by Susan Njanji 13 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe pushed ahead Tuesday with plans for a presidential
run-off vote, even with the leader of the opposition holed up in the Dutch
embassy and world leaders denouncing Robert Mugabe's rule as illegitimate.
Morgan Tsvangirai, who took refuge in the embassy on Sunday night after
announcing he would not challenge Mugabe in the run-off, told AFP by phone
that he would leave when he was "satisfied that it's safe to do so."
"I am not being chased away and my hosts have said I can stay for as long as
I don't feel it's safe to leave ... probably within the next two days," he
Tsvangirai cited pre-poll violence against his supporters as the reason for
withdrawing from Friday's election.
Mugabe has not directly responded to Tsvangirai's move, but his government
has said preparations for the vote will move ahead, setting up a possible
victory by default for the veteran leader.
In state media on Tuesday, Mugabe accused Britain, the United States and
their allies of lying to the world to justify intervention in his country.
"Britain and her allies are telling a lot of lies about Zimbabwe, saying a
lot of people are dying," the state-run Herald newspaper reported him as
The UN Security Council has urged that the run-off vote be postponed and
condemned the violence the opposition says has killed dozens of its
supporters and made a fair election impossible.
Britain, the United States and France all branded Mugabe's regime as
"illegitimate", and UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned that holding the election
"would only deepen the divisions within the country and produce results that
cannot be credible."
Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United Nations, Boniface Chidyausiku, said
Ban's comments were "out of order."
"For him (Ban) to grandstand in New York and suggest that we should postpone
the election is out of order as far as we are concerned," he said on SABC
Asked what action he would like the UN UN to take, Tsvangirai told AFP the
body did not have the "jurisdiction" to postpone run-off the vote.
"They can only recommend," he said, adding that holding an election in the
current conditions was impossible.
A spokesman for Zimbabwe's electoral commission said Tuesday the body still
had not received a letter from Tsvangirai confirming his withdrawal from the
run-off and was moving ahead.
"The preparations are at an advanced stage," Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
spokesman Uitoile Silaigwana told AFP.
"Today we are winding up our training and deployment of election officers.
Ballot materials are being distributed across the country. We are almost
The opposition says more than 80 of its supporters have been killed and
thousands injured in a campaign of intimidation in the lead up to the vote.
On Monday, police raided Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party headquarters, with an MDC spokesman claiming more than 60 people,
including victims of political violence who had taken shelter there, were
Police said they had received reports that health conditions had
deteriorated at the headquarters and took 39 people to a rehabilitation
"None of them has been arrested ... No one was looking for anybody, let
alone Mr. Tsvangirai," said police chief Augustine Chihuri.
Chihuri also said Tsvangirai was under no threat and had taken refuge at the
Dutch embassy in a "move intended to provoke international anger."
Mugabe is accused by critics of leading the once model economy to ruin and
trampling on human rights. The country has the world's highest inflation
rate and is experiencing major food shortages.
He has pledged the opposition will never come to power in his lifetime and
vowed to fight to keep it from occurring.
Angola Press Agency (Luanda)
24 June 2008
Posted to the web 24 June 2008
Angola's Foreign Affairs minister, Joćo Bernardo de Miranda, said Monday in
Luanda that the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) will only
withdraw its observers from Zimbabwe if the main opposition MDC party
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, officially confirms his pulling out of the poll.
The Angolan diplomat said so at the opening of the meeting of SADC's
Inter-State Committee of Policy and Diplomacy.
He explained that although Morgan Tsvangirai has announced that he is
quitting the presidential race, SADC can only take a stand after the MDC
leader formally submits his pull-out decision to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Joćo Miranda noted that after the general elections in Zimbabwe, held on 27
March this year, whose results called for a presidential run-off, the
situation in that country is deteriorating.
The claims by some candidates that there has been restriction on movement,
have taken to Harare the SADC executive secretary, who worked out and
submitted a report to the Ministerial Troika of the regional organisation,
stressed the minister.
To the Angolan Foreign minister, the Troika's conclusion, after the report,
is that the situation in that country is extremely serious, indicating that
should the insecurity climate continue, until the presidential run-off (June
27), the election would probably not be free or fair.
On the other hand, the Angolan minister also said that the committee's
meetings are in the light of the SADC strategy, aimed at securing stability
and peace in the region, the key condition for the implementation of
economic, social development and the regional integration of member states.
The meeting's agenda also includes an analysis of the political and security
situation in the region, consolidation of democracy and the need to speed up
the process of creating the Electoral Consultative Council.
After the opening speech, the SADC's Interstate Committee met on closed door
so that the heads of the respective delegations could be briefed, by the
Zimbabwean minister of Foreign Affairs, Simbarashe Mumbengwi, on the
situation in that country.
June 24, 2008, 11:00
Senior leaders of the Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) have arrived in the Angolan capital, Luanda, for high level talks with
Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Troika of Foreign Ministers.
This is after South Africa, Russia and China formally criticised Zimbabwe,
for the first time, at the United Nations (UN). The 15 member Security
Council earlier signed a unanimous statement condemning the violence and
intimidation of the opposition.
MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has praised the UN Security Council for
issuing a formal statement condemning violence against his supporters.
"We are in Angola at the moment about to meet the organ on peace and
security. I'm accompanying the President's envoy to Angola to relay the
message that we are pleased with the resolution of the United Nations", said
MDC's spokesperson, George Sibotshiwe.
Sibotshiwe says they believe that it is critical for the election to be
postponed in order to create a more conducive environment; or, in the
absence of that, to ensure that negotiations take place based on the results
of the 29th March.
June 24, 2008, 12:15
The United Nations should put Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his
officials on trial in the International Criminal Court for crimes against
humanity, the African Christian Democratic Party said today.
Party leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe said this was in view of the apparent
state-sponsored murder and torture of members of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) and the public in Zimbabwe.
"We are shocked and repulsed by the terror tactics of Mugabe and his forces
against a completely defenceless public as displayed in news reports. We
extend our condolences to those tortured and those who lost loved ones in
the political violence."
The ACDP said those calling for a government of national unity that included
Mugabe were trying to protect a cruel leader from prosecution and should not
be taken seriously.
The party also said the decision by the MDC to withdraw from the run-off
elections was a courageous one. "It must have been a very difficult decision
for the MDC to make. As all appearances indicate that the violence against
the MDC is state organised and state sponsored," said Meshoe.
The ACDP called on the international community, particularly the African
Union and UN, to intervene in the crisis. He said SADC had dismally failed
Zimbabweans. "There must be an immediate end to this senseless violence," he
June 23, 2008
Why Chiwenga would die for Mugabe
By Geoffrey Nyarota
Should a man who failed an elementary military test, shot himself in the
heart in despair as a result, missed the vital organ by millimeters, before
the test result was reversed in his favour out of sympathy, ever be
permitted to assume command of the armed forces of a nation?
Most fair minded people will say, "Of course not."
The foregoing is an apt description of the circumstances surrounding the
launch of the military career of the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga.
Not only did then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe order the officials at the
Military Staff Training College in Gweru to reverse the result of the
crucial test that the young officer had failed, he also immediately rewarded
him with promotion to the rank of brigadier, appointing him to take charge
of the Zimbabwe Army's One Brigade in Bulawayo. He became Brigadier Dominic
Chinenge was the name that Chiwenga assumed after he enlisted with ZANLA on
arrival in Mozambique in 1973. After the ceasefire and independence he first
came to the notice of the new military top brass as commander of the Zanla
forces during the Entumbane uprising in Bulawayo.
Then Finance Minister Enos Nkala, an avowed enemy of PF-Zapu President Dr
Joshua Nkomo, made inflammatory remarks at a Zanu-PF rally held in Bulawayo
in November 1980. He warned Nkomo and PF-Zapu that Zanu-PF would deliver a
few blows against the opposition party. This careless and insensitive remark
sparked off the first Entumbane uprising, in which Zipra and Zanla, the
armed wings of the two parties fought a pitched battle for two days in the
newly constructed but still unoccupied suburb of Entumbane, where troops of
both armies had been temporarily cantoned.
Chinenge was the commander of the Zanla troops.
In February 1981 there was a second uprising, which spread to Glenville and
also to Connemara in the Midlands. ZIPRA troops in other parts of
Matabeleland headed for Bulawayo to join the battle, and ex-Rhodesian units
were brought in to stop the conflict. Over 300 people, most of them
ex-guerillas lost their lives.
The British Military Advisory Team (BMAT), which the new government of
Zimbabwe contracted to integrate Zanla and Zipra, as well as elements of the
former Rhodesian security Forces and also to modernize the new Zimbabwe
National Army, established a military training school in Gweru. Among former
Zanla fighters enlisted was Dominic Chinenge. That was in 1982.
Eleven years earlier, two Form Three schoolboys, Constantine Chiwenga, and a
friend had absconded from Mt St Mary's Secondary School, a Catholic
institution in the heartland of the Hwedza District. They set out along the
road that many schools boys and girls of the day were travelling - to
Mozambiaque and the war of liberation. The friend was Bigboy Samson
When they returned to Zimbabwe after the ceasefire in 1980 they had assumed
new names as was the fashion among the young guerillas. Chiwenga had become
Chinenge, while Chikerema had assumed the name Perrence Shiri. Chinenge was
destined to become Brigadier Chinenge in charge of One Brigade in Bulawayo
and ultimately General Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Shiri would be appointed commander of Five Brigade, the controversial North
Korean-trained unit which caused havoc and mayhem in the provinces of
Matabeleland and the Midlands.
Deployed to rout what turned out to be only a handful of armed dissidents in
the aftermath of Entumbane, Five Brigade waged a ruthless campaign of
bloodthirsty slaughter, which left no less than 10 000 innocent civilians
dead. Some estimates put the figure at as high as 20 000.
At the end of his training course in Gweru, Chiwenga's class took an
examination. Not surprisingly, given his poor academic background, he failed
the test that was designed to open the doors to opportunities in the
On arrival back home in Harare, unable to come to terms with the bleak
future he faced, the young officer pulled out his service pistol pointed it
at the left side of his chest and pulled the trigger. The bullet sliced
through his body exiting at the back, just below the left shoulder blade. He
had however missed the heart which he apparently was aiming for.
"He was unconscious when he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at
Parirenyatwa Hospital," says Dr Mukai Ndlovu (not his real name) who was a
young doctor at the hospital at the time when Chiwenga was rushed there.
Ndlovu who now lives in the United Kingdom, was present in the theatre as
Chiwenga underwent surgery. He observed him as he recuperated slowly in the
hospital's exclusive Ward D, which had previously been reserved for wealthy
"The bullet missed the heart by a mere 10 millimetres. It went through his
left nipple and missed the heart by a mere centimetre. The bullet had
perforated the left lung and there was much bleeding. The bullet had gone
straight through his body and there was a gapping hole at the back.
"Apart from general debridement (cleaning) of gun-shot debris from the
wound, there was not much repair to damage that was done in front of the
But, Ndlovu said, the posterior wound had caused a serious problem as it
took time to heal. After he was discharged from hospital the wound had taken
more than two months to heal.
After Chiwenga's recovery the then Prime Minister, Robert Mugabe, had felt
sorry for the young former freedom fighter. He ordered the military
instructors in Gweru to reverse Chiwenga's exam result. Not only that - he
promoted him to the rank of Brigadier in the first crop of post-independence
commanders of the army's four brigades at the time. Brigadier Chinenge was
appointed commander of One Brigade at its Brady Barracks headquarters in
Ndlovu says this development had raised eye-brows in medical circles.
Said the doctor: "If someone undergoes such a traumatic experience; if
someone underwent such acute severe depression that he attempted to take his
own life, that means he became at the time virtually a deranged man.
"For such a man to recover, have his exam result reversed and be promoted to
a brigadier was simply incredible.
"That explains Chiwenga's deep loyalty to Mugabe. But in a civilised society
you do not promote someone who has undergone such a deranged and traumatic
experience to take charge of an army brigade, let alone a whole army.
"It's unheard of. You would not trust a man who has undergone such severe
acute depression to make normal and rational decisions under challenges such
as experienced in a military situation. Someone who is susceptible to such
irrational decision-making has already shown you that he cannot be relied
upon to make reasonable decisions under stress and challenge."
Ndlovu said the fact that Chiwenga had risen to become, first commander of
the Zimbabwe National Army and then of Zimbabwe's Defence Forces reflected
badly on the judgement of Mugabe.
"According to Mugabe," says Ndlovu, "here is a man who was prepared to die
because he failed a simple test and who is now dependent on him for all his
credentials and promotions. Mugabe prefers such a man in charge of the army
because he is not capable of making professional and independent decisions.
Yet failing that simple test in 1982 proved that Chiwenga is not capable of
holding positions such as he holds now."
"Now we all reap the consequences of Mugabe's ill-advised decisions. Without
Mugabe, Chiwenga would certainly not be commander of the army. He should
have been dismissed from the army when he failed."
Of late Chiwenga has acquired political clout, which is not entirely
commensurate with his position in the armed forces. He has become perhaps
Zimbabwe's most powerful citizen after Mugabe. Some will argue that he may
have become the most powerful Zimbabwean.
He is the leader of the Joint Operations Command which, since the dramatic
political events of March 29, 2008, when President Mugabe lost a crucial
presidential election to his nemesis and perceived political Liliputian,
Morgan Tsvangirai, of the MDC, has effectively usurped the executive powers
otherwise vested in the President.
Addressing Zanu-PF supporters on Friday, June 12, Mugabe, disclosed what he
assumed was a closely guarded secret. It was information, however, that has
been in the public domain since soon after the events of that fateful day on
Sunday, May 30, 2008, when the top war veterans visited the President.
As the party faithful cheered him at Murehwa Business Centre, Mugabe
dismissed the MDC, as has been his relentless custom since 1999, as a
"British party that was created and funded by the British". Mugabe then made
his public disclosure.
He said that after the March 29 elections the war veterans had approached
him in his office to plead for a return to the bush war that preceded
"They said, 'We secured our independence through the barrel of the gun. Are
we now to surrender it through the power of the pen? Should we let the
country go through a simple X on a ballot paper?'
"We told them we did not want to go back to war. But we said to them, 'Can
all of you here just watch as the country is taken back?'"
Following this clear presidential incitement, on April 5 the security forces
were heavily deployed throughout the countryside and Zimbabwe has known no
peace since then.
The identity of the war veterans who approached Mugabe in the circumstances
described is not in any way shrouded in mystery. The delegation that visited
the President comprised none other than the members of the Joint Operations
Command. The commanders who visited Mugabe that Sunday are General
Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the Defence Forces, Commissioner General
Augustine Chihuri of the Police, Air Marshal Perrence Shiri, commander of
the Air Force of Zimbabwe as well as director of prisons Paradzai Zimondi.
These men, Chiwenga and Chihuri, in particular, are reputed to be currently
the powers behind the Mugabe throne.
It is they who monitored the operations of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, which is headed by a former senior army officer. It is they who
received the first briefing on how the election count was shaping. It is
they who were the first to panic at the totally unexpected or, in their
view, unacceptable briefs that they received from ZEC that Sunday. It is,
therefore, also they who, when it became patently clear which way the vote
count was going, decided to take the bull by the horns by approaching the
equally anxious Mugabe.
It is they, reliable sources say, who calmed the President, by saying he
should not panic. It is they who decided on the strategy to delay the
announcement of the election results, especially the presidential, which
they and Mugabe became aware of on that day, as indeed did many Zimbabweans
who bothered to collate the results posted outside their polling stations,
in terms of the Electoral Act.
It was after such collation that MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti
prematurely announced the election, much to the chagrin of the JOC, which
allegedly was counting on the secrecy of the whole counting process to
implement whatever strategy was their brief. They never forgave Biti. He now
stands charged of treason and faces a possible death sentence.
The JOC has now effectively usurped executive authority from Mugabe. Their
loyalty to Mugabe arises from different reasons. Chiwenga owes his very
existence to the President. Chihuri was rehabilitated in 1980 after a long
period of incarceration as a prisoner of Zanu in the dungeons of Cabo del
Gado in Mozambique. Shiri lives in mortal fear of retribution for
Besides that, their senior positions in the security forces have opened
doors to immense wealth. They own mansions, the best farming estates, fleets
of luxury cars. It is not loyalty alone that motivates them to resist
change. They cannot countenance letting go of all they have acquired over
the years that the system has been totally devoid of any vestige of
As leader of JOC in a lawless Zimbabwe, Chiwenga is the man now vested with
authority over the lives and welfare of millions of Zimbabweans. As for now,
those lives count for nothing as the veterans of the war of independence now
fight for their very survival.
With Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono on sides to keep the presses running
while printing bank notes with reckless abandon, the people of Zimbabwe are
in trouble, even if they vote Mugabe out on Friday.
He has made it impiously clear, only God can dethrone him.
But Mugabe's blaspheme should not, in any way, intimidate Tsvangirai into
withdrawing from Friday's elections. The electorate should be mindful,
however, that they will basically be choosing between Morgan Tsvangirai and
Constantine Chiwenga and his ruthless cronies, a choice between the forces
of good and the forces of evil.
If Mugabe and his henchmen lose the election re-run innocent Zimbabweans
will die in ruthless retribution. Likewise, if they emerge victorious they
will celebrate by sacrificing the lives of innocent Zimbabwe.
The MDC should remain mindful that Mugabe was never going to depart without
staging horrific melodrama
Tuesday, 24 June 2008 10:02 UK
A couple of years ago I asked Morgan Tsvangirai whether it was helpful when British government ministers publicly condemned Robert Mugabe.
He winced slightly and there was a slight shake of the head. "I've asked them not to do it," he said. "It backfires."
When Britain speaks on Zimbabwe it carries the enormous weight of its colonial past.
Long after his name ceased to resonate in British politics it is still possible to go to Zanu-PF rallies in Harare and hear a blood-curdling denunciation of Harold Wilson, and the pernicious treacheries of the 1960s and 70s.
This is of course understood in Britain, which wants the conflict to be between Robert Mugabe and the world in general.
So what can the world agree on?
Britain will press the European Union for more effective sanctions targeted against regime members and their families - the freezing of assets, travel bans, that kind of thing.
Economic sanctions are probably meaningless in a country that no longer has a functioning economy anyway. No-one is going to press for the electricity to be cut off.
ZIMBABWE AND ITS NEIGHBOURS
Zimbabwe's opposition is hoping neighbouring countries will put pressure on President Robert Mugabe to step down. In the past they supported him. How are relations now?
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki is the key Zimbabwe mediator. He has refused to criticise Robert Mugabe but the ruling ANC and trade unions have urged him to take a stronger line.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has taken the region's strongest line on Zimbabwe. He says Zimbabwe is a regional "embarrassment".
Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is one of Robert Mugabe's closest allies - they fought colonialism together in the 1970s. He has urged Mr Mugabe to stop the violence.
Botswana has summoned a Zimbabwean envoy to complain about the political violence. It has been supportive of Zimbabwe's opposition.
Namibia is a close ally of Zimbabwe - it, too, is planning to redistribute white-owned farms to black villagers. It has not criticised the election violence.
Mozambique has hosted some white farmers forced from Zimbabwe and is seen as relatively sympathetic to Zimbabwe's opposition.
Tanzania's ruling party has a long history of close ties to Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and its foreign minister has condemned the violence.
DR Congo's President Joseph Kabila is an ally of Robert Mugabe, who sent troops to help his father, Laurent Kabila, fight rebels.
Malawi is seen as neutral. But some 3m people of Malawian origin are in Zimbabwe, mostly farmworkers who have lost their jobs and were often assaulted during farm invasions.UN unity is unlikely. Russia views Western motivations with deep suspicion, and resource-hungry China is developing a lucrative relationship of its own with Africa. It already arms and supplies the Zimbabwe armed forces.
So what about Zimbabwe's neighbours? The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has always insisted the problem is theirs and that what is needed is an African solution to an African problem.
A couple of months ago they called an emergency summit in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, and invited Morgan Tsvangirai to speak.
The meeting began at 1600 and was expected to end within a couple of hours. Instead, they sat - in closed session - through the night, finally issuing a joint statement after 0500. Surely, we all thought, they were arguing about something of substance.
A week later I saw Morgan Tsvangirai and asked him what had been discussed. "From 4pm till midnight," he said, "they were arguing about whether to let me speak."
In the end they listened to him. But agreeing to listen was as far as it went.
Living in fear
The leaders of Zambia, Tanzania and Rwanda have at last condemned Robert Mugabe explicitly.
But what about the others? What about the one who matters most - South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki?
Some who know both men believe Mr Mbeki is intimidated by his neighbour. Robert Mugabe's liberation credentials are so much sounder than Mr Mbeki's.
Mr Mugabe fought a bush war against colonialism; Mr Mbeki went into exile in Zambia. M Mugabe went to jail for 10 years; Mr Mbeki went to Sussex University.
Do not underestimate the psychology of Africa's liberation tradition.
Robert Mugabe is now cocooned with a group of men who came through the liberation struggle with him.
One is Eddison Mnangagwa, who oversaw Zimbabwe's intervention in Congo and is thought to have amassed a private fortune from the plunder of Congolese mineral wealth.
Perence Shiri, the commander of the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, is another close Mugabe aide. He played a commanding role in the Matabeleland massacres of the 1980s.
When opposition leaders talk of allowing Mr Mugabe to retire with dignity, these men know that this magnanimity does not extend to them; that a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe will expect a holding to account.
Mr Mugabe, in a sense, is their prisoner. They will not let him go quietly, leaving them exposed to revenge.
Fear is the means by which they stay in power - the people's fear of them.
But they too live in fear, fear of the reckoning that the people will, themselves, one day, demand.
June 24, 2008
By Tendai Dumbutshena
EXPERIENCE in Africa and elsewhere teaches us that bad governance and the
resultant economic decline feed off each other to destroy nations.
They inevitably lead to political conflict often culminating in disastrous
civil wars. Examples that come to mind readily are Liberia, Somalia, and
Sierra Leone. The list is far from exhaustive. It only represents the most
egregious cases of failed states, two of which - Liberia and Sierra Leone -
are commendably battling to turn things around.
Depending on the criteria applied, it can be argued that at worst Zimbabwe
is now a failed state or at best on the verge of becoming one. What Zimbabwe
is certainly not is a medium income developing country with a strong
agricultural base - a status it enjoyed at independence in 1980 until later
in that decade.
Events over the next few days and weeks will determine whether Zimbabwe
degenerates into an undisputed failed state or sets itself on a path to
political and economic recovery. Some may cogently argue that equally
important is a moral regeneration of a nation that has clearly lost its way
in that regard. Central to that revival is the figure of President Robert
To reduce political and economic analysis to individuals is often regarded
as too simplistic. Forces beyond individuals drive history the argument
goes. It ignores the reality that where institutions are destroyed and
individuals surrounding the leader are reduced to sycophantic weaklings, it
becomes possible for an individual to be the driving force of history. The
reality in Zimbabwe is one of an evolution over the past 20 years into a
body politic dominated by Mugabe.
At this critical juncture the choices he makes will largely determine the
future of Zimbabwe.
It may well be a futile exercise but herewith some advice for Mugabe. The
presidential election run off on June 27 seems a certainty despite
well-meaning efforts by many to have it scrapped. There are only two
possible results - victory for either Mugabe or MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. In the event of a Mugabe victory he should do the following to
set Zimbabwe on a road to recovery and protect his legacy. Given endemic
violence following the March 29 election and the inability of Tsvangirai to
campaign effectively, a Mugabe victory will not be recognized by large
segments of the international community.
What is ominous for Mugabe is that for the first time a number of African
countries including those in the SADC region will not recognize the outcome.
The result would be an unprecedented level of Zimbabwe's isolation.
Observers from SADC and the African Union have parted with tradition by
denouncing the electoral climate before ballots have been cast. Such is the
level and spread of violence that they will find it impossible to validate
the poll. Western countries who control international purse strings have
committed themselves to unspecified tougher sanctions. Zimbabwe itself will
be bitterly polarized in the aftermath of gruesome murders, mutilations,
torture, rapes and displacement of thousands of people. It will be a recipe
for Zimbabwe's terminal decline.
If Mugabe defiantly clings to power hoping that somehow things will turn for
the better disaster looms for him and the country.
He should step down to allow Zanu-PF and the MDC to form a transitional
coalition government. It is important that this government be inclusive to
accommodate other significant political formations and civil society. The
mandate of this government would be to stabilize the economy, draft a new
constitution and hold elections after a two year period to usher in a new
political dispensation. It should not, however, include those members of
the security forces and government responsible for crimes against the people
A new decent country cannot be built on rotten foundations. With support
from all Zimbabweans and the international community, the government would
be able to lay a solid foundation for the country's reconstruction. It would
create a political and constitutional framework guaranteeing for the first
time civil liberties of Zimbabweans. This is an indispensable precondition
for the creation of a politically stable and economically prosperous
Zimbabwe. The destructive divisions of the past would be replaced by a
national consensus so crucial to cohesion and prosperity. Unity of purpose
in diversity is not an oxymoron.
In the event of a Tsvangirai victory, the first thing Mugabe must do is
graciously concede defeat and facilitate transition to a new government. He
must resist the impulse so deeply ingrained in him to defy all reason by
rejecting the will of the people. He must abandon the ridiculous but
dangerous notion that the gun is mightier than the ballot. As Rwanda's
President Paul Kagame asked rhetorically, "If that is the case why have
elections?" He must not allow securocrats who surround him to embark on
military adventurism. This is Africa in the 21st Century and not the 1960s
and 70s when military coups were par for the course. Such an action would
involve mass killings in pursuance of a lost cause. Africa does not accept
military coups and Mugabe's signature is on that AU protocol.
Conditions for national reconciliation would be destroyed. On the contrary,
in such a scenario civil war would become almost inevitable. In a civil war
there is no victor but only one loser - the country. Ask the people of
Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast,
Mozambique, Angola, Somalia and Sudan. Cognisant of tragedies such as
Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, and crimes committed against people now and in
the 2000 and 2002 elections, an institutional framework must be created to
achieve truth, justice and compensation. Only then can national
reconciliation be realistically achieved.
In the absence of Mugabe doing the right thing the future would, to use a
hackneyed term, be too ghastly to contemplate. The present generation would
have tragically abdicated a responsibility to bequeath a decent country to
Zimbabwe is at a dangerous crossroads. So was South Africa between 1990 and
94. It took great statesmanship from all significant political leaders to
avoid civil war and a racial conflagration. Even at this late hour Zimbabwe
can be saved from the abyss. Mugabe controls all state institutions of
coercive power. He bears enormous responsibility to avoid a national
He can choose to put personal and political party interests above those of
the country and destroy everything he purportedly fought for. Or he can do
the opposite and let the national interest prevail. The choice he makes over
the coming days and weeks will determine how history ultimately judges him.
June 23, 2008
By Geoffrey Nyarota
(First published in the New York Daily News on Sunday, June 22, 2008)
I SPOKE on the phone Tuesday to a relative in eastern Zimbabwe whose village
was invaded by soldiers and militiamen loyal to President Robert Mugabe.
Three months after it lost its majority in Parliament, Mugabe's party,
Zanu-PF - which has dominated the nation for three decades - remains
Zimbabwe's ruling party.
But it hangs on only by a thread - and a threat.
Mugabe's nemesis, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, defeated him in a
presidential election on March 29. A runoff election is scheduled for this
coming Friday. And, true to form, Mugabe is spreading fear and wreaking
havoc to prevent the people from ousting him at the polls.
My relative, whom I cannot name for his security, nearly wept as he narrated
details of young men in the village being ferociously assaulted, of scarce
food being pillaged, of women being forced to carry out chores at a military
base recently established.
"The people are terrified," he said. "Many will be too scared to vote now.
We are praying that the international observers arrive soon to save us."
It was a futile hope, but I did not have the heart to tell him. Less than
900 foreign observers are expected in the country, most of them from the
southern African region. They are too thin on the ground to cover more than
9,000 polling stations.
And so, we will likely see Mugabe win this round.
That would be a debacle for Zimbabwe, for Africa - indeed, for the world.
Mugabe does not easily forget; neither does he forgive those who embarrass
him or seek to undermine his position.
In coming to this conclusion, I need not simply cite the fact that he has
spent weeks starving and terrorizing his opponents.
I speak from personal experience.
I was once the editor of The Chronicle, a state-owned daily newspaper that
exposed rampant corruption in the top echelons of the Mugabe regime back in
Now I live in Massachusetts. This is because I was fired from three
positions as editor of papers inside Zimbabwe. I was arrested on six
occasions. My last newspaper's printing press was reduced to scrap metal in
a bomb explosion. A hand grenade was lobbed at our building below my office.
Then, the Central Intelligence Organisation contracted a hit-man to
It is for reasons like these that an estimated three million of my
compatriots also live in exile.
When I watch Mugabe on television, as he castigates Tsvangirai and threatens
to take Zimbabwe to war if he loses the election, I know he must be taken
He is aggrieved; his pride mortally wounded by his defeat. He cannot come to
terms with rejection by an electorate that prefers a politician he dismisses
as a mere puppet of Washington and London.
Back in 2000, Mugabe focused his rage on Zimbabwe's white population. He
accused them of influencing the black population to vote against a draft
constitution proposed by his government and ordered the wholesale
expropriation of white-owned commercial farms.
Now he targets the blacks.
But there is a ray of hope. Mugabe, at age 84, may lack the capacity to
sustain any prolonged conflict against his long-suffering people.
He has impoverished and alienated the rural population that was once the
backbone of his guerilla army. A sizeable portion of the electorate has no
personal recollection of the war Mugabe constantly cites to stir up support
for his horrible regime. As a result, Mugabe's party, once a homogenous
pillar of support, now stands sharply divided.
If Mugabe loses the crucial election re-run and, as promised, defies the
will of the people, his little remaining credibility will evaporate,
especially in the eyes of religiously supportive African leaders such as
South Africa's Thabo Mbeki.
Deprived of the remaining regional support, the regime may finally collapse.
But for that to happen - for the teetering dictator to be toppled - the
people first must overcome their fears to vote. Tragically, there are slim
chances of that.
(Nyarota is the managing editor of thezimbabwetimes.com, an online
June 24, 2008
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - So-called war veterans and Zanu-PF party supporters in the
southern regions of Zimbabwe in Masvingo Province celebrated the news of MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the presidential election re-run
scheduled for this Friday with an orgy of violence.
They killed two MDC supporters on Monday killed in the Mwenezi District of
Stanley Mapuranga and John Dube both of Maranda Village were murdered as
Zanu-PF supporters celebrated the MDC's withdrawal from the presidential
The bodies of the two victims who are known MDC supporters were by Monday
afternoon lying in the Neshuro Hospital mortuary in Mwenezi.
MDC Mwenezi district coordinator Charles Muzenda whose home was reduced to
rubble during the run up to the polls confirmed the death of the two and
said he had been forced to flee from the area following news that Tsvangirai
had withdrawn from the race.
Hordes of Zanu-PF supporters in trucks moved around the district celebrating
the news saying that President Robert Mugabe would automatically be declared
"Two of our supporters were killed yesterday as news of Tsvangirai's
withdrawal filtered around the area", said Muzenda.
"I have gone into hiding since I have received word that they are after my
life following the MDC withdrawal from the race".
Police in Masvingo yesterday confirmed the death of the two but said
investigations were underway to establish the cause of the death.
The officer commanding Masvingo Province Assistant Commissioner Mekia
Tanyanyiwa said, "We have received reports of the death of two people in
Mwenezi District but we are yet to establish the circumstances".
Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe's election campaign continued unabated in
Masvingo Monday despite the withdrawal by Tsvangirai from the race.
Vice president Joyce Mujuru visited Gurajena Business Centre in Zimuto
communal lands Monday. She openly admitted that there was widespread
violence in the country.
Mujuru was, however, quick to dissociate Zanu-PF from the ongoing violence.
"We have received reports that people are killing each other in the country
and this has proved to be true", said Mujuru. "We have since established
that these acts of violence are being perpetrated by people who masquerade
as ruling party supporters.
"People who have personal scores are killing each other under the guise of
Meanwhile scores of people in Masvingo have welcomed the decision by the MDC
to withdraw from this week's presidential election.
Shaba Mandebvu of Masvingo said: "The decision is a wise one. How can the
MDC go into an election when it is not allowed to campaign? We stand by the
decision and we want to see who will legitimise Mugabe's rule."
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe PTUZ national president Takavafira
Zhou said, "The decision to withdraw is welcome but we need to know the way
forward because we cannot allow people who are illegitimate to continue to
Tue 24 Jun 2008, 7:45 GMT
DAKAR, June 24 (Reuters) - Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade called for
Zimbabwe's presidential election run-off to be postponed, saying soldiers
entered the home of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai at the weekend,
forcing him to flee.
"I learned that soldiers entered Morgan Tsvangirai's home on Sunday, June
22, looking for him and that he is only safe because, alerted by friends, he
left in a hurry a few minutes earlier," Wade said in a statement dated June
23 and received by Reuters on Tuesday. (Reporting by Alistair Thomson)
Tue 24 Jun 2008, 7:33 GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African ruling party leader Jacob Zuma said
on Tuesday the situation in Zimbabwe was out of control and called for
urgent intervention by the United Nations and the regional SADC grouping.
"The situation in Zimbabwe has gone out of hand, out of control... We cannot
agree with what (the ruling) ZANU-PF is doing at this point in time," Zuma
said at an investment conference.
June 24, 2008
By Eddie Cross
I WAS stunned today when I watched Morgan Tsvangirai pull out of the June 27
I had not expected this but since then have had a couple of calls from
Zimbabwe that made the situation a bit clearer.
You must first understand how big a decision this was for the MDC. We are a
party committed to a democratic outcome of this struggle. Elections are our
game? We do not want to take to the streets or to pick up weapons to make
our point. We are democrats.
We won the March 29 election by a wide margin? A total of 73 per cent of the
population voted against Mugabe. The regime was forced to simply lie about
the result to get a run off and only the protection of the SADC States
prevented an outright MDC victory.
We were and are quite satisfied that in any free and fair contest the MDC
would have walked away with the run off. In any event, what we have
witnessed over the past two months since the run off was announced, has been
a nation wide campaign of violence and intimidation, the closing down of all
democratic space inside Zimbabwe, intensified restrictions on the media and
the complete militarisation of the functions of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Today armed militias were allowed to attack an MDC rally in Harare even
though it had been given permission by the High Court and was entirely
peaceful. The MDC leadership meeting in crisis session reviewed the overall
situation and finally, reluctantly, decided they had no option but to
withdraw from this
Having done so, the way is now open for the new ZEC to declare Mugabe as
State President and for him to resume office.
The MDC decision, although painful and difficult for everyone, is in fact a
very strategic move. It gives Thabo Mbeki the floor by virtually canceling
the run-off and opens the door to SADC intervention. Any government that now
includes Mugabe in any capacity, will not get recognition from the
international community. It will not therefore attract any international
assistance and will be unable to deal with the humanitarian and economic
crisis now facing Zimbabwe. Both leave no room for maneuver and both demand
On the humanitarian front we need to import 150 000 tonnes of basic foods
every month just to feed the country. Without external help Zimbabwe faces
the very real prospect of starvation on a large scale. Currently the country
has no stocks at all. On the economic front with inflation raging at 2
percent or more and run-away macro economic fundamentals, a complete
economic collapse is not far off and could be triggered by the magnitude of
this new political crisis.
The UN is bracing itself for a new flood of refugees both political and
economic, into neighboring states and in my view South Africa must prepare
itself for a fresh influx at the worst time of the year. Millions of
Zimbabweans are preparing to leave the country and the only option for 90
per cent of them is South Africa.
From a political standpoint the global consensus is clear. The Mugabe regime
has gone too far. There is now talk for the first time of the possibility of
charges of crimes against humanity at the ICC. The US is calling for the
Security Council to meet urgently on the Zimbabwe crisis. The UN Secretary
General has become more vocal and outspoken on the situation and demanded
action on several fronts. In the SADC it really looks as if a new consensus
is emerging on the crisis, with Angola and Swaziland becoming new critics of
the Mugabe regime in the past few days.
The Zimbabwe crisis team, Sidney Mafumadi and Gumbo were both in Harare over
the weekend and I cannot imagine this decision by the MDC being taken
without their input. It would seem to me that the stage is set for another
emergency SADC summit, that at such a summit the region will at last decide
what to do and that the only way forward is the formation of a transitional
government that will include all Parties elected to the new Parliament and
that will then take the country through a period of stabilization and
recovery before holding new elections.
It is quite clear that Mugabe simply cannot play any role in such a
government. He was clearly defeated in the March 29 elections and is simply
no longer acceptable to anyone except the Joint Operations Command (JOC).
The only person who can head up such an interim administration, unless it is
on a caretaker basis, and will serve for only a few months until new
elections are held, would be Morgan Tsvangirai. The rest would be up to
negotiations sponsored by SADC and the UN. Clearly South Africa cannot
continue in its role as a mediator and must step aside for someone more
distant from the region and
the current regime.
This would allow South Africa and the SADC States to assume the role of
enforcer rather than a mediator.
One of the phone calls I had today spoke of widespread violence in Zimbabwe.
People being forced to do things against their will and children not
attending school for security reasons. It is quite clear that not only do we
have a rogue regime in Harare, but also it is a rogue out of control.
For all our friends all over the world, do not despair, I think you can
clearly see that our first shot was fatal - it is just taking a bit of time
to take effect. Whatever happens now, Mugabe is no longer capable of
He said on Friday, "Only God can remove me from power".
He must know that his challenge would have been heard where such things
matter and that his plea is being attended to.
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.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - Web posted at 7:55:12 GMT
PRESSURE is mounting on President Hifikepunye Pohamba to sever
diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe following the deepening political crisis in
Yesterday, Namibian political parties and NGO organisations joined
international condemnation of President Robert Mugabe government, calling
the leader's regime "illegitimate".
Norman Tjombe, Director of the Legal Assistance Centre, said the
violence in Zimbabwe had now escalated to the extent that SADC countries,
particularly Namibia considering its close ties with that government, could
no longer remain silent.
He said Mugabe had just about violated any and all basic standards of
"The Zimbabwean government is now an illegitimate government, and the
Namibian Government, not to taint its commitment to human rights and
democracy, should sever diplomatic ties with the Zimbabwean government until
such time that the violence has ended and the normality has returned,"
"We must disassociate our country from criminal dictators and cast our
vote against the Swapo Party in the next general elections," the Rally for
Democracy and Progress said in a statement yesterday.
The RDP said the political and security situation in Zimbabwe was "a
tinderbox waiting to explode at any moment" unless SADC countries, Africa
and the rest of the world took urgent and drastic action to avert a
"Those of us who have so far remained silent and passive onlookers,
while our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe are murdered, maimed and forced
to flee their country, shall not escape the harsh judgement of history.
The Namibian Government is such a by-stander," the RDP said.
The Congress of Democrats said only a direct and clear call from
Pohamba, acting in concert with the other members of the SADC political
leadership, can save the Zimbabwean situation now.
"We therefore call upon President Pohamba to act decisively and
quickly to prevent Zimbabwe from sliding any further into anarchy,
lawlessness and perhaps even civil war," its leader Ben Ulenga said.
According to the RDP, Namibia's silence on the situation in Zimbabwe
was tantamount to supporting Mugabe, "the former president of Zimbabwe and
his Zanu PF bloody thugs".
Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said yesterday that
any run-off or announcement of a winner under the violence and intimidation
prevailing in that country would be neither 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 warned.
He said the crisis called for concerted and more effective action by
SADC, the African Union, and the international community.
"Zimbabwe cannot do it alone.
As I said a week ago, we all have a responsibility to assist in
finding a solution.
The need is even greater now," he said.
Annan called for the appointment of a mediation team to ensure
effective transition and governance arrangements that will result in
stability, peace and national reconciliation.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - Web posted at 7:53:38 GMT
Namibian chief of army Lieutenant General Martin Shalli has returned
from a visit to Zimbabwe where he held "secret" talks with his counterpart,
Commander General Constantine Chiwenga.
Shalli, who was honoured with a 15-gun salute and inspected a guard of
honour mounted by the Zimbabwe Defence Force, paid a four-day visit to
Zimbabwe last week.
Early reports emerging from that conflict-ridden country indicated
that talks included discussions around a defence pact, which also involves
Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola helped the DRC repel Ugandan and
Rwandan-backed rebels in 1998 under a SADC military intervention code-named
'Operation Sovereign Legitimacy'.
The Herald newspaper, the Zimbabwean government's official mouthpiece,
reported yesterday that Shalli said Namibia was "neutral" in Zimbabwe's
ongoing political stand-off, and backed the mediation efforts of South
African President Thabo Mbeki.
"The Namibian Government's position is very clear.
It is not in our interest as Africa to interfere in another African
country's internal affairs," Shalli told the Zimbabwean media.
However, he also told the media that Zimbabwe remained a member of the
international community "and the region will assist it through its
Shalli toured the Zimbabwe army staff college where at least 52 NDF
senior officers were trained and was honoured with a 15-gun salute and an
Official reports said Shalli was briefed on security issues and the
roles and operations of the ZDF.
However, sources said there were also talks about how Namibia could
assist if things got out of hand.
Shalli's visit came hot on the heels of a top Angolan army official to
He said Namibia and Zimbabwe must continue to foster and strengthen
the cordial relations shared between the two countries.
"The relationship between Namibia and Zimbabwe is growing from
strength to strength.
By Ecumenical News International
24 Jun 2008
A leader of the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe has urged the
international community to intervene in the southern African nation,
following the decision of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw
from the presidential runoff, citing escalating violence against his
supporters - write Stephen Brown and David Wanless.
"We need peace monitors that make sure we have a stable environment to stop
this violence and madness that [President Robert] Mugabe is orchestrating,"
Prosper Munatsi, general secretary of the SCMZ, said in a 23 June interview
Munatsi was speaking before reports emerged from the Zimbabewan capital that
Tsvangirai had sought refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare, citing fears
about his safety.
"The people of Zimbabwe have tried everything in their power democratically
and peaceably in a non-violent way, and they have exhausted all the
channels," said Munatsi, who was in Geneva to brief the World Student
Christian Federation, of which the SCMZ is a part.
"We believe the international community must intervene to stop this violence
and madness, and the war that has been waged against the innocent and
defenceless people of Zimbabwe," added Munatsi, whom Zimbabwean police
detained earlier in June, when they raided the Ecumenical Centre in Harare,
which houses the offices of the SCMZ and other church groups.
The presidential runoff was due to be between Tsvangirai, who heads the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, and Mugabe, who has ruled
the southern African country since independence in 1980.
Tsvangirai came top in the first round of voting on 29 March but according
to official results that the MDC has disputed, failed to gain an overall
majority of more than 50 per cent of votes, thus leading to the runoff
scheduled for 27 June.
In a statement released in Harare on 22 June, and announcing that Tsvangirai
would not contest the runoff, the MDC said that Mugabe and his supporters
had been, "waging a war against the people of Zimbabwe" since the March
poll. "This violent retributive agenda has seen over 200 000 people
internally displaced and over 86 MDC supporters killed," the MDC said.
Munatsi said Tsvangirai had made, "the right decision" in the interests of
Zimbabwe. "It was the right thing to do because he valued the lives of the
people of Zimbabwe first, before any political ambitions," said the student
The SCMZ official added, "His withdrawal may not change the political
situation in the short term but we believe there must be a framework for
free and fair elections."
Separately, the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa has
announced that it is to send a delegation to Zimbabwe to show solidarity
with church members there. The denomination, which has its headquarters in
South Africa, has congregations in five southern African countries,
Announcing the visit, the church's general secretary, the Rev. Prince
Dibeela, condemned, "the repeated detention of MDC leaders and the violence
that has been generally taking place in all areas of the country".
The team being sent to Zimbabwe will be made up of church leaders from
Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.
Commenting after Tsvangerai's withdrawal, Dibeela expressed regret that
voters were not able to cast their ballots freely and without fear, and said
that the elections could not be said to reflect the will of the people. He
added, "We will continue to be in solidarity with our sisters and brothers
in Zimbabwe, when peace and justice are restored, and the work of
reconstruction can begin."
[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly
sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation,
the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European
June 24 2008 at 10:33AM
Dakar - Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade on Monday asked Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe to postpone the second round of presidential
elections after the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
"I insist to President Mugabe that he accept the postponement of the
elections so that diplomacy can get under way with the support of the SADC
(Southern African Development Community) to find a solution," Wade said in a
statement sent to AFP.
"Today he (Tsvangirai) has taken refuge at the Dutch embassy and
nothing guarantees that the soldiers will not attack this embassy to grab
him as it would not be the first time that forces had violated the
diplomatic immunity of an embassy," Wade said.
He added that he had written to African Union Commission Chairperson
Jean Ping and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking for immediate measures
to ensure Tsvangirai's safety.
"I will speak on the phone right away with President Mugabe to give
him the same request," said Wade, 82, who has been in power since 2000.
Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
opposition party, quit the presidential election second round run-off on
Sunday, saying increasing violence had made a free and fair election
"This development and the increasing acts of violence in the run-up to
the second round of the presidential election are a matter of grave concern
to the AU Commission," a statement from Jean Ping's office said on Monday.
An African Union summit to be held in Egypt on June 30-July 1 will be
preceded by a ministerial meeting that starts on June 27, the day the second
round of Zimbabwe's presidential election has been scheduled.
Senegal's Le Quotidien newspaper asked on Monday: "Where is the UA in
this deep political crisis?
"One cannot rely on the continent's heads of state who are unable to
intervene politically with efficiency in this kind of situation".
Tsvangirai, who took refuge at the Netherlands embassy in Harare on
Monday, failed to clinch an outright majority in the first round that took
place in March, according to official results.
The opposition says more than 80 of its supporters have since been
killed and thousands injured in a campaign of intimidation led by Mugabe's
regime ahead of the vote.
The UN Security Council on Monday condemned the violence and
intimidation against the opposition in Zimbabwe and urged that the
presidential run-off vote not be held on Friday as planned.
After hours of haggling, the 15-member council unanimously adopted a
watered-down, non-binding statement that "condemns the campaign of violence
against the political opposition ahead of the second round" of voting.
Zimbabwe's UN Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku, who attended the
council meeting, said afterward that as far as his government was concerned,
"the election (on Friday) goes ahead." - Sapa-AFP
New York Post
June 24, 2008 -- There were signs late yesterday that the wall of African
solidarity that has long protected Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe might
finally be starting to crumble. It's about time.
South African President Thabo Mbeki reportedly was headed to Zimbabwe with a
strong warning that Mugabe make a deal with the opposition party.
International condemnation, meanwhile, grew after opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai took refuge at the Dutch embassy just hours after pulling out of
Friday's scheduled presidential election runoff.
Tsvangirai said he was unwilling to subject his supporters to the continued
murderous intimidation of Mugabe's goon squads - even though he'd out-polled
the president in the initial balloting on March 29. (Mugabe's vote-counters
claimed Tsvangirai fell short in that election, forcing the runoff.)
The 84-year-old strongman had warned that "only God, who appointed me, can
remove me" - and his armed thugs have backed up that message with violence
that has claimed scores of lives, and wounded hundreds of others, during the
election season alone.
Meanwhile, his repressive policies have led to Zimbabwe's economic collapse
and widespread starvation that some are calling a "silent genocide."
Yet Mugabe's outrages to date have produced no international action - not
from the United Nations or even from African nations.
Indeed, the world body failed to act when Mugabe's thugs blocked relief
groups from delivering food and other vital supplies - or even when
international diplomats visiting with victims of Mugabe's violence were
detained for several hours and the tires of their vehicles slashed.
South Africa, meanwhile, has repeatedly blocked Western efforts to censure
Mugabe at the UN and isolate his government. Even now, Pretoria is leading
the opposition to a British-sponsored Security Council resolution to declare
the March 29 results legally binding in the absence of a free and fair
And where, incidentally, has Jimmy Carter been? No one's heard so much as a
peep of criticism from this supposed human-rights watchdog and
self-designated election monitor.
Which reminds us: As president, Carter refused to recognize the winner of
Zimbabwe's first truly democratic election because he didn't like the
winner. His preferred candidate? Robert Mugabe - who soon assumed power.
Mugabe's state-sponsored violence and economic chaos threaten to consume
Zimbabwe - and much of southern Africa. Isn't it time someone acted?
1 hour ago
GABARONE (AFP) - Botswana's government said Tuesday that despite time
running out until Zimbabwe's run-off vote there should still be efforts to
find a solution to avoid a deeper economic and political crisis.
"Botswana is convinced that even at this late hour concerted efforts should
be made to find a lasting solution," the foreign ministry said in a
"Failure to arrest and reverse the current situation of tension can only
lead to Zimbabwe sliding further into deep economic and political crisis."
The southern African nation, and neighbour of Zimbabwe, has been one of the
few members of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community to speak
out against Mugabe's regime.
While many regional governments are accused of protecting the founding
father of Zimbabwe, still seen as a struggle hero, Botswana has taken a
harder stance than its neighbours who declared the first round elections
free and fair.
"Botswana regrets that despite repeated appeals conditions for a free and
fair election have been compromised," read the statement, adding that it was
the primary responsibilty of the Zimbabwe government to maintain a peace and
security before and during the election.
The Botswana government said Zimbabwe was "at the crossroads as to what
direction it should take" and a free and fair election was crucial to set
the country on a path of national reconciliation and economic recovery.
The country, which contributed some 50 observers to the election process,
said it would await a report from SADC and independent observers before
announcing its position on the legitimacy of any presidential candidate and
subsequently the Zimbabwean government.
Wall Street Journal
The Bush Doctrine Is Relevant Again
June 24, 2008
He would be its worthiest recipient since the prize went to Burma's Aung San
Suu Kyi (one of the prize's few worthy recipients, period) in 1991. He
deserves it for standing up - politically as well as physically - to Robert
Mugabe's goon-squad dictatorship for over a decade; for organizing a
democratic opposition and winning an election hugely stacked against him;
and for refusing to put his own ambition ahead of his people's well-being
when the run-off poll became, as he put it last weekend, a "violent,
Here's another prediction: Mr. Tsvangirai's Nobel will have about as much
effect on the bloody course of Zimbabwe's politics as Aung San Suu Kyi's has
had on Burma's. Effectively, zero.
Zimbabwe is now another spot on the map of the civilized world's troubled
conscience. Burma is also there, along with Tibet and Darfur. (Question:
When will "Free Zimbabwe" bumper stickers become ubiquitous?) These are
uniquely nasty places, and not just because uniquely nasty things are
happening. They're nasty because the dissonance between the wider world's
professed concern and what it actually does is almost intolerable.
Look at the legislation that has been proposed or passed in the U.S.
Congress on Darfur. There is the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (H.R.
3127), signed by President Bush into law in 2006, which sanctions officials
identified as responsible for the genocide. There is House Resolution 992,
which urges the president to appoint a special envoy to Sudan. (The
president did appoint an envoy; care to remember his name?)
There is the 2007 Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, which allows (but
does not require) U.S. states and municipalities to divest from companies
doing business in Sudan. There is Senate Resolution 559, urging the
president to enforce a no-fly zone over Darfur. There is the Clinton
Amendment, the Reid Amendment, the Menendez Amendment, the Durbin/Leahy
Amendment, the Jackson Amendment, the Lieberman Resolution, the Obama/Reid
Amendment and the Peace in Darfur Act.
This is a partial list. Meantime, here are the accumulating estimates of the
conflict's toll on Darfuri lives. September 2004: 50,000, according to the
World Health Organization. May 2005: between 63,000 and 146,000 "excess
deaths," according to the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of
Disasters at Belgium's Catholic University of Louvain. March 2008: 200,000
deaths, according to U.N. officials. April 2008: The U.N. acknowledges the
previous month's estimate might have undercounted about 100,000 victims.
In a video clip for the Save Darfur coalition, Barack Obama offered that the
genocide is "a stain on our souls." His proposal for removing it?
"Ratcheting up sanctions" on the Sudanese government and making "firm
commitments in terms of the logistics, and the transport and the equipping"
of an international peacekeeping mission for Darfur. No word, however, as to
whether Mr. Obama would actually risk the lives of American soldiers to stop
It's a similar story in Zimbabwe. The U.N. Security Council met yesterday to
discuss the crisis, while British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told
parliament "the world is of one view: that the status quo cannot continue."
But, of course, the status quo will continue. Just possibly, Mr. Mugabe and
his senior ministers will no longer be allowed to travel to Europe, though
that does nothing for the people of Zimbabwe. Other sanctions will have no
effect: The regime is already busy expelling relief workers and seizing food
aid. Mr. Mugabe wants "his people" to die - it means fewer mouths to feed,
and fewer potential opposition supporters to jail, maim or murder.
A solution for Zimbabwe's crisis isn't hard to come by: Someone - ideally
the British - must remove Mr. Mugabe by force, install Mr. Tsvangirai as
president, arm his supporters, prevent any rampages, and leave. "Saving
Darfur" is a somewhat different story, but it also involves applying Western
military force to whatever degree is necessary to get Khartoum to come to
terms with an independent or autonomous Darfur. Burma? Same deal.
International relations theorists, including prominent Obama adviser Susan
Rice, justify these sorts of interventions under the rubric of a
"Responsibility to Protect" - a concept that comes oddly close to Kipling's
White Man's Burden. So close, in fact, that its inherent paternalism has
hitherto inhibited many liberals from endorsing the kinds of interventions
toward which they are now tip-toeing, thousands of deaths too late.
So let's by all means end the hand-wringing and embrace the responsibility
to protect, wherever necessary and feasible. Let's spare the thousands of
innocents, punish the wicked, oppose tyrants, and support democrats - both
in places where it is now fashionable to do so (Burma) and in places where
it is not (Iraq). If that turns out to be Mr. Obama's foreign policy, it
will be a worthy one. It does come oddly close to the Bush Doctrine.
Write to email@example.com
Wall Street Journal
June 24, 2008
The flickering hope that elections would force Robert Mugabe from power died
this weekend in a campaign of state-organized terror that forced opposition
presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai out of this Friday's runoff. So an
African dinosaur - the tyrant willing to destroy his country in the service
of his vanity - will live on in Zimbabwe.
How much longer only God or, perhaps, Zimbabwe's neighbors know. Mr. Mugabe
may be a dying breed, but he is all too able to kill and harass the
democratic opposition. Outside intervention, preferably by the Africans
themselves, now appears the one remaining way to end this nightmare.
Mr. Tsvangirai won the first election round in late March - even by the
regime's own tally - and another strong showing would have put the Mugabe
regime on the spot. Mr. Mugabe will now "win" by default, extending his
28-year rule. Mr. Tsvangirai explained that he couldn't rally his supporters
to the polls when "that vote will cost them their lives." At least 86
opposition activists and voters have been killed and thousands injured by
Mugabe goon squads. In this atmosphere, Friday's poll was, as Mr. Tsvangirai
said, a "violent illegitimate sham."
Old age isn't mellowing Comrade Bob. His armed thugs have carried out a
campaign known in government circles as "Operation Makavhoterapapi," or
"Operation Where Did You Put Your Vote." On May 5 in Chiweshe, officials
from the ruling ZANU-PF party herded villagers into the local primary
According to a Human Rights Watch report, Major Cairo Mhandu, a former
soldier and "war veteran," told them: "This community needs to be taught a
lesson. It needs re-education. We want people to come forward and confess
about their links and association with the [opposition] MDC and surrender to
ZANU-PF. This is what we want."
Over the next hours, Mugabe's mercenaries tortured 70 people, six to death.
One of them was Joseph Madzuramhende, who had a radio tuned in to Voice of
America. The details of his ordeal are too horrific to print, but can be
Mugabe-style barbarity is fortunately the exception these days. Across
Africa, politics has been depersonalized from the era of the "Big Man"
leader, and freed up. Incumbents lose elections - 14 of 100 since 1990,
according to last summer's Journal of Democracy, compared with one in the
previous 30 years. Constitutional term limits get enforced, most recently in
The lingering problems are also obvious, in weak institutions, corrupt
ruling parties and ethnic divisions, which partly explains the weeks of
fighting after December's elections in Kenya. But several countries -
Tanzania, Zambia, Angola and a now stabilized Kenya - recognize the damage
Mr. Mugabe does to Africa's improving image, and they have said so.
However, Zimbabwe's neighbors still haven't moved from criticism to
ostracism or intervention. The key is South Africa. President Thabo Mbeki's
"softly softly" diplomacy is the main pillar holding up the Harare regime.
His policy is an embarrassment for a South Africa that aspires to global
leadership on human rights. Sympathy for the "liberation hero" grows out of
misplaced racial solidarity, not least for the Africanist in Mr. Mbeki. Yet
no one has done more harm to more black Africans in this century, in
Zimbabwe or beyond, than Comrade Bob.
24th Jun 2008 07:50 GMT
By Ian Nhuka
BULAWAYO - Commercial dairy farmers in Midlands and Matabeleland regions are
milking their cows manually as power cuts, persist, a development that
suggests how standards in the once- thriving agriculture sector have
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is affecting unscheduled
power cuts because of a huge shortage of electricity caused by the acute
lack foreign currency to pay for energy imports.
In Midlands province, traditionally the country's biggest milk producer, the
situation is desperate, according to provincial governor, Cephas Msipa.
He said the sector has almost collapsed, in the first admission by a senior
government official about the sorry state of affairs in the agriculture
"Yes the sector is being adversely affected by power cuts," said Msipa, a
dairy farmer himself. "You find that farms do not have electricity the
during the day until late at night. We are now milking cows manually. This
is unfortunate because some of us have as many as 50 or so dairy cows and
you cannot run a commercial dairy project milking cattle using bare hands."
Msipa said in addition to being time consuming, manual milking raises health
Under normal circumstances, farmers milk their cows early in the morning
daily, using electricity-powered milking machines.
Msipa said ZESA is failing to adhere to its publicized load-shedding
schedule. This made it almost impossible for farmers to plan their
Zimbabwe is facing power shortages blamed on the country's low generating
capacity and its failure to raise foreign currency to augment local
The shortage worsens in winter owing to increased demand for electricity.
The country gets most of its electricity from Mozambique and Democratic
Republic of Congo but the continuing foreign currency crunch has made it
impossible for ZESA to keep up its payments, forcing the regional suppliers
to disconnect power from time to time.
Zimbabwe used to produce enough milk for domestic consumption but the
situation changed after the chaotic land reform programme, which displaced
hundreds of white dairy farmers.
It is estimated that the country needs about 13 million litres of milk every
month, but production has in recent years, dropped to around six million
Ezra Ndlovu, head of the National Association of Dairy Farmers, Matabeleland
region warned that the long-standing power shortage could spell doom to the
money-spinning dairy industry. High prices of stockfeed is also further
threatening the sector, he said.
However, in Matabeleland, he said the supply situation is better.
"I know for a fact that in other parts of the country such as Midlands and
Mashonaland areas, farmers are crying," said Ndlovu.
"In Matabeleland we are not that affected because we have tried to work out
a strategy with ZESA and they appear to be abiding by it. In addition to
that, whenever there are electricity faults, we provide fuel and transport
and other requirements to enable ZESA to fix the problems to ensure smooth
supply of power."
Zimbabwe- time to draw the line
“For there power swaggers naked, and nobody is under any illusions.” (Rorty
The time has come for those who have solidarity with those who suffer to
say enough is enough. Mugabe the revolutionary has become Mugabe the tyrant
whilst the non African nation states stand back and wait.
Tsvangirai and other members of the opposition have not received the sort of
help that was given those fighting for democracy in South Africa, because of
a mistaken solidarity with the oppressor. Doing nothing to uphold democracy
in Zimbabwe has resulted in people seeking asylum from starvation to South
Africa where violence has been unleashed against them, as citizens compete
for resources. They blame the outsiders for rising food costs that are
linked with global markets in biofuels pushed up by peak oil and poor
Transnational solidarity (Gould 2007) with Zimbabweans should be expressed
in an emergency United Nations Meeting. Members of the Commonwealth should
call for this to happen immediately. A peace keeping force must act to
prevent any more suffering.
His neighbours and those who feel solidarity with suffering must aside a
sense that non –interference is acceptable or that past obligations for
services rendered (during the South African struggle against Apartheid) make
it acceptable to turn a blind eye.
Dr Janet McIntyre
Flinders Institute of Public Policy and Management
GPO Box 2100
We all know the sitation is severe,and getting a positive reaction out of
South Africa is impossible. President Mbeki's role, is really questionable,
becuase 'mediation' takes place in the presence of affected parties, not
behind closed doors with an architect of destruction.
The only thing that will force SA to act, is probably under threat of losing
the 2010 Soccer hosting..and maybe for other reasons too, that is the
correct path to pursue to influence change. Another factor thats not really
a feature, is the number of corporate businesses, that are operating in
Zimbabwe, and whatever the situation these corporates are still financing
The time for emotive condemnation etc is now over, and condemning, looking
for reasons, bandying about on GNU , dialog and negotiation - all these are
no longer options. SA , it is clear , supports,and continues to support the
Mugabe regime. We know that shipments etc under the guise of humanitarian
aid leave SA for Zim regularly, but are used only for supporters of that
There is no Xenophobia here. The word was quickly tagged to the violence,
but really it was the result of Mbeki's continued moronic approach , so it
should be noted that he is more directly responsible for the plight of those
Zimbabweans than is currently spotlighted. How much longer should those
people be tortured and killed before the world reacts?? The fact. that Mbeki
chairs the security council, is a travesty of justice itself.
While western leaders may diplomatically call Mbeki 'their friend' , they
should know that they too have elevated his status unnecessarily. GB did
that, but today , its 'Mbeki's continent'! Western leaders should also
absorb the blame for allowing beggars to also seem to want to call the
shots. The AU is a failure, wanting to run its own missions etc, but have no
capacity or finance, then want to call the shots when international forces
need to be deployed. What kind of leadership is that?
To succeed in forcing the hand of SA to do right, pressure needs to be
directed to the possible cancellation of SA as a world cup venue, and more
pressure needs to be exerted on every corporate now dealing in Zimbabwe.
Every organisation should now direct their efforts in this direction. ( In
truth, the situation on the ground really does not support conditions for a
successful world cup soccer 2010, as Im sure the events unfolding in 2009
will reveal. The Zimbabwe refugee problem will swell to uncontrollable
conditions very soon (well, its uncontrollable at the moment)..but lets say
in proportions that will expand the timebomb of violence that we're sitting
on in SA.
Begin to turn the tide:
EXERT PRESSURE ON THE 2010 WORLD CUP SOCCER , AS A VENUE UNDER THREAT, AND
EXERT PRESSURE ON ALL CORPORATES PROFITING, AND CONTINUING SUPPORT OF THAT