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Zimbabwe court says election results case is urgent

Monsters and Critics

Apr 8, 2008, 10:18 GMT

Johannesburg/Harare - The High Court in Zimbabwe's capital Harare said
Tuesday it would treat an application by the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) seeking the immediate release of results from recent
presidential elections as urgent.

The court ruling means Zimbabwean's 10-day wait for the results of the
election, in which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has already claimed victory
over longtime President Robert Mugabe, could soon be over.

The MDC had petitioned the court at the weekend for an order forcing the
state-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce the

Tsvangirai claims he took 50.3 per cent of the vote but an independent
electoral observation group said a sample of results showed neither he nor
Mugabe would likely win the election outright.

Zimbabwe's electoral law calls for a runoff within 21 days of the first
round in that case.

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party claims ZEC officials rigged the result in
Tsvangirai's favour in some places.

Seven ZEC employee were due to appear in court later Tuesday on fraud
charges for allegedly underestimating the 84-year-old leader's tally by
around 5,000 votes in four constituencies, South African radio quoted a
police spokesman as saying.

The MDC has accused Zanu-PF of trying to buy time so that Mugabe can prepare
for a runoff that the opposition fears will be violent.

On Monday, the European Union, the United States and United Nations called
on the election commission to quickly announce the results.

Zanu-PF is also challenging its defeat in the 210-seat House of Assembly,
where it took 97 seats to the MDC's 109. The party accuses the MDC of vote
buying in 16 constituencies - although Mugabe was accused of same for
handing out tractors, computers and other equipment on the campaign trail.

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Legal wrangle extends Zimbabwe uncertainty

Yahoo News

By Nelson Banya 39 minutes ago

HARARE (Reuters) - A legal wrangle over Zimbabwe's elections went into its
fourth day on Tuesday, further delaying the end of a 10-day stalemate that
has dashed hopes of any quick respite from the country's economic misery.

The High Court was due to issue a ruling on whether it would give urgent
attention to an application by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
to force electoral officials to release the results of a presidential
election on March 29.
Even if it rules in favor of the opposition the legal case could drag on for

Zimbabweans, many reduced to misery by the meltdown of their once-prosperous
economy, are anxiously waiting to see whether the election will end the
28-year-rule of President Robert Mugabe or make way for a runoff vote
between him and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai says he has won the election and should be declared president.
Mugabe's party is pushing for a further delay in issuing results pending a

In another legal case complicating the election stalemate, police said seven
poll officials around the country were due to appear in court charged with
undercounting votes cast for Mugabe.

Traders in neighboring South Africa said the impasse was likely to weigh on
the rand currency, briefly boosted last week when there was speculation
Mugabe would stand down after his ruling ZANU-PF party suffered its first
defeat in a parallel parliamentary poll.

"Counting against the rand is the way in which the Zimbabwe elections are
rapidly deteriorating into a farce," said market analysts ETM in a trading


But tensions reduced a little in the countryside after state media said
police had ordered independence war veterans off white farms they had
invaded in southern Masvingo province.

The veterans, used as political shock troops by Mugabe, warned last week
they would invade all remaining white-owned farms after reports that white
farmers were preparing to grab back farms seized under Mugabe's land

The veterans led a wave of violent occupations of white farms as part of
reforms that began in 2000.

"Police yesterday said they had managed to convince the war veterans not to
take the law into their own hands and impressed upon them the force's zero
tolerance on violence," the state-owned Herald newspaper said.

Tsvangirai met South African ruling party leader Jacob Zuma on Monday after
appealing for help from outside powers to end Mugabe's uninterrupted rule
since independence.

Tsvangirai wrote in a newspaper article that Zimbabwe was on a "razor's
edge" because of the 84-year-old leader's efforts to cling to power.

Zuma is the frontrunner to succeed President Thabo Mbeki in 2009 and has
gradually expanded his power and influence since ousting Mbeki as African
National Congress leader last December.

Zuma has said he supports Mbeki's controversial policy of quiet engagement
with Mugabe to end the crisis.

Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of planning violence to overturn results of the
presidential and parliamentary votes.

Zimbabwe has inflation of more than 100,000 percent -- the highest in the
world -- an unemployment rate above 80 percent and chronic shortages of food
and fuel.

Millions have fled abroad to escape the economic collapse.

ZANU-PF and independent monitors' projections show that although Tsvangirai
defeated Mugabe he failed to win an absolute majority and will be forced
into a run-off.

Electoral rules say this must be held three weeks after the release of
results, meaning the longer the legal delays, the more time Mugabe will have
to organize a fight-back.

(Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka, Stella Mapenzauswa, Muchena Zigomo
and MacDonald Dzirutwe; writing by Barry Moody)

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'We are under siege'

09:18 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 10:18 UK

Zimbabwe liberation war veterans in March 2000

As Zimbabweans wait for the outcome of the presidential vote, some of the country's remaining white farmers have reported incidents of harassment by "war veterans" in scenes that seem to echo the land invasions in 2000. This woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, tells her story.

I live with my parents, my husband and our young child on our farm in Masvingo province.

At about 1500 on Saturday a group of about 50 people - I can only describe them as thugs - arrived at the gates of our farm.

They said they were "war veterans" but they obviously did not fight in the war leading up to independence (in 1980) because they looked too young.

It was orchestrated from very high up

They threatened to repossess our land and confiscate all our farm equipment. They said we could leave but only with a suitcase.

I have no doubt that their action was orchestrated from very high up, because some of our friends who live on neighbouring farms said they had experienced the same treatment.

I know they are just "rent-a-mob" who have been paid to intimidate us.

The people at the gates started singing and "toi-toying" (military-style traditional dancing). They carried on throughout the night.

They seized our farm labourers and harassed them with verbal threats about how they were working for the whites. Luckily we have quite vicious dogs which deterred them from approaching our house.

The next morning a bus came at about 0545 and collected them.

Everything then went quiet until at about 2100 a smaller group of about 10 people arrived. They started singing Zanu-PF songs and slogans.

Map of Zimbabwe showing Masvingo province

After many attempts to contact them, the police finally arrived at about 0100 on Sunday and arrested five people.

But at about 0830 on Monday morning they returned. This time there were about 75 people. They remained on the outskirts of our farm - about 60 metres from our farmhouse. We stayed inside.

They abducted some of our workers. Again we contacted the police support unit and when they arrived, they made two arrests and dispersed the crowd.

It has become relatively quiet now but there are many rumours flying about.


It has been very difficult to sleep. We were under siege. At least one of us has to stay awake to keep an ear to the ground in case something happens.

The last three nights have been terrible. It has been a type of psychological intimidation to try to wear us down.

It is sad that those who have born the brunt of this have been our farm workers.

My father is in his sixties and some of his workers have been here for more than 40 years.

It is very reminiscent of what happened here in 2000 when a lot of land was grabbed. Then it was even more aggressive than what is happening now.

We had to get rid of a lot of our land so that we have only a small area now.

Members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association February 2000.
War veterans were a powerful force in 2000
In 2000, this area around where we live was the first place to be targeted by the "war veterans" and then the land invasions spread like wild fire to other parts of the country.

So perhaps a similar thing will happen again.

The difference between the events of 2000 and now is that there are so few farmers left that we don't see the point in any more land invasions.

I mean what is the point of it? What message can it possibly send?

As we wait to hear what will happen about the elections, we are anxiously hoping for change.

We hope there is a return to the rule of law but we fear that martial law will be imposed and the government will deploy the army.

'Mugabe's plan'

We went to vote on 29 March but my mother and I found that our names had been taken off the voters' roll for some reason.

There had not been any intimidation up until 29 March, so perhaps now Zanu-PF realised that it has not worked and they are trying the tactic this time.

I think Mugabe definitely has a plan up his sleeve.

The opposition got a foot in the door and he did not like that so this is the start of a backlash against the remaining white farmers.

I saw someone from Zanu-PF on television saying that they had so far only used about 25% of their power so now they would come out and use the remaining 75%.

We also heard that one young white farm manager has been abducted and several others have been harassed.

We feel extremely isolated. We hear that the MDC want the United Nations to step in before there is bloodshed.

White farmers flee for their lives

Zimbabwe Today

While the government warns of a white invasion, exactly the opposite is
taking place

Zimbabwe's few remaining white farmers are either barricaded in their homes,
waiting in a state of fear, or running for safety today. In scenes
reminiscent of eight years ago, chanting gangs of so-called war veterans,
encouraged by Zanu-PF propaganda, are threatening both their property and
their lives.

The new wave of invasions began on Saturday, in Masvingo province, 160
kilometres south of Harare, when five farms came under attack, and a game
lodge was occupied. It started shortly after Mugabe himself issued a warning
that land must not be allowed to "slip back into the hands of whites."

Today it is thought that at least 20 farms have come under attack, leaving
less than 200 in white hands. This compares to a total of 4,000 when the
original attacks began at the turn of the centiury.

Meanwhile, as the country waits for a High Court ruling on the publication
of the presidential election results, expected some time today, police have
arrested polling officials from three different areas. They are accused of
falsifying voting totals, to the detriment of Zanu-PF. The MDC have
dismissed the allegations as yet another means of buying time.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, currently in South Africa, maintains that his
victory in the parliamentary elections was clear and fair - and as a result,
he has been making plans for the restoration of stability in the country
when the MDC take over. And these plans do indeeed include some white faces.

My sources tell me that the first priority of the new MDC government will be
sort out the financial chaos that exists within the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, responsible for printing money and inducing the hyper-inflation
that is wrecking the economy.

First, he will fire the present governor, Gideon Gono, and replace him
temporarily with one of his deputies. Then, under an arrangement already in
place with the German government, two German financial experts will fly in,
as advisers to the new governor. They will be expected to stay for a period
of six months.

Other MDC plans include changes in the leadership of the security forces,
with new commanders for both the army and the air force, a new
director-general of the CIO (the secret police) and a new
commissioner-general of police. All these appointments will be on an
"acting" basis only.

The current Chief Justice, George Chigausiku, will also be removed. But not
immediately. He will have one last important duty to perform - to swear in
Morgan Tsvangirai as the new President of Zimbabwe.

Posted on Tuesday, 08 April 2008 at 07:43

MDC condemns Zanu PF's senseless propaganda war

8th Apr 2008 07:59 GMT

By a Correspondent

THE MDC condemns the malicious and grossly false allegations in today's
issue of The Herald that President Tsvangirai wants to give control of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to German agents when he becomes State President.

We note that there has been unprecedented panic within Zanu PF when
President Morgan Tsvangirai was overwhelmingly elected President of Zimbabwe
in an election whose results the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has refused
to announce more than a week after the poll.

Zimbabweans should note that the people's victory has shaken the regime.
Zanu PF's propaganda machinery, spearheaded by Mugabe's spokesman, George
Charamba, has been mandated to use the State media to engage in a senseless
and futile smear campaign against the MDC and President Tsvangirai. Those at
the RBZ who have been at the forefront of the regime's vote-buying antics
and the illegal quasi-fiscal activities are panicking at the prospect of a
new MDC government which believes in transparency and accountability.

There is certainly no prospect of the MDC government giving control of a
strategic national institution such as the central bank to foreigners. We
believe that the RBZ is a strategic national institution that must operate
above board for the betterment of the country's economy. No amount of
shameless propaganda will derail the people's overwhelming support for the

The regime is making all sorts of malicious accusations to cause a sense of
insecurity to key figures in strategic national institutions in order to
complicate the transitional process and create panic in key areas of

Last week, the regime's megaphones shocked the nation when they spread
laughable lies that the MDC had brought back the white commercial farmers to
take back their farms. The MDC's position on the land issue is that there
cannot be a return to the pre2000 era but at the same time, the current
chaos on the farms cannot be condoned.

The phantom theories that an MDC government will remove the RBZ governor,
the Commanders of the Army, the Airforce, the CIO, the Commissioner General
of the Police and the Chief Justice are meant to cause national panic and
cause unnecessary political instability in Zimbabwe.

The people of Zimbabwe are aware that the malicious allegations are evidence
that the outgoing regime is in a state of panic. The people's victory has
shocked the regime to its foundations. Hate speech and propaganda will not
change the fact the people of Zimbabwe overwhelmingly voted for the change
they can trust.

MDC Information and Publicity Department

Veterans call on colleagues and army commanders to respect poll results

8th Apr 2008 08:04 GMT

By Zimbabwe Liberators Platform

WE THE undersigned senior war veterans, former senior commanders and members
of the ZANLA and ZIPA High Command, founder members and members of the
Board of Trustees of the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform (ZLP), wish to express
our feelings on the current constitutional crisis bedeviling the country.

We have watched with anxiety, apprehension, dismay and disbelief the comical
circus surrounding the announcement of the results of the just ended
harmonized elections held on 29 March 2006 which has left the country in

Zimbabwe has no legislature at present as the new members of the House of
Parliament and Senate have not been sworn in whereas the old ZANU PF
dominated Parliament was dissolved on the eve of the Election on 28th March
2008 and the country has no legitimate head of state and government, hence
the crisis

The current crisis has been precipitated by :-

i) The inexplicable failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to
announce expeditiously the results of the just ended harmonized elections in
particular the outcome of the presidential election as required by law. It
is the sovereign right of the people of Zimbabwe to be informed of the
outcome of the election without having to beg for them or to resort to legal
recourse to attain them. No one has the power to deny the people of Zimbabwe
their sovereign right to the result of their election.

ii) The failure by the ZANU PF party and government to accept and admit
defeat in the election is a flagrant flouting and violation of the popular
will of the Zimbabwean electorate. It was Robert Mugabe himself who
unilaterally called for elections on 29 March against wise counsel from
President Mbeki of South Africa and protestations from both factions of the
Movement for Democratic Change MDC hoping to catch the opposition flat
footed. Now the stratagem has backfired and the people of Zimbabwe have
spoken with a powerful voice saying NO! to Mugabe and his party. Robert
Mugabe is on record as saying on Election Day that “when people reject you
it is time to quit politics”. He should do the honourable thing and eat
humble pie and leave the people of Zimbabwe in peace. He is also on record
as saying that it is only the opposition that alleges rigging in Zimbabwean
elections. Alas in a twist of irony, it is Mugabe who is now accusing his
very own Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) of manipulating the election in
favour of the MDC. Is this an inadvertent admission that ZANU PF has now
indeed become the opposition in Zimbabwean politics?

Zimbabwe now finds itself at the crossroads. The core objective of the
national liberation struggle was self determination which found expression
in freedom and democracy as the ideals of the struggle, for which many
sacrificed their lives, liberty and depravation. It is these same noble
ideals that stand threatened from Robert Mugabe and his henchmen. We of the
Zimbabwe Liberation Veterans Forum stand ready to side with the people of
Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), civil society and all
progressive forces in Zimbabwe in defence of these ideals. We are determined
to send the tyrants packing, like their predecessors, to the dustbin of
history where they belong.

President Mbeki of South Africa, SADC and the African Union are on record as
saying that it is up to the people of Zimbabwe to resolve the political
crisis bedeviling their country. The people of Zimbabwe have overwhelmingly
delivered a resounding NO to Robert Mugabe’ tyranny and who is Mugabe to
impose his will against the Voice of the People of Zimbabwe? Surely what
more, in the circumstances, should the peace loving people of Zimbabwe be
expected to do? It is the highest time the SADC Heads of State, the African
Union and the international community raised their voice in support of the
popular will of the people of Zimbabwe. The ball is entirely in their court
and they cannot escape responsibility for any consequences arising from the
constitutional crisis through their inaction. Zimbabwe is not Mugabe’s farm
over which he holds title deeds nor did he single handedly liberate this

ZANU PF has now gone into a frenzy talking of a presidential run off
election. We take it to be irresponsible and the height of cynicism by those
who should know better to talk of an election re-run in the absence of an
official announcement of the outcome of the presidential election. Should
the election result point to a re-run of the presidential election, we
demand that members of Parliament and the Senate be sworn in immediately to
oversee the re-run, as the House of Assembly will have the casting vote in
the event of a tie in the outcome. Furthermore, the re-run should be
conducted within twenty one days of the date of election as stipulated in
the Electoral Act.

We note with concern the strange and discordant noises coming from paid
state agents and rogue elements purporting to be speaking on behalf of
former liberation war fighters. These sycophantic and misguided political
misfits have no statutory role in Zimbabwe and no say whatsoever in the
conduct of elections. Their statements and noises should be dismissed with
the contempt they deserve. We also note with concern the frantic
mobilization of the forces of reaction to descend on the people as
punishment for voting Mugabe and his ZANU PF out of power. We call on the
people to remain calm, vigilant and steadfast in defence of their vote and
their sovereign right to choose their leaders democratically.

Finally, we call on all genuine and self respecting former liberation war
fighters and on all the commanders of the various state security arms to
uphold their constitutional duty to respect the outcome of the election as
the genuine sovereign expression of the popular will of Zimbabweans. To act
otherwise would be a treasonable offence for which they will stand
accountable and answerable jointly and severally.

Happyson Nenji (Webster Gwauya) - ZLP Trust Board Chairperson

Wilfred Mhanda (Dzinashe Machingura)
ZLP Board Trust Secretary

Bernard Manyadza (Parker Chipoera)
ZLP Board Treasurer

Zimbabwe needs an answer

The Guardian

Robert Mugabe's desire to cling on to power is dishonourable and undermines
his own pronouncements on his country's liberation

Cameron Duodu

April 8, 2008 9:00 AM
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - which won a majority of seats in
Zimbabwe's parliament in the elections - has gone to court to try and get
the electoral commission to release the result. The commission argued in the
high court that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter. The
court disagreed and decided to hear it. But rather strangely, it said it
would wait till Tuesday before announcing whether it wants to hear the case
as an "urgent" one or not.

I find the court's decision extraordinary. Zimbabwe has a held a
presidential election whose result has been withheld, probably illegally,
for over a week, and the country's judiciary needs time to decide whether
the matter is an "urgent" one or not? Where was the judiciary when violence
broke out in Kenya in January and over 1,000 innocent people lost their
lives, while nearly half a million were rendered homeless? Does the court
want the same thing to happen in Zimbabwe before it decides the matter is

Maybe the former secretary-general of the UN, Kofi Annan, should pack his
suitcase, ready to go to Zimbabwe.

And maybe he should stop over in Kenya on his way back home, since the
agreement he secured there has broken down and most probably will still not
have been fully implemented by the time he finishes with Zimbabwe.

Some of these African "leaders" show so very little concern for the safety
of the ordinary person whose welfare they have sworn to promote. When
violence breaks out, they stay safe within strongly guarded palaces. And
ordinary folk see their neighbours coming at them with machetes and guns and
torches - ready to butcher them for merely belonging to the ethnic group of
one or other of the contestants for power, who has no intention of sharing
the spoils of office with other ordinary mortals.

The withholding of the election result confirms what many have suspected
throughout the hiatus in which the result has been placed, namely, that
Mugabe's Zanu-PF is dictating the decisions of the electoral commission - a
body that the Zanu-PF leadership would have us believe is "independent" of
any political party.

This seeming manipulation is dishonourable. No self-respecting
organisation - least of all a movement such as Zanu-PF, which gained
worldwide support in its struggle against Ian Smith and his murderous
"cowboy cabinet" - should do that.

Unfortunately, Zanu-PF has now irrevocably surrendered the moral high ground
to the MDC, which is a pity because the MDC definitely contains racist
remnants of the Smith regime, and should not have gained any ground at all
in Zimbabwe, if Zanu-PF had not governed in such an incompetent manner.

Zanu-PF should know that you cannot allow inflation to reach over 100,000%
and expect people to tolerate it. It has failed to guarantee fundamental
rights to Zimbabweans, such as food and wages. One apolitical nurse I spoke
to in a London hospital recently told me: "I fear civil war, you know.
People who don't have anyone outside to send them money are starving. It
will lead to war."

She is right. Millions of Zimbabweans have crossed into South Africa, where
some of they have to make do with sleeping in churches, prey to xenophobic
elements within the South African police, who make occasional raids to
arrest them and send them back. No sooner are they on Zimbabwean soil than
they plot to go back again, risking life and limb to do so.

The bottom has also fallen out of the value of the Zimbabwe dollar in an
unimaginable manner. In 1991, I spoke to the then finance minister, Bernard
Chidzero, during which I told him about how low the Ghanaian currency, the
cedi, had been allowed to sink by the PNDC regime. "What!" Chidzero
exclaimed. "The people of Zimbabwe would never tolerate that."

Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, Chidzero stepped down as finance minister in
1995, due to ill-health, and died in 2002. His successors have not all
possessed the steadfastness with which he would have defended the integrity
of his nation's currency, and today, the Zimbabwe dollar is so valueless
that Zimbabweans need millions of it just to buy a loaf of bread. When they
can find a loaf of bread to buy.

Nevertheless, until the current election, they had - contrary to Chidzero's
prophecy - more or less "tolerated" the incredible devaluation of their
currency. Now, they have said "enough is enough" and officially divested
Zanu-PF of its majority in parliament.

It is inconceivable that having booted out so many Zanu-PF grandees out of
parliament (about nine ministers have lost their seats) the electorate would
spare the leader of the pack himself, Mugabe, from a similar fate. He has
only himself to blame. His current manoeuvres to reverse the people's
decision indicates that perhaps he didn't quite understand the term
"liberation" when he was throwing it about in relation to "freeing" the
people of Zimbabwe from oppression.

"Liberation" means setting people free - free to take their own decisions
regarding who to vote for and who to vote against; free to declare people
heroes and free to rescind their decision when they think fit.

Of course, the people are difficult to serve. They threw Winston Churchill
out in Britain, after he'd led the country to victory in the second world
war. Russians grew to hate Josef Stalin, although he too fought valiantly
against Hitler. War leader though he was, he incarcerated them, in their
millions, in gulags.

It is individuals who offer themselves as capable of serving the people.
When these individuals fail and the people reject them, they should accept
it and step down. Kenneth Kaunda did it in Zambia. Mugabe should now follow
suit. For what can he do in the next six years that he couldn't have done in
the past 28 years?

Manipulating election results in particular, and thereby exposing the people
to the risk of an ethnic conflict on the scale that we saw in Kenya, is a
criminal act unworthy of any person in whom the people once reposed trust.
And, for the "leader" concerned, it is indisputably dishonourable.

African Union concerned it cannot contact Mugabe says EU's Solana


04.08.08, 6:45 AM ET

BRUSSELS (Thomson Financial) - African Union (AU) leaders are concerned that
they have been unable to contact Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, EU
foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Tuesday.

He said he had spoken on Monday with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the
AU's president and that his 'big concern' is that the African leaders 'have
not been able to be in contact with President Mugabe.'

'All the efforts that have been made, have been a failure,' Solana told the
European Parliament's foreign affairs committee in Brussels. 'So it is a
concern of the leaders of the region.'

He said Tuesday was a very important day for Zimbabwe, speaking ahead of a
high court ruling in Harare on a petition by the opposition demanding the
electoral commission immediately declare the outcome of the March 29 polls.

'We have to keep our eyes very open to see how the situation evolves and in
particular in the coming hours,' Solana said.

In Harare the court said it would treat the petition as an 'urgent' matter.

A European diplomat said Monday that fears were spreading in Brussels and
beyond that Zimbabwe could descend into the kind of post-election violence
seen in Kenya if the electoral impasse persists.

Last Friday, the EU's Slovenian presidency called on Zimbabwe to issue the
results of its presidential election 'without further delay'.

Zimbabwe opposition leader meets S.Africa's Zuma


Tue 8 Apr 2008, 5:40 GMT

By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai met South
African ruling party leader Jacob Zuma on Monday after appealing for help
from outside powers to end the 28-year rule of President Robert Mugabe.

A spokeswoman for the ruling African National Congress said Tsvangirai had
met Zuma in Johannesburg but gave no details.

Tsvangirai, who says he defeated Mugabe in the March 29 presidential
election, wrote in a newspaper article earlier that Zimbabwe was on a
"razor's edge" because of the veteran 84-year-old leader's attempts to cling
to power.

Although Zuma has no formal position in the South African government, he is
the frontrunner to succeed President Thabo Mbeki and his role as ANC leader
gives him influence in the development of the party's domestic and foreign

Some analysts expected the new ANC leader to take a tougher stand on
Zimbabwe after defeating President Thabo Mbeki for the leadership late last
year. Zuma won with strong support of trade unions that have been sharply
critical of Mugabe's government.

But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal carried out before the
Zimbabwe election, Zuma said South Africa should continue Mbeki's
controversial policy of quiet engagement with Mugabe to find a solution to
his northern neighbour's crisis.

"We can't change that stance," the newspaper quoted Zuma as saying in an
article published on Monday. But Zuma also told the Journal he thought
political leaders should not stay in power for more than a decade.


While Tsvangirai engaged in shuttle diplomacy, his Movement for Democratic
Change continued legal efforts to force election officials to finally make
public presidential poll results.

Earlier on Monday the High Court in Harare again postponed a decision on
whether to take up the case on an urgent basis, while rejecting a Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) argument that it had no jurisdiction over the
release of results.

The court will reconsider the issue on Tuesday.

Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of planning violence to overturn results of the
presidential and parliamentary votes. Official results show Mugabe's party,
ZANU-PF, lost control of the lower house of parliament for the first time.

ZANU-PF has said it will challenge the parliamentary results in court,
arguing election officials made mistakes and committed fraud. It also wants
the release of the presidential results delayed pending a recount of the

The situation became murkier late on Monday when Zimbabwean police announced
they had arrested seven election officials for undercounting votes cast for
Mugabe in four provinces.

"We're still investigating, but we have established that there was deflation
of figures in respect of one candidate ... the ZANU-PF presidential
candidate (Mugabe)," police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said.


The opposition and Western powers blame Mugabe for reducing the once
prosperous country to misery by economic mismanagement.

Zimbabwe has inflation of more than 100,000 percent -- the highest in the
world -- an unemployment rate above 80 percent and chronic shortages of food
and fuel. The Zimbabwean dollar is a virtually worthless currency.

Millions of its people have fled into exile.

Tsvangirai wrote in Britain's Guardian newspaper on Monday: "Major powers
here, such as South Africa, the U.S. and Britain, must act to remove the
white-knuckle grip of Mugabe's suicidal reign and oblige him and his minions
to retire."

Mbeki, who failed last year to mediate an end to the crisis, said last
weekend the post-election situation was "manageable".

Although Tsvangirai is demanding Mugabe step aside, ZANU-PF and independent
monitors' projections show the challenger failed to win an absolute majority
despite outpolling Mugabe and will be forced into a run-off.

Electoral rules say a runoff must be held three weeks after the release of
results, meaning the longer the delay the more time Mugabe and his
supporters, which include a group of liberation war veterans, have to

The re-emergence of the former soldiers, often used as political shock
troops by Mugabe, has increased concern he plans a violent response to his
election setback.

The veterans led a wave of violent occupations of white farms as part of a
government land redistribution programme that began in 2000, and some Mugabe
opponents say they have again begun occupying farms to intimidate those
loyal to the MDC.

"It's basically happening the same way it happened in 2000 and thereafter,
where groups of people come to your farm and tell you to leave your business
and equipment," said Trevor Gifford, president of the Commercial Farmers'

Meanwhile in Harare two Western journalists arrested last Thursday were
granted bail on Monday, though a lawyer for New York Times correspondent
Barry Bearak said he had been taken to hospital after suffering back
injuries in a fall in jail.

Bearak, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a British reporter were arrested at
their hotel and charged with covering the election without accreditation.

Mondli Makhanya speaks with Tony Jones

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 08/04/2008

Reporter: Tony Jones

Editor in chief of the South African newspaper The Sunday Times, Mondli
Makhanya, joins Lateline to offer his thoughts on the election turmoil in

TONY JONES: Mondli Makhanya is the Editor in Chief of the South African
newspaper the 'Sunday Times'. I spoke to him in Johannesburg just a short
time ago. Mondli Makhanya, thanks for joining us.


TONY JONES: As Robert Mugabe clings to power refusing to admit defeat, and
the situation in Zimbabwe worsens, the world is waiting to see whether South
Africa will finally take some serious action to intervene here. Do you think
that will ever happen?

MONDLI MAKHANYA: What we do know is there are very frantic behind the scenes
talks between the South African authorities, the Zimbabweans and elements of
the Opposition about finding resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis. But the
nature of these discussions is trying to find an accommodation, to get the
MDC and ZANU-PF to shape our going forward and not so much as to get ZANU-PF
to accept defeat. Which obviously the MDC is not accepting because the MDC
wants acknowledgement that they have won these elections and that the
formation of a government of national unity has got to be on their terms.
But at the same time you've got a very hardline ZANU-PF establishment which
is at this particular point in time being led the security chiefs, the
intelligence operatives and the military basically saying that Mugabe must
hold on and they can't find any accommodation with the Opposition. Which
they obviously see as agents of the West, agents of the British colonialists
that they refer the MDC as and to current day Britain as.

TONY JONES: Do you think that Thabo Mbeki is actually prepared to see the
election result manipulated so that some sort of power sharing happens
whether or not Morgan Tsvangirai actually won the election?

MONDLI MAKHANYA: What you are getting from the South African Government at
this particular point is a proclamation of victory for their policies. The
fact that the elections took place under relatively peaceful conditions
under relatively free and fair conditions, the South African Government is
claiming that as their victory. The going forward bit is what they are more
not very firm on. I think they would be prepared at this particular point to
let ZANU-PF actually and I put this quite strongly, to let ZANU-PF crook
these elections as long as there's an accommodation, a government of
national unity. I don't think the South African Government will actually
come down hard on ZANU-PF, and I think that is the only way I think, South
Africa needs to take charge. South Africa needs to lead the region in
actually getting ZANU-PF and the Mugabe Government to accept the outcome of
a democratic process. The only alternative at this particular point to that
is, would be bloodshed, would be the encroachment of a virtual military
regime in Zimbabwe because of the power that the generals are wielding over
Mugabe and his government.

TONY JONES: There was an article over the weekend in the British Times or
Sunday Times that suggested that Thabo Mbeki is trying to get Mugabe to
stand down in favour of Simba Makoni so that he actually maintains a ZANU-PF
leader but a younger one, not so corrupt possibly in Zimbabwe?

MONDLI MAKHANYA: The strategy of the South African Government since 2000
when this crisis really began has been to get a cleaner, a purer ZANU-PF to
run Zimbabwe and basically to get Mugabe out of the way. The ANC has been
very unhappy, the ANC and the South African Government have been very
unwilling to let the MDC who basically do not come from the same liberation
movement tradition that they come from. They've been very unhappy to let
them take control of Zimbabwe. And, the Simba Makoni element that has come
through now is something that the ANC was hoping would emerge. Before these
elections they were hoping that Simba Makoni actually would emerge as the
stronger opponent to Mugabe than Morgan Tsvangirai. And before the ZANU-PF
bureau on Friday picked up that there were indications that talk among
leaders in the region were that at least ZANU-PF get Mugabe to step aside
and let Simba Makoni take charge, lead the ZANU-PF campaign in the run-off.
But Mugabe obviously is resisting that and the hierarchy of ZANU-PF and the
military also do not trust Simba Makoni now as a true and loyal ZANU-PF
person. They think that he, too, can be manipulated by the West who they
obviously fear greatly.

TONY JONES: Mondli Makhanya, the thing that is shocking about what you're
saying to us here in Australia is that that essentially means that South
Africa, just like Robert Mugabe, the South African leadership are not
prepared to accept the results of the election if they put Morgan Tsvangirai
into power.

MONDLI MAKHANYA: Well, I think what the South African Government fears, and
the ruling party here, I think what they fear, they fear a ZANU-PF outside
of power. Because ZANU-PF, because the military in Zimbabwe is very loyal to
ZANU-PF because the militias, the war veterans are all very loyal to
ZANU-PF, they fear ZANU-PF out of power will be an extremely dangerous
destabilising force that will affect the rest of the region. So they would
rather ZANU-PF actually hold onto some segment of power, to some semblance
of power and be inside the tent rather than be outside the tent. And I think
they are prepared to even compromise on basically the outcomes of a
democratic process to achieve that end. And there is a genuine fear when you
speak to people in the government in South Africa there is a fear that if
ZANU-PF is out of power they will become a very strong destabilising
military force and an uncontrollable one at that.

TONY JONES: Is there another side to this, as well? Is President Mbeki also
afraid that if a non-liberation movement government takes root in
neighbouring country like Zimbabwe that there could be a sort of domino
effect in southern Africa and he could lose his position and other
liberation presidents could lose their position?

MONDLI MAKHANYA: I think in the early days of the crisis there was that fear
among all the governments in the region. They didn't want a party that came
from a non-liberation movement tradition to take charge of any of their
countries and they feared that domino effect. And they feared a party also
that had roots in the Labor movement taking charge, because that's where the
MDC comes from and that it may encourage other elements such as our own
trade union movement in South Africa actually having political ambitions. So
in the initial days that was the greatest fear and I think that is still
there. But I think right now I really believe that the major government do
not know what to do. They have run an eight-year policy that is taking them
nowhere and they have run out of options and they actually don't know how to
deal with this monster that they've allowed to grow and this monster they've
allowed to become uncontrollable and I think they're just hoping for a
miracle to happen and they're hoping that somehow Mugabe will listen to
them. He has not listened to them for the past eight years and each promise
that he has made over the past eight years he has broken and he has actually
made them look like fools in the eyes of the world and I think that's them
trying to get him now to accept some sort of compromise deal is a very long
shot. And they actually I believe, the only way is they actually have to
come down very hard on them. They actually have to force him out of office
at this particular point.

TONY JONES: Interesting thing is, I think this is little understood in the
Western public at least, Thabo Mbeki was in talks with the British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown over the past few days and with other Western leaders
and they have been trying to convince him to intervene to make sure that
democracy actually takes its proper course in Zimbabwe. It doesn't sound
like he has any intention at all in allowing that to happen?

MONDLI MAKHANYA: Well, that is the great tragedy of it. If a free and fair
election was held in Zimbabwe, and one has to give credit to some of the
interventions of the South African Government and other governments in the
region for the fact that this time round the conditions were much better
than in previous elections. An election has taken place. There is an outcome
and an outcome that has been deemed by the regional trading group, as well
as the African union, as having been free and fair. But now the ruling party
is unwilling to accept that and they are actually, they're actually willing
to entertain the unwillingness of ZANU-PF to step away from power. And the
noise that has been coming out of Pretoria which was articulated also by
President Mbeki in London, was that " let us wait and", and actually saying
to Gordon Brown that the package that the United Kingdom has, wants to put
forward for a reconstructed Zimbabwe was actually premature; that it is
actually destabilising the sensitive talks that the South African Government
may be having with ZANU-PF, because ZANU-PF is now interpreting Gordon
Brown's offer of help for a post Mugabe government as actually for a reward
for Morgan Tsvangirai for having ousted Mugabe and now it's being used as an
excuse for destabilising the talks. And unfortunately, I think the South
African Government is actually buying that talk.

TONY JONES: A final question, we understand that Morgan Tsvangirai is
actually in Johannesburg at the moment, although we don't know who he's
speaking to because both the President of South Africa and the Foreign
Minister is still out of the country. Do you have any idea what Morgan
Tsvangirai is actually doing there?

MONDLI MAKHANYA: Well, there is a major media scramble in South Africa in
Johannesburg at the moment to find out who has been meeting. It has been
said he's here for private meetings. There's a strong Zimbabwean community
here, both business and refugees. So the indications that he may have been
speaking to some of them. But the indications are that these are official
talks that he is having, probably with some senior officials in the South
African Government. The people who have been dealing with the Zimbabwe
matter more directly are the Deputy Minister of foreign affairs and the
Local Government Minister. They have been involved in the mediation talks in
Zimbabwe, so it could well be that he was talking to them and obviously
there is also a strong diplomatic community that's based in Pretoria. So he
could be speaking to them. But at this particular point it is still very
unclear, it is very secretive at this point who Morgan Tsvangirai was
talking to. And his arrival in South Africa was also very sudden. It was not
expected and it leaked while they were trying to keep it very secret.

TONY JONES: Mondli Makhanya, no doubt your own journalists are on the trail
of that story trying to find out why he's there and who he's speaking to as
we speak. We'll leave you there for now. Hopefully we'll get a chance to
speak to you again some time.


Mugabe's bloody descent

Los Angeles Times

He could have been another Mandela, but power became his only goal.
By Martin Meredith
April 8, 2008
The careers of two of Africa's most prominent politicians -- Robert Mugabe
and Nelson Mandela -- have striking similarities. Both were born in an era
when white power prevailed throughout Africa, Mandela in 1918, Mugabe in
1924. Both were products of the Christian mission school system. Both
attended the same university, Fort Hare in South Africa. Both emerged as
members of the small African professional elite, Mandela a lawyer, Mugabe a
teacher. Both were drawn into the struggle against white minority rule,
Mandela in South Africa, Mugabe in neighboring Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. Both
advocated violence to bring down white-run regimes. Both endured long terms
of imprisonment, Mandela, 27 years, Mugabe, 11. Both suffered the anguish of
losing a son while in prison, and both were refused permission to attend the

But whereas Mandela used his prison years to open a dialogue with South
Africa's white rulers in order to defeat apartheid, Mugabe emerged from
prison bent on revolution, determined to overthrow white society by force.
Military victory, he said, would be the "ultimate joy."

Even after seven years of a civil war in which at least 30,000 people
died,Mugabe, having gained power through elections, expressed disappointment
that he had been denied the kind of power that military victory would have
given him. For Mugabe, power was not the means to an end but the end itself.

This year, Mandela celebrates his 90th birthday, acclaimed around the world
as one of the great leaders of his time, while Mugabe battles on grimly
after 28 years of power, like a prizefighter whose eyes are blinded by his
own blood -- and the blood of many others. The early years of Mugabe's rule
seemed full of promise. Instead of the angry Marxist ogre the white minority
had feared, Mugabe appeared as a model of moderation after winning the 1980
election, pledging to work for reconciliation and racial harmony. Even the
recalcitrant white leader, Ian Smith, who previously had denounced him as
"the apostle of Satan," found him "sober and responsible."

Western governments lined up with offers of aid. In its first year of
independence, Zimbabwe was awarded $2 billion in aid, enabling Mugabe to
embark on ambitious health and education programs. The white population also
benefited from growing economic prosperity. Given large increases in
commodity prices, white farmers -- the backbone of the economy -- became
ardent supporters of Mugabe's government and his ruling ZANU-PF party.

But Mugabe's black political opponents fared less well. Within weeks of
gaining power, Mugabe set out to crush political opposition in Matabeleland
province and establish a one-party state. The military campaign he unleashed
there in the 1980s culminated in mass murder -- as many as 20,000 civilians
are estimated to have died -- but it gave Mugabe the total control he had
always sought.

In the capital of Harare, meanwhile, Mugabe's inner circle scrambled for
farms, businesses and government contracts. Mugabe joined the fray, but his
real obsession was not personal wealth but power. Year by year, he acquired
ever greater control, ruling the country through a vast system of patronage
and ignoring the spreading blight of corruption. "I am rich because I belong
to ZANU-PF," boasted one of Mugabe's proteges, a millionaire businessman.
"If you want to be rich, you must join ZANU-PF."

Under Mugabe's one-party system, his tentacles reached into every corner of
the land. One by one, parliament, the state media, the police, the civil
service and the courts were subordinated to his will. In dealing with
dissidents, his secret police were licensed to harass, intimidate and even
murder at will.

By the mid-1990s, Mugabe had become an irascible dictator, brooking no
opposition, contemptuous of the law and human rights, surrounded by
sycophantic ministers and indifferent to the incompetence and corruption
around him. Whatever good intentions he had started out with had long since

By 2000, Zimbabweans were generally worse off than they had been at
independence: Average wages were lower; unemployment had tripled; public
services were crumbling and life expectancy was falling.

As opposition to his rule mounted, Mugabe struck back with increasing
ruthlessness. His first target was white farmers who, worried about title to
their land, had shown signs of supporting a new opposition coalition, the
Movement for Democratic Change. Hoping to bolster his popularity, Mugabe
sent gangs of ZANU-PF activists to seize white-owned farms and distribute
them to his supporters, but it led only to the collapse of the agricultural

His ultimate objective, however, was to crush all opposition and remain in
power. Since 2000, he has used all the government's resources to attack his
opponents, sanctioning murder, torture and lawlessness of every kind;
rigging elections; violating the courts and suppressing the independent
press. In a speech in 2003, he warned that he would use even worse violence
if necessary, threatening to act like a "black Hitler" against the
opposition: "If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold."

Zimbabwe has been reduced to a bankrupt and impoverished state, threatened
by economic collapse and catastrophic food shortages.

But still Mugabe fights on. "No matter what force you have, this is my
territory, and that which is mine I cling [to] unto death," he said during a
previous election campaign. And he is far from finished. Though losing
control of parliament in last month's election, he can still rely on party
militias, youth groups, war veterans, police and army generals to help him
win the next round of the presidential election. Violence has been Mugabe's
stock in trade for more than 30 years. It is not a pleasant prospect for
Zimbabweans yearning for something better.

Martin Meredith, the author of "The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years
of Independence," has written biographies of Robert Mugabe and Nelson

Hero to Tyrant – Uncle Bob’s Strange Story

The Sowetan

08 April 2008

Martin Meredith provides what I think is the best record of the struggle for
Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe’s heroism, his tyranny and how he crushed his

These include Joshua Nkomo and his Zapu party, the independent press and
MDC, and how his government sponsored farm attacks and invasion and
destroyed the country’s economy.

Meredith takes us on the journey of when Mugabe was a young hot-blooded
freedom fighter, supported and educated by missionaries.

With the help of a priest who was sympathetic to the liberation cause, he
fled the country to Mozambique with Rhodesian security in hot pursuit.

Mugabe was forced into negotiating Zimbabwe’s freedom at Lancaster House by
then president of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere and
Samora Machel of Mozambique.

They threatened to end their support if Mugabe and Nkomo failed to negotiate
with Ian Smith.

We are also told about the Chimurenga – the liberation struggle undertaken
by Zanu-PF, Zapu and their military wings – the Lancaster House talks,
compromises and the final liberation of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe became president promising reconciliation with whites. He even
appointed a former minister in Ian Smith’s cabinet, David Smith, and farmer
Dennis Norman, a former president of the Rhodesian Commercial Farmers Union,
as ministers of agriculture.

Whites were generally impressed by Mugabe and started hero worshiping him.

Mugabe’s tyranny emerged when he deliberately initiated a split with his
comrade-in-arms Joshua Nkomo. Within a year or two after independence he
accused Nkomo of plotting to overthrow him.

He told Nkomo in 1982 that his security forces had found arms caches on Zapu
farms. Yet it was known and accepted that both Zipra, Zapu’s military wing,
and Zanla, Zanu-PF’s military wing, had weapons caches.

The anti-dissidents, or gukurahundi, were Mugabe’s ploy to crush Zapu and
remove it from government so as to form a one-party state.

It was a sad turn of events when the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade went
on a killing spree in Matebeleland.

The reign of terror was politically led by Mugabe’s close allies Edgar
Tekere and Enos Nkala, then police minister, himself a Ndebele who stoked up
violence against the Ndebeles .

Mugabe called Nkomo a “sellout” and a “cobra in the house”, and demoted
him – and finally fired him from his cabinet.

The merger of Nkomo’s Zapu with Zanu-PF to form one party, Zanu-PF, was in
fact Nkomo’s compromise because he wanted peace or to avoid conflict with

Mugabe never stopped. His security forces detained all opponents, tortured
them and locked them up at will.

Judges were told to toe the line or resign. Chief Justice Gugbay was forced
to step down while other judges resigned out of fear because they were being
harassed by Zanu-PF officials.

The land invasion and attacks on white farmers started in 2000. War veterans
led Zanu-PF supporters in daylight invasions on white farms throughout the
country at the instruction of some cabinet ministers.

Farmers were attacked and their land and homesteads forcibly taken . One
cabinet minister even ordered the Geldenhuys family off their farm.

When the farmers reported to the police they were arrested and accused of
provoking the black invaders. Some police officers used official vans to
ferry loot from the white farms.

Then entered Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change. He became a thorn in Mugabe’s side.

The MDC defeated many Zanu-PF politicians and took several constituencies in
elections. He was to be dealt with severely, and since then MDC supporters
have been persecuted.

If you want a vivid understanding of Mugabe’s rule and how he destroyed the
economy of his own country, this is the book for you.

'My Zimbabwe Experience'

Totally Jewish

By Cassie Williams - Tuesday 8th 2008f April 2008

World Jewish Relief's Cassie Williams recounts her time spent helping the
Jewish community and other people in need in Zimbabwe.

I have worked as Programme Manager for WJR (World Jewish Relief) for 16
months. Prior to joining the team, I spent two and a half years in Rwanda
and Ethiopia, working with street kids and destitute citizens. However,
nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced in Zimbabwe in
February, when I went to visit the project WJR supports.

I didn’t go to Zimbabwe armed with statistics and percentages, or with a
clip board to fill out mundane forms and cross the appropriate boxes. I
spent a week in this fascinating country to learn more about the daily
turmoil of its citizens. The reports of the situation pale in comparison to
the reality - life for the average Zimbabwean is unimaginably difficult

Everything is in short supply - from basic food stuffs to petrol. The
March/April harvest has been blighted by a serious drought. In the country’s
second city, Bulawayo - where WJR is active - the majority of people are
surviving on food aid and other assistance. Across much of the city, roads
are falling in to disrepair; refuse is no longer collected, posing a serious
health risk; water is in short supply and prices rise by the hour. The
health system has almost entirely collapsed and the supermarket shelves
remain empty.

I spoke to a number of elderly people buckling under the responsibility as
the official guardians to their orphan grandchildren - they doubt that they
will ever be able to provide for these children. The young people I spoke to
were startlingly frank about how hard it is to concentrate at school on an
empty stomach – schools continue to function nominally, despite the dramatic
exodus of teachers who have fled the country in search of different jobs for
better pay.

People wait patiently for change, clinging onto hope.

Currently, WJR is supporting a Jewish old age home called Savyon Lodge,
where 24 Jewish residents and two non-Jewish residents are somewhat
sheltered from the horrors befalling the population. They live in relative
comfort; receiving three decent meals a day and medical support thanks to
WJR and our partners on the ground. They are, perhaps blissfully, ignorant
to the fact that their life savings are worthless and that they are barely
able to contribute to their upkeep. As the shortages and economic crisis
expand to unthinkable levels, the home faces severe difficulties in securing
food and medical equipment and is compelled to source goods from South
Africa. WJR provides the funds to enable them to do this – but sadly, many
Zimbabweans do not have access to the kind of support WJR provides.

There is nothing, so they have nothing. Inflation is spiralling out of
control: in the middle of February a loaf of bread cost Z$3.5 million -
then, Z$10 million was worth approximately 1. On 3rd April, a loaf of bread
cost Z$10.5m and Z$100m was equal to 1.

It is estimated that some 3,500 Zimbabweans die every week from the combined
effects of HIV/AIDS, poverty and malnutrition. Life expectancy is one of the
lowest in the world; since 1994 it has fallen from 57 to 34 for women and
from 54 to 37 for men. Industry has all but collapsed, causing millions to
flee the country in search of a better life elsewhere, while those who
remain are trapped in poverty, unable to provide for their children or
themselves. Over 80% of those who remain in the country are unemployed.

WJR considers it both a duty and an honour to help the Jews in need in
Zimbabwe. However, the needs of the majority black population are
undoubtedly far more pressing and as such, WJR is currently working with
local agencies to find ways to assist the wider community of Bulawayo.

If you are interested in finding out more, or donating to WJR, please call
020 8536 1250, email or visit

Cassie Williams is WJR Programme Manager