Mercifully, at midnight, Mike and Angela Campbell and Ben Freeth were
released at a house of a black lady in Kadoma.
All three have been severely beaten. Mike has serious concussion and a
broken collar bone and fingers. Angela has a broken arm, in two places.
Ben has a badly swollen and totally closed eye and feet severely beaten.
Motivation for this brutal attack is the fact that Mike and Ben are the
architects and at the forefront of the SADC Tribunal litigation. Fourteen
farmers in the Kadoma/Chegutu farming community spear-headed the joinder
applications with the Campbell Mount Carmel case in SADC. A total of
seventy-seven farmers country-wide should at this point in time be enjoying
total SADC interim ruling protection. Sadly this is obviously, in the case
of Kadoma/Chegutu, not the case and the area is patently being targeted as a
direct result of this important and benchmark International Litigation.
The purpose for the brutal attack and vicious beating carried out at Pixton
Mine (youth militia torture camp) was the forced compliance, under extreme
duress, with the signing of a formal withdrawal of the Campbell Case from
the SADC Tribunal. The Campbells and Freeth were taken by "war vet" Gilbert
Moyo and approximately twenty thugs to the mine. They were viciously beaten
until they complied with the signing of a withdrawal of the case. The case
is due to be heard in Windhoek from 16th July onwards
The Campbell and Ben Freeth are safe undergoing medical attention. The
gruesome photos of Freeth ad the Campbells are available on request via
e-mail or on CD.
THE JAG TEAM
011 610 073
0912 326 965
A group of white farmers bear the brunt of ZANU-PF's force
By Rod Nordland | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Jun 30, 2008
Some details, such as timing and description of movements, in the following
are altered for the safety of NEWSWEEK's reporter.
Ben Freeth did not expect to be alive today. Just after midnight this
morning, the white farmer was lying face down next to a bonfire, beside Mike
and Angela Campbell, his wife's parents. He had no idea where his own three
small children and his wife Laura were, only that a marauding band of
ZANU-PF was hitting all the white farms in their district near the town of
Chegutu, about 60 miles southwest of Harare. The three had been abducted
from their farm by an armed gang, and brought to their base. By midnight,
they had been beaten for seven hours, while their tormentors danced around
the bonfire and told them they'd kill them. "I really thought we were all
dead," he said. "It must have been our prayers that stopped it. I was
praying and all our friends were praying, and then they put us in a truck
and dumped us beside the road outside Kadoma", a town about 25 miles away.
Why the ZANU-PF let them live isn't clear, but the reasons for the attack
were plain. Freeth, who is British born, and his in-laws, white Zimbabweans,
are among a small band of white farmers who remain in the fertile
agricultural area, the scene of many of the forced expropriations of
commercial farms; from 300 white farmers at the beginning of the decade,
only about 30 remain in that area. Nationally, the pattern is similar. Mt.
Carmel Farm, which belongs to the Campbells and Freeths, produces mangoes
for export and a variety of other crops on 1,200 hectares [about 3,000
acres], had been targeted for expropriation two years ago by Nathan
Shamuyarira, the official spokesman for the ZANU-PF party, who arrived at
their gate with an order signed by the minister of land and agriculture,
telling them to surrender the farm to him. Under a bill enacted by Robert
Mugabe's government, land could be expropriated on an administrative order
at any time if the ministry determined that it was justified. Most of the
farms in their area have been handed over to Mugabe government officials,
diplomats, judges, and army officers, although the intention of the bill was
to give land to the landless. Freeth and the Campbells fought back, however,
taking their case to a tribunal of the Southern African Development Council
(SADC), arguing they were the victims of racial discrimination, and the
tribunal issued a restraining order. "We're challenging the land reform as a
totally racist thing," Freeth said, from his hospital bed in Harare; I've
been asked not to identify the hospital. "We have neighbors who are black
farmers who have not been targeted."
On top of that, during the election campaign, Freeth wrote an open letter
that was widely disseminated outside of Zimbabwe detailing the intimidation
of black farm workers, many of them supporters of the opposition MDC party,
by ZANU-PF party activists--who rounded them up for all night vigils and
political harangues at night in the Chegutu area, often meting out beatings
to workers on the Mt. Carmel farm and to MDC supporters. "None of us knows
what will happen next," Freeth wrote. "Dictators like Mugabe do not step
down. Like Hitler, they go on till their country is in ruins and their
people are in rags. World leaders tut-tut as the crimes against humanity go
on unhindered; but their perpetrators live on and travel the world with
The trouble started about 3:30 p.m. yesterday, when Freeth got word that a
large group of men was headed toward his in-laws' house, after looting
another white farm in the area, Twyford Farm. He drove over. At the gate of
his in-laws' residence, about 20 black men had gathered. One of them was an
Army major he knew; another was Gilbert Moyo, a ZANU-PF local official who
has been spearheading farm invasions in the area. "They shot twice at me
through the windshield," he said, "and I just ducked in time not to be hit."
Then, he said, they pulled him out of his truck and began beating him,
throwing him into a ditch next to his mother and father-in-law. "They were
shouting at me that I should drop my case against them with SADC." After
beating all three of them, they threw them into the back of their truck and
drove to another white farmer's residence, that of Brian Bronkhorst. But
Bronkhorst wasn't home. Then they were taken to the ZANU-PF base after dark,
and thrown on the ground by the bonfire. "These were the same people who
were tormenting everyone before the elections," Freeth said. In addition to
the three farms attacked and apparently looted yesterday, two other farms in
the area have been attacked since Friday's runoff election.
As it happens, word had reached Freeth's wife Laura, and she managed to
escape with their three children, aged 3 to 8. Their middle child,
six-year-old Joshua, had his leg broken in a previous invasion of their
farm, when a mob rampaged through their house. Dumped in a ditch beside a
road, Freeth and the Campbells made their way to a house and called for
help. All three are now in the Harare hospital, where I managed to interview
them by flashlight--electricity was off, as it often is in Harare, usually
for half of each day. A lot of whites in Zimbabwe now are afraid to talk to
the press, but not Freeth and the Campbells. "I'm glad you're here to tell
people about this." Freeth's eyes were swollen shut by the beating and he
was covered with bruises and had a concussion, but he escaped any
debilitating injury. His father-in-law Mike Campbell is more seriously hurt,
with a broken collarbone; Mike's wife Angela has an arm broken in two
Freeth says he has every intention of returning to his farm. "I'm hanging in
there," he said. "We hung in there the last eight years and we don't know
what the future brings but we're going to hang in there no matter what it
brings." In his open letter before the election, he quoted another white
farmer who was evicted after his home was destroyed: "'The first thing that
I shall do when I am back on the farm is start digging foundations again.'
And so, upon the ruins perhaps, that is the way it will have to be. But we
pray the rebuilding can take place before everything is destroyed."
Mike Campbell too had written an open letter during the election,
complaining that election observers were not coming out after dark, when
most of the violence and intimidation took place. "We ask you to pray and
send brave people and peace keepers to stop the atrocities before they get
even worse," he wrote. "Maybe I write this in vain; but I write this
BEIJING, June 30 (AFP)
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reminded China's political leaders
Monday that the crisis in Zimbabwe was an issue for the UN Security Council
and not just for Africa.
"We'll see what the African Union does, but this is not an African issue
alone. This is an issue for the international community, an issue for the
Security Council," Rice told reporters after separate meetings with China's
President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
Rice was referring to a summit of African nations that began on Monday in
Egypt, in which the issue of political violence in Zimbabwe was expected to
She also said she was looking for "not just another statement" from the UN.
China and the United States are both permanent members of the UN Security
Council along with Britain, France and Russia.
Robert Mugabe was sworn in Sunday for a sixth term of office as Zimbabwe
president after being declared winner of a one-man election widely denounced
as a brutal and illegitimate farce.
In her meeting with Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on Sunday, Rice
discussed plans to introduce measures this week at the UN Security Council,
including an arms embargo and a travel ban on Mugabe's regime.
But Yang was vague when asked if China supported an arms embargo, saying the
most pressing task now was to stabilise the situation in Zimbabwe.
June 30, 2008
SW Radio Africa journalist, Violet Gonda, has built a reputation as a tough-talking radio journalist. That was until she interviewed President Mugabe’s official spokesman, George Charamba. He hurled insults, threatened, abused and screamed non-stop. Gonda miraculously survived.
Click here to listen to the world’s most bizarre radio interview. (Mac OS users must use Safari to launch audio program).
July 01, 2008 02:19am
SECRET documents have revealed that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe set in motion recriminations against those who worked against him even before he took the oath of the country's much-criticised re-election, London's Daily Mail newspaper has reported .
Documents outlining the strategy against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change seen by the Daily Mail reveal that, in the run-up to the polls, Mr Mugabe had plotted to "eliminate MDC agents" and ensure that the identity numbers of all voters were taken so they could be found later if they voted for the opposition.
The documents are from Mr Mugabe's Joint Operational Command - military leaders tasked with ensuring he remained in power.
They state that forces are to "kill MDC MPs" and that "postal ballot boxes were to be stuffed in remote areas by death squads (who) have been instructed to abduct and kill whoever gets in his way".
Mr Mugabe's poll posters have been removed and replaced with signs stating: "This is the final battle for total control."
The toll of his victory was laid bare at one Zimbabwe hospital yesterday, in wards choked with victims of appalling brutality by the secret police.
Most had shattered limbs after being beaten with iron bars.
Burning plastic had been dripped on others. Some had iron hooks pushed through their faces and arms.
Mr Mbeki wrote a 37-page "discussion document" for President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party setting out a series of stark warnings and recommendations.
The disclosure of this paper, drafted in 2001 and predicting many of the problems that Zimbabwe has subsequently encountered, sheds new light on Mr Mbeki's approach towards Mr Mugabe. While offering public support to his Zimbabwean counterpart, Mr Mbeki has been forthright in private.
Despite his bitterly disputed election victory, Mr Mugabe was still able to attend a summit of African leaders.
The African Union, an alliance of all 53 countries on the continent, gathered in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Mr Mugabe left Zimbabwe to attend this event within hours of his inauguration as president on Sunday, after the Electoral Commission announced that he had swept 85 per cent of the vote. Morgan Tsvangirai, his opponent, had withdrawn from the contest after weeks of violence.
While Mr Mugabe took his seat in the conference centre along with every other African head of state, he faced fierce criticism. Raila Odinga, Kenya's prime minister, urged the AU to act. "They should suspend him and send peace forces to Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections," he said.
But Mr Odinga is not attending the summit. One leader who is present, President Omar Bongo of Gabon, gave his backing to Mr Mugabe, calling him the "president of Zimbabwe".
Mr Bongo has held power for 41 years - and Gabon's elections would be unlikely to pass international scrutiny. Of Africa's 53 leaders, 13 seized power by force, 10 have been in office for more than 20 years and two inherited their positions from their fathers.
African leaders are highly unlikely to snub Mr Mugabe or pass judgement on Zimbabwe's crisis. Instead, they will probably conclude the summit by urging Mr Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to negotiate. South Africa's foreign ministry said that talks on the creation of a "transitional government" to cope with Zimbabwe's "challenges" were needed.
Mr Mugabe's regime been a priority for South African diplomacy since the onset of Zimbabwe's crisis in 2000. A lengthy document, written by Mr Mbeki for Zanu-PF and leaked to the Mail and Guardian, a South African weekly, betrays his private frustration with Mr Mugabe.
"Of critical importance is the obvious necessity to ensure that Zimbabwe does not end up in a situation of isolation, confronted by an array of international forces she cannot defeat, condemned to sink into an ever-deepening social and economic crisis," wrote Mr Mbeki.
His paper amounts to a point by point critique of Mr Mugabe's decisions. Mr Mbeki urged him to avoid confrontation with Britain, take concerted action to revive the economy and stop employing the rhetoric of the anti-colonial struggle.
"In conditions of growing impoverishment among the people, it becomes impossible to mobilise these masses on the basis of the anti-colonial struggle," he wrote.
Mr Mbeki said that Zanu-PF should "encourage free, open and critical discussion" and "ensure the freedom of the press".
Mr Mbeki urged Zanu-PF to "understand that the great strategic challenge that faces Zimbabwe today is economic recovery". He added: "To resort to anti-imperialist rhetoric will not solve the problems of Zimbabwe, but may compound them."
Without economic revival, Zimbabwe would endure a "general crisis that will destroy the independent national democratic state".
Since Mr Mbeki wrote those words, Zimbabwe has sunk into the very crisis he predicted.
Globe and Mail, Canada
From Monday's Globe and Mail
June 30, 2008 at 6:39 AM EDT
Crouching low over the steering wheel, Chamu sneered and shook his head
slowly as we drove past a building plastered with several dozen posters
calling for Zimbabweans to support Robert Mugabe's drive to install himself
for another six years as president.
"We did it in 1980, let's do it again!" the green-and-yellow election
advertisements shouted. It was a reference to the role Mr. Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF movement played 28 years ago in bringing about the end of white
supremacist rule in this country.
Do what again, you had to wonder. Chamu kept shaking his head as we drove
down nearly empty streets and past the deserted stores of his hometown in
northern Zimbabwe. Gasoline cost too much for people to drive their cars.
The store shelves were empty of all but a few expensive, imported products
that the average Zimbabwean could not afford. "There's nothing in Zimbabwe.
As long as Mugabe rules, we will suffer," the 25-year-old tour guide
scoffed. "And if we protest, they will squash us like mosquitoes. Like
cockroaches. Human life means nothing to them."
Chamu was the first Zimbabwean I met, but it was an opinion I'd hear
repeated over and over again during the week I spent reporting in Zimbabwe
Chamu isn't the tour guide's real name. Most of the names in this story have
been changed. Publishing real names might earn those concerned a potentially
fatal visit from the Central Intelligence Organization. Such are the stakes
in Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Even identifying the town Chamu and I were driving
through might endanger the few other foreign journalists still in the
country - I left yesterday - since it would reveal the route some of us used
to get in and report on last week's one-man "election."
My journey through the disaster that is modern Zimbabwe began as soon as I
crossed into the country. Posing as a tourist - camera, binoculars and
Indiana Jones hat at the ready - I entered overland and headed straight for
one of the country's spectacular national parks.
I spent the first two days trying to do nothing an ordinary tourist wouldn't
do, hiking through parks and photographing the carefree monkeys, baboons and
hippos that were sometimes the only other creatures there. With most
sensible tourists giving Zimbabwe a wide berth these days, I had some of the
world's natural wonders almost completely to myself. At night, I'd retire to
my room and surreptitiously e-mail what I could of the day's events using my
Even while hiking deep in the parks, I couldn't escape the sensation that I
was drifting through the wreckage of something potentially wonderful that
had been destroyed by spectacular mismanagement and crude tyranny.
Early in my trip I met Matonga, a twenty-something young man who makes a
meagre living trying to persuade tourists to part with their precious
foreign currencies in exchange for cheesy stone trinkets that he insists are
We walked together down a dirt path, stepping over $250,000 Zimbabwean notes
that were issued in December but are already worthless. There are
$50-billion notes now in circulation, and even they aren't worth more than a
few U.S. dollars each.
"There's no jobs, no life in Zimbabwe. I haven't had anything to eat for
three days. If you don't believe me, just look at my shoes," Matonga says
convincingly, lifting up his foot to reveal a white sneaker almost
completely worn through at the sole.
The scope of Zimbabwe's economic disaster is mind-boggling. It's a place
with 80-per-cent unemployment, incalculable inflation - some estimates put
it near 5 million per cent - and a worthless currency.
The fight for power coloured everything. Even inside the park, the walking
path was covered with leaflets urging voters to cast their ballots for Mr.
Mugabe. Hundreds of them, covered in dirt and apparently unread, littered
the ground in the park and the nearby tourist village.
Inside the same park, I encountered a trio of South African election
observers who were supposed to be monitoring the campaign for the election,
still four days away. After opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew
from the presidential runoff, however, they decided that they may as well
take in the sights, since there was no longer a real election to supervise.
"Our jobs have been made redundant," one of them said.
After two days of keeping a low profile in the countryside, I met up with an
American journalist who had also sneaked into the country, and we nervously
made our way to the capital. We both understood well how high the stakes
were. After Mr. Tsvangirai stunned the country by outpolling Mr. Mugabe in
the March 29 first round of the election, the government began hunting for
unaccredited foreign journalists who it was deemed were helping the Movement
for Democratic Change's cause by exposing ZANU-PF's attempts to intimidate
One journalist from The New York Times spent days in jail for what the
authorities here refer to as "committing journalism." A British reporter was
reportedly stripped and tortured for 38 hours.
My colleague and I anxiously rehearsed our cover story as we travelled
toward Harare. We were going to a friend's wedding. It was on Saturday, the
day after the election, and we'd come a few days early to see the city.
Fortunately, our journey into the city was surprisingly easy. Police and
army roadblocks that had been set up around the country a few days before
had been taken down. Speculation was that the authorities wanted to ensure
the security services were in their bases in case there was trouble on
When we reached Harare, we went straight to the first of two "safe houses"
we would stay at during the week. Our contacts in the opposition warned us
that Harare's hotels were being monitored by intelligence officers, so we
couldn't stay in one without drawing unwanted attention.
The safe houses were essentially the homes of families who decided to risk
their own safety to shelter a pair of foreign journalists. "We're glad
you're here and we'll do whatever we can to help you," our first host told
us as he and his family prepared a welcome dinner. He nonetheless sent his
two sons to stay with friends, an unspoken acknowledgment of the danger the
We stayed up the first night watching the highlights of one of Mr. Mugabe's
campaign rallies on Zimbabwean state television. Our hosts repeatedly broke
into derisive laughter as Mr. Mugabe shook his fist and blamed Britain, the
former colonial power here, for all of Zimbabwe's current ills.
My colleague and I surreptitiously sent our reports by satellite phone that
night, pulling it inside whenever a government helicopter flew too low
The next day I got my first real taste of reporting in Zimbabwe. We met up
with Nelson, a brave Zimbabwean journalist, at a café. Over lunch, he kept
nervously peeking over his shoulder to make sure we were not being tailed by
the Central Intelligence. He briefed us on the situation in the country
while speaking only through his clasped hands. We were joined for lunch by
another American journalist, who warned me to change my jacket. My North
Face fleece, she said, made me look too much like a foreign journalist on
the lam. Which is what I was.
That night, I "committed journalism" in the back of Nelson's car as we drove
aimlessly about town at high speed. He had done some interviews on my behalf
with people I couldn't meet myself because of my precarious situation, and I
needed him to tell me what was said. Nowhere but the car was deemed safe
enough to meet, and through the whole 40-minute drive, we kept looking
behind us for signs that we might be being followed, making random
last-minute turns whenever we felt a car had been behind us for a
suspiciously long time.
The rest of the week went much the same way. After two days in one place, my
American colleague and I switched safe houses. We gleaned what information
we could about what was happening in the country using a shaky Internet
connection and by doing interviews over roaming cellphones.
Our ability to do our jobs was badly restricted. Every time one of us
proposed going somewhere or meeting someone, the other shot it down as too
risky. Our best glimpse of life in Zimbabwe, a nation of poor billionaires,
was gleaned from a trip to the Spar supermarket, an absurd world where a
600-gram box of Rice Krispies cost more than 819-billion Zimbabwean dollars,
the equivalent that day of $51 (U.S.). A bag of Lay's potato chips sold for
$109-billion ($6), while 300 grams of sliced cheese cost $212-billion ($20).
Astonished - though we're far more affluent than most of the locals - we
picked up only a few staples and forked out an incomprehensible $832-billion
at the cash register.
One night, we tried to visit a local hospital to interview two MDC
supporters who were recent victims of violence. They had been beaten and
forced to swallow pesticides, a poison that killed one other member of their
family. Along with a friendly retired doctor, we entered the hospital and
walked briskly toward the trauma ward, me carrying a box of chocolates to
present to the injured activist, whom we planned to tell anyone who asked
was formerly the gardener of a friend of ours in Johannesburg. We agreed
that if either of us sensed we're being watched, we'd use a code word to
express that it was time to go.
However, the man we wanted to interview was in surgery when we got there and
his mother's room had a police guard posted at the door who immediately
asked what our business was. Sensing that we were pushing our luck, my
colleague and I turned to each other and said "macaroni," almost in unison.
Looking over our shoulders the entire way, we retreated back to the safe
Friday was election day so we decided that it was finally the moment to be
as brave as we could. First we took a slow drive around town, driving past
empty polling stations that were jarringly at odds with the pictures of long
lineups of voters being shown on Zimbabwean state TV. The only sign of
passionate political activity was some red graffiti outside a polling
station at the University of Zimbabwe that read "Boycott! Morgan is our
president!" Riot police with helmets and clubs - and others carrying assault
rifles - were deployed throughout the centre of Harare.
Those who did vote were a lacklustre lot. A 25-year-old fruit salesman named
Bernard Mucharo told us he'd been warned he needed to vote - and vote for
President Mugabe - or he would lose his licence to set up a table in the
main market. "It's not like I believe in what I've done. It's not about it
being wrong or right to vote, but the question is what do I survive on if I
lose that table?" he told us.
We waited until nightfall, when the darkness could somewhat conceal my white
features, then drove out to the nearby township of Chitungwiza, an MDC
stronghold in the March election that has been the scene of repeated
violence since then and was the grudging locale for Mr. Mugabe's final
campaign rally the day before. Driving in, it was not hard to spot the gangs
of ZANU-PF youth gathered on street corners, many of them wearing the
party's green and white colours.
We went to an MDC safe house in the township, where about 50 people were
gathered for the night, women and children sleeping on the floors inside the
house, men sleeping in the garden outside. Those inside were terrified. The
house had been attacked 10 days before; ZANU-PF thugs chanted "you started a
war, so this is a war" as they beat four MDC youths to death with iron bars.
One of the rooms that people were sleeping in was still blackened from a
petrol bomb thrown during that attack, and everyone was worried the ZANU-PF
men would return after the polls closed. Several had gone so far as to paint
their fingers red - imitating the indelible ink voters were asked to dip
their fingers in at polling stations - in hopes that it would spare them
from violence. But one man and his wife refused to do so. Their 27-year-old
son Archford Chipuyu was among those killed in the attack 10 days before.
His body was driven 15 kilometres out of town and dumped in a field.
"I have nothing to fear, I've just lost my son," Mr. Chipuyu's mother,
Anastasia, told me, her face expressionless and looking far more aged than
her 43 years.
In the next room, an MDC campaign organizer named Tineyi Tashayi leaned on
metal crutches, his face gaunt and unshaven. He said he'd been staying at
the safe house - where meals of maize and vegetables are handed out once a
day - since June 19, the day after his own home was attacked by ZANU-PF
members who smashed his left leg with an iron bar.
He said the attack on him and Mr. Chipuyu, who was also an MDC activist,
were part of an organized campaign to destroy the foot soldiers of the
opposition movement, the people who had helped the party organize and
prepare for the election.
"They come to my home every day looking for me. I can't go home, they really
want my head," he told me. He sincerely believes the ZANU-PF will eventually
catch him and finish the job. "As long as Mugabe rules, there is no way out.
It's going to get worse."
By Elizabeth Sidiropoulos And Neuma Grobbelaar
Tuesday, Jul 01, 2008, Page 9
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the
presidential run-off last Friday and his decision to seek the protection of
the Dutch embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, has secured for Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe a Pyrrhic victory.
Mugabe's triumph comes at a huge cost to democracy and stability in
Zimbabwe, as well as in the region. The actions of the Mugabe regime in the
run-up to Tsvangirai's decision demand a strong regional response to what is
clearly a stolen victory. Indeed, Mugabe's retention of power represents the
most serious challenge to Africa's nascent democratic institutions and to
South Africa's vision of a continent of peace and prosperity.
After contesting every election since 2000, Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has changed tactics reluctantly. Under the
circumstances, South Africa and the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) urgently need to reappraise their approach not only to Mugabe, but to
how they will deal with any uncontested election.
A host of declarations adopted over the years by the SADC and the African
Union (AU) address the conduct of elections on the continent. These include
the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2004),
the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (last year) and
the Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa
(2002). None of these principles have been respected in Zimbabwe, and
regional leaders have not cited their violation as reason to censure Mugabe's
Unfortunately, we have a recent precedent for this type of behavior: Kenya's
rulers, too, ignored and twisted the rule of law and the integrity of the
electoral process, relying on violence to secure a political outcome that
their fellow citizens denied them.
Dealing effectively with political instability in Africa requires two
things: the political will of key states to underwrite the democratic
process, and strong regional institutions to provide a legal framework
reflecting the principles underpinning states' behavior. The effectiveness
of regional institutions and the role of regional powers are interlinked.
Regional institutions can entrench themselves only if their members promote
adherence to the spirit and letter of their legal frameworks.
In both cases South Africa - the main regional power with the most levers of
influence over Zimbabwe - has a vital role to play. But does South Africa
really see itself as a regional power? Its handling of Mugabe over the past
eight years has actually underplayed its leverage. Yet the mantle of a
regional power sometimes requires using that leverage for the greater good
of the region.
What should South Africa do now? Should South African President Thabo Mbeki
step down as mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, not because he has failed, but
to remove from South Africa the constraints that being a mediator put in
South Africa has a vested interest in stability, and it can turn the screws
on Mugabe's regime, much as it has refused to contemplate any form of
sanctions because of their impact on the poor. South Africa must tap into
the growing concern among Zimbabwe's neighbors - Angola, Botswana, Tanzania
and Zambia - about the political crisis, and forge a united front within the
SADC that sends a clear message to Mugabe and his generals that the region
will no longer tolerate their actions.
The SADC should not endorse the regime's claim of victory in an uncontested
election. It must insist that all opposition leaders and supporters be freed
immediately, and that all state-sponsored violence be halted. It should
dispatch an eminent persons' group of senior African and other international
leaders to Zimbabwe, as well as peace monitors to ensure that the government
complies with these demands.
SADC's censure of Mugabe and his regime should be backed up by concrete
actions, such as restrictions on all arms flows to Zimbabwe, travel
restrictions on senior officials of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the
threat of property seizures and the freezing of financial assets in the
region and beyond.
Mbeki and other SADC leaders should recognize a key point. According to
legal opinions commissioned by the Southern African Litigation Center,
Zimbabwe's Electoral Act holds that the delay or absence of a lawful run-off
means that the candidate who obtained the most votes in the election of
March 29 has been duly elected as president.
Moreover, South Africa was instrumental in drafting the declaration on
unconstitutional changes of government, adopted by the Organization of
African Unity, the AU's predecessor, in 1999. The manner in which the
electoral process in Zimbabwe has been conducted since March has been an
unconstitutional continuation of government. The declaration clearly
stipulates that an incumbent government's refusal to relinquish power to the
winning party after free, fair and regular elections is unconstitutional.
If South Africa sees itself as speaking for Africa on the global stage and
creating a vision for the continent's future, it must know when to lead and
how to build consensus. None of this is easy, but South Africa must now act
decisively in order to polish its tarnished image as a responsible regional
power. "Business as usual" is no longer a viable approach for South African
Elizabeth Sidiropoulos is the national director of the South African
Institute of International Affairs based at Witwatersrand University, and
Neuma Grobbelaar is the director of studies at the institute. COPYRIGHT:
June 30, 2008
Sonia Verma in Sharm el-Sheikh
A defiant Robert Mugabe sailed unchallenged through the first test of his
presidency by his peers.
Freshly sworn-in following a single-candidate election, he received a leader's
welcome when he strode into the African Union summit in Sharm el-Sheikh
today and emerged unfazed, his authority intact.
He dined at a lavish luncheon given by his Egyptian hosts, hugged heads of
state and other diplomats in the corridors and stayed at one of the most
luxurious resorts in this Red Sea town.
Delegates from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lodged at
the Sheraton, while their leader Morgan Tsvangirai remained holed up in
The African Union's public response to Mr Mugabe's seizure of power was seen
as a key measure of the organisation's commitment to democracy in the wake
of Zimbabwe's violent run-off elections.
However, protest from African leaders at the summit was muted, even as
Western leaders from France, the United States and Canada joined Britain in
ratcheting up pressure on the AU to reject Mr Mugabe's authority.
In London, Gordon Brown had said the summit should "make it absolutely clear
there has got to be change". "I think the message is coming from the whole
world that the so-called elections will not be recognised," he said.
And in Nairobi, Raila Odinga, the Kenyan Prime Minister, called on the AU to
eject Mr Mugabe from the summit. He said: "The African Union should not
accept or entertain Mr Mugabe. He should be suspended until he allows the
African Union to facilitate free and fair elections between him and his
opponents." The African Union's own observers in Harare said in a statement
issued that the vote "fell short" of the organisation's standards.
However, African leaders gathering at the Egyptian Red Sea resort appeared
reluctant to launch an outright challenge to Mr Mugabe's rule for fear that
it would propel the country into deeper turmoil.
There was also a sense that any criticism levelled by certain leaders would
be dismissed, given the poor democratic track records of their own
Delegates at this summit - which was meant to focus on development issues -
spoke broadly of the need for negotiations to steer Zimbabwe out of its
current political crisis, but failed to endorse the three key demands of Mr
He has asked the AU to reject Mr Mugabe's authority, appoint a new mediator
to help find a solution to the impasse and empower an African police force
to patrol the country.
A draft resolution set to be ratified by AU leaders at the summit does not
criticise the runoff election or Mr Mugabe.
Speaking to The Times on the summit sidelines, George Sibotshiwe, a
spokesman for the MDC said he remained "cautiously optimistic" that Africa's
leaders would take stronger measures to end the political crisis during
"I would hope that the nature of what happened in Zimbabwe warrants a strong
response and a lot of the leaders are taking our problems into
consideration," Mr Sibotshiwe said.
The summit opened with Asha-Rose Migiro, the United Nations deputy secretary
general, urging African statesmen to take action at this "moment of truth".
"We are facing an extremely grave crisis," Ms Migiro said.
"This is the single greatest challenge to regional stability in Southern
Africa, not only because of its terrible humanitarian and security
consequences, but because of the dangerous political precedent it sets," she
She called the second round of the uncontested presidential elections
"regrettable". Mr Mugabe, sitting alongside other delegates, appeared
unmoved as she spoke.
A succession African leaders proceeded to sidestep any criticism of tainted
elections, delivering only veiled references to the violence and
intimidation that marked Zimbabwe's presidential runoff.
Jakaya Kekwete, the Tanzanian President chairing the summit, called Friday's
elections "historic". "There has been a positive side to this but there have
also been challenges," he said.
"We would like to congratulate the Zimbabwean people for their successes but
we would also like to express our commiserations for their suffering," he
Jean Ping, the Chairman of the African Union Commission, who walked into the
summit with Mr Mugabe, said the continent must assume responsibility for
Zimbabwe: "Africa must fully shoulder its responsibility and do everything
in its power to help the Zimbabwe parties to work together so as to overcome
current challenges," he said.
But without an additional African Union appointed envoy, any attempts to
broker a power-sharing agreement by the current mediator, South African
President Thabo Mbeki, were seen as futile.
Mr Mbeki's has so far pursued a path of "quiet diplomacy", remaining silent
on Mr Mugabe's strong-arm tactics, even as other African leaders have
The opposition argues the South African leader as biased in Mr Mugabe's
favour and is pushing for the appointment of an additional AU negotiator to
dilute his influence.
Still, both Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai have said they remain willing to
negotiate, despite lingering bitterness.
Their desire is largely driven by necessity. Mr Mugabe is seeking an
agreement that would neutralise the opposition, diffuse international
criticism and lend him enough credibility to continue his rule.
Mr Tsvangirai, shut out of power, faces increasingly limited options. Today
his chief political strategists said the MDC had not given up hope of
meaningful AU intervention, possibly modelled on its efforts to resolve
Kenya's political crisis earlier this year.
Thokozani Khupe, the MDC Vice-President, said the opposition would focus its
efforts on the creation of a "transitional authority" based on the results
of the March 29th vote, a formula which would give Mr Tsvangirai the upper
hand in any end game.
"I think it is important that the African leaders break the silence. It is
high time they call a spade a spade," said Ms Khu
Originally published 02:44 p.m., June 30, 2008, updated 02:44 p.m., June 30,
The two paths of Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai are telling: Mugabe,
newly sworn in as Zimbabwe's president again, is at a summit of African
leaders while the opposition leader holes up in a Western embassy in
Tsvangirai is hemmed in by Mugabe's policemen, soldiers and ruling party
thugs as well as the president's cozy relationship with fellow African
The round-faced, ever-affable Tsvangirai insists he is hopeful _ "As far as
we are concerned we are nearer a resolution than we have ever been," he says
_ but his options appear few.
He wants African leaders to guide negotiations on forming a coalition
government to oversee a transition to democracy in Zimbabwe. While some
leaders have publicly endorsed that idea, it is unclear how hard they will
or can push Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980.
Tsvangirai wants the African Union to send in peacekeepers. That, too, is
unlikely, given the difficulties the body already is having with its stalled
mission in Sudan's Darfur region, undertaken jointly with the United
Nations. AU peacekeepers also are struggling in Somalia.
Tsvangirai, a 56-year-old former trade union leader, is on sensitive ground
when he proposes outside help, as shown by his repeated clarifications that
peacekeepers would not be tantamount to a military intervention. He risks
being labeled a traitor at home, and leaders elsewhere in Africa might
bristle at his perceived lack of sufficient nationalist sentiment.
While under pressure from Western governments and human rights activists to
take a hard line, African leaders have long had close ties with the
84-year-old Mugabe, renowned as a campaigner against white rule and
colonialism. Even those who can claim to be champions of democracy are
reluctant to be seen as backing the West against a fellow African.
In an example of the lack of consensus, election observers sent by the main
regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community, could not agree
on how strongly to word their assessment of Friday's presidential runoff.
Tsvangirai, who led a four-candidate field in the opening ballot three
months ago, withdrew from the runoff June 22 because of vicious killings of
supporters, leaving Mugabe to claim victory.
The bloc's statement said only that the latest vote was "not a true
reflection of the will of the Zimbabwean people." Lawmakers who observed the
vote under the auspices of the Pan-African Parliament, however, had no
trouble declaring it not free, fair or legitimate.
Tsvangirai has called on the African Union to take over mediation that the
southern bloc placed in the hands of South African President Thabo Mbeki
more than a year ago. Tsvangirai says Mbeki's refusal to publicly criticize
Mugabe betrays bias in Mugabe's favor.
While some African leaders have called for a change from Mbeki's "quiet
diplomacy," it is unlikely that the African Union will show Mbeki disrespect
by stripping him or the southern bloc of the mediation role.
Mugabe has said he is open to talks, and referred glowingly to Mbeki's
efforts. Mugabe could be hoping any progress will be stalled in talks about
how to hold talks.
Looking West doesn't bode much better for Tsvangirai.
President Bush wants the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on
Zimbabwe and ban travel by Zimbabwe government officials, but building
consensus could be difficult.
Diplomats do not expect the Security Council to go much further than last
week's nonbinding resolution condemning violence against Zimbabwe's
political opposition. South Africa, China and Russia oppose taking any
The U.S., European nations and Australia have imposed limited sanctions on
Zimbabwe, and they may strengthen them, though there are concerns tougher
measures could hurt ordinary Zimbabweans already struggling with economic
collapse. There is little sign of broader economic boycotts or the
grass-roots campaigns that pressured apartheid-era South Africa.
Still, in a weekend interview, Tsvangirai argued it is Mugabe who is against
the wall, saying the longtime leader's only choice amid international
condemnation and Zimbabwe's dire economic woes is to negotiate a
"Where does he go from here?" Tsvangirai said. "He cannot solve the economic
problem. He cannot solve 8 million percent inflation by continuing to be in
this intransigent mood."
Donna Bryson is chief of southern Africa for The Associated Press.
San Francisco Chronicle
Mugabe's history of vengeance worries election observers
Los Angeles Times
Monday, June 30, 2008
(06-30) 04:00 PDT Harare, Zimbabwe --
As Robert Mugabe was inaugurated Sunday to a new five-year term as
Zimbabwe's president, critics and analysts warned that his pattern of
violent revenge against opponents could be repeated in coming months in an
attempt to destroy his chief rival's party.
The announcement of Mugabe's inauguration at the State House in Harare and
the issuing of invitations were so hasty that both came several hours before
the results of Friday's essentially one-man presidential runoff race were
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission eventually reported that Mugabe had
received 2.1 million votes to 233,000 for Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement
for Democratic Change candidate who withdrew June 22 because of intensifying
violence against opposition supporters.
In a significant blow for Mugabe's bid to be accepted as Zimbabwe's
legitimate president, regional observers from the Southern African
Development Community rejected the election as not representing the will of
the people. The group's observers, rarely critical of a member's election,
raised concerns about the political violence and displacement of people.
Observers of the Pan-African Parliament also condemned the election and
strongly criticized the violence and intimidation.
The criticism by African observers leaves Mugabe in a difficult situation as
he flies to Egypt for an African Union summit today.
He also faces pressure from the Bush administration and the British
government, which have threatened to impose new sanctions against his
government and to press for strong action by the United Nations.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since it won independence from Britain in
1980, had finished second to Tsvangirai in the first round of voting in
March that also saw his party lose its majority in parliament. Declaring his
determination to stay in power, he fought the election runoff with a
military-style campaign run by generals and security chiefs.
Hundreds of command bases were set up, run by liberation war veterans and
soldiers and manned by youth militias tied to the ruling party, who hunted
down opposition activists and beat them, sometimes to death.
The election slogans for the ruling ZANU-PF party summed up Mugabe's view of
himself as Zimbabwe's unquestioned leader and the opposition as an enemy
force bent on allowing the recolonization of the country by Britain.
"Mugabe is right," was the simple declaration on posters around Harare.
Another went, "This is the final battle for total control."
After Mugabe was declared the winner, ZTV state television erupted in
triumphalism. Religious commentators on ZTV read biblical excerpts to back
the proposition that the country must unite around one leader anointed by
A prayer at the inauguration said it was a "divine day" and called for God
to grant Mugabe "divine authority that only comes from you."
"In this new struggle for our country, many of our comrades lost life, limb
and property," Mugabe said Sunday, as though referring to a battle rather
than an election. "Those people who have lost their lives in this gallant
struggle, rest in peace assured that we remain vigilant to protect
Despite his mention of lost comrades, Human Rights Watch reported that the
pre-election violence was overwhelmingly perpetrated by the ruling ZANU-PF
and against Tsvangirai's supporters. Independent doctors said 85 people died
and 3,000 were seriously injured. But the casualties might be much higher:
The opposition says 200 activists were missing and presumed dead. An
additional 200,000 were displaced, it says.
The violence that accompanied Mugabe's struggle to retain power echoed his
past behavior, several observers said, and raised concerns about what is to
"Every time Mugabe is cornered, he resorts to violence," said Oskar Wermter,
a Catholic priest in Harare's crowded Mbare neighborhood. "It's a warlike
atmosphere. He (Mugabe) and his colleagues live in the past in the glory
days of the liberation war in the 1970s. They're still in the trenches. They
see themselves as in the same confrontation with the British and the whites.
"There's a possibility that now that they have manipulated the elections,
they will go further and crush the opposition and keep hitting them and
annihilate them once and for all."
He said in Mbare, youth militias were beating people who did not vote. Human
Rights Watch also reported punitive beatings of people for not going to the
In a phone interview Sunday, Tsvangirai said he feared that the violence was
"This is war, this is not an election. These people are for the total
annihilation of the MDC," he said. "I think this violent campaign may be
reduced to hit squads targeted at our leaders, MPs and councilors to get
control of the parliament."
This article appeared on page A - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 30, 2008
PARIS: France's foreign minister says the re-election of Zimbabwe ruler
Robert Mugabe is a "farce" and that France cannot accept it.
Bernard Kouchner says France has decided that the government is
illegitimate. France takes over the European Union's rotating six-month
presidency on Tuesday.
Kouchner says he is looking forward to seeing Africa's leaders be firm with
Mugabe at an African Union summit.
But he also points out that for many Africans, Mugabe was long a great
liberator as an anti-colonial hero, which complicates matters.
Kouchner spoke Monday after Mugabe was sworn in as president for a sixth
term. The runoff in which Mugabe was the only candidate was widely
Monday June 30, 06:44 PM
Zimbabwe's opposition wants African Union leaders to appoint a permanent
envoy to assist South African President Thabo Mbeki in mediating the
"As far as we are concerned while we may be unhappy with the role of Mbeki,
the (Southern African Development Community) SADC member states still look
at President Mbeki as the mediator," said Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) spokesman George Sibotshiwe.
"We are prepared to compromise, and have a mediator on behalf of SADC but
supported by a permanent envoy appointed by the African Union," Sibotshiwe
told public radio.
Sibotshiwe, representing the MDC at the AU summit in Sharm El-Sheikh in
Egypt, urged African leaders to recognise the June 27 presidential run-off
election as a sham.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president in a hastily
arranged ceremony at his official residence on Sunday, barely an hour after
the electoral commission declared he won more than 85 per cent of the votes
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the election days before it was
held due to violence against his supporters.
"This is a historic moment for African leaders. Our expectation is fairly
simple - there has to be an acceptance that the election of 27 June was a
sham," said Sibotshiwe.
"They (AU) have to create some type of plan to assist with the violence on
the ground. The crisis has escalated beyond the reach of SADC and therefore
requires the African Union to participate."
Observers from the 14-nation SADC said the election "did not represent the
will of the people," a rare rebuke adding to criticism from around the globe
denouncing the vote.
Mugabe praised Mbeki for his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe, and the MDC has
accused the South African leader of lobbying AU leaders to recognise Mugabe
as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe.
"We are grateful to SADC and the role of statesman played by President
Mbeki," Mugabe said.
"Zimbabwe is indebted to his untiring efforts to promote harmony and peace
"This is not an exclusive matter for any country," said Sibotshiwe.
"This is a continental matter ... that must be resolved by Africans."
Mon 30 Jun 2008, 7:25 GMT
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (Reuters) - Africa must shoulder its responsibilities
and help both sides of Zimbabwe's political divide overcome their
differences after an election crisis, the African Union's top diplomat said
"Africa must fully shoulder its responsibilities and do everything in its
power to help the Zimbabwean parties to work together to help overcome their
country's problems," the chairman of the African Union Commission, Jean
Ping, told an AU summit in Egypt.
Ping also commended southern African leaders for their efforts to help
resolve Zimbabwe's turmoil.
Mon 30 Jun 2008, 7:23 GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa on Monday called on Zimbabwe's ruling
ZANU-PF party and the opposition to begin talks to form a transitional
Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma noted that Zimbabwe remained deeply
divided and polarised despite a widely condemned election on Friday, her
ministry said. President Robert Mugabe, declared the overwhelming winner,
was sworn in on Sunday.
"ZANU-PF and the MDC must enter into negotiations which will lead to the
formation of a transitional government that can extricate Zimbabwe from its
current political challenges," the ministry said in a statement.
South Africa is the designated regional mediator in Zimbabwe.
Africa News, Netherlands
Posted on Monday 30 June 2008 - 10:07
Joyce Joan Wangui, AfricaNews reporter in Nairobi, Kenya
President Robert Mugabe has warned Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga
from ever stepping on the Zimbabwe soil. This follows last week's harsh
remarks that Odinga made while in the USA, referring to the lack of
democracy in Zimbabwe.
Odinga castigated Mugabe on what he termed as 'an embarrassment to Africa'
and an example of 'how not to do it in Africa'. While in Washington, Odinga
held talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and their talks
centred on Mugabe, among other things.
He described Zimbabwe as an "an eyesore for the African continent" and
went a notch higher to say he would implore the international community to
impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.
And without mincing words, Mugabe retaliated by issuing a warning letter
to Odinga not to ever step into Zimbabwe. Odinga was due to travel to
Zimbabwe before Friday's run off elections and ask ZANU PF to postpone the
polls, citing unfairness.
In a televised speech Odinga says he has no intention of ever visiting
Zimbabwe under Mugabe's regime,
"I have no plans whatsoever of ever stepping in Zimbabwe under Robert
Odinga said that ZANU-PF should consider merging with the MDC and form a
grand coalition, the Kenyan style.
"Sometimes it calls for someone to negotiate with the devil for the sake
of peace," said Odinga referring to the merger proposal for both parties.
And Kenya's foreign ministry has issued a statement saying it would push
for an immediate imposition of sanctions against President's Mugabe's
Foreign minister Moses Wetangula said at the ingoing AU meeting in Egypt
that; "The AU under its constitutive act has clauses that can deal with
situations such as Zimbabwe. They can exclude them from participating in AU
activities or they can intervene in Zimbabwe."
Thousands of Zimbabweans Friday went to the polls termed the 'one man
election' where only Mugabe was the sole Presidential candidate. Opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the race, citing intimidation and
harassment of his supporters.
Amid criticism from all corners, Mugabe went ahead with the polls and he
is likely to win .Morgan Tsvangarai, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader, condemned Friday's presidential run-off as a source of shame
and that Friday's results would "reflect only the fear of the people".
Said he, "What is happening today is not an election. It is an exercise in
mass intimidation," he said.
The MDC leader also urged other countries not to recognize the results of
"Anyone who recognizes the result of this election is denying the will of
the Zimbabwean people and standing in the way of a transition that will
deliver peace and prosperity, not just to Zimbabwe, but the whole region,"
Meanwhile the US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice has dismissed the
run-off as "illegitimate".
By Graham Tibbetts
Last Updated: 8:48AM BST 30/06/2008
Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, will come under pressure to enter
power-sharing talks with the opposition, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, at a
summit of African leaders today.
Zimbabwe's opposition is calling for African Union leaders to snub Mugabe.
He's at a summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh, having been sworn in as president.
Members of the African Union are meeting in Egypt for a conference expected
to be overshadowed by the crisis in Zimbabwe.
It follows Mr Mugabe's victory in a presidential election that was condemned
for violence, resulting in Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change, withdrawing from the race. The president secured 85.5 per
cent of the vote but many papers were spoiled.
Election observers said the poll, which featured only Mr Mugabe, was
The officials from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) said in
a statement: "The elections did not represent the will of the people of
The head of Sadc's 400-strong observer mission, Jose Marcos Barrica, said:
"The pre-election phase was characterised by politically-motivated violence,
intimidation and displacements."
Another observer team from the Pan-African Parliament said the election
should be re-run because voting was not free or fair.
South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, is the regionally-appointed mediator
for Zimbabwe and is leading calls for a negotiated solution to the crisis.
Meles Zenawi, prime minister of Ethiopia, said it was important the two
"There has to be some sort of negotiations between the parties," he said.
"If not, polarisation will be the result."
He added: "There cannot be a sustainable solution to the Zimbabwean crisis
under the leadership of one or the other party."
The vice president of the MDC, Thokozani Khupe, said the AU should send a
dedicated envoy to Zimbabwe as well as peacekeepers to halt the violence.
She also called on the AU to shun Mr Mugabe at the summit.
"I don't think it would be right for the African Union to welcome him after
all he has done," she said in Sharm el-Sheikh, the summit venue.
"I think it is important that the African leaders break the silence. It is
high time they call a spade a spade."
Lord Malloch-Brown, the Foreign Office minister, will also be at the
gathering and has urged Zimbabwe's neighbours to do "whatever it takes" to
Gordon Brown pledged "substantial" international help rebuilding the country
if democracy was restored, urging the continent's other leaders to increase
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 30, 2008
BEIJING: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged China on Monday to
back U.N. Security Council action to punish Zimbabwe's leaders, saying the
time for mere statements was over. But Beijing showed little sign of being
prepared to support upcoming U.S. proposals.
Speaking to reporters traveling with her in Beijing, Rice noted progress in
stripping North Korea of its nuclear programs and urged China to sincerely
engage Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama.
Rice also called on Beijing to unshackle the Internet and said she had
raised several individual cases of detained activists.
Chinese officials have offered little to prompt optimism in Washington for
planned tough new action over Zimbabwe, a Chinese ally and trading partner
Rice said Washington agrees with China that African nations need to play a
bigger role, but said additional action is needed.
"We'd like the Africans to take the lead but it is not an African issue
alone. It is also an issue for the Security Council," she said. "When we go
to the U.N. we're going to need something that is not just another
China holds a veto in the Security Council and its backing, along with that
of Russia, will be essential to any move to penalize President Robert Mugabe
and his top aides for allegedly instigating political violence.
The White House wants to impose an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe
and place travel bans on Mugabe and his cronies. But after meeting Rice,
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Beijing favors negotiations
between Mugabe, who was sworn in for a new term Sunday, and the opposition.
"The most pressing path is to stabilize the situation in Zimbabwe," Yang
said at a news conference with Rice on Sunday. "We hope the parties
concerned can engage in serious dialogue to find a proper solution."
Rice says the U.S. plans to introduce a resolution in the council this week.
The U.S. holds the council's presidency until July 1, but appears to face an
uphill battle in getting several important members to agree to any penalties
Rice said she raised the issue again with Chinese President Hu Jintao and
Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday.
But while both men thanked Rice for U.S. assistance after the May 12
earthquake in China's southwest Sichuan province that killed nearly 70,000
people, they failed to mention Zimbabwe in comments before talks with her.
On other topics, Rice said the leaders discussed progress in the six-nation
talks hosted by China that aim to permanently disable Pyongyang's nuclear
North Korea last week handed over a long-delayed declaration of its programs
and facilities and blew up the cooling tower at its main reactor site. In
exchange, Washington has lifted some economic sanctions against the North
and said it would remove the country from a U.S. State Department list of
state sponsors of terrorism.
"We are all encouraged, but everybody emphasizes the hard work ahead," Rice
said. "We really have to get to a phase that is devoted to abandonment."
Rice said she was encouraged by word of a new round of talks this week
between China and envoys of the Dalai Lama. The discussions seek a long-term
resolution of problems in the Himalayan territory, ruled by Beijing with an
iron fist since communist troops invaded more than half a century ago.
"We think he's a very positive figure in dealing with the very difficult
issue of Tibet," Rice said.
Rice declined to say what human rights cases she raised, but said Washington
was concerned about the arrest of several bloggers for writing about
sensitive political issues on the Internet.
After Monday's meetings, the secretary boarded her jet for the flight home
to Washington. China was Rice's final stop on a weeklong tour that also took
her to Germany, Japan and South Korea.
30 June 2008
Posted to the web 30 June 2008
Some African countries have expressed concern over the peace and security
situation in Zimbabwe at a foreign ministerial meeting of the African Union
(AU) Executive Council and have made recommendations on the matter, says
Tanzania's Foreign Minister Bernard Membe.
Addressing the media after the two-day AU Executive Council meeting on
Sunday evening, Mr Membe, who also chairs the council, said it had taken
notice of the latest developments in Zimbabwe which caused great concern to
"We have made specific recommendations to the Heads of State [regarding the
Zimbabwe issue] and tomorrow [Monday] we will see what happens as all member
states will be here to discuss this issue further," Mr Membe told reporters
The report will be tabled for the analysis of the leaders attending the AU
summit, added Mr Membe.
Zimbabwe held a presidential run-off election on Friday as scheduled despite
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the race.
The 13th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council also tackled the issue of
peace and security on the African continent, including the conflicts between
Eritrea and Djibouti, as well as Chad and Sudan, Mr Membe said.
He added that the AU foreign ministers called for self-restraint by both
sides of Eritrea and Djibouti and tried to bring them together.
"We have encouraged that these two countries come together and resolve this
border crisis and this issue be resolved as a matter of urgency," the
Executive Council chairperson said.
The skyrocketing food and oil prices, Mr Membe said, were also on top of the
agenda of the council session, adding that the high oil prices worsened the
current global food crisis, which would also be proposed to the G8 summit in
Japan next week.
The council called for urgent and long-term measures to develop agriculture,
including efficient use of water resources and funding the African farmers
to purchase fertiliser.
He also noted that the Executive Council expressed concern on the practice
by some countries to convert food products into biofuels, saying that it
should be abandoned.
"We have strongly recommended that Africa negotiate with Afro-Arabic
countries to reduce oil prices.
"The Council further proposed that fertilisers should be made available for
people so that they can be able to plant bio-chemical inputs together with
fertiliser to prevent unforeseen circumstances," said Mr Membe.
Under the theme, "Meeting the Millennium Development Goals on Water and
Sanitation," the 11th AU summit held in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday
and Tuesday will focus on peace and security in Africa, the oil and food
prices and agriculture, as well as the situation in Zimbabwe.
June 30, 2008, 09:30
The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has called for the
outcome of Zimbabwe's one-man presidential election to be set aside.
ANCYL president Julius Malema described last week's election, in which
long-time leader Robert Mugabe was the only participant, as a "joke of the
worst order". "The conditions on the ground in Zimbabwe were never conducive
to a free and fair election, and the credibility of this election is
seriously wanting," Malema said in his closing address at the ANCYL annual
congress yesterday evening.
"To recognise its outcome would be a betrayal of not only our own values,
but also of the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe. What was meant to be
a presidential run-off election deteriorated into a joke of the worst
Malema said Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF had rejected its liberation movement
values. "The outcome of the so-called presidential run-off election must be
set aside and both Zanu-PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
alongside organs of civil society must find each other in order to find a
lasting solution to Zimbabwe's political and economic challenges," said
"The cul-de-sac Zimbabwe has reached in its political life means the time
has come for a fresh start under the guidance and leadership of a unity
government whose mandate must be to rebuild Zimbabwe's political and
Mugabe was inaugurated as president yesterday, barely an hour after he was
declared winner in the run-off elections in which opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai did not participate. He pulled out days before the elections,
saying dozens of his supporters had been killed in a campaign against the
opposition. - Sapa
The Nation (Nairobi)
30 June 2008
Posted to the web 30 June 2008
June 27 was the final straw that broke the camel's back for Mr Phibeon
Shereni, a 45 year old secondary teacher in Zimbabwe's capital Harare.
In the past 10 years, he has seen young teachers' desert his school as soon
as they got their first pay to try their luck in neighbouring countries,
leaving him and those still left behind, added responsibilities seldom
matched by financial rewards.
"I hoped this time around change was coming," he said as he waited patiently
for a South African bound bus in Harare's down Roadport international bus
"Time is not on my side because I have toiled for all these years and yet I
still do not have a house that I can call my own. "My children's future is
doomed if I stay and continue to hope things will be okay in my country."
He joined hordes of locals who were at the weekend battling to reach the
neighbouring country before it could tighten the screws on visitors amid an
expected of refugees caused by another failure to put to an end to
Zimbabwe's long running political crisis.
Mr Shiri confesses that he is nervous about what the future holds for him in
South Africa where the growing hostility towards the influx of Zimbabwean
immigrants fleeing the deteriorating economic and political situation into
their country boiled into xenophobic attacks that shook the world last
month. But like many Zimbabweans, hopeful for an economic miracle that
seemed imminent in March when the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) appeared certain to end long serving President Robert Mugabe's ruinous
leadership, he feels all hope is now lost.
Zimbabwe is cursed
"Zimbabwe is cursed," said Ms Thenjiwe Ncube, an MDC supporter from the
second city of Bulawayo. "There is not going to be any serious investment
and the currency will continue to collapse, inflation will escalate even
further as long Mugabe is still in power. To most opposition supporters, the
state of Zimbabwe's economy has gone out of hand, and Mr Mugabe's government
has clearly run out of ideas to contain its meltdown. Therefore, Mr
Tsvangirai had remained as the only hope to salvage it from the total
"Prices will be rising daily by next week," said Mr John Robertson, an
independent economic commentator. "It's going to be very unstable in
Zimbabwe and threatening.
"The dollar has already started falling by 50 percent daily."
From being a breadbasket of southern Africa before 2000, Zimbabwe has turned
into a net importer of food and supermarket shelves are empty.
There are serious fears of a major meltdown, with an isolated regime in
Harare and more biting economic sanctions from Western countries.
And it is Zimbabwe's more prosperous neighbours who have been reluctant to
condemn, Mr Mugabe's questionable policies that are set to bear the brunt of
the meltdown at their door steps. On the eve of the election, 300 residents
from a poor Harare neighbourhood running away from ruling party militants
who rode roughshod over opposition supporters in the run to the one man
election, had sought refugee at the South African embassy.
Thousands more were trooping to South African through undesignated entry
points undaunted by the hostile reception that awaits them in the
"I know that it is never going to be easy in South Africa but I am certain
that it is going to be better than the suffering here at home," said Mr
Dumezweni Ndlovu who has been twice deported from South Africa in the last
Sunday, June 29, 2008 By Tom McGurk
The political and social crisis engulfing Zimbabwe represents the awful
reality of a continent left behind by the rest of the world.
It was certainly not the sort of 90th birthday present Nelson Mandela wanted
last Friday; the elephant at the party was clearly Robert Mugabe's
re-election in Zimbabwe.
Indeed, given that the world was contemplating the changed political
landscape over Mandela's nine decades, could the contrast be greater between
the legacies of the two figures central to the end of white colonial rule in
southern Africa at the end of the 20th century -Mandela and Mugabe?
Seemingly only after widespread international criticism, given his
international status, was Mandela finally moved last Wednesday to say
something about the growing Zimbabwean political and humanitarian crisis.
For months now, his silence has been deafening, if not puzzling.
In the end, while he eventually criticised the killing of Africans, he didn't
even name Mugabe. Nor, in the face of international impatience, have either
South African president Thabo Mbeki or the country's main political party,
the ANC, condemned Mugabe. But there are reasons for this, to which I will
It is easy to forget now, but when Mugabe first strode out of the final
settlement agreed at the Lancaster House conference in London in 1980, he
was seen as the 'great black hope' for Africa. Educated (mostly by Irish
Jesuits), sophisticated, intelligent and powerfully articulate, Mugabe
impressed all who came across him.
As Zimbabwe, against so many expectations, moved with an almost faultless
democratic process from white minority to black majority rule, South Africa
was constantly reminded to look northwards to its neighbours to see how it
could be done.
It is hard to imagine now that, in the first years of the Zanu (Zimbabwe
African National Union) government, large numbers of whites - who had fled
to South Africa after the unilateral declaration of independence by
Rhodesia - returned to live.
I met some of them in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare in the late 1980s,
and it was remarkable to hear them talking about how they preferred Zimbabwe's
black majority rule to apartheid South Africa.
They were proud of what they then affectionately called 'Zim', and were
determined to make the new state work. Their greatest fear at the time was
for their children, and what sort of future they would have in the new
In retrospect, it was a heady political moment for millions across the world
who passionately believed in the creation of a new African democracy out of
the relics of the old colonial continent. There, we thought, in that land
between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, a remarkable postcolonial experiment
Zimbabwe was important, not just because of its wider political
significance, but also because of the many links between Ireland and that
part of Africa.
The missionary link, particularly in the fields of education and health
care, was a century old, and many families from Ireland had settled there
down the centuries.
In an act not unlike what happened when Zimbabwe itself emerged from history
after independence, large numbers of Anglo-Irish people left Ireland in the
1920s to settle in what was then known as Southern Rhodesia.
Of course, historically and culturally for us - as an English-speaking white
race which experienced colonisation - there was always an instinctive
understanding of the African experience.
Indeed, just like Irish history across the centuries, land ownership has
precipitated Zimbabwe's current crisis. Creating European-style democracies
in Africa is one thing, but attempting, within the judicial limitations
imposed by that society, to change the inevitable economic consequences of
generations of colonisation is quite another.
In fact, the crisis of land ownership has plagued civilisation ever since
the French Revolution - ask the native Americans or Russia's collective
By the late 1990s, in the face of the economic failures of the black
majority government to make a radical difference to the lives of the
millions of the poor, Mugabe began to use the land issue as a political
weapon. Blaming former colonisers and white land-owning farmers became the
panacea for his failures.
The parallel crisis brought about by AIDS and hyperinflation did not help,
and Mugabe began to use the land question as a method of buying the
allegiance of his most powerful followers and switching the political
spotlight onto his former colonial enemies. What was once the breadbasket of
southern Africa quickly began to experience famine.
One statistic perhaps says everything about the extent of Mugabe's political
failure; male life expectancy in Zimbabwe has declined from60 to 37 years
since 1960. It's now the lowest in the world.
As this crisis deepens, it is important to remember that the ANC's failure
publicly to condemn Mugabe is, in itself, a measure of its prescience at how
quickly it senses its own political honeymoon in South Africa ending.
Already, the ANC is facing allegations of political corruption. Critics
claim black majority rule has merely produced a new black middle-class, and
that the economic lives of millions in South Africa remain largely unchanged
since minority rule.
Even more critically, what better than the fate of Mugabe to remind the ANC
of how seminal the historical subtexts are, given that land ownerships
patterns in both South Africa and Zimbabwe are analogous. They might well be
thinking of Mugabe, that 'there but for the grace of God (or even Mandela)
go we'. South Africa's next president after Mbeki will almost certainly be
Jacob Zuma - already a controversial figure. Could he become a Mugabe in his
Long gone are the days of high expectation for European-style democracies as
the simple solution to the crisis of colonial rule in Africa. As one African
state after another plunges into economic, social and political disaster,
the history of post-colonisation is clearly still being written.
The reality is that living standards and life expectancy in Africa today are
lower than in colonial times. Mugabe's vicious civil war is only the latest
chapter in a post-colonial African history that comprises of one depressing
chapter after another.
One wonders whether it was another manifestation of our colonial mentalities
when we thought the creation of democratic societies - which took three
painful and bloody centuries in Europe - could be achieved in Africa almost
Now, with the ending of the Cold War, the entire African continent has
slipped from the super-power strategic radar. Africa has been left to the
tender mercies of its failed political leaderships and international
In the meantime, at least you can sign a petition to Mbeki and other African
leaders to move against Mugabe, by logging on toAvaaz.org. Currently,145,000
have signed. Please join them.
Monday, 30 June 2008 14:24
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ZIMBABWEANS IN UK
from the Zimbabwe Association, 30 June 2008
Last week several important cases were heard in the House of Lords.
The ruling on the Chikwamba case (25 June 2008) may affect many people
in the Zimbabwean community who are in stable relationships and have kids.
In the past, couples where the wife/husband has had refugee status (or
British citizenship) and the other partner has been refused asylum, the
refused partner has been told to go back to Zimbabwe and apply for entry
clearance from there.
The Chikwamba ruling may mean that it is now possible to sort out the
problem of entry clearance from within the UK.
People in this situation MUST seek legal advice about their position
as soon as they can.
Business Daily (Nairobi)
29 June 2008
Posted to the web 30 June 2008
It is baffling how people bury their heads in the sand whenever there is an
issue that needs to be urgently addressed, only to act when it is too late.
Unfortunately, at times we let things get out of hand and still do nothing
for fear that our actions might cast us in bad light.
It came as no surprise that when Prime Minister Raila Odinga fired the first
salvo at President Robert Mugabe, while at the World Economic Forum in South
Africa, his remarks elicited varied reactions.
Whereas, he maintained, his views were personal and not of the government,
that admission spoke volumes of the polarising nature of the Zimbabwe issue.
Indeed, the continued deafening silence among some African leaders - who
tout themselves as democrats - regarding the Zimbabwe crisis is unfortunate.
Worse, millions of Zimbabweans are starving to death. This is a continental
shame and shows the indecisiveness of a part of the African leadership on a
matter that deserves action rather than softness and fence sitting.
Any last vestiges of confidence in Mr Mugabe's leadership have been
destroyed as he degenerates into an incorrigible despot.
He has plunged this once celebrated country into an embarrassing basket
case, while maintaining a tight grip on power. He is a disgrace to his
country, the continent and the world.
From a breadbasket, Zimbabwe is now a net importer of food as it struggles
with an unsustainable food deficit and hyperinflation amid a myriad of other
The rule of law has been ignored, voters disenfranchised, terror reigns,
purging of media is rampant, dictatorship thrives as political tension
mounts. All these sum up a man who is only too willing to destroy a country
he fought so hard to liberate. He cuts a figure of a despicable tyrant, so
incorrigible that he should be forcibly removed from power to give
Zimbabweans a break.
Even as it becomes apparent that Zimbabwe is on a free fall, some African
leaders led by President Thabo Mbeki continue to either keep mum, ostensibly
not wanting to be seen as interfering in another state's affairs, or just
too soft not to ruffle Mr Mugabe's feathers.
As millions flee Zimbabwe, mostly to South Africa, the African Union behaves
like a subdued elephant; looking the other way as if it is okay for people
to be rendered homeless and become refugees.
Continental and regional organisations led by the AU must cease their
slumber and act now.
Mudibo is a media practitioner.