The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Calls from U.S. and EU for monitors in Zimbabwe

Mon 9 Jun 2008, 17:05 GMT

By Ingrid Melander

BRUSSELS (Reuters)- The United States and European Union plan a joint call
for U.N. monitors to be sent to Zimbabwe after a human rights group alleged
systematic government murder and brutality ahead of a presidential vote.

"We urge the United Nations Secretary-General to send a team immediately to
monitor human rights and to deter further abuses," said the final draft of a
communique to be issued at a U.S.-EU summit in Slovenia on Tuesday.

"We call on the government of Zimbabwe immediately to cease the
state-sponsored violence and intimidation against its people that has
occurred since the March 29 presidential and parliamentary election," said
the text, obtained by Reuters.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said on Monday that a brutal campaign by
supporters of President Robert Mugabe had eliminated any chance of a fair
presidential runoff election on June 27.

The group said it had documented at least 36 politically motivated murders
and 2,000 victims of a campaign of killings, abductions, beatings and
torture by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

It said more than 3,000 people had fled the violence which began after March
29 elections in which ZANU-PF lost control of parliament for the first time
and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the presidential

Official results showed Tsvangirai fell short of the absolute majority
needed for outright victory, forcing the runoff later this month.

The summit draft added: "A free and fair presidential run-off is critical to
the resolution of the ongoing crisis."

The rights group report said Mugabe's government had incited and perpetrated
the violence to intimidate and punish opposition supporters and had failed
to prosecute those responsible, who included the security forces, liberation
war veterans and youth militia.


The violent campaign "has extinguished any chance of a free and fair
presidential runoff," HRW said.

"Since the run-off was announced, the violence in Zimbabwe has gotten even
worse. Zimbabweans cannot vote freely if they fear their vote may get them
killed," said the human rights group's Africa director, Georgette Gagnon.

Mugabe accuses the opposition of inciting violence and Deputy
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana on Monday told the state-controlled Herald
newspaper that both sides were involved.

The U.S., Britain, EU and rights groups have repeatedly strongly criticised
the conduct of Mugabe's government since the March elections but the Harare
government says it will allow only election monitors from friendly

HRW called on the African Union and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) to pressure Mugabe to end the violence and urged them to
deploy strong poll observer teams.

Human Rights Watch said ZANU-PF and its allies had set up torture camps and
re-education meetings around the country to force opposition supporters to
vote for Mugabe. Hundreds of people had been beaten with logs, whips and
bicycle chains.

The group said party officials and war veterans beat six men to death and
tortured another 70 people including a 76-year-old woman at a re-education
meeting in northeastern Zimbabwe.

In another incident, around 20 men suspected of voting for Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were beaten in front of their village.
A 45-year-old man said he was beaten with whips, chains and iron bars and
his leg was broken.

HRW said it had extensive evidence that senior army and police officers were
directly implicated in the violence.

(Additional reporting by Nelson Banya and MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare;
Writing by Barry Moody; Editing by Stephen Weeks)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US to spend seven million dollars to monitor Zimbabwe election

Yahoo News

13 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said Monday it will spend seven million
dollars to help international observers ensure that presidential elections
due at the end of the month in Zimbabwe are free and fair.

"We are going to contribute seven million dollars to the election observer
effort," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

The money is "not only to ensure that there are proper, sufficient numbers
from countries that are going to supply the observers, but that they have
the resources to do their job on the ground," McCormack said.

A draft statement being prepared for a EU-US summit in Slovenia said the
European Union and the United States will call on UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon to send a team to Zimbabwe to monitor human rights.

The statement, obtained by AFP, also called for a "free and fair
presidential run-off" in Zimbabwe on June 27 when opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai will be hoping to end President Robert Mugabe's 28-year rule.

In a first round of elections on March 29, Mugabe's party lost its majority
in parliament -- for the first time since independence in 1980 -- to the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition movement.

Tsvangirai also beat Mugabe in the first round, but officially fell short of
an outright majority and must face Mugabe in the run-off election.

Tsvangirai was twice detained by police last week.

Authorities have also banned a series of rallies by the MDC. Many MDC
supporters have been arrested or injured in the political unrest, with some
taking refuge in the party headquarters in Harare.

The United States has frequently denounced Harare's crackdown on the

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU-PF using torture camps to 're-educate' opposition voters into voting for Mugabe

Daily Mail, UK

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 6:06 PM on 09th June 2008

 Robert Mugabe has set up torture camps in Zimbabwe to 're-educate' opposition voters so he can cheat his way to retaining power, an international rights group has said.

A systematic government campaign of murder and brutality has eliminated any chance of a fair presidential election, said the report by US-based Human Rights Watch.

The group said it had documented at least 36 politically motivated murders and 2,000 victims of a campaign of killings, abductions, beatings and torture by the ruling ZANU-PF party of President  Mugabe.

It said more than 3,000 people had fled the violence which began after March 29 elections in which ZANU-PF lost control of parliament for the first time and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the presidential race.

Official results showed Tsvangirai fell short of the absolute majority needed for outright victory and a run-off against Mugabe will be held on June 27.

"Since the run-off was announced, the violence in Zimbabwe has gotten even worse. Zimbabweans cannot vote freely if they fear their vote may get them killed," said the human rights group's Africa director Georgette Gagnon.

The report said the government had incited and perpetrated the violence to intimidate and punish opposition supporters and had failed to prosecute those responsible, who included the security forces, liberation war veterans and youth militia. 

The violent campaign "has extinguished any chance of a free and fair presidential run-off," HRW said.

Mugabe accuses the opposition of inciting violence and Deputy Attorney-General Johannes Tomana told the state-controlled Herald newspaper on Monday that both sides were involved.



Last chance: Movement For Democratic Change supporters greet Morgan Tsvangirai in Kwekwe , Zimbabwe

Human Rights Watch said ZANU-PF and its allies had established torture camps and re-education meetings around the country to try to force opposition supporters to vote for Mugabe. Hundreds of people had been beaten with logs, whips and bicycle chains.

The group said party officials and war veterans beat six men to death and tortured another 70 people including a 76-year-old woman at a re-education meeting in north-eastern Zimbabwe. 

In another incident, around 20 men suspected of voting for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were beaten in front of their village. A 45-year-old man said he was beaten with whips, chains and iron bars and his leg was broken.


HRW said it had extensive evidence that senior army and police officers were directly implicated in the violence.

"President Robert Mugabe and his government... bear full responsibility for these serious crimes. They have shown gross indifference to the plight of the people, allowing senior-ranking security officers, war veterans, youth militia and ZANU-PF free rein to commit horrifying abuses," Gagnon said.

Six MDC lawmakers have been arrested since the first poll and Tsvangirai was detained twice last week while campaigning. The High Court on Saturday overturned a police ban on several planned MDC rallies.

The government last week accused aid agencies of political interference and ordered them to stop humanitarian programmes.

Deputy Attorney-General Tomana told the Herald authorities had prosecuted over 80 cases of political violence.

"In some provinces it is almost 50-50, with both parties violating the law. We have treated both offenders equally, we deny them bail and speedily handle the cases," he said.

HRW called on the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to pressure Mugabe to end the violence and urged them to deploy strong poll observer teams.

It said violence had been particularly bad in the ZANU-PF's former rural strongholds where the MDC made significant gains in the March 29 elections.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe to deny bail to political violence suspects

Afrique en ligne

Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's Attorney General's Office said on Monday it
would, with immediate effect, deny bail to all suspects of
politically-motivated violence as the country gears for a do-or-die
presidential poll at the end of the month.

The move follows growing incidents of politically-motivated violence
sweeping the country ahead of the 27 June presidential run-off between
President Robert Mugabe and main opposition challenger Morgan Tsvangirai.

Both sides accuse each other of violence, with the opposition claiming more
than 65 of its members and supporters had been killed by ruling party
militants and security forces.

Deputy Attorney General Johannes Tomana said the new, tougher bail
conditions for suspects of political violence were meant to curb the
scourge, and help improve the political climate in the country.

"We have adopted a stance that Zimbabweans are entitled to security of their
lives and property. It does not matter who commits the offence. We are doing
this without fear or favour. We will be tough with them now," he said.

"We carry the view that prosecution serves an important security function to
Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans. We believe the security health of a nation depends
on effective law enforcement which falls in the hands of prosecutors," he

"My message to Zimbabweans is that we will have a better environment if we
respect the law. We will do our part to enforce the criminal law without
fear or favour. People must feel that it is a real risk to breach the law so
that they behave," said Tomana.

Harare - 09/06/2008


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

"Rot in prison," Chihuri says

By Trymore Magomana | Staff | Monday, June 9, 2008 12:56
Zimbabwe, Harare - ZANU-PF uthorities vowed on Monday to get tough on
election-related violence as they announced a new policy of denying bail to
all suspects in accused of committing or inciting violence.

A large share, almost 100%, of those arrested since March 29 have all
been activists of the Movement for Democractic Change (MDC).

"We have made it a point that those arrested are locked up right up to
trial. Bail is opposed as a matter of policy," deputy attorney general
Johannes Tomana told the state-run Herald newspaper.

"We have adopted a stance that Zimbabweans are entitled to security of
their lives and property. It does not matter who commits the offence. We are
doing this without fear or favour. We will be tough with them now."

Zimbabwe has been rocked by growing levels of political violence in
the build-up to a run-off election on June 27 when President Robert Mugabe
is being challenged by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

In a report released over the weekend, an association of doctors said
they had treated nearly 3,000 victims of political violence.

The MDC says around 60 of its supporters have been killed by
pro-Mugabe militias. Mugabe blames the opposition for the increase in
violence, but the United Nations' chief representative in Zimbabwe has said
the president's supporters are to blame for the bulk of it. A number of
opposition lawmakers have been arrested over charges of either committing or
inciting violence although courts have later ordered their release.

Fears of a new crackdown

The MDC fears a new crackdown on Monday as authorities vowed to "get
tough" on perpetrators of political violence in the approach to this month's
run-off election.

As a leading rights group warned mounting violence had extinguished
chances of a free and fair ballot, the opposition MDC said a vow by
authorities to deny bail to anyone suspected of committing or inciting
unrest would be used to further hamper their election campaign."

However the MDC chief spokesman ridiculed the idea that the new
directive would be applied even-handedly.

"The law is not applied evenly and not even one ZANU-PF will be locked
up," Nelson Chamisa told AFP in reference to Mugabe's ruling party.

"It's clear that this measure is meant to target key MDC members and
activists and keep them behind bars as a way of hampering the MDC campaign."

While President Robert Mugabe blames the opposition for an increase in
violence ahead of the June 27 poll, the UN's chief representative in
Zimbabwe has said the president's supporters are to blame for the bulk of

Nevertheless, the vast majority of those arrested have been MDC
supporters, including four lawmakers and the leader of a breakaway faction
of the party.

Opposition claims that Mugabe supporters were behind the violence were
also endorsed by a new report from the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

In its report, HRW documented allegations that Mugabe supporters -- 
including in the army and police force -- were killing, abducting and
torturing opposition members with impunity.

"Since the run-off was announced the violence in Zimbabwe has gotten
even worse. Zimbabweans can't vote freely if they fear their vote may get
them killed," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

"President Mugabe and his government bear full responsibility for
these serious crimes.

"They have shown gross indifference to the plight of the people,
allowing senior-ranking security officers, war veterans,' youth militia and
ZANU-PF free rein to commit horrifying abuses."

The report comes a day after an association of Zimbabwean doctors said
they had treated nearly 3,000 victims of political violence since the first
round of voting on March 29.

Many MDC supporters who have been injured in the violence have taken
shelter at the party's headquarters in Harare.

Speaking after meeting some of the victims on Monday morning, MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was "deeply shocked" by their plight.

"I can assure you that the people we have met across the country in
the past few days are determined to end this suffering on the 27th of June.
Let us be strong and finish it," he added, according to an MDC statement.

Tsvangirai, who is looking to end Mugabe's 28-year rule on June 27,
has himself been beaten in the past by members of the security services
while trying to protest against the government.

His election campaign has run into major obstacles and he was twice
detained by police last week. Authorities have also banned a series of MDC
rallies although a court did rule against the bans at the weekend.--Harare
Tribune News/Services

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe hits out at Zimbabwe churches

Christian Today

Posted: Monday, June 9, 2008, 17:40 (BST)

The Harare offices of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) were raided and
five staff members were taken to the Harare Central Police station for
questioning on Monday afternoon, reports Christian development agency

The raid was carried out by Zimbabwe's riot police and it is reported that
at least one staff member was assaulted in the raid.

Useni Sibanda, National Coordinator for the ZCA said, "This is pure
harassment of church organisations. We are just doing our usual work and we
don't understand why we should be attacked by riot police like this."

During the raid the police confiscated papers including the March edition of
the ZCA newsletter. It is understood that no charges have yet been brought.
A lawyer from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is in Harare to represent
those detained.

This raid follows the regime's confrontation with diplomats last week and
the increased intimidation of civil society groups.

The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance is a partner organisation of Tearfund, which
said on Monday that it was committed to supporting ZCA's position in working
for peaceful and democratic change.

"We have been seeing more and more intimidation, much of it aggressive,
against our church partner organisations," said Karyn Beattie, Tearfund's
Zimbabwe Disaster Management Advisor. "However, church leaders and
volunteers will continue to help the poorest in society."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Zim targeting key MDC members'


    June 09 2008 at 03:43PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition feared a new crackdown on Monday as
authorities vowed to "get tough" on perpetrators of political violence in
the approach to this month's run-off election.

As a leading rights group warned mounting violence had extinguished
chances of a free and fair ballot, the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change said a vow by authorities to deny bail to anyone suspected of
committing or inciting unrest would be used to further hamper their election

Announcing the plan to systematically refuse bail to anyone suspected
of political violence, deputy attorney general Johannes Tomana told the
state-run Herald newspaper that "Zimbabweans are entitled to security of
their lives and property".

"It does not matter who commits the offence. We are doing this without
fear or favour. We will be tough with them now."

However the MDC chief spokesperson ridiculed the idea that the new
directive would be applied even-handedly.

While President Robert Mugabe blames the opposition for an increase in
violence ahead of the June 27 poll, the UN's chief representative in
Zimbabwe has said the president's supporters are to blame for the bulk of it
and the only people known to have been arrested on violence charges are MDC

"The law is not applied evenly and not even one Zanu-PF will be locked
up," Chamisa said in reference to Mugabe's ruling party.

"It's clear that this measure is meant to target key MDC members and
activists and keep them behind bars as a way of hampering the MDC campaign."

The opposition claims that Mugabe supporters are behind the violence
was endorsed by a new report from the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

In its report, HRW documented allegations that Mugabe supporters -
including in the army and police force - were killing, abducting and
torturing opposition members with impunity.

"Since the run-off was announced the violence in Zimbabwe has gotten
even worse," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

"Zimbabweans can't vote freely if they fear their vote may get them

The report comes a day after an association of Zimbabwean doctors said
they had treated nearly 3 000 victims of political violence since the first
round of voting on March 29.

Many MDC supporters who have been injured in the violence have taken
shelter at the party's headquarters in Harare.

Speaking after meeting some of the victims on Monday morning, MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he was "deeply shocked" by their plight.

"I can assure you that the people we have met across the country in
the past few days are determined to end this suffering on the 27th of June.
Let us be strong and finish it," he added, according to an MDC statement.

Tsvangirai, who is looking to end Mugabe's 28-year rule on June 27,
has himself been beaten in the past by members of the security services
while trying to protest against the government.

He election campaign has run into major obstacles and was twice
detained by police. Authorities have also banned a series of MDC rallies
although a court did rule against the bans at the weekend. - Sapa-AFP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Anti Mugabe sermon sees clergyman abducted

Chipinge East.

Reverend Mhlanga, the outspoken and well-known Mt Selinda mission chaplain
was abducted on Monday night following his powerful sermon on the injustice,
corruption, misgovernance and the illegitimacy of the Mugabe regime from
1980 to date. This sermon was received well by the teachers and students who
were in heavy attendance, nonetheless a war veteran who also works at the
mission reported the matter to a ZANU PF base located about 3km away from
the school leading to the invasion of the mission and the subsequent
abduction of Rev Mhlanga by the ZANU PF militia.

This drew the wrath of students, culminating to a counter raid the following
day at 7pm, students whose majority constituted the upper six visited the
base armed with stones, smelling death the militia temporarily abandoned the
base, not to be outdone they regrouped, organized themselves and raided the
mission again armed with matchets, spears, knobkerries and riffles. This
brutal attack saw 20 students being injured and by the time of going to
print 17 of them were hospitalized at the mission hospital. The number of
those who fled from the school has not yet been verified. Three teachers
were also brutalized in the scuffle, on allegations that they incited
students. In a separate incident soldiers in military regalia today force
marched students into a lecture theatre and addressed them to the effect
that if they do not vote ZANU PF in the presidential runoff this country
will be rocked by a war. With the blessings of the governor and resident
minister an unidentified uniformed general who spoke just after Chiwewe,
promised blood and thunder in the event of an MDC victory. He described MDC
as conduit for regime change agenda and unequivocally stated that it is only
Cde Mugabe who has the capacity to defend this nation from being put under
the impending British domination.

Youth Forum views this as a continuation of state sanctioned violence meant
to cow the electorate into intimidation ahead of the June 26 presidential
runoff by ZANU PF .We salute the brave Chaplain, teachers and students at Mt
Selinda for standing up against all odds for what is good. Democracy will
obviously prevail regardless of the evil efforts by the regime to suppress
it, history buttresses this well. We also fully welcome the intervention of
high school students in this fight for the democratization of this country,
they have proved that it is their country too despite their usual exclusion
from issues of national importance and as Youth Forum we urge all
pro-democratic organizations to consider involving these youths of school
going age in their programmes.

We also condemn the illegal and unnecessary harassment of UK and USA
diplomats at the hands of the state which occurred on Wednesday, the same
day when Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe and Lovemore Moyo,
the MDC national chairman were arrested and released without a charge. This
shows that ZANU PF is determined to do anything, which facilitates its
illegitimate stay in power, no matter how unethical, immoral, and
illegitimate it maybe. We demand that ZANU PF bases be disbanded for we are
not in a war situation. If ever there is going to be a government of
national unity as suggested in some media circles it must reflect the will
of the people as highlighted by the March 29 harmonised election. Talks for
such a critical national issue must not be restricted to few politicians as
what happened in the so called 1987 unity accord. A government of national
unity at such a time in Zimbabwe will be a bad precedent and a grave
negation of the will of the people as unequivocally stated on the 29th of
March. The opposition, and indeed all Zimbabweans should draw a lesson from
the Unity Accord of 1987 which premised the vanquishing of PF ZAPU and that
is something we know very well will not undo the crisis in Zimbabwe.

A government of national unity will surely perpetuate ZANU PF and continue
with the culture of impunity to perpetrators of human rights violations as
is evidenced in the post-colonial rule of ZANU PF. Sustainable peace and
development can never come out of a government of national unity without
bringing to book all the human rights violators to book.

Contact: +263 913 014 693, +263 913 022 368

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Violence and intimidation Intensifies in Mbare

The suburb is under siege. For the past week since Monday 2 June, ZANU PF
has been terrorizing residents of Mbare. At Mbare 3 district offices,
located just next to businesses operating at Mbare Musika, hundreds of
people were seen being interrogated, beaten and tortured. Youths in
particular were subsequently forced to participate in night toyi-toyi
marches along Mbare Streets. Our investigations have established that three
notable individuals are involved. They are all losing ZANU PF candidates in
the March 29 Local Government and parliamentary Elections, namely Jim
Kunaka, losing Ward 11 council candidate, Onismo Gore, and Edward Chataika,
both loosing House of Assembly candidates in Mbare constituencies. Chataika
is a ZANU PF Central Committee Member.

The Mbare Residents' Trust has no problem with activists mobilizing for
their party support, but we are concerned when some unruly elements within
the political establishment take advantage of peoples' freedoms to invade
peoples' homes, ransack their houses, beat them up and render them
powerless. Due to the increased incidents of coercion, we fear that cases of
sexual harassment and unwanted pregnancies will ensue, raising the spectre
of increased HIV/AIDS infection. Elections will pass but the dreaded virus
will be permanent in the victims, whether ZANU PF or the MDC wins the

Women vendors who operate in the Mbare Retail Market were on Thursday and
Friday 9 June forced to spend the whole day at Mai Musodzi Hall for
re-orientation meeting at which they were lectured on how Zimbabwe attained
its independence and what will happen to them if they betray ZANU PF in the
run-off. These meetings are held without police clearance. The police have
not stopped the night vigils, thereby increase the insecurity of residents.

Mr Chataika has allegedly hired people from out of Mbare, promising them
food and shelter at his house along Ardbernnie road, which has been turned
into a militia base. It is from Chataika's home that the militia launches
its night raids on citizens walking about the streets, relaxing in beer
halls and whiling up time at the shops. They have also been accused of
looting vendors' cash and items on sale in the guise of fighting the black
market. They have a long list of perceived government opponents who they
visit in their homes, demanding that they attend meetings and participate in
toyi-toyi marches at night until the presidential Run-off is held.  Patrons
at a local council bar, Chiweshe bar also known as Marengenya were on
Thursday night harassed, interrogated and some had their beer poured on
their heads.  Citizens have continued to report night beatings and

Residents are appealing to the police to intervene and maintain the peaceful
co-existence of people ahead of the presidential run-off. The trust is
appealing to the residents of Mbare to remain calm and desist from acts of

Mbare Residents' Trust is on

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Amnesty International Accuses Government of Using Food for Political Gain

Amnesty International

9 June 2008
Posted to the web 9 June 2008

Amnesty International today called on the government of Zimbabwe to
immediately lift its ban on field operations by non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), and accused the government of using food for political

"The suspension of field operations by all NGOs on the order of the
Zimbabwean government is likely to increase food insecurity in Zimbabwe and
expose millions of people to hunger," said Amnesty International.

"The suspension of NGO operations is yet another attempt by the government
to manipulate food distribution for political ends," said Amnesty

"Suspension of humanitarian operations by NGOs ensures that the government
has a monopoly over food distribution through the state-controlled Grain
Marketing Board (GMB) during the pre-election period."

Since 2000, Amnesty International has documented how GMB food has been used
as a political tool against perceived government opponents.

Amnesty International said that the restrictions will not only have a
detrimental effect on food security in Zimbabwe, but also serve as a means
for the government to prevent aid workers from witnessing the sharply
increased levels of state-sponsored political violence taking place in the
country since presidential and parliamentary elections were held on 29

"By closing off the space for NGOs in Zimbabwe, the government is attempting
to hide the worst of the human rights violations taking place in the
country," said Amnesty International.

"The Zimbabwean authorities must ensure that food is distributed to all on
the basis of need -- irrespective of real or perceived political

"Humanitarian organisations and other NGOs should be allowed go about their
legitimate work without interference. By deliberately blocking
life-sustaining aid, the government of Zimbabwe may be violating the right
of its citizens to life, food, and health."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Famine Warning Network Says Zimbabwe's Food Crisis Worsening


By Peta Thornycroft
09 June 2008

Zimbabwe's current food crisis is the worst since government records began
and is expected to worsen as summer crops will feed no more than 28 percent
of the population according to an alert just issued by the Famine Early
Warning Systems Network, FEWSNET. Peta Thornycroft reports from Harare that
Zimbabwe will now have to import a massive amount of food, particularly
since it has ordered non-governmental organizations to stop distributing
emergency food aid.

Fewsnet provides detailed information about food security in Zimbabwe and
many other African countries. The U.S.-funded agency says Zimbabwe's 2008
cereal crops were the worst since records began even though the country's
farmers plant more acres.

Fewsnet says that exceptionally heavy rain, then a long dry spell, as well
as the government's failure to make esssential farming resources available,
all contributed to record low yields.

It says in its report that humanitarian agencies will have to play an
increased role until next summer's harvest which begins in April of 2009.

Fewsnet predicted there would be political interference in food

On Thursday the government instructed international food agencies to
withdraw from field work.

Zimbabwe's "Lawyers for Human Rights" says it has studied the letter written
to the non governmental sector, and says reasons provided by welfare
minister Nicholas Goche, have no basis in law. Goche charged the
non-governmental sector had promoted the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change ahead of the March 29 elections.

Nevertheless, the aid agencies, which have denied Goche's allegations, have
chosen not to challenge his instructions. Many of them are withdrawing
personnel and infrastructure from their field posts.

People working in aid agencies in Zimbabwe believe they have been closed
down for two reasons. The first they say, is because they are witnesses to
what goes on in the rural areas. The second is that they believe that
President Robert Mugabe's government will soon begin food distribution ahead
of the second round of the presidential election on June 27.

The runoff election became necessary because, although opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai beat President Robert Mugabe, he did not win more than 50
percent of votes cast.

The United Nations in Zimbabwe estimates that an average of about four
million people will be affected by the government ban on aid agency work.
Among them will be 185,000 children and tens of thousands of people
receiving anti retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS who need constant monitoring
according to the Zimbabwe AIDS Council.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Commissioner Louis Michel calls for immediate lifting of ban on humanitarian actions in Zimbabwe

Press Release

Reference:  IP/08/902    Date:  06/06/2008


Brussels, 6 June 2008

Commissioner Louis Michel calls for immediate lifting of ban on
humanitarian actions in Zimbabwe
European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis
Michel, is deeply concerned by the ban imposed by the Zimbabwean authorities
on the international humanitarian relief effort in the country.
Commissioner Michel stated, "This ban must be lifted right away. I am
deeply distressed to think that hundreds of thousands of people who depend
on aid from the European Commission and others for their very survival now
face an even more uncertain future. It is essential that relief workers be
given unrestricted and secure access so they can provide assistance to the
most vulnerable."

Commissioner Michel stressed the neutrality of humanitarian relief
efforts saying, "It is essential to remember that all humanitarian relief
efforts are based upon the principles of independence, neutrality and
impartiality. Further clarification from the Zimbabwean authorities is
needed on the claims of inappropriate actions by certain relief
organisations so that humanitarian operations can be restored in full
without further delay."

The European Commission believes that an outright ban on its
humanitarian funded activities will have serious consequences on the lives
of those who need it most. The ban means that Non-Governmental Organisations
and other international relief agencies, many of whom operate with European
Commission funding, are no longer allowed to provide basic humanitarian care
to many of the poorest people including children.

The European Commission remains the most important donor in Zimbabwe.
In 2007 it provided 90.9 Million euros in humanitarian aid and other
assistance oriented towards helping vulnerable people directly. Current EU
support focuses mainly on: emergency aid; basic health; food aid/food
security; water and sanitation, and basic education. It also supports
community development, good governance and human rights. Key partners
include United Nations agencies, and non-governmental organisations (both
national and international).

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition fears crackdown, calls for election observers

Monsters and Critics

Jun 9, 2008, 15:35 GMT

Stockholm - Members of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) said Monday they feared further violence by President Robert Mugabe's
government ahead of the presidential run- off.

'It is quite clear to us that Robert Mugabe is prepared to do literally
anything to secure victory,' David Coltart, an MDC parliamentarian, told
Swedish radio news.

Coltart and other officials of his party attended a seminar Monday in the
Swedish parliament to discuss recent developments in Zimbabwe.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces Mugabe, 84, in a decisive run- off June

Coltart said that during the last six weeks the Mugabe government had
launched a 'massive country-wide campaign of torture and intimidation,'
claiming 43 MDC members had been murdered and others had been tortured.

'If election observers are deployed we may see a reduction in the level of
violence,' he said, adding that if international observers are not 'quickly
deployed' there was 'no doubt that this violence will continue and may even

In neighbouring Norway, aid organization CARE Norway said the recent
decision by Harare to stop Care International from distributing aid posed a
threat to the poorest and most vulnerable groups in the southern African

'We can only hope that the history of Norway and other Scandinavian
countries as donors will lead to a softer response from Zimbabwe,' Marte
Gerhardsen, secretary general of CARE Norway, told news agency NTB.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Closing all the doors

Mugabe is closing all the exit doors that lead from the dramatic
confrontation that lies ahead of him on the 27th June 2008. He has now
destroyed whatever remaining international reputation that he once
had, is deeply embarrassing to all his erstwhile admirers in Africa itself and
while he remains under the partial protection of Thabo Mbeki, this is
a tattered umbrella at best.
As in 2002 when he was facing defeat in the presidential election that
year, he is throwing caution to the wind and in the process sealing
his fate. In 2002 he lost his credibility as a democratic leader and was
stripped of his status as a political leader. In 2008 he will lose
much more - his right to lead this country, his freedom perhaps and finally
his remaining dignity and standing. He will go down in history not as the
man who brought freedom to Zimbabwe but as the man who destroyed the
country's economy and tried to hold onto power by starving his people into
submission. His actions this week have simply been outrageous and the global
outcry has been not only universally hostile but also informed. If he does
not know it now he will never know the truth that in the 21st century, it
is just not possible to maintain a closed society. Communications are
swift and merciless - you simply can no longer hide the kind of crimes he is
committing, or expect to get away with them.
Like Pharaoh in the Old Testament, Mugabe has worked his way through
the plagues - each one more severe, now he has allowed the people of
Israel to flee bondage for the safely and refuge of the desert but at the last
moment has sent his army after the fleeing slaves in a desperate last
ditch attempt to hold them in bondage. The people of Israel find
themselves up against the Red Sea with the army of Pharaoh approaching
in a cloud of dust. I suspect that we are about to see the hand of God
and I fear for Mugabe and his henchmen.
I am in Johannesburg - you will recall that I had what was diagnosed
as a minor stroke at Christmas. In fact as a result of further tests it was
found that I have a restriction in the Basilar artery in my brain.
After waiting months for the equipment to arrive for the procedure to insert
a stent in the artery, I came down to Unitas Hospital on Sunday for the
procedure. As we approached the border a friend in Harare called and
told us that there was a warrant of arrest out against me in Harare.
Nervous, we cleared the border without incident and came on to Pretoria.
The procedure was carried out on Thursday and it was a marvel to be
involved. My entire team of specialists were Christians, the hospital
superb and the standard of medicine outstanding. I was awake for the
whole time and watched the monitors that showed what they were doing. It was
very delicate and as the Professor of Neurology who was looking after
me said, "we are in Tiger country".
When they got into the area they found another obstruction lower down
and decided that this had to be dealt with before the Basilar. They did
this and the procedure was a 100 percent success. Then they tried to go on
to the Basilar - deeper in the actual brain and after two and a half
hours the stress on my heart showed and they aborted the procedure.
So now I am recovering and cleaning up my kidneys after all the
poisons they used to highlight the artery system and they intend to go back in
with new equipment in two weeks time to "do" the Basilar. The effect
of the first stent is already quite apparent - the symptoms I have
struggled with over the past 5 months have all but gone and the blood supply to
the brain stem is much improved.
I learned a great deal about the management of medicine from my few
days in the hospital - the largest private hospital in Africa. The manager
was a young woman with a degree in commerce and management and she managed
a staff of 1000 with many specialists and doctors. It had all the most
modern equipment and was spotless. The nursing staff was caring and
How do we bring this standard of medicine to all our people I mused?
Is it possible? I could see that the hospital was a business, a big business
and well run for that. My treatment was expensive but life saving and many
have helped make it possible. Perhaps that is the key to our dilemma -
working together to make it happen. Certainly it is not possible
whilst we have Robert Mugabe in place; he will have to go before we can move on.
Yesterday I watched Hilary Clinton quit the race for the nomination of
the Democratic Party for the November elections in the USA. A passionate
and professional performance. I have supported Obama since he started to
run for the nomination and I think he will beat McCain in the elections.
What a great leap forward for mankind that will be - a man of colour in the
White House. At last we can go beyond a man's skin when we deal with
him in real life. All my life the colour of one's skin has determined who
you are, where you can go and what you can do. Belonging to the MDC has
been one of the singular privileges of my life, freeing me from the
shackles of racism and prejudice and allowing me to see people just as they are.
Now for the Red Sea experience! I am sure that we are going to see a
huge wave of support for Morgan Tsvangirai. I am sure also that our
erstwhile critics will have no choice but to acknowledge that we have won and
won decisively. The next question is who will ensure that he is able to
take up his rightful place as Head of State. For me this is the real issue,
it will mark the point at which the sea rushes back to claim the ground
it has been denied all these years, in the process drowning a tyranny
that has survived too long.
Eddie Cross
Pretoria, 8th June 2008

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Has Zimbabwe undergone a de facto military coup?

Thought Leader, SA

Michael Trapido

The Times of London is reporting that Zimbabwe has to all intents and
purposes undergone a military coup. The paper alleges that since Mugabe lost
the first round the country has been overtaken by a military coup by

According to a report being released by Human Rights watch, a junta composed
of the military, police and intelligence are in control and have committed
atrocities far in excess of anything witnessed in Zimbabwe before.

Seems like the country has dug up a version of "die ou krokodil" in
spymaster Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is known locally as "the crocodile". His
job is to sow terror among MDC voters while - I shit you not - they're
hitting the airwaves with hip-hop to lift the spirits of the Zanu-PF

Apparently they're flighting radio and television Zanu-PF adverts using the
late rap star Tupac Shakur - which makes sense on account of MDC voters
needing two packs of Camels a day just to get through Tupac and the

Have you ever read Tupac's lyrics? Let's just say he won't be joining the
list of Nobel Peace Prize winners anytime soon. Each song seems to be more
violent than the next, which appears to be right in keeping with the Zanu-PF

In the last week the death toll among MDC supporters has risen, along with
beatings, rallies being cancelled and, of course, the two arrests of leader
Morgan Tsvangirai. All the while almost nothing has been heard from South
Africa. Apparently, dumb's (sic) the word when it comes to Zimbabwe. Many of
you will however be relieved to learn that while Zimbabwe is imploding our
deputy foreign minister is in Malawi strengthening ties.

What better way to ensure that our region goes from strength to strength
than by visiting Malawi while Zimbabwe is going up the creek without a
paddle? If the deputy minister has regard to the fact that that conflict is
manifesting itself with local xenophobia, that should put him up and around
Cairo next week.

Yesterday we were treated to Keneth Kaunda (the ex-Zambian PM) telling us
that Mugabe should stay on as president while Tsvangirai becomes prime
minister. It's the worst of all worlds. With no substantial international
investment the economy continues to melt down on the back of the new local
shareholding ideas of Mugabe. Meanwhile, the Crocodile is primed to take
over the destruction of the country and South Africa's exile population goes
over the four million mark.

What odds we have the first trillion dollar banknote by next weekend?

The Sunday Times submitted yesterday that the game plan was for Mugabe to
win the presidential run-off and then hand over to the Crocodile. If this
happens the whole country will sees its backside. Alle gat or . not? Perhaps
it's an Allegator.

Maybe it won't be so bad after all. Perhaps the old man is mellowing, what
with a lovely trip to Italy while the aid agencies have been told to stop
feeding the starving Zimbabweans. Only a few million people are at risk of
real starvation. What's that compared to Grace getting a lovely new outfit
in Rome?

So while we are witnessing a total onslaught, confirmation that, even if
Tsvangirai wins, the Zanu-PF have no intention of honouring the results, and
there is murder, intimidation and the refusal to allow monitors or
peacekeepers from credible sources, Zimbabwe seems to be on track for the

Could be worse I suppose. Mugabe could threaten to nuke the country if
Tsvangirai wins.

Other than that they've just hit rock bottom and started to dig.

 This entry was posted on Sunday, June 8th, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Thick as thieves

There's been no 'coup' in Zimbabwe. The relationship between Mugabe and the
generals is one of mutual dependence

Wilf Mbanga,
Monday June 9 2008

Robert Mugabe and his generals are fighting together in a deadly battle for
survival that has seen thousands of Zimbabweans brutally beaten and maimed
since Zanu-PF lost the March 29 general and presidential elections.

The idea that the military has usurped Mugabe's powers and are running
Zimbabwe in his stead is erroneous. True, the country is being run by a
military junta - but Mugabe is firmly in place as its head. This is a
symbiotic relationship - with both sides giving and receiving in equal

Mugabe's generals have no standing in Africa, and they know it. They have no
standing in the world. They are shadowy figures - many Zimbabweans don't
even know who they are. The regional body, SADC, has said it will not
countenance any coups among its members. The generals know that if they come
out openly and declare a coup they will lose the political backing of SADC
and the African Union.

But they don't need to declare a coup. Mugabe has willingly handed over the
country to them. He is so comfortable with them that he left the country for
more than a week to attend the FAO conference in Rome, during the crucial
run-up period to the June 27 presidential election. He is not even bothering
to campaign - the generals are doing that for him.

Robert Mugabe is a well-known brand and it therefore makes sense for the
generals to keep him as their figurehead. He knows he has lost popular
support and needs them to stay in power. He has been the source of their
fabulous, ill-gotten wealth and they need him in order to maintain it.

The head of the joint operations command - in effect the junta - Emmerson
Mnangagwa, has been Mugabe's right-hand man, personal assistant, trusted
confidant and hit man since way back in the 1970s when they were in
Mozambique together during the struggle for independence.

He has been at Mugabe's side ever since - for many years minister in charge
of the loathed central intelligence organisation.

Even more significantly he has been the treasurer of Zanu-PF for more than
30 years. He is wealthy beyond imagination and feared by everyone, including
his closest colleagues.

Over the years he and Mugabe have gathered around them a clique of
like-minded military men. They have all shared in the spoils of power. They
own businesses, farms, mines. They grew even more fabulously wealthy during
the DRC military campaign. They have a lot to lose.

Their heartless brutality is in line with the worst tradition of African
dictators. The killing fields of Gukurahundi, the senseless destruction of
Murambatsvina and the diabolical beatings, burnings and maimings of the past
few weeks all bear their personal stamp.

Mnangagwa and air force commander Perence Shiri presided over the mass
killings of the then opposition Zapu activists in Matabeleland in the early

Make no mistake about it, Mugabe and his generals are working hand in glove.
It is a macabre marriage of convenience.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Coup will worsen Zimbabwe's crisis

The Australian

June 10, 2008

The world must tell Mugabe and his cronies to go to hell

A SHADOWY junta hell-bent on going ahead with a sham exercise in democracy
as a humanitarian disaster threatens thousands of lives. Aid agencies banned
from delivering relief. Opposition leaders arrested and intimidated as their
supporters die at the hands of security forces. Regional governments turning
a blind eye despite the displacement of millions of refugees. Reports of
torture and other flagrant human rights abuses. No, it's not Burma pressing
ahead with a rigged constitutional referendum days after Cyclone Nargis
struck. It is Zimbabwe, where the country's generals have mounted a
"military coup by stealth", designed to keep the Movement for Democratic
Change and its brave leader, Morgan Tsvangerai, from power whatever the
outcome of the June 27 run-off election.
Though there are no tanks in the streets, the coup sets new standards in the
21st century for the extremes to which a ruling clique will go to hang on to
power. According to Human Rights Watch, Zimbabwe is effectively under the
control of a Joint Operations Command made up of military and police
generals, senior intelligence officers and leaders of the ruling ZANU-PF
party. The JOC is led by one of Mugabe's closest allies, Emmerson Mnangagwa,
a former spymaster who oversaw the slaughter of 20,000 members of the
Ndebele tribe in the early 1980s. Well-armed local militias, made up of
ZANU-PF's youth wing and war veterans, operate with impunity. At least 65
people have been killed by ZANU-PF supporters since March and the toll is
bound to rise as polling day approaches. When British and American diplomats
tried to investigate the violence last week, they were attacked by
pro-regime thugs. According to an HRW report, the army and police have set
up torture camps and re-education meetings where voters are being terrorised
into voting for Mugabe. The coup has seen aid distribution taken over by the
military - a development that coincided with a warning from the US-based
Famine Early Warning Systems Network that thousands could die because of the
failure of this year's maize crop. The crop failure has been exacerbated by
the confiscation of maize as the Government prepares to use food as a weapon
to buy the votes of impoverished farmers.

The motives of those behind the coup have nothing to do with the welfare of
their people and everything to do with ensuring their own survival. Afraid
that if Mugabe were to stand down they would be exposed to persecution, they
have retained the 84-year-old dictator as a figure head and seized control
of all the levers of state necessary to ensure the desired outcome of an
unnecessary run-off election. Aside from being a massive setback for
democracy, this can only prolong the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe,
millions of whom have voted with their feet rather than put up with record
inflation, 80 per cent unemployment and food shortages, and who now languish
in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

Despite last month's riots against Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa,
President Thabo Mbeki has maintained a steady silence, blinded by his
loyalty to a fellow liberation leader. Among African leaders only Kenya's
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has had the guts to describe Mugabe as a
dictator. The 14-nation Southern African Development Community is terrified
to name, let alone blame, Mugabe for the disaster he has created. China, one
of Zimbabwe's main trading partners and arms suppliers, refused to use its
clout to condemn its ally when the UN Security Council met to discuss the
crisis at the end of April. Unfortunately, the response from the West has
been almost as mute. The fact that Mugabe and his entourage travelled to
Rome last week to feast at the World Food summit makes a mockery of existing
sanctions. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon must not mince words when
reminding Mugabe of the consequences of stealing this election.

The choice is not between armed intervention, which will never happen, or
letting things drift. Countries such as South Africa, China, Britain and the
US have more weapons of diplomacy in their armoury than they have used to
date. A categorical denunciation of the situation in Zimbabwe by Mr Mbeki
and other African leaders, backed up by tighter travel restrictions and the
freezing of foreign assets held by regime members, would at least reassure
Zimbabweans opposed to Mugabe that they are not alone. By mounting this
"coup by stealth", the regime has effectively declared war on its people.
Mugabe loves to tell the world: "Go to hell." It's time world leaders said
the same to him.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF using President Tsvangirai's BMW X5

The Zimbabwean

Monday, 09 June 2008 14:50
ZANU PF in Matebeland have started using President Tsvangirai's
armored BMW X5 for campaign purposes. The BMW X5 which is part of President
Tsvangirai Presidential security motorcade was impounded by police and
members of the Central intelligence Organisation on the 6th of June 2008,
when President Tsvangirai and other national leaders of the MDC were
detained at Esigodini police station.
Presidential spokesman, George Sibotshiwe said that this was yet
another shameless indication of ZANU PF's total disregard for the rule of
law and acceptable electoral procedures.
"Over the past eight weeks ZANU PF has unleashed a nationwide campaign
of violence, intimidation and displacement in order to subvert the will of
the people and steal the upcoming Presidential election", said Mr
The MDC believes that this behaviour by ZANU PF is yet another
indication that Zimbabwe, under this regime, has descended into unparalleled
levels of lawlessness. ZANU PF has completely lost rationality and have no
recollection of what it means to live and behave in a civilised manner.
For more information please call MDC on South Africa 083 527 4650 or
076 633 0314  or Zimbabwe 0912 940 489

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's campaign of violence escalates

Christian Science Monitor

The international community seeks to influence the Mugabe government as Army
leaders orchestrate political attacks.
By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
and And a contributor
from the June 10, 2008 edition

Reporter Scott Baldauf talks about attacks not only on Zimbabwean opposition
party members, but foreign diplomats in recent days.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa; and HARARE, Zimbabwe - The options for resolving
Zimbabwe's crisis are dwindling as political violence rises ahead of the
June 27 presidential elections.

International analysts now have little faith in the credibility of the
vote - or their ability to improve the process. They suggest that any
resolution is likely to come through mediation.

Zimbabwean authorities detained and harassed US and British diplomats last
week while they were on a fact-finding mission over political violence.

Normally, harassment of diplomats is the sort of thing that brings on
sanctions and sternly worded statements in the United Nations. But for
Zimbabwe - which has rolled out a series of strong-armed measures against
opposition party activists, international aid agencies, and tens of
thousands of its own people - harassment is now commonplace.

On June 9, a call for African leaders to intervene was issued by Human
Rights Watch (HRW) in London. The 14-nation Southern African Development
Community appointed South African President Thabo Mbeki to mediate between
President Robert Mugabe and the opposition, but those efforts have "not
borne any fruit," HRW researcher Tiseke Kasambala told the Associated Press.

A new HRW report says it has documented 36 deaths and more than 2,000
injuries at the hands of party militants backed by the police and army.
Opposition party officials say more than 65 of their supporters have been

Mr. Mugabe is unlikely to respond to outside pressure, say analysts,
particularly when it comes from the US and Britain.

"Mr. Mugabe, in my view, is pretty impenetrable, and his henchmen are simply
impervious to this sort of pressure," says Tom Wheeler, a research fellow at
the South African Institute for International Affairs in Johannesburg.
"Zimbabwe today is rather like apartheid South Africa, actually," Mr.
Wheeler adds. "Apartheid South Africa would invade small neighboring
countries, they would bomb ANC headquarters in Lusaka, and they didn't care
about international consequences."

Critics of the Mugabe regime say that the president and his inner circle -
particularly those in the military and intelligence agencies - are pulling
out all stops to make sure that opposition supporters are too intimidated to
show up to vote on June 27. Morgan Tsvangirai, the trade unionist and leader
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), defeated Mugabe during the
first-round election on March 29, but not by a sufficient margin to avoid a

In the past week, Mr. Tsvangirai was detained on two separate occasions, in
both instances on his way to speak at an MDC rally. On Wednesday, Tsvangirai
says he was arrested and detained by security agents for nine hours and that
his driver was beaten by police at a police station in the town of Lupane.

Police deny they arrested Tsvangirai, saying they merely stopped his convoy
on Wednesday because one of his vehicles did not have proper registration.

The political violence comes at a time when the country is heading rapidly
toward economic collapse, with falling food production and an estimated
600,000 percent inflation. A loaf of bread currently costs 1 billion
Zimbabwe dollars (or about US$5), and salaries have not kept pace.
Heightening concern is the decision last week by Zimbabwe to ban aid
agencies such as CARE and Oxfam, which distribute food to the country's most
vulnerable communities.

"We are deeply concerned at this development," said Charles Abani, Oxfam's
director in Southern Africa, in a statement. "A lot of people are completely
reliant on food aid to keep them alive."

Authoritative sources in the military and ZANU-PF say that the national Army
is behind Mugabe's brutal campaign because the octogenarian could not trust
his inner circle to spearhead it. Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the
country's independence from Britain in 1980, is also the commander in chief
of the armed forces.

"It was noted at a JOC (Joint Operation Command) meeting soon after the
March election that without using force, Mugabe cannot win an election," a
senior official of the ruling ZANU-PF party told the Monitor in Harare.
"This is why the party has employed soldiers, war veterans, and youth

He says that the ZANU-PF strategy is to displace all MDC activists and
supporters from the rural areas and instill fear into the hearts of those in
town so that they do not vote. "You will see on the [election] day that all
polling stations in rural areas will be manned only by people loyal to
ZANU-PF because no MDC supporter will dare going there."

Reminded that there will be an outcry from local and international
observers, he said, "Even if they [observers] come, there won't be any
difference now because the damage has already been done. People are afraid
to go to the rural areas."

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure says
that it is now impossible to hold free and fair elections, because Zimbabwe
has been turned into "a murder zone." He describes Mugabe's strategy as a
"comprehensive onslaught" on all dissenting voices "to produce one outcome,
a predetermined outcome which is a victory for ZANU-PF and its candidate
Robert Mugabe."

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa dismisses widespread rumors that the MDC and
ZANU-PF were in high-level talks aimed at a power-sharing government
including both sides. "Talking is best demonstrated by behavior on the
ground," says Mr. Chamisa. "There are no talks going on and I want to bury
that speculation.... How can we talk when our people are being killed?"

Masunungure concurred: "I don't see them talking under the present political
environment. If they are talking, it's exploratory rather than substantive."

. A reporter who could not be named for security reasons contributed to this
story from Harare.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War Veterans Threaten War

The Monitor (Kampala)

8 June 2008
Posted to the web 9 June 2008

Kitsepile Nyathi

Veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war say they want the June 27
presidential run-off election called off until a new constitution is put in
place and sanctions by the West lifted.

The former fighters, accused by the Opposition of spearheading the political
violence that has claimed 65 of its supporters and displaced thousands,
threatened war if their demands were not met.

President Robert Mugabe will be hoping to bounce back from a shock defeat by
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the first
round two months ago in a poll already tainted by violence blamed on his
militant supporters.

The shadowy group of war veterans calling themselves the Revolutionary
Council was launched in Harare this week, with Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace,
nominated as its patron.

"As the Revolutionary Council, we hereby demand that the whole electoral
process be set aside and the old parliament be reconstituted with President
Robert Gabriel Mugabe remaining the head of state and, therefore, no run-off
that is being talked about for June 27, 2008," its chairperson, Chris
Pasipamire said.

He said the group was ready to take up arms and defend "the revolution, land
and its resources if Mr Mugabe loses the election" to Mr Tsvangirai.

Although the First Lady was not available for comment, she has declared that
Mr Tsvangirai will never lead Zimbabwe.

In the run-up to the March elections, army generals, most of whom are also
war veterans, warned that they would stage a coup if Mr Tsvangirai won the

They accuse the opposition leader of being a puppet of the West and claim
that he has been pushing for economic sanctions against the country.

"Currently, the Zimbabwean masses are hungry due to sanctions imposed by the
West to effect a régime change so we cannot hold fair elections," Mr
Pasipamire said. "Our priority is to mobilise all the meagre resources and
bring food to the masses."

Mr Mugabe has also blamed his first round defeat on the sanctions and
accuses Western countries of trying to topple him.

In 2000, the former fighters led a violent invasion of white-owned
commercial farms. The attacks led to the near-total collapse of the
agricultural sector, which has seen Zimbabwe turn from being an exporter of
food to a net importer.

An estimated four million people, which represents more than a third of the
population, also face starvation.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Shame on the UN

Dear Lord Tebitt

Having read your comments on the current state of the UN and more
specifically the current illegal president of Zimbabwe, I can only commend
your opinions and hope that the view taken by yourself is the view we as
Zimbabweans expect our fellow nations to adopt.

It is, as you correctly point out, a pathetic situation when an organisation
which was formed for the very reason citizens in Zimbabwe are
experiencing(megalomania) cannot address the issues that have for the last
10 years haunted this country .

Not only is it pathetic, but the UN is proving to uphold and support illegal
governments as each day passes, the UN in its entirety is now " the clown at
the circus " and being a citizen of Zimbabwe, thanks to this dreadful
organisation, is a crime in the eyes of our current illegal government as
were being a German Jew a crime in the eyes of Hitler!

I have no doubt that in the peak planning negotiations the Americans and
their allies were attempting post 9/11, the utter disappointment that
endured as the UN danced with the foe at the expense of many innocent
victims, and as you have correctly pointed out again ,it is beyond time now
for the West to boycott this organisation called the United Nations and
freeze any further financial support , until a strong and balanced presence
of "blue helmets " are on the ground in Zimbabwe and other countries
suffering the same dilemma , to give the battered citizens of these
countries a small ray of hope towards normality .

Many citizens of Zimbabwe do not want to be associated with the disgusting
politics that have now earned an illegal president celebrity status with the
UN , many citizens have endured this 'Disney land economics ' for over 10
years, and many citizens do not want to even vote , all they want is the
right to live peacefully in their country of birth and not be judged by
anyone , be it political parties , generals ,policemen, activists , media
and all the other ingredients that make this 'merry go round ' a recipe for
genocide .

In assessing your comments Lord Tebbit, I believe you have understood our
situation perfectly, and maybe one day the civilised world will be brought
to bear the consequences on which the very organisation 'UN' was founded.

Sincerely disappointed,
Zimbabwean Citizen

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Lion Who Didn't Roar


Why hasn't Nelson Mandela spoken out against Robert Mugabe?
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, June 9, 2008, at 12:27 PM ET
The scale of state-sponsored crime and terror in Zimbabwe has now escalated
to the point where we are compelled to watch not just the systematic
demolition of democracy and human rights in that country but something not
very far removed from slow-motion mass murder a la Burma. The order from the
Mugabe regime that closes down all international aid groups and humanitarian
nongovernmental organizations is significant in two ways. It expresses the
ambition for total control by the state, and it represents a direct
threat-"vote for us or starve"-to the already desperate civilian population.
The organization CARE, for example, which reaches half a million
impoverished Zimbabweans, has been ordered to suspend operations. And here's
a little paragraph, almost buried in a larger report of more comprehensive
atrocities but somehow speaking volumes:

  The United Nations Children's Fund said Monday that 10,000 children had
been displaced by the violence, scores had been beaten and some schools had
been taken over by pro-government forces and turned into centers of torture.

While this politicization of the food situation in "his" country was being
completed, President Robert Mugabe benefited from two things: the indulgence
of the government of South Africa and the lenience of the authorities in
Rome, who allowed him to attend a U.N. conference on the world food
crisis-of all things-despite a five-year-old ban on his travel to any member
of the European Union. This, in turn, seems to me to implicate two of the
supposed sources of moral authority on the planet: Nelson Mandela and the

By his silence about what is happening in Zimbabwe, Mandela is making
himself complicit in the pillage and murder of an entire nation, as well as
the strangulation of an important African democracy. I recently had the
chance to speak to George Bizos, the heroic South African attorney who was
Mandela's lawyer in the bad old days and who more recently has also
represented Morgan Tsvangirai, the much-persecuted leader of the Zimbabwean
opposition. Why, I asked him, was his old comrade apparently toeing the
scandalous line taken by President Thabo Mbeki and the African National
Congress? Bizos gave me one answer that made me wince-that Mandela is now a
very old man-and another that made me wince again: that his doctors have
advised him to avoid anything stressful. One has a bit more respect for the
old lion than to imagine that he doesn't know what's happening in next-door
Zimbabwe or to believe that he doesn't understand what a huge difference the
smallest word from him would make. It will be something of a tragedy if he
ends his career on a note of such squalid compromise.

As for the revolting spectacle of Mugabe flying in to a Food and
Agricultural Organization conference in Rome last week, there were quibbling
FAO officials who claimed that the ban on his travel to the European Union
did not cover meeting places of U.N. organizations. This would not cover the
luxury hotel on the Via Veneto where Mugabe and his wife stayed. And it
seems he bears a charmed life in Rome. He was there only recently as a guest
at the funeral of Pope John Paul II and was able to claim that he was on
Vatican soil rather than Italian territory. Which in turn raises an
interesting question: What is it going to take before the Roman Catholic
Church has anything to say about the conduct of this member of its flock?
Mugabe has been a devout Catholic ever since his days in a mission school in
what was then colonial Rhodesia, and one is forced to wonder what he tells
his priest when he is asked if he has anything he'd like to confess.

By way of contrast, look what happened to Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo.
This Catholic churchman in Zimbabwe's second city was a pillar of opposition
to the regime and a great defender of its numberless victims. After a long
campaign of defiance, and after surviving many threats to his life, the
archbishop was caught on video last year having some fairly vigorous sex
with a woman not his wife. Indeed, she was someone else's wife, which made
it adultery as well as fornication. You might think the church would have
been glad of a bit of heterosexual transgression for a change, but a dim
view was taken of the whole thing, in spite of the fact that it bore all the
marks of a setup and was immediately given wide publicity by the police
agencies of the Mugabe state. Ncube is no longer the Roman Catholic
archbishop of Bulawayo.

Very well, I do understand that he broke his vows and that the rules are the
rules. But he didn't starve or torture any children, he didn't send death
squads to silence his critics, he didn't force millions of his fellow
countrymen into penury and/or exile, and he didn't openly try to steal an
election. Mugabe has done and is doing all these things, and I haven't heard
a squeak from the papacy. A man of his age is perhaps unlikely to be caught
using a condom, but one still has to hope that Mugabe will be found
red-handed in this way because it seems that nothing less is going to bring
the condemnation of the church down upon his sinful head.

It is the silence of Mandela, much more than anything else, that bruises the
soul. It appears to make a mockery of all the brave talk about international
standards for human rights, about the need for internationalist solidarity
and the brotherhood of man, and all that. There is perhaps only one person
in the world who symbolizes that spirit, and he has chosen to betray it. Or
is it possible, before the grisly travesty of the runoff of June 27, that
the old lion will summon one last powerful growl?

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZAMBIA: Rising levels of resentment towards Zimbabweans

Photo: Nebert Mulenga/IRIN
Tension between neighbours
LUSAKA , 9 June 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabweans seeking greener pastures in neighbouring Zambia – and an escape from the election violence wracking the country – are becoming increasingly concerned at the rising levels of contempt directed against them.

"We are being treated with a lot of indignation. Everywhere we go, we are being treated like lesser human beings; it’s like as long as you are a Zimbabwean woman in Zambia, then you are a prostitute [sex worker], which is not the case," Patience Ndhlobvu, a Zimbabwean cross-border trader in the Zambian capital Lusaka, told IRIN.

"I personally take strong exception to that; this is not fair, it’s not a situation of our own making … Zambians have been very good to us, but it’s like things are changing [now]. Everyone is suddenly saying bad things about us. Just the other day, someone called me a prostitute as I was selling my products [sweets, chocolates and biscuits] in town."

South Africa boast the continent's largest economy and is a first choice destination for Zimbabweans seeking to escape the more than 80 percent unemployment rate and an inflation rate unofficially estimated at more than one million percent.

However, recent attacks by South Africans against foreign nationals, which has killed over 60 people and displaced tens of thousands, has seen an influx of about 25,000 Zimbabweans from South Africa to Zambia according to the Red Cross, more than double the number already thought to be in the country.

Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia's president and chairman of the regional body the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), reportedly said the country did not have the capacity to host any more foreign nationals or refugees, as it was developing its former refugee camps into specialist institutions such as skills training centres.

Zambia was host to about 300,000 refugees fleeing the Great Lakes conflicts and the Angolan civil war during the 1990s; numbers have since fallen to about 113,000 following the repatriations of Rwandese, Congolese and Angolan nationals.

Mike Mulongoti, Zambia’s information minister and chief government spokesperson, said there was a concern Zimbabwe's presidential run-off elections on 27 June could precipitate the migration of yet more Zimbabweans to neighbouring states.

Rising tensions between neighbours

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won the 29 March parliamentary poll and almost snatched a first-round victory in the presidential ballot. But 60 people have since died in political violence following the elections, according to the MDC.

''We are continuously being inconvenienced as a people of Zambia.  We can't continue to deny that there's something wrong going on there [in Zimbabwe] because their people are now coming onto our soil in thousands''
"We are continuously being inconvenienced as a people of Zambia," Mulongoti told IRIN. "We can’t continue to deny that there’s something wrong going on there [in Zimbabwe] because their people are now coming onto our soil in thousands. They [Zimbabweans] are all over the place."

Zambia’s diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe are strained - in part as a result of Mwanawasa convening an extraordinary SADC summit ahead of the 29 March election. Mugabe refused to attend the Lusaka meeting and his government launched vitriolic attacks against Zambia, along with Botswana and Tanzania, for doing the bidding of Britain, in "a campaign for speedy regime change in Zimbabwe".

"As the government of Zambia, we take strong exception to the Zimbabwean government’s recent unwarranted attacks on us in the media. How long are we going to tolerate this? How long are we going to host these people? We did it during the struggle for freedom," Mulongoti said.

Lee Habasonda, executive director of the regional good governance and human rights watchdog, the Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes [SACCORD], told IRIN South Africa's xenophobic attacks, which appear to target Zimbabweans more than others, could spread to other countries if Zimbabwe's economic meltdown was not addressed.

Zimbabweans resented in the region

"The thing is, it’s not just here in Zambia where Zimbabweans are being resented, even in Botswana, even in Mozambique, and even in Malawi the situation is the same. We have a lot of them coming to do businesses in unacceptable fields such as in the sex trade,” Habasonda said.

In April 2008, Zambian immigration officials deported about 60 Zimbabwean suspected sex workers from Livingstone, the country's tourism capital.

The Immigration Department is attempting to curb the influx of Zimbabwean immigrants through Zambia's Southern Province border posts of Chirundu, Kazungula and Kariba, "but it’s difficult to completely clamp down on these illegal immigrants because they don’t require any visas to enter Zambia. Some of them come with a day’s permit as visitors but never go back," an immigration official, who declined to be identified, told IRIN. 

"On average, we are having over 200 Zimbabweans crossing into Zambia every day," he said.

Zimbabwe's run-off presidential election could be the trigger for far larger numbers. "We are all keenly watching the situation in Zimbabwe. Whatever happens in Zimbabwe has a bearing on Zambia," Neo Simutanyi, a senior political science lecturer at the University of Zambia, told IRIN.

"Clearly, the people of Zimbabwe want change, but chances of a free and fair election run-off are very slim. What we foresee taking place in Zimbabwe is a possible military coup or armed rebellion if the ruling ZANU-PF goes through, which will be very bad for Zambia and the region as a whole."


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Botswana Sends 50 Zim Poll Observers

Mmegi, Botswana

 Monday, 09 June 2008

By Bame Piet
Staff Writer

Botswana is sending 50 observers to the June 27 presidential run-off in
Zimbabwe, and 25 of them left on Saturday whilst rest will leave on

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Phandu Skelemani,
announced this at a press conference last week. He said that the April
Lusaka SADC Heads of State Summit that followed the disputed March 29
elections, agreed that should there be a run-off the number of observers
would need to be increased. There were 162 SADC observers during the March
29 elections.

Skelemani said the number has been increased with the hope that their heavy
presence would deter those with ambitions to cause riots. "We are doing
everything possible to help the government and the people of Zimbabwe to
hold free and fair democratic elections," he said. Notwithstanding reports
of violence, Skelemani assured that the observers would be safe, adding that
the Angolan foreign ministry will be leading the SADC mission. "Zimbabwe
invited the SADC region at the Lusaka Summit to send observers and they
assured us of their security," he stated.

He said that though financial resources were limited the mission would stay
in Zimbabwe until the counting of the ballots was complete. "Democracy is
expensive, peace is expensive," he said.

Skelemani appealed to all parties taking part in the elections and their
supporters to respect the rule of law in avoiding use of words that can
result in violent clashes. He urged them to accept that part of democracy is
the freedom of expression hence they should not succumb to temptation when
annoying words are used against them.

"As SADC we pray and hope that the elections will be free and peaceful," he
said.  He dismissed recent remarks by President Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace,
that her husband would not vacate the State House even if he lost to Morgan
Tsvangirai. "Like I said, I think people should be careful about what they
say. She was just electioneering, but the remarks were a little bit far and
could cause problems."

However, the minister regretted that it took too long for the SADC
Secretariat to finalise sending observers. He announced that the secretariat
had wanted to send observers next week but they convinced them that their
presence was important now.

On the diplomatic relations between Botswana and Zimbabwe, Skelemani said
that they "are in good shape despite the recent stay in Botswana by
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai". He said upon Tsvangirai's arrival
here, he phoned his counterpart in Zimbabwe to assure him that all was well.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Democracy in Zimbabwe demands urgent international support

Africa Action

Date: 09 Jun 2008

Africa Action Releases New Analysis Emphasizing Civil Society's Role in
Resolving Crisis

Monday, June 9, 2008 (Washington, DC) - As Zimbabwe's political and social
climate grows increasingly violent, Africa Action today released a new set
of policy recommendations on how the U.S. and the international community
can support a peaceful and just democratic transition for Zimbabwe. The
ZANU-PF government's clampdown on the operations of nongovernmental
organization such as the international humanitarian group CARE threatens
millions of Zimbabweans with starvation. Already, more than one-third of the
population survives on food aid. As the presidential runoff election
scheduled for June 27 approaches, the imperfect option of a transitional
governing arrangement has emerged as the only feasible way forward.
International support for Zimbabwean civil society and regional actors will
be critical to the conception of a transitional authority that creates an
environment not just for free and fair future elections, but also for
unhindered transfer of power to the winning party.

Police continue to ban and interfere with opposition rallies and detain
opposition activists. Thousands of villagers have been displaced by recent
political violence, and at least 60 are estimated to have died. Recent
explosions of violence in South Africa point to the regional implications of
Zimbabwe's political and economic crises, which have caused millions to flee
the country.

"The government of Zimbabwe must stop interfering with the functions of aid
groups and the flow of humanitarian aid and ensure that the June 27 runoff
election is free and fair if it goes ahead," said Africa Action's Briggs
Bomba, who was part of a joint Africa Action/TransAfrica Forum Observer
Mission to Zimbabwe this March. "The international community can play a key
role in helping open up political space for democratic participation by all
Zimbabweans. Particularly important is support for the efforts of regional
actors and local civil society to develop a time-limited transitional
authority oriented toward constitutional reform, the democratization and
professionalization of state institutions and future free and fair

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai throws an open invitation to members of Zanu-PF

The MDC candidate also plans to reformulate the land reforms programme

Morgan Tsvangirai says an MDC government would be prepared to work
with progressive and"reformed" Zanu PF members but would punish those who
wantonly murdered its supporters.

Monday 9 June 2008, by Bruce Sibanda

In his recent State of the Nation Address to the MDC parliamentary caucus in
Harare, the MDC leader said not all Zanu PF members were killing opposition

He said there were Zanu PF members being victimised by what he called the
"violent hawks" who have hijacked the party.

"In the spirit of moving our country forward, let us seek out those peaceful
members of Zanu PF whose eyes are open to the disastrous state of our
nation," he said. "Let us listen to their views. Let us invite them in where
we have policy agreement," said Tsvangirai.

The MDC has said more than 60 party supporters have been murdered and 25 000
others displaced since the 29 March polls.

But no tolerance or amnesty would be extended to those who are involved in
direct violence such as rape and murder. "We consider these criminal acts,
not political acts. Criminals will be prosecuted."

The MDC government would establish what Tsvangirai called a Truth and
Justice Commission (TJC) to look at human rights abuses, corruption, asset
stripping and looting, mostly by a clique of Mugabe's loyalists.

Tsvangirai has launched a President Fund for victims of political violence.
He said that since March over 50 lives have been lost, 25 000 people have
been displaced and some 1 000 homes burnt down.

On the party's land policy, he said his party would establish a commission
to conduct a land audit to ensure the land question is solved without
negating equity and justice.

"Measures must be put in place to either compensate or reincorporate into
productive agriculture, those who lost their land during the Zanu PF land
grab programme, depending on the findings of the land commission,"
Tsvangirai said.

He said he intended to reform the civil service, judiciary and security

He outlined an economic revival plan to reverse a sharp drop in agricultural
production, the scarcity of foreign investment and soaring inflation, now
pegged at more than 1 700 000%.

"Since 2000 Zimbabwe has been transformed from the jewel of Africa to a
tragedy. Let me stress that our objective must not be to merely restore the
Zimbabwean economy to its former glory but also to take it to new heights,"
he said.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, soldiers are the biggest
beneficiaries of the government's latest surprise salary windfall for civil
servants with the least paid getting a whopping $130 billion, up from $10
billion last month.

This latest hike has been described as an attempt by the government to buy
the loyalty of the armed forces ahead of the 27 June presidential election

The salary increase - like the one before the 29 March general election - is
double that for teachers.

Teachers had their salaries increased to about $63 billion from below $5
billion a month and the militant Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ) dismissed it as a slap in the face for the perennially underpaid
government workers.

According to pay advisory slips of junior soldiers, the least paid received
$130 billion, before deductions.

In what was criticised as an election ploy, the government awarded civil
servants a massive salary hike before the 29 March elections.

But again soldiers were awarded the lion's share, as they received a raise
of between $1 billion and $3 billion, depending on rank, while teachers
received an average of $500 million.

The top military brass have pledged their undying loyalty to Mugabe and have
said they would not back Tsvangirai even if he won.

Soldiers have also played a decisive role in ensuring Mugabe wins the vote
in the past two elections through establishing "bases" in rural areas where
they have led party militia as coercing agents to intimidate and harass the
rural electorate.

Army units were deployed in rural areas after the March elections and have
been accused by the MDC of leading attacks against its supporters in a bid
to intimidate them into voting for Mugabe.

In the 2002 presidential elections, the then army chief, General Vitalis
Zvinavashe warned that the army would not salute MDC leader, Tsvangirai if
he won as he had no liberation war credentials.

The current army chief, General Constantine Chiwenga, before the 29 March
harmonised elections gave a similar warning.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rights group: 'Drastic improvements' needed in Zimbabwe in weeks before presidential runoff

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: June 9, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: With just three weeks to go before a
presidential runoff, the African Union and Zimbabwe's neighbors must push
longtime Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe to end political violence in his
southern African country, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

But an official in Zambia, current chairman of the Southern African
Development Community, said there were few options for the regional group
leading efforts to find a solution. Zambian Information Minister George
Mulongoti predicted that the crisis, and need for mediation, would continue
after the June 27 runoff between opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe and two other candidates in the first round of voting
March 29, but did not win the 50 percent plus one vote necessary to avoid a

Tsvangirai's party, foreign diplomats in Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean and
international human rights groups accuse Mugabe of unleashing violence
against the opposition to ensure Mugabe wins the runoff. Zimbabwean
government and party spokesmen repeatedly have denied the allegations.

In its report, New York-based Human Rights Watch said it had documented 36
deaths and more than 2,000 injuries at the hands of Mugabe party militants
backed by the police and army, but that the real figures may be much higher.

"There's no way a credible runoff can take place unless there are drastic
improvements in the remaining weeks," Tiseke Kasambala, the Human Rights
Watch researcher who prepared the report and who recently visited Zimbabwe,
said in a telephone interview Monday from London.
In its report Monday, Human Rights Watch said that besides the deaths and
injuries, some resulting from torture, thousands of Zimbabweans had been
displaced since March, hospitals told not to treat victims, scores of
opposition activists arrested, and homes and businesses of opposition
supporters looted.

"It's time for a more decisive approach," Kasambala said, adding that
mediation efforts led by Southern African Development Community-appointed
South African President Thabo Mbeki had "not borne any fruit."

"We think the AU should be taking over from SADC," she said. "The AU is the
broader body - it's the one that takes over when situations in countries
become more serious."

Tsvangirai himself has called on Mbeki to step aside, saying the South
African leader's quiet style of diplomacy has been ineffective and
questioning whether Mbeki is biased toward Mugabe.

Mukoni Ratshitanga, a spokesman for Mbeki, said Monday that South Africans
were closely engaged, "together with the rest of SADC and the rest of the

Mulongoti, the Zambian official, said: "The difficult thing is that Zimbabwe
is a sovereign state." He said all fellow Africans could do was "advise"

Mulongoti said whatever the results of the runoff, it was unlikely they
would be endorsed by both sides. Mediation then would be aimed at finding
"some transitional arrangements," possibly a unity government, he said.

"There's no question of winner take all," he said. "We'd want to see a
government that functions, a government that encompasses all interest

Mugabe, in power since the coutry gained independence from Britain in 1980,
once was hailed as an independence hero who helped his nation develop.

But Kasambala, the Human Rights Watch researcher, said Mugabe no longer
deserves to be treated with the respect he once commanded, and added his
policies were undermining regional stability. She cited a spate of attacks
on Zimbabweans and other foreigners in South Africa by poor South Africans
who see the newcomers as competitors for scarce resources.

Yet "the international community seems unable to pressure Mr. Mugabe,"
Kasambala said. "It is not clear to me why. That baffles me."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Citizens At Their Wits' End As Crisis Drags On

The Nation (Nairobi)

8 June 2008
Posted to the web 9 June 2008

Kitsepile Nyathi

For Cosmas Ncube, the day's worries begin as early as 3am when he starts the
long walk to his workplace in the industrial sites of Zimbabwe's second
largest city of Bulawayo, nearly 15 km away from his home in the working
class townships.

It takes him nearly two hours to get to his workplace, but his worries do
not end there.

He knows that he will have to do without lunch, and latter join the
multitudes that walk daily to and from work because they can no longer
afford the soaring transport costs.

Because of sky rocketing inflation reputed to be the highest in the world
outside a war zone, the salaries most workers earn have been reduced to a
pittance, making one day's life much harder than it ever was for the
majority of Zimbabweans.

Abject poverty

His girlfriend, Nyarai Ndlovu, a teacher is no better. She is poor,
depressed and underpaid.

She does not remember the last time her salary lasted her more than a week.

"I don't recall the last time my salary was ever enough to buy anything
after bus fare," she said. "I struggle to raise money for my rentals, which
are in foreign currency and I just keep going to work in the hope that
things will change."

Their stories vividly illustrate the lives of an increasing number of
Zimbabweans plunged into abject poverty by the spectacular 11 year economic
collapse blamed on long term ruler, President Robert Mugabe's ruinous

The former so-called bread basket of Southern African, once touted as the
continent's brightest economic prospect at independence from Britain in 1980
has collapsed into a typical basket case.

To illustrate the monumental collapse of a once thriving economy described
as the worst outside a war zone, the country's central bank is planning to
loop more zeroes from Zimbabwe's worthless currency.

Bank systems

Two years ago, the Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono scrapped three zeroes
from the currency after it became difficult for businesses to keep track of

"The issue of digits is the prerogative of the governor and I will be coming
back to the nation with an announcement soon," he said.

Banks say their systems were designed to cater for transactions of up to
Z$10 trillion or US$10 000 but a litre of fuel costs Z$10 billion or $US10.

An ordinary Zimbabwean can only withdraw Z$10 billion from the bank a day,
raised from $5 billion early last week.

Economists say the review of the withdrawal limits would do little to
cushion Zimbabweans, who have to contend with inflation of close to two
million percent.

Withdrawal limits

"The money is still not enough," said Joseph Chinaka, an analyst with a
leading bank in Harare. "Most goods continue to go up and the $10 billion
will soon be insufficient."

Chinaka said as long as the prices continue to rise, adjustments of
withdrawal limits and salaries would continue to be of no use to the
ordinary person.

"The problem now is that everything now looks like a chain reaction," he
added. "Once something is increased, it triggers an increase across the

Mugabe blames businesses of ganging up with the opposition to try and topple
his government from power. In the run-up to the March elections, which he
lost to opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe threatened to
nationalise all 400 British companies still operating in Zimbabwe for
allegedly pushing the regime change agenda.

His ruling Zanu PF has revived the threats ahead of the presidential run-off
election on June 27 where Mugabe is widely viewed as an underdog against
Tsvangirai following his dismal showing in the first round.

The sorry state of the economy has taken center stage in the campaign, with
Zanu PF bitterly complaining that Western countries have imposed economic
sanctions to cripple its government.

Hardest hit

However, the European Union and the United States only maintained targeted
sanctions against Mugabe's inner circle for their alleged role in human
rights abuses.

"Zimbabwe is under sanctions and they are not for President Mugabe alone,"
Gono said. "The sanctions are not targeted as purported, but they affect all

Hardest hit are people in rural areas, where a series of droughts have also
compounded their misery. The poisoned political environment has not helped
the situation for the four million people.

On Saturday, the government announced that it was banning all
non-governmental organisations providing the much needed food aid in the
rural areas because they were allegedly campaigning for Tsvangirai.

Analysts, warn that this might lead to famine at a scale last seen in the
post Mengistu Haile Mariam Ethiopia, where thousands perished because of

"For a long time now some of these NGOs have been operating like political
parties rather than civil society," said Bright Matonga, the deputy minister
of information.

It is against this background that the presidential run-off election
provides a glimmer of hope for Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe has been without a proper currency since 2005 after the government
introduced bearer cheques to cope with the rampant inflation. The highest
denomination is Z$50 billion, not enough to buy 50kgs of the staple maize

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New wind is blowing in Africa, but storms are not at an end

Business Report

June 9, 2008

By Donwald Pressly

Cape Town - Another wind of change is blowing across Africa, bringing to
power a new post-nationalist group of leaders who are more sensitive to the
democratic will and stable economic policies.

But delegates to the World Economic Forum on Africa have expressed their
concern that some states - including South Africa - were buffeted by
insecurity and that some states could even follow the troubled path of

Zimbabwean Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti
identified the sweep of changes, including new leaders in Kenya, Zambia and
Ghana. But US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Jendayi
Frazer said the troubles for Africa were not necessarily over.

"There is a revolution occurring in Africa," Biti, a newly re-elected MP,
told a forum session on prospects for peaceful transitions on the continent.
He said the nationalist groups that took over after independence from
colonial rulers - referred to in 1960 as "the wind of change" by then UK
prime minister Harold Macmillan - had initially united the nation, but now
it was time for those who were sensitive to issues of ruling
constitutionally, as well as the need for economic stability and growth.

Frazer said a number of nations - which she did not identify - had
successfully elected new governments and adopted policies friendly to
growth. But, she said, Zimbabwe was unfortunately "not the last example" of
a president "clinging to power". Many of the institutions underpinning
democracy were weak and thus did not exclude the possibility of more
Zimbabwe-like situations.

Much of the discussion at the three-day conference focused on political and
economic instability in South Africa.

BBC presenter Nik Gowing challenged Industrial Development Corporation
chairman Wendy Luhabe over World Bank reports that South Africa was weak on
several indicators, not least the key political indicator of a smooth
transition from President Thabo Mbeki to Jacob Zuma.

Luhabe, known to be an acolyte of Mbeki, dismissed any notion that South
Africa was suffering from transition problems. "There is not a deterioration
of political stability," she said. "We feel quite confident that there is a
solid policy foundation." She expected the new ANC leader to continue the
policy programme, implying that there would be no change from the
conservative fiscal and monetary stances adopted by Mbeki.

Malawian central bank governor Victor Mbewe asked why Luhabe had not
referred to the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa. Luhabe said the
violence was not xenophobic, but an articulation of the fight over resources
by "the most vulnerable" and a spillover from apartheid.

Mbeki, dismissing a theme of the conference that Africa was facing a crisis
of leadership, argued that there was an acceptance of change of government,
pointing to changes from military to civilian government in Nigeria and

Back to the Top
Back to Index