July 2, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai says
the resolutions by African leaders at their summit in Egypt Tuesday do not
address the prevailing political situation on the ground.
Members of the African Union who met from Monday prescribed a Government of
National Unity between President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and the MDC
as the panacea to Zimbabwean's crippling political crisis..
"The resolution endorses the concept of a Government of National Unity
without acknowledging that the MDC as the winner of the last credible
elections on March 29, 2008, should be recognised as the legitimate
government of Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai told journalists at his home in
Strathaven suburb, Harare.
The MDC leader, who beat Mugabe and two other candidates in the March
election, said a Government of National Unity does not address the problems
facing Zimbabwe or acknowledge the will of the Zimbabweans, as reflected by
the March 29 elections.
African leaders also encouraged parties to continue their negotiations under
a SADC appointed mediation initiative led by South African President Thabo
But Tsvangirai says his party will only go into any meaningful negotiation
with Zanu-PF if the AU appoints another African leader to add expedience to
the protracted negotiations.
African leaders endorsed Mbeki's role in the mediation process.
The MDC leader has not hidden his displeasure over Mbeki's continued role.
He accuses the South African leader of giving too much respect to President
Mugabe at the expense of his impartiality in resolving the Zimbabwean
Mbeki is under pressure from home and abroad to abandon his unpopular quiet
diplomacy in favour of a more aggressive stance on Mugabe.
"The MDC's reservations about the mediation process under President Mbeki
are well known," Tvangirai said.
"It is our position that unless the mediation team is expanded to include at
least one permanent representative from the African Union, and the mediation
mechanism is changed, no meaningful progress can be made towards resolving
the Zimbabwean crisis.
He said his party would not participate in any negotiations that do not
incorporate such concerns.
Tsvangirai says the AU resolutions also do not recognise the legitimacy of
the March 29 elections which he says are the last credible elections held in
The MDC leader pulled out of the June 27 presidential run-off election,
citing an upsurge in state-sponsored violence which targeted his party
officials and his supporters.
Tsvangirai says nine more MDC supporters have died since last Friday's
presidential election, an indication that President Mugabe was not willing
to cease the orgy of violence which engulfed Zimbabwe after his shock defeat
Until the June 27 run off, at least 86 MDC activists including family
members had died at the hands of pro-Mugabe militants.
"The conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe today are not conducive to
negotiations," he said.
"If dialogue is to be initiated, it is essential that Zanu-PF stops
violence, halts the persecution of MDC leaders and supporters, releases all
political prisoners, disbands the militia bases and torture camps and that
the security services halt their partisan operations."
But critics say no meaningful progress can take place in Zimbabwe for as
long as African leaders are central to the process.
President Mugabe last week threatened to unmask any African leader who dares
accuses his government for violating human rights.
The 84 year old leader is under pressure to reverse the world's highest
inflation which is said to be hovering above 9 million per cent.
He blames the West for imposing targetted sanctions at his government to
punish it for expropriating commercial farms from the minority white
population for redistribution among the blacks.
Wednesday, 02 July 2008 14:57
HARARE - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has welcomed an African Union
call for power sharing in the southern African country but said the
negotiations must be based on the March 29 results and must move towards the
installation of a transitional government that will oversee new
internationally supervised, free and fair presidential elections.
In a draft resolution issued yesterday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm
el-Shikh in Egypt where 53 African heads of State were meeting, the African
Union (AU) urged Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai to "honour their commitment to
But Tsvangirai, who was addressing a news conference at his Strathaven
residence Wednesday afternoon, took great exception to the statement saying
it did not recognize the illegitimacy of the June 27 elections and the fact
that most African leaders refused to recognize Mugabe as the Head of State.
Tsvangirai said the resolution endorsed the concept of a Government of
National Unity (GNU) without acknowledging that the MDC, as the winner of
the last credible elections on March 29, should be recognized as the
legitimate government of Zimbabwe.
"A GNU does not address the problems facing Zimbabwe or acknowledge
the will of the Zimbabwean people," Tsvangirai told reporters and diplomats.
"While the MDC remains committed to negotiations these must be based on the
29th March results and must move towards a transitional agreement. Our
commitment to a negotiated settlement is not about power-sharing or power
deals but about democracy, freedom and justice. Our struggle is not about
power but about democracy."
Tsvangirai, who has returned home from the Dutch embassy where he has
been holed over the past one and half week, said before dialogue with Mugabe
can commence, it was essential that Zanu (PF) stops the violence, halts the
persecution of MDC leaders and supporters, releases all political prisoners,
disbands the militia bases and torture camps and that the security services
halt their partisan operations.
"Since the June 27 sham election, nine MDC supporters have been
murdered, hundreds more beaten and forced to leave their homes," he said.
"In Manicaland alone, since the weekend, five hundred MDC supporters and
families have been forced to flee their homes and are now seeking refuge at
the party's headquarters in Mutare. Therefore the MDC reiterates its call
for peace in the country."
The AU defied calls by Western leaders to criticize Mugabe, who
fraudulently won a sixth term as Zimbabwe's president in a runoff election
on June 27 that African observers said wasn't free or fair. Tsvangirai
pulled out of the ballot because he said state- sponsored violence has
killed at least 95 of his supporters and made 200,000 homeless.
While Tsvangirai won the March 29 presidential election, he didn't
garner the 50 percent needed to avoid a second round of voting, according to
the electoral authorities here. MDC secured control of the lower house of
parliament in the earlier poll and also controls the local authorities.
The AU mentioned in passing that it was "deeply concerned" by the
prevailing situation in Zimbabwe after it received "negative" reports by
African observer missions in Zimbabwe. Both the Pan African Parliament and
SADC observer teams said the poll was not free and fair and fell far short
of what could be termed a credible election.
But Tsvangirai said: "The resolution does not adequately deal with the
ongoing violence in Zimbabwe."
Wednesday, 02 July 2008 11:53
Militia youths accompanied by an army officer are going around
Masvingo harassing shop owners and forcing them to reduce prices well below
the original cost. Bakeries are the most affected. Victoria Bakery was
forced to sell 120 doz. Loaves of bread at 400 million instead of 3.5
billion dollars resulting in a huge loss for the company; they are certainly
not responsible for the hyper inflation that all Zimbabweans are
experiencing. Other companies affected by these youth militia who call
themselves Commissariats are Spar and Delta and several other small bread
The Masvingo police have been approached but say that their hands are
This situation will however resolve very quickly because traders are
running out of flour and yeast
By Roy Chinamano ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ July 2, 2008 ⋅
A car belonging to MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti which was hijacked last
week is suspected to have been used in the latest attacks on white farmers
in Mashonaland West.
Last week Tendai Biti’s driver, Tendai Sauramba was abducted in Harare’s
city center and Biti’s car Tendai Sauramba was driving, a Mitsubishi Pajero
was also hijacked by his abductors.The abductors are suspected to be state
be state security agents.
Wednesday, 02 July 2008 15:10
Robert Ziyengwa, Ward 34 MDC Chairperson, and his wife were beaten to
death on Wednesday 25th June, 2008.
Mr. Gumura of village11 Eagles Nest, Headlands was beaten to death on
the same day.
Mrs. Gumura, MDC Womens Assembly, was severely beaten and died today
in Rusape Hospital ICU.
Mr. Sandros Mandizha was beaten to death in village 17 Headlands on
Wed. 25th June, 2008.
FOUR MURDERS in the same area on the same day. And these are only the
reported and verified ones.
It has been reported that 7 bodies were recovered from Epworth Dam two
days ago by Police. Confirmation of this information is being sought.
Summit resolution no solution to the ongoing humanitarian crisis
Amin George Forji
Published 2008-07-03 03:21 (KST)
The leaders, delegates and diplomats from 53 African countries who converged
at the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheik beginning June 24 for the 11th
summit of the African Union (AU) finalized discussions on Monday with a
resolution calling for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe, as well
as the continuation of regional mediation talks.
For an organization whose delegates hardly ever criticize their fellow
colleagues or the internal affairs of member states, the resolution probably
the most far-reaching adopted on a member since its creation 11 years ago.
It shows that the organization can deliberate on its own crises and possibly
throw a few stones, too. It is the first time other African leaders have
refrained from treating Mugabe as a liberation hero.
Still, the resolution on Zimbabwe is so weak in authority that one can state
that the African Union has once more failed the credibility test.
The resolution is deficient on several counts. First, it is more or less a
moral request. It merely recommends a government of national unity and
encourages regional actors to engage in mediation talks. This just toes the
line to the maximum criticism Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe could
Upon arriving at the summit just a day after being sworn in for a
controversial sixth term, following a grossly defective presidential
election, Mugabe made it clear that other African leaders had no grounds to
comment on Zimbabwe because they have had even less credible elections than
Zimbabwe. Shamefully enough, it is the truth.
Second, the resolution failed to condemn and declare the current regime in
Zimbabwe illegitimate, and proceed to suspend the country from the Union, as
stipulated in its charter. By asking Mugabe to form a government of national
unity, the Union is in a way legitimizing a regime that restored its greed
to power by outright fraud and violence.
The opposition in Zimbabwe was technically prevented from taking part in the
second round presidential ballot after Mugabe launched a military assault on
the opposition leaders and their sympathizers, shooting, beating and
torturing all "culprits." Local militias were even armed to burn the homes
of opposition supporters. The main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai of
the Movement for Democratic Change, who actually won the first round, was
forced to escape to the Dutch embassy for his security.
The country is under a brutal military state of emergency and, to say the
least, is not far from becoming a second Darfur.
Moreover, the resolution has no enforcement mechanisms, in case Mugabe
chooses to ignore the act altogether and go his barbaric way. Instead, it
expressed an impossible optimism, which can be of no good to the suffering
people of Zimbabwe: "The A.U. remains convinced that the people of Zimbabwe
will be able to resolve their differences and work together once again as
one nation," the resolution read in part.
Although this year's African Union summit was initially planned to focus on
developmental issues and rising food prices, these objectives were
overshadowed at the last moment by the alarming Zimbabwean crisis.
International criticism of Mugabe's brutal rule and gross violations of
human rights put pressure on the Union to deliberate on the crises.
Prior to the opening of the summit, the deputy secretary general of the
United Nations, Asha-Rose Migiro, suspecting that African leaders might
chose to ignore the situation in Zimbabwe altogether, warned the Union that
the crisis was a "moment of truth" for the continent and the organization.
Unless they dealt with it squarely, their credibility would be put to
"We are facing an extremely grave crisis. 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," Migiro told the leaders present.
"It is our hope . African leaders can get their act together to address
Zimbabwe," She added.
Zimbabwe has been in perpetual economic decline ever since Mugabe began
seizing large commercial farms from white farmers in 2000. Since then it has
become, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa's words, a "sinking titanic."
by Jenna Lyle
Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2008, 15:48 (BST)
The Archbishop of York has called for people across Britain to unite in a
new civil rights movement to help bring about the restoration of Zimbabwe.
Dr John Sentamu urged people to offer prayer, money and practical support as
part of the effort.
"I am inviting people to work with me for the restoration of Zimbabwe in
order that peace, prosperity and the rule of law are restored to that once
great and prosperous land of hope for Africa which has become a waste land
of oppression, poverty and disease," he said.
The Archbishop made the appeal as he announced a special service for the
people of Zimabwe, to be held at the historic St Margaret's Church in
Westminster on Friday 11 July.
'Restore-Zim' has been organised in conjunction with Westminster Abbey to
support troubled Zimbabwe and its people as they continue to face economic,
political and social turmoil.
Dr Sentamu has been a fierce critic of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
Last December, the Archbishop made headlines when he cut up his clerical
collar during a television interview, vowing that he would not wear one
again until Mugabe is ousted from power.
In a statement on Tuesday, Dr Sentamu appealed to the British public to live
up to their reputation for compassion by speaking out on Zimbabwe.
"People from Britain have a proud record of making a difference in the lives
of people around the world. Whether it be the anti-apartheid movement, the
ending of Ian Smith's UDI, the Jubilee Debt Campaign or countless other
campaigns, British men and women have shown how their compassion and outrage
over injustice can be channelled positively into bringing about new life and
new hope," he said.
"This is an opportunity for civil society to engage - not by proxy through
Government - but as ordinary British citizens joining their voices together
with those from Africa to form a chorus calling for restoration in Zimbabwe
and an end to the brutalisation of its people."
Dr Sentamu said the campaign for Zimbabwe's restoration was not a party
"It is not pro-MDC or anti-Zanu PF. Rather it is for the people of Zimbabwe,
black and white, being helped by those here in Britain, white and black," he
"We need to remember there is only one race - the human race - and in
joining together to restore Zimbabwe, we ease the sufferings of our brothers
Dr Sentamu's call came as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ruled out on
Wednesday the possibility of talks on a power-sharing government until
President Mugabe puts a stop to violence against MDC leaders and supporters
and declares him as the rightful election winner.
Tsvangirai won the first round of the presidential election in March but
pulled out of the June 27 run-off because of attacks on his supporters.
The Citizen, SA
JOHANNESBURG - Political correctness has reached the stage in Zimbabwe where
white elderly people and the needy are not receiving any assistance at all.
"Donations distributed by the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme are
apparently being withheld from these people," said Dr Danie Langner,
executive of the Solidarity Helping Hand Fund.
"That means, this group of people is entirely dependent on the Zimbabwe
Pension Support Fund, which we are supporting."
Information received from Zimbabwe by the fund indicates colour - not need -
is being used as a measure to decide who should receive food and other aid.
"Surely, colour should not enter the equation when it comes to aiding the
many who need it in Zimbabwe," Langner said.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: July 2, 2008
LONDON: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the United Nations must
send an envoy to Zimbabwe to discuss a power sharing government.
Brown says that he had talks on Wednesday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon on Zimbabwe's presidential runoff election.
Brown says President Robert Mugabe's victory was not legitimate. Brown calls
the Zimbabwe result a travesty at the hands of a bloodstained regime.
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dropped out of the runoff vote
amid what he said were state-sponsored killings and beatings of his
Brown says talks on establishing a democratic government are urgently
SW Radio Africa (London)
2 July 2008
Posted to the web 2 July 2008
Sydney Masamvu, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group has said
the resolution by the African Union calling for the parties in Zimbabwe to
negotiate is the way forward.
He said the very fact that the AU declared there should be a national unity
government is admittance that Robert Mugabe has no mandate to carry on and
form a government of his own.
But the analyst rejected the idea of a government of national unity and said
he believed a transitional authority would be the only way to resolve the
crisis. He said a transitional phase should lay the grounds for fresh
elections under a new constitution, at an agreed time frame. Masamvu said
this transitional authority should be mandated to stabilize the economy and
allow Zimbabweans to heal emotionally, physically and mentally.
There is mixed reaction on the outcome of the AU summit, where it had been
hoped the continental body would step up pressure on the ZANU PF government.
Mugabe did not contest the details of the AU resolution, a move that seems
to show he is satisfied with their decision as he maintains the role of
President and it delays stronger measures against the regime.
Meanwhile, the MDC announced on Wednesday that it will reject a government
of national unity, saying it does not address the problems of Zimbabweans.
The party said it remains committed to negotiations that move towards a
transitional agreement. The MDC said in a statement; "Our commitment to a
negotiated settlement is not about power-sharing or power deals but about
democracy, freedom and justice."
Many observers are extremely skeptical about the AU resolution saying it's
not known how inclusive any negotiations will be, as stakeholders from civil
society have always been left out in the past. History has also shown that
Mugabe cannot be trusted at the negotiating table and is well known for
Masamvu said: "It is important that the AU and the UN is involved in the
broader mediation for the simple reason that whatever comes out of these
negotiations is not a question of it being brought by Zimbabweans alone or
by the region, but Zimbabwe needs an international re-engagement... even in
a transitional phase."
July 2, 2008
By Simon Jenkins
EXHORTATIONS to stop buying from Zimbabwe may sound bold but such a strategy
makes the poor poorer and the evil richer
The supermarket group Tesco has decided to stop buying produce from
Zimbabwe, "while the political crisis exists". Its competitor, Waitrose, has
decided not to stop buying from Zimbabwe. It believes withdrawal would
devastate "the workers and their extended families". They cannot both be
right. They are not. Waitrose is right.
Economic sanctions are a coward's war. They do not work but are a way in
which rich elites feel they are "committed" to some distant struggle. They
enjoy lasting appeal to politicians because they cost them nothing and are
rhetorically macho. They embody the spirit of "something must be done", the
last refuge of stupidity in foreign policy.
Tesco's decision followed a flurry of publicity about an Anglo American
platinum mine, the cancellation of which would throw hundreds of families
into abject poverty, and about the shareholdings of some Tory MPs in
Zimbabwe-based companies. The minister for Africa, Lord Malloch Brown, told
these companies at the weekend to "look very carefully at their investment
portfolio" as "the game is changing". Sanctions should be upgraded.
The African, Commonwealth and international communities have bolstered and
cosseted Robert Mugabe's one-party state for 25 years. Only now the
dictatorship has become blatant does this cosseting look tasteless.
Tesco will stop buying from Zimbabwe, "while the political crisis exists".
The misnomer is instructive. A crisis is a moment, not a continuum. Zimbabwe
is a long continuum and Tesco is abusing language. It is an accessory after
the fact of Mugabe's selective impoverishment of his people. The idea that
such gestures will make him and his henchmen suddenly see the error of their
ways is ludicrous. But Tesco is concerned for its image, not for Zimbabwe.
Champions of economic sanctions can find hardly a shred of evidence in their
favour, as indicated in the celebrated 1999 Congressional evidence of
Richard Haass of Brookings. He was reduced to admitting they were a "blunt
instrument that often produces unintentional and undesirable consequences".
Their first use in modern times, against Italy over Abyssinia in 1935,
crashed the lira but did not free the Abyssinians. The US's most ferocious
sanctions drove Cuba into the arms of Russia and came near to precipitating
a nuclear war - and cemented Castro in power.
The same futility was seen in action against Russia, Poland, Rhodesia,
Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Iraq and Iran. Subjecting a political economy to
siege leads to consequences. It enforces a command economy, in which the
rulers keep what they want for themselves, skimming every deal and
corrupting every transaction. It made Saddam Hussein the sixth richest man
in the world, as it enriched the Taliban warlords, the Burmese generals and
Sanctions over time destroy the mercantile, managerial and professional
classes, the rootstock of opposition to totalitarian government. They push
power into the hands of brute force. The withdrawal of trade closes
factories, farms and mines, and debilitates the political effectiveness of
those dependent on them. More people must rely on state handouts - that is,
on the regime.
Disinvestment transfers local assets to the ruler's cronies and prevents
foreign traders ameliorating the condition of the people. In South Africa,
sanctions tore up the international code of practice enjoined on foreign
firms. The recent evolution of "smart sanctions", supposedly aimed at the
rich, indicates the absurdity of "dumb" ones.
Rhodesian sanctions created a command economy that supported the white
regime for a decade. This was after Harold Wilson, the British prime
minister, predicted the rebel downfall in "weeks not months".
Enthusiasts regularly cite South Africa, for the reason that it was subject
to sanctions and its government eventually fell, as if the one led to the
other. I reported this process during the 80s and found the embargos
counter-productive. I was guided by such anti-apartheid activists as Desmond
Tutu and Helen Suzman, who dismissed sanctions as a liberal feelgood gesture
that was merely putting people out of jobs. (Tutu later changed his mind
under pressure from US sanctions lobbyists.)
South African sanctions, starting with that most fatuous of gestures, a
sports boycott, led to a burst of white entrepreneurship and import
substitution. The arms manufacturer Armscor had to direct its investment to
counter-insurgency and fast became a world leader in the (illegal) export of
Indeed, the best thing to be said for sanctions was that they postponed
majority rule while a new generation of black people was educated and
advanced, as firms realised apartheid was coming to an end.
Those Anglicans, including the Archbishop of York, who call for such
economic aggression, cannot be aware of the implications. They seem to
regard it as clean and anti-capitalist, a phantom revolution, a pacifist
path to political change.
In almost every case sanctions make the evil richer and more secure, and the
poor poorer. What have they done for the Burmese or the Cubans? It was war
that brought change, albeit chaos, to Iraq and Afghanistan after sanctions
had failed. South Africa was transformed not by sanctions but by the
collapse of the moral coherence of Afrikanerdom, leading to an orderly
transfer of power. It is arrogant for outsiders to claim any part in that
The only clearcut case of a sanction working was the US's sabotage of
sterling during the 1956 Suez crisis. It was effective because Britain was a
democracy whose government knew it could not survive a collapsing currency.
This is the true paradox: to be susceptible to such pressure a state must
have a responsive government, but then such a government should not need
The dictionary definition of the word is "a specific penalty enacted in
order to enforce obedience to the law". It is fine for Malloch Brown to sit
in a London TV studio and talk the pseudo-enforcement talk of "the game is
changing" and "upping the repertoire of sanctions". This will not enforce
obedience to any law.
Only invasion would do that. But invasion, in this post-Iraq age, is rightly
considered a step too far. So instead we pretend. We toss gestures that will
not bring about Mugabe's downfall, only make the poor less able to resist
his thugs. And all so that Tesco can feel better for a day.
(This article first appeared in The Guardian, on July 2, 2008.)
by REUBEN PITSE
02.07.2008 9:01:39 A
The Government of Botswana has approved a decision to deploy a Botswana
Defence Force (BDF) contingent along the Botswana-Zimbabwe border.
Information leaked to The Sunday Standard suggests that both the government
and Defence Council have taken a decision to deploy members of the BDF,
allegedly with heavy artillery, along the long boarder between the two
It is understood that the heavy deployment of BDF is to repel any military
attack that might erupt due to the political unrest and tension prevailing
In a brief interview with Sunday Standard on Friday evening, the minister of
Defence, Justice and Security, Brigadier Dikgakgamatso Seretse, said, "This
is a very sensitive matter, therefore, I can neither confirm nor deny any
deployment of soldiers along the Zimbabwe-Botswana boarder."
Botswana has been at the centre of war talk as the Zimbabwean crisis
escalates. Bloomberg this week alleged that President Lt Gen Ian Khama had
said Botswana would act unilaterally against the Robert Mugabe regime.
The Office of the President on Thursday issued a press statement rebutting
"the content contained in an article published by Bloomberg news service
under the provocative headline:
"Botswana Threatens to take action in Zimbabwe Political crisis".
The statement, signed by government spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay, explained
that "The opening paragraph of the said article misleadingly implies that
His Excellency the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, at a meeting
with business leaders yesterday, "threatened to take action against Zimbabwe
if southern African leaders fail to address the political crisis in the
"The implication of both the headline and opening paragraph are a serious
distortion of the actual content, as well as evident intent, of His
It has never been the policy of Botswana to threaten any other member of the
international community. In this respect, we would humbly note that the
publication of the above text, without its proper context, can all too
easily become a pretext for distorting Botswana's true position.
"At yesterday's gathering, the President, in fact, indicated that Botswana
was, for its part, prepared to continue to make its own modest contribution
to wider mediation efforts.
"Botswana has been engaged in discussions with officials from Zimbabwe and
other stakeholders in an ongoing effort to achieve greater understanding."
A political analyst at the University of Botswana, Dr Wazha Morapedi, said,
"It is clear that civil war is looming and each country has to protect its
territory by all means but Botswana cannot manage to go it alone in military
He further said that once the situation is out of control, Zimbabweans might
then flock into Botswana and that might cause problems like the escalation
of crime, triggering xenophobia.
Dr Christian Makgala said Botswana can only afford military intervention in
partnership with South Africa, which is more experienced and resourced.
Makgala said it is possible that civil war might erupt and Zimbabweans might
experience xenophobic attacks from Batswana but not on a scale comparable to
the one in South Africa several weeks ago.
July 02 2008 at 07:58PM
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has not objected to an African
Union request that he hold talks with the Movement for Democratic Change,
President Thabo Mbeki said on Wednesday.
Mbeki told the SABC in an interview at the end of the AU Summit in
Egypt: "He (Mugabe) said they were committed to that and that indeed, even
as we were sitting at the meeting, the Zimbabweans were interacting amongst
According to a transcript of the interview provided by the department
of foreign affairs, Mbeki described Mugabe as "fully supportive" of
co-operation and dialogue between Zimbabwe's political parties to find a
solution to their challenges.
Asked about the European Union's refusal to accept a unity government
not headed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Mbeki responded that his
Southern African Development Community (SADC) mandate, as confirmed by the
AU, required him to facilitate discussions between Zimbabwe's political
The outcome of this was "not a result that the facilitation can
dictate", he said.
"The result that comes out of that process of dialogue must be a
result that is agreed by the Zimbabweans.
"Certainly SADC and certainly the African continent has not made any
prescriptions about the outcome of what the Zimbabweans must negotiate
amongst themselves... "
Mbeki was also questioned about criticism of him and the AU for their
acceptance of Mugabe back into the AU when he was perceived by some to be an
"What the AU focused upon was how does Zimbabwe move forward to emerge
from its crisis," Mbeki replied.
It was concluded that the only way out was to encourage Zimbabweans to
engage with each other and produce an inclusive government.
"...everybody is convinced that it is only via the instrument of an
inclusive government that includes all the Zimbabwean political parties
within a framework that they themselves have agreed to, that this is the
only way that you can take Zimbabwe forward," he said.
Mbeki pointed out that the AU had criticised the violence in Zimbabwe,
and had noted reports prepared by observer missions on the negative
circumstances surrounding the June 27 run-off presidential election. - Sapa
By Karen MacGregor and Tom Masland (newsweek) | Harare Tribune
Wednesday, July 2, 2008 13:29
"Use my name--it doesn't matter, I'm on the run anyway," says Tapera
Kapuya, 21. "There's a warrant out for my arrest." His crime: helping
organize student demonstrations last year at the University of Zimbabwe in
Harare. Some of these rallies were in support of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, others protested the murders of fellow student activists
Batanai Hadzizi, beaten to death in his dorm room, and Lameck Chemvura,
strangled with a shoe lace and thrown off a moving train.
In the tense run-up to Zimbabwe's presidential elections this weekend,
Kapuya now sleeps on friends' couches, a few hours at a time. "Police are
harassing my mother," he said. "I feel terrible, but I really don't see that
we have a chance when it comes to fighting for our rights. There are many of
us who will always do that, now and under any other future government."
These are not idle boasts. Though often melodramatic and disorganized,
the pro-democracy student movement in Zimbabwe helped ignite the outrage
over the Mugabe government's excesses that now threatens its survival.
Ever since, the best and the brightest of Zimbabwe have paid a heavy
price. Last week a magistrate's inquest found that overzealous police had
beaten, bludgeoned and kicked Hadzizi to death last year. Chemvura, say
eyewitnesses, was killed by a group of soldiers. One soldier who was
arrested is now out released on bail. But in the current climate of
political repression, nobody expects the guilty to be brought to justice.
Security forces and thugs have operated against President Robert Mugabe's
political enemies for two years with near-total impunity. In January alone,
16 people died in political violence--nearly all of them supporters of
opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.
Students were among the first to rise up against Mugabe. Beginning in
1989, they rallied in support of a new political party, the Zimbabwe Unity
Movement, founded by a former Mugabe crony who split with the ruling party
over unpunished corruption and economic decline. Police shut down his first
campaign, for a parliamentary by-election, and the state-controlled press
ignored it. When students took up his cause, the repression was brutal. The
police fired tear gas in the dorms, beat students and set up a makeshift
jail outside the university entrance. For the first time ever, authorities
shut down the institution, just two weeks before exams. Tsvangirai, then a
labor leader, took the occasion to issue his first broadside against the
Mugabe government--and promptly was locked up.
The police evidently learned their lesson. As the presidential
election campaign reached a peak last week, the campus was quiet: the
mid-term break has been expanded past election day. So has the start of the
main soccer season. Other students in the capital who haven't already headed
home plan to do so for their own safety. "The cops may come on campus and
beat up the teachers," said Vusa Ncube, 15, who attends a nearby boarding
He said he had largely escaped the pre-election climate of
intimidation. The only close call came one day when he was walking on a
street with his father, and a group of passing youths demanded to know why
the father was carrying an independent newspaper they said was "full of
lies." (He escaped a beating by saying he only reads the sports section.)
Last weekend,Ncube and some friends were shooting hoops on the
University campus; someone had tried to rip down pro-Mugabe posters pasted
to the glass backboards. He was planning to go home two days before the
voting on March 9 and 10. "I think I'll be home a while," he said. "Most
probably there will be violence." It's a good guess.
International Herald Tribune
By Roger Cohen Published: July 2, 2008
NEW YORK: Sometimes stubbornness gets measured in blood, and sometimes the
wounds of race are blinding.
That's the kindest verdict I can find for the listless mediation in a
devastated Zimbabwe of Thabo Mbeki, the South African president. Faced by
all the brutal expressions of his neighbor Robert Mugabe's megalomania,
Mbeki has prodded here and there, like a learned physician mildly intrigued
by a corpse.
As a once flourishing economy has imploded, as inflation has assumed Weimar
proportions, as millions have fled to South Africa, and as an octogenarian
tyrant has dispatched goons to murder and ravage, Mbeki has gone on mumbling
that the people of Zimbabwe must solve their own problems.
They tried by giving a clear victory to the opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, in the March 29 election. But the 48-to-43 percent margin over
Mugabe fell short of an absolute majority, conveniently so, allowing the
liberator-turned-despot to terrorize his way to a sham second-round victory
and sixth term.
Enough already! Mugabe in his labyrinth is a study in ruin. That, however,
has scarcely bestirred Mbeki of "What crisis?" fame. As Georgina Godwin, a
Zimbabwean journalist, put it, "Mbeki's quiet diplomacy is comatose."
Herding cats is easier than finding significance in the Delphic utterances
of Africa's Mr. Imperturbable. I interviewed Mbeki back in 2003, along with
my New York Times colleague Felicity Barringer. The conversation yielded a
345-word story, huge given Mbeki's erudite-sounding vacuity, worthy of a
Mbeki did, however, say he'd been urging Mugabe to meet with his political
opponents - sound familiar? - and declared of Zimbabwe: "The political
problems and conflicts they've experienced, I think they'll get over that."
That was five years ago. Now, we hear that Mbeki is hopeful of arranging a
meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai and we have the African Union calling
this week for a Zimbabwean "government of national unity."
Fine sentiments, but it's late in the day. I can't see Tsvangirai, even if
he were offered the post of prime minister, finding any "unity" with Mugabe
and his militarized ZANU-PF party, which he wants to disarm.
This mess is Mugabe's but Mbeki has been his enabler. Why? The filial
respect of a fellow African liberation fighter? Distaste for Tsvangirai, a
former trade union leader, at a time when Mbeki's own power has been
undermined by South African trade unions and their man, Jacob Zuma? A
loathing of Western interventionism?
I'm sure all the above play a part, but I think the real clue lies in
Mbeki's previous act of blind stubbornness, whose harvest was not the blood
of neighbors but of his fellow citizens.
For more than three years Mbeki indulged in a bout of AIDS denialism that
stopped antiretroviral drugs getting to millions infected with HIV. Hundreds
of thousands of avoidable deaths ensued.
Mbeki was never specific about the roots of his dissent, now sidelined if
never disavowed. But when asked in Parliament in 2004 if he believed
widespread rape played any role in spreading AIDS, he exploded:
"The disease of racism," he said, led to blacks being portrayed as "lazy,
liars, foul-smelling, diseased, corrupt, violent, amoral, sexually depraved,
animalistic, savage and rapist."
The link between HIV and AIDS, in this angry vision, was a fabrication
foisted on Africans by whites determined to distract the continent from real
problems of racism and poverty, and accepted by blacks still afflicted with
the slave mentality engendered by apartheid.
Mbeki's pseudo-science was death-propagating nonsense. But his theories of
sexuality under apartheid were not.
I spent enough time under apartheid to see that the portrayal of blacks as
sexual animals was integral to a white policy of dehumanizing them. More
than once I was asked with a boozy sneer by South African whites if I could
ever imagine being attracted to a black woman.
So when Mugabe rails against the white colonialists, and expropriates
white-owned farms, and portrays himself as the African fighting back white
intrusion - when he resurrects the core of the long struggle - I suspect he
strikes a chord with Mbeki, whose own pragmatism is no Mandela-like
"The racial petulance lives on in Mbeki," said Peter Godwin, whose superb
book, "When a Crocodile Eats the Sun," chronicles how he and his sister
Georgina saw their family's life in Harare destroyed. "He's the black
intellectual living with the fact that whites think they are better."
Mbeki should read Godwin's book. It might even inspire him to criticize
Mugabe. But then, he'd say, it's a white man's work. And that's the truth.
But what the disaster of Mugabe and of Mbeki's non-mediation teaches is that
the wounds of a racist past, however deep, cannot justify the dismemberment
of a nation. Mugabe must go, South Africa move on, and Mbeki must consider
the blot that tarnishes his legacy.
12 minutes ago
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - South African President Thabo Mbeki says only
Zimbabweans can resolve their crisis.
Mbeki spoke to his state broadcaster Tuesday after an African Union summit.
The summit reconfirmed Mbeki as mediator between Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai - though Tsvangirai has
repeatedly called on Mbeki to step down.
Mbeki was asked about European Union calls for Tsvangirai to lead any
coalition government. Mbeki says that is a question for Zimbabweans.
AU leaders said they were "deeply concerned" about political violence and
reports that Zimbabwe's presidential runoff was not free and not fair.
Mugabe claimed victory after a campaign of violence against the opposition
that was so intense, Tsvangirai withdrew from the balloting.
Jul 02, 2008 04:30 AM
SHARM EL-SHEIK, EGYPT-African efforts to encourage a deal between Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe and his opponents showed no results yesterday, while
Mugabe's spokesperson conveyed a message from his boss that Western critics
can "go hang."
Zimbabwe's opposition also dampened hopes for a coalition government, saying
Mugabe had shut the door on talks by going ahead with last week's
presidential runoff election that he won after a campaign tainted by brutal
attacks on his political foes.
Some leaders at the African Union summit here had harsh words for Mugabe,
producing sharp exchanges during closed-door meetings, participants said.
Vice-President Mompati Merafhe of Botswana said Mugabe's government should
not be recognized and Zimbabwe should be barred from AU gatherings.
Officials from Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone also criticized Mugabe. On
the final day of their summit yesterday, AU leaders adopted a resolution
calling for dialogue in Zimbabwe while not directly criticizing Mugabe or
the runoff. The leaders said they were "deeply concerned" about the
New Vision (Kampala)
1 July 2008
Posted to the web 2 July 2008
Questioned about Zimbabwe after Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for the
Democratic Change had withdrawn from the presidential elections, President
Yoweri Museveni wondered why all the talk was on 'power, power' and little
on the economy.
He has a point, for one of the major problems Zimbabweans face is an
economic one. Many people who had emigrated to South Africa only to be
subjected to vicious attack and forced to return or flee to refugee camps
did so for economic reasons.
Inflation in Zimbabwe is at two million percent, while one British pound is
equivalent to 4 billion Zimbabwean dollars. It baffles the imagination. It
is reminiscent of Europe during the Great Depression when one needed a
wheelbarrow full of paper money to buy a loaf of bread. So Zimbabwe is faced
with a colossal economic problem.
However, the political question and the economic condition are directly
related. President Mugabe ruined the economy by mismanaging the land reform
programme. He gave tracts of land to his cronies and to people who had no
experience in farming. He has used food as a political weapon, denying it to
those who do not support him or his ZANU-PF.
Mugabe has used the police to destroy the livelihoods of people who lived in
urban structures and banish them to remote places where there is no water or
The reasons for doing so were political, although he called it 'cleaning out
the city'. The Zimbabwean police and so-called war veterans have created
acute insecurity preventing people from engaging in productive activities.
As Nelson Mandela has aptly put it, Mugabe is an example of a tragic failure
There has been famine, but famine is not a purely natural phenomenon. In
Zimbabwe, the situation has been exacerbated by Mugabe's megalomania.
Political stability, social and economic justice go together. The economic
situation will only get worse as long as Mugabe remains in power.
Zimbabwe went to the polls on 27 June to vote in a presidential run-off in
which Robert Mugabe was the only candidate. One Harare resident, who asked to remain anonymous, has been keeping a diary
on the elections. 08:00 That's why everything was being hurriedly done - he wanted to be seen
attending the summit as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe. He really is thick-skinned. After all he's done, how does he dare to show his
face like this? But I am hopeful. I just can't wait to see his embarrassment when he is
rebuked by fellow African Leaders at the summit. She tells me we must dash to the local supermarket to buy whatever we can.
There is a rumour that Mugabe will slash the prices again upon his return
from the African Union summit as a conciliatory gesture to the electorate. We quickly dash out of the office, but by the time we get to the supermarket,
it's empty shelves again. We try several other supermarkets and all their shelves are already bare.
Everyone is trying to get anything that they can lay their hands on. I wonder when the so called 'people's shops' will come to my neighbourhood or
were they just another campaign tool. 13:00 Mugabe is shown walking gracefully like an African giraffe into the AU
summit, side by side with the host. I just can't believe this. It was my last
hope that someone at this summit was going to knock some sense into this old
man's head. I know that the AU is toothless, but surely it must at least have a few false
teeth. My hope for the formation of some sort of government of national unity or
meaningful intervention by an AU special envoy is falling away. ZBC reports that the meeting is on Millennium Development Goals and not about
Zimbabwe. They forget that it is dictators like Mugabe who are making it hard
for the continent to achieve those very goals. 10:00 We share our grief after the service. Church is the only place where one can
enjoy relative freedom. To make matters worse one of our church members who has been out in the rural
areas tells me that the violence against opposition supporters is continuing
there even though Mugabe has already declared himself the winner. We are shocked and promise to keep praying. One thing that never ceases to
amaze me about Zimbabweans is the level of resilience and hope here. We're all
convinced that eventually things will get better. 14:00 I have to live with this for now. Mugabe is the newly elected President for
the next five years, by hook and crook. I do my calculations - he will be 90
before we can vote him out. I just feel like staying indoors but I have to go to the bank to pay 'top-up
fees' for my son. The school fees are never fixed these days, it is reviewed almost every
fortnight to catch up with the runaway inflation. 10:00 One young man picks up a conversation with his friend on the other side of
the banking hall . "Man your local soccer team is a star, it played against
itself and emerged a winner." People start to giggle; they know exactly what this guy is referring to. I am
impressed. He is one of the brave ones. Few dare to draw such an analogy in
public given the awful violence being meted out by Zanu PF. 13:00 He claims the government doesn't need any help in looking after these people
especially from foreign aid agencies. He claims that such organisations always
bring their assistance 'with strings attached'. This doesn't make sense to me. If these people are seeking sanctuary from
Zanu PF, how can the same party be trusted to look after them? I reflect on the events of the March 2008 elections, when it took them more
than five weeks to announce the results. Yet after Mugabe's one man election
they're ready in two days? As usual around this time my brother calls, the family safety check again. He
tells me the Zanu PF youths have run out of food at their bases and are forcing
civil servants and villagers to give them maize, meal and other foods. "If this continues, I'm going to have to join those seeking help at South
African embassy," my brother threatens. 20:00 But that's very short notice. How will all these millions of people that Zanu
PF claimed voted for Mugabe be able to celebrate this occasion? When will all the transport arrangements be made to ferry this huge army of
supporters to the traditional Rufaro Stadium for his inauguration? So, how, I ask myself, have they managed all this fast tracking? My cousin,
who works for the Zimbabwe Election Commission, says he knows the answer. "There was no proper counting," he says. "They simply made up figures to
speed up Mugabe's victory. After all, the man should not be kept waiting!" Is this some kind of defiance on the part of the electorate? Only the events
of the day will tell. I walk back to my house but the quietness is really making me very
uncomfortable. When I get back I find there's no power, as I look around for an old
newspaper to make a fire, I see a headline that shouts: "Your vote, your voice,
speak out!" I realise I have been robbed of both my vote and my voice. I'll only
vote if I'm frog-marched to the polls. Elections here are meaningless and worth
nothing - just like the Zim dollar - democracy here has been totally devalued.
10:00 The road to the polling station looks deserted. As I walk down the road I see
a pile of discarded fliers…some being blown by the wind. I pick one up and find
that they're MDC leaflets asking people not to vote. They say "We will not rest
until we have a new Zimbabwe". I'm amazed at the way they've just been dumped,
an indication that all is not well. It seems likely that whoever brought them
here was threatened or arrested. At the polling station, I only see a few adults and some children. It's clear
that I'm certainly not the only one who is refusing to vote. This gives me
courage and fresh hope that I won't walk alone through this journey. 11:00 When, I start to wonder, did the authorities set up a polling station here?
But I soon discover that people are not actually queuing to vote. They're
queuing for bread. It dawns on me that people are more worried about their
stomachs than this shameful election. I join the queue with a big smile. Bread
is worth the wait. 13:00 14:30 We find people sitting in groups of about 15 to 20 at the polling station
waiting to vote. They don't look very enthusiastic. When we leave we give a
local teacher a lift. She's a former school mate of my friend. She quietly tells
us that polling officers are writing down the names and serial numbers of
everyone who votes. These details are then passed on to local Zanu PF youths.
Everyone here, she tells us, is threatened with violence if they don't vote for
Mugabe. 20:00 I admit that I'm scared of what might happen to those who are found without
ballot paper ink on their fingers. But, I have a plan. I'll just put nail polish
or mulberry juice on mine and hope that it fools them. The struggle goes on.
The guy hands him a leaflet and instructs him to tell his family that the
election is still on June 27 and that anyone who say it isn't is telling lies.
He is warned not to destroy the leaflet and is given a little sticker of
Mugabe's face to stick on his shirt. As soon as they've gone he runs back into the house and gives me the leaflet.
It reads "Vote RG Mugabe, President. In 1980 we did it, now lets do it again,
Save the heritage, Save the Revolution" and all the other propaganda. I want to
throw it in the bin but I quickly think, no, let me keep it in case they come
back and ask to be shown it again. 12:00 14:00 17:00 That is the ink that shows that one has been through the voting process. He
also tells me the local youths are also polling officers. When they get trained
do to this, I wonder. 19:00 20:00 Then, the grand finale, Mugabe's final rally in Chitungwiza. He castigates
the West, SADC, AU and MDC. A small sigh of relief - at least he says he might
talk with the MDC - but only when the elections are over. I wonder what will
become of this country. Should I go and vote or just stay indoors. I don't know. I really don't know.
I kneel down to pray and seek God's protection. I am not sure what the coming
hours hold. I am amazed- a demonstration, how has this been allowed? Of course because it
is them! Some even have babies on their backs. The lyrics of their songs all
point to the fact that Tsvangirai is a puppet of the West and that the
Presidential run-off will go on as planned. One guy who looks like he has as just come back from the 'war' seems to be
the leader and as the group hums on he threatens that they will deal with anyone
who does not go and vote. 13:00 I enquire around and I am told that the Zanu PF youth have burnt the filling
station because it is owned by a white couple. 17:00 As I walk through the streets I am terrified by the heavy presence of armed
police. If they were just carrying small arms I'm sure I would not have been so
terrified, but a huge AK 47? I can't hide my terror.
I go out to buy my local newspaper and am shocked by the headline: "Mugabe has gone to attend the AU Summit in Egypt."
One of my colleagues runs into my office.
Lunch time news on ZBC leaves me eating my words.
I listen to the news and hear that the MDC leader has been officially invited to attend Mugabe's inauguration. My goodness, I cannot imagine whose idea that was. It is just like adding salt to an open wound.
I attend the Sunday service at my local church. It's the only hope, God will surely answer our prayers one day.
Mugabe's swearing in ceremony is on television. I'm surprised it's at State House. Why? Where has all the 'pomp and fanfare' of yesteryear? This is unlike Zanu PF, they always love big venues and big crowds.
The events leading to the run off are now taking a toll on me. I wake up exhausted in the knowledge that Robert Mugabe will, indeed, emerge as the unchallenged winner.
The queues at the bank are very long. People look devastated. I realise it is not only me who has been affected by this shameless run-off.
Lunch time news: the deputy minister of information is shown at the South African embassy where a large number of opposition supporters are seeking refuge. Most of them are still clad in bandages.
The Zimbabwe Election Commission starts announcing the results. Is this necessary in a one man election I wonder?
I hear the obvious. Surprise, surprise, Mugabe is the winner. He's to be sworn in the tomorrow.
I wake up to a bright sunny morning. I'm curious to know what is happening outside. I take a short walk to the local polling station. It's unusually quiet - nothing like the hustle and bustle of the last elections in March.
I run out of air time on my mobile phone and go into town to top it up. I find that all the shops are closed. As I approach the corner of the street, I notice a long winding queue.
My friend, who is discreetly monitoring the elections, asks me to escort her to a polling station 40km away in a rural area. This is where she grew up so it's easy for us to pretend we are at home.
The eight o'clock news refers to the elections as "historic". Indeed they are, because I've never seen an election where voters have only one person to choose from and that man then declares himself the rightful winner.
There is a banging knock at my gate. I ask my son to tell whoever is there that I am not at home. As he opens the gate he is greeted by four young men who ask him if there is an adult at home. My son tells them he is all by himself and everyone is at work.
I pass through the local butchery, it's closed: but why? It usually closes at 5pm. I ask the vendor and she looks surprised and says to me: "Are you not aware that there are elections tomorrow? They have closed early today in case violence breaks out." I soon realise that most places and offices have closed too.
My brother, a nurse at a local clinic, telephones me. It has become our family tradition now that each night we have to check on each other's safety. He tells me he has just come from a meeting where the Zanu PF youth have threatened to deal with anyone who will not have a 'pink finger' by 7pm tomorrow.
My maid who left early in the morning to travel to her rural home returns unexpectedly. She narrates her ordeal and tells me she has been barred from entering her village by Zanu PF Youths.
On the ZBC news the Minister of Information reports that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and its elections are not dictated by the SADC or AU. He dismisses Mandela's criticism of the violence in Zimbabwe as simply 'Western pressure'.
I hear some people chanting liberation war songs. I peep through the window of my office and see Zanu PF youths in their party regalia carrying placards.
On my way home I pass through the local supermarket. Next to it a group of Zanu PF youths wearing their party regalia are drinking beer in public.
Zimbabwe went to the polls on 27 June to vote in a presidential run-off in which Robert Mugabe was the only candidate.
One Harare resident, who asked to remain anonymous, has been keeping a diary on the elections.
That's why everything was being hurriedly done - he wanted to be seen attending the summit as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe.
He really is thick-skinned. After all he's done, how does he dare to show his face like this?
But I am hopeful. I just can't wait to see his embarrassment when he is rebuked by fellow African Leaders at the summit.10:00
She tells me we must dash to the local supermarket to buy whatever we can.
There is a rumour that Mugabe will slash the prices again upon his return from the African Union summit as a conciliatory gesture to the electorate.
We quickly dash out of the office, but by the time we get to the supermarket, it's empty shelves again.
We try several other supermarkets and all their shelves are already bare. Everyone is trying to get anything that they can lay their hands on.
I wonder when the so called 'people's shops' will come to my neighbourhood or were they just another campaign tool.
Mugabe is shown walking gracefully like an African giraffe into the AU summit, side by side with the host. I just can't believe this. It was my last hope that someone at this summit was going to knock some sense into this old man's head.
I know that the AU is toothless, but surely it must at least have a few false teeth. My hope for the formation of some sort of government of national unity or meaningful intervention by an AU special envoy is falling away.
ZBC reports that the meeting is on Millennium Development Goals and not about Zimbabwe. They forget that it is dictators like Mugabe who are making it hard for the continent to achieve those very goals.
We share our grief after the service. Church is the only place where one can enjoy relative freedom.
To make matters worse one of our church members who has been out in the rural areas tells me that the violence against opposition supporters is continuing there even though Mugabe has already declared himself the winner.
We are shocked and promise to keep praying. One thing that never ceases to amaze me about Zimbabweans is the level of resilience and hope here. We're all convinced that eventually things will get better.
I have to live with this for now. Mugabe is the newly elected President for the next five years, by hook and crook. I do my calculations - he will be 90 before we can vote him out.
I just feel like staying indoors but I have to go to the bank to pay 'top-up fees' for my son.
The school fees are never fixed these days, it is reviewed almost every fortnight to catch up with the runaway inflation.
One young man picks up a conversation with his friend on the other side of the banking hall . "Man your local soccer team is a star, it played against itself and emerged a winner."
People start to giggle; they know exactly what this guy is referring to. I am impressed. He is one of the brave ones. Few dare to draw such an analogy in public given the awful violence being meted out by Zanu PF.
He claims the government doesn't need any help in looking after these people especially from foreign aid agencies. He claims that such organisations always bring their assistance 'with strings attached'.
This doesn't make sense to me. If these people are seeking sanctuary from Zanu PF, how can the same party be trusted to look after them?
I reflect on the events of the March 2008 elections, when it took them more than five weeks to announce the results. Yet after Mugabe's one man election they're ready in two days?
As usual around this time my brother calls, the family safety check again. He tells me the Zanu PF youths have run out of food at their bases and are forcing civil servants and villagers to give them maize, meal and other foods.
"If this continues, I'm going to have to join those seeking help at South African embassy," my brother threatens.
But that's very short notice. How will all these millions of people that Zanu PF claimed voted for Mugabe be able to celebrate this occasion?
When will all the transport arrangements be made to ferry this huge army of supporters to the traditional Rufaro Stadium for his inauguration?
So, how, I ask myself, have they managed all this fast tracking? My cousin, who works for the Zimbabwe Election Commission, says he knows the answer.
"There was no proper counting," he says. "They simply made up figures to speed up Mugabe's victory. After all, the man should not be kept waiting!"
Is this some kind of defiance on the part of the electorate? Only the events of the day will tell.
I walk back to my house but the quietness is really making me very uncomfortable.
When I get back I find there's no power, as I look around for an old newspaper to make a fire, I see a headline that shouts: "Your vote, your voice, speak out!" I realise I have been robbed of both my vote and my voice. I'll only vote if I'm frog-marched to the polls. Elections here are meaningless and worth nothing - just like the Zim dollar - democracy here has been totally devalued.
The road to the polling station looks deserted. As I walk down the road I see a pile of discarded fliers…some being blown by the wind. I pick one up and find that they're MDC leaflets asking people not to vote. They say "We will not rest until we have a new Zimbabwe". I'm amazed at the way they've just been dumped, an indication that all is not well. It seems likely that whoever brought them here was threatened or arrested.
At the polling station, I only see a few adults and some children. It's clear that I'm certainly not the only one who is refusing to vote. This gives me courage and fresh hope that I won't walk alone through this journey.
When, I start to wonder, did the authorities set up a polling station here? But I soon discover that people are not actually queuing to vote. They're queuing for bread. It dawns on me that people are more worried about their stomachs than this shameful election. I join the queue with a big smile. Bread is worth the wait.
We find people sitting in groups of about 15 to 20 at the polling station waiting to vote. They don't look very enthusiastic. When we leave we give a local teacher a lift. She's a former school mate of my friend. She quietly tells us that polling officers are writing down the names and serial numbers of everyone who votes. These details are then passed on to local Zanu PF youths. Everyone here, she tells us, is threatened with violence if they don't vote for Mugabe.
I admit that I'm scared of what might happen to those who are found without ballot paper ink on their fingers. But, I have a plan. I'll just put nail polish or mulberry juice on mine and hope that it fools them. The struggle goes on.
The guy hands him a leaflet and instructs him to tell his family that the election is still on June 27 and that anyone who say it isn't is telling lies. He is warned not to destroy the leaflet and is given a little sticker of Mugabe's face to stick on his shirt.
As soon as they've gone he runs back into the house and gives me the leaflet. It reads "Vote RG Mugabe, President. In 1980 we did it, now lets do it again, Save the heritage, Save the Revolution" and all the other propaganda. I want to throw it in the bin but I quickly think, no, let me keep it in case they come back and ask to be shown it again.
That is the ink that shows that one has been through the voting process. He also tells me the local youths are also polling officers. When they get trained do to this, I wonder.
Then, the grand finale, Mugabe's final rally in Chitungwiza. He castigates the West, SADC, AU and MDC. A small sigh of relief - at least he says he might talk with the MDC - but only when the elections are over. I wonder what will become of this country.
Should I go and vote or just stay indoors. I don't know. I really don't know.
I kneel down to pray and seek God's protection. I am not sure what the coming hours hold.
I am amazed- a demonstration, how has this been allowed? Of course because it is them! Some even have babies on their backs. The lyrics of their songs all point to the fact that Tsvangirai is a puppet of the West and that the Presidential run-off will go on as planned.
One guy who looks like he has as just come back from the 'war' seems to be the leader and as the group hums on he threatens that they will deal with anyone who does not go and vote.
I enquire around and I am told that the Zanu PF youth have burnt the filling station because it is owned by a white couple.
As I walk through the streets I am terrified by the heavy presence of armed police. If they were just carrying small arms I'm sure I would not have been so terrified, but a huge AK 47? I can't hide my terror.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008 08:35 UK
Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of
leading a normal life.
Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has
the world's highest rate of inflation and just one in five has an official
Every Zimbabwean with media access is following the African Union
summit going on in Egypt with baited breath following Friday's election.
The day itself was a non-event really - with only one candidate, the
result was a forgone conclusion.
That did not stop people from going to the polls though: Some to vote
their beloved president back into office; others to vote for opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, even though that was futile as he had withdrawn.
Yet others voted to avoid the much talked about retribution for not
A friend told me he was so overcome with frustration in the polling
booth, he gouged out Robert Mugabe's eyes on his ballot paper.
By Sunday, the results were out, which was pretty amazing considering
it took the electoral commission five weeks to release the 29 March
presidential election results.
And 30 minutes after the announcement, Mr Mugabe was being sworn in as
I watched the ceremony as it was broadcast live on TV and marvelled at
the state's efficiency.
All the Zanu-PF dignitaries were gathered at State House together with
the chief justice ready to do the swearing-in.
We should have known all the threats and condemnation were not going
to stop Mr Mugabe, after all that is exactly why some people admire him so.
He just does not care what "the international community" has to say.
On the other hand, the reeling Zimbabwean is looking to that very same
international community to do something to get out of this mess.
I can hear the Mugabe loyalists out there asking: "What mess?"
But people are frustrated. World food and oil prices are rising and
together with hyperinflation you have disaster.
Prices change here every week for most commodities and every day for
goods pegged to the US dollar such as fuel.
Five litres of fuel is selling for Z$200bn at the moment; it was
Z$170bn on Monday and it will probably be Z$300bn by the end of the week.
At one private school in Harare, parents have been asked to pay
supplementary fees of Z$2.1 trillion by the end of the week, and Z$3
trillion if they pay next week.
That's how fast our dollar is losing value. You cannot afford to
extend credit in local currency.
Twenty eight years of Zanu-PF rule has brought us here, where will
another five years take us?
So my family was really excited when the AU summit started, thinking,
surely this is it?
Everyone has seen the photos of pre-27 June election violence; African
election observers condemned the poll as not being a reflection of the
Zimbabweans' will by African standards; a lot of noises have been coming out
of London, Washington and the UN in New York and the Italian ambassador has
been recalled over the poll.
Surely now there is no way anyone can stand by Mr Mugabe, and thus
declare that in his shoes, they would have acted exactly the same?
Yet I watched one foreign minister, from Angola I think, saying
condemnation was not the answer.
Granted, Mr Mugabe was very involved in bringing about peace to a
number of African nations, and some people cannot see past that history.
So, it is looking like the eagerly awaited help from the international
community that we were banking on is not coming at all.
We are fast losing hope in them, especially the African part of that
It is looking more like Mr Mugabe knew what he was talking about when
he said: "Only God can remove me from power.
A STRONG hint that the US might cast a wider sanctions net on "those who
support" Zimbabwe's shaky regime came yesterday as President Robert Mugabe
continued to shrug off global condemnation of his hold on power.
White House spokesperson Dana Perino told a press briefing that President
George W Bush was pressing for "strong action" in the form of sanctions by
the United Nations - "but we could also act unilaterally".
However, she said: "What we would like is for people, first and foremost, to
feel safe in their own country and to let their voices be heard."
A reporter suggested the US was being "so namby-pamby", and asked: "Isn't
there some mechanism to arrest him as a war criminal?" Perino countered,
saying that the president had taken a " very firm stand".
"Would the Bush administration be upset if he were detained and not allowed
to leave Egypt," a reporter asked.
Perino responded: "I'm just not going to speculate on any such action. I don't
know of any that's being contemplated."
The sanctions threat came as the ATP fund, a Danish R718 billion (92bn)
pension fund, confirmed it may divest from resources giant Anglo American
because of its continuing activity in Zimbabwe.
Last week Anglo said it was pressing head with a R3.2bn investment in the
Unki platinum mine in Zimbabwe despite the British government's pressure on
companies to withdraw from the country.
Yesterday, Britain's biggest supermarket, Tesco, said it is to stop sourcing
products from Zimbabwe - worth about R16m in exports.
Zimbabwean workers affected by the decision would be supported "by other
means", they added. - DDR with additional reporting by Sapa-AFP and I-Net
July 02, 2008 Edition 1
By LAVERN DE VRIES and Sapa
Nobel laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has suggested the government
consider deploying armed personnel in Zimbabwe to restore stability to the
Speaking at last night's Difficult Dialogues debate at UCT, Tutu said South
Africa had failed its apartheid-era friends by supporting Russia and China
in the UN Security Council vote with regards to Burma and Zimbabwe.
"Who would ever have imagined that Zimbabwe, our proud showcase country, a
great country that used to export food, would today be a dream turned into a
horrible nightmare? Mr Mugabe and his cohorts have become corrupted," Tutu
Addressing a packed audience at Jameson Hall, Tutu said he wanted peace and
calm restored to Zimbabwe.
"We want all the refugees who are here unwillingly to be able to return home
to a safe and secure place in their home country."
One of the ways of achieving the goal would be for African leaders to
reprimand Mugabe and insist on negotiations for a transitional government in
which the Movement for Democratic Change would have a prominent role, said
"Perhaps we have to consider deploying armed personnel to oversee a return
to normalcy in Zimbabwe," he said.
Last night's two-hour session also featured former UCT vice-chancellor
Mamphela Ramphele, Dinner with Mugabe author Heidi Holland and Economic
Justice Initiative co-founder Wilmot James.
The Cape Argus is a partner in the Difficult Dialogues debate series (see
page 15 for the full Tutu text).
The "horrid nightmare" in Zimbabwe showed what happened when people were
prepared to kill for their leaders, Tutu said.
His comment followed assertions by leaders of the ANC Youth League and
Cosatu last month that they were ready to kill for ANC president Jacob Zuma.
Ghana News Agency
July 02, 2008
From Kwaku Osei Bonsu, GNA Special Correspondent, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
Sharm El-Sheikh, GNA - The 11th Summit of the African Union (AU) opened in
the Egyptian Red Sea Resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Monday with a call on the
Continent's political leaders not to turn their backs on Zimbabwe.
Mr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the AU Commission, said Africa must assume its
responsibilities and do all within its power to help the Zimbabwean parties
to find a common ground and work together in the supreme interest of their
country to overcome the current challenges.
The call comes just a day after President Robert Mugabe had been sworn-in
for another term following his sweeping victory of the internationally
discredited presidential run-off.
Mr Ping said the election crises that continued to haunt the democratic
process on the continent should compel "us to exert more sustained efforts
to entrench the democratic culture in each of our countries and challenge
our ability to face up to the electoral crises and disputes on the
President John Agyekum Kufuor is among the leaders of the 53-member
Pan-African Regional bloc attending the two-day meeting, which is being held
under the theme: "Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Water and
The year 2008 is the mid-point of the path towards achieving the MDGs but
there is growing anxiety that many African nations are off track in
realising the goals.
The leaders are also discussing regional political and economic integration
as well as Africa's response to the global emergency caused by the food and
crude oil price hike.
The AU Commission Chairperson, pledged his determination to introduce the
needed reforms to enhance the performance of the Commission and build its
initiative and implementation capacity.
The exercise entailed putting premium on competence, experience, efficiency
and strengthening measures to render transparent and credible management of
financial and material resources provided by the member states and partners
of the AU.
He said the objective was to create an efficient structure commensurate with
the clear visibility and strong credibility achieved by the Union within a
short period of time.
President Jikaya Kikwete, Tanzanian President and Chairman of the AU, also
made reference to the Zimbabwean situation and urged the international
community to work with the South African Development Cooperation (SADC) to
return political normalcy to the country.
Africans, he said, had suffered a lot of conflicts and were tired of this.
The leaders therefore have a responsibility to end the suffering.
Dr. Asha Rose Migro, Deputy United Nations (UN) Secretary General, said
Africa's partnership with the world body was as crucial as its regional
"We must act together and act quickly. Our work in helping Kenya to resolve
its political crisis, shows that when political leaders are willing, the AU
and the UN can form a powerful coalition to live up to our founding ideals."
Host President Hosni Mubarak, said there was the need for increased
solidarity and cooperation among Africans, adding that, they should speak
with one voice to defend the interests of the continent.
The African Union conference at Sharm el-Shekh was a fitting response to the
sham Zimbabwean election. In essence, a wishy washy call by African
"leaders" for some form of negotiations despite the fact that the parties
concerned have effectively ruled it out.
While the USA has confirmed that it is headed for full blown sanctions, and
the European Union confirmed that it would only recognise a unity government
headed by Tsvangirai, African leaders proved conclusively that the people of
Africa are the last thing on their minds.
Indeed, even as they were espousing that the solutions lay with the people
of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean government was ignoring aid agencies' desperate
efforts to resume feeding the five million at risk as a result of the
government blocking their vital work.
The Zimbabweans I have to admit did us proud.
They told the world and Africa that they had no right to deter them in what
is headed for genocide because very few African leaders have clean hands. In
other words because other leaders are barbarians not worthy of the
description 'civilised', that that justifies decimating your own population.
The African way, or so I'm proudly told.
Their "spokesman" (pity Charles Manson wasn't available - he could not have
done worse) proudly telling the west to go hang themselves a thousand times.
Not for Zimbabwe a Kenyan type solution, it must be Zimbabweans resolving
their own problems. I need not set out what that means the whole world knows
what Zimbabweans do to each other, or let us say, what the government does
to its population.
Is the world going to tighten the sanctions or intervene?
Yes and no. Intervention is unlikely but strong sanctions are on the cards.
Because my only concern is the masses I pray that sanctions are very
seriously considered before they are applied. The people have been reduced
to a life expectancy of 37, and they can hardly endure that any more. I
would (for what it's worth) ask world leaders to assess the impact on these
poor people. They really are not up to current sanctions.
Of course, with inflation already over a million percent and the economy
beyond local redemption the Zanu-PF will be confronted with an implosion of
their own making.
No doubt, as South Africans we can brace ourselves for a huge increase in
pressure on our poorest communities, and a massive headache in the making
for the next government. Added pressure on our economy, in the midst of a
global economic crisis, we can anticipate an enormous increase in the fight
for food and jobs with its inevitable increase in xenophobia and unrest.
An African "solution" displaying the wisdom and insight of the builders of
Up the creek without a paddle.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 at 10:52 pm
LORD MALLOCH BROWN*
For a long time Robert Mugabe has kept alive the falsehood that Africa and
much of the rest of the world remains on his side in what he claims is a
colonial dispute with Britain and, to a lesser extent, Europe.
The events of the past few weeks have transformed that view. It is
unequivocally clear that the world is united in its condemnation of the
violence perpetrated by Zimbabwe's leaders. This is now Mugabe and his
regime versus the world.
African leaders have one by one come out and shown their opposition to what
Mugabe is doing: Tanzania, Senegal, Rwanda, Botswana, Angola, South Africa
and Zambia most recently. Last week an open letter signed by more than 40
African leaders, including many former presidents, former secretary-generals
and civil society leaders called for an end to the violence. African leaders
know that Mugabe's rule is now illegitimate by his own constitution, by the
South Africa Development Community (SADC) principles of elections and by the
African Union, which requires that its members are democratically elected.
And Africans are ashamed. Kofi Annan wrote that "Zimbabwe is tarnishing the
reputation of Africa." Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called Zimbabwe
The UN Security Council was also this week unanimous in its verdict that
"conditions do not exist for free and fair elections right now in Zimbabwe.
There has been too much violence, too much intimidation." Among the 15
Security Council members who unanimously signed up to the statement were
China, Russia and South Africa, three countries previously reluctant to join
in this kind of international condemnation of Zimbabwe.
What has brought this decisive change in world opinion? The facts speak for
themselves. Eighty-four opposition supporters are confirmed murdered, 2,700
injured, 34,000 displaced. Tragically, these grim figures continue to grow,
even despite the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC)
withdrawal from the vote. It is no longer an election campaign. It is a
campaign of violence and intimidation against innocent men, women and
children whose only crime is to wish to express their democratic right to
vote. To do so as they did on March 29 in the election that, according to
the African observers, the MDC rightfully won.
And it is a campaign that takes place against a catastrophic economic
background. Inflation is estimated at 2 million percent. Zimbabwe has just
reaped its worst harvest in 60 years. Electricity and water shortages last
for days at a time in some areas. Meanwhile the ruling ZANU-PF government
has suspended life-saving NGO humanitarian activities. Even hunger has
become a political weapon. Europe has a critical role to play in bringing
change to Zimbabwe. The EU's existing targeted measures of travel bans and
asset freezing against Mugabe and 130 senior ZANU-PF leaders must be
deepened and broadened to include a wider range of individuals involved in
perpetrating the violence. Beyond this the EU must consider how best it can
ratchet up the pressure without adversely affecting ordinary Zimbabweans.
The British marketing company WPP has properly decided to divest its stake
in a local advertising company responsible for ZANU-PF advertising. But is
it right that a European company continues to print the banknotes that allow
Mugabe's regime to keep the machinery of state oppression going while
feeding the intolerable habit of hyperinflation? Most importantly, Europe
must work to support the African and global leadership demonstrated by the
SADC, the African Union and the UN. Europe must do more to build a global
effort to isolate and delegitimize Mugabe's regime: to document human rights
abuses and seek remedies and to force Mugabe's regime to allow the emergence
of a government that represents the will of the people.
In recent weeks Mugabe and his inner circle have succeeded in uniting the
world against them. They have put themselves beyond the pale. They have
scorned international norms and values. And they should know that they must
face the consequences.
*Lord Malloch Brown is the UK Foreign Office minister for Africa, Asia and
26 June 2008, Thursday