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Zimbabwean court hears of plot to overthrow Mugabe


June 15, 2007, 17:15

Zimbabwe's High Court today heard allegations of a military coup to
overthrow the government of Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president.
Zimbabwe's media and internet news sites have been abuzz with reports that
authorities in Zimbabwe had foiled a coup by junior military officers.

The State alleges six coup plotters had been recruiting army officers to
carry out Project 1940. Charles Warara, the lawyer of the accused, said his
clients denied the treason charges.

Court documents obtained by a local newspaper and published today allege
that the coup plotters intended to invite a leading Zanu-PF politician to
run the country, but party insiders believe the coup allegations could be a
smear campaign against leading contenders in the race to succeed Mugabe.

The government has not made any public statements about the alleged coup.
But this week, Sydney Sekeramayi, the defence minister, was quoted in a
local newspaper confirming that some army officers had been arrested for
indiscipline and misconduct.

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Security forces chiefs meet to discuss coup plot

By Tichaona Sibanda
15 June 2007

The country's security chiefs are reported to have met in Harare Friday to
try and carry out a post-mortem of events that led to a foiled coup against
Robert Mugabe.

Amid reports of the foiled coup, several Zanu (PF) officials aligned to one
particular faction have been seen at the World Economic Forum on Africa in
Cape Town, South Africa this week briefing delegates there that Mugabe would
be gone before the end of this year.

The Joint Operations Command (JOC) meeting is held on a weekly basis and is
attended by the heads of the Army, Airforce, Police, and the Central
Intelligence Organisation. It is usually chaired by Robert Mugabe and is
also attended by the defence and security ministers.

A source told us the seriousness of the attempt to force Mugabe out and the
subsequent witch-hunt that followed reports of the coup had forced the
hierarchy of the country's security forces to invite influential former
Defence Forces generals Solomon Mujuru and Vitalis Zvinavashe to the

The same source said it was highly unlikely that Mujuru, as reported on
Thursday, was under house arrest as he had been seen in public in
Mashonaland East but was saying nothing about the coup plot.

Giles Mutsekwa, the MDC's chief of security and intelligence, said apart
from what is in the public domain, the army had apparently managed to
suppress the reports of coup. He said if it is true there was a coup plot
the perpetrators would be charged under military rules and not a civilian

'A coup plot is a treasonable charge and the alleged perpetrators will
certainly be court marshalled. But the problem with the latest coup reports
is that it's not exactly clear who is behind it because of the factional
fighting in Zanu (PF),' Mutsekwa said.

As we said on Thursday accurate information about the country's military
activities is notoriously difficult to find. There are conflicting and
different reports about the coup, suggesting that this is all part of the
bitter infighting in Zanu (PF) as both factional leaders have been mentioned
as being involved. It is known Mujuru and Mnangagwa don't see eye to eye and
that both men are reportedly plotting behind Mugabe's back to oust him from
power. It also seems one camp is now blaming the other for this plot.

But eyebrows have been raised by the extraordinary sight of several Zanu
(PF) functionaries in Cape Town brandishing what they called was a recovery
plan once Mugabe was out of the picture.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwe lawyers representing treason suspects; fueling coup plot speculation

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: June 15, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: A lawyer said Friday he was representing suspects held on
allegations of treason, the first indication there may be some basis to
months of speculation about a foiled coup against President Robert Mugabe.

Harare lawyer Charles Warara told The Associated Press he had been
representing the suspects since late May. He refused to elaborate.

Unconfirmed reports of a coup plot have been a main topic of discussion for
the past month, fueled by rumors of an uprising in the military said to have
led to several arrests.

The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, a respected business and political
weekly, said Friday one of its journalists saw court documents relating to
two recent hearings held behind closed doors.

The documents identified the alleged leader of the plot as a former army
officer, and the paper said the documents showed he was arrested with two
serving soldiers last month.

Another four men were arrested in connection with state allegations of
treason on May 29, the paper reported.

All seven men denied allegations of treason, which carry a possible death

The court documents seen by The Independent gave no information on how the
alleged plotters intended to wrest power from Mugabe and his powerful
loyalists, who included top police and army commanders.

The Independent said Defense Minister Sydney Sekeramayi only acknowledged
there was "an issue of indiscipline and misconduct" in the military and
Security Minister Didymus Mutasa said he knew nothing of a coup plot.

Embattled Zimbabweans were facing deepening hardships in the worst economic
crisis since independence in 1980. Information is tightly controlled - the
state owns the main newspapers and the sole broadcasting station.

The coup plot reports added jitters to business and commercial dealings
Friday, business executives said. Even illegal black market money dealers
reported a slump in activity.

Official inflation announced in April of 3,714 percent, the highest in the
world, was expected already to have surged after prices generally doubled
across the board in April and continued to rise at a similar pace. Official
calculations for May have not yet been released by the Central Statistical

On Wednesday, private consultants commissioned by aid agencies, charities
and nongovernment organizations to produce an update on the economic crisis,
produced a report that said questions remained over the role of police and
the military in the face of the spiraling crisis.

An ordinary police officer routinely earned less than aid workers paid their
housekeepers and domestic staff, the consultants said.

"The military are not much better off .... What are the likely scenarios for
the uniformed forces?" the report asked.

Last year, soldiers were sent home from their barracks as the army ran out
of food and supplies and police have recently reported cases of absenteeism
in their ranks.

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Zimbabwe's bugging bill condemned

Computer keyboard
Critics say the law threatens freedom of expression
Zimbabwe's internet providers have strongly condemned the bill passed this week to allow the government to monitor e-mails and other communications.

They say they would not be able to afford the expensive monitoring equipment, which the bill says they can be forced to install.

The government says it is similar to anti-terror laws in the UK and US.

But internet providers argue it is a violation of human rights and privacy and "another act of oppression".

The government's comparisons to terrorism is just a smokescreen
Jim Holland
Zispa spokesman

Zimbabwe Internet Service Providers Association (Zispa) spokesman Jim Holland told the BBC News website that the changes he had suggested to the proposed bill had all been ignored.

If the Interception of Communications Bill is passed by the Senate, seen as a formality, the government will be able to monitor e-mails, telephone calls, the internet and postal communications.

Chinese technology

China is apparently providing Zimbabwe with some of its web-monitoring technology.

"Potentially they [government] could insist that anyone operating as an internet service provider (ISP) would be forced to monitor it, which is beyond business's budgets," Mr Holland said.

Communications minister can issue warrants for interception
Police, security and revenue service bosses can apply to minister to issue warrant
Warrants can be issued in case of perceived crime or security threats
Warrants valid for three months, can be extended indefinitely
Right of appeal to minister, not to courts
ISPs must install monitoring hardware and software

He said the act was very broad and "so we wait to see what happens when the details are revealed.

"We know it will be used against human rights and opposition activists. Any of the government's comparisons to terrorism is just a smokescreen."

The telephone calls of government critics are often monitored already.

Correspondents say Zimbabweans could use an encrypted overseas-based web-mail to get round the new law.

Are you worried about the bugging law? Or do you think it will be easy to get round? Send us your experiences using the form below.

To the ISP's cost? This will stop any further expansion and enhancement of the use of internet services in Zimbabwe. If the ISPs cannot afford it and go broke, Zimbabwe being left without internet services will shut down. How will we send money, buy fuel etc when the internet had made this all possible?
Karl, Milton Keynes

I am getting my old man a laptop, webcam and fully subscribing his internet for the whole year for father's day for use in his house in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe . I will phone him everyday and berate the government at every available opportunity and will send him e-mails of all that anti-Zimbabwe propaganda. This should give Mugabe and his spooks something to do and then maybe they will stop wrecking havoc on the country. You know what they say - an idle mind is a devil's workshop.
BM, Crawley West Sussex

I am not worried but maybe one day... Anyone out there 2 enlighten me on how "encrypted overseas-based web-mail" work?
AK, Gitarama, Rwanda

The so called "bugging" has been in place for a number of years. People calling from outside of Zimbabwe to Zimbabwe, have always been careful in what they have to say so therefore conversations are guarded and often limited. i don't think it will effect the average citizen but then again the zim government are becoming more paranoid/vigilant by the day.
Anonymous, Ex Zimbabwe - currently in Cambridge UK

I have no problem with that. Most countries have such a law in place and so why not Zimbabwe? We are dealing with a section of society that now sees politics in everything that government does. The opposition just want to gain political mileage at the expense of progress. Government must govern and life must go on. The opposition must debate these issues in parliament and not in western capitals. They must not blame anyone if they loose the next election in 2008.
Arnold Mutaviri, Harare

I believed it is a very important step toward cracking down enemies who were used by the so called west to destabilise their country. go ahead Mugabe don't give them chance even a second.
Alhagie Ceesay, Gambia Banjul

It just keeps getting worse! The phrase used to be Ce La Vie!. African style, as a friend of mine says, - Ce L'Afrique!
Osman Ahmed, Addis Ababa

Mr Zenawi has blocked all the free Ethiopian news website but we still manage to get access to any internet site through But the funniest thing is always if something happened in Zimbabwe it is a news for the west but if equivalent things happens in Ethiopia , it is covered up as our prime minister is a favoured leader by the west.
Abebe Eyasu, Addis Ababa

If the UK and USA use these tools, there sure is nothing wrong in Zimbabwe doing the same. No one should play big brother over others.
Golden Nyambuya, South Africa

It is common knowledge that the properties surrounding the official presidential residence have their telephones bugged. I remember friends of my wife (foreign nationals) who moved out of their rather nice apartments for this very reason.

Paranoia is setting in! I think that web-based mail, because of it's very nature, will be harder to monitor. People just won't use their normal POP3 e-mail for sensitive topics and could easily setup Yahoo or hotmail accounts with pseudonyms. Duh!
Leonard, Harare, Zimbabwe

98% of the Zimbabwean landmass does not have telephone or internet access by terrestrial means, and VSAT (satellite) technology is required. This technology bypasses all governmental or other monitoring systems and is completely secure. There are at least 500 privately owned VSATs in Zimbabwe, these internet and email users have nothing to worry.
Maarten Elffers, Almere, The Netherlands


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Zimbabwe Passes Communication Spying Law


By Peta Thornycroft
Southern Africa
15 June 2007

Zimbabwe this week passed a new law allowing the government to monitor
telephones, mail and the Internet. For VOA, Peta Thornycroft reports that
the Zimbabwe government justifies this new law by saying it is necessary to
protect national security.

President Robert Mugabe regularly tells his country that Zimbabwe's
sovereignty is under threat, which is the reason he uses when he puts the
army and police on alert.

He says the main opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic
Change, is a "puppet" of the west, and that its leaders take their orders
from Washington and London.

The new law, the Interception of Communications Act, sailed through both
houses of parliament, where the ruling ZANU-PF has a large majority.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change legal secretary David Coltart said
the new law was what he described as "typically fascist legislation."á He
said this law gives enormous powers to "a tiny coterie of people" to
intercept e-mails and all other communications.

Coltart said the law was "not subject to review in any way by any
independent authority." He said he had no doubt it will be abused to
"interfere with legitimate democratic activities"

Transport and Communications Minister Chris Mushohwe said similar
legislation existed in the west. He said Zimbabwe needed the legislation to
prevent crime and guard national security.

Few Zimbabweans have access to telecommunications, and those that do have
long believed that the government was already monitoring phone calls and

This week riot police interrupted a stage play, called "The Good President"
at a theater in the country's second largest city, Bulawayo, saying it was a
political gathering and that police permission was needed before it could go

Most opposition political meetings and rallies are presently banned in

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It's time to stop pretending that nothing is happening in Zimbabwe

Comment from The Star (SA), 14 June

Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe: A report on the disturbances in Matabeleland and
the Midlands, 1980-1988

A housewife who does all sorts of good works for people in distress told me
at a breakfast club in Harare late last year that she was "ashamed". She
said had "done nothing" about Robert Mugabe's killing spree in Zimbabwe's
two Matabeleland provinces shortly after independence. "I didn't know about
it," she said, with real regret. She was living in Harare at the time when
appalling violence was raging across rural Matabeleland, particularly
between 1982 and 1984. She is not alone. Activist Elinor Sisulu -
blacklisted as a commentator on Zimbabwe by the SABC last year - poignantly
and profoundly confronts her own "silence" in the contemporary introduction
to Gukurahundi, a most welcome book on Mugabe's early atrocities against his
political enemies of that era. ". the plight of the victims and survivors
was and continues to be unacknowledged. They are still suffering from the
wounds of silence. And who is responsible for inflicting these wounds? The
perpetrators obviously have a vested interest in maintaining this silence.
But what about the rest of us who lived through those years and continued
our lives as if nothing was happening. Are we not equally responsible for
the wounds of silence both while the horrific events of Gukurahundi were
unfolding and in their aftermath? Even today many of us continue to be

There were others with far easier access to the information than Sisulu,
then a young civil servant living in Harare and enjoying the exuberance of
liberation from white rule. A few weeks ago a veteran Zimbabwe journalist
now living in Britain and widely used as a commentator on his troubled
homeland told BBC World's Have Your Say slot that he had "worshipped"
Mugabe, describing him as a personal "friend" who had gone wrong from 1990.
The appalling cruelty Mugabe and his service chiefs unleashed against the
smaller Ndebele tribe, largely loyal to nationalist Joshua Nkomo and his
Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu), continues to seep poison through the
nation's political fabric. It also contributed to the split in the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change just two years ago. No one can
fully understand Zimbabwe today without knowing what happened then, and take
on board that those who organised these crimes against humanity are the same
people in control of Zimbabwe today. So it is a relief to see South African
bookshops stocked with such a well-produced commercial edition of the
original 1997 report and have called it Gukurahundi, which translated from
Shona means, "the first rain that washes away the chaff of the last harvest
before the spring rains". The telling name was given to the newly created,
North Korean-trained 5th Brigade in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), which
only recruited members of the Shona tribe and was sent to the three
provinces: Matabeleland North, South and parts of the Midlands.

This book will fill a gap for many who are still not sure exactly what sin
it was that Mugabe committed all those years ago as the original report was
released long after the events, in a tiny print run by the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace and the Legal Resources Foundation. Some
Catholic bishops outside Matabeleland, in particular the archbishop of
Harare, Patrick Chakaipa, who was close to his parishioner - Mugabe - didn't
want it released at all and delayed access to a wealth of crucial witness
statements collected by the church's human rights watchdog, the CCJP. When
it was eventually published, Chakaipa and his allies refused to allow it to
be displayed in the CCJP shop window. The logistics of collecting
information and corroborating earlier reports and names was a massive task.
Even after a small research grant by Amnesty International came through,
researchers could still only seriously examine what went on in one
district - Tsholotsho - while touching on a second - Matoba. The brutality
in some of the worst-hit areas around Lupane, on the way to Victoria Falls,
Kezi, Nkayi, etc, still remains untold.

Gukurahundi contains all material from the original report and is enriched
with Sisulu's introduction and an angry foreword by Pius Ncube, archbishop
of Bulawayo. "The motive for these killings was to crush the people of
Matabeleland so that they would conform to the Zanu PF government and give
up their tribal identity and their attachment to Zapu." The "Historical
Overview" starts with the liberation war and the fragile ceasefire between
Rhodesian forces and those loyal to Mugabe and Nkomo. Only eight months
after independence in April 1980, Enos Nkala, a Zanu PF member of Mugabe's
first cabinet, referred to Zapu in a public speech as "the enemy" which
sparked the first violence between the three armies (actually two guerrilla
forces and the Rhodesian Army, which had never been stood down). The
overview examines the deepening isolation of Nkomo's returned fighters, so
many of whom were excluded from the new army, the arrests of his senior
lieutenants, discovery of arms caches, and then the emergence of a violent
group dubbed the "dissidents," which certainly had some of Nkomo's men in
their ranks. Researchers estimate the group was never more than 400 and the
report fully acknowledges their violent campaign. In addition to
"dissidents" there was a loose group of about 100 South African-trained and
financed "Super Zapu," fighters including some frustrated Nkomo loyalists,
border jumpers and workseekers.

And of course there were many pseudo operations to justify Mugabe's
determination to wipe out Nkomo's power base. While Nkomo claimed 20 000 had
been killed in Mugabe's purge of his supporters, the report established
names of nearly 3 000 killed in the two districts where it gathered evidence
together with an unknown number who disappeared . never to return. The final
death count is still unfinished business, but by extrapolating the
statistics gathered so far, Nkomo's estimate may not have been far off.
Villages were razed, bodies were found stuffed down mineshafts, people
starved as food was confiscated and curfews were enforced at gunpoint. Some
of what went on was reported in the international press, mostly by South
African and British journalists who took considerable risks to get the story
out to a world which wasn't much interested in a suddenly tarnished African
hero. Some non-governmental organisations simply denied the extent of
Mugabe's role, and the local state press laid the blame on the "dissidents"
and South Africa.

The backbone of the evidence presented comprises extracts from testimonies
of people whose names are safely stored overseas. More than 1 000 braved
reprisals by sharing what they witnessed.

"February 1983

Neshango Line (next to Ningombeneshango Airstrip) - Mass beating of
villagers and shooting of two young pregnant girls, followed by their being
bayoneted open to reveal the still-moving foetuses. These two girls,
(already pregnant) and several others had been raped by members of the ZNA
(Zimbabwe National Army) in November of 1982, who reportedly left by
helicopter after several days of raping these girls.

Gulakabili (approx 20km SSW of Pumula Mission) - Whole village abducted to
the Pumula Mission area where they were beaten. Some were then forced to dig
a mass grave, made to climb in and were shot. They were buried while still
moving and villagers were made to dance on the grave and sing songs in
praise of Zanu PF. One victim locked in a hut and burned to death.

Solobonni - 5 Brigade rounded up entire village to the borehole. Six people
were chosen and bayoneted to death and buried in one grave. Five people were
beaten to death. Another man who wept to see his brother killed was severely
beaten and died a few weeks later . one old lady who was found in her hut
was raped and 5 Brigade then set fire to a plastic bag and burned the old
lady with it, setting fire to her blanket. She died three weeks later."

And it goes on . including children who starved to death.

In addition to Mugabe, other top leaders intimately involved in planning the
campaign include former security chief Emmerson Mnangagwa, Perence Shiri -
head of the 5th Brigade, now chief of the air force - and retired army
commander Solomon Mujuru. The original commentaries used moderate,
restrained language to describe the civil war of the 1980s - "disturbances
in Matabeleland and the Midlands 1980-88" - reflecting hope still flickering
10 years ago that those responsible would find a formula for reconciliation.
For many - and one can read this almost every day in the world's media when
Zimbabwe is reported - Mugabe was a good guy who went bad when he launched
violent invasions of thousands of white-owned farms in early 2000 after he
lost a referendum to new kid on the opposition block, the MDC. Many in the
top echelons of the ANC in exile in those days broadly knew what had been
going on in Matabeleland when they came down to Harare from Zambia for
shopping or went to conferences. They, too, may have either been preoccupied
or, like many outside Matabeleland, not familiar with the scale of the
Gukurahundi campaign. As the government has now finally roused itself to
attempt a solution to its neighbour's crisis, its mediating team should
urgently read this book - otherwise they will never understand the
complexity of the problem they hope to solve.

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MDC plan star rallies throughout Zimbabwe this weekend

The Zimbabwean

By Marcus Mushonga

ZIMBABWE could plunge into another time of violent clashes between the state
and anti-Mugabe regime activists this weekend as youths have planned rallies
across the country to commemorate the June 16 1976 massacres of youths in
South Africa.

MDC national youth chairman Thamsanqa Mahlangu said that the commemorations
would be held in five cities but excluding the capital Harare which has a
ban on political rallies on being effected against the opposition parties
and civil society.

Police were notified and have not objected to the commemorations being held
in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gweru, Mutare and Kadoma but gave a stern warning on
the organisers threatening them 'we will not hesitate to apply the law if
there are intentions to cause problems.

However police turned down a request to hold the same event in Harare on the
basis of the ban on political rallies despite several meetings and rallies
being held by Zanu (PF).

'This is a very unique day especially to us the youths of Zimbabwe who have
suffered immensely from the Mugabe regime,' Mahlangu.

'We call upon all the youths to come to the various venues and be part of
this important event. We commemorate the June 16 1976 Sharpeville Massacres
by the apartheid regime in South

The venues for the rallies shall be as follows: White City Arena in
Bulawayo, Mkoba Stadium in Gweru, Chisamba Business Centre in Mutare and
Rimuka Stadiumin Kadoma.

Mhlangu said that the commemorations will be led by the MDC youth assembly
in the other three cities, save for Mutare where they will be done under the
Save Zimbabwe coalition.

'We have the solidarity and support of our South African colleagues who are
worried about our situation here. We are commemorating this day when many of
our members and colleagues are languishing in prison over trumped-up charges
based on political repression,' he added.

More than 700 students were massacred by the apartheid regime in SA after
massive protests against abuses and repression, a situation similar to what
is currently unfolding in Zimbabwe.

It was not immediately clear how the state plans to respond to the weekend
commemorations with memories still fresh of how it brutally cracked down on
opposition and civil society leaders on March 11 after they had planned a
prayer meeting in Harare.

MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was injured together with other leaders when
police cracked down on the meeting, a move which President Mugabe
praised-CAJ News.

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Teachers flee violence in Mt Darwin after war vets attack

By Lance Guma
15 June 2007

Online publication Zim Daily reports that war veterans and Zanu PF militias
unleashed violence on teachers at Mutondwe Secondary School in Mt Darwin.
According to the news site, a Zanu PF district coordinating committee youth
chairman Lameck Reza led the group demanding a meeting with teachers in the
staff room. They made allegations that teachers at the school sympathise
with the opposition and that a former student who visited the school wearing
a Zanu PF T-shirt was ridiculed by one of them. Its alleged the teachers
refused to have the meeting and the war veterans and militias started
beating them up.

Several teachers and students bolted out of the schoolyard and are said to
have sought refuge in a nearby mountain. Zim Daily also quoted Perkins
Nyamupfukudza one of the victims who works at the school as a history
teacher. He alleges that since the violence broke out 12 out of 19 teachers
have since fled the school. 'They accused me and fellow teachers of being
arrogant and disrespecting war veterans and said they were going to teach
everybody a lesson. I was dragged by the belt and humiliated in front of the
students that we teach everyday. They were beating up every teacher,' he is
quoted as saying.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) is reported to be
organising a safe house for 5 of the teachers. 'We are in the process of
organizing a safe house for the five teachers who currently housed here at
our national offices. They have nothing to eat and no-where to go. They are
traumatized and they urgently need psychological therapy,' Majongwe is
quoted as saying. The Mashonaland Central Provincial Education Director is
reported to have confirmed receiving a report on the incident from the
school head but insisted all was now under control.

Newsreel spoke to Majongwe on Friday and he confirmed the PTUZ 'accepting 5
teachers'. He said he was yet to be briefed on the full details of their
ordeal and could not comment in full. Harare Province Chairperson for the
PTUZ Jacob Rukweza also confirmed the incident. He said teachers nationwide
are facing similar threats to their safety and this was not helped by coming
parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008. Asked if the Ministry of
Education was offering any protection for teachers, Rukweza said the
minister responsible was actually at the forefront of threatening teachers
who are perceived to support the opposition.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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ZANU PF voter registrations starts Monday despite ongoing talks

By Violet Gonda
15 June 2007

The Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede announced on Wednesday that a mobile
voter registration exercise would start on Monday. This is despite ongoing
talks mediated by South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki, which are supposed
to lead to free and fair elections.

The opposition is calling for a new and independent electoral commission to
conduct elections in Zimbabwe. The MDC has in previous elections accused the
ruling party of using a fixed voters' roll to rig elections. But ZANU PF
seems to be going ahead with preparations for next year's elections
regardless, using the same tactics.

Mudede said the countrywide exercise, which would include the inspection of
the voters roll would end in mid August. The opposition says this shows that
ZANU PF is moving with 'supersonic speed' and is on 'auto-cruise' to rig

Nelson Chamisa the spokesperson of the Tsvangirai MDC said: "What we must
understand is that rigging is not an event, it is a process and it is in
that context that we in the MDC would view this as a gimmick to try and
manipulate the election to produce a pre-determined outcome."

Presidential and parliamentary elections are sheduled to be held
concurrently next year, but the main opposition parties have threatened to
boycott if the electoral environment is not free and fair.

The two main political parties are due to meet in South Africa this weekend
to negotiate conditions leading to the elections, among other issues.
Chamisa said: "And we have said we don't want Mudede to have anything to do
with the registration of voters. The registration of voters should be done
by an independent electoral board which is agreed upon and this is what we
have submitted to SADC through President Mbeki."

Chamisa alleges the people who are to conduct Mudede's voter registration
exercise were thoroughly vetted to make sure they are "ZANU PF-compliant."

Opposition parties have said people should just produce their identity cards
and vote on the basis of these identity cards as in 1980.

The opposition says it is not cast in stone that elections should be held by
March, therefore there is
no need for the fast-track registration exercise. Stakeholders say there is
sufficient time to agree on the fundamental framework within which the
elections should be held. Chamisa added: "But this kind of arrogance, this
kind of defiance and unilateralism being done and being shown by ZANU PF
clearly shows and continues to rupture and undermine the confidence people
are supposed to have in the electoral process."

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Mudede's advance rigging plans condemned

The Zimbabwean

Harare - Zimbabwe's electoral authorities have come under fire for practices
that the opposition and an observer group claim could be used to rig the
ballot, a day after Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede announced he was
starting registration of voters and inspection of the voters roll fort next
year's key joint parliamentary and presidential elections.
Mudede announced yesterday that nationwide mobile registration exercise
would start next Monday. Mudede told a press briefing in Harare that his
office would be issuing birth and death certificates during the exercise. He
said anyone above 18 was free to vote.
He said those who lost their citizenship by default when they failed to
renounce their foreign identity in the stipulated one year in 2001 when the
citizenship act was amended to prohibit non-Zimbabweans from voting will
regain their citizenship.
Inspection of the voters roll was also underway.
"In order to be registered as a voter a national identity card or valid
Zimbabwe passport and proof of residence are required, but a driver's
license is not acceptable," said Muded.
To get access to inspect the voter's roll one has to produce a valid
Zimbabwean passport or a national identity card. A driver's license is again
not acceptable.
But opposition groups cited as reasons for concern unmonitored voting by
soldiers, the influence of traditional chiefs on voting.
"There will be all sorts of tricks in this election if the past election is
anything to go by," said David Coltart, legal director of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change
Officials of the MDC have confirmed that more incidents of violence have
been reported in the run-up to this election. Critics it will get worse as
we approach the election and that Mugabe will cheat in other ways.
Electoral authorities are appointed by Mugabe, and soldiers are among staff
running polling stations.
Soldiers, police and prison officers are allowed to cast postal votes ahead
of elections when they are based outside their constituencies. But
Zimbabweans in the diaspora do not have this right.
Judge George Chiweshe, chairman of the state-run Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, said the "the postal ballots have already been concluded".
According to Zimbabwean law, the uniformed services need only to be
monitored by "a competent witness". There is no provision for independent
observers or election agents to observe.
"There is a high possibility the secrecy of the vote has been compromised
and we are closely following that," said MDC spokesperson Paul Themba
"If there are any anomalies, we want that vote discounted."
Registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede said registration was "continuous and that
those being registered now would not be allowed to vote ".

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Mbeki initiative 'is Zimbabwe's best shot'

Business Day

15 June 2007
Chris van Gass


áááááá Cape Correspondent

ááááááCAPE TOWN - President Thabo Mbeki's initiative on Zimbabwe on
behalf of the Southern African Development Community was the best chance in
many years anyone had to find a solution to Zimbabwe's economic and
political woes, Francois Grignon of the International Crisis Group on
Zimbabwe told the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Cape Town

ááááááGrignon said that while many had hoped the initiative would
create the momentum to put pressure on Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe,
momentum for a solution had to come from Zimbabweans themselves.

ááááááGrignon said in a debate that, while it was too early to judge
the effect of Mbeki's quiet diplomacy, it was necessary to create the
platform on which the international community would be able to channel their
contributions in the search for a solution.

ááááááHe said the responsibility of the international community was to
facilitate change by Zimbabweans themselves.

ááááááGrignon also said that in seeking a solution in the country,
people should try to desist from continually personalising the problem -
they should rather create the space and environment to build up institutions
"so that Zimbabweans can choose their own rulers".

ááááááZanu (PF) member Ibbo Mandaza said the key to the solution of
Zimbabwe's problem lay in the succession battle - and whether Mugabe
continued with a fourth term.

ááááááArthur Mutumbura, leader of one faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), said that the major problem was the crisis around
leadership and the "political illegitimacy" of Mugabe's government.

ááááááSimba Makoni, a member of the Zanu (PF) decision-making
committee and a former finance minister, said there was a grasp within Zanu
(PF) that a rebuilding process had to take place in Zimbabwe.

ááááááMakoni admitted that on the surface there were no indications of
progress. "However, there is a process under way within the party and within
the country and with our neighbours for a solution to be found.

ááááááThere is engagement within the nation that the current state of
affairs cannot and must not go on."

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ILO zooms in on Zimbabwe


June 15, 2007, 17:30

Zimbabwe is again under the spotlight at the International Labour
Organisation (ILO) for alleged violation of its convention. The seriousness
of the allegations pertaining to violation of workers' rights placed
Zimbabwe under the so-called special paragraph.

To add insult to injury, Zimbabwe refused to appear before the Committee on
the Application of Standards. Zimbabwe has appeared before the committee for
six consecutive years, but this time it felt it was enough.

The employers seem to be caught in the middle. All they want is a return to
productivity, which will ensure the revival of the country's economy.
Zimbabwe is not the only country accused of workers' rights violations. The
Democratic Republic of Congo, Belarus and Myanmar were also listed.

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Morgan Tsvangirai blasts Mugabe

The Zimbabwean

áBy Peter Kadiki

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai has blasted
the Zanu (PF) government, which he says is being contemptuous and
pre-emptive of the Sadc dialogue being spearheaded by President Thabo Mbeki
of South Africa.

Tsvangirai told a press conference in Harare on Wednesday that the
endorsement by the Mugabe cabinet of a proposed Constitutional Amendment
Number 18 that Zanu (PF) is pursuing an agenda aimed at undermining the
legitimate and widely-backed dialogue initiative of the Sadc grouping.

Mugabe's cabinet gazetted the amendment bill last week, which among other
things seeks to lay the foundation for holding harmonised elections next
year as well as increase numbers of parliamentary and senate

Tsvangirai said that the Mugabe regime is trying to avoid the mandatory
constitutional reforms and just do some cosmetic alterations.

"The bill is being gazetted in the background of unprecedented economic
meltdown. The same period has seen unmitigated water and electricity
shortages," he said.

"There are thousands of Zimbabweans of Zimbabweans fleeing the country and
being deported.
Zimbabwean hospitals are now death beds. Given this background,
Constitutional Amendment Number 18 is not about food or jobs it is about
power and its maintenance by Zanu (PF).

"This country is tired of piecemeal constitutional amendments. As far as we
are concerned, Zimbabwe needs a new people-driven constitution.
Constitutional Amendment 18 is both pre-emptive and contemptuous of the Sadc
dialogue initiative."

Tsvangirai called on Sadc leaders to be careful about Zanu (PF)'s tactics of
diverting attention. "We therefore call on Sadc to remain focused on the 29
March resolution on dialogue to solve the crisis in this country," he said.

The Sadc heads of state met in Tanzania in March for an emergency meeting to
deliberate on the Zimbabwean political logjam worsened of late by Mugabe's
refusal to go despite even opposition from within his party.

The Dar-es-Salaam meeting resolved to mandate Mbeki to mediate between the
ruling party and the opposition but Zanu (PF) has been absconding from
meetings to establish the agenda for dialogue-CAJ News.

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High Court upholds ban on Amakhosi's play

By Tererai Karimakwenda
June 15, 2007

Amakhosi Theatre's new play The Good President was officially banned by the
government on Friday when a High Court in Bulawayo ruled that it was
political. As we reported, police shut down the play on Wednesday when it
opened in Bulawayo saying it was a political gathering that needed
permission from the Commanding Officer. Sihle Nyathi from Amakhosi said the
police argued in court that the play contravenes the Public Order and
Security Act because there are references to Zimbabwe and economic issues in
the script. Their lawyers argued that the Constitution of Zimbabwe allows
freedom of speech and the play should continue. But the High Court did not

Nyathi said on the ground it seems reality is different from what the law
says. She explained that the play had been allowed to run in Harare, and
asked: "Is the law applied selectively in this country? What is the
difference between Harare and Bulawayo?" Nyathi told us their lawyers are
consulting different bodies and would make recommendations soon. But in the
meantime, Nyathi said Amakhosi would distribute DVDs of the Play and go on a
regional tour so The Good president can be seen regardless of this ruling.

Nyathi also said the state run newspapers in the country had refused to run
adverts for the Play saying its content would bring the President into
disrepute and they were protecting him. Independent newspapers made no
objections to the adverts.

The Good President was written and directed by Cont Mhlanga, who described
it as a play about an old woman who wants to go vote and talks to her
grandson about the President. Audiences were invited to participate in a
discussion of the Play after each performance. Mhlanga said he believes
theatre is a great way to get people talking about the issues affecting
their lives.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Youth Day

Remembering Soweto 1976,
and thinking of Zimbabwe's youth in 2007
Sokwanele Article: 15 June 2007

Tomorrow is Youth Day in South Africa, a day that recalls forever the
determination and bravery of the students who took it upon themselves to
confront the apartheid government. On the 16th of June 1976, thousands of
black students walked from their schools to Orlando Stadium for a rally to
protest against having to study in Afrikaans at school (for many a second or
third language). What happened on 16 June will never be forgotten.

Live ammunition was fired into the crowd and 23 people were killed. The
photograph of a dying Hector Pieterson (only 12 years old) being carried by
18 year old Mbuyisa Makhubo, with Hector's sister Antoinette running
alongside them, is a frozen moment capturing the horror of that day. Hector
was the second child to be killed that day; the first child to die was 15
year old Hastings Ndlovu, but there was no photographer present to mark the
moment of his death, or the deaths of many other children. Instead, that
single stark image has made Hector Pieterson a figurehead for all those who
were killed or injured while they tried to take a peaceful stand against
apartheid and totalitarian rule.

Much more recently, on Sunday, 11 March 2007, people converged on the
Zimbabwe Grounds Stadium in Highfields, Harare, Zimbabwe, to attend a
peaceful rally called by church leaders and human rights activists working
within the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. They were coming together to protest
against the oppression of Robert Mugabe government. Gift Tandare, the youth
chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) local structure in
a Harare suburb, was among them. Just as the South African police responded
to the 1976 rally with violence, so did the Zimbabwe police respond with
violence: live ammunition was used against the peaceful crowd.

Gift, who had come to attend a peaceful rally for change, was shot in the
chest. He expected to be standing alongside other like-minded activists,
praying for freedom and peace for our country, instead, he died on the side
of a road. It didn't end there: his friends tell how the police refused to
allow them to call him an ambulance. Two days after his death, police shot
at mourners visiting his family's home. Then on learning that Gift's family
planned to bury him in Harare, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
operatives stole his body from a mortuary, and forced the family to bury him
in Mt Darwin instead. Gift died, but his family were terrorised by Mugabe's
thugs long afterwards: they were threatened with torture if they failed to
disclose the names of the NCA activists who attended his funeral in Mt

We don't have an iconic image, like the one of Hector Pieterson, which
captures Gift's last living moments. Robert Mugabe understands the power
behind a picture and as a result press freedom in Zimbabwe is deliberately
stifled. It is controlled so rigorously that journalists are literally
risking their lives to capture atrocities on film. One such person was the
cameraman Edward Chikombo.

Edward Chikombe was abducted a short while after the thwarted Save Zimbabwe
Campaign rally by four armed men believed to be part of Mugabe's CIO. His
friends fought to prevent him being carried away, but the abductors beat
them back with rifle butts in their faces. On the 31 March Edward's body was
found in a field: he had been badly tortured and beaten to death. Why? The
CIO believed Edward to be one of the cameramen who shot footage of Morgan
Tsvangirai emerging from the courthouse showing evidence of his torture
injuries while in police custody. Just as the image of Hector said a lot
about apartheid, so those images said a lot about the kind of government
under Robert Mugabe. The government believed Edward was responsible, so
without trial or proof or just cause, they killed him. Mugabe's
spokesperson, George Charamba, described Edward in this way and his comment
clearly reveals the government's attitude towards journalists doing their
job: "if he was doing media work he was doing so as a spy using media
equipment which may explain his case".

So when you see that famous image of Hector Pieterson on the 16 June, as you
surely will, we ask you to think of Gift Tandare, because just like Hector
and the youth who walked to the rally at Orlando Stadium on 16 June 1976,
Gift was also a young man trying to make a stand against oppression. Just
like Hector, it cost him his life. And also like Hector, we will never
forget how brave he was and what he was trying to do for all of us. We know
that we will be free one day, and that Gift, like Hector, played an integral
role in helping us get there.

There are many more young people just like Gift, living in Zimbabwe and
fighting for justice and peaceful change. Their fight brings them face to
face with a ruthless government that thinks nothing of killing and torturing
civilians so that they can cling to power. We ask South Africans, on Youth
Day, to think of those young people and to ask themselves what role South
Africans can play in helping their neighbours achieve a future free of
tyranny and filled with hope.

We ask you to look at that picture of Hector, and think about the power it
has to tell the truth, and to think of journalists like Edward Chikombe, who
put their lives at risk trying to capture the truth so that people around
the world - people like you - will truly know the extent of Mugabe's
oppression of the Zimbabwean people.

It is a terrible shame that Hector Pieterson didn't live to see 1994, the
year when he and many others saw their actions translate into freedom:
finally, at last, all South Africans could queue and vote regardless of
race, colour or creed.

In 1994, Zimbabweans shared in South Africa's joy. In 1994, we ourselves
stood with a few years between us and the horror of the Gukurahundi in the
1980s, a time when Mugabe unleashed his army on Matabeleland and killed
20,000 civilians. We were beginning to hope that like yours, our future
might also be getting better, and that those days of horror were behind us.

But we didn't know, as we revelled in the glow from your Rainbow Nation,
that we were in the eye of the storm, and that it would be only six short
years before Mugabe lost his referendum in 2000, and started his second war
against Zimbabwean civilians. He has told those carrying out the atrocities
on his behalf: "We are at war again . . . If one of you is asked why you are
killing, you say, it is not us, it is the President".

It is impossible for Zimbabweans to listen to stories of the struggles that
South Africans went through in their fight against apartheid, and not think
of our own struggle for freedom today.

When you celebrate your Youth Day today, we will be thinking about our youth
in Zimbabwe. Young people who are forced to join militia camps where their
bright minds are dulled with free alcohol, drugs, rape and violence in a
sophisticated brainwashing procedure - all part of Mugabe's efforts to
create himself a Nazi Youth. We think about our young people who want to
avoid the horrors of Mugabe's militia camps, desperate for employment and a
future, and who see your country as their only hope. But this is a choice
fraught with its own dangers, one that involves a life-threatening swim
across the Limpopo and the risk of incarceration in a South African holding

If Hector Pieterson had survived, he would be in his early forties now. We
don't know what kind of a man he would have become because his life and his
future were stolen by an oppressor's bullet. But we hope he would have
continued to stand against oppression, and we hope that all those who
survived to enjoy freedom while he and others made the ultimate sacrifice
will do so too. Apartheid was never just a South African problem; it was an
African problem, a human problem. And the world stood by the oppressed.
Robert Mugabe's tyranny is not a Zimbabwean problem alone, it is an African
problem, one scarring our continent and giving it a bad name.

South Africans know very well that there is no future for youth in a country
ruled by oppression and tyranny, through violence and terror. You don't need
us to show you pictures of our dead and dying to know our story, or to hear
our stories of young people trying to find a future, trying to find their
way to a safe and happy life, because you've lived through it yourselves.
Just look to your history and remind yourselves where you've been and how
far you've come.

Then reach out, and stand with us today.


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Ethical concerns over Zimbabwe Cricket's new auditor

Steven Price in London

June 15, 2007

Although the independent forensic audit into the affairs of Zimbabwe Cricket
has still yet to be made public, Cricinfo has learned that Ruzengwe and
Partners, the small Harare-based firm that carried it out, have been
appointed as auditors to the board.

The forensic audit, demanded by the government after allegations of
financial impropriety were levelled against the ZC executive, was launched
in March 2006 by Peter Chingoka, the ZC chairman.

Until recently, the routine audit work was carried out on an honorary
basis - ie for free - by Price Waterhouse Coopers, a firm of international
standing with offices in Harare. It is unclear whether Ruzengwe and Partners
are also working without payment, or whether PWC stood down or were

An accountant who has worked on ZC's accounts in the past told Cricinfo that
there were questions over the appointment of the same outfit who had carried
out the forensic audit to this role. "At a large blue-chip firm questions
would be asked regarding a potential conflict of interest," he said. "I
think there are clear ethical concerns."

Many stakeholders are concerned that no accounts since 2005 have been made
public either. The old constitution stipulated that audited accounts had to
be presented to the AGM within a specified period. One former senior ZC
official told Cricinfo that "you would have thought that audited accounts
would have had to be presented to an AGM held within a prescribed period
after the year end ... but we have not had sight of the latest

Another official with close links to the ZC said: "For the board to be taken
seriously and properly discharge its mandate, it is responsible for ensuring
that an annual audit of ZC finances is done in timely manner by a reputable
firm of auditors, and that the financial statements contain a full and
proper explanation of all movements in ZC finances over the preceding 12
month period. This basic reporting requirement is legislated by statute in

"Stakeholders have been subjected to a two-year battle to obtain the books
and this has resulted in calls for a forensic audit ... {which has] diverted
resources away from cricket. Let's face it, none of this would have been
necessary had the board being doing its job properly in the first place."

The last audited accounts made public were for the year ending April 30,
2005 and were prepared by PWC.

Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare

ę Cricinfo

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Vermeulen trial postponed for a fifth time

Tawanda Jonas

June 15, 2007

The trial of former Zimbabwean Test batsman Mark Vermeulen, who is charged
with arson attacks against Zimbabwe Cricket property in November, has been
postponed to July. This is the fifth time that the case has been postponed
since he first appeared in court in December.

Prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare told a Harare magistrate that the case could not
be heard as the state was still deliberating over medical reports relating
to Vermeulen's mental health.

"The accused is to be remanded until July 11," Zvekare said, adding that
"the medical affidavit which we were waiting for has been compiled, and we
are (still) making final deliberations". Vermeulen remains free on bail
although his passport has been confiscated. He faces two counts of arson and
will face 25 years in prison with hard labour if convicted.

He is accused of first trying to burn the ZC boardroom at the Harare Sports
Club ground in October 2006 - the fire was quickly put out - and then
burning down the pavilion at the Academy the following day. That fire
destroyed the main building and it remains gutted.

As part of his defence, Vermeulen has been examined by a psychiatrist.
Another medical report from Australia describing the effects of a serious
skull fracture he sustained in January 2004 in a one-day match against India
has also been submitted.

ę Cricinfo

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Leadership Matters in Southern Africa

The Namibian (Windhoek)

15 June 2007
Posted to the web 15 June 2007

Jo-Ansie Van Wyk

IN 1992, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni published a book entitled 'What
is Africa's problem?'.

He did not provide a ?nal answer, but for the purposes of this discussion,
'leadership' is the short answer.

Africa is, by its political leaders' own admission, in a crisis due to its
loss of the spirit of its traditional leadership and post independence
'questionable leadership'.

A DYNAMIC REGION In southern Africa, in particular, executive political
leadership is under considerable discussion.

A quick survey indicates that the next two to three years may see a very
different cadre of executive leaders in the region.

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which is in power since the country's
independence in 1966, has since 1999 seen the rise of Lt Ian Khama as party
vice president.

President Mogae indicated his intention to step down in 2008.

His appointment of Lt Khama paves the way for Lt Khama to be the country's
next president.

Earlier this year, the Lesotho Congress of Democrats (LCD) was re-elected in
a landslide election.

This may pave the way for a third term for Prime Minister Mosisili who was
re-elected to a second term in 2002.

Angolan President Dos Santos, in power since 1979, has also indicated his
intention to step down in 2009 when the country's next presidential poll is
scheduled to take place.

In Zimbabwe, the region's enfant terrible, President Mugabe declared his
intention to stay on until he is a hundred years old.

In South Africa, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is due to elect
its new party president in December.

Constitutionally, President Mbeki has to step down after two terms in of?ce
in 2009.

In Namibia, Swapo ?nds itself almost in a similar position as the ANC as
Swapo is also due to elect its president towards the end of this year.

Mozambique is also scheduled for presi- dential elections in the next two

Elected in 2004, Mozambican President Guebuza is prevented by the Mozambican
constitution limitation on the term of the incumbent president to two
consecutive terms.

In Zambia, the constitutional and succession debate is also very robust.

President Mwanawasa was elected in 2002 and some contenders are staking
their claim.

Swaziland is likely to remain the exception, where King Mswati III has
consolidated his absolute monarchy despite the introduction of the country's
new constitution in 2006.

THE LEGACY OF LIBERATION In Southern Africa, compared to the rest of Africa,
notable exceptions vis-Ó-vis the liberation struggles against colonialism

Botswana and Swaziland, for example, are the only countries in the region
not to have had long drawn out liberation struggles.

Second, the region has not seen any liberation struggles against African
colonisers as in, for example, Eritrea, Ethiopia and the Sahrawi Republic.

In Southern Africa, liberation movements/parties turned political parties
turned governing parties continue to dominate national politics.

For example, the BDP has been ruling since 1966, the ANC since 1994, the
MPLA since 1979, Swapo since 1990, Zanu-PF since 1980 and Frelimo since

On average, these parties have been governing for almost 25 years.

Regionally, Presidents Dos Santos and Mugabe are regarded as the
'longdistance men', namely in power for a considerable period.

What, then, are the most notable legacies of the liberation in the region?
Swapo, Zanu and the ANC are the oldest liberation movements in the region
and, as such, represent a signi?cant symbolism in Southern Africa's

The ANC and Swapo have always had a special relationship dating back to
South Africa's governing of the former Southwest Africa.

Relations between the ANC and Zanu, however, have not been as cordial.

Second, apart from South Africa and Botswana, countries in the region
continue to suffer from low levels of human development.

Notwithstanding the impact of global political and economic forces, most of
the governments in the region have not, apart from liberation; have brought
signi?cant human development to their countries.

The dominance of any political party in a particular state signals either a
consolidated democracy, a contend electorate, good political leadership,
high levels of political loyalty to the governing party, economic growth and
an equal distribution of wealth, or stagnation, procedural democracy (for
example manipulated elections and rule by constitutional amendments),
political alienation and exclusion from the political arena, regime
formation, state capture or the entrenchment of, particularly, the ruling
elite's interests.

Majoritarianism, as we see currently in Southern Africa, is not necessarily
undesirable, or politically dangerous.

However, when majoritarianism, as it has in the region, leads to, for
example, state capture, political exclusion and economic decline, where the
ruling elite only bene ?ts, it becomes both undesirable and politically

Regionally, long-term majoritarianism has consolidated the ruling elite's
interests, made the state apparatus the only source of power and wealth and
enlarged the gap between the haves and have-nots.

HOWEVER Democracy in Southern Africa is approximately 25 years old.

Regionally, it has survived, amongst others, colonialism, global economic
crises, civil wars, apartheid and the Cold War.

Despite the 'advanced cases of stayism' in the region, political leaders are
participating in the continent's unprecedented normative innovations
illustrated by the establishment of the African Union (including, for
example, its Peace and Security Council), the New Partnership for Africa's
Development and its African Peer Review Mechanism, and the African Court on
Human Rights.

The next step is to introduce these norms to countries' national agendas,
implement it and, more importantly, enforce it.

PUTTING 'CIVIL' BACK INTO CIVIL SOCIETY It is easy to point ?ngers at
'long-distance' men and political parties in the region.

Politically, civil society and opposition parties should also be held

Civil society and opposition leaders have often been accused of being
engaged in a scramble for national executive political power, rather than
acting constructively and democratically internally.

The main task of civil society and opposition parties is to act as counter-
factual forces visÓ- vis the ruling party, government and the state.

In?ghting, dependence on donor funding and personal political agendas often
results in the contrary.

Pertinent questions civil society organisations and opposition parties in
the region should address to themselves is: how civil and democratic are
they and do they act? How active it is in the political arena of its
country? How active are they in the regional and continental political
arenas and avenues offered by, for example, the Pan- African Parliament, the
African Peer Review Mechanism and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council
of the African Union? RHETORIC VERSUS REALITY Political amnesia visÓ- vis
the political injustices of any form of colonialism should never be allowed
to occur.

South Africans' experience of its Truth and Reconciliation Commission was
tough, but liberating.

As wounds heal in South Africa, one wonders what the long-term impact of an
event like the Matabeleland Genocide in the early days of Robert Mugabe's
presidency left on Zimbabweans.

Hindsight offers the luxury of questioning reality by 'what ifs'.

What if President Mugabe was brought to book at the time? Was that genocide
merely a political prelude of a regime to come? The reality is that
political leaders hold, control and distribute political power, in?uence,
authority and spoils in governments, societies, political parties and the

Southern Africans should move beyond liberation and post-independence
liberation rhetoric and question its executive, opposition and civil society

Politics is too important to leave to politicians and leadership too
important to leave to leaders only.

The next two to three years in Southern Africa will either con?rm or
contradict this.

* Jo-Ansie van Wyk lectures International Politics in the Department of
Political Sciences, University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria, South

This contribution draws partly on her publication, 'Political leaders in
Africa: Presidents, patrons or pro?teers?' (2007).

Published by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes
(ACCORD), Durban, South Africa, available at She is a
doctoral candidate at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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The poisoned chalice - facilitating SADC political dialogue

Africa News, Netherlands

16 June 2007 - The Zimbabwe Crisis Platform. There are 10 months left before
the crisis in Zimbabwe lurches to new depths, and once again the regional
and international community finds itself locked in dispute over whether
Zanu(PF) will win a legitimate election. Few doubt that Zanu(PF) will win
this election, and Zanu(PF) believes it will win because it has won the
support of the people. Most other groups believe that Zanu(PF) will win
because the party and the government are doing everything to ensure that it
will win. SADC and the rest of Africa are saying very little, presumably
because it is rude to comment on a process before it is over.

SADC and any other group that wishes to deal with the crisis in Zimbabwe are
in much the same dilemma as the MDC. If they express any criticism of the
mediation process (which is "secret" anyhow), they stand a good chance of
being rejected as "surrogates" of the West. Informed sources indicate that
this is already the tone of the Zanu(PF) submission to the mediators: a
litany of demands and pre-conditions that the "surrogates" must obey before
any talks can begin. Pre-conditions are the name of the Zanu(PF) game,
bolstered by the diplomatic incompetence of SADC!

So what is the SADC dilemma? Quite simply, if they criticize at all they
will be rejected - as was the case with the Commonwealth - having declared
by so criticizing, their affiliation with the running dogs of Blairite
imperialism. Mugabe ran a splendid game in deceiving the Commonwealth that
he and Zanu(PF) were serious in all their encounters, and then, when the
crunch came, eliminated the Commonwealth from the problem by withdrawing. A
narrow definition of sovereignty works wonders in Africa it seems.

However, SADC find themselves in a dilemma wholly of their own making: they
have denied bad governance, gross human rights violations, and electoral
irregularities in the past, and hence will be unable to find these in the
present. Furthermore, having stated the pre-conditions in Dar-es Salaam,
they are now trapped by Zanu(PF) re-stating these pre-conditions with
endless amplification and insult. Once again Robert Mugabe has manoeuvred
Africa into a battleground of his own choosing, but one in which SADC has
been derelict in allowing to happen.

This dilemma hinges on Africa's acceptance of a trivial definition of
sovereignty, and is built into the Constitutive Act of the AU. War, coups,
and genocide are now recognized as the basis for refusing sovereignty, and
intervention in the affairs of another state, but not the usurping of power
through irregular elections, as was the case with the recent Nigerian
election. So SADC can have nothing to say about Zimbabwe heading for another
stolen election, apart from pious exhortations to follow the new standards
and guidelines of the various African regional and continental bodies. As
various spokespersons for the Zimbabwe government have repeatedly pointed
out, these do not have any legal force, and, hence, Zimbabwean sovereignty
rules supreme!

However, whilst sovereignty is most frequently based on elections, it is not
exclusively so. There are situations where the very identity of a state in
Africa is under contest. Ethnic and religious divisions, such as exist in
Nigeria or the Sudan, can result in contest over the identity of the nation,
but this is not the case in Zimbabwe, despite the long-standing problems
around the Matabeleland question. For Zimbabwe, as for many other African
countries, the question of identity revolves around the validity of
elections, where the power of sovereignty lies in demonstrating that the
government has the support of the people through the consensus of the voting

This consensus is established in two ways. Firstly, it is shown by the clear
demonstration that the game was played in a fair manner, with no undue
preference for any participant. Secondly, it is shown by the engagement of
the citizenry, and by the demonstration that the party that wins has popular
endorsement. Here, the greater the involvement of citizens and the larger
the turnout, the more confidence we can have in the moral mandate of the
winning party to govern. The ANC governs with such a moral mandate through
the excellent electoral process and a huge majority of the vote!

The ANC governs with authority because the rules of the game are clear. They
are established by consensus over the identity of the state, underpinned by
a democratic constitution, and the structures necessary to enforce that
constitution. This is not the case in Zimbabwe, as all of SADC understands:
the Zimbabwe constitution creates powers in the President that no SADC
country would accept or has already rejected. Thus, it is either na´ve or
down right irresponsible of the SADC Presidents to make statements that
endorse such over-weaning powers in the manner that they did in Dar-es
Salaam. By so doing they have already polluted the potential dialogue and
handed President Mbeki a poisoned chalice. How on earth can he attempt to
mediate when his colleagues have allowed one side to determine the terrain
for discourse?

The closing remarks at Dar-es Salaam have provided a rod for the mediator's
back. To endorse the land grab, recognize Robert Mugabe as legitimately
elected in 2002, and to demand the withdrawal of sanctions played straight
into Mugabe's hands, and has led to deep suspicions about the bona fides of
the SADC initiative. It would have been much smarter to have said nothing at
all, but these remarks lead immediately to distrust. The land grab has been
violent, led to enormous numbers of displaced persons, and all but destroyed
the Zimbabwe economy. Robert Mugabe won a disputed election in 2002,
repudiated by the EU, the Commonwealth and all Zimbabwean observer groups.
The MDC mounted a legal challenge which is still to be completed, which
seems of little concern to SADC. And there are no sanctions on Zimbabwe:
there has been withdrawal of support and travel bans on selected Zanu(PF)
leaders, but Zimbabwe still trades internationally and receives significant
humanitarian support from the Western countries.

It is thus the lack of a nuanced approached to Zimbabwe that leads SADC into
these very blunt and generalized positions, which then pay straight into
Mugabe's hands. Better to support land reform AND repudiate the manner of
this reform. Better to acknowledge the dispute over the 2002 elections, and
demand that the local Zimbabwean remedy is expedited. Better to acknowledge
selective sanctions and commiserate with the lot of the Zimbabwean people
for having aid cut due to the poor management of the Zimbabwe economy. Then
perhaps there can be dialogue without conditions, but, as all Zimbabweans
know, any such statements made by SADC will see Zanu(PF) walking away from
the table and calling SADC puppets of the West.

[Several key analysts and internationally acclaimed experts from Zimbabwe
and South Africa will provide key insights and analysis of the situation in
the country. These analysts can not be mentioned by name as they live and
work in Zimbabwe; with the current levels of repression in Zimbabwe by state
agencies it is no longer possible to freely express opinions of the nature
that will be presented here. Their names are known to the Africa Interactive
editorial team.]

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