30 June 2000
From the MDC Harare
28 June 2000
The executive of the Movement for Democratic Change met in Harare today to review the election process, electoral results, violence and intimidation, vote rigging and electoral irregularities and discuss parliamentary strategies.
MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda will lead the MDC in parliament. The person who will occupy the position of MDC parliamentary whip will be decided upon at a later stage by a committee working on parliamentary structure.
The Movement for Democratic Change is in a process of reviewing electoral irregularities and some disturbing facts have come to light. However, these facts will form the basis of 10 test cases that will be brought before the High Court as a matter of urgency.
MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai said: "We want to thank a number of people, first and foremost the people of Zimbabwe for showing incredible determination to cast their vote. We bow our heads in sadness at the loss of 31 brave people who stood their ground for democratic ideals. Our hearts are filled with sadness at the tremendous loss their families have experienced, and the incredible trauma to wives and children. We have been moved by the commitment of those families to continue to support the Movement for Democratic Change and the quest for peace and freedom in this land.
"We thank those who have died, been beaten, or raped, their properties destroyed or they themselves, and their families displaced for continuing in their commitment. Their sacrifices have been considerable and we are in awe of their courage.
"We thank election observers for their presence in this country and for the sincerity and openness with which they approached their task. And then of course we need to thank the media for working very hard, and sometimes at personal risk, to try and present a true reflection to the world of what has been occuring in Zimbabwe."
"The staff at the Support Centres have worked for months, mostly with no pay and under a situation of very scarce resources to build the MDC and further its aims. Their sense of teamwork has inspired us all. Despite rumours to the contrary the MDC has relied on the kindness of all for cash, donations and voluntary services. The premises the campaign operated from was loaned, so were our computers, printers, the paper we used, the vehicles, the ink, the staples. We regularly sent out appeals asking for donations of such minor items as paper clips, staplers, toner and glue. We were never disappointed.
"Indeed, civil society which had become moribund for 20 years in Zimbabwe has reawoken, there is a new energy and a new purpose. Zimbabweans will never again submit. We ask those who have helped thus far not to reduce their efforts, our real work begins now."
"The homes of hundreds of our supporters have been burnt to the ground, the vehicles of many destroyed, their crops and small farming projects razed. We need assistance to help those people recover and move forward.
From The Independent (UK), 30 June
Zimbabwe farmers warned by war veterans to pack their bags
Harare - Commercial farmers in Zimbabwe fear a new round of land occupations this weekend after several received visits yesterday from war veterans warning that they had until tomorrow in some cases, and Monday in others, to pack their bags and leave. The president of the Commercial Farmers' Union, Tim Henwood, said the threats centred on areas won in last weekend's election by President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF. They did not appear to be directed at supporters of the MDC, which won a record 57 parliamentary seats. He said: "We are not sure whether the threats are election-related but we have heard reports of groups looking for opposition supporters."
The ruling party, which won 62 seats, has pledged to press ahead with resettling landless peasants whom it used in a four-month campaign of farm invasions ahead of this election. President Mugabe's central election message was that land was stolen from the indigenous people at colonisation and now it is time for the whites to give - not sell - it back. On 2 June, the government gave one month's notice - expiring on Sunday - that a list of 804 farms would be seized. However, those farms in Mashonaland East that received warnings yesterday were not necessarily on the list, raising questiona sbout whether the new round of threats is government-inspired, the work of a renegade group, or signifies that a power struggle to replace President Mugabe is under way within Zanu-PF.
Even though the 76-year-old president co-opted Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi for the pre-election land occupation campaign, the war veterans' leader backs a faction of Zanu-PF led by the Marxist hardliner, Eddison Zvogbo. The ruling party is due to resume a post-election politburo meeting today after which a date may be announced for the opening of parliament.
Vicky Campbell, whose family's eight farms in Marondera, east of Harare, received threats yesterday, said: "Some veterans who had left before the elections have returned. They are letting the cattle out of their pens and generally being obstructive. About 20 of them turned up in cars and, even though my son-in-law's farm is not listed, he was told that all the whites had to be out by Monday."
Even though foreign observers had condemned the widespread intimidation, violence and more than 30 murders in the run-up to the election, they yesterday expressed satisfaction at the smooth conduct of the poll and highlighted the help disabled people were given with voting. But Pierre Schori, head of the 150-strong European Union observers' group, said members of his team would stay in the country until mid-July to monitor whether perpetrators of the election violence were brought to justice. "I think it is right for the victims to be given justice and for the perpetrators of crime to be brought to justice." His comments echoed a statement by Amnesty International yesterday, urging Zimbabwe to investigate human rights abuses. "The vicious cycle of impunity that has been common in Zimbabwe before and after independence will only be broken if the new government - regardless of its composition - acts promptly," it said.From The Financial Gazette, 29 June
Pressure On Mugabe To Go As New MPs Threaten To Defect
Harare - Several new ZANU PF legislators and provincial heads this week said they will pressure President Robert Mugabe to relinquish the party's leadership within six months to allow for the election of a new leader who would rejuvenate the party and prepare for state presidential elections in 2002. The MPs, elected in the weekend polls, warned they would vote with the opposition MDC in Parliament to block ZANU PF-inspired legislation if Mugabe and his old guard resisted reforms within the party.
They said Mugabe must completely discard his faith in the old guard and move quickly to appoint a Cabinet from the new blood. "We lost the election because people are fed up with Mugabe's leadership of both the party and the government. His theatrics on land did us more harm than good," one ZANU PF provincial chairman said. "We are presently consulting and our common position is that he should step down by the time we hold our annual conference in December to save the party. Anything short of that means we will face massive defeat in the presidential polls," the chairman said, speaking on condition he is not named.
Chenjerai Hunzvi, the outspoken head of Zimbabwe's independence war veterans, said earlier this week he expected an overhaul of ZANU PF in the aftermath of a near defeat by the MDC in the just-ended elections. "Clearly there is a revolution taking place. The party has to rejuvenate. To meet the challenge, we need an overhaul from the grassroots to the top," he told Reuters. Eight new ZANU PF legislators, who preferred anonymity because of party disciplinary regulations which forbid them to debate party affairs outside its structures, said they would also use the party caucus in Parliament to press Mugabe to go.
But political analysts pointed out that it was already too late for the ruling party to redeem itself by dethroning Mugabe. Greg Linington, a constitutional law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), said any leadership changes were not going to rescue ZANU PF in the 2002 presidential polls. The entire party was unpopular and Mugabe's unpopularity was inextricably linked to ZANU PF and its policies, he said. "Some candidates to succeed Mugabe are even more unpopular than the President himself, making it extremely remote that a new leader will help the party win the presidential elections," Linington told the Financial Gazette.
He was referring to the shocking defeat in the weekend balloting of party stalwarts such as Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa and Emmerson Mnangagwa by virtually unknown MDC candidates. The two ministers, together with security head Sydney Sekeramayi who narrowly survived defeat in his own Marondera constituency, have often been touted as possible successors to Mugabe. Linington said the possibility of fragmentation within the ruling party, with some of its new MPs voting with the MDC, was nonetheless highly likely.
His views were echoed by Solomon Nkiwane, a political science lecturer at UZ who said if Mugabe opted to retire, it would be a good move for himself but not for ZANU PF. He said the President's departure from the political landscape would inevitably throw ZANU PF into disarray. The lack of a clear succession policy within the party would ignite a power struggle that would not heal before the presidential ballot. Our Mutare correspondent reports that Edgar Tekere, a former ZANU PF secretary-general, felt that only Mugabe's departure could lift ZANU PF's fortunes. "For ZANU PF to recover, they have to find a formula or mechanism to get rid of Mugabe," Tekere said.
The new ZANU PF legislators said an overhaul of the party leadership was inevitable if the party is to remain relevant to Zimbabwe. "The sooner we force that change the better. There can be no disputing that ZANU PF can only regain popularity if there is a new leadership with a fresh agenda to put the economy of this country back on track," another ruling party provincial chairman said. The new MPs said that if Mugabe thwarted party reforms and stayed on until the presidential vote, it was likely that some of them could cross the floor to join the MDC. "If he (Mugabe) wants to seek re-election in 2002, he must go public now rather than keep the country guessing," one of the legislators said. "This would enable some of us to cross the floor now rather than later. That he will be humiliated by Morgan Tsvangirai if he opts to continue in 2002 is indisputable."
From News24, 29 June
White Zim farmers on 'death list'
Harare - Three white land-owners from the north of Zimbabwe have received death threats because of their support for the opposition in last weekend's elections, an MP and several farmers claimed in Harare on Wednesday. The farmers, who were accompanied by opposition MDC MP Mike Auret, said the threatened land-owners, whose names were not given, were on a hitlist because they were "high profile MDC supporters and organisers". The Commercial Farmer's Union confirmed reports of the threat but said in a statement: "at this stage there is no hard information, but we cannot rule out the possibility." The farmers, from Mashonaland Central province, said at least 20 farmers were considered to be at risk. "We have information which is solid, it's good information that those death threats are going to be carried out, and it's possible that this weekend is the time," Auret said. "We've informed the European Union monitors. The police in various stations in Mashonaland Central have been informed, but it must be said they haven't paid a lot of attention," said Auret.
From The Daily Telegraph, (UK), 29 June
Mugabe 'should be stripped of assets'
Brussels – Conservative Euro-MPs called yesterday for the seizure of President Robert Mugabe's assets outside Zimbabwe and demanded an end to the European Union giving aid to repressive regimes. Neil Parish, MEP for South West, a member of the European Parliament's observer mission in Zimbabwe, said the election there had been compromised by systematic intimidation, one-party control of the media and vote fraud. He said: "When you've had people murdered, some action has to be taken; we can't just let it pass."
It is believed that Mr Mugabe has accumulated substantial wealth, with property in Europe and control over mining interests in Africa. Pierre Schori, the Swedish MEP in charge of the 190-strong EU monitoring team, has already condemned the "high level of violence" that surrounded the polling, saying that "the term 'free and fair election' is not applicable". The mission is to make formal recommendations for EU action next week. Mr Schori is unlikely to push for full-scale sanctions, fearing that this would hurt ordinary people more than the regime. Zimbabwe's economy is already on the brink of collapse.
Citing examples of fraud, Mr Parish said that EU observers had been expelled from a regional polling centre in Mount Darwin by police after they had discovered that the seals were broken on a large number of ballot boxes during a spot check. He also accused the ruling Zanu-PF party of using the old electoral trick of allocating the military's postal vote to marginal constituencies, giving Zanu-PF the edge in at least 20 seats that were won by a margin of less than 500 votes.
From The Times (UK), 29 June
Police chiefs add insult to siege farmer's injuries
John Melrose, savaged and still surrounded by squatters, feels "like a prisoner"
Macheke - The vivid red scars running down John Melrose's arms and legs are evidence why this farmer derides the sudden talk of reconciliation by President Mugabe and his acolytes. Only days ago, while a supposed peaceful election campaign was under way, Mr Melrose, 65, lay hooded in the dirt while the so-called war veterans whipped and beat him and boasted how they would drown him. His body was lacerated and he was trussed up, hand and foot, and left for dead. The police were called and made no attempt to untie him or staunch his bleeding while they haggled with the squatters' leader to let them rescue him. This was about the same time that Zimbabwe's police chiefs were impressing international observers with promises to punish those responsible for any election violence. They made the same pledge again yesterday, yet the gang who savaged Mr Melrose was still squatting unmolested yards from his front door.
Five officers investigating this attack did call on Mr Melrose and said that the only crime they could find was to charge him for using offensive language to the veterans. His doctors at the Borrodaile Hospital in Marondera forensically detailed his wounds including an 18in gash across his back and deep cuts to his scalp, legs, arms, hands and buttocks. They estimated he had been whipped at least 30 times. The police version of events concluded that Mr Melrose fell off his motorcycle.
"If it wasn't so laughable it would be tragic," he said yesterday sitting behind the metal security bars that barricade him inside his patio. "They said my injuries were caused by me falling off my motorbike and that I should go to the veterans and apologise for swearing at them. This is real law and order in the bush. Nobody should be conned by Mugabe's fine words on television." Today Mr Melrose dare not leave the 12ft-high front gates of his garden. As he talks he balances a bundle of keys in his hand. "I'm not the jailer, I'm the one in jail".
The uncertainty paralysing Zimbabwe threatens his livelihood and his life. His 3,200-acre Glen Somerset Farm is high on the list of properties that Zanu (PF) has designated for takeover. He cannot be sure that the war veterans will not try to grab it before Mr Mugabe does. "Either way, it's not much of a future to impress the bank manager with," he said. "Life is not going to improve for the likes of us. These gangs are now a law unto themselves. Out here we feel no one is in control of anything any more."
The sense of desolation is shared by his wife, Geraldine, 59, who cannot bear to look at her husband of 37 years as he describes the ambush that nearly cost him his life. Glen Somerset has been occupied by squatters since February and Mr Melrose makes no secret of his exasperation that nothing has been done to shift them. Instead he shows you written death threats he has received during this time from his unwanted guests. They recently forced him to sign away half his farm on a dirty scrap of paper, warning him that if he did not, they would slaughter him, his wife and their workers.
These are not idle threats. Some of his tormentors were in the gang that kidnapped and killed his closest neighbour, David Stevens. Mrs Melrose, shivers as she explains that her husband only escaped being abducted that April morning because he was off the farm at their youngest daughter's wedding. It was, he says, "a stay of execution". On June 13 the veterans demanded he give them a tractor and trailer so that they could take his labourers and their families to nearby Waterloo to ensure they were registered to vote. "I knew they just wanted to take my people and beat and indoctrinate them again so I said no - albeit in forcible language." This exchange happened near the beer hall that Mr Melrose built on his workers' compound which the squatters use as their headquarters. "You get tired of being bullied so I turned away and was riding my motorbike across the football pitch when it hit a pothole and stalled. I paid the price." The Zimbabwe police refused to discuss the case yesterday.
From The Financial Gazette, 29 June
MDC's Mat Victory Stuns Mugabe
Harare – President Robert Mugabe has been shocked by the scale of the sweeping victory of the opposition MDC in Matabeleland but was aware of the waning popularity of his ruling ZANU PF in urban areas, official sources said yesterday. The sources said Central Intelligence Organisation information had correctly predicted that the MDC would win most urban seats while ZANU PF would sweep the rural areas. According to this information, the MDC was only expected to win seats in Bulawayo but face stiff competition from ZANU PF in Matabeleland's rural areas. "The pattern of voting which occurred was predictable to a large extent, especially in the urban centres," one top government official close to Mugabe said. "But what really shocked the President was the support of the MDC in rural Matabeleland - he was very surprised," the official said, declining to be named.
The MDC captured 20 of the 23 contested seats in the three electoral provinces of Matabeleland, including all urban constituencies of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city. The sources said the ruling party was in the process of launching a post-mortem to assess the cause of its crushing defeat in Matabeleland, which threatens a 1987 unity accord forged by Mugabe and then opposition leader Joshua Nkomo to unite their rival parties. The pact was clinched after army troops swept Matabeleland in a harsh crackdown against armed supporters of Nkomo who were angry at his expulsion from the Cabinet over charges he plotted a coup. Human rights groups say at least 20 000 civilians were killed by the army during the military campaign.
Examining the results of the just-ended parliamentary ballot, the sources said the fall of ZANU PF heavyweights Dumiso Dabengwa, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Richard Hove, among several others, had long been predicted, according to intelligence information. ZANU PF's sweep of the seats in Mashonaland Central had also been predicted, though fears had been expressed about whether Mashonaland Central governor Border Gezi could win the Bindura constituency. He eventually scrapped through with a narrow margin, beating the MDC's Elliot Pfebve.
The sources said impromptu "star" rallies addressed by Mugabe in Kwekwe and Gweru in the closing stages of the election campaign had been meant to prop up the falling support of Mnangagwa, the minister of justice, and Planning Commissioner Hove in the two Midlands cities. The rallies were marked by high turnouts but it later emerged that most of those at the campaign meetings had been threatened with dire consequences by the party's youths if they did not attend. Even private buses ferrying people out of the cities to rural areas and other places were being diverted to these rallies.
The ruling party's powerful central committee will meet in Harare tomorrow to discuss the aftermath of the polls in which ZANU PF narrowly escaped defeat by the MDC, formed just 10 months ago. The MDC's shock win in Matabeleland is expected to dominate the meeting.
From The Times (UK), 29 june
Rioting threat to Mugabe as food shortage looms
HARARE - ON A good day, Richman Mpala, a ten-year-old barefoot street urchin who assiduously works the traffic lights in downtown Harare, can usually pick up about 50 Zimbabwe dollars (60p) by begging from motorists. He says most of it goes to his mother who needs at least a hundred dollars a day to buy enough sadza - the ground-down maize meal that forms the staple diet of Zimbabwe's increasingly impoverished people - so that she can feed her hungry family of six. But the tube of glue in his back pocket, which he periodically brings out to inhale, suggests that at least a portion is diverted to buy the adhesive to help him to get through the grinding monotony of his long and empty days. Perhaps his parents called him Richman because that is what they hoped he would be. Like millions of their fellow citizens, though, they have seen their hopes evaporate as the country's once-flourishing economy slips into freefall. Richman loathes his hand-to-mouth existence, and he aches for a better life.
Even if President Mugabe rips the heart out of the agricultural sector by seizing white-owned commercial farms, no one will starve in Zimbabwe in the immediate future. Most of the country's annual production of two million tonnes of maize has been harvested and there is enough food in storage to last until the next harvest in May. Shortages of other crops are looming, however, bringing the spectre of food riots, especially in urban areas, which have grown accustomed to the luxury of eating bread.
Colin Cloete, a vice president of the predominantly white Commercial Farmers Union, said: "The most serious problem will arise in the autumn with the wheat crop. This year's planting season has been greatly hindered by the war veterans. The disruption they have caused has delayed the onset of planting by a month and reduced the amount of acreage planted by some 20 per cent. We have already lost about 100,000 tonnes and things could get much worse. Zimbabwe produces about 300,000 tonnes of wheat a year, but it consumes 450,000 tonnes. The deficit is normally imported. But this year we are going to have to import 250,000 tonnes, at a cost of US$65 million, and there is no foreign exchange to pay for it," Mr Cloete said.
"And that's only the start of our problems. If we get early rains, much of the wheat crop will have to be downgraded to feed stock. Then the problem starts to get serious. We told the Government all this when they started their shenanigans, but they didn't seem to understand or care. Food shortages are more likely to cause civil unrest in this country than anything else. Mr Mugabe and the war vets are doing enormous damage to the country, which they just don't seem to give a damn about. [He] has had 20 years to sort out the land problem, but he has made no serious attempt to do so. It's almost as if he wanted to keep it in reserve so he could bring it out at election time." The CFU and MDC, the opposition party, agree that Zimbabwe's white commercial and black communal landholding systems - an unresolved legacy of colonial rule – are divisive. They insist, though, that Mr Mugabe's proposed land seizures are destructive and would seriously damage Zimbabwe's long-term ability to feed itself. "Now it's up to us to take the initiative and sort it out ourselves," Mr Cloete said.
From The Star (SA), 29 June
SA to send ministers to help Zimbabwe
The cabinet will send a task team of ministers to Zimbabwe to assist the country in rebuilding its economy and bring about stability in the region after the conclusion of that country's parliamentary elections. Government spokesperson Joel Netshitenzhe on Wednesday said President Thabo Mbeki would appoint the ministers who would go to Zimbabwe to work with their counterparts. The election and its run-up had a negative effect on South Africa's economy, with foreigners selling South African bonds and the rand sliding. The rand strengthened on Tuesday after the results were announced.
Meanwhile, a row has erupted among members of the South African Parliamentary observer team over an ANC meeting with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and remarks by team leader Tony Yengeni, which were splashed across Zimbabwe's state media, and which implied South Africa endorsed the elections as free and fair. On Wednesday the Democratic Party slammed Yengeni's "unprofessional" conduct for holding a private meeting with Mugabe and publicly expressing views on the election other parties had not agreed to. Yengeni was unavailable for comment.
Yengeni led a team of 20 MPs including members of the DP, the New National Party, the African Christian Democratic Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party, to observe the election campaign and to form a joint report agreeable to all parties. But on Tuesday Yengeni and two ANC members met Mugabe and appeared on Zimbabwe television and SATV praising the elections and criticising the European Union delegation, which had declared that pre-election violence and intimidation were so extensive the results could not be deemed free and fair.
1 July 2000
Why was Mugabe so scared of losing these elections? He was worried that he would be taken to court for all his war crimes, and put in jail in the same cell with Canaan Banana.
From The Star (SA), 30 June
Tight security after Zimbabwe clashes
Harare – Police in Zimbabwe have tightened security after clashes broke out in three towns after last weekend's elections, officials said. Meanwhile, white commercial farmers are bracing themselves for more violent land invasions this weekend, as the deadline approached for objections to the seizure of farms taken just before the elections. On June 2, President Robert Mugabe's government published a list of 804 farms earmarked for acquisition on the basis that they were not in use or were owned by foreigners or those with several properties. Farmers were given one month - which ends on Sunday - to contest the list.
Twelve people were arrested after clashes broke out on Wednesday in a Harare suburb and in two other towns, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said. In all three constituencies, Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF, which has enjoyed 20 years of unbridled power, was defeated by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. "We have tightened security in Kwekwe, Harare and Chitungwiza so that we can adequately and ruthlessly deal with any situation of public disorder," Bvudzijena said. Police said on Monday they had deployed reinforcements fearing violence from people unwilling to accept the poll results.
Information Minister Chen Chimutengwende said the government was waiting for Sunday before going ahead with land acquisition. In an attempt to forestall invasions, hundreds of white farmers have begun contesting the forced acquisition of 804 farms. Chimutengwende dashed farmers' hopes that the government might drop the land issue after the elections when he said the government was unlikely to accept objections and would settle people on the seized land. Commercial Farmers Union president Tim Henwood said yesterday he was concerned that a high-profile round of invasions could be staged this weekend.
From The Independent (UK), 1 July
Veterans to fight on in Zimbabwe's next land war
Mashonaland, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's election was not about land, nor was it about the damage inflicted by white colonialism, say the analysts and opposition politicians who insist it was purely about President Robert Mugabe's desire to prolong his 20 years in power. But Peter Zisengwe, a war veteran, sees things differently. Since March, Mr Zisengwe, 42, has lived with his comrades under tarpaulins on white-owned farmland they believe should be theirs.
This weekend they expect reinforcements. If the 1,300-odd land invasions in Zimbabwe since February were intended as an election ploy, they have struck a powerful chord with millions. "We are here for this land. We fought for it and many war brothers died for this," said Mr Zisengwe, pulling down his trousers to show the scar of a bullet wound. "It broke my femur. I have never really worked since the end of the war in 1980. But I have got farming training. On this land I could grow maize, rice or wheat," said Mr Zisengwe, a subsistence farmer whose wife and four children live 40 miles away.
Echoing President Mugabe, Derek Chaora, the 47-year-old chief of the group occupying Chifumbi Farm, sees the action as a new war - this time for economic rights. He said: "We will stay for as long as it takes. We will not leave if the government asks us to go home while they sort things out. If they take too long to distribute the land, action will be taken - even against the government." After a discussion with his comrades, he corrects himself: "Action will be taken against the British. The only solution is to drive the British away." Clearly "the British" is Mr Chaora's synonym for all whites, especially commercial farmers. "The British should have given us money long ago. They are responsible for this situation. We are happy with the election result because Zanu-PF is still in charge and will help us,'' he said.
The main outcome of last weekend's parliamentary election was to lay the foundations of a multi-party system. For the first time since the end of white rule in 1980, Zimbabweans voted with their convictions, not allegiances decided by others. Zanu-PF won 62 seats, against 57 for the nine-month-old MDC and one for the traditional Zanu-Ndonga party. Unless the MDC wins a majority of its court challenges to results in up to 23 seats, the ruling party - helped by a number of appointments – will hold sway, arguing it represents the majority of Zimbabweans.
A campaign of government-orchestrated intimidation claimed more than 30 lives. But only a fraction of Zanu-PF's voters were bludgeoned into supporting the party. Land is an issue. A few thousand commercial farmers, mainly white, control thousands of acres. In an average year, 40 per cent of foreign currency is earned through the export of tobacco, vegetables, beef, fruit and flowers. With the economy in collapse, the 12 million black population is feeling more than ever the injustice of life on plots of communal land where they grow only enough food to feed themselves. The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, wants a gradual transformation of the rural economy. Subsistence farming "pauperises" people, he says, and a first step away from this would be to issue title deeds.
The more populist Zanu-PF has not clearly outlined how it intends to transfer five million hectares to the people in five years. Neither party has clearly addressed the issue of dealing with traditional chiefs – the lairds of the masses. In Zimbabwe the chiefs have representation – 10 automatically enter the 150-seat parliament.
JT Nortier, owner of Chifumbi Farm, said:"My family came here in 1963 after Julius Nyerere chased the whites out of Tanzania. I just want to carry on. I'm sure the government will find a solution using foreign donors." The solution is there. A land conference with donors in 1998 yielded pledges of money from the world's major financial institutions and EU countries. But nothing was implemented. As the land issue rumbles on,, the question is not about when the veterans will move off the farms. They will stay. It is whether the liberation rhetoric has a future in this rural economy where injustices and paternalism are rife. The only hope is for both parties to adopt a constructive approach in parliament and try to reconcile their divergent constituencies. There is little sign of that yet.
From News24 (SA), 30 June
Farm intimidations stepped up
Harare - After a brief respite over the elections, ruling party militants have resumed threats and intimidation against white farmers accused of backing the opposition, farm officials said on Thursday. Illegal occupiers moved onto at least three more farms in the past 48 hours and reinforcements led by veterans of the bush war that led to independence in 1980 arrived on several other occupied properties, the Commercial Farmers Union said on Thursday. Farm leaders urged landowners to remain on full alert.
After a lull in intimidation during weekend parliamentary elections, illegal occupiers across the country stepped up threats against farmers and demands for plots of land, food, money and homesteads in which to live, union spokesperson Steve Crawford said. Most war veterans who left occupied farms to vote in their home districts had now returned, saying the victory of President Robert Mugabe's ruling party at the polls entitled them to enforce his policy of seizing white-owned farms without paying compensation.
Since Mugabe lost a constitutional referendum in February, veterans and militants have staked illegal claims on more than 1 600 white-owned farms. Mugabe ordered police not to remove illegal occupiers, arguing they were protesting unfair land ownership by the descendants of mostly British settlers. Since the poll, officials in Mugabe's Zanu PF party, have vowed to push ahead with the immediate nationalisation of 804 white-owned farms targeted late May. It was unclear what would happen to occupied farms not among the 804, but the occupiers have made no signs of leaving.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 30 June
Opposition voters hit by revenge arson raid
Nyachurio, Zimbabwe – In the remote Zimbabwean village of Nyachurio, supporters of the MDC are counting the cost of voting against President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party. The smouldering ruins of what were once three village dwellings serve as a potent warning to all those seen as traitors. The huts were burned in the early hours of yesterday under cover of darkness. Families managed to flee, but lost many belongings. Garike Chitaunhike, 26, a supporter of the MDC opposition alliance, surveying the ruins, said: "It is a threat we are all taking very seriously. There will be more burnings, and beatings, too."
Zanu-PF won the weekend poll by 18,867 votes to 7,869 in this constituency, two hours' drive north of Harare, in an area where the MDC dared not campaign openly. Not content, thugs backing the ruling party have begun attacking people accused of betraying their cause. The home of Wande Mushore, a security guard, was first. He had refused to surrender his MDC card and T-shirt. Next was the homestead of Frank Kaseke. His nephew Vincent was puzzled. "My uncle's daughter passed away last week, and there were many, many cousins at the funeral," he said. "I think one was wearing an MDC T-shirt. That's the only reason I can think of why he was a target."
Last was the home of Fadwick Price, a father of nine, whose family vehemently denied supporting the MDC. "We are card-carrying members of Zanu-PF," insisted one of his sons. In another incident, Sipho Dzapasi, an MDC supporter, was beaten up. Reprisal attacks are seen as inevitable after a poll campaign marked by violence and intimidation. They are most likely to occur in rural villages such as Nyachurio, far from the eyes of police and election observers. Police were investigating the raid on the village yesterday. Three of the alleged perpetrators were arrested and the hunt continued for another 11. Thousands of refugees from those rural areas worst hit by pre-election intimidation remain in tents and safe houses around the capital. News of these burnings will not encourage them to return home.
President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya said his country would never allow the kind of seizures of white-owned farmland seen in Zimbabwe this year - even after he leaves power. He told a business forum in Crans-Montana, Switzerland: "I want to assure you that, although I will retire or leave leadership, Kenya will remain just the same." Kenya had maintained a consistent policy since independence in 1963, he said. "That policy has remained . . . all along that sanctity of property is within the constitution. . . Your land is your land whether you are white or black. Nobody is going to take it over."
From News24 (SA), 20 June
'Mugabe now hostage to opposition'
Harare - A leading Zimbabwe opposition figure said President Robert Mugabe was now "hostage to the MDC, the upstart party that took nearly half of all contested seats in weekend parliamentary elections. "If Mugabe wants to stand in power he is going to have to accept the MDC's programme," said Trudy Stevenson, a founding member of the MDC and one of only four white deputies in Zimbabwe's new parliament.
The MDC, led by feisty former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai, last weekend powered its way into parliament, winning 57 out of 120 contested seats and giving the ruling Zanu-PF party its first credible opposition in 20 years. The MDC, which has the backing of the business community and the trade unions, wants to revitalise Zimbabwe's flailing economy. The party holds the key to jumpstarting the economy, Stevenson said, because it has the favour of the international community. "We have good contacts with the international community and (Mugabe) is going to have to negotiate with us," the 55-year old US-born deputy told AFP, in her modest villa in the north of Harare.
Mugabe is hardly a darling of the international community. Donors have suspended aid for several reasons: poor management, corruption, military intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo and massive delays in debt repayment. With the authorities borrowing millions of dollars per week, inflation and unemployment both at around 60 percent, long queues at too-often empty petrol stations, "things can't go on like this", said Stevenson, who works as a teacher and an interpreter. "Our economy is in a total state of crisis. In one to two weeks, we will have neither electricity nor petrol," she said. "Whatever Mugabe does there is going to be a revolt," she added.
Press reports on Thursday morning said at least eight ruling party MPs were ready to defect to the opposition if Mugabe decides to run again in presidential elections in 2002. Zanu-PF took 62 out of the 120 contested seats, and Mugabe has constitutional authority to personally appoint another 30 members of parliament. A small opposition party Zanu-Ndonga took just one seat. "We lost the election because people are fed up with Mugabe's leadership of both the party and the government," one unnamed Zanu-PF official told the independent weekly Financial Gazette.
Meanwhile the MDC has been debating the way forward, after its huge showing in elections which, according to Stevenson, would have been even bigger without a brutal campaign of terror mounted to intimidate opposition supporters. More than 32 people - mostly opposition supporters - were killed and hundreds more beaten, tortured and raped in the months leading up to the elections. Yet the opposition turned out in force, grabbing all Zimbabwe's urban constituencies. Stevenson herself won 76 percent of votes in her Harare North constituency.
After a meeting of the MDC's executive committee on Wednesday, the party elected a parliamentary leader - Tsvangirai failed to win the Buhera North seat he was contesting - and announced it was to take 10 disputed electoral results to court. Looking ahead, Stevenson said her party's MPs would be out in force at every parliamentary session, since "Zanu-PF deputies are well-known for their absenteeism." They will be fighting against corruption and for transparency, she said. The three other whites in Zimbabwe's new parliament - elected after Mugabe's anti-British, anti-white campaign - are David Coltart, the party's legal advisor, Mike Auret, a former leading human rights campaigner and Roy Bennett, a popular farmer from the east of the country.
Comment from This Day (Nigeria), 29 June
Mugabe and the Challenge of His Twilight Years
Lagos - For President Robert Mugabe a victory in the just concluded elections, through one of the narrowest of margins ever possible within a parliamentary set up, was still- a victory . The rest of the international community, however, saw in that major upset by the nine-month old MDC the second 'yellow card' for a man who has been the president of this Southern African nation for the past twenty years.
With a bagful of 57 seats in the new parliament, the emerging opposition could assert itself, with a considerable force and legitimacy too, as a party of the future. This is simply because for the first time since the signing of the Lancaster House agreement which paved the way for Zimbabwe's independence in 1980,Mugabe has lost his absolutist and vice-like grip on the parliament where his ZANU-PF barely scraped through with popularly elected 61 lawmakers. Thanks to a constitutional provision which gives the president the powers to appoint at his sole discretion, some 30 additional members into the parliament, his party now has a rather undignifying majority in the unicameral legislature which can only impeach the president by a two -third majority for grave offences considered to be in breach of the constitution.
Deified by his father-figure role during the Liberation struggle, Mugabe in his ongoing twilight years as the President of Zimbabwe had had the 'misfortune' of suffering severe reverses in his popularity rating which was first made manifest by the monumental snub his ZANU-PF party received from the electorate in the referendum on the constitution earlier this year. But the just concluded election did more than that . In one master-stroke, Zimbabwe was truly ushered into a genuine multi-party polity.
But Mugabe, who should have taken credit of a sort for this epochal transition, manifested a foul and ferocious mood like an angry and revenge-seeking greyhound. There is no doubt in the fact that this liberation fighter had won for himself a well-deserved place in history. But what an irony of history it was that the man who fought racism to an international acclaim had to employ the same card in a desperate attempt to perpetuate himself in office. Yet for everybody in this election the issues are clear enough. Mugabe promised the landless and his fellow travellers in the struggle that he would redress the wrongs of colonial history and apartheid by giving them white-owned farms - a pledge he has been pursuing with ruthless abandon against the norm of 21st century civilization. This has engendered state sponsored terrorism against white Zimbabweans and quite a measure of international outrage. With more than 30 people killed - more whites than blacks in cold blooded murders -, the dream of racial harmony is under severe threat. Britain of course was naturally up in arms against Mugabe -backed anti-white violence.
With the new picture in the parliament it would be interesting to see how Mugabe would cohabitant with the opposition for the for the first time. Here is a man who is rooted in the disputable antecedents of Marxist orthodoxy faced with the demands of political pluralism. Already the setting is there for a potential constitutional crisis when weighed against the political programme of the opposition MDC . Zimbabwe's opposition MDC won the power to block President Robert Mugabe and his ruling party from amending the constitution by winning more than a third of the seats. Constitutional amendments must be approved by a two-thirds vote, which means that that opposition can block them since it holds 57 seats.
Mugabe and his ZANU-PF have enacted 16 amendments to the constitution negotiated with Britain at independence in 1980. How Mugabe could achieve similar feats in the face of a combustible parliament is the ultimate challenge in the remaining two years of his presidency, with a warning mass appeal.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 30 June
Election Result Divides Zanu PF
Harare - The knives are out in the ruling Zanu PF after the party suffered massive reversals nationwide at the hands of the opposition MDC in the just-ended parliamentary election. Observers believe that the defeat could be a forerunner to the party's demise or splitting into its various ethnic components. In separate interviews yesterday defeated Zanu PF heavyweights expressed uncertainty about their political future. Those who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent had no clue as to what they would do next.
What was clear in the interviews was their humility and the sense that their aura of invincibility had vanished. This came as calls for heads to roll in Zanu PF began making themselves heard again. There were similar calls after the party's referendum defeat in February but, apart from a couple of token court cases, things remained much the same. At a politburo meeting on Wednesday sources said the party heard gripes over its poor performance in the election. Sources said Mugabe was in a "sullen mood" and his lieutenants visibly "subdued" as they licked their wounds and pondered the future.
Before the election Zanu PF luminaries refused to contemplate defeat of such proportions and insiders say the poll outcome was a bitter pill to swallow. Zanu PF won 62 contested seats while the MDC secured 57. Zanu (Ndonga) got one seat. The ruling party, however, has a block of 30 more MPs appointed by Mugabe even though in overall terms a majority of voters supported the opposition. The ruling party meets today to continue discussions on its poll performance and sources said fireworks were expected.
Insiders said radical corrective measures were likely to be taken and those who fared badly faced the chop. Highly-placed sources said while President Mugabe has maintained a brave face in public, he had lashed out in private at some cadres whom he thought misled the party into a badly-conceived election campaign. "Those heavyweights who lost and the provincial chairs of Harare, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, and Manicaland are in real danger because we want them removed," said a Zanu PF central committee member yesterday. "There should be no room for squatters in our party," the source said.
Notable losers include ministers Emmerson Mnangagwa, Dumiso Dabengwa, and Simon Moyo as well as several ministers of state. A host of senior party members were also defeated. Mnangagwa said he was currently not in a position to know what the future holds for him. "It's too early to determine what I will do in future," Mnangagwa said. "I lost and I accept defeat but I don't know at the moment what I will be doing in future. I will tell you when the time comes but not now," he said. Asked about the possibility of him being appointed to parliament by Mugabe, Mnangagwa, who is the Minister of Justice, said that question would better be answered by Mugabe himself.
Contacted for comment yesterday morning, Dabengwa, Home Affairs minister, asked the Independent to phone him in the afternoon. Efforts to get him later proved fruitless. Moyo, the Minister of Mines and Tourism, was extremely reticent about his defeat. "I have no comment," is all he would say. Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo, who avoided defeat by claiming to be above the electoral fray, was unable to comment. "I'm in a meeting," he said. Obert Mpofu, deputy minister of Industry and Commerce, said he was down but not out of politics. Mpofu said the MDC won a lot of seats because it had a good strategy. "They had a good strategy. Whatever strategy they used it was good," he said when asked what exactly he was referring to.
Insiders said dumping the heavyweights could prove a problem for Mugabe and would not solve the party's deep-seated problems. "That means he will leave himself exposed to challenge. The heavyweights want to take over from him, that's true, but they can't challenge him directly. "The Young Turks will now challenge him," a party member said. Sources said the other issue complicating matters was that Zanu PF leaders knew the root cause of problems and scape-goating had impressed nobody. The party's recourse to failed economic policies had cost it the election.
Insiders said Mugabe had to shoulder most of the blame for the party's virtual defeat. "It's not an easy problem because some of us are saying we have collective responsibility and let's stop blaming each other. We all know what the problems are and censuring people will not help anything," a party member said. Others feared that in-fighting would precipitate Zanu PF's disintegration. The future of the party was said to be uncertain and with the succession debate resurfacing a potentially damaging conflict was looming. Insiders said there was nothing holding the party together anymore. Essentially the party had failed to transform itself from a liberation movement to a party in government with a clear set of goals and programmes to implement. Observers doubt Zanu PF would be able to survive in the new democratic political dispensation.
But they say while the party could be resuscitated it was nearly impossible to re-invent Mugabe. Repackaging Zanu PF has so far proved to be an exercise in futility. After Mugabe, analysts believe, the party would split into factions. Mugabe was set to come under severe pressure to leave. After government was defeated in the referendum in February, he was told by his central committee to quit but he declined. But sources said his court now believes his days were numbered. Industry and Commerce minister Nathan Shamuyarira said in a BBC interview this week that since Mugabe is now 76 years old and had ruled for 20 years it was possible that he could be facing the exit. Shamuyarira was once one of Mugabe's closest confidants.
A few days before the election, Mugabe had summoned Zanu PF Harare provincial chairman Tony Gara and other cadres to explain the poor turnout at his "historic" Zimbabwe Grounds rally that left the president shaken. But yesterday Gara - whose future in the party was said to be bleak despite being a Mugabe loyalist - insisted he tried his best to mobilise people. "We did our best to mobilise people and our last rally (at Chitungwiza) was more exciting. I don't know who is complaining," Gara said. However, insiders confirmed there had been serious complaints about his performance in Harare province where Zanu PF was not simply beaten, it was crushed.
From Business Day (SA), 30 June
Young blood could be tonic for Zimbabwe's parliament
HARARE - Fresh young deputies elected to Zimbabwe's parliament last weekend are likely to transform a tired, rubber-stamping house into a real political arena. Parliamentary polls saw Zanu (PF) win a narrow majority but brought new, younger deputies likely to keep the older ones who are notorious for sleeping during debates awake. "There is not going to be any sleeping, no pillows in parliament. It will be a serious place for people who are eloquent to make laws," commentator Chenjerai Hove said.
The Financial Gazette newspaper reported yesterday that at least eight Zanu PF MPs want President Robert Mugabe to resign as party leader, and said they would defect to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) if he ran again in presidential elections in 2002. Several MPs said they would vote with the MDC in parliament if Mugabe and his stalwarts resisted reform.
A profile of the new house, which includes some of the youngest deputies yet, shows a cross section of people. The youngest is the MDC's Tafadzwa Musekiwa at 24. The youngest Zanu (PF) MP is Saviour "Tyson" Kasukuwere, 29. Also among the new MPs is war veterans' association leader Chenjerai Hunzvi. There are also four elected white MPs in the new parliament, all belonging to the opposition. Hunzvi, who has said he has problems working with whites, said after winning his seat that "we are one people: black or white".
Despite the changes in Zimbabwe's political arena, the new parliament was expected to be overwhelmingly male, unless Mugabe decides to name a significant number of women from among 30 seats that he is constitutionally allowed to appoint. Only 11 female MPs were elected, against 21 who held seats in the previous parliament. Among the 11 is outspoken women's rights activist Priscilla Misihairabwi, who was arrested earlier this year for allegedly breaching electoral laws. The president's sister, Sabina returned to parliament, as did Vice-President Simon Muzenda, and the ministers in charge of defence, finance, state security, information, foreign affairs and land.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 30 June
A triumph for the opposition
The election result in Zimbabwe this week is a massive rebuff to Robert Mugabe's authority
Zimbabweans are this week treating what is officially a win for President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in the general election as a triumph for the opposition. Zanu-PF retained power by hanging on to 62 of the 120 elected seats in last weekend's poll. But it lost 57 seats to the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai. "It's a victory for democracy," said the University of Zimbabwe's Professor Masipula Sithole. "Ultimately, it's a defeat for Mugabe and his autocratic tendencies."
Given Mugabe's prerogative to pack an additional 30 appointed seats with his cronies, Zanu-PF's position looks unassailable. But with the MDC occupying the moral high ground and the country in a palpably defiant mood it is going to be difficult for him to adopt the "business as usual" approach he is inclined to. The size of the MDC contingent means the government has been deprived of the two-thirds majority it needs to pass constitutional amendments. While this comes too late to prevent sweeping farm confiscations it does mean Mugabe is unable to proceed with plans to introduce through the parliamentary back door proposals rejected by voters in the February referendum. These include restoration of the Senate, abolished in 1989. In principle the MDC supports the concept of a second house, but it will veto any format designed to entrench Mugabe's autocracy.
ZANU PF ELECTION STRATEGY
Please forward this on to everyone you know that needs to know the following:
ZIM TODAY - TOPICAL ISSUES - ELECTIONS
ZANU PF ELECTION STRATEGY
The following is a report resulting from information received from sources within ZANU PF. We have no way of checking the accuracy of this information, which outlines the election strategy of ZANU PF. However, we feel it should be made public as the elections are next week and perhaps forewarning may result in a fairer election or at least in an election which can be shown to be illegitimate.
This story should be seen in the light of the article in the Daily News of 16 June (Survey predicts massive MDC victory in election).
Editor's Background Comments
The loss of the Referendum vote shocked Mugabe and ZANU PF more than is generally known. The realisation that there could be a change of Government with the consequent accountability for past excesses and abuses galvanised Mugabe into action. Mugabe has made it quite clear that his strategy is to win the June election at all costs.
According to our ZANU PF sources, Plan A was:
1. To unleash elements of the Fifth Brigade who then with ZANU PF Youth were to mobilize the unemployed in various areas for intimidation purposes (for a history of the Fifth Brigade's role in Mugabe's previous intimidation's, see MATABELELAND REPORT).
2. To organise the invasion of targeted farms with the purpose of provoking a reaction.
3. To identify leaders of the opposition or people of influence who support opposition parties in order to harass, or, in some cases, to murder them. In particular, whites are to be targeted in order to deter funding and discourage support for the opposition in the commercial farming areas.
4. To exploit the genuine land hunger of the people.
5. To step up intimidation of any group who could possibly support opposition parties. This would include farmers, farm workers, teachers, doctors etc. and extended into the tribal areas.
6. To coerce the Police to comply with the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) / Fifth Brigade.
7. To avoid using the army overtly.
In general, we believe that all the present campaigning and electioneering has been geared to the same end - the intimidation of the voters (black) to vote for ZANU PF.
Use of racial rhetoric and hate speech is merely a smokescreen to obscure the central aim. In fact there cannot be more than 20,000 white votes, perhaps less now, after the voters-roll rigging. This is hardly enough to influence a country of 12 million.
Recently however, it is becoming apparent that terror campaigns were having the reverse effect on potential voters. There is a deepening and growing groundswell of resentment growing against Government perpetrators of the violence. People seem to have had enough. They want change.
With the emergence of the fact that there will be an opposition regardless of what intimidation takes place, the ZANU PF strategy has changed slightly. Hence Plan B:
Our sources indicate that ZANU PF will tolerate a limited opposition for the following reasons:
a) The opposition could be allowed a token role in the Government but would be controlled via 'extra legal' means if necessary. A new government, which included Tsvangirai, would have obvious benefits.
b) Tsvangirai would be 'controlled' and the structures of the opposition would be slowly neutralized.
c) The 'Democratic' process would be seen to have taken place.
d) ZANU PF would gain credibility by tolerating an opposition party, and since Mugabe made their inclusion possible, there would no longer be any reason for investment and/or aid to be withheld.
e) Plans to nationalise more farms, mines, businesses and buildings would be put on hold temporarily, only to be brought out in the future as a threat when required. All affected persons would accept the delay in these plans with relief and Mugabe would get the credit for being so reasonable and moderate.
The change from Plan A to Plan B would entail the electoral fixing of a smaller number of constituencies, thereby making it harder to prove any wrongdoing. Our sources have told us that there is a small cell of 12 people preparing duplicate ballot boxes at this point in time. To understand the implication of this, we must look at some numbers.
The newly elected Parliament of Zimbabwe will consist of 150 seats. Of the 150 seats 30 or 20% of the seats are not contested but appointed by the President after the election. Ten of these seats are for Chiefs.
Just take a moment to reflect on this - 20% of the constitutional vote is pre-ordained by an obscure legal process sanctioned by an earlier parliament. The result of apathy and no opposition is certainly coming home to roost.
The courage of the Zimbabwe people should be viewed in this light - that despite the loaded dice, they still want to go ahead and vote.
Of the remaining 120 seats, we are told that between 70 - 80 are safe opposition seats, 20 - 30 are safe ZANU PF seats and the remainder are somewhere in between, with most tending towards the opposition. This means that ZANU PF have to influence the outcome in no more than 20 - 30 seats.
ZANU PF only needs to win 45 seats to prevent an opposition majority.
ZANU PF estimate that this target is attainable with the able assistance of their Fifth Brigade.
The task of the Fifth Brigade - armed with 20,000 AK 47's from Angola - will be to blitz and terrorise certain targeted areas in the 7 days before the election. Their strategy is to use fear to dissuade people from voting at all. New ballot boxes, pre-filled by the team of 12, will be swapped.
How and where and when is this to be done? We don't know yet, and hope to bring to you this information - but if we do not - stay alert to the possibilities of ZANU PF's election strategy.
This begs the obvious question: Which constituencies will be targeted? Our informants have listed the following constituencies as those under consideration as targets suitable for the above plan of last minute intimidation and ballot box substitution or introduction. While not conclusive, this list is a good guide:
2. Kadoma West
4. Marondera East
5. Marondera West
7. Murewa South & North
8. Mtoko South & North
13. Mazoe West & East
15. Gweru Rural
17. Gwanda North & South
19. Beit Bridge
21. Buhera South
A total of 25 areas - we will try and update as the more likely ones as more information comes to light.
Where does this leave us? Tempers are rising and Zimbabwe is very close to total chaos. If the election process is not seen to be fair and Mugabe wins by default and fraud, what ways remain to remove this tyrant? What is the next step?
All Zimbabweans must persevere and vote: an overwhelming desire for change will stop this tyranny.
To the International Observers who carry a heavy responsibility - be vigilant and do not legitimize a morally bankrupt leadership by accepting a flawed electoral process. Taking the easy route now will only lead to greater strife for the people of Zimbabwe in the days ahead.