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Intervention in Zimbabwe is the only solution

The Times
June 24, 2008

The idea that Mugabe will cave in to sanctions or diplomatic pressure is
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."

Well, 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.

Till 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(from which Morgan Tsvangirai had already withdrawn) or - in a manner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 it.

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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.

This 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

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 involved.

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 capitals.

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 strongman?

"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

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!

B Clark, Chelmsford, England

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War crimes warning to Robert Mugabe as terror grows

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 indictment."

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 victory."

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 Libya.

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.

The Zimbabwean 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.

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 Zealand

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.

Neil, Gloucestershire, England

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 forget

sanchez, dublin, ireland

Mugabe ...

Predator is heading your way to honourably assist your removal.

Martin, Ebagum,

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

Friends, I 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

Lim , Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Wow, I'll bet Mugabe is really worried!

Ian Burgess, Bristol,

Nothing will happen to them because they're African and the west has a habit
of pandering to them

John, Salford, England

"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 in Africa...)

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 now.......

Roger Salmon, Bexhill on Sea, UK

Given a warning? What's he got to do to evoke action?

Felix, London, UK

Blame 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, UK,

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?

Can someone also whilst their at it explain the difference between Mugabe's
actions and those of Israel?

Ian Watson, Gillingham, United Kingdom

What does 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.

Tony Hughes, Abergavenny, Wales

This will certainly not help the situation. Zanu-PF leaders are already
afraid of being tried for corruption

How 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

I can't 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.

Marvin 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, UK

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

Yes Mugabe 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 ??

Kevin, London, UK

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?

Mugabe is guilty of war crimes and must be brought to justice.

Scott F, London, UK

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 removal.

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)

Alan, Edinburgh,

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 noise instead.

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

Chris D, Edinburgh, Scotland

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.

john johnston, Cambridgeshire, UK

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

abharrisson, london,

The league 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?

Shaun, Peterborough,

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 anything useful.

Maybe some neighbouring country?

Keith S, Winnipeg, Canada

"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.

richard, bangkok,

The UN...That shoud have been a democratic 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

Glen, Johannesburg,

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

I believe that Robert Mugabe professes the Christian faith. Why has he not
been excommunicated from whichever church it is he attends?

Lester 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.

Dave Muir, Edinburgh, Scotland

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.

John, Atlanta, GA

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 Africa

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 moustache.

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, USA

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, Australia

My god, will someone do SOMETHING, please!!!

Wait - does Zimbabwe have oil?

No? Oh, sorry. What's on TV?

Joey Tavares, Toronto, Canada

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, Australia

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 set.

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.

Stan(expat), USA, USA

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MoD contingency plans for military action in Zimbabwe

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

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.

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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.

Lord 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 there.

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

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".

The 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.

Any 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.

Harare's armed forces

25,000 Army personnel

4,000 Air force

21,800 Paramilitary

£79 million 2006 defence budget

3.8% Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP (2006)

45 Number of combat-capable aircraft

40 Number of main battle tanks, mostly nonoperational

80 Armoured infantry fighting vehicles

85 Number of armoured personnel carriers

242 Number of artillery pieces

18-24 Years of age for compulsory military service Sourcesthe Military
Balance 2008, IISS; CIA World Factbook

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Clegg says 'moral case' exists for invading Zimbabwe

ViewLondon, UK

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 impossible.

Mr Clegg made the statement at his first major foreign policy speech, during
which he described the kind of 'liberal interventionism' his party would

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 factor.

Instead, he proposed cutting off foreign remittances to Zimbabwe.

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 said.

"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."

He 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 Mugabe.

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.

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Zimbabweans in London mourn the Death of Democracy



















Zimbabwean 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 Mugabe regime.


The London demonstrators 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.


Zimbabwean demonstrators 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 90th Birthday.


·         Protest outside Zimbabwe Embassy – Friday 27th June from 10 am to 4 pm. Ex-President Mugabe or someone looking very much like him will be there.

·         South African High Commission from 1 – 2 pm – presentation of the following petition: “A petition to President Mbeki of South 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 door.”

·         After the Embassy demonstration we will move to Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park to ask Mandela to speak out against Mugabe. The concert starts at 6.30 pm.

·         For further information, contact: Rose Benton (07970 996 003, 07932 193 467), Dumi Tutani (07960 039 775) and Ephraim Tapa (07940 793 090).


Vigil Co-ordinators


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.

23rd June 2008

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Army takes over power from Mugabe, MDC leaders on the run, hiding

      By Tafara Shoko | Harare Tribune Correspondent | Monday, June 23, 2008

      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.

      According to 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 them.

      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.

      The security 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 the country.

      ZANU-PF leader Robert Mugabe, despite pressure from regional leaders,
has refused to guarantee the safety of the MDC leadership.

      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

      "The 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 said.

      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

      Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has already preached victory for
Mugabe, branding Tsvangirai a "coward" who withdrew because he faced certain

      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."

      And 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

      Meanwhile, Tsvangirai on said Monday that the international community
should declare presidential elections "null and void" and organize a new

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

      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

      "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."

      In 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 anger."

      "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."

      He also described it as a "well calculated move to besmirch the
presidential run-off election ... and further brutalise the image of

      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 Tribune News

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Zimbabwe: The commitment to democracy
By Eddie Cross | Harare Tribune Syndicated Columnist | Monday, June 23, 2008 17:08

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.
Photo: AP

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 qualify.

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 paper.

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 lows.

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, Mugabe complied.

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.
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 power.

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 what?

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Mugabe government criminal, illegitimate
By Tawanda Takavarasha | Harare Tribune Correspondent | Monday, June 23, 2008 14:49

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 Mugabe.
Photo: Harare Tribune

"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 crisis.

"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 Zimbabwe.

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 ambassadors.

"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 office.

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 Zimbabwe.

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 government.

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 Friday.

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 ignored.

‘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.
Photo: AP

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 yesterday".

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 News

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The War of the Words

Zimbabwe Today

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.

Latest intelligence 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 rule.

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 poor country.

Here are some examples of what has become a world-wide verbal conflict:

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 Africa.

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 climate.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Mugabe regime "cannot be
considered legitimate in the absence of a run-off".

Former 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 doing it.

At this point your own Moses would normally put forward his point of view.
But frankly, I think too much has been said already.

Posted on Monday, 23 June 2008 at 22:02

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Mugabe calls Britain and US liars: state media

Yahoo News

1 hour, 1 minute ago

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.

"Britain 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 supporters.

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 commission.

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

Mugabe 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

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 goods.

"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 change."

The country's chronic economic crisis left 80 percent of the population
living below the poverty threshold amid mass shortages of basic goods in

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Speak out on London visit, Mandela urged

Independent, UK

By Claire Soares
Tuesday, 24 June 2008

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.

"Every voice 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 rest.

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Silent witness

The Scotsman

 Monday, 23rd June 2008

The 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

Had he 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?


Horseleys Park

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.


Harcourt Drive

Harrogate, North Yorkshire

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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.

Unambiguous, 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.

But now 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 poorest.

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 front.

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 battle.

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Mbeki's softly-softly approach infuriated west - and bought time for Mugabe

Xan Rice in Nairobi
The Guardian,
Tuesday June 24, 2008

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.

For 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 impartiality.

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

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 wasn't."

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 Pigou.

"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 poor."

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UN leader wants election scrapped

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 scrapped.

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 crisis.

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.

Urgent 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 this.

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

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.

AU 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 peacekeepers.

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

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 considered legitimate.

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Tsvangirai's new struggle

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.

But Tsvangirai's 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.

The 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 Zimbabwe

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Tutu backs Tsvangirai decision

SBS, Australia

Tuesday, 24 June, 2008

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 farce.

"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 broadcaster.

"The conditions are totally chaotic, unacceptable. ... I think, in the
circumstances, he (Tsvangirai) has probably taken the right decision."

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'."

He said the international community had to "hope against hope" that Mugabe
could still be persuaded to peacefully step away from his position.

Tsvangirai 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.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon today urged Zimbabwean authorities to put off the vote
in view of Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the competition.
Source: AFP

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UN's BAN Ki-moon / Remarks to Journalists following the Security Council luncheon

African Press Organization

HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 23, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ - Remarks
after the security council luncheon - New York, 23 June 2008 :

SG: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen:

As I am going to have another press stakeout on Thursday, and as I

have another important engagement at 3:10, I will be very brief and I

will focus today on the situation in Zimbabwe. As you know, the Security

Council will discuss this matter from 3:00 this afternoon, so my

statement will be brief.

I would like to take this moment to say how distressed I am by the

events leading to the understandable decision of the Opposition

candidate Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the runoff election

scheduled for this Friday.

You have all seen the statement I issued yesterday. We strongly

agree with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that

conditions do not exist for free and fair elections right now in

Zimbabwe. There has been too much violence, too much intimidation. A

vote held in these conditions would lack all legitimacy. Just today we

have seen a new report of a raid on the Opposition headquarters in

Harare and of dozens of arrests.

The campaign of threat and intimidation we have seen in Zimbabwe

goes against the very spirit of democracy. Instead of openness, free

competition and transparency, we have witnessed fear, hostility and

blatant attacks against Zimbabwean citizens.

This violence and intimidation must stop. The people of Zimbabwe

have a right to live in peace and security, to enjoy the protections of

the rule of law, and to vote freely and fairly for those who would lead


Over the week-end, I have been in close contact with a number of

African leaders. We all agree that the elections should be postponed

until the right conditions are in place. I would strongly discourage the

authorities from going ahead with the run-off on Friday. It will only

deepen divisions within the country and produce a result that cannot be


I am committed to working with the SADC, and the African Union to

get the parties talking in order to avoid an even greater tragedy in

Zimbabwe. Many leaders have suggested stronger involvement of the

United Nations in this process. My envoy on the ground, Haile Menkerios,

remains ready to assist these efforts.

Let me say in conclusion that what happens in Zimbabwe has

importance well beyond that country's borders. The situation in

Zimbabwe represents the single greatest challenge to regional stability

in Southern Africa today. The region's political and economic security

is at stake, as is the very institution of elections in Africa.

Thank you very much.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, the US and Britain have circulated a draft

statement for the Security Council to consider that suggests that, in

the absence of a clearly free and fair election, if one can't be held,

they really think the logical thing to do for legitimacy is to revert

back to the results of the 29 May election. Do you consider that really

is the road forward, that that is the position the Government should

take, which would essentially make Mr. Tsvangirai the President?

SG: As I said, as many world leaders have stated clearly and

publicly, that under these circumstances where violence and intimidation

are prevalent, any election to be held on Friday cannot be credible, and

fair and objective. Therefore legitimacy will always be in question.

Let's wait [to see] how the Security Council will debate on this issue.

Q: What is your view, Sir, on some countries which argue that Zimbabwe

is an internal issue and should not be discussed in the Security

Council? Are we going to see more countries which have unfair elections

being discussed here, Sir?

SG: Democracy is a fundamental principle, a universally accepted

principle, and all institutions should be based on democratic rules and

procedures. This is exactly why all the world is very much concerned

about what is going on in Zimbabwe. We have repeatedly appealed and

urged that this election, the run-off of the presidential election, must

be held in the most transparent and credible and democratic way. Now

that, under these circumstances, the Opposition candidate has withdrawn

from this presidential race, and we have seen intimidation and violence,

nobody can say that this election can be credible.

Q: You met with President Mugabe; he ignored your appeals. A few days

later there were more attacks. You have also met with the leaders of

Myanmar and the leaders of Sudan, and many would say there has been very

little progress. Have you, one and a half years into your term, learned

the limits of what many say is secular power and authority in your

office, or is there something that you think you should adjust tactics?

SG: When I had the meeting with President Mugabe, of course he

assured me that this election would be a democratic one, and he also

assured my envoy, Mr. Haile Menkerios, when he met him in Harare. This

is what he must do. I have met, as you said, during the last one and a

half years, many leaders who made commitments for peace and stability in

the region. These commitments must be implemented. That is the ground

rule, that whatever commitment has been made, those should be

implemented. That is democratic rule. I have been frustrated by the lack

of progress in many parts of the conflict areas, but I am committed to

continuing my role as Secretary-General. It needs time and it needs

perseverance and it needs some patience, and I will continue to convince

leaders to implement their commitments.

Q: Do you still think that the Security Council should play a role in

the political situation in Zimbabwe, although it doesn't threaten

international peace and security?

SG: As I said, I'm convinced that this situation has more than what

you could argue is an internal situation. This has implications beyond

Zimbabwean borders. It has great implications to peace and stability,

particularly when it comes to humanitarian situations in all the regions

and in Africa. As I said, the credibility of Zimbabwe and the African

Union is at stake, and therefore I count on the leaders of the African

Union to exercise their leadership so that we can see peace and

harmonious stability in Zimbabwe. Thank you very much.

SOURCE : United Nations - Office of the Spokesperson of the

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Tsvangirai's Lawyer Meets His Own Fate

Eric Matinenga in a holding cell in Rusape, Zimbabwe.
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 intimidation.

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.

According to reports from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the International Bar Association, Mr. Matinenga had previously sued the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) amid allegations that they were torturing and arresting MDC supporters in his home district of Buhera, within Manicaland Province. In court, he won an important court order mandating the ZDF lay off MDC supporters.

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. Matinenga's release

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 in jail.

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.

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Quest for jailed opposition leader's bail continues

Zim Online

by Wayne Mafaro  Tuesday 24 June 2008

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 means.

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. -

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There's no threat to Tsvangirai's life: Zim police chief

Zim Online

by Wayne Mafaro Tuesday 24 June 2008

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

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 Harare.

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 embassy"

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 Harare.

Amsterdam said the Zimbabwean opposition leader had not applied for
political asylum but had only come to the embassy because he feared for his

"He asked to come and stay because he was concerned about his safety," said
a foreign ministry official from the Dutch capital.

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 comment.

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.

The opposition 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 outside Harare.

"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

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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 T-shirts.

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

"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.

But 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

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 suburbs.

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 British.

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

"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 voters.

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Paddy Ashdown: Military intervention in Zimbabwe 'would be justified'

The Times
June 24, 2008

Lord Ashdown says terror must be ended

Michael 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

Lord Ashdown 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 [another] Rwanda."

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

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

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 the council.

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

Ban Ki 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.

There were 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 intervening.

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 halted.

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 said.

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 Zimbabwe.

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

This is as unhelpfull as sanctions.

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

Jason Pearson, Toronto, Canada

Great, stuff.
Send in the boys on a shoestring while we stay at home and fiddle the
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 Zimbabwe.

Tibor, Gold Coast, Australia

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Richard Dowden: If the people want power, they must fight for it

Independent, UK

It is clear that Tsvangirai's pleas to the rest of the world have failed

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 limbs.

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 elections.

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 something else.

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

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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

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

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 outskirts.

“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 Revolution.

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 Zanu (PF)]’.”

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 your baby’.”

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.

They are now refugees in a middle-class suburb.

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Zimbabwe: making it personal

The Times
June 24, 2008

The Harare 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

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.

Who are 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 Court.

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.

Britain does 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.

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Getting to a Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe

Washington Post

By Gayle E. Smith
Monday, June 23, 2008; 4:03 PM

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 creativity.

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 Democratic Change.

 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 bloodletting.

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 rule.

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

Gayle E. Smith is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and
co-founder of the ENOUGH Project.

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