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Mugabe's men join call for change
The Times 28 June 2000, FROM JAN RAATH IN HARARE

PRESIDENT MUGABE called for national unity last night, shrugging off bitter dissent within his own party and legal challenges from the opposition as he celebrated his electoral Houdini act.

"The results are out and these do bind us all, loser and winner alike," he told a sober and stunned nation, after narrowly clinging to power in a political landscape now radically changed.

But in a hint that he would press ahead with plans to distribute white-owned land to Africans, he said: "There are localised problems people want addressed in immediate environment of habitation; around the land, which is still to come to our people in a big way; around the economy, which is going through a bad patch and for which lasting answers have to be found."

Mr Mugabe was speaking after his Zanu (PF) ruling party beat off a powerful electoral challenge from Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, but the invincibility the President had enjoyed for the 20 years since independence was damaged. The MDC and another minor party, which had together never held more than three seats, won 58 of the 120 contested parliamentary seats, just five fewer than Zanu (PF). The MDC, formed nine months ago, seized the cities, the southwest and northeast.

A disappointed Mr Tsvangirai, who saw predictions of triumph dashed, said: "Anyone who believes that the future destiny of this country lies with Robert Mugabe must have his head examined."

Mr Tsvangirai, who plans to stand against Mr Mugabe in the 2002 presidential elections, was set to mount legal challenges in more than 20 seats citing intimidation and ballot-rigging.

Mr Mugabe's failure to deliver an overwhelming victory also prompted members of his own party to urge change. Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi, leader of the invasions of white-owned farms, called for an overhaul from top to bottom. Jonathan Moyo, the party's campaign manager, who had predicted that the MDC would win no more than ten seats, acknowledged: "What we've seen is a protest vote. We need to do some deep soul-searching and understand the motivation and fires behind."

In sharp contrast to the rhetoric of hate used during the campaign, Mr Mugabe spoke in his five-minute broadcast of the "peace that characterised our elections". Congratulating Zimbabweans for their calm, he said: "Victory and defeat are quick to reconcile, quick to connect and cohabit in the same national space for greater peace and togetherness."

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Zimbabwe's new parliament - a refreshing cocktail

Thursday, June 29 3:04 AM SGT HARARE, June 28 (AFP) -

Zimbabwe's weekend election returned a parliament in which President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF retained its majority, but brought new, younger deputies likely to keep the older ones -- notorius for sleeping during debates, awake.

"There is not going to be any sleeping, no pillows in parliament. It will be a serious place for people who are eloquent to make laws," said commentator Chenjerai Hove.

A profile of the new house shows a cross section of people: from former student leaders and war veterans to flashy businessmen and more white MPs.

The new parliament has also brought in some of the youngest deputies ever.

The youngest is 24-year-old Tafadzwa Musekiwa, from the opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which garnered 57 out of 120 contested seats.

Musekiwa is of five former student activists who fought running battles with Mugabe's riot police during anti-govermment street demonstrations.

The youngest ZANU-PF deputy is Saviour "Tyson" Kasukuwere, 29, a businessman.

Big opposition wins coupled with an influx of young parliamentarians are expected to rejuvenate what had predominantly turned into a rubber-stamping parliament over the years.

Phillip Chiyangwa, a flamboyant businessman who has championed the cause of black economic empowerment and the fight against anti-corruption, will make his debut.

Among oustanding new MPs is be the war veterans' supremo, Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi. Hunnzvi led the fierce invasion of more than 1,600 white-ownd farms, and forced President Mugabe two years ago to award former freedom fighters hefty gratuities and pensions after staging embarrassing demonstrations against the head of state.

There are also four elected white MPs in the new parliament - all belonging to the opposition.

Hunzvi, who previously stated that he had problems working with whites, said after winning his parliamentary seat that "we are one people: black or white."

Among the whites elected are farmer Roy Bennett and lawyers David Coltart and Mike Auret, who headed the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.

Last year Mugabe attacked white human rights activists Auret and Coltart saying "they have pushed our sense of racial tolerance to the limit." The president also warned of "very stern measures against them."

Mugabe said this after rights lawyers and judges protested against the military detention of two journalists who ran a story about a foiled coup plot.

"The likes of Clive Wilson and Clive Murphy (journalists), complemented by the Aurets and Coltarts of our society, are bent on ruining the national unity and loyalty of our people and their institutions.

"Let me state this and quite emphatically; they have pushed our sense of racial tolerance to the limit. Let them be warned therefore, that unless their insidious acts of sabotage immediately cease, my government will be compelled to take very stern measures against them and those who have elected to be their puppets," Mugabe said.

The head of state has meanwhile labelled MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai a puppet of the whites.

Unless Mugabe names a significant number of women from among 30 seats that he is constitutionally allowed to appoint, the new 150-seat house will be almost entirely male, with just 11 female MPs compared to 21 in the previous parliament.

Among the new women elected is outspoken women's rights activist Priscilla Misihairabwi, who was arrested earlier this year for allegedly breaching electoral laws. She campaigned for a 'No" vote in a government-backed constitution on the referendum day.

President Mugabe's sister, Sabina returned to parliament after she retained her seat in rural Zvimba, Mugabe's home village.

Also returning to parliament are Mugabe's vice president, Simon Muzenda who won his rural seat in southern Gutu, along with ministers in charge of defence, finance, state security, information, foreign affairs and land.

Some of them have sat in parliament since 1980. The majority of them retained their rural constituencies.

ZANU-PF were victorious in mainly rural areas while the MDC swept all the urban centres.

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Political reform not enough to mend Zimbabwe's economy: analyst

Thursday, June 29 12:43 AM SGT HARARE, June 28 (AFP) -

Zimbabwe's precarious economy will not benefit from the new political winds following the historic weekend elections unless President Robert Mugabe forms a national unity government with the new opposition, analysts said Wednesday.

Euphoria following the announcement that the newly formed opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had powered its way into parliament, winning over half of all contested seats, is giving way to the sober recognition that Mugabe will continue to preside over an economy in shambles.

He hand-picks his cabinet, as ZANU-PF party chairman John Nkomo made it clear Sunday.

"We still have a serious problem," said political analyst John Makumbe.

"There have been no real changes in the managers of the country," he told AFP. "That's not going to please investors."

Foreign investment has shrunk in the face of Mugabe's uncertain policy agenda and the political instability and violence that preceded the elections.

A severe foreign currency shortage is intensifying, inflation and unemployment are both at around 60 percent, and the Standard Chartered Bank has forecast that the econommy will shrink by at least five percent this year.

The crisis has been exacerbated by heavy government spending including on huge pay-outs to war veterans and on military support for the government of Democratic Republic of Congo, where 11,000 Zimbabwean troops are deployed.

Donors have suspended aid, and tourism has come to a virtual dead halt.

The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) took 62 of the 120 contested seats, which with the 30 seats Mugabe appoints gives it an easy majority.

Nevertheless it faces in the MDC its first credible opposition in the 20 years since independence from Britain, and, analysts say, would be well advised to include the MDC in government.

"I think Mugabe should have a government of national unity to save the country, to save the economy, to save the people from starving. He can't just ignore them," independent political commentator Chenjerai Hove told AFP.

Tsvangirai however said Wednesday he would not join a coalition government, despite hints in his election campaign to the contrary.

There had been wide hopes that the elections would lead to a badly needed economic turnaround for Zimbabwe.

Instead it appears the margins by which the opposition won will have little impact on policy-making.

The international community, which has withheld aid from Zimbabwe for nearly two years, is unlikely to change its mind barring a complete overhaul of government, most say.

"I don't think the IMF (International Monetary Fund) will come in in any distant future, and change of parliament is significant but change of presidency is what is needed," said Admore Kambudzi, a political scientist from the University of Zimbabwe.

"If our economy is going to improve we need both external and domestic investment, and we must have sufficient and complete (political) change which means a new president. That's what the investors are waiting for," Kambudzi said.

"If the president accommodated the opposition in real terms, there probably would be a willingness among foreign lenders and donors to support us," said Bill Saidi, the deputy editor of the privately owned Daily News.

It would be a "very grave mistake" to leave the MDC out of any government, Saidi added.

Most agree however that Mugabe is likely to do just that.

Party chairman Nkomo said Sunday: "Mugabe will have the right to appoint whoever he wishes to appoint into government."

"Change of parliament does not matter because the policy-making body remains the government. You will have an open parliament, but a closed cabinet," said rights lawyer and political commentator Brian Kagoro.

"President Mugabe is the problem facing this country," said another analyst, Masipula Sithole, adding: "The future is bleak with him."

Mugabe, who throughout the often violent run-up to the elections had vowed to crush the opposition, was for his part conciliatory late Tuesday, calling for unity in a broadcast address.

Asked in a BBC interview if he would consider working with the MDC if it had gained the majority in parliament, Mugabe said: "If the impossibility happen, I would regard it as an impossibility, and impossibilities and probalities should never be entertained, should they?

"I can never conceive that they have the capacity to win, in dreams, perphaps yes."

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A radical turn for Zimbabwe

In a weekend vote, the opposition fell short of a majority, but won enough to challenge the president.

Ross Herbert
Special to The Christian Science Monitor


Nine months ago, the Movement for Democratic Change didn't exist.

Ever since its humble debut as a coalition of labor unions and civil rights organizations last fall, the MDC has been politically - and physically - bullied. It's been denied access to state-run media and blocked by violence from campaigning.

But the MDC emerged from this weekend's parliamentary elections as an effective grass roots opposition party. And a powerful counterbalance to Robert Mugabe's 20 years in power.

President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party had their wind knocked out when election results trickled in early on June 27. The upstart MDC clinched 57 parliamentary seats, only five shy of the 62 secured by the ZANU-PF, in power since the 1980 independence from Great Britain. Last week, there were a mere three opposition members in Parliament.

Supporters of Mr. Mugabe's autocratic regime are nervous. Even the hardy war veterans he has encouraged to invade some 1,600 white-owned farms over the past four months admitted this was a stunning wake-up call.

"Clearly there is a revolution taking place," said Chenjerai Hunzvi, leader of the war veterans organization, after the results were announced.

Under Zimbabwe's system, Mugabe appoints 30 members of Parliament, which gives him a comfortable working majority but not enough votes to amend the Constitution.

And the opposition is fully aware of this growing leverage.

"Anyone who believes the destiny of this country rests on Robert Mugabe must have his head examined," said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who campaigned extensively across the country but lost his own rural seat after spending only two days campaigning there.

Several top Cabinet ministers were defeated by MDC, including the nation's hard-line justice minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was beaten 2-to-1 by an MDC candidate who went into hiding in early May after his house was attacked and ZANU-PF supporters attempted to burn him alive.

Mugabe built his campaign around the often violent seizure of white-owned farm land, bashing the British and whites and promising to restore government price controls and seize white owned mines and factories. While he was not defeated, the opposition demonstrated that it is a major force on the political landscape.

And hard-liners like Mr. Hunzvi, the veteran, who had previously rejected offers to talk with the MDC to stem political violence, are sounding conciliatory.

"The (ruling) party has to rejuvenate. To meet the challenge we need an overhaul from grass roots to top. The government must be a government of Zimbabweans," said Hunzvi, who won a ZANU-PF seat south of Harare. "We must be prepared to talk to the MDC or any other party to move the country forward."

Observers postulate that if the opposition had had some access to radio and television and had been allowed to campaign without violence, it could quite plausibly have won a strong majority in Parliament.

In some constituencies the violence and intimidation now seems to have backfired, contributing to a perception that the party is intolerant and concerned for its own power rather than the plight of the poor. However, by blocking any opposition campaigning, the ruling party succeeded in holding on to deep rural areas where voters have no access to newspapers and little exposure to the opposition.

The MDC won all seats in the nation's cities, which have been hardest hit by hyper-inflation, layoffs and fuel shortages, won several rural constituencies and captured 13 of 15 seats in the southern Matabeleland provinces, where Mugabe's security forces in the mid-1980s killed an estimated 20,000 people and unleashed a reign of terror to suppress dissident minority Ndebele people.

Mugabe's radical, racist rhetoric appealed to many Zimbabweans, but many voters rejected it. Four of five white MDC candidates won seats in districts that are overwhelmingly black, winning by margins of 3-to-1.

"It is an indication that black Zimbabweans will look at the motivations of white people and ask [if they are] people of good faith seeking the same goals they are," says David Coltart, the MDC's legal secretary and one of the four winning white candidates.

Analysts and politicians say this election has permanently changed Zimbabwe's political landscape and portends a bigger battle for the 2002 presidential race.

"The message to Mugabe to retire has already been there. It is no longer business as usual," says Mike Mataure, a ZANU-PF MP from Chimanimani. "The situation now requires a totally new way of doing business."

Political science professor John Makumbe concurs: "This election has done severe damage to the [ZANU-PF] party."

According to Aeneas Chigwedere, the ZANU-PF candidate in the Hwedza constituency, southeast of Harare, his party's top leadership is very divided. "We have one problem in ZANU-PF: the war veterans will want Mugabe back," he says, regardless of public sentiment. "[The veterans] have received a number of benefits, and ZANU-PF is surviving now because of [them]. But we don't seem to have an obvious replacement [for Mugabe], and that will create serious problems."

There has also been strong resentment of "interference" by European Union and other Western election observers in the country this past week to ensure fair elections. "They are biased.... The EU's real mission is actually to help those trying to overthrow President Mugabe and our party," says Didymus Mutasa, a close aide to Mugabe.

Meanwhile, opposition supporters in Bulawayo, where the MDC won all seats up for grabs, are certain the iron-fisted rule of Mugabe is dead. On Tuesday, they paraded through the streets carrying a coffin with an effigy of Mugabe.

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A first hand account [26 June 2000]
I am confident that the overall results will be very favourable to the MDC, but doubt that Sekai Holland will be able to win her own constituency, in view of the daily intimidation and sheer brutality of the ZANU PF thugs.
She was unable to have her election agents accredited until Saturday afternoon, due to bureaucratic obstacles. There were ZANU PF road blocks in the Mataga area, making it impossible for her to move around freely.
Two of her vehicles were stoned and badly damaged, with some occupants being hurt. Six of Sekai's polling agents were chased away from the polling booths by ZANU PF thugs on Saturday and have not been seen since, and there areserious fears for their safety.
A petrol bomb was thrown at another of her vehicles, but fortunately missed.
The most serious known incidents involve one of her polling agents who waskidnapped on the way to a polling station and beaten and tortured by being held over an open fire. He is now in hospital being treated for severe burns and other injuries.
Another supporter was hit in the head and eyes by rocks and is now in hospital having a brain scan.
A third supporter has been released after treatment for injuries from being hit by stones.
Voters in her area found that ZANU PF had accredited as its polling agents the very same thugs that had been beating, burning, raping, kidnapping and murdering. That meant that as they entered the polling booths they were faced with the same oppressors who had threatened to kill them if the ZANU PF candidate was not elected.
However the voter turnout has been higher than expected in view of the massive intimidation, so that is very encouraging.
Women supporters in particular were queuing up at pollingstations from 4 am on Saturday morning, hoping to avoid the ZANU PF thugs.
Updated 27 June 2000

One of Zimbabwe's great poets Solomon Mutswairo wrote:

Nokunge kurwa Kwotsviriidza
Nemhandu dzenge dzasimba kwazo
Zvinorukudzo umire nazvo
Kubudirira Hakusi Nyn'ore
Ndiko kwavanho vano unhinhi
Shingira nguva yose narinhi
Urambe kuti, Urambe kuti
Urambe kuti, 'Handikwanisi!'

When the battle is fiercest
& it seems the foe will win
sieze your pride and honour
Victory is no low fruit for easy plucking
but high & tight you must fight for it
Forever and a day hold tight
For the steadfast for the loyal
For the faithful will overcome

Updated 24 June 2000

Campaign Intimidation [2 June 2000 ]
Sekai Holland is my wife and also the MDC candidate for Mberengwa East. She is a women's rights activist, and also a Liberation War Hero (as the war vets are officially described) -- having been involved with ZANU and ZANLA since the early 1970s.
I thought that readers might be interested to hear of her experiences over the last three days. On Wednesday she went to Mataga in Mberengwa to participate in a workshop on Women in Politics, assisted by the UNDP. This is also the area where she is standing for election, and it has been subject to a reign of terror by ZANU (PF) thugs and so-called war vets for weeks now. Last Sunday a new bunch of thugs arrived to increase the pressure on the community -- beatings and destruction of houses and property are normal, but kidnappings, torture and mutilation have also been used to cow the populace into voting for ZANU (PF).
The workshop had barely started when police barged in, guns drawn, and demanded that Sekai accompany them to the police station to be questioned about the violence. It later turned out that some MDC supporters had had the temerity to retaliate when the ZANU (PF) thugs had attacked their office and thrown petrol bombs at them (fortunately they did not explode). The thugs then apparently complained to the police. Both the MDC office and a Peace Centre which Sekai had established for homeless victims of earlier ZANU (PF) violence were totally destroyed by the thugs, and all property was either stolen (eg money) or burnt. The MDC membership list was unfortunately amongst the property taken, and that was used to go from house to house of listed MDC supporters and continue the beatings and destruction. T-shirts and membership cards were taken, presumably to be presented at the next ZANU (PF) rally as examples of the vast numbers that had defected to their party!
At that stage some 30 MDC supporters were detained at the Mataga police station. They were kept there for a day and a half without food or medical treatment, without being charged. However some of them were told they were going to be charged with either attempted murder or with causing public violence. Sekai was not allowed to leave, but informed that she was being kept there for her own safety (presumably from the ZANU (PF) thugs outside). Her vehicle was also impounded. At least Sekai was not injured, but amongst the others under detention were several people with serious injuries suffered in the attacks on the MDC premises. They were denied medical treatment the whole time, being told that it was "too dangerous" to take them to the hospital.
After a whole day had passed, it was becoming apparent that this situation was not going to be resolved by the police, and I made arrangements to get two TV cameramen to go down with me by light aircraft (provided by a supporter). We planned to land at a virtually disused airstrip there where we could be met by someone who could drive us to the police station to extract at least Sekai from the place and then publicise the plight of the others still being held there. If the police were going to keep to their word that Sekai was being held only for her own protection then they would presumably have no excuse to prevent us from leaving with her. And the cameramen would be there to record what was really going on.
As it turned out, I got a phone call about ten minutes before I was due to leave for Charles Prince Airport this morning to say that the police had moved Sekai and some of the others from Mataga to Zvishavane in the early hours of the morning. 18 of them were being detained to face unspecified charges while she and the others were free to leave. Those who remain in detention include most of the people that were going to sign her nomination papers. This means that she has so far been unable to get the necessary forms and signatories for the Nomination Court to be held in Gweru tomorrow morning .
She had been denied access to the voters' roll in Mataga. A party worker who tried to get a copy from the post office in Mataga was waylaid by one of the "war vets" and chopped in the face with an axe. I have no idea how she is going to get her papers in on time. Going back to Mataga to find other party supporters on the voters' roll is too dangerous now. Possibly she will be able to find enough elsewhere, but without a copy of the roll that is very difficult. Vehicles have been despatched to attempt to pick up the injured, but I have not heard of their fate. At least four are in serious condition now after a full 48 hours without medical treatment.
So much for the "free and fair election" that McKinnon, Commonwealth Secretary-General, said he believed was possible. Apart from the deliberate obstacles being placed in her way to stop her standing, there is the loss of valuable campaigning time and the loss of her vehicle, equipment and campaign funds. The whole situation is just an outrageous farce.
Updated 10 June 2000

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First to thank every one of you who has shown so much kindness,
understanding and support over the last violent five months.

However I now must ask that you all try to access and circulate the report
put out by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. I will understand if you do
not want to read it, but would be grateful if you could forward the
information to anyone that you feel needs to know of the atrocities that
have occurred and have, in some cases, been instigated by people who have
now been re-elected.

Who is responsible? A preliminary analysis of the pre-election violence in
Zimbabwe may nowbe accessed on: www.hrformumzim.com

It has been a difficult time, an emotional switchback, as my spirits have
soared at a crumb of hope and sunk with another scrap of information about
the terrible pain that one human being can inflict on another. No one needs
reminding that 30 MDC supporters have been killed; and that besides the
white farmers whose death received so much publicity, two farm foremen and
one tracker were beaten and then hung by the so-called war vets. The
campaign, as I am sure you all know was funded by ZANU at a cost of $20

What has also deeply shocked so many of us is the stance taken by President
Mbeki and his Cabinet. No one can quite understand this, although there are
many explanations, why ha he so easily given credence to our President's
claims that the issues are land, race and re-colonization  of the country
by the MDC and its supporters, and the violent, abusive and threatening
language in which these claims have been made,  have all  been condoned.

No one has dicussed these issues better than Pius Wakatama who writes in
the Daily News on Mondays. (www.dailynews.co.zw) Unfortunately they do not
yet have an archive.

Now the MDC has 58 seats: good. They will, however, be contesting the
results on 20 seats for besides the fact that it is very clear that in
Mashonaland East, West and Central where so much horrific violence has
occurred, many people voted for ZANU in fear of their lives, or did not
vote at all; and that some finagling occurred in the prolonged period
before the results were announced long after they were known.
Certainly we heard from a very reputable source that Sydney Sekeremayi
(Marondera) lost, vice-President Muzenda (Gokwe) lost, Philip Chiyangwa
(Chinhoyi) lost, and the MorganTsvangirai had won by a small margin,
despite the brutality to which people were subjected in Buhera.

Despite relief that the MDC has done well, and their presence will
contibute to better governance, it is shocking to think that several of our
current MPs have used murder and torture to get where they are.

Moreover there remains much to be done. And many I thank everyone again who
have supported both the monitoring exercise and given funds to support
victims of violence who have lost their homes and their posssessions.

Many many thanks
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                            MEDIA MONITORING PROJECT ZIMBABWE
                                   Monday 26 June 2000

Initial announcements of the election results were given second item status on Radio 1 in the 8 pm news bulletins and last item status on Radio 2's 8 pm news.
ZBCTV ran live interviews from Mukwati Building throughout the day. Analysts and political scientists were interviewed. No such service was provided on radio, which only crossed over when the results were announced.
As Zimbabweans anxiously waited for the results, the morning, afternoon and 6 pm bulletins on radio focused exclusively on the peaceful nature of the voting process.
Comments on the polling process were accessed from observers on all radio stations (6 am, 7 am, 8 pm) and ZBCTV (7 am and 6 pm). In its 1 pm bulletin Radio 2 gave airtime to the Election Directorate, several parliamentary candidates, the police, and even the CFU and the Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union (Radio 2, 8 pm and television 6 pm).

ZBCTV and Radio 2 gave equitable access to political parties on election issues. On Radio 2 the Registrar General's office and observers got 23% and 13% of the voices respectively. Zanu PF comprised 10% of all voices in the bulletins; MDC (6%), ZUD (2%) and the United Parties (2%) voices were also heard.
ZBCTV bulletins (7 am, 6 pm & 8 pm) accorded the opposition MDC 13% of the total news coverage with ZUD and UP getting 4% each. Meanwhile, Zanu PF constituted 23% of the voices quoted.
No opposition political voices were heard on Radio 1 in any of the bulletins throughout the day (6 am, 7 am, 8 am, 1 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm).

The European Union Election Observer Mission's interim statement summarizing its findings on Zimbabwe' parliamentary election proceedings were not fully reported on any of ZBC's stations. However, the Radio 2 (1 pm and 8 pm) and ZBCTV (6 pm and 8 pm) news bulletins dismissed as baseless the EU's claim that ZBC had failed to provide equal access to the contesting political parties.

Irregularities ZBCTV (6 pm and 8 pm) quoted a Zanu PF candidate for St Marys accusing the MDC candidate, Job Sikhala, of intimidating elderly women in the constituency.
In addition to giving Sikhala the right of reply, the report also quoted an elderly woman who said there was no intimidation during the voting process.
The morning bulletins on Radio 1 and 2 quoted the Election Directorate chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa and the Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede dismissing as untrue reports that war veterans had prevented people from voting. No comment was accessed from the Electoral Supervisory Commission, civic organizations or the police.
The 8 pm bulletin on Radio 2 reported a disagreement in Masvingo over DRC postal votes. No sources were quoted.

PRINT ZIMPAPERS' dailies and The Daily News extensively quoted ZANU PF national chairman, John Nkomo's statement that his party would form the next government whatever the outcome of the parliamentary elections.
Coverage of the voting process in the ZIMPAPERS' dailies emphasized that voting was peaceful, in sharp contrast, according to the papers, to what had earlier been predicted by certain sections of the international community. The Herald quoted Election Directorate chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa as saying that Zimbabweans had demonstrated the ability to supervise their own elections in a peaceful environment.
The paper also noted a number of "inconsistencies" in the way some observers and monitors had conducted their work and gave some examples of these.

All three dailies gave a comprehensive overview of the voting.

However, The Daily News reported continued incidents of political violence and intimidation during the election. For example, it reported that suspected war veterans and ZANU PF supporters had barred voters in Wedza from the polling stations, and that some MDC polling agents in Mberengwa East had been abducted. The paper also reported brutal attacks on two MDC candidates by people suspected of being ruling party supporters, and published photographs of the two victims in hospital. These incidents were not reported in ZIMPAPERS.
The Daily News also provided an insight in to the confusion over the 16,000 local election monitors who were thrown out of all polling stations countrywide
on Saturday because they had not been accredited before polling started. It quoted National Constitutional Assembly spokesperson Isaac Maposa as blaming the government for the chaos.
ZIMPAPERS' dailies quoted international observers as saying that the voting process was peaceful and quiet. The only article in The Herald on political violence headlined "Minor violence cited in Nyanga" stated that ZANU PF and MDC supporters had clashed. Another article "No violence reported in Kariba constituency" read:
     Mr Luka Sigobole, the MDC candidate, and Mr Duwura Ndoromazasi of the UP could not be located by the time of going to press.

Before the election, the Daily News had reported that the two were hiding in fear of their lives, following savage beatings of opposition party supporters, a fact ignored by The Herald.

The Herald Comment "Election 2000: Peaceful atmosphere must continue" called for the maintenance of the "peace" that had characterized the voting period. The Herald article headlined "Vote against MDC and you are fired, workers threatened" alleged that a white farmer in Chinhoyi threatened to dismiss his workforce if they did not vote for MDC. The article quoted the police and the farmer. Where were the workers?

The statement by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) saying its team was > impartial was reported in the Herald.

The Daily News reported the dismissal of some election monitors, who had been trained by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network and the Electoral Supervisory Commission, for possession of "fake" accreditation cards.

Other coverage included a complaint by the National Council for Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe that polling booths were too narrow and disabled persons ended up voting in the open. (The Herald and The Chronicle). An official from the Registrar-Generals' office was quoted saying that "disabled-friendly" booths would be manufactured in future.
The Herald reported a drop in voter turnout on the last day of the election.

For more information about the Project, previous issues of the Weekly and Daily Updates, please visit our website at http://www.icon.co.zw/mmpz or contact
Project Coordinator, MMPZ, 221 Fife Avenue, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 733486,
E-mail: monitors@icon.co.zw  To unsubscribe send a message to

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Daily Press Briefing Index
Monday, June 26, 2000

Briefer: Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman

1 Election Results
1 US Commends Strong Democratic Participation
1 Nothing New on Cuban Doctors

DPB #65
MONDAY, JUNE 26, 2000, 1:35P.M.

QUESTION: Any comment on the Zimbabwean election? The international
observer team says the elections could hardly be described as free and fair.

MR. REEKER: Yes, I've seen a number of comments that have come out. We've
seen the various reports of high voter turnout, in the neighborhood, I
believe, of around 60 percent of registered voters. We've also seen reports
that the election was relatively peaceful with relatively few incidents of
intimidation or violence reported.

We do commend the Zimbabwean people for their strong democratic
participation in these elections, and we call on the Government of Zimbabwe
to ensure a very transparent vote count, which is taking place now. I'm
going to refrain from commenting further on the elections until the results
are announced but, as we noted Friday, we fielded election monitors and our
Embassy in Harare dispatched several teams of observers throughout Zimbabwe
over the weekend with those elections.

QUESTION: Same general area. Anything new on the Cuban doctors?

MR. REEKER: I don't have anything new on that. I haven't seen if they have
been turned over to UNHCR control yet. But we'll be happy to try to check
into that if you can't get an answer from UNHCR.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how - what your monitors reported back from the
elections in Zimbabwe? Did they get the access that they required or requested?

MR. REEKER: I believe that the access, as we discussed a bit Friday, was
given. The monitoring teams went out throughout Zimbabwe over the weekend.
As I noted, our reports as well as the press reports suggested there was a
very high voter turnout, which is a positive thing, and that the election
was relatively peaceful with few incidents of intimidation or violence
being reported.

QUESTION: So there weren't any incidents of the monitors being prevented
from entering polling stations or --

MR. REEKER: None that I've seen, no. Other questions?

Daily Press Briefing Index
Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Briefer: Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman

3-5, U S Statement on Elections to be Released; Congratulate People of Zimbabwe
10-11 Despite Harassment, Large Turnout, Peaceful, Well Organized; Some
Irregularities; Parties to Initiate Legal Challenges in Courts; U S
Gratified by Transparent Conduct, Pre-Election Intimidation Rendered Vote
Short of "Free and
Fair"; Call for Refrain from Violence Contacts with GOZ in Harare and
Washington will Continue

DPB #66
TUESDAY, JUNE 27, 2000, 2:00 P.M.

QUESTION: On Zimbabwe, do you have a comment about the result of the election?


QUESTION: And do you believe that, finally, this election was conducted in
a free and fair manner, and that the outcome is credible?

MR. REEKER: We will post a statement following the briefing on the Zimbabwe
elections, but let me say that the United States congratulates the people
of Zimbabwe for their participation in record numbers in the recently
concluded parliamentary elections.

Zimbabwe now has an opportunity to move beyond the destructive polarizing
politics of the recent past and begin a new, more constructive chapter in
its development. Despite significant violence, intimidation and harassment
during the campaign prior to the election, almost two-thirds of registered
voters bravely exercised their democratic right to choose their

Preliminary reports from election observers indicate that the voting
process was generally peaceful, orderly and well organized, although
serious irregularities occurred in a number of constituencies throughout
the country. We share the concerns expressed by international observers
over last-minute changes to electoral administrative responsibilities, the
accreditation of observers and monitors, and numerous irregularities in the
voters roll that led to the disenfranchisement of many voters.

We understand that the parties will initiative a number of challenges
through the courts, and we urge all parties to exercise restraint, adhere
to the rule of law, and pursue their appeals through established legal
channels. Political violence, I'd like to remind everyone, as well as
intimidation or retribution, have no place in a democratic society.

This election has signaled dramatically the desire of the people of
Zimbabwe for peaceful democratic change, and we strongly urge the
Government of Zimbabwe to work with the opposition and civil society to
enter into a new period of dialogue that will permit the country to move

In response to your specific question, we are gratified, as I noted in the
statement, by the initial reports indicating that, by and large, the
conduct of the elections and the tallying of ballots appear to have been
done in relative transparency; however, there is no doubt that the violence
and intimidation that characterized the pre-election period rendered the
outcome of the elections short of free and fair.

QUESTION: Do you want to say who is responsible for the violence and

MR. REEKER: I think we've discussed that in the period leading up to the
elections, and we called upon everybody to avoid violence and intimidation.
I think we indicated early on that the ruling party was responsible for
some of the violence and intimidation that we saw. What we want to stress
here is that the people of Zimbabwe have spoken; they've cast their ballots
in record numbers, standing for the right to choose their representatives;
and now we're calling upon the Government of Zimbabwe to work with the
opposition and with other elements of a civil society so that they can have
a new period of dialogue and goodwill that will permit Zimbabwe to move

QUESTION: I'm kind of stunned with that. It's so mild, given the egregious
actions of the government and the intimidation that went on before this
election and the violence that did occur during the election. And I'm
surprised that the US has not joined the foreign organizations that have
condemned these elections.

MR. REEKER: I think the important point here is that this election marks a
turning point in Zimbabwe. We have condemned for a number of weeks now from
this podium - we've had a number of discussions about the violence that
marred the campaign period, that period of many weeks leading up to the
election, and our tremendous concerns about that.

And as I noted, the violence and intimidation that took place during that
period, regardless of the relative transparency of the ballot counting,
rendered the outcome of these elections short of free and fair. No matter
how smooth the voting process and how honest the tallying of ballots may
have been, they can not erase the negative impact that the violence and
intimidation characterized for the campaign period.

So I, in no way, want to fall short of reiterating our concerns about that,
the point we made all along about that situation, but I do want to
reiterate what I've said in the statement - and you'll see that in a
printed form following the briefing - that this is an opportunity to
congratulate the people of Zimbabwe who, in spite of the reprehensible
violence and intimidation that took place, turned out in record numbers and
are giving Zimbabwe now a chance to move beyond the polarizing politics of
the very recent past and they bravely exercised their democratic rights.
And we're calling upon all of them to work together now to move forward for
Zimbabwe's future.

QUESTION: How are you reiterating those concerns? Are you doing it just
from the podium or are you going to actually press this with the Zimbabwean
Government in some other form?

MR. REEKER: These are issues that I'm sure will be continuously raised by
our diplomats in Harare, certainly in our discussions with Zimbabwean
diplomats here, certainly generally from this podium as your questions
arise, and our statements will reflect that. We will continue to watch,
obviously, the evolution of this. As I noted, close to two-thirds of
registered voters turned out and we commended them for that.

We're calling on all the political parties in Zimbabwe to encourage their
supporters to refrain from any violent actions against other opponents, and
we don't want to see a return of the violence and intimidation that
occurred before the election, and we don't want that to continue into the
post-election period.

Anything further on Zimbabwe?

[The answer was no. Other topics snipped. --Craig]

QUESTION: Let us briefly return to Zimbabwe. Has there been any
communication between Washington and Pretoria on the subject of how to move
forward vis-a-vis Zimbabwe?

MR. REEKER: I just don't have any specific information on that. I'm sure we
have shared our views, but I couldn't tell you exactly who has spoken with
whom or where.

[I leave the following question and answer about Yugoslavia in to contrast
the language used. Mugabe must be an OK bloke in the eyes of the Americans!
I'm not sure how long Milosevic has been around, but Mugabe has been
stamping out opposition for twenty years, not to mention what he and ZANLA
did for almost as long before that! --Craig]

QUESTION: Yugoslavia today released details of a draft anti-terrorism law.
Critics are already saying it's aimed at clamping down on the opposition.
Do you have anything?

MR. REEKER: I'm not familiar with the specific law, but nothing would
surprise me in terms of Yugoslavia's steps to try to clamp down on the
opposition. Milosevic's rather rancid regime has a strong history of trying
to stamp out democratic movement within Yugoslavia.