New York Times
By BARRY BEARAK
Published: June 28, 2008
JOHANNESBURG - Many people in Zimbabwe faced a peculiar choice on Friday:
cast their ballots for President Robert Mugabe, the only candidate left in
the presidential runoff, or be beaten up and perhaps killed.
The opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, dropped out of the election on
Sunday, citing a state-run campaign of violence against his followers. He
told supporters that if possible, they should stay away from the polls, and
many people were able to do so. Turnout appears to have been very low,
especially in the opposition's urban strongholds.
But on Friday, in an open letter, he also offered advice to those who were
being forced to vote for Mr. Mugabe by gangs of ruling-party enforcers: "If
you need to do this to save your life, be not afraid. Do it."
In Murehwa, in the province of Mashonaland East, many voters did just that.
After a full night of being forced to chant the slogans of Mr. Mugabe's
party, ZANU-PF, they were taken to the polls in groups of five, said a
teacher who described the events. He was too afraid to provide his name.
"In each group there was a leader who would record the serial number on the
ballot so they could detect who you voted for," he said, because Mr.
Tsvangirai withdrew too late to have his name removed from the ballot.
Many voters were desperate for the protection offered by a pinky finger
dipped in red ink, evidence that they had voted.
"I just wanted the ink for security reasons," said MacDonald, 33, a man who
voted in a ramshackle Harare suburb and did not want his comments
accompanied by his last name. "I fear victimization from the ZANU-PF
militia. It is obvious they will come door to door. If they see you do not
have the red ink, they will know you are for the opposition."
Friday's election, denounced as a sham by many leaders across Africa and
throughout the world, was a woeful event in a woebegone nation, afflicted by
sinister violence and an economy that has plunged most everyone into penury.
The vote was a marked contrast to the election that took place here in
March, when optimism tinged the air and people stood in long lines, chatting
and joking, welcoming the chance to partake in democracy.
By the official count, Mr. Tsvangirai won that vote over Mr. Mugabe, 48
percent to 43 percent. The 84-year-old president, who has led Zimbabwe since
it won independence in 1980, seemed on the ropes.
But the lack of a majority required a runoff, and that is when, according to
human rights groups, ZANU-PF began a brass-knuckled approach in preparation
for the second round. During the campaign of terror, dozens of Mr.
Tsvangirai's supporters have been killed, thousands have been wounded and
tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes, civic groups,
doctors and relief agencies say.
As the runoff approached, voters - especially those in rural areas - were
warned to vote for Mr. Mugabe or else. Ben Freeth, a commercial farmer near
the town of Chegutu in the province of Mashonaland West, said dozens of his
workers had been taken away for all-night vigils called pungwe sessions.
"Sleep deprivation is a big part of it," Mr. Freeth said. "They're made to
chant slogans, and anyone deemed an opposition supporter is singled out and
beaten with sticks in front of the rest. They're told that everyone in the
group has to vote for Mugabe or their heads will be chopped off."
As Friday's vote went on, and as more stories of intimidation became known,
Mr. Tsvangirai called a news conference. "What is happening today is not an
election," he protested. "It is an exercise in mass intimidation with people
all over the country being forced to vote."
And yet the coercion, while common, was not all-pervasive.
In Harare and Bulawayo, the two largest cities, the turnout was light at
most polling places, with election workers often outnumbering the voters.
In Kambuzuma, a suburb of Harare, only five voters arrived during the first
two hours. "I don't see the logic of going to vote when there is only one
candidate," said a man too afraid to give his name, adding, "I can't
legitimize an illegitimate process."
Many Tsvangirai supporters tried to have things both ways, voting in order
to stay safe and yet somehow marring their ballot so it would not count.
In Mpopma, a Bulawayo suburb, there was also a parliamentary race. "People
tried to take the parliamentary paper and refuse the presidential one, and
if they were forced to take the presidential ballot they spoiled it by
voting for both candidates," said Lenox Mhlanga, the information director
for Bulawayo Agenda, a coalition of civic groups.
On Friday, the Group of 8 nations, meeting in Kyoto, Japan, lambasted
Zimbabwe's government, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the
United Nations Security Council may consider fresh sanctions against it next
The leaders of several African states, including Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania
and Zambia, have also condemned Mr. Mugabe's use of election-season
In remarks published Friday in The Herald, the state-run newspaper, Mr.
Mugabe seemed offended at the accusations. But rather than denying the
abuses, he suggested that everything is relative.
"Some African countries have done worse things," he said, adding that when
he went to meetings of the African Union next week in Egypt he would dare
other heads of state to deny this fact. "I would like some African leaders
who are making these statements to point at me and we would see if those
fingers would be cleaner than mine."
Oddly, when Friday's election results are announced, the tally may prove an
embarrassment to Mr. Mugabe. He could win by too much. "They'll have to give
Tsvangirai at least 30 percent to make things look realistic," said Mike
Davies, the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association, one of
the nation's largest civic groups.
"That'll be one of the bizarre ironies of the situation here," he said.
"ZANU will have to rejigger the results from the frightened masses, taking
votes from themselves."
Disappointment at the U.N.
The United Nations Security Council expressed disappointment on Friday that
the elections had not been delayed, but members failed to agree on a more
strongly worded condemnation.
The American ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, speaking as the Council's monthly
president, called the elections a "sham" and expressed "deep regret" that
they went ahead under the current circumstances.
He said that if conditions did not change, the American government would
push for sanctions. Informal consultations with other Council members had
already begun about sanctions, diplomats said.
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 28, 2008
SEOUL, South Korea: The United States plans to introduce a U.N. resolution
next week calling for tough action against Zimbabwe's government, U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday, to prevent the country's
leaders from further abusing its population.
Speaking with reporters on her way to Seoul, South Korea, Rice said the U.S.
and Britain could present the resolution to the U.N. Security Council as
early as Monday.
The action is in response to the widely denounced runoff election in which
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is accused of using violence to coerce
people to vote for him.
"It is time for the international community to act," Rice said. "It is hard
to imagine that anybody could fail to act given what we're all watching on
the ground in Zimbabwe.
"There needs to be a really strong message from the international community
about what has happened there," she said.
A proposed resolution is being drafted and officials said it would probably
be circulated informally over the weekend and presented to the full council
The U.S. currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.
Rice declined to specify what will be in the proposed resolution but said
there "has to be a deterrent effect from the international community at this
point to (halt) further intimidation, further violence against the
"We will have to look to what other measures are available both to the U.S.
and the international community more broadly to send a strong message of
deterrence," she said, adding that the U.S. would "use everything in our
power in terms of appropriate sanctions."
Many of the injured being treated at a private hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe, asked not to be identified.
"It's a good move by my president, Morgan Tsvangirai," said a 26-year-old Movement for Democratic Change activist who said he was forced to stand on hot coals and had boiling water poured on him about a week ago. "There's no use going for an election."
The man, who displayed a large, pale, blistered patch on his back, asked not to be identified -- as did others being treated at a private hospital in Harare -- for fear of further attacks by gangs supportive of President Robert Mugabe.
All of the victims said they were taken to "torture bases" by the gangs, made up of young men and soldiers.
In the March 29 election, MDC officials said their polling showed Tsvangirai clearly defeating Mugabe, who at 84 is the only president Zimbabwe has had since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.
But after delaying the release of results for more than a week, the country's electoral commission -- which is made up of Mugabe appointees -- said that although Tsvangirai got more votes, he didn't top the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
MDC supporters had already reported violence against them by police, military members and other supporters of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. But in the weeks leading up to the runoff, the reports increased in frequency and intensity.
More than 70 people were killed in attacks since the election, according to the MDC. Mugabe's supporters have claimed that those attacks were against his party members, a claim international observers, including the United Nations, have disputed. Watch victims say they were taken to torture camps »
Tsvangirai and other party leaders were repeatedly arrested by police or detained on their way to political rallies. And reports of beatings and other intimidation tactics were common in areas where the MDC had made strong showings in the election.
"Mostly for the rural people -- the police would come in for the Zanu-PF, so the area was very tense," said a municipal worker at the hospital, who said he was kicked and had burning plastic poured on his skin about three or four days ago. "Everyone was beaten. Whether Zanu-PF or MDC. There was chaos in the country."
George Charamba, a spokesman for Mugabe, insisted that the vote was "free and fair."
Charamba denied that any pressure was being used.
Asked about images from Zimbabwe showing what is reported to be violence against members of the opposition, he responded, "I thought we are long past the age where we could consider pictures as not lying. It's very, very easy for anyone to stage-manage a demonstration, and a violent one at that."
Last weekend, Tsvangirai withdrew from the runoff, saying there was no way the result would be legitimate. He has spent much of the time since living in the Dutch Embassy in Harare in fear for his safety.
Early Friday, the municipal worker said he was considering whether to heed Tsvangirai's call for his supporters to not vote in the election, but the question may be moot. The gangs took his identification card and threw it into a fire, he said.
Another man and a woman treated for broken hands at the hospital said they were tortured and had boiling water poured on their genitals for being MDC supporters. The man said he was forced to drink sewage.
"Very optimistic, upbeat ... and hungry," he said when asked how he was feeling.
HARARE, June 28 (AFP)
Zimbabwe's opposition condemned Saturday the UN's failure to declare the
country's election as illegitimate, accusing South African President Thabo
Mbeki of shielding a "rogue regime" from criticism.
"What we would expect from the international community is to declare this
so-called election illegitimate," the Movement for Democratic Change's chief
spokesman Nelson Chamisa told AFP.
"The tiptoeing being shown by international bodies indirectly fertilises
repression in Zimbabwe.
"Mbeki is letting down the masses of the people of Zimbabwe by acting as a
shield for a rogue regime."
Chamisa's comments come after South Africa blocked the adoption of a
non-binding resolution at the Security Council that would have stated that
the results of Friday's run-off election "could have no credibility or
President Robert Mugabe was the sole candidate in the poll after MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted the contest following a wave of attacks on his
Sat 28 Jun 2008, 6:04 GMT
HARARE, June 28 (Reuters) - A candidate for Zimbabwe's MDC has defeated
President Robert Mugabe's information minister in one of three parliamentary
by-elections held on the same day as the country's presidential run-off, an
opposition spokesman said on Saturday.
"Our candidate, Samuel Sndla Khumalo, has won the Mpopoma-Pelandaba
constituency by-election, defeating ZANU-PF's Sikhanyiso Ndlovu by 3,795
votes to 1,354 votes," Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson
The by-election was one of three held at the same time as the run-off vote
in which Mugabe was the only candidate. (Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing
by Charles Dick)
Posted 1 hour 6 minutes ago
Updated 57 minutes ago
Zimbabwe's opposition say they would be open to dialogue with the President
Robert Mugabe, but only under certain conditions.
The President has gone ahead with a presidential run-off election, despite
international condemnation of the poll as neither free or fair.
The international community is urging African states to find a solution to
the current crisis, with suggestions floated for a power sharing arrangement
between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition MDC Party.
The counting of votes is underway in Zimbabwe and Opposition MDC Leader
Morgan Tsvangirai is again reported to be back in the Dutch Embassy in
Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper says there was a massive voter
turnout in the election, but observers say it was quiet at some polling
stations and there were credible reports that many people had been forced by
government supporters to vote for President Mugabe.
It is expected that Mr Mugabe will want to declare victory before leaving
Zimbabwe to attend next week's African Union summit in Egypt.
Mr Tsvangirai withdrew from the poll because of the violence that has killed
dozens of opposition supporters.
The party representative in the United States, Dr Handel Mlilo, has said Mr
Tsvangirai would be open for talks with President Mugabe, but only if there
was an end to the political killings and intimidation.
"The violence must cease, the thugs that he's got all over the country must
be disbanded," he said.
"There must be a protection mechanism within a country whereby we do not
have to face an army that's basically killing its own people.
"There's no point to talk to Mugabe until the conditions are right."
The United Nations Security Council says it deeply regrets Zimbabwe's
decision to press ahead with the presidential run-off election.
The Council's temporary president, the US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, told
reporters it was a matter of deep regret that Zimbabwe had proceeded with
its presidential run-off even though there had been no change in conditions.
However, Western diplomats say the Council was blocked from making a
One told the BBC it was down to South Africa.
The country has historically protected Zimbabwe, and this time objected to a
draft that described the elections as illegitimate.
Mr Khalilzad also said the US would be pressing for sanctions.
"We have already started discussions with some colleagues on a resolution
that would impose appropriately focused sanctions on the regime assuming
that conditions continue as they have during the last period," he said.
Who's bankrolling Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, and what kind of
assets are being pimped around?
28 Jun 2008 04:22
Why have the names of those bankrolling Zimbabwe's deranged president,
Robert Mugabe, been kept so well under wraps? For one thing, the deals
behind the bankrolling are not simple, and for another, the robber barons
are pretty smart and can also be pretty damn dangerous.
Depending on how you count, there are four or five individuals bankrolling
Mugabe. No matter how you count, they are all palefaces. This may be
surprising, given Mugabe's year 2000 "land reform" package where he booted
an estimated 4,000 palefaces off Zimbabwe's commercial farms. The collapse
of one of the economy's biggest cornerstones triggered a savage economic
decline, to the extent that Zimbabwe has long been bankrupt, with more than
80% unemployment, and delivering the highest inflation rate ever known to
the human species. Roll up with your wheelbarrow, and trade your billion
dollars for a beer.
Mugabe is also bankrupt, in every sense of the word, and relies on patronage
from his chosen palefaces. In recent times, the robber barons have become
increasingly bold, apparently secure in the idea that assets pimped out to
them are sacrosanct. The most public of these foul deals was described in an
announcement dated 11 April this year, when London-listed Camec described
how it had acquired a choice duo of platinum deposits on Zimbabwe's Grand
Camec bought 100% of dodgy-sounding Lefever, a (no surprise) British Virgin
Islands company, from Meryweather Investments, a misnomer of note. Lefever
owns 60% of Todal, a Zimbabwean company, which has the rights to the Bougai
and Kironde platinum concessions, owned until recently by Anglo Platinum, in
which Anglo American holds a 76% stake. Everything points to the two
concessions suffering zero-payment confiscation from Anglo Platinum.
For Lefever, Camec agreed to pay Meryweather USD 5m cash, plus 215m new
Camec shares (currently worth USD 234m). Camec also agreed to loan USD 100m
to Lefever. This is to be repaid by Zimbabwean state-owned mining company
ZMDC, which owns the other 40% of Todal. This thinly disguised donation is
nothing less than an unsecured cash loan to the Zimbabwe government; for
that, read "Robert Mugabe".
Neither Camec nor its representatives are prepared to unveil the names of
the human owners of Meryweather, who have effectively been enriched to the
tune of USD 339m. It needs only a feeble imagination to figure out who's
hiding behind that story. Camec's key movers and shakers are two of its
executives, Phillipe Edmonds, who apparently once played cricket for
England, and Andrew Groves, the rough speaking son of a Harare policeman.
Edmonds and Groves have shown huge appetites for preying on vulnerable
mining assets, deploying interesting business tactics, to boot.
Starting around the end of 2005, Edmonds and Groves started negotiating the
purchase by Camec of number of mining assets in Katanga Province, Democratic
Republic of the Congo, from Conrad Muller "Billy" Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean
who was and is still facing extradition applications from South African
authorities and was last year declared a persona non grata in the DRC.
Rautenbach did not come by the DRC assets by accident. Excerpts from various
reports filed with the UN Security Council by the UN's Panel of Experts on
the DRC lay out the basic story, which starts in November 1998 when
Rautenbach was named managing director of DRC parastatal Gécamines during a
visit to Harare by the-then DRC president Laurent-Désiré Kabila (later
assassinated by a bodyguard).
According to this deal, some of Gécamines's best cobalt-producing areas were
transferred to a joint venture between Rautenbach's Ridgepointe Overseas
Development, and the Central Mining Group, a Congolese company controlled by
Pierre-Victor Mpoyo, the-then DRC minister of state. Rautenbach also acted
as managing director of the joint venture, which, said the panel, was "a
blatant conflict of interests".
The UN panel had information that Kabila's decision to appoint Rautenbach -
a man with no mining experience but with close ties to Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF party - was made at the request of Mugabe during the visit. The DRC
government primarily relied on Gécamines as a means to ensure the continued
support of Zimbabwe's military during another period of mayhem in the DRC.
The transfer of assets was part of the political deal struck between the two
country presidents, leading to Operation Sovereign Legitimacy (Osleg), a
mechanism designed to recompense Zimbabwe for its military intervention in
the DRC between 1998 and 2003.
Rautenbach was described by the UN Panel as a major player in the "elite
network" of twisted politicians, military commanders and shady businessmen
that organised the transfer of billions of dollars of state assets to
private companies with no compensation or direct revenue benefit accruing to
the state treasuries of either the DRC or Zimbabwe.
Given his various propensities, Rautenbach did not last long at Gécamines;
Kabila replaced him with George Forrest, a highly successful Katanga
Province businessman, in March 1999, apparently after Rautenbach
persistently failed to pay the DRC government its share of profits from the
joint venture. Kabila also accused Rautenbach of transferring profits to a
shell company, as well as stockpiling cobalt in South Africa.
The UN panel alleged that during Rautenbach's short tenure at Gécamines, he
acted as a conduit for payments to Mugabe and other senior figures in
Zimbabwe's political and military elite resulting from the "illegal
exploitation" (a euphemism for "looting") of assets that historically
belonged to Gécamines.
As pointed out, starting back in 2005, Rautenbach started selling certain
cobalt-copper assets in the Katanga Province to Camec, mainly in return for
Camec shares; for some time, Rautenbach was the biggest shareholder in
Camec. Camec bought a number of DRC-related entities from Rautenbach,
principally the Congo Resources Joint Venture, which gave Camec access to a
50% stake in Mukondo Mountain, a substantial cobalt-copper deposit.
Many of the Rautenbach-Camec deals were opaque; thus, in February 2006,
Rautenbach entered an agreement with Camec for the sale of most of his
interests in the Congo Cobalt Company (CoCoCo) to Camec. Back at the ranch,
subsequent to Forrest taking over at Gécamines, Mukondo and a number of
adjacent and associate concessions had been acquired by John Bredenkamp, a
Under various threats from Rautenbach, Bredenkamp let half of Mukondo and
its associates go to Rautenbach. Bredenkamp sold his remaining half of
Mukondo in June 2006 for around USD 60m to Dan Gertler, a highly connected
player in the DRC resources game. In reaction to Rautenbach's business
practices, Gertler immediately ordered a halt to activities on Mukondo.
In the battle that ensued, Rautenbach was booted out of the DRC - by the
government, naturally - in July 2007; a month later, the DRC attorney
general declared the concession licences that Camec had apparently bought
from Rautenbach to be null and void. But then they all suddenly jumped into
the same bed; mining at Mukondo resumed after Camec's licences were
mysteriously, quietly, and fully restored. Gertler then vended his stake in
Mukondo into Camec, becoming its biggest shareholder.
Meanwhile, international coal prices, like practically all commodity prices,
were on the move and Rautenbach managed to become mixed up with the affairs
of Hwange Colliery, a mining company in Zimbabwe's far west, listed on the
Johannesburg and Harare bourses. Hwange not only has sufficient reserves to
continue mining at the rate of 5m tons a year for the next 150 years, it is
also endowed with a seam of rich coking coal.
Coking coal, rare among coal deposits in Africa, is the most valuable of all
grades of coal, and is considered essential in certain mine processing
operations such as the reduction of iron ore. Hwange markets its coking coal
in the forms of breeze, peas, nuts, metallurgical coke, and foundry coke.
Most of its coking coal output is sold to ready customers to the north in
Zambia and the DRC, typically members of the copperbelt's booming
brownfields mines. These are customers that have ready hard cash in the form
of US dollars; say no more.
And then there is Nicholas van Hoogstraten, a controversial businessman of
British origin who has long held links with Zimbabwe. Van Hoogstraten was
convicted in 1968 of paying a gang to attack a business associate. In 2002
he was sentenced to 10 years for the manslaughter of a business rival; the
verdict was overturned on appeal, but in 2005 he was ordered to pay the
victim's family £6m in a civil case.
Born in 1945, Van Hoogstraten bought an estate in Zimbabwe when he was 19.
In 2005 he announced plans to take over NMB, a major Zimbabwe bank, but then
last year he sold the shares he had acquired. In 2006 Van Hoogstraten told
the London Sunday Times that Mugabe was "a true English gentleman". He
flashed a memorandum for a loan of $10m made to Mugabe, and commented: "In
six months' time, when the interest is due, it would be cheaper for them to
just kill me. I think I am more use to the government in Zimbabwe alive".
Word on the ground in Zimbabwe is that Van Hoogstraten is eyeing
consolidation of the glorious Nuanetsi ranches in Matabeleland. It is also
said that Camec is looking to build a monstrous 50,000 sugar cane plantation
in the area. The district is prone to droughts; before such a sugar project
can go ahead, a giant dam will have to be built. If Mugabe goes on and
finally retires at the age of 128, rest assured that palefaces will once
again be running the country's farms and mines. The strong and overwhelming
empirical evidence shows that Mugabe wants that, whether he likes it or not.
Fri, 27 Jun 2008 17:49
Phebion Kangoni chuckled as he walked away from a polling station in
Harare's sprawling dormitory town of Chitungwiza after casting his ballot
Friday in Zimbabwe's one-man election.
"It's just funny and it does not make sense at all that all people are going
to vote when the result is well-known," said Kangoni, pointing at residents
trickling into a primary school which had been transformed into a polling
station for the day. 'Voted' for security
Kangoni, who confessed he voted for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in the first round of the election on 29 March, said this time
he had "voted" for his security.
"I would be lying to you if I say I voted," Kangoni said.
"I simply returned the ballot paper without putting even a dot. All I wanted
was that red ink on my little finger. We were told during a rally this week
that those who boycott this election would be dealt with."
Voters dip their left-hand little finger in a jar of red indelible ink to
show they have cast their vote and some residents said members of President
Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF)
vowed to check residents' digits.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who beat Mugabe on 29 March but failed to win
outright, quit the run-off on Sunday citing the killing of dozens of
supporters in a campaign of retribution by suspected pro-Mugabe militants.
The party says that at least 2000 of its members, including its polling
agents, have been detained, while thousands more have been hospitalised and
displaced after losing their homes. Waste of resources
Another Chitungwiza resident, Cyril Munyanyi, deplored the election as a
waste of resources in a country with the world's highest inflation rate and
the majority of the population living below the poverty threshold.
"I simply wrote "Tongai Henyu" on the ballot paper," Munyanyi told AFP. "I
am frustrated by the whole thing."
Loosely translated, "tongai henyu" means "you can go ahead and rule for as
long as you wish."
According to Kangoni and several fellow residents, Zanu-PF members
threatened to "deal" with anyone who did not go to vote. On the eve of the
election, Chitungwiza, renowned for its teeming streets, resembled a ghost
town as thousands of residents went to attend Mugabe's final campaign rally.
Several residents said groups of youths went around sections of the township
about two hours before polling stations opened singing pro-Mugabe war songs.
In other parts of the suburb, prospective voters were ordered to pass
through bases set up by Zanu-PF to collect blank pieces of paper to write
down the serial numbers on their ballot papers. After voting they were asked
to submit the serial numbers to the base. "For my own safety..."
"I saw groups of people, men and women rushing to the base and for my own
safety I went back home to collect my own identity papers and joined them,"
said a resident in the Seke section of Chitungwiza.
An AFP correspondent saw a group of elderly women going around the streets
exhorting apathetic residents in the poorest section of the dormitory town
to "go and vote."
"You don't want to be seen going against what they want," said a man heading
to a tent where about 60 voters were queuing to cast their ballots.
In Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo, voter turnout appeared low.
Mostly elderly voters trickled to polling stations in the populous districts
of Makokoba and Nkulumane, while the central business district was awash
with pamphlets thrown around by an anonymous organisation urging residents
not to vote.
Jethro Moyo, a 28-year-old man from Nkulumane, said voting was a waste of
time after Mugabe vowed he would not accept an opposition victory.
"Why bother voting if Mugabe is not going to step down even if he loses,"
In a message to supporters Friday, Tsvangirai said there was no point in
putting their lives at risk by defying threats from Zanu-PF.
"If possible, we ask you not to vote today. But if you must vote for Mr
Mugabe because of threats to your life, then do so," he wrote.
A scathing critique of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF written by President Thabo Mbeki sheds new light on the South African leader’s private view of the Zimbabwean crisis.
In the document Mbeki clearly sympathises with Zanu-PF as “the party of revolution”. Indeed, his perspective is that through its economic mismanagement and political mistakes, the ruling party is fuelling the rise of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
But he encourages Mugabe to work with the MDC and expand Zimbabwe’s international “circle of friends”. He warns the Zimbabwean leader not to drive anyone away on the basis that they are guilty of “imperialist machinations aimed at limiting national sovereignty”.
“To resort to anti-imperialist rhetoric will not solve the problems of Zimbabwe but may compound them.”
Mbeki warns that Zanu-PF has lost the backing of most Zimbabweans and has been taken over by “war veterans” responsible for violence and intimidation. There is a “clear alienation of the masses from the system of governance”, giving scope for the formation of the MDC.
The full document here:
African Press Organization
HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 27, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ - Freedom
House urges the African Union to lead a global effort to exclude Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe from regional and international bodies, starting
with Monday's African Union summit in Egypt. Mugabe has vowed to attend the
summit which comes just days after he held a one-party presidential runoff
election marked by widespread violence targeted at opposition party leaders
"With these sham elections, Mugabe defiantly squandered whatever good will
and legitimacy he had left on the continent," said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom
House executive director. "The African Union can set a powerful precedent
and send a clear message of hope to the people of Zimbabwe by isolating
Mugabe and pushing for his swift exit from the country's political arena."
Such action would be consistent with the African Union's mandate to promote
"democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good
governance" and uphold the organization's credibility on the African
The African Union should send a high-level mediator, backed by peacekeeping
forces, to negotiate a transitional government, which would create
conditions for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
"It is time to match words of condemnation with deeds that will send a clear
message to Mugabe's murderous regime," said Windsor. "It is unacceptable to
sit idly by watching Mugabe's cronies tabulate ballots while Zimbabwe's
people count their dead, their wounded and their meager food supplies.
African and international leaders cannot allow one man to decimate the lives
of millions in the name of his own vain political pursuits."
Zimbabwe is ranked Not Free in the 2008 edition of Freedom in the World,
Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and in the
2008 version of Freedom of the Press.
SOURCE : Freedom House
African Press Organization
HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 27, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ - "The
Security Council unanimously sent a very clear message to the authorities of
Zimbabwe on monday : it was impossible to hold a free and fair election on
Today, the governement of Zimbabwe chose to ignore this message and to
steal democracy. This election lost all legitimacy, as the power which will
come from it.
The Council reaffirmed today its declaration from last monday, said that it
was a matter of deep regret that the elections went ahead in those
circumstances, expressed its support to regional and international efforts
and indicated that it would come back to the matter in the coming days.
We hope that the meeting of the African Union will enable to find a
solution to the crisis.
If not, France, in liaison with its partners of the European Union, is
ready to envisage extra measures in the Security Council, so that Mr Mugabe
comes back to reason."
Dans le cas contraire, la France, en liaison avec ses partenaires de l'Union
européenne, est prête à envisager des mesures supplémentaires dans le cadre
du Conseil de sécurité pour faire entendre raison à M. Mugabe."
SOURCE : France - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Friday, Jun. 27, 2008 By VIVIENNE WALT
By proceeding with his one-candidate election on Friday, Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe has thumbed his nose at the international community.
So what is the international community going to do to ensure compliance with
democratic norms by the leader of a landlocked country whose economy is in
free fall and its people increasingly dependent on food aid? Not too much,
it seemed on Friday, when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking
at the G8 foreign ministers conclave in Kyoto, vowed to bring the matter up
at the U.N. Security Council. No decisive action ought to be expected from
that forum, in which China has long shown itself willing to wield its veto
to prevent economic sanctions against its African trading partners (of which
Zimbabwe is one). Statements of outrage from European governments were
scarcely more specific, although British officials said they planned to
expand the number of Mugabe cronies on travel-ban lists, and to press the
European Union to tighten sanctions.
The contrast is stark between the world's response to the plight of the
Zimbabweans and its engagement in southern Africa's last great battle
against tyranny - the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. From
campuses and civil society groups to the corridors of power throughout the
Western world, the pressure was on for divestment and economic sanctions
against the white-minority regime. And that pressure paid dividends when
financial sanctions at a critical moment denied the regime access to credit
and loans it desperately needed, helping nudge it to concede to the
principle of majority rule and a handover of power to the democratically
elected government of President Nelson Mandela in 1994.
The integration of the world's economy over the past two decades has made
imposing sanctions a far more daunting challenge today than it had been
during the anti-apartheid era. Whereas most of the major foreign investors
in South Africa during the 1980s had been U.S. and European corporations,
effective sanctions today would require support from the world's emerging
economies, particularly in Asia, where the tactic is unpopular. "The
appetite for international sanctions has decreased massively in the last 10
or 15 years because it's seen as much more difficult to enforce," says
Thomas Cargill of the London-based think tank Chatham House. And since
millions of Zimbabweans are struggling simply to survive, Western officials
fear that sanctions could render them totally desperate - and more dependent
than ever on Mugabe's regime. That's one reason why South Africa - where 1.5
million Zimbabweans are currently seeking refuge, their presence raising the
recently violent ire of many poor South Africans - has held off from putting
a chokehold on Zimbabwe, to which it supplies massive amounts of
electricity. And if oil companies withdrew from Zimbabwe, for example,
government officials would likely smuggle in enough fuel to keep the regime
running, says Cargill, while "ordinary people would either have none or
would have to request it from the government."
Some European governments have recently moved to cut business ties. German
officials on Friday ordered a Munich company, Giesecke and Devrient, to stop
supplying Zimbabwe with the paper on which it prints its near-worthless
banknotes - with Zimbabwe's estimated annual inflation rate at about
165,000%, the printers of Zimbabwe dollars have been a regular client of
Giesecke and Devrient.
But there's been no rush for the exits by the corporate giants that have
helped keep Zimbabwe ticking along, including Royal Dutch Shell, British
American Tobacco, and the Anglo American Corporation, which owns a platinum
mine in the country. Many of the 79 companies listed on the Harare Stock
Exchange are, in fact, earning solid returns, despite the daily misery of
most Zimbabweans amid severe shortages of food, electricity and fuel. Last
year the London-based commodities firm Lonrho began an investment fund
called LonZim, aiming to snap up investments before the collapse of
Zimbabwe's government. Zimbabwe's immense mineral wealth was "cheap as
chips" and going for "fire-sale prices," Lonrho Africa's chairman David
Lenigas told reporters when the fund launched. Investors willing to take the
risk now could be well positioned to take advantage of the immense
opportunities of a post-Mugabe economy being rebuilt from scratch.
Western governments have been slow to try political negotiations, or even to
enact cost-free sanctions against Mugabe. In part, this is because European
and U.S. officials believe that the African Union - whose summit is underway
in Egypt - should spearhead negotiations on Zimbabwe. Yet the West has so
far balked at the solution which South Africa, the most important player,
has in mind: a deal for Mugabe to share power with his enemies in exchange
for amnesty from prosecution in an international tribunal. It was only last
week that Britain stripped Mugabe of the honorary knighthood conferred on
him by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994, and canceled a planned cricket series
between England and Zimbabwe. The country's athletes are headed to next
month's Olympics in Beijing; among them is Kirsty Coventry, who won a
swimming gold medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004, earning her the
affectionate nickname "golden girl" from Zimbabwe. By contrast, South
Africa's athletes were banned from Olympic competitions for three decades,
and being barred from international competition in rugby and cricket was a
psychological blow to the white minority.
"There has been an element in Britain and elsewhere which sees these sports
teams as victims," says Cargill, "There is an uneasiness with making them
Yet even long-suffering Zimbabweans know that no regime is forever. Back in
1965 the country's white ruler Ian Smith - who declared unilateral
independence from Britain of what was then called Rhodesia - vowed that "not
in one thousand years, not in my lifetime" would black majority rule come to
the country. Fifteen years later he retired to his farm, after being ousted
from power - by a liberation movement led by Robert Mugabe.
THE London employer of two security guards arrested in Zimbabwe for
protecting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has expressed "grave concern"
at the "total collapse" of law and order in the country.
The South African close protection officers, Sphiwe Nkosi and Isaac Lekgoe,
both aged 33, were safely back in South Africa, their employer Pasco Risk
Management said yesterday .
Nkosi and Lekgoe, employed by Pasco and DeltaOne International, entered
Zimbabwe on June 3, initially destined for Uganda, but were diverted to
Harare to provide additional protection for Tsvangirai.
They were detained and arrested early on June 21 by several plain- clothed
officers who identified themselves as Central Intelligence Organisation
"Their hotel rooms were searched and the men were then taken to Harare
central police station, where they were interrogated for more than 14 hours
Pasco said they were told they would be shot and it would be made to look
like an escape attempt, unless they confessed to bringing weapons into the
country and being part of a plot to assassinate Zanu- PF leader Robert
Mugabe. "After nearly two days without food or water, Nkosi and Lekgoe were
forced to bribe police officers to get food and water. They were made to
sleep on a cold concrete floor and were laughed at when they requested
"On one occasion, Nkosi was made to walk barefoot across broken glass to
direct CIO officers to a vehicle they wished to search."
They were freed on June 26 and returned to South Africa. They have been
restricted from entering Zimbabwe. - Sapa
- WARNING FROM MUGABE HENCHMEN
INSIDE ZIMBABWE: THE NIGHTMARE ELECTION EXCLUSIVE
By Stewart Whittingham 28/06/2008
In this blood-soaked nation of daily nightmares, Celestino Masvibo has his
It is a terrible image he caught briefly as he was driven in the back of
truck from his hiding place to a safe house.
There was a man, a local teacher, hanging by his wrists from a tree while
Mugabe's thugs beat his feet with sticks.
One of his eyes had been gouged out before he was strung up beside the road
just outside the town of Plumtree in the south of Zimbabwe.
The teacher was just one more victim of the malignant psychopaths Robert
Mugabe has unleashed on his own citizens. Children as young as five have
been beaten with hammers while women are led away to camps where they are
The brutalised man dying beside the dusty road was intended as a warning to
anyone who dared to resist Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
In a desperate call to the Mirror, Celestino, 22 years old and terrified,
said: "There was just a bloodied hole where the man's eye should have been.
His whole face was just such a mess.
"He was unconscious when we drove past but people said his screams had been
terrible. The soldiers made us slow down at the roadblock to make us see. It
was a warning as they told the other villagers, 'This is how we treat MDC
Celestino is chairman of the MDC Youth Party, an obvious target, and moves
every few days to escape Mugabe's death squads, each trip a hellish journey
through the horrors of Zimbabwe.
His home was raided in April by government militia who beat him with sticks
and rifle butts before trying to pour boiling water over his feet. They had
screamed: "We're gonna kill you, MDC scum."
Celestino escaped through a window and has been in hiding ever since. And if
Celestino fears for his life, it is easy to see why as the brutal regime
The Daily Mirror has learned that Mugabe's henchmen have established secret
rape camps to abuse opposition women.
The women are dragged from their homes at knifepoint or simply snatched off
the streets in the increasingly lawless towns and cities.
So far more than a dozen camps have been set up in rural areas in Matebeland
South near the second city of Bulawayo and Mashonaland north of the capital
Victims claim up to ten women are kept together in one room in
One woman said she was raped up to four times a day for a week and another
was raped by six ZANU-PF men.
"This is a terrible abuse. Look at what Mugabe is doing to us," she said,
after being dumped back onto Harare's streets.
Another traumatised victim, a woman of 30, said: "I was taken from my home.
They came for my husband who works for the MDC.
"But they beat me with sticks and then blindfolded me before throwing me in
the back of a van where there were another two women just crying.
"We drove for hours and then they brought us to a camp and put us into a
room with eight other girls.
"They threw some food in every night but we were starving. I was raped every
day by up to three men. The women's screams will stay with me for ever.
These men are evil spirits."
Mdc Deputy-General Victor Nyoni said: "We are looking after the victims of
the violence. It is terrible what has happened to them. We have to hide them
so they do not come to more harm.
"Things are very bad in Zimbabwe at the moment."
Bad barely begins to describe it. Unemployment is 90 per cent and life
expectancy has plummeted from 62 to 34 for women and 37 for men.
Inflation has jumped to 1,000,000 per cent as prices change by the hour - if
there was anything to buy. Celestino said: "Things have got worse in the
The government thugs are stealing all the food from the opposition then
beating people," Celestino says.
"I met one pregnant woman who was in the same safe house as me. They had
punched and kicked her in the stomach.
"She had been bleeding for days and lost her baby because she had dared to
vote for the opposition.
"One of my friend's children was beaten in front of him and he cried as he
told me about his son's screams of terror. He was only five years old but
they hit his hands with a hammer because his father voted for Morgan
Tsvangirai." And in the country once famous as the breadbasket of Africa,
people are starving. Hospitals have no medicine, and every week 3,200 people
die from AIDS-related illnesses.
Celestino said: "I am hungry all the time but at least I am safe. I stayed
in one house for a week, but in that time two of the families' children died
We move around every few days as I know I am on the death squad's hit list.
They drive around in pick-up trucks and beat people with whips and sticks.
Once they came to a house where we were hidden, but we were in a basement.
We could hear them chanting and beating up the householder saying: "Where
are the MDC?"
Another MDC activist, too terrified to give his name, told how he saw a man
tied to the door of his home and set on fire.
The man's animals were doused in petrol as the laughing thugs sang ZANU-PF
"About six soldiers dragged him out of his home kicking and screaming," he
said. "They tied him to the door like they were crucifying him, then set
fire to it.
"His family managed to cut him free but he was very badly burned - I don't
know whether he survived."
The UN Security Council has condemned the violence in Zimbabwe that has made
it "impossible" to hold "free and fair" elections while opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from yesterday's Presidential run-off saying
people would be killed if they voted for him. Real figures are hard to come
by, but since Mugabe unleashed his orgy of violence it is reckoned that more
than 100 opposition activists have been murdered, 34,000 people displaced
and 2,700 beaten and tortured.
The world is united in condemnation of Mugabe's brutal regime, but no amount
of hand-wringing will save the lives of those who dare to stand against this
increasingly demented dictator.
Inflation 1 million per cent
I am hungry all the time ... but I am safe. Others are being killed for
The Namibia Economist
Written by Daniel Steinmann
What motivates us to keep supporting a man that is killing our mothers
and fathers, our sisters and brothers, and most importantly, our children?
This dark side of our African psyche has always amazed me. It keeps
reappearing whenever we face our biggest threats, and it inevitably destroys
us, our communities and our family structures. It also baffles the
non-African outside world, leading to all sorts of opinions why we are often
seen as lost human beings on a lost continent, too big for us to manage.
It is as if public opinion in the civilised world expects us to fail.
"What can you expect from Africa or from Africans?" I am often asked when
dealing with critical investors, or even neutral analysts.
And the sad part is that, as much as I try to defend my heritage and
my continent, our critics always come up with another example of how we
inexplicably manage to botch the simplest thing.
How is it possible that almost half of the Zimbabwean population can
go to war against the other half, their own brethren, and not feel remorse
or even realise what they are doing to their own people? I think I have been
asked this question a hundred times the past two months. And the other
popular question, hitting closer to home is always: "How can your government
keep supporting a criminal who has absolute zero recognition in the eyes of
the rest of humanity?"
I do not think events in Zimbabwe will have much of an impact on
Namibia except for the fact that we are slowly, but very surely, undermining
our hard-won credibility with other governments who are or should be very
important to us. What we do or say is rather insignificant in steering
events in Zimbabwe, but our silence drops us automatically into the Mbeki
court. And that is where we are damaging our international image and our
esteem with our other neighbours on the African continent.
For South Africa, the stakes are somewhat higher. Expanding their
economic presence in the rest of the continent is an undertaking they
engaged with great energy over the past ten years. But South Africa is about
to have its own future determined this Saturday, not by anything the SA
leadership does or will do, but by their inability to constructively engage
the political crime in Zimbabwe.
Perhaps this has to do with the rampant crime in South Africa. The
statistics are overwhelming yet every so often some imbecile in a party
position or a government apparatchik claims there is no crime or it is not a
problem. Then the grassroots population, itself destitute, erupts and take
it out on any person viewed as not belonging there. This we have witnessed
vividly over a period of three weeks. Crime seems to be a way of life in
South Africa, so why bother when a murderer is killing a few thousand of his
own kin, there are too many of us in any case. If their ability to control
their own rampant crime is non-existent, how can one expect them to relieve
a neighbouring criminal from his power base?
The news was abuzz last week in SA that the real reason for Mbeki
failing to exercise any discipline at all over his killer uncle is economic.
An anonymous radio caller, claiming to have worked on this case as an
intelligence operative, said Mugabe and Mbeki are co-shareholders in a
Congolese mine, hence the reluctance we have seen on the SA president's
side. I am not in a position to verify the truth of this claim, but I
received a mail during the week showing four different photographs at four
different events, where Mbeki was holding Mugabe's hand. Now that is a high
score for silent diplomacy. "You write me my dividend cheque and I'll make
sure either SADC or the African Union never gets round to string a rope
around your neck."
Whether it is Mbeki or Zuma to assist in bringing Mugabe down, that is
irrelevant. What matters is that South Africa has just lost a part of its
sphere of influence on the continent. I believe South Africans will still
regret this mistake as they helplessly watch their African influence grow
weaker and weaker, thereby eventually closing the door for all its major
companies to do business anywhere in Africa.
Meanwhile, both the Indian and Chinese governments are implementing
very active African strategies, competing to be first in many countries with
political solidarity as well as the establishing of economic opportunities
for their vast industries. And they are not going to ask the South African
government for permission to grow their own trade. They will simply carry on
taking over the territories we have forfeited.
Nyasa Times, Malawi
Nyasa Times Reporter 28 June, 2008 01:25:00
Malawi government led by President Bingu Mutharika has legitimised the
internationally condemned no contest on man run-off presidential polls and
seek to recognise Robert Mugabe's presidency.
DPP sent a team of so called election observers from its National Governing
Council who were posing as SADC observer members.
"These DPP observers were deployed around Harare in order to assist Mugabe
to legitimise the sham elections," said government insiders.
A team lead by presidential advisor Nicholas Dausi, Harry Mkandawire Kalazi
Mbewe, Sam Ganda and other overzealous DPP die hards left Malawi by road
using vehicle registration numbers SA6282 and BN109 of Toyota make.
The DPP members are expected to stay in Zimbabwe until the inauguration of
Meanwhile, president Mutharika will not attend swearing-in ceremony of the
"This is where our president, Bingu Mutharika, needs to put his foot down
and refuse to attend such swearing in following such a sham election. It's
the least he can do considering he doesn't seem to have the courage to so
much as publicly condemn the process that has led to this "election","
advised Mutharika's critic Tom Likambale based in Canada.
However, Mutharika has opted to send his brother, Malawi's de facto vice
president Prof. Peter Mutharika.
Mutharika's brother will be joined by foreign affairs minister Joyce Banda
and DPP secretary general Hetherwick Ntaba.
It is further established that Zimbabwe's notorious CIO intelligence
officials will be visiting Malawi from December in order to assist DPP with
tactics of intimidation, violence and ballot stuffing.
Malawi leader is a staunch supporter of the 84 year old Zimbabwean dictator
and has been providing supplies to his household and 'donated' 400 000
tonnes of maize to ZANU-PF to buy votes during the March 29 disputed general
Malawi's involvement in the Zimbabwe crisis has become highly questionable,
especially with Malawi clearing the Chinese arms cargo from Angola.
Malawi's suspicious dealings with Zimbabwe goes back to 2005, when there was
an international outcry over claims that the country was flouting western
sanctions in supplying the Zimbabwe police force with tear gas. The tear gas
was linked to the death of 11 people in a single incident in Zimbabwe
According to our State House sources, the truck carrying food stuffs
destined for Harare left Malawi on Sunday the 16th of March 2008 from
Lilongwe State House via Biliwiri border post in Dedza.
Our impeccable sources say the truck, a Volvo registration number BN 8100
left with State House driver, a Mr Bandawe and the food stuffs included
among many others maize, flour, beans, fish and sugar.
A State House security person a Mr Mpina accompanied Bandawe on the trip led
by State House deputy Chief of Staff Dr Bruce Munthali.
Dr Muthali used a Toyota 4X4 vehicle registration number MG256 W.
Police and Malawi Revenue Authority officials at Biliwiri border post
confirmed to Nyasa Times clearing the two vehicles.
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Date: 27 Jun 2008
CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the Global Call to
Action against Poverty express their deep concern at the recent events in
Zimbabwe. Gross violations of human and democratic rights enshrined in the
African Charter of Human and People's Rights by Mr Mugabe's regime need not
only strong condemnation but also urgent action by Heads of State and
Government in Africa.
By throttling legitimate dissent, Mr Mugabe is leading his country and its
people down a path of self destruction. We believe it is the responsibility
of every Member State in the African Union to urgently put a stop to Mr
Mugabe's anti-democratic activities and protect the people of Zimbabwe who
in addition to being citizens of their own country are also constituents of
the African Union. In the past, Mr Mugabe has been emboldened to carry out
his campaign to repress democratic opposition due to a perceived belief that
his fellow Heads of State and Government will not oppose him strongly for
his misguided actions within the country.
We believe that the time for quiet backroom diplomacy has passed and it is
time for African leaders to play a more active role in resolving the crisis
in Zimbabwe. To reiterate the immortal words of Martin Luther King Jr,
'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'.
In these perilous times, African leaders must rise to the occasion and
prevent Mr Mugabe from further persecuting independent voices and those who
oppose his political beliefs. 'Political niceties cannot be an excuse to
condone gross and flagrant violations of the rule of law. History will judge
us harshly if we do not act now' said Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of
CIVICUS urging all African leaders to agree on concrete action to restore
constitutionality in Zimbabwe as they meet at the African Union Summit in
For more information, contact CIVICUS Civil Society Watch programme:
- Name: Mandeep Tiwana
- Tel: +27-11- 833 5959, 07146 98121 (mob)
By Louis Weston
Saturday June 28 2008
THE architect of the bloodiest period of President Robert Mugabe's rule
emerged as his most likely successor yesterday when reports suggested that
Zimbabwe will have a new prime minister after the election.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who as security minister oversaw the massacre of at
least 8,000 in Matabeleland in the 1980s, is being lined up to succeed Mr
Mr Mnangagwa, now rural housing minister, also chairs the committee of
generals and security chiefs believed to be in daily charge of Zimbabwe. (©
Daily Telegraph, London)
- Louis Weston
THE Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) has obtained an urgent Pretoria High Court
order to stop the deportation of 33 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
The Pretoria High Court yesterday ordered the Department of Home Affairs to
issue the 33 with temporary asylum seeker papers in terms of the Refugees
The papers identify the Zimbabweans as asylum seekers and will prevent them
from being deported until the final determination of their asylum
applications and any appeals.
The court also ordered the immediate release of 14 of the applicants,
finding that they were being illegally detained at the Lindela holding
facility in Krugersdorp.
The 14 were arrested after their asylum applications were turned down - a
decision they wanted to appeal against.
They were briefly released but rearrested while on their way to the gates of
The group was arrested during protest action outside the Chinese embassy in
Pretoria in April. - Sapa
By Louis Weston in Mutare
Last Updated: 12:44AM BST 23/06/2008
Zimbabwe's hattered economy may prove to be the final nail in the political
coffin of President Robert Mugabe, despite being handed victory in Friday's
election, but his mismanagement has already left the country's pensioners
scraping out a living.
After more than 30 years' service as a guard on Zimbabwe's railways, George
Turner, 82, retired in 1986 on a pension of Z$18,000 a month. It was not a
fortune, but enough to live on.
But hyperinflation - driven by the government's policy of printing money to
meet its own needs - is estimated to be approaching two million per cent,
with £1 now worth Z$15billion. In contrast, Mr Turner's pension has not
risen at all in the intervening decades and is now worth about one
ten-thousandth of a penny - 0.00012p - a month and falling all the time.
Across the country, elderly citizens face a similar plight.
At his retirement home in Mutare, in the country's eastern hills, he
explained that, under the rules of the associated railway medical scheme, he
is liable for contributions that leave him tens of millions of Zimbabwe
dollars in debt to his pension provider.
The latest price for his life-saving high blood pressure medicine costs
Z$24billion for a month's supply. "I know that if I don't get those tablets
then it could be fatal," he said.
However, Mr Turner, who is white, is one of a lucky 20 per cent of the 112
residents in the Eastern Highlands Trust's home who are paid small British
state pensions from contributions they made decades ago, before moving to
Zimbabwe, said Yvonne Philpott, the trust's chairman. The rest receive next
Even £68 a month is "like a fortune here", she said. The rest are reliant on
relatives, and the trust relies on donations to feed and look after those
who have no family. "We have always got our begging bowl out," she said.
One elderly woman burst into tears when she discovered she could not afford
a loaf of bread to make lunch for her visiting daughter.
"They are just so stressed, they don't know which way to turn," said Miss
published: Saturday | June 28, 2008
It is a black leader, Robert Mugabe, who is responsible for murdering and
maiming his black opponents in Zimbabwe. Not the former white leaders.
During the 1860s and 1970s I was privileged to serve with former Prime
Ministers Hugh Shearer and Michael Manley and to be part of a national
movement they mobilised to free the black people of southern Africa from the
tyranny of white oppression.
It was not only the political leaders who were involved. Men such as
Jamaica's Ambassadors to the United States, Sir Neville Ashenheim, Keith
Johnson and Sir Egerton Richardson and Ambassadors to the United Nations,
Alfred Rattray and Don Mills added their voices to the call for freedom from
Leaders of the Church carried their voices to their international
associations, and sportsmen and women joined the protest.
Sports journalist Alva Ramsay, for example, went on a fast; netball leader
Leila Robinson cracked the apartheid wall when she successfully led an
international charge to boot South Africa out of the netball association;
and Leslie Ashenheim fought tooth and nail to get rid of South Africa from
international lawn tennis.
Our poets, like Lorna Goodison, also became involved in the fight. So, too
did Bob Marley and other singers.
One of the pleasures in visiting Africa then was being treated like royalty.
"You're from Jamaica? ... the land of Manley and Marley? God bless you."
Today, it is a black leader, Robert Mugabe, who is responsible for murdering
and maiming his black opponents in Zimbabwe. Not the former white leaders.
And it is after many weeks of political oppression that our Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs has issued what to me is a meek and
mild statement on the situation. Not one word has come from the Prime
Minister. And surprisingly, the Opposition which has been the leading voice
in African affairs during the past 30 years, is notably silent. We are a
nation of mutes.
Church bells toll no more. Our musicians sing no more about Africa. There
are no Peter Abrahamses anymore to give us wise counsel. Shearer, Manley and
Marley are dead. So too, are Ramsay, Robinson and Ashenheim. We have become
a voiceless people.
Not too late to help
It's not too late.
Our churches pray every week for Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors,
for our political leaders and their Bishops and Suffragans. I ask them to
include the dead and dying people of Zimbabwe in their prayers. I call on
our service clubs, our trade unions, our commodity associations, citizens
associations, the teachers, nurses, and police associations to bow their
heads in silent indignation at every meeting they hold.
And could our radio and television stations designate one minute of silence
at noon, every day, to show their protest at what is taking place in that
29 minutes ago
Zimbabweans living in Ireland are marching in solidarity with their
countrymen on Saturday, demanding an end to the humanitarian crisis gripping
the southern African state.
Just a day after fearful voters went to the polls in the culmination of
Robert Mugabe's bloody election campaign, the Dublin protesters are to
deliver a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin. They are
calling for a renewed effort by the international community to bring an end
to the violence which has plagued the campaign.
"People in Zimbabwe are being intimidated, beaten, forced from their homes
and even killed in Mugabe's campaign of terror," said Tendai Madondo, a
march organiser. "It is time for the international community to stop talking
and take action to protect the poor and vulnerable people who are suffering