Sat Jul 5, 2008 7:55pm BST
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - South African President Thabo Mbeki met Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe on Saturday to try to help end a political crisis.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said its
leader Morgan Tsvangirai had declined to meet Mbeki, who has tried to
mediate between the two sides after Mugabe's disputed re-election on June
Mbeki told reporters after a brief meeting with Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara,
who leads a breakaway faction of the MDC, that negotiations had to move with
"It is the view of the facilitators and the Zimbabwean leadership that we
need to move with speed," Mbeki said. We agreed that MDC Tsvangirai has to
be part of the negotiations, so we are hoping that the process will take
place with them."
A spokesman for Tsvangirai's MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said the party was
"mandated to negotiate under the resolutions of the Africa Union and the
Southern Africa Development Community ... on the basis that there is
accountability (and) transparency".
"If we were meeting Mugabe as head of ZANU-PF no problem but not as head of
state because we would have endorsed him but you know that his position is
Mbeki's trip follows a June 27 runoff presidential election, in which Mugabe
was the only candidate after Tsvangirai pulled out citing state sponsored
Tsvangirai and his MDC have criticised Mbeki's mediation efforts, accusing
him of siding with Mugabe and have asked the African Union (AU) to sent an
envoy to help with the talks. Mugabe says he supports Mbeki's role in the
"We will of course engage the AU and I am quite certain that they will make
their own contribution to move the process forward," said Mbeki.
Mugabe said on Friday the MDC must drop its claim to power and accept that
he was the rightful head of state.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who leads the ZANU-PF negotiating team,
criticised Tsvangirai for failing to attend Saturday's meeting, accusing him
of behaving like a rebel.
"I think that what is becoming clear is that if the country is not careful
it will be precipitated into a period of instability," Chinamasa told state
A film secretly taken by a Zimbabwe prison guard and smuggled out of the
country shows rigging that took place for the June 27 presidential run-off
vote, the Guardian newspaper in Britain said on Saturday.
The film taken by Shepherd Yuda using a camera supplied by the newspaper
showed prison staff being told by a war veteran how to fill in their ballot
papers for Robert Mugabe.
(Editing by Phumza Macanda and Ibon Villelabeitia)
Monsters and Critics
Jul 5, 2008, 16:19 GMT
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai appeared
marginalized Saturday after South African President Thabo Mbeki held talks
in Harare with President Robert Mugabe and members of a smaller faction of
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The meeting was confirmed by Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga.
'President Mbeki did meet with President Mugabe,' he said, adding that
Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway MDC faction, had also been in
Asked whether Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC faction that took the most votes
in the last general elections in March, had been invited to join the talks,
Ratshitanga said he had.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for Tsvangirai's MDC, confirmed that Tsvangirai
had received an invitation but that he didn't attend because the meeting did
not met the criteria Tsvangirai had set out for entering talks with Mugabe
on a powersharing agreement.
'We believe as MDC that any negotiations are supposed to be transparent,
predictable in their outcome and the processes are supposed to satisfy the
various parties or stakeholders,' he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
'Unfortunately today's meeting did not meet that criteria.'
Asked whether Tsvangirai had agreed to let Mutambara represent him at the
talks, Chamisa replied: 'Certainly not.'
Mutambara's faction broke away from Tsvangirai in 2005 amid disagreement
over whether to contest Senate elections.
Following general elections in March, in which Tsvangirai's MDC took 99
seats in the 210-member lower house of parliament to 10 for Mutambara,
giving the combined party a majority over Mugabe's Zanu-PF (97 seats), the
two factions announced their reunification.
During the simultaneous presidential elections Tsvangirai also took the most
votes, albeit not enough to defeat Mugabe outright. The MDC leader withdrew
from the June 27 run-off over intimidation and violence against his
Signs of a new rift have emerged between the two MDC factions in recent days
over whether to endorse Mugabe's uncontested victory in the run-off.
Mugabe was sworn in as president for a further five years on June 29 two
days after the election derided as a sham by the MDC, the West and a handful
of African countries. At least one MP from Mutambara's faction has spoken in
favour of giving Mugabe the thumbs-up.
The two MDC's, while agreeing to work together in parliament, 'continue to
work as separate outfits,' Chamisa said by way of explanation.
Earlier this week a summit of African Union heads of state called on Mugabe
and Tsvangirai to form a government of national unity with Mbeki as
Tsvangirai had said the MDC would not enter talks until the AU sent an envoy
to Zimbabwe to assist Mbeki, whom the MDC has accused of pro-Mugabe bias.
Among other conditions, the MDC is also calling for Tsvangirai's victory in
the first round of the elections to be the starting point for the talks.
Mugabe, for his part, said on Friday that he would not talk to Tsvangirai
unless Tsvangirai recognized him as president.
Chamisa denied that Mutambara's presence at Saturday's talks put pressure on
Tsvangirai to come to the table, saying the MDC was not going to be pushed
into flawed processes.
July 05, 2008, 18:00
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has expressed disappointment at the
failure of Zimbabwe's opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to attend a
meeting between Mbeki and Zimbabwean leaders today.
It was earlier reported that Mbeki, in a surprise move regarding his
apparent lack of action, met with President Robert Mugabe and Arthur
Mutambara, leader of the breakaway faction of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change for talks regarding Zimbabwe's future.
Zimbabwe, once a continental success story, has fallen into a steady decay
as unemployment and inflation figures repeatedly set record highs and lows.
The last official inflation rate for February was 165 000% but analysts say
it is really about 9 million percent. The country is now facing possible
full-scale international sanctions - a move rallied for by the United
Mbeki said Tsvangirai pulled out of the meeting at the last minute, claiming
he had been advised by African Union leaders to hold off until Mbeki, as
SADC mediator for Zimbabwe, has been re-enforced by others.
Tsvangirai has demanded that the results of the March 29 elections, which he
and his MDC won, form the basis of any talks with the government and that
the African Union name a permanent envoy to help mediate the process.
Mugabe's officials have said they are willing to talk to all political
parties in Zimbabwe, but are likely to insist that Mugabe election victory
Earlier this week, the AU summit in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
issued a resolution calling for talks leading to a national unity
government. Despite unprecedented African criticism both before and during
the summit, Mugabe seemed unchastened. In an apparent reference to tough
criticism from Botswana and Zambia he warned neighbouring states about
picking a fight with Zimbabwe.
Louis Weston And Special Correspondents in Harare
Last Updated: 6:26PM BST 05/07/2008
Senior officials of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party have secretly
approached the British Government seeking direct talks over the country's
crisis, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.
The contact was made by Nicholas Goche, the public service minister and a
close Mugabe ally with experience of conducting delicate negotiations, said
a well-connected Zimbabwean source who did not want to be identified.
"Goche was talking to the British," the source said. "It was authorised.
Zanu-PF are not idiots. This is about strategic interests."
The attempt to open a direct line of communication is in stark contrast to
Mr Mugabe's recent statement that Britain can "go and hang a thousand
A diplomatic source confirmed that approaches had been made, but said that
they were rebuffed. "There have been contacts but there has been no
discussion," he said.
"The UK is extremely wary about that sort of thing. The UK is not the source
of their problem, nor is it the solution. The solution is to listen to the
will of the Zimbabwean people."
Sat 5 Jul 2008, 19:22 GMT
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, July 5 (Reuters) - Leaders of the Group of Eight rich
nations meeting in northern Japan this week will condemn the government of
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, a White House official said on Saturday.
Mugabe has been defiant despite growing international condemnation of a June
27 runoff presidential election, in which he was the only candidate after
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, citing state-sponsored
Dennis Wilder, a senior National Security Council official, said Zimbabwe
was sure to come up when Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia,
Canada and the United States meet July 7-9 on the northern Japanese island
"I think the G8 will strongly condemn what Mugabe has done. It will strongly
condemn the legitimacy of his government and his governing of Zimbabwe,"
Wilder told reporters aboard Air Force One as President George W. Bush was
on his way to Japan for the summit.
The G8 leaders, meeting at a luxury hotel in the lakeside resort of Toyako,
will be joined by the heads of seven African states and major economies
including China and India.
(Reporting Tabassum Zakaria, writing by Sandra Maler, editing by Todd
The Sunday Times
July 6, 2008
I AM bitterly disappointed that the African Union (AU) did not take a
stronger stand and denounce Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF (News and Comment,
Presidents Seretse Khama of Botswana and Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia have been
outspoken in their condemnation of their neighbour while Thabo Mbeki
continues to lead the ineffectual quiet diplomacy (so quiet that nobody is
Mugabe is a two-trick pony. He has used violence from the beginning,
including the genocide of thousands of Ndebele in the early 1980s to squash
any threat of opposition.
His other party piece is blaming all the problems of Zimbabweans on British
colonialism, but what has he done to improve the lives of Zimbabweans in
almost 30 years?
Morgan Tsvangirai, in contrast, has always refused to resort to violence.
Leigh Banks, ex-Zimbabwean
The senior ranks of the Zimbabwean army and Zanu-PF are as much the problem
as Mugabe himself. We need UN peacekeepers to protect victims and let food
aid get to them, followed by sanctions so Zanu-PF and the generals can't pay
the "war veterans".
Carluke, South Lanarkshire
We know the UN is just a talking shop and nothing will be done through it.
Whether Mugabe stays or goes is in the hands of African nations. I expect
Mugabe will carry on the violence for a month, then let African observers in
who will say all is well.
Mugabe's hands have dripped blood for decades. As for the AU and the UN,
they're both utterly useless.
Cape Town, South Africa
Mugabe is a symbol of all that is wrong with Africa, a rich continent full
of talent and natural resources. Economic sanctions will hurt ordinary
people. The best action is to remove him by force as Tanzania removed Idi
Streamwood, Illinois, USA
Shame on us all
The developed world should be deeply ashamed for having allowed this
tragedy - greater than many of the natural disasters we all rush to assist
in alleviating - to progress unabated for so many years.
The West is tainted in the eyes of Africans. It is time other powerful
countries under a UN flag met some of the needs of the world.
The West blames African tribalism, ineptitude and corruption - with good
reason. Africa blames colonialism, racism and the "white man" - with good
reason. Which, of course, solves nothing. Zimbabwe cannot sort this out on
its own unless you want to see another Rwanda/Darfur solution.
The white settlers who had their land stolen were Zimbabwean just like
Mugabe. Just because they were white doesn't mean they aren't entitled to
the land that they have farmed for generations.
Douglasville, Georgia, USA
As a non-white who grew up under the murderous apartheid regime, I am
ashamed that Mbeki has not been more forceful in his dealings with Mugabe.
He had ample opportunity. Sadly he has failed miserably as a leader and a
Poolesville, Maryland, USA
Is this the Africa that Bono and Geldof demand we give money to?
SW Radio Africa (London)
5 July 2008
Posted to the web 5 July 2008
South Africa's main labour union the Confederation of South African Trade
Unions (COSATU) held a demonstration at the Beitbridge border post Saturday
protesting against Robert Mugabe's regime. Spokesman Jan Tsiane urged
continental bodies to intervene in the crisis and help restore democracy in
the wake of Mugabe's one-man election. No incidents were reported during the
protests except the arrest of one man who was later released.
Newsreel spoke to Patrick Craven from COSATU who said their federation was
opposed to the formation of a government of national unity adding that a
transitional authority was the best way forward. Such an authority would be
formed using proportional results from the March 29 poll and this body would
organize fresh elections that reflect the will of the people.
Earlier in the week the federation slammed the one-man run off election,
shortly after Robert Mugabe was sworn in as President on Sunday, and called
on African governments to refuse to recognise Mugabe as a legitimate head of
state. They also said he should be barred from attending meetings of the
African Union or SADC.
'It would be a disaster for Africa if its highest representative bodies, AU
and SADC, were to recognise the outcome of such an 'election' and the Mugabe
government as legitimate. We urge the African governments not to recognise
the Zimbabwean government and cancel all invitations to it to attend
continental and international meetings,' COSATU said in a statement.
Zimbabwe, Harare --Over 1 500 MDC activists, including 20 MPs and
parliamentary candidates, across the country are in police custody following a
massive State-sponsored crackdown against the MDC. The MDC supporters and members have been arrested on charges of being
involved in political violence whilst most MPs are being accused of trumped-up
charges of inciting political violence. The arrests come at a time when 103 supporters who have been murdered by ZANU
PF supporters but not a single ZANU PF supporter has been arrested. About 5 000
of our supporters, mainly polling agents and council candidates, are still
missing after having been abducted by ZANU PF militia and Sate security agents
in unmarked vehicles. The continued onslaught of our structures shows that ZANU PF is not sincere
in the so-called dialogue it says it wants with the MDC. The regime cannot talk
dialogue when it is acting war across the length and breadth of the country. The
regime cannot be allowed to pretend that it wants peace when it is acting
violence on the ground. Thousands of our supporters are still in the mountains, fearing for their
lives while others are still in hospital nursing serious injuries sustained by
ZANU PF and state security agents following the historic defeat of ZANU PF and
Robert Mugabe during the watershed polls of 29 March 2008. Those polls remain
the only credible polls that were deemed relatively free and fair by regional
and continental observer missions. The injured include Thamsanqa Mahlangu, the MP-elect for Nkulumane who is
also the national youth chairman of the MDC. Mahlangu is battling for his life
in a Harare hospital after being bludgeoned by ZANU PF thugs at an aborted rally
at the Glamis Arena in Harare on Sunday, 22 June 2008. The MDC condemns the ongoing State-sponsored violence, which is meant to
decimate the party and its structures. There cannot be any meaningful dialogue
while the regime continues to maim and kill with impunity — with neither shame
nor compunction. The people's victory is certain. It can only be delayed but not aborted. The statistics of those in prison or in police custody are as follows: Source: MDC Information and Publicity Department/Harare Tribune News
July 5, 2008 14:17
Mat N. 42
Key: Byo- Bulawayo; Mash Ce- Mashonaland Central; Masvi-Masvingo; Mash W- Mashonaland West; Manica- Manicaland; Mat. S- Matabeleland South; Mash E.- Mashonaland East; Mid- Midlands; Mat N.- Matabeleland North.
Zimbabwe, Harare --Over 1 500 MDC activists, including 20 MPs and parliamentary candidates, across the country are in police custody following a massive State-sponsored crackdown against the MDC.
The MDC supporters and members have been arrested on charges of being involved in political violence whilst most MPs are being accused of trumped-up charges of inciting political violence.
The arrests come at a time when 103 supporters who have been murdered by ZANU PF supporters but not a single ZANU PF supporter has been arrested. About 5 000 of our supporters, mainly polling agents and council candidates, are still missing after having been abducted by ZANU PF militia and Sate security agents in unmarked vehicles.
The continued onslaught of our structures shows that ZANU PF is not sincere in the so-called dialogue it says it wants with the MDC. The regime cannot talk dialogue when it is acting war across the length and breadth of the country. The regime cannot be allowed to pretend that it wants peace when it is acting violence on the ground.
Thousands of our supporters are still in the mountains, fearing for their lives while others are still in hospital nursing serious injuries sustained by ZANU PF and state security agents following the historic defeat of ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe during the watershed polls of 29 March 2008. Those polls remain the only credible polls that were deemed relatively free and fair by regional and continental observer missions.
The injured include Thamsanqa Mahlangu, the MP-elect for Nkulumane who is also the national youth chairman of the MDC. Mahlangu is battling for his life in a Harare hospital after being bludgeoned by ZANU PF thugs at an aborted rally at the Glamis Arena in Harare on Sunday, 22 June 2008.
The MDC condemns the ongoing State-sponsored violence, which is meant to decimate the party and its structures. There cannot be any meaningful dialogue while the regime continues to maim and kill with impunity — with neither shame nor compunction.
The people's victory is certain. It can only be delayed but not aborted.
The statistics of those in prison or in police custody are as follows:
Source: MDC Information and Publicity Department/Harare Tribune News
July 05, 2008 04:13 AM
By Ian Nhuka
Three senior Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials, including two
legislators entered their second week in detention on Friday at Lupane
Police Station after their arrest on allegations of committing political
Abednico Bhebhe the member of parliament-elect for Nkayi South,
Senator-elect for Nkayi, Robert Rabson Makhula and former Zvishavane
legislator Pearson Mbalekwa, were arrested in Lupane on Thursday last week
on suspicion they organised MDC youths to attach Zanu PF supporters at
Lupane Growth Point.
Assistant Commissioner, Wayne Bvudzijena, the chief police spokesman, said
the MDC officials are still being detained but refused to say when they will
appear in court. He claimed that police are still carrying out
investigations into the trio's cases, hence the delay in their appearance in
"We are still conducting our investigations," Bvudzijena said from Harare
"We suspect that they masterminded or sponsored political violence in
Matabeleland North, around the Lupane area ahead of the run-off."
Bhebhe and Makhula completed their 16th day in police custody as their
latest arrest last Thursday came on the same day that they were released
after having been arrested earlier for allegedly driving a foreign vehicle
without proper documents.
Police say it was illegal for the duo to use the South African-registered
vehicle, as it was not registered in their names. They had spent nine days
in custody cells facing charges of theft of a motor vehicle. They were also
being charged with contravening a section of the Customs and Excise Act that
makes it an offence for one to use a foreign registered vehicle without
On the latest case, Bhebhe, Mbalekwa and Makhula are accused of having
mobilised youths in Lupane to attack ZANU - PF supporters who were on their
way home after attending a rally addressed by Vice President Joseph Msika
and Matabeleland North Governor, Sithokozile Mathuthu on the eve of the
presidential election run-off at the growth point.
Despite the fact that it is one week after the run-off, police have
intensified their clampdown on MDC supporters and officials, claiming they
are behind cases of politically motivated violence. At least six more newly
elected MDC legislators are on the police wanted list countrywide.
Saturday 5th July 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
It is now clear that the will of the Zimbabwean people as expressed in the
March 29th elections has been ignored and, as a result we find ourselves in
the deepest crisis. Hundreds of people: men, women and children have started
arriving at foreign embassies in Harare, begging for temporary refuge and
humanitarian assistance. First it was the South African embassy, then the
American embassy: crowds of people who are cold, tired, homeless, hungry and
frightened and who have nowhere else to go and no one to turn to. They don't
shout, scream, protest and demand, instead they simply sit down on the
roadside and wait patiently for someone to help them.
Such is the tragic image of our broken, desperate people that even for those
of us living here, the ruination of ordinary lives and the suffering that
people are enduring is utterly heartbreaking. Everyday holds tears and
trauma and the most common phrase in our lives is: "We are in God's hands."
The MDC say that a quarter of a million people have been displaced from
their homes since the end of March. It is undoubtable that thousands more
have by now fled for our borders and crossed over into Botswana, Mozambique,
Zambia and South Africa - legally and illegally. They have done this to stay
alive and unless something happens to change the situation urgently,
hundreds of thousands of others will have no choice but to follow the exodus
to our borders.
This morning, as I write this letter, hundreds upon hundreds of people are
crowded outside banks across the country desperately trying to withdraw
their own money. This is because most shops no longer accept cheques and the
Governor of the Reserve Bank has limited daily withdrawals per person to one
hundred billion dollars. With one hundred billion dollars you can, today
only, buy just three single blood pressure tablets. Or, today only, you can
buy one copy of a local weekly newspaper and and two small green onions. In
my home town, even if you had the money, there is almost no food left to
buy. In the week since Mr Mugabe was again sworn in as President, our
supermarkets have become emptier than ever. There are no dry staple goods at
all, no milk or eggs and no wheat or flour. In my home town the main bakery
is closed and we've had no bread for over a fortnight.
This is why hundreds and thousands of people now have no choice but to leave
the country. It is truly a most desperate situation and people from all
walks of life are in dire need of help - primarily for food and life
preserving medicines but also for shelter and protection. We hear the words
from abroad and from the AU, the UN and some of our neighbours but we don't
need words, we need help and we need it now, literally to save lives.
Until next week, thank you for reading, with love, cathy
Published: July 5, 2008 at 3:04 PM
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, July 5 (UPI) -- Inaction on the part of Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe has left his country's citizens struggling with a
growing famine, aid workers say.
Effie Ncube, who runs a small aid agency in the African country, alleged the
government has only offered food supplies to members of the Zimbabwe African
National Union and has left all others to slowly starve, The Times of London
"There is no village (in the low-rainfall western provinces of Matabeleland
and Midlands) that is not touched by hunger and malnutrition," Ncube said.
"Only ZANU people have a better life, because the government gives them
food. The majority support the opposition and the majority are being starved
by the government."
Those not receiving food say they are forced to buy goods from ZANU
supporters, who charge Movement for Democratic Change supporters exorbitant
"You see them eating and you get angry, but there is nothing you can do,"
Zimbabwean resident Christina Thabani told the Times. "Sometimes they sell
it to you, for a very high price, but only at night, because they will get
into trouble for feeding MDC people."
July 05 2008 at 04:59PM
Supporters of Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) marched to Durban's city hall on Saturday calling on the African Union
to deploy peacekeepers in Zimbabwe, SABC radio news reported.
The marchers also protested the "illegitimate" swearing in of Robert
Mugabe as Zimbabwean president.
Nelson Kambarami, MDC Durban branch chairman, said it was time for the
AU to take action to protect the innocent people of Zimbabwe.
"What we can request, even to every Zimbabwean, if we can have
peacekeepers who can try to neutralise the situation in Zimbabwe where
Mugabe is just trying to address on the media a window dressing."
"If we can have a transitional free and fair election can be taken, we
can accept that stance," he told SABC news. - Sapa
LUSAKA, July 5 (AFP)
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe risks going down in history as a leader who
refused to give up power and oppressed his people, Zambian Information
Minister Mike Mulongoti said on Saturday.
In an interview with AFP TV, Mulongoti at first paid tribute to Mugabe for
"standing up against colonialism" and winning independence for the former
Rhodesia in 1980.
"But now you cannot transplant colonialism for oppression. If you oppress
people, what's the difference between you and the colonialists?
"So, I do not know whether -- when we write history books -- he shall go in
the history books as our hero or we should begin to cast doubt as to whether
the services he's supposed to have rendered he took away himself by
overstaying and doing certain things that were unacceptable in a civilised
Zambia was one of the first countries to openly criticise Mugabe, who was
sworn in on Sunday for a sixth term after elections denounced as a "farce"
by the opposition and Western leaders.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa last year compared the country to "a
sinking Titanic" because of its economic crisis.
More recently he said it was "scandalous" for the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to remain silent in the face of violence
against members of the opposition.
His voice was absent this week among Zimbabwe's detractors at an African
Union summit in Egypt, which he missed after suffering a heart attack.
The summit adopted a resolution calling for dialogue between Mugabe and
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and the creation of a national unity
Mwanawasa, meanwhile, has been transferred to a French hospital, where he
remained in intensive care on Saturday.
July 5, 2008
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) -- 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
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.
But nobody made a fuss when the party of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea's
strongman President Teodoro Obiang announced after May legislative elections
that it had won 100 percent of votes in many districts and 99 percent in
others. The opposition said the vote was rigged by Obiang, who took power in
a 1979 coup.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: July 5, 2008
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: A Zimbabwe prison officer has used a hidden
camera given to him by a British newspaper to film how he and his colleagues
were forced to vote for Robert Mugabe in last month's widely criticized
The Guardian posted the film on its Web site Saturday, and said in the film
and accompanying stories that the officer, Shepherd Yuda, fled Zimbabwe on
Friday and was now with his family in an undisclosed location.
International observers said the June 27 runoff was not free or fair,
largely because of violence against opposition supporters. There also were
reports of ballot tampering as described in Yuda's film, with members of the
security forces and others not allowed to vote in secret.
Repeated attempts to reach Zimbabwe's government spokesman for comment
Saturday by telephone were unsuccessful.
Zimbabwean officials have rejected criticism of the election, which
opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled
out of as the only other candidate. Mugabe was declared winner on June 29
and took the oath of office within hours of the release of results.
The film, which lasts about 10 minutes, shows a senior official identified
as a member of Mugabe's party handing out postal ballots to Yuda and other
prison workers and watching as they mark them. It is clear they feel they
have no choice but to vote for Mugabe, for fear of what the senior official
might do if they vote for the opposition.
Later, in private, Yuda sits in front of the camera and says that marking an
'X' on the ballot next to Mugabe's photo "was the most difficult moment of
Other scenes in his film show prison workers speaking fearfully of a
colleague's relative being abducted by militant Mugabe supporters, and a
meeting at which prison workers are told to vote for Mugabe. It also shows
some famous prisoners, including No. 2 opposition leader Tendai Biti and
civil rights activist Jenni Williams. Biti, charged with treason, and
Williams, charged in a separate case with disturbing the peace, each have
since been released on bail.
See the video here -
Saturday, 05 July 2008 17:05
MDC National Council Resolutions 4 July 2008
Resolutions of the National Council
4 July 2008
The National Council Resolves that:
The MDC does not recognize the 27th of June "event" and accordingly
does not recognize the outcome, thereof.
The 29th of March election is the sole and legitimate election that
must move this country forward.
The Party must engage in dialogue for the purpose of ensuring that we
resolve the Zimbabwean crisis and bring in legitimacy and democracy to
As a precondition of the dialogue, must be the secession of all
violence, disbandment of all militia, dismantlement of all bases and the
repatriation of all displaced persons.
All perpetrators of violence be prosecuted expeditiously and
It thanks all Zimbabweans for bearing the suffering and scourge of
this regime and ask that they remain patient and hopeful for the true
deliverance and change that is inevitable.
It thanks all Election Observer Missions in particular, those from
the African Union, Pan-African Parliament and SADC for honest, objective and
brave observation made in the true spirit of Pan-African solidarity.
It thanks all African leaders and civic groups who have spoken for
and fought in the corner of Zimbabweans and urges the United Nations and the
African Union to remain vested with the Zimbabwean issue in a bid to bring
the suffering of our people to an end.
By AFP | Harare Tribune News
July 5, 2008 14:59
Zimbabwe, Harare -- Zimbabwe's political impasse looks set to drag on
as the two main actors assume hardline positions and lay tough
pre-conditions for talks towards a negotiated settlement.
Deep-seated mistrust among the main political players -- the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and President Robert
Mugabe's camp, is a major obstacle to efforts for a quick solution to the
crisis, analysts say.
Zimbabwe's run-off presidential election on June 27 was boycotted by
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after deadly attacks on his supporters,
and widely denounced as a sham by Western governments.
But 84-year-old Mugabe escaped serious censure at an African Union
summit this week which instead ended with relatively bland calls for the
formation of a Kenya-style national unity government.
On his return to Zimbabwe, Mugabe said there would be no talks with
the opposition unless he was accepted as the country's rightful leader.
Meanwhile, the MDC formally dismissed the outcome of the one-man
Analysts say the two sides shall eventually have to sit down and talk,
but progress is likely to be very slow.
"If they don't agree on where to start from then it signals this is
going to be a protracted process. I see a protracted dialogue, even a
pre-dialogue exercise," said University of Zimbabwe political science
lecturer Eldred Masunungure.
"The June 27 election ... has become a new and major stumbling block"
on the country's political horizon, he added.
Political commentator Takura Zhangazha, who also heads a regional
media watchdog, said the fundamental differences between the two sides point
to a long process.
"One thing is for sure -- the process will be drawn out. They are
likely to be very tough talks," said the head of the Media Institute of
Southern Africa-Zimbabwe (MISA-Zimbabwe).
Takavafira Zhou of the Great Zimbabwe University in the southern city
of Masvingo, said it was unclear how the two sides would reach agreement on
"The major problem is that there is no common grounds for talks,
ZANU-PF (Mugabe's party) will try to absorb the MDC and the MDC will try to
maintain its identity. So it won't be an easy road to walk," he said. "We
still have along time to go."
Practical points on powersharing are likely to stall the talks, if and
when they take place.
While the opposition leader won the first round, short of an absolute
majority, and would want a serious role in any transitional government,
Mugabe is highly unlikely to accept a secondary role.
"The major challenge is where are they going to have the power rested.
I don't see Mugabe capitulating to a ceremonial head of state. For him he
will want to swallow the MDC," said Mangongera.
The broker of eventual talks will need better skills than the current
regional mediator South African President Thabo Mbeki, analysts said, as
Mbeki met Saturday in Harare with Mugabe and leaders of a breakaway faction
of the MDC.
"For them (Mugabe and Tsvangirai) to meet, it needs extraordinary
skills, which I suspect Mbeki might not have," Masunungure said.
Mbeki, the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s
main mediator on the crisis, has been fiercely criticised by the MDC over
his consistent refusal to publicly criticise his Zimbabwean counterpart.
"It will take them weeks just to agree to talk," predicted Zhangazha.
Pradeep Magazine, Hindustan Times
July 06, 2008
First Published: 00:19 IST(6/7/2008)
Last Updated: 00:29 IST(6/7/2008)
Oh, that question again! To mix politics with sport or not, and what good
does it do to either of them?
The stand taken by the ICC to save the savage Mugabe's Zimbabwe from being
expelled from the international cricketing fraternity is something that may
be easy to understand and explain. But, is it desirable and justified? And
shouldn't India, which never loses an opportunity to flex its financial
clout to ride roughshod over many cricketing decisions, be the last country
to say politics and sport never go together?
The ethics of sporting boycotts and sanctions to force a political regime to
mend its ways has been debated endlessly and most of the time, the
conclusion has been that it does not serve any purpose. Yet, the question
remains and should we condone what the ruthless Mugabe has done to his
country? Or the financial bungling the Zimbabwean cricketing head and a
Mugabe man, Peter Chingoka, has been accused of?
In the 2003 World Cup, when England refused to travel to Zimbabwe and
forfeited its matches played there, many English journalists too, out of
sheer conviction, decided not to report any matches from that country. When
Rob Stein, a cricketing iconoclast from England and a man willing to stand
up for his beliefs, no matter what the consequences, sought my views on the
subject, I had no clear cut answers.
Like many who had admired Mugabe's fight against the brutal White Rhodesian
regime, I had thought that the White world was exaggerating tales of
suppression and misery emanating from Zimbabwe. But spending a few days in
Harare, where India played a match, made me realise that what was being said
was not wrong. A hundred US dollars fetched us nearly a lakh in local
currency but it was worth nothing as each meal would cost us over 25,000
Zimbabwean dollars. We would give tips in thousands and wonder how the man
on the street was surviving on a monthly average income of around 25,000
It was not difficult to find out that no one was happy, even the vast
majority of Black people. The phone in the hotel room would never cease to
ring the whole night and desperate female voices would proposition you, even
willing to jump into your bed for just a single US dollar. Any voice of
dissent against Mugabe and the rigged election was silenced forever. But for
us, Harare was a turning point in India's World Cup fortunes and made us
forget the human misery of people living in a foreign land.
The question has cropped up again and after reading Mukul Kesavan's thought
provoking article in Cricinfo, my memory got dusted and made me realise that
India, who were at the forefront of cricketing sanctions against South
Africa when they were practising Apartheid, had no right to sell its
conscience for a few votes more.
When even Nelson Mandela and his South Africa have turned against Mugabe
and his cricketing regime, India should have made the right choice.
The right choice even in the best of times is hard to make, more so in our
times, where the world seems to run on only commercial interests.
And to have expected the Indian Board to take a "moral" stand would have
been akin to George Bush hanging himself for his crimes against the Iraqi
GLOBAL ZIMBABWE FORUM
RE: CALL FOR A PEACEFUL NATIONAL TRANSITION IN ZIMBABWE
The GZF notes with critical concern the deteriorating political
situation in Zimbabwe and call for more commitment from all the interested
parties and relevant stakeholders in seeking for a peaceful and decisive
resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.
We also note with concern the continued escalation of political
violence and reprisals as facilitated by state institutions such as the army
and the police and call for the restoration of peace, law and order in the
We insist that the 27th June 2008 run-off election was an exercise in
national electoral fraud that should not be given any form of legal and
political recognition whatsoever.
We further express our utter disappointment with the just ended
African Union summit in Egypt that seems to have condoned Robert Mugabe and
apparently accepted substantially his illegal claim to the nation's office
of the Presidency.
We declare that at the moment there is no person that is legally
entitled to be recognised as the duly elected head of state or government in
Further to that we insist the proposals for a government of national
unity must be taken in their proper context since they risk being seen as a
deliberate affront to the democratic will of the masses of Zimbabwe.
We express our disappointment with the impact of President Thabo
Mbeki's mediation role thus far and he is no longer credible enough to
continue as the sole mandated mediator.
As a way forward we support the call for an expanded mediation effort
that should include some eminent African persons as appointed by the AU in
consultation with SADC.
We call for an all inclusive transitional authority process that shall
seek to unite the largely polarised nation, depoliticise all key state
institutions and embark on a serious economic recovery process.
The transitional authority must be given a maximum of two years after
which elections shall be held under a new people based national Constitution
in terms of internationally acceptable electoral terms and conditions.
For more details feel free to contact the representatives of the GZF
Issued in Geneva on Thursday 3rdJune 2008 by
Mr. Daniel Molokele
Telephone: +41 78 906 3896
Ms. Grace Kwinjeh
Mr. Mandla-akhe Dube
Mr. Canaan Mhlanga
North America Region
Mr. Simbarashe Chirimubwe
Rest of Africa Region
Mr. Promise Mkwananzi
Mr. Luke Zunga
South Africa Region
Prof. Stan Mukasa
North America Region
Telephone: +724 467 0001
The Global Zimbabwe Forum
c/o IUF House
Rampe du Pont-Rouge, 8,
Phone: + 41 22 879 0502
Fax: + 41 22 793 22 38