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Sokwanele - Boycotting the June 27 election is essential

Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Sokwanele : 24 June 2008

"The June 27 Presidential election is not an election, but a declaration of war against the people of Zimbabwe by the ruling party." (SA Congress of Trade Unions statement 24/6/2008)

This is an important call to all Zimbabweans from civil society - you must boycott the forthcoming election.

Do Not Vote in the June 27 Presidential run-off election

Robert Mugabe wants as many votes as he can get so that he can claim he is the "people's president". While it is clear that he will receive some votes and he has already secured the postal votes of the armed forces who were forced to vote for him, Mugabe will want to get substantially more votes than those cast for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on March 29.

We must not let this happen. The best action that we can all take to demonstrate that we refuse to accept Mugabe as our president for yet another five terrible years is to refuse to vote on Friday.

If you are forced by government agents to vote, then make sure you spoil your paper. Do not vote the dictator back into power.

However, please understand that we are not asking you to do anything that you think might endanger your safety or your life. In dangerous circumstances you must do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe.

The only people who should vote on Friday are those who have by-elections in their wards and will therefore be asked to vote twice. They should vote for the candidate of their choice for the House of Assembly seat but should hand in a spoilt ballot for the Presidential poll.

The three wards where by-elections are being held are:

    1. Bulawayo: Pelendaba/Mpopoma
    2. Matabeleland South: Gwanda South
    3. Midlands: Redcliff

The claim that the election cannot be cancelled

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) states that the Presidential run-off election on June 27 cannot be called off despite the withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai in the face of escalating violence, intimidation and the disruption of his campaign .

The ZEC cites Section 107 of Zimbabwe's Electoral Act which states that a nominated candidate may withdraw his candidature any time "before twenty-one days from the day …. on which the poll in an election to the office of President is to be taken".

In other words, according to this interpretation of the electoral law, if Morgan Tsvangirai withdraws his name less than three weeks before the run-off - even if the conditions have made it impossible to continue with his campaign - the election still has to go ahead.

This claim is countered by Tsvangirai and his legal team.

In a letter sent to the chairman of the ZEC, Justice Chiweshe, on June 23, Tsvangirai notes that Section 107 of the Electoral Act deals with the withdrawal of candidature from a Presidential election. He points out that the 21-day requirement refers to a Presidential election and not to a run-off. He says it would not make sense to expect a candidate from a presidential run-off election to give 21 days notice of his/her withdrawal where such election has to be held within 21 days.

He continues: "Section 107(3) makes it much clearer that Section 107 does not apply to a presidential run-off election. It provides that:-

'where a candidate for election as President has withdrawn his/her candidature in terms of this section, the sum deposited by or on his behalf in terms of subsection (1) of Section 105 shall be forfeited and form part of the funds of the commission'.

Tsvangirai notes that no money was ever deposited for the Presidential run-off election in terms of Section 105 by any candidate. "Furthermore, there have been no rules prescribed for the conduct of a presidential run-off election and in particular the notice period set for the withdrawal of candidature by a participant. Accordingly, any candidate wishing to withdraw his candidature is free to do so at any time before such an election."

A low poll for Mugabe will undermine his claims of legitimacy

Should the ZEC insist on disputing the interpretation of Tsvangirai's legal team, there is a further issue that needs to be addressed. A Zimbabwean legal expert notes that the provision contained in Section 107 must be read together with the requirement that a Presidential candidate needs to obtain at least 50 percent of the vote. The intention behind the provision, he writes, is that it is necessary for a President to have substantial support from the people of Zimbabwe. The legislation therefore discourages Presidential candidates being elected by default or with only minority support from the electorate.

He notes that, if Mugabe gets fewer votes on June 27 than Tsvangirai received on March 29, then Mugabe will still in theory be elected President, but his claims to legitimacy will be greatly undermined.

And if very few people turn out to vote and Mugabe gets elected by a tiny minority, it will demonstrate that he has no legitimacy as the country's President.

This is good news for all of the displaced people in Zimbabwe who have been concerned that they are not able to vote. And it is good news for the millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who wanted to come home to support their families and communities by voting for change.

Boycott by urban voters crucial

One of the biggest challenges we face is that Zanu PF will no doubt try to exaggerate the numbers of people who have turned out to vote in remote rural polling stations where there are no election observers.

To counter this problem, people in the urban areas must do all within their power to make sure that the polling stations are absolutely deserted. They must turn Friday's election into a referendum against Mugabe's misrule. If anyone is forced to go and vote, please make sure you spoil your ballot paper.

Why Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off

The MDC won the March 29 elections, in spite of all the challenges they faced: the March 11 beatings, the continuous attacks on organisations like the National Constitutional Assembly, election rigging, the banning of rallies early on, vote buying, the withholding of food aid and all of the other Zanu PF strategies. It was a victory for peace, democratic change and the rebuilding of our country. The Mugabe regime was furious and since then has declared war on the people of Zimbabwe.

A free and fair election was not possible then and is totally impossible now. There are numerous reasons, but these are the main ones:

    1. State-sponsored violence: The police are intimidated and have failed to protect the people of Zimbabwe. Under the direction of the Joint Operations Command, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Zanu PF youths and the youth militia are waging a terror campaign.
    2. MDC Presidential candidate's campaign: Rallies have been banned and the MDC President has been arrested on an ongoing basis.
    3. Decimation of MDC Structures: There has been a deliberate campaign to destroy the leadership and structures of the MDC. Secretary General Tendai Biti and MP Advocate Matinenga are illegally detained and over 2 000 MDC supporters, including polling agents, are in illegal detention.
    4. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is partisan: The ZEC is now staffed by "war veterans" and Zanu PF militia. It is not in charge of the management of this election.
    5. The media: The media is under attack and there has been a total blackout of the MDC's campaign. Journalists are being harassed and foreign journalists have been banned from entering the country.
    6. The Zanu PF Presidential candidate: Robert Mugabe has no respect for the MDC, for election observers or for the regional and international community. He has declared war by saying that the bullet has replaced the ballot. Chiwenga and Zimondi have stated they will not respect an MDC victory.
    7. Planned election rigging by Zanu PF: An elaborate and decisive plan by Zanu PF to rig the election has been exposed.

    Why Mugabe and Zanu PF want to continue with the election and retain power

    First of all, the Mugabe regime wants the world to believe that everything in Zimbabwe is normal and that the elections are legitimate. Secondly, if they lose power, they will lose the vast sums of money that they have stolen from the country over the years - money that has made them immensely rich and the citizens of Zimbabwe desperately poor. Their greed has wrecked the entire economy of our once stable and prosperous country. Thirdly, when the change comes, they are afraid they will be tried for their crimes, notably for crimes against humanity.

    Why we can now count on the support of the world

    The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have all supported Tsvangirai's call to withdraw from the election.

    • Zambian President Dr Levy Mwanawasa, who is also SADC chairman, said: "The current political situation in Zimbabwe falls far short of the SADC principles." He said that the June 27 presidential run-off election should be postponed to avert a catastrophe in southern Africa.
    • Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos urged Mugabe to "embrace a spirit of tolerance and respect for democratic norms", while at the same time appealing for an end to all acts of intimidation and violence.
    • Graca Machel, Joaquim Chissano, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu are among forty former African presidents, prime ministers, civil society heads and other high profile leaders who have called for an end to political violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe.
    • Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said: "I think this is an embarrassment to Africa because it makes a sham of presidential elections… the time has come for the international community to act on Zimbabwe."
    • The United Nations Security Council: On 24 June, the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning the campaign of violence against the political opposition which had resulted in the killing of scores of opposition activists and other Zimbabweans, and the beating and displacement of thousands of people, including many women and children. Their statement gave legitimacy to the March 29 poll and noted that the results must be respected. It also condemned the government's suspension of the operations of humanitarian organisations, noting this had directly affected one and a half million people, including half a million children. Not only was the statement adopted unanimously, but the Zimbabwean crisis will remain on the Security Council agenda.
    • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters after a meeting with the 15-nation Security Council on Monday that he "strongly discouraged" the Zimbabwean government from pressing ahead with a run-off election this week.
    • I would like to take this moment to say how distressed I am by the events leading up to the understandable decision of …. Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the run-off scheduled for this Friday," he said. "There has been too much violence and too much intimidation, a vote held under these conditions would lack all legitimacy."
    • The powerful South African Congress of Trade Unions (COSATU) has called on "the South African government, SADC governments, African governments and the world not to recognise Mugabe's illegal government all over the world and to refuse to have any dealings with Mugabe other than ensuring that he work towards new elections strictly under the conditions of total observance of the SADC protocols. Furthermore, planned actions by COSATU include mobilising for a blockade - a powerful reminder that Zimbabwe needs the co-operation of neighbours like South Africa to survive.

    It is clear that the world has the deepest respect for the courage of Zimbabweans in the face of disgraceful violence and repression. Pressure is mounting from the African continent and from the international community. The United Nations Security Council is fully briefed on the crisis and is in possession of documents that are damning to the Mugabe regime. There is now no place for them to hide.

    We call upon the people of Zimbabwe to make yet another brave stand and to ensure that the world hears their silent but powerful protest:


    [for full text on Morgan Tsavangirai's letter, The UN Security Council statement, and the ANC statement on Zimbabwe, please email where you will receive an automated email with these texts.]

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    Fear grows in Zanu-PF as officials interrogate top MDC man over amnesty deals, says lawyer

    · Detained Biti asked to expose worried ministers
    · Agents seek opposition views on power-sharing

    Chris McGreal in Harare
    The Guardian,
    Wednesday June 25, 2008

    The arrest and interrogation of the second most senior opposition official
    in Zimbabwe has exposed divisions and paranoia within Robert Mugabe's
    Zanu-PF that indicate important elements of the ruling party believe the
    government may soon collapse.

    Lawyers for Tendai Biti, the secretary general of the Movement for
    Democratic Change who was arrested on treason charges 10 days ago, say he
    has been subjected to extensive interrogation by intelligence officers
    acting for top Zanu-PF officials. They wanted to know if key cabinet
    ministers were striking individual deals with the opposition to avoid
    prosecution for corruption and political violence, leaving other Zanu-PF
    leaders exposed.

    One of the lawyers, Lewis Uriri, said he was told by Biti that he had been
    interrogated for 19 hours by three teams of eight people. "These were not
    negotiators - the justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, and the labour
    minister, Nicholas Goche - told Biti in talks immediately after Mugabe lost
    the first round of presidential elections three months ago when Zanu-PF put
    out tentative feelers for a power-sharing government before hardliners opted
    to pursue a more violent strategy to crush the opposition.

    "Biti's sense was that there is so much distrust and suspicion in Zanu-PF
    that these people wanted to verify what Goche and Chinamasa [said]. There
    was a sense from the questions that the interrogators thought Goche and
    Chinamasa were trying to negotiate their own future and not protect
    everybody else at the top of the party," said Uriri.

    "They wanted to know specifically about whether there had been any
    individual agreements for amnesty from prosecution ... Biti said that he
    thought from the interrogation that there are people, important powerful
    people, in Zanu-PF who were not briefed on what was happening and were
    afraid of being left unprotected."

    Biti's account would suggest that while Zanu-PF projects a powerful
    monolithic front to the outside world, there is a realisation in some
    quarters that the administration is doomed whatever the outcome of Friday's
    widely discredited election and that a deal with the opposition would have
    to be made.

    Zimbabwe's economy is collapsing ever more rapidly, with prices of ordinary
    goods now running into billions of local dollars amid 1,600,000% inflation,
    and the ruling party has no answers. The government is also increasingly
    isolated even within the region which has largely supported Mugabe up until

    In a line of questioning that appears to reflect a deep paranoia and
    distrust within the highest levels of Zanu-PF, the interrogators also asked
    Biti why Chinamasa and Goche agreed at talks mediated by South Africa last
    year to change election procedures, including posting the results at each
    polling station, that helped prevent the ruling party from stealing the
    first round.

    The interrogators asked Biti if the change was part of a deal in return for
    a commitment not to prosecute the ministers.

    Uriri said Biti was also questioned about the MDC's position on
    power-sharing and his own preference among the various models available,
    including whether there would still be a role for Mugabe in government,
    again suggesting that elements of Zanu-PF are leaning towards a negotiated
    way out of the political crisis, provided that their interests are

    The lawyer said that almost none of the questions were about the charges
    against Biti - which include treason, based on a forged document published
    in the state press, causing disaffection in the armed forces, and insulting

    Uriri said that the line of interrogation shows that Biti's detention is
    political with the intent of removing an effective leader from the election
    campaign and discovering the MDC's long-term political intent.

    "The whole idea, according to him, was to disrupt the MDC campaign, to keep
    him out of circulation, particularly in light of the opposition victory in
    the first round," he said.

    Biti was arrested as he stepped off an plane from South Africa 11 days ago.
    He has so far been refused bail.

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    Death toll in campaign of intimidation against MDC supporters 'close to 500'

    Independent, UK

    By Daniel Howden in Johannesburg
    Wednesday, 25 June 2008

    The true death toll in the campaign of terror being led by Robert Mugabe's
    government in Zimbabwe is close to 500, according to doctors' groups and
    opposition sources. The estimated number of killings had been thought to be
    86 but new evidence collected from rural areas witnessing the worst of the
    intimidation has prompted a five-fold increase in the tally.

    "The violence is increasing, even after we pulled out of the run-off," said
    one opposition researcher, who preferred not to be named.

    Doctors' groups have documented more than 100 deaths but are so overburdened
    with new cases that they have been unable to update their records fully. The
    collapse of the health system over the past decade and the exodus of doctors
    and nurses has left them unable to cope with the current "warlike"

    Friends of Zimbabwe, a civil-society organisation, said that six people per
    day were being killed in a campaign that they believe has already claimed
    500 lives.

    The government blames political violence on the opposition party, the
    Movement For Democratic Change, but independent observers, African poll
    monitors and diplomats say the killings and torture are orchestrated by the
    ruling Zanu-PF, aided by the security services. In rural areas and
    increasingly in towns and cities, Zanu militia have murdered, tortured and
    intimidated thousands of suspected MDC supporters.

    Sources said some initial beatings had been made worse by refusing victims
    medical treatment. In other cases the injured had their wounds poisoned with
    weed killer, and were left to an agonising death.

    The opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who pulled out of the run-off on
    Sunday, should be recognised as president-elect, according to three leading
    South African legal experts. David Unterhalter and Wim Trengove, who
    specialise in constitutional court issues, and Max du Plessis, an associate
    professor of law, said the delay to the run-off, which should have occurred
    within 21 days of the 29 March first round, made Friday's vote null and
    void. This could open the way for foreign governments to recognise Mr

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    Zimbabwe's Mugabe: Open To Talks With Opposition After Vote


    HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said he is open to
    negotiations after this week's runoff presidential election, state media
    reported Wednesday.

    "We are open, open to discussion, but we have our own principles," The
    Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying at two rallies Tuesday.

    "If they (the opposition) have problems they can always bring them forward."

    State media said Mugabe indicated talks would occur only after Friday's
    presidential runoff vote.

    -Dow Jones Newswires, 201-938-5500

      (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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    Mob rule swells the crowds at Mugabe rallies

    The Times
    June 25, 2008

    Robert Mugabe told his supporters at a rally in Banket, Harare: 'We will
    proceed with our election . . . the elections are ours and we are a
    sovereign state'

    Catherine Philp in Epworth
    The chant from the mob rose in the air as they marched behind their flag
    through the dusty streets of Epworth in search of defiant voters in need of

    Down the road at the entrance to an open field, pro-Mugabe militants dressed
    in party regalia proclaiming their allegiance to Zanu (PF) waited to receive
    their newest victims for an all-day orgy of chanting, beatings, and

    In this dirt-poor township south of Harare, scene of some of the worst
    atrocities of the past six weeks, the shock troops of the party were still
    waging their campaign of intimidation yesterday, oblivious to the withdrawal
    of their opposition challenger and the effective end of the presidential
    election contest.

    Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to pull out has convulsed the world, moving
    even the recalcitrant United Nations Security Council to issue its first
    condemnation of the violence. Yesterday the ruling ANC in South Africa
    voiced its harshest criticism to date, saying that it was dismayed by the
    actions of the Mugabe regime, which was "riding roughshod over the hard-won
    democratic rights of the people".

    Jacob Zuma, leader of the party, added to mounting pressure on Robert Mugabe
    by saying that Zimbabwe was out of control. "You now need a political
    arrangement there and then further down the line an election," he said. "We
    cannot agree with Zanu (PF). We cannot agree with them on values."
    Mr Mugabe remained defiant. "We will proceed with our election," he told a
    rally in Banket, north of Harare. "Other people can say what they want but
    the elections are ours and we are a sovereign state."

    Nowhere was the collapse of the election less evident than in the terrified
    township of Epworth. "They are just rumours," said one man watching the mob
    of 200 youth militiamen begin their bellowing, US Marine-style jog around
    the streets. "The election is still on."

    The Movement for Democratic Change lodged its formal withdrawal from the
    election yesterday, two days after Mr Tsvangirai, its leader, announced that
    he was quitting. For the thugs of Zanu (PF) the battle goes on. Charles, an
    Epworth resident who works as a domestic servant in central Harare, saw the
    militias begin their work early yesterday, setting upon the house of an MDC
    supporter minutes after dawn. "They were smashing it apart, looking for the
    people who live here," he told The Times, "Nothing has changed since the
    weekend. Everyone is still very afraid."

    When Times journalists reached Epworth yesterday afternoon, several hundred
    people were assembled in the field taken over as a re-education and torture
    camp, sitting in the long grass as a Zanu (PF) leader chanted pro-

    Mugabe slogans and goaded them to respond. The camp at Epworth has become
    notorious for the kind of abuses reported by witnesses beaten and tortured

    The camp is in plain sight of the main road. No attempt is made to hide it.
    Epworth is regarded as one of the areas shut down to outsiders and Mr Mugabe's
    thugs have free rein here.

    Epworth is the site of one of Zimbabwe's natural wonders, the Balancing
    Rocks, which used to be a huge tourist attraction. White faces here must
    have once been common but yesterday they drew looks of incredulity. Young
    men dressed in Zanu (PF) shirts roamed the streets, carrying plastic barrels
    of moonshine, their eyes wild with intoxication.

    More organised and equally intimidating were the youth militia jogging
    through the streets, chanting as they went. Each person they passed returned
    their Mugabe fist salute; fail to and you are straight to the camp.

    "We have all learnt to do it," Milan, an MDC supporter, told us later in
    Harare. A month ago he was still proudly sporting his "Morgan is More"
    T-shirt. Now it is hidden and on his head he sports the ubiquitous Zanu
    bandana. "It is just for security. It is fake."

    Fear has made it hard to tell a real Zanu (PF) supporter these days. One man
    said that he was terrified of getting a beating because he did not have a
    Zanu T-shirt: the party office had run out.

    There was no mistaking the identity of the men summoned to drive us out of
    Epworth. They appeared from nowhere, packed into a glistening silver Toyota
    that pulled up alongside the Times car. In a split second their doors were
    open and they were out, their Zanu shirts layered over with an unmistakable
    green jacket: the Green Bombers, Mr Mugabe's elite shock troops, the special
    forces of his campaign.

    We took off, and so did they, in pursuit. People scattered from the road.
    Pulling ahead, we left them behind and raced on to Harare, until we came in
    sight of a police block. We had no option but to stop. After they let us go,
    we saw the Bombers' car gaining ground. They threw their headlights on to
    full beam and the police, clearly recognising them, waved them straight
    through at 80mph. The flash of a police sniper's rifle glinted from the long
    grass. We lost them again in the maze of Harare's streets.

    Mr Tsvangirai is currently holed up in the Dutch Embassy for his own safety,
    a move derided by the Government as a stunt to win sympathy from foreign
    powers. Mr Tsvangirai said yesterday that he planned to leave within the
    next two days - if it was safe.

    He has offered to negotiate with Mr Mugabe if the violence against his
    supporters stopped. If Epworth is anything to go by, the violence shows no
    signs of abating. Last night residents were holding their breath, waiting
    for the beatings, gang rapes and torture to begin all over again, and hoping
    that this time they had done enough to stop it from happening to them.

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    From murder to terror: the tactics of Robert Mugabe

    June 25, 2008

    David Stevens, a farmer, was among those murdered by ’war veterans’

    President Mugabe began murdering his opponents less than three years after he came to power in 1980, declaring that his rule would mark “the age of love” and reconciliation with the Rhodesian whites against whom he had fought.

    A low-level insurgency that began in 1982 with disaffected former guerrillas of the Ndebele-based Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (Zipra), who had fought alongside Mr Mugabe in the civil war, received a savage response.

    Led by soldiers of the 5 Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army, who were trained in North Korea, a campaign of systematic massacre was carried out against the rural people of Matabeleland, whom Mr Mugabe regarded as providing shelter, food and intelligence for the ex-Zipra “dissidents”. Soldiers, covert operations police and intelligence agents wiped out entire villages, by bullet or bayonet, or carted them off to camps where they were murdered, usually after being tortured.

    The violence came to an end in 1988 after Mr Mugabe negotiated with the Ndebele leader, Joshua Nkomo, his former comrade-in-arms, and his Zapu party, and absorbed them into Zanu (PF).

    The organised massacre was largely ignored by Western embassies in Harare. When the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference protested, Mr Mugabe derided them as “sanctimonious prelates”. A relatively small number of journalists brought it to international attention but Mr Mugabe was unscathed, able to dismiss it as “a moment of madness”.

    Nine years later the Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJP) delivered a 260-page report on their investigations into what Mr Mugabe called Operation Gukurahundi (“the rain that washes away the chaff”). Interviewing thousands of survivors and victims' relatives, the report, Breaking the Silence, pieced together the atrocities in detail, although there were huge gaps in the information because so many of the witnesses had been murdered. The report was able to identify 1,791 victims. It said that “the figure is reasonably certainly 3,750 dead. More than that it is not possible to say, except to allow that the real figure for the dead could be double 3,000, or even higher.”

    Further research was carried out by human rights researchers in Matabeleland. The climate of fear that still pervaded while the CCJP and the LRF carried out their investigations had abated considerably. Villagers were less frightened to take researchers to the sites of mass graves in the bush, or to the bottoms of mine shafts, and felt free to speak. Reports have yet to be published but, said one of the researchers who asked not to be named, “the final tally is no fewer than 10,000 and no more than 20,000”.

    Relative calm persisted through to 2000, when Mr Mugabe found his continued rule suddenly undermined by a new political party engendered by the growth of democracy that came with the collapse of the Soviet bloc.

    The loss of a referendum shocked Mr Mugabe into action. Within two weeks, lawless “war veterans” were invading white-owned commercial farms and attacking the six-month-old Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

    On the same day in mid-April, a war veteran and an officer of Mr Mugabe's Central Intelligence Organisation firebombed Morgan Tsvangirai's driver, Tichaona Chiminya, and an aide, Talent Mabika, burning them alive in the cab of the pick-up lorry that they were in, while another group abducted the farmer David Stevens - an MDC support worker, like many other young white farmers. He was beaten and shot in the back of the head.

    “By the time 2000 and the MDC came round, Mugabe and the Joint Operational Command realised that massacres were politically unviable, so they adopted a strategy of focused killings and torture,” said a human rights researcher who asked not to be named. “That way everybody gets the message.”

    After the defeat of Zanu (PF) in parliamentary elections on March 29 and a narrow loss in the presidential vote that called for a second round, Mr Mugabe and the Joint Operational Command cast restraint to the wind. The death toll now stands at 85 in less than 12 weeks - about one killing a day - a figure far worse than anything since 2000, while the torture is so intense that doctors have stated that they have been overwhelmed.

    “There are more who were buried without being taken to a hospital, others who were dumped and their bodies have not been found, and those who crept off to escape, but died of their injuries,” said a doctor who asked not to be named.

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    William Gumede: Amid the despair of Zimbabwe, there is still hope

    Independent, UK

    Wednesday, 25 June 2008

    There can be no clearer illustration of the impotence of Africa's regional
    institutions and leaders to find local solutions to the continent's problems
    than their astounding inaction in the face of Zimbabwe's terrifying descent
    into the abyss. Any deal to stave off the country's collapse will founder
    unless it involves both its neighbours and the international community, yet,
    no matter how dire the situation, there is just no appetite in Africa for an
    Iraqi-style foreign invasion to rid the country of Robert Mugabe.

    Western intervention on this scale is a non-starter. First, African
    countries - even those who implacably oppose Mugabe - would see foreign
    forces on African soil as an affront to their dignity, especially if it
    involves one from Britain, the former colonial master of Zimbabwe. Second,
    although African countries have this week finally started to put pressure on
    Mugabe, they have always been opposed to using peacekeeping troops to
    resolve conflicts within the continent.

    The United Nations must be central to the resolution of the Zimbabwean
    impasse, and the Security Council's condemnation of Mugabe is a necessary if
    long overdue component in the process. The fact that South Africa and China,
    who previously blocked discussion of Zimbabwe in the Security Council,
    joined in the condemnation is another step forward.

    In the absence of an opposition in this week's presidential run-off, Mugabe
    will probably claim victory, no matter how ridiculous that would be. But
    such a farce can be prevented. Indeed, victory for the people of Zimbabwe
    can still be salvaged from this bloody wreckage.

    Two things have changed. African leaders have finally come to terms with the
    fact that Mugabe is a shameful blot on the continent. The fact that Angola,
    Senegal, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda have added their voices to calls for
    Mugabe to listen to reason is ground-breaking in a continent where the rule
    is that African leaders do not criticise their peers even if they brutalise
    their people.

    The other obstructive rule has been that African leaders always side with
    the fellow African leaders when they are criticised by the West, especially
    by former colonial powers, no matter the merits of the criticisms. That rule
    has also now been broken. And a third rule, that fellow African movements
    always close ranks when another is criticised by outsiders, is also now

    Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa's ruling ANC, now says that the
    ANC cannot support Mugabe and Zanu-PF on the basis solely of their shared
    anti-colonial struggle experience. In the African context this is hugely
    significant. It means that Mugabe is now for the first time isolated within
    Africa up to his rallying base.

    But how to deal practically with the crisis? A joint African-West solution,
    backed by the UN, should involve cancelling the presidential re-run, and
    installing a transitional government based on the results of the 29 March
    elections, won by Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC. It would be an outrage if a
    solution involved Mugabe remaining head of Zimbabwe. A deal would also have
    to involve key Zanu-PF leaders in a transitional cabinet of national unity -
    without Mugabe at its head.

    Disappointingly, during the UN Security Council meeting on Monday, South
    Africa blocked a stronger statement that would have formally recognised
    Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, as the legitimate president, and a
    deal may have to involve giving Mugabe and his allies some kind of immunity.
    The advantages of this would outweigh the moral hazards.

    African countries must send a peacekeeping force, during a transitional
    period, with members from all African countries that can contribute. The
    West could partner such a peacekeeping force by providing financial,
    material and logistic support.

    There is more to be done: an offer from the West to cancel at least some of
    Zimbabwe's debt will do a lot to restore African confidence. Furthermore,
    both the UK and the US must pay the disputed funds for land reform, which
    Mugabe has used as a red flag to mobilise African leaders behind him since
    2000. Many Africans still do remember unfulfilled Western promises in many
    areas - which remain a sore point across the continent.

    Amid the despair of the death, destruction and starvation perpetuated by
    Mugabe - a situation abetted by the inaction of African and Western
    leaders - there is still the possibility of a solution to what has happened
    in Zimbabwe. But what's needed is a sense of urgency combined with cool
    heads and pragmatism.

    William Gumede is author of 'Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the

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    Mugabe forces public transporters to display posters in return for cheap fuel

    President Robert Mugabe has allegedly ordered transport operators in the second biggest city of Bulawayo to display his campaign posters all over their public service vehicles in return for cheap fuel provided by the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM).

    Despite the announcement by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that its Presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, has officially withdrawn from the June 27 run-off election, Mugabe and his party are still vigorously campaigning for the poll.

    On Tuesday, all minibuses plying routes in Bulawayo had four of Mugabe’s portraits displayed on either side, the front and the rear.

    “We have been told those that do not display the potrait will not be given cheap fuel, which is sold at Z$6 billion for five litres at NOCZIM. We have also been ordered to allow at least three ZANU (PF) officials to campaign in the minibuses, so that they get people here to understand the ZANU (PF) message ahead of the elections,” said a minibus conductor in the city.

    The minibuses, according to the crews, have also been ordered to charge Z$500 million for a single trip, instead of the Z$2 billion they were charging on Monday, so that they attract many commuters to get MUgabe’s message.

    “Now you have seen that Mugabe loves you very much, unlike Tsvangirai who claims to love you but leaves you to walk all the way to and from town. Now you can travel to the city as many times as you like. This is reason enough to vote for ZANU (PF) and Mugabe on Friday,” said one campaigner to quiet commuters on Tuesday.

    Scores of desperate commuters seeking cheap transport could be seen in long queues, as they tried to board the minibuses, which charge Z$3 billion less than commuter omnibuses, which raised their fares again on Monday.

    Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the ZANU (PF) candidate for Mpopoma-Phelandaba parliamentary consituency also confirmed the provision of cheap fuel, but claimed that the transport operators had asked for the posters and invited the ZANU (PF) officials to campaign to their commuters.

    “The operators have realised that the government has their will at heart and have displayed their gratitude in that manner. This shows that we are still the most popular party in the country despite our detractors’ claims,” said Ndlovu.

    Meanwhile, MDC national spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, has announced that Tsvangirai has formally withdrawn from the Friday poll.

    “We submitted our formal withdrawal letter to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) today (Tuesday) in the afternoon and what now remains is for us to announce that move on Wednesday,” he said.

    However, ZEC chairman, George Chiweshe, to who Chamisa said the letter was personally handed, claimed that he had not seen the letter in the afternoon.

    “I have not seen the letter and to me the run-off is still on and Tsvangirai is still contesting,” he said briefly.

    The MDC says that it cannot be part of “a sham election” that has turned out not to be conducive for a free and fair election. It also accuses the ZEC of complacency in the whoas one reason that has made the party lose confidence in the party’s supporters in the hands of government forces and ZANU (PF) party militia, who have killed about 70 MDC supporters since March 29.

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    Zimbabwe Political Violence Continues Despite Opposition Election Boycott


    By Jonga Kandemiiri
    24 June 2008

    Political violence continued around Zimbabwe on Tuesday in the wake of the
    announcement by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai that he would not be a
    candidate in the presidential run-off election that the government of
    President Robert Mugabe appeared determined to go ahead with regardless.
    Sources in Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change said a group of about
    10 soldiers bearing arms attacked the rural home of MDC Organizing Secretary
    Elias Mudzuri, who is a member of parliament-elect, beating his 80-year-old
    father and other family members.

    Seven people were taken to a Harare hospital for treatment following the

    The sources said the soldiers burned a truck and looted property seizing
    some Z$75 billion in cash. They said it was the second attack on Mudzuri's
    rural homestead in two weeks.

    His younger brother, Anthony Mudzuri, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of
    VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the soldiers fired more than 50 shots,
    wounding a young boy.

    Elsewhere, opposition spokesman Pishai Muchauraya of Manicaland province
    said ZANU-PF militia abducted 32 people in the province on Tuesday alone.

    Muchauraya said five ZANU-PF activists raped a woman from the Mutare Central
    constituency in the presence of her husband before abducting both of them.

    A source in Chiredzi, Masvingo province, said suspected security agents shot
    and killed four opposition youths and seriously injured another on Monday.

    A VOA listener in Mhondoro, Mashonaland West province, said opposition
    supporters were being woken up at dawn and thrown into rivers for their
    political affiliation. A listener named Chamunorwa said he fears for their
    lives as some of the rivers are crocodile infested.

    A listener in Banket, also on Mashonaland West, said thousands of people
    from farms in the area were forced onto tractors to attend a ruling party
    rally held in the area Tuesday.

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    'A flagrant violation of democracy': ANC tells Mugabe to delay election

    Independent, UK

    By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
    Wednesday, 25 June 2008

    Southern African leaders announced an emergency summit to discuss the
    Zimbabwe crisis today as Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa's ruling
    party, broke ranks with President Thabo Mbeki and issued his country's
    toughest criticism to date of Robert Mugabe.

    Mr Mbeki has remained silent on Zimbabwe, despite having powerful leverage
    over President Mugabe because of Zimbabwe's economic dependency on South
    Africa. But Mr Zuma said Zimbabwe's elections were now totally
    "discredited". A defiant Mr Mugabe has pledged to proceed with the run-off
    presidential vote on Friday.

    Mr Zuma's African National Congress said it was "deeply dismayed by the
    actions of the government of Zimbabwe, which is riding roughshod over the
    hard-won democratic rights of the people of that country.

    "As democrats, the ANC cannot be indifferent to the flagrant violation of
    every principle of democratic governance."

    The statement was in sharp contrast to Mr Mbeki's silence on Zimbabwe, where
    a campaign of terror orchestrated by Mr Mugabe prompted the opposition
    leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to pull out of the election. And it marked a
    break between the two movements which were once close allies in the struggle
    against white rule in southern Africa.

    Mr Mugabe's opponents made a threat last night to campaign for a boycott of
    the 2010 football World Cup, to be hosted by South Africa, in protest at Mr
    Mbeki's support for "tyranny".

    It was not clear whether Mr Mbeki will attend today's Southern African
    Development Community (SADC) summit in Swaziland, even though he is the
    mediator on Zimbabwe for the 14-nation group.

    It comes as international attention is focused on the reaction of African
    leaders, after the UN Security Council - including South Africa - issued an
    unprecedented and unanimous condemnation of the violence on Monday night.

    Mr Zuma called for urgent intervention by the UN and SADC, saying the
    situation in Zimbabwe was out of control. But he did not explain what he had
    in mind. British officials have denied that there are any plans for armed
    intervention by outside powers.

    The SADC chairman, Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa, has clashed with Mr
    Mbeki over his mediation of the crisis. He complained this week that
    President Mbeki was not keeping him informed of the process and he had to
    rely on his own intelligence reports for information. This was after Mr
    Mbeki visited Mr Mugabe last week. The Zambian leader, who has been one of
    the African leaders to speak out against Mr Mugabe, said he had tried to
    contact Mr Mbeki but the latter had not returned his calls.

    Violence continued to ravage Zimbabwe as Mr Mugabe's thugs kept up the
    electoral violence despite the withdrawal from the contest of Mr Tsvangirai,
    leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.

    A close Tsvangirai ally, Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the civic group, the
    National Constitutional Assembly, became the latest victim of the violence
    when militias invaded his rural home in remote Chipinge and tear-gassed
    villagers in their huts before burning down nearly a dozen of the homes.

    Mr Madhuku said his brother, Claris, had been arrested and was being held in
    custody without charge. Dozens of villagers had been heavily beaten.

    Yesterday morning, the family of the MDC's national organising secretary,
    Elias Mudzuri, was attacked by men in military uniform in in Zaka, in
    Masvingo province.

    Other reports of violence were being reported from across the country.
    "Their strategy is clear. They want to destroy the MDC forever," said Mr

    Mr Tsvangirai sought guarantees for his safety. He is in the Dutch embassy
    where he had fled after a tip-off that the army was going to arrest him at
    his home on Sunday. He held talks at the embassy yesterday with two of
    President Mbeki's envoys, the South African Local Government Minister Sydney
    Mufamadi and legal adviser Mojanku Gumbi.

    Mr Mbeki has been pushing for a government of national unity and wants Mr
    Tsvangirai and President Mugabe to meet to discuss the details. However Mr
    Mbeki failed to have the run-off cancelled, and a senior South African
    government official said South Africa was resigned to the fact that the
    election would proceed. A unity government could be discussed only after the
    run-off, the source said.

    Mr Mugabe for the first time publicly stated that he was ready to open
    discussions with the MDC but only after the run-off. He told party
    supporters that he could not cancel the election now because it was a legal

    It is thought that Mr Mugabe wants to be declared winner of the run-off so
    that he can enter any talks from a position of strength. But the fact that
    he will now be the only contender is likely to make any negotiations very
    difficult and a unity government impossible.

    Mr Tsvangirai told reporters the Dutch had allowed him to remain in the
    embassy for as long as he needed. "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," he
    said. But Mr Mugabe denied that Mr Tsvangirai was in danger. "Tsvangirai is
    frightened. He has run to seek refuge at the Dutch embassy. What for? These
    are voters, they will do you no harm. Political harm, yes, because they will
    vote against you. No one wants to kill Tsvangirai."

    On the blogs: the mood inside the country

    Morgan Morgan Morgan. You only had five days to go. No doubt Mugabe and his
    cronies are out celebrating right now, all the violence and intimidation has
    paid off. Morgan you had to press on regardless there was a reason why
    people were voting for you - they want change. But to pull out so close to
    the finish line is absurd. You are letting people down.

    Bev Clark on

    The MDC needs to immediately set down some demands to test the political
    will of our neighbours and international supporters. Let's start by asking
    South Africa to impose full sanctions, both economic and travel, on
    Zimbabwe, sending Mugabe a very clear message that enough is enough.

    Shumba on

    Well it looks as if the toothless tiger [the UN] meows again. Action will
    only be taken when the whole country is awash with blood.

    James Hall on

    I think Morgan has been battered in to submission and did not have the
    courage of his convictions. Why would he be prepared to negotiate a deal
    with someone he considers a monster? What deal will they come up with?...
    Could he not have participated in this election under protest?

    Timba on

    Mbeki's legacy is entirely tied to the 2010 World Cup. He doesn't have
    anything else to show for his presidency. By organising a grassroots threat
    of boycott of the World Cup, we might finally be able to see some action.

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    Living on Pennies


    An undercover visit to Zimbabwe reveals a deeply troubled land full of disenchanted people.

    Rod Nordland
    Land of Hunger: 8-year-old Priscilla, an AIDS orphan, and her grandmother Rebecca Dube at a squatter settlement

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    AU team promises honest assessment of Zim poll

    Zim Online


                by Wayne Mafaro Wednesday 25 June 2008

    HARARE - African Union (AU) observers said on Tuesday they hoped to make an
    "honest and independent" assessment of Zimbabwe's violence-marred
    presidential run-off election on Friday.

    The run-off election between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader
    Morgan Tsvangirai was thrown further into doubt on Tuesday after Tsvangirai
    formally wrote to the country's electoral commission withdrawing from the

    Electoral law requires the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to declare
    Mugabe winner and cancel Friday's poll but the commission insisted it was
    pressing ahead with plans for the poll because it had not seen Tsvangirai's
    letter of withdrawal.

    The AU mission that is headed by former Sierra Leone president Ahmad Tejan
    Kabbah said in a statement: "The main objective of the mission is to make an
    honest, independent and impartial observation and assessment of the
    organisation and conduct of these elections.

    "The AU Mission hopes the presidential run-off and House of Assembly
    by-elections will be held in an environment conducive to the democratic
    expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe."

    The AU mission - which together with other African observer missions on
    Monday expressed concern to the ZEC about the climate of violence in
    Zimbabwe ahead of the run-off poll - said it planned to deploy observers
    throughout the country ahead of voting day in order to assess the
    environment as voters cast their ballots.

    Tsvangirai, favourite to win the run-off poll after defeating Mugabe in the
    first round of voting in March, pulled out saying political violence made a
    free and fair election impossible.

    The United Nations Security Council on Monday called for the run-off poll to
    be scrapped saying a free and fair vote was impossible while some of the
    Harare government's key allies in southern African also questioned the
    credibility of Friday's vote and called for it to be postponed.

    However, electoral authorities in Harare appeared determined to proceed with
    the vote.

    ZEC deputy chief elections officer Uitoile Silaigwana told the media that
    the commission was busy distributing materials to polling stations in
    preparation for the run-off election.

    He said: "The preparations are at an advanced stage. Today we are winding up
    our training and deployment of election officers. Ballot materials are being
    distributed across the country. We are almost ready." - ZimOnline

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    Stand up and be counted in Zimbabwe's hour of need



    Dear friends


    Herewith the press release we have sent out about our activities on Friday. As you would expect there has been a lot of media interest.


    You will see that we will be calling on Nelson Mandela to speak out about Zimbabwe.  Many people think that a comment from him could help avert the unfolding tragedy. 


    The human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has always supported our cause, is organising two extra events to try to get Mr Mandela to say something.  He asks for our support for the following:

    ·         Wednesday night (25/6) at 6.15pm in Hyde Park as Gordon Brown, Bill Clinton and world leaders arrive for a dinner in honour of Mandela (which he will also attend). This dinner will have guaranteed worldwide media coverage. We will meet at 6pm sharp inside Marble Arch tube station by the ticket office.

    ·         Thursday morning at 10 am outside the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane, where Mandela is staying. We will meet on the pavement outside the hotel at 10am sharp.

    Peter is anxious there should be a good representation of black Zimbabweans. He is organising some placards, but people might like to help by bringing their own on the theme of: "Mandela, Speak out" and "Mandela – Help save Zimbabwe". Note: Placard slogans should be written in large, thick dark coloured letters on a light or white background (these photograph best).


    We all know this is a crucial time and the fate of our families hangs in the balance so it’s vital we all make an extra effort to be active for Zimbabwe. But please obey police instructions.  They have been very supportive of the Vigil.







    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).


    A reminder: Service of Solidarity with Torture Survivors of Zimbabwe, Thursday 26th June 4 – 5.30 pm on UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum supported by the Vigil. Venue: St Paul's Church, Bedford Street, Covent Garden WC2E 9ED.  All welcome to join the service and post-service procession to lay flowers on the steps of the Zimbabwe Embassy.  Check: for more details.


    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.


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    Zimbabwe: a glimmer of hope for my homeland

    The Telegraph

    By Graham Boynton
    Last Updated: 12:01am BST 25/06/2008

          Finally, after years of obfuscation, hand wringing and so-called
    "quiet diplomacy", Africa is beginning to raise its voice against its most
    errant son, Robert Mugabe. Too little, too late? Yes, if one considers that
    a once prosperous and peaceful country has had to be taken to the brink of
    civil war and economic collapse before any of Africa's political leaders
    have deigned to speak out. But, no, if one agrees with the opinion now
    circulating in political circles that this is a defining moment for Africa
    and may even offer a glimmer of hope for the future of this blighted

          Until recently, Mugabe's appearances at African Union gatherings were
    greeted with standing ovations. Now Kenya's Raila Odinga, Rwanda's Paul
    Kagame, Nigeria's Umara Yar'Adua and Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa have in the
    past few days condemned the Mugabe regime's violent conduct and poured scorn
    on the idea that this week's presidential poll will be free and fair.

          Botswana's new president, Ian Khama, summoned the Zimbabwean
    ambassador in Gaborone to explain the arrests of MDC leader Morgan
    Tsvangirai and its general, secretary, Tendai Biti. Odinga, himself no
    stranger to electoral fraud, even went so far as to demand that Mugabe step
    down immediately and that an international peace-keeping force be sent into
    Zimbabwe to preside over free and fair elections. Such public condemnation
    of an African leader by so many of his own was unheard of until now.

          The only dissonant voice belongs to South Africa's President, Thabo
    Mbeki, who, following Tsvangirai's announcement that he was withdrawing from
    the run-off, lamely told a press conference that he was rather hoping that
    Zimbabwe's "leadership would still be open to a process that would result in
    them coming to some agreement about what happens to their country". Watching
    him make this limp statement at the same time as we were seeing mobs of
    Mugabe's thugs bearing down on opposition supporters with machetes and iron
    bars made his performance seem ludicrous.

          At first glance, it would appear that Mbeki's position on Zimbabwe is
    as weird and detached from reality as his famously awful policy on Aids.
    Throughout his presidency, he has refused to criticise Mugabe, at the same
    time promising Western leaders and pressure groups that his quiet diplomacy
    would be far more likely to bring a peaceful solution than would head-on

          In fact, Mbeki seems to be impaled on Mugabe's revolutionary struggle
    credentials and, even as Mugabe has driven his country into the African
    dust, so the South African leader has felt either unable or unwilling to
    confront the tyrant with his own shortcomings. He, among all of Africa's
    leaders, has had the economic power to rein in Mugabe and should have done
    so years ago, just as South Africa's Vorster did to the Rhodesian rebel
    leader, Ian Smith, in the mid-1970s.

          Instead, Mbeki has hosted endless and increasingly pointless rounds of
    talks in Pretoria, while at the same time actively encouraging dissident
    factions within Zimbabwe's opposition. It is no secret that he dislikes
    Tsvangirai and the idea of a trade unionist unseating a liberation hero runs
    counter to all Mbeki's political beliefs. Zimbabwean opposition politicians
    have for some time expressed concern that there has been institutionalised
    bias against the MDC because of the African National Congress's problems
    with its own trade union movement, Cosatu. It is for this reason perhaps
    that Mbeki has supported both the dissident faction of the MDC, led by the
    intellectual lawyer Arthur Mutambara, and the breakaway Zanu-PF man, former
    finance minister Simba Makoni. Splitting the opposition has, of course,
    played into Mugabe's hands: had these factions not competed against one
    another in the June elections, insiders believe the MDC would have won by a
    landslide, making it all but impossible for Mugabe to claim a close race and
    to fiddle a presidential re-run. So thank you, President Mbeki.

          To add to Mbeki's discomfort, his own political party has not only
    driven him, kicking and screaming, to agree to this week's UN Security
    Council condemnation of the Zimbabwean government's campaign of "violence,
    intimidation and outright terror", but has also gone behind his back to
    issue its own statement. The ANC - now led by Mbeki's bitter rival, Jacob
    Zuma - accused the Mugabe government of "riding roughshod over the hard-won
    democratic rights of the people of that country". Zuma added yesterday that
    "action by the international community, such as the United Nations, is more
    urgent today."

          Last week at the University of Pretoria, James McGee, the American
    ambassador to Zimbabwe, delivered a moving lecture, entitled "Zimbabwe On
    The Precipice", in which he described flying down from Harare that morning
    and leaving behind a country "that is teetering on the edge of lawlessness
    and anarchy . on the brink of starvation . and sinking into a seemingly
    bottomless abyss." He recalled how at independence, almost 30 years ago,
    Tanzania's Julius Nyerere had told the newly invested Prime Minister Mugabe
    that he had inherited the jewel of Africa and urged him to protect it. And,
    as McGee rightly pointed out, Zimbabwe was to be the model for a new Africa.

          When he delivered that lecture, the ambassador was yet another Western
    observer dismayed but seemingly powerless to stop the destruction being
    wreaked by a megalomaniac African despot and a small band of kleptocrats on
    a once beautiful and bountiful country. Now that Africa's own leaders - and,
    most important, the ruling party in the continent's most powerful country -
    have disowned Mugabe and declared that Friday's false presidential election
    will not be recognised, there is a glimmer of hope that Zimbabwe may yet
    become a model for a new Africa.

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    Zimbabwe Churches Seek To Help Violence Victims Despite Aid Ban



          By Carole Gombakomba
          24 June 2008

    Zimbabwean church leaders say there is no sign of a letup in political
    violence following the decision by the opposition not to take part in the
    presidential run-off election slated for late this week, and that they are
    continuing to try to help the victims of such violence despite government
    restrictions on the provision of humanitarian assistance.

    But some clerics expressed the hope that despite the continued political
    crisis, the decision by the Movement for Democratic Change party of Morgan
    Tsvangirai to pull out of the vote may save many people from "protracted and
    continued harassment" by the ruling party.

    Christian Alliance spokesman Pius Wakatama, arrested by authorities last
    week but released, said worsening conditions have prompted his group to seek
    other ways of offering shelter, blankets and food since Harare has forbidden
    it to offer direct humanitarian aid.

    Rev. Ray Motsi, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Pastor's Conference, told
    reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while some
    churches have become polarized in the tense political climate, clerics feel
    an obligation to get involved to help the victims of political violence.

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    Zimbabwe could face genocide, Ashdown warns

    Yahoo News

    Tue Jun 24, 7:28 AM ET

    LONDON (AFP) - The violence in Zimbabwe could descend into genocide like
    that in Rwanda in 1994, former international envoy Paddy Ashdown warned

    Military intervention in Zimbabwe had to remain an option, the former High
    Representative for Bosnia told The Times newspaper, while also lamenting the
    "thunderous" silence of South African President Thabo Mbeki.
    "The situation in Zimbabwe could deteriorate to a point where genocide could
    be a possible outcome -- something that looks like Rwanda," he said,
    referring to the slaughter by ethnic Hutus of some 800,000 people, mainly

    Ashdown added that were the situation to deteriorate to that point, military
    intervention, with Britain playing a "delicate role" due to its history as
    Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, would have to be an option.

    Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, has pulled out of
    Friday's presidential election run-off against the incumbent Robert Mugabe,
    saying violence against his supporters had made a fair ballot impossible.

    Ashdown, a member of parliament's upper house, told BBC radio that
    diplomatic efforts could still prove fruitful, though Mbeki's role was

    "I think the UN Security Council resolution and the UN secretary general's
    statement yesterday is likely to be influential and have an effect," he

    "Secondly, the key person in this is Thabo Mbeki and so far his silence has
    been thunderous.

    "If it were the case that in addition to all the other African friends who
    have so far supported Mugabe, Mbeki, who is under pressure to do this anyway
    from within South Africa, were to come out in a very strong statement I
    think that would have an effect.

    "So there is a diplomatic game to play through here and I think it's not
    without hope of success."

    The comments from the former Liberal Democrat leader came amid growing
    tension in Zimbabwe, with the Tsvangirai taking refuge in the Dutch embassy
    in Harare.

    The Times also reported, without citing its sources, that Britain had two
    contingency plans with regard to the Zimbabwean election, one of which
    involved the deployment of troops into the country.

    Both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office declined to comment on
    the report when contacted by AFP.

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    We've done enough damage. All we can do is send food

    Mugabe has a point on imperialism. Britain has no option but to sit out the
    Zimbabwean tragedy, impotent on the sidelines

    Simon Jenkins
    The Guardian,
    Wednesday June 25, 2008

    Robert Mugabe is making a mockery of liberal interventionism. He has become
    God's gift to cartoonists, politicians and commentators. He is depicted
    wielding clubs dripping in blood. He stands triumphant over a pile of
    skulls. He is Bokassa out of Idi Amin out of Charles Taylor. He is that old
    familiar, the African heart of darkness, monstrous, buffoonish, grotesque
    and evil. If Britain, as Kipling jeered, were ever capable of "killing
    Kruger with your mouth", Mugabe would long be dead.

    There is a sense in which Mugabe's hysterical anti-British analysis of his
    predicament is correct. His Zimbabwe is a creature of British imperialism
    and post-imperialism. The last governor, Lord Soames, regarded him as an
    affectionate regimental mascot, a "splendid chap", as he told me in an
    interview shortly before handing power to him in 1980.

    Britain duly tolerated the suppression of Mugabe's enemy, Joshua Nkomo, and
    Zimbabwe's conversion into a one-party state. It turned a blind eye to the
    1983 Ndebele massacre by Mugabe's Shona Fifth Brigade under its warlord,
    Perence Shiri, who some say is Mugabe's present master. Margaret Thatcher's
    Whitehall gave Harare lavish aid and barmy advice, helping turn a viable
    economy into a basket case of pseudo-socialist kleptomania - well charted by
    the Guardian's Andrew Meldrum in his memoir, Where We Have Hope.

    Now Zimbabwe is declared outrageous. Though Mugabe is hardly the worst
    dictator in the world, he is regarded as "our" dictator and therefore our
    business. The public asks: "What is to be done about him?" Sated on having
    "done something", presumably glorious, about Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Kosovo,
    Afghanistan and Iraq, public opinion is hard-wired to such a question. So
    what is to be done?

    The government's answer is splutter. Abuse is heaped on Mugabe's head in a
    ministerial cascade of brutals, bloodthirsties, illegitimates and
    revoltings. I have lost count how often the Foreign Office has excoriated
    him with that lofty, impotent putdown, "unacceptable". As for sanctions, we
    must listen to the sad incantation of trade bans, VIP travel restrictions,
    Harrods accounts, London kindergartens and cricket tours - the ceaseless
    chatter of sanctions chic.

    Such sanctions are the weapons of cowards and hypocrites. They never work in
    any meaningful sense, and are on a par with not eating South African oranges
    or not buying Brazilian coffee. By mildly inconveniencing the powerful and
    destituting the poor, they supposedly make us feel good. In countries such
    as Cuba and Iraq, they have condemned whole generations to poverty and

    The much-abused history of commercial sanctions shows that any protracted
    squeeze leads only to internal economic adjustment. Control of money and
    goods shifts from merchants to rulers, driving the former to exile and
    increasing the wealth of the latter. As sanctions made Saddam Hussein and
    his family rich, so they have made Mugabe and his cronies rich.

    The only sanction that works is one that works overnight. It is conceivable
    that if South Africa and Zimbabwe's other neighbours were able to cut petrol
    and electricity supplies they might precipitate some sort of coup. But by
    whom? Anyone seizing power at present would be anyone with petrol - and that
    is the army, which has power already.

    Instead we have that sure sign of panic in London, the tentative murmur of
    the M-word, military. Ever since the Liberal leader, "Bomber Thorpe",
    suggested that Ian Smith's Rhodesian revolt be ended by force in 1967,
    Zimbabwe has excited leftwing machismo. This week Lord "Paddy" Ashdown
    followed in typically allusive fashion. If there were genocide in Zimbabwe,
    said the old swashbuckler, and if the UN approved, and if the Africans did
    the fighting for us, then we should offer "moral support". So much for
    Douglas Fairbanks swinging from a House of Lords chandelier.

    Neither South Africa nor neighbouring states of the African Union have shown
    the slightest inclination to force regime change on Harare, however much
    they may condemn Mugabe. African rulers regard the interventionist precedent
    as unappealing. Nor is there any British stomach for an airborne assault,
    from wherever it might be launched (Diego Garcia?). It is inconceivable that
    planes would be allowed refuelling or overflying rights in southern Africa.
    Such is the collapse of Britain's moral authority after Iraq.

    Toppling Mugabe would require a force strong enough at least to decapitate
    his army and, presumably, install the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
    in power. What kind of power would that be, achieved with foreign guns? It
    would probably be a prelude only to civil war, which must be the last thing
    Zimbabwe needs just now.

    The truth is that Britain and the west have grown tired of this sort of
    thing. They could not summon up the muscle even to land aid in Burma's
    Irrawaddy delta, hardly the most drastic of interventions. The Labour
    bombast of Baghdad and Kabul is now reduced to nuanced caution. The crusader
    cry, "You can't just leave the poor Albanians (or Shias or Pashtuns) to
    their fate," has degenerated into a diplomatic monotone of demarches and

    There is no alternative for Britain to sitting out the Zimbabwean tragedy,
    impotent on the sidelines. If Africa wants to help its own, it will. If not,
    so be it. We cannot starve Mugabe into submission, since that is his own
    strategy towards his people. We take comfort by endlessly declaring his
    country "close to collapse", but that is idiot economics. Subsistence and
    remittance economies do not collapse.

    We can portray Mugabe in the press as a bloodthirsty gorilla and impose
    so-called smart sanctions, in order that Gordon Brown, David Miliband and
    the rest can feel a little better, but our fine feelings are hardly central
    to Africa's predicament.

    So-called liberal interventionism is a will-o'-the-wisp, a vapid, feel-good
    refashioning of foreign policy in response to a headline event, motivated by
    self-interest or passing mood. We should send food to the starving of
    Zimbabwe because that is something we can do, however much Mugabe distorts
    the supply. But as for dreaming of toppling him, those days are over.
    Britain has done enough damage to Zimbabwe over the years. Prudence tells us
    please to shut up.

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    JAG open letter forum - No. 542 - Dated 24 June 2008


    Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
    1. Alexandra Michael

    Dear JAG

    I am writing from Zimbabwe in support of the letter from Pat Mangwende about
    Simba Makoni and a GNU.  I couldn't agree more.  The people saw through the
    vote-splitting plan and rejected Simba as a leader, just as they did
    Mutambara and indeed Mugabe.  Even considering the horrible, evil
    and frightening happenings in the country at the present time, these calls
    for a GNU are almost more ominous.  The people of Zimbabwe have voted, they
    will stand only for Morgan Tsvangarai as their president and were a GNU to
    be imposed upon them, especially with Mugabe as leader, the smouldering
    anger only just being held in check would burst into flame.  There is only
    so much a people can withstand and Zimbabweans are very close to cracking.
    All we want is a chance to vote, to have our votes counted by a credible
    body and take it from there.  We are not interested in GNU's or power
    sharing.  We have been thrown to the wolves countless times over the past
    eight years, it would just be the same all over again.

    2. Helen Clarke

    Dear JAG

    I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed in the letter of P
    Mangwende open letter forum June 20th I send many of the open letters forum
    'e-mails abroad and carefully deleted the one from the Norton's

    God bless
    1. Joan Marsh

    Dear JAG

    Well said Mr. Mangwende, I couldn't agree with you more.  As you say,
    Morgan won the election, why should the people want anyone else to run the

    3. Liliane White

    Dear Ben Freeth,

    With all due respect to the pain and suffering inflicted on you and yours
    these past few years and more recently to the terror campaign waged against
    yourselves and your workers for supporting the opposition; I would like to
    bring a few points to your attention regarding your appeal to the Diplomatic
    Community, the Brits (and others) to 'please do something'...

    Do people conveniently just forget about the 100's of young men and women
    who left their livelihoods, their families, their farms etc...?in the then
    Rhodesia, during the 1st and 2nd World Wars to JOIN the brits to fight
    ALONGSIDE them in a desperate bloody effort to rid Europe of Hitler and
    Communism in the gas and corpse-filled trenches of France and Belgium?

    These very men and women, some still alive, and their families, are still in
    Zimbabwe, some living in near-appalling conditions in the local homes for
    the elderly, not knowing from one day to the next where the next meal might
    come from.....

    I'm not talking only of WHITES, I am also remembering the 100's of black
    Rhodesian soldiers in the RAR who were called for duty, many who died far
    from home.....what gratitude and recognition have these people had from the
    Brits? What have the brits done, or what ARE they doing at present, to help
    THESE people? What are they doing to protect and feed these old folk? Some
    of whom were originally British and who are still British.....

    Only this week, Gordon Brown announced an increase in the number of Brit
    soldiers being sent to Afghanistan. They have just lost 11 troops in the
    past 10 days in this country, including their first woman casualty.

    Did you know, Mr. Freeth, that Afghanistan is the world's highest producer
    of opium? Did you know that the opium production there last year was the
    HIGHEST ever? It seems that NOTHING has been achieved in Afghanistan to halt
    the production of the opium poppy and radically change the producers' ideas
    to producing cash- and food crops instead.

    Did you know that the UK is RIFE with the most appalling social problems,
    starting with kids as young as 11 and 12, involving hard drugs and alcohol?
    Countrywide, not just in isolated little pockets.......knife-wielding kids
    who are stabbing one another to death in just about every part of the United
    Kingdom. In London alone, recent statistics have shown that there is a
    knife-attack in the city on average every 55 minutes........

    These are the folk you are appealing to for help?

    Some years ago, my niece met and married an Officer in the Welsh Guards, my
    grandfather's battalion........two years ago, her father, my brother and his
    wife, applied for visas to spend Christmas with their daughter in the UK. It
    was to be the trip of a lifetime, neither of them having ever left southern
    Africa before. Air tickets were paid for by their daughter from the UK. THE
    DAY BEFORE they were due to fly out, their visa application was rejected.
    reason being 'we see no valid reason why you wouldn't attempt to abscond
    from Zimbabwe and stay in the United Kingdom' - or some such similar
    wording.......this was because my brother owns no land here in Zimbabwe and
    has no fixed assets. At the time he had been working his butt off in
    Mozambique, teaching black farmers to grow cash and food crops; this
    opportunity denied him in Zimbabwe due to the 'chaotic land grab' as it is
    now known.

    I can assure you that the very last thing he would EVER contemplate is
    absconding to live in the UK!

    Our father and grandfather both fought in the 1st and 2nd World Wars, now
    forgotten heroes. Our sons, uncles, brothers, BLACK and WHITE, fought for
    Rhodesia and a common ideal and purpose, just like the Allied Forces against
    Hitler in Europe, only this was against the spread of so-called communism in

    Do you honestly believe for one moment that the Brits are going to do

    For YEARS they have been TALKING and tutt-tutting about how 'bad' the
    situation is in Darfur and 'what a shame that all those folk are starving'
    etc etc etc. What exactly have they DONE to curb the problem and put things

    Robert Mugabe was invited to address the FAO in Rome very recently. He used
    the opportunity as a platform to ATTACK America and the UK, blaming them for
    Zimbabwe's woes and misfortune. By the mere allowance given him to make this
    attack, and having had nothing done or said against him has merely given him
    and the rest of the baddies, licence to continue and has, in my opinion, put
    the whole lot of them into bed with Mugabe and the rest of the world's

    And you appeal to these people for help?

    What was it someone said about evil thriving where good men do nothing?

    Mr. Freeth, please do not hold your breath while you wait for the brits to
    do anything to help. They are just too busy looking after their opium crops
    in Afghanistan and raising yet another generation of unemployable YOBBOS,
    who are coke- and pot-heads from an early age.

    The Brits don't seem to be able to look after themselves, let alone show any
    care and attention towards anyone else and unless you put in a massive crop
    of cocoa bushes, opium poppies or marijuana, you won't get any help at all -
    maybe you would get a whole platoon of guys to guard your crop tho' !!

    GENUINE political asylum seekers from Zimbabwe in the UK are rejected for
    'lack of evidence'. Tell me, how can a 40 year old rural woman 'produce
    evidence' when she has been gang-raped by a group of Green Bombers and only
    managed to escape into the dark when her attackers were drunk and stoned -
    all she has are a few scars on her back from the beatings and she has been
    in the UK since 2002, leaving FIVE children with her mother, and living in
    shelters and charity homes all this time while she awaits the outcome of her
    appeal......while there are hundreds of THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans roaming the
    streets of the United Kingdom without the proper paperwork and

    In the UK it is now almost impossible to buy a Christmas or Easter card
    depicting the respective Christian events - for fear of upsetting the Muslim
    community!! You will be lucky to find a card merely saying 'Happy
    Holidays'.......No balls......

    It is now well known that the UK has amongst its population a vast number of
    radical Muslims, some BORN in the UK and who are actively supporting terror
    organizations. They continue to flood into the UK from Afghanistan,
    Pakistan, Iraq and Iran...while Zimbabweans, blacks and whites are turned

    It all makes very little sense Mr Freeth...and these are the people you turn
    to for help and attention to our plight in Zimbabwe...the very people who
    put Mugabe there in the first place??? Wake up and smell the coffee....

    These are the very Brits who leave classified security documents on trains
    in the UK, who have their laptops stolen in the dead of night from their
    cars, containing classified information; these are people who 'lose'
    classified information on their entire population, with bank details and
    residential addresses.....

    And these are the people you are turning to for help??

    I grew up on 'God helps those who help themselves' and 'charity begins at
    home'. Not 'God helps those who help themselves to other people's property
    and properties, nor to the public coffers'

    A little bit of me rests assured that he who reaps, sows; in time, Mugabe,
    will reap what he has sown. And what goes round, comes around' He will get
    his just reward. Maybe not today, nor tomorrow, but sometime....

    The only brave people doing anything right now, are the journalists risking
    life and limb the world over to bring the messages home from across the
    globe of atrocities committed everywhere, not only in Zimbabwe...One wonders
    just how much will have to be shown, seen and heard in the news media before
    those who CAN help, WILL help...

    I would still like to ask the Brits, before I ask for help on the Zimbabwe
    issue, just what the HELL ARE YOU DOING, exactly, in Afghanistan?

    Good luck, Mr Freeth in your quest for help from the Brits and the rest of
    the International and Diplomatic Community......

    As I write, I have just received an email from my brother to say that he's
    'disappearing' for the weekend as he's been warned that 'he's on the
    list'....I can assure you, he's certainly not asking the Brits to help him

    Liliane White
    All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of
    the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for

    Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

    Batting coach Andy Flower calls for ICC to act over brutality in Zimbabwe

    Mail online

    by Paul Newman Last updated at 12:29 AM on 25th June 2008

    Andy Flower risked his life to take a stand against the atrocities in his
    own country when they staged the 2003 World Cup.

    Now the man who, along with Henry Olonga, wore a black armband to mourn the
    death of democracy in Zimbabwe is again at the forefront of cricket's
    belated attempt to force change.

    Flower, the greatest cricketer Zimbabwe has produced and now the England
    batting coach, has long kept a cautious and dignified silence when
    questioned on Zimbabwe, principally to protect those he left behind when he
    emigrated for his own safety.

    'Yesterday, however, he could contain himself no longer.

    'We should not have normal relations with a country in such an abnormal
    state,' said Flower before news came that the Gordon Brown government are
    finally poised to intervene and ban Zimbabwe from next year's tour of

    'People are still being murdered and tortured to the extent that it has gone
    far beyond the stage of just gentle politics. It will take decisive measures
    and strong decisions now.

    'It is truly shocking what is going on there and even though foreign
    correspondents are banned, enough is leaking out of the country for people
    to know about the atrocities.

    'Things are spiralling out of control so quickly that I just hope somebody
    does something to arrest the situation.

    'If this is the first step towards sport helping with that then it can only
    be good news. I don't think Zimbabwe should be allowed to play in England
    and they should be suspended from all international cricket.'

    They are words that must surely be heeded when the International Cricket
    Council's executive board meet in Dubai next week having agreed at last to
    discuss throwing Zimbabwe out.

    Cricket has long hidden behind the absence of government intervention, at
    least in England, for the lack of moral fibre in addressing the Zimbabwe
    issue but even the arch-conciliator David Morgan, now ICC president-elect,
    seems certain to act.

    It is predictable that the ICC waited until South Africa, apparently at the
    instigation of their players, broke off cricketing ties with Zimbabwe late
    on Monday before they agreed to address the matter.

    The ICC have long been the governing body who appear unable to govern but
    they can keep their heads in the sand no longer.

    Morgan was chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), remember,
    when they attempted to blackmail their players emotionally into visiting
    Zimbabwe for the 2003 World Cup and would not let captain Nasser Hussain
    express moral objections about playing there.

    The fines from the ICC for not fulfilling the fixture would be so huge,
    argued the ECB, that players would end up losing their jobs and the game
    would be in severe financial trouble.

    Well, England did not go, having been forced to hide behind security issues,
    but the game survived. Now a stronger ECB have been in discussions with what
    they believe is a stronger government to try to seek backing.

    But yesterday's early statement from Gordon Brown's office that he 'would
    not welcome' Zimbabwe's visit next year for both a one-day series and also
    the ICC World Twenty20 initially suggested that the problem would again fall
    into cricket's lap.

    Now, however, it seems as though only the ICC World Twenty20 involvement
    will be left to the administrators.

    Flower is just grateful that South Africa have begun rolling the ball and
    the British government are about to follow suit.

    'South Africa have been pathetically weak on the whole subject of Zimbabwe
    and it's about time they did something strong,' he said. 'The people who run
    Zimbabwe cricket are all in bed with Mugabe and have pretty much ruined the
    game. It will take a long time and a change of government to pull it

    But will the ICC now follow that lead through and throw Zimbabwe out of the
    game until Robert Mugabe's reign of tyranny comes to an end? 'I don't know
    the legal requirements of ICC decisions and I'm certainly no politician but
    the fact that Peter  Chingoka (the Zimbabwe cricket union leader) is allowed
    to prance around with ICC colours on is embarrassing for the governing
    body,' said Flower.

    'He is part of Mugabe's despicable plan and is not a good enough person to
    be making decisions on anything. So we will have to see what happens.'

    The fact that the ICC meetings are to be held in Dubai rather than London
    specifically to allow Chingoka entry - he was refused a visa to visit
    Britain last year - does not augur well for the decision-making process next
    week. But this time good must surely prevail and, government support or not,
    cricket should stand up to be counted.

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