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Intervention in Zimbabwe is the only
The Times June 24, 2008
The idea that Mugabe will cave in to sanctions or diplomatic
pressure is absurd David Aaronovitch Maybe this time," sang Lord
Malloch-Brown on the Today programme yesterday. "Something's bound to begin.
It's got to happen, happen sometime. Maybe this time I'll win."
all right, I am - like postmodernist scholars - decoding the metatext. What
the Minister of State for Africa, Asia and the UN actually said was that the
mood around the world had so turned against Robert Mugabe and his various
cronies that their combined diplomatic effort would bring him down.
now, Lord Malloch-Brown allowed, there had only been a "fairly limited set
of measures" taken against the Zimbabwean President. This was changing. The
Australians were kicking out the kids of Zanu (PF) officials being educated
in Oz. The EU would be freezing bank accounts. The African Union and the
Southern African Development Community would not be recognising Mr Mugabe's
imminent second-round election theft thus delegitimising him, and the UN
would "force in" election observers to monitor that second-round (from which
Morgan Tsvangirai had already withdrawn) or - in a manner unspecified -
"force some change of government". These were "powerful steps - as long as
you accept that there are pressures short of military
Perhaps, I thought, his lordship simply knows something we
don't about back-channels and internal divisions in Mugabe's apparat.
Because, unless you regard the recent burnings, rapes, beatings, murders,
threats, arrests, starvings and raids as some kind of exotic preamble to
negotiation, then what seems clear is that the Zanu (PF) military-security
group has no intention of allowing any transfer of power to an elected
opposition, no matter what a whingeing world says about
Background a.. Zimbabwe's collapse is no longer if, but
when a.. 'Stop him' plea to world as Mugabe gets free run a.. Sound
and fury of Mugabe's tyranny linger a.. 'All Robert Mugabe's campaigning
goes on after dark' Or am I missing a clue, cleverly hidden in the present
repression? If so, it seems that Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for
Democratic Change missed it too when he took refuge in the Dutch Embassy in
Harare on Sunday night. Recalling Bosnia, one can only hope that the Dutch
keep their embassies safer than they did their UN safe havens.
obduracy on the part of the Zimbabwean junta is not so incomprehensible. The
regime represents that astonishing phenomenon, the ideo-kleptocracy, which
believes that its enrichment and corruption is a historically necessary
reversal of colonialism. "The people of Zimbabwe," one senior Zanu (PF)
minister said yesterday, "have declared war against any force that would
recolonise Zimbabwe"; and that would take away his money, power, foreign
assets, yachts and mistresses and - at best - slap him in chokey for the
rest of his days.
What might embolden him is the record. He might reflect
that, over nearly 30 years, he and his comrades have repeated the same
essential pattern of behaviour, each time taking Zimbabwe's people on
another downwards journey, and have got away with it over and over and over
again. For most of my adult life we have witnessed the incremental and
inevitable destruction of a nation, almost in slow motion. After initially
ignoring the repression and violence, we have for two decades applied the
same strategies of pressure, minor sanction, condemnation, talks, aid and
buck-passing, only to enjoy the same flickering hopes, to bemoan their
subsequent betrayal and to start anew.
Right from the beginning it
was all there, in Mugabe's 1980 revelation that he believed in a one-party
state. It was evident in his 1982-83 suppression of the Ndebele-based
opposition of Joshua Nkomo using the notorious 5th Brigade trained by North
Koreans; in the 20,000 resulting deaths and the use of starvation as a
political weapon; in the intimidation of the opposition by Zanu (PF) "youth
brigades" during the 1985 elections; in the 1987 absorption of Nkomo's Zapu
and Mugabe's extolling of "one single, monolithic and gigantic political
party". But we didn't take too much notice, because there were no whites
And then the farm grab started, ostensibly redistributing white
land to the poor, and in fact giving it to the ideo-kleptocrats, in whose
hands it became barren. It was all there, this time for the whites: the
roving groups of thugs, the murders and the round-ups. The same with the
stolen election of 2000. The same with the stolen election of 2002. The same
with the stolen election of 2004. Each time there were hopes that maybe the
ageing Mugabe would mellow, or that his party would bring down the curtain
and begin to compromise and each time it all got worse. We chucked him out
of the Commonwealth, he macheted a few more opponents, we refused to shake
his hand, he killed another opposition election worker.
We believed -
understandably - in the crucial role of South Africa. South Africa, led by
Thabo Mbeki, in turn believed in quiet diplomacy, in secret talks, in
dignified exits that might be delayed by incautious condemnations, in
governments of national unity between the raped Opposition and their rapers.
Several times President Mbeki, who dislikes Mugabe intensely, would manage
to get the Zimbabwean leader into talks about this or that aspect of an
imaginary future - land settlement, development, whatever - only to have
Mugabe renege the instant the two men were back in their own
And what do we imagine now? That Zambia's crossness, Angola's
criticism (only a few weeks after that country passed on Chinese weapons to
the armed forces of Zimbabwe) and Botswana's rather valiant anger will
persuade the Harare murderers that the game is up, especially now we are
investigating freezing their European assets? Again, one asks, do the
diplomats know something we don't, and that the historical record fails to
suggest? Is there some Zimbabwean Admiral Dönitz or Juan Carlos, waiting to
arrange the transition? Why aren't we just as likely to get Mugabe's
Heydrich, Emerson Mnangagwa, the Joint Operations Command
"Military intervention," said one BBC person yesterday,
expressing the views of the consensus, "is not a realistic option." It might
be better if it was. How many South African or British soldiers would it
take to unseat the junta and disperse the Zanu (PF) "veterans", who are now
veterans only of whipping and gouging defenceless people, or raping women
without the slightest chance of resistance?
Instead, the suffering
people of Zimbabwe (life expectancy, 37) get what the Foreign Secretary
called yesterday "the worst rigged election in African
Comment Mugabe will do whatever he has been doing for
years, ignoring the outside world. Mugabe's "World View" is a narrow self
created one along with his Zanuf-Pf cronies. They will bring Zimbabwe to the
same state of 'Beggar Thy Neighbour' as Hitler & the nazis did in
Germany. No Hope, Just Hell!
War crimes warning to Robert Mugabe as terror
The Times June 20, 2008
James Bone, Francis Elliott and Jonathan Clayton With just a
week to go before Zimbabwe's run-off elections - and with the body count
growing - President Mugabe has been warned that he could be hauled before
the International Criminal Court in The Hague over the atrocities inflicted
on his opponents.
A key Western diplomat, speaking yesterday on condition
of anonymity, said: "He needs to know he is moments away from an ICC
Twelve bodies of activists, most of them showing signs of
torture, were found across Zimbabwe yesterday.
In New York,
Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, convened a crisis meeting at
the United Nations. She said: "By its actions, the Mugabe regime has given
up any pretence that the June 27 elections will be allowed to proceed in a
free and fair manner. We have reached the point where stronger international
action is needed."
Also yesterday, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
opposition party Movement for Democratic Change, was denied a passport, and
his deputy, Tendai Biti, was charged with subversion and election rigging -
offences that carry the death penalty.
African leaders began to
desert Mr Mugabe. A day after President Mbeki of South Africa failed to make
any headway in face-to-face talks with President Mugabe, neighbouring states
delivered their strongest condemnation yet.
Bernard Membe, the Tanzanian
Foreign Minister, said: "There is every sign that these elections will never
be free nor fair." He said that he and the foreign ministers of Swaziland
and Angola - the peace and security troika from the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) - would write to their presidents to "do
something urgently" to save Zimbabwe.
A senior SADC diplomatic source
said: "The last allies he has in the world - SADC - are now saying they have
had enough and this disgrace cannot go on. His obduracy has united them
against him. They are trying to make him realise that a poll victory is no
South Africa, which has advocated "quiet diplomacy", snubbed Dr
Rice's efforts. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Foreign Minister, skipped the UN
meeting on Zimbabwe but attended a separate meeting with Dr Rice on sexual
violence. They met briefly. Dr Rice said that she and Ms Zuma wanted the
same thing for Zimbabwe.
Any attempt to bring Mr Mugabe before the
court in The Hague faces formidable obstacles. The ICC has charged 11
Africans - two from Sudan, four from Uganda, one from the Central African
Republic and four from the Democratic Republic of the Congo - but it does
not have jurisdiction over Zimbabwe. It would have to be referred to the
court by the 15-nation UN Security Council.
The Security Council is
so split that the US, holding the presidency this month, is having trouble
even holding a briefing on the violence. US diplomats may have to force a
procedural vote to get Zimbabwe on to the agenda because of resistance from
council members such as South Africa, Russia, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and
The US does not itself recognise the ICC, although it allowed the
council to refer the Darfur crisis to the court. An official told The Times
that the Bush Administration would be reluctant to accept another
"carve-out" to the ICC by referring Zimbabwe.
authorities are outraged by any suggestion that Mr Mugabe might face an
international court. Florence Ziyambi, the prosecutor, cited the threat of
international prosecution as one of the grounds for charging Mr Biti. "They
are alleging that the President is a criminal since they want to take him to
The Hague," she told the court.
Comments this dreadful man and his
equally criminal cohort will forever change the simplistic notions about
racism and dominance by whites over blacks. When he is gone, pray God SOON,
I await with interest how politics in Zimbabwe will proceed. This country
may well develop a new dialectic.
A Stewart, Wellington, New
Forget all of that, get the world banks to stop the flow of money
he and his family have siphoned off. He is like Hitler, mad, the family just
want to live the high life. Stop the money, stop them living in France,where
they all go, (i.e. the Haitian family living one of the best Country Hotels
Erin Ostadal, Sydney, Australia
Perhaps we can arraign both
Mugabe and Blair at the same time.
i think it a chame really why thousand have to die because of one
person.why not set up an african leader commity which would get together and
have the power or would vote to remove these sort of deluded dictators so
many lives being taken away but stiil we just look and
sanchez, dublin, ireland
heading your way to honourably assist your removal.
Warnings, the actions of neighbouring African States including
South Africa are all coming rather late in the day. International
intervention should have been employed and thus saved thousands of lives to
say nothing of the economy. As a member of the civilised world I turn my
head in shame.
Rodney Barker, Gainsborough, England UK
may sound cruel, but I believe that it is only the Zimbabweans who can
resolve their problem. A US invasion to have regime change will only work as
well as Iraq. ie more deaths and suffering than already is. A mediator (Not
d West) respected by the factions may bring about a compromise.
Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Wow, I'll bet Mugabe is really worried!
Nothing will happen to them because they're African and
the west has a habit of pandering to them
"The Western powers are as guilty as Mugabe." "We MUST do
something". Like what? The UN won't get involved. So it would have to be a
US-led miltary invasion & regime change. How popular is the West going
to be then? (and possibly a new front for Islamist insurgents from elsewhere
John B, London,
At the risk of being accussed of
being a cynic I have one observation to make. Had Zimbabwe been an oil
producing nation, this situation would never have been allowed to develop.
The almighty US (praise the lord) would have been in there by
Roger Salmon, Bexhill on Sea, UK
Given a warning?
What's he got to do to evoke action?
Felix, London, UK
Israel. Or rather, blame the shocking way the US has prevented the world
from dealing with that atrocity.
Perhaps one day we will unite to defend
the rule of law, but we've already lost 60 years.
Andy Dyer, London,
Pot calling kettle...
Can someone please explain in easy to
understand words what the damned difference between Mugabe's actions and
those of the illegal invaders into Iraq and Afghanistan?
also whilst their at it explain the difference between Mugabe's actions and
those of Israel?
Ian Watson, Gillingham, United Kingdom
this man have to do, where is the turning point where RM and his military
have gone so far that action is actully taken. We fabricated that Saddam had
weapons of mass destruction. Mugabe himself is a WMD! After Iraq, Afghan,
Z'bwe could be a long term engagment (V.Messy), hence the delay.
Hughes, Abergavenny, Wales
This will certainly not help the situation.
Zanu-PF leaders are already afraid of being tried for corruption
can a hollow threat from the ICC possibly improve the situation. The outside
world is powerless to influence things and is shows
Sadly for the people
-the Emperor has no clothes
Jason Pearson, Toronto, Canada
begin to imagine how the scenario in Zimbabwe is going to play out. There
have been so many twists to the saga. But whatever happens, it will set the
seal on how Africa's "Big Men" will be dealt with in future. A firm message
needs to be sent that their conduct will no longer be tolerated.
Caldwell-Barr, Kempton Park, South Africa
War crimes according to White
supremacist after all, it is a white world we all live in. It is the White
man that decides who to bless or curse. We must never forget that Mugabe
only became a bad man before the west in 2000.Prior to sacking of white
farmers, he was a key ally! We are not all fooled.
Ire Lanu, London,
Awful situation. Made worse by the fact that Africa's so-called
shining light Nelson Mandela is remaining steadfastly tight-lipped on the
whole Mugabe drama. His silence vindicates Mugabe's actions and soon South
Africa will be next...
Ross, Sydney, Australia
should be brought before the Hague and them hopefully after being found
guilty he will serve the remainder of his life behind bars, where he
How long is the West going to prevaricate ??
The other question this raises is who will manage the mayhem,
retribution and civil war that will inevitably follow a genuine free and
fair vote. If RM is removed forcibly that will only provide further
ammunition for his already frenzied supporters. Whatever happens, prepare to
mop up the blood.
AKULA, london, UK
The United Nations has failed
again - just like its predecessor, the League of Nations, did. Why does it
debate and table motions whilst people are being murdered?
guilty of war crimes and must be brought to justice.
Scott F, London,
One step from the Hague! It seems very clear that Mugabe has placed
both his feet firmly in the Hague already, and quite some time ago.
Condoleeza Rice is a person of very firm resolve. Given the agreement and
wherewithal she would be the person to carry out Mugabe's
Colin, Carmarthen, UK
This would seem to send a clear
message to Muagbe that nobody's going to lift a finger stop him (in case you
had any doubt)
Isn't it time for Seals and SAS to
go in and remove him forcibly ? I guess it's not that easy though
Daniel, margate, UK
A real farce! Indict Mugabe all you
like, and he will laugh in the face of the ICC and find another reason to
'have a go' at the west for trying to institute 'regime change'. It seem
that the West has forgotten how to act, but just knows how to make a lot of
Jerry, Banbury, UK
Where is David Owen nowadays. He
is the architect of this mess. Sitting comfortably in the House of Lords,
but nothing to say, not even prepared to blush?
Chris D, Edinburgh,
Mugabe should have been shipped off to the Hague on one of his
many, previous trips To Europe!
As for the UN, if it can't reach
agreements because members put national interests first before dealing with
whats right/ wrong in the world then its time they switched to majority
voting, no vetos.
RIAZ KHAN, Hertfordshire, UK
Mugabe will be
right not to take the threat too seriously.
So much for the African nations now saying
something... they should have done so years ago. Personally I really don't
know why western goverments keep giving money to these guys. Cut them off
they are ALL corrupt... be freindly ONLY with the ones with resources. The
rest have themselves to blame.
of nations fell due to their inability to deal with the atrocity and madness
of the kaiser.
The UN is fast becoming the same irrelevance. Atrocities
allowed in srbencia, kosovo, darfur, and now zimbabwe. and the UN does
nothing short of a slapped wrist. action (even military) now?
Unlike American citizens, after a fair election it is
likely the citizens of Zimbabwe would send their old war criminal, Mugabe,
off to The Hague.
Keith S, Winnipeg, Canada
Barring an election,
who is going to send Mugabe off for trail?
Not the USA: The USA doesn't
recognize the ICC and ICJ.
Not the UN: Permanent members of the UN
Security Council each insist on a veto, effectively preventing the UN doing
Maybe some neighbouring country?
"Moments away"? He surely passed the poit of no return a
long time ago.
Still the Western powers are doing nothing. They are as
guilty as he is.
The UN...That shoud have been a
democratic place...you say resistance is coming from Vietnam, Indonesia,
Lybia, Russia and China....the question is why are these people in the
UN...because UN stands for United nations...and they seem to be Un-united
from this institution!
E. Bee, Toulouse, France
John, take your
comfortable self out of Atlanta and go see for yourself. Why not go and
speak to the refugees which were beaten up in xenophobic attacks in SA who
would rather be in SA than home. The educated women who travel thousands of
mile to sell table clothes for food. Ignorance can be cured
At 65+yoa I've seen a few outrageous world political farces
but this one REALLY takes the cake. How 'The World' can stand by &
pay any lip-service to this 'Black Hitler' is quite beyond me. Can't that
world recognise that R M's regime is a MAD slavering pit-bull & MUST be
destroyed by ANY means.
R. Neville, Helston, Cornwall., UK
believe that Robert Mugabe professes the Christian faith. Why has he not
been excommunicated from whichever church it is he attends?
May, London, UK
The huge elephant in the room is, of course, why the
silence of Nelson Mandela? I see the President of Rwanda has finally broken
ranks with the rest of the African leaders and specifically condemed Mugabe,
but Mandela's silence has been positively deafening.
Who is going to drag Mugabe out? Not South Africa,
Russia, China, Viet Nam or Libya. Not the US. When the US does something,
the Europeans all condemn. Individual European countries? None has the will
or military power. The EU? Hah! The African nations? Double hah! Guess
Mugabe is safe.
Terry L. Walker, Ladson, SC / USA
Why single out
Mugabe? This is not because UK feel sorry for what ever (fabricated by
propaganda) hardship there may be for Zimbabweans. In reality, it is just a
futile effort-Soviet style- by British propaganda machine to try to
re-colonize and plunder their natural resources.
Yup - that'll do it. Not. With the world governed by a bunch of
spineless politically correct halfwits the Mugabes of this world have
nothing to fear.
Billy Barnett, HK,
Like Saddam Mugabe knows what
will happen to him if he hands over power. The best outcome for him would be
the ICC rather than face the wrath of the people and the death penalty at
home. Being smarter than Saddam he is likely to have plans to slip away into
exile in Malaysia or China and escape.
Joshua, Jhb, South
As Robert Mugabe would no doubt say, who is going to stop me? The
United Nations? Don't make me laugh, it creases my itsy bitsy
John Dorman, Melbourne,
Shut down hopelessly
incompetent United Nations! It is an institution of fake egalitariansim
where the elite of the third world and underdeveloped nations come to fulfil
their elitist aspirations. They merely have to write papers and articles
condemning the likes of Mugabe.
Saurabh Sircar, Philadelphia,
Whatever happened to the" Bush & Rice Overseas Democracy Export
ing Inc.". I thought their services were much needed in this part of the
World. Not even a slight pressure on China to stop supplying arms and
support to Mugabe and his thugs.
Sam, Dallas, USA
Mugabe is a
criminal, in far worse ways than Ian Smith his predecessor ever was. Until
the world can find a way of dealing with and removing the Mugabes, they will
keep springing up. The UN ought to do it but won't. It's time for a
replacement for this useless institution.
David Ashton, Bathurst,
My god, will someone do SOMETHING, please!!!
Wait - does
Zimbabwe have oil?
No? Oh, sorry. What's on TV?
A shocker Mugabe its time the outside worldstart looking
at that mongrel people there are waiting for the world to make a fast
move.Round this mob up bring them to justice possible this would be to
fair.Maybe give him back to people and surely give him surprise party and
the same for all his fans.
F.Van Den Broek, gold coast,
What rubbish. The World hasn't the spine to drag Mugabe out of
Zimbabwe. Once they start threatening him with the Hague, he knows that he's
Dean, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
"he could be hauled before the
International Criminal Court in The Hague"
Somehow I think he's
unconcerned about that and it certainly won't change his actions or those of
the thugs he controls.
People like that respect one thing; someone
tougher than them.
MoD contingency plans for military action in
The Times June 24, 2008
Michael Evans, Defence Editor Two separate contingency plans for
military action in Zimbabwe are held by the Ministry of Defence,The Times
has learnt, although the Government insisted yesterday that intervention was
not "a plausible course".
One plan involves the deployment of troops into
Zimbabwe to resolve a humanitarian crisis. The other is to provide military
support if a national evacuation order to help British residents to leave
the country was implemented.
The plans were drawn up as part of a
general request for military options ordered by the Defence Crisis
Management Organisation of the MoD. The military plans assume that a
neighbouring African country would agree to play host to British troops and
transport aircraft. Defence sources acknowledged that such an agreement in
the current climate was unlikely.
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, the
former international envoy, who gave warning yesterday of the risk of
genocide in Zimbabwe, toldThe Times that if military intervention was agreed
by the international community Britain could not take the lead role because
of its colonial past. Lord Ashdown said that if genocide was threatened
military intervention would have to be considered. "But it could not be
undertaken without widespread support from Zimbabwe's neighbours, in
particular South Africa," he said.
Related Links a.. Zimbabwe
military intervention 'could be justified' a.. 'They beat old men and
pregnant women' The main burden would have to fall on the neighbouring
countries, with neither Britain nor the United States playing a leading
role, he added.
Lord Ashdown and Lord Carrington, the former Foreign
Secretary, who led the negotiations that brought white rule in Rhodesia to
an end, paving the way for the birth of Zimbabwe, said that the African
Union was the ideal organisation to deal with President Mugabe.
Ashdown pointed to action taken by the African Union in March when 400
troops from Tanzania and Sudan landed in the rebel-held island of Anjouan in
the Indian Ocean - part of the three-island Union of the Comoros - and
ousted Mohamed Bacar, who had seized power in a 2001 coup and who held
flawed elections last year.
Lord Carrington said: "Any military
intervention by the British would be regarded - not just by Zimbabwe but by
all the neighbouring African countries - as a return to colonisation. The
real solution lies with the Africans themselves and there are signs that
neighbouring countries are getting worried."
When asked yesterday
about possible British military intervention Lord Malloch-Brown, the Foreign
Office Minister, said: "It's not a plausible course and would not enjoy
international support. I have not heard anyone here or in any other capital
suggest military action is a solution."
Major-General Julian Thompson,
who commanded 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines in the Falklands conflict in
1982, said action against the Zimbabwe military would be relatively
straightforward, but the problem would be getting the troops
He said: "I think the Zimbabwean Army and police force would
collapse and the population would treat an intervention force as liberators
- but would any of the neighbouring African countries give us flying rights
over their territory?"
Referring to Ian Smith's Unilateral
Declaration of Independence in Rhodesia in 1965, he said that the colonial
powers in the region at the time had refused Britain flying rights - "and
today it would be Zimbabwe's neighbours who would turn us down".
former Royal Marine added: "Even if it was decided to use, say, Mozambique's
airspace without permission to reach Zimbabwe, what would the mission be?
Would it be to kill Mugabe or put him in prison? - and what about all the
generals who support him, what would happen to them? These are the sort of
questions the Chief of the Defence Staff would ask if he was given an order
from Gordon Brown to send troops to Zimbabwe.
"I think military
intervention is morally justified, but we won't do it because Mugabe keeps
on saying that British colonialists are behind the trouble. So if we took
part it would be seen as a self-fulfilling prophesy," he added.
involvement by British troops would place further strain on the Armed
Forces. Two of the principal go-anywhere brigades are already committed. The
2nd Battalion and the 3rd Battalion of The Parachute Regiment, part of 16
Air Assault Brigade, are serving in Afghanistan, and 3 Commando Brigade
Royal Marines takes over in Afghanistan in the autumn.
25,000 Army personnel
4,000 Air force
£79 million 2006 defence budget
expenditure as a percentage of GDP (2006)
45 Number of combat-capable
40 Number of main battle tanks, mostly nonoperational
Armoured infantry fighting vehicles
85 Number of armoured personnel
242 Number of artillery pieces
18-24 Years of age for
compulsory military service Sourcesthe Military Balance 2008, IISS; CIA
Clegg says 'moral case' exists for
24 June 2008
The leader of the Liberal Democrats has said there is a
"moral case" for invading Zimbabwe but that practical concerns make it
Mr Clegg made the statement at his first major foreign policy
speech, during which he described the kind of 'liberal interventionism' his
party would support.
Mr Clegg said the international community has
"ample justification to step in" to the country but that practical
considerations made it impossible. He did not specify if those related to
the continuing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan or some other
Instead, he proposed cutting off foreign remittances to
Such a move would prove highly controversial even among those
groups who want an end to Mr Mugabe's time in power. Foreign remittances -
the money sent by Zimbabweans living abroad, provide a vital economic
lifeline to those suffering in the country.
"Cutting off foreign
remittances is a serious step with serious consequences," Mr Clegg
"I know that it would hurt the ordinary Zimbabweans who rely on
remittances from friends and family abroad. But the fact remains that access
to foreign currency is the only thing that enables the regime to function
and therefore the only thing that sustains Mugabe in power."
continued: "It is now too late for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. But
it is not too late for Britain to act within the EU, the UN and, crucially,
with countries in the southern African region to act decisively against
The comments come as events in Zimbabwe reach fever pitch. The
opposition Movement for Democratic Change has now stepped out of the
presidential elections citing violence and leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
taken refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare.
in London mourn the Death of Democracy
NOTICE FROM THE ZIMBABWE
exiles are to stage demonstrations in London on Friday
27th June outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, the South African High
Commission and the Mandela concert in Hyde
Park. The demonstrations follow
the decision by the Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out
of Friday’s Presidential run-off because of the violence and vote rigging by the
will mark the death of democracy in Zimbabwe with a ballot
box in the shape of a coffin on display outside the Embassy. The coffin will be
carried to the nearby South African High Commission containing a petition
calling on President Mbeki to stop supporting Mugabe. The petition has been
signed by many hundreds of people from all over the world passing by the
Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been protesting outside the Embassy in
London for the past
six years in support of democracy in Zimbabwe.
will also be present at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde
Park on Friday to urge Nelson
Mandela to speak out about the situation in
Zimbabwe. Mr Mandela
will be attending a concert at the Parade Ground in Hyde
Park to mark his
outside Zimbabwe Embassy – Friday 27th June from 10 am to 4 pm.
Ex-President Mugabe or someone looking very much like him will be
African High Commission from –
presentation of the following petition: “A petition to President Mbeki of
Africa. Exiled Zimbabweans and supporters
urge you to stop supporting Mugabe and allow a peaceful transfer of power from
the military regime to the Zimbabwean people. Our blood is at your
Embassy demonstration we will move to Speakers’ Corner in
Park to ask
Mandela to speak out against Mugabe. The concert starts at .
further information, contact: Rose Benton (07970 996 003, 07932 193 467), Dumi
Tutani (07960 039 775) and Ephraim Tapa (07940 793 090).
The Vigil, outside the
Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand,
London, takes place every
Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights
by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started
in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Zimbabwe, Harare --As night fell on Harare, it had become apparent that the
country security services, with the full backing of Robert Mugabe, had taken
over the reins of power. The replacement of civilian authority, which the
MDC became aware of in the late hours of Sunday, has forced the MDC
leadership to either go into hiding, seek reguee at freindly embassies in
the country or to flee the country completely.
reliable sources within the MDC, army offiecers attached to the KGVI who
were privy to the move by the Army to take over power, informed the MDC
leader to flee as a decision had been made to imprison, torture or kill
MDC spokesperson George Sibotshiwe, on Sunday night fled the
country for Gaborone, Botswana, enroute to Johannesburg, South Africa, where
they are to seek asylum.
He was one of many other MDC officials
who have gone into hiding or are on the run.
situation in the country had become so precarious that even Morgan
Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, was forced to seek refugee at the Dutch
Embassy in Harare.
The ZANU-PF government has refused to renew his
passport, whose pages are full, citing "security reasons". He cannot leave
ZANU-PF leader Robert Mugabe, despite pressure from
regional leaders, has refused to guarantee the safety of the MDC
Sibotshiwe confirmed in a brief telephonic interview
that he was in Gaborone, but would not give full details as he believes his
cellphone is bugged by Zimbabwe's dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO), who have planted their agents at major entry points and airports in a
bid to stop MDC officials leaving.
"As I speak to you now,
the military have taken over and things are worse than they were on Sunday
when we announced we were pulling out of the runoff because of the violence
perpetrated by Mugabe and Zanu PF," said Sibotshiwe.
airport, the hotels, the streets crawl with militia, the CIO, armed police
and other state security agents. There is a seamless coup in Zimbabwe,
whichever way you look at it. And things will be even worse tomorrow moving
forward," said Sibotshiwe.
The MDC officials' flight came as
Harare's rumour mill went into overdrive with news that incarcerated MDC
secretary general Tendai Biti had died in police custody. The unconfirmed
reports were that the official line will be that Biti had been killed as he
tried to escape from holding cells.
Sibotshiwe said he could not
confirm anything "as we can't get through to anyone". "We hope that it is
just a rumour at this stage. In Zimbabwe today, anything is possible," he
Other reports indicated that the MDC had been forced to pull
out of the election by the ZANU-PF government, or else they would kill Biti
whom they had in custody, in a move simi liar to the one used in the
eighties when Joshua Nkomo was forced to accept the Unity Accord deal to
save the lives of Dumiso Dabengwa and other ZAPU leaders who were
languishing behind bars.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
has already preached victory for Mugabe, branding Tsvangirai a "coward" who
withdrew because he faced certain defeat.
Said Chinamasa: "It
is not true that it's due to political violence (that Tsvangirai has
withdrawn from the runoff), because it is his party that has been
instigating violence. He spent a lot of time outside the country talking to
people who do not vote. What legitimacy do you lose when a candidate
withdraws, fearing defeat? The situation on the ground is now very
supportive of us and Tsvangirai knows he faces certain defeat."
despite overwhelming signs of a military takeover, Chinamasa said there was
no need to call in the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).
"There's no genocide
taking place anywhere, justifying any intervention. He's only saying that to
bring foreign intervention in this country. Zanu PF will continue as before
after the swearing in of our President. Tsvangirai's decision is not going
to give us sleepless nights. The constitution is very clear as to what
happens if one candidate withdraws."
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai on
said Monday that the international community should declare presidential
elections "null and void" and organize a new vote.
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
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 country."
Harare, Augustine Chihuri, the police chief, and ardent supporter of the
ZANU-PF government, said Monday Tsvangirai was under no threat and had taken
refuge at the Dutch embassy in a "move intended to provoke international
"It is an exhibitionist antic, (a) move intended to provoke
international anger," police chief Chihuri said.
"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."
described it as a "well calculated move to besmirch the presidential run-off
election ... and further brutalise the image of Zimbabwe."
Chihuri also whitewashed the raid on the MDC offices earlier in the
"We got information from some sources and a reputable
international organisation that there were people housed at (MDC
headquarters) and these people were living in dire situations and unhygienic
and unclear situations," the police chief said.
"None of them
has been arrested ... No one was looking for anybody, let alone Mr.
Tsvangirai". Chihuri is the same man who, since the MArch 29 election, has
sent his police officers to arrest scores of MDC supporters across the
country. Together with the leaders of the army, Chihuri pledged a few months
ago that he will not salute Tsvangirai if he wins the election--Harare
By Eddie Cross
| Harare Tribune
Syndicated Columnist | Monday, June 23, 2008
When I grew up the struggle of the nationalist
leadership in what was then Rhodesia, was most often characterized as a struggle
to gain the right to vote.The whites had conceded that this was a just cause but
wanted the right restricted to a so-called qualified franchise. This was not a
new idea. Rhodes had proposed that the right to vote belonged to every civilized
man. He even defined that and called for voting rights to be restricted to those
who had property and some education.
Protesters hold a demonstration against the
Zimbabwe government, calling for democracy and freedom in Zimbabwe, in front of
the African country's embassy in central London, Monday June 23, 2008.
The nationalist leadership recognized that a
qualified franchise was a moving target. The qualifications were not set in
stone and were being constantly revised to limit the number of people who might
They demanded one person, one vote, a universal
franchise based only on the age of majority. This was the accepted standard
followed in most mature democracies elsewhere and was not disputed.
Once that right was gained however, it became a
different story. Although they went along with the trappings of democracy, in
fact most, if not all, newly independent African States leaders used and abused
their adopted political systems to perpetuate their own rule and in many cases
finally simply abandoned all pretext and overthrew the system in favor of one
that gave them unbridled power in perpetuity.
Slowly as these States matured they have turned back
to democracy recognizing what Churchill had once said that it may not be
perfect, but it is better than the alternatives. In addition all African States
eventually woke up to the fact that their liberators often made lousy rulers and
that in the hands of such rulers with unbridled power, the instruments of a
modern State with its tax and banking system was simply a mechanism for looting
on a grand scale.
We have gone through this cycle and since 1980, the
ruling elite has shown less and less commitment to what they had claimed was the
basis of the struggle for independence that, after all, brought them to power.
This mantra was probably most emphatically spelled out this week when Mugabe
stated that he would not be overthrown by a cross on a piece of
At least one editor here said that he wanted to know
why not. As this was the means by which he obtained power in the first place.
But the Mugabe regime's struggle with democracy has now reached new
They have held elections on a regular basis since
1980 and each election has shown deterioration in their commitment to democratic
principles and abuse of the electoral practice. As the democratic threat has
grown so has the manipulation and abuse. Initially the SADC and the AU ignored
this and it was left to the more mature democracies of Europe to recognize the
malaise and call for compliance to principle.
South Africa, arguably the most sophisticated State
in Africa with solid leadership and a long history of struggle and commitment to
core principles, has been the most disappointing observer. Not just because she
knows better, but because they alone have the power and leverage to force
compliance to democratic principle by a rogue State like Zimbabwe. South Africa
has no excuses ? they have good intelligence, are well informed and run a State
that is founded on these very same principles.
In 2006 South Africa finally recognized that the only
way out of the crisis in Zimbabwe was via a process of free and fair elections
facilitated by the region. They committed considerable resources human and
financial and in terms of their prestige, to the subsequent process. Mbeki in
fact used his influence and power to secure the essentials and when pressed,
The switch in the date of the election from June 2010 to
March 2008 was achieved without fanfare behind closed doors. Zanu PF
participation in the subsequent negotiations to establish the conditions under
which the election would be held was also then achieved after direct
intervention by South Africa.
In the ensuing negotiations substantial reforms that
would have yielded a free and fair election in March 2008 were secured over a
tortuous 9-month period and failure came only at the last minute when Mugabe
realized that if the reforms were implemented as negotiated in Pretoria, he
would lose power in the ensuing contest.
He simply stonewalled Mbeki and was allowed to hold
an election, which by any standard was not at all free and fair. Worse, when it
became clear that Tsvangirai had won outright with more than 50 per cent of the
vote (54%), Mbeki went along with the subsequent charade and used the impasse to
try and play kingmaker and force the different parties to the conflict to
negotiate a compromise solution that would restrict MDC to a lesser role and
protect elements of Zanu PF.
When this failed South Africa endorsed the decision
to call for a run off and then failed to ensure that not even the skewed rules
of the March election were observed. Under the shadow cast by the South African
umbrella, Mugabe has unleashed a campaign of violence and intimidation against
the MDC that has been ruthless and effective. Instead of condemning the violence
and the arbitrary arrest and detention of MDC leaders, Mbeki has concentrated on
using the violence to justify a belated call to cancel the run off and negotiate
a unity government.
There is nothing spontaneous about the Zimbabwe
campaign of political violence. It is a deliberate, State funded, planned and
managed program that is directed by the top leadership in the regime. They can
switch it off at any time. Yet South Africa refuses to attribute blame or to
call for the cessation of violence and to stop abuse of the judicial system to
restrict the capacity of the MDC to campaign. There is not a shred of evidence
that Mbeki has been any stronger or more principled behind closed doors than he
has been in public.
But outside South Africa many new voices are at last
being heard. The Presidents of Botswana, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia as well as
the Prime Minister of Kenya have all said in the past week that the electoral
environment in Zimbabwe is not free and fair. This is an election where the two
candidates are by no means equal. Tsvangirai is denied access to the media,
denied funding, arrested and threatened, his campaign team is on the run or in
jail, his supporters are harassed and killed and thousands beaten and worse. ZEC
has been transformed into a military organization that will do whatever is
required to return a majority for Mugabe.
This may not be the only example of the abuse of
principle in terms of democratic practice but it is by a long way the most
blatant and reckless. Even as this is going on and people inside and
outside the country are saying that Tsvangirai can never win such a contest,
Mugabe is saying, even if he does win, Zanu PF will not relinquish
Well at least that settles one issue ? Mugabe is no
democrat, never has been and never will be. I still believe that the people of
Zimbabwe will vote on the 27th and will, despite all the threats and beatings,
return an overwhelming victory for Morgan Tsvangirai. The question is, then
By Tawanda Takavarasha
| Harare Tribune
Correspondent | Monday, June 23, 2008 14:49 firstname.lastname@example.org
Zimbabwe, Harare --As the UN Security Council was to
weigh the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe Monday following the opposition's
withdrawal from a planned presidential runoff election in the face of
state-sponsored violence, the United States and Britain made it clear the
President Robert Mugabe's government could not be viewed as legitimate in the
absence of a credible and fair election on June 27.
Police lead detained supporters of Zimbabwe's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, who fled their rural areas in the
ZANU-PF violence, onto a bus after a raid on the party's headquarters in Harare,
Monday June 23, 2008. Police raided the offices and took away about 60 people a
spokesman said a day after the party's presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai,
withdrew from a presidential runoff against Robert
"We do not recognize the regime as legitimate,"
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday.
"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 recognized by anyone," he told lawmakers in a debate on Zimbabwe.
In Washington, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
also warned that "the Mugabe regime cannot be considered legitimate in the
absence of a runoff."
She urged both the government and its opposition to
work together "on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe."
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Mugabe is
no better than a dictator and his claims of leading a parliamentary democracy
are a pretence.
And on Monday the Australian government increased the
diplomatic pressure on African nations to intervene to help ease the escalating
"I've instructed our relevant posts both in Africa
and elsewhere to put our very strong view to the South African Development
Community nation states to ascertain from them what they're now proposing to
do," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.
"And also to put our view that Mr Mugabe has no
electoral legitimacy or democratic legitimacy.
"I've also indicated to officials here to make those
same points to relevant African embassies and (high) commissions in Australia."
Australia is also considering strengthening sanctions against
The Security Council meeting was to take place a day
after Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
announced he was quitting the run-off race against Mugabe, saying mounting
violence made a free and fair poll impossible.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who Sunday described as "deeply
distressing" Tsvangirai's decision to pull out of the run-off election, was to
make a statement on the crisis later Monday after a luncheon with council
"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 immediately," he said in a statement released by his press
The 15-member council met early Monday to discuss
modalities of a formal meeting later in the day at which UN Under Secretary
General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe was to brief on UN troubleshooter
Haile Menkerios' five-day visit to Harare last week.
Diplomats said council members were divided on
whether to hold an open or closed-door debate on the issue.
Menkerios, an UN assistant secretary general for
political affairs, was in South Africa where he met Friday with South African
President Thabo Mbeki, who has been leading efforts by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to mediate an end to the crisis in
According to media reports, Mbeki is trying to
arrange a first-ever meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai that would allow for
talks on canceling the June 27 balloting with a view to forming a national unity
Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan
said on Monday that the ‘peaceful atmosphere that prevailed during the first
round of presidential elections has given way to increasing violence and
intimidation against the MDC.’
He said the crackdown had understandably forced MDC
President Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the run-off, scheduled for this
In a statement Annan said appeals by the
international community for calm and respect for the rulings of the courts to
allow the MDC to continue its election campaign without hindrance have been
‘Any run-off or announcement of a winner under these
circumstances will neither be credible nor acceptable to Zimbabweans, Africa and
the international community. The victor emerging from such a flawed process will
have no legitimacy to govern Zimbabwe. Besides, such a process would lead to
more violence and unnecessary loss of life,’ Annan said.
Rumbi Tsvangirai, daughter of Zimbabwe's opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, leads a rally supporting her father's political party
the Movement for Democratic Change, outside the Wesley Church in Perth June 22,
2008. Tsvangirai is "tired but doing fine" and believes his support has never
been greater as an election for the presidency approaches and violence
increases, his daughter said on Sunday.
The former UN secretary-general believes the crisis
in the country calls for concerted and more effective action by SADC, the
African Union and the international community. Referring to a statement issued
by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa on Sunday calling for the postponement of
the elections, Annan said that was ‘an important step towards this objective.’
Despite the MDC's decision to pull out of the run off
election, violence by ZANU-PF militants across continued unabated. In a
statement, the MDC said that the newly elected Thamsanga Mahlangu, a deputy for
a constituency in the country's second largest city of Bulawayo, "is battling
for his life in intensive care unit after armed ZANU-PF militia attacked him
The situation in the country remained tense Monday.
There were reports of wantom lawlessness across Harare. At the trendy upscale
shopping village Sam Levy, ZANU-PF militants, wearing their regalia and chanting
war songs, looted some shops as their owners stood by, helpless.
"They are took everything from," said Mr. Jeremiah
Sibanda, whose shop had been looted by the rowdy mob. "I have lost billions in
revenue. Surely, this can't continue on like this."
Mr. Sibanda said he and other shop owners had called
the police to come to their defence, but the police had claimed that the
situation was a "sensitive" matter, and as such they could not intervene.
If the international fails to intervene in Zimbabwe,
the country will soon descend into chaos. Something, someone one needs to put a
stop the marauding ZANU-PF militants that are roaming the cities molesting peace
loving citizens. Members within the ZANU-PF militants said they had been given
the green by the ZANU-PF government to do as they please, to punish anything
that is MDC related. --Harare Tribune
Suddenly everyone has something to
say about Zimbabwe
Rightly or wrongly, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change, (MDC) lurks behind the gates of the Dutch
Embassy here in Harare. He has not requested asylum, say his Dutch hosts,
but he does fear for his own personal safety.
says that. while he has announced his withdrawal from the Presidential
run-off election on Friday, he has yet to write to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission to say so. This has led to rumours that he might even change his
mind on Wednesday, and run after all.
As for Mugabe and his ruling
Zanu-PF junta - they call Tsvangirai a coward, and count their blessings. On
the surface, the way seems open for another five years of their iron-fisted
But the prospect for the next few days remains frighteningly
confused and uncertain - a factor which seems to have been a signal for
world leaders of every persuasion to weigh in with their own comments on our
Here are some examples of what has become a world-wide
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told reporters that
there was too much violence in Zimbabwe for the run-off to go ahead, and
said it must be postponed. The developing situation in Zimbabwe would, he
said, have a widespread effect on the whole region of
Neighbouring Botswana's foreign minister Pando Skelemani said
that the Southern African Development Community (SADEC) must decide whether
Zimbabwe could have a legitimate president in the current political
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Mugabe regime
"cannot be considered legitimate in the absence of a run-off".
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan commented: "I think it is important that we
all realise that Zimbabwe needs our help."
And so on and so on and so on.
Everyone is having their say. But it seems that, so far, no-one has
suggested that there is anything anyone can actually do. Let alone start
At this point your own Moses would normally put forward his
point of view. But frankly, I think too much has been said
HARARE (AFP) - President Robert Mugabe has accused Britain,
the United States and their allies of lying to the world to justify
intervention in Zimbabwe, state media reported Tuesday.
and her allies are telling a lot of lies about Zimbabwe, saying a lot of
people are dying. These are all lies because they want to build a situation
to justify their intervention in Zimbabwe," the state-run Herald newspaper
reported Mugabe as saying.
Mugabe was addressing a rally of some 15,000
in Chipinge in southeastern Zimbabwe Monday, a day after his opponent Morgan
Tsvangirai withdrew from a run-off poll due to mounting violence against his
Mugabe's ruling party has remained resolute that the run-off
presidential poll will take place, accusing Tsvangirai of playing political
games as he has yet to officially withdraw at the electoral
The newspaper reported Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairman
George Chiweshe as saying election material was being transported to the
respective wards in anticipation of the vote.
"The commission is in
every sense of the word prepared for this election. We are ready and we look
forward to a credible election come Friday," said Chiweshe.
condemned the violence that his ruling ZANU-PF has blamed on the opposition,
and urged the party to campaign peacefully.
The veteran leader, whose
regime has drawn increasing condemnation from the international community,
attempted to appease citizens over the country's unprecedented economic
crisis, characterised by record levels of hyperinflation estimated at around
two million percent.
Mugabe distributed 12 buses and two hammer mills to
the community as well as 50 ploughs and 50 harrows to traditional leaders,
saying government had contracted haulage trucks to transport maize from
South Africa to Zimbabwe.
"Very soon, you will see improved deliveries of
maize in all the areas," he said.
Mugabe said businesspeople would be
supplied with basic commodities to be sold to consumers at prices set by the
government, to ease the effect of the increasing cost of scarce basic
"This is not an election gimmick," he said.
"Most of the
businesses are foreign-owned, especially by the British. They are
continuously hiking prices because they are pushing for regime
The country's chronic economic crisis left 80 percent of the
population living below the poverty threshold amid mass shortages of basic
goods in shops.
As condemnation of Robert Mugabe
grew louder yesterday, Nelson Mandela checked in at the Dorchester Hotel in
London, ahead of his 90th birthday celebrations. The former South African
president is often cast in the role of Africa's moral guardian, but on the
subject of Zimbabwe he has been notable by his silence.
is needed now," said William Gumede, a South African political analyst. "And
Mr Mandela's is one that can hardly be bettered in terms of moral
authority." So why has Mr Mandela shied away from commenting publicly on the
crisis engulfing South Africa's neighbour?
He may be calculating that his
words will have little effect. Mr Mandela has long been demonised by
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party, so there is little chance of him being able
to sway party leaders towards a more conciliatory line. In fact, given the
long history of rivalry between the two figureheads of southern Africa's
liberation struggles, any words from Mr Mandela could make Mr Mugabe simply
dig in his heels.
But another consideration is the loyalty Mr Mandela has
to his successor President Thabo Mbeki, who has been mediating the stillborn
negotiations between Mr Mugabe and the Zimbabwean opposition. The two men
have an unwritten agreement whereby Mr Mandela does not tread on Mr Mbeki's
turf. The one occasion Mr Mandela violated that pact was over South Africa's
spiralling HIV crisis in 2000, and Mr Mbeki reportedly refused to speak to
him for two years, although the government's Aids policy did eventually
Questions about Zimbabwe are likely to dog Mr Mandela during
his birthday celebrations, which culminate on Friday with a three-hour
concert in Hyde Park. At his age, Mr Mandela may well feel he deserves a
only man in the world who might have been able to give some hope to the
blighted people of Zimbabwe by persuading, or at least publicly calling for,
Robert Mugabe and his cohorts to resign - the same man who was happy in
2003 to make a blistering attack on George W Bush for his "racism" - has
chosen instead to remain silent on the issue for almost eight years, thus
helping to ensure the continuing campaign of naked terror, economic mayhem
and blatant denial of free speech and democratic rights.
allied himself with Archbishop Desmond Tutu's very public stance, their
combined moral authority would surely have attracted many other supporters
throughout southern and central Africa, including those within the South
African government not persuaded by Thabo Mbeki's "quiet
He will be feted and celebrated at his 90th birthday
concert this Friday in London, in support of the global fight against HIV
and Aids. Ironically, the greatest catalyst for success in that fight, at
least in southern Africa, would have been the peaceful demise of Mugabe's
regime. Do we now need to revise the status of sainthood generally accorded,
for obvious historic reasons, on Nelson Mandela?
St Andrews, Fife
Robert Mugabe will
be able to count himself extremely fortunate if, as warned, he ends his rule
being hauled before the International Criminal Court in the Hague and
staying in a comfy Dutch prison. Such a fate was deemed far too good for the
late president of Iraq and his family.
Good intentions but vague on the detail of how to
get Mugabe out
The Times June 24, 2008
Bronwen Maddox, Chief Foreign Commentator Yesterday, for
the first time, Britain said that Robert Mugabe had no right to call himself
the President of Zimbabwe and that the world should try to get him out.
Strong words, although tailing off into euphemism about exactly how other
countries should do that.
The weakness in this call for sanctions - which
is not at this point, ministers made clear, a call to arms - is Zimbabwe's
nervous but immobile neighbours. The task is to persuade them, as they sit
watching the rising tally of deaths, the hunger, the inflation of more than
a million per cent, that even if humanity won't prompt them to act,
self-interest now should.
"This government, this status quo, is not
something we can accept or live with," Lord Malloch-Brown, Foreign Minister
for Africa, said. "We do not recognise the Mugabe government as the
legitimate representative of the people of Zimbabwe," David Miliband,
Foreign Secretary, later told the House of Commons.
finally, and free of the fear of seeming like a colonial power, which has
kept Britain too reticent for too long. The turning point, Lord
Malloch-Brown said, was Sunday's rally, where the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change persuaded a judge to overturn a ban, only to find itself
confronting thugs with clubs from the ruling Zanu (PF) party.
that Britain has said that it wants an end to the Mugabe regime, what can it
actually do? Not much on its own, although Lord Malloch-Brown said it might
now look at forcing the few British companies which still did business there
to cut all ties. In answer to a question about whether Britain might strip
Mugabe of his knighthood, he said drily, "I can't imagine anyone in this
room, including this minister, thinks he should keep it. But for the mangy
old British lion to rise to its full height and say, this is outrageous,
you've lost your knighthood . . ." - it would not, he concluded, match the
gravity of the offence. "We don't want it to be Zimbabwe versus Britain,
it's Zimbabwe versus the world," he said. What should the world do? More
sanctions, and more targeting of those in the regime, including perhaps
their foreign assets and children's education. But not, he argued, blocking
remittances or cutting off electricity, because these would hurt the
This makes sense. But it is vague about how this might dislodge
a leader who has said he will consent to be removed only by God. The
intention appears to be to prompt some within Zimbabwe to overthrow Mugabe.
The risk is not just of a worse bloodbath, but that some of those most
equipped to do that, including army generals, are not those who might rush
to form the kind of "democratic government representative of all the people"
which Britain wants. All that other countries can do is to offer lavish
rewards to a new government which resembles that ideal.
A risky plan,
then, but better at this point than military action (Miliband, with a
stutter, brushed away a Commons question about whether Britain would send in
the SAS). But a flurry of meetings this week will test whether there is any
real support from other countries. "We are at one end of the spectrum," Lord
Malloch-Brown said, describing Britain's efforts to urge a tougher stand.
"But the spectrum is moving towards us."
Slowly, though. The most
important signal will come from the African Union (AU), egregiously
indulgent so far, which has one of its regular meetings later this week.
There were signs during the Zimbabwe election campaign, Lord Malloch-Brown
said, of interest by some AU members in a role for international
peacekeepers. For the AU, this would be a radical and welcome step forward.
He also claimed to see signs that South Africa was moving in a tougher
direction. We'll see. If it were not for the world's reverence for Nelson
Mandela, now celebrating his 90th birthday, and its deep respect for South
Africa's own journey to democracy, there might have been much louder
opposition to President Mbeki's determined evasion of the Mugabe problem -
comparable, say, to the criticism of China for support of the Sudanese
The United Nations Security Council could be hugely
important but is not yet close to the necessary pitch. Yesterday's meeting
was always going to consider Zimbabwe, but only to take stock of
humanitarian help. Miliband warned the Commons about Britain's struggles,
unsuccessful so far, even to get Zimbabwe made a standing item on the
agenda. The council, and the meeting of foreign ministers of the G8 later
this week, will test China's willingness - so far absent - to join a united
This might be a rare time where the EU moves first, although only
because members have least at stake. Last week they signalled support for
tougher measures, although they did not name them.
Britain is right
that this conflict is between Zimbabwe and the world. It is to the world's
discredit - and South Africa's, above all - that it has so far ducked the
Mbeki's softly-softly approach infuriated west - and bought time for
Xan Rice in Nairobi The Guardian, Tuesday June 24,
After President Robert Mugabe, the person receiving the most
criticism for the crisis in Zimbabwe is not even one of its citizens. Thabo
Mbeki, president of South Africa, the most powerful country in sub-Saharan
Africa, is under fire at home and abroad for his refusal to condemn Mugabe
and admit that his policy of quiet diplomacy was a serious error.
several years western nations have been urging Mbeki to use his influence -
and South Africa's economic muscle - to pressure Mugabe. But even as
millions of Zimbabweans flooded over the border into South Africa in search
of refuge and work - a mass movement that contributed to the xenophobic
attacks on black foreigners in South Africa last month - Mbeki insisted that
dialogue, rather than arm-twisting, was the best way forward.
For a while
he had sympathy at home, with analysts pointing out that while Britain and
the US were calling for action on Zimbabwe, there were few realistic options
other than engagement. Calls for criticism of Mugabe's often brutal land
redistribution policies were also seen as unrealistic, given South Africa's
own need to address glaring property inequalities.
It has long been clear
that the western pressure has irritated Mbeki, an intellectual who espouses
the idea of an African Renaissance.
In assuming the role of mediator
between Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the opposition MDC party of Morgan
Tsvangirai, Mbeki believed that he could solve the problem his own way. Adam
Habib, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, has
said that Mbeki's critics failed to realise that it was his intervention
that led to a largely successful poll in March - one that saw the MDC sweep
the parliamentary vote. But by saying there was no crisis in Zimbabwe during
the month-long wait for the results of the presidential vote, Mbeki in
effect bought Mugabe time and, in most people's eyes, lost all claim to
Much has been made of Mbeki's sympathy for Mugabe as a
liberation hero and how the need to allow him a graceful exit has influenced
the softly-softly approach. There is also little doubt that Mbeki is no fan
of Tsvangirai or the MDC, which is strongly supported by white Zimbabwean
farmers and is the first political entity in the region to successfully
challenge a liberation movement.
But Piers Pigou, director of the
South Africa History Archive, believes the "solidarity between liberation
movements" theory is overblown, pointing out that Zanu-PF was no great ally
of the ANC during the apartheid era. "Mbeki has fundamentally misread the
situation in Zimbabwe; the political advice and intelligence reports he has
been given is appalling," said Pigou, who called the quiet diplomacy policy
"a remarkable example of how to mess something up". "He [Mbeki]
overestimated his influence over Mugabe and Zanu-PF, thinking that his
politics of appeasement would be reciprocated by concessions from them. It
Though there has never been a culture of mutual criticism
between political leaders in Southern Africa, Mbeki could have taken a
principled stand on human rights violations in recent years, and called for
investigations into abuses without ever completely estranging Mugabe, said
"Silence by Mbeki on so many issues has given a green light to
Zanu-PF that their behaviour is acceptable. The strategy has been very
Julian Borger, diplomatic editor The
Guardian, Tuesday June 24, 2008
The UN condemned Zimbabwe last night
for intimidation and called for the presidential vote due on Friday to be
A draft security council resolution placed the blame for the
withdrawal of the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, on the Mugabe
government, accusing it of "a campaign of violence" that had "denied its
political opponents the right to campaign freely".
The UN secretary
general, Ban Ki-moon, spoke out against the government's actions in strong
terms. He said Tsvangirai had been right to withdraw, and free elections
would not now be possible. "There has been too much violence, too much
intimidation," Ban said.
He added that if Friday's vote went ahead, it
"would only deepen divisions within the country and produce a result that
cannot be credible".
Ban's intervention and the security council draft
statement marked a sharp increase in pressure on Mugabe's government, and
opened the door for the first time to direct UN involvement in the
The draft council statement went one step further, saying the
results of the first round of elections in March, which the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change won, "must be respected", and called on the
government to cooperate with international mediation efforts.
negotiations were also under way last night between the UN, the African
Union and southern African leaders on the creation of a mediation team to
send to Zimbabwe. If agreement is reached, a joint team with representatives
of the UN, the AU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
would assume the mediator role until now played by the South African
president, Thabo Mbeki, alone. There were reports that Mbeki will head to
Zimbabwe today for a last ditch attempt to encourage dialogue between the
antagonists, though the South African authorities did not confirm
The UN moves represent diplomatic victories for Britain, the US and
France, who spent much of yesterday lobbying other world powers not to
recognise Mugabe's continued presidency.
"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," Gordon Brown told parliament.
In the next two
days, the leaders of Angola, Tanzania and Swaziland, who take a lead role in
security issues in SADC, are due to meet in the Angolan capital, Luanda. The
meeting suggests some of the group may be ready to act without Mbeki, who
has emerged as Mugabe's protector on the continent.
The AU yesterday
signalled that it was prepared to take action. The chairman of the AU
commission, Jean Ping, said: "One of the preconditions is that this violence
against the people must be stopped." Tsvangirai's withdrawal and "the
increasing acts of violence in the run-up to the second round of the
presidential election are a matter of grave concern", Ping said.
officials were seeking to agree a common approach before an African summit
at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt this week.
The joint UN-AU-SADC team being
negotiated yesterday would seek to hammer out agreement between Mugabe and
the MDC for a national unity government, or else move for new elections.
Tanzania and Kenya suggest new elections could be overseen by AU or Sadc
Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, who led a
successful mediation mission to Kenya earlier this year, backed a similar
initiative. "The situation in Zimbabwe imposes a grave responsibility on the
AU and the UN, which they should assume," Annan said in a statement.
"Zimbabwe cannot do it alone."
Britain focused its diplomatic efforts
on convincing other capitals that the MDC be treated as the only entity with
political legitimacy. "Our objectives are to get in every forum possible a
recognition that today President Mugabe no longer remains the proper,
rightful leader of the country," Mark Malloch-Brown, the Foreign Office
minister, told reporters.
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice,
also stepped up the pressure, saying Mugabe's government could no longer be
Zimbabwe's opposition leader must convince his
party he hasn't played into Mugabe's hands
Knox Chitiyo The
Guardian, Tuesday June 24, 2008
Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to pull
out of Friday's presidential run-off is disappointing, but not entirely
unexpected. Ever since the March 29 election and its bitterly contested
results, opinion in Zimbabwe had been divided over whether or not the
Movement for Democratic Change should be part of this second-round vote.
Tsvangirai will be criticised for withdrawing, but his MDC was damned if it
did, damned if it didn't.
The MDC's participation in the run-off would
have made it harder to condemn the outcome, and Zanu-PF believed that MDC
participation would effectively legitimise Mugabe.
exit is a propaganda coup for Zanu-PF, which will portray Tsvangirai as weak
and vacillating. Zanu-PF's strategy of violence was aimed at ensuring a
victory for Mugabe rather than forcing the MDC's withdrawal. But the state
will make the most of the situation and claim Mugabe as an elected leader.
The likely first step after the election will be for Zanu-PF to start
dismantling the MDC's narrow parliamentary majority through legal challenges
and harassment of its MPs. Zanu-PF will undermine Tsvangirai's credentials
as leader of the MDC and as a future president.
The MDC has stated its
reasons for withdrawing - state-sponsored violence; inability to campaign,
with the state preventing access to its supporters; the destruction of its
party structures; Mugabe's announcement that he would never relinquish
power; evidence of electoral manipulation; and the politicisation of the
Zimbabwe electoral commission.
Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people have
been killed since March, and tens of thousands have been forced out of their
homes. There is little doubt that Tsvangirai would have "lost" the
presidential run-off, since the state controlled every aspect of the
process. But it is clear that Tsvangirai's political survival depends upon
convincing MDC supporters and outside observers that his withdrawal was
necessary and politically astute. If Tsvangirai fails to convince them that
he made the right decision, he will sow the seeds of division within the
MDC. He will also have to map out a post run-off plan - centring on whether
the MDC intends to continue as a formal opposition, or pursue a coalition
with the government. Both options are fraught with pitfalls.
wider strategy is the struggle for international hearts and minds, and
African hearts and minds in particular. Tsvangirai is hoping that the
growing criticism of Mugabe by some of the Southern African Development
Community and African Union member states will coalesce into a global
"coalition of the concerned" that will pressure Mugabe to step down or
negotiate a transition to a handover of power. The problem is that, while
there is international condemnation of the Mugabe regime, there is no
consensus on what should be done. Britain, the EU and the US insist on
tougher punitive measures against Zimbabwe's leaders; but the SADC, the AU
and South Africa are not committed to this course.
What kind of
intervention should take place? Humanitarian intervention to feed starving
Zimbabweans? One based on the right to protection for civilians? Should
pressure be put on both sides to negotiate a settlement? The MDC is
desperate to ensure it has the backing of the international community;
Zanu-PF is keen to combat its growing isolation, and its strategy is to
re-inaugurate Mugabe as soon as possible, thus compelling the African
community to recognise him as president. A divided opposition would
immeasurably assist this process.
· Knox ChitiyoKnox Chitiyo is head
of the Africa programme at the Royal United Services Institute, and a former
co-director of the Centre for Defence Studies at the University of
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai made the "right
decision" to withdraw from the country's presidential run-off later this
month, Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu said today.
Speaking to BBC
television, the Anglican archbishop also said he hoped African leaders would
tell Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe that they would not recognise him or
his administration if the June 27 election was shown to be a
"In the circumstances, I would say he had very, very few options
left to him," Tutu said of Tsvangirai, who was holed up in the Dutch embassy
in Harare today after pulling out of a run-off election he said should be
declared "null and void" due to violence.
"Everybody virtually has
admitted that there's no way in which the elections could have been held in
a way that would make people say they were free and fair," he told the
"The conditions are totally chaotic, unacceptable. ... I
think, in the circumstances, he (Tsvangirai) has probably taken the right
Tutu added that he hoped African leaders would make clear to
Mugabe that they would not recognise him nor his government, telling the
BBC: "They've got to send a concerted message now to say `look, we will not
recognise a government over which you are going to preside'."
the international community had to "hope against hope" that Mugabe could
still be persuaded to peacefully step away from his position.
announced his withdrawal yesterday, saying increasing pre-poll violence had
made a free and fair vote impossible. The opposition says more than 80 of
its supporters have been killed in a campaign of intimidation.
Ban Ki-moon today urged Zimbabwean authorities to put off the vote in view
of Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the competition. Source: AFP
Eric Matinenga in a holding cell in Rusape,
When I was imprisoned in Zimbabwe two years ago
while writing my undergraduate thesis, advocate Eric Matinenga refused to bribe
local officials to secure my release.
"I am a lawyer. My tools are the law,” Mr. Matinenga said. “If one bypasses
the law, there will never be justice here.”
Then this bald, bespectacled lawyer entered Harare’s sprawling courthouse
and, with relentless focus and wit, successfully argued for my release.
As Mr. Matinenga led me out of the crowded, subterranean cell in which I had lived for
one week, he said, “The courts are the last hope here.”
Mr. Matinenga has spent his life working within Zimbabwe’s legal system, most
notably defending Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai against treason charges.
Throughout his career, the courts provided hope against a repressive state. A
few independent magistrates fought for their profession in a country where most
other state institutions - from the military to the media - were simply
extensions of the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF), run by longtime President Robert Mugabe.
But today, at the greatest crisis moment in Zimbabwe’s history of crises, the
courts have been entirely commandeered by ZANU-PF. And the fate of Mr.
Matinenga, a man who devoted his life to ensuring the court’s impartiality, is
growing increasingly tied to the fate of his nation.
Mr. Matinenga now sits behind bars in a cold, cramped cell without his
glasses, shoes or socks. His gray suit has been replaced with a tattered beige
prison uniform (the photo above is of him in holding, before changing clothes).
His family worries it’s not enough to keep him warm. They are just thankful he
has not been tortured.
At Rusape Prison where Mr. Matinenga is held, the wardens do not feed their
prisoners. This is common. There is no money.
To feed him, Mr. Matinenga’s relatives travel a two-hundred mile round trip
almost daily from their home in the capital city of Harare to the small town of
Rusape, where he is held. (This despite the country being in the midst of a fuel
crisis.) Mr. Matinenga’s family carries more food than he needs, so that he can
share it with the many other inmates whose families don’t know where they are,
or cannot help anyway.
The situation in this jail, and across the country, is dire. Waves of
state-sponsored violence came in the weeks after March 29th, 2008, when
Tsvangirai defeated President Robert Mugabe in the presidential elections.
However, according to official results (which MDC disputes), Tsvangirai did not
win over 50% of the vote, which would have allowed him to avoid a runoff.
So that runoff was scheduled for Friday, June 27th, 2008, providing ZANU-PF
and its supporters twelve weeks to terrorize the opposition. Since the first
vote, the ruling party and its militarized lackeys have withheld food, tortured
MDC members, and intimidated whole villages.
The ruling party’s message, from Robert Mugabe’s speeches on down, has been
very clear: Vote ZANU-PF or your government, will wage war on you.
That is why MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he is not contesting the runoff vote scheduled for the
end of the week. “We in the MDC cannot ask them [Zimbabweans] to cast their vote
on June 27 when that vote could cost them their lives."
In March, voters from Manicaland province swung away from ZANU-PF toward the
MDC; soon afterwards the military moved in, unleashing reprisals and mass
Frightened residents turned to Mr. Matinenga -- the newly elected Member of
Parliament from the area, and a man known for working within the system against
injustice -- for help.
But when Mr. Matinenga went to deliver his court order to the military in
Buhera, and visit his constituents in jail, the local police took Mr. Matinenga
into custody. They accused him of election-related violence.
There was no evidence against Mr. Matinenga, and, at first, magistrates from
the High Court demanded his release. But senior members
of the military vowed to keep Mr. Matinenga in jail, and so far have succeeded.
Court dates keep getting pushed back as the system stalls and magistrates run
from his case, afraid of facing a similar fate if they rule in his favor.
A few brave lawyers remain in Zimbabwe, fighting for Mr. Matinenga and
others. But they are also being locked up, beaten or worse.
So, as Arnold Tsunga, Director of Africa Program for the
International Commission of Jurists, puts it bluntly: After six years of
intimidation, “the judiciary has failed…the Mugabe regime has now almost
completely overturned the rule of law and created a real possibility of the
country sinking into anarchy.”
Mr. Matinenga, denied bail, awaits trial. It is set to begin on Wednesday,
June 26th. If he loses, he could face an indefinite number of years in jail.
Morgan Tsvangirai is leaving the presidential contest. This ensures that Mr.
Mugabe can’t win another rigged election over Tsvangirai and then relax his grip
until the next vote, as he has done before. And it ensures that Tsvangirai can’t
claim the presidency in the coming week. Either case could have helped speed Mr.
A period of sustained pressure on Mr. Mugabe may well follow, ideally led by
southern African nations. This, too, could well leave Mr. Matinenga languishing
The international community must demand that Mr. Mugabe and his supporters
respect the basic foundation of society – its own law. If President Mugabe and
ZANU-PF continue to trample on the courts, this “last hope” will soon vanish
entirely -- and when Eric Matinenga eventually gets out of jail, there will be
no system left for him to work within.
Quest for jailed opposition leader's bail
by Wayne Mafaro Tuesday 24 June
HARARE - Lawyers for opposition secretary general Tendai
Biti will seek his release on bail on Tuesday, nearly three weeks after the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party politician was arrested as he
arrived at Harare International airport.
"The bail application has
been set down for Tuesday before Ben Hlatshwayo," one of the defence lawyers
Lewis Uriri told ZimOnline.
The state is charging Biti with treason
alleging he is the author of a controversial document that surfaced in
government-owned media just before the March 29 elections and which the
state claims outlines plans to seize power through unconstitutional
The state has claimed in court that the political violence that
has engulfed Zimbabwe since the March poll and which has seen 86 MDC
supporters killed and more than 200 000 others displaced is a directly liked
to the document.
Biti denies penning the document while his party claims
that his arrest and trial as well as the arrest of several other MDC leaders
was just part of an attempt by the government to derail and destabilise the
opposition party. - ZimOnline
There's no threat to Tsvangirai's life: Zim police
by Wayne Mafaro Tuesday 24 June
HARARE - Zimbabwe police chief Augustine Chihuri on
Monday accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
leader Morgan Tsvangirai of lying about threats to his life and seeking
refuge at the Dutch embassy in Harare as a stunt meant to besmirch the
country's image abroad.
Chihuri, a staunch loyalist of President
Robert Mugabe who ordered his men to arrest Tsvangirai five times over the
past four weeks, said the opposition leader had not notified the police of
any threats to his life before seeking refuge at the Dutch embassy in
The police chief said the Harare authorities had learnt with
"shock and surprise" of Tsvangirai's decision to seek sanctuary at the Dutch
embassy. He said the move by the opposition leader was meant to sully the
reputation of Zimbabwe, its police force and the country's presidential
run-off election on Friday.
Chihuri said: "We have learnt with shock
and surprise of the dramatic move to seek refugee at the Dutch embassy in
Harare today by Mr Tsvangirai.
"We do not have any complaints from Mr
Tsvangirai or his party of any threats of violence or attempts on his life
that would cause him to fear for his safety and seek sanctuary at a foreign
The Dutch government said on Monday that Tsvangirai, who pulled
out of the presidential run-off poll because of political violence against
his supporters, sought overnight refuge at its mission in
Amsterdam said the Zimbabwean opposition leader had not applied
for political asylum but had only come to the embassy because he feared for
"He asked to come and stay because he was concerned about
his safety," said a foreign ministry official from the Dutch
Chihuri claimed there was no threat to Tsvangirai's life, saying
"we ask the Netherlands embassy that if Mr Tsvangirai is there, tell him to
go home and enjoy his sleep."
It was not clear last night whether
Tsvangirai was still holed up at the Dutch embassy with some officials in
the MDC saying he had left. The MDC leader was not immediately available for
Tsvangirai went to the Dutch embassy after announcing he was
withdrawing from Friday's election because a free and fair vote was
impossible because of widespread political violence.
leader, who defeated Mugabe in the first round voting in March and remained
favourite to win the run-off poll despite political violence against his
supporters, said political violence had killed 86 members of his party
displaced 200 000 others since March.
He appealed to the Southern African
Development Community, African Union and the United Nations to intervene to
restore law and order in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile Chihuri also denied that
police had arrested MDC supporters during a raid at the party's Harvest
House headquarters earlier in the day.
The police commander said health
inspectors had gone to the opposition party's offices under escort from the
police to remove people who displaced people who had been sheltering at the
offices and take them to a proper government institution in Ruwa, just
"No one was looking for anybody for any crime at Harvest
House . . . Its Ministry of Health inspectors who were accompanied by the
police who went to Harvest House," he said.
A ZimOnline reporter at
the scene saw armed police and some plain-clothes officers (who could have
been the health inspectors claimed by Chihuri) storm Harvest House and
emerge with scores of people some of whom had serious injuries presumably
suffered during political violence.
The police loaded the MDC supporters
onto a bus and drove away with them. It was not known where the police took
the MDC supporters until Chihuri's statement. - ZimOnline
Voters left with little choice as the terror goes on
Many feel let down by
Tsvangirai's exit from presidential poll but for now MDC supporters
concentrate on staying alive
Chris McGreal in Harare The
Guardian, Tuesday June 24, 2008
Smart Zimbabweans are taking no
chances: they are keeping up with the election slogans of Robert Mugabe and
Zanu-PF that are handy to know at difficult moments.
The latest -
"Mugabe in office by force on 27 June" - is useful for those hauled off
buses by the ruling party's militia and forced to profess their loyalty to a
president who recently said only God can remove him from
Anyone unable to recite the slogans or sing liberation war
songs with sufficient enthusiasm is likely to be pummelled to the ground by
the young men and women in Zanu-PF bandanas and fresh white Mugabe
Even as the latest political upheaval seemed to deliver victory
on a plate to the 84-year-old in this Friday's presidential runoff, the
Zanu-PF militia - who have so effectively terrorised the population - were
keeping up their assault yesterday.
From Hwange to Harare, the
abductions, torture and beatings of opposition activists and supporters have
continued. The police raided the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's
headquarters and hauled away scores of men, women and children who had
sought shelter there from the terror campaign.
That has left those who
voted for Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC presidential candidate who won the
first round of elections in March, divided over whether he should have
pulled out of the ballot.
Many wanted the chance to put a nail in
Mugabe's political coffin. But in rural areas, which have borne the brunt of
the state's assault on voters, many had already decided that the only way to
survive was to play Mugabe's game.
"The MDC was not there to give us
confidence," said Eleanor Muzokomba, an MDC supporter who fled her rural
Manicaland village after she was severely beaten. "They were gone. They
could not protect us. What were we supposed to do? Some said they would not
vote. They were the brave ones. The others will vote for Zanu-PF and stay
alive. Now we do not have to make a choice."
Joseph Kuratidzi, an
opposition activist in Mashonaland, agreed: "Mugabe said he will never give
up power. It was a mistake to think a vote would change that. When you vote
you let him know who to kill. We were all targets," he said.
there are those who say that too much blood had already been spilled not to
make the final push.
"People are angry," said Albert Muhpango, a Harare
voter. "They would have voted and voted for MDC. Tsvangirai has betrayed
them. We have already risked our lives to get rid of Mugabe. He didn't have
the right to tell us to stop. No one thinks Mugabe is going to stop killing
us. Now he is going to try to wipe out the MDC."
According to some,
every day that Mugabe extends his rule costs lives through the quiet,
largely unseen deaths of those condemned by insufficient food, lack of
medicines in the hospitals and a shortage of anti-retroviral medicines to
hold Aids at bay.
The crisis has also left the country's white population
more edgy than they have been in a long time. Even during the farm
invasions, the tens of thousands of white Zimbabweans who live in the cities
felt largely protected.
But as Mugabe's racial rhetoric has
intensified, they have come under increasing scrutiny and even hostility
from elements in Zanu-PF. Some have been hauled from their cars and beaten
up in Harare.
Though such beatings are rare, they have sent a judder of
fear through the white community, and the rumour mill is kept at full grind.
Some white Zimbabweans say there is an informal curfew on them and refuse to
leave their homes.
The fears have been exacerbated by the gangs of
Zanu-PF activists moving door to door after dark, rounding up the maids and
gardeners for "reorientation meetings". What used to be viewed as a rural
problem of intimidation has now penetrated deeply into Harare's plush
It is not enough simply to pay lip service to supporting Mugabe.
Each night state television carries video footage of rallies in which MDC
voters are forced to publicly renounce their support for Tsvangirai with
lengthy explanations of how they were duped into believing he stood for a
better life when in fact he was just selling the country to the
Now, after a dose of reorientation, they know better. At least
Mugabe hopes they do, but just in case he made it clear to opposition voters
earlier this month.
"We are not going to give up our country because
of a mere X. How can a ballpoint pen fight with a gun?" he said. His message
- that it does not matter how you vote, the outcome of this election has
been decided by those wielding weapons - has not been lost on Zimbabwean
Paddy Ashdown: Military intervention in Zimbabwe
'would be justified'
The Times June 24, 2008
Lord Ashdown says terror must be ended
Evans, Defence Editor and Catherine Philp in Harare Military intervention in
Zimbabwe would be justified to stop the violence there deteriorating into
mass slaughter, Paddy Ashdown told The Times last night.
of Norton-sub-Hamdon said: "The situation in Zimbabwe could deteriorate to a
point where genocide could be a possible outcome - something that looks like
In that case, international military action, with
Britain playing a "delicate role", would have to be considered, said the
former European Union High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Britain and the United States became the first countries to refuse to
recognise Robert Mugabe as President of Zimbabwe yesterday after Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
sought refuge at the Dutch Embassy.
The Dutch Government said that Mr
Tsvangirai had been granted sanctuary soon after announcing he was
withdrawing from the run-off presidential election on Friday because of
mounting violence that has killed more than 85 supporters, left hundreds
wounded and tens of thousands displaced. Yesterday Zimbabwean police raided
the MDC's headquarters, seizing 60 of its supporters.
The Times has
learnt that the Ministry of Defence already has two contingency plans, one
involving the deployment of troops into Zimbabwe. Lord Ashdown and Lord
Carrington, the former Foreign Secretary, who led the negotiations that
brought to an end white rule in Rhodesia, said that the African Union was
the ideal organisation to deal with President Mugabe.
Britain pressed for
fresh sanctions against Zimbabwe yesterday and asked the United Nations to
recognise the opposition's claim to power, after Condoleezza Rice, the
Secretary of State, said that Mr Mugabe's Government could not be considered
legitimate without a fair run-off.
Gordon Brown said that the status quo
could not be allowed to stand. "We will not recognise the fraudulent
election rigging and violence and intimidation of a criminal and discredited
cabal," he said.
The UN Security Council last night agreed to condemn the
Zimbabwe government after a UN official reported a "staggering degree of
violence". "There is ample evidence that such violence has been perpetrated
by a combination of state agencies - army, police and intelligence - war
veterans and youth militias," Lynn Pascoe, the UN's political supremo, told
At Britain's urging, the 15-nation council was poised to
declare that the "campaign of violence" had made it "impossible" to hold a
run-off election on schedule on Friday.
But South Africa blocked a
British bid to get the 15-nation council to recognise the Zimbabwe
opposition's claim to power, based on the results of the March 29 first
round. Instead, the watered-down Security Council text said merely that "the
results of the 29 March 2008 elections must be respected".
Moon, the UN Secretary-General, called for Friday's presidential run-off in
Zimbabwe to be postponed because of violence and intimidation. "There has
been too much violence, too much intimidation. A vote held in these
conditions would lack all legitimacy," he said. Nelson Mandela, the former
South African President, arrived in Britain yesterday amid increasing
pressure for his country to exert its influence on the Mugabe regime - and
for him personally to speak out against Mr Mugabe.
cross-party calls in the Commons for Mr Mandela - who meets Mr Brown today -
to use his moral authority. But Downing Street sought privately to make
excuses for Mr Mandela's silence and played down the prospect of him
President Mbeki of South Africa is expected in Harare
tomorrow for a final attempt to push Mr Mugabe into negotiations for a
settlement with the MDC, diplomatic sources said. It is his second visit in
a week and follows a reported rebuff by Mr Mugabe of his proposals for a
government of national unity. Mr Tsvangirai said he would consider talks
with Mr Mugabe over a national unity government only if the violence was
Lord Malloch-Brown, the Foreign Office Minister, said that
military action was "not a plausible course" and "would not enjoy
international support". However, there might be support for the use of
international peacekeepers from African Union countries, he
Britain would work for a "deepening" of existing EU sanctions
against 130 leading figures in the Zanu (PF) regime including possibly
banning their children from studying abroad. The EU could also look at
tightening the restrictions on international firms doing business with
The Government would also review British companies doing
business in Zimbabwe. The four remaining major UK companies in the country
are British American Tobacco (BAT), Barclays Bank and the miners Rio Tinto
and Anglo American.
Comments This is as unhelpfull as
Does this not play into the hands of Mugabe who says the West
has a secret agenda to recolonise? Tsvangirai and MDC are accused of doing
its work, now we say this.
Mugabe is comming mass murder but this
statement gives him credibility he does not deserve
Great, stuff. Send in the boys on a shoestring while
we stay at home and fiddle the expenses. What do these polititians, who
have so sensibly pruned our services past the core, think we will send?
Frazzled troops that are doing back to back tours or maybe a contingent of
the Met Police or W.I?
Pete, Ipswich, uk
Surely America or
Brittain have a way to have Mugabe assassinated or alternatively to start
military action and bring this tyrant to a similar end as Sadam Husein.
Thiese are the only possible solutions to end this unjust repression in
Richard Dowden: If the people want power, they must fight
It is clear that Tsvangirai's pleas to the rest of the world have
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
While it was always a
possibility that the Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, would
pull out of Friday's second round of the presidential election, when I met
him in Harare three weeks ago it seemed unlikely. Then he was in a defiant
mood, calling on Robert Mugabe to retire to ensure a peaceful transition and
the establishment of a broad-based government. Having won a majority in the
first round of the presidential election and, with other opposition parties,
a majority of seats in parliament, Mr Tsvangirai sounded confident of
victory. But he did not unequivocally commit to running and already the
first floor of the headquarters of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
was crammed with thousands of people seeking sanctuary from Zanu-PF thugs.
Many were swathed in bandages or plaster, nursing beaten faces and broken
Operation Mavhoterapapi (Who did you vote for?) was already under
way. It was targeted at known MDC activists who were systematically and
brutally beaten. About 80 are reported dead but the scale of the violence
was national. Many had their identity cards destroyed or were driven from
their areas, making it impossible for them to vote.
What no one knew
was whether the nationwide, organised violence against suspected MDC voters
would work. It was clear that a shocked Zanu-PF was making sure its own
constituency would turn out as it failed to do in round one. But would MDC
supporters risk their lives to turn out again to cast their ballots?
Inspired by the brutality, would they defiantly march to the polling
stations on 27 June? No one seemed sure but many people sensed that ordinary
Zimbabweans might be cowed into staying at home and Mugabe might win. Mr
Tsvangirai himself left the country immediately after the 29 March poll and
stayed away for weeks.
No dictator in Africa has ever been driven out by
a mass uprising. Outside intervention, coups, armed rebellions and even
elections have provided their exits. It was always inconceivable that after
the run-off, Mugabe would congratulate Mr Tsvangirai on his victory and
politely step aside. So maybe Mr Tsvangirai was right to spare the lives of
his supporters by pulling out.
But would he have strengthened his
political and moral credibility by toughing it out? It is clear that Mr
Tsvangirai's pleas to the rest of the world to sort out Zimbabwe have
failed. If he wants power and the people of Zimbabwe want rid of tyranny and
an end to impoverishment, they will have to suffer and fight for it. Taking
refuge in the Dutch embassy like a dissident, as Mr Tsvangirai did
yesterday, is not the mark of great leadership. The battle for power in
Zimbabwe is still to be fought.
Assuming that on Saturday, Mugabe will
celebrate winning 100 per cent of the vote, two factors now come into play.
Firstly, the economy is barely alive. African economies do not die, they
fade into subsistence. There are no buffers or precipices. But the
government's ability to pay people to do its bidding is almost at an end.
When I arrived, £1 was worth a billion Zimbabwean dollars. When I left it
was two billion. Today £1 is worth 40 billion Zimbabwean dollars. What will
happen when thousands of soldiers, policemen and spies have to start finding
food rather than going to work for Mugabe? The government may have a
monopoly of violence at the moment but, as the economy shrinks, so will the
government's power to rule.
The second factor is the growing chorus of
respected Africans who are speaking out against Mugabe. Presidents Levy
Mwawanasa of Zambia and Ian Karma of Botswana have denounced him. Even
former close allies like the former presidents of Mozambique and Tanzania,
Joachim Chissano and Ben Mkapa, have been critical. So, incredibly, has
President Eduardo dos Santos of Angola- a man who also does not believe in
In a continent where African presidential solidarity is, in
public at least, rock solid, do not underestimate the importance of these
voices in removing Mugabe's legitimacy. Being made a pariah by Western
countries is one thing; being made a pariah by other African rulers is
Against this stands the rapidly diminishing figure of
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, already rejected by his own party and
stepping down at the next election. His quiet diplomacy policy on Zimbabwe
has failed and it is clear he has no alternative. He treats the crisis in
Zimbabwe like a domestic row that needs a mediator, rather than a power
struggle in which one side has cast aside any pretence of playing by the
rules or restraint.
As his own power wanes, so will his ability to
prevent other African leaders from taking on a leadership role on Zimbabwe.
That is a necessary shift but, for the foreseeable future, it is in Zimbabwe
itself that change will have to happen.
Richard Dowden is the
director of the Royal African Society
Zimbabwe: ‘They beat you...even old
men and pregnant women’
June 24, 2008
Supporters of the Movement for Deomocratic Change are
taken away after police raided its headquarters in Harare yesterday. About 60
people were detained, police said
Jan Raath in
Even as Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change, was making his announcement that would turn Zimbabwe’s bloody
elections into a one-man race, hordes of President Mugabe’s youth militia were
hard at work in Epworth, a crowded, chaotic township on Harare’s southern
“They were forcing people out of their houses,
beating them to go to the rally,” said Kennedy Dzuwa, a black-market fuel
dealer. “They wanted to get every person in Epworth there. Mugabe was coming. It
has never been so bad.”
And it has been very bad in Epworth every day for the
past five weeks. Zanu (PF) has been working methodically through each house,
area by area, subjecting every person they suspect of supporting the MDC - which
is about 80 per cent of Epworth’s adult population - to a humiliating beating.
“Every morning from nine until five,” said the thin,
reserved woman of 34 who called herself Tambudzwa.
“Monday to Sunday. Since the start of the run-off
campaign [in mid-May]. Man, woman, boy.
“Even old man. Even pregnant woman.”
It is punishment for having voted for the MDC in the
March elections, and to ensure that they “vote correctly” for Mr Mugabe in the
run-off vote, which the ruling party insists will go ahead as planned on Friday.
The systematic, ritual brutality is reminiscent of Mao Zedong’s Cultural
Tambudzwa and her lodger were dragged out of her
house last Wednesday morning, with her daughter, Sipiwe, aged 15 months,
strapped to her back.
Her husband, Victor, had fled the week before,
believing the women would be unharmed.
They were marched with a raucous crowd of Zanu (PF)
youths armed with sticks, to near the dam in Epworth, where the militia base is
situated. They were ordered to sit down, and a man in a Zanu (PF) T-shirt and
neckerchief in the Zanu (PF) colours of red, green, yellow and black read out
numbers of houses in the area.
“When they read out your house number, it is because
you are MDC. You have to go and sit in front, separate from everyone else.”
Zanu (PF)’s knowledge of how anyone voted in a
genuinely secret ballot in March, is simple. So few people voted for Zanu (PF)
that their identities are well known to the authorities. It is assumed that
everybody else voted for the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai.
“Then one man reads out the names of the MDC people,”
said Tambudzwa. “One by one, they come to the front and they have to lie on the
ground on their stomachs. Then they are beaten, for about five minutes, on their
backs. The women cry. The men grunt.
“They use a heavy stick they have broken from a tree.
They use all their force, with two hands. And after they have been beaten, they
have to stand up and give the Zanu (PF) fist salute. Then they have to say, ‘
Pamberi ne-Mugabe. Ndadzoka ku Zanu (PF) [Forward with Mugabe. I am back with
Then they go and sit down again and the next one’s
name is called.” The affair was punctuated with slogan chanting and singing,
including one song with the words, “Tsvangirai is HIV positive”, she said.
In spite of the calculated terror, when people
returned to their seats after the beating, she said, “they were whispering
secretly to each other . . . They will never vote for Zanu (PF)”.
There is no way of avoiding a beating. Women with
babies had to hand them over to other women. “The babies were crying. We had to
sit there all day, not allowed to get up, no water, no food, no toilet, in the
sun. No feeding babies, no changing nappies.
“Sipiwe was crying, she was scared, she was saying,
‘Mummy, look, they are being beaten’,” said Tambudzwa. “She was vomiting. I
asked one of the youth if I could take her away. He said, ‘I don’t care about
Chance intervened at about 2pm, by which time more
than a hundred people had been flogged, she said. A Zanu (PF) vehicle arrived
with bundles of T-shirts and the youths forgot their duties in the scramble for
a free handout. Tambudzwa and scores of others scattered.
Sipiwe now cries when the radio is turned up loud, or
anyone shouts. She is subdued and clings to her mother. “She is not friendly any
more,” Tambudzwa said.
She abandoned her home that night, leaving the door
locked with all the family’s goods inside, in the knowledge that she was told at
the meeting that if she escaped, her home would be destroyed.
Henchmen who keep Robert Mugabe in power must face sanctions against their
assets, travel and the overseas education of their children Zimbabwe for too
long has been a country about which it has become difficult to speak, and
impossible to stay silent. There will now, quite rightly, be calls for more
effective action against Robert Mugabe's wilful tyranny. But before the
international community considers intervention that puts its blood and
treasure at risk, it should take measures that put precisely what Mr
Mugabe's men treasure most - their families and their fortunes - in
With Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, taking refuge in the Dutch Embassy in Harare
yesterday after having withdrawn his party from Friday's presidential
run-off vote, the moment has arrived when even the most optimistic observers
have acknowledged that all last hope for a legitimate transition to a new
government has evaporated like water on a hot griddle. The time has come for
the political to become personal.
We already know half a dozen of the
Harare Henchmen who keep Mr Mugabe in power. It is time to target them,
their assets overseas and the children they send to study in our schools and
universities. These hoodlums may have no need to cower in Harare, but there
should be no hiding place for them and their families abroad.
they? Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's Minister of Rural Housing, is notorious
for his brutality towards opponents and for his desire to succeed Mr Mugabe.
Constantine Chiwenga is the ruthless Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence
Force. The son of Augustine Chihuri, Commissioner General of Zimbabwe
Republic Police, has already been deported from Australia. Retired
Major-General Paradzayi Zimondi, head of the Prison Service, ordered his
officers to vote for Mr Mugabe. Air Marshal Perence Shiri is chief of the
Air Force and Mr Mugabe's cousin. Brighton Bonyongwe, formerly a
brigadier-general in the Defence Force before retiring to take on the role
of head of the Central Intelligence Organisation, enjoys life on his two
previously white-owned farms. These men should know that the world is no
longer watching and waiting, but readying itself to act.
What can be
done to these men? Lord Malloch-Brown, the Foreign Office Minister for
Africa, urged the United Nations and the African Union yesterday to join
Britain and the European Union in considering deeper sanctions: acting
against the financial assets of members of Mr Mugabe's administration,
against their freedom to travel without arrest, or against allowing children
of Mr Mugabe's inner circle to study overseas. Mr Mugabe and his henchmen
must be left in no doubt that the world is collecting evidence of his crimes
and that a case could be brought in the International Criminal
A civilised world is aware that hand-wringing from the sidelines
is no longer a morally fit response to the tragedy of Zimbabwe. Gordon Brown
told the House of Commons yesterday: "The world is of one view: that the
status quo cannot continue. The current Government is a regime that should
not be recognised by anyone."
Mr Mugabe is reaching his endgame, as
yet unwritten. He could succumb to a national uprising, an economic
collapse, a foreign invasion. But the most swift, least bloody and most
likely conclusion is for his own men to sense that Mr Mugabe's end is near -
and with his, theirs. In these circumstances, they will turn on him. It is
time to provoke his inner circle to expedite this end.
not sense any appetite for military intervention. But nor can such
intervention ever entirely be ruled out. The world is not in the business of
ignoring forever the murderous havoc of Zimbabwe's despot. In the meantime,
the West must join Harare's neighbours in squeezing the Zimbabwean
leadership until the pips squeak.
Zimbabwe's race towards oblivion
has triggered literally thousands of condemnatory statements but little in
the way of imagination. In proposing in Sunday's Outlook section that Europe
induce a military coup by temporarily withdrawing its recognition of Robert
Mugabe's government, Paul Collier certainly gets high marks for
Collier knows more than most about the downward spiral that
spins out of control when war and poverty collide, and his proposal that the
international community reject the legitimacy of governments that willfully
deny humanitarian assistance provided by the UN to their citizens adds a new
option to the usual list of pressures -- sanctions, the threat of legal
prosecution and diplomatic approbation -- that are imposed on recalcitrant
regimes. As well, it is a proposal that could give teeth to the
"responsibility to protect," a doctrine that has won the verbal support of a
majority of the world's governments but which has yielded nothing in the way
of meaningful action. Offered with understandable reservations, Collier's
suggestion that this pressure be used to "guide" a coup by the military,
however, is fraught with difficulties. First, Zimbabwe's military has a
direct and prominent role in orchestrating the ongoing campaign of violence,
and there are clear indications that its senior leadership has vested
interests in maintaining powers that are on par with Mugabe's. According to
insiders, it was the security forces -- including the military -- that
persuaded Mugabe to hang tight when he briefly contemplated conceding to his
opponent for the presidency, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for
Second, Zimbabwe's military has neither a
monopoly on the use of force nor, necessarily, the means to thwart the
spread of the violence that is now being triggered not just by the security
services, but also by the Veterans' Association and gangs of armed and
unemployed young men organized as "youth militia." Third, acute pressure
might cause Zimbabwe's highly-politicized officer corps to dump Mugabe, but
it is unlikely to cause them to embrace his opponent or oversee truly free
elections. Fourth and finally, there is the danger that the military will
fail to act, and that Mugabe will, as he has for the last decade, exploit
the isolation triggered by Europe to justify a new round of
There is another way, and one that has a different starting
point and might lead to a different outcome. Rather than giving Mugabe the
opportunity to spin the temporary withdrawal of recognition by Europe, or
even the UN, in the terms of "us versus them," recognition should first and
prominently be withdrawn by African governments.
Many, including the
citizens of Zimbabwe, are frustrated by and disappointed in the failure of
southern Africa's regional point man, South African President Thabo Mbeki,
to forge a solution over the last several years. Fortunately, others are now
stepping up to the plate. The governments of Botswana, Angola, Tanzania and
Zambia -- all countries that share Zimbabwe's legacy in the struggle against
apartheid -- are now challenging the status quo, as are 14 former African
heads of state and Kofi Annan. The Prime Minister of Kenya, whose leadership
emerged out of his country's own post-election crisis, has called on Mugabe
to resign. It is these voices that should lead an international charge to
deny Mugabe's government its legitimacy -- as they can also deny him the
chance to invoke an external enemy as the rationale for his continued
But equally important as who leads with the pressure is the shape
of the incentives that are put on the table. There are three scenarios for
change in Zimbabwe. Given rampant violence and the withdrawal of opposition
leader Tsvangirai from the June 27 run-off, it is unlikely that the
electoral process will yield anything more than to redouble Mugabe's lust
for power. The government of national unity proposed by South Africa has
been rejected by both Mugabe and Tsvangirai, and neither man is likely to
budge in the near term. The most viable scenario is one in which the
combination of internal and external pressure forces Mugabe to exit the
State House, either under his own steam or, as Collier suggests, at the
point of a gun.
If the Africans lead in providing the pressure, the rest
of the international community should lead in providing the incentive. To
hedge their bets -- against a military coup and in favor of Mugabe's forced
but peaceful departure -- the European Union, United States, World Bank, UN
and other donors should put on offer to a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe and the
region a robust transition package designed not only to help Zimbabwe
recover, but also to re-establish its status as a productive member of
southern Africa's economic and political future.
With an inflation
rate now topping 1-million percent, its once-healthy institutions weakened
and abused, and its people dependent on the outside world for their
survival, a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe will need considerable assistance, promptly
delivered. And Zimbabwe's neighbors will need a Zimbabwe that exports not
violence and refugees, but grain and political stability. With strong
pressure on one end, and a viable incentive on the other, those in the
middle of Zimbabwe's crisis might just do the right thing.
Smith is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and co-founder
of the ENOUGH Project.