By ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer 15 minutes ago
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Paramilitary police deployed in a park in Zimbabwe's
capital and marshals led voters to polling stations Friday for an
internationally discredited presidential runoff held in an atmosphere of
In contrast to the excitement and hope for change that marked the first
round of elections in March, a defiant President Robert Mugabe is the only
candidate in this round, and the election was expected only to deepen the
nation's political crisis.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who withdrew from the runoff after an
intense campaign of state-sponsored violence, said the results of the
election would "reflect only the fear of the people of Zimbabwe." Dozens of
opposition supporters have been killed and thousands of people injured.
Tsvangirai's name remains on the ballot because electoral officials say his
withdrawal Sunday came too late.
Mugabe, the country's ruler since independence in 1980, was expected to use
violence and intimidation to get people to vote for him in the hope that a
massive turnout could demonstrate he still has support and to make his
inevitable victory appear credible.
State radio acknowledged that voters were only "trickling" into stations in
the countryside, attributing the low turnout to chilly weather that had
temperatures below zero overnight.
About 20 paramilitary police in riot gear were stationed in a central Harare
In the capital's crowded Mbare suburb, lines built up at polling stations as
voters arrived in groups, led by marshals who were carrying books filled
with names. In one side street, names were being called and ticked off as a
group of about 25 people gathered before heading to a tented polling
The opposition scattered fliers overnight calling for a boycott.
"Is it necessary to vote?" said Cephas Sango, a Harare resident reading a
flier. He said he had heard warnings that Mugabe party militants plan to
check for the ink staining voters' fingers and those staying away face the
threat of violence.
The opposition has called on people voting out of fear to spoil their
In an e-mail voting day message, Tsvangirai said he expected voters to be
threatened, told to record their ballot paper numbers and to have their
votes recorded by cameras. He advised them not to resist.
"God knows what is in your heart. Don't risk your lives," he said in the
In the middle-class Greendale suburb, Eunice Maboreke came out of a polling
station and told a reporter "my vote is my secret."
Another voter, Livingstone Gwaze, said he voted for Mugabe.
"Things will get better. There is darkness before light," he said.
Another man refused to give his name but held up his ink-stained finger to
show he had voted.
Riot police and regular uniformed officers manned roadblocks on approaches
to the South African Embassy, where at least 200 fugitives of violence in
the countryside were camped with blankets and bundles of belongings in the
On the campaign trail Thursday, Mugabe said he was "open to discussion" with
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, but only after the vote. Mugabe
had shown little interest in talks and his government had scoffed at
Tsvangirai's call Wednesday to work together to form a transitional
World leaders have dismissed the runoff. Nigeria became the latest African
nation to call for its postponement.
Tsvangirai was first in a field of four in the March vote, an embarrassment
to Mugabe. But the official tally said he did not gain the votes necessary
to avoid a runoff against Mugabe.
Tsvangirai's party and its allies also won control of parliament in March,
dislodging Mugabe's party for the first time since 1980.
Mugabe was once hailed as a post-independence leader committed to
development and reconciliation, but in recent years has been denounced as a
dictator intent only on holding onto power.
Efforts to dislodge him at the ballot box have repeatedly been stymied by
fraud and intimidation.
Kubatana, a Web site forum for independent Zimbabwean human rights groups,
reported that Mugabe supporters told people to vote in large numbers to give
Mugabe a landslide win and those without indelible ink stains on their
fingers would be seen as opposition supporters.
As during the first round, individual polling stations will have to post
tallies, an innovation hammered out in talks between the opposition and
Mugabe's party mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki. That allowed
the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network and the opposition to
compile their own results, making fraud difficult. But this time, the
network said it was unable to field monitors because they had not been
accredited by the government. The opposition also will not be monitoring
The African Union, the main regional Southern African Development Community
and African parliamentarians were observing the runoff, but do not have
enough people to make a difference.
Monsters and Critics
Jun 27, 2008, 8:05 GMT
Johannesburg/Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told
his supporters to vote for President Robert Mugabe if necessary to avoid
harm as a Mugabe-only presidential election condemned internationally as a
'sham' got under way Friday.
'If possible we ask you not to vote today,' Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader Tsvangirai, who withdrew from the contest last week, citing
fears for the safety of MDC supporters, said in a letter circulated on the
'But if you must vote for Mr Mugabe because of threats on your life today,
then do so.'
In proceeding with the vote Mugabe defied calls from the international
community and Zimbabwe's neighbours in the Southern African Development
Community to postpone the run-off presidential ballot, which observers have
said will not be free and fair.
Tsvangirai, 56, withdrew from the contest at the last minute over a campaign
of state-sponsored militia attacks on MDC supporters that has killed around
90 people since the first round of voting on March 29.
Tsvangirai took more votes than Mugabe in that election but not enough for
an outright victory.
Tsvangirai and the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, have accused
Mugabe of deploying the military and militia to 'frogmarch' voters to the
polls in order to produce a large turnout.
Tsvangirai also alleged other tactics were being used to intimidate
Zimbabweans into voting for 84-year-old Mugabe, including ordering voters to
note the serial number of their ballot so that their vote can be traced and
telling them each vote for Tsvangirai would mean a life lost.
Some people in Harare told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa earlier that they
feared their thumbs would be checked by security forces for the indelible
red ink that proves they voted.
Friday's election looks certain to entrench Mugabe's hold on power for
another five years. The elderly leader has signalled he is open to talks
with the opposition on some form of power sharing, but only after the vote.
'Whatever happens the results on 27 June will not be recognized by the
world,' Tsvangirai said.
The United States, Britain and other countries have already said they will
not endorse the outcome.
Jun 27 2008 Wales Online
Zimbabwe holds its one-candidate presidential run-off today with President
Robert Mugabe expected to orchestrate a mass turnout of voters in a show of
strength designed to emphasise his hold on power.
World leaders have dismissed the runoff as a sham and Nigeria became the
latest African nation to call for its postponement, but electoral officials
say the election will go ahead with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
name on the ballot.
However, Mugabe sounded a conciliatory note when he said yesterday that he
was "open to discussion" with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Mugabe, who spoke at a campaign rally yesterday, until then showed little
interest in talks and his government had scoffed at Tsvangirai's call on
Wednesday to work together to form a transitional authority.
Tsvangirai, the only candidate facing Mugabe in the runoff, announced on
Sunday he was withdrawing from today's vote because state-sponsored violence
against his party had made it impossible to run. He then fled to the Dutch
embassy for safety.
Tsvangirai told the BBC World Service that voters would be frog-marched to
"There could be a massive turnout, not because of the will of the people but
because of the role of the military and the traditional leaders to force
people to these polls," he said in an interview from the embassy.
He told his supporters not to offer resistance, for their own safety.
"They should go. If they even vote for ZANU-PF, if they even vote for
Mugabe, what does that change?" he said in the BBC interview. "It makes no
difference because the vote is a fraud anyway."
Mugabe's last campaign stop was in Chitungwiza, an area that has seen some
of the most brutal violence against the opposition.
Earlier this month, the opposition said four activists were abducted in the
region, assaulted with iron bars, clubs and guns. Their bodies were found a
day later. In a separate incident, the homes of three Chitungwiza opposition
councilmen and their families were firebombed on Wednesday night, but
everyone escaped uninjured.
That made it a curious choice of a place to offer an olive branch, and could
signal that while Mugabe is open to talks, he is not necessarily in a
Mugabe was proposing talks only after the vote, when he will point to a
landslide victory and claim to be in a position of strength. Mugabe told the
rally's crowd that he would be going to Egypt, where African Union heads of
state were meeting on Monday. Mugabe presumably planned to attend as a
victorious re-elected president.
Bright Matonga, Mugabe's deputy information minister, said the call for
talks was directed at the opposition as fellow Zimbabweans.
"We want you to be part of Zimbabwe, we are willing to talk to you, but let's
finish this first," Matonga said.
On the eve of the vote, fear settled over the capital, as if the city was
Businesses and factories closed down around noon. Most schools had been shut
since Monday, with parents called by teachers to collect their children
because there were "strangers"" camped in vacant land who were said to be
Trees and lamp posts across Harare were plastered with fresh Mugabe election
posters. A few posters of Tsvangirai from the first March 29 round of voting
were defaced and torn, some with his eyes gouged out.
The African Union; the Southern African Development Community, the main
regional bloc; and African parliamentarians were observing the runoff, but
many believe they would not have sufficient people on the ground to make a
The Foreign Ministry of Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, said the
vote should be postponed because it was "doubtful" that a credible election
could be held.
Tsvangirai was first in a field of four in the first round of the
presidential election on March 29, but the official tally said he did not
gain the 50% plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff against the second place
finisher, the 84-year-old Mugabe.
That campaign was generally peaceful, but the runoff has been overshadowed
by violence and intimidation, especially in rural areas.
Independent human rights groups say at least 85 people have died and tens of
thousands have been displaced from their homes, most of them opposition
Zimbabwe opposition party's No. 2 official, who has been charged with
treason, was granted bail and released from jail yesterday.
24 minutes ago
KYOTO, Japan (AFP) - Group of Eight foreign ministers warned Friday that
they would not recognise Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government as he
went ahead with a widely condemned election.
The industrial powers, meeting in the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto,
also stepped up pressure on Iran and North Korea over their nuclear
programmes and pressed Myanmar to open up further to aid after its deadly
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined top diplomats of Britain,
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia as Zimbabwe headed to the
polls in a one-man run-off election.
"We will not accept the legitimacy of any government that does not reflect
the will of the Zimbabwean people," the eight nations said in a joint
They said that the results of the first round of voting on March 29 -- in
which opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai topped Mugabe but fell short of a
majority -- "must be respected."
Tsvangirai pulled out of the election and holed himself up in the Dutch
embassy, citing deadly election violence and threats.
"This kind of sham cannot possibly produce a legitimate outcome," Rice told
a joint press conference in Kyoto.
Rice said that the United States, which chairs the UN Security Council until
the end of the month, would consult with other nations about "what next step
we might need to take."
Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that the election in his
country's former colony was "one-sided in every aspect."
"So it is very clear on the part of the United Kingdom -- there is no
legitimacy for the government of Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe," Miliband
"The only people with any shred of democratic legitimacy are those who won
the March 29 first round," he said.
The two-day meeting is meant to lay the groundwork for a summit of the Group
of Eight leaders from July 7 to 9 in the northern Japanese resort town of
The talks coincided with long-awaited progress in a US-backed
denuclearisation deal with North Korea.
The hardline communist state was expected Friday to demolish part of a
nuclear facility to showcase to the world its commitment to
A day earlier, North Korea handed over an account of its nuclear programmes
nearly seven months late.
Japan had opposed the US decision on Thursday to remove North Korea from its
list of state sponsors of terrorism due to a row over Pyongyang's past
abductions of Japanese civilians in the 1970s and 1980s.
A joint statement called for North Korea to completely give up nuclear
weapons and "strongly urged" the communist state to resolve the issue.
"All of the participants showed support for us. The issue is important not
only for Japan -- it is a human rights issue for the international
community," Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said.
While North Korea reaps the rewards of progress in disarmament, Western
powers have been tightening the screws on Iran, which refuses to suspend
sensitive uranium enrichment.
The European Union on Monday approved sanctions stopping operations of Bank
Melli, Iran's largest financial institution, in Britain, France and
Germany -- the three EU countries negotiating with Tehran.
The joint statement called for Iran to suspend its enrichment work and to
"act in a more responsible and constructive manner" in the region, including
in the Middle East peace process, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly threatened Israel and
played down the Holocaust.
The foreign ministers also urged Myanmar's military regime to remove
remaining restrictions on aid after Cyclone Nargis, which left more than
130,000 people dead or missing, and to free political detainees including
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AFP)--African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping
told a meeting of African foreign ministers Friday they should leave it to
heads of state to pass judgment on the crisis in Zimbabwe at their summit
"We are waiting for the summit for the heads of state to make important
declarations on Zimbabwe," Ping told the opening session of the ministers'
meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh convened to prepare for
Ministers gathered as Zimbabweans went to the polls for a one-man
presidential run-off that veteran incumbent Robert Mugabe is bound to win
and which the opposition has dismissed as shameful.
Several ministers said they thought the meeting ought to discuss the crisis
which has seen a wave of violence against opposition supporters.
"I hope we're going to address the Zimbabwe issue right from the start of
the discussions," Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio told AFP.
"In any case I'm counting on raising the issue."
AU commission Chairman Ping had expressed "grave concern" about the
situation in Zimbabwe in the run-up to Friday's meeting, after the
withdrawal of opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai who had come well ahead
of Mugabe in the first round.
"This development and the increasing acts of violence in the run-up to the
second round of the presidential election are a matter of grave concern to
the AU Commission," a statement from his office said Monday.
But in his opening speech Friday, Ping confined his comments to general
remarks about the problems of democratization in Africa.
"In recent years, we have seen significant progress on the road to
democracy, good governance and the rule of law but we still face numerous
challenges in these areas," he said. "The major challenge facing our
continent is to ensure that elections do not lead to disturbances and/or
violent and often bloody disputes."
As well as Zimbabwe, the last was also an allusion to Kenya's disputed
presidential election last December which triggered political violence in
which more than 1,500 people died before a compromise was brokered between
the rival sides.
Ping said elections should "not be allowed to become sources of instability
that threaten social-economic and political harmony in our countries."
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 27, 2008
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt: The head of the African Union Commission did not
address the presidential run-off in Zimbabwe in his opening remarks to
African foreign ministers.
Commission chairman Jean Ping spoke Friday at the opening of the foreign
ministers' meeting ahead of Monday's AU summit in the Egyptian resort of
Ping mentioned the conflicts in Darfur, Somalia and the tension between Chad
and Sudan. But he didn't directly refer to Zimbabwe where President Robert
Mugabe is the lone candidate in Friday's runoff.
However, Ping did say that the major challenge facing Africa was assuring
that elections do not lead to violence and bloody protests. He said the the
Zimbawbe situation would not be addressed until the summit.
By Stephen Mbogo
June 27, 2008
Nairobi, Kenya (CNSNews.com) - Recent shifts in African governments'
positions on Zimbabwe are mirrored by growing criticism from ordinary
Africans, angered by harassment of the opposition and President Robert
Mugabe's efforts to hold onto power.
In the run-up to Friday's controversial runoff presidential election,
opinion among more and more Africans appears to have moved from one of
relative support -- even a few months ago -- for Mugabe, a hero of the 1970s
armed campaign to overthrow white minority rule in what was then called
Many say they are disappointed that Mugabe has refused to admit waning
public support and resign, a step they believe would help the impoverished
country move towards political stability and economic recovery.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai won a first
round election against Mugabe in March, but without sufficient support to
avoid a runoff. Tsvangirai this week pulled out of the election, saying it
could not proceed in a climate of intimidation and violence against his
Mugabe won much sympathy from Africans by attributing Zimbabwe's problems to
pressure from the West, especially former colonial power Britain. Mugabe
said Western governments were embittered by his land redistribution policies
that entailed the seizure of white-owned commercial farms.
Most economists say the land policies led to severe food shortages and
historic inflation levels in a country that was once regarded as a regional
When Mugabe visited Kenya for a regional meeting in early 2007, many Kenyans
turned out to welcome him.
Early this month, by contrast, when the Zimbabwean national soccer team
played against Kenya in Nairobi, many in the crowd carried banners reading
"Mugabe Must Go" and slogans attacking his record.
Alex Wahome, a public relations analyst in Nairobi, said even formerly
sympathetic Africans have turned against Mugabe because of alleged election
rigging and violence against the opposition.
"Unlike leaders like [Tanzania's first post-colonial president] Julius
Nyerere, who let power go when his economic policies failed to improve the
living standards of his people, Mugabe has failed to follow suit," he said.
"He is not sincere. He is not a statesman."
"I think Mugabe should now go," said Joyce Wambui, who operates an Internet
cafe in Nairobi. "His problems are no longer a result of Britain or America.
He is a dictator like any other."
Steve Kubai, a stock market dealer here, said the world should leave
Zimbabweans to resolve their own problems, because global condemnation will
not depose Mugabe.
Civil society groups have also started taking a stronger stance against the
Mugabe regime, with senior civil society leaders calling for the election to
be postponed until conditions more conducive to a free and fair poll are in
Njeri Kabeberi, the executive director of the Kenyan branch of the Center
for Multi-Party Democracy, an organization with centers across the
continent, said the African Union (A.U.) should consider sending
peacekeeping troops and organizing fresh elections.
The center is planning protests outside the Zimbabwean and South African
diplomatic missions in various countries to protest what it calls the "death
of democracy" in Harare.
South African President Thabo Mbeki continues to draw flak for an
unwillingness to speak out publicly against Mugabe, although Pretoria's
ruling African National Congress, has eventually shifted from a long held
stance of support.
The governments of Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda, Botswana and Uganda and among
those that have become more openly critical of Mugabe in recent weeks.
The A.U. as a bloc has remained hesitant to act, however. Leaders of the
53-nation organization meet in Egypt on Monday, and Zimbabwe is expected to
dominate the agenda.
Tsvangirai in a statement Thursday urged the gathered leaders to launch an
initiative to manage a "transitional process" that "takes into account the
will of the people of Zimbabwe.
"A negotiated political settlement which allows the country to begin a
national healing and the process of a) economic reconstruction; b) provision
of humanitarian assistance and c) democratization would be in the best
interest of the country," he said.
Mugabe plans to attend the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
27 June 2008
Posted to the web 27 June 2008
A PROMINENT Zimbabwean activist has been accused of spying for South African
intelligence to undermine the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Zimbabwean activists in SA were warned that one of their number was an agent
for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). The man's name is known to
Business Day and has been withheld for his safety.
The alarm came in an e-mail calling for the man be ostracised due to
"irrefutable" evidence he was spying on the MDC, particularly the arrival
and activities of party supporters fleeing persecution in Zimbabwe.
"This has been confirmed as a result of certain contacts that we have
available to us as well as certain reports which could only have emanated
from him which came back to us through NIA sources," reads the widely
circulated e-mail. It also accused the activist of passing on information to
Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation.
But the activist dismissed the e-mail as a smear by individuals in the MDC
who want to eliminate competition for positions that may become available
should there be a change of government in Zimbabwe.
"I didn't respond because it is just a ghost. It's not tarnishing just me
but also NIA," he said.
The e-mail, whose origins were not known, appeared to have divided
activists, with many sceptical about the allegations. "He has led a number
of initiatives which led to jealousy," said one activist who works with
asylum seekers. "Why is this thing coming up now?"
An MDC official on the other hand said if there was substance the matter
would be investigated.
NIA spokeswoman Lorna Daniels declined to comment.
Zimbabwe's presidential election runoff will be held today, despite the
MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai having withdrawn.
Fri 27 Jun 2008, 6:31 GMT
KYOTO, Japan June 27 (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council will
discuss further sanctions against Zimbabwe next week after a widely
condemned one-sided presidential run-off vote on Friday, Germany's Foreign
Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.
Steinmeier said foreign ministers from the Group of Eight wealthy nations,
who met for two days in Kyoto, agreed that a government that did not
represent the will of its people could not be accepted by the international
"This was linked with an announcement by the United States, who are
currently presiding over the Security Council, that starting next week, this
coming Monday, further sanctions will be discussed there," Steinmeier told
President Robert Mugabe defied international calls to abandon the election
after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who beat Mugabe in the first
round of voting in March, withdrew from the run-off over violence and
intimidation against his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters by
the ruling ZANU-PF party. (Reporting by Sophie Hardach; Editing by Rodney
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Date: 26 Jun 2008
We, the United Nations Special Procedures mandate holders meeting in Geneva
from 23 - 27 June 2008, wish to express our grave concern about widespread
reports of recurring politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe and other
obstacles to citizens' free and equal participation in the country's
presidential run-off election scheduled for 27 June 2008.
We recall the joint statement of some United Nations Special Procedures
mandate holders issued on 29 April 2008 regarding the situation in Zimbabwe
in the aftermath of the 29 March 2008 presidential and parliamentary
elections, which underlined the deteriorating human rights situation in the
We strongly urge the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure respect for human
rights and to abide by democratic principles and practices, in accordance
with Zimbabwe's own domestic law and international human rights standards.
We also urge the Government and the opposition to renew their dialogue with
a view to finding a sustainable solution to the country's problems,
including the current political crisis, for the common good of the people of
Finally, we wish to urge the Government of Zimbabwe to respond effectively
to the call for free and fair elections and to respect the liberty and
security of the person in the spirit of peace, democracy and the rule of
law. In this regard, we are of the view that no election should take place
in the absence of conditions that would guarantee the free, full and equal
participation of all citizens in the electoral process.
Zimbabwe's president mobilizes his forcesas as world leaders dismiss today's
Jun 27, 2008 04:30 AM
HARARE-Zimbabwe's one-candidate presidential runoff is already a footnote,
with the world looking beyond today's electoral charade to how long-time
leader Robert Mugabe can be pushed toward real democracy.
Mugabe - who at the 11th hour told a campaign rally yesterday he was willing
to talk to the opposition - is expected to orchestrate a mass turnout, with
anyone who tries to stay home subject to attack.
World leaders have dismissed the runoff as a sham. Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, whose name will remain on the ballot despite his withdrawal from
the election this week, predicted people could be forced to go to polling
"There could be a massive turnout not because of the will of the people, but
because of the role of the military and the role of traditionally people
being forced to the polls," Tsvangirai said in an interview with British
The 84-year-old Mugabe had shown little interest in talks with Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change, and his government had scoffed at the
opposition leader's call Wednesday to work together to form a transitional
"We remain open to discussion with the MDC," Mugabe said while speaking at a
campaign rally in Chitungwiza, about 25 kilometres south of the capital.
According to sources in the ruling ZANU-PF party, Mugabe plans to quickly
name his cabinet, which would include some opposition members as ministers,
and label it a government of "national unity,"
However, the president's cabinet would exclude Tsvangirai, the sources said.
Zimbabwean Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said Mugabe's words
yesterday did not indicate that the leader was softening toward the
opposition. Matonga would not say how soon after the election the two
parties would meet.
Mugabe told the campaign rally he would attend an African Union summit in
Egypt next week but no solutions could be imposed on Zimbabwe from outside.
He said he was ready to answer any challenge from within the AU to the
"I know some people are gearing themselves for an attack on Zimbabwe. I want
to see any country which will raise its finger in the AU, our elections have
ZANU-PF officials, war veterans and youth militias at bases around the
country have been warning people that door-to-door inspections will be
carried out by militias after election day, to check that people have ink on
a finger to prove that they voted, according to opposition officials.
Voters' fingers are inked in Zimbabwe to prevent duplicate voting.
"They are telling people `We will move around checking your fingers to make
sure you have ink on your finger,'" said an MDC official, Prosper Mutseyama.
His story was backed up by several people forced to join the youth militias,
interviewed yesterday by The Los Angeles Times.
"They (ZANU-PF militias) are saying that they will go to each homestead to
find out if everybody has voted for the ZANU-PF party.
If not, they will destroy your house and you can go to Britain. Or they can
give you poison to drink so that you can die. They're serious because they
say that they're prepared to go to war against anybody," said Andrew, who
was forced to join a youth militia at a base near Harare.
Army soldiers who voted in the past week so they can be on duty on election
day were forced to vote in front of their senior officers, according to an
army captain who asked to be identified only by his first name, Morris.
He said army brigades were undergoing intensive training.
"As I speak now, the defence forces are ready for war. They are on 100 per
cent standby. They have suspended all leave and resignations," he said.
Opposition leader Tsvangirai pulled out of the vote because of violence that
he says has killed almost 90 of his MDC supporters. He has taken refuge in
the Dutch embassy ever since.
Tsvangirai said earlier there could be no negotiations with Mugabe if he
went ahead with today's election. He said that if Mugabe declared himself
president he would be shunned as an illegitimate leader who killed his own
"What will happen... is that people will be forced to vote ... because the
military were mobilized to accompany this process," Tsvangirai said in an
interview with Portuguese radio station Renascenca.
Tsvangirai won the first round of the presidential election on March 29 but
did not gain an outright majority against Mugabe, who has held power since
independence from Britain in 1980.
The March campaign was generally peaceful, but the runoff has been
overshadowed by violence and intimidation, especially in rural areas.
Independent human rights groups say tens of thousands have been displaced
from their homes, most of them opposition supporters.
By yesterday afternoon, an atmosphere of tension and fear had settled over
Businesses and factories closed around noon ahead of today's poll. Most
schools had been shut since Monday, when teachers called parents to pick up
their children because suspected Mugabe militants had been spotted camped on
vacant scrubland nearby.
"There are too many people going around. It's like we are under some sort of
siege," said Chipo Chihota, standing in a food line near her daughter's
Trees and lampposts across Harare were plastered with Mugabe posters. A few
Tsvangirai posters left over from the first round of voting were defaced and
With files from Reuters, Los Angeles Times
27 June 2008, 11:09 CET
(KYOTO) - Italy's foreign minister said Friday he would propose that the
European Union consider pulling out its ambassadors from Zimbabwe after
authorities went ahead with a violence-marred election.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, in Japan for a Group of Eight
meeting, said he would make the proposal to France, which will take over the
rotating European Union presidency on July 1.
"The Italian government is going to submit a proposal to the French
presidency of the EU to consider a recall of EU members' ambassadors from
Zimbabwe," Frattini told reporters.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
27 June 2008
Posted to the web 27 June 2008
George Pieler and Jens Laurson
ROBERT Mugabe has again driven a stake through hope for a civil and
propitious future in Zimbabwe.
A campaign of violence, terror and murder against the political opposition
achieved its goal: Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change's
(MDC's) presidential candidate, withdrew from the runoff "election", giving
president-cum-dictator Mugabe his "resounding victory".
No observer should be surprised, but apparently many were.
The March 29 elections, in which Mugabe's Zanu (PF) came in second after
Tsvangirai's MDC, were mistaken for a sign of democracy and a precursor of
change . Instead they were merely a slip-up by the ruling thugs, who had
underestimated how much violence was needed to get Zimbabweans to vote
"correctly". That lack of suppression has since been more than made up for.
It is disturbing how the international community underestimated Mugabe's
ruthlessness. More disturbing has been their minimal intervention against
Mugabe's violent crackdown.
International election observers might have helped keep the first elections
somewhat unmolested by Mugabe's official recount machine, yet knowing
Mugabe's determination to order himself a victory, outsiders gave noble
rhetoric, moral outrage ... and no actual help.
On May 16 we suggested Jimmy Carter intervene to help Zimbabwe, the Carter
Centre being among the most prestigious election-monitoring forces in the
world. And on May 23, the Carter Centre put out a bold statement declaring
that someone really ought to keep an eye on that election (just not the
Carter Centre, apparently).
"Someone", for the west, was President Thabo Mbeki. Western fears of being
accused of neocolonialism and racism demanded that they rely on a local
surrogate, but in this case it was someone unwilling to stand up to Mugabe.
Never mind that Mugabe labels even Tsvangirai and every MDC supporter as
agents of the evil, white west, no matter the facts.
Now Zimbabwe is in a tailspin, economically and politically. But unlike many
other world crises, its problems are not systemic, but singular.
It is not enough that just "someone" or SA act, but everyone, and
immediately. The US wants to bring Zimbabwe before the United Nations
Security Council, while the UK explores new sanctions. Too little, too
late -- and lacking urgency. The time to act is now, when the revolution of
rising hope among Zimbabweans, driven by the Mugabe-Zanu (PF) loss on March
29, remains a living and potent force.
Many things can be done to bring Mugabe to heel, but these are essential:
All western aid to Zimbabwe must halt immediately. Aid goes only to the
government and, contrary to a popular misconception, existing sanctions
largely target the finances of Mugabe and his cronies as individuals. The
people will suffer if aid is cut, many warn. They could hardly suffer more
than they are now, with inflation rocketing into the millions of percent,
unemployment at 85%, a continuing campaign of political terror and refugees
swarming across the border. Aid is how Mugabe keeps his regime alive and
these financial lifelines must be cut.
China should be required to stop all arms and financial aid to Mugabe.
China's Africa gambit is to fill any aid gaps created by western moralism;
for now, that can't be allowed in Zimbabwe.
International sports organisations -- Fifa for football, the International
Cricket Council for cricket -- should immediately bar Zimbabwe from
competing in any contests outside its borders until Mugabe and his state
apparatus are gone. Fifa should bar Zimbabwe from any role (even in
providing training facilities) in SA's 2010 hosting of the World Cup.
Distinguished world leaders -- say Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu and Mary
Robinson -- should arrive in Harare tomorrow and declare the election a
fraud. The evidence is there, they just need to bring it along.
Is this harsh? Not nearly as harsh as the murder and the mayhem that Mugabe
has so far caused.
These policies should be supported by all democratic governments in Africa
who care for the wellbeing of Zimbabweans more than for the political
survival of Mugabe.
Should Zimbabwe be finally lost to tyranny and economic genocide,
postcolonial Africa could be set back a generation. This is not in anyone's
interest, least of all the African people's.
Pieler is senior fellow with the Institute for Policy Innovation. Laurson is
editor-in-chief of the International Affairs Forum.
Friday, June 27, 2008 - Web posted at 8:55:40 AM GMT
IT pains me to see that Namibia doesn't (won't!) take its place on the
world stage by making a stand for what is good, right and just, in Africa or
It is saddening to see, now that the Zimbabwe issue is dominating the
world news, that other African leaders are speaking out while Namibia
remains silent - a perceived neutral stance perhaps to some, but to others,
including myself, an accessory to the crimes committed against the
Zimbabwean people by Robert Mugabe.
WE'VE had similar neglected opportunities in the past when we propped
up other African despots, such as Sani Abacha of Nigeria; Mobutu Sese Seko
of Zaire and Felix Houphuet-Boigny of Ivory Coast, who were otherwise widely
held in contempt as leaders who not only trampled their own people
underfoot, but who also amassed stolen riches at the expense of their own
And it seems that we refuse to learn from our mistakes.
One day, hopefully, Africa will be a new continent with progressive
and far-sighted leadership committed to human rights and democracy.
But that day has not yet come.
We still have leaders who view their countries and people as their
personal fiefdoms to be used and abused as they see fit.
We in Namibia could have taken the lead to free Africa from the likes
of these dictators, but again we choose to be quiet.
Instead it is left to Kenya's Raila Odinga and others to dominate the
world stage and international media by speaking out against a cruel regime
whose leader is so intent on settling personal scores that he fails to see
the suffering of his own people.
Our own President Hifikepunye Pohamba could have been in his stead,
speaking out for change, and in so doing, creating a hugely favourable
impression throughout the world, a stance that probably would be one of the
most compelling reasons for attracting foreign investment to create
necessary jobs and a place for Namibia in the progressive community of
What Nelson Mandela so aptly termed a "failure of leadership" in
Zimbabwe, a sentiment echoed by other right-minded African leaders, is met
with deafening silence on the part of Namibia's ruling elite, still intent
on singing the liberation praise songs which have become an outdated and
even pathetic attempt to cling to a past that has long gone.
If we think that by our pretended non-alignment, which in reality is
cowardice, we will win either friends or respect, we are making a big
At least the SADC 'troika' of Tanzania, Swaziland and Angola have
urged talks between Mugabe and his rival to precede a date for a new
A postponed election, with adequate chance for the free and fair
electioneering that has been denied to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) to date, in my view offers the only slim chance to
A Mugabe win today (if the current run-off goes ahead in the face of
virtual worldwide opposition, and under the present untenable circumstances)
is a certain recipe for disaster, and so too, in my view, is any talk of a
What has worked in Kenya by no means guarantees any form of success in
Zimbabwe, where Mugabe is in no hurry to look for a solution to the
desperate predicament he has brought upon his own country.
Not only has Namibia failed in its stated democratic commitment in
regional terms, but it has added insult to injury by dispatching its chief
of army to Harare at a time like this on what is now termed a 'routine'
Nothing can be 'routine' in a time of crisis, where one would
ordinarily suspend any actions which may appear to prop up the oppressive
status quo in Zimbabwe, and our Government should be well aware that this
would be interpreted as a sign of solidarity with a man who should be a
enemy to all those who want a better deal for Africa and Africans.
In Namibia to date, public opinion has probably been more against,
than for, Mugabe.
But our Government doesn't seem to listen either.
A range of groups including opposition parties such as the Rally for
Democracy and Progress (RDP), and Congress of Democrats (CoD), and civil
society organisations and media, have condemned the Zimbabwean dictator.
If our President and Government can neither listen nor lead, what hope
do we have of a better future for ourselves?
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 27/06/2008
Today, by a curious coincidence, the brightest and darkest sides of
southern Africa's recent political past will be highlighted. In London's
Hyde Park, more than 45,000 people will attend a concert to celebrate the
90th birthday of Nelson Mandela. In Zimbabwe, the cruel and farcical second
round of a presidential election will be held to confirm Robert Mugabe in
power. Mr Mandela, a famous freedom fighter and long-term prisoner under
apartheid, created a multi-racial democracy that beamed a ray of hope across
the globe. Mr Mugabe, also a veteran of the liberation struggle, moved in
the opposite direction, crushing the opposition and wrecking the economy of
a country whose prospects at independence in 1980 were among the best in
Africa. It is hardly surprising that the two men did not get on. Referring
to the Zimbabwean tyrant and himself, Mr Mandela once famously said: "He was
the star and then the sun came up."
As he approaches his 90th birthday (the actual date is July 18), Mr
Mandela retains an aura in which Gordon Brown and Bill Clinton were happy to
bask at a dinner on Wednesday night. Such is his moral authority that a
brief reference to "the tragic failure of leadership" in Zimbabwe carried
more weight than hundreds of words spoken by other world leaders. And they
were in marked contrast to the pussyfooting of his successor as president,
South Africa faces deep problems, chief among them the corrupting of
state institutions. But it remains the giant of southern Africa, best able
to put pressure on the Harare regime. That it has refrained from doing so
under Mr Mbeki is tragic. As a retired 89-year-old, Mr Mandela has hesitated
before publicly condemning Mr Mugabe. As president of South Africa, he would
surely have intervened to forestall a humanitarian disaster that has
tarnished the whole region.
Mandela is a paragon unlike countless other African leadership figures with
their incompetence, overt tribal bias and corruption. Zanu PF could have
gently melded post Apartheid Zimbabwe into an economy which was not based on
the existing white businessmen and farmers.
What is obvious is that stealing the minority white owned assets which
enabled their 'first world' lifestyles does not grant that standard to a far
greater number of black citizens. It never could ' but more judicious moves
could have been a stepping stone to achieving that.
Worse, the economy which thrived and employed many thousands of black
agricultural workers has been broken - because confiscation of farms was not
about black management or even worker co-operatives to use the land.
It is plain that it has been about one thing only: rewarding figures aligned
to the Zanu PF regime with the mere possession of often completely unworked
land as if in the old era where tribal status was about such things.
Mugabe is a tribal politician - not just in the African sense but in the way
that he was diverted any and all resources within Zimbabwe to his Zanu PF
hierarchy of power - and to paying the thugs which enforce his rule and
coerce support at the ballot box.
Apartheid existing (though it was an ugly thing) because it was white
minority management rewarded with a European lifestyle which made the
country function - and black majority workers, many considerably better off
than they were before it came, and importantly a hell of a lot more than
they are now under Mugabe, who powered the economy.
Someone has to be the boss and someone has to be the worker. Mugabe and his
cronies are the new bosses - without a shred of the management ability or
ethos of the whites - and the same workers are out of work, disenfranchised,
displaced, starving and facing hyperinflation and ruin.
Britain should have done something years ago.
Posted by simon coulter on June 27, 2008 9:56 AM
Like many of the posters over the last few days,I too amazed at the
adulation and sycophancy surrounding Nelson Mandela,what exactly has he
done,especially in connection with this country that we so honour him.
Posted by Sue on June 27, 2008 9:51 AM
I know it is absolute heresy to say so, but I agree with the general view of
those who have posted saying that Mandela is no saint, hero (well he is to
the ANC supporters, but so what?) or statesman. I long for a time when he no
longer gets media attention but, alas, don't expect to see it. Heaven help
us when he dies, and 'word leaders' flock to attend the funeral, not to
mention St Bob of Geldof.
I remember my student days in the 1980s, when 'Free Nelson Mandela' posters
and t-shirts were a 'right-on' fashion accessory amongst left-wing students.
I seriously considered buying one and adding a '-ze' to the first word!
My late uncle, whose political views I did not always agree with at the
time, but would do so now, always maintained that Mandela was nothing more
than a terrorist. But then we have been good at praising 'former' terrorists
in recent years.
Posted by Alan E. on June 27, 2008 9:29 AM
Mandela is a thieving scumbag..Nothing else.
Posted by DD on June 27, 2008 9:18 AM
Report this comment
All black African leaders (and the Arabs in the north) without any
exceptions I can think of, are vile and corrupt, interested in feathering
their own, their families', and their mates nests. There is not one country
ran by a half decent person that cares about their own people. I cannot see
how Mbeke or any other leader could accuse Mugabe when they are all up to
their snouts in the trough themselves. Alistair Palmer wrote an interesting
article about African leaders, who between them managed to stash 150bn USD
in Swiss bank accounts in one year. Give us the money Bob Geldof?? What a
joke, as if it is Western populations who are to blame for this. Give them
your own money sucker. These scum should have all their assets stripped out
of Switzerland and the money given by Western Governments back to the
African people, in the form of Western Infrastructure projects, run by
Westerners, not Africans. You could not trust an African to complete the
projects without corruption, sad but so true.
Posted by dave evans on June 27, 2008 8:58 AM
Mandela has 'moral authority'? Dr Goebbels must be laughing his head off to
see his methods used to elevate this worthless man to such a status. Such is
the power of "the big lie", repeated endlessly.
As for authority -- you mean the sort of authority that doesn't criticise
people of the same race as himself, even if they steal everything in the
country, and murder large numbers of people?
Posted by Roger Pearse on June 27, 2008 8:53 AM
Report this comment
Oh dear! Who wrote this sad piece?
I note that, with some significance perhaps, this leader is not captioned as
being the agreed view of your many excellent journalist contributors - as
has been usual these days.
Get them all to sign this tripe off and publish that fact - I dare you!
If not, reveal who you are.
Posted by Graham King on June 27, 2008 8:33 AM
Mandela is satisfying the desperate need for a half-respectable black leader
and role model. Lets face it, he doesn't have a lot of competition.
He's a mediocrity at best and his "condemnation" of Mugabe was pathetic.
Posted by Iain on June 27, 2008 8:11 AM
Ha ha. Mandela, the biggest fraud of them all!
Posted by pewkatchoo on June 27, 2008 8:01 AM
Report this comment
Neil Entwistle has just been sentenced to life without parole for the
As a parent in straitened financial circumstances, he terminated an unwanted
child who, at the time the crime was committed, was incapable of feeling
pain or fear (being asleep).
Twelve years ago, Nelson Mandela signed a bill in South Africa legalising
Where does he, or any Western leader, get off assuming moral authority?
Posted by Kevin on June 27, 2008 8:01 AM
Report this comment
Sorry, the DT is being much too kind to Mandela. Mugabe has been practising
genocide on his own people for many years, particularly the black
opposition. That Mandela and Mbeki have stood back over the past 8 years and
said nothing whilst Mugabe carried out abuses of human rights against both
black and white (but again mostly against the black opposition and poor) is
The sooner that the leaders of Africa let go of the them and us mentality
the better for Africa.
Posted by Kirk Sessions on June 27, 2008 7:54 AM
Mr Mandela achieved much and paid the price of 'rebellion' by languishing in
jail for nearly 3 decades - but he is no saint and South Africa is not a
better place under black rule.
He has finally admitted that Mugabe (like every other 'black' African despot
, inc Mbeki) is unfit to run a country and so now , Mnadela's saintly
statesmanship is even more revered.
It's a bit like the Germans criticising Hiltler at the end of WWII....
Too little , too late !
Posted by Jason Hewitt on June 27, 2008 5:48 AM
Report this comment
The Lion Roars Tonight (song)
Regrets, Isabel Witty NZ.
Posted by Isabel Wity on June 27, 2008 4:38 AM
Report this comment
Quote: Mandela: " He was the star then the sun come up" (unquote)
"the time has come the walrus said to speak of many things...."
Now I wonder to what extent witch-
doctors rule and not only in darkest
Africa."Izzy in Computer Wanderland")
Sigh kai a tryst ? WITTY(Isabel) NZ
Posted by Isabel Witty on June 27, 2008 2:40 AM
Friday June 27 2008
THE barbarous Mugabe has had his way. The obscenity of the "phantom
election" is to be inflicted on the population he has bullied and brutalised
for decades. Murder and terror tactics were used with ruthless efficiency to
guarantee that whether the hapless Morgan Tsvangirai had participated or
not, he was on a hiding to nothing.
His withdrawal has left the stage clear for Mugabe to produce his grisly
charade. This is no exercise in democracy. It is a travesty of it.
And it is really not enough for the international community to watch the
tableau from behind the fingers of its hands.
If Zimbabwe had oil reserves, or were it located along some geo-political
axis that the West felt held a strategic interest, then Mugabe would not
have been able to get away with it. He has treated the international
community with contempt -- safe in the knowledge that no matter what
torments or indignities he inflicts on his people, there is not sufficient
interest abroad to intervene to stay his hand.
He even had the audacity to turn up at the World Food Conference in Rome
while millions went hungry in his own country thanks to hyper-inflation due
to his ruinous reign.
Mugabe has gotten away with it because the West is indifferent. Tough
talking and threats have all rang hollow.
It would appear that there is no immediate end in sight to Zimbabwe's
Financial Mail, SA
27 June 2008
The violence in Zimbabwe grows more sickening each day: women burnt
alive after their hands and feet have been chopped off; youths found dead on
the roadside with their skulls crushed. Government-sponsored violence has
been unleashed on the people of Zimbabwe as "President" Robert Mugabe and
his bands of thugs set about terrorising his people into reversing their
decision to elect the opposition MDC into government. And with the MDC's
justified withdrawal from the presidential election there has been no let-up
in the violence.
There is no doubt that the presidential run-off elections will not
have even a modicum of legality, or that Mugabe will steal them to extend
his illegitimate regime. The UN, several Southern African leaders and the
ANC have come out calling for the presidential elections to be abandoned.
A noticeable and shameful absentee from the list of critics has been
President Thabo Mbeki. To date the leader of Africa's most powerful
country - and the only one that realistically could induce some change - has
shrugged off the horror that persists in Zimbabwe as a procedural hiccup in
an otherwise normal and fair election. Mbeki insists that "Zimbabwe is not
an SA province", but in continuing to back Mugabe he has directly been
complicit in the violence and economic hardship visited upon the people of
Mbeki's stance is misconceived loyalty to one of the world's nastiest
dictators, but even at this very last minute he could yet do the decent
thing. In his role as Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediator
Mbeki must press for the election to be called off and, if Mugabe persists,
refuse to recognise the outcome.
The isolation of Mugabe is now indisputably the next and only
essential step to moving Zimbabwe forward. For the past seven years, Mbeki
has argued the opposite. His strategy has been to keep Mugabe on side and in
the game. But while his quiet diplomacy has certainly kept him in the game,
Mugabe has never abided by the rules - over the past three months Mugabe has
ridiculed SADC attempts at creating a level political playing field ahead of
the elections without so much as a murmur from Mbeki.
Mbeki has tried hard to steer Zimbabwe in a particular direction - the
creation of a government of national unity to facilitate a transition of
power. There is some merit in the idea. Given the extent to which the
Zimbabwean state is militarised, an electoral transition was not likely to
be enough to guarantee peace and stability. But Mugabe cannot be part of
such a transition. The time has come for Mbeki to push Mugabe out and make
it clear to others in the ruling party, and in the military, that a
transitional government of national unity is only possible without him.
In doing so Mbeki should be aware that Mugabe will not be talked out
of power. Real pressure needs to be exerted on the Harare regime: extend
European and US visa restrictions on Zanu-PF officials to SA and other SADC
countries, and consider cutting economic ties if this will not force
If - and it's a big if - Mbeki manages to isolate Mugabe, he should
remove himself from the subsequent negotiations about Zimbabwe's future.
Mbeki has not been an honest broker. H e has allowed Mugabe to bend and
break the rules and spin out the process over years. Mbeki claims his
silence is because he is the "mediator". But in truth, his silence has been
nothing but implicit support for Mugabe. He neither likes nor trusts MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, whom he regards as a puppet of the West. On that
score, his language is similar to Mugabe's.
What arrogance that Mbeki - and a handful of cronies in SADC and his
inner circle - should decide what is best for the Zimbabwean people. Worse
still, with his stance Mbeki has not only done a great deal of damage to
SA's political standing in the international community, but he has also
destabilised SA's own socioeconomic fortunes.
The seven-year crisis and the subsequent economic meltdown ha ve
prompted waves of Zimbabwean migration. The most conservative, but informed,
guesses put the number of Zimbabwean immigrants in SA at 1m; others suggest
the figure may be as high as 3m. The one asset manager to have run the
numbers - Macquarie First South - estimates that the crisis in Zimbabwe
could weaken the rand by as much as 20%, which in turn could make the
interest rate rise by 2%, at a cost to SA of R24bn. This is not counting the
loss of SA exports to Zimbabwe in the current year (R22bn) or the effect on
the labour market of a million or more illegal workers, prepared to work for
less than their SA counterparts. Neither does it take into account the
fiscal pressures of another influx of immigrants nor the social pressures
that migration has brought to bear on poor and marginalised communities. The
xenophobic violence of the past few weeks is a direct consequence of the
influx of Zimbabwe's economic refugees.
To the world and investors in general, perceptions are vital. Mbeki's
impenetrable pursuit of his own agenda in Zimbabwe; his refusal to
communicate on the subject or to condemn violence; and his memorable faux
pas ("there is no crisis in Zimbabwe") have led to one obvious conclusion in
their minds: SA condones what Mugabe is doing and could do the same in a few
years' time. As the Financial Times put it in an editorial this week:
"Outsiders look at Zimbabwe and wonder: are they seeing a vision of SA in 20
Clearly such an assessment is manifestly unfair, particularly since
Mbeki is on his way out, but if investors believe it, they will vote with
their money. It's no longer our reputation, but the very future of our
country that's at stake.
27 June 2008
For many Zimbabweans it's not inconceivable that President Robert Mugabe
could be spoiling for a fight with the world after failing to lure Morgan
Tsvangirai into a civil war.
After the death of 80 of his MDC supporters, - reportedly killed by Zanu-PF
thugs of whom not one has been arrested so far - Tsvangirai had been
expected to retaliate by going to the presidential run-off fully prepared to
get his own back.
He would have been motivated, presumably, by a desire not to appear too
spineless to take on this 84-year-old who has defied the world by declaring
"only God can remove me". But Tsvangirai might have been dissuaded from that
rash reaction because Mugabe has finally lost it. He was, in effect, telling
the world he would kill and kill again if that would ensure he won the
Nobody in their right senses could rate this as the rational decision of a
leader aware of the probable consequences of his action, not only for his
own people, but also for his own place in history.
As someone whose biography is "in the works", Mugabe must be aware that
Nathan Shamuyarira might quail at having to write: "In spite of the
opposition of almost all his African Union (AU) colleagues, Mugabe decided
he would risk thousands of his compatriots' lives in an election he knew he
would lose - unless he caused a bloodbath."
The killing of opposition activists and the wife of the mayor-elect of
Harare suggest the Zanu-PF murderers were convinced their victims had sold
their souls to British and American devils for filthy lucre.
What you must then ask is whether the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and AU leaders had bought into that evil ploy as well: the dead
deserved it for committing treason.
Unless the African leaders are prepared to bite the bullet of a commitment
to democracy at all times, they will have betrayed the continent by siding
with a man who can condone the murder of his own citizens, not for an armed
uprising against the government, but simply for wanting to choose their
Other African leaders got away with such impunity in the past but have ended
in disgrace. The list is long, yet Africa continues to pretend it doesn't
deserve the reputation of condoning the worst dictators in the world.
In Mugabe's case the continent's leadership has been intoxicated by his "
eloquence" in linking his problems to the West's machinations.
Other leaders used the same "eloquence", until their own people saw through
In time Mugabe will face the same moment of truth but it might be too late
for the nation to save itself from plunging into another Somalia or
Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Zanu-PF there are people capable of persuading, coercing or forcing
Mugabe to change course. They have to be people no longer susceptible to the
lure of power for its own sake, as Mugabe is.
Some were in the trenches during the struggle - Vitalis Zvinavashe (Sheba
Gava), Solomon Mujuru (Rex Nhongo), come to mind. Dumiso Dabengwa had the
courage to challenge Mugabe and survive.
Otherwise we must rely on God Himself.
Bill Saidi is deputy editor of The Standard in Zimbabwe.
MDC members from Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Gather to Protest Political Violence in Zimbabwe
What: Members of the Greater Cincinnati branch of Zimbabwe’s Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) will be gathering to protest the violence against members of the party in Zimbabwe and to bring awareness to the plight of Zimbabweans. Activities will include singing songs of freedom and handed out fliers to onlookers. Various members of the branch will have the opportunity to voice their concerns for the lives of their fellow citizens who are facing hardships as a result of a government that has failed and has chosen to bestow violence upon its own people
Who: Dr. Maxwell Shumba – Chairman, Greater Cincinnati Branch of MDC
Alstyne Mhaka Mbvaimbvai –Treasurer, Greater Cincinnati Branch of MDC
MDC members and their families
When: Saturday, June 28 2008 at 10 a.m.
Where: Downtown Cincinnati (Town square Fountain)
Why: At least 86 people have been tortured and murdered, 10,000 homes destroyed, 200,000 people displaced and 10,000 people injured following the March 29 elections in which MDC won. The sad story of Zimbabwe is well documented. Once viewed as one of the most peaceful and prosperous countries in Africa, Zimbabwe’s economic system has crumbled with inflation rate of over 2,000,000%. The government has effectively:
· Killed and maimed innocent people. President Mugabe, with the aid of the military, police and so-called “war veterans” unleashed a wave of violence and torture on supporters and leaders of MDC following their loss in the March 29 elections. Members of MDC were targeted, tortured, imprisoned, and murdered, their wives raped and murdered; the police turned a blind eye to these crimes.
· Impoverished the Zimbabwean populace with over 80% unemployment rate (1US$= 5 billion Zimbabwe dollars)
· Suspended the distribution of food by non-profit agencies to starving masses
· Failed to respect property rights by illegally seizing citizen’s assets including land and businesses
· Violated the rights of citizens to vote in free and fair elections
Media Contact: Dr. Maxwell Shumba at 513-571-1041 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About The Movement of Democratic Change: The Movement for Democratic Change was founded in 1999 as an opposition party to the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party led by President Robert Mugabe. The MDC was formed from many members of the broad coalition of civic society groups and individuals that campaigned for a "No" vote in the 2000 constitutional referendum, in particular the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. MDC is committed to bringing democracy to Zimbabwe through peaceful means and to the creation of a better Zimbabwe based on equality regardless of skin color, age, political orientation or creed.
A hilarious blog post by Charles Onyango Obbo of Kenya's Daily Nation. He
makes the case that Mugabe is not as bad as many other African dictators. It
is a great piece of damning with faint praises...The Times, SA
By Charles Onyango Obbo
Managing Editor, Convergence & New Products
Posted On: 26/06/2008 07:52:29
Hearing it being told, Zimbabwe's Big Man Robert Mugabe is an insane old man
who should be locked up in a mental asylum, not running a country.
Writers, like this columnist, have been challenged to acknowledge the "good
side" of Mugabe. So we did.
Recently I watched a documentary of the DR Congo's thieving former
dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. The programme revealed that Mobutu liked to hit
on his ministers' and ambassadors' wives, and would take them off to his
room as they watched.
Mugabe started dating his present wife, Grace, who is 40 years his junior,
when she was a secretary at State House, and his wife Sally was ailing.
Grace Marufu, as she was then known, was married to Flight Lt Patrick
When Mugabe decided to take Grace as his, he didn't do as Uganda's former
dictator (and friend of Mobutu) Field Marshal Idi Amin did when he set eyes
upon the beautiful Sarah Kyolaba. Idi was immediately smitten, but like a
good general, he first inquired about the competition.
He was told Sarah had a boyfriend, a fashionable musician of the time. Idi
sent his boys round to the fellow's house a few nights later, and he was
never seen again, leaving him to take Sarah as his youngest (she reportedly
also became his favourite) wife without any rival lurking in the shadows.
Compared to Mobutu who grabbed many people's wives, Mugabe stole only one.
And compared to Amin, he didn't kill Flt-Lt Guririza. He exiled him to China
as a diplomat. So in those two regards, Mugabe is far better than Amin and
Now, for those who are too young to remember, in 1980 a young sergeant in
the Liberian army called Samuel Doe seized power in a coup. He was, like
many African military dictators of his time, an appalling ruler. Rebellion
broke out in his country. One of the rebel leaders was another strange man,
As Doe's forces succumbed to the rebels, the man was still hanging around in
the presidential palace. The story goes that, sensing danger, Doe hurriedly
arranged a helicopter for a last-minute escape. However, the presidential
guard, realising that he was leaving them to be killed for his sins,
detained him and said they were not going to be left to "die alone".
So it was that in September 1990, the rebels captured Doe. They stripped him
naked, tied his hands behind his back, and begun torturing him. In a video
that was widely circulated at the time, and that didn't do the image of
Africa much good, Prince Johnson is shown ordering his men to chop off a
bloodied Doe's ear and stuff it in his mouth.
Having killed Doe, the rebels fought over his intimate bits, heart and liver
which they ate raw in the belief that all his powers would be transferred to
Now, compare that to how Mugabe has treated opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. In the first round of the elections, Mugabe's supporters and
police beat up and intimidated the opposition and mugged them of some of
Still, they had sufficient decency left. They didn't steal enough to deny
Tsvangirai victory. They only rigged it to prevent him getting the more than
50 per cent required by law.
A few weeks earlier, Zanu-PF goons had set upon Tsvangirai and beaten him
senseless, leaving him with huge gashes on the head, closed eyes, and a
major limp. Still, he lived to win the first round. If it had been Liberia,
Tsvangirai would have had his ears cut off, killed, and then the remnants
You have to give Mugabe his due.
You might say it's partly because of sanctions against him, but unlike other
presidents, Mugabe spends a lot of his time in Zimbabwe. In that way he's
definitely better than Cameroon's strongman Paul Biya.
In the last few years, Biya has lived mostly in France although he remains
president. He returns to Cameroon for brief periods (perhaps to collect
money from the Central Bank). But for sure, whenever elections are up, he
comes, rigs the poll, and goes back to France.
There are those who say that, in the process, Biya has become the first
truly hi-tech African president - he rules by remote control. Without the
options of Biya, Mugabe has built his palaces in the outskirts of Harare,
not on the Riviera.
Finally, there is Mugabe's friend, former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile
Mariam, who has lived in exile in Zimbabwe since he was deposed nearly 18
years ago. It's estimated Mengistu killed at least 1.5 million people during
his cruel rule.
On the other hand, when he was faced by the Matabeleland-based rebellion
against his rule between 1982 and 1983, Mugabe unleashed the notorious Fifth
Brigade to quash it. More than 20,000 people were killed.
It might well be that Mugabe harbours Mengistu to remind himself that he is
"not as bad". His regime killed "only" 20,000 people, as opposed to the
former Ethiopian hard man who dispatched 1.5 million.
by Godfrey Marawanyika 55 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - The prices at Dzidzai Guti's makeshift stall can seem
eye-popping, with rotting oranges, a pack of cigarettes and bananas fetching
as much as 250 million Zimbabwean dollars.
But the 27-year-old gardener struggles. He and his wife, who works as a
maid, live in a room in the back of his boss's house and combine breakfast
and lunch to save money.
He runs the stall -- nothing more than a table top balanced on bricks -- to
supplement his income in a country with the world's highest inflation rate
and major food shortages.
"I am supposed to work in the mornings in the garden and rest in the
afternoon, but I don't have the luxury to rest," he says.
"It's hard, but I would starve if I didn't do that."
Zimbabweans had been hoping for an end to the economic freefall ahead of the
country's presidential elections, with the first round held on March 29 and
the run-off on Friday.
But with the opposition leader pulling out of the race days ahead of the
run-off and President Robert Mugabe pushing ahead with the vote anyway,
essentially giving himself a victory by default, those hopes now seem slim.
The ludicrously high inflation rates and food shortages have helped
contribute to factors that have seen the southern African nation go from a
regional breadbasket to an economic basket case.
Even those who might otherwise live comfortably have been impacted.
Bank clerk Gladys Dawanyi has a monthly salary of a hundred billion
Zimbabwean dollars, but she doubts if it will last until her next payday.
Skyrocketing inflation, officially at more than 165,000 percent but believed
to be many times higher, makes it virtually impossible to know how much the
currency is worth in dollar or euro terms.
"I am not even sure if I will be able to come to work until the end of the
month because the price of transport will most likely go up again," she says
from her office in an upmarket section of the capital.
"In another country, earning this kind of money, I would be very rich, but
here life is an everyday battle."
In 2004, she bought a house in a middle-class suburb for an amount that will
not buy bread today and could afford to take her family on holiday.
Less than fours years on, she has been relegated to one of the country's
millions of poor billionaires who are perpetually playing catch up with
At least 80 percent of the population now lives below the poverty line,
often skipping meals and walking or cycling to work in order to stretch
their incomes to the next payday.
Critics blame the downturn on policies instituted by Mugabe's government,
especially a controversial land reform programme begun at the turn of the
decade which led to the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to
The programme saw some 4,000 farms expropriated by the state, and critics
argue it resulted in some of the country's most productive land being handed
to people with no previous farming experience or ruling party cronies.
Apart from spending long hours looking for or queuing up for scarce
commodities like sugar, cooking oil and the staple cornmeal, Zimbabweans
increasingly find themselves without jobs.
Some industries which used to run 24-hour shifts have cut production hours
or pulled down the shutters.
Mugabe says the economic troubles stem from targetted sanctions imposed on
him and his inner circle by the European Union and the United States
following presidential elections in 2002 which were judged by Western
observers to be "fundamentally flawed."
Best Doroh, an economist with financial firm Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group,
says the economic conditions will worsen if the election further enflames
the political crisis.
"Increasing political and country risk will trigger significant capital
flight and investor withdrawals," Doroh said. "No market will be immune to
such a situation."
Guti, the stall owner, isn't optimistic. He and his wife are living in the
room behind his employer's home because they can't afford the bus fare to
travel back and forth from their house in Murehwa outside Harare.
"I was hoping the election in March would bring change, but it does not look
like things will improve anytime soon."
'We've caught MDC arsonists'
June 27 2008 at 08:42AM
Harare - Zimbabwe police accused the opposition of trying to disrupt
Friday's second round election, saying a group of youths had been arrested
as they planned to carry out an arson attack.
"It is evident that the opposition MDC (Movement for Democratic
Change) has plans to disrupt the elections," senior assistant commissioner
Faustino Mazango was quoted as saying by the state-run Herald newspaper.
"These counter-productive criminal activities would be met head-on and
with the full force of the law. When arrests of those who commit such
criminal acts are made, no one should cry foul as the law will only be
following its course."
Mazango said a group of five MDC activists had confessed to planning
arson attacks on polling stations after their arrests in the central city of
"The suspects confessed that an MDC official had told them that their
party's leadership had realised that they had no support and that they
should disrupt the elections by burning down polling stations so that voters
would have no place to cast their votes in," he said.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is boycotting Friday's second round
election after a wave of violence since the March 29 first round which the
MDC says has left more than 80 of its supporters dead.
Tsvangirai was also detained on a number of occasions before pulling
out of the run-off last weekend while his party's number two, Tendai Biti,
has been charged with treason.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, looking to secure a sixth term in
office, has warned that he is prepared "to go to war" to prevent the MDC
from taking power in the troubled southern African nation. - Sapa-AFP
Zimbabwe official: Mandela bowed to Western pressure when he
3:48 a.m. June 26, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe - President Robert Mugabe's information minister has
dismissed criticism from anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu says Mandela was only bowing to
Western pressure when he referred to a "failure of leadership" in Zimbabwe.
Mandela made the comments Wednesday during a visit to Britain.
Ndlovu nonetheless called Mandela a statesman. He said Thursday that
he condemns the West for pressuring African leaders, not Mandela.
Although former South African President Mandela has been out of office
for nearly a decade, he a remains a commanding and respected figure. He uses
his influence sparingly, and it is particularly rare for him to differ
publicly differ with South Africa's current president, Thabo Mbeki.