The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe's Morgan Tsvangirai takes refuge in Dutch embassy

Independent, UK

By Nelson Banya, Reuters
Monday, 23 June 2008

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has pulled out of a
presidential election because of violence, sought refuge overnight in the
Dutch embassy, officials of that country have said.

There was no immediate confirmation from Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change. The Dutch foreign ministry said he had not requested
asylum but was welcome to stay for his own security.

Earlier the MDC said police raided its Harare headquarters and took away
more than 60 victims of the violence, in which it says nearly 90 of its
supporters have been killed by militias backing President Robert Mugabe.
Those detained included women and children.

Tsvangirai, who pulled out of the June 27 vote on Sunday, saying his
supporters would risk their lives if they voted, said on Monday he was ready
to negotiate with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, but only if the violence stopped.

He pressed regional leaders to push for a postponement of the vote or for
Mugabe to step down. But the government said Tsvangirai's withdrawal came
too late to call off the election.

Concern mounted both within and outside Africa over Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis, which has flooded neighbouring states with millions of
refugees. Both the African Union and Southern African Development Community
(SADC) were discussing the situation following Tsvangirai's pullout.

Former colonial power Britain said Mugabe must be declared an illegitimate
leader and sanctions should be stiffened against his supporters.

Tsvangirai told South Africa's 702 Radio: "We are prepared to negotiate with
ZANU-PF but of course it is important that certain principles are accepted
before the negotiations take place. One of the preconditions is that this
violence against the people must be stopped,"

Several foreign governments have urged a national unity government to end
Zimbabwe's dire crisis. This has previously been rejected by both sides.

Mugabe, 84, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
has vowed never to hand over to the opposition, branding them puppets of the

He denies his supporters are responsible for the violence, which broke out
after Mugabe and ZANU-PF lost elections on March 29. Tsvangirai fell short
of an absolute majority, forcing next Friday's run-off.

The former guerrilla commander has presided over a slide into economic
chaos, including 80 percent unemployment and the world's highest inflation
rate of at least 165,000 percent.

The African Union's top diplomat, Jean Ping, said he was consulting with AU
Chairman Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian President, with SADC and with South
African President Thabo Mbeki - the region's designated mediator on
Zimbabwe - to see what could be done following Tsvangirai's withdrawal.

"This development and the increasing acts of violence in the run-up to the
second round of the presidential election, are a matter of grave concern to
the Commission of the AU," he said.

Angola's foreign ministry said SADC foreign ministers were meeting in Luanda
on Monday to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis and might issue a statement later
in the day.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, the current SADC chairman, said on Sunday
the run-off must be postponed "to avert a catastrophe in this region."

Zambian Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande told Reuters a SADC security troika
of Angola, Swaziland and Tanzania would propose the next move by the
regional body.

Troika foreign ministers last week asked their presidents to take urgent
action "to save Zimbabwe", saying a free and fair election was impossible.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it was still looking forward to a
credible electoral process on Friday.

"I don't believe that the level of violence in the country is such that a
credible election is impossible. We don't have a war. We will be able to
hold credible elections," ZEC chairman George Chiweshe told African election
monitors in Harare.

Renaissance Capital investment bank said in a research note that the
opposition withdrawal was likely to delay talks on a national unity
government. It said Zimbabwe risked economic collapse with the real
inflation rate at around 5 million percent.

There were also concerns the worsening crisis would hit South Africa's rand
currency, RBC Dominion Securities said.

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Police Raid MDC HQ And Arrest Over 60 Victims of Violence

SW Radio Africa (London)

23 June 2008
Posted to the web 23 June 2008

Lance Guma

Around 30 armed riot police raided the MDC Harvest House headquarters Monday
lunchtime and arrested over 60 victims of political violence seeking shelter

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel most of those picked up were
mainly women and children who have fled violent retributions from Zanu PF
mobs. The police used buses from the state owned Zimbabwe United Passenger
Company (ZUPCO) and forced those arrested onto them. Chamisa said they have
not been told of the reasons for the arrest or where the arrested have been
taken to. Another party statement says police arrested everyone inside the
building and, 'looted MDC office furniture and computers containing party

On Sunday a rally planned by the MDC for the Glamis Arena was disrupted by
over 2000 marauding Zanu PF militia who beat up everyone attending. Armed
soldiers and police in riot gear aided the disruption by camping inside the
grounds of the rally venue. Roadblocks were mounted along several streets in
Harare as police, with help from the Zanu PF youths, blocked people from
going into the city centre. The MDC says military helicopters flew around
the cities of Harare and Bulawayo in clear attempts at intimidation. At the
venue of the MDC rally Zanu PF mobs armed with sticks, stones, knobkerries
could be seen chasing MDC supporters and beating up those they caught.
Journalists and some observers were caught up in the violence.

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Zimbabwe Police: People Taken From Opposition HQ Over Health


HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--A Zimbabwe police spokesman denied officers had made
any arrests at opposition headquarters on Monday, saying 39 people had been
taken away for health reasons.

"It was not a raid," said Wayne Bvudzijena. "We accompanied health
inspectors and social welfare officers...We only got 39."

He said they were taken to a rehabilitation center east of Harare.

"We heard the situation there was a disaster from the point of view of
hygiene. We are interested in the health of those people."

A number of people the opposition said were victims of political violence
had been taking shelter at the headquarters.

An opposition party spokesman said earlier that police had rounded up more
than 60 people in a raid at the opposition's headquarters on Monday.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Crisis in Zimbabwe - Statement by Secretary Rice

Scoop, NZ

Tuesday, 24 June 2008, 6:58 am
Press Release: US State Department

Statement by Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
June 23, 2008

Crisis in Zimbabwe
Yet another vicious assault on the opposition and its supporters for
exercising their right to assemble and their right to free speech has
reinforced that it is impossible for there to be a free, fair or peaceful
election in Zimbabwe on June 27. Due to these and other events, and out of
concern for the lives of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
supporters, Morgan Tsvangirai announced he will no longer contest the
run-off election.

The United States condemns in the strongest terms the Government of
Zimbabwe's continuing campaign of violence against its own people. It is
abundantly clear that Mugabe is determined to thwart the will of the people
of Zimbabwe as so clearly expressed on March 29. Reports that international
election monitors were also victims of state-sponsored violence are
particularly troubling.

Both the MDC and Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)
parties must work together on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. The Mugabe
regime cannot be considered legitimate in the absence of a runoff. In
forsaking the most basic tenet of governance - the protection of its
people - the Government of Zimbabwe must be held accountable by the
international community. We call upon the Southern African Development
Community, African Union Peace and Security Council, and the United Nations
Security Council to take up this issue immediately.

Released on June 23, 2008


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MDC MP Elect for Nkulumane Battling for Life After Brutal Attack

SW Radio Africa (London)

23 June 2008
Posted to the web 23 June 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

The newly elected MDC MP for Nkulumane in Bulawayo, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, is
battling for his life in an intensive care unit in Harare after he was
severely assaulted by Zanu PF militia on Sunday.

Manhlangu, who is also the national youth chairman, was attacked as he and
other MDC members were on their way to the Glamis Arena for a star rally.

A statement from the MDC said Mahlangu was attacked by armed Zanu PF militia
who had been dropped at the venue of the rally in army and police trucks.
Over a thousand Zanu PF thugs were bused to the venue.

MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was scheduled to have addressed the rally
but it was cancelled when the militia, armed with sticks and stones, took
over the venue and blocked people from getting there.

The rowdy Zanu PF supporters attacked MDC supporters in full view of SADC
election observers and the police, who took no action.

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60,000 copies of independent newspaper seized in Zimbabwe

Monsters and Critics

Jun 23, 2008, 18:01 GMT

Johannesburg/Harare - A consignment of 60,000 copies of a London-based
independent weekly newspaper distributed in Zimbabwe has been seized by
customs, its editor said Monday.

Wilf Mbanga, editor of The Zimbabwean, said customs officials had refused to
release the consignment, which arrived last Thursday, despite the payment of
a new 40 per cent import duty.

'They told our local distributor that the order had come from ZANU(PF)
(President Robert Mugabe's party) that the newspaper was not to be
released,' Mbanga said.

The Zimbabwean is regarded as the only inexpensive locally available source
of news that provides an alternative to the ZANU(PF) controlled state
propaganda media.

The newspaper is highly critical of President Robert Mugabe's government and
one of its journalists based in Zimbabwe, Gift Phiri, was arrested and
tortured last year.

State media have completely excluded the Movement for Democratic Change from
election coverage, refusing to take advertisements and mentioning it and its
officials only to denounce them.

Mbanga said since Thursday, copies of The Economist, the London- based
international weekly finance magazine, had been seized 'because of a
cartoon' deemed offensive by authorities. Confirmation was not immediately

On May 26, a truck carrying 60,000 copies of The Zimbabwean's sister paper,
The Zimbabwean on Sunday, was hijacked by unknown gunmen who set fire to the
vehicle, destroying it and the newspapers.

Mbanga said copies of The Zimbabwean on Sunday had 'managed to slip through'
and had been distributed.

All but three locally-based newspapers have managed to survive in the fierce
climate of media repression and censorship in the last eight years.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says Zimbabwe is one of
the world's most hostile regimes against press freedom.

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Elections Will Still Take Place On Friday-ZEC


By Sithandekile Mhlanga
23 June 2008

Reaction continued to the news that Tsvangirai's M-D-C would not take part
in the poll. Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa, chairman of the Southern
African Development Community, on Sunday urged that the ballot be postponed.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Mugabe and quote "his thugs"
made it impossible to hold the election and "now we face a critical crisis
of legitimacy" because "the only people with any shred of legitimacy are the
people who won the march 29 first round and that was the opposition,"
Miliband told reporters.

U-S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a statement urging stronger
international action on Zimbabwe, saying the Harare government "must be held
accountable" for in her words "forsaking the most basic tenet of governance"
in failing to protect its people. rice said regional and world leaders must
address the mounting violence.

U-S State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said the government of
president Robert Mugabe cannot be considered legitimate without a
presidential run-off election.

The question remained as to what will happen on Friday, scheduled date for
the runoff, now that Tsvangirai and the M-D-C have indicated they will not
participate. Zimbabwe Election Commission chairman George Chiweshe and other
officials say the ballot will still take place because his panel has not
received formal notification from Tsvangirai's M-D-C formation as to pulling

Chiweshe tells studio seven reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that the
commission does not act on speculation.

Regional leaders including South African President Thabo Mbeki and SADC
Chairman Levy Mwanawasa continued to look for a solution to the crisis
following the latest turn.

African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping voiced "grave concern" in a
statement saying he had contacted president Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, A-U
chairman, as well as SADC.

The South African government urged the M-D-C to continue peace talks with
the government to find a lasting solution to the crisis.

But former U-S ambassador to Zimbabwe Princeton Lyman tells V-O-A English to
Africa reporter Chinedu Offor that while African and regional initiatives
are important, the solution lies with the ruling party itself whose
membersmust consider the consequences of president mugabe's strategy of
cracking down.

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Tsvangirai: declare Zimbabwe elections 'null and void'

Yahoo News

18 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday
told CNN that the international community should declare presidential
elections "null and void" and organize a new vote.

"We have called upon (outside governments) -- in this unprecedented
situation -- to intervene to ensure that the elections are declared null and
void if they can do that, and special elections are then organized in a free
and fair atmosphere," said Tsvangirai by telephone, without saying where he
was speaking from.

Tsvangirai has pulled out of Friday's run-off election and on Monday took
refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare. CNN said the man speaking on the
phone was Tsvangirai.

World leaders have challenged Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's legitimacy
while the opposition says more than 80 of its supporters have been killed in
a campaign of intimidation ahead of the vote and thousands injured.

Apart from new elections, Tsvangirai also called on the international
community under the leadership of the African Union to push for "some form
of a negotiated settlement that will see Zimbabwe go through some form of
transition" and for an investigation of human rights abuses, he said.

He said his country was facing catastrophe, with millions likely to flee.

"So my fear is that the people of Zimbabwe will become more desperate and,
in fact, if we have three million or four million Zimbabweans leaving, we
are likely to double the figure because no one will feel safe to stay in the

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Mugabe 'should not be recognised'

Monday, 23 June 2008 17:27 UK

Gordon Brown calls for the UN human rights envoy to return to Zimbabwe

Gordon Brown has described Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's regime as a "criminal and discredited cabal" which "should not be recognised by anybody".

He told MPs it had made it impossible to hold fair elections and "state sponsored terror" had put opposition party MDC in an "untenable position".

The prime minister said he would push for more sanctions against the regime.

He said Britain would offer "substantial help" for reconstruction "once democracy has been restored".

Mr Brown told MPs he had spoken to the leader of the MDC opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, who has pulled out of Friday's election run-off because of pre-poll violence, handing automatic victory to Mr Mugabe.

Strengthen sanctions

Mr Tsvangirai has since sought refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare.

In a Commons statement Mr Brown said Zimbabwe had seen more than 80 killings, 2,700 beatings, the detention of opposition leaders and the displacement of 34,000 people.

"The whole world is of one view - that the status quo cannot continue. The African Union has called for violence to end.

Will you set out a detailed rescue package for the post-Mugabe era, to make it absolutely clear that when Mugabe goes we will do all we can to breathe new life into that country
David Cameron
Conservative leader

"The current government, with no parliamentary majority, having lost the first round of the presidential elections, and holding power only because of power and intimidation is a regime that should not be recognised by anyone."

He said on Monday he had talked to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, to the African Union president, the president of South Africa and Mr Tsvangirai about the situation.

He said the international community had to send a powerful message that it would not recognise "fraudulent election rigging" and "the violence and intimidation of a criminal and discredited cabal".

'Rescue package'

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said he hoped the international community would look at "all options available" to put an end to Mugabe's regime and urged the government to allow Zimbabwe's asylum seekers to live and work temporarily in the UK.

Mr Brown said each asylum case was dealt with on an individual basis.

Conservative leader David Cameron welcomed Mr Brown's comments about wider EU sanctions against members of the regime but asked that he make sure "it really happens this time".

Robert Mugabe and his thugs made an election impossible
David Miliband
Foreign Secretary

He urged a UN inquiry into abuses of human rights with a view to a possible criminal action later on and asked: "Will you set out a detailed rescue package for the post-Mugabe era, to make it absolutely clear that when Mugabe goes we will do all we can to breathe new life into that country and into those people who have suffered so much."

He also said the government should say it is prepared to withdraw international recognition from the regime.

Later in a separate Commons statement, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the "only people with any democratic legitimacy" were the opposition MDC party and added: "We do not, repeat do not recognise the Mugabe government as the legitimate representative of the Zimbabwean people."

He added: "The stage was set for the most rigged election in African history. The failure is not of the opposition but of the government. Robert Mugabe and his thugs made an election impossible."

Mr Miliband said it was now for Sadc (the Southern African Development Community) and African Union leaders to meet to establish "a clear framework of engagement".

He also said the UN Security Council would discuss the situation later on Monday - and it was important it worked with Sadc and the AU on the issue.

The Liberal Democrats have called for "foreign remittances" - money sent back to Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans abroad should be stopped as they are a source of funding for the regime.

But Mr Miliband urged the party to stop calling for it, saying the money was vital for suffering Zimbabweans - and dismissed the Lib Dems' call to put pressure on Mozambique and South Africa to cut off electricity supplies.

There has been mounting international criticism of Zimbabwe's government in advance of the run-off presidential election.

But President Mugabe and Zanu-PF blame the opposition for political violence across the country. Mr Mugabe said last week that the MDC would "never, ever" be allowed to rule Zimbabwe.

Zanu-PF also said Mr Tsvangirai had withdrawn to avoid "humiliation".

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Mugabe a 'crook and murderer'

From correspondents in Jerusalem

June 23, 2008 05:38am

Article from: Agence France-Presse

FRENCH Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner today branded Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe as "nothing but a crook and a murderer" after the opposition
pulled out of an election run-off.

"This man, and I am speaking of Mr Mugabe, who believes he has been
designated by God ... is nothing but a crook and a murderer," he said in
Jerusalem on the sidelines of a visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai earlier today pulled out of
the election run-off, protesting that violence has made a fair vote

"He has thrown in the towel because his party supporters and especially the
activists are being murdered," said Mr Kouchner.

"It is out of the question for France to accept this fake election which
would have a single candidate ... and there is no question of accepting the
result," the foreign minister said.

"This is really the biggest denial of democracy that Africa has known," he
said, slamming Mr Mugabe's administration which has ruled for 28 years as "a
dictatorship which stays in place with the bloodiest methods".

"With our partners, and I hope a very large number of African countries, we
are determined not only not to accept the result of any fixed election ...
but to do everything to oppose Mr Mugabe," he said.

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Pressure increases on Mugabe but no end in sight


Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:40am EDT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, June 23 (Reuters) - The opposition withdrawal from Zimbabwe's
election has increased the isolation of President Robert Mugabe and is sure
to bring more sanctions, but it is unlikely to end the country's crisis any
time soon.

The withdrawal by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai from next Friday's presidential run-off has guaranteed Mugabe
will extend his 28-year hold on power.

Although the move will make life more difficult for the veteran leader,
stripping him of a veneer of legitimacy, increasing his regional isolation
and bringing tougher sanctions, his government and the security chiefs who
back him are not expected to buckle yet. That means Zimbabwe's dire economic
crisis, with inflation of at least 165,000 percent and unemployment of 80
percent, can only get worse, pushing even more refugees into neighbouring
countries that are fast losing patience with a leader they once revered as a
liberation hero. "It's a dire situation, whichever way you look at it. It's
a kind of world war for him, but I don't think we are going to see a
solution in the near future, in a few months," said Eldred Masunungure, a
political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe.

"I think Mugabe will try to tough this one out too, and only negotiate some
kind of deal with the MDC as a very last resort," he said.

"It's more realistic to expect a long-drawn process because beyond
condemnation the options for the international community to act against
Mugabe and the (ruling) ZANU-PF crew that really matters are very limited."

Tsvangirai said on Monday he was ready to negotiate with ZANU-PF but only if
the violence that forced his withdrawal ended.

The MDC and Tsvangirai, who beat Mugabe in a March 29 vote but failed to win
the absolute majority needed to avoid a second ballot, have repeatedly
accused security forces and militias of using strong-arm tactics to ensure
victory in the run-off.

He says almost 90 of his followers have been killed and 200,000 been
displaced. Mugabe denies his men are responsible.


"The MDC and its Western masters are waging a war on us, and we have been
forced to adopt a defensive position to safeguard our political independence
and national sovereignty," says Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

In the longer term, analysts say Mugabe's supporters will be forced to
negotiate by the catastrophic collapse of an economy crippled by the world's
highest inflation rate and chronic shortages of food, fuel and electricity.

Although the official inflation rate is 165,000 percent some experts say it
is really a surreal one million percent or more, leaving many families

A senior Western diplomat said fears of possible United Nations sanctions,
an imploding economy and regional fears of a refugee crisis could all help
nudge Mugabe into negotiations.

But this is a solution that will be drawn out.

"At best we are going to see more pressure on Mugabe for some government of
national unity," said Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of political pressure group
National Constitutional Assembly.

"But if there is going to be some political accommodation, it's going to
take some time," he said.

Both Mugabe, 84, and Tsvangirai, 56, have previously rejected calls for a
coalition government. The withdrawal may change the dynamics but the
thorniest question remains -- who would lead such an administration?

ZANU-PF hardliners, who despise Tsvangirai and see him as a Western stooge
may in the long run try to entice him into a unity government, says

"I think even these hardliners realise the situation is dire, and they will
be forced to sue for peace," he said.

But experts say Mugabe is likely to exploit the region's general hostility
towards economic sanctions to dilute increased Western pressure to use this

"We are going to see more SADC leaders condemning and distancing themselves
from Mugabe, but I don't see them agreeing to imposing economic sanctions
themselves on Zimbabwe," he said.

Tsvangirai's MDC won a parliamentary majority in the lower House of Assembly
which analysts expect to bolster his position in any negotiations. But some
of the opposition legislators have fled the country fearing arrest.

"I think the international community is trying to help Zimbabwe onto that
sort of path, negotiations, a transitional government of national unity and
eventually fresh, free and fair democratic elections," the diplomat said.

"But I agree that in the short term there is no easy solution," he added.

"This government appears determined to go down with this country." he added.

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Foreign Office: 'Freeze out the tyrant Mugabe to curb violence in Zimbabwe'

Mail on Sunday

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:05 PM on 23rd June 2008


British firms could be banned from doing business with Robert Mugabe's regime in an attempt to curb the violence in Zimbabwe.

The Government is urging the international community to toughen sanctions after militias unleashed a wave of attacks which have left at least 86 people dead and scores more injured.

Mr Mugabe has been accused of using widespread intimidation to force opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the presidential run-off.

"We do not accept the status quo," said Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown.

"We do not expect the international community to accept the status quo."

 Lord Malloch Brown : 'Mugabe is no longer the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe'

Malloch-Brown, the government's minister for Africa and Asia, said he wanted international bodies to recognize "that Robert Mugabe is no longer the rightful, legitimate leader of his country."

Malloch-Brown said he understood why Tsvangirai had withdrawn from the presidential runoff. Tsvangirai pulled out of the race on Sunday, citing state-sponsored violence against supporters of his Movement for Democratic Change. The government says the election will go ahead on Friday.

Malloch-Brown today signalled that Britain may push for sanctions forcing companies to cut links with Mr Mugabe's government.

He added: "There are obviously a number of companies with British names that trade in Zimbabwe. In many cases it is because until now the sanctions have not been broadly enough drawn to stop that or in some cases, such as Barclays, because they are operating as wholly-owned Zimbabwean subsidiaries." He said: "This is Mugabe versus the world... not Mugabe versus Britain."

The Foreign Office is considering a range of sanctions, including cutting off electricity supplies, but also stressed that any steps must be targeted at the regime, not the people of Zimbabwe.

Protesters demonstrate outside the Zimbabwe embassy in central London, on Monday.

Protesters demonstrate outside the Zimbabwe embassy in central London, on Monday.

Restrictions could also be increased on Mr Mugabe's inner circle of around 130 people, which Gordon Brown has branded a "criminal cabal", such as freezing their assets globally, stopping them being able to send their children to foreign universities or own homes abroad.

Earlier, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesman Michael Ellam said Brown was disappointed at the way Tsvangirai had been forced out of the contest.

"What he is disappointed about is the scale of the violence and intimidation that has limited Morgan Tsvangirai's ability to campaign," Ellam said.

Lord Malloch-Brown said military action had not been considered to oust Mr Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party.

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US calls for international action on Zimbabwe violence

Yahoo News

2 hours, 54 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Zimbabwe must be held accountable for election violence
that drove the opposition to pull out of a presidential run-off, US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement Monday.

"In forsaking the most basic tenet of governance -- the protection of its
people -- the government of Zimbabwe must be held accountable by the
international community," Rice said.

Rice said regional and world leaders much address the mounting violence.

"We call upon the Southern African Development Community, African Union
Peace and Security Council, and the United Nations Security Council to take
up this issue immediately," she said.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the government of
Zimbabwe's continuing campaign of violence against its own people," she
said, adding that reports of attacks against election monitors were
"particularly troubling."

After pulling out of Friday's runoff vote, opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai Monday took refuge at the Netherlands embassy in Harare, a
spokesman for Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said.

"He is temporarily at the embassy of the Netherlands in Harare," spokesman
Bart Rijs told AFP.

Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), announced
Sunday he was quitting the run-off race for the presidency against Robert
Mugabe, saying increasing violence made a free and fair poll impossible.

On Monday, the opposition said Zimbabwean police rounded up more than 60
people in a raid on the MDC headquarters, including victims of political
violence who had taken shelter there.

Rice called on both parties to work together "on behalf of the people of

"The Mugabe regime cannot be considered legitimate in the absence of a

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Tsvangirai Slammed For Taking Refuge

Sky News

[I have included the first ten pages of comments at the bottom - far too
many to include them all.  To see the others go to,,30200-1319794,00.html]

Updated:19:58, Monday June 23, 2008

Zimbabwe's police chief has insisted Morgan Tsvangirai is not in danger
after the opposition leader took refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare.

Augustine Chihuri claimed the move was designed to spark "international
anger" and step up pressure against President Robert Mugabe.

He added: "We at the same time ask the Dutch embassy, if indeed he is there,
to tell him to go home and enjoy your sleep and nothing will happen to him."

His move came after police raided the headquarters of his MDC party.

Earlier Tsvangirai said he was ready to negotiate with Mr Mugabe after his
withdrawal from the presidential elections.

However, Mr Tsvangirai said he would only do so on condition that political
violence stopped.

Sky News Africa correspondent Emma Hurd, in Johannesburg, said: "It has been
confirmed that Tsvangirai spent the night in the embassy, but we're told he
has not sought formal asylum.

"The Dutch... said he is welcome to stay there," Hurd said. "It's an
indication of the possible threat against him."

About 10 police, some said to be in riot gear, raided the opposition's
offices in Harare taking several people out of the building and bundling
them on to a bus.

Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said most of the people taken away were women
and children who had fled state-sponsored political violence and sought
Mr Tsvangirai's offer to negotiate comes amid mounting concern from within
and outside Africa over the violence, in which the opposition says around 90
of its supporters have died.

The MDC leader told South Africa's Radio 702: "We are prepared to negotiate
with Zanu-PF but of course it is important that certain principles are
accepted before the negotiations take place.

"One of the preconditions is that this violence against the people must be

At the weekend Mr Tsvangirai pulled out of the June 27 poll, saying
supporters of his Movement for Democratic Change would risk their lives by
voting because of brutal attacks by Mugabe supporters.

Mr Mugabe, 84, who has been in power since independence from Britain in
1980, has vowed never to hand over to the opposition, branding them puppets
of the West.

He denies his supporters are responsible for the violence.

Gordon Brown has said he is "disappointed" that Mr Tsvangirai had been
forced out of the contest.

A UN emergency meeting will be held later to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Mr Tsvangirai's decision to quit the June 27 vote
was a "deeply distressing development" and a bad omen for the country's

"The circumstances that led to the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai... from the presidential elections represents a deeply
distressing development that does not bode well for the future of democracy
in Zimbabwe," Mr Ban's spokesman said in a statement.

"The campaign of violence and intimidation that has marred this election has
done a great disservice to the people of the country and must end

A spokesman for the US Government said: "The government of Zimbabwe and its
thugs must stop the violence now.

"All parties should be able to participate in a legitimate election and not
be subject to the intimidation and unlawful actions of the government, armed
militias and so-called war veterans."

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Mr Tsvangirai's
decision to quit was "understandable, given the unacceptable systematic
campaign of violence, obstruction and intimidation lead by the Zimbabwean
authorities, which has continued for several weeks".

"In these conditions, the elections have become a travesty of democracy," a
statement from his office said.


its time to stand up for yourselves, riot run rampage and oust the tyrant.
time to fight your own battles, sure some will die but to know that your
future children grandchildren will finally live in a democracy is surely a
sacrifice worth making. People cant always bail people out. look at iraq and
afganistan. so uprise and hang the tyrant.

Posted by David Callaway from Lincolnshire
Report this comment
Is there anybody out there who can advise me why it was OK to arrest
Pinochet when he came to the UK, but not Mugabe when he went to Rome

Posted by PHILIP from PARIS
Report this comment
We can pray for the old man to die but remember he led others who think like
him.They believed what he believd otherwise he would never have lasted so
long. Civil war is weeks away. The food will end and the million in the
country will rbe powerless to even care who is their leader .The only worry
, will be is where is todays meal coming from.

Posted by Mark from Namibia
Report this comment

ust shows that Rhodesia was better off before Mugabe and his thugs came in .
I wonder if South Africa is looking at their own future as there country
continues to spiral out of control also.

Posted by Peter from Georgia
Report this comment
I would like to call on all Zimbabweians to do a 10 million man march on the
state house in Harare and sieze power from Mugabe. I acknowledge the fact
that Mugabe will shoot down a number of marchers but also say it is not
possible for him to shoot down more than a million people. Courage Zimbabwe
lets storm the state house and be prepared to die.

Posted by Mathanda from RSA
Report this comment
Phil from Chester, do you even know what you're talking about? Of course
Gordon Brown should be commenting on the Zimbabwe situation! As sad as I am
to say, he is the political leader of our nation! It's just a shame that
nobody's doing more than just commenting!

Posted by John from London
Report this comment

They wanted their independance! They got their independance! I bet they
would love to have Ian Smith back there now though!

Posted by Adrian from Milton Keynes
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Posted by PAUL B from KENT
Report this comment
As an ex-Kenyan who watched in horror as the post-election violence erupted
back home, I find the situation in Zimbabwe all too familiar. How long is it
going to take the international community to wake up to the fact that Mugabe
is a power hungry maniac who MUST be made accountable for his crimes? Do we
really have to wait for civil war for something to be done?

Posted by Sarah Owen from Dublin, Ireland
Report this comment

re-colonisation anyone?????

Posted by Tony from formerly 10 Downing St
Report this comment
Zimbabwe's people have suffered for a long time while the international
community has watched Zimbabwe burn.We will continue to to fight for
democracy in our country with or without foreign help and we strongly
believed that Zimbabwe will rise again.God bless our beloved Zimbabwe and
its suffering masses.

Posted by simba from uk
Report this comment
Its a shame the U.N is hopeless, what' s its Agenda please support the
innocent people over zimbabwe.

Posted by John Debattista from Malta
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of course he will ignore UN resolutions. Look at Israel.... They take no

Posted by JR from UK
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Gordon Brown thinks Robert Mugabe shouldn't be there. I agree that he is an
unwanted and was never elected to be in charge, is completely out of touch
and that he is destroying the country but that doesn't give him the right to
comment on what is happening in another country.

Posted by Phil from Chester
Report this comment
After gaining independence and presiding over the brutal murders of white
western farmers since 2000, it may be considered a little two faced for the
citizens of Zimbabwe to now ask for help from the West to restore some sort
of order. Where was the support for the White westerners being brutally
murdered, tortued and burned by the War Veterans? Nobody appeared to rise up
and support them. Now those same War Veterans have turned on their own
countrymen, the White Western world is supposed to rise up and help?

Posted by Fred from Chesterfield
Report this comment

Gordon Browns "disappointment" that Mr Tsvangirai has been forced out of the
contest is an insult to those people who are affected by his own inaction.
UK relations to Zimbabwe continue to be over shadowed by a colonial history
that needs to be addressed and put to bed, for the sake of humanity.

Posted by Kay Gee from London
Report this comment
If by the grace of GOD we gain our independence from the tyrant Mugabe I
hope all Zimbabweans remember not to be part of any of these organisations
OAU, United Nations, SADC etc. they are useless and only want the
subscriptions we pay through taxes. Mugabe your time is nearer than you

Posted by Brian Yaso from UK
Report this comment
Dare I ask - Why has Nelson Mandela being so quiet? What are his comments on
this debacle in Zimbabwe?

Posted by Gael Dickson from Dublin
Report this comment

The world must put full sanctions on south africa and anyone who tries to
help mugabe, just like they did to rhodesia when Smith was primeminister.
The british put mugabe in power and now they must do whatever it takes to
remove him.It is no good talking to mbeki as he is mugabes spineless right
hand man. Are the rest of the worlds presidents and primeministers as
useless as mbeki? They have a lot to say but do nothing when it comes to
action. Who are they affraid of? The zimbabwe national army does not have
the resources to fight against a few armed real soldiers. They are far too

Posted by mark from uk
Report this comment
Mugabe is a paracite and the embodiment of evil. How that man can look
himself in the mirror, I don't know. And how the UN can sit back and do
nothing beggers belief.

Posted by Judith from Paris, France
Report this comment
Brown and Bush are all talk and no action, these two leaders being the heads
of the so called most powerful countries in the world are not able to do
anything with reference to the pilictical crisis in Zimbabe and also to
other world problems such as raising oil prices and food prices. If being a
political leader with so much money and power you cant change the things for
good, why should these two be sitting in these chairs? both should resign
and watch TV at home and play PS3 games!

Posted by satish pakki from Reading
Report this comment

Why is everyone talking about US and UK ousting Maugabe...Why is everyone
assuming that coz Zimbabwe's got no OIL so US and UK don't care. Do these
people actually realise how many people those countries have got already out
fighting. Do those countries have the resource to go out against another
dictator now??? I think not. Why is no one asking where countries like
France, Italy etc.. are? And most importantly what about the United Nations?
Why do we have a UN? What do they do? I know...throwing some big conferences
with big speeches, followed by a huge dinner and drinks for the delegates...

Posted by Sachin Seesurrun from Mauritius
Report this comment

Only Africa can sort this problem out, and then only if it wants to.....
What ever the UK, Europe or the US do will be seen as suppression by a
"colonial" power. It really is up to Mbeki and Zuma in SA and the other
African leaders to support democracy and freedom. After all, Mbeki still
supports Mugabe by his silence and his lack of action. Shame on you all who
can act, but do not.

Posted by Simon from London
Report this comment
Its a very predictable outcome in Rhodesia{Zimbabwe} but my advice is
"Thata's Afrika Man" and let them solve their own mess.The entire continent
is awash with corruption and the 'black' African can treat their own much
worse than any 'white' master ever did!! The independence that they all
gained and the resulting chaos is their own problem,not yours or mine.It
mystifies me why the public and the govt, are so concerned when you have
more severe problems in the UK?If I had any major anxiety about Africa it
would be the inevitable emergence of a new "Islamic" threat to the West as
the latest "Imam" that you deported from the UK to Jamaica is currently
'preaching' his hate and poison amongst the young and impressionable boys in
Durban's poor areas.This is most disturbing but something I have been
expecting for quite a long time.These extremists need new 'fodder' to do
their dirty work and what could be more suitable than thousands of
impoverished black youth who have nothing in life to

Posted by r gardiner from Toronto, Canada
Report this comment
I can't see what the West can do here except make speeches and threaten
sanctions.They can't physically revome Mugabe from power. Sanctions will
affect only the innocent Zimbabweans whilst the Mr Mugabe and Police chiefs
will be the last to die of hunger in Zimbabwe. My opinion is only Mr Thambo
Mbeki ,the South African president can intervene effectively. Mr Mugabe does
not respect any other African or Western leader. Pressure must be brought to
bear on Mr Mbeki rather to help the old man step down quietly rather than
going to the polls because he will never accept defeat via the polls. Some
political leaders can get power-drunk !

Posted by Senyo from Norfolk
Report this comment

Its Mugabe's usual bully tactics, the same he has used on countless
oppossition leaders over the decades, including Joshua Nkomo. Remember when
Mugabe the war criminal took power in the 80's he used his fighters (so
called war heroe's?) to slaughter school children, women, and innocent men
of the southern Nedebele tribe in order to terrorise Joshua Nkomo into not
standing against him. He is a WAR CRIMINAL I wish Europe and the rest of the
RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT ZIMBABWEANS As for those comments that seem to
support this monster! Try living in Zimbabwe............. !

Posted by D from lancashire
Report this comment
Send in the SAS to take out Mugabe the flood the place with the UN troops
and feed the masses

Posted by gary gregg from spain
Report this comment
I read a lot of suggestions that the Zimbabwean should pick up arms against
Mugabe! Are you mad, when has war ever had a positive outcome??? And as for
the comment about the ANC youth ready to take arms for Jacob Zuma - well,
goes to show the level of understanding you have of some of these African
politicians - Zuma is criminal himself and we already know that South
African's are all too ready to use guns as one of the top murder capitals of
the world - FIND A BETTER SOLUTION IAN!!!! Actually Morgan T is doing
exactly the right thing. He is getting plenty of political advice from world
leaders to try and bring about peace and then change. He has made a very
shrewd political move not to take part.

Posted by Dokta Ngotsh from UK
Report this comment

why is Mugabe not given 24hrs notice like Sadam? Posted by sibonisiwe ndlovu
from sheffield Because invading Zimbabwe to restore peace will not drive oil
prices up for Bush and Cheney

Posted by Marko from Ireland
Report this comment
IN IT - if they don't die of AIDS first or get beaten to death by those who
free'd Zimbabwe from Colonial Rule. The world screamed for an end to
colonialism - colonialism was ended (in a variety of ways) and look what
resulted - Zimbabwe Darfur The Sudan Rwanda the list is endless. Just let it
all carry on - the problem will go away - THEY'LL ALL BE DEAD!

Posted by Ken Telford from Essex
Report this comment

Posted by carl stringer from WEST MIDLANDS
Report this comment

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Election pull-out best decision ever taken by MDC


June 23, 2008, 16:30

The decision by the Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out
of the run-off elections was the best political decision he had ever taken,
a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer said today.

Addressing journalists at the Human Rights Commission in Parktown,
Johannesburg, Harrison Nkomo, said the conditions in Zimbabwe were not
conducive to free and fair elections. "About 80 MDC supporters were reported
dead. The president, Robert Mugabe, said publicly that he would not accept
Tsvangirai, even if he wins the elections."

Nkomo praised Tsvangirai's pull-out decision - because had the MDC leader
taken part in the run-off elections, this action would have "legitimised"
the poll.

Meanwhile the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, says
the legislative framework in Zimbabwe is making it difficult for civil
society groups, lawyers and journalists to operate in the country. The
organisation has released a report on the challenges that defenders of human
rights face in Africa which covered 22 of 53 African states.

The report singles out legislation around detention and assembling in
numbers as especially problematic. - Additional reporting by Sapa

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Tsvangirai ready to negotiate if violence stops

Yahoo News

Tuesday June 24, 12:32 AM

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on
Monday he was ready to negotiate with President Robert Mugabe's ruling party
after his withdrawal from a presidential election, but only if political
violence stopped.
Tsvangirai, who pulled out of the June 27 vote on Sunday, also called for
regional leaders to push for a postponement of the poll or for Mugabe to
step down. But the government said the election would take place as planned.

As concern mounted both within and outside Africa over the violence, police
raided the Harare headquarters of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change and took away scores of victims of political attacks, the party said.

Tsvangirai, who says around 90 of his supporters have died in brutal attacks
by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, told South Africa's Radio 702:

"We are prepared to negotiate with ZANU-PF but of course it is important
that certain principles are accepted before the negotiations take place. One
of the preconditions is that this violence against the people must be

One idea that had been mooted is for negotiations on a national unity
government that could tackle Zimbabwe's crisis.

Tsvangirai said his supporters would have risked their lives if they voted
on Friday, because of brutal attacks by supporters of Mugabe's ZANU-PF.

Mugabe, 84, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
has vowed never to hand over to the opposition, branding them puppets of the
West. He denies his supporters are responsible for the violence.

Tsvangirai later told U.S. National Public Radio that Southern African
Development Community leaders should work to ensure the election "is
postponed and conducted under SADC (standards) or to pressurize Mugabe to
concede that in the first round he has lost the election and that he must
give up power."

The MDC has appealed to the international community, particularly the
African Union (AU) and SADC to put pressure on Mugabe to resolve an economic
and political crisis which has sent millions of refugees fleeing into
neighboring countries.

Reaction was swift from Jean Ping, the AU's top diplomat.

"This development and the increasing acts of violence in the run-up to the
second round of the presidential election, are a matter of grave concern to
the Commission of the AU," he said in a statement.

Ping said he had started consultations with AU chairman Jakaya Kikwete, the
president of Tanzania, with SADC and with that body's designated mediator in
the crisis, South African President Thabo Mbeki, to see what could be done.

Ping, the commission chairman, said Zimbabwe was at a critical point and
called for restraint and an end to violence.

Angola's foreign ministry said on Monday SADC foreign ministers were meeting
in Luanda to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis and might issue a statement later
in the day.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, the current SADC chairman, said on Sunday
the run-off must be postponed "to avert a catastrophe in this region."

Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the vote would take place
on Friday despite the withdrawal of Tsvangirai because he had left his
decision "too late."

(Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka in Harare, Tsegaye Tadesse in Addis
Ababa, Shapi Shacinda in Lusaka, Paul Simao in Johannesburg; Writing by
Barry Moody)

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Madhuku Says Tsvangirai is Bound By Law to Participate in Poll

SW Radio Africa (London)

23 June 2008
Posted to the web 23 June 2008

Law expert Dr Lovemore Madhuku has said that politically, MDC President
Morgan Tsvangirai is right in withdrawing from the presidential run off, but
legally he is bound by law to participate.

The chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly said it is accurate to
say that the current environment is not conducive for a free and fair
election, but unfortunately ZANU PF would go by the legal interpretation.

Tsvangirai announced on Sunday that he is pulling out of the run-off, saying
Mugabe has already determined the election result. Tsvangirai said Mugabe
has declared war on the people and the MDC would not be part of it. He said
Mugabe declared war when he said, "the bullet has replaced the ballot".

The MDC leader listed violence as the major reason for withdrawing as this
made it impossible to have a free and fair election. Since the first round
of elections held on March 29th over 85 MDC supporters have been killed, 200
000 people internally displaced, 20 000 houses have been destroyed and 10
000 people injured and maimed in this orgy of state sponsored violence.

Madhuku said Tsvangirai's withdrawal is a political embarrassment for Robert
Mugabe because he needs legitimacy and needs to be elected by Zimbabweans in
a free and fair election. But he said the legal position is a separate thing
where a candidate is legally bound to participate in the run-off once they
have agreed to participate in the first round.

He went on to say; "The strict legal position is that candidature for the
run-off or the second election is not a voluntary exercise, you give your
consent when you contest the first election." He said this is an
"irreversible process" that is why there were no nomination papers this
second time round and there is no provision for a withdrawal. The NCA
chairman said this is the kind of "charade" which the law in Zimbabwe allows
and which does not address the issue of the violence.

Madhuku believes ZANU PF has two options. To either declare Robert Mugabe
elected because he is unapposed, or to just go ahead with the electoral
process, even though the Morgan Tsvangirai is no longer participating.

When announcing his withdrawal, Tsvangirai urged the United Nations, African
Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) to intervene to stop
"genocide" in Zimbabwe.

There is concern that the MDC is in a no win situation, especially as the
country is now being run by people immune to the law. History has shown that
the regime has used violent methods in the past to force opponents out of
the election race or to negotiate. The leader of ZANU Ndonga, the late
Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, faced a similar problem in 1996 and then Mugabe
pushed on with the election, making himself the sole candidate. Prior to
that in 1987 Joshua Nkomo, the leader of ZAPU, was forced to negotiate and
sign a unity accord to end a violent clampdown on the Ndebele people that
saw the deaths of over 20 000 in the mid 80s.

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Tsvangirai's withdrawal irrelevant - delay has nullified run-off

23 June 2008

Tsvangirai's withdrawal irrelevant - delay has nullified run-off

Two independent legal opinions commissioned by the Southern Africa
Litigation Centre (SALC) support a conclusion that delay and the absence of
a lawful run-off means the candidate who obtained the greatest number of
votes in the election of 29 March 2008 has been duly elected as President
and must be declared as such.

Read together, the opinions provided by David Unterhalter SC and Wim
Trengove SC and Max du Plessis on different aspects of Zimbabwean electoral
law argue that Zimbabwe's Electoral Act provides both a majoritarian
principle and a residual principle for determining the outcome of a
Presidential election.
The majoritarian principle is predicated upon the requirement that a second
election takes place within the 21 day period after the first election,
which would have been April 2008. Only two candidates participate in this
second election - those with the highest and next highest number of votes
from the first round - and the candidate with the greater number of votes
shall be declared the duly elected President, as set out in item 3 (1)(a) of
the Second Schedule of the Electoral Act.

However item 3 of the Second Schedule also provides for a residual
principle: where no second election is held or can be held with the
requisite 21 day period, and there were two or more candidates for
President, and no candidate received a majority of the total number of valid
votes cast, item 3(1)(b) provides that the candidate with the greatest
number of votes, and not the majority of the total number of votes, shall be
the duly elected President.

This argument is set out in greater detail in an opinion titled: The
Procedures Governing the Determination and Declaration of the President in
the Event of an Unlawful Runoff. SALC has made the opinion publicly

A second opinion commissioned by SALC addresses the issue of whether the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is authorised to extend the runoff
period beyond the statutorily mandated 21 day period and consequently
whether the current runoff, scheduled for 27 June 2008, is lawful.
It is argued that ZEC was not constitutionally authorised to extend the
run-off: that the regulatory powers it invoked in order to extend the
run-off constitute an impermissible and unconstitutional delegation on the
part of Parliament, that it violates the separation of powers principle and
that insufficient guidelines were given to limit such delegation.

It follows that no lawful run-off can take place if not held within the 21
day period: that ZEC's purported extension was unconstitutional and
unlawful. This opinion is also available from SALC at

If there can be no lawful run-off now, then as set out in the first opinion,
the residual principle applies and the Chief Elections Officer is required
to declare the candidate with the greatest number of votes the duly elected
President. Even assuming that the run-off could be extended beyond the 21
day period, but that the run-off could not occur because violence and
intimidation made it impossible that a free and fair election could be held,
then the residual principle would still apply and the candidate with the
greatest number of votes must be declared duly elected President.

SALC Director, Nicole Fritz said: "These opinions assume critical importance
in light of recent developments. They provide clarity in what seems an
increasingly uncertain situation. And the give the lie to any claim by
Mugabe that he is the lawfully elected President."

Issued by: FDBeachhead Media & Investor Relations

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Mugabe's Victims: 'They Were Beating Us Everywhere'


Opposition Leader Withdraws as Pre-Vote Violence Escalates

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has sought refuge in the Dutch Embassy in the capital Harare, after announcing Sunday he is withdrawing from the country's presidential election runoff because of what he has called President Robert Mugabe's "campaign of violence," against voters.

Police lead detained supporters of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change onto a bus... Expand
(AP Photo)

The Dutch Foreign Ministry confirmed today Tsvangirai's whereabouts.

Tsvangirai charged that government-sponsored youth militias and bands of self-proclaimed "war veterans" have stepped up attacks on opposition supporters in an attempt to persuade them to "vote correctly" in the elections, scheduled for Friday.

It's estimated that at least 86 people have been killed and 200,000 displaced since the country's first elections in March when Tsvagirai's Movement for Democratic Change party narrowly defeated Mugabe, triggering the runoff. In the weeks since, the violence has continued to grow bloodier, with Mugabe declaring that the bullet is mightier than the pen and that he will declare war before handing over power.

Tsvangirai's decision to step down is receiving a mixed reaction in Zimbabwe. Most civil society groups have called it smart, saying it will spare lives and put pressure on the international community to intervene and stop the current bloodshed. But thousands of Zimbabweans who have already experienced the violence are wondering what recourse they have if they no longer have anyone to vote for.

The following is one family's story as told to a researcher from Harvard Law School who's conducting interviews with victims of Zimbabwe's violence. For his safety, we have changed all names in this account.

Until recently, the perpetrators of violence have operated primarily in rural areas. However, in June, violence entered the cities. Two low-income suburbs of Harare, Epworth and Mbare, have been particularly hard hit. Suspected MDC supporters living in those areas have been threatened, beaten and violently driven from their homes. Many have been killed.

Two weeks ago, I was collecting information on the outbreak of violence in Harare when Malvin, a 37-year-old father of three from Epworth, entered the office where I was working. He was accompanied by his brother-in-law Fanuel. The previous night the two men had seen their homes burned and Malvin's wife, children and sister abducted. Malvin explained what happened:

"I was asleep in my house at midnight. About 10 men in a white twin-cab pickup truck came to the house. They had metal rods, catapults and hammers. They banged on the door of my house. I was able to break a window in the back and jump out. Fanuel also managed to escape."

The two men ran and hid in bushes behind the house. Malvin did not recognize the attackers, whom he perceived to be members of a youth militia loyal to Zanu-PF, Zimbabwe's ruling party. He was sure that they had been shipped in from another district. "In Epworth, the Zanu-PF people don't have vehicles," he said.

The attackers moved next door where Malvin's wife and sister, a widow, were sleeping with their children. The men watched as the youths dragged the women and children from their home and placed them in the back of the pickup truck. The women were pinned to the bed of the truck and beaten as their children clung to them.

Soon the attackers were joined by a large group of youths singing "Hondo-Hondo" ("War-War") and other Zanu-PF regime songs. As the truck drove off with the women and children, the mob, now numbering more than 100, began to loot and burn the houses.

"They used petrol bombs and hammers to destroy the homes," Malvin explained. "They spent four hours trying to destroy everything. They made sure that it was all burned to ashes. Now we only have the clothes we are wearing."

After the attackers left, Malvin and Fanuel reported the incident to the police. They were told, "We cannot give you help because this is a political issue. If we arrest a Zanu-PF person, we will lose our jobs. Go get your friends and revenge yourself if you can manage to do it."

Malvin believes that he was targeted because he is a local officer of the National Constitutional Assembly, a civil society organization that has been pushing for democratic reform since 1997. NCA activists are assumed to support the opposition and have frequently been the targets of attacks by security forces and government-sponsored militias.

As Malvin headed back to Epworth to look for his family, I asked him if he was still going to vote in the upcoming election. Although tears had been in his eyes during the entire hour that I spoke with him, he grinned and said, "Yes, for sure."

Two days later, I met up with Malvin. He had found his missing family members. His children were now staying with a relative in a town 15 miles outside Harare. His wife and sister were in a local hospital, recovering from 20 hours of brutal captivity at the hands of the Zanu-PF supporters. I went with Malvin to visit the women.

The hospital was clean by Zimbabwean standards, and appeared to be well staffed. Even so, as I entered the room, I noticed that both women's sheets were stained with blood.

The hand of Malvin's wife, Sekai, was bandaged, with a splint on the middle finger. She was wearing a beanie that almost covered a cut above her right eye. Malvin's sister, Moleen, had a visibly bruised and swollen face.

Moleen described their abduction: "They pushed our heads against the bed of the truck with their hands. They put their feet on our backs and stepped on us. They pushed our kids to our sides and held them there. They beat us with an iron bar in the back of the truck. This continued until we reached their base."

The "base" that Moleen described was the home of the Zanu-PF district chairman, a man they both knew. His home was serving as a hub for the attacks that were going on throughout Epworth. They recognized many local Zanu-PF supporters at the home. "Some were our neighbors," Moleen said. The women provided me with the names of the attackers they knew, including a few local Zanu-PF officials.

Moleen, Sekai and their children were placed in a thatched room with other women who had been rounded up by the militias. They were beaten continually through the night and the following day.

Moleen explained that the violence was unrelenting. "They told us to lay facedown. They started beating us with irons and with their feet. They were beating us everywhere: face, back, legs, buttocks. They would beat us until they started to sweat and then they would go outside and call another to take over beating us. They took cold water and poured it on us. Then they started beating us again. They never stopped the whole night or the next day."

The children sat against the walls of the room while their mothers were beaten. They were spared from the attacks except when they grew afraid and clung to their mothers. In those instances both mother and child would be struck until the child withdrew.

While the women were assaulted, their attackers threatened further violence and death. "MDC will never rule this country; we want war," they yelled. "You supported MDC, so we want to beat you until you die."

The women claim that during the night the police visited the house where they were being held, saw their condition, and departed silently.

At 5 p.m. the following day, the women and children were released without explanation. Not knowing where to go, they walked to the home of the NCA chairperson for the area, who took them in and alerted Malvin to their whereabouts.

Both women told me that they were suffering injuries to bones and internal organs. Moleen had lost vision in her left eye and could not hear out of her left ear. They allowed me to photograph their scratched and swollen faces and pulled back the sheets of their beds to show me deep bruises and cuts across their hips and buttocks.

As I left the hospital I asked a nurse about the possibility of seeing other patients in the hospital. She blocked my access, saying that I had to consult with the head doctor in the city center first. But when I asked if there were many other victims of political violence in the facility, she leaned close and whispered, "The place is full of them."

In the past week, I have been in touch with Malvin almost daily, trying to keep tabs on his family's condition.

A few days after I spoke with her, Sekai was transferred to a new hospital. Malvin told me that state intelligence agents had been looking for her and she was no longer safe at her previous location. She remains in this hospital, which Malvin says is safe, despite the continued efforts of Zanu-PF supporters to find her.

Malvin's children remained with his cousin for a few days despite the cousin's protests that he had no way of providing for them. The children had only the clothes they were wearing the night of the attack and no blankets to warm them as they slept on the floor at night. Four days ago, the cousin notified Malvin that pro-Zanu-PF militias were mobilizing in his neighborhood and sent the children to Harare.

Malvin and his three children now live with more than 2,000 other displaced individuals in Harvest House, the MDC headquarters in downtown Harare. Like most of the opposition supporters seeking refuge in this office building, they remain indoors, fearing that ruling party thugs might be waiting for them on the streets. They are provided with one meal each day and no assurance that their stay will not be interrupted by a police raid or arrests.

Malvin has been warned that it is not safe to return to Epworth, where the militias are still hunting for him. Moreover, he has nothing to return to, with neighbors informing him that his land is now being used as a second base for militia operations in the area.

Today, Malvin has no savings and no income. Everything he possessed, including a few wads of Zimbabwe's worthless paper currency, was looted or burned by his attackers. His livelihood as a firewood vendor was destroyed as well, when his stock went up in flames with his house.

Malvin, like thousands of other Zimbabweans, is now wondering how to piece his life together in an environment of social turmoil and political uncertainty. Speaking to me in front of his wife and sister at the hospital, Malvin said, "Even if they are discharged, we have nowhere to go. Especially my sister. She has no husband. I am still standing, but what kind of husband am I? I cannot even provide food and clothing for my family. We have nothing."

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Inside Zimbabwe's Poll of Terror

Sunday Independent, SA

By Peta Thornycroft

I have been trying to write this story about reporting on Zimbabwe since
June 9.
This is what I wrote when I started:
"I am sitting up working this late because I can't cope ordinarily, in
working hours, with doing what has to be done to report this story.
"There are 18 days left until the presidential run-off. Can we hang on 18
"I certainly can't do my job properly. More or less, I can't move around. As
a white reporter, certainly, I can't get into communal areas in the north
east, where most of the hideous violence is taking place.
"I have a couple of contacts who would normally take me there but they have
sent a message that it would be better for them if I didn't go.
"Last October I was in the north east, around Mutoko towards the Mozambique
border and back across the tracks which pass for roads, to Mashonaland
Central. I had a good cover, as I am always unaccredited as a journalist,
and I wanted to see how people lived in Zanu-PF strongholds.
"Would they live better there than in other parts of the country where
people support the MDC?
"I visited several villages, met local people, saw their houses and crops,
and how they lived. I was surprised. Their lives were as pitiful as those in
the rest of the country. These are communal lands, there never were any
white farmers in this part of the country, and it was liberated by Robert
Mugabe's forces long before the ceasefire in 1979.
"They seemed to have nothing to show for 28 years of independence. Pathetic
schools, no drugs in the clinics, and people were very thin with parched
"The roads were almost impassable off the main and crumbling highway to the
That's where the report I began to write stopped, probably because something
ghastly had happened which had to be covered as hard news.
It's now June 20, the end of another horrible day.
The area I visited last October has been decimated. Villages have been
burned, people have been murdered, abducted, "disappeared", had their
buttocks chopped off in frenzied beatings, had their feet "falangad" -
beaten on the soles of their feet until the bones and muscle disintegrate
into putty. I have interviewed many of them in hospitals.
Mutoko has taken so much heat. Traditionally Zanu-PF for decades, many of
its people voted for their Zanu-PF MP on March 29 but didn't vote for Mugabe
in the simultaneous presidential poll, and how they have paid for that.
They know the names of their attackers, from their villages, and the names
of the politicians they have seen involved in the violence. They know the
names of the members of the army who have hurt them and can point out bases
where Zanu-PF has created torture camps.
So we are struggling to get out there to report the terror which has now
moved down to Masvingo province, parts of Manicaland, quieter now in
Mashonaland Central, heating up in Matabeleland North.
There are so few of us on the ground and we have been stuck in Harare coping
with the daily diet of violence, arrests, statistics, ahead of this abortion
of an election on Friday.
Journalists who were in Zimbabwe for the March 29 poll will notice a
difference if they do return now.
No press conferences, no media briefings, no diplomats around to talk to in
the open, and the capital is plastered with Mugabe posters, hardly any of
No MDC rallies, no music, nor people wearing MDC T-shirts anywhere.
The only political activity is from Mugabe. He has rallies every day,
attended by many people under duress along, of course, with some genuine
life-long Zanu-PF supporters.
Most of the MDC activists we used to speak to are in hiding, in Botswana,
South Africa or in police cells.
There isn't any buzz except text messages reporting yet another atrocity.
Information which has to be checked. The mobile networks are only slightly
improved since the previous election so communication is still appalling and
inhibits reportage.
There are groups of Zanu-PF hirelings stomping around town and in the
They look ferocious and some are but some of them are also MDC supporters,
getting a free T-shirt for the cold winter and being paid to march around
and frighten the good citizens of Harare.
That's easy money when piece jobs are hard to find and inflation is at 1.5
Hopefully our "running-dog, Western, imperialist, capitalist" colleagues
from the foreign media will be here soon or be positioned close by, working
the story from wherever they can.
If President Thabo Mbeki's reported efforts to persuade Mugabe to call off
the election and instead form a government of national unity with the MDC
fails, and the election does take place on Friday, it will surely compete
for being the most unfair, most unfree plesbiscite ever held.
Neither Robert Mugabe nor Zanu-PF could care less if the African Union and
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) say so. Their behaviour in
the run-up to the run-off, when they stopped trying to disguise the
depravity of what they are doing, graphically shows they don't mind what
anyone thinks, let alone Tanzania which complained on Thursday.
The top Zanu-PF dogs, Mugabe, rural housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who
is hoping to be the successor, and the generals in the Joint Operations
Command, couldn't care less what anyone thinks of this election. Mugabe will
win no matter what. He wants to be sworn in by next Monday and he couldn't
care less if regional or continental presidents stay away - or who
recognises his presidency. He won't mind that there is no food. He will
probably un-ban the emergency food agencies after he is sworn in and they
will save the people as they have done for the last eight years.
And so it will go on.
Mugabe justifies the violent campaign, (he doesn't acknowledge any violence
is committed by Zanu-PF) as defence of sovereignty against the Rhodesians
who will return to power if Morgan Tsvangirai wins.
At rallies Mugabe regularly paints a picture of thousands of former
Rhodesians hanging over the barbed wire fence along Limpopo border panting
to come "home".
We reporters don't know whether we will be covering a presidential election
on Friday or if it will have been cancelled, or if Tsvangirai will call for
a boycott or if, even if he does, whether Mugabe will whip the people into
line to vote for him anyway.
We have no idea how many more bodies will be found, people abducted, schools
closed, supermarkets raided, houses burned, limbs cut off, in the meanwhile.
What we do know is, for whatever reason, Mbeki and his colleagues in the
presidency who have been trying to mediate inter-party negotiations on
behalf of SADC have never, ever understood Mugabe and his clique.
Did they begin to understand last week when Mbeki came here to try to get
Tsvagirai's deputy Tendai Biti freed from jail? As I write, on Friday, Biti
has just been denied bail by attorney-general Bharat Patel, the same Zanu-PF
zealot who prosecuted Morgan Tsvangirai on laughable treason charges from
2002 onwards.
We believe that when Mbeki was here to meet Mugabe and Tsvangirai on
Wednesday he tried quite hard to get Biti released, on bail of course, and
within the mangled Zimbabwe law, because he is a negotiator for the most
popular political party in Zimbabwe. Well, Mugabe didn't and doesn't care a
Mbeki's plea or threat or whatever he put to Mugabe, was immaterial.
Regretfully Mbeki and co never believed Zimbabweans when we told them what
Mugabe and co were really about. They seemed to believe Mugabe's crap about
protecting Zimbabwe from Western imperialism.
If they have now begun to see the light, however dimly, it is probably too
late. - Independent Foreign Service

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Brown pledges to help reconstruct Zimbabwe if democracy is restored

Zimbabwe election posters of Robert Mugabe covered in opposition slogans

Zimbabwe election posters of Robert Mugabe covered in opposition slogans. Photograph: EPA

Gordon Brown said today that his thoughts were with the people of Zimbabwe facing an "unprecedented level of violence and intimidation" as he pledged to help with the reconstruction of the country once democracy had been restored.

In a Commons statement, the prime minister urged the African Union to withhold its recognition of Robert Mugabe's government, insisting the current regime "should not be recognised by anyone".

"The African Union commission has called for violence to end. The current government – with no parliamentary majority, having lost the first round of the presidential elections and holding power only because of violence and intimidation – is a regime that should not be recognised by anyone," Brown said.

Insisting that the status quo could not continue, the prime minister told MPs: "In recent weeks under Robert Mugabe's increasingly desperate and criminal regime, Zimbabwe has seen at least 84 killings, 2,700 beatings, the displacement of 34,000 people and the arrest and detention of opposition leaders including Tendai Biti and Morgan Tsvangirai."

Brown said that he had been speaking to African leaders today about the deteriorating political and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, and that the EU council was still seeking to impose travel and financial sanctions on those in the inner circle of Mugabe's regime.

He called on the international community to send a powerful and united message: "That it would not recognise the fraudulent election rigging and the violence and intimidation of a criminal and discredited cabal."

The prime minister said that Britain was ready to offer help with the reconstruction of Zimbabwe once democracy there had been restored.

The Tory leader, David Cameron, welcomed Brown's comments on Zimbabwe and urged him to ensure that the introduction of sanctions "really happens this time".

He also called for a UN commission of enquiry into abuses of human rights.

"Will you set out a detailed rescue package for the post-Mugabe era, to make it absolutely clear that when Mugabe goes we will do all we can to breathe new life into that country and into those people who have suffered so much."

He said that the government ought to also make clear that it was prepared to withdraw international recognition from the Mugabe regime.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, said he hoped the international community would look at "all options available" to put an end to Mugabe's regime.

This should include the option of restricting the electricity supply from South Africa and Mozambique, he said.

But the prime minister could be doing more from Britain, such as allowing Zimbabwe's asylum seekers to live and work temporarily in the UK, he added.

Brown said each asylum case was dealt with on an individual basis.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the Tory former foreign secretary, who has lived and worked in Zimbabwe, said Mugabe's government should be threatened with suspension from the African Union and the South African Development Community if it did not embark immediately on the necessary reforms.

Brown replied: "You are absolutely right that African leaders must be vocal in their condemnation of what is happening …

"I agree that none of the African states should recognise the legitimacy of the Mugabe regime and should certainly not recognise any elections, if they were to go ahead, that took place at the end of the week."

Later, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, told MPs that this was a "crucial moment" for the people of Zimbabwe.

William Hague, his Tory shadow, described Mugabe's government as a "despotic regime that cares for no one, not even the welfare of it's own people".

He said there should be "no place for the man at any summit table" and he called on the South African Development Community to withhold its recognition of the Mugabe regime.

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Mugabe more isolated

Christian Science Monitor

The opposition's pullout from Friday's vote raises pressure on Zimbabwe's
By Scott Baldauf | Staff writer of the Christian Science Monitor
and a correspondent
from the June 24, 2008 edition

Johannesburg, South Africa; and Harare, Zimbabwe - Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's decision Sunday to pull out of Friday's runoff election is
increasing international pressure on President Robert Mugabe to stop the
violence and allow a peaceful transfer of power in Zimbabwe.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, chair of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), said Sunday that it is "scandalous for the SADC to remain
silent on Zimbabwe."

Now all eyes are trained on South African President Thabo Mbeki, who the
SADC has charged with mediating a peaceful solution to the Zimbabwe crisis,
including a possible unity government. "I would hope that the leadership [of
both parties] would still be open to a process which would result in them
coming to some agreement," he said.

Sunday's turn of events may succeed in saving lives - at a time when more
than 80 opposition activists have been killed and thousands displaced by
pro-government militias - but in diplomatic circles it has had the effect of
an ultimatum.

Britain's Africa Minister Mark Malloch Brown said Monday that the United
Nations Security Council, the European Union (EU), and the African Union
(AU) should consider wider sanctions.

And, as news broke that Mr. Tsvangirai is holing up in the Dutch Embassy in
Harare for safety concerns, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said
Monday that Mugabe's government cannot be considered legitimate without a
fair runoff.

Neighboring countries, frustrated with stalled talks under Mr. Mbeki's
tenure may push for fresh efforts, or even for new leadership, in the talks
for a power-sharing agreement, observers say. No new details on the makeup
of a possible unity government have emerged, however.

"There has been a shift in sentiment on the continent, and not all of it is
reported as fully as it should be," says Steven Friedman, a senior analyst
at the Institute for Democracy in Southern Africa in Tshwane, as Pretoria,
South Africa, is now called. Not holding the runoff election "deprives
Mugabe of his legitimacy," Mr. Friedman says, since the previous election of
March 29 had him trailing Tsvangirai 47 percent to 43 percent.

While Mugabe is famously impervious to criticism, especially from the West,
"effective isolation of the clique that runs Zimbabwe at the moment could
create a situation where the mid-level and upper-level members of [Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF party] reassess their options," says Friedman.

Until recently, African leaders have been reluctant to criticize Mugabe.

Mbeki's government - which currently chairs the UN Security Council - has
twice blocked efforts to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis in Security Council

But all that may be changing, as it becomes clear that Zimbabwe's politics
affects all its neighboring countries, sending millions of Zimbabwean
refugees into places where they are often not wanted.

"[Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change] took the right decision,"
says Chris Maroleng, an expert on Zimbabwe at the Institute for Strategic
Studies in Tshwane. "This stole the initiative from ZANU-PF."

Having won the first round of the election in March 29, Mr. Maroleng says,
the MDC has enough clout to start talks toward a power-sharing agreement
with ZANU-PF, and by pulling out of the second round, it has also shown that
ZANU-PF's reign of terror undermines its legitimacy.

But in Harare, Tsvangirai's pullout is more controversial. "It is the most
unwise decision that they have ever made," says former minister of
information in Mugabe's administration, Jonathan Moyo. "How can they
withdraw five days before the election and yet people were being beaten and
killed all along?"

Mr. Moyo says it was unfortunate that Tsvangirai had made such a decision
when all along he had been saying "no amount of violence or intimidation
would stop the opposition from romping to victory."

Other political analysts view MDC's withdrawal from the race as a tactic to
force Mugabe to stop his militias from committing acts of violence. They say
Tsvangirai could still change his mind and reenter the election on
Wednesday, when the party meets to review the situation.

Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) chairman George Chiweshe said he was not
aware that the MDC had withdrawn from the election. "None of the two
candidates has withdrawn from this election as far as we know. If the MDC is
serious about withdrawing, it should follow the normal procedure of writing
a withdrawal letter to the chief elections officer, which it has not done,"
Mr. Chiweshe told observers and journalists Monday.

The briefing was attended by observers for the SADC, AU, and the Pan-African

Chiweshe, who said there was "no war" in the country, added that he was
confident that the elections would be credible as well as free and fair
despite the violence, which the MDC says has claimed 86 lives of its

"This is not a war. We don't have a war in the country. What we have are
political candidates targeting each other at various times. As far as I am
concerned, we will be able to have a credible election. I believe we will
have a free and fair election but the problems of course are there," said
Chiweshe, who was quick to add that "every election anywhere in the world
has its own share of problems."

ZANU-PF's election spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa told state media that MDC
has withdrawn from the runoff because it was afraid of being defeated.

. A reporter in Harare could not be named for security reasons.

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Thabo Mbeki to make final plea to Robert Mugabe, as condemnation grows

Times Online
June 23, 2008

Jan Raath, in Harare, and James Bone, in New York
President Mbeki of South Africa is expected to travel to Harare tomorrow to
make one final attempt to push Robert Mugabe into negotiating a settlement
with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, The Times has learned.

Mr Mbeki's decision to travel to Zimbabwe for the second time in a week came
after a day of frantic diplomatic activity in which governments worldwide
condemned Mr Mugabe for a campaign of violence which forced Morgan
Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, to withdraw from this Friday's election

Britain appeared to be taking the hardest line with diplomats revealed to be
circulating a draft UN resolution which declared that - in the absence of a
second round of voting - the result of the first round should be made
binding. Mr Tsvangirai defeated Mr Mugabe in that contest, held in late
March, although by an insufficient margin to win without a second ballot.

Mr Mbeki's impending visit comes after the Zimbabwean President rejected a
similar call for national unity last week and reflects the growing pressure
by the West on southern African leaders to take a stand against Mr Mugabe,

The opposition says Mr Mugabe and his armed militia are responsible for the
deaths of more than 80 activists during the election campaign, which Mr
Tsvangirai said left him with no choice but to withdraw. The opposition
leader was tonight under the protection of the Dutch embassy in Harare, as
threats to his safety increased.
As the fallout to yesterday's withdrawal announcement intensified, British
diplomats circulated a draft Security Council statement declaring the
government's "campaign of violence" had made a "free and fair" run-off in
the presidential election impossible. The Security Council is due to meet

"Until there is a clearly free and fair second round of the presidential
election, the only legitimate basis for a government of Zimbabwe is the
outcome of the 29 March 2008 election," the draft statement said.

"The Security Council calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to allow African
Union and United Nations envoys to find a peaceful way forward that allows a
legitimate government to be formed that reflects the will of the people."

The British proposal faces serious opposition from South Africa and
potentially other countries on the 15-nation council, such as Russia and
China, that oppose UN intervention in member states.

South Africa moved quickly to signal its opposition to key parts of the
British proposal, suggesting the draft favoured Zimbabwe's opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

Dumisani Kumalo, South Africa's UN ambassador, said his country would back a
Security Council statement as long as it "edges the process forward".

"It should take into account that we are in a very sensitive stage," he
said. "There are talks that are happening between the parties through the
mediator in Harare, through South Africa. The parties are talking."

The United States backed the British initiative. Zalmay Khalilzad, the US
ambassador, said Washington was seeking a "strong statement that calls to
account and assigns responsibility".

"It's clear that the country is in crisis, a political crisis, a crisis of
legitimacy. Without a run-off election that's fair, that people can have
confidence in, the government cannot be legitimate," he said.

Security Council ambassadors were due to discuss the growing crisis at their
monthly meeting with Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, as experts from
each mission met separately to try to agree the text of the proposed
statement. The meeting was due to start tonight and Mr Ban was expected to
make a statement later.

Gordon Brown led international condemnation of Mr Mugabe's regime today,
calling on the international community to refuse to recognise the run-off
result if the Zimbabwean president decides to go ahead with a vote without
an opposition.

In a House of Commons statement he said Britain would now be pressing for
fresh sanctions against Mr Mugabe's inner circle - including travel bans and
the freezing of financial assets held abroad.
"The regime has made it impossible to hold free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe. State-sponsored terror and intimidation has put the opposition in
an untenable position," Mr Brown told MPs.

The Prime Minister said that no nation should be prepared to recognise Mr
Mugabe's regime as the legitimate government of Zimbabwe.

"The international community must send a powerful and united message that we
will not recognise the fraudulent election-rigging and the violence and
intimidation of a criminal and discredited cabal," he said.

Later, in a separate statement to MPs, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said
the campaign of violence by supporters of Mr Mugabe had set the stage for
the "most rigged election in African history".

Hours after his withdrawal decision, meanwhile, it was confirmed Mr
Tsvangirai had taken refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare.

"He is temporarily at the embassy of the Netherlands in Harare," said Bart
Rijs, a Dutch foreign ministry spokesman. "A request was made yesterday by
his party, the MDC, and Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen decided that
if he sought safety it would be granted."

The campaign of violence and intimidation against the MDC today appeared to
be continuing unabated, as police raided the party's Harare HQ and took away
about 60 people. Most were said to be women and children sheltering from the
state-sponsored violence around the election.

Meanwhile Patrick Chinamasa, the Zimbabwean justice minister, claimed that
Friday's presidential voting would go ahead, as MDC leader Mr Tsvangirai was
"too late" in deciding to withdraw.


Negotiations may be going on in Harare but these must not be used by the
South African Government as an excuse to refuse to condemn the state
sponsored violence that is continuing in Zimbabwe. Does SA really think that
this is the way an election should be run. If so there is no hope left for

Jeff Fenwick, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Odd, the only Zims responding are not in Zimbabwe!. Maybe they are too busy
trying to find a few trillion to buy some Mealie Meal. Having been to the
land, Zim people are great, but zanu-pf is the devil run amok. The
international community will do nothing, you are as doom as the Czechs in

Carl, Lexington, USA

I am anti-imperialist. Mugabe is (this is hard to say) Ian Smith
resurrected. What a travesty. What sacrifices to put this Oligarch in
power-for what?
Joe Morrissey, California, usa

Joe Morrissey, Sacramento, USA

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Tsvangirai's campaign that wasn't


    June 23 2008 at 07:50PM

by Fanuel Jongwe

Harare - She shouted to Morgan Tsvangirai as his convoy drove past,
but the opposition leader could never stop for long - the authorities
prevented him from doing so.

"Please, don't let us down," the woman yelled as she ran alongside
other residents in the poor township of Mufakose. "We are suffering."

Before Tsvangirai announced on Sunday he was pulling out of the
presidential run-off and later took refuge in the Dutch embassy, he faced
severe restrictions on his campaign and was detained five times by police.

He was forced to engage in a kind of speed-rally, where he would exit
his car for two or three minutes and shake a few hands, then take off again
to avoid breaking laws on holding public meetings without police

On a recent day in Mufakose, ecstatic youths yelled and whistled as
the opposition leader stopped at a shopping centre, calling him "president"
and "dhara redu" - Shona for "our big man."

Tsvangirai quickly shook hands with supporters and jumped back into
his car, part of a convoy that included two cars and an 80-seater bus with
his picture and the inscription "Morgan is the One."

Police seized the bus at one point, too.

Besides those obstacles, Tsvangirai was vilified in the state media
and labeled a stooge of former colonial power Britain. Police banned a
series of rallies, and the party's number two is in jail on treason and
vote-rigging charges and faces the death penalty.

When announcing his withdrawal at his Harare home on Sunday,
Tsvangirai said, "the regime has crippled" his campaign.

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the March first round of the election but
officially failed to garner enough votes to be declared outright winner.

He had said he would participate in the run-off only under protest
since he claimed he crossed the 50 percent threshold in March.

But on Sunday he said he could no longer stay in the presidential
election because he could not ask supporters to cast ballots "when that vote
would cost them their lives."

After the announcement of the first round results, the opposition says
authorities unleashed a campaign of violence, initially in rural areas with
suspected ruling party militias attacking opposition supporters.

Tsvangirai says more than 80 members of his party have been killed and
200 000 people have been internally displaced.

Given the restrictions on rallies, he used other platforms such as
press conferences, a self-styled state-of-the-nation address at a hotel and
even graveside oratories at funerals of party activists to address his

His party distributed campaign advertisements by email.

When he took to the road to campaign, Tsvangirai and other senior
party officials were stopped at several roadblocks.

He faced obstacles right up until the end. On Sunday, before
Tsvangirai made his announcement to quit, hordes of ruling party youths
armed with sticks gathered at the venue of a rally planned by the MDC on the
outskirts of the capital. - Sapa-AFP

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Voices out of the violence

HARARE, 23 June 2008 (IRIN) - Yvonne Chipowera endured 16 hours of beatings,
rape and being urinated on, all because of her support for Zimbabwe's
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

She said about 30 militiamen loyal to President Robert Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF party broke into her house on 9 June in Epworth, a sprawling
township on the edge of the capital, Harare. They began marching the
24-year-old MDC activist to a house allegedly owned by a local ZANU-PF
leader, beating her all the way.

"Three men pushed me around as we were walking. They took me off the road
and blindfolded me. One man held my arms, another pinned down my legs and a
third raped me," she told IRIN.

When they had finished, they continued walking to the house, which is used
as a base by ZANU-PF militia, according to local residents. Chipowera was
forced into a room with a clutch of other prisoners; still more were
imprisoned in a hole in the ground in the garden, she said.

Since the MDC won the 29 March parliamentary election, and party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round presidential poll,
Epworth - and other urban suburbs - have become no-go zones for the
opposition, mirroring the terror documented by human rights groups in the

According to the MDC, ZANU-PF militia, armed with sling-shots and knives,
hunt those perceived to be opponents, forcing hundreds to flee their homes
to avoid capture. The unlucky are taken to one of the several "reorientation
centres" in the township.

"They threw cold water on me and men were urinating on my head. They made me
say Tsvangirai is an ***hole, a dog, all dirty names. I said it of course,
because they were beating me," Chipowera recounted.

"They raped me again, and then put me back in the room; they used a whip,
which cut me across the back, buttocks and legs. All night they punched,
kicked and slapped me."

Chipowera was released at 5.00 a.m. on 10 June. She was able to find her
young son, who had spent the night outside their home in the winter cold.

"I hope God will take them away and kill them all," she said, holding her
boy. "Now I might have HIV/AIDS those men were so dirty."

Orchestrated violence

She accuses ZANU-PF leaders in Epworth of orchestrating the violence. While
she was being tortured, she recognised a former government minister who was
in the house, but the militia group was led by a female local councillor,
she said.

The same local councillor was named by another Epworth woman IRIN
interviewed last week while she was recovered from her injuries. The
38-year-old MDC official, who asked not to be identified, was snatched on
the same day as Chipowera. She managed to get away with just a beating from
the militia the first time, who also looted her home.

Two months pregnant, she decided to get out of Epworth, fleeing with another
female MDC activist. But she was wearing a Tsvangirai t-shirt and was

"There were more than 50 of them. They took us to the graveyard on Aerodrome
Road [in Harare]. They put a black cloth over my eyes and they raped me.
Then they urinated all over my face and put their penis in my mouth. There
was semen over my face," she said.

"I was trying to fight them off but they were using a hot wire they put in
the fire to burn me. They raped the other woman too. She was raped by three
guys and bleeding. They were kicking us; they were saying, 'You want
Tsvangirai to be president. You want to sell our country to the whites'."

IRIN is unable to verify the accounts of the two women, but they are
consistent with the reports of extreme violence meted out by soldiers,
police and militants of the ruling party. There have also been accounts of
MDC violence against ZANU-PF supporters and so-called "war veterans", but on
a far lower scale.

According to the MDC, 86 of its supporters have been killed since the
general elections on 29 March. Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa told IRIN that
"state sponsored violence" had displaced over 200,000 people, with over
20,000 homes destroyed and more than 10,000 people injured.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Crackdown hits new intensity

HARARE, 23 June 2008 (IRIN) - Despite furious international criticism of
political conditions in Zimbabwe ahead of this week's presidential poll,
riot police on Monday picked up around 60 people - mostly women and
children - sheltering at the headquarters of the opposition party in the
capital, Harare.

"The women and children were victims of political violence, who had fled
their homes in rural areas and were at our head office seeking either legal
or medical attention," said Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Meanwhile Zimbabwean civil society has backed an MDC decision to pull out of
the presidential run-off on 27 June, saying it would save lives. According
to the MDC, more than 86 of its supporters have been killed by ruling party
militia since the first round elections in March.

While announcing his decision to withdraw from the poll, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai told a press briefing in Harare on Sunday that he was willing to
negotiate on a government of national unity, if it is seriously proposed.

Tsvangirai has since sought refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare, but has
not applied for asylum.

Levy Mwanawasa, Zambian president and the chair of the South African
Development Community (SADC) on Sunday also called for the postponement of
the presidential run-off on the grounds that conditions did not exist for a
free and fair ballot.

Tsvangirai's press briefing came hours after the MDC were prevented from
holding a public rally in Harare on Sunday by the police and militants of
the ruling ZANU-PF. The MDC's decision to pullout has been interpreted by
some analysts as an attempt to persuade SADC, the African Union or the
United Nations to intervene decisively in the crisis.


"I really hope that most leaders will agree with me that the situation in
Zimbabwe does not allow for free and fair elections, and if allowed to go
ahead, the outcome of such an election will be an embarrassment to the
region and the continent as a whole," Mwanawasa told a press briefing in the
Zambian capital, Lusaka, on Sunday.

The African Union (AU) Commission chair Jean Ping, has also reportedly
voiced his concern, and said he had started consultations with AU chairman
Jakaya Kikwete, the president of Tanzania, and with SADC to see what could
be done.

Reuters reported that Angola's foreign ministry said on Monday that SADC
foreign ministers were meeting in Luanda to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis and
might issue a statement later in the day.

Mwanawasa, explaining his decision to call for a poll postponement, said
over the past five days he had tried to contact all SADC leaders: "But
unfortunately I have only managed to speak to not more than four - there are
supposed to be 14. Now I had an option to decide whether to leave smatters
the way they are or exercise my discretion as chairman to do something which
I consider to be right. I have decided to exercise the second option."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday said he backed the SADC chair's
call for an election delay.

Tsvangirai said the beating of MDC supporters on Sunday, in the presence of
foreign election observers, had convinced the party of the futility of
participating in the poll.

Patrick Chinamasa, the minister of justice, told IRIN that the government
did not take Tsvangirai's threat seriously. "The law is very clear, if
Tsvangirai wants to pull out of the presidential race, he should put that in
writing and inform the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

"We are going ahead with our campaign where we will romp home to an emphatic
victory on Friday. Tsvangirai is now afraid of a humiliating defeat, he is
running scared."

Withdraw from parliament

Lovemore Madhuku, chair of the National Constitutional Assembly, an NGO
lobbying for a "people-driven" constitution, said the MDC's decision to pull
out "will save the lives of a lot of people but to complete the whole
process the MDC should also withdraw from parliament because if they attend
parliament they will be endorsing Mugabe's rule".

The MDC won the 29 March parliamentary poll, and Tsvangirai beat incumbent
Robert Mugabe in the presidential election, but fell short of 50 percent of
the vote plus one to secure an outright victory.

Macdonald Lewanika, spokesperson for the pro-democracy Crisis Coalition,
said SADC needed to help create the framework for fair elections.

"Whether Mugabe declares himself winner without an election or goes ahead
with the election without the MDC, he knows fully well that he is not
legitimate, so Zimbabwe's problems will not end," Lewanika said.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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African foreign ministers to discuss Zimbabwe

Gulf News

Published: June 23, 2008, 15:14

Luanda: Southern African foreign ministers will convene to discuss the
political crisis in Zimbabawe on Monday, a spokesman for Angola's foreign
ministry said.

"The withdrawal of the main candidate from Zimbabwe's election is new and
SADC (Southern African Development Community) will be discussing this,"
Angolan foreign ministry spokesman Abreu Breganha said.

Breganha said a statement could be issued at the end of a meeting of SADC
ministers in Luanda.

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