HARARE, June 29 (AFP)
President Robert Mugabe has claimed he is heading for a crushing victory in
Zimbabwe's one-man election judging from unofficial partial tallies he has
"I thank you for the manner in which you voted, we won overwhelmingly,"
Mugabe told mourners at a funeral Saturday of his wife's grandmother,
according to a clip shown on state television.
"You would not imagine that in Harare, where we had been beaten in all but
one constituency in the March elections, this time around not even one went
to the MDC," he said.
In the first round of voting, the opposition swept 25 out of the 26
constituencies that make up the capital.
"Today (Saturday) I was looking at the ballots... everywhere in Harare, not
even one went to the MDC," he said at the funeral in Chikomba village, south
of the capital.
"I don't know if they (electoral officials) have finished (tallying), but
that is what it was, not even one (went to the opposition)," he told a
Mugabe staged a one-man presidential run-off on Friday after opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who beat won the first round but fell short of an
absolute majority, boycotted the poll over violence against his supporters.
Tsvangirai's name remained on the ballot paper after the electoral
commission said it was too late for him to withdraw.
The election has been widely dismissed as a sham and many voters claimed
they were intimidated and coerced to the polling booths.
Sunday, 29 June 2008, 4:35 pm
Press Release: European Union
Statement by Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the CFSP, on the
run-off presidential election in Zimbabwe
Brussels - Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and
Security Policy, issued the following statement today condemning the
presidential election run-off in Zimbabwe:
'Democracy has not been served by today's run-off election. The people of
Zimbabwe have been deprived of their right to vote freely and thus deprived
of their dignity.
Under these circumstances, and with the threat to regional stability posed
by the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, I trust that the relevant
African authorities (the Southern African Development Community and the
African Union) will draw the necessary conclusions, in the interests not
only of Zimbabwe but of the whole of Africa. The outcome of this election
cannot be regarded as legitimate.'
New York Times
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: June 29, 2008
Patson Chipiro, a democracy activist, wasn't home when Robert Mugabe's thugs
showed up looking for him.
So they grabbed his wife, Dadirai, and tormented her by chopping off one of
her hands and both of her feet. Finally, they threw her into a hut, locked
the door and burned it to the ground.
That has been the pattern lately: with opposition figures in hiding, Mr.
Mugabe's goons kill loved ones to send a message of intimidation. Even the
wife of the mayor-elect of Harare, the capital, was kidnapped and beaten to
When the white supremacist regime of Ian Smith oppressed Zimbabweans in the
1970s, African countries rallied against it. Eventually, even the white
racist government in South Africa demanded change and threatened to cut off
electricity supplies if it didn't happen.
Yet South African President Thabo Mbeki continues to make excuses for Mr.
Mugabe - who is more brutal than Ian Smith ever was - out of misplaced
deference for a common history in the liberation struggle. Zimbabweans
suffered so much for so many decades from white racism that the last thing
they need is excuses for Mr. Mugabe's brutality because of his skin color.
Life expectancy in Zimbabwe has already dropped from the low 60s to the high
30s. It's true that he has created more trillionaires than any other
country, but that's only because inflation may be as much as 10 million
percent. Anyone with $90 is a trillionaire in Zimbabwean dollars, and buying
a small loaf of bread costs one billion Zimbabwean dollars.
When I grew up in the 1970s, a central truth was that Ian Smith was evil and
Mr. Mugabe heroic. So it was jolting on my last visit to Zimbabwe, in 2005,
to see how many Zimbabweans looked back on oppressive white rule with
nostalgia. They offered a refrain: "Back then, at least parents could feed
Africa's rulers often complain, with justice, that the West's perceptions of
the continent are disproportionately shaped by buffoons and tyrants rather
than by the increasing number of democratically elected presidents presiding
over 6 percent growth rates. But as long as African presidents mollycoddle
Mr. Mugabe, they are branding Africa with his image.
To his credit, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has taken the lead in
denouncing Mr. Mugabe's abuses, and Nelson Mandela bluntly deplored Mr.
Mugabe's "tragic failure of leadership." Mr. Mandela could also have been
talking about Mr. Mbeki's own failures.
The United States doesn't have much leverage, and Britain squandered its
influence partly by focusing on the plight of dispossessed white farmers.
(That's tribalism for Anglo-Saxons.) But there is a way out.
The solution is for leaders at the African Union summit this week to give
Mr. Mugabe a clear choice.
One option would be for him to "retire" honorably - "for health reasons"
after some face-saving claims of heart trouble - at a lovely estate in South
Africa, taking top aides with him. He would be received respectfully and
awarded a $5 million bank account to assure his comfort for the remainder of
The other alternative is that he could dig in his heels and cling to power.
African leaders should make clear that in that case, they will back an
indictment of him and his aides in the International Criminal Court. Led by
the Southern African Development Community, the world will also impose
sanctions against Mr. Mugabe's circle and cut off all military supplies and
spare parts. Mozambique, South Africa and Congo will also cut off the
electricity they provide to Zimbabwe.
If those are the alternatives, then the odds are that Mr. Mugabe will
publicly clutch his chest and insist that he must step down. There will
still be risks of civil conflict and a military coup, but Zimbabwe would
have a reasonable prospect of again becoming, as Mr. Mugabe once called it,
"the jewel of Africa."
Some people will object that a tyrant shouldn't be rewarded with a pot of
cash and a comfortable exile. That's true. But any other approach will
likely result in far more deaths, perhaps even civil war.
How do we know that sanctions will work? Well, we have Mr. Mugabe's own
In a 1987 essay in Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mugabe called on the U.S. to impose
sanctions on white-ruled South Africa for engaging in a "vicious and ugly
civil war" against its own people. Mr. Mugabe demanded that the world
"accept the value of sanctions as a means of raising the cost" of brutal
If only Mr. Mugabe were a white racist! Then the regional powers might stand
up to him. For the sake of Zimbabweans, we should be just as resolute in
confronting African tyrants who are black as in confronting those who are
I invite you to comment on this column on my blog,
www.nytimes.com/ontheground, and join me on Facebook at
African Press Organization
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, June 28, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ -
African states should impose sanctions against Robert Mugabe and his
illegitimate government in Zimbabwe after the sham presidential runoff,
Human Rights Watch said today. The situation in Zimbabwe, where government
violence against opposition supporters continued even after the vote on June
27, 2008, will be on the agenda at the African Union summit in Sharm El
Sheik, Egypt, on June 30 and July 1.
"The African Union can help end the violence in Zimbabwe by taking the
strongest possible action against Robert Mugabe and his government," said
Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "African and UN
leaders urged Mugabe to postpone the runoff and he refused, amid a wave of
violence against opposition supporters that's still going on. Recognizing
the election results would not only reward the sponsors of serious crimes in
Zimbabwe, it would irreparably discredit the African Union."
Human Rights Watch documented numerous incidents of intimidation, violence
and manipulation of the vote by Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party before, during
and after the June 27 runoff vote. In the capital, Harare, Human Rights
Watch documented incidents of reprisal attacks by ZANU-PF supporters against
people who did not go out and vote for Mugabe. In the neighborhoods of
Chitungwiza and Westlea, several people told Human Rights Watch that in the
early hours of June 28, ZANU-PF supporters went door to door, forcing people
to show their fingers for signs of the indelible ink which shows that a
person voted. The ZANU-PF supporters took those who did not have ink on
their fingers to ZANU-PF bases in the areas and beat them with batons and
thick sticks. Others were targeted because their names did not appear on a
list compiled by ZANU-PF that showed who had voted in particular polling
Zimbabweans told Human Rights Watch that at several polling stations in
Harare they were forced to pass through unofficial stations set up by
ZANU-PF outside polling booths, and submit their names and details to
ZANU-PF officials. They were given cards and ordered to write down the
serial numbers of their ballot papers so that ZANU-PF officials could trace
those who had voted for Mugabe and those who had not. Human Rights Watch
received similar reports from Marondera in Mashonaland East province. In
Mkoba, Gweru in the Midlands province, people told Human Rights Watch that
ZANU-PF supporters and youth militia were checking people's fingers for
signs of indelible ink and ordering those without the ink to go and vote.
In the days before the vote, ZANU-PF supporters rounded up and beat scores
of people in the suburbs of Epworth and Chitungwiza on the outskirts of
Harare. Many people sustained serious injuries, including multiple
fractures, and were hospitalized at Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare. In one
incident, three people told Human Rights Watch that ZANU-PF supporters
forced them to attend a rally in Epworth at which former Minister of Mines
Amos Midzi spoke. He told people that they would be beaten because they
supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC); then ZANU-PF
supporters beat them with batons and sticks.
After the beatings ZANU-PF supporters informed people that if they valued
their lives they would go and vote for Mugabe. The ZANU-PF supporters also
told the people that they would go door to door after the vote checking
peoples' fingers for the ink. Human Rights Watch received similar reports of
threats and intimidation by ZANU-PF supporters in other suburbs in Harare.
People informed Human Rights Watch that ZANU-PF had dubbed this new campaign
of violence and intimidation "Operation Where Is the Ink?" or "Operation Red
"ZANU-PF's overall strategy seems to be to eliminate any opposition to the
government," Gagnon said. "Only the strongest possible action from the
African Union can help to prevent further bloodshed and loss of life."
Human Rights Watch urged the African Union to uphold its African Charter on
Democracy, Elections and Governance, by declaring the runoff
unconstitutional as "an illegal means of maintaining power" and suspending
Zimbabwe from the African Union. The African Union should also impose
punitive economic measures and other sanctions against the "perpetrators of
an unconstitutional change of government" including Mugabe and the members
of the Joint Operations Command (JOC). The JOC, which includes the heads of
the army, air force, police and prison services, and Minister of Rural
Housing Emmerson Mnagagwa, has been widely implicated in planning and
inciting the violence that has plagued the country since the general
elections on March 29.
Human Rights Watch also called on the African Union to ensure that members
of Mugabe's government and security forces who are implicated in serious
human rights violations are excluded from any discussions about a possible
government of national unity and do not form any part of such a government.
Mugabe, Mnagagwa and Air Force Commander Perence Shiri have a long record of
abuses dating back to systematic and widespread atrocities in Matabeleland
and Midlands provinces in the 1980s.
"Mugabe's brutal hijacking of this election should be reason enough to
exclude him from any discussions on a transitional government," said Gagnon.
"Rather than getting a seat in a new government, Mugabe and other officials
responsible for serious abuses should be investigated and held to account."
Human Rights Watch called on the African Union to immediately press for the
deployment of peacekeepers to Zimbabwe to stop the violence and protect
people from further violence and reprisal attacks.
Human Rights Watch also urged African leaders to appoint a group of
impartial eminent persons to replace the failed mediation effort by South
African President Thabo Mbeki.
A group of impartial eminent persons should be taking the lead to resolve
the crisis in Zimbabwe," Gagnon said.
SOURCE : Human Right Watch (HRW)
Sun 29 Jun 2008, 5:26 GMT
NAIROBI, June 29 (Reuters) - The African Union (AU) should deploy troops in
Zimbabwe to resolve a crisis that has become an "embarrassment" to the
continent, Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga was quoted as saying on
"What is happening in Zimbabwe is a shame and an embarrassment to Africa in
the eyes of the international community and should be denounced," Odinga
said in Swahili during a visit to his home province Nyanza in west Kenya.
"So we are saying we want the African Union to send troops to Zimbabwe. The
time has come for the African continent to stand firm in unity to end
dictatorship," added Odinga in the speech on Saturday.
Odinga -- a former opposition leader whose power-sharing agreement with
President Mwai Kibaki after Kenya's disputed election is touted by some as a
possible model for Zimbabwe -- has been one of the most vocal critics of
Mugabe in Africa.
Mugabe was expected to be declared the winner of Zimbabwe's widely condemned
election on Sunday.
Critics are calling for action to end Mugabe's 28-year rule after he went
ahead with Friday's presidential run-off despite opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's withdrawal because of killings of his supporters.
"President Mugabe went ahead with the fake elections in which he competed
against himself. That was a fake election and we do not recognise it,"
"You cannot say you have won an election in which you arrest your opponents,
where you beat and kill your opponents, where people cannot campaign because
you have locked them in jail."
Odinga also responded to media reports that Mugabe had said the Kenyan
premier was persona non grata in Zimbabwe.
"Mugabe says that Raila is his enemy number one. I do not need to go to
Zimbabwe ... I don't intend to do so under Mugabe's leadership," he said in
the comments carried by Kenyan newspapers and broadcasters. (Writing by
Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Charles Dick)
June 29, 2008, 07:30
ANC President Jacob Zuma has joined other African leaders in rejecting more
sanctions as an option to end the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Yesterday, President George W. Bush ordered US sanctions against the
"illegitimate" government of Zimbabwe, and a number of African leaders
preparing for the African Union summit in Egypt tomorrow suggested that the
AU would not support Western calls for sanctions.
Zuma has also spoken out against military intervention and says what is
needed is serious dialogue between the different parties.
Meanwhile, President Thabo Mbeki has arrived in Sharm EL Sheikh, Egypt to
attend the summit called to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe. The African
Union has confirmed that events in Zimbabwe will feature high on the agenda.
It says it is confident that a solution will be found to the political
Web Posted - Sun Jun 29 2008
By Leonard Shorey
It is indeed time to speak out. The Editorial of Sunday, June 22, in another
section of the press took a bold, but much to be commended stand with
respect to the media and the deplorable events taking place in Zimbabwe
under Mr. Robert Mugabe dictator and tyrant.
Commenting on the "appalling and cowardly silence shrouding the issue in
Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours", the Editorial made a strong plea for
agencies, public and private, to come out and express criticism of the
dastardly actions of Mr. Mugabe and his henchmen, who torture and abuse
their political opponents almost with impunity. It also quite rightly
pointed out that in this "conspiracy of silence" they were no different from
"our local friends of Africa likewise (who) seeing and hearing no evil, hold
their tongues". It is indeed a most shameful situation for, as the Editorial
pungently comments, "There are occasions when silence is as sinful as the
evil it hides".
This column has more than once drawn attention to the evil and wicked ways
of Mr. Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. Mr. Mugabe brooks no opposition,
deliberately seeking to stifle all political expression which opposes him.
Attention must therefore be drawn once again to the lamentable state to
which a once prosperous country has been reduced. At one time described as
the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe has indeed fallen on evil days and under
the gross mismanagement and short-sighted and misguided policies of Mr.
Mugabe, Zimbabwe is now a badly impoverished country where hunger is
widespread, with skyrocketing inflation (exceeding an astonishing 7 000 per
cent) exacerbated by "shortages of fuel, electricity, foreign currency, food
and just about every other basic survival commodity". It is also a country
where the life expectancy is one of the lowest, if not the lowest, in the
world. Zimbabwe has indeed become a country in deep distress.
What makes all this very much worse is the absolute refusal of dictator
Mugabe to allow free and fair elections. His police and party members
regularly and brutally assault members of the Opposition and Mr. Mugabe
himself has made it clear that he will not accept a public vote against him.
His brutal actions indicate this beyond all doubt, but his own public
statements indicate quite clearly that he intends to hold on to power at any
cost including brutal treatment of those who dare to oppose him. In his
own words "Only God & will remove me" a clear indication of his
determination to ignore a national vote against him and his ZANU-PF. Indeed,
the situation has been reached where the level of intimidation of opponents
and their brutal treatment by Mugabe's thugs are so great that the
Opposition party is withdrawing from the elections. In the words of Mr.
Tsvangirai: "We cant ask the people to cast their vote on June 27 when that
vote will cost their lives." It is an unfortunate decision, but is
understandable from the point of view of those who live in constant fear of
victimisation, including brutal woundings and other assaults.
In these circumstance, the Editorial referred to above is quite right to
"call upon the Government of Barbados forcefully to add Barbados' voice to
those too, too few nations that are already speaking out against the
stifling of democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe". Likewise, it is calling
"on the labour unions, churches and all elements of civil society to add
voices against the manifest evil that is choking Zimbabwe". This column
unhesitatingly adds its voice in support of the kinds of actions urged by
the Editorial, for it ill-becomes us to remain silent in the face of such
unmitigated evil as is now running rampant in the once-prosperous country of
Zimbabwe. It is to be hoped that the Editorial's pleas will not fall on deaf
ears and that the Government as well as private sector organisations will
raise their voices in loud condemnation of the events that have taken place
and are still taking place in Zimbabwe. In that benighted country the rule
of law has been savagely damaged and democracy is lying on its deathbed, if
not already expired.
The story of Zimbabwe is truly a tale of woe of a people whose country has
vast and valuable resources, but whose government has literally laid it
waste. The government has successfully and unapologetically savaged the
country and impoverished its citizens in blind adherence to a misguided
philosophy that is both unrealistic and destructive. Added to this is what
may well be described as the megalomania of the present ruler, who refuses
to accept or even to entertain the idea of giving up an office to which he
obviously intends to cling for dear life, irrespective of the consequences
for the country at large and vast numbers of its citizens. It is an
appalling situation. One last word from the Editorial previously referred
to: "It may be fashionable to ignore the misdeeds of our friends and those
to whom we are culturally and historically aligned & (but) nations of
African descent cannot continue to give Mr. Mugabe a free pass based on his
former freedom fighting credentials (for) he is & arguably now more
poisonous than the régime he replaced." The time to speak out is now.
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:56
THE world yesterday roundly condemned the one-candidate Presidential
run-off held on Friday as pressure mounted on the African Union to toughen
its stance on President Robert Mugabe at tomorrow's summit in Egypt.
Mugabe's one-man election race is due for discussion at the AU summit,
where leaders are expected for the first time to voice their opposition to
the manner in which Mugabe went ahead with the poll, after MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai pulled out.
Tsvangirai boycotted Friday's election citing escalating violence,
among other things he said impeded a credible poll. His calls for the polls
to be deferred were turned down by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The body yesterday said it was too early to expect any results since
the collation and verification exercise was now taking place at provincial
command centres. But The Standard understands that part of the results was
due for release last night, with the remainder expected early today.
There was also confirmation that there was "a lot of activity at State
House, late yesterday", suggesting Mugabe could be sworn in today, soon
after final results are known.
Unconfirmed reports showed, however, that the government wanted to
beat Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki's record, who was sworn in thirty minutes
after announcement of the results. They wanted results announced early so
that Mugabe, who was said to have scored a "landslide victory against
Tsvangirai" could be sworn in today before he travels to the AU summit.
Diplomatic sources yesterday said Mugabe could get more than he has
Over the past few weeks, several African leaders have lost their
patience with Mugabe, whom they have fiercely defended since 2000.
But as he upped his war rhetoric ahead of the Friday's election, as
more opposition supporters were killed, even SADC leaders voiced their
concern with the way he encouraged violence against opposition members.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday urged AU leaders to use
the summit as an opportunity to restore hope for the people of Zimbabwe. He
said Mugabe's regime was "illegitimate and sickening".
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the vote was an "ugly
perversion of democracy".
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice revealed that she was working
with the other UN member countries on a resolution that would send a "strong
message of deterrence" to Mugabe.
Mugabe defied the UN Security Council which unanimously agreed that
elections could not go ahead because conditions guaranteeing a free and fair
poll did not exist.
The Security Council said it deeply regretted the election which was
shunned by thousands of voters.
Unlike in the 29 March polls when people woke up as early as 4AM to
queue at polling stations, there was little activity at the polling
stations, except in rural areas where people were marshalled to the polling
Observing the situation on Friday, election day, The Standard news
crew came face to face with low turn outs in most of Harare's suburbs.
As evidence of intimidation and harassment of voters by the Zanu PF
militia, a voter was arrested by police at Kuwadzana 1 Primary School after
he was found taking down serial numbers of his ballot.
On being quizzed the unidentified man told polling officers and the
police that he had been instructed by Zanu PF militia in his area to bring
the serial numbers as proof that he had voted.
Presiding officer for number 1A polling station, Solomon Gowe said
they had caught many people taking down serial numbers.
"Most of them say they were asked to do this by their leaders," said
Gowe. There were similar reports in Zengeza in Chitungwiza, Highfield,
Epworth, Waterfalls, Warren Park 1, Murehwa, Rusape, Banket, Bindura and
A source confided to The Standard that there were many spoilt ballot
"Some voted for both candidates, while at some papers, there were
question marks and other funny inscriptions," said the source. In some rural
parts of Masvingo, like Gutu, which previously voted overwhelming for MDC,
villagers were forced to go and vote with their village heads and chiefs.
The situation was the same in Murehwa.
In the Gwanda South constituency where there was another by-election,
Petros Mukwena, the MDC secretary for Matabeleland South also said villagers
in that province were warned against boycotting the election.
"Most villagers voted against their will just to avoid the threatened
crackdown by Zanu-PF militias and war veterans against all that did not
vote," he said.
Villagers in Plumtree speaking to The Standard confirmed that war
veterans forced them to go and vote against their will.
In some parts of Gokwe, Mberengwa and Nhema, villagers turned up at
the polls unaware that Tsvangirai had pulled out.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said he was saddened by the reports of voter intimidation that his party had
"There is nothing legitimate about this election process."
*Information and Publicity Minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu on Friday lost
a third consecutive bid for the Mpopoma-Pelandaba constituency after he was
beaten by a candidate from the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in a by-election.
Although, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said the official
tally was not ready by late yesterday, results posted outside polling
stations indicated that the MDC-T's Samuel Sandla Khumalo had an
*Additional reporting by Rutendo Mawere and Godfrey Mutimba
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:54
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's withdrawal from the disputed
presidential run-off election held on Friday could expose loopholes in the
country's electoral laws, as evidenced by different interpretations of the
legality of the move by legal experts and the authorities.
The government, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and some legal
experts argued that the withdrawal was "a legal nullity" as Tsvangirai
registered his consent to take part in the election by contesting on 29
March, knowing the election could result in a run-off, an "irreversible
process". ZEC went ahead with the election on Friday.
But others believe the withdrawal "is in compliance with the national
laws and regional and international human rights standards relating to
elections", and that Tsvangirai "can be said to have substantively complied
with the requirements of the electoral law".
The conflicting interpretations, it was argued, also show "that the
drafters (of the Electoral Act) overlooked the need to ensure that
comprehensive provisions were included to deal with the procedure of the
Tsvangirai pulled out of the run off against President Robert Mugabe
citing the killing of more than 90 of his supporters, violence, intimidation
and the disruption of his campaign rallies by State security agents and Zanu
He said the run-off was "illegally delayed" as it was held after the
21 days from the date of announcement of results prescribed in the law, and
that certain requirements, such as the payment of a deposit by candidates,
had not been met.
In a letter to ZEC chairperson George Chiweshe on 24 June, Tsvangirai
said he withdrew because "the conditions presently obtaining throughout the
country make it virtually impossible for a proper election to take place".
On the legality of his move, Tsvangirai said Section 107 of the
Electoral Act which deals with the withdrawal of candidature from a
Presidential election "was clearly not designed for a presidential run-off".
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) backed Tsvangirai's
argument, saying "Section 107 referred to the withdrawal of a candidate from
any single presidential election, but not for withdrawal of a candidate from
a presidential run-off".
Said the ZLHR: "Therefore, since there is no provision for withdrawal
from a presidential run-off in the Electoral Act, one would have to look to
the withdrawal procedures for a candidate in either parliamentary (Section
49) or local government (Section 126) elections: both of these provide that
a candidate can withdraw 'at any time before polling or the first polling
day, as the case may be'. In this situation, the candidate merely has to
provide written notification to the constituency elections officer."
The organisation said that "by submitting his written notification of
withdrawal three days before polling day, he can be said to have
substantively complied with the requirements of the electoral law and the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is required to take measures to
publicize this withdrawal in terms of the law", adding that Friday's
election with only one candidate was "an absurdity".
Section 110 (3) of the Electoral Act provides that when no candidate
receives more than 50% of the total votes cast, there has to be a second
election featuring the top two candidates within 21 days from the date of
announcement of results. As such, Tsvangirai said, "it would not make sense
to expect a candidate from a presidential run-off election to give 21 days'
notice of his/her withdrawal where such election has to be held within 21
The MDC leader also argued that "there have been no rules prescribed
for the conduct of a presidential run-off election and in particular the
notice period set for the withdrawal of candidature by a participant".
"Accordingly, any candidate wishing to withdraw his candidature is
free to do so at any time before such an election."
But ZEC chair Chiweshe insisted the withdrawal was null.
"It was unanimously agreed that the withdrawal had inter alia been
filed well out of time and that for that reason the withdrawal has no legal
force or effect.
Accordingly, the Commission does not recognise the purported
The ZLHR argued that the matter should have been "referred to a court
of law for determination" before ZEC could make that decision.
"The election management body cannot simply state that the conditions
exist and proceed unilaterally when clear facts supporting a disparate view
have been put to it . . . and proceeding with an election, therefore could
be argued to result in ZEC acting outside the boundaries of the law."
Despite being among the first lawyers to say Tsvangirai could not
withdraw because "candidature for the run-off or the second election is not
a voluntary exercise, you give your consent when you contest the first
election", National Constitutional Assembly chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku on
Thursday led civil society organisations in endorsing Tsvangirai's pullout.
"The acts of brutality that have occurred over the last three months
have made any semblance of a free and fair election impossible. We therefore
urge the people of Zimbabwe not to vote," says a civil society statement
read by Madhuku.
The law, said ZLHR, only states that Tsvangirai is "eligible" for the
run off as he received the highest number of votes, but it was "not
mandatory" for him to contest.
UK-based Zimbabwean lawyer, Alex Magaisa, also argued that
"eligibility does not mean that you must take part in the process".
"It simply means you meet the necessary conditions but you can choose
not to take part . . . eligibility does not make participation fixed and
By Vusumuzi Sifile
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:41
A Germany firm supplying the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) with paper
for bearer cheques has been asked to halt business with Zimbabwe because of
concerns it was helping prop up President Robert Mugabe's regime.
The move could have disastrous consequences for a country already
reeling from cash shortages.
While the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) yesterday failed to honour
the promise to respond to questions on the issue, an official with the
Germany embassy said he was aware of reports that the Munich-based firm,
Giesecke and Devrient, had been asked to stop supplying Zimbabwe with paper.
"I am aware that the firm was providing the RBZ with the paper," the
official said. "We, however, have not yet received official communication
about the latest development."
The official said discussions in the Federal Government had been
raised concerning the firm although this had been a private business deal
between Zimbabwe and the firm.
"Nothing could be done about it because there were no trade
restrictions between Zimbabwe and Germany or the European Union to which we
are a member," said the official.
Questions sent to Giesecke and Devrient had not been responded to at
the time of going to the press.
Reports from Germany shows that the Development Minister Heidemarie
Wieczorek-Zeul reportedly wrote to the firm on Friday asking it to
immediately stop the shipments of paper to Zimbabwe.
A spokesman for the Germany development ministry said his government
was seriously concerned that the supplies were "providing additional support
to the system in Zimbabwe, which from (their) point of view is not
He said Germany could have taken the step in-line with recent remarks
by its Chancellor Angela Merkel who has urged the international community to
take a firmer stance against President Mugabe.
Local sources said the RBZ was already buying back old bearer cheques,
which had become useless, in response to the development.
By Jennifer Dube
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:38
Villagers in most parts of Matabeleland were reportedly mobilising
against Zanu PF militias terrorizing them ahead of last Friday's
presidential run-off election.
The villagers complained that the police continued to turn a deaf ear
to their pleas for an end to the worsening intimidation.
Scores of MDC supporters appeared before a Gwanda magistrate recently
after they allegedly formed their own groups to destroy bases set up by "war
veterans" in Kezi and Gwanda districts respectively.
At Enyandeni Village, villagers destroyed a Zanu PF sub-office where
'war veterans", who allegedly destroyed the homes of MDC supporters,
including that of a Senate election candidate, were based.
In Kezi, they dismantled a Zanu PF base and heavily assaulted "war
veterans" camped at Chief Bidi's area, who were extorting money, goats and
food from villagers.
"When our supporters are attacked, the police do not react but when
they retaliate that are immediately arrested," said Petros Mukwena, the
provincial secretary of the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC in Matabeleland South.
"As we speak, many of our supporters, including teenagers, are crammed
into the Gwanda Prison and their crime is that they defended themselves
against Zanu PF thugs.
"They are starving because the Zimbabwe prisons don't have money to
buy food and we urge foreign election observers to go and see for themselves
the conditions there."
Although Matabeleland has not witnessed blood-letting on the scale
seen in most areas of Mashonaland, there are reports that war veterans and
soldiers are being sent from other provinces to terrorise the villagers.
Most former ZIPRA combatants refused to participate in the violent
campaign after their commanders distanced themselves from President Robert
Ten days ago Mugabe told his supporters at White City Stadium that
reports of violence were an exaggeration by the MDC who wanted the election
to be declared not to have been free and fair.
African leaders who have in the past rushed to endorse suspect
elections in Zimbabwe have been unanimous that the poll would not be a true
reflection of the wishes of voters as they have been intimidated.
Mugabe said: "Instead of campaigning, Tsvangirai is busy taking
everyone who gets injured to Harvest House and claims that they were injured
in political violence, which is a damn lie," he said.
"This week I was in Matabeleland South and North and it was all
peaceful. Here in Bulawayo people are campaigning in peac," he said.
Tsvangirai was prevented from campaigning by the police on allegations
that his life was under threat.
In Bulawayo, Zanu PF supporters set up a base in the city where they
reportedly launched their attacks against opposition supporters in
peri-urban areas. The base, set up at a building seized from a city
businessman, is just a street away from the Bulawayo Central police station.
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:36
EVER since Zanu PF criticised the private media for contributing to
the defeat of President Robert Mugabe in the 29 March harmonised elections,
attacks against independent newspapers and their staff have escalated.
Last week The Standard reported on a covert plot entitled, "Deal with
these people," in which several names of journalists at The Standard as well
as others working as freelancers and on provincial publications featured.
Below is a chronological sequence of recent attacks against staff of
*May 2008, declaring, "We are the Mafia of Zanu PF", armed men ambush
and burn down a truck carrying 60 000 copies of The Zimbabwean on Sunday.
Driver and his assistant are assaulted. Matter is reported to Mashava police
under CR 35/05/2008;
*June 2008 - Vendor at Tongogara and Sam Nujoma attacked and copies of
The Sunday Times taken;
*June 2008 - Vendor along Julius Nyerere slapped several times and
copies of The Sunday Times taken;
*June 2008 - Market Square vendor attacked by people purporting to be
Zanu PF war vets. Harare Central Police refuse to entertain his report;
*June 2008 - Chitungwiza seriously beaten up. No positive response
from police at Makoni;
*June 2008 - Truck carrying copies of The Sunday Times en route to
Masvingo ordered to turn back in Chivhu. Driver told he would be shot if he
proceeded with his trip;
*June 2008 - Masvingo-based journalist flees town after he is stopped
by four men driving a white unmarked vehicle with letters CAM inscribed on
it and told to "watch out". One of the four reportedly produced a gun.
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:26
AT least seven journalists were arrested in Harare on Friday as they
covered the one-man presidential election run-off.
The journalists were being accused of covering the elections without
being officially accredited by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
British freelance photographer Richard Judson and local reporters
Regis Marisamhuka and Agrison Manyenge were arrested in Mbare. They were
briefly detained at Matapi police station before being transferred to Mbare
They are still in custody.
Frank Chikowore and Edgar Mwandiambira, both freelance journalists,
were arrested at Mhofu Primary School in Highfield.
After being arrested, the two were taken to Southerton Police Station
and later transferred to Machipisa Police Station. The two were released
after voting ended.
Harrison Nkomo of Mtetwa and Nyambirai legal practitioners, who is
representing the journalists, confirmed the arrests.
"Chikowore and Mwandiambira were released last night but the other
journalists are still at Mbare Police Station," Nkomo said.
An E-tv news reporter Tumaole Mohlaoli and cameraman Elelewani
Rampfumedzi were arrested at Beitbridge on Friday while covering a protest
march against the Zimbabwean elections, the station reported.
By Caiphas Chimhete
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:23
Movement for Democratic Change activists were arrested recently for
allegedly describing President Robert Mugabe and Police Commissioner General
Augustine Chihuri as "evil".
They also allegedly told fellow commuters that Mugabe and Chihuri
would be arrested for crimes against humanity once the opposition party is
Zwelithini Viki and Trust Nhubu appeared at the Bulawayo magistrates'
courts on Monday before regional magistrate Sithembiso Ncube on allegations
of contravening Section 177(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
The two, who spent three nights in police cells following their arrest
the previous week, were granted $20 billion bail each and are set to appear
again on 7 July.
They were represented by Bulawayo lawyer Herbert Shenje of Shenje &
According to the State case, led by Farai Museta, the two made the
comments while in a city commuter bus when police officers who had boarded
the same bus were not made to pay by the bus crew.
The State says the two officers boarded the same commuter bus with the
MDC activists from the city centre to Donnington Police Station in Belmont
Viki and Nhubu queried why the police officers were not paying like
other commuters before they started shouting that "such corrupt activities"
had run down the country.
Court records show that they allegedly said: "The MDC will be getting
into power and they will fire all such people who are evil like Mugabe and
The two were immediately arrested by the police officers who later
took them to Donnington police station, where they spent three nights in
It is a crime to make gestures or insulting comments against the
office of the President. A 16-year-old Bulawayo girl Sinanzeni Ngwabi was
detained for weeks without trial just before the 29 March elections after
she was accused of insulting Mugabe.
Scores of Zimbabweans have been arrested and taken to court, for
allegedly making insulting comments against Mugabe.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:18
ORDINARY Level and Advanced Level public examinations for this year
were plunged into further uncertainty last week following an ongoing salary
dispute at the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (ZIMSEC).
The Standard was told last week that although ZIMSEC staffers are
still reporting for duty, they have not started preparing logistical
requirements for the June examinations, which should have been written early
this month. As a result, workers' representatives say the institution is
running four months behind schedule.
ZIMSEC administers public examinations twice every year, in May/June
and October/November Earlier this month, ZIMSEC announced that this year's
May/June examinations would be delayed because of Friday's presidential
But sources at the government department said "even if there was no
run-off, ZIMSEC was not ready to hold the examinations".
Mathias Guchutu, the spokesperson for the National Education Union of
Zimbabwe (NEUZ), which also covers ZIMSEC workers, confirmed there was a
salary dispute at the national examiner, resulting in workers not preparing
for the examinations.
"Management has told workers that they can only award them the 1 047%
increment based on their April salaries, but the workers are proposing more.
Members of staff are very disgruntled," Guchutu said.
Among other things, The Standard understands statements of entry for
the examinations have still not been prepared.
"This will inconvenience mostly private candidates as they will have
less time to correct mistakes on their statements," Guchutu said. "As it is,
the institution is running more than four months behind schedule."
But on Friday, a ZIMSEC official who only identified himself as
Chikandiwa said the June examinations would commence on 7 July. Asked how
this would be possible since statements of entry have still not been
printed, he said: "One can write an examination without that (statement of
Chikandiwa refused to elaborate, referring questions to the
institution's public relations department. Calls transferred to the
department went unanswered. Last month, the department did not respond to
questions sent by The Standard on the examinations.
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:14
PEOPLE'S shops, commissioned by President Robert Mugabe during his
recent campaign, are already dividing the people: basic commodities are only
sold to those connected to Zanu PF officials.
Consumers, who spoke to The Standard last week, said once the goods
were delivered to the shops, they were quickly bought up by Zanu PF
officials, militia and war veterans.
All those without political links to the Mugabe's administration
cannot buy the commodities as customers are vetted by youth militia before
being allowed to enter the shops.
So far the people's shops have been commissioned in areas such as
Nkayi and Tsholotsho in Matabeleland, Mashonaland East as well as Chipinge
Mugabe also promised to establish two other shops at Mahuwe Business
Centre in Mashonaland Central, while campaigning for the 27 June
presidential election run-off, in which he was the sole contestant.
In Nkayi and Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North, where Mugabe
commissioned some of the shops, the commodities were delivered only once.
"People just bought from that shop (at Nkayi) once and the stocks were
exhausted," said one Bulawayo resident who frequently travels to Nkayi.
"They never delivered any new stocks again," he said adding: "Here they don't
demand Zanu PF cards because Mugabe knows he does not have supporters.
Bulawayo Agenda director, Gorden Moyo said Mugabe was fooling the
people of Zimbabwe in a bid to win votes. He said when Mugabe went to
campaign in Nkayi, he brought along few packets of sugar and maize-meal,
which were not even enough for the people who gathered for the rally.
"People were being vetted as they entered the shop. In Tsholotsho, the
truck came with the goods but they were not off-loaded. I suspect they are
showing the same goods to different people in different provinces," Moyo
In the eastern border town of Chipinge on Wednesday, hundreds of
people, mostly Zanu PF supporters, scrambled to buy the few commodities that
had been delivered.
One resident of Chipinge, who requested anonymity for fear of
victimization, said it was very difficult for an ordinary person to buy the
goods because one needed a Zanu PF membership card or had to chant Zanu PF
"The problem is Zanu PF militia and war veterans are taking advantage
of the situation to loot the shops," said the resident, adding that non-Zanu
PF would-be shoppers were being chased away.
Most people, particularly supporters of the MDC, dared not join the
queues which were being controlled by youth militias. They were being told
by the youths that the people's shops programme was initiated by Mugabe and
should only benefit Zanu PF supporters.
"They are telling us to go and buy the basic commodities from Morgan
Tsvangirai (MDC leader)'s house in Harare," he said. "So we don't go there
anymore. You might get killed."
The Minister of Small Enterprises Development Corporation Sithembiso
Nyoni, whose ministry is in charge of the programme, could not be reached
To kick-start the programme, the government injected $150 trillion to
the Small Enterprises Development Corporation.
The government had promised to restock the shops with goods such as
maize-meal, cooking oil, soap, sugar, flour, beans, rice, candles and
sanitary pads on a daily basis but has failed to cope because of prevailing
shortages and the huge demand for basic commodities.
Surprisingly, however, some of the goods sold in the people's shops
are not locally produced, thus contributing to the collapse of local
manufacturing companies, analysts observed.
By Caiphas Chimhete
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:11
MASVINGO - In a clear confirmation that soldiers were behind President
Robert Mugabe's re-election campaign, a top army officer last week declared
that Zimbabwe "is tied to the gun and therefore should be untied from that
gun" by one who intends to be the future president.
Addressing thousands of residents who were forced to attend a Zanu PF
rally at Mucheke Stadium on Wednesday, Major General Engelbert Rugeje said
Mugabe would only leave office after a war, and not through the democratic
systems of voting him out.
"Zimbabwe is tied to the gun," Rugeje said in Shona. "If there is
anyone who wants to untie it, he should take it from the gun."
Rugeje, who was with Air Commodore John Dzvede from the Air Force of
Zimbabwe, said there would be a war in both the rural and urban areas if
people voted for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
"If you think you stay in town where there will be no war, we will
show you that you are not immune. If you vote MDC, we will come with tankers
and jets with my colleague from the Air Force. It is you who will die, not
soldiers," he said.
Rugeje, who took part in the liberation struggle, said Zimbabwe became
independent after a war; therefore it could not be given away at the stroke
of a pen. "Something which came as a result of the gun cannot go by the
pencil. It won't happen," he said.
Rugeje said what voters did by voting out Mugabe in the initial 29
March harmonized polls that saw a defeat of the ruling party was taboo.
"What you did on 29 March is unthinkable. I did not come to Masvingo
to beg you to vote for Zanu PF, but to tell you to vote for Zanu PF," Rugeje
He ordered all people to go out and vote "so that Robert Mugabe
remains the president forever and ever Amen", hinting that Zanu PF might ban
any other elections after the election run-off held on Friday.
Saturday, 28 June 2008 17:08
TENDAI Biti, Movement for Democratic Change secretary general, is the
latest to be shackled by the State in a wave of arrests that have rocked the
country since the 29 March elections.
While cases relating to various offences continued to be set down at
the courts ahead of last Friday's disputed presidential election run-off,
those linked to politically-motivated public violence were pronounced.
They covered a wide range of acts including abduction, assault,
malicious damage to property, robbery and offensive utterances.
Biti attracted a number of charges - treason, communicating statements
prejudicial to the State, causing disaffection among the defence forces and
insulting President Mugabe - by allegedly authoring a document he disowned
several months ago.
While Biti is one of the opposition leaders who were taken to court,
other alleged offenders included journalists, lawyers, trade unionists, and
According to the Attorney-General (AG)'s office, there were more than
80 reported cases of violence in six provinces excluding Matabeleland and
the Midlands as of 16 May.
Acting Attorney-General Justice Bharat Patel said there had been more
cases of political violence after May, but that it was difficult to
speculate on the actual figures involved "without full feed-back from the
police and the courts".
But he said the AG's office had adopted a hard-line policy in respect
of political violence cases, "and our prosecutors have been instructed to
deal firmly with each case without regard to the political affiliation of
the offender or the victim". In so far as concerns the granting of bail,
this, he said, was a matter for the courts to decide in each case.
"In this respect, our policy is to oppose the granting of bail in
those cases involving serious violence."
Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena last week declined to give
latest figures of arrests but pointed out the police were arresting
offenders from both Zanu (PF) and the MDC.
However, in an earlier statement, Police commissioner-general,
Augustine Chihuri said police had arrested 390 MDC-T followers and 156 Zanu
PF supporters, statistics, he said, showed the the opposition party was
behind the wave of violence.
Prominent Harare lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, said he represented more
than 2 000 accused people from Mt Darwin, Murehwa, Mutoko, Bindura, Buhera,
Mutare and Rusape among other places. "This phase of arrests is
unprecedented," Muchadehama said.
"We had an almost similar scenario following the 2003 Final Push but
the number of people arrested then is probably second to this".
Lawyers handling the cases last week said the arrests were part of a
systematic plan to block opposition supporters from participating in the
"What we see is not genuine enforcement of the law," Advocate Happious
Zhou said. "The arrests are targeted at opposition supporters and aimed at
subverting the democratic process....The opposition has reported numerous
abductions and murders and no single person has been arrested for those".
The lawyers said most of their clients were illegally arrested, with
many cases lacking evidence upon which the accused would have been arrested.
They said some of their clients were unlawfully arrested by suspected
army officers and Zanu PF supporters while on some occasions those who would
have suffered assault at the hands of suspected Zanu PF supporters were
arrested by police when they went to report the attacks.
"Our law provides for citizen arrests and lawyers are expected to know
where to take their complaints of unlawful arrests where this provision is
abused," Bvudzijena said.
"As police, we investigate the authenticity of reports made to us and
in some cases we found that MDC supporters attacked Zanu PF supporters who
would then retaliate and on realising they are being defeated, they would
run to us and report that they are being attacked."
The lawyers also alleged that many clients were subjected to assault,
torture and degrading treatment in police cells. They said in most cases,
accused persons were denied food, access to relatives and sometimes it took
a long time to be allowed to see their legal counsel.
Biti, who was arrested on 12 June, had 11 complaints against the
police. He said he was at one point interrogated continuously for 19 hours
by three different teams with eight police officers each. He also said he
was forced to write three statements on things unrelated to the four counts
being preferred against him, among them his preferred model of a government
of national unity and his negotiations with government officials.
But on Thursday High Court judge, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo, granted Biti
bail saying: "To be honest, this document (which Biti is accused of
authoring) makes good reading for someone who is in bed. It's a good
document for bedtime reading. I have seen a lot of glaring shortcomings on
this document because some of the issues and charges are based on assumption
of things that did not or will not occur.
"It's a document based on 'if this is to happen or that is to happen.'
These factors have a bigger bearing on the outcome of this matter."
Lawyers said most frustrating was the AG's Office's resolution to
oppose bail on these matters.
"That compromises the legal process which requires that each matter be
looked according to its merits", Zhou said. "That position is a clear abuse
Concern was also raised over some prosecutors' attitude which saw them
deliberately delaying some cases by failing to attend court on "flimsy
"The fact that some prosecutors fail to attend court without giving
prior notice to the defence has not been brought to my personal attention,"
Patel said. "If this is true, the prosecutors in question would be guilty of
misconduct entailing the institution of disciplinary measures."
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights recently complained that the AG's
director of prosecutions, Florence Ziyambi, had illegally extended MDC
MP-elect and prominent advocate Eric Matinenga's incarceration by defying a
High Court Order demanding his release.
Patel said he was not aware of the manner in which it is alleged that
the orders of the High Court had been defied by Ziyambi or by any other
prosecutor. "I would need more detail in this connection in order to be able
Muchadehama said that although the majority of his clients were
granted bail and others were acquitted, they remained insecure and thus
would need psychological therapy to be able to lead normal lives again.
"People are not used to these things...whereby they just get arrested
for committing no offence and endure torture for no wrongdoing. Their
experiences are traumatic and they will have to be rehabilitated first".
He said while others had their homes destroyed and their identity
cards confiscated by suspected Zanu PF supporters, some lived in fear as
"faceless names" continued to hunt for them outside the courts.
By Jennifer Dube
Saturday, 28 June 2008 16:37
ZIMBABWEANS are poised for a gloomy outlook after the country plunged
headlong with a one-man presidential election run-off last Friday,
disregarding local and international pressure to defer the poll to a later
When MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the race citing
escalating violence, pressure from both local and the international
community to defer the plebiscite to a later date was not heeded leaving
Robert Mugabe to compete against himself in Friday's poll.
There are now fears that Mugabe will be isolated as the world tightens
screws on him.
Analysts warned last week that mending the tattered economy is beyond
the capacity of Mugabe and his lieutenants without the assistance of all
"We are not going to overcome problems until we make big political
changes," said John Robertson, an independent economic analyst. "For the
last nine months the government has been talking of elections while
neglecting the country's problems."
Production in industries is at an all time low since 1980 as raw
material shortages and obsolete equipment take their toll on one of the
largest employers at independence.
Policy inconsistencies have haunted the economy creating uncertainty
at a time Zimbabwe's regional neighbours are instilling confidence in their
The exchange rate liberalisation introduced on 30 April has lost steam
after authorities attempted to tinker with it nearly two weeks ago.
Attempted interventions came as the battered Zimbabwe dollar continues
losing value at an alarming rate. From $160 million per US$ in May, the
Zimbabwe dollar has depreciated to $17 billion per US$, pushing prices to
Analysts say conditions on the ground do not stabilise the exchange
rate and the central bank is in a fix on how to handle the situation.
"If they stop it (interbank trading), there will be chaos," said Dr
Daniel Ndlela, an independent economist. "If they don't stop it, the chaos
Robertson says as a first step, the new government has to remove all
attempts to regulate or direct activities of the business sector but warned
that past experiences have shown that the government is unwilling to discard
Businesses have never recovered since the populist price blitz in June
last year. The business sector has since last year been accused of being
part of a "regime change" agenda through hiking prices at alarming rates.
But analysts dispute the assertion and instead blame excessive printing of
money for driving prices.
"There is a misunderstanding of where the problems lie. What caused
the difficulties is not the business sector but government caused price
increases through printing money," Robertson said.
The tough hurdle awaiting the new government is how to tame inflation
which has single handedly reduced citizens to paupers.
But despite multiple terminologies used to describe it from "Number
One Enemy" to "Economic HIV", Zimbabwe's inflation continues breaking new
grounds to the extent that authorities are even embarrassed to announce the
figures. At about 9 000 000%, according to analysts, Zimbabwe's inflation is
unprecedented in a country not at war.
The first casualty has been the currency whose value has been eroded
at alarming rates. Despite the central bank introducing higher denominated
notes to ease convenience analysts warn that the move is a stop gap measure.
The highest note, the $50 billion hardly buys a decent lunch barely a
month after its launch. What inflation has done is creating a multitude of
disgruntled billionaires, the first of its kind in the world.
"Where else in the world have you seen a billionaire who is unhappy?
It's unheard of anywhere in the world except Zimbabwe," said a banking
"I hope this time around we will have real currency not bearer cheques
that cannot be accepted across borders."
Already, the machines in supermarkets have failed to grasp an
avalanche of zeros raining on our currency. Analysts warn unless some zeros
are lopped off the 2008-2009 National Budget will be in quintillions, a
A key statistic such as inflation figures has been kept under wraps
denying businesses an indicator necessary to plan in a hyper-inflationary
Zimbabwe's companies have failed to adhere to international accounting
standards by failing to produce inflation-adjusted results, a key
requirement for companies operating in a hyper-inflationary setting.
The Central Statistical Office has in the past attributed the delay in
announcing the figures to shortages of basic goods used to calculate
inflation, a tired excuse analysts say will not fit for a bed time story.
Robertson believes that inflation figures will be made available as
"the government tries to recover some credibility".
Analysts say the new government has to sort out the mess in the
agricultural sector spawned by the farm seizures since 2000.
Each and every farming season, Zimbabwe has been found wanting with no
inputs despite claims that the government had made necessary preparations.
Already, the country braces for a severe bread shortage after putting under
crop a tenth of the required hectarage under the winter wheat programme.
Saturday, 28 June 2008 15:48
THE first bout was a bruising contest. The contender and the title
holder traded punches.
The contender struck some fierce blows for democracy, tolerance and
economic stabilisation, and the title holder responded with some less
telling blows for sovereignty and anti-imperialism. When the bout ended, it
took a long time for the referee to announce the result because some
necessary adjustments had to be made to the scorecard, but eventually the
contender was proclaimed the winner on points.
The title holder, egged on by the gods of strife, refused either to
accept the result or surrender his crown and loudly complained about match
fixing. After all, no man could take away a title personally bestowed for
life by the gods. (Titles conferred by Queens are a different matter as
Queens, it seems, don't play according to the Queensberry rules.)
The former but still title holder threw a tantrum. It should be noted
that tantrums resent being chucked about in this fashion and become even
more riled when this happens to them. The gods of war encouraged the title
holder to become the fist of fury and he was more than willing to oblige.
Indeed he saw red. His opponent, he maintained, had treacherously used foul
smelling spells to win the contest and therefore he had not won at all.
Rather forcefully, he demanded a re-match.
The referee, who was an accommodating fellow, readily acceded to this
request. As instructed, he scheduled the return match for a date that would
allow the still holding onto title person the maximum time to regroup and
mobilise everyone to rally behind him. Those who did not want to do so would
be taught how.
His supporters fanned out across the country spreading the message
that there could only be one possible winner in the re-match. His supporters
were armed and fortified by the gods of persuasion and given other
stimulants. It was not long before everyone was singing from the same
hymnbook, a book titled, Songs of Praise, although some needed a bit of
extra voice training.
The title holder embarked on a victory tour throughout the land making
a fist of things. Naturally the contender who still harboured the insane
notion that he had won, was not permitted to move around spewing out the
dangerous falsehoods his backers ordered him to spread.
Realising that he couldn't win and that all his supporters had been
run off, the contender chickened out and wanted to run away from the
run-off. But the title holder was determined that the bout go ahead anyway,
despite shrill urgings from former allies outside the country for a
There was great excitement when the day of the mother of all contests
finally came round. The ring was decked out in the livery of the title
holder. All around the ring the title holder was to be seen on the T-shirts
of the young men who had been deployed just in case the contender had the
nerve to show up after all.
The public turned out in record numbers to participate in this event.
All the judges wore the same T-shirts. The cheers were deafening as the
title holder stepped into the ring. The announcer introduced the
contestants. "In the right corner", he exclaimed enthusiastically, "we have
the one and only undisputed victor."
When the wild cheers finally subsided he went on to announce to the
accompaniment of boos and jeers, "In the wrong corner, we have the rest of
the world with few exceptions." The referee then told the contestants that
he wanted a good clean fight and would tolerate no low blows or other
irregularities. He said that he sincerely hoped that the best contestant
would win, provided that it was the right contestant.
The bout then commenced. Wearing gloves made out of steel mesh, the
title holder showed his mettle. He danced around the ring striking a
dazzling series of jabs, body blows, uppercuts and lowercuts. Within no time
he had all of his many opponents, who seemed to proliferate as the contest
proceeded, on the ropes. Almost before it had started the contest was over
bar the shouting. The inevitable knock out punch had landed on its target.
The few detractors who were still mouthing silly utterances like
"Pyrrhic victory" were encouraged to go and wash out their filthy mouths
Saturday, 28 June 2008 15:45
THE African Union has the legal power to condemn the conduct of
Zimbabwe's elections, to suspend the country from membership and to require
The question is whether the continent's leaders have the political
will to do so.
As African heads of state and government prepare to meet for the 11th
African Union (AU) Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, Zimbabwe continues to
The Chairman of the AU Commission, Jean Ping, has now spoken out on
the country's political crisis, making clear that the AU is gravely
concerned at what he called "increasing acts of violence". He also indicated
that the commission has entered consultations with the current AU chairman,
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, and leaders of countries in the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) in order to find a solution.
The question is what can the AU really do?
Two legal opinions commissioned by the Southern African Litigation
Centre, based in Johannesburg, provide a legal foundation for AU
intervention in Zimbabwe.
Based on an analysis of Zimbabwe's Constitution and its Electoral Act
of 2004, the two opinions conclude that Morgan Tsvangirai, the front runner
in the first round of presidential voting on 29 March, should be recognised
legally as the head of state of Zimbabwe.
The first opinion analysed the legality of the postponement of the
presidential run-off vote until tomorrow - when nearly two months will have
elapsed since the first round of voting. It found there was a breach of
Section 110 of the Second Schedule of the Electoral Act, which stipulates
that run-off elections should be held within 21 days of the first round.
The authors of the opinion held that the power, asserted by the
Zimbabwean Electoral Commission, "to amend or ignore the
constitutionally-required period... by abrogating or amending the provisions
regarding the run-off period, is constitutionally objectionable".
The second legal opinion dealt with what the Electoral Act required in
the event of a failure to hold elections within the prescribed 21 days. The
opinion noted: "Where no second election is held and there were two or more
candidates for President, and no candidate received a majority of the total
number of valid votes cast, item (3) (1) (b) [of the schedule to the
Electoral Act] provides that the candidate with the greatest number of votes
[in the first round of elections], and not the majority of the total number
of votes, shall be duly elected President."
In the first round of voting, Morgan Tsvangirai won 47.9% of votes,
against 43.2% for President Robert Mugabe. On the basis of the law and the
vote count, Tsvangirai should have been installed as President.
Given the two legal opinions, and that the results of the first round
of elections were accepted by African institutions, a case can be made for
an AU intervention under the "Declaration on the Framework for an OAU
Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government," signed in Lomé, Togo in
2000 and endorsed by the Zimbabwe Government.
The declaration defines unconstitutional changes, inter alia, as "the
refusal by an incumbent government to relinquish power to the winning party
after free, fair and regular elections".
Since Mugabe does not want to relinquish power, the declaration allows
action to be taken similar to that taken against Togo in 2005, when the
military in that country installed Faure Gnassingbé as president upon the
death of his father.
The Lomé declaration clearly describes the steps that can be taken:
* The Chairman of the AU, currently President Kikwete, should openly
condemn the unconstitutional change and clearly indicate to the perpetrator
that the AU will not tolerate the takeover.
* At the request of the Chairman, the Secretary-General of the AU, or
any member state, the "Central Organ" of the AU's "Mechanism for Conflict
Prevention, Management and Resolution" meets as a matter of urgency to
discuss the situation and issue a statement.
* Following an initial condemnation by the Central Organ, a period of
six months is given to the perpetrator of unconstitutional change to
withdraw and hold new elections (although, given Zimbabwe's electoral law,
it can be argued that the winner of the first round should be declared
president). During this period, the government concerned is suspended from
participating in the policy organs of the AU, including the Council of
Ministers and the meeting of heads of state and government.
* In the event of failure to comply within the six-month period, "a
range of limited and targeted sanctions against the regime" will be imposed.
These may include travel bans and trade restrictions.
Such action proved effective in forcing Togo's Gnassingbé and the army
to back down and allow elections in 2005. That precedent has shown that the
AU is able to react, provided there is political will.
But the AU could not have acted without the support of the regional
leaders of ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States. Similarly,
in the case of Zimbabwe, the role of SADC leaders will be paramount in
supporting an AU intervention
Clearly, African instruments for dealing with the current crisis do
exist. Now is the time to use them in Zimbabwe. Will our leaders, meeting in
Sharm el-Sheikh, have enough political will to act?
Faten Aggad is a researcher on the Governance and African Peer Review
Mechanism Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs,
Saturday, 28 June 2008 15:39
IT goes without saying that the sham election of 27 June will not
solve the difficult political and economic questions facing Zimbabwe.
It will go down as one of the most meaningless exercises in the
It will do absolutely nothing to lift the country out of the economic
quagmire. The exercise was no more than a show of arrogance, stubbornness
and selfishness on the part of a small clique in the ruling elite. But there
will, no doubt, be victory parades, even though it was a one-horse race.
The MDC withdrew from the Presidential race citing the levels of
uninhibited violence which paralysed large parts of the country, rendering a
free and fair election futile. It was a bold decision, which has rightly
been commended given the prevailing circumstances. The MDC strengthened its
moral leverage and authority over Zanu PF. But this moral leverage of itself
is inadequate; it has to translate into practically meaningful results.
Part of the moral authority and its pull and impact on the world stage
is driven and sustained by publicity of the Zimbabwean story. The more it is
heard, the more it remains useful currency that can be used to persuade and
pressure key actors both regionally and internationally. It is here, that
caution must be exercised. That is because the medium through which
publicity is sustained is the media. And here, news is driven by events and
in the new world of 24-hour rolling news, big events make big news. The
Zimbabwean story will have to compete, in the coming days, and weeks with
other big events that could well take the shine off the story of Zimbabwe.
This much happened after 29 March, when natural calamities hit Burma
and China and, for a while, the Zimbabwe story gave way. The withdrawal of
Morgan Tsvangirai was a big event which drove news coverage for some days
but it also took the shine off the resulting sham election. Being a
non-event, news on the election will not be on the same scale. Unless
something "really big" happens again, we may find that the appetite for the
Zimbabwean story will diminish. We may well become a forgotten people;
another failed African Banana Republic deemed unworthy of any further
Work must now focus on finding a practical solution to our problem. In
doing so there are critical things to note:
First, now that Mugabe will retain the Presidency, he will have on his
side the nominal presence of legality on his side, unless this is
successfully challenged in a court of law. Given the state of Zimbabwe's
judiciary, this may be a pointless and wasteful exercise. What Mugabe will
find hard to achieve, however, is local and international recognition and
the moral capital that comes with it. Already, erstwhile friends in Africa
have begun to show signs of digression.
On the other hand, Tsvangirai and the MDC have in abundance the moral
leverage gained from years of toil and cemented by election withdrawal
against the background of intimidation and violence. Between the two men,
Tsvangirai appears to now command greater moral authority as the legitimate
representative of the people of Zimbabwe.
But having withdrawn from the race and therefore effectively conceded
the Presidency to Mugabe, however controversial it may be, Tsvangirai lacks
the legal apparel that Mugabe wears. Even when the MDC Parliamentarians take
their seats in Parliament it will, symbolically, be on the recognition that
the country has a newly elected President, as the Constitution mandates.
The two men therefore have in effect one thing that the other needs:
Mugabe rides on the crest of legality, Tsvangirai resists on the wave of
recognition and moral legitimacy. The country cannot move forward as long as
the situation remains that way - someone will need to have the combination
of the legality, recognition and legitimacy.
The formal response of the African community of leaders, under the
auspices of the AU and SADC, to the sham election will be crucial. It's fair
to say that my own faith in these organisations is not generous. SADC's
dealings with Zimbabwe in the past have left many questions, not about its
willingness but about its capacity to deal with the problem. SADC needs to
be bolder and more resolute. For as long as it dilly-dallies and takes a
cotton wool approach to the Mugabe regime, it will remain no more than a dog
barking at a moving, albeit wrecked locomotive.
Having called for the postponement of the poll and been rebuffed by
Mugabe, their reaction to the easily predictable outcome of the election
will be eagerly awaited. The question is not hard to state. It is whether or
not SADC will recognise the result. Recognition would, of course, be a blow
to the MDC. Rejection would be a further dent in the regime's authority and
There is a fear, here, always lurking in the background of optimism,
that the international community, however defined, may not go beyond the
usual "gesture politics". The condemnations we hear are nothing that we have
not heard before. It's the same chorus, now repeated like a scratched old
record. Taking away Mugabe's honorary degrees, Knighthood, etc (why were
they ever conferred in the first place, we ask? Please don't give any more
of these accolades to our political leaders) make good gestures but such
actions alone will not change much in the way Mugabe behaves. Instead, he
has become even more defiant. This is no longer time for press condemnations
and woolly communiqués.
Bu it is quite likely that Mugabe will try to present a conciliatory
face in the aftermath of the election. His last campaign speech in
Chitungwiza is instructive in this regard. He appeared to water-down his
rhetoric against the MDC, whose force he, deep-down, surely acknowledges. He
knows he cannot govern meaningfully without more than half the people of
Zimbabwe, represented by the MDC. He knows there will be nothing to talk
about when his regime will not be recognised. The first steps will therefore
be to implement a damage limitation exercise. Already he has said, "Should
we emerge victorious, which I believe we will, sure we won't be arrogant, we
will be magnanimous and say 'let's sit down and talk'".
So Mugabe is offering to talk, but only after his confirmation as
President after a one-man race. Tsvangirai issued an ultimatum prior to the
run-off election, saying that he was open to talks but only if the run-off
election was called off. This has not happened and thus there is clear
In all this there is an indication of common ground that there is need
for the political actors to talk. They differ on the pre-conditions, as
appears to have been the case since the controversial 2002 Presidential
election, when the initial attempts for talks were aborted. Hindsight is
always a good thing - you look back with better judgment at things that have
already happened. One therefore, might pause here and ask, if they had
talked; properly talked in 2002, could Zimbabwe have averted the situation
to which it has descended so far? If the answer is in the affirmative, the
next question for present purposes is, if there is willingness to talk and
if they do talk, could it avert further disaster in the future?
Personally, I have come to appreciate two things:
First that there is an ideal way of achieving an ideal outcome. But
somehow we are not always favoured with this scenario.
The second is that there is a less ideal way of achieving a less ideal
but, nevertheless, practical outcome. I have always thought and still think
that Zimbabwe needs to and CAN find a practical way out of its mess. The
process that is set in motion, backed by the experiences we have had in the
years since independence, should eventually lead us to a more ideal
As it is, Zimbabweans stand in the position of the farmer who, upon
seeing his beloved cow stuck in the mud, he either chooses to put it down
quickly to relieve it of its pain and misery or to wait and watch it slowly
dying, with faint hopes that somehow it might make it out, but knowing full
well that the end will, surely, come.
By Alex Magaisa
Saturday, 28 June 2008 15:36
NEXT to the humiliation of losing the 2000 Constitutional Referendum
and 57 Parliamentary seats to the MDC in the same year, Zanu PF and Robert
Mugabe, received a bloody nose when the Commonwealth decided to continue its
suspension from the group's councils in 2003.
The significance of the decision being made on African soil was not
lost on Mugabe and probably contributed to his petulant response - the
withdrawal from the Commonwealth before the conference ended.
What remains poignant for me was the report from Harare that Mugabe
and his retinue were preparing to fly to Abuja, in apparent anticipation of
the suspension being lifted. Some of this might have been entirely due to
the self-delusion of a positive resolution from a multiracial group,
dominated by the Third World.
But another reason might have been the misconception members of the
group from the developed world -Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand -
might be psychologically intimidated by the prospect of a protest from the
developing countries if Zimbabwe's suspension was not lifted.
The miscalculation stemmed from a misreading of the profound
resentment to how Mugabe's government had conducted the 2000 parliamentary
and 2002 presidential elections.
I was among journalists in the Nigerian capital for the CHOGM - the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
President Olusegun Obasanjo was ebullient in his flowing robes as he
welcomed other heads of state and government. It was a plum public relations
coup for him, as there were already rumblings at home and broad about his
style of governance, culminating in his abortive attempt at a third term in
In anticipation of a positive result, Reuben Barwe of the ZBC had been
sent in advance, in readiness for a victorious broadcast on the lifting of
the suspension and a triumphant interview with Mugabe.
But Barwe got more than he bargained for, as I saw him fending off
searching, sarcastic questions from a corps of sharp-tongued journalists.
"But you are one of those who was given a farm by the government, aren't
you?" one asked testily.
Mugabe had not done his reputation much good since the two elections.
The government had tightened the screws, not only on the media, but
also on the opposition parties. The Daily News had been closed down and the
story of its offices in Harare being visited by armed police had caused much
excitement in the media in West Africa - as had the case of Charles Taylor,
the Liberian strongman then being hunted for crimes against humanity, and
sheltered, for a while, by Obasanjo.
The government had passed the Public Order and Security Act (POSA),
aimed at the political opposition. The freedom with which the newly-formed
MDC had campaigned in the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections
had frightened the ruling party into introducing tough restrictions on their
freedom to organise and campaign - with the ultimate sanction being for them
to seek police permission before holding any public meetings.
The restriction on media freedom was initiated in the repressive
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
In Abuja, there was open sympathy for the beleaguered media and the
MDC delegation, one of whose members was Paul Themba-Nyathi. The Nigerian
newspapers were generally sympathetic to all sectors of Zimbabwe targeted by
If Mugabe and Zanu PF hoped for an instant response from the Asian,
Caribbean and Pacific members of the group to threaten to quit or to quit,
nothing of the sort was even hinted at in Abuja.
In other words, it looked, on the surface, as if Mugabe had gravely
miscalculated. An even more serious miscalculation related to the
multilateral economic benefits of membership of the so-called "Club". Most
of the bilateral economic ties were anchored on membership of the group.
Most of this is incalculable. Although neither Mugabe nor anyone else
in his government has ever catalogued how much non-membership of The Club
has cost Zimbabwe, it's obvious that it is a lot.
Mugabe is not one of the coolest politicians on the continent.
Moreover, even his public posture suggests a man quite often on tenterhooks,
a man whose temper flares unexpectedly, often with unforeseen consequences:
an outburst in language often considered "un-presidential".
Mugabe has now antagonised most members of both the Sadc group and the
African Union. Among some critics of his brinkmanship there is a feeling
that both organisations may find themselves facing the choice faced by the
Commonwealth in 2003: dare they risk the stability of their organisations by
condoning what most of them see as Mugabe's stubborn insistence that only
his way is the right way?
Mugabe may yet find he has dug his own political grave by alienating
almost everyone who tried to help resolve the crisis in his country.
Saturday, 28 June 2008 15:31
IN 1987 the late nationalist Joshua Nkomo, driven by a desire to see
an end to the killings and widespread disturbances in Matabeleland and the
Midlands, agreed to the Unity Accord, now commemorated every year on 22
It needed the underdog, in this case Nkomo, to grasp the nettle for
this country to return to peace.
After last Friday's one-horse presidential election run-off, Zimbabwe
may need the courage and moral conviction of an underdog to pave the way for
a return to prosperity and the community of nations.
President Robert Mugabe on Friday went ahead with an election in which
he was the only contestant after the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out
citing a concerted campaign of violence by the government targeting his
supporters as demonstrated by nationwide arrests of his officials elected
during the 29 March harmonised elections, the killings of more than 90 of
his supporters and displacement of scores of others.
By going ahead with the poll, Mugabe wanted to prove that he has the
numbers behind him, even though some of the methods of how these were
arrived at are clearly contentious. He will derive comfort from these
numbers, disregarding the choice the people of this country made on 29
March. There will be a re-enactment of similar but not identical events to
those that led to conclusion of the Unity Accord.
Dr Nkomo put the interests and safety of a traumatised nation first
for Zimbabwe to begin the process of recovery. It may very well now require
Tsvangirai to reach some consensus on the course this country will take and
its prospects for development and re-engaging the international community.
Mugabe has demonstrated in his actions and pronouncements since 29
March that it is the people of Zimbabwe who owe him and not vice versa.
The international community, so quick to condemn the theatre of
absurdity that has paraded itself since March, has proved long on rhetoric
but woefully short on action. Thousands of internally displaced Zimbabweans
need not suffer the fate of victims and survivors of Gukurahundi and
Operation Murambatsvina, who to this day remain objects of pious sympathies
but are essentially neglected.
A fund should be set up to help the internally displaced people to
return to their homes so they can begin to rebuild their lives. Without
international support, these people who have been so traumatised will be
unable to cope with their devastation.
The roots of the exodus of Zimbabweans to neighbouring countries such
as Botswana and South Africa can be found during and after Gukurahundi.
Failure to support the return of the internally displaced or to create
conditions for their secure return will spur them to flee to the presumed
sanctuary of our neighbours. These people deserve better.
South Africa has stood by while Zimbabwe burnt. Sadly, it could reap
the rewards of its indulgent policy towards the regime in Harare.
Apart from Zimbabweans continuing to trek south, South Africa's
tourism, its attraction as an investment destination, and the 2010 world
soccer extravaganza could present that country with a crisis it is
unprepared for, the consequences of which it might live to regret.
It is time South Africa appreciated that Zimbabwe's continued problems
have potential for destabilising the region.
The African Union meets in Egypt tomorrow but Zimbabweans should not
expect much from this African indaba because if it had the capacity to go
beyond platitudes, we would not have Darfur today and the other unresolved
conflicts on the continent.
Before Friday's poll Mugabe promised he would only engage in talks on
resolving Zimbabwe's crisis after the election run-off. Now let's see if he
is prepared to walk the talk.
Who Will Speak For Suffering,Voiceless Victims Of Violence?
Saturday, 28 June 2008 15:59
LET'S have an alternative moral voice as Zanu PF presidium remains mum
They pretend to be Christians. They attend mass, wear uniforms and
play their church instruments and claim to be part of the flock. But they
are hypocrites and they have been unmasked because they are not genuine
Christians but are mere "church-goers".
Church-goers are mere socialites. Christians live the talk and gospel.
They respect the sanctity of life. Christians feel for each other. Are we
the only ones who are hearing and seeing horrific pictures of people being
maimed in and around the rural areas, farms and mining communities?
Where in all this is the Zanu PF presidium? Why are they conspicuous
by their appalling silence over the ogre of violence that is gripping the
They are not only the ruling elite, but are supposed to be elders of
this nation and custodians of the citizenry's safety. They have abdicated
the constitutional trust mandated to them by citizens of this country to
Their own children are in the safety of Harare and overseas,
therefore, they do not see any reason for intervening.
These Christians should challenge leaders such as President Robert
Mugabe, Vice-President Joseph Msika, Retired General Solomon Mujuru and Air
Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena, who claim to be Christians. I am addressing them
as Christians and not as political leaders. The Word says: "Elders must be
men whose lives cannot be spoken against. have a good reputation. must not
be violent. must be gentle, peace-loving. must be people who are respected
and have integrity. live with a clear conscience . must not speak evil of
others and . must exercise self-control."
I ask fellow Zimbabweans, do these "leaders" fit the bill? No! They
must stop going to church. They have the power and means to stop all the
suffering we are witnessing. But what do we see? Total and deafening
silence! We know and God is watching. In the fullness of His time, He makes
all things beautiful.
In the absence of concern from these elders, may God please raise
other voices among us? We need voices from artists, intellectuals, sport
celebrities, musicians, the rich, unpolluted war veterans and church elders
to speak out against violence.
We need men and women of high moral values now more than ever before.
We need leaders who do not remain silent while defenceless families are
being traumatised? Where are all the prominent church leaders?
Politicians have failed us, but history will record that Dumiso
Dabengwa and Vitalis Zvinavashe, among others, as people who showed their
concern against what is happening to defenceless Zimbabweans.
We need mothers of the nation - Mai Maud Muzenda, Mai Victoria
Chitepo, Mai Msika. Are they not senior citizens who can make a difference
if they choose to speak out against violence?
Finally, the Word says: "The Lord hears his people."
Sithole O Moyo
Let's Refuse To Be Cowed
Saturday, 28 June 2008 15:57
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is being fooled by the army who say they will
go back to war if he loses.
He must be reminded that most of the members of the army now belong to
the young generation, a generation that has suffered under his regime. These
young men and women might pretend to support Mugabe, but they do not.
Threats to go to war is just but a dream, how many war veterans are
there to be afraid of? Zimbabweans, it is high time we stood our ground
against this system that wants to continue ruling us with an iron fist.
Zimbabwe is not meant for Mugabe only.
Why should we be cowed into submitting to his dictates? We have
suffered enough. Let him threaten us, it will not change our minds.
Clyde B Chakupeta
Where Is The Struggle History?
Saturday, 28 June 2008 15:53
WHERE is the history of the liberation of this country? Why is there
no comprehensive history of the struggle for liberation written?
It is now 28 years since we attained our independence but we still
await the true, factual and accurate account of the struggle. Why is it that
those who took an active role in the struggle are not so keen to tell
generations that came after them just what happened?
We should have been reading about the struggle before the end of the
first decade after independence, does this suggest we need an inquiry to
look into the matter?
No To Pseudo-war Veterans Tormenting Villagers
Saturday, 28 June 2008 15:51
SURELY, the war was fought so that all Zimbabweans could live happily
thereafter and not just a few greedy, selfish leaders. We thank the genuine
freedom fighters for a job well done.
But we are against pseudo-war veterans, who have been making life hell
for fellow Zimbabweans.
These evil pseudo-war veterans are being paid by their diabolical
leaders in Zanu PF to torment villagers. When people like Jabulani Sibanda
shout about "defending gains of the liberation struggle and our land" they
mean protecting their multiple farms that they grabbed and their untold
wealth they have accumulated over the years by extra-legal means.
Sibanda and his fellow leaders are naïve and short-sighted in their
actions because they cannot read the signs of the times.
The writing is clearly on the wall and it is written in the letters of
the alphabet and not in Hieroglyphics. The one million man-march in support
of President Robert Mugabe came and failed. The parliamentary, presidential
and council elections as well as the recounts show that Zanu PF was defeated
beyond reasonable doubt.
Now what does Sibanda and his gang really want? After all, who do they
think they are? They are not bigger than Zimbabwe? Zanu PF has had its good
time but it did not use it well. Instead, it decided to destroy the economy
through its myopic policies.
No matter what Zanu PF says about the MDC, it is not a front for the
West. It is a people's popular party and demonstrated this by its thrashing
of Zanu PF at the 29 March harmonised polls.
Long live the MDC and curse be upon those who claim to have liberated
Zimbabwe but are now showing their true colours of the murderers of the very
people they claim to have liberated.
The Chimbwidos and Mujibhas must wake up and refuse to be used against
their own parents and relatives by greedy and selfish leaders.
As Zimbabwe Crumbles, Pressure Mounts for a Power-Sharing Deal
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, June 29, 2008; Page A12
HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 28 -- President Robert Mugabe has emerged from the
most tumultuous election in Zimbabwe's history with his grip on power
restored but his nation's daunting problems -- including hyperinflation,
international isolation and an exodus of skilled workers -- dramatically
Between March 29, when he lost a first-round vote to a surging opposition,
and Friday, when Mugabe presumably romped to victory unopposed in a runoff
election, sparsely stocked store shelves here emptied, long bread lines grew
longer, and inflation soared from several hundred thousand percent to
The crisis has become so severe that Mugabe's peers on the continent have
broken with their long tradition of not criticizing fellow African leaders.
The president plans to attend the African Union summit this week in Egypt,
where his deployment of political violence is expected to face unprecedented
scrutiny. Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on him to offer a power-sharing
deal to his defeated rival, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who
boycotted Friday's election.
Even within Mugabe's own ruling party, a new generation of leaders is
working to engineer his departure. Many party officials acknowledge that
economic revival is impossible without substantial international help, which
will never come as long as Mugabe clings to power.
Zimbabwe is "in the worst possible shape since independence," said former
information minister Jonathan Moyo, now an independent member of parliament
and a Mugabe critic. "I don't think he would have wished for this kind of
scenario for himself or his country."
On Saturday, President Bush announced plans for new sanctions against the
Mugabe government, after what he has called a "sham election."
Bush said in a statement that he is instructing the State and Treasury
departments to draw up sanctions against "this illegitimate government of
Zimbabwe and those who support it." He also said the United States would
press for a U.N. arms embargo on the country and a travel ban on Mugabe
The move marks a significant policy change by the Bush administration and
puts the United States on a potential collision course with South Africa and
other nations that are likely to oppose a wider confrontation with the
As Zimbabwe's electoral commission counted ballots, ruling party officials
expressed confidence that Mugabe would soon be inaugurated for another term
He won the first election ever held in Zimbabwe, when a nationalist movement
he led took over from the white supremacist government of Rhodesia in 1980,
and he has won every one since, except for the March 29 vote, when
Tsvangirai got more votes but fell short of outright victory, setting up
Mugabe's comeback was a triumph of ruthlessness. He reunited a ruling party
severely fractured amid Zimbabwe's catastrophic economic crisis, which has
sent millions of people over the borders into South Africa and other
The military and intelligence services worked together with ruling party
militias to assassinate dozens of opposition activists, while beating,
torturing and arresting thousands of others. Hundreds of thousands of
opposition supporters were driven from their homes, as well, forcing the
party to abandon the runoff campaign.
Norway does not recognise Friday's presidential elections in Zimbabwe, nor
Robert Mugabe as the country's legitimate president for another term, says
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
- This is an election which does not comply with the requirements for a free
and fair election, and it is therefore an election whch Norway like a great
number of other countries does not recognise, Stoltenberg says.
Norway is pleased with the increasing international condemnation of the lack
of democracy in Zimbabwe, and urges the African Union not to recognise
The Norwegian Prime Minister hopes that regional mediation will bring about
a political solution to the conflict.
Mr Mugabe came second to Mr Tsvangirai in the first round of the
presidential vote in March.
Since then, the opposition MDC party says some 86 of its supporters have
been killed and 200,000 forced from their homes by militias loyal to
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
ROME, June 28 (AFP)
Italy's ambassador to Harare could be recalled in response to the one-man
presidential election in Zimbabwe and the violence against opposition
supporters there, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was looking "very seriously" at bringing
the ambassador back so as to give a "political signal" of Italy's
disapproval, his spokesman Pasquale Ferrara told the ANSA news agency.
The recall order could be given "in the coming days", he said.
Western powers strongly criticised Friday's presidential vote in which
veteran incumbent Robert Mugabe was the only candidate following the
withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after attacks on his
US President George W. Bush condemned the Mugabe regime's "ruthless campaign
of politically-motivated violence and intimidation" during the elections and
said the run-off "was in no way free and fair."
Official results were expected on Sunday with a Mugabe win a certainty.
Sunday Nation, Kenya
Publication Date: 6/29/2008 Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
is optimistic about the future of his country. Speaking to the Sunday Nation
from the Dutch embassy in Harare where he has sought refuge, he said
Zimbabwe "will rise from the ashes."
It is a brave position to occupy. President Robert Mugabe is like a
stubborn piece of yam choking his nation. He is difficult to remove, but
unless that happens he will ruin country.
The run-off went ahead on Friday despite protests from around Africa
that the conditions in the country did not permit free expression of the
In any case, it was a one candidate run-off, the opposition having
withdrawn, citing the murder, intimidation and violence against its
It was reported that Zimbabweans had stayed home in their thousands
rather than take part in an election described as "hollow" and a "sham".
But there were other reports that armed Zanu-PF bands were attacking
anyone who did not have fuschia ink on their finger.
Such was the intimidation that Mr Tsvangirai asked his supporters not
to put their lives in danger and to vote if they felt that to do otherwise
would expose them to risk.
President Mugabe lost the first round of the election in March that
was held under better conditions. But the electoral authorities would not
release the results of the presidential election.
Instead, election officials were prosecuted for "falsifying" results
against Mr Mugabe. Finally, the authorities conceded that Mr Mugabe had
lost, but not by much, hence the run-off.
The military had already made it known that an opposition president
was unacceptable and have been taking their cue from Mr Mugabe that the only
way they will lose is through the bullet, not the ballot.
Therefore, the electoral process from the Zanu-PF point of view, is in
actual fact a nullity; the only way they would concede power is through
The Mugabe regime will not leave, it will not respect the outcome of a
democratic election - and it will not allow Zimbabweans to boycott an
election they believe to be a sham. Zimbabweans are in a most difficult
True, Mr Mugabe does enjoy the support of many people, especially
because of the country's deep racial problems, connected with the
exploitation and oppression of black people under white rule.
The whites were privileged, owning a good part of the best land where
blacks were landless and poor. Zimbabwe was the replica of South Africa on a
If Mr Mugabe had been a good effective leader and had empowered the
black without forcefully dispossessing the white, he would have been a
success as a liberator.
But he did not treat whites with fairness, neither did he recognise
them as his countrymen, equal to him and the rest in the eyes of the law.
That is when he lost the respect of Africa.
And his management of the country is a lesson in failure. He has a
Cabinet of 64, in a country whose inflation is now more than 2 million per
cent and whose currency is technically worthless.
Eighty per cent of the people are out of work, millions are in exile,
and the cronies to whom he gave land are growing neither corn nor tobacco.
Yet, Mr Mugabe still raises a clenched fist and shouts defiance against
Mr Mugabe will certainly get his victory; after all he is running
against himself. But the repair of Zimbabwe is impossible as long as he
remains in power.
Zimbabwe must get help from the international community. It must also
rehabilitate its farms.
The African Union, with leadership from South Africa and SADC, must
force a solution of Mr Mugabe. A transitional government of national unity,
bringing together moderates from Zanu-PF and the opposition must be put in
Mr Mugabe must leave the scene and the country - at least for while.
By Mercy Adede Bolus
Sun, 29 Jun 2008
"The Author's/Authors' views do not necessarily reflect those of
Ghana must never allow any dictator or the Military rule us ever again.
A nation is innovative, creative and yearns to improve itself if and only if
there is evidence of safety, good housing, food, freedom of speech and
opportunity for further education.
Reflecting on the crisis in Zimbabwe made me realise how lucky Ghanaians are
right now. I am so thankful that the late President Kwame Nkrumah was indeed
our first leader. Kwame was a man with a strategic vision for everyone. He
saw what the opportunity of higher education could do for an individual like
him and therefore seized on this key element and followed it through.
President Kwame Nkrumah brought about free education for all to the extent
of earmarking money for uniforms free books, pencils the whole lot. In some
case free dental care provision in the grounds of some state schools.
This is why Ghana is so unique as Kwame Nkrumah ensured and secured our
current state. He ensured the foundation for other countries to offer
scholarships students with talents thus adding that extra dimension to
The late President Kwame Nkrumah and his team not only fought selflessly for
Ghana but also for Africa.
Such a man of self respect felt betrayed by many of us who were only self-
centred those I classify as me, myself and I type. They use their position
to better mainly the their immediate families, friends but not the a nation.
Reflecting on the legacy of the late President Kwame Nkrumah whom my late
grandmother Mrs Mercy Fenuku had the opportunity of sharing spiritual growth
with at Adabraka. Kwame humbled himself to seek to for God's wisdom and
guidance for us all. No one would say Kwame Nkrumah was too arrogant and
didn't reach out to the vulnerable. He was the people's man because he knew
The peace we enjoy in Ghana right now was due to the selfless, strategic
thinking and the critical analysis of situation with his team, the Big Six.
Today those he offered the free education to are spreading the benefits good
education up to this day as generations are benefiting. Hence, the populous
of Ghana are better educated, well informed and ask questions better than
many of our African cousins.
Thank you so much President Kwame Nkrumah for following that vision you had
for Ghana. To educate your people a gift, a weapon to link Ghana to the
global world. Your memory will continue to live within Ghana.
On the other hand, reflecting on what is happening in Zimbabwe, the first
thing that strike anyone is that it appears they never had the opportunity
we had from our late President Kwame Nkrumah who saw educating the nation as
a priority even to all very remote villages.
Our cousins lack the opportunities we take for granted in Ghana. Seeing the
Zimbabweans reminded me of what could have happened in Ghana if Kwame and
his team never bothered to step in at the right time. Thank you so much and
those who struggled and fought mercilessly for the freedom we have today.
Ghana must not just sit there and keep mute to the calls and cries of the
Zimbabweans. Africa nations must act now for history sake. Let us all
reflect on the body language of our cousins. Let's critically analysis what
their body language on 27 June 2008 is saying to us. Why should we let our
cousin and feel so despondent as the no one wants to intervene.
The whole world is watching Africa, the AU must do something and all African
constitution should state that a term in office must be only two as it
appears some African leader enjoy power rather needs of its people.
Seeing some Zimbabweans with sticks and clubs and chasing their fellow
Zimbabweans as if they are chasing a snake. This is totally unacceptable.
Ghana must not just sit there and keep watching without saying anything.
Would we like to be treated in this way when a President goes this way
one-day? Come on. Ghana has learnt from past mistakes within our own
country. In ensuring that these incidents do not happen on a Ghanaian soil
we need to denounce such evil.
Ghana must continue to uphold the legacy that the Kwame Nkrumah gave us.
Free education to a higher level with vocational and technical colleges,
polytechnics etc offered to all to ensure that the populous are astute and
could freely challenge any Government without any intimidation.
It is so obvious to analysis that perhaps only few people in Zimbabwe have
had the opportunity of higher education in order to be astute be well
informed stand up to any bullying tactics etc.
How can an African President think the power he has to rule its people is a
personal thing? Why can't we accept defeat gracefully so that what ever we
have achieved aspires others to even do greater things?
Ghana and the rest of the African nations must learn from these mistakes in
the Zimbabwe. Reflecting to the Bible John the Baptist within him self that
he was only a process in God's plan. Why can't we as humans accept God's
plan to move on and leave the space for others to take over?
A Presidential term in office of a nation is a rollover affair but sadly
many presidents just don't get it.
Our cousins, the Zimbabweans are reaching and stretching to us. I wonder
what our answer, as a nation would be?
Intimidation, lack of free and fair election, killing, oppression of the
vulnerable and still the world looks on. The crisis in Zimbabwe is simply
not acceptable to even in the animal kingdom. What are the U.N, AU , EU
doing > This is the question being asked by ordinary people on evevry street
around the world.
What is Ghana, the leader of the Black Star leading the light to Freedom and
Justice doing about this? The Zimbabweans are watching their true friends
indeed. Would it be Ghana to emerge as a true friend of the people of
Zimbabwe or just a friend to their President Mugabe? This is the critical
issue facing us right now.
Is it about time some African leaders learn to perhaps listen more to the
people they represent and talk less. God is watching us all from above and
those of us who yearn to lord over people, with torture, bullying tactics,
and all kinds of evils watch out as your judgement is awaiting you in
heaven. After all our period in this world is only three scores and ten or
four scores and ten if you are lucky to enjoy God's grace in the case of
Let's hope the AU summit would bring some assurance and a sense of peaceful
solutions to the current crisis facing our cousins. No longer would any
African leader live in a fool's paradise when the world is watching 24/7.
Food for thought.
Mr Robert Mugabe main focus has been the land to the people. He has stated
that he would not step down until this works is completed.
Why has Morgan Tsvangirari not address this problem to the Zimbabwe people.
Most of the people that are supporting Mr Mugabe are doing so for land. The
way it is coming across to the local Zimbabweans is that Morgan will give
the land back to the people. If Morgan made the people aware of that would
happen on land I am sure that he would have got greater support including
the people that support Mugabe.
This would also support Mugabe policy to give land back to the people that
he said he will address before he leave or hands power to others.
It might seem barbaric what Mr Mugabe is doing but, for some of the people
that knew what it was to live in Rhodesia with no land and not being equal
Most of Morgan supporters are young and just want to work and earn money for
day to day life.
Most of the reports have been about the elections only and there has never
been the focus of what the people want fully.
Regarding the last White farmer this is incorrect report there are still
white farmers on the land. Yes they farm have been reduced in size but, are
The comment that the black Zimbabwean farm is not producing has any one gone
out to do a survey to confirm this and considering that the farms have just
been given to the black Zimbabwean farmer has any one took on board that
they have not had the money, experience and support to be able to farm as
the White Zimbabwean farmer.
Why has there been no comments on the above issues or is it just on the
Election , starvation, suffering, and torture.