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When Vote-Gathering is War By Other Means

Business Day (Johannesburg)

18 June 2008
Posted to the web 18 June 2008


DEAR all.

It has been quite a weekend. We were made very aware of impending problems
on our farm before they even started. Various letters came in, as well as
verbal warnings from concerned people all over the district.

People were told that our cattle and potatoes would be dished out to them.
The election campaign is being fought on "100% empowerment", that is, taking
everything that belongs to people who are not black and giving it to the
party faithful. The party has got nothing else to offer the people ...

President Robert Mugabe arrived in our little town that afternoon and people
were only informed that morning. Everyone had to suddenly go to his rally
whether they wanted to or not.

He apparently told the people that if the opposition got in, it would be
war. The unexpected presidential rally must have thrown the organisation for
the "programme" (for our farm, as it was referred to in a letter from one of
the organisers) into disarray.

That evening, we ended up with only about 500 of the expected 1500 people
that were to come. They were bused in from all over on tractor-trailers,
lorries, cars and buses. We even had one bus from Shamva, hundreds of
kilometres away.

The drums and chanting started soon after dark. Nearly 50 fires were lit all
around. The leaders were waving guns around and had everyone doing their
bidding. The chanting and sloganeering was military style -- all in unison
for hour after hour after hour, all the way through the night. We could not

When dawn broke and the birds started to call, the chanting broke into a
noise that sounded like a terrible swarm of bees on the rampage. We knew
that the beating had then started and we prayed. It turned out that anyone
who they believed had been polling agents at polling stations was covered in
cold water. We had frost that morning and it was cold.

They were then told to beat each other with sticks while the crowd egged
them on. The noise went on for a few hours. Some of them had already run
away. Those people will not vote; still less be polling agents in the next
election, as you have to vote in your own ward, I understand, and they are
designating which polling station too, so they can check who you voted for.
They had been searched for any cellphones so that they do not relay any
atrocities on to anyone. They were told they would be killed if information
leaked out.

Everyone is tight-lipped about what went on. Today they go through the day
mechanically, with terror written all over them.

A neighbour drove past on the main road and was stopped at a road block that
they had set up on our road. He managed to get through that but at the next
one they put burning logs on his bonnet and tried to get into the car. A
couple of hundred people came out from the pack-shed, where the
indoctrination was taking place.

He managed to reverse and turn around and get through the other road block,
taking some rocks on his windscreen and other places on the car.

Meantime, Andre had been at the police station trying to get police out. We
had been there on five occasions the previous week trying to tell them of
what was to take place. We had given two letters for the attention of the
officer who was in charge.

Andre waited for six hours at the police station but could not get a
reaction to stop the beating and dismantle the road blocks. He saw the
officer in charge, among others. It was clear they are under orders not to
react. Our electricity went down and both cellphone networks also ceased to

We were left with no communications and our way out to the main road had
been sealed off by a road block. We prayed and read Psalm 118. Andre
eventually decided to come out himself.

Miraculously, just before he arrived, the road blocks were dismantled and
everyone disappeared. Shortly after, the guards came to tell us of thieves
in the maize -- about 30 people were just helping themselves. We caught some
of them and chased them off and recovered their booty.

That evening we got a call from Priscilla, who was very badly beaten up with
her husband six weeks ago by Gilbert Moyo and his gang. They had also had
everything from their house and workshops stolen in that raid, including
even their clothes. Moyo was taken into custody by police, but was then let
out again as a hit man.

He "hit" another couple in the area a few nights ago and they had half an
hour to get out of their home and off their farm or end up the same way as
Andre and Priscilla had. We do not know yet what has been looted there.

Andre and Priscilla were staying in a cottage on another farm when Moyo
arrived with 30 people and said he was taking the farm for Senator
Madzongwe. They managed to get to the main homestead while I went to police
with another neighbour.

We spent an hour at the police station but they refused to react as it was
an "issue of land". I told them that dispossession of one's home and assault
of one's workers were matters that were important for them to deal with; but
after Andre's six hours' fruitless wait for a reaction that morning I knew
we were wasting our time; and so we eventually proceeded to Stockdale to
give whatever support we could.

As it happened, an army major by the name of Indora spoke to Moyo and Andre
eventually ended up transporting Moyo and his gang back to their base 20km
away in the early hours of the morning as the "hit" had not got official
sanction. They got to a road block of 50 Zanu (PF) people on the main road,
but were allowed through and back without incident.

Such road blocks are now common at night to stop observers and anyone from
"outside" getting to any pungwes and seeing the atrocities that are taking
place. A friend's worker went to their rural area near to the Nyamapanda
border post to see his elderly mother last month.

In these areas, any movement needs official sanction from the party and
written Zanu (PF) permits are even required to visit the next ward in many
places. I have seen such permits.

The friend's worker was stopped at a road block and had to wait two days to
get someone to vouch for him. During that time, four people who had not got
anyone to vouch for them were asked if they wore long sleeves or short
sleeves. The first replied "short sleeves". They cut his right arm off at
the top with an axe. The other three replied "long sleeves". They cut each
of their right hands off.

He said that he saw the hands wriggling on the ground, detached from their
owners. Those hands cannot vote any more. I have heard of many other hands
like that.

It seemed macabre that Andre, so badly assaulted by Moyo six weeks ago, was
taking him back to "his" home. Presumably, all Andre's worldly possessions
are now in that place that they took him to. Priscilla asked Andre to look
out for their dog, which also disappeared on May 6, but they most probably
killed it. Andre saw no evidence of it.

There appears to be no sign of any Southern African Development Community
observers out here. A friend said he had seen some sipping drinks and
reading the newspapers in the Meikles Hotel in Harare at the weekend. Voter
registration goes on even now.

The old people at Greenways Old People's Home say they are now off the
voters' roll, but the ones that are dead are still on....

Meanwhile, the atrocities go on at the all-night pungwes and the people
tremble with fear. I read that the observers are officially not allowed out
after dark because their safety cannot be guaranteed. They need to defy that
and get out and see with their own eyes these things if they care at all.

We ask you to pray and send brave people and peacekeepers to stop the
atrocities before they get even worse. Maybe I write this in vain; but I
write this crying.

With love in Christ, who is our saviour, whatever happens.


The letter writer is a Zimbabwean farmer whose identity is known to Business
Day. The letter came to us via a South African human rights lawyer, who
fears the writer may not survive the week. The names of other people
mentioned have also been changed to protect their identities.

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South African president makes last-ditch appeal to Robert Mugabe

Times Online
June 18, 2008

Jonathan Clayton
South African President Thabo Mbeki arrived in Zimbabwe today in a
last-ditch attempt to try and persuade Robert Mugabe to compromise ahead of
next week's presidential run-off poll, the credibility of which has largely
been dismissed.

Government sources said Mr Mbeki, the official mediator for Zimbabwe,
arrived in the capital Harare just before 1pm local time (1100 GMT) and went
straight into a meeting with the South African ambassador.

In recent days, African diplomats have expressed concern over the mounting
levels of violence in the country and said a free and fair poll was not

Diplomatic sources told The Times Mr Mbeki would urge his Zimbabwean
counterpart to reconsider efforts to broker a government of national unity
in order to prevent an election which is certain to lead to more violence.

Mr Mugabe, 84, and hardliners in his military have made it clear both
privately and publicly that they will not hand power over to opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai whom they say is a tool of western imperialist
One senior African diplomatic source told The Times: "The Mugabe regime is
worse than Myanmar, they are totally oblivious to the outside world. A vote
will solve nothing as the military have made it clear they will not give up
power to Tsvangirai - the only way out is a deal of some sort."

He added that the ruling ZANU-PF was insisting on retaining the Presidency,
but might consider giving the post of Prime Minister to Mr Tsvangirai or one
of his supporters,like the deal recently done in Kenya.

The issue is further complicated by the fact the MDC leader believes he can
win outright and is reluctant to accept half the cake. However, he is under
growing pressure as neighbours realise they cannot force the regime to give
up power and a deal is the only way of persuading Mr Mugabe to step down.

If Mr Mugabe steals the result, the government faces total regional
isolation. "It will be repudiated internationally and treated as Africa's
North Korea. The economy will continue to collapse and more refugees will
flock to neighbouring states. It will solve nothing," the source added.

Today South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) gave the
strongest hint yet that it would not accept a flawed result.

ANC President Jacob Zuma, expected to take over as the country's leader next
year, said he did not expect a free presidential election run-off. He also
backed British calls for as many as 1,000 independent election observers, a
concession which would almost certainly guarantee an opposition victory.

Mr Zuma told Reuters news agency: "I think we'll be lucky if we have a free

In London, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Mr Zuma had told him he
supported the deployment of 1,000 ANC monitors to observe the June 27 poll.

South African foreign ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said Mr Mbeki would
meet the Zimbabwean leader "in continuation of his SADC-mandated
facilitation process."

The South African president, appointed to mediate Zimbabwe's crisis by the
14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), has often come
under fire for his policy of quiet diplomacy towards the neighbouring

Mr Mbeki said last week that levels of violence in Zimbabwe were a cause for
"serious concern and should be addressed with all urgency." He will press on
Mr Mugabe that SADC's conditions for free elections are not being honoured,
diplomatic short-hand for telling him SADC will not recognize the outcome.

According to the MDC, more than 60 of its supporters have been killed since
the first round of the election at the end of March, in which Mugabe's
ruling party lost control of parliament for the first time since

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Mbeki Meets Mugabe Amid Deepening Crisis in Zimbabwe


By Delia Robertson
18 June 2008

South African President Thabo Mbeki is meeting in Bulawayo with Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe before runoff presidential elections next week.
VOA's Delia Robertson reports from our southern Africa bureau in
Johannesburg, the meeting backdrop is a deepening political, social and
economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

President Mbeki canceled a long-planned official visit to Sudan in order to
meet with Mr. Mugabe. The only official comment was a statement saying the
visit was in connection with his duties as the Southern Africa Development
Community facilitator for talks between the parties in Zimbabwe.

The deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, Adam
Habib, tells VOA that at the top of Mr. Mbeki's agenda in his talks with Mr.
Mugabe is the ongoing violence against the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

"The immediate priority of [Mr.] Mbeki would be to try and quell the
violence that is happening all over the place," said Habib.

But Professor Habib adds that there is a growing acceptance among the
political elites in Southern Africa that Mr. Mugabe must go. The question is

"But I think that there is a broader realization that what is at play, is to
work out a deal that facilitates some kind of government of national unity,"
added Habib. "Their big dilemma is how to effect that, with an autocrat in
power, and that is something they are grappling with on a day-to-day basis."

The opposition won the Zimbabwe elections in late March, but MDC
presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai failed to achieve a simple
50-percent-plus-one majority in the presidential race, requiring a runoff.

Mr. Mbeki has since been the subject of severe worldwide criticism for his
interventions, much of the criticism centered around incorrect reports he
had said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe during the lengthy wait for the

U.S. President George Bush also discussed the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe
early today in a telephone conversation with Zambian President Levy
Mwanawasa.  White House officials have not released details of the
discussions, but U.S. officials have been urging leaders in the region,
especially Mr. Mbeki to press Zimbabwe's president to allow independent
observers to monitor the upcoming election.

Habib says many Mbeki critics fail to note that it was largely his
intervention that led to a successful poll in March. More than that he says,
no one has offered any meaningful alternative to engagement with Mr. Mugabe.

"Thabo Mbeki can be much more critical than he has been. And that might be
welcomed by a whole range of quarters including myself, and a number of
other people, human rights activists around the world, even some political
leaders in the U.K. and the U.S. But would that have contributed to breaking
the logjam in Zimbabwe? It would have closed the door for Robert Mugabe, and
if we are arguing that the only game in town is engagement; then you have
just undermined the one influence you may have had," continued Habib.

Habib says Mr. Mbeki may be a lame-duck president at home, but he retains
leverage with Mr. Mugabe because the Zimbabwean leader knows there is no
other leader in the region with the same level of global influence.

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Zimbabwe court postpones opposition official's case


Wed 18 Jun 2008, 13:50 GMT

HARARE, June 18 (Reuters) - The court case against top Zimbabwean opposition
official Tendai Biti was postponed until Thursday, a magistrate said on

"I am remanding you in custody," Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe said, after
ordering that Biti's leg irons be removed. Prosecutors and the defence had
agreed to the postponement.

Biti is facing a treason charge that could carry a death sentence, and has
been held in custody since his arrest last Thursday.

Defence lawyers told reporters after the hearing they would apply for all
charges against the Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general to be

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe compete in a
presidential election run-off on June 27. (Reporting by Gordon Bell; Editing
by Matthew Tostevin)

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UN council to discuss Zimbabwe crisis - diplomats


Wed 18 Jun 2008, 14:25 GMT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will
chair an informal Security Council meeting on Thursday to discuss the crisis
in Zimbabwe, council diplomats said on Wednesday.

Rice will be in New York to chair a formal meeting of the council on the
same day to debate a resolution aimed at combating violence against women.

The United States holds the rotating council presidency for this month.

South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and several other
foreign ministers are expected to take part in both, diplomats said, though
no formal outcome was expected from the Zimbabwe discussions.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe faces opposition challenger Morgan
Tsvangirai on June 27 in a run-off presidential election.

The opposition, Western countries and human rights groups have accused
Mugabe's supporters of carrying out a systematic campaign of violence and
intimidation ahead of the vote.

A senior U.N. official, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs
Haile Menkerios, is currently in Zimbabwe to discuss the situation. He met
with Mugabe on Tuesday.

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US calls for meeting on Zimbabwe, "a country in crisis"

Monsters and Critics

Jun 18, 2008, 16:39 GMT

New York - The United States called Wednesday for a UN Security Council
meeting to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe, saying that concerns have
grown about the deteriorating humanitarian and political situation there.

But US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said some countries in the 15-nation
council were opposed to holding the meeting before Zimbabwe holds its
presidential elections in Zimbabwe on June 27. The US currently holds the
rotating presidency of the council in June.

'It's a country in crisis,' he said. 'It's very important for the council to
have a discussion, take a look at where the country is and consider what's
needed to be done.'

Khalilzad said an overwhelming majority of council members have agreed to
hold the meeting and he believed it will take place despite the objection of
some members. He did not say which couintry opposed the discussion.

A UN official, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Haile
Menkarios, is visiting Zimbabwe to assess the situation there and is
expected to report back to UN headquarters.

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Rice urges UN, African leaders to press Mugabe on elections

Yahoo News

by Lachlan Carmichael 2 hours, 16 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Wednesday
for the UN Security Council and African leaders to press Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe into holding free and fair elections.

Rice said she hoped the "leaders of Africa" would deliver a "strong
message," when asked by reporters what she hoped South African President
Thabo Mbeki would tell Mugabe during a visit Wednesday to Harare.

The secretary of state also hoped to "bring some international attention" to
Zimbabwe when she and her counterpart from Burkina Faso co-chair
"roundtable" talks Thursday at the UN Security Council.

"This is from our point of view a matter for the Security Council of the
United Nations to deal with," Rice told reporters during a meeting in
Washington with Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya.

Odinga, who himself survived a controversial and violent election campaign
in Kenya, proposed sending an international peacekeeping force to Zimbabwe
to ensure proper elections, but Rice declined to comment.

"It is time for the leaders of Africa to say to President Mugabe that the
people of Zimbabwe deserve a free and fair election, that you cannot
intimidate opponents, you cannot put opponents in jail, you cannot threaten
them with charges of treason and be respected in the international
community," Rice said.

US officials have complained of South African silence toward the election
campaign in neighboring Zimbabwe.

"We're very concerned about the elections, but it's very difficult when you
have the kind of intimidation going on in Zimbabwe," Rice said.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), has been repeatedly detained during campaigning for the June 27
run-off election against Mugabe.

And Tendai Biti, the MDC's number two, on Wednesday appeared in court facing
a treason charge ahead of next week's presidential run-off, but a judge
suspended the case until the following day.

The opposition has called Biti's arrest part of a campaign of harassment,
intimidation and violence.

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

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

"Zimbabwe remains an eyesore on the African continent," Kenya's Odinga told
reporters in Washington.

"It's a big embarrassment that a leader can say on the eve of an election
that he's not willing to hand over power to an opponent, that he can only
hand over power to a member of his own political party," Odinga added.

"It makes a sham of the presidential elections. We cannot have free and fair
elections when opponents are being beaten up, when the secretary general of
the opposition party (Biti) is in detention" facing treason charges, he

"My view is that the time has come for the international community to act on
Zimbabwe in the way they did in Bosnia," he said.

"I don't think we're going to get free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. What
we need in Zimbabwe is actually an international peacekeeping force so that
... proper elections can be held," Odinga said.

Odinga himself became prime minister two months ago as part of a coalition
government brokered by former UN chief Kofi Annan, after his loss in the
December 27 presidential vote to incumbent Mwai Kibaki sparked widespread
violence that left at least 1,500 dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.

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Tsvangirai holds talks with UN special envoy to Zimbabwe

Monsters and Critics

Jun 18, 2008, 17:18 GMT

Johannesburg/Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
met with the UN special envoy Haile Menkerios Wednesday, Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change said.

Menkerios is in the country to access the situation ahead of the June 27
presidential run-off, and was sent by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to
access the humanitarian crisis.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said Menkerios and Tsvangirai discussed the
issue of violence widely reported to be used against the opposition by
militiamen loyal to President Robert Mugabe.

'We discussed the militia maiming opposition supporters,' he said. 'Guns
must be taken away from electoral politics. The militia that set up torture
camps must be disbanded.

'Our polling agents are being displaced, maimed, and killed. They need
security. We need protection of senior members some of whom are in custody
on trumped up charges. They must be released.'

The meeting between Tsvangirai and Menkerios took place a day after the UN
envoy met Mugabe. The details of that meeting were not made public.

Meanwhile court proceedings against a senior opposition member in Zimbabwe
facing treason charges failed to take place because of a power outage.

Outspoken MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti, who has been in police custody
since last week, briefly appeared before Harare magistrate Mishrod

The case was adjourned until Thurday and the magistrate ordered the state to
remove the leg irons on Biti next time he appeared in court.

The visibly exhausted Biti, dressed in a red jacket, gazed upwards as the
proceedings took place in full courtroom.

His lawyer Lewis Uriri told reporters afterwards that 'there is no
reasonable suspicion to continue curtailing his liberty,' and that Biti was
'emotionally broken down and he has several complaints about how the police
has been treating him so far.'

Biti was arrested last Thursday at Harare International Airport on arrival
from South Africa where he has been since early April after the disputed
March election in which President Robert Mugabe lost control of parliament.

He faces four charges including treason, which carries a death penalty.

South African President Thabo Mbeki was later expected in Zimbabwe to meet
with Mugabe todiscuss next week's run-off presidential election.

Zimbabwe's state-controlled daily Herald newspaper, quoting 'reliable
sources,' said Mbeki would fly to the western city of Bulawayo to meet
Mugabe, who would be campaigning in the area.

The campaign has been marked by a wave of murders, abductions,, assault,
torture and arson since almost immediately after the end of the first round
of elections on March 29.

On Tuesday, the Pan-African Parliament observer mission said that 'violence
is at the top of the agenda of this electoral process,' and said it had
received 'many horrendous stories.'

Churches, doctors and human rights agencies dealing with victims of the
violence say that members of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party have been overwhelmingly
named as the perpetrators.

Mbeki has been widely criticized for his handling of the volatile situation
in Zimbabwe, declaring in May there was 'no crisis.'

The MDC says Tsvangirai wrote to Mbeki earlier this month to condemn his
chairmanship of regional mediation attempts between the two sides, and
accused him of being openly biased in favour of the 84-year-old Mugabe.

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Ban says Zimbabwe's runoff elections not credible

Monsters and Critics

Jun 18, 2008, 18:42 GMT

New York - The repeated acts of intimidation and arrests of opposition
leaders will make Zimbabwe's runoff presidential elections less credible
unless Harare puts a stop to them, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said

Ban said also that the post-election crisis is compounded by the
deterioration of the political, social and economic situation in the
country, which is threatening 4 million vulnerable people who need
assistance for their daily survival.

Ban told ambassadors to the UN in a closed-door session that President
Robert Mugabe's suspension of relief activities by foreign non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) has hurt 2 million people who had been receiving food
aid. They included 500,000 children who have not received health care,
HIV/AIDS and education support since the suspension earlier in June.

He criticized strongly the political atmosphere while Zimbabwe prepares for
runoff elections on June 27.

'The current violence, intimidation and the arrest of opposition leaders are
not conducive to credible elections,' Ban said. 'Should these conditions
continue to prevail, the legitimacy of the election outcome would be in

'It is of the utmost importance that the violence be stopped immediately and
that humanitarian assistance is facilitated, not prevented,' he said.

On the economic situation, Ban said Zimbabwe is suffering a rapid economic
decline and inflation shot up 355,000 per cent, provoking a collapse in
social services and food insecurity since the dispute over election results
erupted in April. The situation has a 'devastating effect' on Zimbabwe's
millions of HIV/AIDS patients.

He said the economic situation deteriorated further two weeks ago when NGOs
were suspended of their activities.

A UN official, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Haile
Menkarios, is currently visiting Harare for talks with government officials
and opposition leaders to to assess the situation there and is expected to
report back to UN headquarters.

With the background of Zimbabwe's sliding political and economic conditions,
the United States on Wednesday called on the UN Security Council to debate
the situation in Zimbabwe.

But US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said some countries in the 15-nation
council were opposed to holding the meeting before Zimbabwe holds its
presidential elections in Zimbabwe on June 27. The US currently holds the
rotating presidency of the council in June.

'It's a country in crisis,' he said. 'It's very important for the council to
have a discussion, take a look at where the country is and consider what's
needed to be done.'

Khalilzad said an overwhelming majority of council members have agreed to
hold the meeting and he believed it will take place despite the objection of
some members. He did not say which countries opposed the discussion.

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Clarification on Suspension of NGO Field Operations

[18th June 2008]
In response to queries about the Suspension of NGO Humanitarian Field Operations, here is the full text of the letter from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and its attached Clarification. 
Compensation House
P. Bag 7707, Causeway
Cnr Fourth Street/Central Avenue
Ref: SW/21/3
12 June 2008
All Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs)/ Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
Reference is made to the meeting convened by OCHA on 12 June 2008, at UNICEF Offices, in Harare at which you sought Government clarification on the suspension of field operations of PVOs/NGOs.
Attached please find the response to issues raised.
I hope this will go a long way in clearing any misinterpretations.
S.G. Mhishi (Mr)
On 12 June 2008, Office of the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) organized a meeting of UN Agencies and NGOs/PVOs to seek clarification from Government on the suspension of field operations of all NGOs/PVOs.
·                    Definition of field operations
·                    Interpretation of suspension
·                    Reasons for suspension
·                    Duration of suspension
Definition of Field Operations
In terms of the suspension letter, field operations imply movement by NGOs/PVOs personnel into communities in order to mobilize, organize, or bring together large numbers of people.
Interpretation of Suspension
Suspension of field operations does not imply banning or deregistration of PVOs/NGOs.
Reason for suspension
Government has received information that some PVOs/NGOs involved in humanitarian operations are breaching the terms and conditions of their registration as embraced in the PVO Act by engaging in political activities.
In order to allow for fair and transparent investigations, field operations of all PVOs/NGOs had to be suspended.
Duration of suspension
Government is desirous to dispense with investigations as soon as possible in order to allow PVOS/NGOS to resume their normal operations.
·                    Implications of HIV/AIDS programmes
·                    Feeding of children
·                    Operations of Head Office, Regional and District offices of the NGOs/PVOs
·                    Position of churches with regard to the suspension
Implications of HIV and AIDS Programmes
·                    The suspension does not prohibit those on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and those benefiting from Home Based Care (HBC) programmes to continue accessing drugs and therapeutic feeding from clinics and hospitals.
Supplementary Feeding Programme for Children
·                    This is a community based programme which does not entail community mobilization by NGOs/PVOs hence it falls outside the above given definition of suspension.
Operations of Head Offices, Regional and District Offices
·                    Since suspension does not imply banning operations at Head Offices, Regional and District Offices are not affected, except field operations.
Position of Churches
·                    The Zimbabwe Constitution guarantees freedom of worship and no church is registered in terms of the PVO Act.  Therefore, in terms of this  suspension, churches are not affected.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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Observer Teams Say It is Government's Duty to Stop Violence

SW Radio Africa (London)

18 June 2008
Posted to the web 18 June 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

The head of an African observer mission in the country has warned that he
will not endorse next week's presidential run-off if current levels of
violence continue.

Marwick Khumalo told journalists in Harare his team had received horrendous
reports of attacks, and that the political environment was not conducive to
a free poll.

Khumalo, head of the Pan-African Parliamentary observers, said it was the
government's responsibility to stop the violence which erupted after the
first round vote.

He said it was very difficult for him to judge the degree of the violence in
terms of whether it's decreased or it has escalated. Khumalo's comments were
echoed by South Africa's ruling ANC leader Jacob Zuma who said he did not
expect a free presidential election run-off in Zimbabwe.

Zuma, has taken a much tougher line on Zimbabwe than President Thabo Mbeki,
and on Wednesday used his bluntest language to date on the election.

"I think we'll be lucky if we have a free election," Zuma said. When asked
if he thought the vote would be fair, Zuma replied, "I don't think so."

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has once again called on Robert Mugabe to
step down from office. He said the vote had already been rigged and Zimbabwe
was 'an eyesore'.

Over 60 MDC activists have reportedly been killed since the state sponsored
violence began soon after the March 29th elections. Almost 50 000 villagers
from areas that voted for the MDC have also been displaced while at least
3000 party activists are currently hospitalised

Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, the MDC secretary for International Affairs
described the whole country as under siege from the Zanu-PF regime. In
certain areas, he added, the situation resembled a war zone where bands of
armed militias and soldiers were terrorising people.

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Kenyan PM calls for peacekeeping force for Zimbabwe

Yahoo News

Wed Jun 18, 12:06 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called Wednesday for
an international peacekeeping force to be deployed in Zimbabwe to ensure
proper elections are held.

"What we need in Zimbabwe is actually an international peacekeeping force so
that ... proper elections can be held," Odinga told reporters during a
meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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Harare diary: Militias reach town

Wednesday, 18 June 2008 11:52 UK

Zimbabwe"s President Robert Mugabe attends a youth convention in the capital Harare on June 13, 2008

Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of leading a normal life.

Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the world's highest rate of inflation and just one in five has an official job.

The presidential run-off on June 27 is now only days away, and campaigning has been taken up several notches.

Almost every public transport vehicle has a poster of President R G Mugabe - "For total independence & total control"

Almost all the conductors and drivers of these vehicles are sporting Mugabe T-shirts and bandanas.

I have heard they were told that if they want to continue to ply their current routes, then they have to wear the regalia, and not tear off the posters.

Mr Mugabe seems to be campaigning quite frantically, one hears the presidential helicopter droning overhead every other day on the way to the rural areas for rallies.

Or maybe it is just that we cannot compare his level of activity to that of (opposition leader) Morgan Tsvangirai. Political rallies are officially banned, but of course Mugabe can go ahead and hold his.

Supporters of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe raise a flag during an election rally for the ruling ZANU PF party"s youth in Harare, Friday June 13
Zanu-PF rallies are being held throughout Zimbawe

But it has not thwarted Mr Tsvangirai, he simply has "walkabouts" where he turns up at villages and shopping centres, and talks to the few people there, as individuals or in small groups.

The only problem is that the crowds swell very quickly as word spreads that "the President" is in the area then he has to leave lest he be charged with violating the ban.

The urbanites are now getting a taste of what post-election life has been like in the rural areas.

War veterans' "bases" have been set up in most of the "locations" - high density areas.

There are so many conversations I have overheard of men complaining they had no sleep as they spent the whole night at a base, singing revolutionary songs.

I have also heard that passengers on public buses find the buses get diverted to the local war veterans' base and others have to walk home because the transport operators have pulled out fearing for their safety.

There are young men moving from house to house, recording the names of all the young people who reside there.

Not knowing the slogan can cost you a beating

No-one knows what they are to be used for.

I have colleagues who are thinking of petitioning our employer to shut down next week, just in case all this escalates.

We have all learnt an important lesson - not knowing the Zanu-PF slogan can cost you a beating or worse.

Youth militia have set up roadblocks on the outskirts of the city where they randomly stop vehicles, ask the passengers to disembark and chant the slogan.

Anyone who fails to cannot proceed with their journey until they have been "taught".

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Five million face hunger in Zimbabwe, UN says

The Telegraph
The United Nations has warned that more than five million Zimbabweans could be threatened by hunger next year due to a steady drop in food production coupled with the world's highest rate of inflation.
Robert Mugabe's seizure of land continues to take its toll
Robert Mugabe's seizure of land continues to take its toll

The Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Program said in a joint report that an estimated two million people in Zimbabwe will not have enough to eat in the summer months.

That figure is projected to rise to 3.8 million people after September and to about 5.1 million between January and March 2009, as the impact of President Robert Mugabe's seizure of land from commercial farmers continues to take its toll. The population is just over 12 million people.

The southern African nation is predicted to produce 575,000 tons of its main seasonal crop of maize, a drop of 28 per cent compared with last year, which was already some 44 per cent below 2006 government figures. Other crops are expected to be similarly dented.

"Poverty has increased for the tenth year in a row and there is an annual inflation estimated at 355,000 percent," said Kisan Gunjal, an FAO food emergency officer who worked on the report. "That is different than any other period in the history of Zimbabwe."

The report, which follows a four-week mission to Zimbabwe in May, said this year's poor production has followed several years of declining yields.

The report also blames adverse weather, late delivery of seeds and shortages of fertilizers, as well as poor infrastructure.

The economic slide of the impoverished nation, which was once the region's breadbasket, has been blamed on the collapse of the key agriculture sector after often violent seizures of farmland from whites.

Earlier this month, Mr Mugabe's government also ordered aid groups to suspend field work indefinitely, accusing them of working with the opposition to topple him.

The freeze has put millions who depend on food aid at the mercy of the government's own distribution system. The UN has said the order hampers aid delivery to more than four million people.

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ZESN observer brutally murdered in Karuru - Hurungwe

Harare 18 June 2008 - The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a group of 38
non-governmental organisations is outraged and saddened by the brutal,
calculated and cold blooded murder of Elliot Machipisa, a ZESN observer in
Karuru - Hurungwe, early in the morning of 17 June 2008 as his family
helplessly looked on.

The brutal attack that left his wife in a critical condition and
hospitalised at Karuru Clinic is noted to have occurred in the early hours
of Tuesday morning following sustained threats of violence targeting all
individuals living in the area who observed the March 29 2008 Harmonized
Election under the banner of ZESN.

In the already well documented onslaught of election observers and perceived
supporters of the MDC, war veterans and ZANU PF supporters are reported to
have convened a meeting on Saturday the 14th of June at Hwylin to discuss
the best way to deal with supporters of MDC and domestic election observers.
A military style base camp was then set up on the same day at Karuru
Township and has since been manned by ZANU PF militia commanded by war

ZESN calls on the police to protect all citizens of Zimbabwe regardless of
political persuasion. It is also critical that international observers that
have been deployed throughout the country take note of such political
killings and intervene where necessary to ensure that no more lives are lost
in the run up to the June 27th election.

ZESN is also disturbed by the escalating levels of violence in areas like
Epworth, Sunningdale, Southerton, Mufakose, Mbare in Harare, Mutasa, Rusape,
Buhera, Hurungwe and Muzarabani. ZESN condemns such continued use of
violence nine days before the June 27th 2008 Run-off. Political violence
affects participation by voters, contesting parties, party agents and

ZESN reassures the people of Zimbabwe that it will continue to demand for
peaceful elections and that the free expression of the will of the people is
respected. Ends//

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UK's Brown: Free and fair elections cannot take place in Zimbabwe under current conditions

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: June 18, 2008

LONDON: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday said free and fair
elections in Zimbabwe now appear unlikely in this month's presidential

Brown told lawmakers at his weekly House of Commons questions session that
President Robert Mugabe's government had killed, beaten and intimidated
opposition supporters in recent weeks, and that too few independent
observers have been allowed to monitor the election campaign.

"These are not circumstances in which a free and fair election can take
place," he said.

Mugabe will face opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the June 27
presidential runoff after coming in second to Tsvangirai in the first round
in March. He has accused Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change of
organizing arson and violence.

However, independent human rights observers say Mugabe's police, soldiers
and party militants are behind widespread violence aimed at ensuring Mugabe

Brown called for Zimbabwean authorities to release Tendai Biti,
secretary-general of Tsvangirai's party. Police say Biti will be charged
with treason, which can carry the death penalty.
The British leader said he has held talks on Zimbabwe in recent days with
Jacob Zuma, head of the South Africa's African National Congress, and
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, whose country heads the African Union.

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Zimbabwe Is 'Under Siege', Says Opposition's Tsvangirai


(RTTNews) - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Wednesday
that the country is 'under siege' ahead of the June 27 presidential run off
and predicted a massive turn out in the run-off despite President Mugabe's
intimidation tactics.

"On the ground people are exuberant, they are triumphant, they are defiant.
They want to finish him off, come the 27th ... frankly, we're going to have
a huge turnout," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Tsvangirai as
saying on Wednesday.

Tsvangirai, who has been repeatedly detained without charges during his
campaigns, said that all the opposition rallies have been banned ahead of
the presidential run-off and added that the country is presently 'under

"The whole country is under siege. In certain areas there is almost total
war ... We are really dealing with a man who does not want to give up
power," he said.

Tsvangirai, who is to face President Robert Mugabe in the presidential
run-off, said that his main priorities, if elected to power, would be to
deal with the current economic and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe rather
than prosecuting the existing regime's top officials.

For comments and feedback: contact

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African impatience with Mugabe grows

Globe and Mail, Canada



June 18, 2008 at 12:45 PM EDT

HARARE - South Africa's ruling party leader and Rwanda's president said on
Wednesday they doubted Zimbabwe's presidential run-off would be free, in a
sign of growing African impatience with Robert Mugabe's government.

The criticism came as South African President Thabo Mbeki, tasked by his
regional counterparts to mediate an end to an economic and political crisis
in Zimbabwe, prepared to meet with the veteran Zimbabwean leader on

In his bluntest language yet on the crisis, African National Congress leader
Jacob Zuma criticised the violence that has engulfed Zimbabwe since the
March 29 general election that saw Mugabe defeated by opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

A run-off is being held on June 27 because Mr. Tsvangirai, the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change, failed to win an absolute majority.

"I think we'll be lucky if we have a free election," Mr. Zuma told Reuters
after a speech in the South African capital Pretoria. When asked if he
thought the run-off would be fair, Mr. Zuma replied "I don't think so."
Rwandan President Paul Kagame heaped scorn on Mugabe and the ZANU-PF for
vowing not to surrender power if beaten. "For me the question that it raises
is why do you even call for elections?" Mr. Kagame said in a news conference
in Rwanda's capital, Kigali.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asked what she hoped Mr. Mbeki
would tell Mr. Mugabe, urged a "strong message" to him that opponents should
not be jailed, intimidated and threatened.

"It is time for the leaders of Africa to say to President Mugabe that the
people of Zimbabwe deserve a free and fair election," Ms. Rice told
reporters as she began a meeting with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Amollo
Odinga in Washington.

Mr. Odinga, who has been sharply critical of Mr. Mugabe, called for an
international peacekeeping force to be deployed in Zimbabwe to ensure that
fair elections can take place.

Rice did not say what she thought of his idea but said she and foreign
minister of Burkina Faso would chair a round-table at the United Nations on
Thursday to discuss Zimbabwe and said the United Nations Security Council
should address the crisis.

Mr. Odinga said Zimbabwe was an eyesore: "It is a big embarrassment that a
leader can say on the eve of an election that he is not willing to hand over
power to an opponent."

Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu also expressed his pessimism. "It's just one of
those awful, awful things that is happening there, and I can't myself see
how we are ever going to be able to have a free and fair run-off," Bishop
Tutu told Reuters Television.

The MDC says 66 opposition activists have been killed since March. Mr.
Mugabe blames the violence on his opponents.

Mr. Mbeki has led regional mediation efforts in Zimbabwe and has drawn
criticism for a diplomatic approach that has failed to end the crisis in the
once prosperous country, where economic ruin has driven millions of people
into neighbouring states.

The South African president would meet Mr. Mugabe in Zimbabwe's second
biggest city, Bulawayo, on Wednesday, said Mr. Mbeki spokesman Mukoni

South Africa's Department of Foreign Affairs said the meeting would be a
continuation of Mbeki's mediation under a mandate from regional bloc SADC.
Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper said they would discuss the election
and campaigns.

The Southern African Development Community is sending hundreds of observers
to monitor the Zimbabwe poll amid fears that Mr. Mugabe's government will
rig the results as it is accused of doing in past elections.

Speaking in London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Mr. Zuma had
told him he supported the deployment of 1,000 ANC monitors to observe the

But the ANC said it would only send 29 people, including 14 MPs, as part of
the 400-strong SADC observer mission.

Mr. Zuma defeated Mr. Mbeki for the ANC leadership in December and has been
much more outspoken on the Zimbabwe crisis than his predecessor, daring to
criticize Mr. Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain
in 1980.

Although revered for his role in liberating Zimbabwe from colonial rule, the
veteran Zimbabwean leader has seen his support wane amid a desperate
economic crisis that has brought hyperinflation and food shortages.

UN food agencies said on Wednesday that more than 5 million people in
Zimbabwe risk going hungry by early next year as production of the staple
maize in 2008 would be almost 30 per cent lower than last year.

The MDC has vowed to reverse the economic meltdown, and Western powers have
pledged billions in assistance if it forms the next government. Mr.
Tsvangirai has continued to express confidence ahead of the poll despite
repeated police harassment.

He told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. there would be a "huge turnout" on
election day and that voters were defiant toward Mugabe's government and
wanted to "finish him off".

The MDC leader has been repeatedly detained and released during the election
campaign and, Tendai Biti, one of his top lieutenants has been arrested and
faces a treason charge that could carry a death sentence.

Mr. Biti, the MDC's secretary-general, was brought on Wednesday to a Harare
court in leg irons, his first appearance in public since being arrested at
the airport last Thursday. A magistrate postponed the case until Thursday.

Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, writing in Britain's Financial
Times, said the violence in Zimbabwe was damaging Africa's reputation and
warned that the continent would not tolerate a rigged election.

"If the government ... cannot ensure a fair vote, Africa must hold it

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MDC won't recognise Mbeki as mediator

The Citizen, SA

18/06/2008 21:26:21


JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) yesterday said it does not recognise President Thabo Mbeki as
the mediator in Zimbabwe.

The party's spokesman Nqobizitha Mlilo was reacting to Mbeki's arrival to
meet with President Robert Mugabe ahead of Zimbabwe's presidential run-off
elections next week.

The MDC confirmed that the party's secretary general, Tendai Biti, is still
detained but the MDC is trying everything to release him.

Two more MDC activists were murdered over the weekend bringing the total of
dead to over 70.

Meanwhile Sapa reports ANC president Jacob Zuma said yesterday he did not
think Zimbabwe's forthcoming presidential election would be free, a party
spokesman confirmed.

Asked whether the run-off poll would be fair, Zuma reportedly said: "I don't
think so. I think we'll be lucky if we have a free election."

ANC spokesman Steyn Speed said Zuma made the remarks at Leadership
"Tomorrow's Leaders" convention in Pretoria. -

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Zimbabwe opposition leader sees huge voter turnout


Wed 18 Jun 2008, 13:09 GMT

OTTAWA, June 18 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
on Wednesday predicted "a huge turnout" in a presidential election run-off
despite what critics say is a campaign of violence and intimidation by the

Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will face
off against veteran President Robert Mugabe on June 27. Official results
showed Tsvangirai won a first round in March but without enough votes to
secure an outright victory.

"On the ground people are exuberant, they are triumphant, they are defiant.
They want to finish him off, come the 27th ... frankly, we're going to have
a huge turnout," Tsvangirai told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Western countries and human rights groups accuse Mugabe of using his
supporters to intimidate those who oppose him. Mugabe blames his opponents
for the violence.

The MDC leader has been repeatedly detained during the campaign and one of
his top lieutenants faces a treason charge. Tsvangirai said all MDC rallies
had been banned.

"The whole country is under siege. In certain areas there is almost total
war. ... "We are really dealing with a man who does not want to give up
power," he told CBC radio.

Mugabe, 84, has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980. His support
waned amid a desperate economic crisis that has brought hyper-inflation and
major food shortages.

Some media reports have quoted unnamed senior Mugabe officials as saying
they do not want the president to leave because they fear they could be put
on trial.

Tsvangirai said he had made clear that if he won, his priority would be to
deal with the economic crisis rather than prosecuting top officials.

"We have said from day one that that's not our focus -- our focus is to
rehabilitate the country, respond to the peoples' problems and move forward.
But because the guilty are afraid, there is a tendency always to believe
that they will be prosecuted," he said.

"If we were to contemplate even prosecuting that kind of vendetta, then
suddenly we would have very little room to talk about the humanitarian
crisis we are facing." (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Frank

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Zanu-PF's grim new weapon

Zimbabwe Today

How Mugabe's men use poison to torture and kill their victims

The terror campaign being waged by government militia in Zimbabwe has taken
on a new dimension - the deliberate application of highly toxic chemicals to
the wounds suffered by opposition MDC supporters.

I have evidence that at least seven people, who first suffered severe
beatings, had their open wounds sprayed with the dipping chemical Tactik
Cattle Spray and the herbicide Paraquat. A nine-year-old girl had Paraquat
applied to slashes on her buttocks. The process radically increases pain,
and can lead to death.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I saw four victims of this treatment in a private health
care centre in Harare run by missionary doctors. All come from Manicaland,
where Zanu-PF terror squads are known to be operating. One victim, Tonde
Mondiwa, 24, is not expected to survive.

Tonde's arms and legs are covered in blisters, and the skin is peeling off.
He told me: "I was beaten up first by the Green Bombers (a Zanu-PF youth
militia). Then they poured water mixed with Paraquat on me."

One of the doctors told me: "The cell death in Tonde's skin tissue is rapid,
his chance of recovery is now nil." She explained that the chemicals eat
through flesh, leaving bones exposed. "This is nothing less than chemical
warfare being waged against civilians," she said.

Paraquat is described as a quick-acting, non-selective herbicide, which is
poisonous to humans if even a small amount is swallowed or enters the blood

Meanwhile across the country more conventional terror tactics continue to be
inflicted on those identified as supporters or activists with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

While Mugabe continues to threaten war and death to those who vote against
him, more deaths are being notified. Farai Gamba, an MDC ward organiser in
Rusape, was shot dead by militiamen, while the local chairman of a group of
independent election monitors has disappeared.

Some militia are making no secret of their crimes. In Buhera South Mugabe's
men first murdered MDC supporter Chokuse Muphango, then drove his body
through town on a truck, announcing: "We have killed the dog."

Posted on Wednesday, 18 June 2008

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No free and fair elections

The Zimbabwean

Wednesday, 18 June 2008 15:44
MDC News Update
18 June 2008

The public media in Zimbabwe, primarily the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation and Zimpapers, which are controlled by Zanu PF has denied the
Movement for Democratic Change the opportunity to air or publish our adverts
relating to the Presidential Run off on June 27th.

This is in direct contravention of Zimbabwe electoral law and SADC
protocols pertaining to free and fair elections.
This situation is compounded by the fact that the public media in
question operate like the publicity division for the Mugabe regime.
Since the March 29th election, the Mugabe regime has embarked on a
campaign of violence, intimidation and brutality in order to reverse its
electoral defeat on March 29th 2008. Denying the MDC access to the  public
broadcaster and newspaper is yet another attempt to subvert the will of the
For more information please call MDC on South Africa Nqobizitha Mlilo
0835274650 or George Sibotshiwe 076 633 0314 or Zimbabwe Nelson Chamisa 0912
940 489

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AM calls for Mugabe to be "brought to book"

A News Release from the Office of...


Welsh Assembly Member for Wrexham
National Assembly for Wales
Cardiff Bay
Cardiff CF99 1NA

For immediate release: 18th June 2008

A Labour Member of the Welsh Assembly has called on the UK Government to
ensure Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe is  "brought to book" for his
campaign "of murder, torture, unlawful detention and intimidation" against
his own people.
Lesley Griffiths, the Assembly Member for Wrexham made her call during and
following a Question to Carwyn Jones, Leader of the House, during the weekly
Business Statement in the National Assembly.

In her question in the Assembly, Lesley Griffiths AM said:

"At the end of last month, I laid a Statement of Opinion, signed by 12
Members, calling on the Assembly Government to make representations to the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office asking it to remind Robert Mugabe's
Government in Zimbabwe of its international obligations to protect workers'
rights, following the arrest of three trade union leaders in the aftermath
of the general election held there in March.
"I am aware that this is a non-devolved issue, but will you urge your
Cabinet colleagues to make whatever representations they can to the UK
Government to ensure that the current campaign of murder, torture, unlawful
detention and intimidation employed by the Mugabe regime is not forgotten,
irrespective of the outcome of the second so-called presidential 'election'
later this month?"
In his reply, the Leader of the House, Carwyn Jones told Ms. Griffiths:

"Many of us have followed with great interest what has been happening in
Zimbabwe, which teaches us a cardinal lesson in how to take a country that
has great potential, economically and agriculturally, and to wreck it
systematically. Zimbabwe now has an appallingly low life-expectancy rate,
which is particularly low for women-it is in the early 30s, if I remember
"I am sure that all in the Chamber would agree that there is absolutely no
way that there can be a free and fair election, given what has happened
there. I think that we are in step with the UK Government view on what is
happening in Zimbabwe. I am sure that all Members share my view that what
has happened there is unacceptable, undemocratic and, ultimately, inimical
to the interests of the people of Zimbabwe."

Commenting after her Question, Lesley Griffiths said:

"The people of Zimbabwe go back to the polls on the 27th June for a second
Presidential election. I want the UK Government to ensure that whatever the
result of that election, they will bring the despot Mugabe to book for the
heinous crimes he has committed against his own people.
"The forthcoming elections will be neither free nor fair. There have been at
least 60 politically motivated murders in Zimbabwe since the first
Presidential election' was held back in March. Also since then, trade
unionists have been imprisoned and tortured by the Mugabe regime.
"On top of that, UN food agencies are now predicting that over 5 million
Zimbabweans will now face hunger by early 2009.
"I believe the UK Government have a responsibility to make sure that
irrespective of the result at the end of this month,, Robert Mugabe is
brought to book for the campaign of terror he has waged against his own
Through the Wales for Africa Framework', the Welsh Assembly Government is
pledged to make a distinctive contribution to delivery of the UN Millennium
Development Goals and to responding to disasters and emergencies overseas.

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Courage in face of Mugabe's tyranny

Dominion Post, NZ
The Dominion Post | Thursday, 19 June 2008

It has seemed, in the weeks since President Robert Mugabe refused to accept
the results of his country's presidential election last March, as if life
could hardly worsen in Zimbabwe. That perception has proven sadly wrong, The
Dominion Post writes.

As election organisers prepare to re-run the presidential election on June
27, necessary because the first did not produce an outright result for
either the incumbent or challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, reports have emerged
from Harare that the security forces have been forced to vote in Mugabe's
favour while their superiors supervised. Their families reportedly had to do
likewise. If true, the tyrannical leader of that benighted country will have
a head start in what is likely to be another close race.

At the same time, Unicef warns that the health of thousands of Zimbabwean
children is jeopardised because their Government has banned non-governmental
organisations from distributing aid. Food shortages are now endemic in a
land once Africa's bread basket.

Some Mugabe critics alleged he is using starvation as an election tool,
believing people refused food because they back Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change might switch allegiances, if it means food for famished
families. And still Mr Mugabe blames the white Commonwealth, including New
Zealand, for the plight into which he and his party have plunged their

The United Nations seems impotent. Last week, for the second time in three
months, South Africa - backed by Russia - blocked Security Council debate on
the political situation in Zimbabwe. A spokesman said that their neighbour
did not pose, in his government's view, a threat to international peace and
security, "which is the mandate of the Security Council".

The crisis revives the question of what the international community can, or
should, do when one of its number is systematically harassing, perpetrating
violence upon and starving its people into political submission. Does it
merely send an envoy to broker a way out, then shrug if that comes to
nought, or does it take a more muscular approach, such as sanctions? In
every such situation, of course, politics and political networks determine
the outcomes.

But no one of good conscience can feel anything but anger at watching what
passes for life in Zimbabwe, a once thriving nation now on its knees, and
those who do not support Mr Mugabe fall victim to thugs bent on cowing them
into subservience.

The man with the most to answer for in this tragedy is South African
president Thabo Mbeki. Through misguided loyalty to a fellow former freedom
fighter or fear that his own people might yet be in a similar situation in
an uncertain future, he is frustratingly unwilling to use his influence to

Zimbabwe has held two elections already this year; next week it holds a
third. Its people ought to be able to rely on a free and fair vote being
translated into a new government without fear of retribution. They ought to
be able to rely on the UN being at least able to debate their misery. They

Those who stand fast next week by voting for Mr Tsvangirai deserve medals
for courage and keeping hope alive.

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Power Corrupts...Mugabe's Story

American Chronicle

JL Shash
June 18, 2008

''Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'' were the iconic
words of twentieth century British historian and moralist Lord
Acton(1834-1932), and Robert Mugabe, the current Zimbabwean president,
without a doubt is an embodiment of that timeless statement. Even though the
last elections held in that country showed beyond reasonable doubt that the
opposition party, MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), under the
stewardship of Mr Tsvangirai won the most parliamentary seats, the despot
has yet again not failed to disappoint as he has been doing for the past
28years:Refusing to relinquish power. Can we for a moment just ask ourselves
what it is with African leaders and their intoxication with power and
corruption that makes them want to cling to both so tenaciously,that bowing
out gracefully when the ovation is loudest seems totally out of the
question? And while we are still pondering over that,perhaps another penny
for our thought would be the reason western powers appear to fold their arms
to watch real dictators like Mugabe cause their own people untold pain,
hardship and misery;with countless number of evidences that points at gross
human rights abuse,yet the pursuit of phantom weapons of mass destruction in
the middle-east seems higher on their priorities list. It is indeed a
mystery why this tyrant, a violator of human rights was invited to the
recently concluded food summit recently concluded in Rome under the auspices
of Food and Agricultural Organisation and the UN to again mount the pulpit
and lecture the world on reasons for global food shortage. An irony of some
sort considering he is the sole reason Zimbabwean citizens currently starve.

Zimbabwe, a once beautiful country,with rich agricultural history once seen
as the food basket of Southern African region of Africa is now nothing but a
'basket case'. With its Inflation rate rising up to a preposterous 100,000%
(IMF report) and a constant influx of refugees into neighbouring South
Africa. We need to ask ourselves how much longer can the world wait before
inertia and apathy becomes a call to arms. The only leader able to influence
Mugabe at the moment is none other than Thabo Mbeki , the South African
president who for a while has been showing what he calls ''quiet
diplomacy'',which in relation to what is on ground is totally unacceptable,
considering the plight of the ordinary citizens of the ruined country.
'Quiet diplomacy' in the face of hunger and starvation is like offering an
eskimo who is freezing in the northpole ice cold water to drink. So its time
for alternative action and measures by well meaning world leaders and not
just isolation or further sanctions.

As for Mugabe- when personal gains, delusion of grandeur,thirst for greed
and personal wealth outweighs the cries and suffering of those whom he was
meant to serve-Power Corrupts. When thirty years in office squandering and
pilfering of the nation's resources-diverting public founds into personal
overseas offshore accounts, is more important than the lamenting voices of
those people who put him office; bestowing upon him their trust-Power

Surely, knowing the African continent with what history has taught us, there
could be but only one grand finale to this three decades of disastrous rule-
An exit through the ballot( for Mugabe's sake) or an exit via the bullet of
another power-hungry soldier.The choice is his.

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Poaching leaves Big Five with nowhere to go


     June 18 2008 at 06:57PM

By Hans Pienaar and Reuters

Peace in the Congo has not yet led to safety for Africa's Big Five,
and the meltdown in Zimbabwe is not helping either.

The northern white rhino could be extinct already as a result of
poaching in north-east Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Garamba National
Park. And black rhino numbers have increased in several countries except

The Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
said there were just 30 white rhino left in April 2003, and only four
confirmed animals as of August 2006.

"Worryingly, recent fieldwork has so far failed to find any presence
of these four remaining rhinos," Dr Martin Brooks, head of its African Rhino
Specialist Group, said in a report.

"Unless animals are found during the intensive surveys that are
planned under the direction of the African Parks Foundation, the sub-species
may be doomed to extinction."

White rhinos are targeted by poachers for their horns, which fetch
high prices in Yemen, where they are made into dagger handles, and in the
Far East, where they are coveted for their supposed medicinal qualities.

Poaching has led to significant rhino losses in the DRC and Zimbabwe,
according to an IUCN statement. Wildlife protection is almost impossible in
the eastern DRC because of militia violence.

Simmering conflicts in Uganda, southern Sudan and Central African
Republic are fuelling an entrenched trade network of which "bush meat" and
ivory are an integral part.

DRC authorities arrested a senior game ranger in March suspected of
the slaughter last year of several rare mountain gorillas in Congo's oldest
national park, Virunga.

And last month, a conservation group said soldiers, rebels and local
villagers in Virunga had recently killed 14 elephants in as many days to
meet surging Chinese demand for ivory.

Elsewhere on the continent, the news for rhinos was much better, said
the IUCN, which produces estimates of wild animal populations that are
considered highly authoritative.

Conservation efforts including translocation had boosted overall
numbers of white rhinos to 17 480 last year from 14 540 in 2005, it said.

Numbers of the smaller, more aggressive African black rhino rose to 4
180 from 3 730, although it is still listed as critically endangered by the

Zimbabwe is the only country among black rhino base countries -
including South Africa, Namibia and Kenya - that has not recorded increases,
according to the IUCN.

"Even though protection from poaching is critical, effective rhino
conservation must also include intensive monitoring and biological
management to ensure annual growth rates of at least 5% a year so that
surplus rhinos are made available to create new populations," says Brooks. -
Independent Foreign Service, Reuters

This article was originally published on page 7 of Daily News on June
18, 2008

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