International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 26, 2008
KYOTO, Japan: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Zimbabwe's
president on Thursday against declaring victory in what she said will be an
illegitimate run-off election this week.
With the opposition boycotting Friday's vote due to ruling party violence
and intimidation, Rice said no outcome would be acceptable and that
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe must allow a legitimate government to
"Clearly, no run-off election that doesn't have the participation of
opposition ... can be considered legitimate, no outcome can be considered
legitimate," she said in Kyoto, where she is attending a meeting of foreign
ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations.
"This is not going to be a legitimate election, no one believes that it is
going to be a legitimate election," she said.
The G-8 ministers are expected to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe in talks
on Thursday and Friday as Mugabe from the ruling ZANU-PF party runs
unopposed in the run-off election after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
pulled out citing intimidation and violence against his MDC party.
Rice said the people of Zimbabwe must have a legitimate government and "it
cannot be a legitimate government with the forces of President Mugabe doing
the things that they are doing and then claiming an election victory."
She noted that Tsvangirai had said he was open to talking about forming a
legitimate government and said that offer should be pursued. But, she added,
if Mugabe claims victory, that could not happen.
"That offer obviously has to be taken up, but it can't be taken up from a
position in which the Zimbabwean authorities declare themselves the victors
and then believe that they can divide the spoils," Rice said.
Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:51am BST
* Tsvangirai warns Mugabe he will be illegitimate leader
* African leaders pile pressure on Mugabe
* Zimbabwean election officials say poll to go ahead
By Ralph Gowling
LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
issued a 24-hour deadline to President Robert Mugabe on Thursday to
negotiate or face being shunned as an illegitimate leader responsible for
the killing of civilians.
From the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the top regional
body, to former South African President Nelson Mandela, African leaders have
piled increasing pressure on Mugabe to call off a presidential election on
Mugabe, 84, who trailed Tsvangirai for the presidency in a first round
election in March, has dismissed international condemnation of violence
against the opposition and has vowed to extend his 28 years in power.
Tsvangirai, who withdrew from Friday's run-off and has taken refuge in the
Dutch embassy in Harare since Sunday, said in an interview with Britain's
Times newspaper the time for talking to Mugabe would end if he went ahead
with the election.
"Negotiations will be over if Mr Mugabe declares himself the winner and
considers himself the president. How can we negotiate?" said Tsvangirai, who
insists Mugabe must go so Zimbabwe can end its political turmoil and
If Mugabe approached him afterwards, Tsvangirai said he had this message: "I
made these offers, I made these overtures, I told you I would negotiate
before the elections and not after -- because it's not about elections, it's
"You disregarded that, you undertook violence against my supporters, you
killed and maimed, you are still killing and maiming unarmed civilians, the
army is still out there.
"How can you call yourself an elected president? You are illegitimate and I
will not speak to an illegitimate president."
Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission said on Wednesday that Friday's poll would
Tsvangirai said it was too early to say when he would leave the Dutch
"I am the prime target. I am not going to take chances with my safety. It's
not just about Mr Mugabe, it's about the people out there who could take the
law into their own hands. There is no rule of law here," said Tsvangirai.
His Movement for Democratic Change says nearly 90 of its supporters have
been killed by militias loyal to Mugabe.
On Wednesday, the SADC's security troika urged the postponement of Friday's
election, saying the re-election of Mugabe could lack legitimacy in the
current violent climate.
Regional power South Africa added to the pressure, saying a top negotiator
was in Harare mediating talks on options including postponement of the vote.
The troika, comprising African Union chairman Tanzania, Swaziland and
Angola, called at its meeting near the Swazi capital Mbabane for talks
between Mugabe's government and the opposition before a new run-off date was
It said the group had been briefed by South African President Thabo Mbeki,
the designated SADC mediator on Zimbabwe.
Mbeki has been widely criticised in the past for taking a soft line with
Mugabe and for not using South Africa's powerful economic leverage with
landlocked Zimbabwe. Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called on Wednesday
for a new mediator.
The elderly Mandela, revered by many across the world for his role in ending
apartheid in South Africa, rarely speaks on political issues these days but
used a speech at a dinner in London to condemn a "tragic failure of
leadership" in Zimbabwe.
U.S. President George W. Bush said after meeting U.N. Security Council
members at the White House that Friday's poll had no credibility.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, campaigning to be the
first black leader of the United States, said the world must do more on
Zimbabwe and singled out South Africa as a country that needed to put more
pressure on Mugabe.
"What's happening in Zimbabwe is tragic. This is a country that used to be
the bread basket of Africa. Mugabe has run the economy into the ground. He
has perpetrated extraordinary violence against his own people," Obama said
Mugabe has presided over a slide into economic chaos, including 80 percent
unemployment and inflation estimated by experts at about 2 million percent.
He blames sanctions by former colonial power Britain and other Western
Millions of Zimbabweans have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the
economic woes of their once prosperous homeland. (Editing by Ralph Gowling)
June 25, 2008 8:19 PM
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The legacies of not one but two iconic African
presidents are riding on Friday's tainted election in Zimbabwe - should it
The first, naturally, is that of Robert Mugabe, the dour, pencil-mustached
supremo of Zimbabwe, a fossilized Big Man whose stock couldn't sink much
lower, having devolved in the eyes of the world from liberator to jailer of
his own people.
The second political reputation at stake is more surprising: that of South
Africa's urbane, brainy and complex president, Thabo Mbeki, heir of the
globally revered Nelson Mandela and a man who appears prepared to risk
sullying his - and South Africa's - hard-won image as a champion of human
rights and racial reconciliation by seeming to coddle a dictator.
Mbeki is widely regarded as an essential player in preventing an implosion
in Zimbabwe that could suck the whole of southern Africa into a humanitarian
morass. Diplomats say it is inconceivable that any foreign-devised rescue
plan for tottering Zimbabwe could succeed without the blessings of the
shrewd leader of the continent's superpower.
Yet in recent days, Mbeki has found himself embarrassingly isolated in the
world - and attacked, directly or indirectly, by everyone from Barack Obama
to a growing chorus of African allies - as he presses ahead with his
softly-softly approach in dealing with Mugabe. So far, he has refused to
criticize the strongman publicly.
Even Mandela, meanwhile, finally spoke out on a visit to London Tuesday
night, lamenting a ''tragic failure of leadership'' in Zimbabwe.
Those familiar with Mbeki's thinking say his stubborn insistence on quiet
engagement - even as Mugabe's henchmen thrash opposition voters with iron
clubs in news photos - stems from a profoundly South African faith in the
power of negotiating, an artifact of the peaceful demise of apartheid.
Others cite Mbeki's alleged son-like relationship with the elderly Mugabe,
an anti-colonial hero, though one Mbeki biographer adds a Shakespearean
twist by describing Zimbabwe's wily leader as a ''troublesome father'' who
repeatedly betrays an embittered son.
Mbeki, the designated mediator between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Zimbabwe's
brutalized opposition, signaled Wednesday that he will not walk away from
his unpopular diplomatic stance.
''South Africa could elect to use dramatic language which would earn us some
approving media headlines,'' Mbeki's spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, wrote in
reply to e-mailed questions. ''We have elected to engage directly with the
Zimbabwean leadership, not to play to the gallery.''
Mbeki's defiance of world opinion - and more important, the opinion of his
increasingly frustrated African neighbors - is playing out amid frantic
calls for international intervention.
On Wednesday, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, made a brief appearance at his home in Harare, Zimbabwe's
capital, to urgently request that the African Union, the Southern African
Development Community and the UN step in to broker a transitional government
Tsvangirai narrowly won a March election that threatened Mugabe's 28-year
rule. According to Zimbabwean law, that close race required a runoff
election. Tsvangirai remains holed up at the Dutch Embassy in Harare.
Meanwhile, diplomats and opposition sources said Wednesday that Mugabe's
youth militias have flip-flopped their tactics.
After months of terrorizing the opposition into not voting, gangs of young
government supporters are now trying to force everyone to the polls - and
vote for Mugabe.
''They're going around saying that everyone's been assigned a voting number
and they'll know who votes and for whom,'' said Gerry, an MDC activist in
rural Masvingo province who asked that his full name be withheld for fear of
Mugabe's government has asserted for months that the claims of political
intimidation are exaggerated.
As for Mbeki, not everyone pans his largely invisible peacemaking role.
A keen negotiator who played a crucial part in the dismantling of
white-ruled South Africa, Mbeki helped pushed through the transparency
laws - such as posting voter tallies at polling stations - that made
Zimbabwe's March election so shockingly clean.
''The ANC as a matter of principal believes that if key parties would just
sit down and talk through their problems, they could find a solution,'' said
a U.S. diplomatic source in South Africa who spoke on background as is the
diplomatic norm and who used the acronym for Mbeki's party, the African
National Congress. ''They hold as proof of this strategy their own
Ratshitanga, Mbeki's spokesman, also dismissed criticism that Mbeki doesn't
appear to care about the long-suffering citizens of Zimbabwe. ''There are
only two factors that divide us and Zimbabwe,'' he said of the neighboring
peoples. ''It is a border fence and a river which for most of the year is
Still, some analysts argue that it is that very intimacy that gives South
Africa an unparalleled pressure point to check the worst of Mugabe's
behavior. If South Africa were to close its borders, it could deprive
economically ruined Zimbabwe of both a safety valve for its millions of
fleeing refugees and a vital umbilical for imports. South Africa also
supplies Zimbabwe much of its electrical power.
Those who know Mbeki's deep commitment to African national sovereignty and
solidarity, however, say that this hard-line scenario is just a pipe dream.
''There are some farther afield from us who choose to describe us as a
so-called Rogue Democracy . . . because we refuse to serve as their
subservient klipgooiers against especially President Robert Mugabe,'' Mbeki
told Parliament only two weeks ago, using the Afrikaans slang for
''stone-thrower.'' He then added acidly that his government would ''refuse
to participate in projects based on the notion that we have a right to bring
about 'regime change' in Zimbabwe.''
Even many sympathetic observers, though, agree that Mbeki's controversial
mediation in Zimbabwe comes with personal baggage.
The young anti-apartheid fighter befriended Mugabe in the 1980s, when the
Zimbabwean president was still an admired giant in Africa's anti-colonial
Mark Gevisser, a South African journalist who has written a biography of
Mbeki, says the two men developed an almost familial relationship.
''I don't think it's at all a beloved father relationship,'' Gevisser said
of the two leaders today. ''Mugabe's a troublesome father who has all the
prerogatives of a father in that he doesn't listen.''
Mbeki has been struggling, so far unsuccessfully, to persuade Mugabe to
abandon Friday's widely discredited runoff, and enter into power-sharing
talks with arch-rival Tsvangirai.
Whether Mbeki breaks his silence on Mugabe's ruthless excesses before the
election remains to be seen, though pressure was piling on Wednesday with
Mandela's public condemnation of the pariah leader. Even Queen Elizabeth on
Wednesday stripped Mugabe of his ceremonial knighthood, which dated from
For the moment, then, Mbeki may remain the most important conciliator in
Africa's worst political crisis - but also its loneliest.
Sunday Independent, SA
25 June 2008, 15:25
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe had to be toppled, former South African
president FW de Klerk said on Wednesday.
De Klerk, a Nobel peace laureate, told the Cape Town Press Club that those
who were concerned about Zimbabwe had to ask how they could constructively
support moderate forces in that country.
"I think he needs to be toppled. Mugabe needs to be toppled," he said.
He could not see Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai entering
into a government of national unity.
However, he was sure Zanu-PF was divided and that there were moderates in it
who were extremely unhappy about what was happening.
"And somehow or another all moderates in Zimbabwe should be brought together
and should be strengthened and helped... to end this terrible tragedy which
is taking place."
Asked about President Thabo Mbeki's policy of silent diplomacy on Zimbabwe,
De Klerk said Mbeki's only real option had been to put pressure on Mugabe.
"But I think any president and also President Mbeki could have put stronger
"I think there has been on the issue of quiet diplomacy, too much velvet in
the glove and too little iron in the fist". - Sapa
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Z imbabwe used to seem so far away, a distant speck of misery I couldn't
even place on a world map.
Then I met Violet Gonda.
Violet is a Zimbabwean radio journalist. We spent the past year together
with 18 other journalists in the Knight Fellowship Program at Stanford
A few days ago, as our fellowship ended, we said emotional goodbyes and
promised to visit one another -- in places like Brazil, China, Hungary,
Sweden and across the United States.
But Violet couldn't invite us to her home.
She can't go there herself.
Violet is in exile, hounded out of Zimbabwe for telling the truth about the
government of Robert Mugabe. In a mean world, Mugabe is a thug without peer.
During the fellowship, when it was Violet's turn to tell the rest of us
about her journalism career, she told us what Mugabe has done to her
country. He has murdered hundreds of political opponents, imprisoned
thousands more, pushed inflation to 100,000 percent and turned a country
that once helped feed its neighbors into a place of wide starvation.
Then Violet played for us the tape of one of her radio interviews. She was
speaking to a witness at the scene of a raid where Mugabe's men rolled into
a Zimbabwean village to beat and arrest political opponents. When they left,
their trucks ran over and killed several children, leaving their crushed
bodies behind. As the tape rolled, you could hear the witness crying, trying
to collect himself, and Violet's clear, professional voice comforting and
But that night in a living room in Palo Alto, Calif., a world away from
Zimbabwe, Violet broke down as she listened again to the horror of the
violence in her country. This woman who had bravely and defiantly reported
the awful truths about Zimbabwe, enduring threats to herself and her family,
has borne too much suffering.
Violet has done her job: The world knows what Robert Mugabe has inflicted on
Now others must do theirs.
The United Nations Security Council on Monday issued a unanimous statement
condemning the violence that drove opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai out
of a runoff election with Mugabe. But that hint of progress was followed by
yet another shrug of indifference from South Africa's ruling party, which
rejected any diplomatic intervention in Zimbabwe.
While his followers beat and murder his opponents, Mugabe is going ahead
with a sham election Friday. The rest of the world must intervene, stop this
bogus "election," and join together to force him from power.
Zimbabwe isn't a distant speck on the map. It is a place of brave people
like Violet. Some day, I want to see her home.
-- Rick Attig
Virtually all of the remaining 280 white farmers have been invaded by
government supporters since Mr Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential
election in March. Yesterday Reinier van Rensburg left Upper Romsey farm for the final time,
evicted by a senior official in the ruling Zanu-PF party. He was the last of his family to cultivate the rich soil around Upper Romsey,
some of the finest in Africa, on land which stretched from his homestead to the
hills on the horizon, and beyond. "I try not to think about it. It's obviously an emotional thing. That's your
livelihood." Moments after he drove out of the gate an eagle swooped low over his vehicle,
as if in a farewell salute. Land and independence are the central planks of Mr Mugabe's propaganda
campaign for re-election as president. Judicial moves to take over properties have been stepped up since the
elections in March, which resulted in defeat for Zanu-PF in parliament and Mr
Mugabe trailing Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of the presidential poll.
"It's just very disappointing," said Mr van Rensburg, 37, who is married with
two children. "I feel betrayed by the government. All we were doing was growing
food for the country. We were not getting involved in politics or anything. What
did we do?" His father, also Reinier, 69, said: "I have been there for 40 years. That's
my whole life." Mr van Rensburg is one of 10 siblings and the family used to own 10
properties covering 32,000 acres. But in 2004, four years into Mr Mugabe's
violent land seizure programme, they surrendered nine of them to the government
in exchange for a promise that they could keep the last remaining one, Upper
Romsey farm, at Lions Den, a mere 2,000-odd acres about 80 miles north of
Harare. "We didn't even hesitate. We agreed to that immediately," said Mr van
Rensburg. "By then we were already in survival mode." But last year Moris Mpofu, an official of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, arrived at
the property holding an offer letter from Didymus Mutasa, the minister of land
and resettlement, giving him ownership of the land. A series of court actions
followed, and in November around 60 Zanu-PF militia installed themselves on the
farm. Mr Van Rensburg's workers were abused and threatened, and his manager's
wife beaten up. Mr Mpofu is reaping the summer crop of maize and soybeans Mr van Rensburg
planted, worth around £400,000, and the business is being asset-stripped. About
70 farm workers were mostly left unemployed and many joined the exodus to South
Africa. Finally a fortnight ago a court issued a final eviction order against Mr van
Rensburg, who is Zimbabwean-born. "They just carry on and do as they wish," he said. "They are spelling out
point blank that there's no place for a white man in Zimbabwe. If we were
prepared to make a deal to give them nine farms and remain with one and that was
not good enough, tell me what would be good enough." He insisted: "We are staying here and we have no intention of going
anywhere." But he said change – of policy, not necessarily of government – was
essential. "I still hope," he said. "That's the only hope we have." Zimbabwe's telephone system is barely functioning and Mr Mpofu could not be
reached for comment.
Virtually all of the remaining 280 white farmers have been invaded by government supporters since Mr Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential election in March.
Yesterday Reinier van Rensburg left Upper Romsey farm for the final time, evicted by a senior official in the ruling Zanu-PF party.
He was the last of his family to cultivate the rich soil around Upper Romsey, some of the finest in Africa, on land which stretched from his homestead to the hills on the horizon, and beyond.
"I try not to think about it. It's obviously an emotional thing. That's your livelihood."
Moments after he drove out of the gate an eagle swooped low over his vehicle, as if in a farewell salute.
Land and independence are the central planks of Mr Mugabe's propaganda campaign for re-election as president.
Judicial moves to take over properties have been stepped up since the elections in March, which resulted in defeat for Zanu-PF in parliament and Mr Mugabe trailing Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of the presidential poll.
"It's just very disappointing," said Mr van Rensburg, 37, who is married with two children. "I feel betrayed by the government. All we were doing was growing food for the country. We were not getting involved in politics or anything. What did we do?"
His father, also Reinier, 69, said: "I have been there for 40 years. That's my whole life."
Mr van Rensburg is one of 10 siblings and the family used to own 10 properties covering 32,000 acres. But in 2004, four years into Mr Mugabe's violent land seizure programme, they surrendered nine of them to the government in exchange for a promise that they could keep the last remaining one, Upper Romsey farm, at Lions Den, a mere 2,000-odd acres about 80 miles north of Harare.
"We didn't even hesitate. We agreed to that immediately," said Mr van Rensburg. "By then we were already in survival mode."
But last year Moris Mpofu, an official of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, arrived at the property holding an offer letter from Didymus Mutasa, the minister of land and resettlement, giving him ownership of the land. A series of court actions followed, and in November around 60 Zanu-PF militia installed themselves on the farm. Mr Van Rensburg's workers were abused and threatened, and his manager's wife beaten up.
Mr Mpofu is reaping the summer crop of maize and soybeans Mr van Rensburg planted, worth around £400,000, and the business is being asset-stripped. About 70 farm workers were mostly left unemployed and many joined the exodus to South Africa.
Finally a fortnight ago a court issued a final eviction order against Mr van Rensburg, who is Zimbabwean-born.
"They just carry on and do as they wish," he said. "They are spelling out point blank that there's no place for a white man in Zimbabwe. If we were prepared to make a deal to give them nine farms and remain with one and that was not good enough, tell me what would be good enough."
He insisted: "We are staying here and we have no intention of going anywhere."
But he said change – of policy, not necessarily of government – was essential. "I still hope," he said. "That's the only hope we have."
Zimbabwe's telephone system is barely functioning and Mr Mpofu could not be reached for comment.
26 June 2008
AS AFRICAN heads of state prepare to meet for the 11th African Union (AU)
Summit in the luxurious Red Sea resort of Sharam El Sheik in Egypt on
Monday, Zimbabwe continues to spiral downwards.
The chairman of the AU Commission, Jean Ping, has said that "the increasing
acts of violence in the run-up to the second round of the presidential
election are a matter of grave concern". He also indicated that the
commission had entered into consultations with the chairman of the AU,
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, and leaders of Southern African
Development Community (SADC) countries, to find a solution to the Zimbabwean
The question is: what can the AU do?
Two legal opinions, commissioned by
the Southern African Litigation Centre, provide a strong legal foundation
for a possible AU intervention in Zimbabwe in terms of provisions made under
the Declaration on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional
Changes of Government, signed in Lomé, Togo, in 2000.
Based on an analysis of the Zimbabwean constitution and the Electoral Act of
2004, the legal opinions conclude that Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai should legally be recognised as Zimbabwe's head of state. The
first legal opinion, which analysed the legality of the postponement of the
runoff election, concluded that "the power of the Zimbabwean Electoral
Commission to amend or ignore the constitutionally required (21-day) period
of the Electoral Law by abrogating or amending the provisions regarding the
runoff period is constitutionally objectionable".
The second legal opinion highlights the course to be taken, according to the
Electoral Act, in the event of the failure to hold elections within the
prescribed 21 days. The opinion notes that "where no second election is held
and there were two or more candidates for president, and no candidate
received a majority of the total number of valid votes cast, item (3) (1)
(b) provides that the candidate with the greatest number of votes (in the
first round of elections), and not the majority of the total number of
votes, shall be duly elected president".
The results of the first round of
elections, held on March 29, put Tsvangirai at the head of the race with
47,9% of the votes, against 43,2% for Robert Mugabe. On the basis of the
legal opinion, and in compliance with the Zimbabwean Electoral Act,
Tsvangirai should have been instated as president.
In the light of the two legal opinions, and given the fact that the results
of the first round of elections were accepted by African institutions, a
case can be made for an AU intervention within the context of the
declaration, which Zimbabwe endorsed. The declaration defines
unconstitutional changes as , among other things, "the refusal by an
incumbent government to relinquish power to the winning party after free,
fair and regular elections".
The course of action to be taken by the AU in the event of unconstitutional
changes is clearly described in the declaration. Much the same as in AU
action against Togo in 2005, the following actions can be considered:
n The chairman of the AU (Tanzania's Kikwete) openly condemns the
unconstitutional change and clearly indicates to Mugabe that the AU will not
tolerate the takeover;
n At the request of the chairman, the secretary-general or any member state,
the Central Organ of the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and
Resolution meets urgently to discuss the situation and issue a statement;
n Following the initial condemnation by the central organ, six months is
given to the perpetrator of unconstitutional change to withdraw and hold new
(although, given national electoral laws, it can be argued that, in the case
of Zimbabwe, the winner of the first round of voting should be declared
president). During this period, the government concerned is suspended from
participating in the policy organs of the AU, including the Council of
Ministers and the meeting of heads of states and governments;
n In the event of failure to comply within
six months, "a range of limited and targeted sanctions against the regime"
is imposed. These may include travel bans and trade restrictions.
Such action proved effective in forcing Togo's Gnassingbe Eyadema and the
army to withdraw from their initial action in May 2005. The precedent in
Togo has shown that the AU is able to react, provided there is political
will. In this respect, the role of SADC leaders is paramount in supporting
an AU intervention. The AU action in Togo could not have been possible
without the support of leaders of the west African regional economic bloc,
Indeed, African instruments do exist. Now is the time to use them in
Zimbabwe. But will our leaders, who are meeting in Sharam al Sheik, have the
.. Aggad is a governance researcher at the South African Institute of
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, is the
legitimately elected president of Zimbabwe. Or at least he should be. He won
that country's presidential election (and his party won its parliamentary
election) on March 29th, a victory that has been denied to him and his
colleagues over the past three months as Robert Mugabe has murdered nearly
100 opposition supporters, tortured many more, and driven thousands from
their homes. A week after the election, the Zimbabwean junta announced that
Tsvangirai did not win an outright majority, thus forcing a runoff scheduled
for this Friday. On Sunday, however, Tsvangirai announced that he was
dropping out of the election, stating that "we cannot stand there and watch
people being killed for the sake of power."
So here's a question for Senators Obama and McCain. Back in April, Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer declared Tsvangirai
the winner of the March 29th election, and certified that he won over 50% of
the vote. Recognition of him as the duly elected president of Zimbabwe --
with all of the diplomatic measures that would imply, specifically spelled
out today in a New York Sun editorial -- should have been forthcoming, yet
the State Department has been reluctant to go that far. With Tsvangirai
hiding in the Dutch Embassy for fear of his life, will either of you call
upon the United States to recognize him as the elected president of
Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 3:41 PM
Eric and Joan Harrison
A farmer who spent 30 years building a successful citrus and sugar cane operation only to see thugs supported by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe destroy it has told an American radio interviewer his nation's people are wonderful, but its politics horrible.
"I love [Zimbabwe]. I love the people. They are willing workers. They have a helluva sense of humor. The level of education is one of the highest in Africa. They're good people," Eric Harrison told KSFO radio talk show host and WND columnist Barbara Simpson.
"It's just that some have had their minds twisted a bit," he said.
Harrison talked with Simpson by telephone from his apartment in Harare, where he moved after government-sponsored thugs came to his successful farming operation and ordered him to leave.
In a synopsis of his situation for a company that is publishing his book about his trials, Jambanja, he describes how one of the government "agents," named "Whitehat," stepped forward:
"We are the new owners of Maioio Farm," he said. "You have got 24 hours to get off … now move it!"
Harrison had battled the shadow of the nation's turbulence over its independence to create a successful farm. Just at the point where his farm was paid off and his crops were bringing in cash, Mugabe's agents started confiscating personal assets and redistributing them to the favored of those in power.
Harrison told Simpson that he was speaking on a telephone line that probably was monitored, and she would have to understand his answers.
But his depictions coincided largely with U.S. State Department condemnations of political powers in Zimbabwe that have given parents the choice of feeding their children or voting their conscience.
WND reported earlier that families are hiding their children and making plans to smuggle food across the border just so they can keep eating. Christians, especially, are being targeted because of their efforts to help those the government has cut off from supplies. There even have been reports of arrests during Christian church services.
Mugabe had been challenged by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who recently sought protection in another nation's embassy after members of his campaign staff were rounded up by police on orders from Mugabe, who has exercised near-absolute authority in the southern African nation since its independence in 1980.
Residents, however, have begun to rebel. Earlier this year, Tsvangirai collected a reported 47 percent of the vote to Mugabe's 43 percent in an election, sparking a long fight that was scheduled to end in a runoff election, until Mugabe's forces started combing the countryside for any opposition supporters and punishing them, insiders have reported.
As WND reported earlier, In Touch Mission International appealed to the free world for prayers for the violence expected for the Christian faithful in Zimbabwe caught in the crossfire of Mugabe's war.
Harrison said the violence that has accompanied the political war has been intense for residents. But with 80 percent unemployment, inflation running at thousands of percent, and a complete collapse in the nation's once-thriving food production industry, something has to change.
"It's just ridiculous," he said. "They just cannot go on."
He said the farms were taken from their rightful owners, then given as political plums to those faithful to Mugabe.
But in throwing out those who built the industry, he said, officials failed to recognize that farm knowledge doesn't necessarily come from a book.
"There are very few of the farms that were taken that are functioning," he told Simpson, "let alone functioning at a good standard."
His own farm, he said, has been destroyed because the new residents have used the grapefruit trees for firewood.
He confirmed he knew "quite a few" of the farmers who resisted the government's confiscation, and were killed. But on the telephone line he suspected was monitored, said, "I don't want to get into that."
Now in his Harare apartment he has completed his book and works on creating resources for sustainable agriculture programs.
The White House has said the U.S. is taking the accusations of atrocities by Mugabe to the United Nations Security Council.
"We want the world to be speaking with one voice to condemn the violence and intimidation that has taken place against the opposition and also against the Zimbabwean people," said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
"It was abundantly clear that the Tsvangirai party won on March 29th. And consistent with their constitution, they agreed to a run-off. But subsequently, President Mugabe decided to subvert democracy and to thwart the will of the people of Zimbabwe, to the point that the opposition leader has decided he would no longer participate in the run-off in order to protect his own people.
"We do not believe that the Mugabe regime can be considered legitimate until a free and fair election is allowed," she said.
Simpson told WND her concerns are with the "form of genocide" that is going on now in Zimbabwe.
"In a sense we're watching another Rwanda," she said. "There's a terrible brew that is being concocted in that part of the world that worries me a lot. I don't think it's good."
A coordinator for South Africa for Christ the King Community Church of Mt. Vernon, Wash., is telling first-hand of the struggles.
CTK is a small group-based Christian movement that was launched in the Pacific Northwest about 10 years ago and has expanded its ministry rapidly across the U.S. and around the world. A coordinator for its African ministries, whose name is being withheld because of his activities, told WND people are terrified.
"The violence is affecting everyone. The economy, with inflation now being 168,000 percent, leaves very little chance of members affording food and sustenance," he said. "In this, I have one of our attendees, who has family in South Africa 'front' financial assistance for us in Zim," he reported. "I give the funds to his family here in SA and he then gives material aid or money to our attendees in Zim.
"It is virtually impossible to transfer money to Zim, as the Zim government is keeping a very close vigil over any foreign funds entering the country. The option I am exercising is virtually the only one available at this state," he said.
Bloggers report assaults and murders in the name of voting correctly.
Sites such as This is Zimbabwe have document myriad cases of physical attacks, confiscation or destruction of property, including the burning of livestock and bulldozing of entire residential areas.
Amnesty International also has reported Mugabe's supporters are forcibly recruiting youths to carry out attacks against opposition members.
PRESS RELEASE -
Washington, D.C., June 25, 2008 - In an exclusive interview on the Voice of
America (VOA), Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Zimbabwean
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga took different positions on
whether runoff elections should be held.
During the interview on VOA's Straight Talk Africa, Tsvangirai applauded
calls by the Southern African Development Community to delay runoff
elections. Matonga countered by repeating President Robert Mugabe's
insistence that the country's runoff go ahead as planned.
When asked where he was during the VOA interview, Tsvangirai said that he
had returned to the Dutch Embassy in Harare because his safety could not be
Matonga disputed Tsvangirai's claim saying, "I feel very sad when I see him
(Tsvangirai) being moved from one place to the other and he's being treated
like a 'yo-yo.' He is very secure in Zimbabwe. There is no way his life can
be in danger because he is a presidential candidate."
When asked by Straight Talk Africahost Shaka Ssali if he had a message for
President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai replied, "President Mugabe, you are the
founding father of Zimbabwe. You should step up, not step down. Step up to
be a statesman. Step up to be the real legacy of the founding father."
Straight Talk Africa, a weekly, one-hour call-in program, is broadcast live
on radio, television, and the Internet. Host Shaka Ssali discusses current
political issues with guest experts. Full video of the interview is
available online at http://www.voanews.com/wm/voa/africa/engl/engl1830v.asx.
VOA's coverage of Africa includes broadcasts in 13 languages via radio,
television, and the Internet including 19 hours each week to Zimbabwe in
English, Shona, and Ndebele. Further coverage of events in Africa can be
found online at www.voaafrica.com.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia
international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the
Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,250 hours of
news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an
estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are
produced in 45 languages.
For more information, please call the Office of Public Affairs at (202)
203-4959, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new evidence collected from rural areas witnessing the worst of the intimidation has prompted a five-fold increase in the estimated tally, according to a report in The Independent. 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. 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.
Full report in The Independent
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday ruled out talks over the crisis until his secretary-general Tendai Biti and all political prisoners are released. The leader of the MDC said any election conducted 'arrogantly and unilaterally' on Friday would not 'be recognised by the MDC, Zimbabweans or the world', says a report in The Citizen. Tsvangirai was reacting to reports that the Zanu-PF is intending to go ahead with the presidential run-off poll despite the MDC's letter addressed to Justice Chiweshe, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which formally relates the MDC's decision not to participate in the presidential run-off elections. He said: 'Let me say clearly that there is no discussion about moving forward without our secretary-general Tendai Biti who has been so instrumental in all of our plans and discussions. Biti is an indispensable asset of the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe. He must be released.'
Full report in The Citizen
The arrest and interrogation of Biti has exposed divisions and paranoia within Zanu-PF that indicate important elements of the ruling party believe the government may soon collapse. So says a report in The Guardian, which notes that lawyers for Tendai Biti, 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. 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 irrespective of the outcome of Friday's widely discredited election and that a deal with the opposition would have to be made.
Full report in The Guardian
Mugabe must go, says former SA President FW de Klerk. De Klerk, a Nobel Peace laureate, said he could not see Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai forming a government of national unity, and Mugabe needed to be 'toppled'. According to a report on the News24 site, he said he was sure Zanu-PF was divided and that there were moderates in it who were extremely unhappy about what was happening. 'And somehow or another all moderates in Zimbabwe should be brought together and should be strengthened and helped to end this terrible tragedy.'
Full report on the News4 site
By Bob Roberts 26/06/2008
South Africa was last night warned it risked losing the 2010 football World
Cup if it fails to intervene in Zimbabwe.
As pressure increased on Robert Mugabe, campaigners and politicians said it
was outrageous South African President Thabo Mbeki continued to back him.
And they said the World Cup should not go ahead in South Africa unless Mbeki
demanded Mugabe step down.
The tournament is massively important to South Africa as it is seen as a
chance to celebrate how the country has changed since the collapse of
South Africa also has huge influence over Zimbabwe as it controls its power
supply and economy.
Campaigner Peter Goodwin said: "South Africa is already investing huge
amounts both financially and politically, for what is supposed to be its
triumphal coming-out party. Perhaps it is time to share the Zimbabweans'
pain, to help persuade Mr Mbeki to bear down on its source by threatening to
grab the world's soccer ball and take our games elsewhere."
The plan was backed by British MPs.
Labour's Fiona Mactaggart said: "If Thabo Mbeki does not back the world's
demand for a peaceful transition then we should ask if the international
community should back a football competition hosted by Thabo Mbeki."
Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander added: "South Africa's role is essential.
If they are not willing to cooperate we need to put whether it should host
the World Cup on the agenda."
The England and Wales Cricket Board yesterday severed ties with Zimbabwe's
cricket authorities. Next week Zimbabwe is likely to be banned from next
year's Twenty20 competition.
Wall Street Journal
By PAUL WOLFOWITZ
June 25, 2008; Page A15
On Sunday, Morgan Tsvangirai - the leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and the victor in the first round
of that country's presidential election in March - announced that his party
would not participate in the so-called runoff election scheduled for June
"We can't ask the people to cast their vote when that vote will cost their
lives. We will no longer participate in this violent sham of an election,"
Mr. Tsvangirai said. "Mugabe has declared war, and we will not be part of
This must have been a painful decision. It allows Zimbabwe's 84-year-old
dictator, President Robert Mugabe, to run unopposed. Zimbabwean Information
Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu is crowing: "The constitution does not say that
if somebody drops out or decides to chicken out the runoff will not be
Morgan Tsvangirai is no coward. He has persevered despite arrests, beatings
and assassination attempts. But Mugabe has made clear there will be only one
result from elections. "We are not going to give up our country because of a
mere X [on a ballot]," he told Zimbabwe's state-controlled Herald newspaper
Mugabe's brutal security forces aren't waiting for the election. According
to Mr. Tsvangirai, over 86 MDC supporters have been killed, more than 10,000
injured and maimed, 2,000 illegally detained, and 200,000 internally
displaced. Others say the death toll is much higher. And the details of
those numbers are horrifying: Dadirai Chipiro - the wife of an MDC
official - was thrown into a hut and burned to death after her feet and one
hand were first cut off. Her case is not unusual.
This horror recalls the slaughter of more than 10,000 members of the Ndebele
tribe in the 1980s by the notorious North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade,
headed by Col. Perence Shiri. He is now head of the Zimbabwean air force and
one of six men recently named by the British government as responsible for
the current "campaign of terror." Against this background, and with the
security forces providing clubs and machetes to large numbers of unemployed
young men, Mr. Tsvangirai had every reason to fear a repetition of that
slaughter, or worse.
Mr. Tsvangirai's withdrawal now allows Mugabe to claim an election victory,
but he would certainly have done so in any event - if necessary by rigging
the ballot count. The important thing now is to deny him the legitimacy that
he hopes for, and to sustain the courage and strength of the people of
Zimbabwe in their hope for a better future.
Until now, the attitude of African leaders has been an obstacle to peaceful
change. Despite everything, some still look to Mugabe's leadership in the
historic fight against white supremacy. Most significant among them is
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
But breaks in this silence are starting to appear. The leaders of Botswana
and Zambia have now criticized Mugabe strongly and publicly. Forty African
civil society leaders, including 14 former presidents, issued a call for
Zimbabwean authorities to allow a free and fair election. The foreign
minister of Tanzania, one of Mugabe's traditional allies, has denounced the
pre-election violence. Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga (a victim of
election fraud in his own country), has called Mugabe "an embarrassment for
Africa." In South Africa itself, Jacob Zuma, a populist who defeated Mr.
Mbeki for the leadership of the African National Congress, has been openly
critical. And last month, South African labor unions refused to unload a
Chinese ship bearing arms for Mugabe, forcing the Chinese to beat a retreat.
Since Mr. Tsvangirai's withdrawal announcement, criticism from African
governments has become stronger - even from Angola, one of Mugabe's closest
allies. This provides an opening for a more active role by the international
Words of condemnation help to deny Mugabe's claims of legitimacy, but words
alone are not enough. Specific sanctions against some of the leaders of the
violence may also be useful, but their impact will be limited. Broad
economic sanctions will only increase the suffering of Zimbabwe's people,
whose misery has already been increased by Mugabe's refusal to accept
emergency food assistance from the U.N.
There is also talk about U.N. peacekeeping forces or other forms of military
intervention, but this does not seem to be what the people of Zimbabwe want.
What the people of Zimbabwe clearly do want is to maintain the pressure on
Mugabe and his cronies for peaceful, democratic change.
The international community should commit - as publicly and urgently as
possible - to provide substantial support if Mugabe relinquishes power. Even
if Mr. Tsvangirai were to become president tomorrow he would still face a
daunting set of problems: restoring an economy in which hyperinflation has
effectively destroyed the currency and unemployment is a staggering 70%;
getting emergency food aid to millions who are at risk of starvation and
disease; promoting reconciliation after the terrible violence; and undoing
Mugabe's damaging policies, without engendering a violent backlash.
The international community should also say it will move rapidly to remove
the burden of debts accumulated by the Mugabe regime and not force a new
government to spend many months and precious human resources on the issue
(as Liberia was forced to do to deal with the debts of Samuel Doe).
Given the strength and ruthlessness of the regime, change will not come
easily. Nevertheless, developing a concrete vision for the future would help
to rally the people of Zimbabwe around a long-term effort to achieve a
peaceful transition. It would give Mr. Tsvangirai important negotiating
leverage. And it could attract disaffected members of the regime.
Most importantly, dramatic action by the international community could
embolden other Africans to confront the tragedy in their backyard. One step
would be to offer Mugabe an honorable way out. South Africa or some other
country should offer Mugabe a safe and comfortable retirement if he leaves
without further violence.
Those who have suffered personally at his hands may feel that this would
deprive them of justice. But this is a time when a compromise needs to be
struck between the need for justice and the need to stop further violence.
South Africa itself, under Nelson Mandela's leadership, once set an example
for the world in this regard. Today it could help Zimbabweans develop their
own process of "Truth and Reconciliation."
Ideally a non-Western institution, such as the African Development Bank,
could take the lead in summoning a Friends of Zimbabwe conference.
Hopefully, the wealthy oil-producing countries would participate. So too
could China and India, successful developing countries that have shown a new
interest in Africa.
The very fact of the international community coming together on short notice
would send a strong message of hope to Zimbabweans and to all Africans who
care about the future of that important country.
Mr. Wolfowitz, a former president of the World Bank, is a visiting scholar
at the American Enterprise Institute.
New York Times
Published: June 26, 2008
To the Editor:
Re "Mugabe's Rival Quits Runoff, Citing Attacks" (front page, June 23):
The brutal, methodical violence by President Robert Mugabe's regime against
its political opposition is tragic but was predictable. In spring 2007, we
traveled to Zimbabwe, supported by a grant from Foundation Open Society
Institute, and documented clear evidence of torture among individuals who
were targeted because of their political opposition to Mr. Mugabe.
The current carnage, which includes more than 2,000 documented cases of
torture and political violence and at least 85 politically motivated
murders, according to doctors treating the victims, is an international
disgrace resulting from inadequate attempts to negotiate and monitor a sham
Zimbabwe merits real, if belated action by the African and international
community, including possibly sending in a protection force to restore some
semblance of civil society to Zimbabwe if there is any hope for truly free
and fair elections to take place.
It is clear that such elections are not possible now.
Allen S. Keller
Samantha A. Stewart
New York, June 24, 2008
The writers, both medical doctors, are, respectively, director and staff
psychiatrist, Bellevue/N.Y.U. Program for Survivors of Torture.
This Day, Nigeria
Action Congress (AC) has commended Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, for pulling out of the country's presidential run-off, slated
He said the bold decision has shown that he is more interested in democracy
than in achieving power at all costs.
In a statement issued in Abuja, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji
Lai Mohammed, the party said there was no point holding elections or
participating in them if the peoples' votes will not count.
''In the case of Zimbabwe, it is clear that votes of the people will not
count in the forthcoming run-off, going by the senseless, state-sponsored
attacks on the opposition, the prevention of opposition rallies and the mad
rhetoric of the aging dictator called President Robert Mugabe.
"Having realised that he could be beaten hands down if the people are
allowed to vote freely and if elections are allowed to be free and fair,
President Mugabe has chosen to clamp- down on the opposition, using state
security agencies and hoodlums masquerading as his party supporters.
"Under such an atmosphere, the opposition will only be endorsing Mugabe's
anti-democratic credentials by participating in the run-off. The decision to
pull out, therefore, is the best for the opposition in the circumstance,''
It hailed Tsvangirai as a courageous leader and true lover of democracy, as
well as of the ordinary people, saying his democratic credentials have been
strengthened by his principled stand on the run-off.
Yesterday we were using nine zeros and today we are on twelve zeros !!
Yes some folk in Zimbabwe are already trillionaires !! What comes after
trillionaire is the
question and the answer is quadrillionaire and then quintillionaire (I knew
there was a
reason that Miss Battis taught me Latin at Eveline School all those years
Although we are all deeply disappointed that the election re-run will not be
it's really a good thing that Mr Tsvangirai has decided not to participate.
loss of life has been too awful to even comprehend and only God controls the
this land ...
Thoughts go ahead to June 28 when the MDC would undoubtedly have won
but what then ?
Aristotle's saying that "every country gets the leaders it deserves" can be
insulting, despicable, even infuriating. But, is it true of Zimbabwe ? Yay
or nay I would not
like to be the leader who wakes up to Zimbabwe's economy on the day after
Such sadness has enveloped our little country, such gloom interspersed with
at what lies ahead. The prices are what consume us these days even more than
politics. A loaf of bread three billion dollars !
Our largest bill is fifty billion dollars and a single chicken in the shop
today was sixty
Heehoo is grey around the gills, like most businessmen he cannot afford to
sell any stock
at all, he cannot make any sales and yet has to meet a wage bill in the
In fact the banks have jammed up their computers completely for the past
week as their
computer software battles to cope with the zeros, either that or the banks
just don't have
any money ?????
Many businesses have closed their doors already in preparation for the
Heehoo needs not worry though, he is such a competent businessman, he should
get a job in South Africa as an economic advisor or for any other embattled
needs "entrepreneurial" help, after all the shenanigans, chicanery and
methods most Zimbabweans have been forced to entertain over the past forty
Lets think about a job description ?
"Slightly used grey haired Executive offers help to embattled economies. Let
me deal with
your ten thousand percent inflation problems ! Our software programmes can
eighteen digits easily.....
Let me care for your country's ailing economy, just let me tackle your
Barter deals a speciality, counter trade expertise offered, financial
auctions done with ease
and vast experience !
Long time but tired Survivor of forty years of unusual trade restrictions
efforts to close down the economy !! Tried and tested methods employed
Saharan Africa. "
Email HeeHoo on a beach somewhere please !!
God is in control I believe.
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
26 June 2008
Posted to the web 26 June 2008
Two South Africans who were convicted of working as MDC-T leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's bodyguards without permits were yesterday fined $25 billion
each for breaching immigration laws.
If they fail to pay the fines, Sphiwe Elijah Nkosi (33) and Isaac Lekgoe
(33), who were represented by Harare lawyer Mr Alex Mambosasa, would be
locked up for four days.
However, the court was silent on the State's application seeking deportation
of the duo after paying the fines or serving the sentence.
On Tuesday, the two were convicted on their own pleas of guilt to breaching
the Immigration Act before magistrate Ms Gloria Takundwa.
The two, who were employed by Pasco Security in South Africa as close
security guards, entered Zimbabwe through Plumtree Border Post disguised as
visitors destined for Uganda.
Prosecutor Mr Alois Gakata said they stayed in Zimbabwe illegally working as
Tsvangirai's bodyguards without permits.
They were arrested on Saturday at a lodge following a tip-off.
Published on: 6/26/08.
FOLLOWING the withdrawal of Zimbabwe's Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai
from the run-off election for the presidency and his subsequent asylum in
the Dutch Embassy, there has been international condemnation of President
Though welcome, it has come much too late and the damage has been done.
Nothing but the strongest condemnation could suffice following Tsvangirai's
to withdraw because of the loss of life among his supporters though he had
won the first round of presidential voting.
Unfortunately, this was the triumph of state-sponsored terrorism at a time
of enlightenment, though Tsvangirai's party the Movement for Democratic
Change had secured a parliamentary majority.
It was refreshing to hear Jacob Zuma, South Africa's ruling party leader,
condemn the situation in Zimbabwe, saying he could not agree with what
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party was doing. He said the situation was out of control
and called for urgent intervention by the United Nations (UN) and the
regional South African Development Council (SADC).
Similar harsh words were heard from other leaders. The United States said it
would go to the UN Security Council to look at additional steps that could
be taken. Its hands are tired because of a possible veto from China.
There were even murmurs from African leaders who Mugabe would once have
counted among his strongest allies. Angola's Eduardo dos Santos, a fellow
liberation fighter, urged the Zimbabwean president to "embrace a spirit of
tolerance and respect for democratic norms".
Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa, who chairs the Southern African Development
Community regional bloc, conceded that "what is happening in Zimbabwe is, of
course, of tremendous embarrassment to all of us".
However, there was no condemnation from South Africa. President Thabo Mbeki
is committed to the notion that "tepid diplomacy" will fashion some sort of
compromise, perhaps a unity government.
Events have made this impossible. Any such illusion, and any rationale for
appeasement, has surely been shattered by Mugabe's obsession with power at
South Africa is critical because of its economic muscle, and the criticisms
of other African leaders were calculated attempts to put pressure on Mbeki
to orchestrate change. He is loath to act because of Mugabe's support for
the African National Congress during apartheid and his willingness then to
shelter its leaders.
There have also been calls for intervention by armed forces. However, the
question of political sovereignty is an emotive issue in post-colonial
independent countries. Mugabe paints the run-off as a contest against
colonial interests, for which he said Tsvangirai was a puppet.
Totalitarian governments are the beneficiaries of this reticence but in
Zimbabwe matters will only change if its neighbours and the UN recognise
they have a responsibility to intervene, and should have done so a long time
09:22, June 26, 2008
The Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) was ready to defend the
country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, a senior ZDF officer has
Zimbabwe Air Vice Marshal Henry Muchena made the remarks when
speaking at a pass out parade of 131 graduates from the Airforce of
Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Prison Services at the
Field Airforce Base in Chegutu recently, according to The Herald on
Muchena urged people to vote wisely on Friday by choosing
President Robert Mugabe who carries the values and interests of the country.
He said the country could not develop without land reform. "Land
comes first before all else, and that all else grows from and off the land.
As defence forces, this is the one asset that we should defend, that which
not only defines Zimbabwean personality and defines sovereignty but also an
asset that has a direct bearing on the fortunes and prosperity for our
immediate empowerment," he said.
Muchena said economic related hardships the country is
experiencing was a result of the illegal sanctions imposed by the West
because of the land reform programe.
"As defence forces we should reject to join ranks with those
that fuel and sponsor manipulative and intimidatory attempts to effect
regime change or purported restoration of normalcy under the guise of
democracy, rule of law, respect of property rights and good governance," he
Muchena said these were just falsehoods by the imperialists
aimed at advancing their interests.
He said Zimbabwe cherished the rule of law and democracy as
evidenced by the sacrifices made during the liberation war.
Muchena blasted Britain and its allies for denying the country
funds to support the agrarian reform as agreed at Lancaster House Conference
and for imposing sanctions.
He accused Britain of bankrolling opposition parties in the
Thursday, June 26, 2008
If you had met him, you might think he "had kicked himself loose of the
earth" and "knew no restraint, no faith and no fear." He was once perceived
as "remarkable" and a man of great promise, but had descended into
unspeakable madness in the heart of Africa.
That's how the novelist Joseph Conrad describes Kurtz, the white man who
leaps into lunacy in the Congo and becomes the focus of "Heart of Darkness,"
the novel Conrad wrote at the end of the 19th century. His horrific
descriptions, I discovered when I recently read the book again, fit Robert
Mugabe in Zimbabwe - the black man who transformed himself from idealistic
freedom fighter to ruthless tyrant who destroyed Zimbabwe along the way. Mr.
Mugabe is the authentic African hero who set out to do good for his people
and made a mockery of the dreams and aspirations of those people. He ordered
the deaths of at least 86 of his countrymen, and the torture of thousands of
others, for the crime of wanting to vote for someone else to lead the
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition, withdrew on Sunday from the
national election that is set for June 27, because Mr. Mugabe's escalating
campaign of blood and intimidation makes a free and fair election
impossible. "We cannot ask the voters to cast their vote when that vote
could cost them their lives," he said. "The regime does not even want to
pretend the election would be free and fair."
Kurtz - Mr. Conrad gave him no other name - would understand the corruption
and violence. The fictional hero was himself larger than life, moving from
idealism and from believing he was a civilizing force, to descending into
the darkness of his own making in a carnival of barbarity. At the end of his
life, he is surrounded by a circle of disembodied heads impaled on spikes.
Mr. Mugabe, alas, is real enough - a corrupt and vicious maximum leader who
turned his nation from the breadbasket of a continent into a rotting
wasteland. He lives in a "bubble of his own creation," observes Heidi
Holland, who interviewed him for her book, "Dinner with Mugabe." He sees
himself as right, never wrong. He made a hell of his country.
An analogy between fiction and real life is rarely precise, but a great
novelist lends understanding of the evil that men can do. This is sometimes
painful. "Heart of Darkness," accurate and insightful as it may be, has
fallen prey to narrow prejudice, banned from many classrooms. If read at
all, it's usually read as a racist tract, even though the descriptions in
the novel are no more racist than the news accounts of the Mugabe madness.
Current opinion reflects what "is" just as Mr. Conrad reflected on what
"Heart of Darkness" was once assigned reading for schoolchildren in the
United States and Great Britain, and is included in the Norton Anthology of
English Literature." But just as truth is stranger than fiction, so fiction
is sometimes an unbearable truth. Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian poet,
novelist, critic and Nobel medalist, denounced the novel as "bloody racist,"
and its author as a "thoroughgoing racist." The novel disappeared from
Certain passages describe racist episodes, true enough, but Mr. Conrad
presents them in their authentic era, and invites readers to judge for
themselves the evil that men do. Accurate news accounts of what Mr. Mugabe
is doing in Zimbabwe could be described as "racist," too, but Mr. Conrad
explores racism from different angles as only a novelist is free to do. The
Belgian colonizers saw the native Africans as "savages" and ruthlessly
exploited them for commercial gain. The descriptions in "Heart of Darkness"
are grotesque and powerful - and impossible to read without feeling outrage
rising like bile in the throat. So, too, the outrage on reading the news
accounts from Zimbabwe. Mr. Conrad makes it clear that "there was a touch of
insanity" to the colonial enterprise in the Congo; there's more than a
"touch of insanity" in the criminal Mr. Mugabe, too.
Literature, at its best, describes social changes and emotions through
specific plots, characters and settings, and invites the reader to look more
deeply into the heart of man. Mr. Conrad is no more the creator or condoner
of evil than the journalist who observes and describes the evil of Mr.
Mugabe and his thugs. The novelist captures complexity to expose the
gradations of good and evil lurking in the human heart.
At the end of the novel, Kurtz, doomed to live in the heart of darkness
created by his own hand, sees and understands what he has wrought,
exclaiming "The horror! The horror!" Mr. Mugabe lives in a similar bubble of
barbarity, but has yet to understand the evil he has created. The people he
betrayed feel it all too well.
Suzanne Fields is a syndicated columnist. Her column appears here on
Refugees International (RI)
Date: 25 Jun 2008
Washington, D.C. - Zimbabweans fleeing political violence should receive
protection in neighboring countries until they can return safely, Refugees
International said today.
"African human rights conventions provide for protection of people fleeing
persecution and violence, yet several of Zimbabwe's neighbors refuse to give
refuge to Zimbabweans," said Ken Bacon, president of Refugees International.
"At the very least, neighboring states should give Temporary Protected
Status to Zimbabweans fleeing their country now until the current violence
Refugees International is calling on the member states of the African Union
to invoke the 1969 Organization of African Unity Refugee Convention to grant
legal status to Zimbabweans. The convention clearly states: "The term
'refugee' shall also apply to every person who, owing to . events seriously
disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin
or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in
order to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or
nationality." At a minimum, African nations should provide Temporary
Protected Status to all Zimbabweans, which would temporarily grant
Zimbabweans permission to live in the country legally until it is safe for
them to return.
"The international community has shown its deep concern for the people
inside Zimbabwe in past weeks. However, that concern has been confined to
those who are living inside the country," Mr. Bacon continued. "The
international community and Zimbabwe's neighbors must ensure that
Zimbabweans who flee the ongoing violence receive the legal protection and
guarantees of safety that international law provides them."
In advance of elections scheduled for June 27, a widespread,
government-sponsored campaign of violence, intimidation, and fear has been
led against the people of Zimbabwe. The United Nations Security Council has
condemned the violence and stated that under such circumstances a fair
election will not be possible. Over 80 people have been killed, thousands
have been injured, and countless more are living in fear of violence because
of their political beliefs.
Refugees International also called on the governments of South Africa and
Botswana to immediately suspend all deportations of undocumented
Zimbabweans. Currently, South Africa and Botswana consider Zimbabweans
undocumented migrants, and require individual refugee status determination.
Both nations should join a region-wide commitment to providing all
Zimbabweans Temporary Protected Status.
"Whether Zimbabweans have fled election-related violence this week, or
sought safety and survival over the last few years, forced repatriation to
Zimbabwe in the current climate could endanger the safety of all Zimbabweans
living abroad," explained Mr. Bacon. "The continuing climate of fear in
South Africa for migrants only reinforces the need for South Africa to grant
legal protections to Zimbabweans, to legitimize their presence in the face
of an increasingly xenophobic domestic population, and to provide practical
solutions for their safety."
Prior to the dramatic increase in election-related violence in Zimbabwe, a
steady flow of economic and political migrants -- estimated between one and
three million -- had already fled their country, and are currently residing
throughout the region. Despite the long-term nature of the political crisis
in Zimbabwe, these migrants have never been recognized as refugees or
victims of political persecution. While Zimbabweans have the ability to
apply for refugee status in major host countries such as South Africa, the
lack of screening infrastructure has often delayed refugee claims for years.
Recent violence and attacks against migrants in South Africa has increased
the need for legal protections for Zimbabweans, who bore the brunt of the
attacks in the spring of 2008.
Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates
to end refugee crises. In October 2007, a Refugees International team
visited South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia to examine conditions for
Zimbabwean refugees. For more information, go to
Contact: Vanessa Parra, +1-202-828-0110 ext. 225;
Thu, 26 Jun 2008 08:15
Some 180 refugees had converged on the premises of the South African embassy
in Harare on Wednesday, South African Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie
Mamoepa said in Pretoria.
The South African ambassador to Zimbabwe, Professor Mlungisi Makalima, said
embassy staff were arranging food, blankets and other necessities for the
group of Zimbabweans.
"The group claim to have been displaced and others displayed injuries."
They included women and children.
Makalima said they were in contact with the Zimbabwean authorities as well
as welfare organisations to try to find sanctuary for the group.
Posted 2 hours 54 minutes ago
Updated 2 hours 43 minutes ago
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is encouraging
Australians in Zimbabwe to consider leaving the country because of the high
level of election-related violence in the African nation.
DFAT says there continues to be a high level of political tension in
Zimbabwe, despite the Opposition leader's decision to pull out of the
presidential run-off to be held tomorrow.
The upgraded travel advice says tourists visiting Zimbabwe's national parks
and Victoria Falls should change their travel plans.
Legality in doubt
Experts say the run-off, in which President Robert Mugabe would be the sole
candidate following the withdrawal of his challenger, may already be in
violation of the country's laws.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
beat President Robert Mugabe in the March 29 poll but failed to get an
absolute majority needed to clinch the job.
On Sunday Mr Tsvangirai withdrew from the race, citing a climate of violence
in the run-up to the poll.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission released the result of the March 29 poll
on May 2, five weeks after it was held and in which the ruling party of Mr
Mugabe lost its majority in the parliament.
Mr Mugabe came second to Mr Tsvangirai with 43.2 per cent of votes to the
latter's 47.9 per cent.
"If we follow the Zimbabwe Electoral Act, legally, [Opposition leader]
Morgan Tsvangirai is the winner, the regime having failed to organise a
rerun within 21 days after the election result was released," Ross Herbert
of the South African Institute of International Affairs said.
"This Friday's rerun is clearly outside the law and so its outcome will be
Kader Asmal, professor emeritus in international law at the Western Cape
University, said that Friday's run-off is a "nullity" under international
"[Mr] Tsvangirai was forced to withdraw from the race. He did not do it out
of his volition," he said.
"He was forced to do so because of the pervading violence. Under
international law, whatever is done under such a given circumstance is a
Meanwhile a group of about 200 Zimbabweans has sought refuge at the South
African embassy in Harare.
Many in the group say they were housed at the MDC headquarters in the
capital before it was raided by police on Monday.
Some are reported to be injured.
A spokesman for the South African Foreign Ministry, Ronnie Mamoepa, says the
Ministry is trying to arrange alternative shelter.
"We have been engaged in talks with these people to understand their plight
so that we can take the necessary action to assist them," he said.
"So part of assisting them is to try to speak to the government, as well as
welfare organisations, with a view to finding sanctuary for them."