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Zimbabweans refuse to vote and spoil ballot papers
despite Robert Mugabe's violent threats
Last Updated: 7:51PM BST
President Robert Mugabe faces humiliation as
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans defied intimidation and refused to vote in
his unopposed re-election.
Robert Mugabe casts his vote in
the presidential election run-off
Despite threats from Mr Mugabe's thugs to beat those
who refused to vote, many polling stations in the capital Harare had not seen a
single ballot cast three hours after opening.
Others remained virtually empty and many of those who
did vote simply spoiled their ballot papers.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, announced
he was pulling out of the election last weekend in protest at weeks of violence
against his supporters. But the regime said the poll would go ahead
Mr Mugabe's militiamen warned they would launch "Operation Red Finger",
targeting anyone whose left little finger is not stained with the ink used to
indicate who has voted.
But observers estimated that turnout was between a quarter and a third of the
level seen in the first round on March 29.
One man in Harare's suburb of Belvedere spoiled his ballot in protest against
the regime. Holding up his coloured finger, he said: "It's just to be safe. I
have got to vote, they have been saying 'We will spill your blood if you
But he marked two crosses on his ballot paper, beside both Mr Mugabe and Mr
Tsvangirai: "You have to put two crosses, if you leave it blank they will fill
it in themselves," he said.
Others did not even bother going to the polling booths. A waiter with a red
fingertip admitted: "I did it myself, with a ball-point pen. It's better to be
Throughout the day, state television insisted that a huge turnout was taking
place, attributing the absence of queues to a hitherto unknown efficiency among
However, ZBC's Freedom Moyo, its reporter in Bulawayo, defied the station's
remit by telling the nation: "There are very few people. People have listened to
Tsvangirai's call to boycott the election." He was not heard from again.
Mr Mugabe yesterday entered a polling booth in Harare to declare, as the only
candidate standing, that he was "very optimistic" about the result.
In rural areas, where monitors are few, reports emerged of coerced voting,
with some all-night indoctrination sessions taking place outside polling
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said its members had seen gross
malpractice, voter intimidation and a low turnout, while military sources
admitted that election officers were security personnel in plain clothes.
On Harare's western outskirts, militia from Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party rounded
up hundreds of people and forced them to the polling stations.
"They have taken them now and anyway they are vulnerable so they will vote,"
said an employer in the area.
In Mr Mugabe's home province of Mashonaland West, one source said: "All our
workers, all the resettled people are going to vote for Mugabe, because if they
don't they will be in extreme trouble. Our workers are taken night after night
for re-education camps, so we are expecting all of them to vote for him today.
Most of them didn't vote for him last time. If there was ever freedom, Mugabe
would not get five per cent of the votes even right next to his rural home."
And in places Mr Mugabe's propaganda is effective. In St Mary's, south of
Harare, an auto-electrician said he had voted for the president because Mr
Tsvangirai wanted to hand Zimbabwe back to the whites.
The 84-year-old leader proclaimed himself "healthy" and "optimistic" as he
cast his own vote in Harare.
MDC sources said that while they hoped for a low turnout, they expected
figures announced in rural areas to be higher than in the first round. One
source said the priority was for people to do whatever was necessary "so they
are around and alive when the time comes to have a real election".
Mr Tsvangirai denounced the process as an "exercise in mass intimidation with
people all over the country being forced to vote. There is nothing legitimate
about this election process."
He urged African leaders to refrain from recognising the outcome of the
"sham" poll. "Anyone who recognises the result of this election is denying the
will of the Zimbabwean people," said Mr Tsvangirai.
He added there would be "no role" for President Thabo Mbeki in mediating a
solution if South Africa recognises Mr Mugabe's expected victory.
Militias force some to vote for Zimbabwe's Mugabe
Fri 27 Jun
2008, 17:22 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Many
Zimbabweans boycotted the one candidate-election on
Friday but witnesses
said government militias forced people in some areas to
vote for 84-year-old
President Robert Mugabe.
The vote, held despite a storm of condemnation
from inside and outside
Africa, was denounced as a sham by Western powers
and opposition leader
Tsvangirai, who won the
first round on March 29, pulled out of the poll a
week ago and took refuge
in the Dutch embassy because of state-backed
violence he said had killed
almost 90 of his supporters. He told a news
conference millions of people
were staying away from the polls despite
happening today is not an election. It is an exercise in mass
with people all over the country being forced to vote,"
A witness in Chitungwiza town, south of Harare, told Reuters voters
forced to hand the serial number of their ballot paper and their
details to an official from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party so he could see
voted. The Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition rights group said village
"assisted" teachers to vote in some rural areas after forcing them
declare that they were illiterate. Many teachers are accused of
Turnout was low in urban areas where Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) is traditionally strong. But it was not
clear how many voters
went to the polls in rural districts that are
difficult for independent
journalists to visit.
people to abstain but said they should vote if they were in
Turnout was much lower in many areas than in parliamentary
elections in March, when people queued from the early
hours. Tsvangirai won
that poll but fell short of the majority needed for
Voting on Friday began at 0500 GMT and ended 12 hours
The G8 group of rich nations lambasted
Zimbabwe for going ahead with the
run-off and the United States said the
U.N. Security Council may consider
fresh sanctions next
Tsvangirai said pro-Mugabe militias had threatened to kill anybody
abstaining or voting for the opposition.
Voters had their little
finger dyed with purple ink.
"There is no doubt turnout will be very
low," said Marwick Khumalo, head of
monitors from the Pan African
But state television denounced foreign media reports of low
showed long queues in a semi-rural constituency close to Harare
voters ignored MDC appeals to abstain.
election monitor, who asked not be to named, said turnout
was low except in
some ZANU-PF strongholds.
Mugabe voted with his wife at Highfield
Township, on the outskirts of
Harare. Asked how he felt, he told
journalists: "Very fit, optimistic,
upbeat," before being driven
The African Union is optimistic it can solve the Zimbabwe crisis,
organisation's top diplomat said on Friday ahead of a summit in Egypt
week likely to be dominated by the issue.
"I am convinced we
will sort it out and that our credibility will be
maintained," AU Commission
chairman Jean Ping said during a foreign
ministers meeting in Sharm el
Tsvangirai said he understood South African President Thabo Mbeki
recognise Mugabe's re-election. But he said it would be a "dream"
his MDC to join a national unity government with Mugabe's
Mbeki, the designated regional mediator in Zimbabwe, has been
criticised for a soft approach towards Mugabe despite an economic
that has flooded South Africa and other countries with millions of
Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu, often seen as South Africa's
conscience, said Mbeki must join other African leaders in declaring
illegitimate if he claimed victory.
Calling Zimbabwe's crisis
a "sad tragedy," Archbishop Tutu said Mbeki should
admit his diplomatic
approach had failed. "Everybody would support him if he
now turned the
screws on his colleague Mr Mugabe. I know he would be doing
Tutu told Reuters television.
In the affluent Greendale
suburb of Harare in the morning there were scores
of people queuing for
bread at a shopping centre but only 10 at a polling
"I need to get food first and then maybe I can go and vote ... I
could be trouble for those who don't," said Tito Kudya, an
Mugabe has presided over an economic collapse accompanied
hyper-inflation, 80 percent unemployment, food and fuel shortages. A loaf
bread now costs 6 billion Zimbabwe dollars, or 150 times more than at the
time of the first round of elections.
A middle-aged man waiting for a
bus said it was dangerous to talk about
politics. "Your tongue can cost you
your teeth," he told Reuters, adding
that he would vote.
said Mugabe was pressing ahead with the election to try to cement
on power and strengthen his hand if he was forced to negotiate with
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said the vote was going
is well on course and people are voting peacefully,"
Deputy Chief Elections
officer Utoile Silaigwana told state radio.
security committee of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
called earlier this week for the vote to be postponed, saying Mugabe's
re-election could lack legitimacy.
But Mugabe, who thrives in
defiance, remained unmoved and said he would
attend the AU summit to
confront his opponents.
Mugabe says he is willing to sit down with the
MDC but will not bow to
U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice said after a Group of Eight nations
(G8) meeting in Japan
that Washington would raise the issue of further
sanctions at the U.N.
Security Council. The European Commission described
the run-off as "a
State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters: "I think it's
clear to everybody that this is a sham process run by a government
have no legitimacy."
Sokwanele - Boycott updates from around Zimbabwe
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough -
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE
Boycott updates from around Zimbabwe
Sokwanele : 27 June
No one queuing to vote at City Hall (12.50 pm),
Bulawayo. Usually one of the busiest city centre polling
THE BOYCOTT IS A RESOUNDING SUCCESS
It is starting to look like the boycott has proven highly successful,
particularly, as expected, in urban areas. The turnout is interesting because
the country’s urban areas have been under an onslaught of violence, intimidation
and hate speech. The towns have been swamped with people in Zanu PF regalia, and
the omnibuses and taxis plastered with Zanu PF posters. So much so that many
have been worried that this would force voters into the polling stations.
It's not very often that we see an absence of queues in Zimbabwe and today
was one of them. This, we think, is a positive sign for future - a future where
we don't have to queue for everything we need. The nationwide trend is a clear
message to the dictator, he is not wanted!
Emgwanani Nketa 1.40pm
However, it isn't all positive news. We cannot pretend that violence is not
happening and some of the reports we have received talk of intimidation and
coercion, people being forced to vote, and threats of retributive violence to
follow. The bodies of seven murdered people were found at Spillway Dam in
Epworth today. We ask all Zimbabweans to be very careful in these days that
follow, to take care of themselves and do what is needed to keep safe.
Remember that the majority of the world, including regional countries, is
watching very closely and most have already said - before the polls even opened
- that the results from today could not possibly be considered free or fair.
It is very important that freedom loving Zimbabweans continue to do what they
have done for so many years now: stand strong and do not be tempted to resort to
violence. What sickens the world more than anything is the fact that this regime
is viciously aggressive towards a nation made up of people who are obviously
peaceloving and decent. No one can respect or admire a callous and cruel bully;
in fact, you could argue that a leader who beats up defenceless unarmed people
and rules through terror is the worst kind of coward there is. Tolerance among
those who once supported Robert Mugabe and his henchmen is wearing very
We are on a journey, a difficult and painful journey, but our destination is
peace. It's worth us all reaching deep inside ourselves to find the energy to
keep walking a little longer.
We have included a message from Morgan Tsvangirai at the end of this mailing,
sent today. Please can you take note of his messages to those who were forced to
vote against their will.
We would like to echo his words and say we are so sorry that some of you were
forced to do something you did not wish to, and that you have been struggling
with fear and uncertainty. We recognise that that must have been hard for you
when you wanted to stand with us. Please do not think you were alone when you
were forced to cast that ballot, because every single person who stayed away
today stayed away with thoughts of people like you in our heads and prayers for
your in our hearts. We are in this together, all the way and right to the end.
God bless our wonderful country and all of her people.
The Econet cellphone network, owned by Strive Masiyiwa, is all but defunct so
communications via cellphone are proving almost impossible. One wonders if the
sole state telephone controller has deliberately put a spanner in the works? In
addition, NetOne coverage is also very poor, and for the past two months it has
been almost impossible to buy pay top up cards for pay as you go lines, only for
contracts. The rumour is that the companies printing the top up cards were
forced to use their machinery to print Zanu PF cards.
Government knows that people are intending to spoil their votes if forced
into polling stations, so the word on the street is that most voters will have
to cast their ballots in the presence of a state agent.
The people of Harare have opted to stay at home today. By 8.30am polling
stations had processed an average of 20 voters each, a far cry from the 29/3
election when people had started queuing by 4am.
But the atmosphere is tense, with the expectation that midday will signal the
time when the state will galvanise their thugs to force people to vote. Many
activists have gone to ground, fearing for their lives, following the recent
information disseminated with the latest JOC strategy
We hope and pray the observers will do their job today.
It’s a beautiful winters day, deep blue skies and the sun is shining – a
great day to stay at home and relax.
Bulawayo has shown the dictator exactly what they think of him, the boycott
of the polling stations is complete. An activist did a drive around the city and
polling stations are morgue-like.
The Bulawayo City Hall, usually a fairly busy station due to its location in
the centre of town, is dead. Another usually busy polling station had had all of
3 voters by 9am and that is the pattern throughout the city!
guys... psssst...... Sokwanele - Zvakwana! Get it?
In fact, all polling stations driven past, saw the police and polling agents
sitting outside sheepishly enjoying the morning sunhine and reading the daily
dose of propaganda from the state controlled "Chronic" newspaper.
Interestingly enough the Chronicle is on the streets, but so are yesterday’s
copies of the Sowetan and the South African Star. So, the government’s attempt
to deny all fair news coverage has been stymied by the sale of these papers, but
only for those who can afford it.
But the underground news network is in full swing. The streets around the
entire city are carpeted with red and white flyers, apparently distributed in
the early hours of the morning. A call came in early this morning from a high
density suburb to say, “Yesterday the streets were red, today they are white!"
An Ndebele version of the boycott flyer is the order of the day.
The other new addition adorning the streets are red spray painted V’s on
walls, street signs, on the roads, as well as a few beribboned trees and sign
posts. Somebody was busy last night!
By-Election in Pelandaba
As a by product of the boycott, the polling stations in this constituency are
also very slow, a clear indication that people do not believe in the legitimacy
of the election process.
Chiredzi polling stations are also enjoying poor turnout.
Right now people have been forced to gather at Triangle Stadium, where they
are being given papers and cards to go and vote.
Hippo Valley, Triangle and Mkwasine sugar estates have been the sites for
intensive “pungwes" for the past two months. People in these areas have said
they will go to vote and they will vote Zanu PF for the sake of their children.
Most people who in the past helped each other will not even talk to each
People are being forced out of their homes to go and vote.
Voting patterns are the same as all other urban centres, two or three voters
at most stations by mid morning. Victoria Falls/Hwange
Once again, polling stations are dead. Hwange residents have been threatened
with violence tomorrow if they do not turn out to vote.
Just about the only people to be seen at the polling stations are the police,
still reading their newspapers. One activist reported they are entirely
miserable and when she attempted smiling at them she was given a distinct
Today’s election is a general non-event.
There are very few cars on the roads except for chefs and army personnel
smugly driving around in brand new state of the art sport and 4x4 vehicles.
Harare is now renowned for its high number of Mercedes Benzs. They are so new
the plastic on the head rests have not yet been removed. Whenever passing State
House one can see convoys of these vehicles.
Anxiety in the capital is high with rumours abounding that at the close of
poll anyone on the street will be attacked. It would be a good idea to warn
residents to stay home tonight after 7pm.
Another rumour that is circulating is that militia camps in the rural areas
are being shut down in order to move the perpetrators of violence into the urban
areas. Several activists have reported threats have been issued warning of
violence to come following the counting of ballots.
State agents are circulating in groups, forcing people to go to the polls and
escorting them to polling stations. They are being told to write down the number
of the ballot paper on their hands and have to show the number once they have
It has been reported that there have been isolated cases of violence this
morning when forcing people to go vote.
The highest turn out reported so far is in Paddonhurst, right next door to
Brady Barracks. The sum total of 5 voters were seen loitering in the queue
there! On the 29/3 the voting queue went right around the block, and this is the
only ward in the constituency where Zanu PF won.
The vast majority of polling stations visited have not one voter in the
The police surely must be tired of reading and rereading the Chronic. A
friend recently met a journalist from this esteemed rag and when she referred to
his paper as the Chronic, he responded, “Ah, you refer to my paper as a
Like all other centres very low turnout. There is an eerie calm in the town,
they have been warned of the "celebration" being prepare for by Zanu PF
It has been reported that you can hear a pin drop in this small town.
However, Zanu PF representatives went to all businesses yesterday and collected
ID Nos of all they could, threatening that they would check if the people had
voted. Kariba is such a small town that everyone knows everyone and so there
will probably be high turnout.
The town remains quiet and turnout is very low.
Boycott is successful, poor turnout. Voter turn out has been pitiful. The
beerhall had a better attendance. The few who did go to vote said they spoilt
Boycott is successful, poor turnout. Once again, the same story. The only
station of any significance is the one close to the army barracks, where a
meagre 30 people were seen queueing in the morning.
Boycott is successful, poor turnout.
Boycott is successful, poor turnout.
Most areas are sending in communications that people are being forced to
vote. One activist bemoaned the fact that he should have distributed pink ink in
advance so the thugs could not accuse anyone of not having a pink finger.
In one constituency the militia recently beat their own supporters who had
Zanu PF cards and T-shirts to show, but they were still battered - the militia
do not believe anyone any more. One wonders who they have voted for?
Thumbs up on the boycott
Check out our Red Alert set on Flickr
for lots more high resolution
Statement by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai
What is happening today is not an election. It is an exercise in mass
intimidation with people all over the country being forced to vote.
Fortunately, Zimbabweans are attempting to stay away from the polls as they
can tell the difference between democracy and a dictatorship desperate for the
illusion of legitimacy.
There is nothing legitimate about this election process.
In many rural areas and some urban areas people were forced to spend the
night in the open outside the polling stations.
Today they have been ordered by militia to record the serial numbers of their
ballot papers to identify anyone that might vote for the MDC.
They are being told that before polls close they must gather again to await
These same militia are threatening anyone that doesn't vote or who votes for
the MDC with death.
Every voter in Zimbabwe has their little finger dipped in red ink. The
militia are warning that tomorrow they will launch Operation Red Finger that
will target anyone who has not voted.
We have also had reports that people are being forced to claim that they are
illiterate so that they are then accompanied into the polling booth by a member
of the militia.
And yet still millions of brave Zimbabweans are resisting these threats and
staying away from the polls.
Zimbabweans know that there is nothing legitimate about this election and
they know that there will be nothing legitimate about the result.
This is a view shared by many African and world leaders.
Anyone who recognizes the result of this election is denying the will of the
Zimbabwean people and standing in the way of a transition that will deliver
stability and prosperity not just to the country, but to the region.
I am heartened by the fact that so many African leaders are now working with
the MDC towards finding a lasting, peaceful solution to the Zimbabwean
These African leaders realize that it is essential that Zimbabwe joins the
new Africa by joining the family of African nations where the people's right to
choose their leaders and live lives free of fear and oppression is of paramount
The end of this terrible, violent dictatorship is now assured, the people's
victory may have been delayed by this sham election but it will never be
The achievement of a New Zimbabwe where the government fulfills its
responsibility to provide a stable economy, jobs, health care and education is
now closer than ever.
I thank you.
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Amnesty International Says Violence and Coercion Flawed
By Joe De Capua
27 June 2008
The human rights group Amnesty International
says Friday's election in
Zimbabwe is being held against a backdrop of
widespread killings, torture
and assault. It accuses the government of
conducting a state campaign of
violence against the
Simeon Mawanza is a researcher with Amnesty International.
From London, he
spoke to VOA English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about
climate surrounding the run-off election.
said that these elections have been held in an environment
where there had
been serious human rights violations - where there have been
torture, the arbitrary arrest and detention. There's always random
and destruction property targeted at people, who are perceived to be
supporters of the opposition party. And it's very difficult to ensure that
citizens of Zimbabwe can freely exercise their vote today," he
Amnesty has called on the African Union and SADC (Southern African
Development Community) to apply the "necessary pressure" on President
Mugabe. "I think there's been some deafening silence by the AU assembly
chairperson, (Tanzanian) President Kikwete, in terms of denouncing the
violence that has been ongoing in Zimbabwe. And for starters, we would want
to see him coming up with a very strong statement condemning what is
happening in Zimbabwe. And then secondly, there was a need to convene the
AU's Peace and Security Council to consider the situation in Zimbabwe.. That
has happened. And in that meeting, we would like to see the African Union
coming out with a very strong position and sending a clear message to
President Mugabe that what has been going on in Zimbabwe is unacceptable,
since it goes against the principles of the African Union, which is respect
for human rights and the rule of law," he says.
Has Mr. Mugabe been
getting mixed signals from his southern African
neighbors? Mawanza says,
"Just recently, I think there [have] been some more
united messages. But the
people of Zimbabwe need to see effective African
solidarity, beyond making
excuses for President Mugabe and being too
accommodative.. And if President
Mugabe does not take heed of the advice
that he's getting from his peers and
colleagues in Africa, they need to go
to the next level, which could even be
considering suspending Zimbabwe from
the African Union."
He says that
such a suspension could hit Zimbabwe hard."
If you suspend Zimbabwe from
the African Union, there are very few countries
that can survive outside
these international bodies. And I think it sends a
very clear signal to the
victims of human rights violations in Zimbabwe that
Africa is with them. And
if Zimbabwe does not then take heed of that
measure, there are other
considerations, which might as well include those
sanctions. But at this
stage, I think the African Union, particularly the
chairperson, need to come
up with a very strong position," he says.
Mawanza adds, "Amnesty's
message to President Mugabe remains the same: that
he has to end the
violence that is going on in the country immediately. He
has to make sure
that all those perpetrators of violence are brought to
justice. It includes
those who are linked to his political party. And we
will continue to
mobilize international pressure until that happens. We are
also calling for
the immediate release of people who have been arrested
because they are
associated with the MDC or they're human rights activists."
Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, who are leaders of
WOZA, Women of
Zimbabwe Arise. They've been detained since May 28th when
they took part in
a demonstration against election violence.
Mugabe to rush out results of election
By Tom Burgis
in Johannesburg and James Blitz in London
Published: June 27 2008 08:41 |
Last updated: June 27 2008 15:56
Robert Mugabe is expected to rush out
the results of Zimbabwe's widely
condemned presidential elections so he can
be inaugurated before he attends
an African Union summit in Egypt next week,
western diplomats said on
After a one-candidate election
that appeared to have a low turnout, western
diplomats said Mr Mugabe would
want to attend as the formally re-elected
head of state, where the reception
he receives from regional leaders will be
a measure of his
Casting his vote in Harare, Mr Mugabe, who is 84 and has ruled his
for 28 years, said he was "very fit, very optimistic".
a sign of his growing isolation, the world's powers took more steps
condemn his regime. The European Union said the election was a "sham" and
the US declared it would begin seeking fresh sanctions at the United Nations
In Harare, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Democratic Change, was again taking refuge inside the Dutch
embassy. He said
the election was "an exercise in mass intimidation with
people all over the
country being forced to vote".
He added: "Anyone
who recognises the result of this election is denying the
will of the
The next few days will test whether Mr Mugabe can
consolidate power. After a
preliminary meeting of AU foreign ministers in
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on
Friday ahead of next week's summit, one said: "I
don't think we are going to
accept the result but we are still
and cameraman arrested at Mugabe's polling station
Reporters without Borders
Zimbabwe 27 June 2008
Borders is concerned about freelance reporter Frank
Chikowore and a
cameraman so far identified only by the first name of Edgar,
arrested this morning while covering President Robert Mugabe's
arrival at a
polling station to vote.
"These journalists are the victims of the
climate of constant oppression
being imposed by the government and security
forces, and should be released
at once," Reporters Without Borders said. "We
appeal to the Zimbabwean
courts not to be accomplices to these abuses, and
to protect the few
independent journalists still working in
It is not known why Chikowore and Frank were arrested at Mpofu
school in the Harare neighbourhood of Highfields, when Mugabe went
cast his vote in today's second-round elections. They were
to Southerton police station, but their present location is
unknown. It may
be the "Law and Order" section of Harare central police
Record Number of Spolied Ballot Papers Expected in Mash East
Radio Africa (London)
27 June 2008
Posted to the web 27 June
A record number of spoiled ballot papers
are expected to emerge from the
presidential run-off in Mashonaland East
province, the hotbed of the
political violence that has ravaged the country
Voters in Murehwa, Mutoko, Mudzi, Uzumba Maramba Pfungwa and
indicated that people are being bused and trucked to polling
against their will.
Kumbirai, our contact in the
province, said there was an unusuallyhigh
volume of text messages flying
around, urging people to go to the polling
station and spoil their
Some of the text messages read; 'Vote out 400 000 percent
card to Mugabe, Mugabe must go, Tsvangirai is the
Despite the threats of physcial violence against people who
elections, Kumbirai said most people heeded the call to stay at
it was now an MDC stronghold.
'The reason why people are
shunning the election in Mashonaland East is that
so many of those killed in
the state sponsored violence were MDC activists,
based in many of the
districts,' Kumbirai said.
Low Voter Turnout in Harare Suburbs
SW Radio Africa
27 June 2008
Posted to the web 27 June 2008
The people of Harare today stayed away from polling
stations, with reports
of queues with 'no more than five people.' Thabani
Moyo told us that he had
visited polling stations in the suburbs of Mabvuku,
Mbare, Mabelreign, Marlborough, Bluff Hill and
Most of the people that he spoke to said that they had gone to
'out of fear, and to protect their lives.' There are reports that
vets were conducting operation 'Pasi pechigunwe,' where they were
people's fingers for the indelible ink to make sure that they had
He described Harare as looking like a 'ghost town' today with
staying home to avoid trouble.
Thabani also reported that
people in Chipinge who voted at a polling station
situated in an open space
close to the RBS grounds were being asked to give
their ID numbers and house
numbers, and their finger prints were being
taken. The polling station was
being manned by war vets.
Thabani also told us that independent
journalist Frank Chikowore and his
cameraman 'Edgar' were arrested in
Highfields as they were filming Mugabe
voting. The two were taken to nearby
Southerton police station. According to
Thabani, their lawyer Harrison Nkomo
was unable to locate the two, and the
police at both Southerton and the Law
and Order division could not say where
the two men were being
We later spoke to someone at MISA who confirmed that Frank
been arrested along with his camera man, Edgar Mwandihambira.
She also said
that a female correspondent and Reuters camera man Donald
Maisiri had also
been arrested. Donald had been picked up this morning by a
group of ZANU-PF
youth. Wilbert Mandinde, a lawyer with MISA confirmed that
journalists had been arrested today but they have all since been
29,200 had voted by this time,today 10
By Roy Chinamano ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com
⋅ June 27, 2008 ⋅
ZANU PF militants patrolled Zimbabwe’s capital and
marshals led voters to
polling stations Friday for an internationally
runoff held in an atmosphere of intimidation.
contrast to the excitement and hope for change that marked the first
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.
Tsvangirai’s name remains on the ballot
because electoral officials say his
withdrawal Sunday came too
State radio acknowledged that voters were only “trickling” into
the countryside, attributing the low turnout to chilly weather
temperatures below zero overnight.
About 20 paramilitary
police in riot gear were stationed in a central Harare
park then began
patrolling the city in a truck. Militant Mugabe supporters
streets, singing revolutionary songs, heckling people and asking
were not voting.
“I’ve got no option but to go and vote so that I can be
safe,” explained a
young woman selling tomatoes.
The MDC 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
The opposition has called on people voting out of fear to spoil
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
Up to 300 people waited at one station
there. But elsewhere, the voters were
outnumbered by an intimidating police
‘On March 29,over 200 people had voted by the time only
10′,said one polling
officer at a polling station in Harare.
cries foul over voter harassment
June 27, 2008
HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change party cried
foul as the country's
controversial single-candidate election got underway
on Friday, saying its
supporters were being harassed and force-marched to
polling stations to vote
for President Robert Mugabe.
Tsvangirai, the party's leader and presidential candidate, withdrew
poll at the last minute, citing widespread violence and
At least four people were injured in Harare South when anger
a polling station as a group of war veterans demanded the
addresses of voters after noting the serial numbers on the
ballot paper of
each and every voter.
As polling got underway
Tsvangirai urged his supporters to be vigilant.
"Whatever might happen,
the results will not be recognised by the world,"
Tsvangirai said in a
statement. "No matter what you are forced to do, we
know what is in your
heart. Don't risk your life. The people's victory may
be delayed but it
won't be denied."
In Harare, a stronghold of Tsvangirai's Movement for
(MDC), polling stations were empty mid-afternoon, seven
hours after polling
began and with five hours to go.
many had arrived before dawn after being force-marched to the
patience was running thin.
Casting his vote at Mhofu Primary School in
Highfields, Mugabe, who was
accompanied by his wife and an unusually large
contingent of security, said
he was confident of victory, without any sense
of the irony of the fact that
he was the only candidate.
"I am very,
very optimistic, upbeat and hungry," he said jokingly.
journalist, Frank Chikowore, was arrested at the primary school
as he tried
to film Mugabe arriving to cast his vote.
At Matapi Flats in Mbare,
hundreds were forced to the poling station by the
Chipangano youth militia.
Vendors in the Mupedzanhamo Flea Market, and the
nearby vegetable wholesale
market were only allowed to do business after
displaying a dye-stained
finger to the youth militia.
Eighteen of the 19 of Harare's
constituencies voted MDC in parliamentary
elections on March 29. The
capital's 882,176 registered voters this year
constitute 15 percent of the
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai remained holed up in the Dutch
embassy in Harare where
he has sought refuge following concerns about his
personal safety. He was
expected to address a press briefing later today on
the failed election.
There were no official figures on the voter turnout
by Friday afternoon.
Breaking News - Zanu's Post-Election Plan
Friday, 27 June 2008 15:04
Mugabe's seizure of
Very confidential, but very reliable sources from the highest
within Mugabe's Joint Operational Command (JOC) reveal the following
schedule of events, planned to consolidate Mugabe's seizure of power by the
end of the weekend:
- Those voters - who do not have the
indelible ink mark signifying
that they have participated today - are at
risk of future retribution.
- Within 12 hours, Mugabe will proclaim
his victory in the
Presidential run-off. No reliable figures are available
for his margin of
victory, but emphasis is being placed on making it
- He will have the power to appoint Governors, as well
as a Cabinet.
He will move quickly to announce a new
- The Mutambara faction of MDC MPs will be bought off
in a version of
a Government of National Unity (GNU). One or two senior
members of this
faction will be offered senior positions in this
- Welshman Ncube has been offered the position of
- In the medium- to long-term, MDC MPs will be neutralised
detention or placatory alternative jobs.
intends to fly to Sharm El-Sheikh on Saturday, in order to
African Union summit and act as de facto Head Of State.
President Thabo Mbeki will be first to endorse the GNU, as
his policy of "Quiet Diplomacy" and the ideal end-game that
he had always
espoused. Mbeki yesterday in Parliament reserved the right to
- There will be a subsequent, systematic plan of
endorsing the GNU,
following Mbeki's initial support.
has verbally promised to step down within 6 months (i.e.
this is a well-established pattern-of-behaviour from
which he has reneged on
- The only time this strategy has been necessary before
independence in 1980, after which Mugabe quickly squeezed the Joshua
ZAPU faction out of existence. This was followed by the Matabeleland
ETV journalists arrested at Beitbridge
June 27, 2008,
An E-tv news reporter and a camera man were arrested at Beitbridge
while covering a protest march against the Zimbabwean elections,
Reporter Tumaole Mohlaoli, and camera man
Elelewani Rampfumedzi had been
given permission to film by South African
authorities, but Zimbawean police
accused them of straying into their
They were filming on the bridge which links the South African
border posts. A while later armed policemen forced the two
men to follow
them at gunpoint.
Mohlaoli managed to send out a text
message before he was arrested.
The message read: "We are on our side of
Beitbridge, when cops approached.
We didn't run because they were armed, and
we didn't do anything wrong."
The Department of Foreign Affairs was
alerted and they were trying to
contact Zimbabwean officials about the
"It is unusual for individuals to be taken into custody on the
bridge as its
essentially between the two countries," the department told
According to e.tv, Mohlaoli and Rampfumedzi would spend the night
and might be released on Saturday.
"They said that there were
treated well by Zimbabwean police and were also
being fed well." -
MDC Polling Agents Abducted in Gwanda By-Election
SW Radio Africa
27 June 2008
Posted to the web 27 June 2008
Reports emanating from Gwanda say 2 MDC polling agents were
abducted by Zanu
PF militants during the parliamentary by-election held in
According to our correspondent Lionel
Saungweme, the whereabouts of the 2
are still unknown with party officials
making frantic efforts to locate
them. Meanwhile polling stations in
Bulawayo resembled deserted rural police
stations as residents heeded a call
by the opposition to boycott the sham
election. Defiant MDC supporters put
red cloths on posters and trees in the
city (red being the MDC
The MDC were also busy distributing fliers urging their
boycott the election. However people in the Mpopoma, Gwanda
areas, that have parliamentary by-elections, were urged to
estimates put the number of people who voted in Mpopoma at
Mhlanga from the Bulawayo Agenda pressure group said the entire
and Midlands provinces witnessed a low voter turnout. He
pointed to the
Mzingwane area in Matabeleland as one of the areas where a
number of voters were frog-marched to the polls.
youths were reported to be forcing people at Egodini bus terminus in
Bulawayo to go and vote. Foreign currency dealers near the Tredgold
Magistrates court were chased away as the rampaging youths demanded to see
whether they had the indelible voting ink on their fingers. Commuter bus
operators were forced to put posters of Mugabe on their windows or risk
having their vehicles trashed. In Nkayi the home of an MDC activist was
burnt down on Thursday in the Qhubuthando area. The attack was carried by
Zanu PF thugs.
Meanwhile political commentators have slammed Mugabe's
'one-man election' as
a sham. Pedzisai Ruhanya from the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition said it was
clear Mugabe wanted to use the 'bogus' election as a
tool to negotiate a
government of national unity that brings in the MDC as a
Former MDC Zengeza MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa said talk of Mugabe
government of national unity was naïve, given his track record. He
Mugabe as insincere and that as long as his inner circle had
millions of US
dollars in their bank accounts they could never be bothered
by what other
countries or individuals thought of their rule.
More Killings Reported in Manicaland & 7 Bodies Found in
SW Radio Africa (London)
27 June 2008
the web 27 June 2008
The MDC says there was a low
voter turnout in parts of Manicaland province,
but that last night violence
broke out in Headlands, Buhera North/Central
and Chipinge constituencies,
resulting in the deaths of several people.
We were not able to confirm
these deaths with the police, but the MDC
spokesperson for Manicaland,
Pishai Muchauraya said it is the police
themselves who have been
transporting the bodies of the deceased to
said Samson Magumura, the MDC provincial youth organising
killed in the Headlands constituency by ZANU PF thugs. He
body was taken to Rusape mortuary. He also said that two
abducted and murdered, also in Headlands and another MDC couple
in Ward 7
Makoni North were killed Thursday night.
He said he could not provide the
names of all the deceased until he received
permission from the families,
because of the ongoing victimisation.
Meanwhile the MDC said there were
real signs of defiance in Mutare on voting
day. Muchauraya said he could
only see polling agents and police officers
when he went to polling stations
like Baring and Chancellor primary
schools - no voters.
There was a
low voter turnout outside Mutare, in places like Makoni,
Nyanga, although it's reported that some people were being
"helped" to vote
by ZANU PF agents. In some instances there were reports
that people were
spoiling their votes by putting their "X" next to the names
of both Morgan
Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe, and then writing "Mugabe must
go" on the
Meanwhile Crisis in Zimbabwe issued a statement saying seven bodies
activists were found in Epworth on Thursday.
"Since the defeat of Zanu PF on the 29th of March 2008, Epworth
has been the
hardest hit suburb. Zanu PF youth militias were frequently
camera pursuing MDC supporters and burning their homes."
We have no
further details at this time.
The Lesson of Zimbabwe's 'Election'
A policeman and voting officials check a voter's identity on
the register at a voting station in Harare, Zimbabwe, June 27, 2008.
Under the watchful eye of the regime's security services, Zimbabweans Friday
voted in a single-candidate presidential "runoff" that will almost certainly
extend Robert Mugabe's rule until 2014. Despite reports of a low turnout, the
decision by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw last Sunday makes
Mugabe's victory inevitable. In Zimbabwe, presidential terms last six years, so
by the time he faces reelection again, Mugabe will be 90 and will have ruled his
country for 34 years. Nevertheless, expectations are that after six more years
of hyper-inflation, mass unemployment and brutal repression, the President will
be in better shape than his country.
This month, the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization listed
Zimbabwe as one of four countries (the others being Lesotho, Swaziland and
Somalia) worst affected by the world food crisis. Relief agencies say close to
half the resident population now supplement their diets with food aid and, with
an economy that has collapsed, there is little hope of improvement. Running
parallel to Zimbabwe's worsening humanitarian crisis in the coming years will be
a deepening political one, analysts predict. Pretoria-based Zimbabwe expert
Chris Maroleng, of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, describes
the three months since the first round of voting on March 29 — in which
Tsvangirai came out ahead, but without the outright majority that would have
ruled out a runoff — as a creeping military coup. The army, police and
government-sponsored militias have fanned out across the country, killing,
beating and displacing opposition supporters, wresting control of the media,
electoral bodies and the judiciary and refusing to cede power even if the second
vote were to somehow go against Mugabe.
That campaign of state intimidation will continue in the months ahead, says
Maroleng. "After the poll, we will see a consolidation of the military junta's
control of the organs of state. They have seized the state, and now they will
want to stamp out any opposition to their rule." Facing a future of worsening
poverty and harassment, millions more Zimbabweans are expected to flee their
homeland. An estimated fifth to a quarter of the original population of 13
million are now refugees.
The world will express outrage at Zimbabweans' fate, and likely draw up
stringent economic and diplomatic sanctions. But neither is likely to save
Zimbabweans from their government — and that is proof of the end of an era. In
1999, the U.N. launched successful military interventions to stem bloodshed in
Kosovo, East Timor and Sierra Leone. That was in keeping with a declaration the
year before by then U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan hailing a "new century of
human rights." "No government has the right to hide behind national sovereignty
in order to violate the human rights or fundamental freedoms of its peoples," he
proclaimed. This collective world "responsibility to protect," as Annan's vision
came to be known, fitted the mood of the age.
But several things happened since that have forced a retreat from those heady
days: the U.S. war on terror gave intervention a bad name by associating it with
big-power unilateralism; the crises got bigger — genocide in Darfur, famine in
North Korea, a cyclone in Burma. Global competition also worked against global
unity: China, for instance, blocked U.N. Security Council action against Sudan
over Darfur to protect is oil concessions. Zimbabwe may have repugnant rulers,
but it also has a consistent and grateful ally in South African President Thabo
Mbeki and his fight against Western hegemony. Additionally, Harare has the
world's second largest deposits of platinum, which assists its friendship with
China. Kofi Annan's "responsibility to protect" was always a daring and
ambitious idea. Six more years for Mugabe suggests it might also be as alive as
African foreign ministers bicker over Zimbabwe
Goujon , AFP
Published: Friday, June 27, 2008
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt -
African Union foreign ministers bickered behind
closed doors on Friday over
how to handle Zimbabwe as they prepared for a
summit next week under the
shadow of its political crisis.
AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping urged
ministers to leave it to heads of
state when they gather on Monday to pass
judgment on Friday's one-man
presidential run-off in Zimbabwe that the
opposition has derided as
He later told a news conference
he was convinced there will be a credible
solution to the crisis.
Zimbabwean delegation had asked to be able to address the meeting
any subsequent debate, but other AU members insisted they wanted a
discussion of the political violence that prompted opposition candidate
Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw, giving veteran incumbent Robert Mugabe
"We are waiting for the summit for the heads of
state to make important
declarations on Zimbabwe," Ping told the opening
session in the Egyptian
resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in his only direct
reference to the crisis.
The session was preceded by a meeting of members
of the Southern African
Development Community "but it found no common
position," one participant
South African President Thabo Mbeki
has been mediating between the Harare
government and opposition under SADC
auspices, but he has been criticised by
some African governments for not
being firm enough with Mugabe.
Other AU member states want at all costs
to avoid any descent into civil war
in a country that was once one of the
continent's economic powerhouses.
After the opening session, Ping held a
15-minute separate meeting with the
closed-door session Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Simbarashe
asked to be allowed to make a statement without it being
followed by any
debate, drawing strong opposition from other members
Senegal and Sierra Leone, a delegate told AFP.
"After a discussion
lasting more than an hour and a half, these governments
insisted that they
wanted to hold a debate and to hear from the SADC," the
Ping retorted that "negotiations were still under way to form a
of national unity but added that he had not received the latest
on the progress of the negotiations."
Sources close to
the AU commission said that the bloc's Peace and Security
Council would hold
a special meeting on Zimbabwe in Sharm el-Sheikh on
convinced a credible solution will be found. Give us the time to talk
our heads of state, with the SADC," Ping told Friday's news
"I firmly believe there is a way out and that our credibility
maintained," he added.
"You have heard Tsvangirai say that he
has accepted the principle of power
sharing in a national unity government.
I think equally to have heard from
the side of the Zimbabwe government talk
of something like that, of an
States called on the AU to increase pressure on Mugabe, while
"sham" election in Zimbabwe.
"Certainly we would hope that they (AU
leaders) would continue to speak out
in opposition to this completely
fraudulent electoral process that is now
underway and put their weight
behind international efforts to reach some
kind of political solution,"
State Department spokesman Tom Casey said in
Amnesty International urged Tanzanian President Jakaya
Kikwete - the AU's
current chairman - to deliver an unequivocal denunciation
of Zimbabwe at the
"The AU chairman should strongly and openly condemn the
violations occurring in Zimbabwe. Anything less is an
abdication of its
responsibilities," Amnesty said in a
Ping had expressed "grave concern" about the situation in
Friday's meeting, but in his opening speech he confined his
general remarks about the problems of democratisation in
"The major challenge facing our continent is to ensure that
elections do not
lead to disturbances and/or violent and often bloody
As well as Zimbabwe, this was an allusion to Kenya's disputed
election last December which triggered political violence in
which more than
1,500 people died before a compromise was brokered between
the rival sides.
World has right to intervene in Zimbabwe - Tutu
Fri Jun 27,
2008 7:35pm BST
LONDON, June 27 (Reuters) - The world has the right
to override Zimbabwe's
sovereignty to intervene in its crisis and should
consider banning flights
as a step to bring pressure, Archbishop Desmond
Tutu said on Friday.
The South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate spoke
in an interview broadcast
after President Robert Mugabe defied world opinion
to hold an election in
which he was the only candidate. The opposition
withdrew over attacks on its
Tutu told Britain's Channel
4 television that the "international community
has the right now to override
the sovereignty argument of the country.
"A government has the obligation
to protect its citizens. If it will not
protect them then or it is unable to
do so then the international community
knows now that it has an instrument
to intervene to ensure that a situation
does not deteriorate further," he
Tutu has said he favours the deployment of international
Zimbabwe, suffering economic collapse after 28 years of
Mugabe's rule as
well as the political crisis.
Morgan Tsvangirai, who won a first round against Mugabe on
March 29, pulled
out of Friday's vote after at least 90 of his supporters
were killed in
attacks blamed on Mugabe's ruling party.
Tutu said African rulers should
declare Mugabe illegitimate and impose a
blockade of landlocked Zimbabwe,
including a flight ban.
"One of quickest ways is to stop Air Zimbabwe
from flying over any of its
neighbours so that it will be properly grounded
... Mugabe and his sidekicks
would not be able to -- as they are now --
escape the rigours of their own
policies," Tutu said.
countries have imposed limited sanctions to target Mugabe and his
allies, but there has been no discussion of a broader embargo that
deepen the suffering ordinary Zimbabweans. (Writing by Matthew
Editing by Giles Elgood)
Committee to comment on Zimbabwe arms report
June 27, 2008,
The National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) will
week to a report that South Africa has been supplying weapons
of war to
The chairperson of the NCACC, January Masilela,
said he would wait for the
return of Minister Sydney Mufamadi from Zimbawe
to comment on the article.
Mufamadi is in Zimbabwe as part of President
Thabo Mbeki's facilitation
A newspaper reported that weapons,
including helicopters, revolvers and
cartridges, were supplied to Zimbabwe
despite the mounting human rights
abuses in that country.
claimed information in its possession pointed to a cosy
the defence forces of both countries, as well as
It also alleged that private South African companies had
also sold arms to
Zimbabwe and these transfers must have been approved by
the NCACC. Armaments
to the value of R3.3 million were privately transferred
from South Africa to
Zimbabwe, according to 2004 and 2005 figures, the paper
It also said the Department of Defence donated Dakota aircraft
millions to Zimbabwe, while Armscor transferred spares to get
military helicopters flying again.
Zimbabwean soldiers and
flying instructors had been trained by the SA
National Defence Force and the
SA Air Force, the newspaper said. - Sapa
Zimbabwean opposition supporters moved from
South African Embassy to a safe location
International Herald Tribune
PressPublished: June 27, 2008
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa:
Officials from the South African Embassy in
Harare say a group of 300
opposition supporters who had sought refuge there
have been moved to a safe
location on the outskirts of Harare.
Ronnie Mamoepa, a spokesman for
South Africa's Foreign Ministry, said Friday
that the group of men, women
and children have been moved to "a place of
safety, where security will be
provided on a 24-hour basis."
The group arrived at the South African
Embassy on Wednesday seeking refuge
from escalating violence against
supporters of the Movement for Democratic
Change, which has been targeted by
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF. MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out
of Friday's election Sunday, leaving
Mugabe as the sole contender.
Got A Plan for Zimbabwe? I Don't
Robert Dreyfuss Fri Jun
27, 10:41 AM ET
The Nation -- It's ugly in Zimbabwe. It was ugly in Iraq,
too, in 2003. The
world is full of ugly places. But let's hope the coolest
of cool heads
prevail before any sort of outside intervention is planned in
If anyone has any good ideas about how
to help Zimbabwe, I'd like to hear
them. Military interention is obviously a
nonstarter. Tougher economic
sanctions probably won't do much, except worsen
the plight of the Zimbabwe
people and tribes not favored by President Robert
Mugabe. Yes, he's
murdering and torturing members of the opposition. So
what's your plan? Mine
is pretty much: do nothing.
The editor of the
Economic Times of India points out one aspect of the
handwringing about Mugabe, in a Post column:
The vast majority of 20th
century world rulers were bloody autocrats, and
the shift to democracy in
the 21st century has so far been partial and
unconvincing. Saudi Arabia,
Egypt and Jordan are autocracies. Does anybody
suggest UN action to topple
them? All the Central Asian republics are
autocracies. Does anybody suggest
toppling them? No, because they are
generally pro-Western autocracies, and
that apparently expiates their sins.
Of Mugabe's many crimes, the one that
is apparently unforgivable is that he
has confiscated the land of white
farmers, killed some and driven out
others. In earlier times, when he
accommodated whites, the West hailed him
as a great freedom fighter. Britain
even knighted him. These encomiums were
poured on him despite his killing
10,000 to 20,000 members of the rival
Matabele tribe during an uprising.
Nobody called him a bloody criminal at
the time. Only when he turned
viciously against whites did the western media
and political class suddenly
find in him despicable qualities that had
somehow escaped them
This white bias is well understood in Africa--and Asia--and
other African rulers have been slow to join Western
condemnation of him.
Some have finally condemned him now, but none of them
wants military action
to topple Mugabe.
Condemning Mugabe is one
thing, as everyone from George W. Bush to Nelson
Mandela has done. But doing
something about it is another thing. Lots of
people want to blame Thabo
Mbeki, the president of South Africa, for not
cutting off Zimbabwe's
electric supply, shutting down the border, and
otherwise taking aggressive
actions to isolate Mugabe. To my mind, Mbeki
argues convincingly that (a)
those measures won't work and (b) they would
boomerang to hurt South Africa
and the region.
Maybe Mbeki did his best, as the regional African
mediator for Zimbabwe, to
broker fair elections, and maybe he didn't. The
elections were, in fact,
held, and the opposition won control of Zimbabwe's
parliament. Could Mbeki
have done any more, given Mugabe's determination to
stay in power? I don't
know. But clearly Mbeki isn't lining up behind
forcible "regime change."
Even Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader
who took refuge in the Dutch
embassy and dropped out of the election held
today, isn't calling for armed
intervention, though members of this party
Of course, the Queen of England did strip Mugabe of the honorary
he received back when he was in favor.
Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai returns to Dutch embassy
Fri 27 Jun
2008, 13:33 GMT
HARARE, June 27 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean opposition leader
returned to the Dutch embassy in a diplomatic vehicle
after addressing a
media conference in the capital Harare, witnesses
"He is going back to the embassy," an official from Tsvangirai's
for Democratic Change said. Tsvangirai took refuge in the embassy
ago after withdrawing from a presidential election against
Crowds Gather in London to Mourn the Death of Democracy
27 June 2008
Posted to the web 27 June
As Zimbabwe's one man poll went ahead on
Friday, a coalition of Zimbabwean
groups gathered in London to protest
against the ongoing violence that has
plagued the country since the March
elections, as well as to protest the
"sham" election run off.
group, including the Vigil, MDC UK and Ireland, the Zimbabwe Association
the Zimbabwe Community Group, started their protest outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy, before moving to the South African High Commission later on Friday
The Vigil's Rose Benton told Newsreel that the vocal,
singing crowd was led
by a group carrying a coffin to symbolise the deaths
at the hands of
Mugabe's regime. She said the group also carried hundreds of
reading "How many more must die?" and listing the names of many of
The group then marched in their masses to the South
African High Commission
to hand over a petition for peace and to pray and
mourn for those who have
died and for "the death of democracy in
Benton said the "sham" election with Mugabe as the single
proof that "democracy in Zimbabwe has died". She said a
tribute had been
laid at the doors of the Zimbabwean embassy as "a reminder
to all that more
needs to be done to stop the bloodshed".
At the same
time, crowds gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in
Friday afternoon for a vigil held there. The peaceful
organised by the World YWCA and the World Student
Christian Federation for
justice, peace and healing in Zimbabwe
The $64,000,000,000 Inflation Question
June 27, 2008, 1:04 pm
Posted by David Gaffen
object on the left is worth more than the pile on the right.
Annelena Lobb has this report on an inflation rate that dwarfs
If using the word “hyperinflation” understates the problem,
the setting is probably Zimbabwe. In the southern African country, a spiraling
inflation rate of at least six digits renders the value of its currency an
Hyperactive hyperinflation comes as a result of decades of rule by
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s strongman president. Under his regime,
infrastructure has crumbled and millions of people have fled. Today, Mr. Mugabe
is the only candidate in a discredited presidential runoff election, from which
opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai has withdrawn.
Mr. Tsvangirai won a majority of votes in a March election, but removed
himself from this one after state-sponsored violence against his supporters. Mr.
Mugabe said he wouldn’t recognize the withdrawal, and is expected to use
violence and intimidation to get people to the polls today.
Amid political chaos this week, residents scrambled to buy foreign exchange,
sending the value of the Zimbabwean dollar ever lower. The Old Mutual Implied
Rate, used as an unofficial proxy for the value of a Zimbabwean dollar,
estimates that one U.S. dollar today is worth Z$64,575,990,281, which is more
than Thursday, when it bought about Z$62 billion, but down from a peak of about
Z$80 billion Tuesday, according to the Web site ZimbabweanEquities.com.
inflation rate has gone vertical in the last month. (Zimbabweanequities.com)
Financial-services firm Old Mutual lists shares in both London and Harare,
among other places; observers can calculate — roughly — what a Zimbabwean dollar
is worth using share prices on both exchanges.
The OMIR doesn’t necessarily correlate to the rate you’d get on the street.
But foreign exchange is the easiest store of value in Zimbabwe these
days, said Rob Stangroom, who runs ZimbabweanEquities.com as well as
other sites on African companies.
“You can change U.S. dollars on the street, and you can only take about Z$25
billion out of a bank account at any point in time. So if you want to
have a normal life, you can’t, unless you use foreign exchange,” Mr.
Stangroom said. “It’s very distorted. [The currency’s] value changes from day to
day. I’ve been out of Zimbabwe for [more than] a week, which is a very
long time,” he said.
In a hyperinflationary setting, that can be an eternity. When prices change
that fast, “people spend a huge part of their day, every day, thinking about how
to spend their money in the right way and at the right time. People get
paid and have to figure out how to spend money immediately, before it loses
value,” said Steven Levitsky, a professor of government at Harvard
University. “It’s almost impossible to cope with.”