International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: April 9, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe: International calls for Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe to
release long-delayed results from a presidential vote mounted Wednesday, as
ruling party militants continued to overrun white-owned farms and the
opposition accused the government of waging a campaign of violence.
It has been 11 days since Zimbabweans voted for president but no official
results have been released. The opposition claims that it won the March 29
vote outright and is asking a High Court judge to force publication of the
tally. Hearings were to continue Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a state-controlled newspaper claimed that Mugabe's opponent was
"begging" for the post of vice president — stepping up a push to depict his
party as ready to concede.
Morgan Tsvangirai asked for the vice presidency in a government of national
unity "after being told by his advisers that a possible runoff with
President Mugabe for the top job was not in his best interests," The Herald
The opposition has repeatedly dismissed claims that it is seeking a unity
government as lies spread by a government propaganda campaign. On Tuesday,
the secretary-general of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
Tendai Biti, said it was "rubbish, rubbish, rubbish."
"We won this election," he said. The opposition maintains that it won the
vote outright, with no need for a runoff.
Australia's government appealed Wednesday for the quick release of results,
following on similar calls by the United Nations, Britain, the European
Union and the United States.
"There is simply no excuse for them being withheld more than a week after
the poll," Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said in a statement.
"There are mixed signals from the Zimbabwe government on the next steps but
all appear to add up to a lack of respect for the will of the people," he
Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe for 28 years with an increasingly dictatorial
regime, has virtually conceded that he did not win and already appears to be
campaigning for an expected runoff against Tsvangirai by intimidating his
foes and fanning racial tensions.
Zimbabwe's opposition has accused Mugabe of an orchestrated campaign of
violence and of unleashing ruling party militants to drive dozens of white
farmers off their land.
Biti said there had been "massive violence" since the elections in
traditional ruling party strongholds that voted for the opposition. Ruling
party militants, used previously to intimidate government opponents, were
being rearmed, he said.
Government officials said there had been no outbreak of violence.
Reports that people are being beaten up and their homes torched have
circulated in the capital in recent days but could not be confirmed because
of the danger of traveling to the areas.
Zimbabwe's commercial farmers union has said ruling party supporters have
forced dozens of white farmers off their land. Such seizures started in 2000
as Mugabe's response to his first defeat at the polls — a loss in a
referendum designed to entrench his presidential powers.
Several farmers reached by The Associated Press said the invasions of their
land continued overnight Tuesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity
because they were worried about recrimination.
Mugabe's party has called for a re-count and a further delay in the release
The opposition has urged the international community, and African leaders in
particular, to try to persuade Mugabe to step down.
Jacob Zuma, the leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress
party, repeated earlier entreaties that "results be announced as a matter of
urgency," spokeswoman Jessie Duarte said Wednesday. She cautioned however,
that he has made no specific appeal to the government.
Tsvangirai met with Zuma in South Africa on Monday.
Monsters and Critics
Apr 9, 2008, 8:03 GMT
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday indicated he was open to the formation
of a unity government with elements of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
Speaking to South African radio from Botswana where he held talks with
President Seretse Ian Khama, Tsvangirai said that, once Zimbabwe's election
standoff was resolved, 'we must move towards forming a government that has
space for everyone.'
Such a government would be a 'more inclusive government that is not
exclusive to just MDC,' he said.
Asked what role 84-year-old Mugabe would have in such a formation
Tsvangirai, 56, said that 'would be subject to discussion' but he thought
Zimbabwe's leader of the past 28 years should retire.
Tsvangirai is on a tour of African countries to court support for his
declaration of victory over Mugabe in March 29 elections. On Monday he met
with the president of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, Jacob
The official results of the presidential vote have yet to be announced 11
The High Court in Harare was due to sit Wednesday to consider the MDC's
urgent application for a court order forcing the state- controlled Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission to release the results.
'I don't think it augurs very well,' Zuma said in an interview with South
Africa's state SABC broadcaster Tuesday when asked about the delayed
Tsvangirai claims he won outright with 50.3 per cent of the vote but a
non-profit election observation organization estimated that, based on a
sample of the results, neither he nor Mugabe took more than the 50 per cent
plus one vote needed to avert a second round.
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is demanding a recount of the vote and is also
challenging its defeat in elections to the 210-seat House of Assembly (lower
house of parliament).
Tsvangirai rejected a scenario where Mugabe would remain on as president and
the opposition, which won 109 of the 210-seats in the House of Assembly,
would control parliament.
Mugabe, in that case, would be a 'lame-duck president,' said Tsvangirai. 'I
think it would be a constitutional crisis.'
JOHANNESBURG, April 9 (AFP)
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Wednesday he would use an
ongoing series of meeting with southern African leaders to urge them to help
prevent Zimbabwe from sliding towards chaos.
"I will be going around the countries in the region to make that point that
it does not need that political chaos and dislocation" on their doorstep,
Tsvangirai said in an interview with South Africa's SABC public radio,
conducted after he held talks in Botswana with President Ian Khama.
A spokesman for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party said that
he would also travel to Zambia and Mozambique, which neighbour Zimbabwe, as
part of a diplomatic drive following elections on March 29.
The Times, SA
Sapa Published:Apr 09, 2008
There are no immediate plans for a meeting between President Thabo Mbeki and
the leader of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan
Tsvangirai, the presidency said today.
"I know nothing about it," presidential spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga replied
when asked whether a meeting between the two was on the cards.
Business Day reported today that MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti had said
Tsvangirai was expected to meet Mbeki "soon" over the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission’s failure to release the results of the country’s recent
It also quoted sources as saying Tsvangirai and Mbeki communicated about the
election crisis telephonically last week.
However, Ratshitanga pointed out that, on Wednesday, Mbeki was in India,
leading a South African delegation at the heads and State and Government
session of the inaugural Africa-India Partnership Summit in New Delhi.
"I have seen nothing of the sort in the diary," he said of any planned
meeting between Mbeki and Tsvangirai.
The MDC is claiming that the delay in releasing the results is a ploy by
President Robert Mugabe to rig the election, which Tsvangirai maintains he
April 09 2008 at 08:37AM
By Deon de Lange
The ongoing political crisis in Zimbabwe will not feature on the
official agenda when MPs from 140 countries gather in Cape Town next week
for the annual meeting of the Inter Parliamentary Union.
Briefing members of the SA National Editors' Forum on Tuesday, Speaker
of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete said the situation in Zimbabwe "cannot
be compared with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in other parts of
She specifically mentioned Darfur, which has been placed on the agenda
by the South African delegation, and the ongoing conflict between Israel and
the Palestinians, which the Egyptian delegation has put forward for
Mbete downplayed the unresolved electoral impasse in Zimbabwe and
denied that the situation posed a threat to parliamentary democracy in the
region and therefore deserved particular attention.
This is despite Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan
Tsvangirai calling on regional leaders to intervene in the crisis and not
"wait for dead bodies".
Mbete insisted that she will not place Zimbabwe on the agenda before
she has been briefed by South African members of the Southern African
Development Community observer team.
"As of this morning (Tuesday), I have not been briefed," she said.
South African members of the SADC mission returned to the country on
Sunday when their Zimbabwean accreditation expired, but in a preliminary
statement released earlier, the delegation declared the elections to be a
"peaceful and credible expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe".
While initial results show the MDC to have stripped the ruling Zanu-PF
of its parliamentary majority, the results for the presidential election had
yet to be released - 11 days after polling closed.
Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard - a member of the SADC
observer group - meanwhile distanced her party from the mission's initial
observations and instead issued a minority report claiming that almost all
the SADC principles governing free and fair elections had been transgressed.
Mbete did point out that international delegations could ask for items
to be placed on an "emergency agenda" on the first day of the Inter
Parliamentary Union (IPU) session, which starts on Sunday when about 1 000
delegates gather under the theme "Pushing Back the Frontiers of Poverty".
But she expressed doubt that the Zimbabwe issue would feature ahead of
"other pressing issues".
However, with both Britain and the United States participating this
year - and both being outspoken critics of President Robert Mugabe - the
issue might be raised during a general debate on "the political, economic
and social situation in the world" scheduled for the third session of the
The United States will be participating for the first time in 15
years, having settled its previously withheld membership fees.
Speakers at the gathering will include Mbete - who will chair this
118th session - President Thabo Mbeki, outgoing IPU president Pier Fernando
Cassini from the Italian parliament and United Nations deputy
secretary-general Asha-Rose Migiro.
Other subjects for debate will include: "the role of parliaments in
striking a balance between national security, human security and individual
freedoms and in averting the threat to democracy; parliamentary oversight of
state policies on foreign aid; and migrant workers, people trafficking,
xenophobia and human rights".
On national-security issues, Mbete alluded to a divide between
developed and developing countries, with the former focusing on terrorism
and the latter preferring to look at how human insecurity affects the
"This is not to say that issues of terrorism are not important," she
The IPU, which was established in 1889 by MPs from Britain and France
as a forum for parliamentary dialogue, has its headquarters in Geneva,
This is the first time that it will meet in South Africa.
This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on April
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO, April 8, 2008 (thezimbabwetimes.com) - Riot Police here yesterday
fought running battles with farm invaders who looted farm equipment and
produce following fresh farm invasions in some areas of Masvingo province in
southern Zimbabwe starting on Sunday.
Scores of people were injured as police battled to evict the invaders from
farms they had occupied with the blessing of President Robert Mugabe's
The invaders, most of them ruling party activists, including war veterans
stole live chickens and damaged trucks at Antony Mitchell's farm about 300
kilometres south of the capital Harare.
Although no arrests were made the police said they had removed most of the
farm invaders from properties, all of them white owned.
At Victoria Farm the invaders took Godfrey Goddard the farm owner hostage
for hours and demanded food from him. They then threatened to slaughter his
dairy cows but were stopped by the riot police.
The officer commanding Masvingo province Assistant Commissioner Mhekia
Tanyanyiwa yesterday confirmed the evictions adding that the police would
"keep an eagle's eye on developments".
"We managed to remove all the invades from the occupied farms after
realising that they were now committing crimes such as looting of farm
equipment and produce and threatening to kill the farm owners," said
"As of now the situation is under control and the affected white farmers are
At Panyanda Farm owned by Graham Richards the invaders ransacked Panyanda
Lodge and tourist booked there scamper to safety.
The invaders who were moving in truck also threatened to kill John Bolland
the owner of Chidza Farm after he resisted their move to evict him.
Meanwhile a Zanu-PF politburo member retired army general Vitalis Zvinavashe
yesterday called on all farm invaders to move out of the farms.
"It is true that blacks need land but we can not take it that way," said
Zvinavashe. "Aim calling all those on farms to leave because we do not want
The farm invasions were ignited by unsubstantiated reports in the government
media that white farmers were returning to their former properties in
anticipation of an opposition MDC victory in elections held on March 29.
Meanwhile in Nyamandhovu in Matabeleland North, Zanu-PF youth militias and
war veterans have beaten up and tortured up supporters of the opposition MDC
and those of independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni.
Nyamandlovu, 60 km out of the second city of Bulawayo, falls under Umguza
constituency, one of a few constituencies won by Zanu-PF in Matabeleland
North province in the recent parliamentary elections.
When The Zimbabwe Times visited Nyamandlovu several MDC activists had
deserted their homes and gone into hiding.
In Sigaba Village the faces of two MDC youths, Lindani Nyoni and
Khayalitsthe Ncube, were swollen. They said they had been beaten up by a
group of Zanu-PF youths on Friday morning.
"We were taking our cattle to the dip tank early morning on Friday when a
group of about 10 Zanu-PF youths and war veterans ambushed us and beat us
"They accused us of being sellouts for drumming up support for Tsvangirai
and the MDC during the election campaign trail," said Nyoni.
The matter was reported to the police in Nyamandlovu on Saturday.
A local businessman and former ZIPRA freedom fighter, Stanley Wolfenden, has
fled and gone into hiding in Bulawayo after the ruling party militia raided
and shut down his shop on Friday. They accused him of drumming up support
for Makoni during the election campaign.
Wolfenden, a former aide to the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo during the
liberation war, accompanied former Home Affairs Minister, Dumiso Dabengwa,
as he campaigned during for Makoni in the run-up to the 29 March elections.
In the run-up to the elections, Obert Mpofu who was challenged by a war
veteran and former ruling party member, Mark Mbayiwa, issued a strong
warning to his opponents.
"By standing against him, you have entered my bedroom," he said.
On Friday war veterans also marched in the streets of Harare and threatened
to take up arms if Mugabe lost the elections to the MDC.
Reporters without borders
9 April 2008
Reporters Without Borders today criticised the government’s rough treatment
of foreign journalists covering the country’s disputed elections and
deplored the South Africa deputy foreign minister’s accusation that the
foreign media were to blame for Zimbabwe’s political instability.
"The backers of President Robert Mugabe are venting their frustration by
arresting and hounding those they wrongly see as enemies of the country,” it
said. “We do not understand why a South African government minister is
supporting them when they are openly flouting the democratic principles
South Africa supposedly incarnates. �Silent diplomacy’ must not amount to
American reporter Barry Bearak, of The New York Times, and a British
journalist, who have been held in Harare prison since 3 April, were freed
yesterday on bail of 300 million Zimbabwe dollars (US$10,000 at the official
rate, US$69 on the black market), according to their lawyer, Harrison Nkomo.
He said Bearak, 58, was taken to a clinic to treat “back injuries suffered
in a fall,” while the British journalist was ordered to stay at the British
High Commission (embassy).
They were arrested in a 3 April police raid on the surburban York Lodge
hotel, where several foreign journalists were staying while covering the 29
March elections, and charged with not having proper accreditation. The
attorney-general dismissed the charges but police refused to free them and
the journalists’ lawyers filed an urgent appeal on 5 April.
Two South African technicians of the firm Globecast, Sipho Maseko and
Abdulla Gaibee, who were installing satellite equipment to transmit TV
images, were also freed yesterday after 10 days in prison charged with
“working as journalists without permission.” Maseko, a diabetic, was
hospitalised while in jail. Both were freed on bail of 200 million Zibabwean
Two journalists from the privately-owned South African station Radio 702,
Jean-Jacques Cornish and Sheldon Morais, were arrested on 4 April as they
tried to enter the country at the Beit Bridge frontier post and their
passports seized. They were interrogated for over three hours and then sent
back to South Africa.
South Africa’s deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad, told the diplomatic
corps in a speech on 4 April that foreign media and the international
community were “orchestrating” the destablisation of Zimbabwe and had
unfairly accused Mugabe of wanting to “steal” the elections by delaying
announcement of the results. He said the simultaneous holding of a
presidential and parliamentary vote had simply brought logistical problems.
The First Post
THE ARGUMENTS FOR
The world owes it to the 3m refugees who have crossed the Limpopo river from
Zimbabwe into South Africa, and others who have fled as far as Britain. If
Mugabe's malignant regime came to an end, the majority would happily return
There's more hope of success if the West acts quickly. The rule of law and
democratic process are not far beneath the surface in Zimbabwean society.
African countries torn apart by prolonged civil turmoil, such as Uganda or
Ghana, typically take several decades to regain stability.
Intervention has worked in Africa in the past. In 1999, British forces
helped UN peacekeepers re-stabilise Sierra Leone, with a small (800-man) and
relatively low-cost military solution.
The Zimbabwe military is beatable; economic factors have severely weakened
loyalties. Only the special forces are competent. With more than half the
population now in support of Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC, many soldiers may
refuse to fight to keep Zanu-PF in power.
Unlike Iraq, there's little danger of sectarian splits. Before Mugabe
decimated the Ndebele tribe on political grounds, there was little history
of ethnic antagonism.
Zimbabwe is an important food source, traditionally known as 'Africa's
bread-basket'. Many surrounding countries have a vested interest in seeing
its agricultural economy restored. This will not happen until genuine
farmers return to their land, and Mugabe's political cronies are kicked off
It would benefit trade, allowing both the dismantling of state controls on
commerce and the removal of the limited sanctions currently affecting
Zimbabwe. This would facilitate the restoration of the economy and stimulate
enterprise and foreign investment.
The closing of the Mugabe chapter in Zimbabwe's troubled history would send
a clear message to other leaders who are tinkering with ideas of so-called
land-reform in their own countries.
THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST
Any intervention by Britain will be condemned as neo-colonialism and Morgan
Tsvangirai will appear to be a stooge. In any case, like America, Britain is
just too busy elsewhere, with forces overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Unlike Sierra Leone in 1999, where it was the government who asked for help
from British paratroopers, intervention would doubtless be considered an
invasion of a sovereign nation by the UN - something they could not support.
Although they are demoralised, Zimbabwe has a lot of soldiers. The 40,000
Zimbabwean Army and Air Force troops could be doubled if paramilitaries,
militias and youth cadres were called upon. The police are highly
militarised and all 18 to 24-year-olds perform compulsory military service.
In 2005, the CIA calculated that 2m Zimbabweans were eligible and fit for
Zimbabwe's neighbouring nations won't help in any intervention themselves,
not least because it sets an uncomfortable precedent for their own
countries. African Union nations are overstretched just providing soldiers
for Somalia and Darfur.
Even if a neighbouring nation saw a reason to tolerate the West launch an
incursion – and it would need to be Mozambique for a sea-borne operation, or
South Africa overland – the terrain of Zimbabwe, especially in the
mountainous north and along the Mozambican border, is well suited to
guerrilla resistance operations.
It will destabilise global security. Covert political or military activity
by the West would divide the continent along neo-Cold War lines; it's not
worth alienating the Africans or the Chinese.
Like Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Mugabe himself is hard to get at. He takes
stringent security measures at all times. An assassination attempt would be
The overthrow - or assassination - of Mugabe would not necessarily solve the
problem: it presupposes that Mugabe is the source of all tyranny in
Zimbabwe. A Zanu-PF successor might continue the brutal regime.
FIRST POSTED APRIL 9, 2008
The First Post
Anti-colonialists got it right in Asia, but about Africa they have been
proved tragically wrong
Self-government is better than good government". That was certainly the
assumption behind the anti-colonial movement which carried all before it in
the second half of the 20th century. In India (not perhaps in Pakistan) and
indeed in Asia generally, that assumption has proved justified.
Not so in Africa, where self-government has been a disaster. Not just in
Zimbabwe but in Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. Only South
Africa escaped but this is largely due to the presence of Mandela.
In other words, British Africa, unlike Asia, was not ready for
self-government. The colonial power should have stayed on for at least
another 50 years.
This was very much Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's view. During the
Salisbury (now Harare) stopover of his 'wind of change' tour of British
Africa, I remember him musing over a whisky and soda that the Africans were
"pushing us out just at the very moment when Britain... has the necessary
money, resources, know-how and willpower which we never had between the
wars to make colonialism work".
In those days, Aids, was a scourge of the future. But bearing in mind
Macmillan's words, it is painful to speculate about what a colonial
administration could and would have done to control it, not to mention all
the other things it could and would have done by now really to make poverty
history in Africa.
As it was, Britain's final gesture welcomed enthusiastically by all the
anti-colonialists was to hand over power on a plate to Robert Mugabe.
Anti-colonialists got it right in Asia, but about Africa they have been
proved tragically wrong.
FIRST POSTED APRIL 9, 2008
The New Republic
by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Four lessons learned from Mugabe's horrific regime.
Post Date Wednesday, April 09, 2008
WASHINGTON--Robert Mugabe's defeat in the recent elections in Zimbabwe is
the beginning of the end for that country's octogenarian tyrant. Although
the government claims that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai fell short of
the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff election, only a massive
fraud in the second round followed by a brutal clampdown on demonstrators
will keep the man who has governed that country for three decades in power
for a little longer.
Joseph Conrad could have been describing Mugabe's regime when the character
Marlow, in Heart of Darkness, said about an ivory company: "reckless without
hardihood, greedy without audacity, and cruel without courage." Many lessons
can be learned from Mugabe:
The first is that, to a large extent, African anti-colonialism degenerated
into a mixture of racism, Marxism and populism to become something akin to
the exploitation it had risen against. Of all the colonial-era guerrillas
who became masters of their countries after independence, Mugabe was among
the worst. His first few years were misleadingly reasonable--he stood for
reconciliation, private property and mature relations with the outside
world. Only when he was challenged politically did he begin to cloak his
tyranny with the ideological "respectability" of socialism and nationalism.
Whether it was the massacre of thousands of people from the Ndebele tribe in
the 1980s or, in this decade, the violent campaign of land expropriations
against whites--most of whom had acquired their land in the open market by
then--Mugabe's denunciation of a neocolonial war of aggression against his
country was a perfectly calculated chicanery aimed at justifying his
The second lesson is that ... it is very hard for one country to learn the
lessons of another. When, in October 2001, Mugabe took Zimbabwe back to
Marxist socialism, countries like Tanzania had already become failures
following that same script. Conversely, neighboring Botswana had become a
success story by building a democracy under the rule of law based on some
aboriginal traditions and by letting free commerce regenerate a country that
in 1965 had been the third poorest in the world.
The third lesson is that, pan-African protestations notwithstanding,
Africans oppressed by other Africans should expect little solidarity against
their dictators from the rest of the region. For years, a group of
governments led by South Africa legitimized Mugabe's atrocities. President
Thabo Mbeki and 13 other southern African leaders whitewashed the rigged
election of 2002, adding insult to the injury suffered by thousands of
opposition supporters who were murdered, beaten or, under an urban planning
scheme called Operation Restore Order, expelled from their houses and
The final lesson is that there is no permanent guarantee that a region will
not relapse into despotism or economic misery. In the last decade, it had
become customary for world opinion to praise the political and economic
progress made by African nations. Some of the praise was justified, but many
countries have slipped back into authoritarianism. Nigeria's government
rigged the 2007 elections and earlier this year Kenya's despot refused to
accept his defeat. Both countries had been hailed as models of political
transition--Nigeria because of its 1999 constitution that paved the way for
civilian rule, and Kenya because opposition leader Mwai Kibaki was able to
win the elections and become president after President Daniel arap Moi
stepped down in 2002.
It is a testament to the courage of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic
Change and of its leader, Tsvangirai, that Mugabe's ZANU-PF party was
defeated in the recent parliamentary elections and that the dictator himself
was beaten in the presidential election. Many a challenger would have given
up in the face of such overwhelming power. It is by no means certain that
Tsvangirai will be tolerant, fair and neutral if he becomes president. But
Zimbabwe's No. 1 priority is to throw the tyrant from power and dismantle
the horrific security apparatus whose members are known as "securocrats."
Tsvangirai seems for now the best hope for that to happen.
The great challenge, once Mugabe leaves power, will be to break the cycle of
tyranny by placing strong limits on the next president. That will entail an
act of extreme sacrifice by the next president--reining in his own powers as
the new master of a country that has no institutions worthy of that name. In
that sense, the real enemy is not Mugabe but a legacy of political
Alvaro Vargas Llosa, author of Liberty for Latin America, is the director of
the Center on Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute.