Published: July 4, 2008 at 12:42 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 4 (UPI) -- Leaked minutes show the Zanu-PF Party
plans to use assassination to regain its majority in the Zimbabwean
parliament, The Times of London reported Friday.
The party, the political base of President Robert Mugabe, also plans to
frame members of parliament from the Movement for Democratic Change, the
Times said. Once seats become vacant, Zanu-PF would then use violence and
voter intimidation to win resulting by-elections, the report said.
The MDC, headed by Morgan Tsvangirai, out-polled Zanu-PF in the March 29
elections, winning more seats in the lower house of parliament. Zanu-PF
disputed several seats in the courts, but judges refused to overturn those
The Times said it had obtained minutes from a meeting of the Zanu-PF Joint
"We are starting to see a pattern emerge," Nelson Chamisa, the MDC
spokesman, said. "This is a consistent, coordinated strategy."
One MDC member of parliament was kidnapped Tuesday outside the High Court in
Harare. Ten have been charged with various offenses, and another was beaten
into a coma -- an attack that helped trigger Tsvangirai's decision to
withdraw from the presidential runoff.
July 4, 2008
By Our Correspondents
MUTARE - The whereabouts of Naison Nemadziva, the recently elected Member of
Parliament for Buhera South who was abducted at gunpoint gangster-style
outside the Mutare High Court on Monday, remain unknown.
Nemadziwa, who represents the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) attended
the High Court as defendant. Joseph Chinotimba, the losing Zanu-PF candidate
in the constituency in Manicaland Province is petitioning Nemadziva over the
result of the March 29 election.
As the MP emerged from the court at around midday, five armed men in army
fatigues bundled him into a waiting Toyota Twin-cab truck and drove off at
high speed. The vehicle had no registration palates.
One of the abductors was identified allegedly as Colonel Morgan Mzilikazi of
the Zimbabwe National Army.
Lawyers representing the MDC filed a report with the police in Mutare. They
were told that Nemadziwa had been taken to Muzokomba police station in
Buhera. However, the police officers there said they had no idea of the
Meanwhile, the police in the southern Masvingo province on Thursday
recovered two dead bodies of suspected MDC supporters believed to have been
murdered in the aftermath of last Friday's flawed presidential election
The discovery of the bodies brings to 11 the number of MDC supporters said
to have been killed since the presidential election re-run, which one
candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change boycotted
five days before polling day. He cited violence and harassment, including
his own arrest on five occasions.
The election went ahead nevertheless, but with only one candidate, the
incumbent President Robert Mugabe, of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Mugabe won
the election by what election officials claimed to be a landslide victory.
The remains of the two supporters of Tsvangirai's party were recovered in
the bush, one in Bikita and the other in Mwenezi, districts where violence
continues unabated despite Mugabe's disputed victory.
MDC officials in Masvingo yesterday confirmed the recovery of the two
bodies, both male, by the police. Only one had been positively identified,
MDC Masvingo provincial chairman Wilstaff Stemele said: "One of the bodies
suffered serious burns while the other has what appear to be stab wounds. We
believe that more of our supporters have been killed since more than 200
people are missing since June 27."
The police said that their investigations were still in progress. The
officer commanding Masvingo province , Assistant Commissioner Mekia
Tanyanyiwa, said it was too early to say the deceased were MDC supporters.
Meanwhile, political violence continues to haunt various parts of Masvingo
with scores of people still fleeing their rural homes amid reports that
ruling Zanu-PF rural torture bases are being re-established. The bases were
dismantled on election day on June 27 as the ruling party wanted to create
the impression in the eyes of international election observers that all was
now well in the countryside.
"The beatings and killings are still going on in the rural areas as Zanu PF
supporters have embarked on a campaign of retribution, punishing known MDC
activists", said Jeffrey Tangemhare an MDC councillor from Gutu South who
was forced to flee and seek refuge in Masvingo city.
July 4, 2008
In happier days, President Mugabe, right, and President Mbeki
NEW York (The Times, UK) - Pressure was mounting last night for the key role of mediating an end to the crisis in Zimbabwe to be taken out of the hands of Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa, whose “softly softly” approach to Robert Mugabe has been condemned worldwide.
The UN’s push for greater involvement came amid mounting frustration with the failure of current mediation efforts. The United States pushed for Mr Mugabe and other ring-leaders of election abuses in Zimbabwe to be slapped with a worldwide travel ban and the freezing of their assets. Diplomats said that the UN was considering a shortlist of leading African politicians, including the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, to help negotiate a political settlement in the country. Other possible mediators include the former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo; the former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano; and President John Kufuor of Ghana.
At a meeting in Egypt on Monday, the African Union stopped short of condemning the fraudulent re-election of Mr Mugabe but approved a resolution calling on him to negotiate with Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, who pulled out of the run-off poll after a campaign of violence against him and his supporters. Mr Mugabe returned to Zimbabwe yesterday aware that even neighbours such as Botswana, which publicly urged his expulsion from the AU, were turning against him.
Mr Tsvangirai kept up the pressure on the international community. He again rejected the AU decision to keep Mr Mbeki, who is the official mediator of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in sole charge of efforts to resolve the political crisis. Speaking to reporters at his home in Harare, Mr Tsvangirai said that the Opposition would not participate in talks unless an additional mediator was appointed. “Our reservations about the mediation process under President Mbeki are well known,” said Mr Tsvangirai, who leads the opposition MDC, which just failed to win an outright victory in a first poll. “Unless the mediation mechanism is changed, no meaningful progress can be made toward resolving the Zimbabwe crisis,” he said.
Mr Mbeki, 66, dispatched some of his closest advisers to Harare to push for
talks. South Africa has yet to recognise Mr Mugabe’s re-election but has
distanced itself from the European Union’s condemnation of the poll. Mr Mugabe,
who has frequently pulled the wool over the eyes of Mr Mbeki, will have a harder
time from a United Nations or African Union-led team. Diplomats say that the UN
Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, plans to discuss the possible appointment of a
new mediator with Mr Mbeki when both men are in Japan next week for the G8
summit. He will also consult Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian President and the
AU’s current chairman.
As the search for a new mediator intensified, US diplomats circulated a proposed blacklist of 12 names as an annexe to a proposed resolution that would take the symbolic step of imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe for the first time since independence in 1980.
Mr Mugabe is named as the “head of government responsible for activities that seriously undermine democracy, repress human rights and disrespect the rule of law”. Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Zimbabwean Army; Augustine Chihuri, the police chief; Perrence Shiri, the head of the air force; and Gideon Gono, the central bank governor, are named on the list, circulated by the United States.
Also included are Patrick Chinamasa, the Justice Minister; George Charamba, Mr Mugabe’s spokesman; Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Rural Housing Minister; and Happyton Bonyongwe, the chief of the Central Intelligence Organisation. US diplomats held more talks in New York last night to round up the votes necessary for adoption of the resolution by the 15-nation council, possibly next week. South Africa, Russia and China oppose the sanctions and are backed by Libya, Vietnam and Indonesia. Burkina Faso is the key ninth vote needed by the Western bloc. A Western diplomat said yesterday that Burkina Faso was “holding up well”. The resolution will be adopted if it is backed by the necessary nine votes, unless it is vetoed by China or, less likely, Russia. A diplomat from a country that opposes the resolution predicted that China would be reluctant to cast its veto because of the Olympics.
By Services | Harare Tribune News
Thursday, July 3, 2008 19:31
Zimbabwe, Harare --Zimbabwe's opposition has accused the government of
a campaign to wipe out its newly won majority in parliament after one of its
MPs was abducted in broad daylight by soldiers outside the high court in
The Movement for Democratic Change said the kidnapping, earlier this
week, was part of an onslaught against its control of parliament by Robert
Mugabe's forces which included the arrests of at least 10 opposition MPs on
trumped-up charges and the forcing of many others into hiding or abroad
through violence and threats to their families.
Naison Nemadziwa, MP for Buhera South in Manicaland, was able to make
a mobile phone call to another opposition legislator after he was snatched
on Monday and said he recognised the officer in charge of his abduction as
an army colonel. Colleagues of the missing MP said the colonel is an
associate of a war veterans' leader, Joseph Chinotimba, the ruling Zanu-PF
parliamentary candidate defeated by Nemadziwa in the March general
Chinotimba is best known for jointly spearheading the sometimes
violent seizure of white-owned farms. Nemadziwa was at the high court to
fight a legal challenge to his victory by Chinotimba, one of 53 court
actions by Zanu-PF aimed at overturning the opposition's 12-seat majority in
Pishai Muchauraya, another MDC MP from Manicaland, received the call
from Nemadziwa saying he was being abducted by armed men.
"He said he recognised the one in charge as Colonel Morgan Mzilikazi.
We know Mzilikazi. He works hand in hand with Chinotimba," said Muchauraya
. "We know Chinotimba threatened to get rid of Naison. This is all
part of a campaign against our MPs." The opposition said the abduction is
part of a strategy confirmed by a handwritten document obtained by the
Guardian and drawn up by a senior Zimbabwean intelligence official for
delivery to foreign observers, including a group of South African army
generals sent to scrutinise the political violence. It says that opposition
MPs are to be "silenced", jailed on charges of treason, and not allowed to
move in their own constituencies.
Muchauraya said another Manicaland opposition MP, Mathias Mlambo,
disappeared two weeks ago at a time when Zanu-PF was threatening his life.
The ruling party's forces are also targeting the families of MPs they are
unable to find. Five relatives of Festus Dumbu, MP for Zaka West, were
abducted earlier this week, and are still missing, when the assailants
discovered he was not at home.
The MDC also accuses the government of targeting its MPs for arrest on
trumped up charges that carry prison sentences of more than six months which
would see them barred from parliament and by-elections held. So far, 10 MDC
MPs have been arrested. They include the party's secretary general, Tendai
Biti, who is awaiting trial on treason charges, based on a forged document,
and for announcing the election results without government approval. Four
other MPs are still in prison on what the MDC says are false allegations.
They include Eric Matinenga, MP for Buhera West, who is accused of
sponsoring political violence despite a high court ruling that he be
released. Shua Mudiwa, MP for Mutare West, is detained on charges of
kidnapping a 13-year-old girl. Other MPs have been charged with inciting
police officers to revolt against the government.
Eliah Jembere, MP for Epworth township near Harare, was accused of
rape. The charge is ironic given that Zanu-PF militia have used rape as a
terror tactic against the opposition in Epworth. The judge threw out the
case against Jembere. The police have issued a warrant for Elton Mangoma, MP
for Makoni North, on charges of political violence.
The MDC also says more than half of its MPs are in hiding. They
include strategists such as Ian Makone, the party's chief election
organiser. Others have fled the country, principally for Botswana which has
said it will not recognise Mugabe's government. It is not clear whether they
will return if parliament is seated but under Zimbabwean law they can be
stripped of their seats if they do not attend parliament for 21 consecutive
July 4, 2008
By Tendai Dumbutshena
IF EVIDENCE was ever required to prove the moral bankruptcy of the African
Union (AU), it was provided in Egypt last Tuesday. Faced with a challenge to
respond to the shameful run-off presidential election in Zimbabwe, the AU
issued a meaningless resolution calling for a government of national unity
(GNU). It was such a limp-wristed response that one commentator likened it
to being savaged by a dead sheep.
A recap of what happened in Zimbabwe is necessary to fully grasp the
uselessness of the AU. After losing the March 29 elections it took the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) five weeks to announce results of the
presidential poll. Having done that at the behest of Zanu-PF the ZEC
extended the period within which a run-off had to take place from 21 to 90
days. Mugabe needed time to put into place an infrastructure of terror and
electoral fraud. What then followed amounted to nothing less than crimes
In the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary election more people were murdered
than in the latest bloodletting. But the savagery and brutality of the
latest terror had not been seen since Gukurahundi in the 1980s. Innocent
people especially in rural areas were tortured and murdered in the most
gruesome manner. In some cases this was done in front of the victims'
children. The children themselves were not spared. Mutilations a la Sierra
Leone became a favoured method of inflicting pain. Homes were torched. An
estimated 200 000 people were displaced. The level of cruelty was
mind-numbing. Clearly the intention was to create maximum fear.
The MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai correctly pulled out of the race. It was
a decision that certainly saved lives. As sole candidate Mugabe was assured
of victory but the violence and intimidation did not abate. On polling day
people were frog-marched to polling stations. If you were found with no red
ink on your fingers -evidence that you had voted - you risked life and limb.
Mugabe achieved an incredible feat by doubling the votes he got on March 29.
The militia and so-called war veterans with logistical support from the army
and police were in charge at polling stations. This time there was no
pretence that the ZEC was in charge of the election. They were reduced to
taking orders from the CIO, war veterans and the militia. Observer teams
from the AU, Pan-African Parliament and SADC witnessed all of that. The
verdict of all their reports was that this was an illegitimate election
whose outcome had to be rejected.
There was only one logical conclusion for the AU to draw. Mugabe should have
been told in advance not to attend the conference. Alternatively once there
he should have been told unequivocally that his government was illegitimate.
To it's eternal credit only Botswana issued an official statement stating
that representatives of the Zimbabwe government should not be allowed to
attend AU and SADC meetings. In other words recognition should have been
withheld until proper elections were held.
When the AU replaced the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) some years
back, there was big talk of an African renaissance founded on principles of
democracy, human rights and good governance. Under the umbrella of the Thabo
Mbeki inspired New Economic Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD), a
deal was struck with industrialized countries for greater economic
cooperation and assistance in exchange for good governance. Events in Egypt
proved what many feared - that this was empty talk. Old habits die hard.
It was easier for them to turn a blind eye on Mugabe's atrocious behavior
than take a principled stand against an old comrade. It is now not possible
for Mbeki and other African leaders to tell the world that Africa is serious
about governing in the interest of its people. What is galling about the AU
resolution is that its authors know it will not be implemented. Mugabe's
spokesman, George Charamba who more than anyone else in Zimbabwe accurately
reflects his master's thinking, told reporters in Egypt that a government of
national unity was a non-starter.
Having given Mugabe tacit recognition there is nothing African leaders can
do to force him to form a government of national unity. Who wants it anyway?
The MDC stated it is prepared to negotiate for a transitional authority
based on March 29 results with a mandate to adopt a new constitution and
hold elections. They do not recognize Mugabe's presidency and certainly do
not want to be co-opted into his government as junior partners for his
convenience and survival.
It has been pointed out that it is unrealistic to expect the AU to take a
principled stand against a leader who has stolen an election and behaved
abominably against his people. After all about half of African leaders
cannot be classified as having been freely elected by their people. They
have no moral authority to judge Mugabe. That is why the Zimbabwe leaders
boldly asked; "I want to see which finger will point at me?" He knew that he
had nothing to fear from the AU.
It is no coincidence that the most stable democracy in Africa, Botswana took
a principled position. Who publicly supported Mugabe? Omar Bongo of Gabon
who has been in power since 1967 has nothing but his fabulous wealth to show
for it. The host of the summit Hosni Mubarak has political opponents rotting
in jail. He is notorious for running farcical elections and is presently
grooming his son to take over. The list of these African despots is endless.
How can they be expected to censure their kindred spirits?
Perhaps it is time for those who take their countries seriously to ask
whether it is worth belonging to the AU. What useful purpose does it serve
except to squander taxpayers' and donor funds? It is not surprising that
while countries in Asia which were also colonized are surging ahead Africa
remains mired in poverty, backwardness and corruption. African leaders find
it easy and convenient to blame the West for the continent's ills. They
simply will not accept responsibility for ruining their countries. They are
the biggest obstacle to the development of Africa.
Mugabe will largely ignore the AU resolution on GNU. To allow his ally Mbeki
to save face he will let his underlings talk with the MDC if the latter
stupidly become part of the charade. But these will be talks on the road to
nowhere. Their purpose will be to deceive the world that something serious
is afoot While the circus goes on Mugabe will do all within his powers to
cripple the opposition and keep the populace cowed and terrified.
Given the character and history of the AU do not bet against Mugabe becoming
chairman soon. Why not? One Idi Amin Dada had that honour back in the 1970s.
Then he proceeded into exile where he died.
By The Analyst | Harare Tribune Contributor
Thursday, July 3, 2008 17:55
Recalling her own background of persistent political struggles with
fiendish dictatorships, the Liberian leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has
voiced her disdain over the apparent indifference of many of her male
African leaders to outrightly denounce Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe, who fought the British to secure liberation for his country,
has vowed to remain put as the compensation for his sacrifices to oust the
The despot, who has ruled from independence in 1980, few days ago
hijacked democracy through sheer use of thuggery and widespread brutality
against the opposition to be declared, as expected by the rubber-stamp
electoral body, as winner of an election that he was the only presidential
candidate, though he had secured 43 percent to the MDC's Morgan Tsvangara's
47 percent nearly two months back.
Now, Africa's first democratically elected female president has struck
a note of distinct aversion with the male comradeship that she gauges as the
continental reaction to the daylight democratic robbery in Zimbabwe. Her
call for the denouncing of Bob Mugabe, is a tough stance that political
analysts perceive as an acrid water that many of her colleagues will not
stomach, in preference of solidarity with the tradition of Old Africa.
The Analyst draws parallels that may work against the denunciatory
position. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has converted a close door session
at the summit of AU heads of states and government to squarely call for the
denouncing of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. The Liberian leader maintained that
Mugabe's handling of the concluded elections must be repudiated by AU
leaders through rejection of the June 27th elections as not credible and the
results as unacceptable. According to her, it is through such decisive
actions by the continental leaders that the Union can maintain any semblance
The President spoke yesterday during the 13th Ordinary Session of the
African Union in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, during a closed session of AU
leaders. She further suggested that the international community should work
with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to find a lasting
solution to the situation in Zimbabwe. She presented a lesson of Liberian
history by saying that the 1985 elections overseen by the slain, former
Liberian leader, Samuel K. Doe was endorsed by Africa and the world.
According to her the global endorsement of a rigged process frustrated
the true will of the people and this caused the fourteen years civil war
that left over two hundred thousand persons dead. The Liberian leader called
on the African Union to be courageous in saying 'all is not well in
Zimbabwe' and that the request by SADC for a postponement of the June 27
Zimbabwean elections should be heeded. The President also supported
conclusive statements of the African Union Observer Mission that observed
the elections in Zimbabwe on June 27th that the process fell short of the
accepted AU standards.
She said similar positions have been taken by the Pan African
Parliament; the United Nations Security Council has questioned the
credibility of the elections while several elder statesmen of Africa have in
various ways questioned the legitimacy of the election results. In light of
these calls, the Liberian leader said African leaders must equally denounce
the Zimbabwean elections, saying: 'These persons and institutions cannot all
be wrong, cannot all be conspiratorial as we may be made to believe'.
President Johnson-Sirleaf also emphasized that the call for a peacekeeping
mission in Zimbabwe is unrealistic.
She added that it may be necessary for SADC in concert with the
African Union Peace and Security Council, to put in place some civilian
peace monitors who duty it could be to conduct early warning assessments of
Zimbabwe in order to monitor and prevent any escalation of the crisis. She
finally called on the AU to be consistent in the promotion of standards it
The 13th AU Summit ended yesterday with the Chairman and President
Jakaya Kikwete Tanzania giving a summary of what the leaders had achieved
during their two-day deliberations. President Kikwete said the leaders of
Africa demonstrated what he referred to as 'the cause of Africa,' saying
they discussed the pivotal issues of water and sanitation. According to him,
the leaders agreed on measures to proceed with the management of scarce
He also said the global food crisis was discussed with multilateral
organizations making commitments on ways they are going to assist the
continent in the alleviating the food crisis. The AU Chairman added that the
Union discussed the Millennium Development Goals and launched a landmark
consensus report on how to achieve the MDG in Africa. He said the report
states that Africa is now only half-way in achieving the MDG by 2015.
President Kikwete also revealed that the leaders had a lengthy discussion on
the way forward towards a Union Government of Africa, adding that
implementation of the process could commence by the next summit in Addis
Ababa in January 2009.
He said the AU looked at its conflict areas on the continent and
commended the AU for its work in restoring peace in Kenya. President Kikwete
also said the leaders had discussed what he referred to as 'a way forward on
Zimbabwe' as well as the progress made with regards the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD).
The AU Chairman then characterized the Sharm El-Sheikh gathering as a
landmark summit and declared its adjournment. President Johnson-Sirleaf has
left Egypt at the end of the AU Summit for the United States for a private
visit. She is scheduled to return to Liberia next week.
By Phil Matibe | Harare Tribune Contributor
Thursday, July 3, 2008 20:52
Of the numerous military intervention strategies that exist for the
ethical and morally justifiable removal of the junta in Zimbabwe, only two
options are tactically feasible, politically correct and need no further
The first option would involve the use of a private army. It offers
plausible deniability to any supportive government in the event of
collateral damage and civilians casualties. This option also allows for
countries with post-colonial guilt to render indirect lethal and non-lethal
assistance from a distance. This urgent intervention is a moral imperative
and will confound all cynics who subscribe to the notion that Western
countries only intervene when their economic interests are threatened.
The second option is a direct military intervention in Zimbabwe to
restore democracy and save innocent lives under the auspices of the African
Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) and the Commonwealth.
Operation Restore Democracy should be broken into four critical
phases: planning and posturing, attack, mission completion and
post-hostilities. The period from the first phase to the final phase for
both options is sixty days. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) adopted
the Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Government through the 36th
ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the
OAU, held in Lomé, from 10 to 12 July 2000.
This in tandem with the relevant principles of the Constitutive Act of
the African Union legally compels the AU to intervene militarily in
Zimbabwe. The mandate is to remove an unlawful, criminal junta that
overthrew an elected president on March 29, 2008 through a brutal low
intensity conflict and an unconstitutional coup de tat.
Only African Union member states whose leaders and governments are
themselves in elected office should participate in this operation, "the
coalition of the willing and able." Zimbabwe, by its very geography presents
a challenge for any military strategist. It is landlocked and surrounded by
some neighbouring sovereign states that are sympathetic to the despotic
ruler in Zimbabwe.
The ability of the intervention force to over fly these territories in
support of the ground troops requires diplomacy, secrecy and African unity.
Diplomatic clearances, international support and intelligence capabilities
are essential for the success of the mission at hand. Without divulging
intimate details of this robust intervention strategy, current war gaming
reveals that the main invasion force, the foot soldiers, should be made up
of infantry battalions from Africa in order to mitigate local animosity.
With Zimbabwe broken up into five theaters of operations, each African
contingent will be responsible for the command and control of its troops. A
coalition headquarters manned by officers from participating countries
coordinates operations under a central command, thus avoiding friendly fire
and other combat communication mishaps during the fog of war.
Establishing a no-fly zone that covers Zimbabwean airspace is the
first action to be undertaken before the posturing of the intervention force
thus establishing air superiority. Protection of national assets such as
power stations, dams, etc., against destruction from the regime militia's
scorched policy, should be prioritised . On the other hand, the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces are well trained and battle hardened in comparison to some of
their African counterparts.
However, their equipment is functionally obsolete and if their last
battles in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC), Operation Sovereign
Legitimacy (OSLEG) are anything to go by, only the Special Forces units i.e.
Parachute Regiment, Commando Battalion, Special Air Service (SAS), could
present meaningful resistance.
The threat to the civilian population and to the intervention force
from the military elite, sycophantic rogue officers and men of the ZDF will
have to be suppressed through psychological operations. Pre-emptive targeted
bombings prior to the commencement of the main attack will effectively
degrade the junta's fighting capabilities. The junta leadership should also
be neutralised during this phase. The will of the professional Zimbabwean
soldier to fight and certainly die in defence of a despotic tyrant is
Special Operation Forces (SOF) units shall be deployed for direct
action missions for eliminating youth militia and auxiliaries who pose a
grave threat to civilians. The coalition shall not use cluster munitions,
anti-personnel mines or dumb bombs in Zimbabwe. A robust post hostilities
stabilization force under a comprehensive military operation other than war
(MOOTW) plan, comprising of officers and men with peacekeeping experience
and training, are deployed as soon as major combat is over. The United
Nations then assumes sovereign authority during the transitional phase as
elections are conducted.
Phil Matibe - www.culturalinsurgnet.vox.com
By Deirdre Hipwell
As the bloody political crisis deepens, Deirdre Hipwell returns to her
homeland to find vulture funds circling a wrecked economy
'I suspect that even my cousin in Mutare might be a member of the Central
Intelligence Organisation. The last time I went there he said he had heard I
was saying dangerous things at the Sunday mass and I should watch out. He
was warning me.'
The Catholic priest is softly spoken and talks with the measured cadence
achieved after years of delivering sermons to the Harare faithful.
'I told him I was only telling my parishioners what they already knew, that
the church condemns the gross injustice done to the poor in Zimbabwe and we
should bow our heads in shame at how this government has greatly increased
urban poverty and destitution.'
What the priest, who cannot be named in this article, is telling me - a
journalist operating illegally in Zimbabwe - could get both of us arrested.
And in taking me into the townships under the guise of a 'missionary worker'
to see the poverty, degradation and intimidation of Zimbabwean people, we
risk imprisonment of up to two years.
As he stands in the sparsely decorated seminary in Harare, smoothing down a
brightly coloured antimacassar emblazoned with president Robert Mugabe's
face, the unspoken threat rests heavily in the room.
The pervasive fear of a despotic regime is as cloying as the stench from the
raw sewage running through the streets of Chitungwiza township to the north
Yet while the priest shows me squalor, filth, child prostitution, political
intimidation, deprivation and death in a township that has had neither
electricity nor rubbish collection services for two years, others,
conversely, can only talk of Zimbabwe's economic recovery potential.
When Mugabe goes, I am told, the comeback will be swift and the profits
large. Risk-taking investors lured by Zimbabwean office blocks, game parks
and hotels that are now phenomenally undervalued after failing to keep up
with 9,000,000% hyperinflation stand to benefit hugely from rising rents and
capital values as money pours into the country.
But for property investors, the window of opportunity is slim. 'If you don't
invest now you won't miss the first 10% return, you will lose the first 100%
return,' says John Legat, chief executive officer of Harare-based Imara
In March last year, Imara launched a $10m (£5m) Zimbabwe-only fund, with a
minimum investment level of $100,000 (£50,000). He says the fund was
oversubscribed within two weeks of its launch.
African giant Lonrho, founded by British businessman Tiny Rowland, has even
made a push back into Zimbabwe with its $65m (£32.6m) AIM-flotation of a
Zimbabwe-only investment fund, LonZim, last December.
Lonrho executive chairman David Lenigas says the fund was launched because
'of worldwide demand' to invest in commercial property that in Zimbabwe is
'as cheap as chips'.
'The infrastructure in Harare is fantastic but it's firesale prices,' he
adds. 'We also see a big market in residential property and resorts and game
parks too.' Lonrho chief executive Geoffrey White says investing through its
fund will allow the public to participate in Zimbabwe's recovery through a
modest investment in a transparent and regulated company. He says Lonrho is
'very bullish' about Zimbabwe's prospects of being restored to an economic
powerhouse in Africa.
It is not just LonZim and Imara that are seeking to capitalise on a
potential Zimbabwe recovery. London-based Russian investment bank
Renaissance Capital is also launching a fund to invest across Africa,
including Zimbabwe. Chief executive Stephen Jennings made African headlines
when he said the continent was his 'second once-in-a-lifetime opportunity' -
Russia was the first.
Even JP Morgan Asset Management said it 'would keep an eye on Zimbabwe' when
it launched an Africa-focused investment fund with a $250m (£125.8m) equity
target in May.
It is hard to believe there could be any potential investment opportunities
in Zimbabwe after last week's violent and pointless run-off election, which
entrenched Mugabe and his Zanu-PF Party in power by default for a further
Stripped of his ceremonial knighthood, castigated by Nelson Mandela for his
'tragic failure of leadership', denounced as a thug by world leaders and
found severely wanting by the English Cricket Board, Mugabe truly is the
flag bearer of all of Africa's ills.
The priest who acted as my guide certainly cannot see any imminent recovery
in Zimbabwe or reason for investor confidence.
As we arrive back from Chitungwiza there is a man from Epworth, another
deprived Harare township, kneeling on his haunches outside the seminary
door. He has no job, is hungry, and has a wife and children in Epworth he
says he cannot support. His brown skin is almost grey, his hair has the
reddish-brown tint of malnutrition, his eyes are rheumy and his hands shake
uncontrollably. A hole in the sole of his shoe has been patched with
The priest brings him something to eat and drink but says he has no job to
offer. The man remains sitting quietly outside the door.
'It is almost funny now to think that we were once Africa's pride,' says the
'Now people's basic rights to life and shelter and food are being violated.
No individual should be allowed to violate such rights.'
"The infrastructure in Harare is fantastic but it's firesale prices"
David Lenigas, Lonrho
Apart from Zimbabwe's societal ills and the political risk of investing in a
country whose leader boasts 'of having a degree in violence', it is hard,
despite what the optimists say, to see even a remote business case for
The country of 12.3 million people has an unemployment rate of nearly 90%,
one of the world's highest levels of HIV infection, a GDP that has more than
halved in real terms since 1999 and an economy that shrinks every year.
In addition, punitive fiscal controls and the government's penchant for land
grabbing and nationalisation of businesses create a prohibitive investment
But Zimbabwe's biggest problem is hyperinflation that is so rampantly out of
control that every day hundreds of the country's able-bodied workforce risk
death by drowning and crocodile attack to border jump and escape a
government that is totally ill-equipped to manage the economy.
Amos Mazarire, senior partner at Knight Frank, which employs 95 people in
Harare and Bulawayo, says operating a profitable property services business
in such inflationary times is about sheer grit and adaptability.
'I have worked at Knight Frank since 1984 and I have a lot of useless
experience,' jokes Mazarire. 'I can't apply this experience in a stable
economy like the UK - it is only suitable for chaotic situations like this.
'We have to have a very big commercial management team here, because we are
now required to do rent reviews on a monthly basis to keep up with
'You can imagine the amount of work it involves. It is very complicated, as
the rent review from one month can still be in dispute when you have to
begin the next month's rent review,' says Mazarire.
He adds that between May and June, rents for grade A office space in Harare
increased fourfold and now stand at an equivalent of around $2-$3/sq ft
It is illegal to charge rent in anything but the local currency, but
landlords will quote the foreign exchange rates for rents charged 'as a
point of reference', says Mazarire. But it is a very confusing point of
reference because there are at least three different currency conversion
rates in use.
There is the official or 'bank rate', which is set by the highly politicised
Central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and is wildly inaccurate at Z$30,000 to £1.
Then there is the widely used 'parallel rate', or semi-legalised black
market rate, consisting of a 'cash rate' and a real-time gross settlement
(RTGS) rate, which can vary from Z$30bn to Z$40bn to £1.
Mazarire says it is essential to get to grips with the changing rates. 'The
cash rate and the RTGS rate are effectively black market rates and they can
be difficult to determine, as they are not officially communicated. It is
often determined in informal conversations in the bar and in the street,' he
Zimbabwe's banking computer systems have almost been brought to a halt
trying to cope with inflation and a monetary system that involves trillion,
quadrillion, quintillion and even hectillion denominations. Or, as
Zimbabweans now joke, 'Bob's Zimtillions'.
Complicated and confusing, inflation dominates everyday conversation in
Harare, makes even the simplest purchases extortionate and informs every
business decision (see diary, below). Indeed, in its fund brochure, Imara
called investment in the hyperinflationary Zimbabwe a 'contrarian recovery
play' and helpfully informed prospective fund investors that 'a permanent
loss of capital is possible'.
'We are in such dire straits that we have to change for the better,' says
Mazarire. 'Costs are increasing every day and people are having real serious
hardships. We are fighting everyone when we should be asking for help. We
have to find a way of making this country work. At Knight Frank we are
positive. We will keep on fighting until we get out of this situation, but
we have to position ourselves for the future.'
No one quite knows what the future holds for Zimbabwe and whether the forced
withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change, from the violent election campaign will spur international action
against Mugabe. But even if Mugabe remains in power, the groundswell of
opinion is moving against him, as is his age - he is 84.
Zimbabwe still has solid fundamentals.
It has a well-developed financial system, a thriving stock market, a solid
pension fund industry, huge mineral wealth, including one of the world's
largest platinum deposits, a potentially booming tourist industry and an
educated workforce at home and in exile.
When Zimbabwe emerges from international isolation, it is bound to benefit
from improving conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, spurred by rising commodity
prices, cancellation of debt by western banks, aid packages and higher
inflows of private capital into the region, which the International Monetary
Fund says increased from $11bn (£5.5bn) in 2000 to $53bn (£26.6bn) last
Zimbabwe is the ultimate Frontier market and the vulture funds are already
circling. Change cannot come soon enough for the man from Epworth. Driving
past the seminary three days after my last visit, his hunched form could
still be seen on the steps.
Two weeks undercover: Deirdre's Zimbabwe diary
Day 1 Arrive at Harare International airport, where passengers are greeted
by campaign posters showing Robert Mugabe with a clenched fist and the
slogan: 'Our land, our sovereignty'. One poster has been defaced to read:
'My land, your poverty'. Today's exchange rate: £1 to Z$1bn.
Day 2 Prepare for three-day trip to Victoria Falls, handbag full of
hundreds of notes totalling Z$90bn. A coffee at the airport is Z$200m. Watch
vultures feed at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge watering hole, while taking
million-dollar sips of a Z$1bn (£1) bottle of beer. The waiter grimly jokes
that vultures eat better than Zimbabweans.
Day 5 Visit Victoria Falls as one of only 15 tourists in four hours. Cause
near riot in the town when I trade some of 'ma English' clothes for curio
goods - the barter system is alive and well. A spokesman for the biggest
safari operator tells me Chinese tourists keep this once-booming tourist
Day 7 Back in Harare, drive past man selling worms for fishing bait with a
sign reading: 'Please take me to England or Europe'. At the four-way
intersection outside the South African embassy, graffiti on the road reads:
'Give way Mugabe'. Unofficial 6 pm curfews operate in the townships.
Day 11 Today's exchange rate: £1 to Z$3.5bn. Zimbabwe's governor of the
Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono, says that, if the bank's computers cannot cope
with all the zeros, the staff will have to 'use manual ledgers'.
Day 12 Today's exchange rate: £1 to Z$5bn. Zimbabwe's currency is in
freefall. Two weeks ago Z$90bn bought me a flight, a three-day stay in a
resort hotel, meals, drinks, and a canoe trip. Today it would buy me one and
a half jars of imported peanut butter from South Africa. I'm getting poorer
by the minute - billionaires are at risk of starving.
Day 16 Today's exchange: £1 to Z$7bn. Total number of power cuts in last 16
days: 30. Total consecutive days without water: five. Total days without
Day 17 Caroline, a Zimbabwean orphan, writes to the former employers of her
dead father for help. Her requests are modest (see letter). She is one of
1.7 million orphans - the largest group of parentless children per capita in
the world. She writes: 'Mrs XXXXX I think you were forgotten me but I want
to say thank you for your helpness. God bless you.' They haven't forgotten
her. Mugabe has. Today's exchange rate: £1 to Z$40bn. Mugabe is still in
power and asks 'someone to exorcise the demons in 10 Downing Street'.
Globe and Mail, Canada
From Friday's Globe and Mail
July 3, 2008 at 9:57 PM EDT
Sadly, maybe Robert Mugabe is correct: Only God can remove him as head of
No one else - including the citizens of that beleaguered country, Zimbabwe's
neighbours, the African Union, the Commonwealth and the United Nations -
will do it. Nor will U.S. President George W. Bush be assembling any time
soon a "coalition of the willing" to replace the Zimbabwean thug.
Mr. Mugabe lives, as such thugs usually do, in the illusions of his mind. He
uses state-inflicted violence, refuses to accept democratic norms and
grossly mismanages the economy, covering it all with a pastiche of
justifications rooted in anti-Western rhetoric.
In reality, he wreaked economic havoc on his country and littered the
landscape with the bodies of his political opponents. These tragedies
secured his grip on power, since the victims were cowed into submissions or
massacred by henchmen who live comfortably amid the squalor of their fellow
And yet the world is helpless to relieve the suffering. South Africa, the
country with potentially the most influence on Zimbabwe, has become part of
the problem, its President preferring a dialogue that goes nowhere. Nelson
Mandela's moral leadership has disappeared from today's South African
government, which turns a blind eye to AIDS at home and Mr. Mugabe next
door. The African National Congress that once urged the world to impose
sanctions on the apartheid regime of South Africa will not countenance the
same treatment for Zimbabwe.
Canada is urged to "do something," except that what it can do lacks bite and
what it could do is impossible. Canada can tick off the list of obvious
measures: Ostracize Mr. Mugabe and the other thugs from his regime; call in
Zimbabwe's ambassador and deliver a lecture; apply trade sanctions; make
public statements; talk fruitlessly to the South Africans; and pretend we
have some "special" voice in southern Africa. These measures, all
justifiable, will be morally satisfying but largely useless.
What Canada could do - in theory - is try to give effect to the doctrine we
were among the first to articulate and make part of the UN code. The
"responsibility to protect" principle suggests the world community can/must
intervene in the internal affairs of states when human lives, rights and
property are being willfully endangered by the existing government. If a
government cannot protect its own people, let alone violates them, then the
world community must act. It is a doctrine of immaculate theoretical
rectitude, the application of which is occasionally possible but usually
By any standard, "responsibility to protect" fits Zimbabwe. But no country,
least of all Canada, will mobilize, let alone contribute to, the vast
efforts required to apply the doctrine. A bunch of predominately white
countries such as Canada and maybe Britain would be manifestly unwelcome in
Africa. The UN can pass resolutions, but no member of the Security Council
will apply the "responsibility to protect." And no more feckless group
exists in the world than the African Union, as we have seen in its
ineffectual response to the massacres in Darfur.
The AU's 53 member countries just met in Egypt. The host, Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak, one of the continent's longest-serving autocrats, opined at
length on various African problems but said nothing about the scandals in
Zimbabwe. After all, free elections are not exactly Mr. Mubarak's cup of
Botswana and Zambia have forcefully condemned Mr. Mugabe, and certain civic
groups in these and other countries have done what they could to stop him
from securing more arms. But without serious pressure from Zimbabwe's
neighbours, the thugocracy will continue.
An AU resolution suggested perhaps a government of national unity, such as
the one cobbled together after the ethnic massacres that followed the Kenyan
election. No way, sniffed a Mugabe spokesperson: "The Kenyan way is not the
The "Zimbabwean way" is a tragedy of sorts for all of Africa, since the
tacit support of some African regimes for the thugocracy and the evident
failure of the AU to act unfairly tar the whole continent's image with the
brush strokes of political violence and economic disorder.
New York Times
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
Published: July 4, 2008
UNITED NATIONS - Seeking to force President Robert Mugabe into negotiations
with the opposition, the United States on Thursday formally proposed United
Nations Security Council sanctions on Zimbabwe. The proposed sanctions
include an international arms embargo and punitive measures against the 14
people the United States deemed most responsible for undermining Zimbabwe's
presidential election through violence.
About 200 people who gathered outside the United States Embassy in Harare,
Zimbabwe, on Thursday said they were victims of violence linked to the
nation's recent presidential election.
Aside from Mr. Mugabe, those singled out in the draft resolution to be
subject to an international travel ban and a freeze on personal assets
include the chiefs of the various branches of the armed forces, the governor
of the central bank, the head of the Justice Department and the presidential
"We want to respond to the situation and respond in a way that encourages a
move towards resolving the legitimacy crisis without negatively impacting
the people of Zimbabwe, who are suffering a great deal at the hands of the
regime," said Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States ambassador to the United
The United States expects to bring the resolution to a vote as early as next
week, he said. The mood around the Council chamber was noncommittal, with
even previously outspoken opponents to further United Nations interference,
particularly South Africa, saying they would have to consult with their
Although passage is not assured, the United States has apparently mustered
enough support to garner the 9 of 15 votes needed to approve the resolution.
China and Russia, which have generally supported the position that this is
an African problem that ought to be dealt with locally, could still veto it.
Russia is considered unlikely to do so, diplomats noted, and China may feel
pressured to avoid vetoing sanctions because criticism of its own human
rights record in the prelude to the Olympics.
Mr. Mugabe won election to his sixth term last week after his opponent,
Morgan Tsvangirai, dropped out of a runoff election because state-sponsored
enforcers were beating and killing his followers. Mr. Tsvangirai had won 48
percent of the vote to Mr. Mugabe's 43 percent in the March 29 election.
Even if the United States does not press a final vote, supporters believe
having the threatened sanctions on the table serves as a useful prod. "Let's
have it out there as a cloud over the situation which people have to take
into consideration as the mediation goes forward," said one Western
diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity according to his ministry's
The resolution also seeks to force the resumption of humanitarian aid work,
which Zimbabwe's government ordered suspended during the runoff campaign,
and calls for the appointment of a special representative to Zimbabwe by
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The representative would be expected to
assist in mediation efforts between the opposition and the government and to
monitor human rights.
Mr. Ban is expected to discuss the possibility of a United Nations official
participating in mediation efforts with President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa on the fringe of the Group of 8 summit meeting of industrialized
nations in Japan next week. Mr. Mbeki, the sole mediator thus far, has been
criticized as being overly indulgent of Mr. Mugabe.
Zimbabwe's United Nations ambassador, Boniface G. Chidyausiku, bristled
Thursday at the idea of sanctions. The resolution "is undermining the
efforts of the African Union and President Mbeki," he said.
The 13 people identified for sanctions along with Mr. Mugabe include key
military and security chiefs: Constantine Chiwenga, the overall military
commander; Perence Shiri, the head of the air force; Augustine Chihuri, the
police commissioner; Happyton Bonyongwe, the director of central
intelligence; Didymus Mutasa, the national security minister; and Sidney
Tigere Sekeramayi, the minister of defense. Also on the list are: Patrick
Chinamasa, the minister of justice; Gideon Gono, chief of the Central Bank;
and George Charamba, the president's spokesman.
04 July 2008
NOW that President Robert Mugabe has been sworn into a sixth term after an
election widely viewed as illegitimate, what is the rest of the world going
to do about it?
So far, the response has been slow or ineffective. The United Nations (UN)
Security Council has managed to pass only watered-down condemnations of
Mugabe's electoral terror because of resistance from SA, China and Russia.
And on Tuesday, the African Union urged Mugabe to join in a power-sharing
agreement - a government of national unity.
But a better idea may be for Zimbabwe's elected officials to cut Mugabe out
altogether - by getting rid of the office of president. At first glance that
may appear difficult: the Zimbabwean regime is marked by an extremely
powerful executive presidency coupled with a largely neutered parliament.
Nearly all state power now rests with Mugabe, who has run the country since
independence in 1980, and now presides over a nation with severe fuel and
food shortages and an inflation rate of more than a million percent a year.
Yet it is possible for the parliament to jettison the presidency. Recall
that Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections in March gave the opposition party,
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, 109 seats
in the House of Assembly to 97 for Mugabe's party, Zanu (PF). Though by no
means flawless, these elections were not marred by the same degree of
violence and intimidation as the recent presidential election, in which the
winner of the first round, Tsvangirai, withdrew from the race.
The MDC's slight majority is a relatively accurate depiction of the country's
political landscape, giving both sides significant representation in
parliament, with the MDC controlling the 210-seat lower house, and the
parties effectively tied in the Senate. That would allow a Prime Minister
Tsvangirai to govern while still requiring his party to compromise with Zanu
(PF) to gain the two-thirds majority needed to pass constitutional
amendments - like getting rid of the presidency for good. That would also
help protect Zanu (PF) supporters, including military officers, from
More immediately, a newly empowered parliament would give reformist elements
in Zanu (PF) a forum in which to conduct politics and make deals. The party
is no longer a monolith: former finance minister Simba Makoni ran for
president against Mugabe in the first round, and there are leaders within
Zanu (PF) who are more than willing to abandon the "old man" given the
opportunity to do so. These leaders - including Gen Solomon Mujuru and
former home affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa - are the natural negotiating
partners of the MDC, not the indefatigable Mugabe and his coterie of
The newly elected parliamentarians haven't been sworn in yet, and some seats
remain contested. But once they find a way to meet, they could rather
quickly declare the parliament sovereign and terminate Mugabe's reign. In
the past few decades, African countries such as Benin and Mali made
transitions from authoritarian rule by taking similar actions at what were
called national conferences.
What's more, a sovereign parliament with significant Zanu (PF) backing could
credibly offer amnesty deals to the generals who had sustained Mugabe's
tyranny. Although distasteful, such amnesty deals would be critical to any
lasting settlement and would be far easier to achieve without Mugabe in the
picture - particularly if the parliament's sovereignty was recognised by the
African Union and the UN.
A parliamentary government would have the virtue of not only dislodging
Mugabe, but assuring a more democratic Zimbabwe in the future. Indeed,
Zimbabwe began as a parliamentary democracy, but Mugabe found that form of
government too restrictive and abolished the office of prime minister in
1987, concentrating power in an executive presidency.
Political scientists have demonstrated that parliamentary regimes are more
likely to remain democratic than their presidential counterparts. Power and
legitimacy in the new regime would be vested in a representative body, not a
single person or office. Moreover, parliaments are institutionally
appropriate for politically and ethnically divided societies such as
Zimbabwe: they ensure representation for political minorities and generally
require compromise in order to form governments.
With other geriatric presidents clinging to power throughout Africa - Omar
Bongo in Gabon and Paul Biya in Cameroon are but two examples - more
Zimbabwe-like crises may be on the horizon. The international community
would be well served to support institutional alternatives to the continent's
over-empowered executives, beginning with a parliamentary (and free)
a.. Rosenberg is a doctoral student of political science at the University
of California, Berkeley and the southern Africa analyst for Freedom House.
This article first appeared in the New York Times.
By Tom Burgis in Johannesburg
Published: July 4 2008 03:00 | Last updated: July 4 2008 03:00
The fate of Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia's president, was last night shrouded in
confusion amid reports that he had died in a Paris hospital after suffering
Mr Mwanawasa, one of the continent's most forthright critics of Robert
Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe, was hospitalised on Sunday after arriving
in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh for an African Union summit.
On Wednesday he was flown to a military hospital in Paris for specialist
treatment. But yesterday the government was forced to deny rumours of his
"The doctors attending [Mr Mwanawasa] are happy with progress made so far
and his condition remains stable," said Rupiah Banda, the vice-president who
is at the helm while the president is out of the country.
Mr Mwanawasa holds the regional bloc's rotating chair and led efforts to
overcome African leaders' deference towards Mr Mugabe.
Friday, 4 July 2008, 1:50 pm
Column: Lachlan Mackay
Tuesday 24th June 2008
President Robert Mugabe
Private Bag 7700
Dear Mr. President,
I write to you with the greatest urgency and concern,
Your country is suffering, mentally and physically because of your
dictatorial and tyrannical rule. You have destroyed the spirit of your
people and decimated the economy. Your people are starving as a result of
this. Your supporters rape, kill and pillage wherever and whenever possible.
None of your people feel safe anymore. Is this what you want people to
remember you by? Is this to be your legacy?
Mr. Mugabe what happened to you? There was so much promise and hope when you
first became Prime Minister of your newly independent country. What went
I beg you please to stop the violence. Stop the killing, the raping, the
pillaging and the intimidation of your people. Bring back democracy. Allow
the media to operate freely. Allow for free and fair elections to take place
at the earliest opportunity possible. Allow aid agencies to assist a new
national unity government rebuild your broken country.
For the sake of your people, your country, your family and your soul redeem
yourself before it is too late. Can you not see that this path you are
following will only lead to more pain and destruction and will ultimately
lead to the demise of your supporters, family and in the end your rule as
evil is always overcome by good whether there was any personal input on your
part or not.
Gandhi stated many times - " that all through history, the way of truth and
love has always won, there have been tyrants and murderers and for a time
they seem invincible but in the end they always fall". I would like to quote
Gandhi again if I may... "the only devils in this world are those running
around in our own hearts, and that is where all our battles ought to be
fought". Both quotes I truly believe in. Please let me make it quite clear
to you that I am not attacking you because you are a person, but I am
attacking your sins. I hope that somewhere deep down inside of you, there is
still some good and it is to that bit of you that I am desperately appealing
to. Please give me some hope and faith to believe in humanity again.
I hope that you do seriously consider what I have said,
Humanitarian and Human Rights Campaigner
By Stephen Brenkley in Dubai
Friday, 4 July 2008
After two long and fractious days, Zimbabwe were still hanging on to their
place at cricket's high table last night. The International Cricket Council
failed again to resolve the issue of their continued presence and the world
game remains in limbo.
If signs were to be gleaned they were that the last-ditch attempt to reach
some form of agreement today will go England's way, at least to a limited
extent. The chances of achieving any formal suspension have been
significantly reduced, but England have refused to budge an inch on their
refusal to allow Zimbabwe to compete in the World Twenty20 in England next
India, meanwhile, moved an equal distance in declining to countenance
Zimbabwe's non-participation. There have undoubtedly been shifts of position
and the firm ground taken by Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and
Wales Cricket Board, might have influenced opinion.
All matches in the competition have already sold out - except for the two in
which Zimbabwe are scheduled to play - which alone would make it difficult
to switch the tournament elsewhere. The ICC will have to move it if England
refuse to allow Zimbabwe in without having the necessary support from other
nations. But the ticket revenue of some £15m - 90 per cent of which goes to
the ICC for distribution to its members - makes a powerful bargaining tool.
Asked if he thought the World Twenty20 would be staged in England, however,
David Richardson, the ICC's acting chief executive, replied simply: "Yes."
Later he added, perhaps tellingly, perhaps not: "I think it would be sad if
we didn't have any of our full members competing, particularly England."
It was clear from the tightness of their lips that ICC delegates were aware
of the disaster facing the game and the piecing together of snippets of
information suggested Zimbabwe recognised they were in trouble at last. The
chairman of their cricket board, Peter Chingoka, was overheard outside the
conference room to say: "We're in a difficult situation."
Shortly after, Chingoka and his entourage of lawyers, who had been
remarkably bullish the previous day, visited India's delegation in their
hotel. India seemingly asked Zimbabwe to consider withdrawing voluntarily
from the World Twenty20 while retaining all the membership and financial
rights. That might seem a woeful kind of compromise, but it was the best the
ECB can hope for and it was rejected simply because Zimbabwe refuse to bow
the knee in any way to England. Although there was no official version of
how the countries are splitting, it is probable that five are on England's
side, pretty astonishing in itself. If Australia and New Zealand are the
usual suspects, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are the distinctly
unusual ones. But a 7-3 vote, or two thirds, is necessary for resolutions to
be carried and minds are in any case believed to be changing regularly.
Were England's point to be won it may weaken India's position as the game's
powerbrokers. If they lose - and they are prepared to do so rather than
alter their stance - the consequences are unthinkable.
In the light of this, the news that the ICC is seeking to establish a formal
world Test championship, primarily to save that form of the game, seems
faintly ludicrous. But Australia have been asked to expand on their
proposal. This presumes that any country is by then willing to play against
The were two decisions. Tied matches in one-day knock-out stages are to be
decided by each side batting for an extra over rather than bowl out. In
addition players will not be allowed a substitute in international matches
if leaving the field for a comfort break. It was enough to make everyone
want to go to the toilet.
Thursday, 03 July 2008 21:31
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is any day now expected to announce a new
cabinet that will have a few surprise inclusions while leaving space for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), it emerged yesterday.
Informed sources said Mugabe would make public his new team after his
return from Egypt today. He attended an African Union summit there earlier
The announcement could be made as early as this weekend. The cabinet -
initially anticipated to have been made known this week - is expected to lay
a firm basis for a government of national unity between Zanu PF and the MDC.
African leaders endorsed the proposal mooted by South African
President Thabo Mbeki at their meeting at the Red Sea resort of Sharm
el-Sheikh. AU chair Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and AU Commission
chairman Jean Ping are expected in Harare soon to pin down the initiative,
Both Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai have said they want to
talk, but differences remain on conditions for dialogue. Mbeki, the Sadc
mediator, told AU leaders a deal is in the offing.
The sources said Mugabe is under pressure to retain only a few of his
current cabinet and introduce new faces to revamp his policy-making body to
create a team to tackle the economic crisis.
There will be a major clear-out of deadwood, it is expected, not just
because of the need for renewal but also on account of the number of
ministers who lost their seats. Zanu PF ministers who lost their seats in
March include Patrick Chinamasa, Samuel Mumbengegwi, Aeneas Chigwedere, Amos
Midzi, Mike Nyambuya, Joseph Made, Munacho Mutezo, Chris Mushohwe, Oppah
Muchinguri and Rugare Gumbo.
The removal of defeated and failed ministers would also create a space
for MDC officials. Mugabe is said to be trying to perform a balancing act to
maintain political, regional and ethnic representation.
The looming cabinet announcement is said to have triggered hectic
lobbies for the inclusion of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and
independent MP Jonathan Moyo, as well as a younger generation of Zanu PF MPs
like Walter Mzembi, Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwawo, Joel Matiza and
Sources said Gono is linked to the Finance ministry although the
problem is that he has a contract which runs until November. The sources
close to him said he is planning to go into private business afterwards.
Gono has been accused of running the Finance ministry via the backdoor
of quasi-fiscal activities since he arrived at the RBZ in 2003.
He has also been accused of funding government and Zanu PF electoral
activities. There has been concern that he has provided money to the
ministries of Defence, Home Affairs and State Security whose agencies have
been blamed for political violence during recent election campaigns.
He has however defended himself, saying ministry budgets are approved
by parliament and it was up to them to decide how to spend their money.
Gono has also provided money on orders from relevant ministers.
If Gono is left out, it is said Mugabe could bring back Herbert
Murerwa or retain Samuel Mumbengegwi.
The sources said Mugabe has headaches on who to appoint at Information
after Sikhanyiso Ndlovu's dismal performance in the job. This has led to
growing calls from a strong Zanu PF lobby for Moyo's return.
However, Moyo has been reluctant to go back.
Mugabe is said to be looking for potential replacements in Chinamasa,
Chris Mutsvangwa and Webster Shamu, who sat in his media team during the
run-off, and his spokesman George Charamba.
Deputy Information minister Bright Matonga has also been considered,
the sources said.
If Chinamasa goes to Information, it is said, Emmerson Mnangagwa - who
was Mugabe's chief election agent and the Zanu PF legal affairs secretary -
could go to the Justice ministry he once headed. Mugabe is said to be
interested in reassigning Mnangagwa, the former parliamentary speaker, as
Leader of the House, while Chinamasa becomes President of the Senate by
appointment. This will be subject to talks with the MDC. A deal would lead
to a sharing of powerful ministries. Key ministries, including economic
ones, could be consolidated to ensure coordination, influence and
efficiency, it was said.
Economic ministries such as Industry and International Trade are
likely to get new bosses. Obert Mpofu is said to be facing the chop which
could open the way a new face like Sylvester Nguni. Mpofu could be
reassigned to Science and Technology, while Sithembiso Nyoni would remain at
Small & Medium Enterprises Development.
President of the Council of Chiefs Fortune Charumbira is thought to be
a candidate for Local Government to replace Ignatius Chombo whose record is
seen as little short of appalling. Recent clashes between Chombo and Gono
over buses distributed during campaigns has also left the minister out of
favour with Mugabe. It is understood he could be moved to a less powerful
portfolio, probably Labour.
Current Labour minister Nicholas Goche could be heading back to State
Security, although Didymus Mutasa still has a chance to hang on there.
Sources said if Mutasa is removed he would only remain at Land Reform
and Resettlement. Joseph Made, Mugabe's farm manager, might bounce back at
Agriculture, although he is unpopular with colleagues in that area.
Sources said a woman could take over Foreign Affairs. Oppah Muchinguri
and Olivia Muchena are on Mugabe's radar. Current minister Simbarashe could
be reassigned. Sydney Sekeramayi could be retained at Defence or reassigned
to Mines. David Parirenyatwa is likely to remain at Health, while Ambrose
Mutinhiri could replace Mushowe at Transport. Kembo Mohadi is likely to
remain at Home Affairs.
Some of the ministries like Energy, Infrastructure, Water, Special
Affairs, Anti-Corruption, Environment and Tourism, Education, Women Affairs,
Youth Development and Employment Creation and Mechanisation could go the
MDC, sources said.
Mugabe's cabinet would have a difficult task to introduce new
policies, reforms and resuscitate the economy, especially if the United
Nations ends up imposing comprehensive sanctions against the country.
By Dumisani Muleya
Thursday, 03 July 2008 21:04
THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has been rocked by divisions on whether
the party should enter into negotiations with Zanu PF to form a government
of national unity (GNU) to end the country's crisis.
Sadc, the African Union and the international community are pressing
for a GNU between the MDC and Zanu PF after the disputed presidential
run-off last week.
Tsvangirai, his secretary-general Tendai Biti and party spokesperson
Nelson Chamisa this week made contradictory pronouncements on the party's
position regarding talks with Zanu PF.
The statements by the three revealed divisions that have been
simmering in the MDC since Tsvangirai returned to Zimbabwe last month from
self-imposed exile in South Africa.
The party's leadership, sources said, was unable to reach a compromise
on the matter with hardliners like Biti and the South Africa-based treasurer
Roy Bennett adamant that the MDC should not engage in any negotiations with
Biti's camp, the sources said, argue that if Zanu PF genuinely wanted
talks it should have called off last Friday's run-off and made room for
negotiations for an all-inclusive government.
The camp reportedly objected to the MDC national council's decision on
June 22 to withdraw Tsvangirai from the run-off.
The opposition leader pulled out of the run-off alleging escalating
political violence against his supporters, but the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission went ahead with the poll saying his withdrawal was of no legal
Mugabe won 85% of the votes cast.
Responding to reports that Sadc-appointed mediator South African
president Thabo Mbeki had told African Union leaders who met in Egypt this
week that a deal was about to be clinched between Zanu PF and the MDC, Biti
on Tuesday said there were no talks between the two parties.
He described the reports as "malicious and far from the truth".
"As a matter of fact, there are no talks or discussions taking place
between the two parties and most importantly, there is no agreement in the
offing," Biti said. "Whilst the MDC pursued dialogue in a bid to establish a
government of national healing before the 12th June 2008, the sham and
cataleptic election on 27 June totally and completely exterminated any
prospects of a negotiated settlement. It is now the firm view of the MDC
that those who claim they have got a mandate to govern should govern.
But the following day, Chamisa was quoted in the Herald saying his
party was committed to dialogue.
"Our hope is to pursue dialogue to ensure that we have a negotiated
settlement and understanding," Chamisa was quoted as saying. "We are warm to
a negotiated settlement and we believe that talking should be about genuine
dialogue, not swallowing of one another."
Also on Wednesday, Tsvangirai told journalists in the capital that the
MDC remained committed to negotiations based on the outcome of the first
round of the presidential election on March 29.
Tsvangirai outpolled Mugabe in the first round, but fell short of the
required votes to take over the presidency.
Saluting the AU for pressing for negotiations between Zanu PF and MDC,
Tsvangirai said the union's resolution should have acknowledged the March 29
"The (AU) resolution endorses the concept of a government of national
unity without acknowledging that the MDC, as the winner of the last credible
elections on 29th March 2008, should be recognised as the legitimate
government of Zimbabwe. A GNU does not address the problems facing Zimbabwe
or acknowledge the will of the Zimbabwean people," Tsvangirai said.
"While the MDC remains committed to negotiations these must be based
on the 29th March results and must move towards a transitional agreement,"
he said. "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."
Sources in the party said these contradictory statements from senior
party leaders were indicative of the divisions in the MDC on an array of
The divisions, the sources said, started when Tsvangirai returned from
a self-imposed exile in South Africa last month to face off with Mugabe in
Some senior members of the party reportedly wanted Tsvangirai to
remain holed up in South Africa and give an impression to the world that his
life was really under threat.
Apart from that, the MDC was apparently split five days before the
run-off over whether or not Tsvangirai should pull out of the election.
On June 21, Bennett told the international media in Johannesburg that
pulling out of the race was "nonsense".
Bennett acknowledged that the poll would not be free and fair, but
said that the violence showed how important it was to stand against Mugabe.
"On the backdrop of that we have to compete in these elections to show
the total illegitimacy of them," he told South Africa's independent
television station, etv.
The party, sources said, was also divided on who to elect as mayor of
Harare after it won in 45 of the 46 wards in the capital.
As a result, the sources said, the party settled for lawyer Muchadeyi
Masunda who did not contest the council elections on March 29.
Chamisa last night denied that there were divisions in the party.
"There are no contradictions in the statements made by the party
leadership," he said. "Our united position is that we wanted the talks
before the June 27 run-off, but Mugabe decided to hijack the presidency."
He added: "It is now up to Zanu PF to initiate the talks. If they do
that we will be committed to the dialogue. We already have a position paper
on how we want the talks to proceed."
Thursday, 03 July 2008 21:01
POLICE have reportedly started arresting members of the Zanu PF
militia who terrorised suspected MDC supporters in the countdown to last
Friday's presidential election run-off.
The militia was part of President Robert Mugabe's campaign strategy to
win the run-off against Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC.
Reports from throughout the country suggest that incidents of violence
have decreased as police have moved in to disband Zanu PF bases while
security deployments on the ground have been withdrawn.
These reports however contrast with an MDC statement yesterday which
said MP-elect for Buhera South, Naison Nemadziwa, was abducted at gunpoint
on Monday by a group of armed men in Mutare.
The MDC said by last night his whereabouts were still unknown.
Nemadziwa had reportedly gone to court for a hearing in which the Zanu
PF losing candidate, Joseph Chinotimba, is challenging his victory in the
March 29 election.
The MDC said Nemadziwa was abducted as he was coming out of the court
at around midday by five armed men who were in a Toyota twin-cab truck that
had no number plates.
However, there were reports of calm in the high-density suburbs like
Mbare where a group of youths that were used by Zanu PF to force people to
attend midnight vigils and to vote for Mugabe were this week arrested on
common assault charges.
"There are well-known Zanu PF youths who were responsible for
terrorising suspected MDC supporters who have been arrested and some of them
have gone into hiding," a source told the Zimbabwe Independent.
In Chegutu, police this week arrested over 48 people linked to Zanu PF
on charges that include robbery, stock theft, kidnap and assault.
Sources at Chegutu magistrates' Court said the arrested people were
known members of Zanu PF militia who were campaigning for Mugabe.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday confirmed the arrests,
but denied that the 48 detained people had been arrested in connection with
Some of the detained youths are facing charges of robbing and
assaulting white farmers in Mashonaland West province.
He said: "I can confirm that we arrested 48 people in Chegutu but they
were all arrested on common crime charges which include acts of theft,
robberies and kidnap."
Bvudzijena said contrary to media reports, some of the people arrested
had nothing to do with politics.
"Our investigations suggest that the people in detention at Chegutu
police station had committed common crimes," he said.
Prominent farmer Ben Freeth and members of his family were assaulted
on Sunday after a raid on their farm. Footage of the badly beaten farmers
was shown around the world.
In Marondera, the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force this week said a
group of war veterans raided Imire Safari Ranch and demanded that farmer
John Travers shoot three impala for them to eat.
"When John refused, they stated that they would burn the place down,"
a statement said. "They were extremely aggressive and John eventually had no
option but to shoot the impala. The invaders left with the impala, saying
that Imire was at the top of their list and they were going to take it."
Imire is involved in rhino conservation work.
According to the taskforce, Travers reported the incident to the
The taskforce said it was a foregone conclusion that if the invaders
succeed in evicting Travers, animals at the ranch would be slaughtered.
"We have reported the matter to the National Parks who have confirmed
to us that Imire is designated as a black rhino breeding area and is
therefore not part of the land redistribution programme," the statement
"They say that the invaders have obviously taken the law into their
own hands and they will give the matter their urgent attention."
Meanwhile, the MDC this week said it was battling to repatriate
thousands of party supporters who escaped political violence ahead of the
The MDC claimed that 200 000 of its supporters have been displaced by
the political violence that allegedly claimed over 85 lives.
The opposition party claimed that some of its supporters were still in
hiding in the countryside.
The most affected areas, the MDC said, were Manicaland and Mashonaland
Central where people are reportedly staying in the mountains, a week after
the election was held.
A political violence victim from Mberengwa who sought refuge in
Bulawayo told the Independent that he was afraid that the Zanu PF militia
would kill him.
"The people who attacked me are my neighbours and even when we tried
to report the matter to the police, they failed to do anything," said the
victim. "I will not go back home as these people will kill me and they seem
to be above the law," he said.
Christian Alliance national coordinator Useni Sibanda said the
situation was tense as the churches were still receiving people fleeing
violence from rural areas.
He said: "There seems to be a retributive exercise still going on
against opposition supporters and we are still receiving more people fleeing
violence and the issue of sending the people back home at this stage is
rather too early. Things have not yet settled down."
The MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, said the party, together with
various institutions, has put up mechanisms for the displaced people to be
helped to return to their homes.
In Zaka Central, the MDC MP-elect Harrison Mudzuri said militia bases
were still in place.
"The bases are still operational and people are still being intimated
and threatened," Mudzuri said. "This week the militia disturbed a funeral
that was taking place. Bases that are still operational are at Gwangwava,
Jerera Growth Point, Chinyabako and Fuve."
He said an MDC activist, Magen'a Mawadze who was recently abducted by
alleged Zanu PF youths, was this week found dead.
By Lucia Makamure/Loughty Dube/Wongai Zhangazha
Thursday, 03 July 2008 20:57
ZIMBABWE'S electorate protested angrily against last Friday's
presidential election run-off and President Robert Mugabe's government as
shown by an extraordinarily high number of spoilt ballots, some carrying
The run-off "won" by Mugabe was characterised by a poor voter turnout
in urban areas, where the most spoilt ballots were recorded.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, withdrew from the race
against Mugabe citing state-sponsored violence against his supporters, but
the country's electoral authorities went ahead with the poll. The election
drew extensive condemnation regionally and internationally.
In the first round of the presidential election on March 29,
Tsvangirai outpolled Mugabe, but failed to attain the required 50% plus
votes to assume Zimbabwe's presidency.
Tsvangirai polled 1 195 562 votes against Mugabe's 1 079 730, but last
Friday the opposition leader got a paltry 233 000 votes to the 84-year-old
former guerilla leader's 2 150 269.
There were 39 975 spoilt ballots in March, but last week's run-off saw
the number increasing to 131 481, a move political analysts described as
Harare had the highest number of spoilt ballots -- 36 446, Midlands
came second with 19 438, Manicaland 17 525, Mashonaland West 10 821,
Matabeleland North 9 907 and Masvingo 9 740.
Bulawayo recorded 9 166 spoilt ballots, Mashonaland East 7 675,
Matabeleland south 7 353 and Mashonaland Central the lowest 3 409.
The protest was also seen in the drastic drop in Tsvangirai's votes in
some of the provinces in which he performed well in the March election.
In Mashonaland West, Tsvangirai in March had 107 345 votes, but last
week went down to 18 459, while in Mashonaland East he got 4 066 from the
119 661 he garnered in the first round.
In Harare, Tsvangirai had 220 160 votes in March, but this time he got
48 307, while in Manicaland where he previously won with 212 029 votes, last
Friday he managed to get only 29 561 votes.
In Bulawayo, 43 584 people voted and there were 9 166 spoilt ballots
compared to 551 spoilt papers when 97 236 voters took part in the polls in
Election observers were perturbed by the number of spoilt ballots and
some of the messages that were scribbled on the papers.
Marwick Khumalo, the leader of the Pan-African Parliament's observer
mission, said some of the spoilt ballots had "unpalatable messages".
Presiding officers who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent this week
said most of the spoilt ballots had explicitly insulting messages written
instead of the cross that marks the vote.
The presiding officers said in some instances voters crossed the boxes
for both Mugabe and Tsvangirai and added a message that the two should
govern the country together.
"There were too many spoilt papers in the constituencies, especially
in Mpopoma (Bulawayo) where people were voting in a by-election," one of the
polling officers said. "Some of the people voted in the House of Assembly
by-election but when it came to the presidential election they decided to
express their feelings by writing messages about what they felt about the
candidates. Most of the hate messages were directed at Mugabe."
The polling officials said some of the common messages on the spoilt
ballot boxes were 'Mugabe you must go', 'Please stop the violence, we do not
want you', 'Go back to Zvimba', 'Go hang' while some were obscene and
Another polling official who was stationed in Pelandaba/Mpopoma said
in some instances voters took time to draw horns and features on Mugabe's
"It was interesting to note that Zimbabweans are very artistic
people," he said. "Mugabe's picture on the ballot had horns added to his
face while his moustache was heavily shaded for him to appear like Hitler.
The people really expressed their anger on the ballot paper."
Political analysts have attributed the high number of spoilt ballots
to a protest vote by Zimbabweans who were angered at Tsvangirai's withdrawal
from the run-off.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the spoilt ballots could be
explained in two ways - a protest against Mugabe or against Tsvangirai's
"The first category is that of those people who were forced to go and
vote for Zanu PF following the violence and intimidation they experienced
before the runoff," Madhuku said. "They used their ballot papers as a way of
protesting against Zanu PF's intimidation. It was an act of resistance that
they said 'I am not going to give you my vote'."
He added: "The other category is that of those who did not agree with
Tsvangirai's idea to pull out. They were unhappy with the decision and
decided to just spoil the ballots."
Prior to the run-off the MDC claimed that over 85 of its supporters
had been killed, 10 000 injured and more than 200 000 internally displaced
by political violence allegedly perpetrated by state security agents, Zanu
PF militia and war veterans.
By Wongai Zhangazha/Loughty Dube
Thursday, 03 July 2008 20:50
AMBUYA Motsi (not her real name), a widow living in the high density
suburb of Glen Norah, Harare, last Friday could not believe what she had
just done - voting for embattled President Robert Mugabe in a presidential
run-off election condemned as a sham world-wide.
The poll turned out to be a one-man race after MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai withdrew his candidature at the eleventh hour citing escalating
state-sponsored violence against his supporters.
"I cannot believe I have just voted for the man I hold responsible for
my misery," bemoaned Ambuya Motsi. "But what could I have done to protect my
family and home from the Zanu PF militia?"
She said a week before the controversial poll, Zanu PF youths had
frog-marched her and other residents of the suburb to Glen Norah Stadium and
ordered them to vote for Mugabe or face the consequences.
"They told us to vote for Mugabe and present our ballot paper serial
numbers to party district chairpersons in the suburb," Motsi said. "Failure
to comply with the order would have resulted in us being assaulted or even
The 64-year-old widow said on the eve of the run-off, Zanu PF militia
toyi-toyed around the suburb chanting Mugabe slogans, singing liberation war
songs and threatening to deal with anyone who defied their order to vote for
the octogenarian former guerilla leader.
Despite the intimidation, voter turnout was low.
"I went to a polling station at a primary school near my house with a
group of my neighbours and we were all shocked to find out that by 9am we
were the first group to cast our votes," Motsi claimed.
She recalled that in the March 29 harmonised elections she arrived at
the same polling station at 8am and was number 50. Ten minutes after casting
her ballot the queue stretched for more than 100 metres.
"The picture at the polling station on Friday said a lot about the
election we were participating in," Motsi said. "Most people at the polling
station were senior citizens like me who were only voting to secure their
homes and families."
Low voter turnout was also witnessed in Marimba, Mufakose and
Chitungwiza, but there were long winding queues in Harare South.
Another Harare resident, who asked to be identified only as Mercy for
security reasons, said she voted for Mugabe against her will in order to
secure her vending stall at Mbare Musika.
She said: "I didn't want to vote in last week's election, but as a
vendor I had to go and vote to secure my vending site."
Mercy said Zanu PF youths had told them on the eve of the poll that
they were going to take away licences of vendors who would not vote for
"My husband is unemployed and my vegetable market is our only source
of income and losing it would be the end of us so I just had to follow their
orders and vote to extend Mugabe's rule although it will only worsen our
condition," she said.
"What I don't understand is why they forced us to vote in a one-man
race when it was quite obvious that Mugabe would emerge the winner."
In most rural constituencies, voters were herded to polling stations
by traditional leaders and instructed to vote for Mugabe. They were ordered
to record their ballot paper's serial numbers and would after polling give
them to the leaders.
"We were told that they will use the number to find out whom we had
voted for," a villager in Murehwa said. A visit to urban polling stations
revealed that there was a poor voter turnout as compared to rural areas
where political violence was more pronounced.
The MDC claimed that over 85 of its supporters were killed, plus 10
000 injured and more than 200 000 internally displaced by state security
agents, Zanu PF militia and war veterans in the countdown to the run-off.
This occurred mainly in rural areas where Mugabe on his campaign trail
threatened to go back to war if he lost the election to Tsvangirai, whom he
considers a puppet of the West.
Observer missions during the run-off have issued preliminary reports
saying the outcome of the election did not represent the will of
The Sadc Observer Mission said the countdown to the run-off did not
conform to the regional bloc's principles and guidelines governing
A report presented by Angolan Minister of Youth and Sport José Marcos
Barrica, who headed the observer mission, noted that the pre-election phase
was characterised by politically-motivated violence, intimidation and
"Based on the above-mentioned observations, the mission is of the view
that the prevailing environment impinged on the credibility of the electoral
process," the report said. "The election did not represent the will of the
people of Zimbabwe."
The African Union (AU) Observer Mission said although peace prevailed
on the polling day there, was violence in the period leading to the poll.
"Despite the poll being peaceful and held in accordance with the
country's electoral laws there was violence in the run down to the elections
(which) deterred popular participation in the electoral process and there
was no equitable access to the public media," the AU mission said. "Against
the backdrop of the foregoing factors, in the context of the AU declaration
on the principles governing democratic elections in Africa, it is the
considered view of the African Union Observer Mission that the election
process fell short of accepted AU standards."
The head of the Pan-African Parliament's (PAP) observer mission,
Marwick Khumalo, said many Zimbabweans voted out of fear and were determined
to get the identifying indelible ink on their little fingers to show that
they had voted.
Khumalo said there was a great deal of intimidation for people to vote
and that voters hoped the ink would protect them.
The PAP mission and other observers said the turnout was low to an
extent that at one polling station in the second city of Bulawayo only 22
people voted for Mugabe, 14 for Tsvangirai and 12 defaced their ballots.
By Lucia Makamure
Thursday, 03 July 2008 20:27
ZIMBABWE is set to experience serious cash shortages after a German
company halted delivery of banknotes to the country this week in protest at
the worsening political and socio-economic situation.
The move is expected to put the squeeze on a government which has
survived on the printing of money for much of the tenure of Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono.
Information at hand shows that the German company, Giesecke and
Devrient, said it would no longer do business with Fidelity Printers, an RBZ
subsidiary responsible for printing money and bearer cheques.
Giesecke and Devrient has been doing business with Zimbabwe for the
past 40 years.
Resultantly, Fidelity was forced to send all its workers on paid leave
until August 4 as the RBZ now struggles to come up with a strategy to meet
rising cash demand brought about by hyperinflation.
However, Gono said the central bank had put in place "pro-active and
appropriate" strategies to counter these developments. He gave assurances to
the banking and transacting public that the RBZ was on top of the situation.
With money printing now out of commission, Fidelity has been forced to
scale down its working hours from 24 hours to just eight hours to cater for
the Commercial Division, which is responsible for printing documents with
Giesecke and Devrient said in a statement that it has stopped
delivering banknote papers to Zimbabwe on July 1 in response to the
political tension in Zimbabwe.
"Our decision is a reaction to the political tension in Zimbabwe,
which is mounting significantly rather than easing as expected, and takes
account of the critical evaluation by the international community, German
government and general public," said Karsten Ottenberg, the company's
management board chairman and chief executive officer.
The company said it had taken this route in response to an official
request from the German government and the European Union which have been
calling for increased sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The German government and members of parliament pledged to monitor
companies dealing with Zimbabwe and force them to stop dealing with
President Robert Mugabe's regime.
Last week, six human rights organisations resident in Germany staged
protests at Giesecke and Devrient's offices in Munich, demanding that the
company react to human rights violations in Zimbabwe as enshrined the
company's code of conduct.
"In your code of conduct you stress the respect for human rights and
the responsibility for social and technical progress in society," reads a
letter addressed to Giesecke and Devrient's management.
The six organisations are the Forum Menschenrechte Network of German
Human Right Organisations, Kirchliche Arbeitsstelle Sudliches Afrika (KASA),
Sudliches Afrika (KOSA), World Student Christian Federation, Zimbabwe
Network and the Initiative Sudliches Afrika.
"Yet whilst the world is crying out in the face of the brutal human
rights violations by the Zimbabwe government, Giesecke and Devrient is
seeing to it that the regime can use the production of money as a political
weapon," the letter said.
Giesecke and Devrient had delivered banknotes to Zimbabwe, subject to
strict monetary rules defined by the World Bank. The company's operations
are reliant on political and moral assessments made by international trade
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 03 July 2008 20:24
GOVERNMENT has launched a second price blitz against retailers and
manufacturers, forcing them to slash prices of goods and commodities less
than one week after the contentious electoral victory of President Robert
Several retailers and manufacturers countrywide were this week being
forced to reduce prices by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) demanding that
they charge the same prices as government's People's Shops.
Commodities have already begun disappearing from shops as retailers
now fear incurring massive losses in the wake of the blitz.
Retailers who spoke to businessdigest on condition of anonymity said
they had been approached by the police and asked to slash their prices and
make them level with the prices found in people's shops.
"We were told to reduce the price of two litres of Mazoe from $70
billion to $2,5 billion," said one retailer. "We were also forced to reduce
the price of our beef from $105 billion a kg to $8 billion which they said
was what People's Shops were charging."
The blitz comes in the aftermath of discussions held between the
Ministry of Industry and International Trade, the National Incomes and
Pricing Commission (NIPC), the ZRP and business this week.
The meeting which was called for by Industry and International Trade
secretary Colonel Christian Katsande saw the business community being
grilled about the rising prices by both Ministry and NIPC officials and
threatened with "unspecified" action.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Marah
Hativagone said the Chamber had received reports of retailers and
manufacturers being forced to lower their prices.
"We understand that several of our members have been told to lower
their prices," Hativagone said. "We are trying to get to the bottom of the
matter and find out who is carrying out this operation. We don't have all
the facts though."
The NIPC chairman Godwills Masimirembwa would not divulge the details
of the meeting but told businessdigest that the exercise by police forcing
retailers to reduce prices was not a price blitz but just routine police
"There is no price blitz going on," Masimirembwa said. "The police are
just doing their work, forcing businesses to comply with stipulated and
approved NIPC prices. We are not aware if there is any specific operation
but we do know that what has been going on has been the enforcement of the
law by police."
Minister of Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu refused to
comment on the matter.
"I am just coming from Cairo (Egypt) and have just arrived," Mpofu
said. "Even if such developments were there, I don't think I would be able
to comment at the moment, but speak to Katsande."
By Kuda Chikwanda
Thursday, 03 July 2008 20:20
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is likely to slash at least six
zeros from the local currency as it grapples to fight inflation in its
monetary policy presentation expected next week.
Information to hand suggests that government was planning to slash six
zeros from the local currency to facilitate transactions in the purchase of
goods and services. If this development continues as planned, it will be
contrary to what Reserve Bank governor stated last month.
The central bank chief said he would consider removing the zeros in
September as a cosmetic response to runaway inflation that has relegated all
business transactions to trillions.
Sources said government had been toying with the idea of dropping
zeros from the currency but were still working on how many zeros to remove
because of the hyperinflation.
Bankers who spoke to businessdigest this week said large transactions
were causing computer accounting systems to fail to transact.
Accurate financial information had been compromised due to large
transaction values which most accounting systems were not able to capture.
The accounting organisation said companies, especially banks, did not
have the foreign currency to acquire new software to cater for the number of
Most bank applications in Zimbabwe cannot support a $100 000 000 000
(12 digits) figure. Almost all software fails at $1 trillion that has 15
This would be the second time the bank will be removing zeros after
deleting three zeros in August 2006.
The accounting body said dropping the three digits would ensure that
the existing software remains in use.
The proposal means that government will strike off three zeros from
the local currency to introduce a kilo-dollar.
Economists say while this would ease the burden of carrying large sums
of money and conserve the current accounting systems which are under stress,
it was a short-term measure that indicated that government had not only lost
the war against inflation, but was now preparing for further increases.
They said the decision would not address the key issue of inflation
and lack of foreign currency battering the Zimbabwean dollar.
The analysts said removing zeros would not suffice for as long as
inflation remained as high as 9 030 000%, and set to continue heading north
in light of government's failure to cut down on its borrowing and
A commercial bank economist said "knocking off the zeros will just be
another short-term expedient. Inflation is going to get higher and we will
need to go back again and knock off more zeros".
The move would make life easier but government was only dealing with
the symptoms of inflation and not the problem such as money-printing,
declining commercial agriculture and curbing corruption - all of which are
Some banks such as Kingdom and ZABG have slashed zeros to speed up
transactions and easy balancing.
According to one bank employee, bank clients were being forced to open
more than one account to process transactions which involved large sums of
Tich Kandanhamo, marketing manager at Kingdom however dismissed claims
that they had removed some zeros insisting that their system can still take
up to a quadrillion.
"The systems that we are using are made in the first world and they
don't have quadrillions, they use millions and sometimes billions,"
By Jeslyn Dendere
Thursday, 03 July 2008 20:14
WITH inflation at 4% it takes 18 years for a currency to lose half of
its value, using the rule 72 recommended by the International Monetary Fund.
At 100 000% it takes about nine hours and 20 minutes for $100 to lose
half its value.
And with inflation at 9 030 000%, if you delay your shopping by half
an hour you have effectively lost 50% of the value of your money.
This means if one goes out to buy a loaf of bread and is 10 cents
short, by the time they rush home to collect the 10 cents and return to the
shop, the price of bread will probably have doubled.
The country's long and uninterrupted period of economic decline is set
to persist following President Robert Mugabe's victory during the
presidential election run-off last week.
Over the past 10 years the economy has been cruising in reverse gear
courtesy of skewed economic and political policies.
Analysts this week said economic decline would continue to persist as
the same policies that had been pursued by Zanu PF over the past 10 years
would be maintained.
Zimbabwe's currency is now worthless from hyperinflation, its
financial institutions in total disarray while its world-class farming
estates lie idle and tourism infrastructure is grossly underutilised.
Zimbabwe, the spirit of whose citizens has been shackled by
shortsighted economic policies, has for long been riding on the highway to
In Zimbabwe, most streets are paved with discarded Zimbabwean bearer
cheques, and nobody is bothering to pick them up.
With an inflation rate nearing 10 million% and financial chaos at both
government and street level, the local currency has become a conundrum, even
a joke, to many Zimbabweans. About 80% of the population is estimated to be
unemployed and living below the poverty line, according to figures from the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
Jacob Chifadze, a young professional in Harare, has resorted to doing
extra jobs after his formal employment to supplement his employer's salary
which barely lasts a week.
"I wake up with no idea what anything will cost. The commuter omnibus
driver is also in the dark. All we can agree is that my trip to work will
cost more," he said.
Mugabe (84) continues to launch verbal attacks on the West,
particularly Britain. He blames sanctions for his country's economic and
social collapse. The sanctions, imposed by Western powers after widespread
malpractices in the 2002 presidential poll, specifically target Mugabe and
members of his inner circle and have a negligible influence on the economy,
opposition groups claim.
Shops and supermarkets witness scenes of shoppers running to grab
products from shelves ahead of supermarket staff hurrying to attach the new
day's price tags.
Supermarket tills, cash machines and wallets fail to accommodate the
large number of bills now needed to purchase basic commodities.
The International Monetary Fund has declared the situation in Zimbabwe
an economic crisis.
"The economic crisis calls for urgent implementation of a
comprehensive policy package comprising several mutually reinforcing
actions," the IMF said in its 2007 recommendations for redressing Zimbabwe's
The reforms include structural reforms, public enterprise and civil
service reform, agricultural sector reforms and the strengthening of private
Zimbabwe last month introduced a new half-a-billion dollar bank note
in a bid to tackle cash shortages being fed by rampant inflation. The
parlous situation is aggravated by President Mugabe's fight against the laws
of supply and demand, and recommendations by the IMF.
Mugabe has been threatening to imprison shopkeepers who increase
commodity prices. Inability to adjust commodity prices to reflect costs is
tantamount to forcing shops to close, forcing them out of business and
rendering supply even more incapable of meeting demand.
Economist John Robertson says while President Mugabe has been printing
new currency at increasingly rapid rates to help pay government costs, such
production has only served to hasten the decline of the value of the
Zimbabwe dollar, while driving up commodity costs and inflation.
"They're printing money so fast but it is getting to the point that it
is not fast enough," Robertson said.
"The crunch is going to come when local money is eroded to the point
it is no longer acceptable in commercial activities or as earnings," said
Already, many ordinary transactions are being conducted in US dollars,
both openly and in secret. Even cultural traditions have not been spared the
ravages of hyperinflation. Payment of lobola (marriage dowry) is
increasingly now being demanded and tendered in foreign currency.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 03 July 2008 20:54
SOUTH African president Thabo Mbeki's mediation efforts in the
Zimbabwe crisis to produce an undisputed presidential result have failed,
with some political analysts suggesting that Sadc should appoint another
facilitator to broker an inclusive government pact between President Robert
Mugabe and the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
The analysts said Mbeki's failure to rein in the Mugabe regime after
the March 29 harmonised elections to stop violence against MDC supporters
led to the disputed outcome of last Friday's run-off - the very thing his
mediation set out to avoid in Dar-es-Salaam last year.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the run-off citing the violence against his
members, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission went ahead with the fiction
that Mugabe "won" after garnering 85% of the votes.
Mbeki was mandated by Sadc in March last year to find a lasting
solution to Zimbabwe's deepening crisis, but the MDC accuses the South
African leader of being too close to Mugabe. Chief among his mediation's
mandate was to arrive at an agreement that would ensure election results
would not be disputed by contesting parties. This required achieving
consensus on electoral procedures and the role of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Developments on the mediation, analysts observed, have proved that
Mbeki was not equal to the task and needed assistance from fellow African
leaders to deal with the crisis.
Since the talks between the MDC and Zanu PF commenced, Mbeki managed
to push the two bitter rivals into co-sponsoring Constitutional Amendment
Number 18 that brought harmonised elections.
Mbeki was mandated to ensure that the country's elections would be in
line with Sadc and African Union (AU)) guidelines governing the conduct of
democratic elections. He influenced minor amendments to the Electoral Act,
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Public Order
and Security Act and the Broadcasting Services of Zimbabwe Act.
Despite these amendments, the texture of the country's political
landscape did not change.
Mugabe rescinded a commitment in the Electoral Act to keep police
officers out of polling stations and unilaterally set the date of the March
Both Zanu PF and the MDC have hotly disputed the outcome of the March
29 elections and the June 27 run-off.
Allegations of vote-rigging, violence, intimidation and the skewed
political landscape have been cited as some of the flaws that characterised
the two elections.
Tsvangirai says Mugabe's subsequent inauguration, as head of state on
Sunday was a non-event.
Macdonald Lewanika of the Crisis-In-Zimbabwe Coalition said his
organisation and civic society were disappointed by the failure of the Mbeki
initiative saying the South African president needed assistance from
"someone who is knowledgeable about the situation in Zimbabwe".
"At the moment, Mbeki's hands are tainted with failure," Lewanika
said. "As civic society, we are disappointed at the manner in which he
handled the Zimbabwean issue and there is a clear need for someone to assist
him. He needs a person who is amenable to the Zimbabwean crisis to help
He added that there was need for Mbeki to first accept that Zimbabwe
was in a crisis that needed intervention.
Mbeki, Lewanika said, would then be required to seek assistance from a
head of state currently serving or one retired.
"He (Mbeki) has been accused of lacking impartiality. He needs to open
up the mediation platform to someone who is more able, currently serving or
retired. That job of mediating has become too big for him," he said.
When Tsvangirai announced his withdrawal from the run-off on June 22,
Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa insinuated that Mbeki was not an honest
broker in the Zimbabwe crisis.
"We cannot say the mediation effort has succeeded yet," he said:
"President Thabo Mbeki has not been open in his mediation. Even to me as the
chairman of Sadc. I have tried to contact him on the matter but he has been
Mwanawasa claimed that Mbeki was not even updating him on the progress
of the talks between the MDC and Zanu PF.
"Three consecutive calls have yielded nothing. He is said to be in
continuous meetings and promises that he will call me back have yielded
nothing. He has not been open on the situation in Zimbabwe," Mwanawasa
Tsvangirai told journalists that Mbeki's mediation had failed to bring
about an uncontested result.
"As the MDC, we have made our position clear on the Mbeki mediation,"
Tsvangirai said. "We are convinced the mediation has failed and thus efforts
to bring about an election result that is uncontested have also suffered the
same fate. No one in his right frame of mind can describe the efforts as
But National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairperson Lovemore
Madhuku said it would be premature for any analyst to comment on the extent
of the Mbeki initiative because it was secretive and only privy to Zanu PF
and the MDC.
"People do not know much about the Mbeki initiative save for
statements from politicians on both sides of the political divide," Madhuku
said. "We have only been told the mediation continues. It would be
misleading to comment on statements made by politicians at the moment up
until we see the direction that these talks are taking."
He said what was worrying was that despite Tsvangirai's claiming that
Mbeki's mediation had collapsed, the MDC continued to meet the South African
leader and his envoys.
Madhuku described this as double standards by the MDC.
"They can not have their cake and eat it at the same time. One time,
they condemn the mediation and on the other they continue to engage Mbeki
and his people, it's not fair at all," said Madhuku.
He added that although Mugabe was regarded as an illegitimate
president, it was incumbent upon the MDC to realise that they needed to
exert pressure on him to accept reforms that would guarantee Zimbabwe a
"Mugabe is there for now. Illegitimate or legitimate, he is the de
facto president of Zimbabwe. The MDC has to partner civic society and the
international community in ensuring that pressure is mounted on Mugabe to
yield to constitutional reforms that will guarantee Zimbabweans a future
that is better for them and one they deserve," Madhuku said.
Mugabe thinks Mbeki has done a lot to unlock the country's logjam and
this week described the South African president as a "true African
"We want to commend and thank South African president Thabo Mbeki for
displaying true African statesmanship at a time when the whole world is
putting pressure on him to act on Zimbabwe," he said during his
By Nkululeko Sibanda
Thursday, 03 July 2008 19:21
PRESIDENT Mugabe may well argue that if the West could accept and
endorse the bizarre Kenyan formula in which the winner and loser were forced
to cut a deal, there would be no reason why he cannot negotiate like
President Kibaki from a position of strength.
In any event, he can point to the numerous examples showing the West's
hypocrisy on the question of democracy.
For the last 28 years, it has not been possible to expose the contempt
which Mugabe has for the democratic order. Mugabe has sought to argue that
democracy is not so high a value for Zimbabweans to subordinate political
It has been argued by Zanu PF that the sovereignty of Zimbabwe is
under threat justifying the suspension of civil liberties. The absurdity of
the situation is that the elections were held under a state of emergency
environment in which the incumbent president monopolised the political space
and still had the audacity to call it a free and fair election. Mugabe will
no doubt try to convince the world that Zimbabwe is engaged in a war against
the Western world over the control and ownership of the country's resources.
By framing the election as an extension of the liberation war, he will
continue to argue that Africa should be at one with him and should embrace
his brand of managed democracy. The only problem that Mugabe faces is that
of legitimacy. Many leaders with the same position would not have made the
mistake of getting into a race that they end up losing.
What cannot be changed is that Mugabe lost the March 29 election and
sought to change the hearts and minds of citizens through state-sponsored
violence. This loss will continue to haunt him personally and it is not
clear how he will attempt to rewrite the history.
For the first time, Mugabe faced his peers in Egypt who may have no
better democratic credentials apologising for losing an election that his
administration was in control of. It is ironic that the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission took only 24 hours to count the votes in the run-off elections
and yet could not demonstrate the same efficiency during the first election.
In responding to the fact that he went into the run-off election as an
underdog, Mugabe has already made the case that indeed he is an underdog in
the face of imperialist forces determined to replace him with an alleged
By framing what is simply an election as a battle between the West and
a tiny but rich country, Mugabe who still holds the view that he is the sole
and reliable custodian of Zimbabwean sovereignty believes that the ballot is
less important than the protection of sovereignty.
Mugabe has made the case that he deserves another term to complete the
economic liberation struggle that will see the total emancipation of the
In making the argument, he is obviously oblivious to the fact that
during his 28-year rule, no significant foreign company has pulled out of
Zimbabwe suggesting that his administration has failed to come up with a
sustainable alternative to the inherited ownership structure. Many foreign
investors have largely discounted Mugabe's rhetoric and are confidently
investing in the country's rich mineral resources. If Mugabe was a man of
his word, why would foreign investors primarily from the very countries that
are threatening sanctions find the courage that Tsvangirai has not yet
mastered to do business with Mugabe's administration?
Notwithstanding the rhetoric, Mugabe is cognisant of the fact that
Zimbabwe cannot feed itself without the financial support of the Western
world. To what extent has Mugabe enhanced the independence of Zimbabwe? Has
he been a good protector of the sovereignty of the country?
What practical measures has he put in place over the last 28 years to
promote private sector investment in the country? How viable and sustainable
is the indigenisation/empowerment project supervised by Mugabe?
Mugabe remains in power but evidently powerless to change the fortunes
of the country. The economy is on its knees and there is no evidence that
there is any real plan of action to address the serious economic challenges
that confront Zimbabwe.
He can seek to argue that the land reform programme is vulnerable if
he were to step down but the reality on the ground confirms that the
economic situation may have been exacerbated by the manner in which the
programme has been implemented.
Even if all the productive assets were to be transferred to indigenous
people, there is no mechanism in place to suggest that the country would not
be worse off than it already is.
What really was the promise of Independence? Zimbabweans find
themselves more vulnerable today than at Independence. It must be accepted
that Zimbabwe does not live in a vacuum and political arguments without
addressing the concrete economic realities facing the country will not
advance any national interest.
Mugabe will never accept any responsibility for causing the economic
and political crisis and, therefore, any proposals for a national unity
government must be understood in the context of the values and principles
that have informed the policies and programmes of his administration since
It is unlikely that Mugabe can be persuaded to accept the proposition
that sovereignty is meaningless without the existence of a democratic
Any new order will have to be premised on an acceptance by Morgan
Tsvangirai that the status quo ante remains and the disastrous economic
policies will be pursued vigorously.
Mugabe holds the view that his attempts to emancipate the country from
the purported grip of imperialism risk being undermined if Tsvangirai
becomes the leader.
What is ironical is that Mugabe would have no problem working with
Tsvangirai if the latter can assist in removing the targeted sanctions
Why would Mugabe want sanctions to be lifted while at the same time
seeking to argue that he does not want any economic engagement with the
West? Could Mugabe be envious of the relationship between Tsvangirai and the
Mugabe was elected in 1980 to deliver on the promise of Independence
but regrettably by his own version, the country cannot sustain itself
without external intervention.
Clearly it is opportunistic for Mugabe to seek to argue that he needs
a new mandate to do what he has not been able to do for the last 28 years.
By Mutumwa Mawere
Mutumwa Mawere is a Zimbabwean-born businessman based in South Africa.
Thursday, 03 July 2008 19:15
ZIMBABWE'S presidential election run-off has come and gone with
President Robert Mugabe "winning" a sixth term, but the country's crisis
remains far from over.
Opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the race against
Mugabe five days before the run-off, which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
said had no legal effect ordered the election to go ahead last Friday.
Mugabe garnered 2 150 269 votes against Tsvangirai's 233 000 in an
election that has been labelled a sham by the United States and Western
governments, who are now proposing more targeted sanctions against the
On the other hand, Sadc, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations
(UN) are pushing for a negotiated settlement to the Zimbabwe crisis between
the ruling Zanu PF and the two formations of the MDC.
Politicians and political analysts this week said the way forward for
the country was for Tsvangirai, Mugabe and other stakeholders to sit down
and hammer out a unity government pact that put Zimbabwe's interests ahead
of everything else.
The analysts argued that given the country's plethora of problems - a
free falling economy over 10 years and the worsening political and social
crisis - the March 29 and June 27 presidential polls were not necessary
because an election cannot be used as a conflict resolution mechanism.
If the current crisis persists, the analysts argued, it would impact
negatively on the poor citizens who are yearning for an end to galloping
inflation now above 9 000 000%, shortage of basic commodities, over 80%
unemployment, and deteriorating health and education delivery services.
Mugabe's disputed victory will in all probability result in the
current economic situation worsening and the majority of Zimbabweans being
pushed further into poverty.
The analysts observed that use of targeted sanctions to reign in
Mugabe since 2000 have failed, adding that military intervention to oust the
84-year-old former guerilla leader and replace him with Tsvangirai would not
resolve the crisis.
Tsvangirai, they argued, would not have legitimacy despite winning the
first round of the presidential election in March.
"Military intervention is a non-starter," said political analysts
"Where will Tsvangirai draw the legitimacy from? There was no clear
winner in March and this necessitated the run-off, but unfortunately Zanu PF
embarked on violence to win at all costs resulting in it being a sham.
Tsvangirai, like Mugabe, will not have legitimacy to lead Zimbabwe."
The United States and Britain last week said they no longer recognised
Mugabe as Zimbabwe's legitimate president and lobbied the UN to recognise
Tsvangirai as the country's leader based on the March election result. But
they subsequently settled for a resolution that all Security Council members
"The only way out of our crisis is a negotiated settlement by all
political parties. Ideological differences must be set aside in pursuit of
unity of purpose to extricate the country from this crisis," suggested
The analysts pointed out that Iraq was a good example of a failed
Despite toppling Saddam Hussein in 2003, the United States and its
allies are still conducting running battles in Iraq against the former
dictator's supporters. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed in
the country in the past five years.
The political analysts said Mugabe and Tsvangirai should open
internationally backed negotiations to end Zimbabwe's woes.
Prior to the run-off, Tsvangirai said he was willing to engage Mugabe
and Zanu PF on the country's way forward only if he called off the election.
Mugabe agreed to talks, but only after the election.
Suggestions have been made that Zimbabwe should adopt the Kenyan
model, where former UN secretary general Kofi Anan succesfuly managed to
strike a coaltion deal between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader
Raila Odinga to resolve last December's disputed presidential election.
Kibaki remained the president, while Odinga became the country's first
prime minister. Cabinet positions were devided equally between members of
Kibaki's Party of National Unity and Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement.
Independent MP-elect for Tsholotsho Jonathan Moyo supports the idea of
a government of national unity arguing that negotiations were the only way
forward for Zimbabweans.
"A transitional government to resolve the deep-seated, economic and
constitutional crisis that has dogged Zimbabwe generally since Independence
and particularly over the last nine years would be the best possible way
out," suggested Moyo, a political science professor.
Moyo said it was critical for Zimbabweans and others with good
intentions of helping out to understand that elections were not a conflict
He explains that the reasons for a negotiated transitional government
would be the realisation that given Mugabe's legacy of 28 years of one-man
rule Zimbabwe does not have the means of changing its national leadership.
"In such a system elections are used to keep and not change the
government and its leader. Resolving the Zimbabwean crisis necessarily
requires a transition from Mugabe's legacy of a de facto one-party and
one-man rule to an institutionally -based and constitutionally-defined
dispensation whose pillars would not be threatened by any change of
government or leadership through a democratic election," he said.
Lawyer and political commentator Alex Magaisa was of the idea that
Mugabe and Tsvangirai would not govern meaningfully without more than half
the people of Zimbabwe represented by either Zanu PF or MDC. He said: "The
two men therefore have in effect one thing that the other needs: Mugabe
rides on the crest of legality, Tsvangirai rests on the wave of recognition
and moral legitimacy. The country cannot move forward as long as the
situation remains that way - someone will need to have the combination of
the legality, recognition and legitimacy."
Another political analyst Eldred Masunungure said a viable political
settlement would be the way forward.
"There is need for a political settlement that will be more similar to
the Lancaster House settlement where a new legal framework would be agreed
on as well as power-sharing in a transitional sense to help solve Zimbabwe's
problems," he said.
But it remains to be seen whether or not Zimbabwe's political
protagonists would sit around a table and come up with a negotiated
settlement given that the MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti this week said
the party would not agree to talk to Zanu PF.
"The sham and cataleptic election on June 27 totally and completely
exterminated any prospects of a negotiated settlement," Biti said in a
statement on Tuesday. "It is now the firm view of the MDC that those who
claim they have got a mandate to govern should govern."
By Wongai Zhangazha
Thursday, 03 July 2008 20:37
APOLOGIES to perfectionists of the English language. The colour
green - for whatever reason - is associated with envy, hence the idiom
"green with envy".
But I can be forgiven for coining a new expression to aptly describe
my fellow countrymen in the period preceding the run-off election sham.
The city suddenly turned green with fear last week as grown men and
women ran around looking for Zanu PF regalia to adorn their cars, homes and
to clothe themselves.
At an up-market golf course I visited in the city, company executives
sported green Zanu PF scarves round their necks in a dissonant fashion craze
that looked completely out of order with their usually fashionable Slazenger
and Pony shirts and slacks. Their caddies wore green Zanu PF bandanas and
T-shirts as they traversed manicured fairways and greens feeling secure
because they were pretending to be Zanu PF supporters.
A number of vehicles parked at the club car park had the little pieces
of green cloths tied around rear view mirrors and other strategic positions
where they could be easily viewed. In the city centre and at Mbare Msika,
every bus and kombi was emblazoned with Zanu PF posters.
Drivers nemahwindi wore Zanu PF bandanas and T-shirts. Huge posters of
Mugabe were stuck on windscreens (thank goodness on the passenger side) but
still fundamentally blocking the view of the driver. Policemen manning
roadblocks let such vehicles pass without censure.
I recall being cautioned by a traffic policeman once because a
passenger in the front seat of a vehicle I was driving was reading a
broadsheet newspaper. The copper said the paper was obstructing my view of
the left-hand mirror and so on.
The scarf, sticker and poster craze was a boon for ramshackle vehicles
which were waved through roadblocks. One such wreck, an old Land Rover
notorious for overloading in the morning went through Chiremba Road
unchallenged because of its newfound green decorations and a driver who
looked menacing in party regalia from head to toe.
Vendors at council markets all displayed Zanu PF campaign material at
their stalls in addition to wearing Mugabe's face on their chests and back.
This they did not really mind.
It's the closure of their businesses as they were force-marched to Mai
Musodzi Hall to attend intermittent rallies which irked them. "Let's just
attend to save our businesses," they would say to encourage each other.
In the townships it was rare to see a house without Mugabe's poster on
the wall, gate or on the door.
Churches were not spared either. Others were raided on the pretext
that parishioners were opposition supporters.
They closed their doors to congregations as clergymen were ordered to
produce parishioners to rallies on Sunday mornings when they should be
celebrating mass and praising God. Politicians and activists with hands
dripping with blood asked for prayers and scared priests obliged - bidding
God to bless the brutes and their gods.
These are Christians who know the Biblical story of God exhorting the
children of Israel to mark their doors for divine protection.
The symbolic Blood of Jesus was substituted by a small green poster on
the door or gate! Idol-worship or respect for their leaders? This is sick!
This was a brutish demonstration of power on a people terrorised into
submission by a system bent on retaining power at all costs.
Dissent was met with varying degrees of force by ruffians accused of
extra-judicial killings, rape, torture, beatings, disappearances and
destruction of property. To many, pretending to be a Zanu PF supporter
became the best form of self-protection.
Last Friday, bands of terrorised people went out to vote in the name
of protecting themselves from an impending "operation red finger".
They cowardly registered their displeasure on ballot papers,
scribbling insults and choice swear words against Mugabe and Zanu PF. There
were tens of thousands of spoilt papers as a result but what change did it
From the COO on the golf course, the manager at a supermarket, the
clerk at a bank, the informal trader at Siyaso to the street people along
Samora Machel Avenue, what they have always considered to be symbols of
repression and deprivation became instruments of survival and sustenance.
The king in our lives is fear. We have been emboldened to endure all
sorts of blows and weather many storms of poverty, destitution and the
erosion of our rights.
We have tended to encourage the few who have stood up from the safety
of our houses or stood behind the shield of foul disguises.
We believe the battle belongs to heroes; those whose skins have been
hardened by beatings and torture, arrests and detentions.
We are safer in the confines of compliance than defiance. It is
therefore not surprising that today, there are those with patents to freedom
and valour. Why share with cowards?
I have this sense that one day a successor government will subject
this nation to this form of abuse because of new rulers' claim to heroism
Thursday, 03 July 2008 19:32
I DID not expect much to come out of the African Union summit in Egypt
this week. But it was bad enough that what little was said came from persons
in the form of Gabon's Omar Bongo and Kenya's Raila Odinga.
It was worse when one took into account Western media headlines that
the African leaders meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh were "under pressure" to act
on President Mugabe.
Nobody explained who was exerting the "pressure", but I was not unduly
surprised when the "bloody idiots" thunderbolt hit some "brave" journalist
Western in Egypt. They were keen to be seen to be taking a more robust
stance than the African leaders who welcomed Mugabe at the summit as a
"hero", according to Omar Bongo who has been in power since 1967.
It's not that Bongo or Odinga said the wrong or the right thing. They
are simply the wrong choice of speakers for Africa and their diametrically
opposed positions exemplify what is making debate on the Zimbabwean crisis
so messy and confusing.
Odinga was perhaps raising genuine personal feelings about the
political violence in Zimbabwe when he called for the country's suspension
from the AU, declaring President Mugabe's re-election illegitimate and
calling for a peacekeeping force.
Perceptions differ. What Odinga said could earn him a Nobel prize in
Europe. Which is what makes Bongo's comments so telling about what is now
perceived as the West's irritating and patronising attitude towards African
leaders. He did not tell the Western journalists who harangued him about
Mugabe's illegitimacy that Zimbabwe was not a province of Gabon nor call
them "bloody idiots".
"I can certainly tell you (journalists) that we are not obliged to
obey orders from overseas," he said. On whether the AU would condemn Mugabe's
re-election, he retorted with an equally pointed rebuke: "Africans are able
to decide for themselves. We have even received Mugabe as a hero."
Whether what Bongo and Odinga says is their choice. What I find
completely unhelpful is this obsession with condemning, as if that
constitutes a solution to problems. Western governments condemned the
sychronised March 29 elections before they were held. They condemned the
presidential election runoff of June 27 before it was held. In both cases
the outcome was different.
Then they came to Africa to demand: "Are you folks going to follow the
precedent we have set?" In other words African leaders have neither the
spine nor the conscience to act in their own best interests unless "pressure
is exerted" on them from Europe and the United States.
That to me lies at the heart of the confused and confusing narrative
on Zimbabwe: conclusions are made in Europe well in advance of the result
and African leaders with access to Mugabe must take up the chorus. If they
refuse or don't agree with those "predetermined" conclusions they are
labelled Mugabe's friends, they were not properly elected themselves or they
are accomplices in crime.
The root cause of the crisis - land ownership - is lost in the
rarified verbiage about human rights violations, a subject far more easier
to sell to ignorant Western audiences. The "bloody idiots" are the foot
soldiers carrying the rhetoric in the global war to maintain or extend the
West's hegemonic influence in Africa now under serious threat from the
dragon from the East.
Most of them are genuinely ignorant of their proxy role. Land
ownership is a settled matter in their countries. They don't have to think
about the welfare of the farm labourer in Guinea so long as Starbucks brews
The same cannot be said of Raila Odinga where poor Kenyans still
seethe with rancour each time they see a bwana saunter around his opulent
bungalow in the White Highlands. Not to mention his "bloody road" to State
House which he has failed to sell to Morgan Tsvangirai and ordinary
Zimbabweans. Does he genuinely believe over 1 000 Kenyans deserved to die
for him to earn a sinecure as prime minister?
Tell me not about Mwai Kibaki. They are both foreign creations.
As for Omar Bongo, it's only convenient to say what he said. He has
been in power for over 40 years.
Then there is Thabo Mbeki's unenviable and thankless task in Zimbabwe.
He must share the same cross with Bob. But after seeing how his "not a
crisis" was deliberately distorted by the media to "no crisis", I feel
guilty I never bothered to find out what he in fact said in his now famous
"denial" about Aids. What is plain so far is that the media can ruin a
person's character just as easily as it can build a false one.
Every "wrong" political decision Mbeki has made since assuming power
has been coloured mainly by his opponents' interpretation of his remarks
about the "link between Aids and poverty".
He is a deeply flawed character indeed and has made many questionable
decisions in a presidency overshadowed by Mugabe's "land war" but has
stolidly refused to be anybody else's voice. It is a war he understands well
but which those against it have disfigured and cheapened to human rights
without land. I feel sorry for Jacob Zuma's presidency.
There will be no medal for Mbeki's pains. If it came from Africa, it
would be greeted with scorn; if it came from Stockholm, Western journalists
would be aghast. He is as doomed as a Siamese twin.
Thursday, 03 July 2008 19:30
ROBERT Mugabe's holding of a one-man election has killed off any
possibility of a negotiated political settlement in Zimbabwe, the MDC's
Tendai Biti said on Tuesday.
"While the MDC has pursued dialogue in a bid to establish a government
of national healing before June 4, the sham election on June 27 totally and
completely exterminated any prospect of a negotiated settlement," the party's
secretary-general said in a statement.
While this pronouncement by Biti was expected given the party's
decision to boycott the presidential election run-off last week, we received
it with trepidation nonetheless, especially for its categorical nature.
Many people felt the lead-up to the election resembled a war
situation. This newspaper has documented some of the widespread violence
attributed to Zanu PF securocrats, militias and other party functionaries.
The question on many people's lips since that belated decision by the
MDC leadership to pull out of the election race has been: "What are they
going to do next?"
We had no illusions that Zanu PF would proceed with the elections and
that once the result was announced, the party would return to business as
usual. The MDC and many Zimbabweans believe Mugabe's re-election was
coerced. Many have since pronounced it a "sham" and Mugabe an "illegitimate"
leader. This is a view shared by many African states.
But while we agree there should be no reward for Zanu PF's policy of
violence and repression, we believe that a negotiated settlement is the way
to go sooner rather than later. That must include the aim of a democratic
election within a specific time-frame with international supervision.
Zimbabwe failed to meet the test of the Sadc Mauritius terms. Indeed,
it was in open violation of most of the region's electoral principles.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the March election with a majority of
votes. But that doesn't prevent an all-inclusive approach to national
reconstruction. Biti's declaration that Mugabe's re-election has "totally
and completely exterminated any prospect of a negotiated settlement" is
delusional, just as Mugabe's claim to have won a democratic mandate is.
There appears to have been a gross miscalculation by the MDC that once
Tsvangirai pulled out Zanu PF would stop the electoral process and pronounce
its candidate the winner as provided for in the constitution.
This did not happen. The question remains unanswered, how the MDC
proposes to move forward from here?
Unless it acts with wisdom and good sense - as distinct from kneejerk
responses - there is the real risk of it becoming either irrelevant,
moribund or a negative force in Zimbabwe's body politic.
On the other hand, Mugabe's swearing in and his attendance at the
African Union summit in Egypt on their own don't confer on him and his
government the legitimacy he so badly needs to get the nation out of its
quagmire. There is more work to be done than winning elections and Mugabe
knows that very well, hence his call for a national dialogue.
Given Mugabe's record, we doubt his sincerity in the dialogue, not its
necessity. It is in this respect that we expected the MDC to adopt a
circumspect yet still principled position in the national interest. If
political leaders cannot resolve their differences after the people have
spoken in a national vote, why should it be the poor who continue to suffer
When the MDC completely rules out dialogue, how is that supposed to
alleviate this suffering? Zimbabwe's economic recovery cannot be achieved by
Zanu PF working on its own or with chosen "friendly nations". This is a task
which calls for the collective effort of all Zimbabweans. That is why we
insist on a negotiated settlement rather than the outcome of a wasteful and
expensive post-electoral charade.
We believe that when the MDC talks about transitional mechanisms and
national healing, the essence of that is negotiation and inevitable
compromise. In saying so, nobody proposes that the MDC should go into the
negotiations with its eyes closed. They must not suppose that Zanu PF will
loosen its grip on power without a fight, even if that means taking
advantage of negotiators hungry for power.
That said, our point is that the MDC must engage in processes that
move the nation forward, not remain stuck in the stalemate of the past eight
years. It must have a sense of proportion about the concessions it can
reasonably extract from Zanu PF without holding the nation to ransom.
We know the temptation is to play to the international gallery; that
there should be no dialogue with Zanu PF at all. This is based on the false
belief that a few noises from the international community will sway Mugabe
into retirement. The truth is that approach has not worked and there are no
indications that it will this time around.
Given the limitations of both parties, we draw the conclusion that
neither Zanu PF nor the MDC has the answers to our crisis. While the MDC has
the legitimacy, Zanu PF has the power, however brutally retained. That is
the conundrum we have to resolve.
Thursday, 03 July 2008 19:09
IT is unsurprising that very many of the world's nations have
condemned last week's Presidential run-off election.
The United Nations Security Council unequivocally stated, in advance
of the election, that it could not be, and would not be "free and fair". So
too did the European Union, a very great number of the states of Africa, in
general, and of Sadc in particular, many of the Commonwealth countries, and
No genuinely and transparently thinking countries, or persons, could
think otherwise. With opposition leaders being recurrently arrested, many of
their rallies being peremptorily banned by the authorities, blatantly
without foundation, innumerable opposition supporters (actual or perceived)
being the victims of grossly cruel and inhuman victimisation, police and
others in the public sector being forced to cast their votes according to
governmental dictates, a totally biased state-media operating as nothing
more than a propaganda machine, and much else, there was as much prospect of
the run-off election being "free and fair" as there is of a male
experiencing conception and giving birth to a human being!
With a few, condemnable exceptions, the world demanded that the
run-off election be postponed, and only be conducted when it could be
genuinely free and fair. But government was dogmatically ill-disposed to
heed those demands, obdurately and spuriously contending that the run-off
would be wholly democratic, and that the demands of the international
community were devoid of substance, without credibility, and were only the
figments of imagination and the machinations of the enemies of Zimbabwe, and
especially so of President Mugabe and of his Zanu party.
For a very long time President Mugabe has vigorously alleged that the
pronounced opposition of the international community to him and to the party
that he leads was solely motivated by continuing colonialist aspirations,
and by resentment against Zimbabwe's land reform programme. In making those
repeated allegations, the president and those that he leads have studiously
ignored the incontestable evidence that recolonisation is totally anathema
to the former colonial powers, and that they have absolutely no wish to be
burdened by colonial responsibilities. He, and they, have equally seen fit
to disregard that Britain and others have unhesitatingly voiced support for
a land reform programme, provided that such programme was just and fair,
fully cognisant of property and human rights, and of bilateral investment
protection agreements, and was unreservedly constructive.
Even more vigorously, and repeatedly voiced, ad nauseum, have been the
claims of President Mugabe and his sycophants that all Zimbabwe's economic
ills have been occasioned almost entirely by "illegal international
sanctions", (the only exceptions being when such ills were claimed to be the
consequence of adverse climatic conditions). The founding of claims of
illegality has been that no sanctions have been determined upon by the
United Nations, and such claims have contemptuously disregarded that the
sovereignty of any country includes the right to determine whom it will
trade with, to whom it will advance loans or make grants of aid, and the
investment freedoms and constraints of its populace.
Of even graver gravity is that, in the determination to ascribe blame
to others, and thereby deflect any and all allegations of culpability,
government has not only deliberately ignored the actual causes of Zimbabwe's
near total economic collapse, and intentionally denied them, but it has
wholly failed to address those causes, and has made no meaningful attempts
to counter and reverse them.
In so doing, it has dismally failed in its primary and principal duty,
being to protect and enhance the wellbeing and welfare of the Zimbabwean
people, and instead it has grievously worsened the lot, save for a few
nepotistically well-placed Zanu PF hierarchy and their families, of the
The reality (as has been previously stated in this column) is that the
only significant economic sanction applied by any of the world community
against Zimbabwe is the USA's Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act, which
bars that country from providing funding to the Zimbabwean government, and
obligates it to exercise veto powers to prevent IMF and World Bank advances
to Zimbabwe. All the other legislated sanctions are not targetted against
Zimbabwe, but against 125 of Zimbabwe's political leaders and their
families. They face travel and investment bans and, in some deplorable
instances, barriers against pursuit of education.
However, since the debacle of the March, 2008 "harmonised" elections,
and the blatantly corrupted presidential run-off election last week, there
have been very extensive calls or markedly intensified sanctions. These
include a US-based demand for an international ban on the supply of arms to
Zimbabwe. In principle, that demand has merit, but in practice will have
very limited impact. On the one hand, Zimbabwe is possessed of a substantial
arsenal, and on the other hand it is highly improbable that South Africa and
China would be prepared to apply that sanction.
But another call for sanctions is highly misguided. There are very
strong calls in the United Kingdom, USA, some Commonwealth countries, and
various EU countries for a ban on all investment in Zimbabwe. The British
press has been flooded with articles and editorials calling for such
sanctions, and even calling for those who hold shares in multinational
companies which operate in Zimbabwe to dispose of their investments.
British members of parliament have been urged to sell off their
shareholdings in such companies as Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank,
Shell, BP, Rio Tinto and Anglo American, amongst many others. Such demands
are meaningless, for the sale of the shares would in no manner whatsoever
impact upon the Zimbabwean economy, or upon Zanu PF. It would only result in
possible losses for those possessed of the shares, and would have no bearing
upon Zimbabwe and its tragically oppressed populace.
In like manner, calls for a freeze of any further investment in
Zimbabwe will not have any impact upon President Mugabe and his (few)
supporters. Such a freeze will merely stultify, and worsen further, Zimbabwe's
already sadly distressed economy.
More meaningful would be suspension of Zimbabwe's membership of the
United Nations, an extension of travel bans to include a bar on travel (for
Zimbabwe's so-called leaders) to any UN member state. International actions
are necessary, but economic sanctions would be misguided and
Thursday, 03 July 2008 18:59
THE president "romped" to a "landslide victory", the Herald told us on
We all understand what "romp" means! To romp as to bludgeon and
subjugate, according to the Zanu PF dictionary on political behaviour
(revised edition). But how can you have a landslide with only one candidate?
The big fiction of this election was that there were two candidates.
Only by maintaining that fiction could the regime, aided by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, pretend that there was "a landslide".
The only landslide we know of was in Pelandaba/Mpopoma and the
Minister of Information lay prostrate underneath it!
But despite the strenuous efforts of Mugabe's minders to put a spin on
this outcome, the cold hard fact remains that this was an election regarded
as profoundly flawed not just by the Western powers but by many of Zimbabwe's
allies in the region. The government press tried its best to disguise this
but once Mugabe started wagging his finger at the culprits, Herald readers
must have realised that not all was well.
For the benefit of those who didn't see the various reactions, the
Sadc observer team said the run-off did not reflect the will of the people
and that pre-vote conditions impinged on its credibility. They said the
process leading up to the vote "did not conform to regional principles and
guidelines governing democratic elections".
In Johannesburg, ANC president Jacob Zuma told the ANC Youth League's
national conference that the party could not remain quiet when "wrong things
were taking place in Zimbabwe", as they would be regarded as "accomplices".
Pan African Parliament observer mission leader Marwick Khumalo told a
press briefing that "unpalatable messages" were written on many of the
spoilt ballots. He felt "uncomfortable" giving details.
A Sadc observer, who declined to be named, told the press some of the
words included "stupid". "Some wrote distasteful things. They were messages
of anger," the observer was quoted in The Star as saying.
The Herald carried a heading last Friday morning saying "Zanu PF leads
In other words, before a single vote had been cast the Herald was able
to report that Zanu PF led the popular vote. As an assumption that was
understandable. But as a reported fact?
One of the most important elements in a journalist's professional
equipment is a healthy sense of scepticism. In other words, don't just
swallow what you are told.
Nobody has told the Herald's columnist Stephen Maimbodei about the
need for scepticism. He told us in his narrative of events leading up to the
run-off that a "document exposing alleged MDC-T ballot bribery" was
published on April 14.
What he didn't tell us is that this was the same document that a High
Court judge last week described as "good bedtime reading". Meaning that it
He was referring to a clumsy piece of disinformation allegedly
authored by Tendai Biti but carrying what his lawyers said was a forged
Justice Ben Hlatshwayo said: "It's a good document for bedtime
reading. I have seen a lot of glaring shortcomings in this document because
some of the issues and charges are based on assumption of things that did
not or will not occur."
But for Maimbodei and his friends at the Herald it was the Gospel
truth. How gullible can you get?
The same gullible lot at ZBC were on Monday telling us about the
latest five-year plan for empowerment and economic turnaround. Shouldn't
they be asking themselves what happened to the last "turnaround" plan, and
all the ones before that which didn't fly?
Listen up you Pollyannas. It won't be the MDC or Sadc that finishes
off the Mugabe regime, now showing signs of terminal decay. It will be
inflation. Just watch the collapse as the rate of 9 000 000% bites into the
fabric of the economy.
Turnaround plans administered by economic illiterates in a situation
where you have reckless money-printing will prove fatal to your health.
Watch this space!
A very instructive story appeared in the Sunday Mail's Business
section last weekend. It centred on the decision by Japan to issue a travel
warning on Zimbabwe. But slipped in, almost as an afterthought, was the news
that China had done the same thing - and South Korea.
This was a major setback, African Sun's CEO Shingi Munyeza told the
Sunday Mail. Most tourists from Asia were now opting to go to Europe, he
Does anybody recall stories about Chinese tourists flooding in? Now
the irony: reports of electoral violence have scared away Chinese tourists
from the country whose government China regularly defends from criticism,
although it must be said with China's recent vote in the Security Council
that protection seems to be wearing thin.
The "perception management programme" that was launched by the ZTA has
suffered "a serious dent as the negative publicity aimed at the country
increased last week", it is now admitted.
But don't worry, the ZTA's Karikoga Kaseke says he will come up with a
plan to lobby the authorities from the Asian markets to remedy the
Tourism had been on the mend, the Sunday Mail said, as stakeholders
like the Reserve Bank and the government heightened efforts to promote the
country as a safe tourism destination.
So, the same government that unleashes the most terrible retribution
against innocent people for voting the wrong way in March now thinks it can
woo tourists back here by "perception management". The perception, thanks to
Zanu PF, is already well established that Zimbabwe is a dangerous place for
its own citizens, never mind those from abroad!
The state media doesn't seem to understand the "nature" of the global
village. As President Mugabe was being sworn in by the Chief Justice on
Sunday, farming families in Chegutu were being savagely beaten by a "war
veteran" called Gilbert Moyo and his gang of thugs.
News of that atrocity was on the wires within minutes. SABC TV showed
gruesome visuals. So did CNN.
Then Kaseke says he needs to apply "perception management". He's going
to have his work cut out!
The Herald, unable to disguise this case of brutality, reported police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena as saying the Moyo gang were just "common
How then do we explain film footage of them sitting comfortably on the
verandah of the farm they occupied?
There was a need for some "anger management" in Sharm el-Sheik as
African Union leaders met on Monday. Pesky reporters challenged President
Mugabe on the outcome of the "stolen" election.
It may have been a good idea to have ignored them, as Thabo Mbeki did,
but Mugabe was clearly in the mood for a fight. So were the journalists. A
verbal battle took place in full view of delegates and things began to look
ugly as Gordon Brown's name was bandied about.
At this point Mugabe's Egyptian minders locked arms around his waist
and led him out as the exchanges continued even as the president was being
carried off. His head was facing a full 180 degrees backwards as he tried to
get the last word in! It was all a tad unseemly but ITN's Julian Manyon gets
our persistence award for his door-stepping tactics.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Times' social reporter Gwen Gill took issue with
"Bob's bilious blouses".
The Mugabes were once natty dressers, she noted, but of late on the
campaign trail they have let things slip. Lately, she says, "the Mugabes
have lowered the fashion bar by making their His and Hers rally outfits from
cheap cotton material, with what looks like old-fashioned razor blades in
Where do these outfits come from? Gill asks. "Perhaps his Chinese
friends don't just supply him with arms, but also with tasteless fabrics and
"When Mugabe is thrown on the scrap heap of African politics," Gill
says, "I pray there will be room on the list of his wrongdoings for one that
deserves more mention than it gets: his fashion crimes."
One of the issues Zanu PF wants the MDC to resolve is that of
sanctions. Mugabe insists they will have to go before dialogue can start.
But he hasn't always been such an opponent of sanctions as this excerpt from
an article he contributed to the journal Foreign Affairs in 1987 shows.
"As a nation with long-term interests in southern Africa and a
fundamental commitment to the promotion of justice and democratic values,"
he said, "the United States cannot stand aside as a human tragedy of
potentially immense proportions threatens to unfold..."
He was of course talking about South Africa. But what the article
reveals is his commitment to sanctions as a moral weapon.
"The stakes are too high. At risk are the lives of thousands, possibly
millions, of South Africans, black and white, the future political and
economic viability of the entire southern third of the African continent,
and history's judgement of the United States.
"Against this background it is necessary for the US administration to
condemn by concrete actions those enforcing the apartheid system and to
support, again concretely, those struggling for freedom and justice. The US
Congress did pass last year, over the Administration's veto, a package of
limited sanctions. But the US should give political, moral and material
assistance to the majority who will sooner or later take their rightful
place in the governance of the country."
Muckraker received the following mail from a reader who thought it may
be of interest. It was written by a patriotic Kenyan in response to the
election result in that country which returned Mwai Kibaki to power in
January. It was addressed to Samuel Kivuitu, chairman of the Electoral
Commission of Kenya.
"We've never met. It's unlikely we ever will. But, like every other
Kenyan I will remember you for the rest of my life. The nausea I feel at the
mention of your name may recede. The bitterness and grief will not.
"You had a mandate, Mr Kivuitu to deliver a free, fair and transparent
election to the people of Kenya. You had a tremendous pool of resources,
skills, technical support to draw on including the advice of your peers in
the field - experts in governance, human rights, electoral process and
constitutional law. You had the trust of 37 million Kenyans.
"We believed it was going to happen. On December 27 a record 65% of
registered Kenyan voters rose as early as 4am to vote. They stood in lines
for up to 10 hours, in the sun without food or drink. As the results came in
we cheered as minister after powerful minister lost their parliamentary
seats; when the voters of Rift Valley categorically rejected the three sons
of Daniel arap Moi, the despot who looted Kenya for 24 years.
"The country spoke through the ballot en masse against the
mind-blowing greed, corruption, human rights abuses, and callous dismissal
of Kenya's poor that have characterised the Kibaki administration.
"But Kibaki wasn't going to go. When it became clear that you were
announcing the vote tallies that differed from those counted and confirmed
in the constituencies there was a sudden power blackout at the Kenyatta
International Conference Centre where the returns were being announced.
Hundreds of GSU (General Service Unit) suddenly marched in and ejected all
media except the government mouthpiece KBC.
"Fifteen minutes later we watched dumbfounded as you declared Kibaki
the winner. Thirty minutes later we watched in sickened disbelief and
outrage as you handed the announcement to Kibaki on the lawns of State House
where the Chief Justice, strangely enough, had already arrived; was waiting
fully robed to hurriedly swear him in.
You betrayed us. Perhaps we'll never know when or why you made that
"As the Kenya Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists
rescinds the Jurist of the Year award they bestowed on you, as the Law
Society of Kenya strikes you from their Roll of Honour and disbars you, I
wonder what goes through your mind these days.
"Do you think of the 300 000 Kenyans displaced from their homes, their
lives? Of the thousands still trapped in police stations and churches, any
refuge they can find across the country? Without food, water, toilets,
"Meanwhile, the man you named president cowers in the State House,
surrounded by a cabal of hard-line power-brokers and a bevy of unseated
ministers and MPs who jostle for position and succession; who fuel the fires
by any means they can to keep themselves important, powerful, necessary.
"A repressive regime rolls out its panoply of oppression against
legitimate dissent. Who guessed that in a city of perennial water shortages
we had high-powered water cannons to terrorise Kenyans off the streets?
"Is this what we have trained all our lives for? To confront
this epic catastrophe, caused by a group of old men who have already
sucked everything they possibly can out of Kenya, yet will cling until they
die to their absolute power."
Finally, Muckraker would like to know what has happened to our old
friend Caesar Zvayi. Is it true he has defected from the Herald and sought
refuge in Botswana? Surely not?
July 4, 2008
By Terry Bell
The bitter reaction yesterday of a Zimbabwean trade unionist in Harare went
as follows: "[Zanu-PF members] seem to have won. They claim to have won, but
still the beatings have continued."
He and several of his fellows bewailed the fact that the contribution and
suffering of the labour movement tended to be ignored. They argued that the
issues and the positions of the various parties in the conflict in Zimbabwe
had become confused in the public mind.
Although this is not widely publicised, it is certainly true that the trade
unions have been among the greatest losers in the repression and violence
across the Limpopo. They have also provided much of the impetus and policy
direction for the opposition, quite apart from playing the key role in
establishing the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has been particularly
targeted in recent months. Union research reveals that nearly 5 000 teachers
have been assaulted, with 600 hospitalised as a result of beatings. The
homes of at least 230 teachers have been razed.
The general secretary of the PTUZ, Raymond Majongwe, who has twice suffered
beatings and electric shock torture, was reported missing yesterday. On
Wednesday afternoon a group of men raided his Harare home.
A union official said: "We do not think they found him, but we do not know
what has happened to him."
PTUZ treasurer Lad Zunde was also not home when a group of men arrived on
Wednesday evening to say they had called to "take him to a funeral".
The persecution of the unions is no recent phenomenon. The Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and most of its affiliates have been prime targets of
the state ever since Morgan Tsvangirai, then the general secretary of the
ZCTU and now the leader of the opposition MDC, led the federation on an
independent course from the Zanu-PF government.
A ZCTU official said: "Yet we were fighting the very things [President
Robert] Mugabe now claims to be opposing."
The unions, which were initially linked to the ruling party, opposed the
liberal economic policies pursued by Mugabe on the advice of the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund.
In 1996, at the same time that the trade union federations in South Africa
were drafting their alternative economic policy proposals, the ZCTU produced
a document titled Beyond Esap (the economic structural adjustment
Like the South African labour movement's Social Equity and Job Creation
document, Beyond Esap presents more thoroughly considered policy positions
than anything put forward by the government. The ZCTU also drew on the
experience of South Africa's reconstruction and development programme which,
at that stage, had not yet given way to the macroeconomic reform programme
of growth, employment and redistribution.
Beyond Esap argues for the establishment of a tripartite - labour, business
and government - forum, such as the national economic development and labour
council, to consider and confirm government policies. Its demand that "land
redistribution should be given the highest priority" came at a time when the
Mugabe government was doing little about redistributing land.
Among the most battered of all the Zimbabwe unions - the agricultural
workers- there is demand for the establishment of farm worker co-operatives.
A co-operative supporter said: "But first we have to survive before we can
start to talk about that."