The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Thought of the Day:

" When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good
men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men
must commit themselves to the glories of love.

Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must
seek to bring into being a real order of justice"

Martin Luther King Jr
(Quoted in 'In my own words')
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Business Report

Lack of food and forex may stifle Zimbabwe's growth prospects
April 7, 2005

By Lucia Mutikani

Zimbabwe is likely to miss its key inflation and growth targets for this
year due to worsening food and foreign currency shortages, according to
analysts who say these will hobble its economic recovery programme.

The country is in the throes of its worst economic crisis since 1980, but
the government has projected a turnaround this year, declaring inflation the
main enemy.

The central bank has forecast inflation of between 20 percent and 35 percent
after peaking at 620 percent in 2004, and gross domestic product growth of
between 3 percent and 5 percent following a contraction of more than 30
percent since 1999.

In February the annual inflation rate was 127 percent.

Analysts predict a worsening of economic woes as the country seeks to import
1.2 million tons of grain at an estimated cost of $250 million (R1.55
billion) this year to feed a third of its people.

They said the food import bill would hit economic growth as less funds would
be available to upgrade creaking infrastructure.

The grim food outlook follows a poor harvest due to drought and inadequate
seed and fertiliser support to small rural farmers.

"It will be impossible to meet the 20 to 35 percent [inflation] target
because the government needs to secure $250 million.

At the current exchange rate, it's about Z$1.5 trillion and they had
budgeted Z$50 billion," said an analyst who asked not to be named.

The government has acknowledged that the country, once a regional
breadbasket, needed food.

Analysts said the government would battle to raise funds for food imports on
the domestic money market, which they said had been operating with a Z$1
trillion deficit in the past two weeks in a bid to keep money supply growth

The central bank has artificially kept treasury bill rates low, with the
one-year note at about 65 percent, which analysts said was aimed at
providing the government with cheap loans.

Zimbabweans have already started hoarding basic commodities, whose prices
were hiked by more than 100 percent after last week's election, won by the
ruling Zanu-PF party.

"Inflation will now accelerate quite significantly because of the price
increase, which had been held back artificially before the elections," said
Tony Hawkins, a business professor at the University of Zimbabwe.

Analysts said there was need for the central bank to devalue the Zimbabwean

Zimbabwe has an acute shortage of foreign currency after the International
Monetary Fund and other donors withdrew support. The central bank's forex
auctions currently meet only 8 percent of the market's needs.

"How we manage the foreign currency issue is going to determine the
performance of the economy. We are relying on the export sector, but we need
foreign direct investment and other capital inflows," said Harare economist
Witness Chinyama. "We need to re-engage with the international community."

Harare tobacco sales resume as farmers meet central bank
Zimbabwe's tobacco auction houses resumed sales yesterday as growers pressed
the central bank to relax an exchange rate that has damped their profit.

On Tuesday farmers shut all three of Zimbabwe's tobacco-trading floors,
cancelling the season's opening day of sales.

The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, which represents most farmers, yesterday
met the central bank, seeking a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar and a
raise in the government subsidy of Z$2 000 per kilogram sold.

On April 4 $1 fetched Z$6 087 compared with a black market rate of as much
as Z$14 000. The central bank sold $11 million, less than a 10th of demand.

"The issue hasn't been resolved," said Rodney Ambrose, the chief executive
of the association. "Focusing on the Zimbabwe dollar return is our next

On Tuesday 150 farmers shut Zimbabwe's biggest auction house after prices
fell to as low as $0.22 a kilogram. Prices yesterday ranged between $0.25
and $2.59 a kilogram by 11am.

Tobacco last year sold on Harare's auctions at an average $2.02 a
kilogram. - Bloomberg
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The Star

      ANC and Zanu-PF similarities cause whites to panic

      This paranoia is for the most part irrational and is born out of fears
of retribution
      April 7, 2005

        By Max du Preez

      The first time most white South Africans started caring about the
welfare of the people of any African country was when Zimbabwe's Robert
Mugabe started going haywire five, six years ago.

      A popular analysis of this over-reaction by whites is that it proves
that they are racists; that the only reason why they took notice of Zimbabwe
was because Mugabe was nasty to white people; that they love it when a black
leader screws up.

      I am sure that in the case of many this analysis is not far off. But I
suspect that for most ordinary white South Africans, the explanation is
somewhat more complex.

      I think it would be true to say that white South Africans hate Robert
Mugabe more than they hate any black personality in South Africa.
      What lies behind this white obsession with a man in another country
who can have no effect on their lives?

      To start with, I think many whites fear that under the surface the
political culture of the ANC is not that different from that of Zanu-PF -
push the ANC to a point where they feel they might lose power and they will
also lose the veneer of democracy.

      The knee-jerk defence of Mugabe and his men by mainstream ANC leaders
and indeed the apparent brotherly relationship between Robert Mugabe and
Thabo Mbeki only reinforce this fear.

      Take Nelson Mandela out of public life and threaten the ANC at the
polls, so the paranoia goes, and the ANC will also want to change the
constitution, start interfering with the judiciary and force whites off
their land.

      The ANC's recent resolution that the judiciary should be more in tune
with the masses and the erratic behaviour of at least one black judge again
gave substance to this fear.

      Then there is the land issue. White South Africans sense that their
own government and perhaps the majority of their fellow citizens quietly
agree that white Zimbabweans had to be driven off their land. And they fear
the sentiment is that white South African farmers should also eventually
make way for black peasant farmers.

      But at the heart of the white fear and loathing is Mugabe's often
repeated declaration that white Zimbabweans are not really Zimbabweans -
they are colonialists, they are British imperialists, they are all racists
and they are the enemies of the people.

      They are certainly not Africans or equal citizens in the land of their
birth. In fact, humiliating them and confiscating their property is a proud
victory for Africans, as Mugabe had suggested again during his recent
election campaign. Africa is a place for black people.

      This drives a red-hot poker right through the hearts of white South
Africans, especially those with no cultural, emotional or family links with
any country outside Africa.

      If this is how the ruling class in Zimbabwe feels, so the thinking
goes, then there is a good chance that it is also what their comrades to the
south feel. Why else would Mugabe get a hero's welcome every time he visits
South Africa, whites ask.

      In fact, some whites would point out, South Africa's president has
already on occasion referred to whites as "colonialists of a special kind".
In fact, black politicians and commentators regularly fling insults and
warnings at white citizens. Only last week a top black academic warned
whites to start imitating black culture and behaviour, otherwise they will
not be "rehabilitated".

      There can be no more fundamental threat to a community's sense of
security than to declare them, even in a roundabout way, unwanted aliens in
their own country. It renders them rootless; it threatens everything that is
familiar and sacred to them; it makes them deeply fearful of the future; it
makes them withdraw into a laager.

      Of course this paranoia is, for the most part, irrational and
exaggerated. But after generations of forced separation and white dominance,
most whites have a very limited understanding of black political thinking
and dynamics.

      They have little appreciation of the long history of the ANC and no
understanding of the debates and contrary voices inside the ruling alliance.

      These fears are a hangover from before 1994, when many whites were
paralysed with expectations that the black majority would do to whites what
the white minority had done to blacks.

      But let us be brutally honest: there are disturbing similarities
between the ANC and Zanu-PF. The ANC has been far more restrained and
reconciliatory, but their continued deep-seated resentment of whites is
often apparent. They are also deeply intolerant of criticism and opposition
and also quick to demonise their opponents as reactionaries and enemies of
the people.

      I am also nervous of the day the ANC is going to feel that their power
is being threatened. I am not so sure what they are capable of doing to
remobilise their popular support when that situation arrives. I also
sometimes feel uneasy about the signs of growing racial nationalism and

      How sad to have to say this after more than 10 years of democracy.

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      MDC in parliament boycott quandary

      Njabulo Ncube
      4/7/2005 7:13:00 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which won 41 of the 120
contested seats in last week's polls, is mulling a boycott of parliament to
ratchet up pressure on the ruling ZANU PF government.

      Party insiders said the MDC, miffed by the two-thirds majority amassed
by ZANU PF in the disputed March 31 elections, might withdraw its
participation in the House if its proposed appeals to the Electoral Court
      The MDC, which many observers say literally shot itself in the foot by
announcing a boycott of parliamentary elections in August last year before
changing its stance in February, has alleged massive rigging by
government-appointed electoral bodies in favour of ZANU PF in about 72 of
the 120 contested seats.
      As of yesterday, losing MDC candidates and elections agents were
reportedly compiling a dossier of the alleged electoral fraud that would
form part of the evidence to the Electoral Court.
      The MDC has 14 days to appeal to the court after the announcement of
the final results, according to the Electoral Act.
      "Parliamentary boycott is one of several options being discussed by
the President (Morgan Tsvangirai) and other members of the party's
decision-making body," said an MDC senior official privy to the goings-on at
Harvest House, the headquarters of the main opposition party. "A final
decision on the matter will be reached before the expiry of the deadline for
us to appeal to the Electoral Court. The outcome of the appeals at the
Electoral Court will also play a pivotal role in the contemplated
parliamentary boycott."
      Analysts warned this week that the 41 MDC legislators could be
expelled from Parliament if they proceed with the boycott, leading to
by-elections in their mostly urban constituencies.
      The constitution stipulates that if a legislator misses 21 consecutive
sittings without notifying the Speaker, the House will have to vote with the
aim of expelling the member.
      Last year, Zengeza Member of Parliament, Tafadzwa Musekiwa, resigned
his seat after missing 21 sittings.
      Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, played down the issue
yesterday, saying a boycott would not take the party anywhere.
      He said: "You don't achieve anything by a parliamentary boycott. This
is not an option people are suggesting," said Ncube. "We are now pursuing
two options - a legal and political option. The political thing to do is to
mobilise people against theft."
      However, another source said militant MDC officials have vowed not go
back on the issue, as they seek to pressure President Robert Mugabe into
calling a re-run of the polls already condemned by the West but hailed by
Africa as free and fair.
      Yesterday the MDC released preliminary findings of a report indicating
what it alleged was "massive" electoral fraud in 30 constituencies in the
provinces of Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Matabeleland
      According to the party's preliminary findings, in 11 constituencies
(Kariba, Manyame, Goromonzi, Murehwa South, Mutoko North, Seke Rural, Buhera
South, Mutare South, Mutasa South, Mutasa North and Nyanga), the deficits
between the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's official pronouncement on the
number of votes cast and the final total directly accounted for the ZANU PF
      "In most of these constituencies the ZANU PF candidate was either a
senior party official or a government minister," reads part of the party's
report. "This analysis does not even take into account the uneven electoral
playing field, the inflated voters' roll, the coercion of the rural
electorate, nor the high number of people who were turned away on polling
      The opposition party, which critics claim clearly lacked Plan B in the
event of defeat, also wrote on Tuesday to Justice George Chiweshe, the head
of the ZEC, complaining of alleged irregularities in the voting and counting
      The Financial Gazette has both the preliminary report and the letter
MDC secretary-general Ncube, wrote to Justice Chiweshe.
      "On the night of March 31, 2005 and the morning of 1 April, 2005,
officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) appeared on ZTV and
gave an account of the total number of people who had voted in each
      "The total number of constituencies whose figures were given was 76
before the announcement was abruptly ceased without explanation.
      "We have taken time to analyse the figures in relation to the totals
that each candidate polled as given by officials from ZEC in announcing the
results. In each and every case we find that there are glaring discrepancies
between the total number given as the people who voted and the totals of the
results. In some cases such as Beitbridge, Murehwa South and Mutare South,
the discrepancies are as high as 15 000," reads part of the MDC letter to
      Ncube added: "We urgently seek an explanation from you as to the
reason for these disparities. We have reason to believe that these
disparities are a direct result of manipulation of numbers to achieve ZANU
PF victories in constituencies where they had lost.
      "While we continue to gather evidence from our election agents at each
polling station on the extent of manipulation of figures, we urgently seek
an explanation by close of business on April 7, 2005. Failure to do so will
leave us with no option but to seek legal recourse."
      The MDC attached a table showing the figures as given by the ZEC and
the results as announced by ZEC showing alleged disparities.
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      AU poll team in surprise U-turn

      Staff Reporter
      4/7/2005 7:11:45 AM (GMT +2)

      IN an extraordinary volte face, the African Union (AU) observer team,
which had initially hailed Zimbabwe's just-ended Parliamentary poll as free
and fair, has called for investigations into alleged electoral fraud.

      ZANU PF won 78 of the 120 contested seats in last week's polls, with
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) polling 41 while the remaining seat
went to an independent candidate.
      The MDC, which grabbed 57 seats in the 2000 parliamentary election,
has alleged rampant rigging of the polls, claiming it has unearthed
discrepancies in 72 of the 120 contested constituencies.
      The AU observer team said while it commended the peaceful conduct of
the elections, it noted certain concerns that required appropriate
attention, among them the large number of potential voters turned away from
polling stations and political agents playing a passive role in the conduct
of the polls.
      "The MDC has alleged that there are serious discrepancies in the
official results released by the ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) for
several constituencies. It is hoped that both the ZEC and the ESC (Electoral
Supervisory Commission) will promptly look into the allegations with a view
of assuring the Zimbabwean people of the authenticity of the results of the
elections," reads part of the statement issued by the AU.
      "In addition to the foregoing concerns, the AU observer team will
include in its final report recommendations on technical and administrative
issues that could further enhance the transparency of the Zimbabwean
electoral process and the verifiability of its outcomes."
      Kwadwo Afari-Gyan headed the AU mission, which yesterday was still in
Harare monitoring the post election period slightly marred by pockets of
violence in Harare allegedly by disgruntled MDC youths irked by what the
opposition alleged was "day-light robbery" by ZANU PF.
      President Robert Mugabe cherry-picked 23 African nations, three Asian
and one European country, Russia, to observe the polls, which the majority
have declared as free and fair, much to the chagrin of the M DC.
      The South African and Southern African Development Community (SADC)
observer teams, criticised by the MDC of pre-judging the polls two weeks
before the polling day, were in the forefront of endorsing the polls.
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      Dual elections to be scrapped

      4/7/2005 7:15:44 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe plans to scrap the holding of separate
presidential and parliamentary elections, among other constitutional
amendments that could be effected by his ZANU PF party after winning last
week's parliamentary polls.

      The 81-year-old leader, who has also spoken of introducing a two-tier
parliament, told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) last week
the changes would be along the lines of the draft constitution rejected in a
referendum in February 2000.
      "I've never believed it was a better system to have a presidential
election on its own and a parliamentary election on its own," he said
following his victory in a poll the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has dismissed as a fraud.
      "If the president is not good even after one term, they can vote
against (him or her)," he said.
      He attributed his party's victory to its age and revolutionary nature
as well as to the commitment of its members.
      Asked about his plans for national reconciliation, President Mugabe
encouraged debate between his party and the MDC in parliament as well as
      "Should they (the MDC) have any ideas they believe in sincerely that
will help us to move forward constructively and economically improve the lot
of our people, fine, they will be very welcome to bring those ideas to us,"
he said.
      Turning to the country's economic situation, President Mugabe said
that as a result of the drought, Zimbabwe would need to import maize once
      "We have the money to do so," he said.
      Asked how he planned to turn Zimbabwe's sagging economy around,
President Mugabe said foreign currency had to be made available to the
mining sector.
      The "corruption and dirt" in the financial sector would have to be
looked at "very sternly and very seriously", he said, adding he hoped to
have inflation back to double digits by the end of 2005.
      Asked how he planned to improve relations with the European Union and
those countries which had imposed embargoes against Zimbabwe, President
Mugabe said he had not offended anyone.
      "We are more sinned against than sinning . . . We have been put into
the dark by Mr Blair, for his own reasons. It's a very unfair act, indeed,
to us," he said.
      "We can't change. We can't agree to become puppets either," he added.
      Asked about his country's media laws, which require journalists to
register with the government, President Mugabe said they were "good laws".
      "I don't think our system would prevent a genuine journalist from
becoming registered. Let people register, but don't deny them registration.
I don't see any reason why we must deny them, unless they are proved to be
bitter enemies of the party."
      President Mugabe described Pope John Paul II as a virtuous man whose
preaching on peace needed to be heeded world-wide.
      He said the Pope had been "a very virtuous man, a virtuous leader of
the Catholic Church, and we do hope that all that he has preached about will
continue to be heeded by communities throughout the world".
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Mbeki to discuss poll concerns with Zimbabwe    Sapa and Own Correspondent
          April 07 2005 at 07:38AM

      The South African government will discuss certain concerns with its
Zimbabwean neighbour in days to come following last week's elections, the
department of foreign affairs said at parliament on Wednesday.

      "In the days to come, those concerns will be discussed with the
government of Zimbabwe," Director-General Ayanda Ntsaluba said following his
budget presentation to the Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee.

      He said the South African government held the same views as observer
missions from the African Union and Southern African Development Community -
that there had been an improvement in the build-up to the elections.

      "This was quite clearly a positive thing," he said, but did not
elaborate on the "concerns" alluded to.

      Ntsaluba said the elections had helped in "some ways" but had not
addressed many of the socio-economic challenges that still faced the

      "That is what Zimbabwe needs assistance to deal with," he said.

      Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) yesterday slammed Cosatu and
the ANC over its stance towards the Zimbabwe elections.

      Calling on Cosatu leaders to stop being the "West's puppets", ANCYL
president, Fikile Mbalula, said the organisation had disgraced itself.

      "By holding pickets and claiming solidarity with the workers of
Zimbabwe, Cosatu has shown where its true feelings lie," he said.

      Mbalula was speaking at a political rally held in Mamelodi yesterday
to commemorate the death of Solomon Mahlangu, who died at the hands of the
apartheid government in 1976.

      "Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and not even South Africa, the ANC and
its Cosatu supporters, who all act as the 'shop steward' of Africa, have the
right to tell that country and its leadership what to do," he said.

      Mbalula said Africa did not need a Big Brother to boss it around.

      On claims that the elections were neither free nor fair, Mbalula said
that if the citizens of Zimbabwe were really unhappy they would not have
re-elected Robert Mugabe as president.

          a.. This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times
on April 07, 2005
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      Focus on economy, mend international relations

      4/7/2005 7:46:55 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S controversial parliamentary elections have come and gone.
And so is the madness and controversy associated with election time where
everything else is done for political expedience.

      The voice of reason and influence of realities are usually ignored as
the magic influence of populist phraseology takes centre stage.
      Now it is time to face up to reality. Top of the agenda should be the
reality of the country's depressing economic situation, increasing ostracism
by the international community and other burning issues that had been put on
the back burner in the run-up to the elections.
      That the previously resilient economy has stumbled upon many banana
skins over the past few years is beyond argument. Although there are modest
signs of bottoming out, a lot still needs to be done to uncork the economy's
undoubted immense growth potential and bring it back to its pre-crisis
levels, deal with joblessness and corporate failures.
      The depressing effect of the economic meltdown cannot be
over-emphasised. There is a bottomless well of disenchantment and general
disillusionment among Zimbabweans who have suffered the consequences of
years of deprivation, hence the dwindling band of optimists among the
country's populace over prospects for a near-term recovery. There is no
reason to pretend otherwise. Indeed, this is a red flag that should not be
ignored. The government should move with lightning speed to put a fresh
heart into the enfeebled economy - to ensure the long yearned for era of
surplus and security.
      It is also an unpalatable truth that Zimbabwe carries the unbearable
stigma of a rogue state. The Zimbabwe government, which many observers are
unanimous was seeking legitimacy in the just-ended parliamentary poll, has
expectedly protested the pariah state tag. It feels that the stigmatisation
stems from unjustified hostility, contempt and ostracism by its Western
critics who it accuses of seeking regime change in Zimbabwe. The West
accuses Zimbabwe of a serious democratic deficit. And indeed, its major
point of bitter attacks has been allegations of fundamental human rights
      Whether this is entirely true or not is not the issue here. The point
is, Zimbabwe is dealing with issues of perceptions that must be faced
head-on as a way forward. The sand-in-the-head ostrich mentality is not
going to help the situation because perception is, to all intents and
purposes, considered as fact. And that explains why Zimbabwe's credit rating
has been reduced to junk status in the face of perceived high political,
country and sovereign risks and why critical funding from the International
Monetary Fund - from which Zimbabwe might have had an inglorious exit - is
still on ice.
      It would therefore be futile for government to ignore these issues on
the pretext that they are being propagated by former colonial masters with
whom Zimbabwe is embroiled in a long-running diplomatic rift. We have said
it before and we will say it again - re-engaging the international community
would be a victory for pragmatism, so to speak. Metaphorically speaking, no
country is an island. Yet Zimbabwe stands isolated when it is in its
interest to be re-integrated into the community of nations. It is not like
the fences have irretrievably broken down. They can be mended and they
      Forget the tragi-comic posturing from some prejudiced, narrow-minded
and under-performing government ministers recently rejected by the
electorate. These officials have all along been claiming that Zimbabwe does
not need the IMF and even intimated that the country is doing just fine in
isolation! Nothing could be further from the truth. The claims uttered by
among others, Industry and International Trade Minister, Dr Samuel
Mumbengegwi, not so long ago could be laughable were it not for the gravity
of their implications especially coming from senior government officials.
      While it is true that the IMF slammed the door on Zimbabwe several
years ago and the country has been going it alone during those years, the
question to ask the Honourable Minister is, have we fared any better in the
absence of support from the institution? Sadly the answer is no. Zimbabwe
does not need any reminding that the kind of mentality as exhibited by the
likes of Dr Mumbengegwi has seen the economy lurch from one crisis to
      Given the fragile state of the economy, Zimbabwe needs the support of
institutions like the IMF. This is for a variety of reasons. The financial
assistance that comes from international monetarists in the form of balance
of payments support could help stabilise the country's finances. Admittedly
what the country might get from the IMF might just amount to the proverbial
drop in the ocean considering the magnitude of our external financial
support requirements. But the IMF funding is seen as a seal of approval by
other international donors and financiers, which have been sitting on the
fence maintaining the wait-and-see attitude. In other words, they take their
cue from the IMF. The fund's continued absence from Zimbabwe can therefore
only but fuel negative perceptions. This is why the more pragmatic Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe is seeking a deep rapprochement with the Bretton Woods
      Without this stamp of approval, no matter how many times Zimbabwe
passes the hat - no international financier will twitch. At best all the
country can get from these financiers are good words minus action - real
support. This has happened before but it does not help the country in
anyway. Now, as we have said before, we do not accept the mystique of the
IMF nor do we hold any brief for some of its outworn shibboleths. But what
other choice does Zimbabwe have in the face of the economic crisis some
politicians are finding difficult to acknowledge exists?
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      And now to the Notebook . . .

      4/7/2005 8:14:10 AM (GMT +2)


      The elections have come and gone. If only we could have more elections
than rains, we wouldn't mind because elections take care of all ills in this
country as our politicians become dangerously generous.

      If only we could have them once or twice a year!
      Anyway, the results of the elections were fantastic. Wonderful! All
Zimbabweans should be on cloud nine because they got the results they more
than deserved!
      ZANU PF, the party which we have been made to believe had one leg in
the grave and the other one on a bar of soap, shocked everyone when it
strutted to a resounding victory.
      Yes, a resounding victory for ZANU PF because it is so serious when it
comes to elections that it does not leave anything to chance . . . not even
the smallest of them all. In every election in this country, ZANU PF knows
that it is the one to lose, so it makes it a point that nothing like that
      It is quite a different story in the opposition camp, where some
people seem to take pride in being career shadow ministers. The imagined
violence and rigging aside, the opposition lost because it deserved to lose.
      Their turn has not yet come, if ever it will, so they will have to
cool their feet a little bit longer.
      When time for change in this country is ripe, change will come. It
will come on its own like the sun, whether there is rigging and/or violence,
because its time will be ripe. No one can stop it - just as no one could
stop the Pope from dying at the weekend!
      If ZANU PF was ordained to rule for 30 years, it will rule for 30
years. If it was ordained to rule for 90 years, it will rule for 90 years,
no matter what you and me might think about the quality of its rule.
      Our opposition can protest and demonstrate for the next five years but
that won't make a harpooth of difference . . . for ZANU PF will be in total
control, at least for the next three years, unless something unthinkable
happens, but definitely not mass actions, "final pushes" or court petitions.
      Tell CZ why ZANU PF, wily as it is, could not win with the power of
incumbency in its back pocket? Chiefs, DAs, soldiers, police, war veterans,
new farmers, Green Bombers, Zimpapers, ZBH, drought, farming inputs . . .
you name it!
      So, notwithstanding those 30 free seats, ZANU PF won the elections
because it had to win. It deserved to win.
      From a democratic point of view, the results of last week's elections
reflected the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe. Anyone who thinks otherwise
should prove otherwise . . . because what counts is the total number of
ballots cast, not what could have been cast by some imaginary supporters!
      We are told that villagers were threatened that if they voted
"unwisely" the authorities would deal with them because the computers that
the Great Uncle was dishing out like confetti were not being dished out for
      . . . but to monitor how they were going to vote.
      These are the stories that are doing the rounds. But even if they are
true, how can they be substantiated in a serious court of law? Courts
operate not on the basis of rumour, salted and peppered stories and
folklore, but evidence, hard and palpable evidence, so this will not help.
      ZANU PF won. Hopefully next time the opposition will invent their own
stories to frighten voters to vote for them!
      As for CZ, he won't suffer any BP from the election results. If
anything, he is happy with them. Just happy like a puppy with three tails
because they reflect the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe. The wishes of
those people who have wishes. Those who didn't vote do not have wishes, so
why bother about them?
      The only consolation now is that, with ZANU PF having a two-thirds
majority, more people will realise the need to vote in the next elections .
. . if they see the real face of ZANU PF this time round, they will develop
wishes and next time they will go, queue and vote! Hopefully it won't be too
late for them!
      It was quite nauseating how everyone got so interested in the outcome
of the elections in which they did not vote! Why would people be so
interested in the results of an election they think is not important . . .
elections which they think will not change anything?
      Some people in this country think they are too important, too busy,
too serious or too religious to go and vote. And for that, they will have
only themselves and their grandmothers to blame.
      We tend to take too many things for granted - too many by half - and
we forget that it is this right to vote that we are now snubbing that some
people chose to die for. We value some things when we have lost them and,
hopefully, with ZANU PF back in total control, we won't lose this right


      During the 1999 elections in South Africa, the second democratic polls
in that country, many little political parties knew for sure that the ruling
African National Congress (ANC) was going to win resoundingly. There was no
doubt or argument about it.
      So were the elections necessary? one may ask. They were very important
to all the parties that were running.
      While the ANC wanted to increase its winning margin even up to 120
percent, all the other parties had one aim: ensuring that the ANC did not
get a two-thirds majority! Because two-thirds majority by ANC would be
disastrous for them . . . and because of that, one party, the National Party
to be precise, had this message on its campaign poster: "MUGABE HAS
      For an ordinary South African, this did not mean anything. But the
message was very pregnant with meaning. It meant that if the ANC was to get
a two-thirds majority in that election, it was going to behave more or less
like our own ZANU PF at that time!
      Find below what a ZANU PF two-thirds majority in parliament can do for
      ZANU PF can change the constitution to create a Senate, an upper
chamber of parliament into which the powers-that-be can freely and lawfully
pile all ruling party spent forces - the likes of Enos Chikowore, Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Dumiso Dabengwa, Chris Chigumba, Nyasha
Chikwinya . . . all those who are no longer fit to win the mandate of the
people through an election! And more.


      And what is this we are being told that the regrettable death of the
Pope had something to do with some wavelets of shock coming from the results
of our own elections here? Isn't it scandalous for anyone think of this as a
      Anyway, what we know for a fact is that one of these outgoing ZANU PF
MPs collapsed when the truth dawned on him that people who had been
benefiting from his "projects" were actually not his people, but rank
      Hopefully, a lesson has been learnt - that you don't measure your
performance in polls by the number of people who queue up to freeload on you
in the pre-election period. Right now CZ has two party T-shirts for use as
pajamas, but does it mean he voted for both parties?
      Hard luck to those who were unfortunate. The good thing is that there
is always a next time!
      Back to Papal affairs. Our own Great Uncle will be attending the
funeral of the Pope in Rome tomorrow. So will be world leaders from more
than 200 countries. And this includes Tony Blair of Britain and George W
Bush of America.
      CZ wonders what will happen if whoso-ever would be responsible for
sitting arrangements at the solemn occasion makes the mistake of sitting
some people close to each other . . . there could be another funeral!
      When it is time to choose the next Pope, hopefully no mischief-maker
will throw the name of our own brother, Pius Ncube, in the hat. Someone
could hang himself.
      And this is the last thing we would like, especially with the serious
shortage of leaders this country is facing!
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      GMB board dissolved

      Felix Njini
      4/7/2005 7:49:51 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government, faced with another serious grain deficit, has
dissolved the board of directors of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

      The dissolution could be a precursor to other major changes at the
state granary.
      Although some GMB board members said their terms of office had
expired, The Financial Gazette can reveal that the government had become
impatient with the long absence of the parastatal's chairman, Enock
Kamushinda, from the country.
      Kamushinda has been out of Zimbabwe for several months. The former
Metropolitan Bank chairman and founder is now based in Malaysia, where he is
reportedly pursuing some investments.
      Sources said the government, which has now openly hinted it may import
maize this year, had panicked into action against the GMB following
revelations that the country's grain silos were virtually empty.
      The GMB, which imported 400 000 tonnes of maize in 2004 against a
projected national output of 2.4 million tonnes, had only 64 000 tonnes in
stock last month.
      Zimbabwe consumes an average 158 000 tonnes of maize per month.
      According to the sources, the GMB management could also be
      The dissolved GMB board comprised Kamushinda, Mabel Chinomona,
Nhlanhla Masuku, Irene Zindi, Florence Ziumbe, a Mr O Matore and Joseph
Matovanyika, chief executive of the Agricultural and Rural Development
      Samuel Muvuti, a retired army colonel appointed to head the lossmaking
parastatal in 2003, has been spared the boot, the sources said.
      Contacted for comment, Masuku said the term of the GMB board had
      "Our terms of office came to an end. It was not a dissolution. We just
received letters thanking us and informing us that our terms of office had
expired," said Masuku, adding the government might soon appoint a new team
to run the GMB.
      The GMB, a monopoly in Zimbabwe's grain market, has consistently
recorded heavy losses over the years. In 2003, the parastatal registered a
$24.8 billion loss, before raising the figure to $302 billion in 2004. The
parastatal blames the losses on a state-imposed uneconomic pricing policy.
      The GMB was established in 1931 in response to the 1930 world
recession. It's major mandate is that of ensuring food security,
particularly for staple food products such as maize and wheat.
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      One Square Metre Syndrome hits Harare

      4/7/2005 7:44:22 AM (GMT +2)

      EDITOR - The streets of Harare, once known as the Sunshine City, are
littered with rubbish to levels so disgusting you cannot comprehend what
kind of people take ownership of such an eyesore.

      How did this come about you may want to know? It is what I term the
One Square Metre Syndrome (OSMS). This is where an individual will throw
litter a metre away from their feet. This effectively means any litter one
metre away from where one stands does not affect them. They are comfortable,
this makes it their comfort zone.
      OSMS is a serious disease that has to be treated and it is most
distressing to note that over 90 percent of the inhabitants of this once
glorious city are infected. It stems from lack of guidance by the parents to
their children from generation to generation.
      Can we than expect anyone to take responsibility for anything if all
we care about is the one square metre around us?
      To further complicate the extent of this scourge, by maintaining your
OSM, you are encroaching into another's space, and no one minds. Other
cities around the world have realised the need for inhabitants to take
responsibility for the upkeep of their cities and have managed to rescue the
cities from dumpsters.
      This involved somewhat unconventional methods of communicating the
need to abide by social dictates. This included actions like spraying with
water for fouling the street, citizens' arrests with immediate fines and
such ingenious deterrents.
      One that I believe would be first of its kind would be holding pens in
the middle of the city for a minimum of one hour or picking up litter to
fill a garbage bag if one is found to be infected with OSMS. On the core of
social responsibility would be for individuals and corporates to have Trash
Cans dedicated to them after donating for their installation at places of
their choice anywhere in the city. I am prepared to be the first if the
council takes up the idea. Anyone smart or crazy enough to join me?
      Being smart is not a political issue. Join me. The Harare Smart Team,
Bringing the Sunshine back into the City.

      Jazinda Lawrence MacHache
      011 408 448
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April 06, 2005

~~~ Newsletter 060 ~~~
Those who wish to sing always find a song

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NO celebration without liberation

Nhai mwana wamai?

waiziva here kuti uchanzwa nzara yakadai?
waiziva here kuti uchava rombe rakadai?
waiziva here kuti kuchava nechirwere chakadai?

Saka nhasi wanzi fara nokuti kwava ne25 years:

dzenzara asi ivo vachiguta
urombo asi ivo vachifuma
kushaiwa mishonga asi ivo vachiwana

Aiwa, hapana chokupembererera!

Uhuru ichavapo kana voziva kuti upfumi ndehwedu TESE!
Saka simuka iwe, batsira kurwira rusununguko RUZERE!

And when they have fallen into things
They eat the meat from the chest of bulls
And their wives grow larger buttocks
And their skins shine with health,
They throw themselves into soft beds
But the hip bones of the voters
Grow painful sleeping on the same earth
They slept before Uhuru.
- Saul and Cliffe 1973, vol.2:293

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that:
- Comments on the mdc’s lack of leadership
- We need to fill the vacuum with hope
- A small questionnaire for our subscribers
- The mdc gets red carded
- What does non-violent action mean and we offer some suggestions
- WOZA warriors lead the charge
- 2008 may be too late!
- The right to resist tyrants
- The one square metre (OSM) syndrome

Leadership: if not khatesi then riini?
Since the election results began trickling in on Friday morning its been more and more clear that the small dictator has cunningly stolen yet another election from the people of Zimbabwe. Hongu, no one really is surprised about this. If we expected free and fair elections Zimbabwe wouldn’t be considered a dictatorship and an “outpost of tyranny!” So the announced results are not surprising but the lack of mdc leadership in responding to this election theft is very disappointing. Vazhinji vedu are feeling let down by the mdc’s impotent response to yet another stolen election. What options do we have now as we consider the immediate future? First, it is time that we realize that the mdc is no longer the vehicle for our aspirations unless they get more creative and less stagnant. They have become a part of the state apparatus and are rendered ineffective by playing by rules that ensure that the status quo continues.

Foot soldiers
In Harare & Chitungwiza alone over 230,000 people voted for the mdc. In Bulawayo another 85,000 actively supported the mdc. Even if 10% were willing to go out and “defend their votes” like the mdc has suggested this would be a protest worth reckoning with. And if it were just 1% this would mean over 2,000 people in Harare. That is 10 times the recent WOZA demonstration. If the WOZA activists are brave enough to lead a vigil of 250 people what is the mdc waiting for?

You won the elections, but I won the count.
- Anastasio Somoza, Nicaraguan dictator (1925 - 1980)

Politics loves a vacuum: if you don’t fill it with hope, it will be filled with fear
What a pity that the mdc and civil society doesn’t use this philosophy as a guiding light. But perhaps the reality at this time is that we must build ourselves up outside of political parties and create a powerful people’s movement where zvido zvevanhu (not politicians’ ambitions) direct our activities. In many different countries around the world it has been organised people power that has eventually removed dictatorships. In our previous newsletters we often spoke of the need to look further than the symbol on the ballot paper and to engage more personal responsibility in selecting our mps or representatives based on their integrity, insight and commitment to community as well as broader areas of concern. At this time we as individuals need to dig deep and find our own inspiration and motivation for challenging injustice and intolerance. This often means that we have to become our own leaders. We need to lead by personal example whether it is organising small house meetings to discuss challenging the regime, or making our own leaflets and sharing them in community, or standing UP to institutional repression by refusing to pay taxes to the state (in any form: income tax, levies, licences etc). We cannot go face to face with an enemy that has all the state machinery at its disposal so we must work with stealth like a thief at night. Jambanja is not an option but we have an obligation to neutralise the machinery that is used to enslave and impoverish us. Any institution that doesn’t work for the people is against the people.

mdc: conveniently consultative or genuinely dictatorial?
The mdc made a big effort to demonstrate that it was consulting both its members and "the people" on whether people wanted them to participate in this election. If they could do such broad consulting then, we expect them to be doing the same now at this crucial time. They must put in the effort to find out what their members really want, instead of just assuming kuti vanoziva zvido zvedu! Having our vote stolen for the third time is no joke Mr Tsvangirai. We deserve better.

Zvakwana questionnaire
If you respond ( please send us your postal address so that we can give you some Zvakwana get UP activist materials.

1) What do you think the mdc should do now that another election has been stolen?
a) Nothing; we all knew the election would not be free and fair, what more can they expect?
b) File legal challenges on the seats they think were stolen from them
c) Appeal to the international community, South Africa and SADC to do something
d) Lead people in non-violent collective action to protest the stolen election
e) other (please explain)

2) If the mdc does not do something very creative and powerful to protest this election, what do you think the prospects for it, and Zimbabwe, are over the next few years?

3) Some people think the mdc should be renamed the “Movement for Dithering Change.”
a) Do you think this is a fair name for them? Why or why not?
b) What do you think mdc stands for at this moment?

4) Munofunga here kuti mdc should take up their seats in parliament? Please give some details in your answer.

5) Would you participate in non-violent protests? What kinds of activities are you prepared to participate in?

Security guards find it hard to secure their vote
Zvakwana activists interviewed some Fawcetts Security guards seen to be working on Election Day. It appeared that guards on day duty during elections were going to struggle to vote and they were very shaken up by this. What is troubling is that employers in security firms did not make good provision for their workers to rotate on shift to allow for voting. We hope that this attitude will change by the next election. You can email Fawcetts Security Company

mdc gets the red card for post-election flip flopping

Pictured above: The mdc gets the red card. A Zvakwana subscriber has emailed us this picture of a new kind of red card that is circling the streets. If you can’t see it in this email please visit

What does “leading” look like?
It is quite obvious that the mdc faces many challenges when considering “what to do”. What we can suggest to the mdc are a few things:

Step-by-Step escalation in a non-violent campaign

Rural results have been nullified becoz according to SADC principles, cattles and goats were not supposed to vote!
- Osama, Zvakwana activist

Zvakwana members keep in touch
Hundredz of Zimbabweans used our call back number to send text messages and voice mail during Election Day. Thank you for staying in touch! Here are some comments from Zimbabweans on the street and at the polls:

Pliz: Plan B - no way these elections were "free and fair"

Civil disobedience, cat strikes, karate gungho and all please sukumani and rally behind Dr Madhuku!

So what’s the next move?

I am so angry on the whole thing. Is there anything to be done?

Vote zanu pf for potholes

Zvauriwe ugodzosera nyika kumazhing zhong (don’t let Zimbabwe be sold to the Chinese)

WOZA warriors lead the charge
Okwethu ngokwezandla ngangokwenyawo ngakuyahamba. It is about the hand. But if it were about the feet (in the street), progress could be made. Women of Zimbabwe Arise, (WOZA) on Election Day 31 March 2005, organised a prayer vigil at Africa Unity Square in Harare. The focus of the vigil was to pray for peace during the post election period and to pray for 'divine intervention' to prevent the results being manipulated as reported in the 2000 and 2002 Elections. Over 1000 WOZA members from Bulawayo, Harare and rural representatives were en route. Riot police descended on the women (20 of whom had babies strapped to their backs), who had already begun to sing and pray. WOZA women aged from 17 to 80 were arrested and detained overnight in an open courtyard at Harare Central Police Station. The women were released after a night in custody, under armed guard and charge with "Obstruction" under the Miscellaneous Offences Act. This attracts a $ 25 000 fine. The women of WOZA, through this release would like to ask the first female Vice President of Zimbabwe, Joyce Mujuru to answer these questions. Where was she when riot police beat women and trampled them? Where was she when they were denied access to food and lawyers? Where was she when they had to sleep in an open courtyard? Where was she when they were denied access to toilets? She must show us if she is woman enough to defend women and their human rights of dignity and peaceful assembly. We believe that she must know - in prison or not Zimbabwean women are not free! (You can telephone mujuru on 011-800009). We would like to send this message to Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC President: You asked us to defend our vote but did not say how. The choice is now simple - mass action or mass starvation! The hospitalised WOZA women, recovering from the brutality of the regime, are asking who will take their place in the streets to fight to free our votes? From a WoZA news statement 4 April 2005. For more information email

Post elections shortages of basic goods
Social Welfare Minister paul mangwana yesterday said Zimbabwe had enough food including basic commodities such as sugar, soap or cooking oil. mangwana instead blamed shortages on panic buying and on pro-opposition manufacturers whom he said were creating artificial shortages in a bid to incite people against the government. If you’d like to set him straight why not send him an SMS to 011-602187

This time, no court challenges and no truce! If MDC wants to have a truce with a regime that orchestrated the turn away of 25% voters and denied Diaspora votes, then we might as well call them bad apples. Iyezvino tavakuda maleaders that can organise civil disobedience. Amandla ngawethu!
- BM

2008 may be too late
The way the mdc is keeping quiet, it looks like it’s happy to wait for 2008 for a presidential election to try boot out the dictator election-style. But mdc, we’ve got news for you: 2008 may be too late! mugabe is already talking about how he wants to stick around in his same old seat till he’s 100 years old. SABC has interviewed him talking about how he’s going to increase the seats in parliament to 200, add in a senate, and link the presidential elections to the parliamentary every five years. So the next presidential election could only be in 2010! If the mdc takes up its seats in parliament, it wont have enough presence to block these changes. mdc if you’re hoping to get another chance at election fevah in 2008, you could wake up sorely disappointed. mdc the time is now!

The right to resist tyrants
Do the people in Kyrgyzstan, Burma, Zimbabwe, Lebanon or Iran have the right to stand up to the powers of state? A great and ancient tradition says they do and argues that resistance against tyrants is obedience to God. The Christian right of resistance derives from the premise that humanity owes God greater obedience than people. A king deprives himself of his governmental authority through his own wrongdoing and as a result his right to rule over others. Should a ruler violate the terms of this relationship, the community was within its rights to depose the king and elect a new one. The power of a king derives from abantu. Should it be lost, or if the conviction of the people abused, abantu will take back that which belongs to them. Excerpts from article by Hubertus Hoffmann: to read the entire article visit:

Munoziva here kuti. . .
NCA spins new vibesthat the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) are soon to be releasing a CD of songs about the Constitution? Zvakwana gives them a big pom pom. Often it is music and poetry that makes a good bridge between getting people to know more about their rights. Please email for more information.

One Square Metre Syndrome (OSMS)
The streets of Harare, once known as the Sunshine City, are littered with rubbish to levels so disgusting you cannot comprehend what kind of people take ownership of such an eyesore. How did this come about? You may want to know. It is what I term the "One Square Metre Syndrome" [OSMS] where an individual throws litter a metre away from their feet. OSMS is a serious disease that has to be treated and it is most distressing to note that over 90% of the inhabitants of this once glorious city are infected. Other cities around the world have realised the need for inhabitants to take responsibility for the upkeep of their cities and have managed to rescue the cities from dumpsters. This involved somewhat unconventional methods of communicating the need to abide by social dictates. This included spraying with water for fouling the street, citizens' arrests with fines paid on the spot and such ingenious deterrents. One kind that I believe would be first of its kind would be picking up litter to fill a garbage bag if one is found to be infected with OSMS. I am prepared to be the first to respond if the council takes up the idea. Anyone smart or crazy enough to join me? Everything the light touches is your kingdom. I believe such drastic action will go a long way in restoring our city to its former glory and at no cost. Being smart is not a political issue. Join me. The Harare Smart Team, Brining the Sunshine back into the City. Contact details: or cell phone 011 408 488.
- From letter printed in the Zimbabwe Independent April 1st. (Maybe this clean-up can start with all the election posters that are flapping and fraying on our walls, lamp posts and trees?)


Yesterday it was you
who warmed the drum with your fingers
when you struck the skin.
We, deranged, sang and danced like frogs
our hands touched the blue sky
while our feet sprang in the air
at the moment of our twilight.

Now who would have thought
that this rebirth would be shrouded
and ready for burial:
who would have thought
we would start to fight
against the ghost
of fear?

And deep in the heart of the land
a little bird sings a doleful song
flicking its tail up and down:
Gone back back back!
We have gone back back back!
~ Musaemura Zimunya

Zvakwana, Sokwanele, Enough!!

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Enough is enough, Zvakwana, Sokwanele.


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Zimbabwe: Mugabe Says Media Law to Stay

07 April 2005
VOA news
Maphosa report - Download 290k 
Maphosa report  

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe says the tough, much criticized media law he promulgated in 2000 is not going to be repealed.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act has been criticized by media and rights groups as an attempt by the Zimbabwean government to muzzle the independent media.

Among other things, the act requires publishing houses and journalists to apply to a government-appointed commission for a license to operate in Zimbabwe. Journalists caught practicing without a license face two years in jail, a fine or both.

Four newspapers have been closed and scores of journalists arrested for falling foul of various sections of the act. To date, none of the journalists has been convicted.

But President Mugabe says it is a good law and it is here to stay. He says he sees nothing wrong with requiring journalists to register to operate. In an interview with South African Broadcasting Corporation he said the law should not stop "genuine journalists from registering. He added that he did not see any reason for anyone to be denied registration unless these have been proved to be what he called "enemies, bitter enemies of the party."

Mr. Mugabe says sections of the act that did not go down well with Zimbabwe's neighbors and the international community have already been amended.

However, media groups in Zimbabwe say the act is unacceptable and have challenged the constitutionality of some of its sections to the highest court in the country. The supreme court has ruled in favor of the government.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa - a media watchdog - feels the law must go or be reformed. With the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, it is appealing to the African Union to review the law.

"We cannot live with a law that sends somebody to prison for two years for just communicating, without him getting a license or being accredited by the Media [and] Information Commission," said Matthew Takaona, the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists. "It's primitive."

Mr. Takaona believes the AU will make recommendations that might force Mr. Mugabe to reconsider.

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Report claims evidence of Mugabe rigging

Simon Jeffery
Thursday April 7, 2005

Robert Mugabe was caught "red-handed" stealing last month's parliamentary election in Zimbabwe when it emerged his ruling Zanu-PF party had failed to win enough votes, a report claimed today.

A Zimbabwean pro-democracy movement Sokwanele, whose name translates as "enough is enough", said official figures showed massive ballot stuffing started half an hour after the polls closed at 7pm when sample counts showed a victory for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

In the most extreme cases, the group claims that Zanu-PF more than doubled its support in some constituencies from 6,000 to 16,000 votes in the hours between the polls closing on March 31 and a result being declared early the next morning.

"The fraud is out, and for all to see," the report said. "There can be no denying that Zanu-PF have been caught red-handed."

Sokwanele said the fraud was revealed when the turnout figures as of 7.30pm for 72 out of Zimbabwe's 120 constituencies were mistakenly read out on state television and radio by officials from the electoral commission.

That meant the group could compare the original turnout figures with the much higher number of votes reported in the later results. Assuming Zanu-PF would not use "ghost voter" ballots to increase the opposition share of the vote, the difference would be the extra votes the party gave to itself.

In the Goromonzi constituency in Mashonaland East province, the electoral commission put turnout at 15,661 at 7.30pm but the declared results read out several hours later added up to 26,123 votes: Zanu-PF recorded 16,782 - more than the announced number of voters - the MDC took 8,578 and 763 ballot papers were spoiled. Subtracting the 10,462 excess votes from the declared Zanu-PF total, Sokwanele puts the ruling party behind the MDC on 6320 votes in Goromonzi.

The group claims an unadulterated nationwide result would have given the MDC at least a two-seat majority among elected MPs. That would not have given the party a majority in parliament, since Mr Mugabe also appointed 30 MPs, but still represented an important victory to a party struggling to reflect the strength of domestic opposition to the current leadership.

"Using this windfall information and the results declared for MDC, it is possible to calculate by a simple matter of arithmetic that the absolute minimum of seats actually won by the opposition is 62," the report said.

Zanu-PF's two-thirds majority in parliament now allows it to change the constitution. The MDC has demanded a re-run of the vote.

Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections were declared fair by southern African observers but western nations have expressed scepticism over the vote and Mr Mugabe's claims that the allegations of vote rigging are "nonsense".

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, this week told MPs that thousands of voters had been turned away and discrepancies between the votes tallied and the official numbers had emerged. He said there was "strong evidence [the elections] do not reflect the free democratic will" of the Zimbabwean people.

"Some say this is about Africa versus the west. It is not," he said. "It is about democracy versus dictatorship. Other Africans, too, have been saying enough is enough."

The Sokwanele report dealt only with the hours after the polls closed but said "months of cynical scheming ... the manipulation of the food delivery system and the cunning rewriting of the election laws, effectively to put Mugabe appointees in command, with the military to control it" had contributed to the manipulation of the electoral process.

The US embassy in Harare, which was not granted official observer status but deployed 25 teams of diplomats to monitor the election, said some polling stations were intimidatingly close to police stations and "appeared to be associated with food distribution". At many of them, it said, up to 30% of would-be voters were turned away.

Read the Sokwanele report posted to this website on 6/4/05here.

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Mugabe tightens grip on Zimbabwe

By Barnaby Phillips
BBC Africa correspondent

The British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has found time amidst the electioneering to condemn the poll, which has just seen Robert Mugabe hold on to power in Zimbabwe. Jack Straw said it was seriously flawed and did not reflect the free democratic will of the Zimbabwean people.

Zimbabweans queue to vote in Harare
Zimbabweans queued from the early hours to vote in the elections

Tony Blair is going to have a busy few weeks, but his great rival is feeling very relaxed, and sitting pretty.

No, not Michael Howard.

Down here, on Africa's southern tip we have a different perspective.

We know that the man who really stands up to Mr Blair is none other than the President of faraway Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.

Mr Mugabe has just fought, and won, an election of his own.

He even called it the "Anti-Blair campaign".

At every rally and press conference, Mr Mugabe rounded on Mr Blair as enemy number one, the imperialist, itching to restore white rule.

Now, with victory secure, Mr Mugabe is choosing his new government, and working out how he can change the constitution to tighten his grip on power.

If the past is anything to go by, this will also be a useful time to settle a few scores.

The timing is perfect. The pope's death, the royal wedding, that British election.

The attention of the world is elsewhere and maybe a few opposition activists need to be softened up a bit. Taught a lesson for standing up to Mr Mugabe so publicly during the election campaign.

Zimbabwe has been the bane of my life throughout my posting in Johannesburg.


It has been the story in Southern Africa, but one that is always just out of reach.

The potential penalty for working in Zimbabwe without accreditation is two years in jail

The Zimbabwean government imposed a ban on the BBC in July of 2001.

I arrived in August of 2001. And I am due to leave in August of this year.

I have had to report on Zimbabwe week after week, on the radio and television, for four years, without being able to go there.

Well, almost without being able to go there.

There have been one or two opportunities. The cricket world cup a couple of years ago, for example.

The Zimbabweans were so eager to host some matches that they promised to allow in all sports reporters. So, for a few strange weeks we all became cricket journalists, and went to Zimbabwe.

Other trips have been more furtive, and more frightening.

The potential penalty for working in Zimbabwe without accreditation is two years in jail.

Zanu-PF: 78 seats
MDC: 41 seats
Independent: 1 seat
Elected seats: 120 seats
Seats appointed by the president: 30

Mugabe sweeps to victory
Muted opposition
Nobody wants to spend two years in a Zimbabwean jail.

So let's just say that those other trips were very carefully planned, and short and sweet.

So it has been frustrating.

Not least because I have become so moved by the plight of Zimbabweans, as they struggle with repression and economic decline.

Here in the Johannesburg bureau, we all do our best to keep in touch with Zimbabwe, talking to everyone who passes through, reading every website and chatting to friends in the country.

But it is not the same as being there, and the longer the ban goes on, the greater the risk that we end up being out of touch with events in Zimbabwe.

That is something we have to watch very carefully.

Escaping abroad

It is no consolation, but there were other people excluded from this election who have far more reason to feel aggrieved.

Nobody knows for sure how many Zimbabweans have fled abroad during the past five years. More than three million is a common estimate.

Election posters in Zimbabwe
The ruling Zanu-PF party has dismissed charges of unfairness

That is about a quarter of Zimbabwe's entire population.

We do know that the majority have come here, to South Africa.

I have got to know quite a few of these immigrants in recent months, and their stories are depressingly consistent.

Some are escaping persecution and even torture, but most came here just to make a living.

Many are well educated, eloquent people, who left their families behind.

And life in South Africa has often been difficult.

I have been into squalid flats in disgusting run-down blocks, where there is no running water and where 10 or 12 Zimbabweans sleep on the floor, sharing mattresses.

I know Zimbabweans who were teachers at home, but who work here as housemaids, security guards, waiters, or who just sell whatever they can on the streets.

Last week, I met James. I have changed his name to keep him safe.

In Zimbabwe, he was an air-conditioning technician, who was threatened by the security forces because he was a union activist.

He said people would come up to him, and tell him they knew where he lived.

"They would say, 'don't be surprised if you wake up one day in hospital, or something happens which is even worse'. What kind of life is that?"

President Mugabe has decided that the people who ran away from his rule, must not threaten his grip on power

So James decided to leave and now his life is miserable.

He shares a room with drunks and drop-outs, it is the only place he can afford, and survives on occasional work.

If things were better at home, he would go back at the drop of a hat.

So, not surprisingly, James followed last month's elections very closely.


He had a huge interest in how they turned out, but, and here is the problem, he had no say.

Zimbabweans abroad are not allowed to vote.

President Mugabe has decided that the people who ran away from his rule, must not threaten his grip on power.

There is a huge irony in all of this.

When James does put together a few pounds he does what most Zimbabwean exiles do, he sends money back to his destitute family.

Last year Zimbabwean exiles sent home about £60 million.

In other words, the diaspora, driven from home and denied the vote, is now helping to keep Zimbabwe from total collapse.

And, by implication, helping to keep President Mugabe in power. Which, come to think of it, is all very convenient.

No one could accuse the Zimbabwean leader of being naive.

Which is just as well because if you want to outfox Tony Blair, you need to keep your wits about you.

From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Thursday, 7 April, 2005 at 1100 BST on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service transmission times.

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Fuel and food shortages hit Zimbabwe
Thu Apr 7, 2005 10:10 AM BST
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By Emelia Sithole

HARARE (Reuters) - Fresh fuel and essential food shortages have hit Zimbabwe barely a week after President Robert Mugabe's ruling party romped to victory in disputed elections.

The shortages are stoking fears the country will miss its inflation and growth targets, hobbling the recovery of an economy which has been in a deep slump for five years.

Pumps at most fuel stations in the capital Harare have run dry over the past two days with motorists bracing for the long queues they had to tolerate for much of last year.

"We ran out this morning and we don't know whether we will get any supplies tomorrow," a Harare petrol attendant said.

The fuel shortfall is largely a result of an acute foreign currency shortage. Zimbabwe has been without international funding because of differences over Mugabe's policies, particularly the seizure of white-owned farms.

Foreign exchange auctions controlled by the central bank are only meeting about 8 percent of market needs, analysts say.

Cooking oil and the staple maize meal were also scarce in shops in the city centre, with some shoppers bulk-buying the few stocks left in a couple of shops although a government minister gave assurances that maize-meal supplies were back to normal.

"We haven't had cooking oil for a few days now. Some people have been hoarding for days in anticipation of these shortages," said an assistant at a city centre supermarket.

Maize-meal supplies were already erratic in both rural and urban areas in recent months with supermarkets out of stock for days on end. This had become a central issue in pre-election campaigns with Mugabe pledging that no one would go hungry.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, in power since independence in 1980, increased its grip on power after trouncing the Movement for Democratic Change in polls which the opposition and many Western powers condemned as rigged.

Analysts have predicted a worsening of economic woes as Zimbabwe seeks to import 1.2 million tonnes of grain at an estimated US$250 million to feed a third of the population.

This follows a poor harvest due to drought and inadequate seed and fertiliser support to small rural farmers who largely benefited from Mugabe's controversial seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

Critics say the seizures led to the collapse in commercial agriculture in a country that was once a regional breadbasket but Mugabe says drought, not land seizures, are to blame for food shortages.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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