The Sunday Times
June 29, 2008
From infants to the frail elderly, no one is safe as Zanu-PF killers hunt
down the opposition
Douglas Marle in Harare
There was a tremendous hammering on the door of her home. Realising that
President Robert Mugabe's thugs were hunting for her, Agnes Mabhena, the
wife of an opposition councillor, quickly hid under the bed. It was too late
for her to grab Blessing, her 11-month-old baby, who was crying on top of
"She's gone out. Let's kill the baby," she heard a member of the gang say.
The next thing she saw from under the bed was Blessing's tiny body hitting
the concrete floor with a force that shattered his tiny legs.
"It is just a baby - leave it alone," another said, and the thugs left. All
day Mabhena stayed at home with her screaming son, too terrified to move.
Her neighbours, knowing that the family were regarded as opponents of
Mugabe, were too frightened to help.
When all was quiet, she slipped out of the house with the baby to seek help
in Harare. The 12-mile walk to Harvest House, the headquarters of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), took most of the night.
The building was awash with fleeing victims of the terror. But in the chaos
there was nobody to get her to hospital. With a relative's help, she
eventually reached the Parirenyatwa hospital, where Blessing, so named
because she and her husband thought he was a gift from God, was x-rayed.
Now, encased in plaster, his little legs stick out at an odd angle below his
blue romper suit. Unless he has orthopaedic help soon, he may never walk.
Agnes and Blessing squatted for two weeks in a park during the day and hid
at Harvest House at night to escape the police and Zanu-PF youths. Her
blanket stolen, she survived in a pitiful condition on one meal a day. Her
milk dried up. Blessing had only water for three days. "When there is no
hope of food, your hunger dies," she said.
Last Tuesday her husband found her in the park. He told her their house had
been burnt down and they were destitute. He tried to send election observers
from the Southern African Development Council (SADC) to see it but they were
turned back at a Zanu-PF roadblock.
Last night Agnes and Blessing were sheltering in a draughty church with 20
other women and 15 babies. The only furniture was three plastic chairs. The
children had a little porridge to eat.
There was no guarantee they would be safe as the vicious crackdown on MDC
supporters continued across Zimbabwe this weekend and victims were warned
that if they sought treatment they would be killed.
These were no idle threats. Yesterday, as early counting of votes cast in
Friday's one-sided presidential election indicated a landslide win for
Mugabe, 84, reports were reaching Harare of shallow graves in the
countryside where unknown and unidentified victims of the violent campaign
to keep him in power had been buried.
The Zimbabwe Herald reported that "peace and tranquillity" had reigned
during the election and contrasted Mugabe's victory - inevitable after his
rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew - with Gordon Brown's "humiliating
defeat" in the Henley by-election.
However, in Mudzi, a former Zanu-PF stronghold 100 miles north of Harare
that backed the MDC in the first round of the election in March, secret
burials had taken place.
It was there that Temba Muronde, an MDC supporter, was beaten with an iron
bar in April. As his wife tried to carry him on a cart to a clinic, he was
abducted and taken to a Zanu-PF torture base, where he was forced to eat rat
poison. He did not die, so his tormentors gave him a pesticide. When he was
still alive and in agony a week later, they killed him with an axe.
Although the reported death toll in the election stood at 87 at the end of
last week, an MDC official said this was an "overly conservative figure"
based on information from doctors who had certified the deaths. There were
believed to be several other graves in Mudzi alone.
Government sources said last night they expected Mugabe to be sworn in today
before flying to an African Union summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el
Sheikh in the hope of being greeted as Zimbabwe's rightful president.
Leaders of Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria have all condemned
Mugabe's use of violence. Officials from Tanzania and Botswana have said
they would be prepared to send in troops.
But with 30 of its 53 member states ruled by dictators, the African Union
seemed unlikely to join in refusing to recognise Mugabe and calling for a
government of national unity.
Mugabe, who declared during the campaign that only God could remove him, has
already made it clear he will challenge anyone at the summit who dares to
question his methods.
"Some African countries have done worse things," he told the Herald. "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."
Any hopes that the violence might abate after the voting gave way this
weekend to fears that it would intensify into an attempt to extirpate the
MDC until the opposition party ceased to be a threat. Nelson Chamisa, an MDC
spokesman, said: "They stole this election - now they are going to spill
He said security forces planned to launch Operation Red Finger to track down
people who had stayed away from the polling stations. Voters had their
little finger dyed with ink.
In the farmlands around Chegutu, southwest of Harare, voting for the MDC was
virtually eliminated, with 100% support for Mugabe reported at some polling
This followed a drive to force local labourers on the dwindling number of
white-owned farms - down from 300 eight years ago to 30 today - to attend a
series of indoctrination sessions at which they were "taught" to vote for
The staff of one farm were ordered to go to a pungwe, or "reeducation"
vigil, at 1pm last Monday. They did not return to their homes until
Thursday. "All the way through the night they were not allowed to sit down
once as they sang Zanu-PF songs and chanted slogans. Anyone who got it wrong
was beaten," one reluctant participant said.
They were then ordered to attend a second session immediately, in
preparation for Friday's vote. By the time they got to the polling station
before 7am on Friday they were exhausted from sleep deprivation and in no
doubt as to where on the ballot paper they should put their cross.
Just to be certain, they were assembled in groups of 10 outside the polling
station. They were told the ballot papers were numbered and this would be
matched with their identity details so that Zanu-PF would know exactly how
they voted. One threat was that they would have their heads cut off if they
did not support Mugabe.
The pungweswere held at militia terror bases on land seized from white
farmers since 2000 and turned into resettlement areas. They were an ugly
throw-back to the struggle to end white minority rule, when guerrilla
fighters secretly gathered villagers together in the forest to indoctrinate
them against colonial rule in the 1970s.
At least one man was reported to have been killed at one of these pungwes in
the Chegutu area. According to an eyewitness, he knew he would be targeted
because last Wednesday morning a militant banged on his mother's door and
told her that this was the last day she would see her son alive.
He had no choice but to attend the meeting to save his mother from
punishment. When he tried to slip away, his escape was noticed and 50 youths
were sent in pursuit.
After a chase through the fields they caught him. A witness said: "He fell
to the ground screaming, 'Please don't kill me.' They lifted him up and hit
him back down again and then beat him again and again. At the end his body
was covered in ghastly wounds. I think it was a slow death."
At Chegutu, as elsewhere, the army was running Mugabe's violent election
campaign on the orders of the generals in the joint operations command. The
local man in command was a Major Tauye, who wore civilian clothes but
carried a sidearm and fired shots in the air.
A second key figure in the local terror structure was Gilbert Moyo, a
55-year-old war veteran wanted for stock theft, a crime carrying a nine-year
mandatory sentence, who had recently evicted six white farmers from their
Last week he forcibly evicted Richard Etheridge, 71, perhaps Zimbabwe's most
successful citrus fruit farmer, with a multi-million-pound export business
to the Middle East.
The intimidation by war veterans was by no means confined to the
countryside. One terror base where offenders were beaten last week was a
single-storey building on waste ground a few hundreds yards from the
residence of the Dutch ambassador in Chisipite, one of Harare's most
upmarket residential districts.
Another was a shopping centre in the crowded suburb of Sunningdale, where
vicious interrogations were taking place and a 65-year-old woman who was
denounced by her lodger, a Zanu-PF supporter, for possession of MDC T-shirts
was beaten. She feared she would be killed if she went to hospital. Instead,
she suffered at home.
A well-known Aids activist and MDC supporter, Gertrude Ukomba, was evicted
from her home and went into hiding with her 10-year-old grandson, who was
being sought by local Zanu-PF militants to force his mother to return from
In the end, the campaign of intimidation was pressed so hard that instead of
breaking Tsvangirai at the polls, as intended, it left him no choice but to
When he toured Harare last weekend to gauge the popular mood, he was
dismayed to find that nobody waved at him. Even though the city was an MDC
stronghold, people were too afraid to show their allegiance.
"He did not want that translated into a national vote. He really sensed
there had been a change," a colleague said. "In addition, his national
executive council told him they could not put polling agents into 75% of the
polling stations, which would leave the vote wide open to rigging. All the
blood and pain and violence made him decide it was best to cut his losses
and pull out."
Tsvangirai's decision to seek sanctuary in the Dutch embassy wrong-footed
the government, forcing it to give diplomatic assurances about his safety.
Yet despite the international condemnation - this week Britain and America
are expected to call for sanctions at the UN Security Council, including an
arms embargo - Mugabe remained defiant. Few expect him to bow to pressure
from fellow African leaders for a power-sharing deal with the MDC.
Tsvangirai himself said it was a "dream" to expect his MDC to join Zanu-PF.
Whatever is planned, the next few months are bound to be grim for
Zimbabweans already faced with deepening economic hardship, hunger and
unemployment. Thousands are expected to flee abroad.
If Agnes Mabhena could flee, she would go too. "I hate Zimbabwe. I want to
leave," she said. It is a bitter refrain one hears more and more.
Tyrant considers successor
DISCUSSIONS are under way for Robert Mugabe to appoint a prime minister who
would in effect run the country once the ruling Zanu-PF's hold on power was
assured, writes Christina Lamb.
The names most talked about are Gideon Gono, the governor of the reserve
bank, and Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former spy chief who headed Mugabe's
Both men sit on the joint operations command currently running the
administration and unleashing terror.
Mnangagwa has worked with Mugabe since the liberation war, when he was known
as the "Crocodile", and served in his cabinet for more than 20 years.
Long thought of as Mugabe's chosen successor, he was sidelined after a rally
in 2004 at which he discussed ousting Mugabe.
Mugabe has turned back to his old hatchet man since failing to secure a
first-round election victory.
Mnangagwa's main rival is Gono, the man in charge of printing the money that
is barely keeping the country going. Mugabe's files on who has stolen what
are kept in the reserve bank.
"Gono knows where the bodies are buried," one adviser said.
The Sunday Times
June 29, 2008
A baby boy had both legs broken by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to
punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe.
Blessing Mabhena, aged 11 months, was seized from a bed and flung down with
force as his mother, Agnes, hid from the thugs, convinced that they were
about to murder her.
She heard one of them say, "Let's kill the baby", before Blessing was hurled
on to a bare concrete floor.
Blessing, who may never be able to walk properly, was one of the youngest
victims of atrocities against the opposition party Movement for Democratic
Change in the run-up to last Friday's sham presidential election.
As Mugabe, 84, the only candidate in the election, prepared to be sworn in
as president today, it emerged that his forces of terror plan to pulverise
opponents to prevent them from ever threatening his leading Zanu-PF again.
Leaked minutes of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which has orchestrated
the violence since Mugabe lost a first round of voting in March, revealed
that it is willing to wipe out opposition supporters.
A 10,000-strong youth militia loyal to the Zanu-PF has been created to
enforce its wishes in case regular army units refuse, according to
Zimbabwean human rights agencies.
"It's a deliberate nationwide strategy to reoccupy space so all space is
occupied by the Zanu of Mugabe," said Jon Stewart, a director of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum.
Minutes of one JOC meeting show that supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai, the
opposition leader, "will all be internally displaced. The target number is
two million supporters".
The plan is to brutalise people into backing Zanu-PF or fleeing the country.
"They're not going to stop," said a maid in Marondera. "They're saying they'll
do more beatings and killings until all the 'traitors' are flushed out."
She and her neighbours were waiting for officials to check their fingers for
red ink to make sure they had voted on Friday.
The Sunday Times
June 29, 2008
South Africa remains loyal to Mugabe but criticism from other states is
RW Johnson in Cape Town
When Nelson Mandela broke his silence last week, speaking of a "tragic
failure of leadership" in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe shrugged it off, saying
the former South African president was merely "bowing to western pressure".
But Mandela's successor, President Thabo Mbeki, said nothing. For Mbeki has
been Mugabe's chief supporter - and now finds himself under increasing
When the Zimbabwean crisis erupted in 2000, Mbeki convened a summit of the
leaders of southern Africa's national liberation movements. The thesis he
laid down was that Anglo-American imperialism was attempting to overthrow
Mugabe, and that should this succeed, other movements would be toppled in
Mbeki sold this view domestically to his African National Congress (ANC) but
insisted to the world that he was involved in "quiet diplomacy" to solve the
crisis. He was able to coax the 14 states of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to line up behind him. He fended off attempts
by the US, the Commonwealth and the European Union to intervene, saying that
only Africans could solve African problems.
Britain and the US have since concentrated on trying to isolate Mugabe.
Their motion at the UN security council said the March 29 first round of the
presidential election (in which Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, won the most votes) was "the only
legitimate basis" for a Zimbabwean government. But Mbeki's ambassador
softened this to "the results of the March 29 election must be respected".
Thereafter, the G8 and EU have insisted that they cannot accept Mugabe's
government as legitimate. The opposition won the parliamentary elections in
March but Mugabe simply refuses to summon parliament, retaining a cabinet
many of whom lost their seats.
Mbeki, on the other hand, has yet to utter a single critical word about
Mugabe and has made clear his bitterness at western pressure. He told
parliament in Cape Town that he would "refuse to participate in projects
based on the notion that we have a right to bring about regime change in
Zimbabwe". This is, as it were, the liberation movement line. Namibia's
foreign minister, Marco Hausiku, described reports of electoral violence in
Zimbabwe last week as "unverified rumours".
Yet deep cracks have now appeared in SADC. Botswana's President Ian Khama
loathes Mugabe and has reprimanded the Zimababwean ambassador. President
Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, the SADC chairman, has publicly expressed his
anger at events and criticised Mbeki's mediation.
Undoubtedly the most wounding defection for both Mbeki and Mugabe is Angola,
which thus publicly dissociates itself from the other liberation movement
states. Mugabe has said he will point an angry finger at various African
leaders at the African Union meeting in Egypt this week. He has even
threatened to break up SADC, though naturally his chief ire is reserved for
the "devious, deceitful and invidious" British, especially the "nonsensical"
Gordon Brown who is "much more idiotic" even than Tony Blair.
What has weakened Mbeki and threatened Mugabe the most, however, is the
sharply different line being taken by the new ANC president, Jacob Zuma, and
his Communist allies, who are livid over Mugabe's treatment of Tsvangirai, a
fellow trade unionist.
Zuma's ANC last week spoke forthrightly of "compelling evidence of violence,
intimidation and outright terror" by Mugabe. The likelihood that Zuma will
become South Africa's president next April is already casting a long shadow.
How far will Africa go in disavowing Mugabe? Only 23 of the 53 states in the
African Union have democratic governments. The pressure from western donors
is likely to be strong, but most will take their cue from the SADC states.
Even though Mbeki's position has been gravely weakened, it is hard to see
South Africa refusing to recognise even a clearly unconstitutional Mugabe
government - and others will follow South Africa's lead. So while a few may
withhold recognition, they are likely to be a small minority. Once again,
African leaders will simultaneously insist that African problems must have
African solutions - and then fail to provide one.
In the end the stronger threat to Mugabe is the fact that inflation was
expected to reach 10,500,000% by July, with prices now multiplying 10 times
every month. It is hard to see him lasting the rest of the year, although he
has disproved many similar predictions in the past.
Published Date: 29 June 2008
By Kevin Kane
AFRICAN leaders are facing perhaps the biggest test of their continent's
post-independence history when they meet tomorrow to discuss Zimbabwe's
farcical run-off election in which Robert Mugabe proclaimed himself State
President for another five-year term.
Now is the moment for the continent-wide African Union (AU) and the
sub-regional 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) to try
to save some face from the disaster into which Mugabe has plunged Africa.
To get re-elected in a contest in which he was the only candidate, Mugabe
launched a reign of terror on his own people. Zimbabweans were beaten on the
streets, women were raped and had limbs and breasts cut off before they were
burned alive, whole communities were abducted and citizens were ordered into
polling booths at gunpoint last Friday to vote for their dictator. As
handfuls of people trickled into the booths, another seven mutilated bodies
of murdered opposition activists were found in the Harare suburb of Epworth.
It has long been clear that Mugabe and his generals were determined not to
surrender to the people's choice, the Movement for Democratic Change's
Morgan Tsvangirai - but the scale of the organised savagery has been
The pressure is on Africa's leaders, gathering this weekend for their annual
summit at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, to repudiate
Robert Mugabe publicly by refusing to acknowledge him as head of state.
However, Mugabe will dare his fellow leaders to damn him, asking how many
have hands any cleaner than his and pointing out that he is "newly elected"
whereas many of them, such as President Eduardo dos Santos of Angola and
King Mswati of Swaziland, have not faced an election for decades, while the
entire war-torn Horn of Africa is a no-go area for democracy.
Even when Mugabe began saying openly, after the first round of presidential
voting on March 29, that he was willing to go to war to prevent a Tsvangirai
victory, the AU and SADC leaders did nothing. They waited for their
officially appointed mediator, South African President Thabo Mbeki, to solve
the Zimbabwe crisis with his "quiet diplomacy", which critics say has
amounted to mere appeasement of Mugabe. Even when the MDC became exasperated
with Mbeki's ineffectiveness and severed relations with him, they still did
Mugabe cares nothing for what the United Nations, Britain or the European
Union say about him, or whether the Queen strips him of a useless
knighthood. But it is just possible that disapproval from his African peers
might move even Mugabe's wooden heart a little.
"It is time for the AU and SADC to stop pussyfooting around this issue,"
argues Allister Sparks, veteran analyst of southern Africa and former editor
of the liberal Rand Daily Mail.
"Their whole credibility is at stake. Both, after all, are bound by their
own charters not to recognise any regime that comes to power
unconstitutionally - which is exactly what the Mugabe regime is doing now."
Even though voting was heavily rigged in his favour, Mugabe lost the March
29 first-round presidential poll to Tsvangirai, obtaining only 43.2% of the
national votes cast to the 47.9% of his rival. Tsvangirai needed an absolute
majority of at least 50% plus one vote to avoid a run-off election. The MDC
said its figures showed he had won that majority and that, strictly
speaking, he should by now have been installed as Zimbabwe's head of state
and have begun the task of reconstructing a country that Mugabe and his
military junta have destroyed.
Mugabe's top military and security chiefs took over the ruling Zanu-PF
party's presidential run-off campaign, organising it like a war. Zimbabweans
were warned of violent repercussions if they failed to vote in last Friday's
With more than 100 of his followers dead, some 4,000 hospitalised and an
estimated 200,000 made homeless, Tsvangirai decided early last week to
withdraw from the presidential race to save his supporters any more
suffering. Many welcomed the move in the hope of gaining relief from the
assaults of Mugabe's police, soldiers and militias.
Others were furious, asking why their relatives and friends had wasted their
lives to support Tsvangirai's "fight for the crown". The MDC leader fled to
the comfort and safety of the Dutch Embassy, while outside his rank-and-file
supporters bore the wrath of the regime.
The government assault has been particularly brutal in rural areas where a
poorly educated peasant population is in thrall to tribal chiefs who have
been bribed and threatened by police, army officers and ruling party
officials into instructing people to vote for Mugabe.
Because of the terror campaign there has been a huge exodus of people into
exile in neighbouring countries and from the countryside into the towns.
"All have been driven out by fear, most have been beaten," said a spokesman
of a non-governmental organisation in Zimbabwe. "The hospitals are
overflowing, there are not enough doctors and staff. Many of the mission
station hospitals have been threatened into submission and no longer take
The country's top human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said: "We've had
murders, torture and arson on a scale that is unbelievable for such a short
space of time." She said the known death toll far underestimated the true
scale of the slaughter, with bodies lying in the bush or unclaimed in
mortuaries. "Things are bad now, but if Mugabe does claim victory (following
Friday's run-off] I fear it will be literally the end of life as we know
it," said Mtetwa. "It is a tragedy that such a beautiful country has been
reduced to this."
Friday's election was one of the most surreal events ever witnessed in
Africa, with many who cast ballots in the uncontested race saying they had
been forced to do so. Zanu-PF party officials were stationed near each
polling place to track who was voting, and for whom.
One man in Harare who refused to vote summed up the disillusion, anger and
fear: "The hope of change offered by the March 29 presidential election has
been ruthlessly and systematically crushed, and all that remains is the
stains of our butchered dreams."
Tension has been typically high in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza, 20
miles south of the capital Harare, as members of Mugabe's youth militias
terrorised the people.
"We would have expected the violence to end immediately after Tsvangirai's
move (dropping out from the run-off], but the opposite is happening," said
local resident Abel Marufu.
"I think Mugabe is just sneering at the world and telling it that, whatever
it thinks about him, he will not be swayed from his chosen path."
As the violence continues in Zimbabwe, perhaps escalating into civil war,
another wave of refugees will flee into neighbouring countries.
In South Africa, widespread ethnic cleansing last month of black African
migrants showed that society's ability to absorb more refugees had reached
There are already an estimated three million Zimbabweans in South Africa, a
quarter of the pre-2000 Zimbabwe population. Forecasts say another two
million will soon arrive in the wake of the election.
"We simply cannot cope with that," said Allister Sparks.
"It would mean a major destabilisation of our society, with devastating
effects on our national image and on our economy."
Bush calls for greater sanctions against Zimbabwe
PRESIDENT Bush stepped up the pressure on Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe
last night by ordering top officials to set up fresh sanctions on his
Bush said he was seeking new sanctions against an "illegitimate" government
following widespread claims of intimidation of voters in Friday's
"Given the Mugabe regime's blatant disregard for the Zimbabwean people's
democratic will and human rights, I am instructing the Secretaries of State
and Treasury to develop sanctions against this illegitimate government of
Zimbabwe and those who support it," Bush said. He is also to press for
United Nations action, including an arms embargo.
Early indications from Zimbabwean election officials yesterday were that
tallies from two-thirds of polling stations showed Mugabe, 84, defeating
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai by a huge margin.
The final result is expected today, with Mugabe being sworn in as president
before departing for a crucial meeting of neighbouring African leaders in
Reports emerged yesterday from official observers of widespread intimidation
of voters to force them to the polling booths. Observers said turnout had
been "low", although state media said "record numbers" had cast their votes.
Tsvangirai, who won the initial vote on March 29 but not by a big enough
margin to triumph outright, pulled out of the run-off last Sunday, claiming
the level of violence aimed at his supporters was too high a price to pay.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said yesterday that Mugabe's ZANU-PF planned to
continue a violent crackdown: "They stole this election, now they are going
to spill more blood."
He said security forces planned to launch 'Operation Red Finger' to track
down people who had abstained; voters had a finger dyed with ink.
Meanwhile, African foreign ministers meeting in Sharm-el-Sheik yesterday
said further international sanctions would not help to resolve Zimbabwe's
crisis. Instead, leaders should push for Mugabe and the opposition to talk
to each other.
Many western leaders urged the African Union to take action at its summit,
saying the turmoil and economic meltdown in Zimbabwe threatened regional
The MDC said it would lobby the summit leaders. "The summit has to take a
firm position," Chamisa said. "We should not wait for rivers of blood and
the complete breakdown of order."
UK businesses are sustaining a tyrant's regime. The arguments against
sanctions are just excuses
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Zimbabwe's sham election has triggered yet more calls for action to be taken
against the Mugabe regime. The possibility of armed intervention has been
raised in serious quarters: if we can go into Sierra Leone, Kosovo and Iraq,
why not Zimbabwe? This is a non-starter. For one thing, the British - as the
former colonial power - are in no position to turn back that particular
clock. Nor, I suspect, do they have the troops available.
Also at play in this argument, I fear, is an understandable denial of
personal responsibility. Calling for an invasion, and then complaining when
the Government fails to provide it, offers a comforting sort of moral
let-out. And the point is not intended cheaply. Personal responsibility has
a role to play here. A great many people in Britain have direct or indirect
financial investments in Zimbabwe. How can they denounce the increasing
repression in the country but continue to invest in businesses that make
their profits in such an environment?
A divestment campaign aimed at crippling the Mugabe regime's finances is
growing. Activist groups are identifying UK and other foreign businesses
still operating in Zimbabwe and are putting pressure on them to divest or
change their ways. They are calling on shareholders to ask whether their
money is underwriting Mugabe's atrocities. Tesco shareholders were last
Friday accused of profiteering from vegetable imports from Zimbabwe "watered
by blood". And a subsidiary of the media giant Naspers was compelled to
return the money it made from a print job it did for Mugabe's election
campaign when activists called the profits "blood money" and demanded that
they make Zimbabwean blood and pain count on their bottom line.
Britons seem surprised to find that Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered
still provide loans and invest in government bills that indirectly enable
Mugabe to finance his repressive system of government. They will be even
more surprised, I suspect, to learn that Dominic Grieve and other MPs are
involved in companies dealing in the country. In fact, all multinational
businesses operating in Zimbabwe directly subsidise Mugabe's network of
thuggery. The government's currency control regime means that almost a
quarter of all hard currency traded in and out of Zimbabwe is more or less
given for free to Mugabe's central bank. If you do business in Zimbabwe you
cannot avoid it. If Mugabe openly seized a quarter of all hard currency,
there would be an international outcry.
However he gets his money, it goes to pay for an elaborate system of
oppression. He has to pay the army and police before they arrest the
democrats. He has to pay the thugs who beat his opposition and, finally, he
has to pay off the party loyalists who would otherwise be tempted to depose
him for his gross mismanagement of the economy. None of them want to be paid
in worthless Zimbabwean dollars. It is only through the expropriation of
hard currency that he is able to keep his system operating.
But business leaders have long argued that economic sanctions - the United
States and European Union are already imposing some on Zimbabwe - rarely
produce changes in foreign governments and instead hurt the poor. They say
that pulling out will only further harm the people of Zimbabwe who are
suffering not only from state repression but also from hyper-inflation and
near total unemployment. Cutting off the inflow of foreign cash will not be
without its costs, but it will damage Mugabe. Not many effective measures
can be taken, but he needs to be made to feel uncomfortable and this is the
best available way. To those who say that continued engagement and talking
will eventually produce results, I say this: if you have been really
trying - rather than going through the motions - your time is up.
Tesco says the farmers from whom they import employ almost 4,000
Zimbabweans, and that they are helping them survive. Tesco says it pays the
farmers directly via South Africa. But all that does is force the farmers to
create elaborate avoidance schemes to bring the currency into Zimbabwe.
Financial institutions such as Barclays, on the other hand, have no choice
but to transact within Mugabe's system.
Economic sanctions often fail. Historians tell us that the closest they have
come to success may have been in toppling the apartheid government of South
Africa. But even there, ordinary black South Africans suffered immensely. In
places such as Cuba and Burma they have done nothing to dislodge the
governments. But Zimbabwe may be an exception. A reduction of foreign
currency flows from business will choke Mugabe. And perhaps force him to the
Mugabe probably would not capitulate just because Tesco cuts contracts with
a few suppliers in Zimbabwe. Equally, though, we are entitled to expect some
sort of moral stand from large corporations. After all, they are no slouches
in demanding the same from governments. Expecting governments to wave a wand
and solve the problem is a form of moral hand-washing.
Equally, though, we are entitled to expect some form of leadership, which is
why the shadow ministers and MPs named in today's Independent on Sunday -
who should know better than anyone that leverage lies at the corporate
level - are open to censure. Acting collectively, if necessary, companies
investing in Zimbabwe could put enormous pressure on Mugabe.
Removing Mugabe's knighthood or preventing the Zimbabwe cricket team from
playing in the UK will not force Mugabe or the so-called "criminal cabal" to
shift from their hardened positions. That would be too easy. What is likely
to work are measured actions that will threaten or sever Mugabe's financial
lifeline - tough measures that might hurt the pocketbooks of individual
shareholders in the West. If individuals in this country want to exercise
their leverage over Mugabe, they must be prepared to face up to the
contribution of British business to his system of tyranny. In the search for
effective punitive measures against Mugabe, tough decisions must be taken by
Gugulethu Moyo is a Zimbabwean lawyer working for the International Bar
Association. She is the co-author of 'The Day After Mugabe'
Foreign firms keep the country afloat but prop up Mugabe, says Tim Webb
Sunday June 29, 2008
The former senior executive of Lonrho does not have fond memories of his
brief encounter with Robert Mugabe. It took place in 1997 during Mugabe's
state visit to Britain, which culminated in a visit to Buckingham Palace, he
recalled in a City restaurant last week. One of the dictator's henchmen had
summoned the executive to the apartments on the Mall used by visiting
The reason soon became clear: there and then, Mugabe offered to buy half of
Lonrho's Zimbabwean subsidiary. Everyone in the room knew the offer would
not be a good one and was actually a thinly disguised threat. The executive,
still working in the mining industry, recalls: 'I said to them, "Why don't
you just nationalise the whole thing?" They said nothing and I walked out.'
Of course, the executive knew that Zimbabwe's government did not have the
money or expertise to run Lonrho's mines, which were - and remain, with the
rest of the industry - a vital source of revenue for the country. Nothing
more was ever said of the proposal. But the encounter reveals that even a
decade ago, foreign companies in Zimbabwe had to walk a tightrope to survive
and keep an avaricious government at bay.
Now, an increasingly desperate, morally and financially bankrupt regime is
piling the pressure on foreign companies still operating in Zimbabwe. At the
same time, the opposition and the international community are asking whether
foreign companies are helping keep Mugabe in power.
One chairman of an Aim-listed mining company with operations in Zimbabwe
responded to calls for him to pull out by saying: 'If we did, it would be
the ordinary people - our employees and their families - who would suffer.'
But for miners in particular, Zimbabwe remains hugely attractive, with the
world's second-largest deposits of platinum, plus gold, silver, asbestos and
copper. This - with sky-high commodity prices - goes some way to explaining
their tolerance of the regime's excesses.
Anne Fruehauf of consultancy Control Risks says: 'Essentially, the
government has long been engaged in what amounts to official extortion. Some
companies will be receiving frequent calls, for example, to contribute to
the Robert Mugabe birthday fund or a "drought stabilisation fund".'
Well intentioned companies have limited influence over where their money
ends up, she adds. 'Companies are treading a very fine line - they will want
to fund corporate social responsibility programmes, for example, but must
make sure the money is not ending up in politicians' pockets.'
Most companies insist that they will only maintain, not expand, their
operations in Zimbabwe while Mugabe's reign of terror continues. Last week,
British giant Anglo American attracted widespread opprobrium when it emerged
that it was pressing ahead with the world's largest-ever foreign
investment - to open a new mine in the country. But, Fruehauf points out,
miners have to expand their mines, or the government will revoke their
The regime is now planning, in effect, to partially nationalise the mining
industry in a move likely to intensify pressure for foreign companies to
pull out. Earlier this year, Mugabe passed an 'Indigenisation Bill' and a
'Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill'. These will force foreign companies to
hand over 51 per cent of their Zimbabwean subsidiaries to 'indigenous
investors' - effectively Zanu-PF stooges. Nana Apmofo from Global Insight,
says: 'It effectively means companies becoming partners with Zanu-PF.' How
long business can keep treading the tightrope in Zimbabwe remains to be
The Sunday Times
June 29, 2008
Jonathan Calvert and Maurice Gerard
Barclays is flouting European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe by providing two
of President Robert Mugabe's most senior henchmen with bank accounts.
Both men are named on an EU blacklist that compels European-based financial
institutions to freeze their bank accounts and have no dealings with them.
Barclays has been able to get around the sanctions by persuading the UK
Treasury that the rules do not apply to its 67%-owned Zimbabwean subsidiary
because it was incorporated outside the EU.
The two henchmen have been heavily involved in the regime's crackdown, which
in effect fixed Friday's presidential election in favour of Mugabe. They are
Elliot Manyika, minister without portfolio, who is a key figure in the
recent violence, and Nicholas Goche, minister of public service, who is said
to have masterminded attacks on white farmers.
Yesterday Kate Hoey MP, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on
Zimbabwe, said Barclays had a moral responsibility to comply with at least
the spirit of the sanctions.
"It is reprehensible that Barclays is still prepared to offer [the two
ministers] bank accounts . . . [the bank is] using intricacies of
incorporation overseas as a means of sanction-busting in order to service
Mugabe's brutal henchmen," she said.
Zimbabwe's human rights abuses have made it a pariah state and the
84-year-old Mugabe's attempts to maintain his 28-year grip on power have
drawn international criticism.
In the run-up to the election, Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is alleged to have
carried out attacks that left more than 80 political opponents dead and
caused Morgan Tsvangirai, the rival presidential candidate, to withdraw.
The EU sanctions were first imposed when Mugabe attempted to rig his 2002
presidential campaign. A blacklist was produced naming senior politicians
whose funds - such as "deposits with financial institutions" - were to be
frozen. The sanctions make clear: "No funds or economic resources shall be
made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of [people on
However, both Manyika and Goche - who have been on the list since 2002 -
told The Sunday Times they have held accounts with Barclays for some time.
They could have used the bank to transfer funds out of the country, avoiding
the hyperinflation that has made Zimbabwe's currency almost worthless.
Both ministers have fearsome reputations. They are based in the country's
northeastern Mashonaland region, which has been the focal point of
government violence since the first presidential poll on March 29.
Manyika is Zanu-PF's national commissar directing Mugabe's election
campaign. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party claims
Manyika told supporters at a rally in May to beat up opponents. The MDC says
that, in addition to the deaths, 10,000 people have been injured and 200,000
have been displaced from their homes. Manyika is also understood to have
instructed the police to turn a blind eye when opposition supporters were
Manyika has been accused of orchestrating the burning-down of four
opposition members' houses. He was also implicated in the shooting of an
opposition demonstrator during a rally outside Harare. Court documents
revealed he had ordered a supporter to shoot into the crowd.
Goche is a former national security minister who ran Mugabe's infamous
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). He was heavily involved in the
"land reform" policy that left thousands of white and black farmers without
At the height of the evictions in 2000, Goche was accused of being the
planner of violent farm invasions by bands of so-called war veterans. He was
also behind for a leaked CIO document, entitled Solution to the White
Problem, which aimed to drive whites from Zimbabwe.
Earlier this month Goche announced that humanitarian agencies would be
suspended from operating in the country - a ruinous development for many of
the 4m people who depend on food aid. It was believed to be a ploy to enable
Zanu-PF to control food supplies to hungry villagers ahead of the election.
Barclays, which faced criticism for operating in South Africa during the
apartheid years, has remained one of only a handful of banks with extensive
operations in Zimbabwe. It has been operating in Zimbabwe through a
subsidiary company for almost a century and has recently been opening
Last November The Sunday Times revealed that the bank had contributed
millions in loans to a scheme that was used by Mugabe to fund cronies given
land seized from white farmers.
Internal Foreign Office and Treasury e-mails - acquired under freedom of
information laws by Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP - show there was
little enthusiasm for intervening against Barclays at that time.
Initially, officials drafted a statement saying they believed it "morally"
wrong for Barclays to make farm loans to members of Mugabe's regime but this
line was quashed. The word "investigating" was also removed in case it might
result in what an official described as a "whoops there go the money
In the end Treasury solicitors ruled that the Barclays subsidiary did not
come under the EU sanctions scheme because it was incorporated in Zimbabwe.
On Friday Barclays issued a statement saying: "[Barclays] services are
critically relied upon by many of the 135,000 customers for their day-to-day
operations to maintain access to banking and employment, with a benefit to
the wider community. This continued presence brings the benefit of avoiding
additional hardship [to that] already being experienced within the country."
Tory frontbenchers are among those with shares in companies accused of
propping up the violent - and now illegal - regimein Harare. Jane Merrick
and Archie Bland report
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve heads a list of Tory MPs with sizeable
shareholdings in companies accused of propping up Robert Mugabe's regime,
The Independent on Sunday can reveal today.
Three of David Cameron's frontbenchers are among six Conservatives - and one
Liberal Democrat - with investments together worth more than £1m in firms
trading in Zimbabwe. The revelations will embarrass the Tory leader, who has
sought to take the moral high ground over the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Mr Cameron has called on all companies and individuals with "any dealings"
in Zimbabwe to examine their consciences and ensure that they are not
keeping Mr Mugabe in power.
The companies include Anglo American, the mining giant rebuked last week for
pushing ahead with a new £200m platinum mine in Zimbabwe, Rio Tinto,
Standard Chartered, Barclays, Shell and BP.
The controversy will also hit Mr Cameron's attempts to consign sleaze to
In February, in echoes of Tony Blair's vow in 1997 to be "purer than pure",
the Tory leader said: "Any arrangements we enter into are ones we are
prepared to protect and defend in a court of public opinion." In June, he
said: "Anyone who flies under the Conservative banner carries a wider
responsibility to the reputation of the party."
But in recent months Mr Cameron has been hit by scandals involving MPs Derek
Conway, Caroline Spelman, the party's chairman, and MEPs.
While the seven MPs at the centre of the Zimbabwe row have not broken any
rules, critics have asked if it was morally right to own shares in firms
giving a lifeline to Mr Mugabe. The MPs' investments have been described as
"blood shares" which they should sell immediately in protest at the violence
during the presidential elections.
When he was Prime Minister in the early 1970s, Edward Heath rounded on
Lonrho over its investments in Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, and labelled its
chief, Tiny Rowland, the "unacceptable face of capitalism".
Mr Mugabe was expected to be sworn in today for a new term after a poll
which was denounced as a sham, by, among others, the internal advisory group
of Independent News and Media, publishers of The Independent on Sunday.
Scores of opposition supporters were killed by forces loyal to Mr Mugabe
since challengers put their names forward three months ago.
Mr Grieve insisted the shares had been declared in the "proper way". He
added: "The Conservative Party has made it clear that companies operating in
Zimbabwe must adhere to the highest ethical standards and I fully endorse
Mr Grieve owns shares in Anglo American, Standard Chartered, Rio Tinto and
Shell. Each investment is worth more than £60,000 - meaning his total
shareholdings are more than £240,000.
One shadow minister, Robert Goodwill, admitted he was "not proud" to be a
shareholder in Barclays, but said it was "not a very good time to sell
shares". The suggestion that he was concerned about the stock market was
described last night as "despicable".
Last Wednesday Mr Cameron told Gordon Brown at Prime Minister's Questions:
"Businesses and individuals that have any dealings with Zimbabwe must
examine their responsibilities and ensure they do not make investments that
prop up the regime." William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, has urged
companies investing in Zimbabwe to "examine their consciences very
Firms insist that their involvement keeps people in jobs and fights poverty.
Yet experts say that a quarter of all hard currency traded in and out of
Zimbabwe is creamed off by Mugabe.
Parliamentary rules state that shares worth more than an MP's salary of
£61,820 must go on the register of interests. The latest register lists six
Tory MPs and one Lib Dem MP with shareholdings in one or more companies that
have interests in Zimbabwe.
Shadow Business minister Jonathan Djanogly owns shares in Barclays, BP,
Shell, WPP and Tesco. He said: "Shareholders should be encouraged to make
representations to the companies in which they invest. I have no comment on
my own personal shareholdings."
Shadow Transport minister Mr Goodwill owns shares in Barclays. "I don't have
any influence in the bank because the size of my shares," he said. "If I
tried ringing the chairman of Barclays, he wouldn't talk to me. But anything
we can do to bring pressure to bear on this dreadful regime and evil man
needs to be done. I don't feel particularly proud to be a Barclays
shareholder, but I think it is better to bring pressure to bear as a
shareholder than selling the shares. And probably because it is not a very
good time to sell the shares."
Anthony Steen, Tory MP for Totnes, said he had no idea that Unilever and
Shell were doing business in Zimbabwe. "I would like to do everything I can
to help get rid of this evil regime and I am going to discuss it with David
Cameron as to how he sees that I might be able to assist."
Three MPs with shares in the firms could not be contacted for comment: Tim
Boswell, MP for Daventry, owns shares in Barclays and Tesco; Sir John
Stanley owns shares in Shell; Sir Robert Smith, Lib Dem MP for Aberdeenshire
West & Kincardine, has shares in Rio Tinto and Shell.
Barclays has attracted the greatest controversy for its Zimbabwean
operations. It owns two- thirds of Barclays Bank Zimbabwe, and has to buy
£23m in government bonds under the terms of its licence. It also contributes
to a government loan scheme that has lent money to at least five ministers
for farm improvements. The British parent company took a £12m dividend in
2006, and the Zimbabwean subsidiary's profits rose by 135 per cent in 2007.
Barclays insists it "always seeks to conduct its business in an ethical and
responsible manner" and complies with EU sanctions.
Standard Chartered Bank contributes money through the same compulsory bonds
as Barclays. Earlier this month, the Foreign Office confirmed that it was
investigating if the firm had breached EU sanctions. Unlike Barclays,
Standard Chartered operates in Zimbabwe directly, rather than through a
subsidiary. The bank said that thousands of people rely on it for wages, and
it had an obligation to stay.
Anglo American, the biggest platinum miner in the world, plans to invest an
additional £200m in its mine at Unki, the biggest overseas investment in the
country to date. Anglo has defended pouring new money into the country as
part of its responsibility to the local community. The opposition MDC said
that the decision made Anglo "complicit in the regime".
Rio Tinto, a rival mining giant, has a diamond mine at Murowa.
A spokesman defended the company's continued activity there as part of "a
duty to our workforce and the community", but said there would be no new
investment until the political situation stabilises.
Between them, Shell and BP control 40 per cent of Zimbabwe's petrol market,
distributing fuel to more than 200 sites around the country through BP/Shell
Marketing Services Ltd. Neither is directly involved in retail, but BP has
70 employees there. A BP spokesman said it was important to maintain supply
to its customers in Zimbabwe.
Unilever has run a soap factory in the country since 2001, when it moved
there from Zambia. It makes a loss, and says it will examine its options in
Tesco is one of several British supermarkets, including Morrisons and
Waitrose, to source food from Zimbabwe, including sugar snap peas and green
beans. Dr Vincent Magombe, director of the pressure group African Inform
International, has accused the company of taking food "watered by the blood
and tears of the Zimbabwean people". But a Tesco spokesperson said: "There s
precious little employment of any sort in Zimbabwe and it would be
irresponsible to deprive thousands of people of their only means of feeding
The advertising giant WPP pledged to sell its share of a Zimbabwean
affiliate, Imago, because the firm's managing director had been working on
ads for the Mugabe campaign.
Labour MP John Mann said: "Politicians profiting from the blood of the
Zimbabwean people need to consider their position. What this shows is that
greed for money supersedes moral responsibility." Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb
said: "It is a despicable attitude to put personal interests before the
interests of the people of Zimbabwe."
Mr Cameron declined to comment on the IoS revelations.
Tory politicians touched by the 'whiff of sleaze'
The Tory party chairman is under investigation by Parliament's standards
commissioner over payments from her parliamentary expenses to her nanny a
decade ago. Mrs Spelman, who referred the case herself after it was revealed
on 'Newsnight', denies wrongdoing. She claims Tina Haynes was employed from
1997 to 1999 to look after her children and do some secretarial work. Her
other secretary, Sally Hammond, said she was "shocked" to discover how much
Ms Haynes was paid.
Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton
The husband and wife Tory MPs bought a Westminster flat as a second home in
2002, which they placed in a trust for their children. They claimed £165,828
in rent on expenses, though it was bought outright. The practice was then
within the rules, but was banned in 2006. After investigation, standards
commissioner John Lyon this month found the couple had committed an
"unequivocal" breach of parliamentary rules, but did not order them to repay
The MP was suspended from the Commons for 10 days in January for misusing
public funds after putting his son Freddie on the payroll for apparently
very little work. But when it emerged that the MP had also paid his elder
son Henry as a researcher in his parliamentary office, Mr Cameron threw Mr
Conway out of the Conservative Party. Mr Conway will stand down as MP for
Old Bexley and Sidcup at the next election.
The Tory MEP was forced to quit as Conservative group leader earlier this
month for ploughing £445,000 through a company where he was a paid director.
At first he tried to apologise - "hands up, mea culpa" - but Mr Cameron told
him to go, after the breach in European Parliament rules. The row also
triggered the departure of Tory MEP, Den Dover, as chief whip in Brussels.
Mr Dover denied breaking any rules in paying his wife and daughter a
reported £750,000 for work over nine years, but the whiff of sleaze forced
By Malcolm Rifkind
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 29/06/2008
It is a curious compliment to democracy that even a vicious tyrant
like Robert Mugabe believes that it is necessary to go through a bogus
election to continue in office. The half-empty polling stations on Friday
were an eloquent response by the millions of brave Zimbabweans who refused
to be cowed and stayed at home. As the African Union leaders meet at their
summit in Egypt tomorrow they should respect the people's verdict.
But if the rhetoric of denunciation, alone, could bring down Robert
Mugabe he would have cleared his desk already. Sadly, that is not the case
and it is necessary to look for practical proposals if the people of
Zimbabwe are to have any serious prospect of a liberation from tyranny in
the near future.
Inevitably, out of a mixture of idealism and frustration there have
begun to be calls for military intervention to drive Mugabe from power.
Paddy Ashdown has indicated it might be necessary and others have indicated
The precedents are not encouraging. Iraq has endured five years of
internal chaos, hundreds of thousands have died, millions have become
refugees and Iran has become the unintended beneficiary of the military
intervention launched five years ago to oust Saddam Hussein.
Nor has the Kosovo war been an unmixed blessing. Eight years later the
Kosovo Albanians have returned to their homes but the Kosovo Serbs remain
ethnically cleansed. The bombing of Belgrade did not take the four or five
days that Nato had predicted but 78 days and nights of sustained bombardment
with thousands of casualties. Kosovo remains an international crisis with
the EU itself divided and eight of its member states refusing to recognise
That having been said, military intervention in Zimbabwe cannot be
ruled out unless there is another strategy with a greater prospect of
success and less downside. So forget the lessons of the recent past. What
are the pros and cons with regard to Zimbabwe?
The first inescapable conclusion is that, for political and practical
reasons, a military intervention could not be led by the United Kingdom.
There are both political and practical reasons for this.
Britain is the former colonial power and Mugabe's whole strategy has
been to argue that Morgan Tsvangirai is a puppet of the British while he,
Mugabe, is the protector of the country's independence. The allegation is
absurd but the whole of Africa would find a British attack on Zimbabwe
In any event, Zimbabwe is landlocked. Any invading force from Britain
or any other Western country would need permission from either South Africa
or Mozambique to transit its territory or use its air space in order to
reach Harare. Given recent history it is inconceivable that that permission
would be granted.
That leads to another possibility. The intervening military force
might come from South Africa and other neighbouring states such as Zambia,
Tanzania and Mozambique.
In theory such an operation could happen. The charter of the African
Union explicitly permits military interventions to restore peace and
stability when there is a "serious threat to legitimate order" in member
states. Earlier this year Tanzanian and Sudanese troops invaded the Comoros
Islands republic to remove a dictator who had seized power.
There is a valid argument that the trauma of Zimbabwe has ceased to
be, purely, an internal matter.
With the disintegration of law and order, three million refugees and
economic collapse, the stability of the whole of Southern Africa has been
put at risk. That is why several African presidents and ministers have, at
long last, condemned Mugabe's regime, describing it as an embarrassment to
the whole of Africa.
African military intervention would not be credible without South
Africa, but equally would be unnecessary if South Africa used the
non-military means at its disposal to coerce Mugabe.
Ian Smith's Rhodesian regime gave up its illegal independence when
South Africa's apartheid government withdrew its support. Although
sympathetic to Ian Smith and the Rhodesian Front, the South Africans
concluded that their own interests required rapid change. The same arguments
Mugabe depends on South Africa and other neighbouring states for all
Zimbabwe's oil and petroleum imports and for half of its electricity. If
these were embargoed and if all trade with Zimbabwe was halted by its
neighbours, led by South Africa, Mugabe would be gone within a month.
Such a strategy would not involve the carnage of an invasion. As a
purely African operation it would not invite political protest or reprisals
from any other part of the world. The Chinese would be diplomatically silent
and the United Nations would breathe a collective sigh of relief.
These measures should be combined with the suspension of Zimbabwe from
the Africa Union and the Southern African Development Community.
If President Mbeki discovers the political will he can deliver the
liberation of Zimbabwe without a shot being fired. His efforts at mediation,
however well-intentioned, have utterly failed.
History, as well as the people of Zimbabwe, will find it difficult to
forgive him if he refuses now to act.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind lived in Zimbabwe in 1967-69. He was Minister for
Africa, 1983-86, and Foreign Secretary, 1995-97
Saturday, 28 June 2008 23:00 UK
Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve has defended his decision not to
give up shares in major firms still operating in Zimbabwe.
Mr Grieve was among seven MPs named by the Independent on Sunday as
having investments in the country.
He said the Conservative Party expected firms in Zimbabwe to uphold
"the highest ethical standards".
Tory leader David Cameron previously called on Zimbabwe investors to
"examine their own responsibilities".
Mr Grieve owns at least £240,000 worth of shares in companies
operating in the southern African country such as Shell, mining firms Rio
Tinto and Anglo American and the Standard Chartered bank.
Mr Cameron, speaking last week, warned that businesses and individuals
"must not make investments that prop up the regime".
Robert Mugabe is expected to be sworn in as the President of Zimbabwe
after an election, which drew international condemnation, in which he was
the only candidate.
Other firms operating in Zimbabwe in which MPs have shares are
Barclays, BP and Tesco.
Mr Grieve said: "The Conservative Party has made it clear that
companies operating in Zimbabwe must adhere to the highest ethical standards
and I fully endorse that view."
Shadow transport minister Robert Goodwill, who was also one of the
named MPs, told the newspaper that he "did not feel particularly proud to be
a Barclays shareholder".
Mr Goodwill said it was better to bring pressure to bear as a
shareholder but added that it was "not a very good time" to sell the shares.
Meanwhile shadow business minister Jonathan Djanogly, who owns shares
in Barclays, BP, Shell and Tesco, said shareholders "should be encouraged to
Totnes Tory MP Anthony Steen said he was unaware of the Zimbabwe links
to his investments in Unilever and Shell.
The other MPs listed were Tories Tim Boswell (Barclays and Tesco) and
Sir John Stanley (Shell) and Liberal Democrat MP Sir Robert Smith (Rio Tinto
Anglo American in talks with Zimbabwean regime
Tim Webb, industrial editor
Sunday June 29, 2008
Mining giant Anglo American and Impala Platinum are in talks with Robert
Mugabe's regime about handing over large stakes in their Zimbabwean
subsidiaries to 'indigenous investors'.
The opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and London-based
analysts said it was likely that these deals, worth hundreds of millions of
dollars, would be used to raise money for the regime. MDC spokesman Nelson
Chamisa told The Observer: 'The indigenisation bill is another dimension of
the kleptocracy. It's not intended to legitimately promote indigenous
Mugabe this year rubberstamped 'indigenisation and economic empowerment'
laws, which will force all foreign companies in Zimbabwe to hand up to 51
per cent of their assets there to unspecified indigenous investors. It
applies to all foreign companies but it is understood that the lucrative
mining sector is being targeted. Zimbabwe holds the world's second largest
deposits of platinum, according to London-based bank Ambrian Capital.
Anglo American last week confirmed it was going ahead with its $400m plan to
open a new mine, the biggest foreign investment in the country to date,
despite the growing crisis.
The British-based company is prepared to hand over a 20 per cent stake in
the project. Ideally it would like to sign up individual entrepreneurs,
unions or pension funds as partners, but the Zimbabwean government has
vetoed the plans put forward.
South African-based Impala Platinum is also continuing talks about the
transfer of a 15 per cent stake in its Zimbabwean subsidiary, Zimplats,
which has a stock market value of £650m. The company wants to set up an
employee shareholder scheme to prevent the money ending up in the hands of
supporters of the regime but has also not been able to secure agreement from
Knox Chitiyo, head of the Africa programme at think tank the Royal United
Services Institute, said: 'The bill will almost certainly be used as a
fundraiser for the government, since to do well in business in Zimbabwe,
political links are vital. In the short term, [it] could raise significant
revenue for the government.'
A spokesman for Anglo American said: 'We are continuing to act in order to
comply with the requirements of the indigenisation legislation.'
Despite weeks of bloodshed, which appalled the world, Zimbabwe's people
stayed away in droves from a sham election
By Daniel Howden in Harare
Sunday, 29 June 2008
When the first result arrived from Zimbabwe's election, it was not what
Robert Mugabe had ordered. Instead it was another win for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The bulletins came in the early hours of yesterday morning by the only way
they can in this terrorised country - anonymous text message. They announced
that the information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, had finished a humiliating
third behind two opposition candidates in a by-election on the undercard of
this weekend's electoral charade.
The defiant democratic gesture will not stop the 84-year-old, known
unaffectionately as Comrade Bob, from being inaugurated today, but it
offered a more honest gauge of feeling in his country than his uncontested
"re-election". It was one of many acts of defiance made all the more
remarkable in that they came after a week of almost relentless terror
unleashed by the government.
There are few who know better than Stabilo Nyathi the lengths to which the
Mugabe regime has gone to reverse its March defeat at the polls. With no
formal training, no facilities and in constant fear of abduction herself,
she has been attempting to counsel the torture victims who have arrived
broken and bewildered in the southern city of Bulawayo.
"The first man I saw, they had smashed his skull," she said. "They beat him
with the fan belt from a tractor, making massive wounds on his arms and
back. Then they burned him. He was in shock. He did not know where was his
wife, or his children."
The man had been an opposition supporter from the rural areas near Gweru,
and had had to make his way to the city mostly on foot. His was one of
dozens of similar horror stories she had heard. A young, local organiser,
with no international profile or protection, Ms Nyathi is exactly the kind
of opposition activist who has ended up in the firing line.
"I don't tell people where I am going," she said. "I try to change the place
where I'm staying as often as I can. If I get a lift I get someone to drop
me three streets away."
She says that in place of the fear, there is now a kind of numbness. "I have
been beaten up in the past, and after a certain point you can't feel it any
more. I am not afraid. I am numb. The pain will come later."
Tens of thousands across this impoverished southern African nation were
waiting for that pain to come as it emerged that many had ignored mortal
threats from the ruling party and either stayed away from the "one man
election" or spoilt their ballot papers. The "massive turnout" trumpeted by
the state-run Herald newspaper yesterday was a fiction that found few
backers. Even the handful of observers that were allowed in refused to
sanction what they had seen.
Marwick Khumalo, head of the Pan-African Parliament observer mission,
described turnout as "very, very low". The lawmaker from Swaziland confirmed
what many others had witnessed when he said: "There was a lot of
intimidation for people to vote." He also said that he had seen many ballot
papers that had been defaced, some with slogans saying "We will not vote" on
But this will be matched by equal defiance from Mr Mugabe, who wants to be
sworn in for a new term before departing for a summit of the African Union
that begins in Cairo tomorrow. There he will challenge fellow leaders from
across the continent to refuse him recognition, and they are expected to
back down, even though many have criticised his election.
Zimbabwe's opposition has placed its hope in figures such as Zambia's
President, Levy Mwanawasa, Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, and Jacob
Zuma, President of South Africa's ruling ANC, who have described Zimbabwe as
being out of control. The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who withdrew from
the election in protest at the intimidation, called on the AU and the UN to
supervise fresh elections.
There was also pressure from President George Bush, who announced yesterday
that Washington would enforce new sanctions on what he called an
"illegitimate government", and said he would call on the UN to impose an
arms embargo on Zimbabwe and a travel ban on its officials. The
International Advisory Board of the Independent News & Media Group,
publishers of The Independent on Sunday, condemned "the sham election, the
political turmoil and extreme human rights violations" in Zimbabwe. But Mr
Mugabe will dismiss anything short of a military threat or an all-out
embargo by South Africa, his powerful neighbour.
In the meantime, Zimbabwe will suffer. The price of defiance in a place like
Chinhoyi in rural Mashonaland, once the heartland of support for Mugabe the
hero of liberation, could not be higher. The IoS has seen images of dead and
mutilated bodies dumped by the roadside after being processed in the torture
camps run by the ruling Zanu-PF.
Joseph Madzivanhendo, an MDC activist, had his foreskin severed with a
machete blow and was left to bleed to death afterwards. The headman of
Madzivanzira village was murdered with an axe. His wife somehow survived an
axe blow that split her forehead open. Their crime was that their son was an
MDC organiser. Beta Chokurioriama, another activist, died from multiple stab
These are only three of a death toll of more than 120 confirmed cases, which
doctors fear will top 500. The toll does not include those who were raped or
those who had both hands chopped off to stop them from voting.
Despite the intimidation, Mashonaland voters refused to play along. Speaking
by telephone from Chinhoyi yesterday, an independent observer, who cannot be
named, said that the polling stations had been empty before midday. "Then
they [soldiers, youth militia and paramilitaries] went door to door,
ordering people to vote. They demanded to see the ink stain on peoples'
fingers. The people I spoke to said they spoiled their papers."
In Harare, the post-election blood-letting that had been feared was slow to
start as the scale of the boycott ruled out the kind of forensic reprisals
that Zanu officials had threatened. By yesterday afternoon the tell-tale red
ink-stains were hard to discern even on those who had voted.
In the meantime, the mood is one of paranoia. Meetings with local
journalists or opposition officials have become snatched conversations in
parking lots. Cars with no number plates patrol the streets, and plain
clothes informants are everywhere.
Much of the real terror comes at night. After the polling stations closed,
it was the turn of the hundreds of political refugees who had camped all
week outside the South African embassy. In the afternoon they had put up
banners calling on the South African President, Thabo Mbeki, to help them.
In the early hours yesterday they were rounded up, along with freelance
journalists watching nearby; nobody knows where they have been taken. Like
so many Zimbabweans, they have been disappeared.
Statement from Independent News & Media: A call to Africa to stop Mugabe
The International Advisory Board (IAB) of the Independent News & Media Group
meeting in Dublin condemns the sham election, the political turmoil and
extreme human rights violations unleashed in Zimbabwe.
The IAB recognises that many African states, among them Zimbabwe's
neighbours, are strongly critical of the Mugabe regime and its violent
suppression of democracy. We particularly applaud the sentiments expressed
by the President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, and Nobel Laureate, Bishop Desmond
Tutu, in South Africa, as well as the concern of former president, Nelson
Mandela. The IAB now looks to the South African Development Community (SADC)
and the African Union (AU) urgently to develop a strategy for the
restoration of civil authority and a free and fair election process in
27 June 2008
Participants: Sir Anthony O'Reilly; Gavin O'Reilly; Tony Howard; Shaun
Johnson; Lord Dennis Rogan; Brian Hillery; Kenneth Clarke; Sir Ivor Roberts;
Ivan Fallon; Chuck Daly; Maurice Hayes; Jakes Gerwel; Wiseman Nkuhlu;
Baroness Margaret Jay; Brian Mulroney;
Mayor David Dinkins; Liam Healy; Mahendra Mohan Gupta
ZIMBABWE: A dissident from Mugabe's brutal regime shares his storyBy Kate
ARNOLD BHEBHE knows of the terror and brutality meted out to those whooppose RobertMugabe's regime. The former head teacher and pro-democracy campaigner
escaped with his life from the Matabeleland massacres in the 1980s that
claimed between 20,000 and 30,000 lives.
His brother Stanslous and sister Tryphine were not so lucky. Bhebhe watched
helplessly as they died moments after being shot in cold blood on April 11,
1985. "I escaped by a whisker, hardly five minutes," said Bhebhe. "I left my
family shop a few minutes before to see someone and heard that there was
shooting and I went back. There were seven people lying there, my brother
and sister among them. I still feel the pain of it today."
Now living in Edinburgh, the 47-year-old told the Sunday Herald how he
became politicised after the murder of his family and after witnessing the
killings, beatings and rapes of the massacres in Matabeleland, the first
round of Mugabe's murderous political repression.
"What I feel about Mugabe now is that when he spoke about the demons at No
10 Downing Street last week, it occurred to me that actually he was speaking
about himself, he is the demon that needs to be exorcised," he said.
In a decade of pro-democracy campaigning against Zanu-PF Bhebhe became a
senior member of the opposition Zanu Ndonga party, then moved on to the
Movement for Democratic Change. He was twice incarcerated in Mugabe's
terrifying prison cells, where he was frequently beaten and tortured.
He said: "In the 2000 plebiscite I was put in charge of the MDC in
Matabeleland and I was nominated to stand as candidate. But pressure was put
on me and I withdrew my candidacy.
"I had already resigned as a teacher in 1998 because I was scared for the
children, as the Central Intelligence officers were following me everywhere
and kept coming into the school and many, many teachers had disappeared."
Mugabe's thugs arrested Bhebhe during the 2000 campaign. "I was
interrogated, tortured and beaten so badly I lost my teeth. Eventually I
escaped to Botswana as a relief teacher, and then got to the UK.
"I had already been incarcerated in Bulawayo by Mugabe for two weeks in 1994
when I was interrogated daily. On my last day I was interrogated by five
Central Intelligence officers."
Bhebhe now fears for the future of his country and called on the
international community to act before it is too late.
"The magnitude of the Matabeleland violence spells out quite clearly that it
was a genocidal massacre.
"Mugabe is scared of the consequences of his criminal activities. He knows
if he loses power he will have charges laid against him, and it is because
he is very weak that he holds on to power so violently. He is praying that
he will not be arraigned. He wants to disintegrate Zimbabwe so it becomes
another Somalia where there is no rule of law. It is so very sad.
"Very soon the country will be plunged into this Somalian type of chaos. To
avoid this we need to have sanctions and/or military intervention. After
all, they can do it for Sierra Leone, they stopped Saddam and want to stop
the Taliban so surely they could stop Mugabe. The ball is in the court of
the international community.
"We are now at the doorstep of genocide. I believe Mugabe is prepared to
engage in it so long as he keeps power."
Aid agencies in Zimbabwe last night warned of the impact of the political
crisis on the most vulnerable.
Sarah Jacobs, spokeswoman for Save the Children in Africa, said: "We have
worked there for 25 years and through a number of crises. At this stage the
effects of the political impasse are completely catastrophic. As the most
vulnerable members of society, children bear the brunt of everything, and
there is a lack of any education, clean water or food.
"Zimbabwe has the highest number of orphans per capita of any country in the
world, many of whom are carers for the rest of their families. Our
activities, such as giving rubber gloves to child carers of HIV-positive
relatives, or distributing mosquito nets, since the north of Zimbabwe has
one of the highest rates of malaria, have all stopped. In addition the
harvest has been very bad and there are rising rates of famine.
"These are the invisible victims - children in communities which we haven't
been able to get to any more. We haven't been able to get to many rural
communities for the past two years. This is a worsening humanitarian crisis
with these children in need of our help, hidden from aid."
As many famine-stricken Zimbabweans were forced into voting on Friday and
political violence erupted, questions were being asked about the rising
human toll of international inaction.
Dr Juergen Zimmerer, director of the Centre for the Study of Genocide and
Mass Violence at the University of Sheffield, said: "It is not yet genocide
but we are very, very close to it. It really depends on Mugabe's next move.
At the moment he is terrorising the people of Zimbabwe into voting for him.
"We have to be careful about saying it is another Rwanda. When in 1994 the
airplane carrying the Rwandan president was shot down, they already had the
death lists in the drawers and they then immediately carried out the
genocide with amazing speed.
"Who is to say Mugabe's regime doesn't already have death lists in drawers,
and on Monday or Tuesday won't start genocidal killings? But if you call it
genocide now, what do you call it when the genocidal killings do start?
"Mugabe already has a track record for genocidal violence from the
Matabeleland massacres and he won't suddenly discover his conscience. So
perhaps instead of inviting Mugabe to Rome and Lisbon, the international
community should have arrested him, or frozen his assets and not let him
"At the moment, Mugabe seems content with terrorising Zimbabweans into
voting for him, but the most dangerous moment will come when he realises he
is no longer able to do that. Then the destruction of entire groups of
people might be the solution he chooses, and that would mean genocide."
Meanwhile, Bhebhe waits anxiously in Scotland for news from home as Mugabe
claims his hollow victory.
"The people in Zimbabwe continue to suffer and continue to die," he said.
"They are denied medicine, there is little food, what food there is is
unreachable, and the children can't go to school. There needs to be an
international response of strict sanctions on Mugabe and, if it continues,
proper British-led military intervention. Otherwise the future for Zimbabwe
is very, very bleak."
Hundreds dead or missing, thousands in hiding or leaving the country ...
Zimbabwe's 'democracy' is soaked in blood. Now the world will watch
helplessly as a ruthless tyrant tightens his reign of terror.
By Fred Bridgland in Johannesburg
ROBERT MUGABE, firmly in power for another five years as president of
Zimbabwe following the most Orwellian election in Africa's precarious
post-independence history, will today fly to the African Union's annual
summit in Egypt and dare any of his fellow heads of state to criticise him.
By the time Mugabe touches down at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, he
will have been sworn in again as state president. This follows the verdict
by former Sierra Leone president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the head of the African
Union election observer team, that Friday's farcical run-off presidential
vote, during which more people queued for scarce bread than at polling
booths, was well organised.
"I'm highly impressed by the orderly manner in which the election has been
organised," Kabbah said, while declining to comment on the 100 or more
opposition supporters who had been killed by Mugabe's militias prior to and
during the poll, the hundreds still missing, the thousands in hospital with
serious wounds and the 200,000 or more whose homes have been burned and
destroyed during the past few weeks of state-licensed savagery.
Kabbah's view is not shared by those who dared to hope Mugabe might be
toppled from power, thousands of whom are in hiding or crossing
international borders to safety. "We have been decimated, we have been
crushed to the ground," said Shepherd Mashonga, a top opposition leader in
the traditional Mugabe stronghold province of Mashonaland Central, where
more than 24 critics of the head of state have been murdered in the past few
Despite warnings from Archbishop Desmond Tutu - the feisty opponent of South
Africa's historic apartheid and a Nobel peace prize winner - that Zimbabwe
is on the verge of becoming the new Rwanda, no severe action will be taken
against Mugabe as the 53 African leaders get down to business on Monday.
Some heads of state will embrace Mugabe, decisively rejected by Zimbabwe's
people in the first round of the election on 29 March but "newly elected" in
Friday's run-off ballot against no opponent. Most will shake his hand while
others, predictably, will drape garlands around his 84-year-old neck.
A few - perhaps Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa, current chairman of the
14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), and Botswana
president Ian Khama, the most trenchant critic of Mugabe among Africa's
leaders, will speak out.
But Mugabe, 28 years in power and now destined to reign until he is nearly
90, will taunt his fellow leaders by asking how many of them have clean
hands. He will point out he has held five elections and referendums already
this century - all rigged, admittedly - while others of the African Union
have not faced electorates for decades. Angola has not held an election for
16 years. Swaziland's absolute monarch, King Mswati, has banned all
opposition parties. Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak, the summit's host, has
been in power for 27 years after a series of elections in which he was
unopposed. Britain has suspended aid to Ethiopia, whose leader Meles Zenawi
was Tony Blair's potential point man for a flowering of African democracy,
after state police shot dead students protesting against the country's most
recent heavily rigged election. In Kenya, which was praised as a showcase of
African democracy, scores of people were killed when violence followed the
highly questionable re-election of the ruling party in December. Last year's
April elections in Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation, were
farcical, with widespread vote-rigging.
So Mugabe will be among people he understands, and who understand him - and
who will collectively fail the biggest test of their continent's
post-independence history when they avoid taking action against Zimbabwe's
dictator and the military junta he used to destroy his opposition.
But if neither the African Union nor the SADC try to save Africa from this,
they will be plunging their people into a dark age because white-knight
outsiders - never mind the outraged statements from London, Washington, the
United Nations and European Union - will not come riding to Africa's rescue
to rid it of the turbulent, Jesuit-educated Zimbabwean despot.
To be re-elected, Mugabe launched a terror blitz on his own people. Women
were raped, had their limbs and breasts sliced off and were burned alive;
homes were burned down and whole rural communities marched to polling booths
at gunpoint; and people were openly beaten by Mugabe's Nazi-style militias.
Archbishop Tutu last week said Mugabe had "mutated into something
unbelievable. He has really turned into a kind of Frankenstein for his
Urging international intervention to end Zimbabweans' nightmare, Tutu said:
"I just hope, I mean, that we don't wait until it is too late. You know,
Rwanda happened despite all the warnings that the international community
was given. They kept holding back and today we are regretting that we did
not, in fact, act expeditiously."
History - very recent history - tells us that when General Roméo Dallaire,
the Canadian commander of the United Nations force in Rwanda in 1994,
appealed to US president Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan - then the UN
peacekeeping chief and soon-to-be secretary-general - he was not only turned
down, but his force was also reduced. Within weeks, the 100-day Hutu rulers'
genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus had begun.
Neither Clinton nor Annan suffered any retribution. Clinton's smooth and
grinning presence at last week's London celebrations of Nelson Mandela's
90th birthday demonstrated just how short-lived shame is among powerful
Unfortunately for Tutu, the somewhat slower and more grinding genocide of
Zimbabwe's people - in which women can no longer expect to live beyond the
age of 34, compared with 62 just before the turn of the century - will go on
without international intervention.
Mugabe and his generals will continue skimming off Zimbabwe's remaining
cream - and there is still quite a lot of it, as Anglo American's
controversial plan to invest £200 million in a new platinum mining project
in Zimbabwe illustrates. Anglo American will be the target of huge
demonstrations and demands to withdraw, and the company might well do so to
avoid debilitating opprobrium, but knowing Chinese, Malaysian and Iranian
companies will step in and pay even bigger sweeteners to Mugabe for the
privilege of extracting the world's second-richest reserves of a metal in
Tutu knows the pressures on his own country will increase as a result of the
consolidation of power by Mugabe, whose deranged ego threatens the stability
of southern Africa.
As the violence continues in Zimbabwe, fresh waves of refugees will begin
flooding into neighbouring countries. Widespread ethnic cleansing last month
against black African migrants in South Africa showed the ability of its
society - in which more than 40% of people are unemployed - to absorb more
refugees has moved beyond saturation point.
A quarter of Zimbabwe's population, three million people, has already fled
to South Africa. At least another two million will soon begin arriving in
the wake of Mugabe's stealing of fresh power.
"We simply cannot cope with that," said Allister Sparks, distinguished
Africa analyst and former editor of the liberal Rand Daily Mail, which was
closed when it became over-critical of South Africa's apartheid rulers. "It
would mean a major destabilisation of our society, with devastating effects
on our national image and our economy. With Zimbabwe's hyperinflation now
accelerating beyond one million per cent and the UN saying mass starvation
is imminent, the outflow is bound to increase.
"Even if the unrest subsides with Zimbabweans' exhaustion, the flood of
refugees will continue, for there is no prospect of international aid to
halt the country's precipitous economic collapse as long as Mugabe is
Pres. Mugabe Carries on Amid Widespread Condemnation, Sanctions
By MIKE LEE
June 28, 2008
What happens now? Who can free the people of Zimbabwe from a dictator who
has staged-managed his own re-election - again, and whose government thugs
and their supporters, in this campaign alone, murdered at least 90 political
opponents, including children, injured 10,000 Zimbabweans and drove another
200,000 from their homes?
The presidential run-off Friday in Zimbabwe, in which President Robert
Mugabe was the sole candidate, has been denounced by Western countries after
reports of physical force aimed at voters who failed to cast their ballots
for Mugabe and after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dropped out last
Sunday to avoid more violence against his supporters.
"They said they were forced to go and vote, early in the morning," said
Nelson Virri, a Zimbabwean refugee, speaking in South Africa. "The soldiers
and the police and the youth of ZANU-PF [Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front, Mugabe's party] were around the village pushing them
to go and vote in the polling stations."
Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty USA, told ABC News, "I don't know
if there is a way to bring [Mugabe] down."
Mugabe came to power 28 years ago as a revolutionary hero for racial
equality, but then became a racist. He drove white farmers from their land,
isolating himself from Western trade. The economy is so damaged that a loaf
of bread cost billions of Zimbabwean dollars and weighs less than the money
needed to buy it.
So, what next? One theory is that Mugabe, now that he has bludgeoned his way
into staying in power, will try to cut a deal for power sharing to avoid
This week, Mugabe himself told reporters in Zimbabwe, "In good spirit, we
will listen to those proposals, discuss them with [the opposition]. But not
because we are being dictated to by the outside world."
But few outsiders are buying Mugabe's vague hint of compromise.
President Bush announced new sanctions, which an aide said could include
wider travel restrictions on Mugabe supporters.
But there is a carrot as well as a stick. Bush said the United States is
ready to support a legitimate government with development aid, debt relief
and normalization with international financial institutions. And The United
States will continue to provide food assistance to more than 1 million
Zimbabwe people and AIDS treatment to more than 40,000.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week, "It's time for the
international community to act. ... It's hard to imagine that anybody could
fail to act given what we're all watching on the ground in Zimbabwe."
Under a United Nations resolution on war crimes, passed in 2005 and
supported by Zimbabwe, Mugabe could, in theory, be put on international
trial for crimes against humanity for failing to protect his citizens from
ethnic cleansing or mass atrocities.
But that would require agreement within the Security Council, where Mugabe
still has friends who could rescue him with a veto.
It's no secret that those with the best chance, some say any chance, of
influencing politics in Zimbabwe - or sending in peacekeepers - are
Zimbabwe's African neighbors.
"There is no doubt that the most effective pressure against Mugabe has to
come from African nations," Amnesty USA's Cox told ABC News. "Those are the
ones that possess the most legitimacy." Africa's leaders all will be meeting
in Egypt next week to ponder what to do about Zimbabwe, but Mugabe will also
be in attendance, daring other Africans to say their hands are clean.
He warned in a pre-election speech, "I'll want to see a country which will
point a finger at us and say you have done wrong. I will want to see that
finger and see whether it is clean or dirty."
Clean hands or not, fellow African leaders must now decide whether they can
continue doing little and risk chaos if the Zimbabwe crisis turns into civil
war and spills into their own backyards.
By Staff ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 28, 2008 ⋅
Mugabe’s closest ally in SADC Malawian President Bingu Mutharika has become
the first African leader to snub Mugabe’s inauguration for a Sixth term
slated for Sunday.
However, Mutharika will send his brother, Peter Mutharika.
Mutharika’s brother will be joined by foreign affairs minister Joyce Banda
and his party’s secretary general Hetherwick Ntaba.
Bingu whose late wife’s father was a Zimbabwean worker, has so far failed to
condemn the Zimbabwean government, believing that the crisis there should be
sorted out by Zimbabweans and not by outsiders.Mutharika was married to a
But former president Bakili Muluzi has condemned the violence, saying that
Mugabe should ensure that elections in his country are “free and fair”.
June 28, 2008
YESTERDAY I cast my vote at Chiremba Primary School in Ruwa about 25
kilometres east of Harare.
The atmosphere was eerily quiet. I had to vote so as to get the red ink on
my little finger and avoid unnecessary harassment later.
I could not vote for Mr Morgan Tsvangirai because he had done the noble
thing of withdrawing from the runoff; neither could I vote for Mr Robert
Mugabe because like the majority of us Zimbabweans, we need change. So I
stood there in the ballot box pondering. Finally I voted for both candidates
thereby rendering the ballot paper spoiled. I later learned that that is
what most people did. Some chose to stay at home.
Later in the day I visited my niece, whose husband, like many Zimbabweans,
is working in South Africa. (Fortunately he was not harmed by the recent
xenophobia there). My niece cast her vote in the same suburb (Ruwa) at TC
Hardy High School. What she told me prompted me to write this article for
publication. I'm not a scribe but an engineer. I was in the Zimbabwe
National Army and I have the Mozambique campaign and DRC war to my credit.
Please forward this article to the UN Secretary General, the AU and SADC
people, in particular Mr. Thabo Mbeki and Mr Eduardo dos Santos of Angola
and all those that are following the Zimbabwe situation with concern.
My email address is given below. Here is my niece's account.
"We were told to wake up at 5 am and assemble at the Zanu-PF councilor's
residence by 6am. I was there at quarter to 6 and already there was a queue
which I joined. The councilor is a Mr. Chapera who resides at the corner of
Josiah Chinamano and Mayor Urimbo roads in Ruwa; Ward 6. He lost to the MDC
candidate in the harmonized elections of March 29 2008).
"There was a long list of names of people in Ward 6. When a person's name
was called, they were given a card that had a number and Mr. Chapera's
signature. The instructions were that you vote paMasvingo (i.e. for Mugabe),
write the ballot paper serial number on the card and return the card to Mr.
Chapera. Renowned war veteran and former councilor, Mr. Nyakwima, blessed
the occasion and would give periodic instructions.
"By 6:30am there was a long queue, and by quarter to 7 I was given my card.
(Number withheld). Soon afterwards the first group marched to TC Hardy High
School polling station. I was in this group. I went into the ballot box,
voted for Mugabe, copied the ballot paper serial number onto the card and
joined the others back to the councilor's place. We were dismissed after
handing over the cards."
Thus the vote was stolen!
The trick worked! I asked my young niece, a mother of one who teaches in
primary school, why she didn't stay at home, spoil the paper or vote for the
MDC. Her response was, "Sekuru (uncle), I feel bad that I have voted for
Zanu-PF, but I had no choice. I did it for my safety and the safety of my
son. Haven't you heard of the three children who were killed in Chitungwiza
when their MDC parents were hiding somewhere? Didn't you hear them (the
Zanu-PF people) last Saturday at Mavambo beer hall rally say,' If you don't
comply you choose either sleeveless, short sleeve or long sleeve'; meaning
the position where you'll get your hand cut off."
She was referring to the compulsory Zanu-PF rally held at Mavambo Beer Hall
in Ruwa on Sunday 22 June, 2008. On that Black Sunday, as it was called, no
one went to church. Yours truly was also there. In my ten-year stay in Ruwa,
I have never seen such a big gathering - maybe 10 000 people or 15 000.
Everyone was forced to attend or face the trouble. Speakers were drawn from
war veterans, war collaborators, ex-detainees and farm invaders. In a
nutshell their message was, 'VOTE ZANU (PF) OR THERE WILL BE WAR.' This is
where the strategy of forcing people to vote for Zanu-PF was hatched. People
were divided into wards, had their names recorded and told to assemble at
specific places early on polling day. Councilor Chapera in my niece's
account was faithfully executing the plan of his superiors.
That's how the voting went in Ruwa. News from other suburbs does not present
a very different picture. People were forced to vote for Zanu-PF or
intimidated, while others were even beaten up. The majority stayed at home
and others simply spoiled their papers. No MDC rallies were held in Ruwa and
elsewhere. MDC placards and stickers were removed.
Those that have benefited from the system do not want to let go; from Mr.
Robert Mugabe right down to Comrade Beremauro, a barely literate farm
invader, ex butcher boy who stole the show at the Mavambo Beer Hall
compulsory rally of 22 June 2008.
He annoyed everyone with his monotonous slogans when everyone had to keep
their clenched right fist raised for the better part of the five hour rally.
He has made it to the provincial leadership of Zanu-PF; quite some
achievement I must say, given his background! He also forced MDC members to
renounce their membership in public and join Zanu-PF while he sang:
'Ndadzoka kumusha, tambanudzai maoko, ini ndadzoka.' (I have come back home,
please receive me).
Not less than 50 MDC members joined Zanu-PF on that day. They did it for
their own safety, not wholeheartedly. I watched in disbelief and wondered
why our once revered liberation war hero, Robert Mugabe, was doing this to
us the majority. I found the answer in the words of the king in the popular
cartoon by Walt Disney, The Lion King.
Here the king said to his son Simba, "The time of a king rises and falls
like the sun." Mugabe must accept this inevitable truth. The 28 years have a
bonus package in them! Its time for another king to rise, like the sun; thus
the cycle of life is fulfilled.
Let the world know that we need proper elections in Zimbabwe. We are a
peaceful people. Mugabe is not representing us. He and his cronies have
become so powerful and cruel. The world must intervene!
SW Radio Africa (London)
28 June 2008
Posted to the web 28 June 2008
More than 200 Epworth residents who fled to the South African Embassy in
Zimbabwe last Sunday have been removed to a "place of safety" outside
Harare, according to South Africa's Foreign Affairs department.
Original reports on Friday indicated the group of refugees were evicted from
the Embassy's parking lot, where they were taking shelter following an
outbreak of politically motivated violence. According to press reports, many
had also been caught up in the police raid on the MDC offices on Monday.
Most of the victims interviewed said they felt safer at the South African
embassy than in any other part of the country.
According to South Africa's Foreign Affairs spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa, the
move was part of agreement facilitated on Friday by South Africa's
ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lungisi Makalima.
Mamoepa told Newsreel Saturday that the refugee camp in Ruwa will have
twenty four hour security to ensure the safety of the people there. He said:
"A committee comprising of all stakeholders will meet daily to assess the
security and other needs of the group, and make necessary recommendations to
Other organisations who supported the move included the Zimbabwean National
and International Red Cross, the United Nations, the United Nations
Children's Fund, the International Organisation for Migration, the
Zimbabwean Council of Churches, the Christian Alliance, Zimbabwe Social
Welfare Department, and other representatives.
The Zimbabwean Red Cross however is unfortunately heavily compromised in its
agreement to care for the refugees, because of suggestions of links with
By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Jun. 28 2008 02:22 PM EDT
Reports of political violence and intimidation poured out of Zimbabwe after
its "sham" presidential runoff election on Friday during which citizens were
allegedly coerced to vote for President Robert Mugabe while supporters of
the opposition party were beaten.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who pulled out of the election last
Sunday because of violence directed at his supporters, denounced the
election as an "exercise in mass intimidation" on Saturday amid news that
four of his party's officials and the wife of one of them were beaten to
death ahead of the runoff vote, according to CNN.
The Movement for Democratic Change, Tsvangirai's party, said there may be
other unreported victims from this week's runoff election. Previously, the
MDC claimed at least 70 of its supporters have been killed since the March
29 election, according to Agence France-Presse.
Ahead of the runoff election, the Lutheran World Federation had urged the
international community to address the crisis in Zimbabwe during its Council
"The world must not stand idly by, as it did during the genocide in Rwanda,
and watch the unfolding of a human catastrophe," stated the LWF Council on
Thursday, referring to the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 when nearly 1 million
people were killed in about 100 days.
It rejected the legitimacy of the presidential runoff election and called on
the international community to also not recognize the result, pointing to
systematic politically-motivated intimidation by the current government to
"We call for the urgent establishment of a process for building peace in
Zimbabwe in which all national actors, regional organizations and the
international community are engaged," the Council stated.
"For its part, the Lutheran World Federation stands ready to support the
people of Zimbabwe in rebuilding their nation, and in restoring their
betrayed hopes of a life in dignity and justice."
President Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have called
Zimbabwe's elections a "sham," according to CNN. On Saturday, Bush said the
U.S. was working on new ways to punish Mugabe and his allies. State
Department spokesman Tom Casey said Friday the elections were "an absolutely
vacant process," with "no standing" for the United States, the U.N. Security
Council, or the G8.
On Friday, Tsvangirai lamented the current condition of Zimbabwe and said a
Mugabe win would deny the country solutions to its problems that a new
government could offer.
"We are faced with 2 million percent inflation, massive starvation, people
who are seriously underprivileged," he said to CNN by phone. "Mugabe can
celebrate that he has won, but it's a Pyrrhic victory as far as we are
Official results of the runoff are expected by Sunday. Mugabe was the only
candidate on the ballot and Zimbabweans who voted did so only out of fear,
Fri, 27 Jun 2008 18:08
The National Conventional Arms Control Committee will respond next week to a
report that South Africa has been supplying weapons of war to Zimbabwe.
Chairperson of the NCACC, January Masilela, said he would wait for the
return of Minister Sydney Mufamadi from Zimbawe to comment on the article.
Mufamadi is in Zimbabwe as part of President Thabo Mbeki's facilitation
The Mail & Guardian on Friday reported that weapons, including helicopters,
revolvers and cartridges, were supplied to Zimbabwe despite the mounting
human rights abuses in that country.
The newspaper claimed information in its possession pointed to a cosy
relationship between the defence forces of both countries, as well as
government-to-government arms transfers.
Private South African companies had also sold arms to Zimbabwe and these
transfers must have been approved by the NCACC. Armaments to the value of
R3.3-million were privately transferred from South Africa to Zimbabwe,
according to 2004 and 2005 figures, the paper stated.
It also said the Department of Defence donated Dakota aircraft engines worth
millions to Zimbabwe, while Armscor transferred spares to get Zimbabwean
military helicopters flying again.
Zimbabwean soldiers and flying instructors had been trained by the SA
National Defence Force and the SA Air Force, the newspaper said.
June 28, 2008
We are deluding ourselves if we think that getting rid of one mad, old
tyrant will stop the barbarism
In politics as in our personal lives, just six words comprise one of the
commonest falsehoods around. Those six words are: "It can't go on like
this." But it can. I've come to the melancholy conclusion that in Zimbabwe
This weekend there will be voices in our Prime Minister's ear suggesting how
in one bound he might cast off his dithering reputation. To help to broker
the toppling of Robert Mugabe (they will whisper) might be just the sort of
history-making that rescued Margaret Thatcher from doldrums at home, before
Galtieri invaded the Falklands. In The Times this week Lord (Paddy) Ashdown
of Norton-sub-Hamdon suggested that intervention may become necessary. Mr
Brown will think hard about this; list the pros; list the cons; dither; and
finally decide it's all too difficult.
Well let's hear it for dithering. Beware the widely held opinion that all we
need is Robert Mugabe's head on a stick. In Iraq we called this the
decapitation strategy, and duly secured the required head - Saddam's - on
the right stick. Then it all went wrong. The ingredients necessary for a
liberal democracy were not, it turned out, there. Why should things be
different in Africa?
Not even the most hot-headed interventionist (I assume) is seriously
proposing a unilateral British invasion; and not many propose invasion by a
coalition of Western powers. It should anyway be doubted whether this would
be militarily possible. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and the active
co-operation of her neighbours should be key to any kind of occupation,
however temporary. That being so, it would make more political sense for the
intervention to be African-led, or at least appear to be so, by one or more
of her neighbours.
The idea probably being canvassed would be for an African ultimatum to
Harare, stiffened by the threat of a Western-backed but African-led
invasion, with or without the use of European or American service personnel,
but perhaps with a measure of Western military support and reconstruction
money behind the scenes. It is possible that a mix of determined
international moral exhortation, and private cajolery, development-aid
bribery and threats, could secure such an apparently African initiative.
Not only would this invasion be doable, it would probably never prove
necessary: the threat alone should be sufficient to trigger a coup within
Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party, whereupon the old man would be dispatched,
imprisoned or exported, and a leading group of Zanu (PF)-backed politicans
and generals would take temporary power, promising to talk to the MDC, and
hold elections as soon as practicable.
So far - it might seem - so good. And if there were televised scenes of
crowd jubilation as a statue of Mugabe was torn from its plinth in a
municipal square somewhere in Harare (or more likely Bulawayo), so much the
But after that, what? Stop for a minute and ask yourself this: who has
really been running Zimbabwe for the past five years? Do you honestly think
it's just an old, deluded man, a King Lear minus the humanity, who has been
organising the hit squads, arm-twisting the judiciary and turning the police
into a private militia? Is it really only Robert Mugabe who has been
diverting Zimbabwe's resources into private pockets?
Of course not. This is the whole culture of the governing party, Zanu (PF).
You've seen the TV pictures of Zanu (PF) "thugs" rampaging across the bush
with iron bars, in pursuit of Morgan Tsvangirai's supporters. That word
"thug" is handy for the Western media because it throws a linguistic cordon
round what we want to distinguish as an horrific minority, virtually
unconnected with what we assume to be the great majority of peace-loving
Zimbabweans... er, Zanu (PF) supporters. Or so they were and continued to
be, through all Mugabe's early atrocities, his massacres in Matabeleland and
confiscations of white farmers' lands, until the economy hit the rocks so
hard that they could no longer be sure of their next meal. Only then did
they start to desert, and we may suppose that to this day, millions in the
rural areas have still not deserted.
Mugabe is not unpopular in Zimbabwe today because his Government has been
autocratic and brutal. He is not unpopular because the minority (but
substantial) Matabele tribe have been persecuted, killed and dispossessed by
a governing party whose power base is among the Mashona majority. He is not
unpopular because he and his wife are greedy and flaunt their wealth, or
because corruption in his Government is widespread. He is unpopular because
his administration is broken and there is nothing for ordinary people to
Many Zimbabweans hunger not for liberal democracy, but for food. By
corollary, much of Morgan Tsvangirai's power base is either an urban
minority or among the minority tribes who have received a raw deal from the
distribution of resources by Zanu (PF). They too, many of them, hunger not
for liberal democracy but a turning of the tables. Unless we are careful,
today's TV pictures may tomorrow be thrown into reverse, and we may watch
those who were once in flight, now in pursuit; and those who were once in
pursuit, now in flight; the iron bars having changed hands. The Matabele in
history were always a more warlike people than the Mashona pastoralists.
Bulawayo (their capital) means "place of slaughter". Jacob Zuma, the next
South African President, comes from the same (Zulu) family of tribes.
And into this richly complicated picture we Westerners suppose we can charge
and, by precipitating the removal of one old madman, conjure into existence
a transformed national political consciousness. Do you think that when
Mugabe asked last week "how can a pen fight a gun?" he was simply issuing a
threat? He was not. It was a populist remark. He was making an observation
about the business of politics across much of his continent: an observation
that will not have outraged, but amused, his intended audience.
Plenty of people in Zimbabwe, including plenty of white business people and
farmers, will have done deals with Zanu (PF). There will be an intricate
network of client- relationships, of patronage and of diffused and shared
power. It will probably prove possible to shift and replace one or two
figures at the top. It may even be possible to seat a couple of opposition
figures at the government high table. The West certainly can, and does, run
puppet autocracies in Africa. But if anyone thinks this will be the
beginning of genuine multiparty politics, the toleration of opposition and
the rule of law, such hopes will be disappointed.
For that, an outside power or league of powers would need to occupy Zimbabwe
and begin the process of re-creating government, the executive and
judiciary; purging the military and police, redistributing land and
resources that have been stolen, identifying and prosecuting the culprits...
and paying for it. I doubt we have the stomach for this.
"Thanks for that," you may say, "but what alternative do you propose?"
I have none. To rescue Zimbabwe is beyond not our capacity, but our will. We
can only wail and wring our hands.
I normally applaud the good sense of this commentator, but sadly I cannot
David Short, London, UK
Parris' suggestion looks a bit like what J.F.K. did in Viet-Nam.
In short, it's doable, if necessary, by the Cousins alone (it wouldn't take
a large, but a well-disciplined & well-trained force to push Mugable
out-of-office), but the consequences may prove to be unsettling.
William Livingston, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
This is the best argument for benign colonialism I have heard for a long
time. And there is such a thing. What would you rather have, a full stomach,
or lip service to democracy?
As always, Mattew Parris cuts to the quick. But Ian Smith kept everyone fed
Tony Edwards, Durham, UK
Once the continent would have kept mum as one of its leaders stole an election. Not today.