By ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 45 minutes ago
HARARE, Zimbabwe - President Robert Mugabe, campaigning for re-election in a
presidential runoff June 27, warned he would not cede power to
Western-backed opponents, the state media reported Monday.
"We shed a lot of blood for this country. We are not going to give up our
country for a mere X on a ballot. How can a ball point pen fight with a
gun?" the Herald, a government mouthpiece, quoted Mugabe as saying.
Speaking in the local Shona language in the central Silobela district
Sunday, Mugabe said the nation threw off colonial domination in a guerrilla
war in 1980, and his party was ready to fight again to stop the pro-Western
Movement for Democratic Change from gaining control of the government, the
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, speaking in London with
President Bush, warned Monday that international election monitors must be
allowed to monitor the runoff or risk having Mugabe's "criminal regime"
steal the election.
"(Mugabe's) criminal cabal ... threatens to make a mockery of free and fair
elections in Zimbabwe," Brown said.
Bush said the U.S. would work with Britain and others to make sure the
runoff poll is conducted to international standards.
"The people of Zimbabwe have suffered under the Mugabe leadership and we
will work with you to ensure this process leads to free and fair elections,
which obviously Mr. Mugabe does not want to happen," Bush said.
Also Monday, the secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change -
the party's No. 2 - continued to be held in the notoriously harsh police
jail in western Harare, his lawyer said.
Tendai Biti did not make a scheduled appearance in court Monday on treason
allegations. Biti had yet to be asked by police to make a formal written
"warned and cautioned" statement, needed before he can be arraigned, said
lawyer Lewis Uriri.
Uriri said police have added two extra charges under the security laws -
insulting the president and making statements intended to bring about
disaffection in the police and security forces, both carrying the penalty of
imprisonment or fine. Biti has to make further written statements on the
additional charges and should be brought to court after that on Tuesday.
Uriri said if Biti was not brought to court, the case would be taken to the
High Court again to request it to order an end to delays that are keeping
Biti in the Matapi police jail in the western township of Mbare.
The police station is known for filthy, harsh conditions used to intimidate
suspects in custody. Uriri said Biti was denied a blanket in freezing
nighttime temperatures in the Zimbabwe winter.
Family members were eventually allowed to provide a blanket, fresh clothing
and food during the weekend, the lawyer said.
The Movement for Democratic Change said the arrest and continued detainment,
without charge, of Biti was "politically motivated" and a part of
"malicious" attempts by Mugabe "to frustrate the election campaign of the
The party also said in a statement that police searched Biti's house in
Harare for more than three hours Monday.
Treason can carry the death penalty. The charge arose from a document in
which Biti allegedly wrote before the election of a "transition strategy" to
take over the government.
Biti is also charged with announcing results of the first round of elections
March 29 in breach of election laws.
Biti has denied violating election laws, saying results showing victory by
the opposition were made public by officers at polling stations.
Concerns have mounted over the runoff in less than two weeks between
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe. Since the first round of
voting March 29, opposition supporters have been attacked and arrested, and
Tsvangirai's attempts to campaign have been thwarted by police.
Tsvangirai has been detained at least six times since he began campaigning
for the runoff. Two campaign buses have been impounded.
Mugabe, meanwhile, has campaigned freely at rallies given prominence by the
dominant state newspapers and state television and radio.
On Sunday, Mugabe accused aid groups of using food handouts as a weapon to
secure votes for the opposition and said they had seized national identity
cards to prevent some people from voting, the state Herald reported.
Independent human rights groups have leveled identical allegations against
Mugabe's party. U.S. officials said last week security forces confiscated a
large U.S. food donation intended for children and gave it to Mugabe
Earlier this month, the government ordered independent aid agencies to stop
all field work, leaving millions of hungry Zimbabweans more dependent on the
1 hour, 7 minutes ago
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Monday
threatened to arrest the leadership of the opposition over an increase in
violence ahead of a June 27 presidential run-off.
"Sooner rather than later we are going to accuse the MDC and the party
leadership of being liable and responsible for those crimes of violence," he
told a rally south of Harare of the Movement for Democratic Change
"We are telling them we will arrest you in broad daylight," he added.
Mugabe, referring to the violence, said "there is now a pattern across the
country that has to stop."
An MDC spokesman responded by throwing the charge of responsibility for the
violence back at the president.
"He is the one who has gone about threatening to go back to war if he
loses," said Nelson Chamisa. "So while he is accusing us of violence, he is
Though Mugabe blames the opposition for the upsurge in violence, the UN has
said the president's supporters are to blame for the bulk of it.
The MDC says more than 60 of its supporters have been killed in a campaign
of intimidation since the first-round election on March 29.
Mugabe's comments came after authorities announced recently they would begin
refusing bail for suspected perpetrators or instigators of violence.
SW Radio Africa (London)
16 June 2008
Posted to the web 16 June 2008
Police officers who voted for the MDC in the early voting that took place
last week have already started being victimised by state agents.
Desperate for votes in the coming presidential runoff poll between MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe, the ruling party is forcing
police officers and soldiers to cast early ballots, in front of their
superiors. This is after warning them that they would be fired if they do
not vote for Mugabe.
Our Bulawayo correspondent Sindiso Dube reported that voting was conducted
for police officers in Matabeleland from Wednesday until Friday. He said
officers who voted for Mugabe were saluted by their superior and told:
"Thank you for serving the nation." Some police officers who were brave
enough defied the order and voted for Tsvangirai. Many immediately fled from
their home areas, while others have been reportedly detained, and some are
Dube reported that Paradzai Tinogorei, a police officer at Rose Camp in
Bulawayo voted for Tsvangirai despite the presence of his superior. He was
given a letter ordering him to appear for a disciplinary hearing at Rose
camp Monday morning. Dube said Tinogorei was also evicted from his house at
the camp and his property was thrown out on Monday. There are reports that
he has either fled or was abducted by state agents.
The officer was last seen on Saturday. His friends told our correspondent
that 2 CIO agents came looking for him over the weekend. They left their
contact numbers at his house, which makes no sense because Dube says the
officer lived alone and would not return knowing his life is in danger.
Mugabe is going to great lengths to ensure a victory in the presidential
runoff poll on June 27th. He has adopted violence and is using food and
other necessities as a political weapon, hoping people will vote for him for
their very survival. But those on the ground say this tactic is backfiring,
and instead strengthening the resolve of those he has victimised to change
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 5:59PM BST 16/06/2008
A gang loyal to President Robert Mugabe has killed two people and left three
more with severe burns in the bloodiest single incident since the first
round of Zimbabwe's presidential election.
Two of the survivors have burns so searing that their faces are mutilated.
They are the latest victims of a national terror campaign launched by Mr
Mugabe to wipe out the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
before the election's final round on June 27.
The least injured of the survivors, Isaac Mbanje, 34, told The Telegraph
about the incident in the village of Zaka, about 180 miles south-east of the
The group was asleep on the floor of a hut after spending a day helping
other MDC supporters to flee more remote villages for the relative safety of
Zaka. Then the gang from Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party broke through the door.
"At first we tried to resist, but they just shot two of our colleagues,"
said Mr Mbanje.
The two who died instantly were Crison Mbano and Washington Nyamwa, both
young opposition activists from Masvingo province, where rural people voted
heavily for Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC's presidential candidate.
"As a result of fear, we all lay still and they sprinkled petrol all over
our bodies and set us alight and then threw a petrol bomb on us," said Mr
"As they sprinkled our bodies, I thought of my wife and children. In my
heart I was praying for a miracle so that I can survive."
The petrol bomb set the three men ablaze and left them rolling in agony
until the inferno subsided. "I somehow managed to put out the fire," said Mr
"We were then taken to St Anthony's Musiso Hospital."
This small rural hospital was unable to care for them and they were
transferred to Zimbabwe's only burns unit in the state-run Harare Hospital.
There was little equipment and almost no medicine.
The bandages and drugs for Mr Mbanje and his fellow victims, Kudakwashe
Tshumele, 22, and Edison Gwehure, 28, were donated by well wishers.
Later, the three men were moved to a private clinic. Asked if he will seek
revenge for his ordeal, Mr Mbanje said: " I will not. God will deal with
When polling day comes on June 27, Zimbabweans will have suffered two months
of savage, state-sponsored repression.
But even if Mr Mbanje manages some recovery from his wounds, he has been
driven from his home constituency, along with perhaps 50,000 other
Zimbabweans, thereby depriving him of his vote.
"If I go there, they will kill me because I know who did this to me," he
Mr Mbanje said he was worried about his colleagues, both far more severely
burnt than he. Tears rolled down his cheeks. "Look at them," he said.
"They are in severe pain, they are not doing well this week and the terrible
attack from Zanu-PF is going over and over in their heads."
SW Radio Africa (London)
16 June 2008
Posted to the web 16 June 2008
There was wanton destruction of property in Mbare on Sunday after Zanu-PF
youths reacted angrily to the visit to Matapi police station by a group of
observers from the Southern African Development Community.
The observers had gone to Mbare on a fact finding mission to investigate the
living conditions that Biti was being held under at the now infamous Matapi
police station, which the regime uses to lock up its political opponents.
The MDC MP elect for Mbare, Piniel Denga said the observers were denied
permission to see Biti, who has only been seen once in public since his
arrest last week Thursday. He was arrested at the Harare International
Airport soon after returning from South Africa where he had been based for
the past two months.
According to Denga, trouble began the moment observers left the station.
Hoards of Zanu-PF thugs, who were monitoring the movement of the observers
from a safe distance, started attacking residents living near the police
"There was mayhem in Mbare. We thought the presence of observers was going
to improve the security situation but it has only made things worse. These
Zanu-PF guys literally told people there was nothing that the observers
could do to stop them from re-educating people to vote wisely on 27th June,"
The Mbare MP said the observers seemed nervous and tense when it became
apparent that Zanu-PF youths were patrolling the area. The observers took
note of the situation and promised to forward their concerns to the head of
the observer mission.
"I have never witnessed such political harassment and intimidation in my
adult life. This has become unprecedented, where they indiscriminately beat
up people with the police watching and doing nothing," Denga added.
In Kadoma, hundreds of people were force marched to attend a rally that was
to be addressed by Robert Mugabe. Our source told us Zanu-PF youths were
moving from door-to-door ordering home owners to attend Mugabe's rally.
Mon, 16 Jun 2008 17:53
Zimbabwe police on Monday searched the home and computer of the opposition's
number two leader, who is facing a treason charge ahead of a 27 June
presidential run-off, his lawyer said.
Tendai Biti, Secretary General of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
opposition, was due in court on Monday, but police were likely to delay the
appearance, said Lewis Uriri.
"Police searched his home and they spent the last three hours going through
his laptop," said Uriri, who was present during the searches.
"It is highly unlikely they will bring him to court today."
Officers took nothing away from the house in Harare and left the computer
there, he said.
Uriri said police may ask the court to allow them to hold Biti longer. He
has not yet been officially charged.
Police are legally allowed to hold suspects for 48 hours, and Biti is
already beyond that limit after having been arrested on Thursday.
His lawyer was also planning to ask the high court to declare further
detention of Biti unlawful, he said.
Police arrested Biti minutes after he arrived back in Zimbabwe from a long
stay in South Africa.
At first they refused to reveal his whereabouts but a court ordered
authorities to bring produce him on Saturday. Bit appeared in good health in
court over the weekend, and Uriri was allowed to meet with him and bring him
food later in the day.
The lawyer said afterwards that Biti had been interrogated continuously for
24 hours following his arrest.
Authorities have said they plan to charge Biti for allegedly authoring a
document said to have contained details of a plot to rig the election.
He is also accused of "communicating and publishing false information
prejudicial to the state" for proclaiming victory for his party in
Zimbabwe's first round March 29 polls ahead of official results.
The treason charge carries a potential death penalty.
The opposition has accused authorities of harassment and "thuggish tactics"
to prevent them from campaigning ahead of the run-off, when MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai will be seeking to topple President Robert Mugabe's
Police have detained Tsvangirai five times over the last couple weeks and
have seized two MDC campaign buses, though one has since been returned.
Violence has also mounted in the approach to the election, and the MDC says
more than 60 of its supporters have been killed in a campaign of
Mugabe blames the opposition for the upsurge in violence, but the UN has
said the president's supporters are responsible for the bulk of it.
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the March first round, but with an official
vote total just short of an outright majority.
Monsters and Critics
Jun 16, 2008, 16:23 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - President Robert Mugabe has indicated clearly for the
first time that he will disregard the result of elections if his Zanu-PF
party loses, according to reports in the state press Monday.
'We fought for this country and a lot of blood was shed,' the
state-controlled daily Herald quoted him as telling a rally on Sunday in
Silobela, a village in the country's central midlands province.
'We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X. How can a
ballpoint pen fight with a gun?'
Senior officials in Mugabe's administration, including top army officials,
have made similar remarks during campaigning ahead of the presidential
run-off between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the head of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party on June 27.
Two weeks ago, Mugabe's wife, Grace, declared publicly: 'Morgan Tsvangirai
will never step foot in state house (the official presidential residence).'
The 84-year-old leader's remarks indicate he has hardened his position in
the last week, while human rights workers and MDC officials report
escalating violence in crowded, poor townships around Harare, where mobs of
Zanu-PF youths dragging people out of their homes at night, beating them up
and forcing them to denounce Tsvangirai.
Legal analysts say Mugabe's threat to fight against a
constitutionally-elected government and president are 'treasonous.'
Tsvangirai and the MDC inflicted the first election defeat on Mugabe and his
party, winning parliamentary elections and taking a majority in the
Official results showed that Tsvangirai had failed to obtain more than 50
per cent of the vote needed for an outright win in the presidential
election, making a run-off necessary.
The MDC says nearly 70 people have been murdered, several of them burned
alive and mutilated, nearly 3,000 have had to be treated in hospital and
25,000 have been driven from their homes.
On Sunday, the Herald quoted Mugabe as saying that thousands of Zimbabweans
had died during the 1973-1979 civil war against white minority rule, and
that 'any attempt to reverse the gains of the struggle would be fiercely
Mugabe claims the MDC is run by the governments of Britain and the United
Observers say his remarks may indicate growing anxiety that he may lose the
election despite the violence in the 10-week campaign period, and
exacerbated by the dramatically accelerating economic decline.
The Zimbabwe dollar trading Monday at 5.2 billion against the US dollar,
compared with Zimbabwe dollars 3.5 billion:1 on Friday.
June 16 2008 at 03:56PM
By Nelson Banya
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has accused foreign aid agencies of
using food as a weapon to try to remove him from power and will investigate
their operations, state media reported on Monday.
Mugabe, whose government ordered aid agencies to stop work on June 4,
has himself been accused by Western countries and human rights groups of
using food as a political tool ahead a June 27 presidential election re-run.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper said Mugabe told a rally on
Sunday that in the absence of the agencies, his government would strive to
provide food aid, badly needed in a once prosperous country that now faces
Mugabe said aid agencies had worked against Zanu-PF in March 29
elections, when the ruling party lost its majority in parliament and
opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the presidential ballot - but
without the majority needed to avoid a run-off, according to official
"Food aid is needed and the government is focusing on that. That is a
need the NGOs exploited, saying 'we are feeding you, so do not vote for
Zanu-PF, vote for the MDC'," Mugabe said, referring to the non-governmental
"So we suspended them and are investigating their operations."
Aid agencies deny interfering in the country's politics, saying the
government's decision to suspend humanitarian programmes has left millions
in dire need of food.
Mugabe, 84, is fighting to keep power which he has held since
independence from Britain in 1980. Critics say the economy has been ruined
by his policies, such as seizing white-owned farms to give to landless
blacks. He blames Western sanctions.
The opposition and rights groups say Zanu-PF has launched a campaign
of violence which has killed at least 66 MDC activists, wounded hundreds
others and displaced tens of thousands since the March 29 ballot.
Tsvangirai has been arrested repeatedly during his campaign and one of
his top lieutenants has been arrested and faces treason charges.
Mugabe blames his foes for violence.
A United Nations senior envoy, assistant Secretary-General for
Political Affairs Haile Menkerios, arrives in Zimbabwe later on Monday for a
five-day visit to assess Zimbabwe's political and humanitarian crisis ahead
of the run-off vote.
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:58 AM on 16th June 2008
The British Government will call for Zimbabwe's
power supplies to be cut off if president Robert Mugabe rigs the election, it
Diplomats and allies are urging South Africa to block
electricity lines to the country amid fears Mr Mugabe will cling to office.
The 84-year-old ruler has threatened violence if the
opposition party wins the election run-off on 27 June.
He warned last week that supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party will take up arms to stop the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) taking over.
Fears escalated further after he openly vowed that the MDC will 'never rule Zimbabwe' despite gaining almost 50 per cent of the vote in the first elections in March.
Now urgent plans for sanctions are being drawn up to head off a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis. Diplomats are considering a ban on the children of Zimbabwe's elite going to school in Europe if Mr Mugabe loses but refuses to step down.
Bank accounts and assets held in the US and Europe could be frozen and all aid could also be halted.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is also hoping to persuade Zimbabwe's neighbours to create an economic blockade.
Some of Zimbabwe's electricity comes from South Africa and diplomats believe they might be able to persuade the South African government to restrict or turn off the supply. Vital imports also come through Mozambique and South Africa.
One diplomat said: 'One way or another, this summer
is likely to mark the endgame for Robert Mugabe.'
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, won the first round of elections in March but with slightly fewer votes than he needed to secure the presidency.
The Mugabe regime has since unleashed thugs, war veterans and police to intimidate and beat up opposition supporters before the second poll.
At least 66 MDC supporters have reportedly been
killed, Mr Tsvangirai has been arrested five times, and his senior aide Tendai
Biti was charged with treason.
Mr Mugabe said over the weekend: 'We shall never, never accept anything that smells of ... the MDC. These pathetic puppets taking over this country? Let's see. That is not going to happen.'
'We are prepared to fight for [ Zimbabwe] if we lose it in the same way that our forefathers lost it. We are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war if we lose it the same way our ancestors lost it.'
Foreign secretary David Miliband described his actions as 'sadism' and lobbied UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon to take action.
A third of Zimbabwe's four million people are reliant
on food aid yet the regime has banned relief organisations from distributing
Political violence has spread from the countryside to urban areas around the capital Harare. Some opposition supporters today complained of being attacked in a township near the city.
Mon Jun 16, 10:10 AM ET
LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown slammed Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe on Monday, calling his regime "desperate and
criminal" and saying he must not be allowed to "steal" the election.
Backed by US President George W. Bush, who said Mugabe did not want to have
free and fair elections, Brown said his recent behaviour was "totally
During talks at the prime minister's Downing Street office, Brown and Bush
discussed the build-up to the June 27 presidential election run-off between
Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Brown reiterated a his desire for more international monitors to oversee the
He told reporters: "In recent weeks, under Robert Mugabe's increasingly
desperate and criminal regime, Zimbabwe has seen 53 killings, 2,000
beatings, the displacement of 30,000 people, the arrest and detention of
opposition leaders, including Morgan Tsvangirai, and this is wholly
"Mugabe must not be allowed to steal the election that is now less than two
"And that is why we call for Zimbabwe to accept a United Nations human
rights envoy to visit Zimbabwe now, and to accept the international monitors
from all parts of the world who are available to ensure that this is a free
and fair election."
Mugabe has blamed the opposition for the surge in violence ahead of the
vote, but the United Nations has said the president's supporters are largely
Bush told Brown: "You obviously are emotional on the subject and I don't
blame you, because the people of Zimbabwe have suffered under Mugabe
"We will work with you to ensure these good folks have free and fair
elections to the best extent possible, which obviously Mr Mugabe does not
want to have."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and U.S. President George Bush have
condemned the ongoing pre-election violence in Zimbabwe and urged the government
in Harrare to accept international election monitors. Tendai Maphosa has more in
this report from London.
16 June 2008
U.S. President Bush (l) is seen at a press conference
with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (r) at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office in London, 16 Jun 2008
Mr. Brown said everything should be done to make sure the poll reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people.
"Mugabe must not be allowed to steal the election that is now less than two weeks away, and that is why we call for Zimbabwe to accept a United Nations human rights envoy to visit Zimbabwe now, and to accept the international monitors from all parts of the world who are available to ensure that this is a free and fair election," he said.
Mr. Brown's strong words come amid growing reports of increased government-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe and massive intimidation and harassment of voters and opposition supporters.
President Bush said the U.S. government would support all efforts to bring about free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
"The people of Zimbabwe have suffered under Mugabe's leadership and we will work with you to ensure that these good folks have free and fair elections to the best extent possible, which obviously Mr. Mugabe does not want to have," he said.
President Bush and Prime Minister Brown are among a growing number of voices expressing alarm over events in Zimbabwe. Last week, 40 prominent Africans, including former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, signed an open letter calling for free and fair elections.
Kofi Annan (22 Apr 2008 file
"Whoever wins the elections, we hope the result will be announced promptly by the electoral commission, and that anyone who tries to come into power through fraudulent elections will have a price to pay," he said. "I think the people of Zimbabwe and the Africans will not accept it and he will not have legitimacy to rule, and the international community will not accept him either."
The June 27 poll follows the result of the March 29 election, in which opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the most votes. But Zimbabwe election officials say he did not win the necessary majority to claim the presidency.
Mr. Mugabe recently threatened war to stop the opposition from coming to power. He describes the Movement for Democratic Change as traitors being used and sponsored by the British to recolonize Zimbabwe. The opposition party and Britain deny his charges.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and U.S. President George Bush have
condemned the ongoing pre-election violence in Zimbabwe and urged the government
in Harrare to accept international election monitors. Tendai Maphosa has more in
this report from London.
Monsters and Critics
Jun 16, 2008, 17:37 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - Police failed again Monday to bring Zimbabwean
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary general Tendai
Biti to court after five days in jail without appearing before a magistrate,
Biti was seized and handcuffed by five men in plainclothes as he arrived at
Harare airport after a two-month absence from Harare following the March 29
elections, and was charged with treason, which carries the death sentence.
Police have said the charges stem from an alleged MDC policy document leaked
to the state press in April and said to have been written by Biti - which he
immediately dismissed as a fraud - but did not specify what was treasonous.
Lawyers were applying late Monday to the high court for an order declaring
his continued detention 'unlawful,' and another order for his immediate
'We were expecting he would go to court today, but he didn't,' lawyer Lewis
Uriri said. 'Instead they brought two new charges against him.'
Both stemmed from the 'fraudulent' document, he said.
He was accused of 'causing disaffection' in the security forces and the
second charge was for insulting President Robert Mugabe.
It says that in the disowned document he described Mugabe as 'an evil man
who should be arrested and handed over to The Hague' international court of
Biti, a senior lawyer, was kept for the first two nights of his detention in
a police station outside Harare notorious for its torture cells and was
allowed to see lawyers and receive food and blankets on Saturday.
June 16, 2008
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - The government of Zimbabwe has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew over
the Bikita and Zaka districts of Masvingo Province where at least seven
people have been killed in political violence since the March 29 elections.
Villagers in the two troubled districts can no longer move around between 6
pm and 6 am. Heavily armed police and army units have been deployed in parts
of the two districts, ostensibly to prevent further bloodshed.
There are reports that Zanu-PF militia and war veterans deployed by the
party have resorted to looting of property from villagers. Villagers in the
area have also accused the deployed security forces of perpetrating most of
The officer commanding Masvingo East district chief superintendent Letwin
Matapura confirmed that a 12-hour curfew has been imposed by the government.
"We have imposed this measure to ensure that property is protected together
with the lives of the ordinary people", said Matapura.
"These politically motivated cases are committed at night and therefore we
have called on all villagers to remain indoors after 6 pm so that we can
arrest the culprits."
"We are no longer allowed to move around after 6 pm ", said Stanley Chabvepi
a former councillor in Bikita. "Villagers are only allowed to move around
after 6am. The situation resembles a war zone and nearly all known MDC
supporters have been displaced."
The Zanu-PF youth militia and war veterans were deployed in rural districts
of the country where they are now accused of unleashing a reign of terror
while campaigning for President Robert Mugabe.
"The war veterans and youth militia are now demanding food from villagers
and at times they loot our food and property", said Naison Garauzive of
Meanwhile the MDC led by presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday
said it was failing to cope with the welfare needs of its displaced
"All our agents in the rural areas in Masvingo during the March 29 elections
have been displaced due to violence", said Wilstaff Stemele the party's
Masvingo provincial chairman.
"Everyday we receive over 100 people who have been evicted by Zanu-PF
supporters and we are now failing to cope with the welfare of these people.
"The displaced people need accommodation and food ".
Violence has marred the run-up to the presidential run-off which pits
incumbent leader President Mugabe against the winner of the first round
Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC.
The general forecast is that Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980 is
headed for a second defeat at the polls in three months, as Zimbabweans
accuse him of presiding over the collapse of the country's economy and now
of orchestrating the widespread violence that has engulfed Zimbabwe ahead of
the election next week.
Mugabe has cast a dark pall over the outcome of the election by vowing that
he will not concede defeat, should Tsvangirai emerge victorious.
Monday, 16 June 2008 13:09
Lowveld News 14th June 2008
The manager of Bikita Minerals, Nigel Macphail and his girl friend
Susara Van Greunen were severely assaulted by some 60 ZANU PF militia at the
mine offices on the 12th June. It seems that there were two reasons why they
were assaulted, the first being that they were MDC supporters and the second
reason was because Susara took workers who had been beaten by the same
militia the day before to Masvingo Hospita, for treatment of wounds
inflicted on them.
Nigel had been told that they were not to assist the injured workers.
The owners have also been given 10 days to pack up and leave the mine.
The Bikita police had prior warning of the impending attacks, but were
ordered not to respond. The Masvingo Province Governor Willard Chiwewe who
is a staunch ZANU PF and is on the Board of Directors of Bikita Minerals
also knew of the impending attacks but refused to intervene.
The mine is situated 80km to the East of Masvingo on the Birchenough
Some 20 armed militia attacked and burnt part of the Mutari Holiday
Resort complex on the banks of the Save River. The resort is run by the MDC
winning candidate Mr Mililo. The winning MDC councilor for that ward with
some employees were severely beaten and a lot of bedding and equipment was
stolen. Mr Mililo fled to South Africa a week ago when he received death
threats from the militia.
In the Maranda communal area on the night of the 12th June, two people
were bludgeoned to death by the militia after being forced to swear
allegiance to ZANU PF and 50 others were badly beaten. The police did
respond at first but were prevented and threatened by the militia; they have
asked for reinforcements so that they can safely investigate this attack.
On the night of the 13th June, Chris Muzenda's house was burnt to the
ground, he was not there at the time and the report indicated that no one
Monday, 16 June 2008 13:17
ZANU PF militia boosted by hundreds of mostly unwilling youths made
their way from Zaka communal area to Chiredzi town 200km South of Masvingo
on Friday and Saturday. The violence started on Friday night and went on
into the next day; youths beat up many people in the Flea markets and robbed
them of their goods and money, including forex. Three police officers were
also badly beaten yesterday and no arrests were made. The Chiredzi police
station on Sunday was full of bleeding people trying to get the police to
react. The Chiredzi police admitted that they were unable to enforce the
laws, because they had been given instructions not to intervene and not to
arrest any ZANU PF officials or Youth.
The person who was leading and organizing the militia was Ronald
Ndava, who is the ZANU PF winning candidate for Chiredzi North and his wife
is one of the Magistrates in Chiredzi.
The militias are still in and around Tshovani Township in Chiredzi
Reports are coming in from the Chiredzi and the Save Conservancies
that militia and war vets are forcing staff to shoot meat for them.
Bubi Village Garage Motel was subjected to a ZANU PF re-education day
on Saturday where all the staff were taken into the bush for the day and
harassed, beaten and made to swear their allegiance to the party and Mugabe.
SW Radio Africa (London)
16 June 2008
Posted to the web 16 June 2008
Former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan has called on the
African Union to step up its efforts to resolve the political, humanitarian
and economic crises in Zimbabwe.
He was speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Africa Progress Panel in
London on Monday and said "greater and more consistent efforts," as well as
leadership by individual African governments and the international community
as a whole are crucial to put a stop to ongoing atrocities ahead of the
election run-off on June 27th.
Annan strongly criticised the vicious clamp-down on aid agencies working in
the country and said it is vitally important that the government "should not
stand in the way of aid getting to the people."
He echoed global leaders, including US President George Bush and British
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, by calling for free and fair elections, and
said that attempts to intimidate and prevent the opposition from holding
rallies need to be stopped to achieve this end.
He warned: "Anyone who tries to come into power through fraudulent elections
will have a price to pay. I think the people of Zimbabwe will not accept it
and the international community will not accept him either."
Annan is one of forty prominent leaders and influential celebrities to put
their name to an open letter issued last week to put pressure on Robert
Mugabe and Zanu PF to end their brutal campaign against the opposition and
He said in London on Monday that he hopes the letter will encourage
Zimbabweans and regional leaders "to step in and press for the right action
to be taken by the government."
The former UN head added that the focus will need to shift to what happens
beyond the elections, and said it is important for the future of the country
for Zimbabweans to come together and reconcile under a new leader.
He said: "The nation needs to be healed, it needs to be reconciled and they
need to come together for the future of their country and to rebuild."
SW Radio Africa (London)
16 June 2008
Posted to the web 16 June 2008
Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has lashed out at South African
President Thabo Mbeki, accusing him of being obviously reluctant to quell
the situation in Zimbabwe.
Tutu was speaking during an interview with news service, Al Jazeera on
Sunday. He said Zimbabweans "are not happy with the way Mbeki has handled
the crisis," and that Mbeki, "chose to remain silent even when Zimbabwe's
crisis was at fever pitch".
Mbeki has been widely criticised for his on-going policy of 'quiet
diplomacy,' as well as his apparent support for Robert Mugabe. The South
African president has also in the past actively distanced himself from the
crisis, and only publicly condemned ongoing violence there for the first
time last week.
In Sunday's interview, Tutu said Mbeki could have used his power as the
current mediator of the crisis by warning Mugabe against dictatorial acts.
The elderly but much respected laureate said he will ask former United
Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to mediate the same way he conducted
mediation during the Kenyan post-election violence.
Tutu said Annan is trusted better than anyone else in the world to fill the
role as mediator because of his efforts on Kenya and, "the world can trust
him to do the same in Zimbabwe".
He said it was unlikely that Mugabe will win the election run off on June
27th if the poll is not rigged. But he said it is highly unlikely that the
election will be free and fair as Mugabe has threatened to stage a war if he
Tutu added that Mugabe "should consider a dignified exit from power," and
that his retirement will save many people a great deal of suffering.
SW Radio Africa (London)
16 June 2008
Posted to the web 16 June 2008
The continued detention of MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti under what have
been described as cooked-up treason charges have triggered regional and
Biti was only brought to court on Saturday following a High Court order
sought by his lawyers and granted by Justice Ben Hlatshwayo. Police took him
to court while he was handcuffed and wearing leg irons. Botswana on Sunday
formally protested the detention of Biti and the continued arrests of MDC
president Morgan Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe's ambassador to Botswana Thomas
Mandigora was summoned to explain the continued violation of SADC treaties
on the holding of free and fair elections.
In the last 2 weeks Tsvangirai has been arrested and released on more than 5
occasions as Zanu PF sought to derail his election campaign. Two campaign
vehicles, a bus and a van, adorned with MDC colours were seized by police in
Gweru, with Police claiming they were not properly registered. A week before
a South African registered BMW X5 being used by Tsvangirai was also
impounded by police. A statement issued by Botswana's Foreign Affairs
Minister Phandu Sekelemani said, "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."
On Monday the MDC said police raided Biti's Harare home and searched it for
more than 3 hours. It remained unclear what they were looking for. On
Saturday the court ordered that Biti again be brought to court so as to be
formally charged but police failed to do so. There have been suggestions
they want to charge him with treason for announcing election results before
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and for authoring a discredited document
that sought to change the government illegally. An MDC statement slammed the
failure to bring Biti to court saying it, 'clearly indicates that the charge
of treason on Mr Biti is ludicrous, frivolous and vexatious. The latest move
by the police to search Mr Biti's house is nothing but harassment and
clearly the police are on a fishing expedition.'
Jun 16, 2008 04:30 AM
Craig and Marc Kielburger
A nation once again holds its breath.
As next week's runoff election approaches, the future of Zimbabwe hangs in
the balance. A victory by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai means renewed
hope for a country torn apart by decades of corruption. Another stolen
election by President Robert Mugabe can only lead to more instability and
Most world leaders recognize these stakes. Calls for a peaceful transfer of
power continually grow louder, only to fall on deaf ears in Harare.
Ironically -and unfortunately for Zimbabwe's 12 million people - the one man
who might actually convince Mugabe to step down, South African president
Thabo Mbeki, is also the only man unwilling to speak up.
Mbeki's allegiance to Mugabe is unwavering, despite the Zimbabwe leader's
transformation from liberator to dictator. Their friendship dates back to
the 1980s, when a young Mbeki's task was to improve relations between South
Africa's then banned African National Congress exiles and Mugabe's ZANU-PF
party. (Both fought white rule and won.)
Since then, Mbeki has grown to admire Mugabe, even as he systematically
destroyed Zimbabwe's economy, instilled fear in his citizens, attacked his
opponents and alienated himself from the international community.
"There is an immense respect among people who have fought against the
struggle, both apartheid and colonialism," explains University of Toronto
politics professor Richard Simeon, who has lectured at the University of
Cape Town. "Mugabe was highly respected as a freedom fighter."
This mutual respect gives Mbeki political clout in Zimbabwe, something few
outsiders have. Instead of using it to push for reform, Mbeki has not
publicly recognized Mugabe's campaigns of political intimidation.
Mbeki's declaration that "there is no crisis" following Zimbabwe's initial
election round in March - even as Mugabe's henchmen filled the streets after
Tsvangirai received more votes than the president and a third candidate -
raised eyebrows around the world.
"South Africa was the one country that had the opportunity to bring pressure
on him," Simeon says of the March vote. "(Mugabe) would have reacted to that
more than pressure from any other source."
This ongoing support of Mugabe only adds to the missteps that have left the
South African leader's reputation in tatters. Mbeki is well known abroad for
his absurd declarations that HIV does not cause AIDS and that
anti-retrovirals are poison. This while nearly 1,000 of his citizens die of
AIDS every day.
Under Mbeki, South Africa's impressive economic growth has done little to
ease poverty, with nearly half its population earning only 7 per cent of its
income. Unemployment is at 24 per cent.
This led to an embarrassing party defeat for Mbeki in December, when his
likely successor Jabob Zuma was named the new leader of the ANC - even as
Mbeki remains the country's president.
If Mbeki is going to restore his reputation, next week's runoff in Zimbabwe
is a good place to start.
With voter intimidation continuing, it may be too late to ensure a fair
election, but if he can convince Mugabe to forego any flawed results and
step down - or to at least lessen his grip on power - Mbeki may be able to
repair his legacy.
Mbeki's successor Zuma is openly critical of Mugabe so there is little
chance he would have the same influence in Zimbabwe. The onus is on Mbeki to
act, and to act now.
South Africa is the region's most developed nation, meaning it has a
responsibility to promote democracy. Without that leadership, the people of
Zimbabwe will continue to suffer under the despotic rule of a notorious
A Zimbabwe descended into more post-election turmoil would mean even more
refugees pouring into South Africa, as well as continued instability in an
area that cannot afford to be unstable any longer.
So Mbeki's continent needs him. He has long promoted African solutions to
African problems. This is his chance to ensure just that.
Craig and Marc Kielburger are children's rights activists and co-founded
Free The Children, which is active in the developing world. Online: Craig
and Marc Kielburger discuss global issues every Monday in the World &
Comment section. Take part in the discussion online at
16th Jun 2008 13:35 GMT
By David Baxter
MUTARE - Veterans of Zimbabwe's war of liberation have vowed never to allow
Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, to take over power from President Mugabe
should he win the June 27 election run-off election.
Joseph Chinotimba, one of the top leaders of the war veterans association
aligned to Mugabe, told thousands of Zanu PF supporters at Bambazonke
Business Centre here that Tsvangirai will not be allowed to take over power.
Chinotimba, the national vice-chairman of the war veterans' association and
a member of the Zanu PF central committee, was speaking at the official
launch of the Zanu PF presidential campaign in Manicaland.
Voting for Tsvangirai would "reverse the gains of independence", Chinotimba
told the gathering. He said war veterans would not stand and just watch as
the country was being "taken back to former colonizers".
"We, as war veterans, are geared to retain our presidential candidate and
will not let Morgan Tsvangirai win this election," He said. "Remember, we
went to war for this country and many sons and daughters of this beloved
nation perished as the whites resisted majority rule."
"We will not stand and just watch as the Western-sponsored MDC gives back
this country to the former colonizers."
Chinotimba's threats that the MDC leader will not be allowed to take over
power come in the wake of similar threats issued by top ranking military and
security officials who have publicly declared they will not salute
But such utterances have been roundly condemned by local and international
human rights organization. They say the threats are calculated at
undermining democracy and perpetuate Mugabe's 28-year hold to power.
Mugabe faces Tsvangirai in a run-off election that has been marred by
politically motivated violence which has been blamed on both political
However, human rights groups blame much of the violence on Zanu PF
supporters whom they say, are being backed by the army and war veterans.
Monday, 16th June 2008. 1:33pm
By: Toby Cohen.
ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu called upon the international community to
send a peace keeping force to Zimbabwe as he led a call for freedom in
oppressed countries during a service at St Martin's in the Fields on July 9.
He said: "What's happened? It's a dream turned into the most
horrendous nightmare. And we still say 'for goodness sake Mr President, you've
been president for 20 years, that's enough! How about stepping down? The
people have said thank you for everything that you did but you've mucked up.
You're culpable horrendously. Step down.'
"And I want to repeat my appeal to the international community, the
UN, for goodness sake send a peace keeping force to ensure that people are
not victimised in the way that- we know they are!"
The Archbishop spoke at a service where he blessed three Zimbabwean
statues of the Holy Family and celebrated a new room named after him.
16th Jun 2008 14:55 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
IF ROBERT Mugabe still has one iota of respect for the people of this
country, he will heed the warnings of both local and international
well-wishers and step away from the brink of plunging Zimbabwe into his
worst crisis yet.
His speech to what many believe to be a "rented" or "captive" audience at
the Heroes Acre last Saturday pulsated, not with love for his compatriots,
but with what might be described as a searing aversion to their right to
make their own political choices, 28 years after independence.
He told them, in summary, that if they did not re-elect him president on 27
June, then he will make them pay very heavily.
In fact, what he was saying was: Elect me or I destroy this country.
His desperation to salvage a modicum of dignity and self-respect before his
inevitable exit from the political area is understandable.
So far, only a few of his compatriots can say truthfully that he has led
them into The Promised Land. His much-ballyhooed land reform programme may
have given a few people, probably those politically close to him, the status
of "landed gentry".
But the majority still wallows in the squalor of under-development from
which he and Zanu PF undertook to drag them out on 18 April 1980.
The scene after 27 June should be one of a glittering victory for the
people, a reaffirmation of their right to full nationhood, the right to
shape their own destiny.
It needn't be one in which brother slays brother, sister slays sister and
father, mother and children brawl in public, to the death.
What is at stake is not Mugabe's place in the history of African
emancipation. In the view of some adherents of his in Zanu PF, that may be
Again, it is understandable. Since he took over the leadership of Zanu in
1975, the party was galvanized into action, taking the fight for
independence into the enemy's camp and, with the able and consistent support
of Zapu and the people of the country, eventually triumphed.
It was not a single-handed triumph. Among those who featured were Herbert
Chitepo, Josiah Magama Tongogara and thousands of others who died in battle
and others who returned to the country with him in 1979.
But what the fight was all about was the right of the people to decide their
own destiny, not through bloodshed, but through a civilized, planned and
democratic process denied them under colonialism.
The people didn't bargain for a life president or a man who, once they had
made him their leader, would not leave, unless this was on his own selfish
terms. Yet this is essentially what Mugabe has told the people. If he
believes they will acquiesce to such an arrogant demand, then he might have
another think coming.
The rest of the continent has, until now, seemed stuck in a time warp,
letting Mugabe's supporters kill and maim any citizen who dared to
demonstrate a spirit of independence from Zanu PF dogma. Perhaps some of
them believed sincerely that he, Mugabe, was not a participant in this
blood-letting. Perhaps others believed that his supporters had been provoked
and were engaging in a process that could, under most circumstances, be
deemed to be justifiable on the grounds of self-preservation.
But Mugabe's declaration on Saturday, in which he again harped on the role
of the West in trying to remove him from power, showed that he had made up
his mind: he would not respect the wishes of the people, as long as they did
not conform to his own.
Where does that leave the future of this country? If the people, out of fear
of ruthless retribution, stay away from the polls and Mugabe actually beats
Morgan Tsvangirai, will the rest of the world applaud the result as a
shining example of democracy at work?
Will the United Nations, the European and African Unions, the Commonwealth,
ASEAN and all the other groupings of nations which pride themselves on
sticking to tried and tested methods of peacefully changing leadership from
one person to another, congratulate Mugabe?
And what will the people of Zimbabwe do? Fold their arms in quiet surrender?
Or pour into the streets of the cities and towns - to celebrate Mugabe's
victory or engage in an orgy of destruction to vent their anger?
The war veterans, now being used as cannon fodder by Mugabe, will probably
unleash a wave of violence against the people and there will be corpses in
the streets of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Kwekwe - the opposition
What then? A state of emergency with Mugabe assuming the powers of an
emperor and reinstating his party as the undisputed rulers of Zimbabwe?
But there could be an unexpected turn of events - what if not enough
citizens obeyed the "order to kill" the people?
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. There is still a chance that Mugabe
can be persuaded to be a real patriot, to sublimate his own goal of
achieving immortality as an African legend, by saving his country from
We know there are still men and women in the Zanu PF hierarchy who still
have the vision of a Zimbabwe at peace with itself, at peace with the rest
of the world, a Zimbabwe brimming with the hope of a future bursting with an
ambition to score success after success as a model of African development.
If there are no such individuals left in the party, then the nation is
The major task of "the few good men and women" is to prevail on Mugabe not
to sacrifice the future of the country to appease his own or the egos of
those closest to him who have always cheated themselves believing that
because they fought for the country they practically owned it.
They must be convinced - by whatever means possible - that there have been
such precedents in Africa.
Those who come immediately into view are men such as Mohammed Siad Barre,
Mobutu Sese Seko, Idi Amin, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, Macias Nguema, Habib
Bourguiba, Sani Abacha and Mengistu Haile Mariam (the only one still alive,
thanks to Mugabe).
On the other side are such unforgettable luminaries as Julius Kambarage
Nyerere, who worked with Mugabe during the days of the liberation struggle,
Samora Moise Machel, who did the same, Sir
Seretse Khama, Jomo Kenyatta, Agostinho Neto, Sir Ketumile Masire, and
These men showed the world Africa has real, genuine heroes too, men who
cherish their countries and their compatriots' right to inherit whatever
gifts their land can offer them.
It has always been acknowledged that, for better or for worse, Africa has
had to contend with hostile former colonial forces, some clearly intent on
recolonising the continent one way or another. It is basically how African
leaders formulated their defences against these attempts which determined
their success or failure.
Mugabe's strategy - or the strategy cobbled together by Mugabe and the
people surrounding him - has no guarantee of success.
The one element it lacks which will see it crumbling into the dust of defeat
is the support of the people. All of them can shout themselves hoarse about
sovereignty. the land and empowerment, but as long as they harbour this
contempt for the people's right to choose their own leade4s, they will not
Yet we all know, as the men and women hesitant to support Mugabe must know,
that it doesn't have to end this. The saga of Zimbabwe richly deserves a
June 16, 2008, 09:15
The Solidarity Peace Trust has welcomed the move by about 40 African leaders
to condemn in an open letter the ongoing violence in Zimbabwe ahead of the
presidential run-off election on June 27.
The African leaders include former United Nations (UN) secretary-general,
Kofi Annan; former Anglican leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu; former Botswana
President Festus Mogae; and human rights activist Graca Machel. Solidarity
Peace Trust spokesperson, Professor Brian Rastopoulos, says the open letter
is a good first step.
Meanwhile Britain has likened President Robert Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe to
"sadism" and says South Africa has a responsibility to do more to bring
pressure to bear on its neighbour. Foreign Secretary David Miliband says
countries have a duty to speak frankly about the crisis in Zimbabwe.
He indicated that he was disappointed South Africa was not more willing to
work through the UN Security Council, preferring instead to seek African
solutions. - Additional reporting by Reuters
At Church this morning in Midrand, two men who had just arrived in South
looking for work approached me. They were both experienced teachers and both
were MDC people. They simply told me that they had no choice but to try and
find work in South Africa ? any sort of work, to survive and to send some
funds home to keep their families alive.
They are micros of the flood tide of humanity that is now moving south from
Zimbabwe. Desperately needed at home, committed to their country, but faced
with no other choice but to flee the country of their birth for a squatter
somewhere in South Africa and then to try and eek out an existence doing
whatever they can find to do.
Yesterday I watched Mugabe speak at a funeral in Harare where he said that
would never allow the MDC to take power. There was no doubt about his
? he was very clear and the language graphic. Interviewed on SABC the poor
Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa was asked to confirm that this was the
position of the Zimbabwe government. What else could he say but that the
in SA had misconstrued Mugabe?s remarks!! Nothing could be further from the
truth and S K Moyo knows that full well.
I also watched the SA Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Paghad respond to
journalists at a media briefing and saying that ?all these things? (reports
of violence, illegal detention, denial of ordinary democratic rights) were
responsibility of the SADC observer mission that was now on the ground. He
the mission had a wide mandate. I see that the US has been asked to pay for
SADC mission ? what happened to sovereignty?
Mugabe?s remarks about his declared intent to deny a transfer of power to
MDC no matter what the outcome of the election is both an acceptance of the
fact that he is likely to be defeated and a flat refusal to accept that the
people of Zimbabwe have the right to vote and decide in secrecy as to who
new leadership should be. Here we are three months after the 29th of March
not one of the results of that election has been implemented. Not a single
Council has been sworn into position, not a single MP or Senator has been
in and all Ministers, even those who were defeated in the election, remain
office and drawing their full allowances.
This is a frontal attack on democracy by a full member of the SADC and the
It is a direct challenge to Mbeki and his team of facilitators who have
for 15 months to bring about this very electoral process. All that has been
said and done by anyone with direct responsibility for this shameful state
affairs is to wring their hands ineffectually and say that ?what more could
they do?? Mbeki?s snide remarks in the House of Assembly in Cape Town this
week of ?do you want us to throw stones at Mugabe?? fall into this
category. My personal response would have been that it might help! Certainly
preferable to a bland silence that Mugabe rightly interprets as acceptance
At home the US dollar has cruised to Z$4 billion even with three zero?s
knocked off at the end. A payment through a bank is now halved in valued
it is finally credited to your account. Cash is impossible to come by and
payment of the very large denomination bills by financial institutions
creates problems for both customers and the business community.
There is no food in the markets ? bread is almost unobtainable, maize meal,
the basic staple food, is only available in small quantities and via Zanu PF
political structures ? and I thought that the manipulation of food supplies
was a crime against humanity? Government institutions that can only adjust
their prices after consultation simply cannot keep pace with the situation ?
a return flight on Air Zimbabwe to London is about US$200 ? a real bargain
any language and that is business class!
In the hope that change might happen after the election, many have held on
kept their businesses open, paid staff and sacrificed. If the outcome of the
run off on 27 June 2008 is one that retains the status quo many, if not
will reach the end of their tether.
Recently I have become more and more irritated with the frequent claim by
that the MDC is a puppet of the West ? in particular, Britain and the United
States. Mbeki shares this view even though he knows full well that the MDC
homegrown opposition movement based on a mass membership. Not so, Bright
Mutonga, the Zimbabwean government spokesman at present, went even further
said last week that the US had given MDC and other NGO organizations US$6
million and that Britain had given these same groups over 3 million pounds.
Apart from the fact that the MDC has seen very little funding from any
sources since its inception and very little from the business community and
none at all from the British administration, it is difficult to refute such
puerile arguments. We are not a liberation movement ? but many of our
leadership served in the liberation struggle even helped lead that struggle.
do not want to back to that route as a means of ?regime change? ? we
simply want our democratic rights as citizens of an independent state to be
respected. Is that such a threat to present leadership in many African
that they are prepared to allow Mugabe and his henchmen to get away with the
farce that is taking place here right at this time.
I watched Tendai Biti go to Court on Saturday in chains and shackles ? what
mockery of everything that the South African and SADC leadership is saying
they stand for. Three days ago he was in sponsored talks in Pretoria on the
possibility of a negotiated outcome to the present impasse. He was given
assurances that his personal safety and security would be respected. This is
simply not good enough and I hope that the leaders of the G8 make that point
any African leaders with whom they have to deal in future. At the same time
courage he has showed, the shame is on South Africa!.
If African leadership fails us again on the 27th June, it will be a step too
for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans. If you want a shooting war then so be it, but
not blame us when we start. Do you want South Africa to find itself firmly
fixed on that slippery slope that so many African States have ended up on
to slide into corruption, negative growth, the collapse of economic and
institutions and despotic authoritarian leadership?
Or are we going to see African leadership standing by their numerous
to principle and insisting that the Zanu PF regime step aside and go into
political opposition in a new dispensation. That would make all the
its do or die time.
Johannesburg, 15th June 2008
LUSAKA, 16 June 2008 (IRIN) - Serious concern is mounting in Zambia that a
wave of Zimbabwean immigrants could cross the border escaping worsening
political violence in the aftermath of the country's presidential run-off
election at the end of June.
"There has been a lot of pre-election systematic movement of Zimbabweans
into Zambia, but we may have something like one-third of Zimbabwean
immigrants crossing into Zambia to seek asylum," said Joseph Chilengi,
executive director of the Africa Internally Displaced Persons' Voice,
(Africa IDP Voice) a lobby group championing the rights of displaced
persons. "Zambia seems to be the only country in the region that appears to
be offering a conducive environment for asylum at the moment".
Fears of a dramatic influx have been heightened by Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe's remark at a funeral over the weekend that the main
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), would never lead
Zimbabwe and that he was prepared to "go to war" for his country. "Anyone
who seeks to undermine our land reform programme, itself the bedrock of our
politics from time immemorial, seeks and gets war," Mugabe said.
The dire warnings repeated by Mugabe since last week, have been echoed by
other members of the ruling ZANU-PF party, including Jabulani Sibanda, the
leader of the pro-Mugabe Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association.
"When people go to vote on June 27, their vote should not be secret, it
should be public because the election is now about whether we retain our
independence or surrender it to the British," Sibanda told IRIN. "Zimbabwe
has people who are prepared to lose their lives to defend their sovereignty
South Africa boasts the continent's largest economy and has been the first
choice destination for Zimbabweans fleeing from a more than 80 percent
unemployment rate and an inflation figure unofficially estimated at more
than one million percent. However, recent xenophobic attacks in South
Africa, which left over 60 people dead and tens of thousands displaced, has
seen an exodus of about 25,000 Zimbabweans from South Africa to Zambia,
according to the Red Cross, more than double the number already thought to
be in Zambia.
Last week, the Zambian government granted political asylum to a dozen MDC
supporters, who fled the deteriorating political conditions ahead of the 27
June runoff election.
The 12 Zimbabweans were given full refugee status after undergoing a
screening process, and according to Susan Sikaneta, permanent secretary in
the Zambian Ministry of the Interior, they would be taken to the country's
largest refugee settlement camp, Meheba, in northwestern Zambia, run by the
United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.
"The Zambian government, like any other, is obliged under international
agreements and conventions to provide asylum to people fleeing from their
countries . these people said they were targets of victimisation because
they belong to the MDC. One of them claimed that his father was killed and
as a result, he also feared that he could be the next person to die,"
Zimbabwe's first round presidential election on 29 March was won by the
Morgan Tsvangarai, but he fell short of the required 50 percent plus one
vote for an outright victory, forcing a re-run with Mugabe, who has ruled
Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. Almost 70 people have died in political
violence since March, according to the MDC.
The government's banning at the beginning of the month of NGOs working in
the countryside - on the grounds they are fronts for western powers - has
affected aid assistance to over two million Zimbabweans, according to the
United Nations. The development agency World Vision International, which
like most humanitarian organisations working in Zimbabwe channels its aid
through local NGOs, said it had been forced to suspend relief to 1.6 million
Victims of possible attacks
"Whichever way the election run-off goes, there will still be thousands of
political refugees coming here because the losing group will be victims of
targeted attacks, whether it will be the MDC or the ruling ZANU-PF; a trend
has already been set in motion" said Chilengi of Africa IDP Voice
"Furthermore, the granting of refugee status to Zimbabwean immigrants by the
Zambian government at a time such as this, will in itself generate more
refugees because the message being sent out there is that Zambia as a
country, has a conducive environment to provide asylum to those that are in
The Zambian government does not demand visa requirements from people from
neighbouring countries, which makes it easier for Zimbabwean immigrants to
cross into Zambia.
But Sikaneta said the government had started screening all people entering
the country through the Southern province border posts of Kazungula,
Chirundu and Kariba to avoid abuse of the asylum status facility.
"We know some people may take advantage of the situation to come to Zambia
even when they don't qualify for asylum, but we have an eligibility
committee in place, and our immigration officials and police have been put
on alert at all order posts. On issues of whether we have the capacity to
take care of the perceived influx of Zimbabwean immigrants, I think let's
cross that bridge when we get there, but at the moment it's just important
to note that the Zambian government is adequately prepared for anything,"
Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia's president and chairman of the regional body, the
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), recently said his country did
not have the capacity to host any more refugees, as it was developing its
former camps into skills training centres.
Zambia was host to about 300,000 refugees fleeing the Great Lakes conflicts
and the Angolan civil war during the 1990s. The numbers have since dropped
to about 113,000 following the on-going repatriation of Rwandese, Congolese
and Angolan nationals.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
From: Veritas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2008 12:53:41 PM +0200
[16th June 2008]
Media Coverage of the Election
Obligations of broadcast and print media during election period
Part IVA of the ZEC Act and the ZEC Media Coverage of Elections Regulations [SI 33/2008] contain detailed provisions regulating the conduct of the broadcast and print media in Zimbabwe during the run-up to the election on 27th June [We have prepared a composite document containing all these provisions; it is available on request].
They include the following provisions:-
· broadcasters and print publishers must ensure that:-
· all political parties and candidates are treated equitably in their news media, in regard to the extent, timing and prominence of the coverage accorded to them.
· reports on the election in their news media are factually accurate, complete and fair;
· a clear distinction is made between factual reporting on the election and editorial comment on it;
· political parties and candidates are afforded a reasonable right of reply to any allegations made that are claimed by the political parties or candidates concerned to be false;
· they do not promote political parties or candidates that encourage violence or hatred against any class of persons in Zimbabwe;
· Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation must:-
· ensure that political parties or candidates are invited to present their election manifestoes and policies without being interviewed;
· make time available for election advertisements and distribute it equitably between the political parties and candidates, applying the same terms and conditions and rates to all parties and candidates;
· newspapers are not obliged to accept election advertisements but if they do so for one party or candidate, they must do so for others also, offering the same terms and conditions;
· journalists accredited to cover the election must not do anything whether by way of action, speech, attitude or manner, that may compromise their professional integrity.
Appeals to ZEC against media decisions
Section 10 of the regulations permits political parties and candidates to appeal to ZEC against decisions made by broadcasters and print publishers in relation to election coverage [e.g., rejecting an election advertisement or refusing a right to reply].
ZEC monitoring and reporting on conduct of the media
Section 16G of the ZEC Act states that ZEC must monitor the Zimbabwean news media during the election period to ensure that political parties, candidates, broadcasters, print publishers and journalists observe these media coverage provisions. A report on the coverage of the election by the news media must be included in ZEC's post-election report. [The post-election report must be submitted as soon as possible after the result of the election is announced; it goes to the Speaker of Parliament for prompt laying before Parliament, and also to President and the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Once laid before Parliament the report will become accessible to the public.]
Other monitoring and reporting on conduct of the media
ZEC's statutory monitoring function does not exclude monitoring and reporting by other organisations [ZEC Act, section 16G(3)].
Note: The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe [MMPZ] is doing so and issuing regular reports on election coverage [available from email@example.com].
Media Law Documents offered
[Electronic versions available on request]
· Document containing (1) Part IVA of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act [Media Coverage of Elections] and (2) the Media Coverage of Elections Regulations [SI 33/2005]
· Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, updated
· Broadcasting Services Act, updated
Reminder: Other Election-related legislation and documents offered
[Electronic versions available on request]
· Electoral Act with all amendments
· Electoral Regulations with all amendments [including SI 82A/2008]
· SADC Guidelines
· Code of Conduct for Chief Election Agents, Election Agents and Observers [First Schedule to Electoral Act]
· Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates [Third Schedule to Electoral Act]
· Constitution of Zimbabwe with all amendments
· Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act with all amendments
· Alteration of ss. 39 and 110 of Electoral Act Notice [SI 73A/2008]
· Date of Second Presidential Election Notice [SI 78/2008]
· Proclamation for three 27 June by-elections [SI 79/2008]
· List of Senators and MPs elected in 29 March Poll [GN 72/2008]
· List of Senator Chiefs elected 31 March [GN 73/2008]
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.