Will Zimbabwe's strongman be allowed to stay in office now that he's signed
an agreement with the opposition leader?
By Rod Nordland | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Jul 22, 2008 | Updated: 6:31 p.m. ET Jul 22, 2008
Zimbabwe's self-declared president Robert Gabriel Mugabe has long been a
lonely figure. He has no known friends; his marriage to a wife half is age
is reported to be rocky; he's a disappointment to the white priests who
raised him and an embarrassment to British and American leaders who once
publicly admired him. Now he has suffered another comedown: on Monday, he
finally agreed to discuss a political settlement with Morgan Tsvangirai, the
opposition candidate who bested him in the first round of a presidential
election and then sat out the second. Mugabe even shook hands with the
bitter enemy he had long dismissed as a "teaboy" for the British, before
they sat down to sign an agreement to negotiate.
How much longer can the 84-year-old Mugabe stay in office? And perhaps more
pertinently, will it be his own generals who finally push him out? By some
accounts, Mugabe is ready to step down. Diplomats and well-connected
observers in Harare say that he'd had enough when it became clear that
Tsvangirai had won the most ballots in the bitterly contested March 29 poll.
While his government delayed announcing the results showing Tsvangirai as
the number one vote getter, on the Monday after the vote Mugabe convened his
top aides, the five generals and two civilians who make up the Joint
Operations Centre (JOC)-a military-style command center that ran his
election campaign--and told them he planned to retire to Malaysia, where he
maintains a second home. The diplomats' accounts were confirmed by a
high-ranking ZANU-PF party official. "They said, 'Hold on, you're not
leaving us, we're in this together,'" the official related. "These people
said to him, No,' said a well-informed diplomat in Harare, the capital,
'because we'll win the runoff for you.' Mugabe is still the first among
equals, but he can no longer rule this country without the army, the civil
service has collapsed. There has been a coup by stealth."
These sources believe that Mugabe will remain in power for a face-saving
interval, while negotiations for a government of national unity go ahead
under the auspices of South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki. After that,
Mugabe would hand over to one of the JOC members. Those talks were due to
begin formally today, in South Africa, to be completed within two weeks.
They promise a respite from the violence that has continued to plague
Zimbabwe even after the June 27th runoff election, as ZANU-PF militants
backed up by the security services continued to attack opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) activists and party workers, forcing most of
them to flee or go into hiding. That, in turn, strengthened the regime's
bargaining power, potentially enabling Mugabe's ZANU-PF to take control of
the parliament, where the MDC now has a slim majority.
Under a constitutional change Mugabe forced through last year, the
parliament can elect a successor if the president leaves office for any
reason. This allows the generals to choose one of their own, who some think
would most likely be the head of the JOC, Emmerson Mnangagwa. "As the JOC
head, Mnangagwa is actually in charge now," says Ray Matikinye, news editor
of the Financial Gazette, one of the few remaining independent papers in
Zimbabwe. "He has the respect and control of the police and military."
Matikinye, too, has heard the stories that the JOC refused to let Mugabe
Since the run-off farce, Mugabe's bitterness has been on abundant, if
somewhat incompetent, display. At an African Union summit in Egypt last
month, he lashed out at a British reporter, at one point seeming to lunge at
him when he asked how Mugabe claimed the right to represent Zimbabwe as its
president. Flustered, he responded that he had "as much right as [Britain's]
Gordon Brown does to be prime minister of Zimbabwe."
But Mugabe left stung by criticism from fellow African leaders, who were
unmoved by his finger-pointing accusations that many of them had
less-than-stellar democratic credentials themselves. And while Zimbabwe's
government mouthpiece, the Herald, reported that Mugabe was relieved to have
Queen Elizabeth strip him of the knighthood she had given him decades
earlier, the fact was he could have renounced it at any time. (A spokesman
for the Foreign Office in London said he has still not complied with an
official request to return the Grand Cross of the Illustrious Order of the
Bath, which is the emblem of his knighthood).
"I suspect that under Mugabe's hatred for the British is a love for the
British," says Heidi Holland, author of a recent biography, "Dinner with
Mugabe." "When he talked to me about the British royal family he had tears
in his eyes."
The trappings of British culture are easy to find in Zimbabwe, where school
children wear uniforms with short pants and knee socks, judges sport
powdered white wigs and cricket grounds abound. And despite his bitter
statements about Britain, Mugabe clearly admires many facets of his
country's former colonial rulers. Before he and his top officials were
banned by European sanctions from visiting Britain, Mugabe frequented
London's Savile Row for handmade suits and the finest accessories. And even
now, he takes a high tea in the State House, including crustless cucumber
sandwiches served on expensive china. "He's an Anglophile, profoundly so,"
says a Western diplomat. "His anger is the savagery of a child rejected, an
Whatever his psychological issues from the past, Mugabe ran his last
election campaign by harking back to his days as a liberation leader. His
bon mots were increasingly outrageous. "The gun is more powerful than the
ball point," he said. And since God put him in office, he said, "only God
can remove me." A life-long practicing Catholic, Mugabe is also a committed
Marxist--though he could never persuade his ZANU-PF party to institute a
Communist-style regime. Tsvangirai says the entire campaign smacked of
Mugabe's formative period. "It's back to the guerrilla war years," he said.
Central in Mugabe's campaign was the JOC, an organization that had little
formal role in previous years but was geared up into an efficient apparatus
for campaign terror. The JOC directly funded ZANU-PF youth militias, 30,000
strong, coordinating their activities with police and military and sending
them out on punitive expeditions against opposition politicians --
especially in the second, run-off round. The MDC says more than 100 of its
activists were killed in the violence and thousands more savagely beaten; a
common tactic was to flail the skin off a victim's buttocks and then pour
scalding water on the wounds. Tsvangirai said he pulled out of the election
to stop the violence, and because it was clear most voters were too
intimidated to vote for him. Mugabe won by a landslide, even in areas that
were traditionally opposition strongholds.
However, giving the JOC such centralized power may in the end prove to have
been Mugabe's undoing. "Everyone should stop focusing so much on Mugabe,
because it's the JOC, the JOC is the key," says John Makumbe, a professor of
political science at the University of Zimbabwe, who says he talks
frequently to high-ranking regime officials. "Instead of Mugabe's face on
CNN and BBC, we should be seeing the faces of the [seven] leaders of the
JOC. Mugabe is in fact a puppet of the security structures, the creature of
the violence, as much a victim of their campaign as the MDC. They hide
under his skirts and before long they'll dump him and get another figure up
there." The ZANU-PF official also confirmed that the leaders of the JOC
carefully orchestrated the political violence during the campaign, but
disagrees whether Mugabe will stand aside for one of their number. It is
also, this official says, unclear who the heir apparent would be, with
jockeying among several officials.
A new leader from the ranks of the JOC won't be a change for the better,
especially if Tsvangirai isn't able to negotiate a significant share of
power. Mnangagwa, 61, is reputedly the country's richest man, earning a
fortune on investments in Congo when Zimbabwe intervened there on the side
of Laurent Kabila. Mnangagwa also was director of the country's secret
police, the Central Intelligence Organization, during the Matebeleland
massacres of the 1980s, when thousands of supporters of Joshua Nkomo,
Mugabe's rival black liberation leader, were killed. "Mnangagwa is more
ruthless than Mugabe, and he's younger," says Shari Eppel, a Zimbabwean
human rights activist.
The others aren't much more promising. The only other JOC civilian is Gideon
Gono, 52, head of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, who has presided over the
country's hyperinflation, printing money at such a furious pace that the
Zimbabwe dollar--nearly on par with the U.S. dollar in the 1980s--now trades
at more than 20 billion to a single American greenback. Secret policeman
Didymus Mutasa, 73, is minister of state security. In 2006 he responded to
questions about the Zimbabwe's raging AIDS epidemic and the growing flight
of Zimbabweans from their country with this comment: "We would be better off
with only six million people [the population is 12 million], with our own
[ZANU-PF] people who supported the liberation struggle," he said. "We don't
want all these extra people."
Air Marshall Perence Shiri, 53, now the air force commander, previously had
been in charge of the notorious North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade of the
Army when it carried out the Matebeleland massacres. Paradzai Zimondi, 53,
the prisons chief, publicly ordered all prison officers to vote for Mugabe.
Augustine Chihuri, 55, the commissioner-general of police, told the
government mouthpiece, the Herald, that "we will not allow any puppets to
take charge," even if they won the election. He was the architect of the
notorious 2005 Operation Murambatsvina ("Drive Out the Trash"), in which
squatter settlements and impoverished roadside vendors were forced off city
streets, to subsequent condemnation by a United Nations rapporteur. Finally,
there's armed forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, 51, who
recently told a Zimbabwean newspaper, "the army will not support or salute
sell-outs and agents of the West before, during and after the presidential
elections." Chiwenga's wife, Jocelyn, is a key player in farm takeovers.
White farmer Roger Staunton says when she came to take his huge,
flower-producing farm, she called him a "white pig" and warned him to get
going because "she had not tasted white blood since 1980 and missed the
experience." All seven JOC members-already subject to European Union
sanctions--are among 14 Zimbabwe officials who would be subjected to
international financial and travel sanctions by the U.N. Security Council if
a Western-backed resolution passes.
The JOC "cabal", as the ZANU-PF official referred to it, or "junta" in the
words of the diplomat, is itself riven with internal disputes. Mnangagwa
and some of the other JOC members were accused in an abortive coup plot last
year hatched by junior officers, but were later absolved of involvement.
When the MDC's deputy chairman, Tendai Biti, was arrested during the
election campaign, his high-level interrogators had no interest in the
trumped up charges against him, according to his lawyer, Lewis Uriri. Uriri
says instead they questioned Biti on what kind of deal he had been
discussing with negotiators from their own government. Biti and two lower
ranking Mugabe officials had been talking about possible power sharing
arrangements in some sort of unity government, through South Africa's
mediation. "Biti realized there were powerful people in ZANU-PF who wanted
to find out what was going on, people don't trust one another," Uriri said.
Whether Mugabe goes or stays after Monday's agreement, there's little room
for optimism. The JOC's leaders are hardly the sort to do anything about
the country's daunting problems. "You can rig an election but you can't rig
the economy, which will say, ah ha, the holes are still leaking," Makumbe
says. Four million Zimbabweans have "already voted with their feet," in
U.S. ambassador James McGee's words, and fled. Another five million face
possible starvation after a 90 percent drop in this year's harvests. That
has not seemed to bother Mugabe and the power-brokers around him; holding on
to control has been their overriding goal, and one they're not likely to
give up on easily. The last of Africa's Big Men may be on his way out, but,
unhappily for his countrymen, his spirit is far from extinguished.
With Scott Johnson in Cape Town
Photo: Annie Mpalume/IRIN
On 21 July, Robert Mugabe, president of the ruling ZANU-PF party, and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, signed a Memorandum of Understanding under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community's appointed mediator, South African president Thabo Mbeki.
As news spread of the deal, widely seen as a ground-breaking initiative, people in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, responded to the images of Tsvangirai and Mugabe shaking hands at signing ceremony with a mixture of disgust, disbelief and indifference.
"This is a major betrayal by Tsvangirai. Many people have died, been raped, tortured, and had their homes set on fire for supporting him. He needed to consult widely with us before hopping into bed with Mugabe," Matthews Shoko, a staunch supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, told IRIN.
This is a major betrayal by
Tsvangirai. Many people have died, been raped, tortured, and had their homes set
on fire for supporting him. He needed to consult widely with us before hopping
into bed with Mugabe
Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe won its independence from Britain in 1980. The ruling ZANU-PF lost its majority in parliament for the first time since independence in 29 March elections, but Tsvangirai fell short of securing an outright presidential win by a couple of percentage points, so a second round of voting was set down for 27 June.
In the lead-up to the presidential run-off more than 60 people died in political violence, thousands were reported missing and tens of thousands were displaced. Tsvangirai pulled out of the second round of voting in protest against the violence, leaving Mugabe as the sole candidate. He claimed a landslide victory.
Never trust a politician
Caroline Mpofu, a sales executive at an electrical company, was dismissive of the agreement. "I never trust politicians. I am sure the discussions have more to do with sharing power than the interests of Zimbabweans in general. It's more to do with power than addressing the food shortages stalking the country," she said.
"More than a hundred people have died because of these politicians. Suddenly the politicians are shaking hands, but in the countryside there is very little information. People are being told to beat up any MDC supporters. Torture bases continue to exist, while women continue to be gang-raped."
According to a recent UN report, about five million of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are expected to require food assistance in the coming months, but the government has banned the activities of humanitarian organisations, including food distribution, alleging that they have a political agenda.
Tafara Shava, who lives in Mudzi, a remote district in Mashonaland East Province, said the details of the agreement had yet to reach this area, and even when it did it was unlikely that people would believe it, and would probably beat up anybody who suggested that Mugabe and Tsvangirai had shaken hands.
"What the politicians are doing is very unfair. In Mashonaland East we are still chanting slogans like 'down with Morgan Tsvangirai', and yet the main rivals are having lunch together in plush hotels. People need to be told that there are new developments taking place."
What the politicians are doing
is very unfair. In Mashonaland East we are still chanting slogans like 'down
with Morgan Tsvangirai', and yet the main rivals are having lunch together in
"The dialogue commenced on 10 July 2008 and will continue until parties have finalised all necessary matters, save for short breaks that may be agreed upon. It is envisaged that the dialogue will be completed within a period of two weeks from the date of signing [21 July] of this MoU," the agreement said.
The talks will be held in Pretoria, South Africa.
One clause suggests that the end result would be the formation of a coalition or government of national unity. "The parties shall not, during the subsistence of the dialogue, take any decisions or measures that have a bearing on the agenda of the dialogue, save by consensus. Such decisions or measures include, but are not limited to, the convening of parliament or the formation of a new government."
The MoU also reflects Tsvangirai's demands that Mbeki's role as a mediator should be diluted. "The dialogue shall be facilitated in accordance with SADC and AU (African Union) resolutions," it reads.
Although the agreement is seen as a breakthrough to resolving Zimbabwe's plight, it has not influenced the European Union's (EU) decision to expand sanctions against the country's ruling elite, including a travel ban to EU countries and freezing their assets. Mugabe and other senior government officials are named.
At a meeting in Brussels, EU foreign ministers added another 37 names to the list, bringing the number of people to 168, and also added four "legal entities", or companies.
Those added to the list have not been named as yet, to prevent them from moving any assets to a country outside the EU. The decision to intensify sanctions against Zimbabwe's ruling elite was taken after the agreement between Zimbabwe's opposing political parties was reached.
Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb told reporters in Brussels: "If you look at reconciliation, it takes probably 10 steps. To start the discussions between the opposition and government is the step number one; way too early to start discussing any lifting of the sanctions."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
July 23, 2008
By Blessing Chimwanda
I WRITE this opinion in the hope that the disputes between the MDC and
Zanu-PF are a thing of the past.
I also pray that the leaders of both parties will abide by the promises that
they made in front of the whole world during the signing of the MoU in
Harare and that they will negotiate in good faith. Our political situation
is dire, and for this reason we need resolutions that will benefit the
nation as a whole and are not for the continued benefit of a few according
to their political affiliation.
Because of the faith I have on the outcome of the current negotiations, I am
going to outline suggestions that I hope will eventually be implemented in
Zimbabwe to prevent the current situation from ever reoccurring. Regardless
of the outcome of the negotiations the current political situation has
failed us and it is mostly because of the structures that have been set up
in the country by Zanu-PF.
They have caused much grief and suffering. I have made a few observations
which I hope will make a difference in peoples life's or will make other
people start thinking or talking about what they expect in a future Zimbabwe
to be in the future. Firstly, Zimbabwe can never ever be a one party state
again. Although the MDC has established itself as a strong contender, they
are still many Zimbabweans who still believe that Zanu-PF should govern
until the end of time. That time has passed, and for Zimbabwe to succeed all
opinions have to heard, even if we do not agree with some of them.
Secondly, regardless of which party leads the new government there has to be
a separation between the political party and the government to prevent
conflict of interests. One of the reasons why the government failed was the
arrogance of some members in the former ruling party who decided to run the
government as their own personal shop. For this to work, although unlikely
in today's Zimbabwe due to our leader's insecurities, who ever leads the
government should relinquish their power as leader of their party. This
situation would divest power from one man or one party and would enable all
views to be heard equally. A situation like this would have prevented the
current problems we are facing today.
Thirdly, the country can no longer be run by a party politburo. The
politburo should revert to being an organ of Zanu-PF, and what ever is
decided in the politburo should only be binding on Zanu-PF since it will not
be the well of the entire Zimbabwean population. We can no longer go back to
a situation where what is decided by the politburo on behalf of Zanu-PF at
Zanu-PF headquarters becomes the final word for the government. In that same
regard we do not want to see decisions of governing the country being made
at Harvest house, that's why we have government offices.
Fourthly, for a country of 12 million, Zimbabwe can better use its resources
by eliminating some ministries. How can we justify having 26 ministries,
when countries five to ten times the size of Zimbabwe have half the number
of ministries. The number of ministries can only be justified if one is
establishing positions to enable his cronies to draw a salary from the
government. I would not be against Zimbabwe having 26 ministries if they all
did half the jobs they are suppose to be doing. With the situation in
Zimbabwe, I would say that every single one of those ministries has failed
and this would be a good time to start from scratch. A good start would be
to set up some ministries as commissions answerable to the Senate and/or
Parliament. The commissioners can come from politicians, business people,
academia who have expertise in special fields.
Fifth, I suggest that city councils be independent entities run by elected
officials in those cities. These representatives would be accountable to the
people who elected them. For this reason if they fail to perform their tasks
they can be removed by their own wards and not have a minister who sits in
Harare and decides the fate of a city he has no connection to. I suggest
that the budget allocations be made according to the population of the
respective cities and the need of those funds. These budgets could be
approved by the Senate and or Parliament as opposed to having one minister.
Sixth, Zimbabwe has to retake its position as a pillar of the African
economy. In that regard we have to be careful when we choose our friends. We
can only succeed if we do this with Zimbabwe at heart and not the pockets of
the few in power. Zimbabwe is an extremely wealthy country that should not
be depending on handouts from other governments or NGOs. We live in a global
economy, and for this reason we should not avoid some countries merely
because they are critical of our policies.
One reason why the "Look east" policy has failed Zimbabwe and benefited
eastern countries is that they know that we have limited buyers for our
products and for this reason they can dictate prices to us. But if Zimbabwe
was willing to have other countries compete for our resources then we would
be in a position to bargain for a fair price. Using China as an example,
their best economic friends are western countries because they know that
Africa can never sustain them. For that reason they do not care much about
Zimbabwe or other African countries and they are only looking for their
We also have to take a cue from Venezuela and Iraq, these two countries
continually fight with the USA but they know that they need the American
market for their oil. Why can't we put our arrogance away and negotiate with
other governments for the future of Zimbabwe?
Lastly, and most importantly, the land issue has to be resolved once and for
all. We can not have people continually using land as a scapegoat to blame
for the economic situation of Zimbabwe on the white minority who own or
owned the land. My main suggestion is that, since people were awarded farms
by the ruling party under the pretext of land distribution, they can not
sell those farms since they did not pay for that land. As the land was given
to them, so it shall be taken away from them.
If people who now control the land can not utilize that land then the
government should take it over and sell it to people who are willing to
cultivate the land and pay a tax to the government.
The Times, SA
Moses Mudzwiti Published:Jul 23, 2008
Both optimism and cynicism in Harare
A Blanket of secrecy has been thrown around the talks intended to achieve a
negotiated settlement between Zimbabwe's political rivals.
A day after signing a memorandum of understanding, the three protagonists -
Zanu-PF and the two factions of the MDC - stuck to the spirit of the
agreement, which bars any of the parties from speaking to the media.
The talks began in earnest in Pretoria late yesterday.
Though the venue is secret, it is understood that Zanu-PF is represented by
justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and his labour counterpart, Nicholas
Morgan Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC is represented by the party's general
secretary, Tendai Biti, and its chairman, Lovemore Moyo.
Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga represent the other MDC
faction, which is led by Arthur Mutambara.
There has been mixed reaction to news of the talks in Zimbabwe - many people
are celebrating but many others remain sceptical.
State media trumpeted the talks as an African triumph that could lead to the
end of Zimbabwe's economic and political woes.
Mugabe, at the signing ceremony, for the first time in a decade, shook hands
with and spoke to Tsvangirai. He said the talks were "a serious matter".
Tsvangirai wrote an open letter to his supporters calling on all Zimbabweans
to support the talks.
"In the spirit of a shared vision to heal our nation, I call upon my fellow
signatories to join me in putting aside our differences and acknowledging
that we have a responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe to show true
leadership and to find an agreement that will bring an end to the violence,
polarisation, poverty and fear in which we have all been living for too
long," he said.
"Our fellow countrymen and women look to us to find common ground that will
allow us, as a nation, to chart a democratic path forward."
In Harare, ordinary Zimbabweans were cautiously optimistic. Most of them
went about their daily business as usual.
"If our leaders can unite and talk to each other . maybe things can be
better," a Harare worker said.
Prices of food and other basic commodities continue to rise and inflation is
estimated at 2.3 million percent. Bread yesterday shot up from Z100- billion
to double that.
The news of a breakthrough has been widely welcomed, and President Thabo
Mbeki, who was appointed by the African Union as the facilitator of the
talks, has been praised for bringing the parties together. He has set a
strict two- weeks deadline for the talks.
Political parties in South Africa, including the ANC, hailed the talks as a
Zimbabwe, Harare--The Tribune has learnt that the crisis
talks due to start in South Africa overnight, struggled to get off the ground as
chief negotiators had yet to leave Harare, sources from the Opposition and
ruling party said. Representatives of the ruling ZANU-PF party and the
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were meant to begin negotiations
towards resolving the country's political crisis after the signing of a historic
pact on Monday (local time). The long-awaited Pretoria talks, given a tight two week timeline, were now
expected to begin "in earnest" on Thursday (local time), said Mr Mbeki's
spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga. Zimbabwean Government sources say that Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche - the chief
negotiators for the ruling ZANU-PF party - had been locked in a cabinet meeting
all afternoon and were not now expected to fly until Wednesday (local time)
morning. "Ministers Chinamasa and Goche are still attending the cabinet meeting. We
are not sure what time it will finish," one official said. "We were initially
expecting them to leave in the afternoon but they should now leave tomorrow
morning." Meanwhile, a source in the larger faction of the MDC said its top
negotiators, party chairman Lovemore Moyo and secretary-general Tendai Biti, had
also yet to leave. "Chairman Lovemore Moyo is expected to leave tomorrow," the source said. "He
will connect his flight direct from Bulawayo." However, a source in the smaller faction of the MDC, which is also taking
part in the talks in Pretoria, said its representative had already arrived in
South Africa. Both sides agreed in their memorandum of understanding (MoU) inked
in Harare, to observe a media blackout during the course of negotiations that
are expected to conclude within a fortnight. Video: On Monday when the momerundum
of understaning was signed, journalists present at the occasion clapped as
Mugabe shook the hands of Tsvangirai, his arch rival. Instead of smiling as is
the norm at such occasions, Mugabe's body language was that of a cadaver, his
face set like that election poster where he is holding his clenched fist? Watch
Video below: --Harare Tribune News/ The Tribune's Grace Mlambo contributed to this
report http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com The Telegraph Irish Times The New Republic Mail and Guardian http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com Irish Times http://www.humannaturemag.com http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com The New Republic
Updated: July 22, 2008 17:54
Zimbabwean Morgan Tsvangirai, right, leader of the main opposition party, is
seen, at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Zanu pf, led by
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the MDC, Movement for Democratic Change,
led by Tsvangirai, in Harare, Monday, July, 21, 2008. Zimbabwe's embattled
president and his opposition rival have agreed to hold talks to resolve the
country's political and economic crisis within two weeks.
political rivals have dinner
July 22, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe had dinner with MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai on Monday night after the signing of the Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU), The Zimbabwe Times has learnt.
The two political rivals sat down across the table from each other for a
tête-à-tête as they shared a scrumptuous meal at the Harare Rainbow Towers
while SADC-appointed broker, President Thabo Mbeki shared a meal with the
leader of the breakaway MDC faction, Prof Arthur Mutambara in another room.
It was the first time in the decade since Tsvangirai's entry into mainstream
politics that he and Mugabe have engaged in a private or serious discussion,
let alone shared a meal.
Mbeki only flew out of Harare around 10 pm after the dinner. The round-table
between the two political gladiators after the signing of the MoU, marked an
historic occasion for Zimbabwe.
The new dawn also beckoned as President Mugabe and Tsvangirai's negotiating
teams flew out on Tuesday night to Pretoria for fully-fledged talks, which
are expected to ease Zimbabwe's deepening political crisis. The talks open
on Wednesday under the facilitation of Mbeki and his advisors, Mujanku
Gumbi, Frank Chikane and Sydney Mufamadi.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai's private engagement hours after the signing of the
MoU was closed to the press and attempts by Mugabe's spokesman George
Charamba to access the room and take pictures were immediately rebuffed by
Tsvangirai, sources said.
Clause Eight of the agreement signed by the leaders Monday relates to
communication with the media.
"None of the parties shall during the Dialogue period, directly or
indirectly communicate the substance of the discussion with the media," the
clause states, "The parties shall refrain from negotiating through the
media, whether through their representatives to the Dialogue or any of their
The Zimbabwe Times heard that the two leaders had similar messages: the
burning urge to unite the country; the strong will to make the talks work;
and the irrepressible will to ensure Zimbabwe does not return to the
post-March 29 environment of political violence as political passions ran
high. Both emphasized the need for a home-grown solution and a new
beginning, according to our source.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa staunchly declined to comment on the dinner
meeting while Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba was not immediately
available for comment.
But in a statement issued in Harare Tuesday, Tsvangirai said the engagement
with Mugabe Monday was a responsibility that he took with utmost
"Yesterday, we committed ourselves to a process that presents the framework
in which we can strive to find a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis,"
Tsvangirai said. "This is just the first step on a journey whose duration
and success are dependent on the sincerity and good faith of all parties
"In the spirit of a shared vision to heal our nation, I call upon my fellow
signatories to join me in putting aside our differences and acknowledging
that we have a responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe to show true
leadership and to find agreement that will bring an end to the violence,
polarisation, poverty and fear in which we have all been living for too
He added that Zimbabweans looked to political leaders to find common ground
to chart a democratic path forward.
The breakthrough in talks ends a protracted deadlock between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai since the veteran ruler claimed power from a one-man presidential
run off vote boycotted by Tsvangirai because of violence and restrictions on
The talks are set to centre on the establishment of a government of national
unity, but there are sharp differences on the duration of the authority and
who should lead it. Regional bloc SADC and the African Union have called for
a power-sharing deal.
The MoU grants the two parties a two-week period within which to reach a
Meanwhile, former Finance Minister Dr Simba Makoni who came out a distant
third in the presidential election held on March 29, reacted with bitterness
to his sidelining from the signing ceremony attended by the two MDC and ZANU
PF leaders on Monday.
"I feel it is sad that we are not involved at this stage," said Makoni
during an interview with South Africa's talk radio station SAFM on Tuesday.
"But this is only the beginning. There is more to come and we believe that
we will make our contribution in that more to come. I cannot explain my
absence from that signing ceremony."
Makoni who won eight percent of the presidential vote through his
Mavambo/Kusile movement is regarded as a potential problem in some circles
and as a potential peace-maker between Zimbabwe's warring political parties
Makoni did not attend Monday's signing ceremony during which an agreement
was signed between the two MDC parties led by Tsvangirai and Mutambara and
The former finance minister told the South African public radio, that "many
Zimbabweans" believed his movement should have a role in both the current
talks and the future of the country.
Despite his exclusion, Makoni however described the Memorandum of
Understanding as "a promising start".
"I think the key factor here is how serious, honest and genuine are people
at solving the country's problems together. We hope that they genuinely mean
they wish to work together," he said.
Makoni broke ranks with the ruling Zanu-PF party and President Robert Mugabe
on February 5 this year when he called a meeting at the same hotel that the
MDC and Zanu-PF leaders signed the historic pact on Monday, to announce his
He spoke strongly against the staging of the June 27 presidential run off
election favouring, instead, the formation of an all inclusive transitional
authority to lead the country until the next elections.
Many questioned Makoni's credentials to speak with any authority given his
dismal performance at the polls on March 29. Mbeki the facilitator in the
ongoing negotiations is known to have a soft spot for the former Finance
Minister and to prefer him as potential Zimbabwean leader over Tsvangirai.
A Mugabe deal could land Britain with a dilemma
By David Blair
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 23/07/2008
A Zimbabwean opposition leader, lauded for his brave struggle against
Robert Mugabe, arrives in London on an official visit as the new prime
Morgan Tsvangirai asks Britain to recognise his government and offer
millions of pounds of aid. He urges the lifting of all sanctions and
declares that Harare's era of isolation is over. Mr Tsvangirai requests
Gordon Brown's help in releasing large sums from the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund.
He returns to Harare and reports back to his boss - one Robert Mugabe.
After they formed a "government of national unity", Mr Mugabe stayed on as
president and Mr Tsvangirai became his prime minister. Now Britain faces a
cruel dilemma - recognise the government (led by Mr Mugabe) and pour aid
into its coffers (controlled by Mr Mugabe), or face the blame for economic
At present, this scenario is pure imagination and fantasy. But events
along these lines could unfold in the weeks ahead, confronting the Prime
Minister and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, with a conundrum. Would
they recognise and fund a new Zimbabwean government that includes Mr
Tsvangirai in a senior position, but keeps Mr Mugabe as president?
The talks which opened yesterday between the opposition and Mr
Mugabe's Zanu PF party could have this outcome. President Thabo Mbeki of
South Africa is still mediating between the two sides, despite Britain's
efforts to sideline him. Senior British sources believe the talks will
probably fail. If so, London will avoid its dilemma.
But what if they do sign a deal? Aside from total failure, there are
two possible outcomes. The MDC wants a shortlived "transitional government"
leading to fresh elections, which Mr Tsvangirai would almost certainly win.
Exactly what role Mr Mugabe would play in this interim administration
is undefined. Mr Tsvangirai has resisted pressure to recognise Mr Mugabe as
rightful president. At his insistence, the two leaders conducted their
handshake inside the neutral venue of a Harare hotel, not in the
presidential office in State House, where Mr Mugabe wanted it.
Also, their "memorandum of understanding" deliberately describes Mr
Mugabe as "president and first secretary of Zanu PF", not of Zimbabwe. Mr
Tsvangirai's allies robustly declare that he will not serve as the
dictator's subordinate in any coalition government. Instead, Mr Mugabe's
role in a temporary administration before new elections would be as titular,
ceremonial president, with real executive power transferring to Mr
Tsvangirai. If this takes place, few would complain.
David Coltart, an opposition senator and one of Zimbabwe's wisest and
most humane politicians, has publicly favoured this option. For it to
happen, however, would require Mr Mugabe to transform overnight from
power-hungry despot to benign elder statesman. Having waged a ruthless
struggle to hold power, inflicting untold suffering on thousands, Mr Mugabe
would have to surrender everything at the negotiating table.
Because 84-year-old leopards rarely change their spots, this seems
unlikely. Instead, Mr Mugabe will obviously press for the second possible
outcome: a "government of national unity". This would leave Mr Mugabe in
command as president, with Mr Tsvangirai as a prime minister, able to travel
the world, securing aid and diplomatic recognition. London would be his
first stop - and Mr Brown and Mr Miliband would face their dilemma.
There is a precedent for this. When President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya
lost an election last December, he announced a fake result and stayed in
power, triggering bloodshed that claimed 1,500 lives. The killing only ended
when Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, oversaw the birth of a
Mr Kibaki stayed on as president, despite having lost the election.
Raila Odinga, his leading opponent who actually won the poll, became prime
minister. Kenya's cabinet was doubled, so all the politicians who had lost
the election could keep their jobs - and all the winners could have jobs,
too. Most senior politicians in Kenya now enjoy ministerial office.
Britain endorsed this subversion of democracy and, astonishingly,
senior officials cite Kenya as a recent success story. If the same unfolds
in Zimbabwe, the Foreign Office will have no grounds for indignation. If
prime minister Tsvangirai shows up at Downing Street, he will doubtless ask:
"If this was good enough for Kenya, why not Zimbabwe too?"
Tsvangirai stresses need to
halt violence as talks begin
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
BILL CORCORAN in Johannesburg
ZIMBABWE: AS REPRESENTATIVES of the leaders who signed an agreement to hold
talks on solving Zimbabwe's political crisis gathered in Pretoria to begin
the process yesterday, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai warned there were
no guarantees of success.
In a letter to party supporters, Mr Tsvangirai said the deal with President
Robert Mugabe offered "the most tangible opportunity in the past 10 years to
improve the lives of our fellow citizens".
However, the Movement for Democratic Change leader added that unless the
violence that has claimed the lives of 120 of his supporters and displaced
tens of thousands of other Zimbabweans stopped, the talks were doomed to
fail. "Our signatures alone do not guarantee that we will be able to make
the most of this opportunity," he said.
Aside from an end to violence, the memorandum of understanding signed on
Monday commits all parties to the creation of an inclusive government as
well as dialogue that provides a sustainable solution to Zimbabwe's economic
Also on the agenda are "discussions on a new constitution, promotion of
equality, national healing, cohesion and unity, as well as external
interference, free political activity and rule of law".
While a media blackout has been agreed to by those taking part, a source in
Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party confirmed that justice minister Patrick Chinamasa
and labour minister Nicolas Goche would represent the ruling regime.
After the signing of the memorandum of understanding, spokespeople for the
African Union and the Southern African Development Community, both of which
are involved as mediators, heralded the move as significant progress.
"Today's [ Monday's] event marks a significant step in the efforts aimed at
overcoming the crisis facing Zimbabwe and promoting national reconciliation
in the country," said the AU.
However, an indication of how different African leaders and the West view
the Zimbabwean problem emerged yesterday when the EU responded to the deal
by broadening its sanctions against Zimbabwe's ruling regime to include
another 37 individuals and four companies linked to Mr Mugabe's government.
Existing EU sanctions include an arms embargo, visa bans and asset freezes
on senior officials including the president. Yesterday's additions mean the
list now comprises 168 individuals, and for the first time targets
by The Editors
Post Date Wednesday, July 30, 2008
On June 27, Robert Mugabe got exactly what he wanted: another term as
president of Zimbabwe. No matter that he had to chop, bully, and cheat his
way to uncontested victory by forcing rival Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw
from the race under the credible threat of violence; within days of the
tainted tally, Mugabe was hanging out with fellow African leaders in the
Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheik. There, the dictator's spokesman
offered the following--presumably sarcastic--reply to suggestions that it
might be time for his boss to go: "With only five days in office, you expect
him to retire?"
James Kirchick and T.A. Frank Debate Mugabe (7/2/08)
Witty! Except the humor may be lost on the beleaguered people of Zimbabwe,
who are in their twenty-eighth year under Mugabe's thumb and now face the
prospect of remaining there a while longer.
What can other countries do to help? They could start by avoiding
embarrassing spectacles of the sort that unfolded in Sharm El Sheik, where
Mugabe was allowed to take part in an African Union summit, with all the
legitimacy that confers. Some African countries--in particular Botswana,
Namibia, and Zambia--have taken an admirably tough line on Mugabe, but too
many others have stayed largely mum on the subject. Especially disgraceful
has been South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has refused to so much as
condemn Mugabe, let alone take active steps to undermine his rule.
As for the West, small signals of solidarity with the Zimbabwean
people--like a recent pledge by a German company to stop printing the
country's currency--certainly can't hurt. (Not that the money--which suffers
from 1 million percent inflation--was worth much anyway, though perhaps
Mugabe will now find it that much harder to pay his goons in the military
and police forces. ) But, ultimately, a solution for Zimbabwe means
empowering the rightful winners of the election, Tsvangirai and his Movement
for Democratic Change. As The New York Sun has suggested, world leaders
should officially recognize Tsvangirai as Zimbabwe's president, then bar
Mugabe's representatives from the United Nations. And Tsvangirai, along with
his shadow cabinet, should be invited to visit Washington for a high-profile
meeting with President Bush. None of this, of course, is likely to force
Mugabe from office immediately, but at least it would send a message to the
African dictator that the world no longer acknowledges his rule. And that,
yes, we expect him to retire.
A tyrant of long standing
IMRAAN BUCCUS: COMMENT - Jul 23 2008 06:00
The Robert Mugabe regime did not, as some will argue, start off well and
slowly descend into authoritarianism. It was always ruthlessly and violently
intolerant of opposition.
There are at least four crimes against humanity for which Mugabe and his
junta should be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The
The first is the massacre of 20 000 Ndebele people in Operation Gukurahundi
between 1984 and 1987.
The second is the Zimbabwean involvement in the second Congo war in support
of the tyrant Laurent Kabila. The Harare junta entered the war with its eyes
on the same wealth of natural resources that attracted the colonialists and
Kabila duly rewarded Mugabe, his family and his allies with contracts in
mining and logging worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But the financial
cost of the war was borne by ordinary Zimbabweans -- it destroyed the
Zimbabwean economy. (The human cost was borne by ordinary Congolese.)
The third crime was Operation Murambatsvina in 2005. The eradication of
shack settlements and informal traders from the cities affected more than
two million people.
The fourth crime against humanity is the state-led campaign of violence,
including rape, torture and murder, by which Zanu-PF stole a third election
victory. Each of these crimes would, on its own, justify prosecution through
In South Africa there is, at last, a consensus about the nature of the
Harare junta. For years Cosatu has spoken against the regime and in support
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which grew out of the
Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions. There has also been condemnation from
the SACP and some churches. But for years President Thabo Mbeki was silent.
Thankfully Jacob Zuma is now beginning to speak out.
But it is a sad and sobering fact that Mbeki was directly complicit in
Mugabe's theft of the first two elections and failed to take a stand against
Mugabe's attempt to steal a third. That this has been justified in the name
of "pan-Africanism" is particularly odious. After all it was that great
figure of pan-Africanism, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, who took such a clear
position against the Idi Amin dictatorship in Uganda. Mbeki has proved that
he is no Nyerere.
In fact Mbeki's failures with regard to Zimbabwe have, with domestic
failures such as the Aids debacle -- with the lack of a strong response to
the Zimbabwe crisis from the African Union -- smashed his vision of an
Imraan Buccus is a PhD fellow in the Netherlands, studying poverty and civil
tightens screws on Zimbabwe
July 23, 2008
By Our Correspondent
MUTARE - The Frelimo government of Mozambique, long regarded as Zanu-PF's
close ally going back to the days of the liberation struggle, has quietly
tightened screws on President Mugabe's embattled regime.
The Mozambican government has cut significantly the quantity of foodstuffs
and other basic commodities that Zimbabweans can import from the
Since the scrapping of the visa regime between Zimbabwe and Mozambique
hundreds of Zimbabwean have been streaming across at the Forbes border Post
just outside the city of Mutare on shopping errands in the town of Chimoio
and farther afield in Beira. Just over 260 kilometres away the Atlantic
coastal city of Beira is equidistant from Mutare as Harare.
Zimbabweans from as far as Harare have travelled to Mozambique to import
scarce foodstuffs such as rice, flour, cooking oil, fish, salt and sugar, as
well as many other basic commodities.
They have been free to import as much as they wished. But the new measures
introduced by the Maputo government brought this to an abrupt end at the
beginning of July in the aftermath of the controversial one-man presidential
ln a surprise move, Mozambican authorities introduced severe restrictions on
the quantity of foodstuffs that can be imported into Zimbabwe by
individuals. Commodities that are now severely restricted include rice,
flour and cooking oil. An individual is now restricted to import only a 10
kilogrammes of rice, five litres of cooking oil and four bars of washing
soap. Previously there were no restrictions on these commodities.
Diplomatic sources said the restrictions were introduced as a way of
applying pressure on President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to introduce
political reform through negotiating for a settlement with the opposition
Mugabe is now engaged in talks with the opposition in a bid to achieve a
peaceful political settlement and establish an all-inclusive government. The
process was jumpstarted on Monday with the signing of a Memorandum of
Understanding between Mugabe and the two leaders of the divided Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
Immediately after the controversial June 27 election neighbouring countries
joined other African nations and the international community in condemning
Mugabe's re-election in a poll in which he was the sole candidate.
But Mozambique did not publicly make its position known, stoking speculation
that officials in Maputo were reluctant to condemn a long time ally.
However, sources said, the Mozambican government responded quietly by
tightening controls on importation of foodstuffs from the country by
"Our government no longer allows Zimbabweans to import food stuffs and basic
goods as they wish," said a Mozambican government official. "This must be a
direct response to the elections that were conducted in Zimbabwe."
The official based in the town of Chimoio, across the border from Mutare,
refused to be identified. Officials from the Mozambican consulate in Mutare
confirmed the restrictions on the importation of foodstuffs and other basic
goods had been introduced but declined to discuss the matter further
insisting it was the responsibility of top officials in Maputo to do so.
There was no immediate comment from Zimbabwean officials.
The strict measures have fuelled the smuggling of goods across the border
into Mutare, a perennial problem in the Forbes Border Post area.
Mugabe has enjoyed cordial relations with Mozambique's ruling Frelimo party
officials dating back to the days of the liberation war when his party's
Zanla guerilla army was allowed to set up training camps and bases for
combatants fighting the white minority Rhodesian government of Ian Smith.
After independence the Zanu-PF government paid back by helping the
Mozambican government to fight off an armed insurgency by the Mozambique
National Resistance Movement, a rebel army supported by apartheid South
Africa back in the 1980s.
hit out at Mugabe, Gono
July 23, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Zimbabwe's troubled manufacturers this week hit out at President
Robert Mugabe's administration, accusing it of sourcing basic commodities
outside the country at their expense in a bid to stem shortages of
foodstuffs which have hit citizens hard.
The government, acting in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ), last week launched what they describe as "cheap food hampers"
tailored to alleviate the widespread suffering of Zimbabweans. Mugabe says
the ongoing plight of the people of Zimbabwe is the result of the "illegal
sanctions imposed by Western countries".
While government maintains a total ban on international food aid in a year
in which Zimbabwe is projected to undergo its worst famine since
independence, both Mugabe and central bank Governor Gideon Gono say their
new programme will "show manufacturers that goods can be produced and sold
to people at affordable prices and still make a profit".
Mugabe made such comments after making fresh threats to seize all
foreign-owned firms which he accuses of frequently hiking prices to foment
anger against his administration.
But business leaders and executives of the country's leading manufacturing
companies on Tuesday said the sourcing of basic commodities outside Zimbabwe
when they could have been manufactured locally was regrettable.
"The importation of goods that we are able to produce locally indeed is an
indictment on business leaders and political leaders for having allowed that
to happen. It is not the intention of business to see Zimbabwe being
converted into a basket of consumption and a corridor of consumption.
Zimbabwe must produce what it consumes," said Anthony Mandiwanza, a former
president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, the country's largest
industrial grouping. He is the chief executive officer of Dairibord
Holdings, a dairy producing firm.
Mandiwanza who was speaking at a press conference convened by the CZI
yesterday said the country's manufacturers were operating below 20 percent
of capacity owing to a plethora of challenges among them a hostile economic
"We have not been able to produce," Mandiwanza said. "Zimbabwe's
manufacturing sector is operating way below 20 percent of capacity
utilisation. We are carrying a huge infrastructure which is not utilised."
Under the Basic Commodities Accessibility Programme the government is using
some teams established by the central bank to sell the hampers of basic
goods such as maize meal, cooking oil, flour and soap to rural households
around the country at "affordable prices".
The goods were imported from outside Zimbabwe through foreign currency
resources availed by Afretrade, a Ukrainian company and a Namibian based
Speaking at a the same press conference CZI president Callisto Jokonya
hailed Zanu-PF leader President Mugabe and the two leaders of the MDC
parties, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara for signing a Memorandum of
Understanding which, he said, could help end the country's nine- year
"This is indeed a historic event which should augur well for our nation; and
everyone who has the best interests of Zimbabwe at heart applauds this
calibre of statesmanship," he said. "The CZI and the entire business
community welcome this agreement to start the dialogue process that will
lead to the resolution of our problems which have serious political,
economic, social as well as humanitarian dimensions.
"The business community hopes that the constructive spirit of selflessness
and national harmony that was witnessed at the signing will prevail and we
wish the negotiations speedy finalization."
Jokonya was flanked by Mandiwanza and the CZI's immediate past President
Pattison Sithole who is also the chief executive officer of
Starafricacorporation, a sugar producing company.
Anglicans hear of church
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
UK: ANGLICANS IN Zimbabwe are being subjected to oppression and religious
persecution, a press conference at the Lambeth Conference was told
yesterday, writes Patsy McGarry , Religious Affairs Correspondent, in
The Bishop of Harare, Sebastian Bakare, said Anglicans in his diocese were
being "persecuted and denied freedom of worship" at the instigation of the
former Anglican bishop of the diocese who "enjoyed the support of Mugabe."
He was referring to bishop Nolbert Kunonga, an ardent support of Zimbabwean
president Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, who had his licence as a
clergyman in the Anglican communion revoked by his fellow bishops on
February 3rd last.
In September 2007 the former bishop, who has also faced allegations of
evicting villagers from their homes and of incitement to murder, declared
that he was breaking up the Anglican province of Central Africa and
withdrawing the Harare diocese because of the province's "liberal" approach
to homosexuality. He said the province had failed to adequately censure
bishops who are sympathetic to homosexuality.
Yesterday Bishop Bakare told the conference Anglicans in his diocese "are
not allowed worship" and that all their church buildings had been "locked
up". He said that "on Christmas Day we were not allowed use any of our
churches". Any attempts to do so then or since had been broken up by police.
"It is not easy to pray when police totally interrupt, and have even pulled
people away from the altar rails," he said.
News in recent days that Robert Mugabe was talking to the main opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change, "has given us a little hope," he
said, but it was "too early to say what would happen where a sustainable
solution was concerned". The "most urgent issue is to have a peaceful
environment where people don't have to fear for their lives". The next
priority was that people "can afford the necessities" and where "the rule of
law is observed and human dignity is respected". Currently the system in
Zimbabwe was "oppressive and it denies the people human rights and religious
He said the people were also "very fearful" of a repeat of the situation
whereby an agreement by Robert Mugabe with then opposition leader Joshua
Nkomo simply saw Mugabe "swallowing the other party". He hoped that the
current opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was aware of that past. "They
[ people of Zimbabwe] want to believe that those on the opposition side are
aware that Mugabe will not just hand on power." The situation of the
Zimbabwean people was desperate, he said. "They are dying because there is
no medicine. There is 80 per cent unemployment. No money anymore. Homes are
being destroyed. Where is the good news? The good news is that power comes
and goes, but people remain," he said.
He dismissed allegations that he was a member of Zimbabwe's MDC opposition
party, as claimed by Mugabe supporters, including Nolbert Kunonga.
"I don't belong to any political party. It is easy for him to target me, but
I am not. Not at all."
Youth Opposition Readies for Post-Election Campaign in Zimbabwe
By STEPHEN TSORTI
HARARE, Zimbabwe --- Last month, Morgan Tsvangirai dealt a blow to Zimbabwe's
brave opposition movement when he withdrew from the country's much
anticipated run-off election. Following an intense campaign against
President Robert Mugabe, who suppressed political opponents with violent
intimidation tactics, Tsvangirai said he could not ask supporters to further
endure the violence in what was becoming an "impossible" election. Zimbabwe
remains in a political crisis following an uncontested general election that
was largely regarded as a sham by the international community. To foster a
peace settlement in the country, international governments, led by the U.S.
and Great Britain, have proposed international arms embargoes and economic
sanctions against Mugabe's government.
Zimbabwe's youth opposition, who offered rare political dissent against
Mugabe during the spring election, are considering shifting from the
movement's non-violent approach as the groups plan post-election strategies.
With plans for a youth outreach conference and underground rallies, the
groups hope to mount the first creditable challenge in Zimbabwe to Mugabe's
sixth term. "Now that Mugabe is once again declared the winner we have no
option except an armed struggle which is the only language that Mugabe and
Zanu-pf [Party] can understand," says Simon Mudekwa, President of the
Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe. "He must be reminded that the new
generation is not afraid of them."
The dramatic change in course for the youth groups highlights the desperate
times for some opposition groups, who just a few months ago launched a
strong challenge to Mugabe, Zimbabwe's leader for almost 30 years.
Zimbabwe has been politically uneasy since March when Tsvangirai, a former
trade union leader, beat the 84 year-old Mugabe in the country's general
election by 48% to 43%. While the Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic
Change party claimed they won the election outright, Zimbabwe law requires
that candidates win with at least 50% of the vote. After a self-imposed
exile to neighboring South Africa, Tsvangirai returned to surging levels of
violence in Zimbabwe, including routine beatings for MDC supporters by
Mugabe's militants for such minor political activities as attending a rally.
Ultimately, the violence leading up to the June 27 run-off election became
too much to bear for opposition leaders. And after several weeks of attacks
that resulted in some opposition supporters being killed, hospitalized or
displaced, it became evident to the MDC and political observers that a fair
election in Zimbabwe would be impossible.
"We in the MDC cannot ask them to cast their vote on the 27th when that vote
would cost them their lives," Tsvangirai said.
Youth Groups Form for Change
The Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe has been a leading voice and
one of the first credible movements against Mugabe, political analysts say.
Launched last year by Zimbabweans in South Africa, RYMZ mobilizes its
membership through protests, rallies and conferences aimed at promoting
democracy in Zimbabwe. RYMZ's success in raising international awareness
about Mugabe's political weaknesses is one of group's top accomplishments,
Mudekwa says. "This has forced the international world to intervene and
realize that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe," he says. "Even those countries
like China, Russia and South Africa, who used to support Mugabe, have bowed
down to pressure and also want to see action taken against Mugabe."
Some Zimbabweans compare Mudekwa, known for his walrus dreadlocks and
charisma, to French farmer/activist Jose Bove, whose non-violent protests
against corporations, government and world organizations earned him global
acclamation. Under Mudekwa's leadership, RYMZ has quickly organized to
become one of the leading opposition groups in Zimbabwe. RYMZ's rallies and
events are tailored-made for the Zimbabwe youth diaspora. With harsh
portrayals of Mugabe and the Zanu-pf, RYMZ meetings and forums help paint
the picture for recruits. Despite its short history, RYMZ has had a rough
and colorful rise to become one of Zimbabwe's most powerful opposition
Last year, the group held a demonstration at the Wits University, where RYMZ
leaders presented the school's vice chancellor with a petition demanding
that children of Zanu-pf party members be expelled. The petition suggested
that money used to support the Zanu-pf children was garnished from poor
taxpayers. RYMZ issued several petitions last year, including a document
calling for the closing of a Zimbabwe Embassy in South Africa, which the
group said supported illicit diamond dealings. Another RYMZ-sponsored
petition called for Zanu-pf members to stop using a more expensive Milkpark
Hospital at the expense of the country's poor. This spring, the group joined
the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum at the Chinese Embassy in South Africa to protest
the shipping of tons of weapons and ammunition by China into Zimbabwe.
The youth organizations had hoped to give the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria a
petition that called for China to halt the supply of surveillance equipment
to Zimbabwe, stop issuing loans to the financially-strapped Mugabe regime
and to recall the cargo of arms sent to Zimbabwe. The petition was delivered
to the Chinese ambassador, who did not accept document. South African police
eventually swarmed on the protesters, who were later transported to a police
detention center. The protesters were arrested for operating without a
permit, organizers say.
To the RYMZ, the arrests showed Mugabe's determination to remain in power.
The incident also prompted the RYMZ and other youth groups to review its
non-violent approach to mobilizing, organizers say.
"We have been trying to remove the dictator through non-violent means which
have proved to be not effective at all," Mudekwa said. "I now suggest a
change of approach because we are dealing with murderers. There is need for
us to defend ourselves and the people of Zimbabwe the same way he is
defending himself. We can not continue watching helplessly our people being
killed by a junta government and we continue pursuing democratic ways in
trying to remove the dictator."
However, Mudekwa says the RYMZ is concerned about the potential damage an
armed struggle would cause the country's poor. Such concerns were also a
factor behind RYMZ's initial non-violent strategy, he says. RYMZ recently
intensified its opposition efforts following a successful youth register to
vote drive during the March elections. The group also lobbied the MDC, which
was initially hesitant to participate following several previously flawed
elections, to enter the 2008 race. Other youth groups say they'll continue
to rally against Mugabe's presidency as well. "Youths in Zimbabwe want
tangible change that is translated in leadership changes," says Michael
Mabwe, coordinator of Zimbabwe Poets for Human Rights. "That is the only way
Zimbabwe can come out the crisis."
To navigate around the state-sponsored political violence, Mabwe suggested
that ZPHR might move its campaign efforts underground. "If it means our
resistance strategies have to be underground we are going to do that to
achieve our objective of a democratic Zimbabwe," Mabewe says.
This summer, RYMZ had planned hold a conference in South Africa to unite
Zimbabwe's youth diaspora. At the conference, youth leaders would develop
new strategies for "elevating the political suffering among Zimbabweans."
"I believe this is the time youths need to be united and push for a common
goal," Mudekwa said
rabid attacks prove "Morgan is more"
July 23, 2008
By Rose Maindiseka
IF IT turns out to be true that former chief government propagandist,
Jonathan Moyo, is using the vitriolic attacks he has recently embarked on
against Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai as a
prelude to rejoining Zanu-PF, he will have broken the record for political
prostitution with the same party.
The detested former information and publicity minister has been savaging
Tsvangirai verbally since the discredited June 27 presidential run-off that
pitted Robert Mugabe against himself after the MDC leader's withdrawal
because of pre-election violence and intimidation. It has been speculated in
the press that by reverting to his mad-cap grandiloquence, which was his
trademark when he served as Mugabe's "Josef Goebbels" from 2000 until his
unceremonious ejection in 2005, Moyo is setting the stage for his return,
for the umpteenth time, to the Zanu-PF fold.
Reports that Moyo was involved in shaping Mugabe's election campaign message
for the June 27 debacle would seem to confirm that his tirades against
Tsvangirai for withdrawing from the one-sided contest and for citing
unprecedented pre-election violence to justify his decision are indeed
signals being sent out to prepare the public for yet another political
Moyo, who has said he reserves his democratic right to rejoin the unpopular
Zanu-PF, does not seem to think Tsvangirai has the same democratic latitude
to decide whether or not to participate in a sham election and to delegate
certain functions to officials in his party, hence his rants that the MDC
has been hijacked by functionaries like Roy Bennett and Strive Masiyiwa.
What is ironic about Moyo's relentless diatribe against Tsvangirai is that
it draws attention to the sharp contrast between the professor's volatile
and belligerent character and the opposition leader's calm and solid
profile. Whether Moyo likes it or not, the MDC leader has consistently
exhibited strength of character, dependability, integrity and commitment to
the democratic cause where the learned professor has zigzagged back and
forth in accordance with how the wind has blown. In the beginning, Moyo was
pro-Zanu-PF, then he became stridently anti-the ruling party during his
years at the University of Zimbabwe.
After accepting an invitation from the government to spearhead its campaign
for the Constitutional Referendum in 2000, in which it suffered a crushing
defeat, Moyo gained a foothold into Mugabe's government as the most hostile
and hated Minister of Information since independence. Moyo is widely blamed
for destroying the media in Zimbabwe and polarizing society through the
draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and
the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) of which he is believed to have
been the main architect. He used these statutes with almost evangelical zeal
during his tenure, to harass, persecute and arrest journalists on spurious
charges and to ban and close down newspapers. He undertook a massive
cleansing of the public media to rid it of those who refused to toe his and
the Zanu-PF line. He was permanently at loggerheads with civil society and
regularly invoked POSA to threaten and take potshots at human rights
organizations and activists.
Then, following his humiliating dismissal from government in 2005, about
which he was informed by fax while staying at a hotel in Bulawayo, Moyo took
another U-turn which sparked widespread incredulity. The former fanatical
defender and standard bearer of the Mugabe regime suddenly became its most
fierce critic once gain through regular opinion pieces in the press.
Following his ejection from government, Moyo bared his soul in a newspaper
article at the beginning of 2006 in which he claimed that during his tenure
in government, he was regularly "abused" by state agencies which allegedly
made him take the flak for their misdeeds.
"When I was in government, it was routine for these CIO agents and their
factional counterparts in government and Zanu-PF to abuse me as a scapegoat
for anything they were unable to explain or defend."
The mercurial professor, who was now anxious to portray himself as being at
one with the people, claimed he had been falsely accused of being the
ringleader in the Tsholotsho palace coup saga and been cast as the villain
responsible for crafting AIPPA and POSA. Moyo, who has been anxious, since
being sacked, to cast himself as an opponent of Mugabe's repressive and
tyrannical governance, has never explained why he allowed himself over such
a long period to be abused in the manner he subsequently complained about.
And now that he is thought to be contemplating making another about -turn,
does he expect anyone to take him and anything he says seriously?
While the nation waits for the latest saga in Moyo's chameleonic political
conduct to unfold, it is worth noting that over the same period when the
independent legislator for Tsholotsho has blown hot and cold, Tsvangirai has
shown unquestioned strength of character and borne many crosses with
fortitude and integrity.
The MDC leader is of course no angel and as a fallible human being, has made
some mistakes and errors of judgment along the way. This is not surprising.
What is truly a marvel is that he has made so few serious blunders
considering the maze of traps and back-stabbings that are constantly in his
path. Everyone has lost count of the number of times Tsvangirai has been
arrested on spurious charges and been blocked from doing what every leader
of a political party should be free to do. He had trumped-up treason charges
hanging over his head like the Sword of Damocles for three years. Last year,
he was brutally battered by state security agents along with other
opposition and civic society leaders. He remained committed to the cause of
fighting for true democracy, dusted himself up and continued to give the
people of Zimbabwe hope. And let's face it, very few people have
consistently stood up to Mugabe as Tsvangirai has done.
Moyo is known for being one of the most litigious individuals in Zimbabwe.
As propaganda minister in the Mugabe regime, Moyo was capable of making the
most libelous allegations about fellow citizens but would fly into a rage
and threaten to sue when any unpleasant, not necessarily defamatory details,
were revealed about him. But for the last eight years since Moyo introduced
the totalitarian and archaic brand of propaganda that the Mugabe regime
places so much faith in, Tsvangirai has been denounced, disparaged,
ridiculed and caricatured in the official press every day.
This is no exaggeration. But he has remained focused and steadfast, refusing
to stoop to the same level as his detractors. A man has to be made of stern
stuff to be able to do that.
Moreover, when the political heat has become unbearable, some Zimbabweans
have escaped by going into exile, a luxury Tsvangirai has not afforded even
when his life was in danger. Moyo may not like Tsvangirai's politics for the
opportunistic and self-serving reasons that may see him, "like a dog that
returns to his vomit", going back into the Zanu-PF bosom, but the MDC leader
has shown himself to be a self-made hero. No one can take that away from
him. His conduct under the most trying conditions has proved why his
campaign theme for the March 29 presidential poll, "MORGAN IS MORE"
resonated with the electorate that voted overwhelmingly for him.
The same cannot be said of Moyo and Zanu-PF. The sleek pamphlets that
conveyed the Mugabe campaign "message" for the June 27 debacle, which Moyo
is said to have helped design, were only a camouflage for the violence
unleashed against the electorate. Who in the rural areas, or even in the
urban centres, would have been moved by dross such as "100 % Empowerment" or
"Total Independence" in the 28th year of Zanu-PF misrule when they had to
face empty supermarket shelves, constant hunger, abductions, killings and
The African election observers from the African Union, the Pan African
Parliament and the Southern Africa Development community saw through this
charade and unanimously declared the election not to have been free and fair
and therefore not representing the will of the people of Zimbabwe. Mugabe
stole the election through the ruthless campaign of violence he subjected
voters to and outright rigging.
It had nothing to do with any genius on Moyo's part for which he now feels
he must be rewarded with a cabinet post.
by T.A. Frank and James Kirchick
Two journalists discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Post Date Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Who's interested in Zimbabwe, and why? How should Westerners understand the
situation there? And could this all be Jimmy Carter's fault? T.A. Frank and
James Kirchick discussed the situation over IM.
T.A. Frank: As people like to point out, there are a lot of rotten countries
out there. So why this rotten country? Let's talk about why you and I happen
to care about Zimbabwe.
James Kirchick: Well, personally, I've been there. I've met with democracy
activists, and I've met with exiled Zimbabweans in South Africa.
Frank: What took you there?
Kirchick: I was in South Africa on a journalism grant, and figured, why not?
I only went for a few days-- it's not the safest place to be an unaccredited
journalist -- but it's certainly shaped my views on U.S. policy towards the
Frank: And you avoided being arrested for "committing journalism," I assume.
Kirchick: Thankfully, yes.
Frank: For me, what's grimly riveting about Zimbabwe--as opposed to other
nations under tyrannical rule--is that it's had such a fast and senseless
decline. Sure, it's probably worse to be in North Korea, but yesterday in
Pyongyang was the same as today. Zimbabwe, by contrast, was a highly
developed, prosperous country until even a decade ago. Mugabe took the
"jewel of Africa" and obliterated it.
Kirchick: And the situation in Zimbabwe should be much easier to fix than
North Korea. For one, it isn't a military threat to anyone, except to its
own people. Plus, Zimbabweans are the best educated people in Africa. (It's
the one good thing Mugabe did.) It's also surrounded by reasonably
democratic states. All of this makes the situation even more of a tragedy:
It could be fixed if there was the will.
Is it just white Zimbabweans that Westerners care about?
Frank: There are those who insist that the only reason so many of us in the
West are obsessed with Zimbabwe is that white farmers have been kicked off
their land. What do have to say for yourself, Kirchick? Are you secretly
just hoping to reunite white tobacco farmers with their crops?
Kirchick: Historically, I think there's some merit to that argument. Early
on, the one thing that distinguished Zimbabwe from the rest of Africa's
horrors was that white people were involved. But that can no longer be the
case. There are hardly any whites left in the country now, and those that
remain are relatively well off.
Frank: Right, most whites had already been kicked off their farms years ago.
Kirchick: Poor blacks have faced the brunt of Mugabe's brutality. They have
been the ones kicked out of their homes by the hundreds of thousands.
They're the ones being murdered today by Mugabe supporters.
Frank: In that sense, whites still enjoy a sort of perverse privilege. Few
have been subjected to the sort of torture the black Zimbabweans in rural
Kirchick: Right. So today, that argument, despite what New York City
councilman Charles Barron says, holds no water.
Frank: I also think even the original uptick of interest in Zimbabwe that we
saw in 2000, while awakened by white farmers, was not solely based on them.
After all, what distinguishes Zimbabwe from the rest of the continent is
that it was a pretty decent country. Even 20 years ago the cops didn't take
bribes, the judiciary functioned more or less like it should, and freedom of
the press was basically upheld. Mugabe did horrible things almost right from
the start, sure, but it takes time to subvert a rooted system like that. And
seeing any country decline that way is especially chilling and tragic.
What's wrong with Zimbabwe's neighbors?
Frank: So Mugabe "won" the runoff this Friday, unchallenged (his opponent,
Morgan Tsvangirai, had withdrawn), and then headed off for an African Union
(AU) summit in Sharm el-Sheikh. Looks like he had a perfectly pleasant time,
Kirchick: Except for that tough interview with a British journalist. But on
the whole, a pretty despicable performance from the AU.
Frank: Perhaps, given the less-than-noble history of the organization (or
its related organizations), this has to be considered progress of a sort. At
least some African leaders are speaking up now.
Kirchick: That's true, and the United States should do what it can to
incentivize African leaders to criticize Mugabe. I see no reason why certain
foreign aid programs should not be contingent upon taking a firmer line
Frank: It's all about South Africa, though, isn't it? That's Mugabe's
lifeline. The rest is ornamental.
Kirchick: Mostly, yes. South Africa could pretty much end this tomorrow by
threatening to cut off electricity and oil supplies, as apartheid-era Prime
Minister B.J. Vorster did to Rhodesia's white-minority leader Ian Smith in
1976. (It says something about Thabo Mbeki when you're comparing him
unfavorably to Vorster.)
Frank: But it's not like it was Vorster's bright idea to cut off Smith.
Kirchick: No, Henry Kissinger essentially threatened him. But these days the
U.S. is very gun-shy about criticizing--let alone threatening--South Africa
Is this all Jimmy Carter's fault?
Kirchick: You know, this may strike some people as out there, but, more
black Africans have died as a result of the outright brutality of Robert
Mugabe than under Ian Smith.
Frank: Well, in terms of deaths alone, OK, I'll join you in your calculus on
Ian Smith versus Mugabe.
Kirchick: None of this is to argue, of course, that white rule was
preferable--it was abhorrent. But it's worth noting that the world took such
a heavy interest in whiteauthoritarian rule while simultaneously ignoring
black totalitarian rule. This all goes back to Jeane Kirkpatrick's 1979
Commentary essay, "Dictatorships and Double Standards," which delineates the
fundamental differences between the way "right-wing" authoritarian regimes
and "left-wing" totalitarian ones behave and is very apt regarding Africa.
Frank: Yeah, I might be a liberal, but I agree on this point. It is a great
essay that's often been misunderstood. (I wish the neocons of today would
read it.) The case of Zimbabwe, which at the time was called
Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, is something she cites in passing as an example of
Carter's misguided foreign policy. And it was indeed a doozy. What most
people forget is that Mugabe did not technically replace white-minority rule
when he came to power in 1980. He replaced what had been a black-majority
rule government headed by a black bishop named Abel Muzorewa. Now, there
were many flaws with this government--it entrenched whites in certain
positions of power and guaranteed whites 28 out of 100 seats, even though
whites were only about four percent of the population--but it still
represented a major step forward. It meant, for one thing, that white
minority rule was no more. I'd also argue that the flaws of the new
arrangement, while considerable, were nevertheless fixable. Instead of
working with Muzorewa, though, Carter refused to meet him when he visited
the U.S. to ask for sanctions to be lifted (despite over 70 U.S. senators
likewise urging him to lift them). It was the moment that Carter effectively
took the side of Mugabe's Marxist guerillas, even as they were still
conducting terrorist attacks on black and white civilians.
Kirchick: It's actually a quintessential moment of the Carter legacy, and
should be understood as such, though it's mostly forgotten now. Granted,
what happened there was mostly the fault of the British, as so many things
are, but the Carter record on Zimbabwe was as bad, if not as portentous, as
its legacy on Iran.
Frank: Yes, but the perversity of our Zimbabwe policy wasn't that we were
taking Mugabe's side against Ian Smith. It's that we were also taking
Mugabe's side against black Zimbabwean moderates who saw what Mugabe was
saying about one-party Marxist rule and rightly feared his ascension to
Kirchick: That's right. But certainly, at the end of the day, no one was
morally pure. Even Bishop Muzorewa, whom I've argued ought to have been
recognized as the duly elected prime minister, had his thugs and may have
been secretly funded by the South Africans. Still, why should that be a
stain on him while the Chinese funding of Mugabe was seen as just the
necessity of being a guerilla warrior? You may have seen last week that
Andrew Young is still apologizing for Mugabe.
Frank: I did see that shockingly unambiguous defense of Mugabe, even after
all of this. Given that sort of mindset, it's really stunning that this was
the man who was a key influence on Carter's Africa policy. But perhaps we've
Carter-bashed enough, at least for the next ten minutes. Readers hoping for
more might want to check The Spine.
Where's the left on Zimbabwe?
Kirchick: It's interesting how the media is covering this issue. It seems as
though The Wall Street Journal has had at least two editorials or op-eds a
week on Zimbabwe since late March, as has the New York Sun. Same goes for
many conservative blogs and publications, but you don't see the same sort of
editorializing about Zimbabwe on the left. I've seen one article in The
Nation and scattered blog posts in The American Prospect. And when they do
write about it, as in that Nation piece, you often hear advocacy for some
sort of appeasement of Mugabe. Sorry if my use of that word offends people,
but that's what it is. The left isn't interested in Zimbabwe because America
can't be blamed.
Frank: Well, I'd agree that anything that involves "unity government" talk
is appeasement. My sense, though, is that it's mostly coming from African
leaders rather than leftist opinion writers. And at a governmental level,
Europe and the United States have been unusually united about this. Even
France is calling it all a "farce."
Kirchick: Yes, unity government isn't possible in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe needs
Frank: I'd settle for de-Mugabefication.
Kirchick: Right, but the party is the problem. It's more than just Mugabe.
How about Obama and McCain?
Frank: So, to shift over to presidential politics, whom would you trust more
to deal with Zimbabwe--McCain or Obama?
Kirchick: That's a good question. I wonder why McCain hasn't asked if Obama
would meet with Mugabe.
Frank: Ouch. Still, I sense Obama cares a bit more about this issue than
McCain does. He even wrote about it in his essay on patriotism for Time.
Kirchick: Sure, I'm sure he does, but I'm also inclined to believe that
Obama is more likely to depend upon the likes of regional groups like the AU
and the Southern African Development Community.
Frank: Yes, I think he would. But what else are you going to rely on? You go
to war with the AU and SADC you have.
Kirchick: Sure. Ultimately, I don't think there would be a huge difference
in policy towards Zimbabwe, which is to say that America has never really
had a serious policy in dealing with the
Frank: Yeah, I guess that's true. It's been considered geopolitically
irrelevant for years. But I also sense that Obama, simply by virtue of being
half-Kenyan, gains a lot of credibility in the region.
Kirchick: I sense with a lot of Obama supporters that they don't grasp the
huge space between their expectations and the reality of politics. And you
already see that in Obama's sudden shift to the center on so many issues.
T.A. Frank: Yeah, well, Obama will probably disappoint us on many things.
But, personally, I'd still take being disappointed by Obama over being
pleasantly surprised by McCain.
T.A. Frank is an editor at the Washington Monthly and an Irvine Fellow at
the New America Foundation. James Kirchick is an assistant editor of The New
Zimbabwe, Harare--The Tribune has learnt that the crisis talks due to start in South Africa overnight, struggled to get off the ground as chief negotiators had yet to leave Harare, sources from the Opposition and ruling party said. Representatives of the ruling ZANU-PF party and the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were meant to begin negotiations towards resolving the country's political crisis after the signing of a historic pact on Monday (local time).
The long-awaited Pretoria talks, given a tight two week timeline, were now expected to begin "in earnest" on Thursday (local time), said Mr Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga. Zimbabwean Government sources say that Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche - the chief negotiators for the ruling ZANU-PF party - had been locked in a cabinet meeting all afternoon and were not now expected to fly until Wednesday (local time) morning.
"Ministers Chinamasa and Goche are still attending the cabinet meeting. We are not sure what time it will finish," one official said. "We were initially expecting them to leave in the afternoon but they should now leave tomorrow morning." Meanwhile, a source in the larger faction of the MDC said its top negotiators, party chairman Lovemore Moyo and secretary-general Tendai Biti, had also yet to leave.
"Chairman Lovemore Moyo is expected to leave tomorrow," the source said. "He will connect his flight direct from Bulawayo."
However, a source in the smaller faction of the MDC, which is also taking part in the talks in Pretoria, said its representative had already arrived in South Africa. Both sides agreed in their memorandum of understanding (MoU) inked in Harare, to observe a media blackout during the course of negotiations that are expected to conclude within a fortnight.
Video: On Monday when the momerundum of understaning was signed, journalists present at the occasion clapped as Mugabe shook the hands of Tsvangirai, his arch rival. Instead of smiling as is the norm at such occasions, Mugabe's body language was that of a cadaver, his face set like that election poster where he is holding his clenched fist? Watch Video below:
--Harare Tribune News/ The Tribune's Grace Mlambo contributed to this report
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