By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Monday, 16 June 2008
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has secured a comfortable head start of
at least 130,000 votes through rigged voting by members of the security
forces in this month's run-off election against the opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, according to information obtained by The Independent.
Members of the army, air force and police have been forced to cast ballots
in favour of Mr Mugabe at their barracks and stations. It is not unusual for
members of the security forces to cast their votes ahead of polling day. But
the decision to force them to fill the ballots for Mr Mugabe in front of
their station superiors is unusual, and is blatantly illegal, sources said.
Although coercive voting of this kind has been attempted before, military
sources said it was considerably worse this time, with spouses and
children - particularly those living in barracks and police camps - also
being forced to fill ballots for Mr Mugabe.
It is estimated that Mr Mugabe could have at least 130,000 to 150,000 votes
before actual balloting begins on 27 June. That would give the President a
comfortable advantage in what could be a close election. In the strongest
condemnation so far of the Mugabe government, David Miliband, the Foreign
Secretary, attacked what he called the "sadism" of the regime. Mr Miliband
also warned the South African government that it had a responsibility to
take decisive action in the face of the worsening crisis in neighbouring
"Some things can be done and the first thing is to be clear about the
sadism - and I use that word advisedly - going on in places, especially
north of Harare," Mr Miliband said. "People are being killed, people are
being tortured, people are being beaten. Election observers are being
stripped out. It is important that we speak plainly and frankly about that,"
Mr Mugabe declared yesterday that he was prepared to hand over power, but
only to an ally from within his own ruling party. Such an ally must
nevertheless have demonstrated his ability to "keep Zimbabwe away from the
His remarks, which followed a threat on Saturday to "declare war" if he is
voted out of power, further entrench fears that Zimbabwe will be plunged
into bloodshed if he loses the run-off. Shocking incidents of political
violence have already been recorded including cases of suspected opposition
supporters being brutally beaten, tortured, burnt and killed. Meanwhile, aid
agencies have been ordered to stop distributing aid as the regime uses
starvation as a tactic to secure the poll.
The state-sponsored violence has forced tens of thousands of opposition
supporters to flee their homes. This, in effect, disenfranchises them,
because of a requirement, being stringently enforced, that voters can only
cast their ballots at polling booths in the wards in which they are
registered as voters.
Mr Mugabe has flatly rejected a proposal by the opposition to convert the
whole country into a single constituency for the purposes of voting in the
presidential run-off. Since voters will not be selecting candidates for
specific parliamentary seats, the single constituency system would have
allowed voters to cast their ballots anywhere in the country on production
of their identity cards without resort to a defective voters roll. The
simplified system was used in a national referendum on a new constitution
that Mr Mugabe resoundingly lost in 2000.
In the presidential election, Mr Tsvangirai won the first round of voting on
29 March by 47 per cent to Mr Mugabe's 43 per cent. In presidential
elections in 2002, condemned by the world as flawed, Mr Tsvangirai lost to
Mr Mugabe by a narrow 400,000 votes. The early rigging of votes therefore
spells a danger to opposition hopes.
Since his return to Zimbabwe, Mr Tsvangirai has been arrested on a daily
basis and his campaigning disrupted. His deputy, Tendai Biti, is in jail and
is expected to be charged with treason for declaring that his party had won
elections before the results were officially released. The charges
potentially carry the death penalty.
Several retired African presidents including Jerry Rawlings of Ghana,
Joacquim Chissano of Mozambique and others have joined the former UN
secretaries general Kofi Annan and Boutras Ghali in signing a petition
calling upon Mr Mugabe to ensure free and fair elections.
By Peter Clottey
16 June 2008
The African Union (AU) is reportedly getting ready to counter threats by
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe ahead of this month's presidential
election run-off. Some Zimbabweans are reportedly skeptical about the
prospects of an AU intervention, calling it too little too late. This comes
after African dignitaries including former heads of state signed a petition
calling on the Harare government to end escalated violence ahead of the
run-off. But some political analysts believe the AU does not have the
capacity to put pressure on the Mugabe-led government to ensure a free and
fair vote. John Makumbe is a political science professor at the University
of Zimbabwe. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Harare that
President Mugabe is a disgrace to the African Union.
"I think I would say that it's about time the African Union made a stand
against Robert Mugabe. It's really an embarrassment to the African Union.
And his utterances are very much an embarrassment to the African union
because they really say he is the ultimate power in Zimbabwe, and even in
Africa he is masquerading as someone who is invincible. No one can stop him
from doing whatever he wants, and I think that is very embarrassing to the
African Union," Makumbe pointed out.
He said there are many options the African Union can employ to pressure
incumbent President Mugabe into ensuring an end to the escalating violence
and a free and fair vote later this month.
"For starters, the African Union can flood Zimbabwe with observers for this
run-off election, and they can make sure that the people they send into
Zimbabwe go to the rural areas as well as to the urban areas. That is the
second thing they could do, and the third thing they could do is to give
Mugabe the ultimatum to stop the violence that he is perpetrating in
Zimbabwe or else they might do the forth thing. They might have to put
together a standing army, which can be flown into Zimbabwe to do
peacekeeping work during the elections and after the elections. They can do
any of those things, and they can do them reasonably quickly," he said.
Makumbe said the inability of the African Union to help end the violence and
ensure a free vote in the upcoming run-off would be seen as a failure.
"It will impact very negatively on the African Union, it will clearly send a
message that the African Union is a toothless bulldog. It has a really loud
bark, but its bite is completely impotent. And it will also send a message
to the people of Zimbabwe, which will say even though the election will be
neither free nor fair it can still be won. Robert Mugabe can still lose this
election in spite of and sometimes because of his utterances and the action
that he has taken against the people of Zimbabwe. People normally don't vote
for the contestant who will have beaten them up, burnt tier house down,
raped them and kill them," Makumbe noted.
He said although the opposition faces have an uphill task of unseating
incumbent President Mugabe in the run-off, the MDC could still win the
"I think I expect the MDC to win with a huge margin. I expect the people of
Zimbabwe to be courageous enough to say yes we have been beaten, we have
been harassed, we have been tortured, but we know how to vote and we will
vote for change. And to vote for change is to vote for the MDC, it is to
vote for Morgan Tsvangirai and it is to vote against Robert Mugabe because
he has proved over and above all else that he is not fit to govern this
country," he said.
Meanwhile, incumbent President Robert Mugabe reportedly said yesterday
(Sunday) that he is prepared to hand over power to a member of the ruling
ZANU-PF party when he is sure the country was safe from what he described as
sellouts and from colonialist British interference.
June 16, 2008
By Business Correspondent
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s long and uninterrupted period of economic decline is set to slow down if a new government comes in power after the presidential election run-of on June 27.
Over the past ten years the economy has been cruising in reverse gear courtesy of President Robert Mugabe’s inconsistent and skewed economic and political policies.
In Zimbabwe, most streets are paved with discarded Zimbabwean dollar notes. And nobody is bothering to pick them up
With the highest inflation rates in the world (1 700 000 percent) and financial chaos at both government and street level, local currency has become a conundrum, even a joke, to many Zimbabweans. About 80 percent of the population are said to be unemployed and living below the poverty line, according to figures from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
Jacob Kawara a young professional in Harare has resorted to cutting branches from decorative street trees to fuel a meagre breakfast fire in his kitchen for porridge. “I wake up with no idea what anything will cost. My commuter omnibus driver is also in the dark. All we can agree is that my trip to work will cost more,” he said.
As the brutal government crackdown on the MDC continues and widens its net, there is no indication that what Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank Governor, has dubbed “the inflation monster” and “economic HIV” will be curbed, or that the Zimbabwean ordeal will end.
The International Monetary Fund described government’s inflation figures as “understated” and said that the inflation figure were, in fact, over 2 300 000 percent at the end of April. Economic analysts in Zimbabwe say that the actual rate of inflation could have reached 2 000 000 percent.
Mugabe, 84, continues to launch verbal attacks on the West, particularly Britain. He blames sanctions for his country’s economic and social collapse. The sanctions, imposed by Western powers after widespread malpractice in the 2002 presidential polls, specifically target Mugabe and members of his inner circle and have a negligible influence on the economy, opposition groups say.
Running a business in a hyper-inflationary environment brings with it huge
problems, unknown in the West.
Commodity prices have soared in response to inflation figures.
Shops and supermarkets witness scenes reminiscent of the cartoon series Wacky Races as shoppers run to grab products from shelves ahead of supermarket staff hurrying to attach the new day’s price tags.
Supermarket tills, cash machines and wallets fail to accommodate the large number of bills now needed to purchase basic commodities
The graph above and the table show Zimbabwe’s inflation figures from January 2000 to April 2008.
Please Click The Table To View Full Size Table:
By Investigations Unit ⋅ zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 15, 2008
Amos Midzi former ZANU PF Minister of Mines and Energy who lost to the MDC
was seen in Epworth on the 9th June with a ZUPCO bus full of Border Gezi
youths to beat up people. 7 new 4 x 4 Nissan hardbody pick up trucks (no
registration plates) were with the bus.
When victims reported to Police they were told that they were not allowed to
open any dockets for MDC complainants, but they should “go and revenge”.
YC of 24 Epworth was at home alone on 11th June, 2008 with her little boy
(2) when ZANU PF youths came to her house, destroyed roof and windows and
took her and her child to the base. En route they beat her with sticks and
open hands then raped her. She was blindfolded and raped again at the base.
She and her child released at 5 am. The perpetrators were George Rokias and
A 38 year old LM from Epworth who is 2 months pregnant was attacked by a
group of ZANU PF militia who came to her house, beat her with sticks, burned
her hands with hot wire, burned her home and stole her cell phone. She was
then taken with MM (22) to a nearby grave yard where she was raped
three times by Petros Sibanda, T. Chitambu, Shingi. They urinated on her,
put their penises in her mouth and smeared semen all over her face. Her
breasts were kicked and are very bruised.
An MDC polling agent was also raped by one of the men. They were told they
were lucky that they were not being taken to the ZANU PF bases.
One of the bases in Epworth where beating and tortures take place is at ZANU
PF Chairman Garagara’s home.
At 1500 hrs today (Sunday the 15th) Bernard Kondo, the MDC Councillor for
Mutoro Ward in Chivhu district was abducted from his relaitives house at
number Kuwadzana township in Harare where he was in hiding. 10 men, wearing
ZANU PF T shirts and riding in 3 unmarked white twincab pickups without
numberplates were responsible for the crime. His whereabouts is still
"As we bid farewell to Lieutenant-General Chingombe, we remain mindful of the fact that Zimbabwe's sovereignty is under threat and challenge. The flag he hoisted is once again threatened. We have become the focus of Britain, America and their European allies. As I address you, Mr Bush has provided US$7 million for the opposition's use coming through indirect means. Mr Brown, the Prime Minister of Britain, continues to interfere in our internal affairs, making us a subject matter, a very regular one, of British policy as if we remain a permanent colony of Britain. So the enemies we fought yesterday are with us again.
Once again, we want to make it clear to the British and Americans that we are no one's subject, and never will be. We are the subject of ourselves, and we belong to ourselves. This country shall not again come under the rule and control of the white man, direct or indirect. We are masters of our destiny. Equally, anyone who seeks to undermine our land reform programme, itself the bedrock of our politics from time immemorial, seeks and gets war. On these two interrelated matters we are very clear. We are prepared to go to war. We are prepared to fight for our country if we lose it that same way it was lost nanaMbuya Nehanda.
As a people, we must define clear political taboos, clear boundaries for
rituals of governance. It cannot be right to sanctify and celebrate the
institution of opposition when its politics go against the very essence of our
nationhood.... It cannot be right when interests of hostile foreign powers
overturn and subvert the will of our people in the name of democracy. Surely,
democracy cannot mean the right to pawn sovereignty. Sovereignty is not and
cannot ever be a property for any outsider."
These are extracts from remarks made by Mugabe at the burial of Retired Lieutenant-General Amoth Nobert Chingombe on June 14 2008. Source: Sunday Mail (Harare) June 15 2008
"Let us take the initiative in the areas of development that we wish to pursue. Kwete kuti Zanu-PF yagarisa ngaichibva [We should not be seen to complain that Zanu-PF has been in power for too long]. We are the custodians of Zimbabwe's legacy. We will only pass this on to those we know are fully aware of the party's ideology; those who value the country's legacy. We will pass on leadership to them, telling them to go forward. But as long as the British still want to come back here, I will not grow old; until we know we no longer have sellouts among us.
If there are (opposition) parties that go to the people promoting what they have to offer, that's fine. But not those that are used by the Americans and the British to reverse the revolution."
You should consider carefully. Did you consider carefully (in the last election) or you were moved by prices? This is voting against yourselves. We have walked a long way with Zanu-PF. Zanu-PF fought for you, for our rights, land and for a bright future. This legacy should not simply be vanquished by the stroke of a pen at the ballot just because ‘I am not getting any basic goods'. That is not the way to do it.
Did you vote with the knowledge of what this party stands for? Is this what you want - colonialists to come back? So why then did our ancestors and cadres die? This country cannot be sold by the stroke of a pen...
Let us have straight politics. Let us not support the lost, let us not support charlatans. Let us remember our journey, our struggle. Let us unite. Let us not disown our family because of high prices, lack of jobs and goods as well as transport problems....
Some want to destroy Government. They say people, if they suffer, will turn against Government and vote against them just as you did. That is what the British want. But we want the sanctions to end."
First Lady Grace Mugabe:
"The President works hard for us. But often one does not appreciate what they have until it's gone. We are blessed with a leader who understands our needs. Let us not be sellouts. We are not voting for President Mugabe, but we are voting for Zanu-PF and our country; for what Zimbabwe stands for. Let us remain united, and do this for the future generations."
These are extracts from the remarks of Robert and Grace Mugabe to a rally at Pfupajena Stadium in Chegutu on June 14 2008. Source: Sunday Mail (Harare) June 15 2008
June 16 2008
If they were capable of watching David Milliband interviewed on the Andrew
Marr Show yesterday, the people of Zimbabwe must have been immensely
comforted by his response to an inquiry as to how the British government
should respond to current events in their country. Mr Milliband used the
word "sadism" in relation to the oppression of Robert Mugabe's opponents and
went on to assure us that our government is supporting opposition to the
tyrannical regime there, will call for an increase in the number of election
monitors and will continue to seek the intervention of the United Nations to
resolve the situation. How inspiring!
It may have escaped the notice of the Foreign Secretary, but Robert Mugabe
simply rides roughshod over the opposition, regardless of its support from
outwith Zimbabwe's borders, intimidates and ignores election monitors and
does not care one jot for the United Nations.
It would be interesting to know how our government rates the desperation of
the population of Zimbabwe in comparison to that of the Iraqi people prior
to the invasion of that country. If there was any justification for an
invasion of Iraq, how much more compelling must be the case for direct
action to end the "sadism" being perpetrated against the people of Zimbabwe
by their own rulers. Is government dithering part of the "ethical foreign
policy" we were promised in 1997?
John Kelly, Glasgow
By Norbert Jacobs ⋅ zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 15, 2008
Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and Grace Machel are among 40
prominent African personalities who have signed an open letter calling for
an end to the current political violence in Zimbabwe, and for a free and
fair second round in the presidential election.
The letter was published here on Metro
The letter declares “we are deeply troubled by the current reports of
intimidation, harassment and violence. It is vital that the appropriate
conditions are created so that the Presidential run-off is conducted in a
peaceful, free and fair manner. Only then can the political parties conduct
their election campaigning in a way that enables the citizens to express
freely their political will”.
The signatories call, not only for an immediate end to violence, but for the
restoration of “full access for humanitarian aid agencies”. The regime of
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has shut down the operations of
international NGOs, even though an estimated four million Zimbabweans
(almost a third of the entire population) are in need of food aid.
It is feared that, by concentrating distribution of food aid in its own
hands, the regime plans to use food as a weapon against opposition voters.
The letter also calls for “an adequate number of independent electoral
observers, both during the election process and to verify the results”.
However, Mugabe’s government has banned most independent organizations,
including the Commonwealth, the Carter Centre and even the SADC (Southern
African Development Community) Parliamentary Forum, from observing the
The letter states that Zimbabweans “fought for liberation in order to be
able to determine their own future. Great sacrifices were made during the
liberation struggle. To live up to the aspirations of those who sacrificed,
it is vital that nothing is done to deny the legitimate expression of the
will of the people of Zimbabwe”. This is a clear rejection of the regime’s
claim that only the ruling ZANU-PF can claim the mantle of the liberation
struggle and represent the will of the people.
That Chissano has signed this letter is of considerable significance, since
in the past he has been very close to Mugabe (and was Mugabe’s best man at
his marriage to his second wife, Grace). Chissano has been most reluctant to
criticize Mugabe, and the fact that he put his name to this letter shows
that there are very few figures of any stature left on the international
stage who are prepared to support Mugabe’s current behaviour.
A second Mozambican signatory is Graca Machel, the wife of former South
African President Nelson Mandela, and widow of Mozambique’s first President,
Samora Machel. Without Machel’s commitment to the Zimbabwean liberation
struggle, allowing ZANU to operate from Mozambican soil, it is rather
unlikely that Mugabe would ever have attained power.
Other signatories to the letter include the two former UN general
secretaries from Africa, Kofi Annan and Boutros Ghali, and Nobel laureates
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Wangari Maathai of Kenya.
17 former heads of state and government signed the letter - several of them
from SADC and thus well known to Mugabe. They include former Zambian
President Kenneth Kaunda, two former Tanzanian Presidents, Ali Hassan Mwinyi
and Benjamin Mkapa, and two former Botswana Presidents, Quett Masire and
Signatories from the arts include world-renowned Senegalese musician Youssou
N’dour. The man who is arguably the most powerful trade unionist in Africa,
Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the South African Congress of
Trade Unions (COSATU) also signed the letter.
The letter was published on the same day that Botswana became the first SADC
member to publicly condemn the crackdown against leaders of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The Botswanan Foreign Minister, Phandu
Sekelemani, summoned the Zimbabwean Ambassador to Gaberone, Thomas
Mandigora, to warn him that Thursday’s detention of MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai while he was campaigning and the arrest of MDC general secretary
Tendai Biti on treason charges were ‘unacceptable’.
“Botswana is alarmed by these arrests and detentions as they disrupt
electoral activities of key players and intimidate the electorate, thus
undermining the process of holding a free, fair and democratic election,’
Sekelemani said in a statement. “We are deeply disturbed by this unfolding
situation of politically motivated arrests and intolerance which pose a
serious threat to an outcome that reflects the will of the people of
Additional reporting from Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique
HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 15, 2008
We are deeply concerned by the constant obstacles of which the opposition
candidate is victim in his election campaign. In addition to repeated
detentions, the authorities this Friday, June 13, seized Mr. Tsvangirai?s
two campaign buses. These acts seriously undermine the fundamental right of
free expression of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). We condemn
these machinations and ask the Zimbabwean authorities to restore immediately
the conditions for a free and transparent election process.
We are also very concerned by the charges of treason that reportedly led to
the arrest on June 12 of MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti.
Mr. Biti must be released immediately and must take part freely in the
We welcome the arrival of the first SADC monitors in Zimbabwe on June 12. We
hope that their southern Africa, AU and ECOWAS colleagues arrive as soon as
possible. More generally we call on the African Union and the SADC to
guarantee a free and transparent democratic election in accordance with the
principles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples? Rights and the joint
EU-Africa strategy. The present situation requires an international presence
as quickly as possible and as large as possible, especially in the
We hail in this regard the remarkable work by the ZESN (Zimbabwe Election
Support Network) in the first round of the election and ask the Zimbabwean
authorities to speed up the accreditation of this association. We also ask
the authorities to ensure that the ZESN monitors can move around in
satisfactory conditions so they can carry out their mission.
We reiterate our deep concern at the decision of the authorities to suspend
the activities of all NGOs in the country. We ask them to rescind it
immediately. The country?s economic and social situation makes nearly half
the country?s population dependent on food aid and medical assistance. We
warn against any measure that could threaten the very survival of the
We noted with satisfaction the appeal made this Friday, June 13, by about 40
prominent individuals for a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. Respecting
these conditions will indeed be the only way to guarantee the legitimacy of
this election. We subscribe fully to this appeal.
SOURCE : France - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
African Press Organization (APO)
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 16, 2008
CANBERRA, Australia: Australia's foreign minister condemned Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe's campaign of intimidation ahead of June 27
elections and called on his African neighbors Monday to ensure a fair vote.
"The primary responsibility in efforts to seek to ensure a full and free and
fair election in Zimbabwe rests in the first instance on Zimbabwe's
neighbors," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told Parliament.
"We again urge those nation states to leave no stone unturned to stop the
campaign of violence and intimidation and fear and to allow a full, free and
fair expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people," he added.
Smith called on Zimbabwe's neighbors, including the Southern African
Development Community states, which are providing election observers, to
pressure the Mugabe regime to allow a fair presidential runoff against
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on June 27.
Smith said Australia would consider increasing economic and travel sanctions
targeting the Mugabe regime.
Tsvangirai placed first in the March 29 election, but official results show
he fell short of the 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff.
Since then, Mugabe - oblivious to a rising tide of world censure - has
steadily tightened the screws on the electorate.
Opposition supporters say they have been arrested, burned out of their
homes, beaten and killed. Foreign diplomats trying to investigate the
violence have been harassed by police.
June 16, 2008 - 8:28AM
Two West Australian federal MPs have decried the worsening situation in
Zimbabwe where President Robert Mugabe has threatened war against his
The veteran Zimbabwean leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence
from Britain in 1980, has threatened to go to war to stop the opposition
winning the nation's presidential election.
``A lot of people are very concerned about it, I'm personally concerned
about it,'' Liberal MP and former South African Dennis Jensen told reporters
``I just find the situation in Zimbabwe disgraceful. What Mugabe has got to
do is just go for the sake of his own people.
``When it comes down to it, it's war against his own people.''
Fellow WA Liberal Don Randall told reporters ``there's an absolute disgust
at Mugabe trying to steal back a democratically-elected result''.
Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 15 Jun 2008
By Bathandwa Mbola
Pretoria - The South African government has again raised concerns on the
political violence in Zimbabwe ahead of the forth coming run-off round of
the Presidential election set to take place on 27 June.
Briefing the media at the Union Buildings on Friday, Foreign Affairs Deputy
Minister Aziz Pahad told reporters that the arrests of opposition leaders
and violence needed to be address urgently.
He said President Thabo Mbeki, the South African Development Community
(SADC) mediator, took up these issues with Zimbabwean leaders as he normally
does on a regular basis.
The SADC observer delegation, which was substantially increased, will
collaborate with other observers from the United Nations to monitor the
recent political violence while trying to resolve tensions, he said, adding
that the SADC and other observer missions had a responsibility to deal with
Mr Pahad said there are frameworks and processes that enable all these
matters to be raised officially with the facilitation [team].
"It is now up to the relevant structures to deal with these concerns. All
these issues, any issue whether it's the arrests or the violence, that
impact on the possibility of a free and fair election have to be dealt with
through the facilitation.
SADC observers will not only be observing the voting but intervening where
there are acts of violence in an attempt to disrupt a free and fair election
process, explained Mr Pahad.
He, however, said the South African government hopes that the rule of law
and the will of the people must prevail.
"It is our task to make sure that we can get to a situation where the people
would feel free so that they can cast their votes."
South Africa is working with the rest of the world, especially the SADC and
the African Union (AU) to ensure that the elections are free, fair and
President Mbeki on Wednesday also raised serious concerns on the issue.
President Mbeki called on all parties involved to discontinue any action
that may serve to detract from the objective of having a free and fair
"We will also continue to argue that the people of Zimbabwe will have to
unite to extricate their country from the economic crisis in which it is
immersed, and that we will contribute everything we can to support the
realisation of this objective," President Mbeki said in Parliament.
He said South Africa would continue to insist that the people of Zimbabwe be
allowed to freely choose their leaders and government, and refuse to
participate in projects based on the notion that they have a right to bring
about "regime change" in Zimbabwe.
President Mbeki has also dispatched senior South African retired generals to
assess the situation in the country and to report back to him. - BuaNews
Financial constraints force them to opt for something else
Zimbabwe's presidential run-off poll might be scrapped this week in
favour of a five-year transitional government.
Monday 16 June 2008, by Bruce Sibanda
It is understood that the move would see the incumbent leader Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change working
together for the first time, with Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as
executive prime minister.
However, sources at the weekend said progress is being hampered by Mugabe
and Tsvangirai jostling for the presidency and wanting to dictate terms
related to the functioning of the government of national unity, sources
claimed this week.
Zimbabwe abolished the position of prime minister in 1987 when Mugabe, then
prime minister, took over as president from Reverend Canaan Banana, who had
been ceremonial head of state since independence from Britain in 1980.
Officials in the MDC were tight-lipped on the exact details of the impending
But Tsvangirai, who was represented by party secretary-general Tendai Biti
at three meetings in Pretoria last week to broker the deal, denied plans to
call off the elections.
"I am here campaigning and meeting our supporters in preparation for the
election, which we will win despite these senseless arrests and acts of
intimidation," he said
He admitted that they met with Zanu PF for talks, "but that was not the
direction of the negotiations."
South Africa's Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi chaired the talks,
in which Mugabe was represented by his justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
and his right-hand man, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Thabo Mbeki is said to have been briefed by a team of retired generals he
sent to Zimbabwe to assess the conditions ahead of the runoff.
"They told him it is impossible to have a free and fair run-off, that the
violence has crippled any chance of a smooth election," a top Zimbabwean
Mbeki has also briefed Zambian leader and SADC chairperson Levy Mwanawasa on
the "worsening" conditions ahead of the polls, which have seen Tsvangirai
arrested several times.
Zambia media reported at the weekend that Mwanawasa's spokesperson, Mike
Mulongoti, saying he had "no information" on the talks.
"I can neither confirm nor deny the talks. I can confirm the facilitator has
had ongoing discussions with the Zimbabwean leadership, but as to what they
discussed, I do not know," he said.
But a reliable source said: "The deal is done and awaits Tsvangirai and
Mugabe's signatures. Both Mbeki and the SADC do not believe the conditions
will produce a free and fair election.
"Mbeki has told Zanu-PF and the MDC that the best way to solve the impasse
is to work together. It is now up to Tsvangirai and Mugabe to put aside
their egos and put the country first."
Another source said: "The sticking point at this stage is that Tsvangirai
wants to be the president and to have the powers to decide who in Zanu-PF he
should be working with. Mugabe, on the other hand, wants Tsvangirai to be
prime minister and he wants to decide who in the MDC he should work with in
the new government."
The news of the impending Kenya-style political settlement comes barely two
weeks before the June 27 polls and as Zimbabwe's economy crashed to new
lows, with funds sorely lacking to finance the run-off.
"There is not even a cent left in the kitty," a senior Zimbabwean government
official said on Friday. "There isn't even money to print the ballot papers,
let alone pay the polling agents.
"In that scenario, a negotiated political settlement makes sense and Zanu-PF
is not hostile to that idea. It's a matter of time," said the official. "I
do not see us going ahead with an election."