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Mugabe's plot to steal presidential vote exposed

The Star

June 17, 2008 Edition 1

Basildon Peta

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will have a comfortable head-start of at
least 130 000 votes through early voting by security officials, sources

They say this is the start of a plan to rig elections by stuffing ballot
boxes in areas where the opposition has been violently removed.

The Independent Foreign Service spoke to several sources in the armed forces
yesterday about their special vote on Friday. They say the spouses and
children of members of the army, air force and police have been forced to
cast ballots, and instructed to do so in favour of Mugabe.

Armed forces members in Zimbabwe are usually asked to cast their votes ahead
of the actual voting day. For the June 27 run-off they were told to fill out
the ballots in front of their station superiors - which the sources say
flouts voting procedures.

Armed forces heads, with police chief Augustine Chihuri in the forefront,
have publicly declared that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
will not be allowed to rule despite winning the March 29 election.

The MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of voting on March 29 with
48% of the votes, against Mugabe's 43%.

The sources estimate that Mugabe could have between 130 000 and 150 000
votes before the June 27 poll.

It is the first step in a comprehensive plan to rig the elections, the
sources claim. State-sponsored violence has forced thousands of Tsvangirai's
supporters to flee their homes in rural and peri-urban constituencies.

They will not be able to vote elsewhere because of a requirement, being
stringently enforced, that voters can cast their ballots only at polling
stations where they are registered. - Independent Foreign Service

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Foreign media choked

Mail and Guardian

Mandy Rossouw and Jason Moyo

17 June 2008 06:00

      The Zimbabwean government slapped an import duty of 40% on
foreign newspapers and magazines and launched a campaign to remove satellite
dishes from homes. Both actions will choke information sources that tell a
different story from that of state-controlled media.

      A special edition of the Government Gazette classified foreign
newspapers as luxury goods, making them subject to the punitive duty.

      Coupled with this measure is a drive in rural areas called
Operation Dzikisai Madhishi ("pull down the satellite dish"). It mainly
affects police camps, because few other rural Zimbabweans can afford
satellite television.

      Rural police officers live with their families in three-roomed
houses with satellite TV access. Zanu-PF said the dishes are being removed
because the police officers tell their communities about violence in other
parts of the country.

      The state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation does not show
the violence or cover the MDC in its news bulletins.

      Said the MDC in a statement: "The regime is determined to cut
off Zimbabweans from the rest of the world by ensuring that they are unable
to receive news from outside Zimbabwe about what is happening in their own

      "[The campaign] began in Matabeleland South. It is being
undertaken by elements of the central intelligence organisation, police,
army and youth militia."

      Justifying the new duty on foreign publications, secretary for
information and publicity George Charamba told the audience at a media
awards ceremony in Harare that foreign newspapers make profits from sales in
Zimbabwe but the money leaves the country.

      "We lose the politics, we lose money," he said.

      Currently a copy of the Mail & Guardian retails for
Z$800-million and the average monthly take-home pay of a Zimbabwean civil
servant is Z$50-­billion.

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Mugabe: in league with the military

Mail and Guardian

Wilf Mbanga

17 June 2008 06:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      He has been at Mugabe's side ever since -- for many years
minister in charge of the loathed Central Intelligence Organisation.

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

      Over the years he and Mugabe have gathered around them a clique
of like-minded military men.

      They have all shared in the spoils of power. They own
businesses, farms, mines. They grew even more fabulously wealthy during the
DRC military campaign. They have a lot to lose.

      Mnangagwa and air force commander Perence Shiri presided over
the mass killings of the then opposition Zapu activists in Matabeleland in
the early 1980s.

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

      Make no mistake, Mugabe and his generals are working hand in
glove. It is a macabre marriage of convenience. -- © Guardian News and Media
Ltd 2008.

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'Zanu-PF is going for broke'

Mail and Guardian

Jason Moyo

17 June 2008 06:00

      As in other places in Zimbabwe, the mood outside the Aids
hospice was swinging between anger, patience and dogged determination.

      It's a cold Monday night and a dozen people wait quietly outside
a small home in Belgravia, Harare. They have just been asked to leave; the
doctors are not coming today and there will be no treatment or drugs this
week. Perhaps not even next week. There are grumbles, but still the group

      "The truth is we have had to stop until the elections. But who
knows what will happen after the elections", Conrad Makonese, who helps run
the centre, told the Mail & Guardian.

      As President Robert Mugabe tightens the noose on the activities
of his opponents, even sending field workers out to monitor people on
anti-retroviral treatment would get Makonese jailed. A blanket ban on aid
work has added to the despair caused by worsening pre-election violence and
the sharpest ever price hikes.

       The consequences of the ban are dire, says James Elder, Unicef
spokesperson in Zimbabwe: "Unicef alone was reaching hundreds of thousands
of children with health, nutrition and education -- and they haven't
received any of that for the past four days and they won't until the
government reinstates all these NGOs."

      Two weeks ahead of the polls, sentiment on the streets is a mix
of dejection and determination. In the long bank queues tempers boil over
easily and there is robust political debate, yet people wait patiently for
hours, determined to withdraw salaries, which now come in hundreds of

      The only clear signals are coming from Zanu-PF; Mugabe's party
has made it plain it no longer feels it has anything to lose: "The comrades
are at their most dangerous," one Zanu-PF official told the M&G.

      The broad sentiment within Zanu-PF is that its reputation has
been soiled so badly in the months since the first round of the presidential
election that it has no image left to defend. Reflecting this, the
state-owned Herald daily published an opinion piece at the weekend urging an
even tougher response to dissent, including from foreign diplomats, whatever
the consequences. "We have hit the bottom, we should not fear to fall," the
article said, "what the heck."

      Zanu-PF is going for broke, shedding all its inhibitions and all
the pretences to democracy it showed ahead of the March poll. Its most
senior officials now go on television to openly declare war if Mugabe loses.
"Voting for Tsvangirai is to vote for a return to war," Hubert Nyanhongo, a
deputy minister, told a rally in a Harare slum. "So to prevent a war that
will kill you and me, let's vote for President Mugabe."

      Zanu-PF had hoped violence would numb the opposition. But
although MDC leaders deny it publicly, opposition supporters are organising
and retaliating. In Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, areas that once
staunchly supported Zanu-PF but which voted MDC in March, the opposition has
been fighting back. While this has encouraged MDC supporters elsewhere,
retaliatory attacks raise the spectre of a rapid escalation of violence.

      Few are safe. After diplomats from the United States and United
Kingdom were involved in a high speed car chase and a tense standoff with
police last week in Mashonaland Central, diplomats too have seen their
immunity to the violence disappear.

       Mugabe has closed down all the space he had allowed the
opposition in the run-up to the March elections. Police have banned MDC
rallies, defying court orders declaring the bans illegal. "The run-up to
March 29 had represented real progress. All of that has been more than
reversed," an African diplomat said.

      In this campaign the MDC has been denied even a fraction of the
airtime it had been allowed in the public media in the first campaign. The
head of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), the public broadcaster,
has been sacked and eight of his most senior journalists suspended. Their
crime was to follow legal requirements -- and SADC election guidelines -- 
compelling public media to grant access to all parties. Regular programming
on television has now been suspended, with the prime-time staple now a diet
of lengthy talk-fests featuring pro-government commentators.

      But Morgan Tsvangirai still believes he can defeat Mugabe.

      "I'm encouraged by the people's determination and their desire
to ensure that we finish it, that we dismiss hunger, poverty, loss of
dignity and suffering on June 27," Tsvangirai said on Tuesday.

      Observers, however, doubt Tsvangirai's chances. Eldred
Masunungure, a professor of politics at the University of Zimbabwe, said a
free election is impossible.

      "The chances are very slim for an MDC victory." And Simba
Makoni, a former Zanu-PF official who came third in the presidential
election, said "in the current situation, there is no hope that a free and
fair election can be undertaken". He again urged talks between the two

      But as tensions rise, calls for a negotiated settlement are
being drowned out. Tsvangirai said he would not negotiate with Mugabe before
the election, while Zanu-PF insiders also say they would only negotiate
"from a position of power" once they had ensured Mugabe's re-election.

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Voices of defiance

Mail and Guardian

17 June 2008 06:00

      Philemon is now scared to move around at night in his own
neighbourhood in this eastern part of Zimbabwe. Even being at home is no
longer safe and he lives in perpetual fear.

      "Being at home or away at night can be the same, as one can be
beaten up for being a supporter of a particular political party.

      "The difference is that at home there are family members, unlike
being out there with no one to witness your fate," he says.

      Philemon says he will nevertheless vote "freely" in the
presidential run-off come June 27.

      "If anything people are now hardened. There is no turning back
at this time," he says.

      Lloyd, a villager in Manica Bridge, says that despite the
violence people are not relenting.

      "The spirit in us is to go ahead until final victory. We have
come a long way and what is left is a short distance," he says.

      Wonder, of Zimunya in Mutare South constituency, says that,
while there has been little violence in the area, hunger is looming and
intimidation is the order of the day.

      "People have no food and the NGOs that used to give food aid no
longer do so. We don't know why. People are going to die," he says.

      "People are likely to show their dismay through the ballot, but
it is likely that Zanu-PF and Mugabe will show the people the barrel if they
dare vote overwhelmingly against him again. This is what is happening now in
most parts of the country," says Wonder.

       Mashonaland Central
      Zanu-PF accuses the villagers in Chiweshe district of being
"sellouts" who voted for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the
March 29 elections.

      Mbuya (62) was admitted to Howard Hospital after sustaining
injuries in a beating frenzy by youth militia. She says she was dismayed
that she was assaulted by mere "children".

      "I was never into politics, but in May this year 10 local boys
came to my home and ordered me to lie down. They assaulted me with rods and
clenched fists until I was unconscious. They went on to torch my only hut.
      "All my children are dead and that was the only home I had."

      She says she was terrified to go back and vote.

      Tawanda likened the situation in his home area of Madziva, also
in Mashonaland Central, to a war zone, adding that because they were no
longer receiving food aid many people faced starvation.

      "We were told that the cooking oil and the maize we used to
receive was poisoned by whites to kill us because we are all Zanu-PF
supporters and therefore the food was banned.

      "We were told that we now have to rely on government aid and
only showing loyalty to the ruling party would speed up the food
distribution by the war veterans," says Tawanda.

      Mashonaland East
       Donald (62), a known MDC activist, now walks with the aid of a
stick after he was severely assaulted by a suspected Zanu-PF militia two
weeks ago at his home near Murewa Growth Point in Mashonaland East Province.

      "They swamped this homestead. They were many, some with sticks,
axes and machetes, and they started beating me all over my body, demanding
that I stop supporting a puppet party," said Donald, whose back and legs are
still swollen.

      His two sons managed to flee and now live with a relative in
Harare, about 80km away.

      "They sent word that they are safe. I can't run away leaving my
livestock, homestead and everything I have worked for all my life. If they
want they can come and finish me off," says Donald, a veteran of the 1970s
war of liberation.

      Other war veterans and Zanu-PF militia have established what
they call "bases" in the province, where they torture MDC supporters. During
the day they man roadblocks, demanding identification cards from passengers
and motorists.

      "If they discover that you don't come from the province they
will terrorise you, demanding to know the purpose of your journey," says
Martin, who was forced to return to Harare.

      "Every night we are forced to attend pungwes [night vigils] at
the bases and are ordered to sing liberation war songs praising President
Robert Mugabe," says Goodwills.

      Locals are forced to "donate" food for "comrades" who stay at
the bases, he says.

      "They are given chickens, goats and, at times, cattle by
frightened villagers. They slaughter and feast on them everyday," says
Goodwills. -- CAJ News

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UN’s Menkerios Jets in

By Norbert Jacobs ⋅ ⋅ June 16, 2008

On Monday evening UN’s Assistant Secretary Generall, Haile Menkerios,
arrived in Zimbabwe to evaluate the political situation.
“I have come to see the situation, then I will report to him,” Menkerios
said, referring to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Menkerios is the UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs,
responsible for Africa.

The MDC has said that the violence has so far claimed the lives of more than
60 of their supporters since the first round of the presidential election in

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who faces Mugabe in the run-off, has claimed
Zimbabwe is now run by what is essentially a “military junta” that has
unleashed a campaign of violence and intimidation throughout the country.

Besides the violence, the MDC has faced major obstacles in their campaign.

Police have detained Tsvangirai five times over the last couple weeks and
two MDC campaign buses have been seized, though one has since been returned
but banned from plying.

Earlier Monday, police searched the home and computer of MDC Secretary
General, Tendai Biti, who is facing a treason charge following his arrest
last week minutes after returning home from a long stay in South Africa.

“Police searched his home and they spent the last three hours going through
his laptop,” said Biti’s lawyer Lewis Uriri, who was present during the

Officers took nothing away from the house in Harare and left the computer
there, he said.

Police had refused to reveal his whereabouts until a court ordered
authorities to bring produce him on Saturday.

He 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.

According to Uriri, authorities interrogated Biti continuously for 24 hours
following his arrest.

Authorities have said they plan to charge him for having allegedly authored
a document(See the Document here) 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.

Uriri said Monday police were planning a further accusation against Biti for
allegedly seeking to cause disaffection within the armed forces.

The document he allegedly authored said all senior members of the army,
police and intelligence services would have to resign and re-apply for their
posts if the opposition came into power, or they would face being fired.

Uriri said he was also planning to ask the high court to declare the further
detention of Biti unlawful. Police are allowed to hold suspects for up to 48
hours, and Biti is already beyond that limit following his arrest on

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Two MDC activists murdered

By Tongai Gava-Special Projects Editor ⋅ ⋅ June 16, 2008

Victor Mungazi, the MDC elections secretary for Magunje district in
Mashonaland West province was brutally murdered by Zanu PF supporters in the
early hours of Sunday morning.
Mungazi was abducted during the night by a group of Zanu PF thugs at his
home at Magunje growth point.

They then took him to their offices at the centre, where they severely
attacked him until he lost consciousness.

Friends and relatives, who made a follow up on Mungazi, discovered his body
lying in a pool of blood ten metres away from the Zanu PF offices at about 4
am that same day.

The death of Mungazi brings the number of murdered MDC activists to over 70
during the past two months. His body has been taken to Majunge mortuary. A
report has been made to the police but no arrests have been made so far.

Meanwhile, Simba Chikova, a high school teacher at Zaka Secondary in Zaka,
Masvingo province was on Saturday beaten to death by Zanu PF supporters.
Chikova was taken from his home at the school’s premises before he was
attacked on accusations of being an MDC supporter.

He was taken to a Zanu PF torture camp where he was beaten with logs until
he passed away. His body was later found abandoned outside the school’s

His body has since been ferried to Bulawayo for a post mortem.

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Alleged Transitional Document

Alleged MDC Transition Document

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Mugabe warns business to get on side

Mail and Guardian

Jason Moyo

17 June 2008 06:00

      President Robert Mugabe rejected fresh calls for economic reform
at a rare meeting with the heads of Zimbabwe's largest business groups this
week. He accused business of being part of a Western conspiracy to overthrow
his government.

      At the meeting on Wednesday the heads of bodies representing
banks, industry, mining and tourism presented Mugabe with dire accounts of
the state of the economy.

      The official inflation rate is 165 000%, but private estimates
put it at over more than one million percent.
      Industries are shutting down under the impact of price controls
and rising production costs, the business heads told Mugabe.

      However, the president refused to accept any responsibility for
the economic crisis. "The blame lies with manufacturers and distributors who
are contributing to the escalation of prices," he told the meeting.

      He also defended legislation introduced last year compelling all
major businesses to sell majority stakes to local investors, saying it was
designed to help businesses "make sovereign decisions".

      Mugabe said his government wants to check who owns companies he
suspects are controlled by "people representing foreign interests".

      "Some . are just managers and their authority is limited. Their
political orientation might be that of the past and not in line with that of
the present government," he said.

      "It is now time that we accept that we have been left by
ourselves, we have been abandoned by people who used to rule us," he said.
"Instead, some of you here are dishonest. You have turned against the
government and refuse to comply with our policies."

      Mugabe asked the businessmen whether they were willing to allow
Zimbabwe to die because of the Western sanctions he blames for the economic

      Zimbabweans should not vote his party out of power, "handing the
country over to the colonialists, just because they cannot get sugar".

      He warned his audience that "our veterans were not happy by the
actions of businesses".

      At the meeting were the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe,
representing large groups such as Zimplats, and the Bankers Association of
Zim­bab­we, which includes the Zimbabwean arms of Standard Bank, Barclays
and Standard Chartered.

      Large international corporations such as Tongaat Hulett, Rio
Tinto and SAB still directly or indirectly hold assets in Zimbabwe. Many are
members of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, which also attended the

      This was Mugabe's first meeting with business leaders since
August last year, when they approached him at the height of the crisis
caused by his order to retailers to halve prices.

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MDC addresses shortage of polling agents

June 17, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has launched a novel
constituency-twinning program to address a serious shortage of polling
agents caused by the massive displacement of its supporters from rural

Over 25 000 MDC activists have been forced to flee their homes after Zanu-PF
militants launched a brutal terror campaign targeting MDC supporters in the
party's former strongholds accused of voting against President Mugabe in the
March 29 general election.

Official sources said the MDC has twinned each urban constituency with a
rural one in a strategy that will see urban constituencies provide polling
agents for their rural counterparts on voting day.

MDC organizing-secretary Elias Mudzuri confirmed that the opposition party
had decided to use constituencies under its control to provide polling
agents in areas where its activists had been displaced by political

Mudzuri said: "In areas where our supporters have been forced to flee
because of violence we are going to provide agents from other areas using
our constituency twinning program".

The former Harare mayor revealed that the most affected areas were the three
Mashonaland provinces where thousands of MDC activists had been terrorized
and displaced.

Addressing a meeting of MPs and councilors at the weekend MDC elections
officer Donald Chirunga said 80 percent of party activists in Mashonaland
East had been displaced while 50 percent had fled Mashonaland Central

Another 30 percent had been forced to flee from Mashonaland West Province,
he said. All three were former Zanu-PF strongholds.

Chirunga said: "We must make sure that we provide polling agents for all the
areas where our activists have been displaced. The same applies for the
rural Matabeleland provinces".

The MDC says it had the capacity to raise enough manpower for all the
polling stations to be used in the run-off poll despite the violence that
has caused the death of several MDC supporters.

"Zanu PF has murdered some but not all of our supporters," said. "We still
have overwhelming support as a party. We can provide polling agents for two

The MDC last week ordered its MPs and councilors to compile two lists of
polling agents in each constituency with one being made up of volunteers who
will be deployed as polling agents to the affected constituencies.

Zimbabweans vote in a second round presidential poll on June 27 after the
first round failed to produce an outright winner.

Mugabe who was beaten into second place by the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai in
the first round has unleashed a vicious terror campaign designed to cow the
electorate into voting for him in the crucial run-off election which he has
vowed to win.

The opposition which accuses militants loyal to Mugabe of perpetrating
violence against its members says 66 of its supporters have been killed in
the post election violence that has seen the displacement of thousands of

Mugabe has denied the allegations of violence. Instead he accuses the
opposition of fomenting violence against Zanu-PF supporters. He has warned
that the MDC is "playing a dangerous game".

Zanu-PF lost its House of Assembly majority for the first time since1980 but
retained control of the Senate.

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War vets seizing identity documents

June 16, 2008

I want to let you know that President Robert Mugabe has stepped up his dirty
tricks in his quest to remain in power.

The people of my village, ... Village in the Makoni District were all taken
to a war veteran base in the Gurure area to be "taught how to vote", as the
war vets claimed.

My family and relatives were beaten thoroughly in front of people from eight
other villages who had been marched to the base to witness people from my
village receiving "lessons".

Their crime was to thank the MDC who assisted financially in burying my
niece who died of natural causes just before in April. After the beatings
everyone's identity card was taken. As I write to you, eight villages in the
area will not vote, come June 27.

Please, expose these dirty tricks. I know your Editor because he comes from
the same area. He can verify this information. I don't know how you can
bring this to the attention of the MDC and the international observers or
how they can counter this.

I'm not too sure whether this is widespread or just an isolated incident. We
appear to be in a fix with Mugabe.



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Can Zimbabwe's economic crisis get any worse?

June 12, 2008

By Lance Mambondiani

THERE is no shortage of superlatives to describe the state of the Zimbabwean

According to statistics the country has the worst economy in the world. But
can it really get any worse when every economic indicator suggests we have
hit rock bottom. Without a bold change in policy direction, the economic
outlook remains bleak. The truth is economic fundamentals can deteriorate
further and inflation can still get worse.

Zimbabwe's inflation is hardly history's worst. In Weimar Germany in 1923,
prices quadrupled each month. During hyperinflation in Yugoslavia, shoppers
would use wheelbarrows to transport bank notes for a shopping expedition.

There is a certain surrealism associated with analyzing the Zimbabwean
economy; good news is as scarce as the US dollar in Harare. The impact of
the economic collapse is felt on every street corner and by every business.
The country has been in a deep recession and hyperinflation for the last

The impact of both on ordinary Zimbabweans has been retrogression back to
the Stone Age. Besides breaking records as the country with the highest
inflation rate in the world, it is the comparative difference with other top
five countries rated on the current high inflation list which highlights the
Zimbabwean problem like a sore thumb.

The second highest inflation is that of war-torn Iraq, with an inflation
rate of 53.2 percent,. Next in line are Guinea (30.9 percent), Sao Tome and
Principe with 23.1 percent and Yemen at 20.8 percent. Economists say that it
is a miracle that Zimbabwe's economy is still surviving with the
unprecedented rise in prices and an unemployment rate of 80 percent.

So why is it that there are few, if any positive economic forecasts on

The Zimbabwean government itself is deeply torn and conflicted between an
interventionist, command control policy prescriptive approach and a free
market approach to economic policy. This has been typified in contradictory
policies such as the floating of exchange rates and the price controls or
the high level fight against inflation ('enemy number one') but expanding
quasi-fiscal activities thereby increasing money supply growth.

The result has been a blend of less than austere economic experiments,
unsuccessful anywhere else in the world. Beyond the short-term need for
political survival, the country's economic model remains uncertain, if not

On a balance of probabilities, weak policy formulation and implementation
has been as responsible for the economic crisis as the 'declared and
undeclared sanctions'. It is possible to find sympathy with a school of
thought which suggests that Zimbabwe has more of a 'governance' problem than
it has an economic crisis.

The recent rise in inflation has been entirely man-made. Inflation surged
between February, March and April following the sudden rise in money supply
that flooded the market to finance the March 2008 elections and the June 27
presidential run-off. Reflecting this increase, the money market is
currently in a huge surplus, peaking at $15 quadrillion last week.

Unconfirmed reports indicate an increase in annual inflation from 355,000
percent in March 2008 to 732,000 percent in April and 1,700,000 percent in
May. This translates to a monthly inflation of 224 percent in March, 314
percent in April and 261 percent in May which matches fundamentals on the
ground. The late great Milton Friedman told us that inflation is always
exclusively a monetary phenomenon.

The recent paralyzing rise in money supply has been a major contributory
factor to rising inflation. The central bank has never denied that it has
been printing money to fund some of the country's critical supplies. This
indeterminate rise in Money of Zero Maturity is considered to be a
reasonable proxy for watching the movement of M3, which is the broadest
measure of money supply.

The huge rise in inflation has also in part been attributed to the
depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar on the inter-bank foreign exchange
markets. Since the floatation of exchange rates, the Zimbabwe dollar has
been depreciating by an average of 20 percent daily due to sustained
pressure on an unsupported market. The parallel market has been ferociously
resurgent, with the interbank market playing catch-up.

Although the reasons for the dominance of the parallel market are varied,
there could be other dynamics at play. Often neglected is the fact that with
industry utilization at less than 10 percent, there have been little or no
exports. Companies have also been discouraged from investing on the local
market due to the general uncertainty about the future values of their
currency holdings or investment portfolio which in turn leads to low levels
of employment and economic growth. The market for 'free funds' often from
people in the Diaspora sending money to their relatives has become the major
source of foreign currency. Currently, the exchange rate tends to be driven
by money transfer rates than by the semi-liberalized interbank market.

Addressing the country's economic problems will not be easy but a
turn-around is possible. The central bank has introduced a couple of good
policies which have gone unsupported by business due to polarity or simply
contradicted by politicians in aid of political rhetoric.

The liberalization of the foreign currency market is one such policy.
Analysts have been calling for the liberalization of the currency market as
a measure to address economic imbalance, now that the market has been
liberalized, there is a growing call to return to a fixed exchange rate due
to spiraling prices and skyrocketing inflation.

This would suggest that our economic crisis cannot be resolved by addressing
a single policy with contradictory ones still in place. It's like patching
up a hole in a threadbare shirt with a new cloth, sooner that later, the
holes will start showing again.

What the economy needs is an urgent overhaul of the entire financial
architecture and a government capable of identifying and addressing the core
of policy dysfunctions. Although economic growth may be long on the horizon,
economic stability is achievable.

(Lance Mambondiani is an Investment executive at Coronation Financial Plc in
the United Kingdom. He can be contacted at

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Some prominent Africans also to blame

June 17, 2008

A FRIEND asked me if I had see the advertisement by 40 prominent
personalities, mostly Africans, "putting pressure on President Mugabe" to
end violence, repression and murder and accept the concept of free and fair
democracy. He was ecstatic that pressure was mounting on the despot now that
Africa was speaking out.

It was difficult to suppress my anger, not at him, but at most of the
signatories to the statement. Joachim Chissano, Ben Mkapa and Kenneth Kaunda
should have been the last people on earth to sign that statement. They are
just as culpable as Mugabe in the maiming and murder of Zimbabweans. They
were part of the conspiracy of silence when they were Presidents, and did
absolutely nothing to stop Mugabe from what he is doing.

Just a few weeks ago, Kenneth Kaunda was talking, for the umpteenth time,
about the problem in Zimbabwe having been the creation of the British. Ben
Mkapa said as much even in the last days of his presidency, embarrassing
former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who had invited him to sit on the
Blair Commission on Africa. Mkapa was desperate not to be seen by Mugabe as
a British stooge. So he had to sing an antiquated African revolutionary

The Botswana duo, Festus Mogae and Ketumile Quett Masire's hands are
dripping with blood of Zimbabweans as well. By their silence, they were
complicit in the murder of Zimbabweans. One always thought they feared
Zimbabwean military might. But new President Khama has stood up to be
counted. Now he is alone, protesting the wanton arrest of opposition members
for no other reason than to stymie their campaigning.

Shame on us Africans. The OAU was built on the premise of liberating Africa
from colonialism and organising for African unity. It was on the basis of
"non-interference" in the "internal affairs" of member countries. Among the
founding fathers was Emperor Haile Selassie. One Colonel Mengistu
Haile-Mariam was soon to take power in the very capital of the OAU, declared
Red Terror and went on to butcher his own citizens wantonly.

I held no truck for the likes of Haile Selassie in the same way I hold no
truck for Morgan Tsvangirai. But Africa, based in Addis Ababa, looked the
other way while Mengistu acted like a man possessed. He went on to butcher
Selassie's family and threw the bodies in a pit latrine! Are these the
actions of a sane human being? No, it was an internal affair and as such it
was right not to interfere.

The AU was established on a totally different premise: peer review. But old
habits die hard, particularly for those who want to keep their old habits
for their own benefit. Robert Mugabe is but just one of them. Thabo Mbeki
would have been another had the ANC not clipped his wings at Polokwane. His
"former" friend Bakili Muluzi tried it and they bundled him out. Lucky for
Bob the next guy in line, Bingu waMutharika turned out to be another
Mugabite. Sam Nujoma was another.

Most of these "guys" are all the same. If Mugabe were finally to be thrown
out today he would soon join "prominent" leaders of the world to preach
democracy in his Queen's English, with George Charamba hopefully as his
speech writer. What credibility Africa. We are the laughing stock of the
world, the only continent in socio-economic decline and generally still
ruled by a bunch of despots who thrive on protecting each other.

Come June 27, Mugabe must be voted out. Let him start the civil war. That's
what Mbeki wants, isn't it, so that we destroy an economy and a country that
was rated second only to his beloved South Africa. But, listen to this, a
civil war is a civil war. It's two or more sides fighting against each
other. If Mugabe thinks he has the military and the police on his side, he
better look who really is with the foul-speaking commanders.


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Not too late to ditch election - Makoni

June 17, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Former Zimbabwean finance minister Simba Makoni, and a losing
candidate in the presidential election held in March, says President Robert
Mugabe's former ruling Zanu-PF party is on the way to its final demise.

He also says even with only two weeks to go, it is not too late to abandon
the second round of presidential elections which is scheduled for next week.

Makoni, who secured only eight percent of the poll in the March 29 election,
said this in a wide ranging interview with a South African weekly newspaper
at the weekend. He also said the prevailing political conditions in
Zimbabwe, which have seen many MDC supporters murdered and several of the
party's leaders arrested during the past week, were not conducive for a free
and fair poll.

Zanu-PF succumbed to its first electoral defeat since independence when it
came out second to the MDC in March while Mugabe was humiliated by
Tsvangirai, the opposition leader whom he publicly despised and dismissed as
a mere puppet of Britain and the United States. Tsvangirai did not win a
large enough majority to form a new government and a second round of polling
was declared in terms of Zimbabwe's electoral Act.

Makoni has since his defeat campaigned for the scrapping of the election
run-off while proposing a process of negotiation leading to a government of
national unity.

In the newspaper interview Makoni said: "Zanu-PF is already now a minority
party. They are on the slippery slope; they are going down. It's going to be
difficult for them to come up again. They are already on the road to

He also took time during the interview to describe his intriguing departure
from Zanu-PF which he publicly announced on February 5. He made his move
after months of speculation that he planned to lead a breakaway faction of

At the time the faction was believed to include Vice President Joyce Mujuru
and her feared husband, former guerrilla war fighter and former army
commander, Solomon Mujuru. The two, however, quickly distanced themselves
from Makoni's so-called Mavambo Project. Last week his strongest allies
since he made his presidential ambitions public, Edgar Tekere and Dumiso
Dabengwa, both former Zanu-PF stalwarts effectively distanced themselves
from Makoni's campaign for a government of national unity, saying they now
backed Tsvangirai.

Nkosana Moyo, another former minister in the Mugabe government, who has of
late successfully raised funds for Makoni, told the BBC that the correct
political strategy now was to support the MDC leader against Mugabe.

Makoni has said his Mavambo/Kusile Project is set to be formally launched
into a fully fledged political party later this year.

Makoni said in the interview: "In politics there are different processes.
You have conversations with individuals or small groups and then you have
conversations in formal structures like the politburo, the central

"You say, 'Why is the country in this position?' You say it's because we
were following the wrong direction. In my case, I had the opportunity to be
in leadership structures of both the party and the government."

Makoni said the turning point in the political fortunes of Zanu-PF started
some ten years ago when the debate on the need to change the leadership of
the party was started. But Mugabe had moved to crush it when he said that
there was no vacancy to the post of the party's presidency at the 2004
annual conference of the party.

Makoni said a huge number of Zanu-PF politicians believed that Mugabe had
played his part for the party and the country and needed to hand over power
to another person but they were not courageous enough to come out in the
open and express their views.

"I am quite clear that the large majority of members of Zanu-PF for five,
seven, 10 years have believed that it was in the best interest of the party
and the country that we change leadership," said Makoni. "President Mugabe
has made his contribution; he excelled himself in the early years of
independence, but the direction we were taking beyond 1996 was ruinous.

"There was a time I used to say if you see any two, five or 10 members of
Zanu-PF in conversation, you are sure that top of the agenda is the question
of leadership change and direction and policy change. Somehow that
conversation did not develop to be a movement in the manner that you saw at
Polokwane, for instance, because some people felt constrained, some would
say we were afraid.

"Unfortunately there were not many of us who felt they could come open in
the manner that I finally did. I guess we all have a breaking point and mine
came after the special congress in December when we couldn't make a decision
that changed the leadership, and I felt this was enough. There was no
prospect that I could change this thing from within and I therefore went the
way I did."

Makoni said his decision to break away from Zanu-PF had created animosity
between him and Mugabe who publicly labelled his former finance minister as
"charlatan, sell-out and prostitute" at rallies.

"Judging by his remarks after I announced my candidacy, it created
animosity," he said. "There are many more people in Zanu-PF who believe in
what I'm standing for even if they are unable to say that in public. I think
that is more important than one man's opinion."

Makoni also revealed that he was trying to mediate between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai to agree on a government of national unity after setting aside
the much-anticipated presidential run-off which is scheduled to be held next

"You have heard my public stance. The country cannot afford another
election," said Makoni.

"We don't need this run-off. It is not going to solve the problems of the
country and we should get down to seriously constituting what we have called
the national transitional authority - most of you call it the government of
national unity. That is what we are promoting very actively and forcefully.
Basically, Zimbabwe does not have money to finance this election.

"I am talking to both the MDC and Zanu-PF about solving the crisis in
Zimbabwe at the moment."

Asked if he was succeeding, Makoni said: "Fortunately I can talk to both
quite easily. I have no difficulties arranging meetings with them. I have
not met Robert Mugabe but I'm meeting senior Zanu-PF leaders and senior MDC
leaders as well.

"At this stage I do not have problems communicating with both parties. That
is one of the advantages of my position. I feel I can facilitate a
conversation with them. I had a meeting with Morgan once since he came back
(from his self-imposed exile in South Africa)."

Makoni said, however, that the process had not been easy.

"These things are not so simple," he said. "They are listening to me and
others also. I'm not the only one who is facilitating in this process of
getting together leaders. There are other players at home and outside
Zimbabwe. All of us are in the process of nudging Zanu-PF and the MDC to
accept that the country's problems cannot be solved by one entity.

"The country does not need the run-off and we are working to persuade the
two contenders that there is another better solution. At the moment I cannot
say that it will be put off. We have 16 days; it's tight, but until it's
11.59pm we will persevere because we believe this is the best way out for

Makoni also said that if his efforts to bring stability to Zimbabwe through
a negotiated settlement failed, he would try and do so through his
Mavambo/Kusile party.

He expressed confidence that he would become the president of Zimbabwe in

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A warning to Morgan Tsvangirai

June 11, 2008

If Tsvangirai allows himself to be inveigled into becoming Mugabe's prime
minister, he will deserve Joshua Nkomo's fate

By David Blair

If Morgan Tsvangirai agrees to join President Robert Mugabe in a government
of national unity, Zimbabwe's recent history suggests that he will tread a
short route to political oblivion.

Uncanny echoes of Mr Tsvangirai's dilemma can be found in the events of two
decades ago. Then Joshua Nkomo, a pillar of Zimbabwe's struggle against
white rule and the leader of the Zapu party, was a beleaguered opposition
politician. Mr Mugabe was obsessed with crushing his opponents, just as he
is today.

Mr Nkomo, who enjoyed enormous popularity among his minority Ndebele people,
making him a significant political threat, faced violence on a scale that
makes today's campaign against the MDC look relatively restrained. Mr Mugabe
unleashed a special army unit, the Fifth Brigade, to destroy Zapu's support
base by terrorising and murdering the Ndebele. At least 8,000 were killed
and tens of thousands abducted, tortured or assaulted between 1982 and 1987.

The Zapu leadership was rounded up and Mr Nkomo spent almost a year in exile
in Britain. To end the bloodshed and restore his own political influence, Mr
Nkomo began talks with the ruling Zanu-PF party. In December 1987, he signed
the "Unity Accord" with Mr Mugabe and hailed the deal as a "new beginning".

In theory, Zapu and Zanu-PF merged to form a new party under a new
leadership. There was one problem: the new party was called Zanu-PF and its
leader was Robert Mugabe. The Unity Accord was a cruel sham. By signing this
deal, Mr Nkomo had agreed to abolish Zapu and serve Mr Mugabe as a meek
subordinate, thereby signing his own political death warrant. Mr Nkomo's
only consolation was that he became vice-president, living in a mansion and
making money on the side - notably becoming one of Zimbabwe's largest
landowners. But his purely ceremonial functions left him powerless. He died
in 1999, a forlorn, pathetic figure, whom Mr Mugabe had outsmarted at every

This is the fate that awaits Mr Tsvangirai. When Zanu PF politicians talk of
a coalition government, they have the Unity Accord in mind and are preparing
the MDC leader for Mr Nkomo's inglorious role. For his part, Mr Tsvangirai
has insisted that the "mandate" he won in the presidential election's first
round must be respected. If there is a unity government, he must be

But South Africa may have other ideas. Following the example of Kenya, it
may be suggested that Mr Mugabe stays as president with Mr Tsvangirai as
prime minister. If Mr Tsvangirai allows himself to be inveigled into
becoming Mr Mugabe's prime minister, he will deserve Mr Nkomo's fate.

(David Blair is the Diplomatic Editor of The Daily Telegraph (UK))

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ILO calls for inquiry on Zimbabwe

June 16, 2008

By Our Correspondent

GENEVA - TRADE unionists from across Africa and from around the world on
Friday called for an official International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Commission of Inquiry into Zimbabwe, as more reports of torture and murder
of trade unionists by state security agents and gangs linked to the
President Robert Mugabe's autocratic regime emerge from the country.

Trade union delegates attending the ILO's International Labour Conference in
Geneva from Angola, Botswana, Guinea, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland and a
range of other countries including ILO Workers' Group Chairperson Sir Roy
Trotman on Friday attacked Zimbabwe's appalling record on trade union rights
and lodged a formal complaint under Article 26 of the ILO Constitution,
which could lead to the establishment of an ILO Commission of Inquiry.

This procedure is the strongest investigative measure which exists under the
ILO's supervisory mechanisms.

"We feel obliged to lodge this complaint, and call upon the ILO Governing
Body to propose measures to make sure that the Zimbabwe government fully
respects ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association, the Right to
Organise and Collective Bargaining," said South African trade union delegate
Alina Rantsolase.

The move by the trade union delegates follows a strongly-worded condemnation
of Zimbabwe's trade union rights record by the Committee on the Application
of Standards at this years' ILO Conference which began last month and ended
Friday. Employer representatives and governments joined with trade unions in
criticizing the government on its record and on its failure once again to
come before the committee to put its case.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, a militant teachers union
reported on Friday that Shepherd Chegwu, a member of the PTUZ and principal
of Katsukunya High School, was abducted from his home early this month, and
his body, showing signs of severe torture and a gunshot wounds in his neck
and head, was found nearby two days later. Chegwu had previously been
interrogated by "war veterans" and militia about actions taken by PTUZ
members at his school to protest at the governments' actions in the lead up
to the re-run of the presidential election on June 27.

Another agricultural union, the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers'
Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) reported that its official Edward Dzeka was
kidnapped by Zanu-PF militia on Thursday and is believed to have been taken
to a torture base near the town of Chegutu, about 100 kilometres west of

Unionists in Harare say the police have not taken any effective action to
investigate the incidences.

President Robert Mugabe's administration has been cracking down on labour
leaders since the emergence of the labour backed opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party. While both President Robert Mugabe and his
Zanu-PF party were defeated in separate elections on March 29, the
government accuses the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union, the country's
largest labour alliance and its affiliates such as the PTUZ and GAPUZ of
working with the MDC and western government to effect regime change in the

However, the ZCTU denies the charge and accuse Harare of doing too little to
improve workers welfare.

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IBA Human Rights Institute Calls for Immediate End to Unlawful Detention

International Bar Association (London)

16 June 2008
Posted to the web 16 June 2008

The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute [IBAHRI] today
called for the immediate end to the unlawful detention of Eric Matinenga, an
eminent Advocate of the Zimbabwe High Court and opposition Member of
Parliament. Mr Matinenga has been detained in police custody despite a
ruling by the Zimbabwe High Court on 8 June ordering his release.

The IBAHRI said it is alarmed that the Director of Public Prosecutions and
Investigating Police Officers have refused to comply with the court order.
Mr Matinenga's continued detention is a violation of both Article 18 of the
Zimbabwe Constitution and international standards concerning the treatment
of uncharged prisoners. 'Mr Matinenga is being punished for the sole reason
of having campaigned against state-orchestrated political violence,' said
Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association. The
IBAHRI further notes that conditions in which detainees are held in Zimbabwe
are very poor and that Mr Matinenga's lawyers have been denied access to
their client, in violation of international law.

The IBAHRI called for officials defying the court order to be investigated
and held accountable for their actions. 'The defiant disregard of a valid
Zimbabwe High Court order by police officials is a flagrant violation of the
rule of law,' stated Mr Ellis. 'The world is watching as people in Mugabe's
regime violate international law with impunity. We continue to support the
efforts to ensure that those responsible for egregious human rights
violations in Zimbabwe will be held accountable.'

Mr Matinenga's attorneys have filed contempt proceedings against the police
officials for failure to comply with the High Court's rulings, and expect to
have a hearing tomorrow.

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Row over Tsvangirai letter diverts attention from war on MDC supporters

Comment from The Cape Times (SA), 16 June

Peter Fabricius

The whole protracted saga about the letter which Zimbabwean Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai sent or did not send to
President Thabo Mbeki on May 13 looks rather like a diversion from the
reality on the ground in Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai says he sent it, Mbeki's
office that they never got it. But while the Sunday Times and Mbeki's
director-general Frank Chikane were exchanging insults and threats about the
letter, President Robert Mugabe was declaring, and indeed waging, war on his
people. About 70 mainly opposition supporters have now been killed since the
first round of elections on March 29, scores more have been injured and many
homes burned. All of this to ensure that Mugabe wins the presidential
run-off poll on June 27. But while Zimbabwe bleeds and burns, the Presidency
is fiddling with the Tsvangirai letter, or non-letter, as the case may be,
and saying very little about the violence. Let's forget about whether or not
the letter was delivered to Mbeki and concentrate on its contents. In it
Tsvangirai asks Mbeki to step down as the exclusive mediator in the Zimbabwe
crisis because of his alleged bias towards Mugabe. Tsvangirai cites several
instances, including a garland-festooned Mbeki holding hands with the
Zimbabwean president on April 12 - just before attending a Southern African
Development Community (SADC) summit on Zimbabwe - and saying there was no
crisis there.

What annoyed Tsvangirai about this remark was not just what annoyed many
other people - the fact that Mbeki could see no crisis in Zimbabwe when no
results had been announced two weeks after the election. It was also that
Tsvangirai says in the letter that two days before the SADC summit he had
met Mbeki and shown him a disturbing document, which, he says, was brought
to his attention by sympathisers in the Zimbabwe military establishment.
"This document showed that a decision had been taken by the Zimbabwean
government to deploy military, war veterans and militia in a violent
campaign against supporters of the MDC. This operation has now resulted in
many supporters being beaten, maimed and killed." Tsvangirai says it was
this document which prompted the SADC leaders to meet in Lusaka on April 12.
We have sources who attended that meeting saying Mbeki stuck to his no
crisis position, incurring some rude rebukes from Zambian President Levy
Mwanawasa, the current SADC chairperson. What we need to be hearing from
Mbeki's presidency is not their theories about how unnamed (read British and
American) intelligence agencies wrote the Tsvangirai letter as part of a
disinformation campaign to destabilise Mbeki's mediation.

What we need to hear is: did Tsvangirai give him that document about
Mugabe's plans for a violent campaign to retain the presidency on June 27 -
after his shock defeat in both the parliamentary and presidential elections
of March 29? (Though, of course, Tsvangirai did not win the 50%-plus victory
in the presidential poll to avoid the June 27 run-off.) And if Mbeki did get
this document on April 10, what did he do with it? Did he also treat it as
disinformation (concocted by the MDC, perhaps, with collusion from its
friends in MI5 or the CIA)? Or did he take it seriously and attempt to do
something about it? Because by now it is fairly obvious that something very
like that violent campaign against the MDC was launched and is now in
absolutely full swing. Mbeki did express concern about the violence last
week, but does he very much care? It appears that South Africa was as
surprised as Mugabe himself by his defeats on March 29, possibly because
they upset Pretoria's scenario for a Mugabe victory, followed by Mugabe
graciously handing over power to a more palatable Zanu PF leader who enters
into some power-sharing deal with the MDC. Is Mbeki watching the election
campaign with some complacency because Mugabe has now put this agreed
scenario back on track?

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Academic reacts to Mbeki on Zim

Republic of Botswana

16 June, 2008
GABORONE - Political analyst and UB political science lecturer, Dr. Zibani
Maundeni, says the time has come for SADC leaders to apply more pressure on
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.
Dr Maundeni was speaking in an interview with BOPA, in reaction to South
African President Thabo Mbekis recent statements expressing concern about
reports of violence against members of opposition parties in Zimbabwe.

Dr. Maundeni says recent statements by South African President Thabo Mbeki
show that President Mbeki has now recognised the need for a change of
strategy when dealing with Zimbabwe.

Perhaps President Mbeki thought he would be able to negotiate the process
with Mugabe, but we hope he can now join other leaders and apply pressure on
him, Dr. Maundeni said.

Dr. Maundeni said SADC presidents as leaders should know what to do to
improve the situation in Zimbabwe.

President Mbeki, who is the SADC regions mediator on the Zimbabwean
situation, has denied that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe.

However, recent news media reports have quoted him as saying the violence in
Zimbabwe needs urgent attention, and that his government is doing all it can
to ensure that there are no major problems in the presidential second-round

President Mbeki has also been reported as saying SADC should strengthen its
observer missions in Zimbabwe.

His statements come after reports of violence and intimidation of opposition
party members in the campaigns leading to second-round presidential
elections scheduled for June 27th.

Leader of Movement for Democratic Change, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai was recently
released after being detained by Zimbabwean police for the third time in one
month, while the secretary general of the party, Mr. Tendai Biti has been
arrested and will be charged with treason.BOPA.

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Zimbabweans better off in Botswana

Republic of Botswana

16 June, 2008
FRANCISTOWN - Government has so far spent more than P350 000 in the
assessment of the 439 Zimbabwean asylum seekers who have been granted
refugee status in Dukwi The Chairman of the Refugee Advisory Committee, Mr
Richard Oaitse said in an interview that his committee made financial
estimates for the coming six months to prepare for any possible increase in
the number of asylum seekers.
We were allocated P200 000 to use in taking care of Zimbabwean asylum
seekers at the reception centres and the holding centre in Francistown when
the first batch of asylum seekers arrived, and over the weeks we asked for
another P200 000, which we are left with P30 000, he said.

Mr Oaitse, who is the Francistown District Commissioner, explained that the
numbers of asylum seekers coming into Botswana was decreasing, attributing
this to the approaching June 27 presidential run-off in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile none of the Zimbabwean refugees have shown interest in going back
to their country to vote.

I wish I could go back to cast my vote yet again, but I cannot Im too
scared, said Bangana Moyo in interview last week.

He said it was better to be in a foreign country alive than die for a vote.

People may say I am a coward but I am better of here, alive, he said. If I
go back home those people will torture me and label me a sellout because
some of my brothers have decided to stay and die for their votes.

Current news media reports on the Zimbabwean situation are that violence
continues in that country, and that police officers have been ordered to
confiscate identification cards of suspected MDC supporters until after the

Botswana has been the first SADC country to send observers to Zimbabwe, with
the first batch having left on Saturday. BOPA

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Mugabe undermining Zimbabwe’s future:Obama

By Staff ⋅ ⋅ June 16, 2008
“I remain deeply concerned about the crisis in Zimbabwe, where the
government of Robert Mugabe last week banned the operations of humanitarian
agencies working across the country. The regime’s latest attempt to hold on
to power at any cost has already accelerated the suffering of millions of
Zimbabwe’s citizens. Food and other assistance from international agencies
including UNICEF, CARE, and Oxfam are critical to the survival of millions
of Zimbabweans who cannot afford basic foodstuffs due to skyrocketing
inflation and the government’s disastrous economic mismanagement.

The United Nations estimates that two million people now face starvation in
a country that was once a breadbasket serving all of southern Africa. In
this man-made humanitarian crisis, the most vulnerable citizens-children and
AIDS patients-have been hit the hardest.

Robert Mugabe’s government has frequently used food as a political weapon
and required citizens to prove their membership in his ZANU-PF party in
order to receive aid. The government is at it once again, denying food
donated to Zimbabwe’s citizens by the international community, including the
United States, to punish the Zimbabwean people for voting peacefully for
change. This egregious abuse is part of a broader campaign of intimidation
and repression designed to manipulate the results of the June 27
presidential run-off elections. Members of the opposition, civil society
activists, independent journalists and foreign diplomats have all been
targets of harassment and brutality in recent weeks. This week’s arrest and
detention of senior MDC leaders is the most recent example of the government’s
determination to hang on to power at any cost.

Governing means acting in the best interests of a nation and its people.
Robert Mugabe has abandoned this fundamental responsibility, and continues
to jeopardize the future of Zimbabwe’s children while undermining the
economic progress that has been achieved in southern Africa. I am pleased
that African leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, former
heads of states, business leaders and some of the continent’s best and
brightest artists and activists have called for an end to the violence and
the ban on humanitarian aid operations.

Urgent action is required to prevent a further deterioration of this tragic
situation. The United Nations, the African Union and the Southern African
Development Community cannot afford to be spectators to this tragedy. Along
with the United States and Africa’s other partners, they must speak out
against repression in Zimbabwe. They should also swiftly deploy observers
for the June 27th run-off and demand that the Government of Zimbabwe
immediately lift the ban on NGO operations before millions more suffer as
victims of this crisis.”

Source: Senator Barack Obama

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The Africa we want: Old Mutual case study

Zim Online

by Mutumwa Mawere Tuesday 17 June 2008

OPINION: The last 52 years have exposed how ill-prepared native Africans
were in connecting the inherited colonial dots or points of light in an
inclusive and progressive manner.

The architects of colonialism knew what they wanted in Africa and to a large
extent the settlers were assimilated into the African setting on their
terms. They adopted Africa as a new home and proceeded to build institutions
that have in large measure witnessed uninterrupted growth.

The infrastructure of the colonial state provided a new address for
post-colonial administrations.

To what extent were the majority Africans that were alienated from their
natural resources and forced to trade their labour for cash prepared to take
ownership of the agenda for change and transformation?

The institutions that were established during the colonial era were meant to
serve an exclusive group but judging by the pace of development in
post-colonial Africa, it is evident that no serious attempt has been made to
conceptualise and execute strategies designed to empower the previously
disadvantaged without weakening the economic power of the settler community.

The knowledge, capital and execution gaps that confront Africa can only be
addressed when it becomes obvious to all that no amount of rhetoric about
the ills of colonialism will help create a better continent.

The poverty challenges that face Africa are not new and even when the white
settlers were acutely aware that access to capital was one of the stumbling
blocks to the exploration and exploitation of the continent's resources.

Accordingly, the first African capital ambassadors were the settler
community. They not only encouraged the movement of labour from Europe but
also marketed the resources of Africa to European financiers without whose
resources no development would have taken place.

The link between capitalism and colonialism was, therefore, direct and
mutually beneficial for those fortunate to access capital.

To the extent that the colonial state was successful in creating a
functional state machinery serving the needs of its tax payers, it is
important that an informed conversation about the kind of Africa that we
need to see begin with an examination of some of the institutions that have
helped to position South Africa as a success story for the settler

South Africa is the host of the largest white settler community and its
infrastructure is the most developed in the continent suggesting a causal
link between colonialism and the development of a sophisticated financial,
industrial and mining infrastructure.

One such institution is the Old Mutual Group, an international savings and
wealth management company offering a range of solutions for pensions,
investment and protection as well as asset management services, whose
origins trace back to 1845 when a Scotsman, John Fairbain, led a group of
166 members in the formation of South Africa's first mutual aid society,
Mutual Life Assurance Society of the Cape of Good Hope.

The institution was set up in the first instance to serve its members and
their premiums, therefore, represented the group's sole capital. The noble
idea to establish a mutual to serve members did not need a crowd to
germinate but required a small group of people who were ahead of their time
but knew that they had sown a seed that would produce a harvest.

From humble origins, the institution became the leader in South Africa's
financial services market and in 1885; the name of the company was changed
to South Africa Mutual Life Assurance Society to reflect its status as an
insurance provider for the entire South African colonial state.

In the face of competition from mushrooming mutual aid institutions, the
institution was adopted the name, Old Mutual, to emphasise the fact that it
was the colony's first mutual society.

The transformation of South Africa into an industrial society required
enabling institutions to provide solutions to the growing class of working
people. The interplay between politics and business became obvious when
South Africa was granted its independence in 1910, its Chairman, John X.
Merriman was elected as the new British Commonwealth's first premier.

Old Mutual grew over the years to become a dominant player in the financial
services industry accounting for more than a third of the domestic market.
It became a major shareholder in a number of South African institutions,
such as the future Nedcor bank, Richemont, the diversified Rembrandt group,
Standard Bank, industrial group Barlow, mining group Anglo American, and

It also was one of the pioneers in pan African investments when it extended
its tentacles to the then Rhodesia & Namibia in 1927, Kenya - 1930, and
Tanzania, Zambia - 1950s.

By the late 1990s, more than half of the society's member-customers, which
by then numbered more than three million, were black South Africans.

In the 1980s, Old Mutual extended its tentacles outside the continent of

In 1999, Old Mutual demutualised, moved its headquarters to London, and took
a listing on the London, Johannesburg, Frankfurt, Zimbabwe, and Malawi stock

Until 1999, Old Mutual was a benefit or mutual aid society organised as a
voluntary association to provide mutual aid, benefit or insurance for relief
from sundry difficulties. This institution was organised around a shared
English ethnic background solely to provide solutions to members.

The people who set up Old Mutual must have known that they were on to a big
thing that would outlive them.

In 1994, the race-based political system was replaced by an inclusive one
but regrettably no serious attention has been paid to institution building
during the last 14 years.

If 166 white settlers could in 1845 see the need for creating a mutual aid
society, why is it that over the last 52 years we have not witnessed the
creation of sustainable mutual aid societies to serve the needs of a
generation that easily surrenders to blaming the past for the lack of
progress in Africa?

Today, Old Mutual is flying its flag high as a global brand with African
roots. However, how African is Old Mutual? This question is relevant to the
extent that without colonialism, it is safe to conclude that Old Mutual
would not have been formed in Africa. We have not seen a working example of
collective institutions formed by native Africans to support and facilitate
their economic development.

The founders of Old Mutual created their own institution that operated in a
manner that our governments ought to operate. It was formed to serve members
and in doing so it grew with the times. The real owners of the institution
were the members.

As we look back, we have no choice but to start challenging ourselves on
what kind of Africa do we want to see. Where is our new mutual? Who is our
own John Fairburn? How do we create enduring institutions?

Old Mutual did not need the British Empire to set it up and yet we have a
tendency of blaming other people for things that we can do something about.

It is not too late to think seriously about the possibility of creating a
new mutual aid society to address the challenges of building a new Africa.

Old Mutual has now relocated its headquarters to London and is no longer a

With the convenient disappearance of Old Mutual as a mutual, we have no
choice but to pick up the pieces and challenge ourselves to be the change
that we want to see by using our existing premiums to consolidate them into
one platform. - ZimOnline

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Comments from correpondents


“Let us all campaign against poverty and tyranny”


My brothers and sisters, for how long can we continue to suffer under this despotic and self serving regime? Enough is enough lets put a stop to it, we have the power to do it, come 27 June 2008, we will celebrate another independence day. None but us can free ourselves.

As the defeated former president, Robert Mugabe and his illegal regime continue to cling on to power by hook and crook, subverting the people’s will which prevailed on 29 March 2008, it is now upon every right thinking Zimbabwean to play his/her role in showing these sycophants the exit door once and for all. Morgan Tsvangirai is being prevented from holding rallies and campaigning for his MDC party. Access to public media by MDC is being denied whilst it churns out ZANU (PF)’s rhetoric and propaganda day and night whilst denigrating MDC in general and Morgan in particular. MDC’s political activists and supporters are being intimidated, maimed or even killed, thanks to the state sponsored violence by security forces and some militia. Thus, it becomes very dangerous for one to engage in opposition politics let alone to be a known MDC supporter. The regime does not want MDC to reach out to the electorate. This is the main objective of violence, according to the master of deception Mugabe, to paralyse MDC structures and at the same time neutralise its support base. Extraordinary challenges require extraordinary solutions. Here is my extraordinary strategy.




MDC need to reach down to the voters, which the regime is going at all odds to block. To circumvent this, let not campaigning be for politicians only. Each and every one must campaign for Morgan Tsvangirai! Politicians must reinforce and encourage people to help with the campaign amongst them. Leaflets/fliers to distribute across country and adverts in a few available independent newspapers will go a long way in opening the closed space. Leaflets must be done using the country’s major languages, print as many as possible to reach all corners and flood the country. MDC must seriously consider investing hugely in these fliers as they will reach even people who are risk averse and do not attend rallies for fear of being noticed which side they belong to. Here is an example of information to include on such leaflets.


Leaflet specimen


Brothers and sisters of our beloved Zimbabwe, lets all unite and stand firm and finish off the job we have already started. The job of freeing our country from oppressors. On 29 March 2008 we beat Mugabe and his Zanu Pf, this time we must deliver them a killer knock out punch on 27 June 2008. With Mugabe still ruling the country will not develop and move forward, we will continue with this man made disaster which will then worsen. To Zanu PF, failure is the only option; they do not have any new ideas now, except to beat innocent and unarmed people to force them to vote for mediocrity and incompetent Mugabe. Yes we have been beaten, we have been tortured, we have been harassed, we have lost loved ones, but we will know how to vote, we will vote for change.


  1. Every single vote counts, all registered voters must go and exercise their democratic right. This time, we must beat the dictator with large numbers so that it will be difficult for him to rig and steal the election again.
  2. MDC is being prevented by Mugabe from campaigning freely. Your MDC leaders are being harassed, arrested and beaten because they want to free the country, same as what Smith used to do. Let us not leave campaining to politicians only. You can also take part in freeing your country. Talk to your relatives, friends, peers and workmates about how Mugabe has run down our once promising economy and the bread basket of the region. We used to feed the whole Southern Africa but now 4 million of our people are starving, thanks to the chaotic land reform. Meanwhile, potholes deepen, garbage piles up, water and power continue to be cut, we still can’t find mealie-meal, sugar, cooking oil, soap, or fuel except on the black market, salaries become more and more meaningless as our money becomes more and more worthless, more and more people are dying needlessly of AIDS-related diseases, orphans are increasing, doctors and teachers are leaving, our schools and hospitals are becoming hopeless places – the list goes on and on and on. Tell them of all the ills you know of that Mugabe has inflicted on our society. Take advantage of social gatherings such as churches, bottle stores, beer halls, clubs, bank queues, sugar queues, mealie-meal queues, bread queues and other unending queues of this country, in kombis and buses and even in our homes. Target only those you know as strangers might be security operatives. Convince and encourage all registered voters to go and vote for Morgan Tsvangirai in order to turn around the fortunes of this country. Even if it means going kumusha (home area), sacrifice those worthless bearer cheques for a worth cause, for the sake of our Zimbabwe, for the sake of our kids who need a bright future. I encourage all right thinking Zimbabweans who come from areas like Uzumba, Mudzi, Chiredzi and many other rural places still under ZANU (PF) illusion, to go to their relatives, friends, brothers and sisters and make them see the light, convince them that it is in their interest to accept and endorse change. Just pose to think and imagine a Zimbabwe still under Mugabe for the next 5 years! What new can he deliver now, having failed to do so for the past 28 years. At 84 years, naturally he is finished. He want to leave us in mess after he is gone. If we all participate and campaign, we can make a big difference to our beloved country and people. None but us can free ourselves. Make use of buzz words like ‘know where to put your X’, ‘lets free our country’, ‘give him red card’, etc etc Remind each other we need to be strong and brave, if we did it against the Ian Smith, what can stop us this time. Each and everyone has a role to play, send sms, send e-mails, talk about it everyday. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
  3. When Mugabe say 100% empowerment, he mean 100% to top Zanu (PF) chefs and top security men. These are the people who got and looted the best farms in the land thanks to the chaotic land reform that has reduced the country from being the bread basket of the region to a nation were over half of the population depend on food aid.. They own more than one farm each, some with up to 10 farms. All their close relatives got farms. They are the ones who get free state fertiliser, diesel, farm equipment and all the seed they want, only to divert the inputs to the black market. They themselves produce nothing for the country. To some of us who own pieces of land in the communal areas, fertilisers, seed and insecticides are beyond our reach. When I was young my father, a constable with the police, used to send 10, 50kg bags compound D and 10 bags top dressing fertiliser to our rural area in every October. Now, a school headmaster or doctor can’t afford to do the same. The same chefs loot state coffers and parastatals via bogus companies they own which are contracted by the government. Its all part of Mugabe’s patronage system, to keep them loyal. They live lavish lives in big houses, have all the food they want and drive the most expensive cars in the world.. The rest of the country we are not empowered, we are 100% impoverished. We languish in absolute poverty; if you are lucky to have a job, the salary is not enough to cover transport only to work. Children are dropping off from school. Most families barely afford a decent meal per day.
  4. MDC is not an front for Britain and America, we are true Zimbabweans, all we want is to free our country from the dictator and put a democratic dispension which respect the rule of law and the rights if its citizens. This is true independence. We will not kill or brutalise you like Mugabe. You will not sleep hungry again. Shops will be full again.. All patriots let us protect our country, not from imperialists as Mugabe say, but from Mugabe himself and his thieves and murderers who do not value the sanctity of life.


  1. Mugabe is lying that voting for MDC is voting for war. He knows very well that he is going to lose therefore he want to intimidate voters and force them to vote for him. He does not have the capacity to wage a war. Only a few chefs in the army and police, a few misguided Border Gezi youths and the unproductive fake war veterans are behind Mugabe. These chefs committed many crimes against humanity, including Gukurahundi in Matebeleland where they killed over 20,000 people. They are afraid of being prosecuted and thrown into the jail. They live lavish lives in their mansions through looting from the state coffers and in the process impoverish the whole country. They are fully aware that without Mugabe they are finished. The rank and file officers in the army and police do not support Mugabe. On 29 March they voted for MDC as shown by results from polling stations in police camps and army barracks. They are also suffering under Mugabe just like everyone else. So who will fight on his side? Mugabe also knows that he is broke and does not have money to bankroll and sustain a war. The liberation war was funded by sympathisers outside the country, who were against colonialism. Do you think they can do the same now, fund a war against a democratically elected MDC government? Then they will not be a liberation movement as before, but a rebel movement which will be condemned worldwide. In the unlikely event that he starts a war it will not last because soon he will run out of supplies and he will also risk being thoroughly crushed by his rank and file officers who are disgruntled.
  2. Zanu PF and Mugabe are selfish; they put their interests first before those of the country. When they say people first, they mean first from last. They only think of people when voting is approaching, buying votes by maize and donating farm equipment. Where was Mugabe and his buses all along. Ironically Mugabe buys maize from Zambia and South Africa, produced by the same white farmers he chased from Zimbabwe. Mugabe lies that he like his people. Instead he is thick skinned and does not care at all. All he need is power. By banning all NGOs, he shows that he does not have people at heart. Right now over 4 million people are going to starve especially the vulnerable groups like those with AIDS, orphans, the elderly and children under the age of 5.
  3. Many people died in the liberation war, not for Mugabe to misgovern, brutalise and impoverish us, but to attain independence, the values of democracy, accountable government, rule of law, independent judiciary, non-racialism, political tolerance and freedom of the media, to free us from colonisers, for us to prosper and have our rights respected. Our dearest brothers and sisters died in the war for one man one vote. Is unleashing soldiers on unarmed civilians total independence? Is internal terrorism and making your people live in a state of fear and unimaginable repression total independence?  Is joblessness and hunger total independence? All Mugabe can talk of is sovereignty and does not have any solution to problems afflicting the nation. We do not eat sovereignty or tales of the struggle in place for food. Sovereignty must mean good standard of living, access to health care, plenty of food and goods in shops, more jobs, money that has value and respect for our rights as citizens of this country. Zimbabwe is not free, we demand real independence, Morgan and MDC can deliver that.



This is just but a sample; the sky is the limit; let’s reach the people and hit Mugabe where it hurts most. Sometimes the simplest idea brings the greatest change


 Zimbabwe atmosphere is pregnant with change



Its  election season, but one in which everyone seems especially on edge.I am not sure what it is, they say run off, but I hope that its not a run over or run away .The current political atmosphere is one of extremes, with much at stake regardless of where on the spectrum of politics you reside. The current political environment is actually a threat even to the apolitical people who want basic commodities such as bread and butter. People who just want to go to their workplace and raise their children.


The atmosphere in Zimbabwe is pregnant with change, and it is unfortunate that it is going to be impossible to contain this fever. If I was a weather commentator I would tell you the report with an umbrella claiming that it might rain anytime from now.There is

Certainly a widespread feeling that President Mugabe has reached the point of political perishability. Change is a natural process which cannot be stopped. I know that in the hush seas its only the captain and his crew who will adjust their sails or risk perishing. Change is a force which has gathered momentum to the peak. There are people who are trying to temper with the change , I feel that I should caution them that they are fighting nature. If they succeed they become demi-gods though its truly a mammoth task. No individual can control time, but many of us adjust to time. I feel most people are fighting a loosing battle if nature is in control.

Whenever I meet people they are humming a song of change in Zimbabwe, I have been surprised to realize that some staunch ZANU PF are also part of this crusade. Change seems to be the world order and its unstoppable, I think Senator Obama can attest to that.


No amount of intimidation and violence is going to stop this spirit which has gripped the atmosphere, everybody in the streets, buses; rains workplaces are singing, talking and even whistling about it. An ocean of people from all over the diaspora will flow to Zimbabwe on the 27th June to what has  been denied them. The people have their candidate who has stood with them for more than ten years in the struggle for change and they are determined to see him through to victory.


The wrath of the masses cannot be stopped, people are determined to show their anger through the ballot box .During the smith regime I was told that the freedom fighters were denied access to the media, but still they always found a way to communicate. They were labeled terrorists and sell-outs by the regime when they were actually our brothers and sisters. Instilling fear is a good strategy for as long as it doesn’t backfire, because if it does the wrath of the masses is inevitable. We need peace in Zimbabwe and that we shall surely get against all odds.


The champions of violence should not forget that they are doing this to their own parents, brothers and sisters which might make it difficult to be accepted in the community. Preach peace instead and allow the people to choose a candidate of their choice. I can assure you that people are determined to continue speaking through the ballot box for as long as they are allowed to vote. Lets not deprive people the right to speak, let the people speak.


The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in the period of moral crisis maintain neutrality. What is happening in our beautiful country is unacceptable, there is no pride in

killing your own people. These people do not have guns, but their vote as a weapon. You cannot call yourself a mighty hunter when you are killing hapless chickens in your mother’s fowl run. I think there is still room to reconsider the violent stance. There are better methods of addressing issues not murdering and maiming your own brothers and sisters. Its against Pan African values and these scars of violence will take longer to heal as the people killing each other are from the same village. Brothers do not loose hope Zimbabwe shall rise again,this time better than ever


Simbarashe Chirimubwe is the leader of Concerned Africans Association(CAA) and Global Zimbabwe –Diaspora Forum representative for Africa

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Zimbabwe has no future under Robert Mugabe

The Age, Australia

June 17, 2008
Democracy is a sham, the economy is a basket case, political repression
rules. Change must come to Zimbabwe.

WHO or what will stop Robert Mugabe? The President of Zimbabwe should be
seen now for what he is and what he represents: a thug who will plunge his
country into the abyss in order to cling to power. The rhetoric of
politicians can usually be dismissed as theatrical gesture, but the words of
Mr Mugabe have a deeply disturbing and distressing menace.

The tyrannical leader raised the odds significantly when he spoke at the
weekend of fighting a war against those whom he saw as opposing his rule.
"We shall never never accept anything that smells

of the MDC," Mr Mugabe said. Admittedly he was speaking at the funeral of
former general Norbert Chingombe, and so was speaking to a gathering of
mourners sympathetic to his aims. However, within the exhortation is the
whiff of terror. He also said: "Anyone who tries to undermine our land
reform we will challenge. We are prepared to fight for our country or go to
war if we lose it - as happened to our forefathers." The MDC to which he
refers is the Movement for Democratic Change. Mr Mugabe and the MDC's leader
Morgan Tsvangirai are engaged in a campaign for the presidency, the run-off
vote for which is to take place on June 27. But this is not democracy. Mr
Mugabe has made it clear that he will not relinquish power, whatever the
will of the people decides.

Mr Mugabe has made it clear that it is his will that dictates the process.
This is not democracy. It is farce, but it is now much worse than that. With
his latest declarations Mr Mugabe, in effect, has silenced his people's
voice. This is the mark of a dictator.

It is also the mark of a dictator to nurture the loyalty of those who can
safeguard one's power - that is, the security forces and the militias.

With that nexus firmly in place, it becomes a matter of survival for both
camps. As it has become in Zimbabwe. Last weekend the secretary-general of
the MDC, Tendai Biti, appeared before a court in Harare accused of treason.
Mr Tsvangirai has been detained on several occasions for no other reason
than that he is Mr Mugabe's political opponent. At least Mr Biti is still
alive. Others have been beaten and murdered in a parallel campaign of
intimidation by Government forces. In recent days, General Constantine
Chiwenga, chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, declared that the opposition
to Mr Mugabe was "treacherous". In such a climate of fear how can it be
reasonably expected of anyone to cast their ballot and believe it will make
a difference? To vote becomes an act of bravery.

The outrage that should rightly be poured upon General Chiwenga's statement
stems from the fact that when elections were held in March, Mr Tsvangirai
comfortably beat Mr Mugabe for the presidency by almost six percentage
points. However, he fell short of the simple majority needed to claim the
position. Hence the run-off vote in two weeks. What then will happen if Mr
Mugabe loses the vote? He will not go quietly, that much is certain. He will
not bend to any other political entity running than country other than an
ally. What then can bend his will?

The answer lies outside Zimbabwe's borders. It lies in sustained, concerted
condemnation from the international community of Mr Mugabe's rule and in
particular from the African nations. It is on this point, however, that the
chorus of disapproval fades. The South African President, Thabo Mbeki,
warrants special mention. As chief mediator to Zimbabwe for the Southern
African Development Community, Mr Mbeki should be taking a much stronger
stance publicly than merely stating a "serious concern" towards developments
in Zimbabwe. The time for diplomatic niceties is over. Mr Mugabe has shown
repeatedly that in the face of criticism he will invoke both his legacy as a
freedom fighter against the British and, flowing from that, a "us-and-them"
attitude to the rest of the world.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith have
denounced the Mugabe regime (as have many Western nations), and while
denunciations can have a cumulative effect, what also is needed is the
emergence of a compelling and unarguable opposing voice to Mr Mugabe's, such
as that of Africa's towering freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela. The Nobel
Peace laureate turns 90 next month. He is reportedly frail, yet his voice
still carries moral authority. Perhaps Mr Mugabe is past caring what anyone,
including Nelson Mandela, thinks. On the evidence of his leadership of his
country he cares little for his people. That task has fallen to the rest of
the world.

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Mugabe's scandalous campaign of intimidation

Jamaica Observer


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

There's obviously wrong being committed on both sides in the violent run-up
to the June 27 presidential run-off in Zimbabwe. Supporters of both the
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling ZANU-PF party
are being attacked and injured amidst charges and counter charges of

However, no one can deny that members of the Opposition are bearing the
brunt of the attacks as forces loyal to Zimbabwe's tyrant president, Mr
Robert Mugabe, are engaging in a campaign of intimidation in order to
prevent Zimbabweans opposed to him from voting next week.

Since the first round of voting at the end of March when Mr Mugabe and his
goons decided that the results of the presidential election should not be
released - obviously because he had lost - Opposition supporters have been
attacked and arrested.

Eventually, the electoral authority announced that MDC leader, Mr Morgan
Tsvangirai, had received more votes than Mr Mugabe but not enough to avoid a
run-off for the presidency.

However, what has transpired in this once proud nation since then has been
nothing short of scandalous. Mr Tsvangirai's attempts to campaign have been
repeatedly thwarted by the police and he has been detained at least six

Mr Tendai Biti, the MDC's secretary general, has been arrested on
allegations of treason and yesterday his lawyer was reported by wire
services as saying that the police had slapped his client with two extra
charges under the security laws - insulting the president and making
statements intended to bring about disaffection in the police and security

Both these charges, we are told, are punishable by imprisonment or a fine,
while treason can carry the death penalty.

According to news service reports, the police jail in western Harare in
which Mr Biti is being held is known for filthy, harsh conditions used to
intimidate suspects in custody.

We have no doubt that had Mr Mugabe intended for the June 27 election to be
free and fair he would not have allowed the continuation of this travesty in
his country - a county for which many brave men and women fought and died to
win its freedom.

As we have said before in this space, Mr Mugabe has trampled on the very
democracy he and others fought so valiantly for, and has squandered all the
goodwill won by the Zimbabwean people's struggle over many years.

If, after all Mr Mugabe's vile and oppressive actions, anyone still had
doubts about his intentions, his campaign speech in the central Silobela
district on Sunday should have removed all uncertainties.

"We shed a lot of blood for this country," the Herald newspaper, described
as a government mouthpiece, quoted him as saying. "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?"

Aside from the fact that Mr Mugabe has become a disgrace to the
anti-apartheid movement that helped to win Zimbabwe its independence, we
feel particularly let down by the response of President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa. For he, more than anyone else, we believe, could have used his
stature and influence to broker a solution to the problem. Instead, he has
insisted on treating the sore with what he has termed "quiet diplomacy",
which is really an attempt at a resolution through dialogue.

That, clearly has not worked, and President Mbeki, supported by a few other
African leaders, have merely sat back and allowed the Zimbabwean people to
continue suffering at the hands of the Mugabe regime.

It will be interesting to observe the response of these African leaders, as
well as that of Caricom, who has been shamelessly silent on this issue,
after the results of the presidential vote. That is, if there is an

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"Dog of war" set for African trial


Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:36am BST

By Bernardino Ndze Biyoa
MALABO (Reuters) - British mercenary Simon Mann, one of the last prominent
"dogs of war" in Africa, was to go on trial on Tuesday in Equatorial Guinea
accused of leading a failed 2004 coup against the oil-rich African state.

Mann, an Eton-educated former special forces officer, was arrested in
Zimbabwe with 70 mercenaries en route to Equatorial Guinea.

Public Prosecutor Jose Olo Obono said last week Mann would go on trial on
Tuesday on three main charges: crimes against the head of state, crimes
against the government and crimes against the peace and independence of the

He could face the death penalty, but Obono said it was unlikely he would
seek the maximum sentence against Mann.

Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo told Channel Four
news that it would be up to the court to decide on Mann's punishment if he
was convicted.

"We've reached a conclusion that Simon Mann was used as an instrument but
there were material and intellectual authors behind it that financed the
operation," Obiang said.

Tuesday's edition of the Guardian newspaper quoted Obiang as saying that
Mann was revealing important information on a daily basis, something the
judges might take into account when it came to sentencing.

"If they think cooperation has been good enough, there might be clemency
shown at the end of the case," the paper quoted Obiang as saying through an
interpreter. It added that Obiang had held out the prospect of negotiations
to allow Mann to serve part of his prison sentence in Britain.


Mann, held in Malabo's notorious Black Beach prison, said in a TV interview
broadcast in March that he plotted to oust Obiang, who has ruled the
ex-Spanish colony since 1979.

Equatorial Guinean authorities have said Mann has testified that Mark
Thatcher, the son of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, knew all about
the scheme to topple the government of sub-Saharan Africa's third-largest
oil producer.

Mark Thatcher has denied any involvement in the plan. He was arrested in
2004 by South African police at his Cape Town home on suspicion of
bankrolling the coup plot, and pleaded guilty under a deal with South
African authorities.

Mann, heir to a brewing fortune who attended the exclusive Eton College, was
extradited from Zimbabwe in February after serving a four-year sentence for
buying weapons without a licence. Prosecutors said the arms were to be used
in the coup.

The arrest of Mann, who once served in Britain's elite Special Air Service
(SAS) regiment, ended the career of one of the last prominent "dogs of war"
still active in Africa.

One of Africa's most notorious foreign mercenaries, Frenchman Bob Denard,
died in October.

After his army service, Mann, 55, helped found two security firms that
became bywords for mercenary activity across Africa in the 1990s, Executive
Outcomes and Sandline International.

Mann had appealed against his extradition from Zimbabwe by arguing he would
not receive a fair trial and could be tortured in Equatorial Guinea, which
has faced sharp international criticism for human rights abuses.

Eleven other men, including several foreigners, are already serving
sentences of between 13 and 34 years in Equatorial Guinea in connection with
the alleged plot.

(Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Alistair Thomson and Alex Richardson)

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