Protests grow - but will they be enough?
After one of the most shameful elections of modern times, and almost within
earshot of the screams of his tortured and murdered victims, Robert Mugabe
will today be sworn in for another term as the President of Zimbabwe.
While his goon squads continue to hunt down and terrorise anyone they think
might be a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) sympathiser, Mugabe will
immediately fly to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh, for an African
Union summit, where he will hope to be greeted as Zimbabwe's rightful
He may meet with some disapproval, but probably not enough. Kenya, Botswana,
Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria have all condemned his programme of violence,
and Tanzania and Botswana have even spoken of sending in troops. But other
states in the 53-member union are unlikely to agree.
Meanwhile at home the Zanu-PF miltia's programme of organised terror has
reportedly delivered Mugabe a landslide vote in the so-called Presidential
run-off. But this has not satisfied their bosses, and the persecution will
continue today with the launch of Operation Red Finger - a plan to track
down those who refused to vote, and therefore are not marked with red dye on
On the diplomatic front, the dream of real negotations, of perhaps a
government of national unity, remains just that - a dream. Despite
statements by both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu, South African
president Thabo Mbeki, who is believed to be the only man who could bring
the regime down, continues to refuse to utter a single word critical of
Any hopes in that direction now lie with the new ANC president Jacob Zuma,
who is known to be sympathetic towards the MDC leader and fellow trade
unionist Morgan Tsvangirai. Zuma is likely to become President of South
Africa next April. It's going to be a long wait.
Posted on Sunday, 29 June 2008 at 08:17
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 29, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's supporters beat
people who could not prove they voted in the presidential runoff in which
the incumbent was the only candidate, an international human rights group
Human Rights Watch said it has documented numerous incidents of intimidation
and violence by Mugabe supporters before, during and after Friday's second
The results from the runoff, meanwhile, were expected sometime Sunday,
before Mugabe leaves for Egypt, where an African Union summit will be held
Monday. It is expected that Mugabe will hold an inauguration ceremony before
departing so he can attend the summit as a re-elected president.
African and other world leaders have widely condemned the election as a
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the most votes in the first round
but not enough for an outright victory. Tsvangirai pulled out of the race
five days before the second round, citing state-sponsored violence and
intimidation against his Movement for Democratic Change party.
Human Rights Watch said it recorded incidents of reprisal attacks in the
capital, Harare, by supporters of governing party ZANU-PF against people who
did not vote for Mugabe.
Residents in two neighborhoods said that in the early hours of Saturday,
Mugabe supporters went door to door, forcing people to show their fingers
for signs of indelible ink, which shows that a person voted, the New
York-based organization said in a statement.
Those who did not have ink on their fingers were taken away and beaten with
batons and thick sticks, Human Rights Watch said. Others were targeted
because their names did not appear on a list compiled by ZANU-PF that showed
who voted, it said.
Mugabe, 84, who has been Zimbabwe's president since independence from
Britain in 1980, is expecting an overwhelming win. But observers say the
victory will be hollow because the few Zimbabweans who went to the polls did
so only out of fear.
Marwick Khumalo, head of the Pan-African Parliament observer mission, said
at a news conference Sunday that political tolerance in Zimbabwe had
deteriorated to the "lowest levels in history."
Khumalo said many of those who did vote cast their ballots for Tsvangirai.
The opposition leader's name remained on the ballot because he withdrew June
22, too late to remove it, election officials said.
Contrary to the state-run newspaper's report of a "massive turnout" in the
runoff, observers reported a low turnout.
Angolan state media reporters in Harare said they estimated turnout to be
about half the voters registered for the first round. They did not report
any acts of violence or other incidents.
Zimbabwe state radio reported that Mugabe had met with observers from the
African Union and the regional Southern African Development Community, who
said the voting itself was peaceful.
At least 86 people died and some 200,000 were forced from their homes during
the election campaign, according to human rights groups.
Most of the violence was blamed on police, soldiers and Mugabe militants.
There were reports of victims being beaten for hours and bodies mutilated.
If the main targets could not be found, their relatives, including elderly
parents and young siblings, were attacked.
Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:48am EDT
HARARE, June 29 (Reuters) - African observers of Zimbabwe's widely-condemned
presidential run-off said on Sunday fresh elections must be organised
because the vote was not free and fair.
"Conditions should be put in place for the holding of free, fair and
credible elections as soon as possible in line with the African Union
declaration on the principles governing democratic elections," said Marwick
Khumalo, head of an observer team from the Pan-African Parliament.
Khumalo said the observer team called on regional grouping SADC and the
African Union to facilitate talks between the government and opposition to
reach a transitional settlement.
Monsters and Critics
Jun 29, 2008, 7:43 GMT
Johannesburg/Harare - As Zimbabweans awaited Sunday a declaration of victory
for President Robert Mugabe following elections in which he was the sole
contestant, the African Union came under increased pressure to take a tough
line with the belligerent leader.
South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu called on the 53-state African body,
whose leaders are scheduled to meet in Egypt on Monday, to refuse to
recognize the outcome of Friday's controversial presidential run-off vote.
'If you were to have a unanimous voice saying quite clearly to Mr Mugabe you
are unwelcome, you are illegitimate and we will not recognise your
administration in any shape or form, I think that would be a very powerful
signal and would strengthen the hand of the international community,' Tutu
said in a BBC interview.
Tutu also said a 'very good argument' could be made for an international
peacekeeping force in Zimbabwe.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who
boycotted the June 27 run-off election over state- sponsored violence
against his supporters, has called on the AU to send peacekeepers to
Zimbabwe and to appoint a special envoy to the Zimbabwean crisis.
The Zimbabwe Election Commission is expected to announce Sunday that Mugabe
has overturned his defeat in the first round of voting for president in
March that Tsvangirai won but in which he fell short of an outright
Tsvangirai's failure to deal a knockout blow to Mugabe in March led to
Friday's run-off vote but the MDC leader withdrew over a spate of militia
attacks on MDC supporters that has killed around 90 people.
The results of the election, which were posted outside polling stations
Saturday, showed a large number of spoilt votes and, in some areas, votes
for Tsvangirai, whose name remained on the ballot despite his withdrawal.
Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for all of its 28 years of independence from
Britain, is expected to be sworn in quickly before travelling to the AU
heads of state meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
So far the AU has abstained from condemning Friday's vote.
US President George W Bush said Saturday his administration would be pushing
for United Nations sanctions against Zimbabwe, including an arms embargo and
a travel ban on certain officials.
JOHANNESBURG (AFP)--Zimbabwe's opposition leader accused South African
President Thabo Mbeki on Sunday of lobbying for Robert Mugabe to be
recognized as head of state after staging a one-man election.
In an interview with the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times, Movement for
Democratic Change supremo Morgan Tsvangirai said Mbeki wanted fellow African
leaders to recognize his old ally Mugabe as Zimbabwe's legitimate leader to
ensure that his widely criticized mediation efforts could make progress.
Although Western leaders have dismissed Friday's run-off election as a sham,
Mbeki has so far made no comment since the ballot and flew on Saturday to
Egypt ahead of an African Union summit that Mugabe is also set to attend.
"I have received information that President Mbeki is lobbying at the African
Union to have that position (that Mugabe is president) taken," Tsvangirai
told the newspaper.
"For President Mbeki to promote Mugabe in these circumstances flies against
the grain of international opinion, disregards the feelings of Zimbabweans
and undermines again his credibility in the mediation effort."
Tsvangirai won the first round of the election in March but boycotted the
run- off after a wave of deadly attacks against his supporters. The MDC
leader was also detained by police five times during the campaign before
deciding to pull out of the process last Sunday.
The MDC leader has previously called for Mbeki to be axed as the 14-nation
Southern African Development Community's mediator on Zimbabwe, accusing him
of blatant bias toward Mugabe.
Results from the election were expected to be announced later Sunday before
the 84-year-old Mugabe is sworn in for a sixth term in office.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Sunday, 29 June 2008 07:37
President Thabo Mbeki is lobbying African leaders to recognise Robert
Mugabe as Zimbabwe's head of state - despite worldwide condemnation of
Friday's "sham" presidential election, writes Rowan Philip,in The Sunday
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai made the
startling claim during an interview with the Sunday Times on Friday.
He said Mbeki wanted Mugabe - who was the sole candidate after
Tsvangirai pulled out last week - acknowledged as president so that his
controversial mediation could move forward.
Tsvangirai's name was still on the ballot despite his withdrawal.
While some people expect Mugabe to be sworn in immediately upon the
release of the results today, others have indicated that an inauguration is
expected this week upon Mugabe's return from the African Union summit in
Said Tsvangirai: "I have received information that President Mbeki is
busy lobbying at the African Union to have that position taken, and for
President Mbeki to promote Mugabe in these circumstances flies against the
grain of international opinion, disregards the feelings of Zimbabweans, and
undermines, again, his credibility in the mediation effort."
MDC vice-president, Thokhozani Khupe, who attended a pre summit
conference in Egypt this weekend, confirmed South Africa's delegation had
lobbied AU colleagues to maintain the status quo after a caucus meeting on
Friday - which would include recognition of Mugabe as president.
"(Minister of foreign affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) said the SADC
(Southern African Development Community) was about to strike a deal on the
transition, but we as the MDC are unaware of any deal," said Khupe.
"Ministers here are being told by South Africa not to meddle and to
leave things as they are."
MDC spokesman George Charamba said at the summit: "The South African
foreign minister yesterday - in a meeting with other foreign ministers -
placed it in on record that she, on behalf of the SADC, can confirm that
they are nearing a deal where we will have a power-sharing arrangement
because the results of the March 29 election did not yield a clear winner.
"Based on that, the AU is supposed to trust the SADC to deliver a
solution to Zimbabwe - that automatically closes the platform for other
Africa leaders to express their positions on Zimbabwe, because if a solution
is imminent, who would want to disrupt that solution?"
Dlamini-Zuma's spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa, could not be reached for
Mbeki is at the AU summit where the Zimbabwean crisis is expected to
feature prominently. The MDC has sent a delegation without Tsvangirai as the
state will not grant him a new passport. African leaders are under intense
pressure to take action against Mugabe at the summit.
But while African leaders slammed Mugabe for his reign of terror in
the run-up to Friday's runoff election, they have been reticent on what
action they intend to take against him
John Musukuma, spokesman for Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who has
been highly critical of Mugabe, said Mwanawasa had on Thursday officially
called for the runoff to be suspended.
He added: "Well, that's water under the bridge now. We will simply
have to move forward with negotiations."
Musukuma declined to respond when asked whether the SADC - which is
chaired by Mwanawasa - would accept Mugabe as a legitimate presidential
A Pan-African Parliament observer member indicated that the AU was
divided on acknowledging Mugabe as president.
Meanwhile, a UN Security Council statement had to be watered down
after South African objections. The UN said it deeply regretted Zimbabwe's
decision to go ahead with the poll because it was not free and fair. But it
stopped short of calling the elections illegitimate after Pretoria's
A member of the AU observer mission also indicated that Mbeki was
likely to take a "legalistic" approach to the poll.
"He will play with time until he takes over the chairmanship of SADC
(in August). He will be in a more powerful position to influence the
The observer said that Mugabe was likely to feature large in Zimbabwe's
"The elections have given Mugabe a bargaining chip. He is going to be
in a stronger position to bargain. The problem is that Zanu-PF does not want
a settlement without Mugabe. That's what makes it difficult for Mbeki," the
"Tsvangirai also does not recognise that a win-win outcome for the MDC
is not possible because of the fear within the Zimbabwean security
establishment that they would lose their positions.
"I see a battle between the SADC, AU leaders and the West. For me, I
think it's a stalemate."
He added that the AU election report would acknowledge that the poll
had taken place, even though it was unlikely it would be declared free and
Mugabe, too, was confident ahead of the AU summit, telling supporters
at a rally this week: "I am going to go to that AU summit ... I want to see
whose finger there is clean."
Mbeki's legal adviser Mojanku Gumbi would not comment because she is a
member of his mediation team.
Tsvangirai, meanwhile, is awaiting the AU's response.
"The problem is they might recognise Mugabe without appreciating that
what is needed is transition, and then they would have missed an opportunity
of influence, because we will not be a part of that," he said.
However, Tsvangirai said Mugabe would be forced out by the chaos he
"We are now nearer to finding a solution than ever, because what does
Mugabe now do? If he gives himself this sham victory, how is he going to
solve inflation of 2000000%; how is he going to solve the massive
unemployment; how is he going solve the massive humanitarian crisis; the
problem of food and services in the country?"
Tsvangirai said Mugabe would not survive beyond the next South African
presidency, and rejected claims that he would go into exile.
Meanwhile, contrary to state-run newspaper reports of a "massive
turnout" for the runoff, Marwick Khumalo, head of the Pan-African Parliament
observer mission, said it was "very, very low."
US president George W Bush has directed that sanctions be drawn up
against the "illegitimate" government of Zimbabwe, according to AFP. Bush
said he would also press for "strong" UN action.
Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:41am EDT
LONDON (Reuters) - Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Sunday called on the African
Union to reject President Robert Mugabe's rule in Zimbabwe and urged the
international community to act with force if necessary.
Mugabe is expected to be sworn in after a widely condemned one-candidate
presidential election tainted by the withdrawal of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai because of violence and intimidation.
African Union leaders meet in Egypt in Monday, facing growing international
pressure to take action against Mugabe.
"If you were to have a unanimous voice, saying quite clearly to Mr Mugabe
... you are illegitimate and we will not recognize your administration in
any shape or form -- I think that would be a very, very powerful signal and
would really strengthen the hand of the international community," Tutu, a
South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said in an interview with the BBC.
Tutu said Mugabe should play no part in Zimbabwe's future and repeated his
call for military intervention by a United Nations force spearheaded by
African troops if necessary.
"That crisis has to be resolved sooner rather than later," he said. "I think
that a very good argument can be made for having an international force to
"Almost everybody will say that any arrangement after Friday's charade, that
arrangement should be one in which Mr Mugabe certainly does not feature any
(Reporting by Matt Falloon; editing by Andrew Dobbie)
The Times of Malta
Sunday, 29th June 2008
Friday's run-off presidential election in Zimbabwe was nothing but a sham
and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was right to have boycotted it.
Murdering members of the opposition, forcing people to vote for the ruling
party and using security forces to terrorise those suspected of being in
favour of the opposition make it impossible for a free and fair election to
President Robert Mugabe's outrageous statement that the opposition will
never take power in Zimbabwe because his militias will go to war once again
to prevent this from happening is proof that this dictator will never give
up power voluntarily. "Only God who appointed me will remove me - not the
MDC, not the British," he said, adding that "We will never allow an event
like an election to reverse our independence, our sovereignty."
What else is needed to prove that Mugabe is not interested in elections or
democracy? He simply wants to hold on to power and will do anything to
achieve his goal. There is no doubt that the international community -
especially Africa - has been far too tolerant of the Mugabe regime. Now,
however, it seems that the world has lost patience with this man.
The United Nations Security Council has condemned "the campaign of violence
against the political opposition" ahead of the second round of the
presidential election in Zimbabwe. Although the UN resolution was
non-binding and offered no specific threats or measures against the Mugabe
regime, it is nevertheless a significant development and will send a clear
message to the generals in Zimbabwe who are keeping Mugabe in power.
The ruling ANC in South Africa - which has shamefully kept quiet about
Zimbabwe for far too long - has finally started to criticise Mugabe's
behaviour, but not South African President Thabo Mbeki, who claims his
mediating efforts compel him to adopt a neutral stand.
I think this is a flawed argument, because South Africa has the means to
remove Mugabe from power and Mbeki has the moral duty to speak out against
what is happening in Zimbabwe. Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
cannot be treated as equal players - because Mugabe holds all the cards and
is the one oppressing his people and suppressing democracy.
However, the criticism of Mugabe by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond
Tutu certainly carried a lot of weight and the fact that the members of the
Southern African Development Community - Zimbabwe's neighbours - asked for
the run-off election to be postponed is significant.
What is needed now is a united strong international response to this fake
and stolen election. The international community - particularly South
Africa - is morally bound to put an end to this tyranny once and for all.
The South Africans must never forget that it was the constant pressure and
action of the outside world that managed to end apartheid in South Africa.
The same international res-ponse is now needed to get rid of Mugabe, who
should no longer be recognised as President. The EU, the Commonwealth (from
which Zimbabwe has been expelled), the US, the UN and most importantly
Africa, must step up the pressure on Mugabe.
There is only so much the EU and the US can do besides not recognising
Mugabe's re-election - stricter travel sanctions against members of the
regime and their families is one option and economic sanctions could be
considered, but these might end up hurting ordinary Zimbabweans more than
However, real pressure can be exerted by South Africa and Zimbabwe's other
neighbours, as well as the UN, who must insist on a new
internationally-supervised free and fair presidential election, the
immediate end of state sponsored violence and political intimidation, the
immediate release of all political prisoners, the swearing in of the MPs who
were elected in March's parliamentary elections and the formation of a new
transitional government which will include members of the MDC - to oversee
the presidential election.
The army must return to its barracks and an African Union military force
must be allowed to help provide security until a new president is elected.
Should Mugabe refuse to co-operate - which is likely - Zimbabwe should be
suspended from the African Union and from the Southern African Development
Community, and the UN should brand his regime illegitimate and consider
possible sanctions against him. South Africa has the power to literally
switch off the lights in Zimbabwe, by cutting off its electricity supply. It
should consider doing just that.
One might ask whether Mugabe actually cares if the international community
isolates his regime. After all, as long as he can rely on the loyalty of his
security forces and close aides, he will probably remain in office and
continue to defy the world and the opposition.
However, this is why the international outcry must continue. As the country
continues to slide into economic and political chaos, as Zimbabwe's
isolation intensifies and as talk about the UN authorising legal action
against Mugabe and his cronies for crimes against humanity is stepped up,
some senior members of the ruling Zanu-PF party and of the armed forces
might be tempted to do a deal with the opposition or the African Union to
get rid of Mugabe, pave the way for a free election - and save their skin in
Mugabe is no longer the so-called liberation leader some people once
admired. He is a tyrant who has stolen elections, murdered his opponents,
impoverished his nation and killed democracy. There is nothing racist or
colonial (as he is claiming) in opposing him. He and his thugs have been
tolerated for too long. Africa must get rid of him once and for all.
The Times of Malta
Sunday, 29th June 2008
The image of a four-year-old boy's eye, swelled like a golf ball after he
was beaten while his mother was dragged away, was one of the few acts of
violence the world was able to see as Zimbabwe held its sham election.
With virtually all news organisations banned from the country, reporting the
human tragedy in this southern part of Africa has been at its most
difficult. Even the journalists who made it inside have had to be at their
most vigilant, since they face arrest if caught.
It is, therefore, left to the more unpleasant sides of our imagination to
picture what has been happening to those who failed to show Robert Mugabe's
henchmen the indelible pink mark on their fingers to prove that they voted
in the so-called election.
Mr Mugabe, the country's leader for 28 years, lost the real election to
Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round last March. But according to the
official result, with 50 per cent (as opposed to Mr Mugabe's humiliating 43
per cent), Mr Tsvangirai did not win outright and a run-off was necessary.
That triggered a wave of violence and intimidation by Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party far greater than that seen in the March election. Supporters of Mr
Tsvangirai's MDC party were forced out of their homes, beaten and killed,
forcing the opposition leader to pull out of the run-off and seek refuge in
the Dutch Embassy.
The Zimbabweans who did not go to the polling stations - independent reports
suggest they were numerous - deserve an immense amount of credit for defying
him in these circumstances.
However, the stark reality is that they had no choice: their country has
become one of the poorest African nations as a result of disastrous economic
policies and cronyism. Their dollar is worthless and inflation is over
150,000 per cent. This is a far cry from Mugabe's early days; when Zimbabwe
was so well-off it could export food to the starving in Ethiopia in the
1980s. Now its only export is people.
The international community has done a lot of talking in recent weeks.
Britain stripped Mr Mugabe of his honorary knighthood and the UN Security
Council has said that it is "a matter of deep regret" that the presidential
run-off went ahead in these circumstances. But although it maintained that
conditions for a free and fair election did not exist, it stopped short of
saying it was illegitimate.
Even the iconic Nelson Mandela, the shining light of African freedom who
marked his 90th birthday last Friday, failed to go that far, preferring
instead to limit himself to a one-liner saying that there has been "a tragic
failure of leadership in Zimbabwe".
Malta has disappointingly followed this line, with Foreign Minister Tonio
Borg saying that the country strongly deplores the circumstances that led to
the decision to hold the election. His opposition counterpart Leo Brincat
was the more forceful, saying the international community could not continue
to remain silent in the face of such a situation.
Everyone seems to be throwing the ball in the court of the African leaders,
and in particular at the feet of South African president Thabo Mbeki, who
has so far unsuccessfully led diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the
The only way Mr Mugabe will listen, it seems, is if he is made to do so.
Which is why it is vital that the Security Council, and African leaders,
must turn words into action in the coming days. Africa has watched more than
enough avoidable humanitarian tragedies without doing anything about them.
So have we.
SYDNEY (AFP)--Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Sunday said Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe had "no political legitimacy" and again raised the
prospect of toughening sanctions against his regime.
Mugabe is expected to be inaugurated Sunday for a new term as Zimbabwe's
president following a one-man election that has been widely condemned.
"Mr. Mugabe has no political legitimacy at all," Rudd told reporters.
"What we've seen is the destruction of democracy in Zimbabwe. And Mr.
Mugabe's legitimacy should be challenged by the entire international
community, and not just by Australia.
"Australia for its part will now examine a tougher range of sanctions
against members of the Zimbabwean regime."
Australia has already imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on members
of the Zimbabwe regime, as well as suspending non-humanitarian aid,
prohibiting arms sales and suspending defense and ministerial links.
Rudd said under Mugabe the poor of Zimbabwe were suffering the most.
"People should not be suffering from a lack of food in a country so rich in
resources," he said.
"In Zimbabwe they are because Robert Mugabe has destroyed the country's
economy, destroyed their democracy. He deserves the universal condemnation
of the international community."
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
By Stephen Bevan and Special Correspondent in Harare
Last Updated: 10:28PM BST 28/06/2008
A newly emboldened President Robert Mugabe plans to drum up false charges of
rape and robbery against MPs opposed to his Zanu-PF party, to enable him to
regain control of the parliament.
The president's party lost its majority for the first time since
independence in March, when the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won
most seats in the lower house and drew level with Zanu-PF in the senate.
Now, after employing a terrifying campaign of violence to hold on to his
presidential power, Mr Mugabe believes he can overturn the MDC majority with
underhand methods including false imprisonment, kidnap and intimidation,
designed to make them forfeit their seats.
"A number of MDC members of parliament will be trapped and charged with
offences like rape or theft," said a Zanu PF source. "If they are convicted
for six months they will be forced out of parliament and Mugabe will order
more by-elections and again use terror to win them.
"Even after three months, many MDC legislators are expected to be out of
parliament because they will either run away from threats of arrest or be
Under Zimbabwean law, MPs who do not attend parliament for 21 consecutive
days must give up their seats.
"They are trying everything, including arresting and incarcerating MDC MPs
so they go to prison for longer than they are allowed to be absent," said
Alec Muchadehama, a leading human rights lawyer. "Most of the MDC MPs are
actually in hiding. They say that if they come out into the open they are
liable to be kidnapped and they will disappear so there has to be a
by-election in their constituency."
So far, at least 10 newly elected opposition MPs have been arrested on
spurious charges in what the Zanu PF source confirmed is a carefully worked
Mr Mugabe has already lodged legal challenges to the results in 53
parliamentary seats, claiming implausibly that they were rigged by the
However, the courts are likely to throw out those challenges on the grounds
they were filed too late and in the wrong places - just as they did when the
MDC attempted to force re-runs in some of the seats won by Mr Mugabe's
If any seats are recontested, Mr Mugabe will employ the same brutal tactics
used in the presidential election to ensure victory.
"We have been ordered to start work immediately after the court decisions to
ensure election re-runs are conducted as soon as possible," said a Zanu PF
source, who added that the courts have been instructed to expedite the
cases. He said the ruling party would regain control of the parliament
within six months, even if it meant "2008 would be called the year of
Although Zanu PF and the MDC won equal numbers of seats in the upper house
or senate, the president can appoint another 33 members, including
provincial governors and tribal chiefs. According to the Zanu PF source, Mr
Mugabe will further consolidate the party's grip on power by creating the
new position of prime minister, which will be given to Dr Sydney Sekeramayi,
another loyalist now serving as defence minister.
Only then, said the source, will President Mugabe feel secure enough to
retire in favour of a chosen heir.
by Robin Millard
LONDON (AFP) - Cultural values are stopping Africa's leaders from speaking
out against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's regime, Sudanese rapper
Emmanuel Jal says.
The soft-spoken hip-hop star and former child soldier said that because
Mugabe, 84, is older and has been in power longer than most African leaders,
his peers are reverential towards him.
"It's difficult. Mugabe is considered like a hero," Jal told AFP in London,
where he appeared at Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday concert in Hyde Park on
Friday in support of the former South African president's global AIDS
"He made his country get independence and he has been leading for more than
twenty years and he helped most of those African countries; helped
anti-apartheid in South Africa, helped Angola," he said.
"He has been helping all those other leaders and he earned respect. The
saying is: 'don't bite the hand that feeds you'. So now it's difficult. Even
if he wrong, those leaders won't have a chance to force him."
Mugabe was set to remain in power after a presidential run-off election
Friday in which he was the only candidate on the ballot, after Morgan
Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change pulled out.
Mandela, 89, Africa's most respected elder statesman, has condemned the
"tragic failure of leadership" in Zimbabwe, but held back from criticising
Mugabe by name.
"Because he's one of the oldest, Mandela has the right according to African
culture to speak," said the deep-thinking, dreadlocked singer, 28, who
campaigns on a number of issues, including Darfur
"So with him doing that, Mugabe will have to listen. He's been given chances
and he's not seeing them. I hope he's going to see. If Mugabe really loves
the people of Zimbabwe then he has to come up with something to save the
Jal spent his childhood fighting in the Sudan People's Liberation Army in
his native southern Sudan before going to Kenya in his early teens and
embracing a career in music.
At the Mandela concert, Jal performed "Emma", a song from his latest album
"Warchild", about late British aid worker Emma McCune -- the wife of an SPLA
commander -- who freed him amongst 150 child soldiers and took him to Kenya.
Peter Gabriel introduced the rapper at the open-air gig, saying he had the
"potential of a young Bob Marley".
Jal's other hits include "All We Need Is Jesus," and he has written a song,
"50 Cent", taking the US rap star and others to task for sometimes
glamourising crime in their lyrics.
He called the violence in Zimbabwe tragic and frustrating.
"That's how wars begin," he said.
"They begin with something small like that, you oppress the people. If you
oppress somebody one day, they will start to try to react. It's hard to
oppress somebody every day without them reacting back."
Jal called for neutral international negotiators to forge a solution as
happened in Kenya following the disputed December 2007 election there.
"What I'm afraid of is if Mugabe is going to be isolated and put in a corner
and we all pronounce negative stuff, we're going to make him into a
monster," he said.
"If we do that, he's going to start cutting people and killing people: he's
a soldier. It's scary. If they use force, then Zimbabwe will lose a lot."
Email from Zimbabwe: