Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:19am BST
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - South African President Thabo Mbeki has urged Zimbabwe's
leader Robert Mugabe to cancel next week's presidential run-off vote and
negotiate a deal with the opposition, South Africa's Business Day newspaper
said on Thursday.
Mbeki met Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai separately in
Zimbabwe on Wednesday to try to mediate an end to an increasingly violent
Mugabe stands accused by opponents, Western countries and human rights
groups of orchestrating a campaign of killings and intimidation to keep his
28-year hold on power in the once prosperous country whose economy is now in
Business Day, a respected financial daily, quoted unnamed sources as saying
that Mbeki tried to set up a meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai -- their
first ever -- but did not receive a firm commitment from Zimbabwe's
It said Mbeki attempted to convince Mugabe and Tsvangirai to form a
government of national unity.
Mugabe lost the first round vote to Tsvangirai on March 29, but the
opposition leader did not get the outright majority needed to avoid a second
round, according to official results.
Mbeki met with Mugabe for 3-1/2 hours in Zimbabwe's second biggest city,
Bulawayo, on Wednesday night but made no comment to reporters after the
OPPOSITION SEES FARCE
Business Day reported that Movement for Democratic Change leader Tsvangirai
agreed to meet Mugabe and told Mbeki that any run-off would be a farce.
"Tsvangirai said the runoff would be a sham because he has not been allowed
to campaign, his party officials and supporters are being arrested, harassed
and killed," Business Day quoted a source as saying.
Tsvangirai's MDC said on Thursday it had launched an urgent court
application to appeal against a state ban on its advertisements and media
cover of the party's run-off campaign.
Spokesman George Sibotshiwe said the party had been told by the Zimbabwe
Broadcast Corp. and Zimpapers that the state media organisations had been
instructed not to accept opposition campaign advertisements or report on the
There was no immediate comment from ZBC or the Zimbabwe Newspapers group.
Mbeki, who has led regional mediation efforts in Zimbabwe, has been
criticised for his quiet diplomatic approach that has failed to end a
political and economic crisis that has driven millions of people into
Mugabe blames his foes for the violence and has threatened to arrest
opposition leaders over the troubles. Tsvangirai's party says at least 66
people have been killed by ZANU-PF supporters.
The United States and former colonial power Britain also accuse Mugabe of
trying to intimidate opponents.
(Writing By Marius Bosch; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)
June 19, 2008
The bodies of four opposition activists are reported to have been found near
the Zimbabwean capital Harare this morning, as violence escalates ahead of
next week's election.
The Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's main opposition party, said
that four of its youth members were abducted on Tuesday. Their bodies were
found discarded in different places around Chitungwiza, southeast of Harare.
The deaths come hours after Thabo Mbeki, the South African President, flew
to Zimbabwe to urge Mr Mugabe to cancel next week's vote and negotiate a
deal with the opposition in a bid to control the violence.
The MDC said that latest bodies brought to around 70 the total number of its
activists, their spouses and children who have been murdered by Zimbabwe's
security forces and government supporters since the first round of the
presidential election on March 29 failed to yield a conclusive result.
Nelson Chamisa, an MDC spokesman, said that the party suspected that the
latest victims had been beaten to death after being attacked at a local
councillor's residence by youth supporters of President Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party, armed with clubs and whips.
"Now it's about 70 we've lost," said Mr Chamisa. "The situation in the
country is getting worse. A free and fair election is impossible."
The MDC says the ruling party unleashed an army-led campaign of intimidation
against opposition voters after the first vote, in which its party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai defeated Mr Mugabe but fell short of an outright majority.
Mr Tsvangirai has said that Zimbabwe is now run by what is essentially a
Until the last week the violence has mainly been confined to rural areas,
but the most recent attacks have taken mob action from poor townships into
In the past week, the wives of at least three MDC officials has been
murdered. Abigail Chitoro, 27, the wife of Harare's recently elected MDC
mayor, was so badly beaten by the mob that dragged her and her four-year-old
son from their home that even her brother-in-law struggled to identify the
body. The clothes she was wearing, her distinctive haircut and the blindfold
that Zanu (PF) supporters forced her to wear as they firebombed her home
gave the only clue to her identity. The child was dumped alive at a police
The UN has blamed Mr Mugabe's supporters for most of the attacks.
Mr Mugabe, however, has blamed the MDC for the mounting violence ahead of
the June 27 run-off, and has threatened to arrest opposition leaders over
Mr Mbeki met Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai separately in Zimbabwe yesterday to
try to mediate an end to the increasingly violent crisis.
South Africa's Business Day newspaper, a respected financial daily, quoted
unnamed sources as saying that Mr Mbeki tried to set up a meeting between
the pair - their first ever - but did not receive a firm commitment from
June 19, 2008
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - Thousands of policemen went to the polls countrywide yesterday at
the beginning of postal voting ahead of the presidential election which is
scheduled for Friday, June 27.
They voted under the watchful eye of their superiors amid reports that the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has engaged war veterans and ruling
party militiamen as polling officers for the June 27 presidential run-off.
Observers say the voting of policemen under the supervision of their
superiors will give President Robert Mugabe, who lost the original
presidential election, unfair advantage.
In a clear case of vote-rigging, all police officers yesterday started
voting in the presence of their superiors, who have publicly pledged their
support for Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party.
"We started voting yesterday and the process will continue until Friday,"
said Inspector Kenias Mushaya of Masvingo central police station. "There was
no secrecy during the voting process since our superiors were watching
closely to ensure that one votes for President Mugabe."
The rest of Zimbabwe votes in one day on Friday.
In Masvingo, police officers cast their votes in front of the officer
commanding Masvingo province Assistant Commissioner Mekia Tanyanyiwa and
another senior officer only identified as senior assistant commissioner
Magejo from Police General Headquarters in Harare.
It also emerged yesterday that ZEC has recruited war veterans and ruling
Zanu-PF militiamen as polling officers during the forth-coming poll.
Teachers and other civil servants who were polling officers during the March
29 harmonised polls have been largely dispensed with, under accusation that
they played a significant role in Mugabe's defeat by the MDC candidate,
Morgan Tsvangirai, during the first round.
War veterans and youth militia have unleashed a reign of terror in the rural
districts of Zimbabwe to strengthen Mugabe's prospects of victory,
especially in former Zanu-PF strongholds that defected to the MDC in March.
ZEC spokesman Utloile Silaigwana yesterday confirmed the developments but
denied that the electoral body wanted to rig the polls in favour of the
84-year old Mugabe.
Said Silaigwana :"Police officers have started casting their votes today.
There is nothing sinister about this, since all political players were
appraised about these postal votes".
Turning to the issue of engaging war veterans and youth militias as polling
officers Slaigwana said: " As you are aware that some people who were
engaged last time ended up in court for different offences it is ZEC's
feeling that such people should not be retained.
"We have recruited new staff where we feel those who were engaged last time
did not do a good job. However, we do not ask people we engage about their
backgrounds. If there are war veterans or youth militias among those
recruited we cannot dismiss them because of that.
"What we need are people who will do the job accordingly; just that."
Zimbabweans go to the polls on June 27 to elect the country's next
president. A bloody and murderous election campaign period has rendered a
free and fair hardly possible.
Mugabe will lock horns with Tsvangirai of the MDC for the second time in
three months. Tsvangirai won the first election in March, but not by a clear
enough majority for form the next government. Meanwhile Mugabe's Zanu-PF
succumbed to its first electoral defeat since independence in 1980.
June 19, 2008
By Our Correspondents
MUTARE - The home of the father of Dr Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), along with 22 other houses in the
Chipinge area were set ablaze by unidentified persons on Wednesday.
It is understood that Mr Madhuku Senior was arrested briefly after the
incident before being released. Efforts to obtain detailed information from
the NCA leader were in vain.
Meanwhile, an MDC activist is said to have died in Buhera Wednesday after
being allegedly subjected to prolonged torture by Zanu PF militiamen, who
were wielding guns.
The deceased, Sofia Chingozho (65) is said to have died from injuries she
sustained last week when she was attacked by the Zanu PF youths.
The militiamen allegedly picked out five people who included Chingozho's
three children and an uncle and assaulted them.
All five sustained injuries and Chingozho was taken to hospital where she
remained until the time of her death.
The youths allegedly said they were punishing her for being a member of the
MDC, which is now the majority party in Parliament.
In a statement, Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) said Chingozho had just
attended a funeral in her rural home in Buhera North area when she was
ROHR is a voluntary group closely monitoring Zimbabwe's deteriorating human
rights record in the period leading up to the June 27 presidential run-off
election between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC.
Zanu-PF militants have reportedly sealed off most parts of Zimbabwe's rural
areas to prevent any infiltration by town folk, viewed as being critical of
President Mugabe's continued rule.
Zimbabwe has seen an increase in the scale of politically motivated violence
since Mugabe's defeat by Tsvangirai on March 29.
The MDC claims that more than 66 of its activists have died at the hands of
hit squads allegedly operating with the full support of the Mugabe
No arrests have been made since the onset of the blood bath which, apart
from the dead, has caused injury to more than 2 000 people.
June 19, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said last night it had
instructed its lawyers to sue the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
and Zimbabwe Newspaper Limited (Zimpapers) over their refusal to flight the
party's presidential run-off election campaign advertisements.
Since President Robert Mugabe was outpolled by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
the ZBC and Zimpapers - publishers of The Herald, The Sunday Mail,
Chronicle, Sunday News, among other government publications, have vehemently
refused to flight adverts of the MDC.
Observers have criticized the move as a fragrant disregard of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) principles and guidelines on holding
elections in a democracy.
Under the principles and guidelines agreed by SADC heads of state and
government in Mauritius in 1997, all political parties and their candidates
must be given access to the public media during the run-up to the polls. "We
have since instructed our lawyers to make it a legal issue," Luke
Tamborinyoka, the MDC director of information and publicity, told the
Zimbabwe Times last night.
"We paid upfront for the adverts in both the ZBC and Zimpapers but they have
failed to screen our adverts. We paid ZBC Z$30 trillion and The Herald more
than Z$30 trillion for our adverts in the run-up to the run-off. Today I had
two separate meetings with senior executives at both institutions who said
they had instructions from the top not to flight our adverts they are now
talking about refunding us.
Tamborinyoka said: "The bottom line is that these two public institutions
are failing to conform with the minimum standards of SADC and the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) which require that all political players in an
election must be given access to the public media."
Selby Hwacha, the lawyer contacted by the MDC to take ZBC and Zimpapers, to
court confirmed he had received instructions from the opposition party. "I
am working on the matter and will be writing ZBC and Zimpapers our intention
to sue them for prejudicing the client," said Hwacha.
In the run-up to the disputed March 29 elections, Tsvangirai and his MDC,
which wrestled control of Parliament from Mugabe, were given some measure of
coverage in the state media, both print and broadcasting.
It is understood George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman who doubles as the
permanent secretary in the ministry of information and publicity, issued the
instructions banning MDC and Tsvangirai adverts.
Charamba has also been instrumental in the purge at ZBC, which saw Henry
Muradzikwa being dismissed as chief executive officer at the public
broadcaster for allegedly failing to campaign for Mugabe. Eight other senior
journalists have been suspended pending dismissal
June 19, 2008
I HAVE always wondered what it is that makes South African president Thabo
Mbeki so irrational when it comes to his dealings with Zimbabwean dictator
In the face of the most outrageous behaviour of murder, plunder, abuse of
citizens, not to mention the rape of the economy, Mbeki still finds it worth
his while to shield Mugabe.
But there is a very interesting chorus wafting across Africa's airwaves
these days and Botswana's Ian Khama is holding the bandleader's truncheon.
African presidents, with the exception of Mbeki, are now making pejorative
remarks about the Zimbabwean dictator; remarks that nobody ever thought
would be made by the current crop of leaders, considering the exaggerated
awe and garish reverence African presidents used to bestow on Mugabe.
While some continue to hum, others are not only singing out loud but are
putting it in writing. The anti-Mugabe verbal barrage is picking up
"When I hear these people trying to demonise President Mugabe, I say you can't
demonise a leader of the liberation struggle and expect support from us. You
are just stupid," that was Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in April 2005.
Museveni, one of Mugabe's staunchest supporters and who was then on a state
visit to Zimbabwe, went on to say that elections were the bane of African
governments and added that elections were a very bad idea that Africans
should not bother with.
"Regime change does not work in Africa and Britain is responsible for some
of the continent's troubles," he declared.
Even early this year, Museveni accepted accolades heaped on him by a fellow
despot, Libyan Muammar al-Gaddafi.
Putting Museveni on the same pedestal with Mugabe, Gaddafi said leaders like
Museveni and Mugabe should be allowed to rule forever.
"In Uganda we have Museveni, in Zimbabwe, we have Mugabe. They are real
African leaders," Gaddafi said when he visited Uganda in March this year.
"They are serious. They should stay. Such leaders should not go. They should
not be disturbed by elections."
Less than two weeks after this obviously stupid praise singing, Botswana had
a new president, Ian Khama, who jolted SADC and its Chairman, Zambian
President Levy Mwanawasa, into action by demanding that the situation in
Zimbabwe be addressed.
Mwanawasa had, at one time, likened the situation in Zimbabwe to that of the
Titanic. He now has company.
For the last several weeks, the Botswana government has been leading an
onslaught on Mugabe, particularly over the meaningless arrests and violence
against innocent civilians. For some time now, every week Botswana has been
sending signed statements to media houses denouncing specific events in
Zimbabwe during the previous week.
This, I am afraid to say, is unheard of in Africa. And it's welcome.
All of a sudden, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki appears outdated and well
overtaken by events as, one by one, African leaders accept the reality in
Zimbabwe and are now speaking out.
"If he loses elections he must go. How can you stay without winning
elections? It's impossible," Uganda's Yoweri Museveni told the BBC's Network
Africa programme this week, arguing that it is important for Mugabe to have
"the permission of the population" if he's to stay at the helm.
Fresh from a visit to South Africa, Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga,
reiterated his criticism of African leaders and their silence on Mugabe.
"It is a grave indictment on our leadership that an African country can hold
elections and fail to announce results for one month yet no country raises a
finger. We must learn to own our problems and take responsibility," Odinga
said. "How do you conduct a re-run when you do not even have the results?"
Odinga said Mbeki should speak more strongly against what he called
'impunity in Zimbabwe.'
"Zimbabwe is an eyesore on the African continent," he said on Tuesday. "I'm
sad that so many heads of state in Africa have remained quiet when disaster
is looming in Zimbabwe."
Odinga went further and urged Mugabe to step down.
"Seeing that many sitting presidents still drag their feet when it comes to
what is happening in Zimbabwe, a group of former African presidents were
signatories to a letter demanding " an end to violence and intimidation.".
"We are deeply troubled by the current reports of intimidation, harassment
and violence," say the leaders in an open letter published on Friday.
Some of the signatories include one time Mugabe friends and supporters like
Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania and Joaquim Chissano of
It also has signatures of those who suffered in silence, like Botswana's
Ketumile Masire and his successor, Festus Mogae.
Yet were it not for the likes of Mkapa and Chissano, Mugabe might not have
gone as far as he has. They are clearly partly responsible for the chaos in
Zimbabwe because their support and silence as Mugabe increased his murderous
reign encouraged him.
Regrettably, it was the political etiquette of African leaders in those
degenerate days. But see where we are now.
Be that as it may, even though some of the signatories are former heads of
state, their statement puts some pressure on current presidents of their
respective countries not to accept what Mugabe is doing and to say it out
loud. The African presidents are assaulting Mbeki's 'silent diplomacy'.
Ian Khama is not bothered, he started the whole thing but, for example,
Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Armando Geubuza of Mozambique cannot keep
quiet anymore after their predecessors have come out in the open against
Mbeki has been mutedly expressing token concern over the violence being
perpetrated by Mugabe for some time but even so, his own emissaries' reports
of gross abuse and murder of innocent people do not seem to move him.
What is it that Mugabe is holding over Mbeki that forces Mbeki, having
ascended to such a lofty position of power, not to worry about his own
legacy, especially considering that he hardly achieved anything worthy of
Is it possible that Mugabe is blackmailing Mbeki about something nobody
Or is it that Mbeki is teaching us that regardless of the number of people a
friend hacks to death, a friend remains more important than self?
Yes, I declare, evil is intelligent.
Thu 19 Jun 2008, 7:54 GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's opposition MDC has launched an urgent court
action to appeal a state-media ban on its advertisements and cover of the
party ahead of next week's presidential run-off election, a spokesman said
"We have launched an urgent High Court application to appeal against a ban
by both the ZBC (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp) and Zimbabwe Newspapers Group
(Zimpapers) to take our campaign adverts and to cover us," MDC spokesman
George Sibotshiwe told Reuters.
Sibotshiwe said the MDC has been informed by both ZBC and Zimpapers that the
media organisations have been instructed not to accept opposition campaign
advertisements or to report on the party's campaign.
There was no immediate comment from the ZBC, the Zimbabwe Newspapers
group -- publishers of the country's main daily and weekly newspapers -- or
the ministry of information.
-- Bev Clark The Kubatana Trust of Zimbabwe and The NGO Network Alliance Project PO Box GD 376 Greendale Harare Zimbabwe Tel: +263-4-776008/746448 Fax: +263-4-746418 Email: email@example.com Website: www.kubatana.net Visit www.kubatana.net Zimbabwe's civic and human rights web site incorporating an online directory for the non-profit sector
The Monitor (Kampala)
19 June 2008
Posted to the web 19 June 2008
Prof. Charles R. Larson
Democracies--as we all know--are not supposed to push out foreign leaders.
But what did the United States do with Saddam Hussein? And what about the
CIA and Patrice Lumumba back in 1961? And what about those cigars that were
supposed to take out Fidel Castro?
Americans know that there are other instances when their country has aided
local insurgents to overthrow a leader who dared thumb his nose at the
United States-- let alone his own people. So the idea that the America can't
"take out" a foreign leader is as two-faced as everything else our
government professes to identify as verboten.
Remember what was said about invading Iraq and disposing of Saddam Hussein?
The people would welcome us with flowers. Well, I think I can say with some
authority that the citizens of Zimbabwe (the 75% who remain, minus the tiny
minority of thugs who are part of the military and ZANU-PF) would welcome us
with open arms if we dared correct one of the most miserable and inhumane
situations in the world today.
Unfortunately, flowers are about all that the people of Zimbabwe have to
fight against Mugabe's tortuous regime. The citizens are not armed, as they
are in so many other African nations, but Mugabe's henchmen are.
The people are exhausted after watching virtually everything in their lives
disappear: jobs, healthcare, education, food, sanity. Moreover, if what is
happening in the country today is not a form of genocide (not as a result of
ethnicity, but of political affiliation), then those of us who silently
watch the atrocities continue have lost our perspective. The situation in
Zimbabwe (food used as a political weapon, AIDS, starvation, and now Western
diplomats being attacked) is as grim as it is in Darfur.
As recently as ten years ago, Zimbabwe was a beautiful country. Almost
everything seemed to work. The beggars on the street were not destitute but
part of an honourable tradition of seeking aid because they are afflicted,
the less-fortunate. The country grew enough food not only for its own
citizens but for neighbouring areas.
Inflation, though gradually increasing, was far from the current 150,000%
level of recent months. Moreover, the country had a robust economy, a
pretence of democracy, even a thriving intellectual community thanks to the
country's vigorous educational system.
Yes, too much land was owned by Europeans but that issue looked as if it
could be addressed rationally rather than by Mugabe's crony system that
stole land from one elite group to give to another. Even the AIDS pandemic
might have been thwarted if everything else had not fallen apart.
The Bush administration is steadfast in charging governments with harbouring
terrorists, linking others into networks of evil, and believing that
democracy is our most appealing export. In truth, this administration's
defining characteristics have been incompetence, mendacity, and
And the suffering in Zimbabwe--one of the worst situations in the world but
also one of the most easily corrected--will once again haunt the West for
lack of something called leadership.
The writer is professor of Literature at American University in Washington.
The Nation (Nairobi)
19 June 2008
Posted to the web 19 June 2008
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has criticised the current situation in
Zimbabwe saying 'it is a failure'.
Addressing his second presidential press conference since the year began, Mr
Kagame said: "First of all there is a failure by Africans and others to
address the problems of Zimbabwe. I am saying this because of what is
obvious, a serious problem in Zimbabwe."
Referring to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, Mr Kagame said, "If
somebody stands up boldly and says, whether the other side wins or not he
shall still hold on to power, why make a fuss about elections then? Why
don't you just say I am in power and I am here to stay and then try to
The whole thing is just a joke." The Rwandan president, Mr Kagame in his
address to the press also questioned why Zimbabwe's current leadership is
trying to give the impression that there is a democracy in the southern
African country yet it has openly declared it won't hand over power.
According to media reports President Mugabe, while recently campaigning for
re-election, warned he would not cede power to Western-backed opponents.
"We shed a lot of blood for this country. We are not going to give up our
country for a mere X on a ballot. How can a ballpoint pen fight with a gun?"
the Herald, a government mouthpiece, quoted Mr Mugabe as saying.
Thursday, 19 June 2008 08:50
ON MONDAY, the United Nations (UN) assistant secretary-general for
political affairs, Haile Menkerios, flew into Zimbabwe at the start of a
five-day visit to discuss the political situation in the country and coming
presidential election, writes Nicole Fritz in Business Day, Johannesburg.
Although no clear terms of reference for this visit have been
settled - a UN spokeswoman said as recently as last Thursday that they "were
still being finalised" - and Menkerios is said not to be acting in any
"special envoy" capacity, it represents the surest sign yet of the UN's
growing alarm at the Zimbabwean crisis.
So, what might Menkerios do while there? No doubt, he must observe
diplomatic protocol, paying a visit to State House to thank his hosts for
their hospitality and entertaining their views on what has transpired. But
we must hope he goes his own way after these rites.
A first priority every morning might be checking in at Matapi police
station in Mbare, to confirm that Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
secretary-general Tendai Biti, arrested last week as he arrived back in the
country, remains alive and well.
Concern here is warranted: Matapi is where numerous Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Union (ZCTU) and MDC activists have been tortured and the Zimbabwe
Supreme Court has condemned it as "unfit for human habitation".
Yet while there's much else to do in Harare, Menkerios will want to
concentrate his time in the provinces of Mashonaland East, West and Central
and Manicaland and Masvingo. This is where much of the postelection
violence - characterised by abductions, killing, beatings, looting and
destruction of property - has occurred.
There, he'll want to meet religious leaders, faith-based
organisations, women's groups, health workers and teachers about their
postelection experiences and the nature and extent of the violence they've
He'll want to visit hospitals such as Howard Mission, Mvurwi District
and Bindura Hospital in Mashonaland Central - in fact, any of the rural
district hospitals - where he's likely to find a large number of the most
recent victims of the political violence.
He'll want to collect copies of medical records and death
certificates, putting paid to all the talk of "alleged killings" and
"alleged assaults". He'll also want to go to Mayo in Manicaland to see for
himself the destruction of property and displacement of communities. There,
he'll find the remains of 40 homesteads, burnt to the ground, together with
all the food storage facilities in the village.
If he's brave - and it really will require courage given the recent
attacks on diplomats in Zimbabwe - he'll insist on being taken to inspect
Tendai Hall in Bindura, a Zanu (PF) base for youth militias being deployed
to harass and intimidate local communities, and also a torture centre.
In Manicaland, he'll ask to see Odzi Country Club in Mutare, and the
Nyanga Country Club and Ruwange business centre in Nyanga district. In
Mashonaland East, he'll visit the Dumuyera shopping centre. All have
similarly been turned into militia bases and torture centres.
Back in Harare, he'll want to visit any of the larger state-run
hospitals, where the most serious casualties of the political violence have
been transferred, such as the three men who were set alight two weeks ago in
Zaka, a village southeast of Harare.
In Harare, it's inevitable that he'll meet the heads of the two main
political parties, but perhaps Menkerios might request that he call upon
them at their respective headquarters.
At Harvest House, the MDC's headquarters, he's likely to encounter
hundreds of people camping out in the offices, having fled the violence
engulfing their communities. In Zanu (PF)'s headquarters, things are likely
to be much less chaotic - the blood that was shed by Zimbabwe Progressive
Teachers Union members, who were taken there and beaten two weeks before the
March 29 election, long since wiped away.
Menkerios will also want to stop by the Zimbabwe Election Commission's
command centre in Harare. The deadline for the application for postal votes
will have passed and Menkerios, like any member of the public, will be
entitled to examine the list of applications received.
There isn't any lawful reason to anticipate a larger number of
applications for the presidential election than for the harmonised elections
of March 29, for which about 8000 applications were received and 3600
Yet if there is a far larger number, Menkerios will want to make
further inquiries to ensure that the postal ballot system is not being
abused, as so many fear, to secure President Robert Mugabe tens of thousands
of illegal votes.
He will also want to inquire about the reasons for the delay in
accrediting domestic electoral observers, knowing that continued delay only
makes it less likely that sufficient numbers of domestic electoral observers
can be mobilised to be in place at all 9231 polling stations.
While this seems a lot to ask of Menkerios, it is in fact in keeping
with the precedent set by his colleague, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, UN special
envoy on human settlement issues in Zimbabwe. Her visit to Zimbabwe in 2005
to investigate the effects of the government's notorious Operation
Murambatsvina involved discussion with numerous different parties and
It resulted in a report that concluded the government's actions had
been carried out in "an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with
indifference to human suffering and, in repeated cases, with disregard to
several provisions of national and international legal frameworks".
A similarly independent and frank assessment of the postelection,
pre-runoff environment by Menkerios might lay the groundwork for more
decisive action by the UN. Of course, however hard-hitting Menkerios's
report, there are those - SA's government chief among them - who will resist
all efforts at greater UN involvement.
Interestingly, while Menkerios once served as an Eritrean ambassador,
a UN spokeswoman confirmed that he enjoyed South African citizenship at
If that is true, Menkerios, in his capacity as a South African
citizen, not a UN representative, might want to ask President Thabo Mbeki
and SA's representatives to the UN why it is that they act so resolutely to
defeat UN Security Council action on Zimbabwe.
It can't be that they fear such action will imperil their own
mediation efforts. The arrest of Biti last week, despite assurances to SA's
government by their Zimbabwean counterparts that he would be safe on his
return home, must conclusively establish that mediation with a duplicitous
Zanu (PF) leadership will never amount to much.
More poignantly, he might ask Mbeki and UN ambassador Dumisani Kumalo
why it is that South Africans' suffering and human rights violations
mattered enough to justify UN Security Council action all those years ago,
but today that of Zimbabweans does not.
Yet that, perhaps, is a question that all South African citizens are
equally well placed to ask.
Fritz is the director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.
Front Page Magazine
By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 19, 2008
Having recently replaced a predecessor who was a pro-Mugabe flunky, the new
Anglican bishop of Harare is denouncing the geriatric dictator's endless
"We, the Anglican Church of the Diocese of Harare (CPCA) are shocked and
dismayed by the continuous Police interference with Sunday services and the
increased brutality causing casualties," Bishop Sebastian Bakare recently
wrote. "Many of our Parishioners were assaulted and beaten, several of our
parishioners of St Monica's Church in Chitungwiza were brutally assaulted
and had to be admitted to hospital."
Late last year Bakare replaced pro Mugabe enthusiast Nolbert Kunonga as
Bishop of Harare. With support from Mugabe's police, Kunonga still kept
Bakare from being officially installed in Zimbabwe's Anglican Cathedral
early this year. So Bakare's investiture was in a sports stadium, with 15
other bishops present in support.
Kunonga was officially excommunicated by the church on May 12. Not
surprisingly, Kunonga was a former lecturer on Liberation Theology in the
U.S., where perhaps he learned that Mugabe was a divine agent of Zimbabwe's
salvation. After becoming bishop in Zimbabwe, Kunonga removed all memorial
plaques in Harare's cathedral that honored Zimbabwean and Rhodesian soldiers
before Mugabe's election, including World War II soldiers. All had been
apparently instruments of British imperialism. In recent years, as Mugabe's
enormities worsened, Kunonga was cited for openly inciting violence against
Last month, the Zimbabwe Supreme Court, still exercising some autonomy,
refused Kunonga's appeal to be reinstalled as Anglican chief in Harare.
Starting the following Sunday, Mugabe's police locked up all the Anglican
churches. Some church goers who ignored the lock down were beaten, while
many others worshipped in the open air in defiance of Mugabe's intimidation.
"The police officers do not only prevent but beat, harass and arrest us
having declared our church premises no-go areas," Bishop Bakare reported.
"Today in Zimbabwe the rule of law has been greatly compromised. That leaves
us with no recourse to ensure that our members can freely and peacefully
exercise their constitutional rights of worship without harassment." The
bishop pledged that his churches would continue their ministry and would
continue to seek redress through Zimbabwe's courts, no matter how Mugabe's
gendarmerie continue to disregard the law.
Bishop Bakare appealed directly to Zimbabwean police to "let sanity prevail
and refrain from harassing and brutalizing Anglican Christians in Harare
Diocese." Whatever their response, he promised: "We will never cease to
worship. We also believe, whether the Police like it or not, God will
intervene, maybe not today and not tomorrow but in His own time. We will
rejoice when this happens."
Understandably, Bishop Bakare recalled the "beast" about whom the Book of
Revelation prophesied. "Rest assured that the principalities and powers of
this world come and go, but the God who is Alpha and Omega remains to
achieve His purpose to save humanity, in spite of the challenges put before
us by the beast," the bishop insisted. "Our lives as Christians will always
have security in Christ and not in the powers of this world."
Bishop Bakare's stirring defiance of Mugabe must have come as an unpleasant
change for the dictator, who was accustomed to Bakare's toady predecessor.
The now excommunicated Bishop Kunonga had claimed Mugabe's presidency was
divinely ordained and had made rumblings about pulling Zimbabwe's Anglicans
out of the Anglican communion, in solidarity with Mugabe.
According to Episcopal News Service, Bishop of Massachusetts Thomas Shaw
recently visited Zimbabwe and was awed by the Anglican's resistance to
Mugabe's intimidation. Shaw related one incident in which 80 or 90 riot
police began beating the church pews of one congregation and ended by
beating parishioners, who responded with hymn singing and prayers. The
Massachusetts bishop knew of at least one imprisoned priest. More commonly,
he said, the police are seizing the churches' vehicles, preventing clergy
from visiting their widely dispersed flock.
In solidarity with Bishop Bakare, all of the other Anglican bishops in the
Central African province denounced Mugabe in early June. "We are alarmed
that a government can perpetrate irresponsible acts against its citizens by
destroying people's homes, torturing and killing for the simple reason that
they did not vote 'correctly," the prelates announced. "We fear that the
Presidential Run-Off elections on 27th June 2008 could witness a repeat of
retribution of those who would have not voted 'correctly.'" Specifically
citing the Mugabe regime's torment of the Anglican churches in Zimbabwe, the
bishops observed that Mugabe's oppression "mirrors the persecution of
Christians of the Early Church and in this context we remind the
perpetrators that then as now God still triumphs over evil."
Predictably, Mugabe's regime and his ousted ecclesial supporter, the
excommunicated Bishop Kunonga, have pronounced that the Anglican churches
are instruments of British imperialism. Bishop Bakare and his fellow
Anglicans are not likely to be intimidated by the usual flak from a now
June 19, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Zimbabwe will require more than political reform to fix its
comatose economy, says a leading African financial institution.
South Africa's Standard Bank Group disclosed this week that the
reconstruction of the troubled country would need more than just political
reform because of the complexities of the economic crisis.
The pan-African financial institution which operates a commercial bank in
Zimbabwe ruled out any quick recovery of the collapsed economy because of
the government crackdown on dissent, high rates of inflation and a hard
"Zimbabwe's political landscape continues to be one of repression of
opposition, limited freedom of speech and press, patronage and ethnic-based
politics and complete erosion of domestic institutions.
"Overall, any genuine policy discussion depends on the outcome of the
run-off presidential election. Investor confidence is also at its lowest and
most international businesses and the donor community are waiting for a
change in government before they re-engage with the country.
"However, political changes alone will not be enough as strong and coherent
macroeconomic policies will be necessary to rebuild what used to be Africa's
model economy," reads part of a report prepared by the financial institution's
economic research arm.
Once a regional bread-basket and an economic powerhouse, Zimbabwe's economy
is now a shadow of its former self. Inflation is running at world-beating
records while foreign currency shortages have compounded the importation of
critical raw materials and medical supplies.
Critics blame President Robert Mugabe's administration for mismanaging the
once economy of the once prosperous nation. However, the octogenarian leader
denies the charges and instead blames western governments among them former
colonial master Britain for working with opposition groups to unseat his
government, a charge both the western governments and the opposition deny.