Zimbos with love from Elvis Presley
This is to all the Zimbos in all corners of the world. The last few weeks
have been traumatic to all but despite all this, a better day is coming. I
have followed the events going on back home 24/7 and everytime i feel as if
there is no hope, I listen to the song by Elvis Presley and my hope is
renewed. I'd like to share the lyrics with each and every Zimbo in diaspora
who miss home.....If can dream......
There must be lights burning brighter somewhere
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can't my dream come true
There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away
the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won't that sun appear
We're lost in a cloud
With too much rain
We're trapped in a world
That's troubled so much with pain
But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly
Deep in my heart there's a tremblin' question
Still I am sure that the answer, answer's gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there's a beckoning candle
And while I can think, while I can talk
While I can stand, while I can walk
While I can dream, please let my dream
Come true......right now
Robert Kasenza (Walsall UK)
By KITSEPILE NYATHI, NATION Correspondent in Harare
For Mr Farai Gumunyu whose father was kidnapped by Zimbabwe’s feared
liberation war veterans eight years ago and has never been seen again,
history has an uncanny way of repeating itself.
Mr Gumunyu’s father Israel, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) worker in the mining town Gwanda was abducted by former fighters who
campaigned for the ruling Zanu PF ahead of the 2000 elections as his
“My mother passed away before my father disappeared and I am now looking
after my siblings who are still of school going age,” Mr Farai, 25 said
fighting back tears.
“But my biggest wish is to see the people who kidnapped him and are probably
responsible for his murder brought to justice.”
Six members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZNLWVA) were arrested soon after the incident but eight years on their case
has not been finalised amid rumours court officials were instructed by the
highest offices to dispose of the case.
The kidnapping happened at a time when Zimbabwe had been plunged into
anarchy after President Robert Mugabe lost a referendum on a new
constitution soon after the emergence of the MDC on the political scene in
Faced with an election in less than six months, Mr Mugabe unleashed the
veterans of the country’s 1970s independence who tortured and murdered white
commercial farmers and opposition supporters with reckless abandon.
Despite the brutal election campaign that resulted in Zimbabwe’s isolation
by the West, Mr Mugabe’s Zanu PF almost lost its parliamentary majority to
the then nine months old MDC in the June 2000 elections.
Violence soon became a permanent feature in Zimbabwe’s electoral system.
But last month’s historic combined polls had provided a glimmer of hope to
the crisis torn country after voting peacefully.
However, curious delays in the release of the final results of the
presidential election amid victory claims by the opposition have stoked
emotions and reminded Zimbabweans of a sordid past.
Amid indications that none of the candidates garnered the mandatory 50 per
cent of the vote, Mr Mugabe’s camp is reportedly preparing for a war of
retribution as he seeks a second chance.
Farai was among a group of youths who propped the Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC
campaign in this opposition stronghold of southern Zimbabwe as it powered to
a historic win against Zanu PF in parliamentary elections. The dramatic
elections saw Zanu PF’s parliamentary majority overturned for the first
time, and the opposition claiming victory in presidential elections whose
outcome was still unknown – eight days after polling last Saturday
“This time the campaigns were peaceful,” Mr Gumunyu said, still clad in MDC
regalia. “My only worry was that my father died before he could celebrate
this success by a party he founded.”
However, for Mr Gumunyu and millions of MDC supporters in this troubled
country their celebrations could have come a little too early and a number
of them are being rudely awakened to this sad fact.
Added Mr Gumunyu: “A group of green bombers (a name given to Zanu PF
militia) came to our house looking for me and they told people at home that
they don’t want to see me again in this neighbourhood because I am an MDC
Meanwhile, nine days after the polls that produced a hitherto unimaginable
upset, Zimbabweans are already preparing for an undesirable but familiar
Last week, there were signs that the official media was psyching Zimbabweans
for a violent campaign during the anticipated presidential re-run with
stories insinuating that disposed white farmers were returning to their land
celebrating an MDC victory.
In what has been an interpreted as an attempt by the authorities to whip up
emotions ahead of the anticipated runoff, the Herald newspaper said the
former white farmers were intimidating the new black land owners.
The newspaper said the farmers were threatening to come back to reclaim the
farms as they anticipated an MDC victory.
In the run up to the crucial elections, Mr Mugabe accused his opponents of
being stooges of the West who were being used to effect a regime change in
order to return the land to the previous owners.
The newspaper said Mr Mugabe’s stance was being vindicated by the intense
interest in the Zimbabwean election by the global media and the purported
threats by the white farmers.
“Given the intimate relationship between the global media structures,
Western politics and the quest for world domination, analysts say this
vindicates the view that what is at stake in Zimbabwe is far bigger than
what the contestants, with the notable exception of those in Zanu-PF,
realise,” the paper said.
It added: “This view vindicated by the conspicuous flow of many white
former commercial farmers who trooped back into Zimbabwe once the MDC
prematurely claimed victory.
“Some of them have headed to the farms where they threatened to evict newly
resettled farmers particularly around Chegutu and Kariba, as many are coming
through Chirundu Border Post.”
It went on to quote a war veteran resettled at one of the farms saying they
would be left with no option “but to take arms and defend our pieces of
On the eve of the elections, the commissioner of Zimbabwe’s prisons Retired
Major General Paradzai Zimondi said if the opposition won the elections, he
would resign to go and defend his piece of land allocated under the land
Other commanders of the country’s security forces said they would not salute
any candidate who might beat Mr Mugabe in the polls because they were
stooges of the West.
The war veterans, believed to number less than 10 000 began sounding their
battle cry on Friday when they marched through the capital Harare
threatening to take up arms to defend their hero, Mr Mugabe.
“The election has been seen as a way to reopen the invasion of our people by
whites,” said ZNLWA chairman Jabulani Sibanda before the march.
“A good number of white people have been seen proclaiming victory for their
candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai
“Under the current circumstances, the spirit of our people is being
“We will be forced to defend our sovereignty. We must not be pushed.”
Mr Mugabe is facing the prospect of an embarrassing second round contest
against MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai who insists that he won an outright
majority in the polls.
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:39
ZANU PF is planning a countrywide witch-hunt of party members
suspected of sabotaging President Robert Mugabe’s bid to win a sixth term of
Party sources say the plan was hatched last week as it emerged Mugabe
intended to cling to power, even after failing a first-round knockout with
his long-time nemesis, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), is yet to announce the
presidential poll results, but it is being publicly acknowledged that Mugabe
In the absence of the ZEC results, the MDC announced Tsvangirai had
secured 50.3% of the vote against Mugabe’s 43.8%. The final figure could be
closer to 49%.
Zanu PF sources said although Mugabe had been shocked by the defeat,
he was now more than determined to remain in power, as Britain and America
“openly celebrated” his defeat.
The sources said he took the matter “personally” and would not rule
out anything, even “blood on the floor” in the run-off.
The sources said Mugabe, disillusioned with his Zanu PF heavyweight
colleagues, wanted war veterans and Zanu PF youths to play a central role in
“mobilising” the rural folk to come out in large numbers to vote for him.
On Friday, war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba appeared ready for
battle when he donned his trademark straw hat at the Zanu PF headquarters
where Mugabe chaired a Politburo meeting.
Addressing journalists, Chinotimba and Jabulani Sibanda announced new
farm invasions, saying they would not stand idly while whites took back the
land grabbed from them in 2000.
Sources said the two, organisers of the failed Million-Men-Women march
in support of Mugabe before the December extraordinary congress, would
spearhead a Zanu PF campaign expected to be violent.
Reports in the Midlands suggested the war veterans had started setting
up bases from which to launch “operations” to cow villagers into voting for
Sources said the situation was tense in Mvuma in Chirumhanzu District,
where party supporters have reportedly set up bases from which they are
raiding the town, harassing and beating up MDC polling agents.
Similar bases have been reportedly set up in Guruve and Rusape.
Independent observers are being targeted as well.
Party insiders told The Standard Zanu PF provincial executives in the
Midlands and in other parts of the country were interrogating party
candidates for allegedly sabotaging Mugabe’s bid.
The sources said the investigations were aimed at candidates who had
lost, but even a number of victors were being investigated as well. The
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is reportedly assisting with the
The investigations arise from suspicions that candidates, aligned to
Simba Makoni’s Mavambo campaign were de-campaigning Mugabe in the run-up to
One candidate who refused to be named for fear of retribution
confirmed CIO agents asked her how she managed more votes than Mugabe in
The candidate also revealed a plan by the Zanu PF Midlands Province
executive to carry out reprisals against opposition supporters.
The plan was reportedly discussed at a provincial executive meeting
held on Wednesday.
The party insiders disclosed that at the meeting, Zanu PF provincial
youth chairman Kizito Chivamba (who won the Chiwundura House of Assembly
seat) told party members that the ruling party intends to urgently establish
bases around the Midlands — and elsewhere — from where recruited party
youths would operate. Chivamba could not be reached for comment.
The sources said houses belonging to known ruling party supporters in
Mvuma were being used as bases from where youths were operating, and two
people whose names were not immediately available had been assaulted, while
two others had been threatened with assault.
The Zanu PF supporters are reportedly being led by one war veteran
named as Joseph Burombo who, a day after the polls reportedly removed some
poll results pasted at polling stations in the area. The results showed
Mugabe trailing Tsvangirai.
Reports have been made to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
(ZESN), which also deployed observers at most polling stations during last
The sources said the party supporters were irked by the fact that
although the party won the House of Assembly seat, results of the
presidential polls at polling stations in Mvuma and some parts of the
Midlands showed Tsvangirai winning.
A once thriving mining town, Mvuma is surrounded by resettlement
areas, and it falls under the Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe constituency where ruling
Zanu PF heavyweight Emmerson Mnangagwa won ahead of MDC-Tsvangirai’s
Francisco Mudavanhu Masendeke.
There are also reports that war veterans will launch similar
operations in Masvingo, where the party lost heavily in traditional
strongholds such as Gutu.
By Rutendo Mawere and Walter Marwizi
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:36
BULAWAYO – A Gwanda businessman allegedly “branded” two men on their
bare buttocks as they hung from ropes at his slaughterhouse, according to
He accused them of stealing his welding machine, which they denied.
The gruesome incident, which occurred early last month, has shocked
residents at Stanmore business centre, about 40km from Gwanda along the
The businessman, Mbonisi Mpala, has not been arrested.
In an interview with The Standard, he denied he had tortured the two
men, saying he only told the police he suspected one of the two, Thulisani
Moyo, had stolen his welding machine. But he said the case was subsequently
Police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena said he needed time to investigate
the issue before issuing a statement.
The “branded” victims, Cowboy Dube (20) and Thulisani Moyo (28), with
cattle brands on their buttocks and scars on their feet, told The Standard
they were lucky to be alive after their ordeal.
Letters from Gwanda police requesting medical attention for the two at
a nearby clinic, indicate the complainants sustained severe burns after they
were repeatedly burnt with the branding iron on their buttocks and under
Their problems reportedly started when a welding machine went missing
at Mpala’s butchery. Moyo was a suspect, they said.
Narrating their ordeal, Dube who is Moyo’s brother, said on the
fateful day he had visited his brother from their rural home in Zhukwe
“We had just finished eating,” Dube said fighting back tears. “My
brother’s former workmates suddenly burst into the house and started
questioning me about the welding machine.
“As I was still telling them that Thulisani never brought it home,
Mpala appeared from nowhere, brandishing a gun.”
The two were force-marched to a nearby slaughterhouse where Mpala,
with the help of his workers, allegedly tied them with ropes to a pole, and
began assaulting them.
“They (Mpala and his helpers) then put the metal used for branding
cattle on the fire which they had just started,” Dube said. “Mpala took the
red hot metal and pressed it under our feet, demanding that we confess to
stealing the machine.
“When we maintained our innocence, they removed our clothes and
branded us on the buttocks.”
Dube was detained at Gwanda hospital and was only released later after
he requested to continue his treatment at home. Hospital admission cards
show that they suffered “life-threatening burns”.
Police sources said Mpala was not detained, although he is alleged to
have a string of criminal cases, which have never been taken to court.
There was no independent confirmation of the allegations or to others
that he was closely connected to people in the security branch of the
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:32
BULAWAYO — The MDC has admitted it cannot ignore the Arthur Mutambara
faction despite its poor showing in the opposition stronghold of
Matabeleland in last week’s elections.
Observers said the faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, winners of 99 of
the 210 House of Assembly seats, was already courting the smaller group in
order to form an alliance.
Zanu PF has 97 seats to the MDC-MT's 99. The smaller faction won 10
This means that none of the two parties will have a clear majority,
giving the smaller MDC faction a powerful negotiating leverage.
Thokozani Khupe, the vice-president of the MDC- MT, and Sam Nkomo, a
senior executive member, told separate meetings in Bulawayo last week they
were willing to work with the Mutambara group.
The Mutambara faction, going into the election with the highest number
of sitting opposition MPs from the region, had been tipped to win all the
seats in Matabeleland, but managed only 10 against Tsvangirai’s 18.
But despite the failure of almost the entire executive of the
Mutambara faction, including its president to win any seats, the group has
emerged as an important power broker in the new Parliament.
Zanu PF garnered just seven seats in the region. One seat went to
former Information and Publicity minister, Jonathan Moyo who stood as an
independent in Tsholotsho North.
“We would be foolish to ignore the talents of our colleagues,” Nkomo
told a post-election civil society meeting organised by Bulawayo Agenda on
“I come from this region and I know that we can’t ignore people like
Reverend (Dumiso) Matshazi (a losing candidate from the Paul Siwela led
Federal Democratic Union) and our colleagues from the (Arthur) Mutambara-led
Some of the talents Nkomo could have been referring to could include
the smaller faction’s vice-president, Gibson Sibanda, who lost in Nkulumane
constituency to the larger MDC’s youth chairman Thamsanqa Mahlangu.
The smaller faction’s secretary general, Welshman Ncube, lost to
Tsvangirai’s deputy, Thokozani Khuphe in Makokoba.
Nkomo said they would also find a way of accommodating losing
candidates from other fringe parties such as FUDU, the Patriotic Union of
Matabeleland (PUM) and Zapu FP.
Khuphe told a press conference in the city on Wednesday her faction
looked forward to working “with our colleagues in the Mutambara-led MDC and
other democratic forces”.
Paul Themba Nyathi said the decision on co-operating with the main MDC
in Parliament would be made by the party’s national council.
The MDC split in 2005 following a disagreement over the party’s
participation in Senate elections.
By Kholwani Nyathi
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:27
BULAWAYO — A senior police officer has ignored a series of court
orders to vacate a sugar and crocodile farm in Chiredzi, allegedly on the
grounds that he was “above the law”.
Admore Veterai, the officer commanding Matabeleland North province
“invaded” N&B Sugar Estates Farm in Chiredzi in January with the help of the
Zanu PF youth militia and has been resisting moves to evict him for the past
The owners of the export-oriented estate, Digby and Jessie Nesbitt
told The Standard they had been living as “virtual hostages” at their farm
after Veterai barred them from receiving visitors and taking phone calls.
The farmers are some of the biggest sugar cane producers in the
Lowveld and they also support 100 children at a local orphanage.
Narrating their ordeal, Jessie Nesbitt said Veterai had also brushed
aside the intervention of State Security Minister, Didymus Mutasa and
Masvingo governor, Willard Chiwewe, saying he would never listen to
politicians because they were “corrupt”.
According to the initial court order issued by the Masvingo
magistrates’ court on 5 March, Veterai was told his presence at the property
But Jessie Nesbitt said the police officer allegedly told them: “I do
not care about that piece of paper you call a court order, I am above the
After the court order was issued, her husband was summoned to Chiredzi
police station where he was forced to write a statement and ordered to
appear in court.
But the case was postponed indefinitely without any reasons being
given. Veterai then allegedly came back to the farm with an offer letter,
which indicated that he was allocated 71 hectares of the farm.
“When I told the governor, Mr Chiwewe, he said Veterai’s offer letter
was fraudulent and he said that I should tell Veterai that he had said
that,” Jessie Nesbitt said.
“Veterai said that he did not care and that he was taking his 71
hectares and no politician would stop him because they are all corrupt.”
Veterai is also alleged to have threatened to “castrate” the estate’s
crocodile manager if he did not move out of a farm house he was occupying.
Jessie Nesbitt said: “We got a second court order on 10 February,
which stated that he had to vacate the farm with immediate effect and that
he could not come within 30 metres of the farm.
“Needless to say, this was totally ignored and nothing happened.”
By Leslie Nunu
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:25
BULAWAYO — War veterans’ leader, Andrew Ndlovu recently sought police
protection after Zanu PF youths and fellow ex-combatants tried to dispossess
him of a party vehicle as divisions widened in President Robert Mugabe’s
The group accused him of using the car, a Madza double cab, to
campaign for independent presidential candidate, Simba Makoni.
About 20 Zanu PF youths and ex-combatants, led by a Zanu PF central
committee member, Elfas Tshuma accused Ndlovu of using party resources to
campaign for Makoni.
According to reliable sources, the youths and war veterans accosted
Ndlovu, the party’s provincial security chief, three days before the
elections as he parked his car in the city centre.
They tried to seize the car, but Ndlovu allegedly resisted, before
reporting the incident to the police. No one was arrested after the rivals
Ndlovu later confirmed he was accused of campaigning for Makoni and
there was an attempt to confiscate the car.
He blamed the fracas on his rival war veterans’ chairman, Jabulani
Sibanda, and former Bulawayo Zanu PF chairman, Themba Ncube.
“I was forced to seek police protection at the Bulawayo central police
station after the youths and the war veterans threatened to beat me up for
allegedly campaigning for Makoni,” Ndlovu said in an interview.
“I was parked in the city centre when a group of Zanu PF youths and
war veterans led by central committee member Elfas Tshuma approached me.
“They accused me of campaigning for Makoni at night, using Zanu PF
property, including the vehicle I was allocated.”
He denied any links with Makoni.
Bulawayo police spokesperson, Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo could not be
reached for comment on the matter.
In an interview, Sibanda dismissed as false allegations he hired Zanu
PF thugs to grab the vehicle.
In the run-up to the elections, a number of Zanu PF leaders were
reportedly campaigning for Makoni who faced off with President Mugabe and
MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
This was confirmed by former Industry and International Trade
minister, Obert Mpofu who told Mugabe most party leaders in the region were
against his (Mugabe’s) candidacy.
Indications are that Mugabe’s performance in the presidential
elections in the three Matabeleland provinces was dismal.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:07
ZANU PF’s loss of a majority in the House of Assembly must be seen as
the prelude to the revival of the economy from an eight-year battering,
analysts said last week.
Zanu PF polled 97 against the opposition’s combined haul of 110 seats.
In the past Zanu PF had used its majority to railroad into law
populist policies, notably the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill
to curry favour with the electorate.
The Bill, signed into law by President Robert Mugabe shortly before
the elections, proposes a 51% shareholding by locals in all foreign-owned
companies in the country.
It is the House of Assembly that gave life to the Godwills
Masimirembwa-led National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC), creating
consternation among business leaders.
Analysts say the post-election period must be used to pick up the
pieces of the battered business community, turned into sacrificial lambs in
the run-up to the election.
In the run-up, the business community was accused of being part of a
“regime change” agenda, whose lynch-pin was an increase of prices of basic
commodities way beyond the reach of ordinary citizens.
“It is a post-conflict situation,” said economic consultant Dr Daniel
Ndlela. “Business needs policy space to begin to work again so that it can
plan in a predictable environment.”
With the country’s foreign currency coffers dry, the central bank had
resorted to raiding individual and company Foreign Currency Accounts to
finance critical imports.
Since the turn of the millennium, Zimbabwe has not received balance of
payments support from multilateral financial institutions after failing to
settle its arrears.
This has always been viewed as a form of Western sanctions.
Analysts say in the post-election period, the authorities have to
re-engage the international community to negotiate lines of credit.
Foreign currency inflows into the country would be used to stabilize
the exchange rate, analysts say.
Marah Hativagone, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president said
whatever the outcome of the elections, business yearns for a better working
“We have been at the receiving end of government . . . Whichever way,
as business we want a better environment,” she said.
Businesses are choked by price controls. In addition, they are
grappling with foreign currency shortages to import raw materials and are
plagued by power and water cuts.
Hativagone told Standardbusiness commerce and industry have been
vociferous in their calls for the removal of price controls.
“We have always called for the removal of price controls. We need to
work on the fundamentals to ensure that things get better,” she said.
Ndlela agrees: “When prices are free no one will charge higher prices
as businesses compete in providing the lowest prices.”
Price controls on basic commodities were last year extended to all
goods and services as the government plunged headlong in a populist frenzy.
This was after the price blitz that left supermarket shelves empty.
In June last year, the government ordered all businesses to slash
prices by half, in an ill-advised move whose repercussions are still being
Businesses are throttled by foreign currency shortages to import raw
materials and spare parts, which has impacted on production.
The Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention (BACOSSI) facility
introduced by central bank chief Gideon Gono in October brought only
temporary relief to stressed companies. Under BACOSSI, producers of basic
commodities accessed cheap loans to boost production.
Figures from the RBZ show that as at 8 January, US$13.5 million and
$18.6 trillion had been disbursed under the facility.
In his Monetary Policy Statement in January, Gono said BACOSSI had
rescued some companies from collapse.
“The BACOSSI facility has gone a long way in restoring productivity
for beneficiary manufacturers and retailers, some of which were on the brink
of closure due to high production and delivery costs,” he said.
As a result of the facility, companies such as National Foods and Blue
Ribbon, among others, had seen capacity utilization improving from as low as
10% to as high as 65% on the back of cheap funding, the governor said.
Gono’s BACOSSI intervention is a drop in the ocean of what the
industry requires. In an interview with Standardbusiness last month,
Callisto Jokonya, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, said
industry needed US$2 billion to recover.
Inflation — fuelled by excessive printing of money and multiple
exchange rates — has posed a threat to businesses and individuals. At 165
000%, Zimbabwe’s inflation is the highest in the world, an unprecedented
situation in a country not involved in a war.
By Ndamu Sandu
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:22
President Robert Mugabe employed a pre-emptive strategy in the
approach to Zanu PF’s extraordinary congress last December when he declared
his willingness to be the ruling party’s candidate if nominated.
On Friday his party pre-empted speculation on the outcome of last
Saturday’s presidential poll when it endorsed him for a possible run-off,
signalling he had not won the race and therefore intended to continue
fighting in his bid to hang on to power.
War veterans adopted the same approach by ratcheting up threats of
mayhem if there is a re-run.
Zanu PF’s administrative secretary, Didymus Mutasa, announced on
Friday the politburo’s endorsement of Mugabe, while the war veterans raised
the stakes, adding “the spirit of our people is being provoked. We will be
forced to defend our sovereignty”.
Signs of Zanu PF’s pre-emptive strategy were in evidence last week.
The State-run Herald reported that former white commercial farmers had
returned and were threatening farmers resettled under the government’s
disastrous land reform programme, an obvious state-manufactured lie but
illustrative of the platform Mugabe has chosen for his last-gasp campaign.
In this environment, where the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has
choreographed the results, the Herald reports gave away the game that Mugabe
had lost the presidential poll. So did the politburo announcement.
The point the reports sought to drive home was that in a poll re-run,
a win by Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC would dispossess resettled farmers of
land they were given under the land reform programme.
There were reports of mayhem being unleashed in the countryside,
spearheaded by the Central Intelligence Organisation in scenes reminiscent
of the chaos (jambanja) that followed Zanu PF’s loss to the MDC in the 2000
The politburo decision for Mugabe to run again can only be aimed at
allowing Zanu PF more time to single out areas that did not vote for Zanu PF
a week ago and ensure that the pre-run-off period is used to subject
villagers to intense pressure and to deny them benefits such as food until
they are prepared to back Mugabe’s bid for a further term.
After all, he has nothing to offer the nation apart from more of the
same. He refuses to recognise that his bankrupt anti-imperialist rhetoric
fails to make any purchase on the minds of a new generation for whom he is a
Mugabe was defeated on 29 March in a poll observers say was largely
free and fair. But now Zanu PF will launch a campaign of dispossession and
dishonesty to hang on. Even a cursory reading of the state media will show
that despite exhortations to accept the poll results when they thought they
were winning, the message now is that the outcome is illegitimate because it
was fought in a “heavily skewed” environment.
Zanu PF will easily take back the seats lost to the MDC, it is
claimed, and the projected recounts fit this delusional theory.
Nobody in the ruling party appears to understand that the country has
undergone a seismic change. The MDC’s “Mugabe must go” campaign has
penetrated even the remotest villages and found a resonance there. A second
round will attract to their standard all those who thought they couldn’t
make a difference in the last round and therefore didn’t vote. That is
especially true of Matabeleland. Zanu PF on the other hand mobilized all its
supporters. It spent every last cent and made every threat imaginable. It is
now an exhausted volcano.
Now it will suffer a defeat even more humiliating for its leader than
the first. He is finished. And the second round will confirm that. But there
will be coercion and pain as Zanu PF demonstrates that it does not accept
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:20
DURING a US presidential election campaign years ago, Edmund Muskie
cried like a baby in front of the TV cameras.
It wasn’t a ploy to garner sympathy or to solicit votes by flaunting
in public the odd, old idea that “a man who cries” is special.
That man was hurting, having been pained by references to his wife.
Eventually, he withdrew from the race.
Other presidential candidates have resorted to dirty language against
Hillary Clinton has not been “nice” to Barack Obama.
Robert Mugabe has not been nice, not only in the current campaign, but
in others as well — he called Edgar Tekere a dirty name in 1990. Some of the
things he has called Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni must belong in the
None of them reacted with venom, not publicly anyway. They probably
ought to have responded with that famous barb by a British MP to an insult
from his opponent; “It was like being savaged by a bufferfly.”
It might be a bit heavy-handed to suggest an “anti-smut” clause in the
electoral laws, but part of the “change” the people voted for must include
a determination not to tolerate obscenities, buffoonery or tomfoolery or
chickanery from people in important positions.
More seriously, what people must learn is that anyone in a leadership
position should not be allowed to take them for granted to the extent they
might believe the people are imbeciles, able to act only when “misled” by
others, like the British.
All this cannot, conceivably, be encapsulated in a legal package. Once
that is done, lawyers would have a field day, with only the affluent
What the people must assign to themselves is the right to literally
“impeach” such people publicly, either through a revamped or improved
Ombudsman Act or a legal system through which, for a nominal fee, they could
seek legal redress for such insults as being described as “totemless” or
It could translate, as the defeat of Zanu PF and Mugabe did on 29
March, into a positive vote for change.
In case the interpretation of the election results is being accorded
the customary half-baked, rose-tinted glow of the government media, this
plebiscite was an emphatic indictment of most of what Mugabe and Zanu PF
have stood for since independence.
To many hard-boiled analysts of our political history since 1980,
there was a distinct absence of “hardball” in the conduct of the people
towards their leadership.
Only on very few occasions have they decided to “hang tough”, to defy
the authorities and stand eyeball to eyeball with them until they blinked,
as they did on 29 March.
Most, especially Mugabe and those close to him, were allowed far too
much leeway to conduct themselves like half royalty, and the people, the
voters, as their subjects, or half-serfs.
There were cases, particularly in the hinterland, of an element of
near-feudalism in the relationship between the rulers and the ruled.
The impunity with which the people were treated must have transgressed
every Article in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and the Bible.
All of this was steeped in the history of the liberation struggle.
Margaret Dongo, after she was expelled from the party in whose colours she
took part in the struggle, spoke of how you did not defy an order issued by
the commander or “the chef”. You defied such orders at your own peril.
This culture of blind loyalty was rigorously enforced on a civilian
population, with people being routinely forced to attend party rallies,
abandoning work in their fields, their tuckshops or their stalls at the
If Mugabe and Zanu PF believe their rout last week stemmed from
Western propaganda, then they must know this can only confirm our suspicion
that they swallowed the garbage about “diesel oozing out of a rock” hook,
like and sinker because they must be soft in the head and could not organise
a piss-up in a brewery either.
The 29 March election, occurring as it did 18 days after people
commemorated the first anniversary of the 11 March savagery unleashed by the
government on peaceful demonstrators in Highfield, was a genuine watershed.
People decided nothing could stop them from showing the world that
they were not gutless or timid, when provoked beyond human endurance — and
bad things had been done to them which went beyond the bounds of human
Their dignity had been trampled upon.
If, at the end of it all, an 84-year-old sheds tears of shame or
surrender, so be it . . .
email@example.comThis e-mail address is being protected from
Sunday opinion by Bill Saidi
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:18
WAITING for Godot is an epic play by Samuel Beckett, in which, as the
title suggests, the characters spend time waiting for Godot.
However, Godot never arrives. For most Zimbabweans, this has been a
hard week, waiting for a definitive outcome of the elections. At times, it
has seemed like waiting for Godot.
It has been a week of speculation, conspiracy theorising and true to
character Zimbabweans have dealt with their pain and anxiety with good doses
of humour. For instance, there was an email depicting a skeletal figure
represented in slow motion, a reflection of the snail’s pace with which the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), has been announcing the election
And yet another suggested that since the formal outcome from the ZEC
were taking so long, it might become necessary to resort to the parallel
market for results. And the parallel market for results has been as vibrant
as the parallel market for foreign currency and goods on which most
Zimbabweans have relied in the last few hard years. The lack of information
has spawned a huge parallel market of information, which has kept the public
Even international broadcasters appear to have been dominant players
in this parallel market, feeding off the rumour-mill and fuelling it at the
same time. A dramatic headline one minute, only to be replaced in the next
minute by yet another dramatic one. Hopes raised one minute, deflated in the
next and so went the cycle.
Plainly, the choreographed announcement of results has been part of an
elaborate plan by Zanu PF to manage the shock and pain of electoral defeat
at the hands of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The
whole episode has been like a long book of many small and diverse chapters
which you just cannot put down, even for a moment.
More importantly, it has been a calculated attempt at handling the
alleged defeat of President Mugabe by Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential
election. These are people who are not used to defeat and plainly, they have
had great difficulty swallowing the fact that most ordinary Zimbabweans no
longer trust them with power. For even if the result was not enough to give
Tsvangirai the presidency without a run-off, it is still a huge
embarrassment that Mugabe could have gained less votes than his nemesis.
There is very little left to the imagination here. If Mugabe had won
and they were confident about it, they would surely have announced the
result amid pomp and fanfare. That they have not is, itself an indication of
loss and the difficulty of dealing with, let alone accepting it.
It says something about the role and effectiveness of elections in the
world of Zanu PF politics that a party organ, the Politburo is called upon
to discuss the election results before the people who voted are informed of
This column has previously questioned and cast doubt on the role of
elections in deciding the hard leadership questions in Zimbabwe. Events
surrounding this election in this drama appear to give credence to the
theory that we may have misplaced faith in elections and that answers to the
leadership question in Zimbabwe lie in a land beyond the ballot box.
It would seem that in Zanu PF’s world, an election is only as good as
a confirmation of their determination to stay in power. Anything else is
treated with caution and derision.
We have here, men and women with a strong, but misplaced, belief that
the people of Zimbabwe owe them something. Their world is defined by the
1960s and 70s when they led the liberation struggle. In this world, neither
their failures in the post-independence era nor the lack of plans or ability
to address the current problems can mask the glory of their greatest hour.
Their outlook is defined, not by the plight or wishes of the people of
Zimbabwe but their perceived battle against the forces of colonialism. They
have not moved out of that mode — for them it’s a continuing battle — they
are saying, with uninhibited arrogance,
“No; all of you ordinary Zimbabweans are in the dark. You know not
what you do, so we will show you the way”.
They probably consider themselves supreme beings living far ahead of
their people and are, therefore, only doing what is necessary to “educate”
the masses. They cannot understand why the people are being so ungrateful.
It is a strange world they inhabit these people — far removed from reality
of the ordinary people.
Zimbabweans are faced with the hard political question of how to
translate “winning an election” into “winning power”. Zanu PF lost the
election but they still control the power of the State. The great fear is
that it appears to give meaning to Mugabe’s unfortunate comments prior to
the election, when he said that Tsvangirai would never rule as long as he is
alive. He did not say Tsvangirai would never win an election. It is
negotiating that path from winning an election to assuming power that is now
the great challenge. The ballot box, therefore, appears to be the catalyst
for change, but not the sole, decisive factor.
At present Zimbabweans are having to contend with a form of a
constitutional dictatorship, with Mugabe as the sole holder of power in the
country, in the absence of parliament. Not even the parliamentarians who
have won can have legal authority until they are sworn in and according to
Section 63(4) of the Constitution, the period of tenure of parliament is
deemed to commence on the day the person elected as President enters office.
The elected parliamentarians have no choice but to await the election of the
President. The risk of prolonging this constitutional dictatorship is
heightened by the fact that the President has far-reaching powers to make
law under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.
Sometimes, you do wonder, if Zimbabwe could find an alchemist, perhaps
a Rotina Mavhunga (she of the Chinhoyi magic diesel claims), to convert all
the mineral wealth into black gold. Perhaps the world might care a little
You do wonder, whether we are simply doomed to fail. Or perhaps that
we are at that point in an arduous trek through the vast desert; at that
point where we can see the palm trees; the point where we can see the signs
of water. Are we destined to succumb to thirst just as the palm trees appear
on the horizon?
Sometimes you do wonder, whether we are all waiting for Godot. And
that, as in Beckett’s drama, Godot may never come.
Alex Magaisa is based at The University of Kent Law School and can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis e-mail address is being protected
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:16
I sometimes wish I were blessed with the power of oration as amusingly
and amazingly used, abused and misused by Robert Gabriel Mugabe in mocking
and belittling his opponents!
I am not sufficiently gifted in that department. I appear to be
tongue-tied. The humble Shona people of Uzumba say “rurimi runo nonoka”.
This directly translates to “the tongue is not endowed with speed”. I wish I
were an orator! Rurimi runo nonoka!
I am but a wretched former columnist for the banned Daily News who
lacks the killer punch even in menial tasks like paying sarcastic tribute to
the foul-mouthed leader of the foulest fowl ever to be bred on planet earth.
My loss of income after the closure of the Daily News spurs me on to throw a
few unholy compliments to the responsible person, his blind admirers and his
unsavoury party Zanu PF.
Mugabe, as the leader of Zanu PF and the president of Zimbabwe should
be held responsible for the mayhem and destruction he has sold to the people
of Zimbabwe. A lesson in good governance and accountability has to be
instilled to other budding political leaders and Mugabe presents to the
people of Zimbabwe that learning opportunity.
My sincere apologies if I appear to be kicking a man who is already on
the ground. Where the stakes include the fate of Mugabe, I would not mind
kicking him all the way from Zvimba to hell and back for another go! He has
caused so much pain and grief to the helpless, hopeless and hapless people
of Zimbabwe to the extent that he deserves to die several times over.
Do I hear loud applause?
I am not a farmer; Black or White; therefore I shall not use the
so-called land redistribution programme as my point of proving Mugabe’s
culpability in the malaise that has been on the offing for some time and
that still afflicts Zimbabwe now. I will begin at the beginning; just soon
after independence. I will superficially delve into Mugabe’s taboo term;
For those not in the know, I hail from Plumtree, I worked in Plumtree
at the prime of my miserable life and I have profound links with the people
of Plumtree. The pride of being from Plumtree motivates me to want to kick
Mugabe over and over until his shrivelled flesh and porous bones scatter in
a disorderly fashion. I am not usually this generous with wishes that border
on callousness. This vengeful desire is born from what I wit
nessed in Nyamandlovu as a teacher at George Silundika Secondary
School in 1982/83 and what I experienced as a telecommunications technician
for PTC in Plumtree from 1984 to 1991.
I hate Mugabe with passion. I loath Zanu PF and all it stands for with
To err is human! Mugabe was not human; he was inhumane!
The way Mugabe unleashed his North Korean-trained assassins onto the
people of Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands is my starting point in
justifying the unkind words I have ever said about him and about those
persons who hold him in high esteem. With impunity, Mugabe managed to cull a
population in a genocidal fashion. The world looked and some people who now
eat from the same plate with us smiled in glee. Those who owned farms then
were too busy growing their wealth to notice the slaughter of the people;
hence my limited sympathy for them.
The salute-full generals cannot be left out of this. Perence Shiri
where are you? Where were you when the first salvos against unarmed
civilians were fired? Where were you when the bayonets of misdirected anger
were slicing the flesh of the people and ripping open women’s wombs? Where
were you when the mass graves were being defecated upon by your drunken
murderers? Where were you when Bhalagwe was redefined?
Allow me a moment to wipe off my tears!
General Constantine Chiwenga; what have you got to say for yourself?
Did you ever salute the graves of your innocent victims? Did you not have a
conscience to stop the rot? If I could institute Sharia law for your trial;
I would have your saluting hand chopped off and kept frozen as a reminder to
those who sustained dictatorship of the most ancient form.
Arresting Augustine Chihuri cannot be spared at this moment. How many
bullets; rubber or copper; did you approve to be fired on innocent people
voicing their disgust to their lost way of life? Do you recall all the sad
things you have said about your undying love for Mugabe and his skewed ways?
I believe you know what the score is!…………..and you too Commissioner of
Prisons; Paradzai Zimondi: What have you got to say about your shameful
pronouncements? What will you tell your children when you get home with no
money, no job and no pride left? What will you say to the people you once
tortured in Chikurubi Prison? What will you say to your wife when the pangs
of joblessness strike? Believe me; I know how it feels. When I lost my
income due to the banning of the Daily News the effects were painful.
I only hope the new dispensation will not engage in a vengeful orgy of
the proportion I dream. Pray that there will be a pardon of criminals like
you and your pay master.
It will be improper to mention the ills brought to the people by
Mugabe leaving out the big fish in Zanu PF. The list is long with corpulent
and opulent souls; the fat ones, the rich ones, the tall ones and the
arrogant ones. These are the people who persistently oiled the wheels of
Mugabe’s Zanu PF on its onslaught on the people. These are men and women who
behaved as if Mugabe was a god who had the power to switch off their air
Patrick Chinamasa where the hell are you?
Comrade Joseph Chinotimba?
It is not a secret that Mugabe behaved in the way he did because he
had so many “male wives” who kowtowed to him and bell-danced their manhood
to oblivion for a few more favours. Historians like Stan Mudenge forgot the
lessons they had learnt from history and loudly “hailed Hitler”. How could
so many men and women educated to the highest degree possibly behave like
lovelorn morons? In their educated-ness, they allowed Mugabe to violate them
in a fashion very foreign to Zimbabwe.
Their uneducated behaviour puzzled our brains. Their actions were too
unintelligent for educated people.
Perhaps the minimally educated ones also deserve some mention. This
goes to my uncles and aunties who by fate or by design found themselves
punching the air with clenched fists in response to demeaning slogans
chanted by Mugabe. How could men and women who had suffered at the hands of
this vile character suddenly turn around and adore him as if he was the
provider of their short lives? I particularly recall my maternal uncle; call
him the Duke of Lupane! He was one man who could not come to terms with
Mugabe’s victory in 1980. He hated all that Mugabe stood for with gusto. In
1983 he was terribly tortured by Mugabe’s State security agents for being an
ex-ZIPRA fighter. In 2000 he was praising Mugabe for giving him a paltry $50
I believe it is easy for people to become their own worst enemies.
Presently, my uncle cannot bear the thought that Mugabe could be leaving
office. He cannot leave with the thought that Mugabe will soon be gone; one
way or the other. For the fun of it and without being sadistic, I am obliged
to remind him again that just as the sun set in the Manchu dynasty; so shall
it be with the Mugabe hegemony.
The misguided acts of some relatives of mine are equally matched by
some women in the Zanu PF women’s league. I hate to recall the way they used
to wriggle their bottoms in sexually suggestive manner to the Il Duce
Mugabe. I have vivid memories of the likes of Vivian Mwashita, Shuvai Mahofa
and others of similar ilk. I recall their dances for the dictator and their
disrespect for their husbands. My father told me that no woman I shall call
my wife would dance suggestively for the pleasure of another man. Further to
this advice, the Zanu PF women’s league members should have got the cue from
Grace Mugabe; she was a great dancer yet now she chooses to maintain a
dignified absence from the dance arena.
For Mugabe’s lap dancers and pole dancers; the dance with the wolf is
over. Perhaps now is the time for our womenfolk to reclaim their dignity. No
more dirty dancing at political rallies.
I cannot rebuke the youth any more than I have done the women. Save
for the grown up youths like the late Border Gezi, Elliot Manyika, Saviour
Kasukuwere and Absolom Sikhosana; the rest were young gullible souls whose
youthful lives were exploited by Mugabe’s quest for total political
domination. Some of them are beyond redemption yet the majority may still be
rehabilitated in a friendly fashion.
The need to redeem Zimbabweans from the mess they have been landed
into by Mugabe cannot be over-emphasised. We are a traumatised nation that
needs slow but intensive rehabilitation. We have been turned into beggars,
robbers, thieves, liars, killers, murderers, sorcerers, hoodlum and
destitute. We are now what we were never meant to be and never wanted to be.
While the people get rehabilitated, Mugabe has to face the fullest wrath of
All other considerations made, drastic measures have to be taken
against Mugabe and his inner-circle. Such action will be a reminder to
future leaders of the consequences of dishonourable governance.
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:13
I write from the United States to encourage you to stand up, turn your
doorknobs, and go out into the streets. All of you. At one time.
You are in a position to not only commit powerful non-violent protest
to save what’s left of beautiful Zimbabwe from the insane hands of Mugabe
and his thugs, but you stand to set an example for the rest of us in the
world who sit like frogs on a heating plate haplessly awaiting similar fates
in our own countries. We need your example.
You are the vanguard of change we need in the world. What is happening
in Zimbabwe right now is happening in varying degrees throughout the world,
and getting worse, especially in America where TVs and the Internet
anaesthetise us while our civil and economic rights are quickly robbed from
underneath us. We, too, need to stand up and say “NO. This is enough.” But
we lack courage.
“What might happen? We might lose our pension? We might get arrested .
. .my children. . .”
Those have been your thoughts, keeping you from acting this long.
Until now. The only way you can save yourselves is to make the ultimate
sacrifice, that of your lives, by walking out into the street and saying:
“You cannot further rob me of my dignity. What is my life worth if I am left
starving and cowering inside my house?”
I write as a woman who has given much of her own pension to support a
growing group of people, nine of them, in Harare, through my good friend
residing here. I have been very involved with your country from here, so I
am not making idle words, inflamed by some news story, watched once.
I have paid for operations, and funerals and school fees. I have
waited by the phone to hear if one of the 10-year-old girls I have helped
would die or not due to being raped and beaten by some of Robert Mugabe’s
thugs on her way home from school. I have held my friend while she wailed
because her bright, top student son died at 15 because no one would operate
on his appendix until the money got there from the US. I have wept with you,
If Mugabe is allowed to continue, if his thugs are not challenged
(they will put down their guns and come and stand with you, for they are
cowards and go where the power is), then you will surely continue to die in
droves as you have. Better by a bullet for freedom than slowly starve to
death out of fear.
I send you all the love I have in my heart.
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:12
POLL rigging does not occur during the actual voting exercise.
It takes place during the pre-and the immediate post-election phase.
The nation’s hopes lie in the people who are supposed to implement the
marking of the ballots and those who account and authenticate the results.
To these we say the sword of Damocles hangs over your heads because
how can you subvert the wishes of the people on the altar of personal
aggrandisement? May the departed spirits of our ancestors inspire their
offspring to act in the interests of Zimbabwe first.
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:11
THE investitute last week of former Minister of Education, Sport and
Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere, as a headman Mubaiwa under Chief Svosve was to
all intents and purposes a chief’s installation.
Other headmen must have looked on with envy as Chigwedere was
installed by the former Deputy Minister for Local Government. I can foresee
other headmen in future demanding similar regal ceremonies and there is
going to be intense competition among prospective headmen.
Indeed Zanu PF has made the posts of traditional leader more
attractive, what with promises to provide electricity, tarred roads,
offices, vehicles and staff for the chiefs’ courts.
Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:10
DEVELOPMENTS in the country over the past week have caused great
anxiety for Zimbabweans, who would have wished to see President Robert
Mugabe defeated by Morgan Tsvangirai or Simba Makoni.
The delayed announcement of the presidential poll results has raised
fears that Zanu PF has been working with the compromised Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to alter the results in their favour. They will never play
Whichever way the result will go, Mugabe will not leave State House.
He is determined to be around for the next five years if Zimbabweans do not
put an end to the madness.
A number of reasons why Mugabe will not surrender power if he loses
this election or a run-off have already been offered. However Zimbabweans
should stop being naive and think that since the country is burning,
economically, the President cares about them and will step down and pave the
way for someone who can deliver them from such madness.
Zanu PF has made it clear through their policies, actions and
utterances that Zimbabweans do not matter in the bigger scheme of Zimbabwean
politics. They are determined to set the pace, with everyone else having to
Up to now Zimbabweans are not clear on how many people were turned
away from voting because they were aliens, didn’t have the correct identity
documents or their names did not appear on the voters’ roll even though they
registered, inspected and verified their names on the roll.
During 2002 Mugabe won by a slim majority because of people sent away,
postal ballots that were not monitored, ghost voters and an irregular
supplementary voters’ roll. A thorough and urgent investigation will be
Zimbabweans should not forget that Mugabe and Zanu PF still command
loyalty in some quarters and this support cannot be attributed to violent
coercion alone. The system has been well oiled by State resources and
propaganda. Mugabe will still get some genuine votes that are not
necessarily the result of rigging.
A rerun will give Mugabe, Zanu PF and the whole security services time
to regroup and strategise. The call to all political parties now is to bury
their differences and demonstrate a greater sense of maturity.
Zimbabweans should also not accept any nonsense from Zanu PF that they
would want to have a re-run at some other time because this would be
intended to give them more time to restrategise.