The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Mugabe's regional war talk

By Tichaona Sibanda
4 July 2008

Robert Mugabe has warned neighbouring countries to 'think twice' before
launching an attack against his regime.
Analysts say this could be viewed as a direct threat to Botswana, who this
week deployed an army brigade with artillery to patrol it's border with
Zimbabwe. Botswana described the troop movement as 'a precaution' against
trouble spilling over into their country.

Relations between Botswana and Zimbabwe came to an all time low at the Au
Summit in Egypt on Tuesday, when they refused to recognise Mugabe's stolen
election win. On Friday they reiterated calls for Mugabe's regime to be
suspended from the AU and the 14-nation SADC community.

Foreign Minister Phandu Sekelemani told reporters in Gaborone that as a
country that practices democracy and the rule of law, they do not recognize
the outcome of Zimbabwe's presidential run-off election, and would expect
other SADC member states to do the same.

Speaking to his bussed in 'supporters' on his arrival home on Friday Mugabe
warned his neighbours to be careful about provoking his government; 'If
there are some who may want to fight us, they should think twice. We don't
intend to fight any neighbours. We are a peaceful country, but if there is a
country, a neighbouring country that is itching for a fight, ah, then let
them try it.'

Botswana's new president, Ian Khama, a former commander of the country's
defence forces, has become increasingly critical of Mugabe's rule and the
problems it has caused in neighbouring countries.
A military analyst told Newsreel in the unlikely event of a war situation
Mugabe's army would struggle to sustain a battle, due to a number of

'The country's airpower is almost ground to a halt due to lack of spare
parts, soldiers' morale is low because of poor serving conditions and the
state of the economy limits the extent of how long the country can sustain a
war. Currently the army is sending it's soldiers on forced leave due to food
shortages in army barracks. These are all factors that constrain its
operations,' the analyst said.

Since independence Zimbabwe has been involved in two wars, both guerrilla
and counter insurgencies against MNR rebels who were fighting the Mozambican
government and in the DRC, propping up the late Laurent Kabila's government
against rebels sponsored by Uganda and Rwanda.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Botswana urges region not to recognise Mugabe's re-election

Yahoo News

Fri Jul 4, 9:30 AM ET

GABORONE (AFP) - Botswana's government urged its neighbours Friday not to
recognise Robert Mugabe's re-election in a one-man presidential poll as it
reiterated calls for Zimbabwe to be suspended from a regional bloc.

"As a country that practices democracy and the rule of law, Botswana does
not ... recognise the outcome of the presidential run-off election, and
would expect other SADC member states to do the same," Foreign Minister
Phandu Sekelemani said.

On Tuesday, Botswana called for Zimbabwe to be suspended from African Union
and Southern African Development Community (SADC) meetings.

Sekelemani said violence ahead of the June 27 run-off election "was not
conducive to the holding of a free and fair election", adding that unrest
"resulted in the loss of lives, destruction of property and displacement of
people from their homes."

"It is therefore Botswana's position that Zimbabwe not be allowed to
participate in SADC meetings until such time that they demonstrate their
commitment to strictly adhere to the organisation's principles," he said.

Sekelemani's comments came as Mugabe arrived back home to a hero's welcome
by his followers after an African Union summit in Egypt, where he avoided
serious censure after the widely condemned election that handed him a sixth
term as president.

AU leaders shunned calls for Mugabe's suspension or the imposition of
sanctions over Zimbabwe's political crisis and instead passed a resolution
calling for the formation of a national unity government.

Botswana had taken a harder line on Zimbabwe, and Sekelemani told reporters
he believed international condemnation would get Mugabe's attention.

"He did say in Egypt recently that he was saddened by the position of
Botswana," the foreign minister said of Mugabe.

"I could see it in his face that the old man was really sad, but I pray that
he understands it is not personal."

Sekelemani said Botswana agreed mediation should continue, but called for
such efforts to "be expedited, given a defined time frame, and conducted in
an atmosphere of mutual trust and good faith, where both parties are treated
as equal partners."

He also expressed support for South African President Thabo Mbeki's
mediation efforts in Zimbabwe despite widespread criticism of Mbeki's quiet
diplomacy approach.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted Zimbabwe's presidential
run-off, citing rising violence against supporters he blamed on Mugabe thugs
and which left some 90 dead and thousands injured.

Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the March 29 first round of the election, but
with an official vote total just short of an outright majority.

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The dirty half-dozen: The generals who are even more ruthless and blood-thirsty than Mugabe

Daily Mail, UK

By Andrew Malone
Last updated at 9:14 PM on 04th July 2008


His Excellency was perspiring, even though there was frost on the ground. In the palatial gardens of State House, the oak-panelled home of former British colonial rulers, Robert Mugabe's face glistened with sweat as he was declared President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. He pulled at his cuffs and glanced over his shoulder.

After 28 years of bloody rule  -  and two hours before the election results were announced 'live' on state-controlled TV  -  Mugabe appeared anxious as he was sworn in for a record sixth term this week. His opponents had been killed or forced at gunpoint to vote in rigged elections.

Yet it wasn't the international outcry over this that worried him. No, beneath the megalomania, what he must know is that he has already lost power, not to the persecuted opposition Movement for Democrat Change (MDC), but to a bloody  -  and secret  -  cabal.

Emmerson Mnangagwa
Constantine Chiwenga

The puppet-masters: Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF election agent Emmerson Mnangagwa, left, and Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Zimbabwean Army

Sitting behind Mugabe at the ceremony, as Chinese-built fighter jets screamed overhead, six men glowered and followed their dictator's every move.

Thickset and bursting out of their heavily decorated military uniforms, the watching men were The Generals  -  a group of cold-blooded killers who have seized power in Zimbabwe and revel in nicknames such as The Butcher and The Son Of God.

Dubbed the Dirty Half-Dozen or The Gang Of Six by Zimbabwe's traumatised people, The Generals have formed a military junta with terrifying plans to 'eliminate all opponents'. They forced Mugabe to hand over power to them at a meeting in State House, his HQ in Harare, the capital, days after he lost the first round of elections on March 29.

In a chilling turn of events, they arrived in a fleet of black Mercedes on April 5 and issued the President with an ultimatum: withhold the election results, stand aside and let them do their work to ensure they never again face a challenge to their lucrative, blood-thirsty rule.

Faced with exile and disgrace after this unthinkable defeat, not to mention the threat of being tried by the UN for war crimes, diplomats say Mugabe could see no way out.

He could agree to the deal in return for staying on as a figurehead president  -  or face the wrath of men responsible for some of Zimbabwe's bloodiest massacres, where pregnant women have been cut open and their unborn babies thrown down wells.

According to palace insiders, even Grace, Mugabe's wife, has turned against her husband. She was working as a security guard at State House when the President first spotted her and she officially became Zimbabwe's First Lady after Mugabe's first wife died. Grace relished the role, commandeering the country's aircraft for shopping sprees in Paris, London and Milan.

Augustine Chihuri
Paradzai Zimondi

The men behind Mugabe: Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Augustine Chihuri, left, and Paradzai Zimondi, head of the country's Prison Service

Now, however, she is furious at the prospect of losing the perks of office, which include five mansions and the delivery of boxes stuffed with millions of U.S. dollars to her home each month. She told Mugabe, 40 years her senior, to accept the deal offered by The Generals. Reluctantly, he agreed.

Mugabe ceded power to men schooled in torture and political assassinations at the infamous Chinese military academy in Nanking. At meetings held under their junta  -  called the Joint Operational Command (JOC), which controls the secret services, army, air force, police and prisons  -  The Generals decreed 'they will never give up power'.

To keep their promise, they have created a highly sophisticated state terror apparatus to quell future dissent. They are led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a founding member of the notorious Crocodile Gang, who tortured and murdered white farmers during Mugabe's guerilla war against white rule in the late Seventies.

But Mnangagwa's cruelty was not confined to attacks on whites. He was also notorious for his role as director of intelligence during Operation Gukurahundi ('the rain that washes away the chaff'), a genocidal campaign against a breakaway guerilla faction led by Joshua Nkomo during the war of independence.

After being jailed during the days of white rule for his part in atrocities, he rose through the ranks of the ruling ZANU-PF party following independence in 1980. With an elaborate network of informers, Mnangagwa was responsible for directing the paramilitary Fifth Brigade against black enemy targets, particularly the supporters of Nkomo in Matabeleland in the south-west of the country.

Trained by North Korea and armed with the latest weapons, the Fifth Brigade has been blamed for the deaths of up to 20,000 people during the Matabeleland Massacres between 1982 and 1986. Many were killed at public executions. After being told to dig their own graves, with family and friends forced to look on, the victims were shot. Others were burned alive in their huts. Women and babies were thrown into boreholes used for water.

Gideon Gono
 Perence Shiri

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, left, and Air Force Commander Perence Shiri are some of the other men 'running a regime within a regime'

Along with Grace Mugabe and others in The Gang Of Six, Mnangagwa  -  who calls himself The Son Of God and claims to be accountable to no one  -  made millions by ordering troops into the Democratic Republic of Congo during the late Nineties.

In a war that claimed more than three million lives, the soldiers battled for control of the Congo's diamond mines  -  and Zimbabwe's state airline was used as part of an elaborate gem-smuggling operation that made an estimated £5 billion for those involved.

All this has made Mnangagwa  -  who has replaced Mugabe as chief of the Joint Operational Command  -  the wealthiest man in Zimbabwe. He has a magnificent walled palace in Harare with a helicopter pad, and a sprawling ranch.

His chief partner in crime is General Constantine Chiwenga, the head of Zimbabwe's defence forces, who lives in a sparkling white villa with swimming pools and servants' quarters, in splendid isolation on a hill overlooking the squalor of Harare.

Brusque and with a volcanic temper, Chiwenga led the Fifth Brigade during the genocide against Nkomo's Ndebele tribe. Known as The Butcher Of Matabeleland, he is reputed to have thrown suspected Nkomo supporters out of helicopters.

The behaviour of Chiwenga's wife, Jocelyn, a former prostitute, has not done much for his recent mood. She shops with an entourage of soldiers to push the poor out of the way  -  and once shouted at Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition, that she would 'take his manhood' when she spotted him in the street. She has also seized two farms from white owners, saying she would 'taste their blood' if they refused to hand over the land.

Along with Augustine Chihuri (head of the police), Paradzai Zimondi (head of prisons), Perence Shiri ( airforce) and Gideon Gono (in charge of funding), these are the men who intelligence sources in Harare say are in control of the country and 'running a regime within a regime.'

And they are as determined as any dictator that they will not give up power. As well as being wanted for war crimes, they suffer none of the hardships faced by millions of Zimbabweans every day. While many are reduced to killing wild animals and living off berries, The Generals live in Borrowdale Brook, an exclusive development in the north of the city.

At their own exclusive supermarket, stocked with goods smuggled in by road and air, the families and relatives of The Generals browse through a selection of fresh seafood, including lobster and tiger prawns, as well as the finest French wines and cheeses.

At a clandestine meeting with one dissident ZANU-PF source, down a dirt track surrounded by elephant grass that had grown to head height, I was shown documents purporting to outline the junta's 'final solution' against enemies of their regime.

In a strategy with chilling echoes of the Matabeleland Massacres, the documents reveal that the killing has only just started  -  and provide conclusive proof that ballot boxes were stuffed all over the country, 'watched by death squads with orders to kill opposition MPs'.

Of course, we cannot be sure that they are genuine, but they also apparently reveal that if Tsvangirai's MDC had not pulled out over fears of a bloodbath, the election 'results' would not have been released and he would have been charged with treason and hanged.

They state that the killing must continue even after Mugabe has cheated his way to power, 'with terror to be unleashed after the elections . . . [With] voting patterns to be assessed to determine where terror should be unleashed'.

As Tsvangirai remains in hiding at the Dutch Embassy after threats on his life, his supporters are on the run in the face of a brutal new crackdown. With foreign journalists banned and radio broadcasts from neighbouring countries blocked, the strategy is designed to ensure the scale of the onslaught does not reach the outside world.

Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace

Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace greet supporters of his ruling Zanu-PF party upon arriving at Harare International airport Friday

Doctors at hospitals I visited reported a harrowing new medical phenomenon: the kidneys of victims 'exploding'. 'The blood cells burst during prolonged beatings, clogging the kidneys, which can't cope,' one doctor said, to the background noise of screaming from victims in the wards.

'The kidneys collapse and the patients die. It's horrible. It's ugly and it's getting worse. The Generals have killed and killed and killed. It is crude torture with horrific consequences. It's like there is a war  -  with only one side fighting it.' Lovemore Zilika, 47, was asleep at home when a gang high on drink and drugs started throwing rocks through his windows.

They pounced when he went to investigate, beating him using crude clubs with nails sticking out. Lifting his dressings to show masses of red, shredded flesh, Lovemore also had both legs broken in 20 places. His legs are in plaster up to his groin and they may have to be amputated.

'These people are killers,' he said. 'They only left me because they thought I was dead. As they beat me, they kept asking why I wanted to support the MDC. These people are not human.'

One woman said she was beaten and taken to a hut in the bush, where she was repeatedly raped. 'There were ten,' she said, weeping.

Another victim, a 42-year- old man who gave his name only as Gudzai, told how he was dragged from his home at night. As his arms and legs were broken with iron bars and rocks, he kept slipping into unconsciousness. 'They would throw water over me to make me come round,' he said. 'Then they started beating me again.'

This has prompted warnings that the people will rise up  -  and wreak awful revenge on their rulers, with the country sliding into civil war. Yet even the most committed MDC activists were last week in hiding fearing the 'final solution.'

After being called late at night this week, I was taken to a safe house  -  one of dozens used to hide 'enemies of the regime' before they can be smuggled out of the country. After a raft of elaborate security precautions, I was introduced to three MDC officials whose names are on death lists distributed by the junta.

Kimberley, 26, was held at four torture camps last week. He was forced to simulate sex with a hole in the ground and beaten with logs. He was put in a cell with two rotting bodies for 24 hours and was denounced by fellow opposition supporters, who had been beaten for hours into submission.

'They kept shouting at me that I was a sell-out,' he told me, grinning despite his injuries. 'They burned my home and those of my relatives. They blindfolded and tortured me. I was eventually dumped in the bush. They thought I was dead. I couldn't walk, but villagers helped me.'

The interview was interrupted. A car had been heard. Kimberley told me to go before 'they' came.

Asked if he had a message for the West, he said: 'The world needs to mobilise to get rid of these people. I have a baby daughter and I want her to grow up without fear. That's all any of us want.'

But The Gang Of Six has too much to lose. As one Western diplomat told me before I slipped out of Zimbabwe: 'These men will not give up power. They are in too deep. They have too much blood on their hands. They have shown they will stop at nothing to keep what they have got.'

Pity the brave people of Zimbabwe. For I suspect that even the removal of Robert Mugabe will not be enough to save them.

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NGO ban puts older people at risk of starvation in Zimbabwe

HelpAge International

Date: 04 Jul 2008

Severe food shortages and the continuing ban on non-governmental
organisation's (NGO) activities are placing hundreds of thousands of
vulnerable people in Zimbabwe at critical risk of starvation.

A combination of hyperinflation, rising food prices and the failure of the
summer harvest has left an estimated 2-4 million Zimbabweans dependent on
humanitarian food aid.

Older people, children and the disabled are particularly vulnerable.
However, a blanket ban on NGO field activities introduced on 4 June means
humanitarian agencies, including HelpAge International's partner in
Zimbabwe, are unable to reach them with aid.

Food distribution programme suspended

Our partner organisation is the only humanitarian agency in the country
focusing on the needs of older people. It runs a food distribution programme
on behalf of the World Food Programme, reaching over 7,500 people in 125
care institutions. These include privately-run orphanages, disability
centres and older people's homes.

As a result of the NGO ban this programme was unable to operate throughout
June, leaving these vulnerable groups at great risk of starvation. Most of
the homes taking part in the programme do not have any other sources of
income with which to support their residents.

Uncertain future

Most of the residents at a care home for older people on the outskirts of
Harare have no family and nowhere else to go.

Speaking before the NGO suspension, one resident, Maria, said: 'Here I have
been able to get food, a safe home, clothing, bed linen and blankets. I
couldn't have got these things by myself. If I weren't here, I would be dead
by now.'

Without the institutional feeding programme run by HelpAge International's
partner organisation, the future for residents like Maria is uncertain.

Alex Bush, Assistant Director of Programmes at HelpAge International, says:

"This situation is incredibly serious. Vulnerable groups who are supported
by food distributions, such as older people and the disabled, have no other
means of survival."

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Free UK Zimbabweans from limbo!

'Strangers into Citizens' call by church leaders, CITIZENS and MPs for

Friday, 11 July 2008; ACTION; 11.30 am- 2.30pm; starting at St Margaret's
Church, Westminster Abbey

12.00 : Service led by Archbishop of York, John Sentamu
1.30pm: Rally and walk to Home Office; Parliament Sq. and South Bank


Britain can best help Zimbabwe in its dark hour by enabling its future
leaders to acquire the skills to rebuild the country when the opportunity
comes. .Instead, thousands of Zimbabwean exiles in the UK live in limbo -
de-motivated and de-skilled, and prevented by law even from working as
The STRANGERS INTO CITIZENS campaign is calling for the Home Office to
enable Zimbabweans resident in the UK to have:

. Temporary access to work
. Job placement and training

STRANGERS INTO CITIZENS is a campaign by London Citizens (part of the
Citizen Organising Foundation) calling for a "pathway into citizenship" for
hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the UK who have been
resident in the country for many years. Since it was launched in January
2007, the campaign has secured the support of: t he Liberal-Democrat party;
London's mayor, Boris Johnson; more than 90 MPs of all parties; the Catholic
bishops of the UK, as well other church and faith leaders; as well as trade
unions, migrant rights groups, charitable associations, and many schools

The Independent Asylum Commission (IAC) is conducting a nationwide citizens'
review of the UK asylum system. Through a series of reports following
in-depth hearings and analysis, the Commissioners aim to make credible and
workable recommendations for reform that safeguard the rights of asylum
seekers but also command the confidence of the British public.

LONDON CITIZENS is the capital's most diverse community alliance, which
includes more than 100 churches, mosques, schools, trade unions and
charities. London Citizens teaches the art of politics in action - allowing
ordinary people to bring about social change. www.londoncitizens.or

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Number of displaced Zimbabweans "extremely worrying"

By Alex Bell
04 July 2008

The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum said on Friday the South African government needs
to take responsibility not only for the number of Zimbabweans fleeing into
the country, but also for the growing number of displaced Zimbabweans - a
figure that is now estimated at a quarter of a million since the March

The forum's Gabriel Shumba told Newsreel the figure, while merely an
estimate, is "extremely worrying" and indicative of how bad the situation in
Zimbabwe has become. He said the bare minimum of these refugees have shelter
and food, but tens of thousands more are left "homeless and defenceless".

Shumba said he is deeply concerned that the trend of Zimbabweans entering
South Africa illegally has changed. He said individuals used to cross the
border, to provide for their families back home, but now Shumba said "entire
families are arriving in South Africa, with nowhere else to go, because
their homes and homestead have been burnt and their lives threatened".

Shumba added that there are fears among refugees in South Africa that
Zimbabwean government thugs are "pretending to be victims of violence to get
help in South Africa, merely to track down real victims". He said the
situation is "critical and so overwhelming".

Shumba said the South African government now has a responsibility to protect
not only the Zimbabweans in exile in its country, but also the thousands of
people displaced by politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe. He said it
is "self evident that South Africa has as much to do with the crisis as
Mugabe" and it is time for them to step in.

Shumba was among a group of speakers at a prayer meeting for Zimbabwe at the
Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg on Friday. Zimbabwean musicians
also gathered at the church and they included some of the prominent protest
artists whose albums have been banned in Zimbabwe because their lyrical
content describes the suffering and wishes of ordinary Zimbabweans.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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A long record of torture

New Statesman

Gerry Simpson

Published 04 July 2008

Human Rights Watch's Gerry Simpson explains the plight of Zimbabweans in
South Africa many of whom were dislodged from their homes by Mugabe years

Grace lives in Johannesburg and, like hundreds of Zimbabweans tortured by
Robert Mugabe's "war veterans" and youth militia since the March 2008
elections she is struggling to survive. But Grace is not one of the recently
tortured. Instead, her story reflects the reality for millions of
Zimbabweans and speaks to eight years of political repression and economic
destruction next door.

Three years ago, Mugabe's government ordered Grace's cottage in Harare to be
bulldozed, together with the homes of 700,000 other people, and banned all
informal street and market trading. Grace, her daughter and her mother lost
everything: home, work, income, education and healthcare.

Grace has barely survived. "After they destroyed my cottage we slept in the
open. I tried to feed us by trading in the street but the police always
stole my goods and then arrested, fined and beat me with a rubber whip and
then with an iron bar," she told me in February. "It was impossible to get a
trading license because I did not have a ZANU-PF card. After they beat me
with the iron bar I knew could not continue and had to leave to survive. So
I came to South Africa."

Grace and 700,000 others were victims of "Operation Murambatsvina" or
"Operation Clear the Filth," a name that reflects the ruling ZANU-PF party's
low regard for the humanity of these Zimbabwean citizens. Carried out
shortly after the March 2005 elections in which the opposition party made
significant gains in Zimbabwe's cities, ZANU-PF viewed Grace and others
living in high-density suburbs as a political threat that had to be removed.
Like those abused by Mugabe's thugs in 2008, Grace, and hundreds of
thousands like her, were all targeted for the same political reason: they
apparently threatened ZANU-PF's hold on power.

Many Zimbabweans fleeing to South Africa since 2005 - possibly numbering
tens of thousands - have escaped the same persecution, and the same
destructive economic effects, described by Grace. They are refugees,
although South Africa's dysfunctional asylum system has yet to recognize
them as such.

They join an estimated 1.5 million Zimbabweans who have fled the appalling
conditions caused by Mugabe's destructive economic policies. Zimbabwe has
the world's highest rate of inflation (100,000 per cent); 83 per cent of its
people live in poverty, 80 per cent are unemployed, and 4.1 million depend
on food assistance, which government operatives withhold or manipulate for
political gain. Life expectancy for women, 56 years in 1978, has fallen to
34 today; over 70 per cent of the 350,000 Zimbabweans in need of life-saving
HIV/AIDS drugs cannot access them.

These Zimbabweans - refugees and people fleeing generalised economic ruin -
have turned to their South African neighbors in search of safety and work to
help send home food and money. But almost all enter and remain in South
Africa without documents, have no right to work and only limited access to
help such as health care. Even if registered as asylum seekers - which
should guarantee them protection from forcible return to Zimbabwe - they are
liable to be arrested and summarily deported. Exploited by employers and at
risk of xenophobic violence, they live in permanent insecurity. Destitute
and vulnerable when they arrive, they remain so in South Africa.

Zimbabweans' presence underlines a failure of foreign policy: the failure to
use South Africa's leverage to effectively address the brutal human rights
violations and failed economic policies causing their flight. Their
undocumented status and vulnerability in South Africa also represents a
failure of domestic policy: the failure to develop a comprehensive policy to
address the reality of their presence.

To begin the long-term process of securing a future for Zimbabweans in
Zimbabwe, South African must end its failed and discredited "quiet
 diplomacy" approach towards Mugabe. But trying to address the cause of
forced displacement in Zimbabwe is not a substitute for attending to the
needs of Zimbabweans in South Africa. Pretoria needs to tackle both failures

South Africa should provide temporary residence status and work
authorization for all Zimbabweans in South Africa. By doing this, South
Africa would stop violating international refugee law by deporting asylum
seekers, help protect Zimbabweans against exploitation and violence inside
South Africa, facilitate their self sufficiency, and enable them to help
their desperate families at home.

Granting temporary status to Zimbabweans would also unburden South Africa's
asylum system, currently clogged with thousands of Zimbabwean claims, and
ensure that Zimbabweans earn the minimum wage, which would help South
Africans to compete fairly with them for jobs. By doing the right thing to
help its desperate neighbors, South Africa could also lessen the resentment
behind the recent rise in xenophobic violence that has caused so much
damage - not least to South Africa's reputation.

Gerry Simpson is a Human Rights Watch researcher and author of the report,
"Neighbors in Need: Zimbabweans seeking refuge in South Africa."

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Catholicism and Mugabe

New Statesman

Steve Kibble

Published 04 July 2008

Progressio's Steve Kibble on the complex relationship between Robert Mugabe
and Zimbabwe's churches.

Robert Mugabe of the African nation has a serious dilemma on his hands,
despite having declared himself the winner of last Friday's so-called 'vote'.
Desperate to legitimise his presidency, it seems he will stop at little.

Yet, as a supposedly practising Catholic in a deeply religious country
Mugabe might want to think twice before unleashing the full force of his
campaign of violence on those he sees as his enemies within the Church.
Because if he does, he could lay up serious additional trouble for his
ZANU-PF regime.

Twenty-eight years in power have slowly eroded Mugabe's once reasonably
healthy relationship with the core denominations of the Zimbabwe churches.
Though supported to varying degrees by the Catholics, Anglicans and
Evangelicals when he swept to power in 1980 - the Churches were as eager as
anyone to see the end of the illegal Smith regime - Mugabe has slowly burnt
his bridges.

Historically, the Zimbabwe churches, particularly the leaderships, have been
largely quiet on Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian rule. In the nineties,
some in the church were concerned about increasing corruption and
authoritarianism; yet found it difficult to break from support of the
liberation movement to directly accuse ZANU-PF of being at the root of the
country's deepening troubles. There were also major problems for churches as
they sought to devote themselves to the pastoral and theological struggle
against HIV and AIDS. From the early 2000s there were also ever-greater
numbers of people requiring food aid and humanitarian assistance.

Equally, by the early 2000s the lower ranks of the clergy had begun to
organise themselves cross-denominationally to voice their opposition to
increasing ZANU-PF demonisation of and attacks on any group that opposed it.
After a stolen election in 2005, the churches also faced the fallout from
'Operation Murambatsvina'. Though ostensibly an attempt to push illegal slum
dwellers out of Harare, scores of innocent civilians were attacked and
arrested and had their houses destroyed, forcing them to seek shelter in
churches from where police often chased them out. From this point on there
was increasing concern from church leaders, although most of them saw their
role as one of attempting to bring reconciliation rather than openly lead
opposition to the government and its actions.

After a number of pastoral statements calling for an end to violence and
poverty, but not apportioning blame, a turning point came in April 2007 when
the Catholic Bishops' Conference issued a statement. "God Hears the Cry of
the Oppressed" squarely blamed the Mugabe government for spiralling
inflation, rampant food shortages and widespread intimidation. The ZANU-PF
response? Use of its youth militias to stop the pastoral letter being read
out to congregations, threats against the clergy, and a successful campaign
to remove leading ZANU-PF critic Pius Ncube, the Catholic Archbishop of

Mugabe's regime now looks to have lost the support of most of the churches,
bar those who are supporters or beneficiaries of land and other gifts. In a
country where around 90 per cent subscribe to a faith and 62 per cent attend
Christian churches, Mugabe's next steps will be critical. And they will be
closely scrutinised across the region and the world.

The church could now be Mugabe's ultimate challenge. Although violence
against church groups is on the increase - members of the Zimbabwe Christian
Alliance were recently arrested and detained for questioning in Harare - and
although Mugabe has sanctioned attacks on every other sector, he may yet
prove reluctant to unleash a full-blown campaign of intimidation against the
churches per se.

Mugabe is already under fire from fellow regional leaders for the violence
surrounding the electoral run-off. Coupled with last week's unprecedented UN
security council statement condemning government-led violence, any direct
attacks on the church would see Mugabe shunned by his fellow southern
African leaders, who are all nominally Christian. Given that Mugabe was
refused an audience with the Pope on a recent visit to the FAO in Rome, he
might not wish to invite further censure from the Vatican. This gives the
churches significantly more space than others to stand up for the political,
economic and social rights of their flocks.

So what option do church leaders now have? As the dust settles after Friday's
vote, they may well be tempted by the option of carrying on 'as normal', but
for how long would that be possible as inflation hits 4 million per cent,
xenophobia rises in neighbouring states, the economy collapses further and
up to five million people require food aid? They may still denounce the
illegitimacy of the result and call for an internationally or regionally
supervised re-run and perhaps African peacekeepers. Or will they finally
stick their necks out and say no to direct attacks on the church, including
reports of parishioners being pulled from the altar and beaten up?

Will Zimbabwean churches now follow the example set by South African church
leaders in the last years of apartheid and lead a campaign of non-violent
resistance, albeit reluctantly? Undoubtedly they would prefer it if regional
leaders were able to help find a solution, but time is running out for a
peaceful end to the crisis.

Mugabe says only God can remove him from power. But it looks increasingly
possible that the people of God will take the first concrete steps to help
him on his way.

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The ZEC Commissioners must account for the election farce

I am not a lawyer, but it seems quite straightforward to me.

The Electoral act says that "the authority to govern derives from the
will of the people demonstrated through elections that are conducted
efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and properly on the basis
of universal and equal suffrage exercised through a secret ballot".

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is appointed in terms of the
Zimbabwe Constitution to conduct these elections and to "ensure" that
they are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly and transparently.

In the exercise of this function, the Constitution says, the
Commission "shall not be subject to the direction or control of any
person or authority".

In addition to conducting the elections, the Commission is also
required by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act to monitor the
Zimbabwean news media to "ensure" that broadcasters, print publishers
and journalists observe the provisions of the Act in that
* all political parties and candidates are treated equitably in their
news media, in regard to the extent, timing and prominence of the
coverage accorded to them;
* reports on the election in their news media are factually accurate,
complete and fair;
* political parties and candidates are afforded a reasonable right of
reply to any allegations made in their news media that are claimed by
the political parties or candidates concerned to be false;
* news media do not promote political parties or candidates that
encourage violence or hatred against any class of persons in Zimbabwe;
* news media avoid language that:
* encourages racial, ethnic or religious prejudice or hatred; or
* encourages or incites violence; or
* is likely to lead to undue public contempt towards any political
party, candidate or class of person in Zimbabwe.

Finally, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act says that the
Commissioners are required to exercise their functions in a manner
that promotes conditions conducive to free, fair and democratic
elections. They are not to do anything that may "give rise to a
reasonable apprehension that they are exercising their functions with
partiality or bias; or place in jeopardy their independence or the
perception of their independence; or compromise the Commission's
credibility, impartiality, independence or integrity".

The Electoral Commissioners have arguably the most important job in
the country. It is their responsibility to protect the right of
Zimbabweans to choose their representatives in a free, fair and
transparent election, thereby giving those representatives the
authority to govern.

It seems to me that the Commissioners have failed in their mandate in
several ways.

They have administered an election that has been adjudged either as
not free and fair, or as not reflecting the will of the people, by
local independent observers as well as those from SADC, the
Pan-African Parliament and the African Union.

They have not stopped the state-controlled media from publishing and
broadcasting material that has been patently biased in favour of one
candidate without allowing the other any voice or right of reply, and
have allowed them to use language that, in my opinion, encouraged
racial hatred as well as public contempt towards the MDC and its
presidential candidate.

There has been no transparency in the Commissioners' reasons for
proceeding with a run-off election in which one candidate had
indicated that he did not wish to participate, suggesting that the
Commission might have used vast public resources unnecessarily.

Nor has there been any transparency in their apparent ability to
collate, count and verify the votes in the run-off election in less
than 48 hours, whereas the same task apparently took a month after
the 29 March election.

These and other actions of the Commission have given rise to "a
reasonable apprehension" in me that their credibility, impartiality,
independence and integrity have been compromised.

It would appear that the Commissioners have either voluntarily failed
to carry out their constitutional mandate, or have involuntarily been
under the direction of some other "person or authority", in which
case they should have made this public and resigned.

At the moment, Commissioners George Chiweshe, Joyce Kazembe,
Theophilus Gambe, Sarah Kachingwe, George Kahari, Vivian Ncube and
Jonathan Siyachitema might be regarded as those initially responsible
for failing to protect many of the democratic rights of the
Zimbabwean people in this electoral process.

The Act gives them up to six months from the announcement of the
results to submit their report on the conduct of the election to
Parliament and the contesting parties, but I believe that they should
take responsibility to explain more immediately their actions (and
inactions) to the voting public.

Dissatisfied Voter

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CHRA on the swearing in of the new council for the city of Harare

The Zimbabwean

Friday, 04 July 2008 14:54
 The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) welcomes the
in of the new council for the city of Harare, yesterday on the 1st of
July 2008.

 We however note with grave concern the late commencement of
council business owing to the unexplained delay in the swearing in of
the new councillors by the Ministry of Local Government. As an
association, we look forward to a fruitful relationship of cooperation
with the new council in an endeavour to address the social service
delivery related problems bedevilling the city of Harare. In that
regard, the Association takes this vital opportunity to remind the new
council of the issues that demands its attention as a matter of
urgency. These critical issues include;

. Advocacy  for the constitutionalisation of Zimbabwe's   local
. Advocacy for autonomous and cooperative local governance in
. Wide and gender equitable consultation of residents during the
council budget formulation.
. Potholes on all the major roads across the city
. Perennial water shortages across the city, but severe in high
density areas
. Sewer bursts across the city, but severe in high density areas
. Uncollected refuse pilling up in most residential suburbs
. Poor street lighting
. Tall grass growing along roads
. Absence of clinics and police posts in certain areas
. Collapsed and dilapidation of council and recreational
facilities like halls
. Harassment of street vendors and other residents by municipal
. The increase in the number of street kids and vagrants in the
city and cases of harassment of residents by the street kids.
. Partisan employment recruitment for council jobs and other
. Development of programs that aim at socio-economic empowerment
for the disadvantaged residents.
Over and above we urge the new council to tow the path of
democracy, whereupon the council's decision making process is
characterised by wide and effective consultation of all residents
irrespective of their social standing, sex or race. As an association,
we remain committed to demanding and facilitating enhanced civic
participation in local governance in Harare.

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"Breaking the political impasse in Zimbabwe"

The Zimbabwean

Friday, 04 July 2008 14:26
A discussion paper prepared by Bulawayo Agenda
1. Introduction
The protracted conflict in Zimbabwe between the ruling elite and the
democratic forces has taken a heavy toll in terms of loss of human life,
economic meltdown and erosion of its democratic credentials.

Contrary to the pontification of the Mugabe administration presenting
itself as a victim of the Western conspiracies, the events of the past few
months have shown that the 'emperor has no clothes' after all. In the bid to
reclaim what was lost in the March 29 election, the regime threw all caution
to the wind and went on a killing spree. Arguably, the current situation in
Zimbabwe can only be described as a 'complex political emergency'. It is an
incontrovertible fact that the Mugabe regime is struggling to survive
against the torrential wave of public anger. Its preferred method of
survival defies all trappings of democracy. The opposition pulled out of the
Presidential runoff citing a constellation of factors inter alia the hydra
of violence meted against its supporters, hostile electoral environment and
the uneven playing field. Contemporaneously, a number of African countries
finally seem to appreciate the problems the country is facing. In fact, the
'one man election' has been described as shameful and illegitimate. As the
drama of the presidential runoff result unfolds, it is critical for the
African leaders, with support from the wider international community, to
step in to stop the violence and resolve the deepening political crisis.
People's expectations and demands for change have heightened and profound
uncertainty about what form change would take has raised the political
stakes for all concerned. The gestation period has taken longer than
optimists had hoped. It is therefore, the object of this discussion paper to
inspire the debate on the strategic options for the breaking of the mutually
hurting electoral logjam thereby ushering in a new constitutional, political
and economic dispensation.
2. Façade of democratic legitimacy
The contemporary world is increasingly becoming a democratic one,
where even tyrants are required to go through the exercise of multicandidate
and multiparty elections to preserve a semblance of domestic and
international legitimacy. The pull out by Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition
candidate, from the runoff elections rested on popular hopes of shattering
the regime's facade of democratic legitimacy thereby triggering a process
that would eventually lead to genuine elections. Thus, the opposition
bravely and unambiguously expressed its position which aimed at denying an
iota of legitimacy to the Mugabe administration and this has resonated very
well with the broad spectrum of the population in Zimbabwe. Predictably, the
insistence by Zanu PF to continue with the runoff election, and consequently
declare Mr Mugabe as a winner, has been met with widespread condemnation
from the region and internationally. The decision to continue with the
elections was a leap in the dark, an action that was as ruinous to Zimbabwe's
political gains as was the violence that had embedded itself in the regime.
It was a blow beneath the belt for democracy. Subsequently, Mr Mugabe faces
a hostile parliament, growing public discontent, mounting international
pressure and increased isolation. The consequences of his staying in office
would be catastrophic, not least that the economic decline would intensify,
with more Zimbabweans fleeing across borders while inflation plummets to
unprecedented levels.  Appropriate regional and international action must be
taken against the rogue regime. Examples of such actions would be declaring
his government illegitimate, tightening existing targeted sanctions on known
hardliners and establishing a Security Council Commission to investigate
reports of torture, murder and widespread violations of human rights.
3. African Union resolutions on Zimbabwe
The 11th African Union (AU) summit at the Egyptian Red Sea resort on 1
July adopted a resolution supporting the creation of a Government of
National Unity (GNU) for Zimbabwe through dialogue. The text also expressed
support to the SADC facilitation process on the issue while calling for
continued mediation efforts in order to assist the people and leadership of
Zimbabwe to resolve its problems. The resolution further appealed to states
and all parties concerned to refrain from any action that may negatively
impact on the climate of dialogue.  In the resolution, the AU expressed
confidence that the people of Zimbabwe will be able to resolve their
differences and work together once again as a nation, provided they received
undivided support from SADC, the AU and the world at large. As a result of
the tense situation in Zimbabwe, the African Union (AU) decided on a
Government of National Unity (GNU) as the ideal mechanism for conflict
resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis. Instead of condemnations, the Union's
leaders gently urged Mugabe to engage in some sort of power-sharing
agreement with Morgan Tsvangirai, along the lines of a deal that ended
violence in Kenya earlier this year. While the AU is lauded for its efforts,
though feeble, to end the political impasse in Zimbabwe, its prescriptive
approach to the crisis will unfortunately lead to a further complication of
the crisis than transformation. The 'copy and paste' solution will prove
disastrous for Africa in general and for Zimbabwe in particular. The Kofi
Anan GNU solution imposed on Kenya has set a dangerous political precedence
for despots and dictators on the continent. Unpopular regimes such as the
Kibaki and Mugabe administrations have found means of survival through a GNU
against the will of their populations. The GNU that was pushed by Kofi Annan
in Kenya stopped the violence by pacifying the various political players
through rewarding them with political posts. The Government of National
Unity only served to silence the guns but did not address the fundamental
grievances of the masses. While in the interim, the GNU approach may seem to
be an easy panacea to the crisis, in the mid and long terms the crisis will
indeed resurface. With regards to Zimbabwe, it should be noted that any
conflict resolution approach should be guided by the outcome of the March
2008 harmonized election result which demonstrated the will of the people of
Zimbabwe. The struggle in Zimbabwe is not of power but for democracy. The AU
diagnosis of the Zimbabwe problem is flawed and its prescription poisonous.
This simply means that a power-sharing deal as signified by the Kenyan model
is not only inappropriate but also retrogressive for Zimbabwe. The African
leaders should refrain from rewarding regimes which cling to power through
violence and undemocratic means. It is on record that Mugabe's
administration was fraudulently elected hence the solution to Zimbabwe
crisis should comprise measures that shall allow for the preparations of a
truly democratic process of constituting a government.
4. Interim government
While bad governance, democratic deficit, and a blatantly flawed
electoral process coupled with gross violation of human rights have
eventually stripped the Mugabe regime of all the democratic pretenses, the
launching of a  comprehensive negotiation process seem to be the first step
towards the resolution of the crisis. Given the current political dynamics
in Zimbabwe, it is clear that a negotiated political solution is not only
important but inevitable. However, if dialogue is to be initiated, it is
essential that the ruling elite stops the violence, the persecution of
activists and, releases all political prisoners, disbands the militia bases
and concentration camps. Political normalcy should prevail on the part of
the Mugabe regime for any mature political dialogue to take place. The
question that all Zimbabweans should be grappling with is, 'what kind of
political settlement is viable, relevant and acceptable to a large swath of
political and national interests?' In generic terms, an 'Interim Government'
(IG) is the most ideal approach towards the breaking of the political
impasse in Zimbabwe. There are many types of interim governments, thus, it
is the responsibility of the people of Zimbabwe to determine the conceptual
and operational frameworks of the typology that is relevant to their
context. The ensuing sections outline five options of interim government
that need thorough debate amongst the various players in the country.
i. Transitional Executive Council (TEC)

A Transitional Executive Council (TEC) is a form of an Interim
Government (IG) that is led by an impartial individual. The mandate of the
TEC is to facilitate the creation of a conducive environment not just for
future free and fair elections but also for the unhindered transfer of power
to the winning party. The TEC is an all inclusive forum whose members are
drawn from a broad sector of the population. The authority should be led by
someone who is highly respected and has the confidence of the people of
Zimbabwe across the board. It can either be a retired judge, member of the
clergy or any other individual of good standing in the eyes of the public.
The TEC would be a time-limited authority, whose life span should not exceed
approximately 6 months, oriented towards constitutional reform, the
democratization and the professionalization of state institutions. Partisan,
ethnic and other interests should not be allowed to take precedence over the
Zimbabwean Agenda. This council should also respect the 29 March election
results and make use of the various institutions like parliament. In fact,
parliament would play its customary role of coming up with legislation that
will be used in facilitating the respect for democracy. The TEC would
address the modalities for ensuring military loyalty to a new civilian
government. Senior military commanders strongly opposed to the MDC have been
instrumental in preventing a demo¬cratic transition following the 29 March
election. Indeed, this is one reason why priority should be given to a
negotiated settlement. The TEC must accordingly address the loyalty of the
security services as a priority, including the handover of military power in
a transi¬tional government arrangement. The TEC will need to be complemented
by the regional and wider international community's strong commitment to
providing resources for reconstruction and recovery. Urgent steps would be
needed to guarantee a free and fair vote. These include immediate cessation
of violence and intimidation; strong monitoring and organisational roles for
SADC, the AU and the UN; and massive deployment of independent national,
regional and international observers.

ii. Provisional Government
A Provisional Government is a type of Interim Government that is
opposition-led. The proposal for a provisional government is based on the
results of the 29 March election. It recognizes the parliament, senate and
the local authority results. These institutions should be left to carry out
their mandate from Zimbabweans. However, when it comes to the issue of
leading the provisional government, the proposal dictates that the winner of
the 29 March elections should lead the provisional government for a period
of twelve months. The government should include all stakeholders like the
business, civic society and the churches, as a way of keeping checks and
balances. A cloud of fear and uncertainty is currently all over Zimbabwe
because of the orgy of violence that has been unleashed by the bogus war
veterans and the youth militia. Homes have been burnt, people displaced and
brutalized by these state apparatus. Villagers can only have access to basic
commodities if they declare affiliation to Zanu PF. Corruption has become so
deeply entrenched in almost all forms of the system of governance. It is
therefore incumbent upon the provisional government to restore confidence in
national institutions like the police and the army that have been abused by
the ruling party. Subsequently, the government will have the duty of coming
up with a people driven constitution which shall be used to run the
presidential runoff. The entire process should be under the strict
supervision and monitoring of regional and international bodies.
iii. Caretaker Government
A Care-taker Government is a type of Interim Government that is
incumbent-led. This proposal has its basis on the 29 March harmonized
election but nullifies the June 27 sham. The elected parliamentarians,
senators and councillors are allowed to operate under the leadership of the
incumbent. This type of government is ordinarily not allowed to carry out
any projects especially in preparation for elections as it gives the
incumbent an unfair advantage.  However, for the purposes of the Zimbabwean
context, this type of government can be given special mandates.  Its
immediate task would be to deal with the war veterans and the youth militia
who are butchering people in the rural areas. At the same time the
care-taker government has to depoliticize the institutional framework
running the elections. The input into the composition of Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission should be made by all stakeholders and not just one party. The
dismantling of the structures of violence is expected to lift the confidence
of the people with regards to national processes and inspire them to
participate actively in the drafting of a new constitution. The polarization
in the nature of the politics requires a complete paradigm shift which
should see the depoliticisation of the military forces in Zimbabwe.  The
role of the military in respect to the political players should be clearly
outlined. In preparation for the election, the care-taker government should
not only invite friendly countries but anybody who is a friend of democracy.
No one should have the prerogative of deciding who should or should not
observe the elections. Regional bodies like the SADC, AU and the United
Nations should play a central role in the observation and monitoring of
elections. The care-taker government would work on a time frame of six
months to fulfill its mandate.
iv. International Interim Government
An International Interim Government is a United Nations led
government. The political environment in Zimbabwe is so polarized to the
extent that there is likely to be a stalemate on who would lead the
transitional authority. There is a lot of distrust among the political
players in Zimbabwe and that is likely to derail the transitional
arrangements. This leads to the option of an International Interim
Government (IIG) led by the United Nations. Under this arrangement all the
players in the conflict should agree to place Zimbabwe under the Trusteeship
of the UN.  The UN mission in Zimbabwe will then have the task of restoring
peace by dismantling the institutions of violence in a county ruined by
state sponsored violence against ordinary citizens. In addition to that, the
UN mission, aided by the existing structures of democracy like parliament,
will prepare a new constitution which will lead to the holding of a free and
fair presidential runoff. The rehabilitation of the battered economy and
image of the country will also be the responsibility of the United Nations.
It shall also supervise or have control of all aspects of government,
including public security, information and protection and promotion of human

v. Power sharing government
A power sharing government is a type of Interim Government that is
composed of the regime and the opposition elements. The AU summit in Egypt
summit is advocating for a Government of National Unity. This recommendation
has been largely influenced by the Kenyan power sharing deal initiated and
concluded by Kofi Anan. The GNU arrangement dictates that the two political
parties that are at loggerheads share power as a way of resolving the crisis
in Zimbabwe. The   problem with the GNU is that it deals with power sharing
and not the basic issues that are espoused by the ordinary citizens and
hence can never be the answer to Zimbabwe's current political conundrum. It
reduces the Zimbabwean crisis to a power struggle rather than the fight to
ensure that democratic processes and principles are not only upheld but also
respected. Therefore, a Government of National Unity forged for sharing
power among rival political parties, is not only a great betrayal but a
losing proposition for the long suffering Zimbabwean masses.

Whatever type of Interim Government is finally adopted it should, by
matter of principle attend to the following issues;

. Drafting a new democratic, Constitution for Zimbabwe
. Provide security and maintain law and order throughout the country.
. Establish an effective electoral system in preparation for the
. Create conditions for holding free and fair elections
. Assist in the establishment of conditions for sustainable democracy.
. Setting up of an independent human rights commission to investigate
all alleged rights abuses
. Allow the international agencies to distribute food aid to the
suffering masses.
5. Principles of Engagement
For the negotiations to be fruitful and bear meaningful results for
the ordinary people there are some principles that should be respected
. Any talks that are to be held in the country towards the resolution
of the crisis should respect the democratic processes. The people of
Zimbabwe voted on 29 March and their voices should be respected in any
. Negotiations should be directed towards the preparation for another
Presidential runoff. A new constitution should be prepared as a basis for a
rerun of the Presidential runoff.
. The Zimbabwean problem has since ceased to be the problem between
the MDC and Zanu PF, it has become a problem for everybody hence all groups
of the society should be consulted and their input respected. The
negotiations should not be confined to political parties alone but should
include the input of other stakeholders like civil society, business and the
. Cessation of violence and harassment of opposition leaders and
activists is critical in the process of resolving the problem in Zimbabwe.

. Immediate abrogation of draconian legislation such as the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
6. Third Party intervention
The mediation efforts led by South African president Thabo Mbeki have
yielded minimal results for the ordinary Zimbabwean for several reasons. The
efforts seem not only to be secretive but also to other SADC heads who
mandated Mbeki to mediate on behalf of SADC. The insistence by President
Mbeki that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe when people are being killed has
damaged his reputation as a mediator. There is, therefore, need for the
mediation efforts to be broadened so that, apart from the SADC, the African
Union can also be involved. That broadened mediation, supported by
additional international actors, should focus on the formation of a
transitional government that will deliver the country from the current
challenges. The mediation of the Zimbabwe crisis should not be towards the
Kenyan Model Government of National Unity as it will only serve to
temporarily stop the violence without dealing with the root causes.
Engagement efforts should be directed towards coming up with a transitional
arrangement that will prepare the environment for free and fair elections
and national healing.   The AU/SADC sponsored talks should lead to clear
procedures for the consensual appointment of electoral commission members
with secure tenure as well as civilians retained as polling officers and the
repeal of Electoral Commission Act provisions that allow the secondment of
military, police and prisons service personnel for election tasks.
7. Role of Various Players in Zimbabwe

Zanu PF should negotiate with the MDC on a constitutional framework,
transitional arrangements, detailed agenda and benchmarks for a political
settlement. Zanu PF has the responsibility of dismantling the structures of
violence that have been planted all over the country. War veterans and the
youth militia that have been used to terrorize Zimbabweans should be stopped
from carrying out such heinous acts. The military should go back to the
barracks and the police force depoliticized. Thus, Zanu PF should engage in
such talks without reservations and should support the Interim Government in
order to provide Zimbabweans with a free and fair Presidential rerun of
runoff elections that will lead to the end the political and economic
crisis.MDC: - The MDC also has a critical role to play if the negotiations
are to bear any meaningful results for the ordinary Zimbabweans. As a way of
bridging the divide that was experienced as a result of the decision by the
political parties in ratifying Amendment 18, there is a need for the MDC to
consult widely. It should maintain a united front in the talks and rebuild
consensus with civil society organisations on a joint strategy to promote
democratic change.Civil society and Church: - Zimbabwe has benefited
immensely from a vibrant civil society even in the midst of the
deterioration of the political and social fabric and the regime's
dictatorial tendencies that has not hesitated to silence any voice of
dissent. Civil Society organizations and churches have continued to carry
out their activities against the background of persecution. They have an
equally critical role to play in the quest to find a lasting solution to the
crisis in Zimbabwe. Many of the civic organizations maintain strong
membership bases and hence have the responsibility to help the citizens to
understand the terms and implementation of the transitional arrangements as
a way of advancing peace and reconciliation in the country. The
organizations also play a pivotal function in overseeing the implementation
of the transitional process and the performance of the interim government.
CSOs and faith-based organisations should be allowed to carry out civic
education, promotion of human rights, gender equity and the eventual
monitoring of electoral processes. The CSOs/churches have a role of
rebuilding the country through promoting programmes of reconciliation in
this battered country. They should disseminate information as a way of
encouraging transparency and building public confidence and
participation.Regional and international intervention: - These have a
pivotal role to play in as far as the monitoring and observation of the
talks and the Interim Government is concerned. They also play the role of
overseer and make sure that all parties are committed to the negotiation
process. They can also apply pressure in the form of sanctions or
international isolation. The AU should both maintain pressure at this
crucial point and increase support for democratic forces. Increased pressure
and intervention, including that from regional organisations, the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), and the West is a categorical
imperative at this stage. Concessions to ZANU-PF should only be made in
exchange for true restoration of democracy. The UN/AU should intensify
planning for an economic and political recovery package guided by principles
of good governance that is designed to promote institutional change.

7. Conclusion

An Interim Government should be set up to work towards the creation of
a democratic Zimbabwe. The African Union, SADC, International community and
the civic society should all play the pivotal role of being the watchdog.
Only political will and a deep sense of patriotism, in the face of a
collapsing nation, is required to overcome the immense socio-economic
difficulties facing Zimbabwe today. The transitional mechanism has the
capacity to elevate Zimbabwe to a higher pedestal of political, economic and
cultural progress. It offers the opportunity for the process to reflect the
enthusiasm of a national populace that yearns for better life and dignity
from a motherland dogged by a history of economic recession, political
intolerance and cultural erosion. If the talks fail to produce a
transitional mechanism that will lead to free and fair presidential
elections, the mediators should candidly and promptly acknowledge failure,
and SADC-AU should refuse to endorse any government that will not be a
product of the mediation and be prepared to isolate Harare.NB. It is not the
object of this paper to outline in detail the normative framework for change
in Zimbabwe; rather, its key interest is to provoke some thinking and debate
around the issues raised. Likewise, the document is not a position paper but
a discussion one.By Gorden Moyo and Rodrick Fayayo (Byo Agenda)

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Who Is Gilbert Moyo and Why is Zanu Pf Dumping him Now?

The Zimbabwean

Friday, 04 July 2008 12:10
Gilbert Moyo in his 40s, is a self acclaimed war veteran and strong
Zanu PF cadre who hails from Chegutu. For some ages Moyo has been
participating in Zanu PF activities and even driven Zanu PF vehicles in
Chegutu, Kadoma, Chakari, Mhondoro and Selous.

Soon after the March elections Gilbert Moyo was involved in the attack
of MDC MP for Chakari. The MP sustained serious injuries and had to be taken
to a hospital in Harare where he received better treatment that saved his

Gilbert Moyo was also involved in the Chikanga incident where Shepherd
Jack an MDC youth was attacked sustained broken limbs.David Watsauka MDC
councillor for ward 22 lost his house and had his household property, four
suits, two goats and cash amounting to $600 billion looted despite
sustaining broken limbs which are in plasters at the moment.

In a surprise move the police issued a statement in The Herald of
Wednesday the 2nd of July, in which they alleged that Gilbert Moyo was a
"criminal taking advantage of the just ended run off."

"These invasions and robberies are not political but just criminal
acts by people taking advantage of the situation. We have since identified
the ring leader as Gilbert Moyo and have launched a manhunt for him,"
Assistant Commisioner Wayne Bvudzijena said.

Ass Comm Bvudzijena reiterated that the police had deployed some
details into the farming areas affected and have since arrested 16 suspects
for trespassing, robbery or alternative charges.

However according to Mike Campbell and his son in law Ben Freeth who
are still languishing in hospital after a deadly ordeal with Gilbert Moyo on
Sunday the 29th of June, the attacks were politic and targeted."I believe my
father in law was attacked because he was at the fore front of the SADC
Tribunal for land invasions in Zimbabwe which was convened in Namibia. Moyo
had prior knowledge of his victims and was motivated to commit these crimes
by Zanu PF," Ben said

According to Ben the police may have been ordered to act against
Gilbert Moyo since the looting had gone out of hand especially after
attacking farmers whose case is still under the scrutiny of the SADC

Gilbert Moyo abducteed and attacked the Campbells at their farm and
robbed them of various goods including a white Toyota Prado and riffles. At
some stage and at gun point the Campbells were ordered to write affidavits
of surrendering their farms which indicates that the attack was not ordinary
as the police are claiming.

The Campbells own a farm called Mt Carmel in Chegutu which they
purchased in 1999 just before the land invasions. It is however believed
Nathan Shamhuyarira Zanu PF spokesperson is eyeing the farm.

In the same area there is Scotdale farm owned by the Etheredges and
all their equipment from three farm houses was looted. Three motorbikes and
a cream BMW were part of the loot but no arrest have been made despite the
police noticing Zanu PF activists riding the bikes on a daily basis.

The motorbikes are being ridden by Biggy a former Zanu PF councillor,
Tonderai Chigora of Zanu PF, Eddy Mutowo a former Border Gezi graduate and
the Cream BMW is being driven by by Isaac Tizora in Chegutu.

The fomer Senate President Ednar Madzongwe is believed to be
interested in the Scotdale farm which produces oranges and mangos for export
just like Mt Carmel owned by the Campbell. The two farms are being harvested
at the moment.

Gibert Moyo has been driving a Toyota Prado which was stolen from the
Campells and another white Toyota twin cab registration number ADB 3888 and
the police could not act.

Gilbert Moyo like scores of other Zanu PF thugs were motivated by Zanu
PF to threaten the farmers especially the former white farmers following
ZTV, ZBC, and The Herald news reports that former white comercial farmers
intended to invade and reoccupy the farms they used to own after the MDC won
the March 29th Harmonised Elections.

Glbert Moyo was at the centre of intimidations, abductions, beatings,
looting and robbery in Chegutu farming areas and most of his loot was being
taken to Zanu PF bases at Farmers Hall in Msengezi small scale farming area,
Toyi farm in Selous, Uhuru Nakazi in Zowa resettlement area, another base at
Bhinda Shopping centre in Mhondoro and at Neuso Shopping centre in Mhondoro
which were commanded by Gilbert Moyo working in partnership with two
Airforce Marshalls namely Tutisa and Tauya from Suri Suri Airbase in Gweru.

All along when the police were being informed about Gilbert Moyo's
erands the police would in turn arrest MDC activists for causing political
violence, at times they would say the matter was political and they could
not intervene.

Zhanda Trymore and 14 others from Chegutu were arrested after they had
gone to make a report about having beaten by a gang led by Gilbert Moyo and
no arrests were done. Trymore Zhanda and his friends were imprisoned, in
fact the police advised them to retaliate although most of them were afraid
to do so since they believed that they were going to be arrested and the
election was going to be a non event without them.

Although the police are alleging they have arrested 16 suspects they
have not arrested Gilbert Moyo and the youths who work with him.

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What Are We Saying?

Fahamu (Oxford)

3 July 2008
Posted to the web 4 July 2008

Mukoma Wa Ngugi

After the African Union issued a statement so tepid that it might as well as
have come from a high-school student conference, low expectations have
further diminished. The African Union can now be seen in the same light as
its predecessor - the OAU, a drum that beats hollow when it most counts for
the African citizen.

But nevertheless, Mugabe's one-man act has irreversibly damaged his
reputation. The extent to which Mugabe has misread the continental and
international political climate is shocking.African people, who previously
saw Zimbabwe as a metaphor of their own countries where the elite exist at
the expense of the poor, are abandoning him en mass. Having lost
international legitimacy to George Bush and Tony Blair - a remarkable feat
considering the extent to which his two adversaries are hated - the African
people became his last defense.

But there has always been the African people and their governments. In
regards to the African Union statement, Bishop Desmond Tutu expressed dismay
by saying that he was "distressed that (AU leaders) have not thought it was
important to declare the illegitimacy of the runoff and the illegitimacy of
the Robert Mugabe administration."

The Pan-African Parliament was very clear in its condemnation of the one-man
show. Its statement in part reads: "Conditions should be put in place for
the holding of free, fair and credible elections as soon as possible in line
with the African Union Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic

But the question is this: Why should we expect the AU to accomplish what it
cannot and has not in the past? Meles Zenawi is no more democratic than
Cameroon's Biya. The AU is in fact head-quartered in Ethiopia, which is
currently occupying Somalia in alliance with the United States. The AU has
been ineffective in the Sudan, and in the Congo where over 6 million people
have lost their lives since 1996. Why are we then expecting the impossible?

Meanwhile, as if to underline Africa's tragic reliance on the West, Zambian
President Levy Mwanawasa who is also the chair of SADC was "flown to the
French capital, Paris, for specialist medical treatment after suffering a
stroke in Egypt" the BBC



The SADC Election Observer Mission in its June 30th statement is clear about
what it thinks of the single candidate presidential. SADC is " of the view
that the prevailing environment impinged on the credibility of the electoral
process. The elections did not represent the will of the people of

But SADC as an organization finds its hands tied because the leader (who is
also the chief mediator) of its most powerful member state has not taken a
proactive stand against Mugabe.


It has become the norm to begin each analysis of Mugabe with the explanation
that he was a revolutionary liberation fighter who has only recently gone
rogue, who lost his revolutionary vision somewhere along the way.

But this premise is being reconsidered. Paul Zeleza reminds us that: "The
reality is Mugabe lost his anti-imperialist and progressive nationalist
credentials a long time ago. As a frequent visitor to Zimbabwe, a country
where I was born and where my family lived for many years, the gap between
revolutionary rhetoric and voracious acquisitiveness, national liberation
and political intolerance was already evident by the mid-1990s."

But others are going even further, to state that Mugabe has always been a
die-hard capitalist who slept cozy with the IMF and the World Bank right
from the beginning. To understand just how deeply entrenched western
capitalism has become under Mugabe's watch, see Trading with Mugabe an
article that calls for sanctions but nevertheless is revealing.


Will the MDC be able to capitalize on its initial success in isolating
Mugabe? First the MDC is hampered by its ties to Western capitalism. For
example, it has not been shy to publicly declare that it will invite the
World Bank and the IMF to buoy Zimbabwe's badly damaged economy. Because of
its perceived ties to the West, African people have been reluctant to give
endorse the MDC, even as they seek ways to express solidarity with the
Zimbabwean people.

Itayi Garande in Is it time for the MDC to take stock? writes that: "It is
shocking that Tsvangirai's staunch(est) supporters are reluctant to see his
political infantilism, unfitness for political decision-making and the
fluidity of his political moods - qualities that are responsible for his
numerous ruptures with political associates in the MDC."

Garande goes on to say that: "Tsvangirai at the Dutch embassy was the
'spectacle of the Century. Coming out to give a press conference and then
going back into 'safety' was laughable."


Certainly it is the Zimbabwean people who are the casualties, and as the
xenophobic attacks in South Africa clearly underlined, what happens in
Zimbabwe reverberates through the region.

But it is also about the democratic process. There will be governments that
we do not like - which we should then vote out the next time around. If we
simply abort democracy because we do not like what is in the horizon, then
we become no better than the West - which has expressed itself in Africa
through coups and the support of dictators.

As John Githongo and William Gumede argue, the ultimate casualty is African
democracy itself. They write that the "real danger is that Africans will
lose confidence in the limited democratic institutions available to them.
Nigerians shrugged away the travesty of a poll there last year with alarming
cynicism. True feelings will emerge later. Citizens will increasingly find
refuge in tribalism, violence or religious fundamentalism. Many, too, will
give up and migrate."

They further argue that: "The AU's charter must be changed from protecting
the sovereignty of individual countries to protecting Africans themselves. A
citizen from a member country must have recourse to the AU if he or she is
brutalised or discriminated against on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed
or gender. There will have to be a transparent procedure to impeach leaders
who begin as democrats but become tyrants."

But isn't this a circuitous argument? Yes, the charter can be changed but
who will enforce it? So we end back where we started.


Zimbabwe is further complicated by the either with us or against us argument
famously employed by George Bush Jr. to justify the disastrous invasion and
consequent occupation of Iraq. This line goes MDC = Imperialism, Mugabe =
anti-imperialism, or conversely; opposition to Mugabe = support of

But Horace Campbell argues that "We on the left, in the peace movement, we

acknowledge that [neither] George Bush nor Brown have any moral authority to
criticize Zimbabwe because of the unjust war that they're fighting in Iraq
and Afghanistan. But having said that, we on the left and the progressives,
we must take the moral leadership in having solidarity with those opposition
leaders, those workers, those human rights workers in Zimbabwe and Southern
Africa who are being oppressed by the Mugabe government.

By the same token, Gerald Horne in, Zimbabwe and the Question of
Imperialism: A Discussion with Horace Cambell asks "why Zimbabwe gets so
much focus and attention on this side of the Atlantic [the West] when Paul
Biya, the leader of Cameron a few weeks ago basically named himself
President for life and it barely registers a blip."

To which Horace Campbell responds: "that the government of Senegal, the
government of Cameroon does not represent itself as a liberation government.
The Zimbabwean government is very aware of the racism that exists in North
America. And it is exploiting that racism and the antiracist sentiment among
Africans in the west in order to legitimize its repression on the people.
The government of Zimbabwe at this moment is illegitimate we must avoid war
at all costs. Mugabe says only god can remove him and he will go to war. At
present, he is at war with the Zimbabwe people and we must end the silence
in the progressive and pan-African community against this type of
manipulation and repression in the name of liberation."

The problem is the absence of a viable progressive movement that
progressives can fully support. Hence the progressive left finds it has to
defend Zimbabwe against the West with one hand, and chastise Mugabe with the
other, while at the same time not speaking out against the neo-liberal
policies of the MDC. But, one can easily retort, the absence of a clear
alternative does not absolve us of our duty to the Zimbabwean people.


The lame-duck African Union has joined the European Union and "called on
Zimbabwe's political parties to initiate a dialogue aimed at setting up a
government of national unity." It is as if all imagination has left African
leadership hence the call to essentially follow Kenya into a political
agreement that unites the elite, and leaves the people behind.

The fact that a GNU can be condoned by the African Union - the highest
Pan-African body -- points to a very dire future for African democracy,
where undemocratic processes are rewarded with a power-sharing agreement.
This trend has to stop.

Both ZANU-PF and MDC have so far not agreed to a GNU, but they could just be
posturing since at the end of day power and not democracy is the goal.
ZANU-PF has said it can enter talks, which will of course legitimize the
aftermath of the one-man-election. The MDC can see through this. In a
statement released June 30th the MDC states that it "remains committed to
participating in a properly constituted transitional agreement that could
allow the MDC to form an inclusive government to heal the Country, restore
peace, economic stability and lay the foundation for a new constitution and
internationally supervised elections once that constitution has been
ratified by the people of Zimbabwe."

The call for a Transitional authority to oversee new elections is also
backed by The Pan-African Parliament which from the beginning found that the
elections to be null and void further calls: "on the SADC leaders working
together with the African Union to engage the broader political leadership
in Zimbabwe into a negotiated transitional settlement."


Will sanctions hurt the Zimbabwean people more than they hurt Mugabe?
Trans-Africa Forum in a July 2nd press conference said that while it
supports the US call for a Zimbabwe arms embargo, they fear that economic
sanctions will hurt Zimbabweans more than it will hurt ZANU-PF. But in
addition to sanctions there it the concern over whether the West is being
led by imperialist designs or by a genuine concern over African democracy.
It is not difficult to figure where many, thinking of Iraq, fall on this.

So the worst possible solution is one that involves western military
intervention:. Dr Neo Simutanyi in the June 30, 2008 Zambia Post warns that:
"military intervention in Zimbabwe will lead to regional instability and
provoke a civil war. There is no doubt that Western governments are itching
for a showdown and they need not be right to intervene, they all need a -
justifiable excuse. Iraq is a case in point."

Hence everyone, except Bush and Brown, has called for Western leaders to act
within the confines of SADC and the African Union - that it, it should
follow their lead. A suggestion that makes sense, except when one considers
that SADC bends to South Africa's will, and the African Union has shown time
and time again, it is ineffective when it really matters.


When you put all the pieces together, Zimbabwe's future is bleak, unless a
mechanism to involve the African people, who are in solidarity with the
Zimbabwean people, is found. And we are seeing the stirrings of that.

The June 24th The Namibian reports that "Namibian political parties and NGO
organisations joined international condemnation of President Robert Mugabe
government, calling the leader's regime "illegitimate" and consequently
pressuring the president Hifikepunye Pohamba to sever diplomatic ties with

And over 150 African Civil Societies? have banded together and condemned
Mugabe while calling on the AU to act decisively.

Ultimately, African people and not African governments will have to stand
for other African people.

*Mukoma Wa Ngugi is co-editor of Pambazuka News.

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On a continent where despotism is rife, few leaders willing to cast a stone at Mugabe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: July 4, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Nigeria. Rwanda. Uganda. Ethiopia. Gabon. The
list of candidates for the title "least democratic in Africa" is not
confined to Zimbabwe.

While Robert Mugabe has been singled out for condemnation, leaders of other
autocratic states have largely been able to avoid sanctions and isolation.
Many have friends in Western capitals. Or play a strategic role in the war
on terror. Or sit on oil.

With corrupt and authoritarian governments close to the norm on the
continent, it is not surprising that African leaders urged by the West to
censure Mugabe at a summit this week instead welcomed him with hugs.

As Mugabe himself has asked: How many African leaders can point a clean
finger at him? How many held a better election than his one-man runoff that
followed a campaign of terror?

Many African leaders appear to harbor a secret admiration for Mugabe as a
man who can thumb his nose at the West and point out its perceived
hypocrisies, like the Bush administration's appeals for human rights in
Zimbabwe while running the Guantanamo Bay prisoner camp.

"We Africans should learn a lesson from this," Gambian President Yahya
Jammeh said in praising Mugabe's election last week.
"They (the West) think they can dictate to us and this is not acceptable.
Africans should stand for Zimbabwe. After all, what did the West do for
Africa?" said Jammeh, a former army colonel who seized power in a 1994 coup.

It's easy to forget that just a decade ago, much of Africa was gripped by
hope as a wave of democracy swept the continent.

It began with the extraordinary sight of protesters in the West African
state of Benin taking hammers to a statue of Lenin. Within three years, 26
countries had held multiparty presidential elections on a continent known
for one-man rule. When elections in South Africa ended white minority rule
in 1994, there was not one single-party state left in sub-Saharan Africa.
Western nations tied aid to free elections and severed ties with dictators
they had supported in the name of the fight against communism.

But that decade of optimism, backed by theories that opening up socialist
economies to the free market would help pull Africa out of poverty, has come
to an end and the democracy movement has stalled.

Today, more than half of Africa is ruled by despots, including many offering
the illusion of democracy with elections like those Mugabe held.

Rights activists put much of the blame on the West.

"It seems Washington and European governments will accept even the most
dubious election so long as the 'victor' is a strategic or commercial ally,"
Kenneth Roth, executive director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said
in a recent report.

Among countries he singled out as sham democracies were oil-rich Chad and
Nigeria; Uganda, whose President Yoweri Museveni's friendship with U.S.
President George W. Bush has shielded him from criticism; and Ethiopia, the
strategically located Horn of Africa nation that is a major U.S. ally in the
war on terrorism.

Other oil producers that have managed to avoid international condemnation
include Angola, which hasn't held a presidential election since 1992, and
Gabon, whose President Omar Bongo seized power in a 1967 coup and who is the
continent's longest-serving leader.

"Countries that have made a point of overtly aligning themselves with U.S.
narratives and policies regarding terrorism appear to have benefited not
only from financial and military support but seem successfully to have
diverted attention away from their internal poor governance and human rights
abuse," said Akwe Amosu, senior analyst at Washington's Open Society

Much of the West's focus on Zimbabwe is tied up in the sadness of seeing one
of Africa's great success stories fall apart so completely.

When Mugabe led Zimbabwe to independence, the country already had developed
industries and an agricultural base that made it near self-sufficient
because of years of U.N. sanctions imposed over the white supremacist regime
of Ian Smith.

Mugabe abandoned his guerrilla movement's policies of "scientific socialism"
that involved nationalizing industries and land, encouraging a fairly free
economy that grew and allowed him to make major investments in education and
health care.

Zimbabwe blossomed and became a showcase for the continent and was seen as
an example to then white-ruled South Africa of an economic and multiracial
success created by a black man. But the world's high hopes were short-lived.

In 2000, Mugabe began violently seizing white farmers' land out of revenge
for their refusal to support a referendum to consolidate his power. That led
to the collapse of the commercial farming sector that exported food to

Zimbabwe's economic meltdown has left a third of Zimbabweans hungry and
caused inflation to run at a mind-boggling 4 million percent.

But while Mugabe has presided over this catastrophe, he continues to cast a
spell over many of his fellow African leaders.

Zimbabwe is "the single greatest challenge ... in southern Africa, not only
because of its terrible humanitarian consequences but also because of the
dangerous political precedent it sets," said U.N. deputy Secretary-General
Asha-Rose Migiro, Tanzania's former foreign minister.


Abdoulie John, an Associated Press reporter in Banjul, Gambia, contributed
to this report.


Michelle Faul is chief of Africa news for The Associated Press.

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The need for true African leadership

The Sowetan

YOUTH VIEW: By Tendayi Sithole
4 July 2008

"Mugabe should allow free and fair elections; Mugabe should stop the
violence; Mugabe should accept the government of national unity; Mugabe blah
blah blah.!"

These are the concerns of some of the African leaders who are divided in
their stance towards Mugabe.

It is evident that the 11th African Union (AU) Summit in Egypt will bare
little fruit to the problems of Zimbabwe and some African countries. This
meeting of African head of states seems to be just talks with no action. The
soft approach towards Mugabe clearly indicates this - or is he feared by
some of his peers?

It is ridiculous for them to suggest that Mugabe should engage in talks with
the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form the government of national
unity. It is written on the wall that he will not engage in such talks,
African leaders obviously know that.

Some African leaders obviously know that they are not angels as they have
similar undemocratic tendencies like that of their brother Mugabe. It is
obviously known that there is no democracy in most of the African states
since leaders are only accountable to themselves.

Those who are not raising their voices against Mugabe know very well that
they will be questioned about their own political practices in their home
front. Here is the simple question, "how can you call your neighbour's house
in order whereas yours is not in order?"

Most of the African leaders like to argue that Africa must find its solution
without the interference from the West. This argument is true but the
problem is that when Africa problems arise they fail to find solutions for
them. Thus they often choose to keep quiet about the problems that are
facing the continent.

Look at the governance of most African states, instead of seeing peace,
stability, development these are not realized. Why because most African
leaders when in power think about themselves and their cronies and forget
their constituencies.

How can regional bodies AU and SADC function when they are full of people
who are not interested in building this continent? How can there be African
solutions when they are the ones who are exacerbating Africa problems? How
can Africa improve politically, socially and economically since they are the
ones who are hindering such improvements?

Despite the availability of good texts and systems to protect and promote
human rights culture in Africa there are no good results at all. Thus they
have been adopted to fit the African context within the framework of the
African Union. Just to highlight few, these include African Charter on Human
and Peoples rights and African union Convention on Preventing and Combating

Has Mugabe forgotten the Resolution on Guidelines and Measures for the
Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment in Africa adopted at Gambia 2002?

I often ask my self if African leaders understand the meaning of these
texts. This is because they sign and claim to be bound by them, but only to
be met with their disappointing actions of contravening them.

It does not help to blame all the ills in Africa by straight pointing to
colonialism. By the way, Uncle Bob likes to blame the West and their
colonialism to all the problems that are deliberately caused by him in

What is happening in Zimbabwe has also been happening in other African
states and that is why it took time for some of the African leaders to react
early towards Mugabe. Their simple reason being that African brothers are
not supposed to offend one another.

I think its high time African leaders grow up and start acting like leaders.

They should allow democratic values to set in by creating the culture of
openness. This will empower their citizens to actively participate in

The capacity of the state institutions like the judiciary that is often
striped of independence should be strengthened and protected. Not to mention
the independence of the parliament that is often bypassed or used as the
rubber stamp by the executive to centralise its authority.

Suppressing of the dissenting voices from the opposition parties, civil
society, the media and other groups should be stopped.

Such voices are in the menu of democracy and they help to keep the
government accountable.

For them to have credibility in terms of calling one another into order,
they should put aside this false brotherhood they tend to claim as it
promotes connivance. African leaders themselves will only solve undemocratic
tendencies that seem to cloud this continent by allowing democracy to set
in. They should be bold enough to take stand against Mugabe; can they do
that since they lack political will?

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Mangetout and Mugabe: Multinationals wrestle with Zimbabwe role

Financial Times

By John Willman, Business Editor

Published: July 4 2008 20:15 | Last updated: July 4 2008 20:15

Just nine days ago, Tesco was insisting it would ignore increasingly shrill demands to cut its business ties with Zimbabwe, saying the modest £1m ($2m, €1.3m) it spent there each year on imports of mange­tout and fine beans provided ­crucial support to small farmers.

“There is precious little employment of any sort in Zimbabwe,” said the UK’s leading supermarket chain. “It would simply be irresponsible to deprive thousands of people of their only means of feeding their families.”

Four days later, the company could withstand the pressure no longer. After a board meeting on Monday, Tesco announced that it would stop sourcing products from Zimbabwe until there was an end to political turmoil there. It said: “We cannot ignore the escalating political crisis in Zimbabwe, and the growing consensus in the international community – including from UK politicians on all sides – that further action must be taken to maximise the pressure for change.”

The abrupt U-turn reflected a dilemma faced by many western companies. Doing business with Zimbabwe at a time when the world’s media are showing the violent suppression of dissent can damage their reputations – as many found during the apartheid years in South Africa. Yet withdrawal could hurt ordinary people while having little impact on the government – and might delay recovery when democracy is eventually restored.

Many have already pulled out from a country where it is impossible to make profits: inflation tops 10 million per cent and the formal economy is in meltdown. Others will be considering whether they should ­follow Tesco’s example.

One that has jumped this week is Giesecke & Devrient, the German bank­note printer, which announced on Tuesday that it was ceasing deliveries to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Harare’s central bank. It said the move was in response to a request from the German government and to calls for international sanctions from the European Union and the United Nations.

Yet there have been no calls for an across-the-board trade boycott from the EU or the UN. In the UK, the former colonial power, the foreign office said this week it was not calling for commercial sanctions except where the trade supported the regime or benefited its members. British policy was to strengthen the EU’s targeted sanctions against leading figures in Mr Mugabe’s government and their families by banning them from international travel and freezing their foreign bank accounts.

Companies that continue to do business with Zimbabwe have defended their stance this week, saying – just as Tesco originally did – that withdrawal would harm the people who depend on them for their livelihoods and products. They include Waitrose, the grocery chain that is part of the UK’s John Lewis Partnership, which imports fair-trade tilapia from a fish farm on Lake Kariba.

Its supplier, called Lake Harvest, employs 450 people, paying them “substantially more” than the minimum basic wage, according to Waitrose. They are also given other cash allowances, free lunches and HIV/Aids support, with medical insurance and membership of pension schemes for permanent employees.

Waitrose says 60 per cent of the fish are sold locally at cost, while the remainder are exported to earn the valuable hard currency needed to keep the farm operating. Lake Harvest was started in 1997 with the help of the UK government’s CDC, which at the time promoted businesses in Africa.

John Houghton, mayor of Kariba and a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, has defended the fish exports as essential to keep prices down for local sales. “We, the people of Kariba where the fish are farmed, are grateful to Waitrose for their contribution to our wellbeing,” he said this year. Nationally, even after boycotting the violence-ridden presidential run-off last month, the MDC has avoided calling outright for ­sanctions.

That allows companies such as Unilever to defend retaining their presence – in its case a consumer products factory outside Harare, which employs fewer than 300 people and is lossmaking. “We have been in Zimbabwe for 60 years and there has been no request to withdraw from inside the country,” the Anglo-Dutch group says.

Several mining companies have been under attack for their operations in Zimbabwe, including the London-listed Anglo American, which is spending £200m on developing a platinum mine at Unki. It employs 650 people and says that if it stopped work the mine would be taken into state ownership and then developed much faster by a rival.

Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman, said last week that Zimbabwe would need enterprises such as the Unki mine when peace was restored. “We face a very difficult choice,” he said. “Do we progress slowly, with the project coming on stream in a few years’ time, when hopefully the situation would be different? Or do we let it go to the Zimbabwean government, who will probably flip it to someone else for cash, which they are not getting at the moment?”

Support for staying in such circumstances comes from a former British diplomat in Harare, who says a withdrawal by foreign mining groups would be “gesture politics ... If Anglo American pulled out, their shoes would be filled very quickly by the Chinese. The precedent was set in Sudan, where the Chinese moved in after the imposition of western sanctions.”

One company withdrawing is WPP, the marketing services group that was accused of involvement in Mr Mugabe’s re-election campaign through its 25 per cent stake in Imago Y&R. Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP chief executive, ordered the divestment of the stake after the revelation of the role of the Zimbabwean company’s chief executive in the ruling Zanu-PF party’s campaign.

But two British companies resisting calls for withdrawal despite accusations that their presence supports the Mugabe regime are Barclays and Standard Chartered, whose Zimbabwe subsidiaries are among the largest banks in the country. They have to buy treasury bills and government bonds to comply with regulations on capital adequacy and minimum liquidity reserves.

They are also required to contribute to the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility, a government-run loan scheme for farm improvements. At least five ministers have received loans under the scheme for farms seized as part of the controversial land reform policy that left 4,000 white farmers and tens of thousands of black farm workers destitute.

Banks accused of lending money to the government or to prominent members of the ruling party say they have no choice. “If we cannot lend money to customers, and credit demand is weak, then we have no option but to hold government loans, like treasury bills,” says an economist at one local bank.

Barclays, which has been in Zimbabwe since 1912, says it complies with the EU sanctions targeted against government members, as does Standard Chartered, whose forerunner bank opened its doors in 1892. Both say their presence in the country provides essential services to tens of thousands of customers and many small businesses, as well as jobs for hundreds of staff.

Campaigners in the west who call for corporate disengagement say that in an economy as weakened as Zimbabwe’s, with hyperinflation, a collapsed currency and most people out of work, the only beneficiaries of trade are the elites that sustain Mr Mugabe. Such voices include Peter Hain, the UK’s former Africa minister and veteran anti-apartheid campaigner, who this week welcomed Tesco’s reversal. “It gives a lead to other British and global companies to suspend or freeze their trade and investment in Zimbabwe until Mugabe’s tyranny is ended,” he said.

However, Gary Hufbauer, of the US Peterson Institute for International Economics, says sanctions against a country in such dire straits would be a “fatuous gesture” – and would damage its recovery once Mr Mugabe was toppled. He has studied about 170 cases of international sanctions since the first world war, finding they work best when they are in pursuit of a modest goal yet have a large impact on the target country.

Sanctions to topple a government are rarely effective, he says, and the impoverishment of the population often blocks regime change. However, long-term damage can be severe, since it can take a while for companies to return to countries after they have withdrawn in such circumstances. “Mr Mugabe has managed to do everything to ruin the economy already,” he says. “What more do you want to do?”

Additional reporting by Tony Hawkins and Jimmy Burns

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'Quiet diplomacy' can let Mugabe leave with dignity intact

New Zealand Herald

5:00AM Wednesday July 02, 2008
By Andrew Austin

Who would want to be South African President Thabo Mbeki these days? Not
only is he a lame-duck president - having lost the leadership of the ruling
African National Congress - but he is now being scorned for his "inaction"
on Zimbabwe.

Mbeki was given the unenviable task by the Southern African Development
Community of mediating the mess in Zimbabwe and now he is being pilloried
for his quiet diplomacy. People view Mbeki's perceived silence as a
reluctance to criticise a fellow liberation comrade, but the problem is more

Let's face it, this job was never going to be easy. There are some big
obstacles in Mbeki's way, not least that he is dealing with the despotic
Robert Mugabe, who culturally is contemptuous of a younger man telling him
what to do. Added to this is that like many African leaders, Mbeki does not
want to be seen to be taking instructions from the white West.

Mbeki's other problem is that he does not naturally command respect like
Nelson Mandela. Mbeki is a technocrat, a backroom negotiator, who rose
through the ANC leadership ranks to be his country's second democratically
elected president.

He often appears cold and overly formal, but ask anyone who has been across
a negotiating table from him and they will tell you that he is a skilled
operator who can bring resolution to the most difficult situation. He proved
this as one of the first ANC leaders to begin talks with the hated apartheid

People should not confuse Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" for inaction and they
should not be surprised if Mugabe and his cronies "suddenly" agree to some
sort of negotiated handover to Tsvangirai.

Mugabe is a bitter old man who wants to leave with his dignity intact and
Mbeki might just be the one to allow this to happen.

Mbeki knows that to reach the settlement you want, you need to be open to
compromise. The popular feeling is that the world should not negotiate with
a monster like Mugabe. Well, what is the alternative? The United Nations is
unlikely to send armed forces in to overthrow Mugabe.

The situation has gone beyond punishing Mugabe for his wrong doing.

It is now all about saving Zimbabwe. Hindsight may well prove that Mbeki's
way was the best way to achieve this.

* Andrew Austin is the New Zealand Herald's chief reporter and was a
journalist in South Africa for 14 years

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Journalists' Trial Postponed After Dismissal of Lawyers' Application to Stop Proceedings

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

4 July 2008
Posted to the web 4 July 2008

On 2 July 2008, the trial of two Kwekwe-based journalists accused of
publishing falsehoods in breach of the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) was postponed to 15 July. The postponement took place
after the trial judge dismissed the defence's application to stop
proceedings pending an appeal of the judge's refusal to release the

Wycliff Nyarota and James Muonwa are facing charges under Section 80 (1) (a)
(2) of AIPPA for allegedly unlawfully and intentionally publishing a false
story in the "Network Guardian" newspaper which stated that George Muvhimi
and Tatenda Munhanga were caught in a compromising position at a local
shopping centre. Nyarota and Muonwa's former colleague, journalist Blessed
Mhlanga, was earlier found not guilty and acquitted of the charges.

In his 2 July ruling, Kwekwe magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso said that there
was no merit in the defence's application for the proceedings to be halted,
adding that for a court to stop proceedings the defence would have to show
that he had demonstrated gross misconduct in his handling of the case. He
said the defence could appeal his entire judgement upon conclusion of the
trial if he convicts either of the two journalists.

The journalists are being represented by lawyers Prayers Chitsa and James
Magodora with assistance from MISA-Zimbabwe legal officer Wilbert Mandinde.

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WCC spells out the international action needed on Zimbabwe

Ekklesia, UK

By agency reporter
4 Jul 2008
After "what can be described as a façade election", the World Council of
Churches (WCC) has called for the protection of the Zimbabwe population
"against increased and continued violence", an "intensified international
monitoring of the situation" and the provision of humanitarian aid.

The WCC also issued a warning concerning the possible consequences of
economic sanctions.

Despite "much debate" about the current situation in Zimbabwe, from a
religious point of view some principles remain firm, says the WCC general
secretary the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia in a statement dated 4 July 2008.

Those principles are: "to prevent violence, [...] to react to situations of
compelling human need with appropriate measures and to work toward the
rebuilding of good will and reconciliation".

"Children and women are among the first to suffer if world governments
choose to impose economic sanctions", the statement warns.

In reviewing the public stances of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu,
ex-South African President Nelson Mandela, the African Union and the United
Nations Security Council, Kobia says "all are looking for justice and
compassion for those who are caught up in the continued violence, food
shortages and political intimidation".

While the WCC is ready to participate, together with African regional church
bodies, in a suggested "international monitoring" process of the current
situation in the country, the Council "looks forward to the day when
Zimbabwe has an election that can truly be respected and seen as free, fair
and just".

Full text of the WCC statement:

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Two stories from ZBC

Sent: Friday, July 04, 2008 8:57 PM

These are to give you an idea of the astonishing lies that are
broadcast by the state media, though the way they are reported can
also make one chuckle!

"most retailers have been charging illegal prices on goods as a way
of punishing people for voting"

"Scores of people were picked up and bussed to the American Embassy
where they are masquerading as destitute and victims of political

"no amount of lying and claims of post election violence by the MDC-T
will change the peace prevailing in the country".



14.5 tonnes of sugar impounded

Posted: Wed, 02 Jul 2008 08:41:47 +0200

Police in Gweru have impounded about 14.5 tonnes sugar which was
being sold at exorbitant prices by a local retail shop in the city.

The sugar was confiscated from DCK investments which was selling it
at an illegal price of $13 billion 800 million for 2 kilograms
instead of the gazetted $548 million per 2 kilogramms.

In an interview with ZBC News, the Officer Commanding Midlands
Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Charles Mfandaedza, said most
retailers have been charging illegal prices on goods as a way of
punishing people for voting.

He however said the police is working in conjunction with the
National Incomes and Pricing Commission, in order to restore sanity
in the market.

This comes exactly a year after the previous price controls by the
government in the bus world following illegal hiking of prices.



Lying & tricks will not affect peace- Muchena

Posted: Fri, 04 Jul 2008 11:06:00 +0200

The MDC-T together with its handlers, the Americans have once more
resorted to their old trick of stage managing situations in the
country to try and mislead the UN Security Council that all is not
well in Zimbabwe.

Scores of people were picked up and bussed to the American Embassy
where they are masquerading as destitute and victims of political

This follows MDC-T and its handlers' failure to arm twist African
leaders at the just ended AU summit to take a tough stance against
Cde Robert Mugabe who trounced Morgan Tsvangirayi in the presidential
election runoff held last week.

Sources close to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirayi revealed that this
is part of a plan to make the world believe their claims of
instability in the country.

The source said they were surprised that the AU did not take a tough
stance against the Zanu PF lead government, even with voices from
Botswana and Kenya's Raila Odinga.

Some of the people who were dumped outside the American Embassy say
they were told they will be rewarded handsomely for posing as victims
of political violence.

Some of them who are vendors from the streets of Harare said they
will be dispersing as soon as they get the promised reward.

An embassy official who spoke to ZBC News, Mr. Paul Engelstad claimed
that Zimbabwe has failed to look after its people which is why they
are helping them.

However, he could not explain how the people just happened to be at
the embassy at the same time, who showed them the embassy as some are
said to be from the rural areas and why they were grouped outside,
and not inside the embassy.

Zanu pf media committee spokesperson, Cde Olivia Muchena has
dismissed this as an old trick which MDC-T has been using to portray
a picture of chaos in the country.

She said no amount of lying and claims of post election violence by
the MDC-T will change the peace prevailing in the country.

Cde Muchena said it is a shame that some Zimbabweans are willing to
be abused in this manner for a few American dollars.

She urged them to position themselves to benefit from the numerous
government policies meant to empower Zimbabweans, than spending time
waiting for bread crump's dropped by the Americans.

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Zim retains ICC status


Article By:
Fri, 04 Jul 2008 09:43

Strife-torn Zimbabwe will remain a full member of the International Cricket
Council, an official said on Friday, after the deeply divided world body
worked out a last-minute compromise.

The ICC Executive Board, meeting for an unscheduled third day here, agreed
to keep Zimbabwe in its fold after the African nation acceded to India's
request to pull out of next year's World Twenty20 championships in England.

The British government had made it clear it would not issue visas to
Zimbabwean cricketers which could have forced the ICC to move the lucrative
tournament out of England.

Zimbabwe Cricket Union president Peter Chingoka told AFP his country had
voluntarily pulled out of the event.

"Zimbabwe has agreed not to participate in the Twenty20 world championships
in the wider interest of cricket," Chingoka said.

"But we will continue to be a full member of the ICC and welcome any team
that wants to play against us.

"We voluntarily agreed to back out of the Twenty20 Worlds because we were
told we won't get visas to England. We don't want to gate crash where we are
not welcome."

The cricket boards of South Africa and England last week suspended bilateral
ties with Zimbabwe in protest at the deteriorating political situation in
Harare, where President Robert Mugabe was controversially re-elected.

While England and South Africa wanted Zimbabwe to be suspended from the ICC,
the Asian bloc - led by the game's commercial powerhouse India - opposed the

India convinced Zimbabwe to reach a compromise at a late-night meeting on
Thursday, an Indian board official told AFP.

The ICC was expected to confirm Zimbabwe's position at a press conference
later on Friday.

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Comments from Correspondents

If the MDC and the present government were to rule together, nationalise
expropriated land (as has been done in Mozambique) and get the land run on a
scientific basis (such as getting government tractors to plough the land at
appropriate times, telling people what to plant, collecting harvested crops
etc). Would this not have been ideal for farmers who have just started
farming? Could this not have ensured food security.

Could such nationalisation be a solution to the whole problem?

How can the world even think of supporting the poor of your country when all
around every African nation sits on its hands and allows the MURDERING
BASTARD MUGABE to carry on as he wishes.

The Africa nations should be ashamed of its own countries when it does
nothing to pull down an OLD MAN with hate in his veins.

The whole of Africa will tumble because of one mans GREED, you must be seen
to help yourselves before the rest of the world help you.

If I had my way I would cut all assistance to Africa and its states until
Mugabe was executed for the horrific crimes he has committed, and I think
you will find that this is the thinking of all of the civilised world, for
Africa is showing itself as the one part of the globe that is totally
uncivilised and living as animals do.


Re:Africa: Our Reputation is At Stake

I totally agree with you on this one.SA's Thabo Mbeki is sleeping with the
enemy and therefore is not at all qualified to mediate.He has failed in more
than a year already.It  now means the 'said' mediation process will now
delay for another year or so till Mbeki is out of office and lengthening
Mugabe's grip on Power.AU has shown that it is just a toothless lion once
again.It is only people like the Batwswana and the Zambians who have
outrightly ruled out the elections and we cry the death of Levy at this hour
in the darkest Political scene in our country.


I get a lot concerned by Leaders that "Look" only at themselves without
looking at the actual and realistic needs of the people. The MDC should
start considering people, which they haven't done for a long time now. it is
disturbing to note that a certain breed of leaders is emerging in the MDC,
which I assure you might be worse  than ZANU PF.

These are the facts that President Tsvangirai with his Head must think

1. If he really love the people of Zimbabwe he must stop this rhetoric
about conditions and go into negotiations to save the people that he claims
to be fighting for
2. By putting too many conditions while people of Zimbabwe continue to
suffer he is not killing anyone but the same people who have been
sacrificing for him
3. MDC must remember that only a united people of Zimbabwe will take
the country forward. The West will not dump loads of cash into Zimbawe
because Tsvangirai is president. Only the people of Zimbawe working
together, not Mugabe or Tsvangira will give glory to the people of Zimbabwe.
So Tsvangirai must be sensible and give people of Zimbabwe a new start by
compromising and entering into negotiations which will enable the people of
Zimbabwe to start working on their destine despite Mugabe or Tsvangirai.
4. Tsvangirai is holding the key to economic liberty, and Mugabe and
ZANU PF hold the power to rule the country, whatever circumstances that have
that power. Mugabe will not barge to conditions of MDC no matter whichever
way the pressure comes. And unfortunately it's the people both MDC and ZANU
PF who will continue to suffer.
5. It is at this time that the MDC should start thinking about people,
not about them being presidents of Zimbabwe, while the people suffer. This
is just using people for their gains.
6.  One thing that Tsvangirai forgets is that he will need ZANU PF more
than he will need AMERICA, BRITAIN to run Zimbabwe smoothly even if Mugabe
says Tsvangirai take it.  ZANU PF still holds a lot of support and if you
don't realize that you are not a politician.
7. Tsvangirai should remember that only Zimbabweans working together
will take Zimbabwe forward. Promises for AID from AMERICA ARE to be taken
with looks of caution. They don't just give you money. The money comes with
conditions, most of which will certainly go against the benefits of the same
people you are fighting for.
8. The Americans are not interested in you or Zimbabweans or Africans.
They are looking at their survival. You need to know that. The Americans are
looking at securing the future for their great grand children. And whatever
they offer you will not make you be able to secure a future for even
yourself, not talking about your grandchildren.
9. So all politicians remember, let Zimbabweans sit together, and come
up with strategy, from Zimbabwe to take us forward and secure the future of
our country. The West will not make us prosper, because our poverty is what
drives their livelihood. Don't forget that.
10.   May great people like Prof A. Mutambara please pass some sense into
some of your colleagues. Mugabe won't be there forever, but Zimbabwe will be
there forever. Its time for all Opposition Figures of Substance to Ignore
the presence of Mugabe, and go into talks for Zimbabwe.

Don't fool yourselves too much. Zimbabwe is still under the strong grips of
the Spirits, and they have a Major Say in the leaders of the country.
Democracy is very secondary to them. They know not democracy. We come
together we prosper. We remain selfish like MDC is doing we will all perish.
Vadzimu havatyi hondo, nokuti vakafa kare.

As the SADC and AU election observers all agree that the recent elections
were not free and fair, surely this renders the 'result' null and void?
Therefore, it's not unreasonable to demand  fresh elections that are not
"deeply flawed".  An election with a completely level playing field.
International and regional observers on the ground immediately - zero
tolerance on violence - complete access to the media for campaign purposes -
accreditation for all journalists, international and regional. Only then
will the true will of the people be heard. All this nonsensical blather
about a GNU with a corrupt regime is just prolonging the problem. ZPF will
not adhere to any rules other than their own if a GNU is put in place. Lets
by-pass all the hand-wringing and ego pacifying and deal with the problem
staring everyone in the face. It is up to the people of Zimbabwe to make
their choice of leadership without being forced to compromise. Even Mbeki
would be hard pushed to object to this extremely reasonable request.

..........It is obvious when one reads all the reports thatThe AU and the
SADC will not afford any relief in the near future as they have insane and
illiterate views of the truth and do not give a damn for the people of

The hell that is Africa has always ignored the PEOPLE with one exception -
when THE PEOPLE were under attack from WHITES.     Being maimed and poisoned
by blacks does'nt seem to raise any eyebrows at all.

The only possibility of any change soon is via South Africa.     So all
efforts should be thrown into removing MBEKI or having him change his mind.
Proof of all the horrific events should be poured on him in such quantities
that he is forced to change.   Should he ignore these he will be removed by
consent and haste of the ANC to attempt to regain some moral ground from
which they are sliding very fast.

Once removed, the ANC would close the border and switch off ZIM leading to a
very rapid change.

The Era of Mandela is sadly over and even before he has died Africa is
ignoring his huge gains and allowing them to fade into history.   The
continent is slowly descending back into the 1800s before the colonialists
where only power counts and tribes rage against each other.   The word
Savage is not to dark and horrid to be applied to the events in Zim this
last few weeks.

A further serious and vital move -   the legal situation of the 21 day
period in the Electoral Act which is even known in the British House of
Lords debates, which appears to make Tsvangerai the President should be
placed before the highest courts of justice in the Hague for a ruling.
Other Senior constitutional lawyers in other countries should also add their
view and the AU asked to make a ruling.   In the face of this they can
hardly ignore the truth otherwise law is worthless...............


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