June 2, 2008
Mr Mugabe and his wife, Grace, are driven away after arriving at Fiumicino
Airport in Rome
Richard Owen in Rome
Robert Mugabe is defying a ban on his presence in Europe by attending a
three-day world food summit in Rome organised by the United Nations.
The trip is Mr Mugabe's first overseas journey since the controversial
Zimbabwe elections at the end of March. Italian officials said they were
unable to prevent the disputed president entering Italy because the food
summit, called to find urgent solutions to soaring food prices which have
caused riots in Third World countries, is being held under the auspices of
the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the headquarters of which is
Rumours, which had circulated for days that Mr Mugabe would travel to Rome
despite being "persona non grata" in the European Union, were confirmed by
Zimbabwe state television. "Since the summit is a UN event, UN rules apply,
not Italian ones," La Repubblica said. FAO officials confirmed that leaders
of all UN member states had been invited to the "High Level Conference".
The controversy is a replay of a previous FAO world food summit in Rome six
years ago, when Mr Mugabe similarly circumvented the EU ban. On that
occasion he stayed in a luxury hotel on the Via Veneto, the heart of Rome's
"Dolce Vita" district, with a large entourage, while his wife Grace went
shopping in Rome's fashion boutiques.
Mr Mugabe, who is accused not only of running a fraudulent election but
bringing his country to the verge of collapse because of food shortages,
flew into Rome last night. He arrived at Rome airport with his wife and a
large delegation of officials.
Three years ago Mr Mugabe attended the FAO's 60th anniversary celebrations,
when he called President George Bush and the then British Prime Minister
Tony Blair "international terrorists", comparing them to Adolf Hitler. His
last trip to Europe was in December for a Commonwealth meeting in Portugal
which was boycotted by Gordon Brown.
There is also controversy over the presence of President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad
of Iran at the summit, which opens tomorrow at the palatial FAO building
near the Circus Maximus, once the Fascist era ministry for Italy's African
colonies. The Iranian leader's presence poses an embarrassing dilemma not
only for the Vatican but also for the centre Right government of Silvio
The Berlusconi government is close to Washington and shares US opposition to
Iranian nuclear plans, as well as its condemnation of Mr Ahmadenijad's
stated desire to wipe Israel off the map. Italian officials said there no
plans for the Iranian leader to meet Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister.
After days of agonised diplomatic manouevring over whether Pope Benedict XVI
should meet Mr Ahmadinejad, the Vatican at the weekend hit on a face saving
solution: the pontiff would meet no-one at all.
The move means that other leaders who had hoped to meet the Pope - Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Luiz Ignacio
Lula da Silva of Brazil and several African leaders - will now be
disappointed. "The Holy Father will not meet any head of state or government
during the summit", a Vatican spokesman said.
Last week Vatican sources confirmed that Tehran had asked for an audience
with the Pope for Mr Ahmadenijad, and said a meeting was "likely". There
were reports that the Pope would hold an "unofficial meeting" with Mr
Ahmadinejad without the trappings of a state visit.
Another solution floated by Vatican officials was that the Pope would hold a
"collective audience" and meet Mr Ahmadinejad in a group together with other
government leaders attending the summit, organised by the UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which has is headquarters in Rome.
Gholam Hossein Elham, the government spokesman in Tehran, claimed Mr
Ahmadenijad had "never asked for a meeting either with the Italian
government or with the pontiff". However Andrea Tornielli, biographer of
Pope Benedict, said Mohammad Javad Faridzadeh, the Iranian ambassador to the
Holy See, had made a formal request to the Vatican for a meeting.
Mr Ahmadenijad's visit to Rome is his first to a European Union nation since
his June 2005 election. He is expected to meet Italian businessmen during
Gideon Meier, the Israeli ambassador to Italy, said it was a disgrace that
the United Nations had invited Ahmadinejad to the Rome summit at all. "To
imagine on the podium of a UN organisation a leader who calls for the
destruction of a member state is a disgrace for every democrat," Mr Meier
told La Repubblica. "He denies the Holocaust , he is the principal actor
behind terrorism, he has a military nuclear program, he violates human
rights of the Iranian people."
June 2, 2008
ROME (AFP) - The presence of Zimbabwean and Iranian presidents Robert Mugabe
and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a UN food summit here sparked international
condemnation and protests in Italy on Monday.
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith called Mugabe’s presence in Rome
“obscene”. Britain also criticised Mugabe’s rare foray out of Zimbabwe where
he is fighting for his political future in an election runoff.
“This is the person who has presided over the starvation of his people. This
is the person who has used food aid in a politically motivated way,” Smith
“So Robert Mugabe turning up to a conference dealing with food security or
food issues is, in my view, frankly obscene,” added the Australian minister,
who is also to attend the Food and Agriculture Organization summit.
In London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s spokesman said: “We think
it’s particularly unfortunate that (Mugabe) has decided to attend this
meeting given what he has done in relation to contributing to difficulties
on food supply in Zimbabwe.”
There were also protests in Italy by activists, leftist politicians and
Jewish groups against Mugabe and Ahmadinejad.
“It is in no way legitimate for the people of Zimbabwe to be represented by
a head of state who has been disowned by the international community and who
is unwanted by his own people,” Sergio Marelli, Italian host of a forum on
food sovereignty coinciding with the summit, told AFP.
Italy’s libertarian Radical Party plans a sit-in against both leaders on
Tuesday, first day of the three-day summit.
“We are against all dictatorships,” Radical Party spokeswoman Anita Friedman
Zimbabwe faces acute food shortages after land reforms and the collapse of
the farming sector.
The 84-year-old president is subject to a travel ban to the European Union
because of sanctions imposed after he allegedly rigged his re-election in
2002, but is able to attend UN forums.
Participants at Tuesday’s sit-in outside Rome’s city hall under the slogan
“We Hunger for Freedom” will include several Jewish groups as well as peace
and political refugee groups.
Ahmadinejad’s presence at the summit “addressing the tragedy of hunger in
the world symbolises the devastating contradiction between the violence of
totalitarian governments and their demogogic statements,” demonstration
organisers said in a statement.
“At a time when the world prepares to talk about food security and
resources, we must be aware that democracy (civil, social, political and
economic) is the solution to the tragedy of hunger,” it said.
“For nearly 30 years, the rulers in Tehran have negated the rights of
religious and ethnic minorities, women, gays, student associations and
anyone who does not agree with the regime’s policies,” the statement said.
On learning of the surprise arrival of Mugabe late Sunday, the organisers
decided to expand their protest to the Zimbabwean leader.
“The welcome we announced for Ahmadinejad will also be reserved for Mugabe,”
Marco Perduca, a lawmaker for the centre-left Democratic Party said in the
statement. “Just a few hours ago, a Zimbabwe opposition leader, Arthur
Mutambara, was arrested.”
About 50 heads of state and government are expected in Rome for the summit
on food security at a time of soaring world prices.
Mon 2 Jun 2008, 17:40 GMT
By Robin Pomeroy
ROME, June 2 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's cereal production will fall again this
year and imports announced by President Robert Mugabe will too little to
make up the shortfall, an analyst at the U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organisation said on Monday.
"Last year output was down 44 percent. This year we are expecting even
further decreases in maize and cereal production," said Kisan Gunjal, an FAO
economist who went to Zimbabwe at the government's request to analyse the
Mugabe, who faces a presidential run-off election on June 27, announced last
month his government had bought 600,000 tonnes of maize to ease food
shortages. But that will not make up for poor domestic production, Gunjal
Mugabe was in Rome to attend a food summit at the FAO where his presence was
criticised by some Western governments, including former colonial power
Britain which said he had no credibility in fighting hunger.
The FAO, a U.N. body which provides technical assistance aimed at improving
agriculture and reducing hunger, is due to publish a report on Zimbabwe's
food situation next week which is expected to paint a pessimistic picture.
Gunjal, a southern Africa expert at the FAO, said poor weather and a delay
in getting maize seeds to farmers meant this year's harvest would be worse
than last year's.
In 2007, Zimbabwe's 800,000-tonne maize harvest was only half of what was
needed. Gunjal declined to give figures before the report's publication, but
said the deficit would be bigger this year.
Mugabe's critics say his policy of seizing white-owned land to redistribute
to black farmers has failed as he neglected to equip resettled farmers with
the skills and farm implements needed to fully utilise the land.
Gunjal said that, although maize output had been on a long-term downward
trend since 2000 when the land seizure programme began, harvests had been
500,000 tonnes lower on average than during the seven previous years.
"Production can be increased but a lot of things have to be right. Farmers
have to have proper incentives to produce crops and then they have to have
access to inputs on time. The main thing is the price structure," he said.
(Editing by Andrew Dobbie)
International Herald Tribune
By Elisabetta Povoledo and Alan Cowell Published: June 2, 2008
ROME: Skirting some restrictions on his international travel, President
Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe arrived in Rome over the weekend to attend a
United Nations food conference, raising protests Monday from several
The Australian foreign minister, Stephen Smith, who was scheduled to attend
the conference, which runs Tuesday through Thursday, called Mugabe's
presence "frankly obscene."
But the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, which convened the gathering,
brusquely rejected the criticism.
"The fact that Mugabe and other leaders the West may not approve of are
attending a UN meeting in Rome is not a scandal," said Nick Parsons, a
spokesman for the organization. "The UN is about inclusiveness, not
exclusivity, giving all nations the right to participate."
Parsons said that "in the face of the looming, impending food crisis that
FAO first warned about a year ago," a high-level meeting between countries
"is the serious issue."
He added: "The rest is irrelevant to the overall significance of what this
meeting is about."
Mugabe landed in the Italian capital Sunday night with little fanfare,
leaving Zimbabwe midway through a bitter presidential election campaign
before a run-off vote scheduled for June 27 against his rival, the
opposition party's presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai complained last week that he had been prohibited by the police
from staging election rallies until after the vote.
Opposition officials in Zimbabwe said over the weekend that two prominent
politicians were arrested in their homes, amid signs that the governing
party is determined to cling to power.
In theory, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is mediating in the
Zimbabwe dispute on behalf of southern African nations. But Tsvangirai has
registered growing disenchantment with Mbeki's contributions.
In a letter said to have been written to Mbeki on May 13 and made public
Monday by his party, Tsvangirai said that when the South African leader
began his mediation, "Zimbabwe still had a functioning economy, millions of
our citizens had not fled to other countries to escape political and
economic crisis, and tens of thousands had not yet died from impoverishment
The letter added: "With respect, if we continue like this, there will be no
It accused Mbeki of a "lack of neutrality" and asked him to "recuse" himself
from his role as the "exclusive mediator of our nation's crisis."
The four-page letter catalogued a series of instances in which Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change found Mbeki's involvement objectionable and
said it was not the first time the opposition had urged Mbeki to withdraw.
A South African government spokesman, however, denied that Mbeki had
received any letter.
Mugabe made no comment to reporters when he arrived in Rome on Sunday with
his wife, Grace, and a large delegation of officials.
The European Union has formally barred Mugabe from traveling to its member
states, but Zimbabwean officials claim an exemption for UN events.
Neil Parrish, a member of the European Parliament from the opposition
Conservatives of Britain, said it was ironic that Mugabe planned to attend a
conference on the global food crisis when his policies had targeted
commercial white farmers, driving them off productive land.
Parrish told the BBC that Mugabe was trying to project himself as an
international statesman, burnishing his image even while "driving people
away from their homes" to prevent them from voting. "Why the United Nations
allows him to come, I can't believe it," he said.
In Sydney, Smith, the Australian official, said: "This is the person who has
presided over the starvation of his people. This is the person who has used
food aid in a politically motivated way. So Robert Mugabe turning up to a
conference dealing with food security or food issues is, in my view, frankly
Alan Cowell reported from London. Celia Dugger contributed reporting from
Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday slammed
President Robert Mugabe, saying he had no right to represent Zimbabwe at a
UN food summit in Italy.
Mugabe and his wife, Grace, arrived in Rome on Sunday geared to participate
in the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) summit.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said: “The Zimbabwean nation is angry and
hungry because of Mugabe’s autocratic leadership.
“He is not qualified to represent Zimbabwe, because he has not been
confirmed president of Zimbabwe yet.
“We find it puzzling that he claims to be the president of the country while
the run-off elections are still pending,” said Chamisa.
This is the first time that Mugabe has left Zimbabwe after losing the first
round presidential election on March 29 to opposition leader Morgan
Fears of more terror attacks by militia groups on MDC members have been
circulating in Zimbabwe while the military took over rule in Mugabe’s
Mugabe reportedly would claim he had nothing to do with the brutality
because he was attending the UN food summit.
By Sabina Castelfranco
02 June 2008
Representatives from U.N. member nations are holding an emergency meeting
this week to address a global food crisis that has already sparked protests
over rising prices and left many of the world's poor unable to feed their
families. The gathering, which formally opens Tuesday, has been overshadowed
by the presence of the Zimbabwean and Iranian presidents. Sabina
Castelfranco has more in this VOA report from Rome.
The summit of around 60 heads of state and government was called in response
to soaring food prices, amid growing demand and failing crops.
But discussions risk being overshadowed by the presence of Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who both have
strained relations with the West. The European Union has imposed a travel
ban on Mr. Mugabe, but that does not apply to U.N. meetings. This is Mr.
Ahmadinejad's first visit to Western Europe as Iran's president.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Shafer, who is leading the U.S. delegation,
said there would be no meeting with Mr. Mugabe.
"I will not be meeting with the president," said
Ed Shafer. "We welcome the discussion, the ideas and the ability to come to
some conclusions about how to deal with this food price issue. So, I'm just
looking forward to the conversations, and as I mentioned, I will not be
meeting with the president."
Human rights activists plan to unfurl a 200-meter-long banner early Tuesday
in front of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization building with a
message saying that 854 million people worldwide already face food
insecurity and that that number could rise in the wake of the current
USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore said this summit is useful to bring all
the players, including world leaders and donors, together to find a way to
"We would like to see the world's conversation focusing on both short-term
and long-term solutions, because the challenges that face us will be
multi-year and multi-dimensional: education, sanitation, water usage,
agricultural inputs, financing, ways that we can encourage the world's
agriculture research are all part of a combined solution," said Henrietta
She says the United States believes results will come if it begins by
focusing first on West Africa, where there are a number of bread-basket
countries which require encouragement, and then focusing on east and
"We are focusing from the United States on doubling production," she said.
"President Bush has a very strong initiative of $5 billion over two years.
We want to double production, and we're starting in Africa. We think that
will help a great deal."
Fore says the more people in need receive food, the more the markets will
work, transportation system will work and farmers with incentives will grow
JOHANNESBURG , 2 June 2008 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's attempts to feed itself
suffered another blow after the state media disclosed that only 13 percent
of the planned winter wheat crop had been planted.
The government set a target of cultivating 70,000 hectares of winter wheat
after forecasting that this year's maize production would fall short of the
national requirement by about one million metric tonnes.
According to the state-controlled The Herald newspaper, only 8,963 hectares
of wheat had been planted, 53 percent less than in 2007. The cut-off date
for planting to produce a successful winter harvest is usually 10 May.
"We have missed the target, with challenges being shortages of fertilisers
and fuel as well as frequent breakdowns of tillage facilities," Agriculture
Minister Rugare Gumbo told The Herald.
All purchases of wheat and other grains are controlled by Zimbabwe's Grain
Marketing Board (GMB), which holds the state monopoly. A GMB official based
in the Mutare area, near the Mozambican border, who declined to be named,
recently told IRIN that "there is no winter wheat because nothing has been
In 2007/08 international donor agencies provided food aid to 4.1 million
people, more than a third of the population. Zimbabwe is suffering acute
shortages of power, fuel and basic commodities, and has an annual inflation
ration unofficially estimated at more than one million percent.
President Robert Mugabe reportedly departed on 2 June for the UN Food and
Agriculture Organisation summit on food security in Rome, Italy.
The European Union (EU) has imposed sanctions, including restrictions on
travel to EU member states, on Mugabe and several hundred upper-echelon
members of his ZANU-PF party, but the summit is being organised by the UN
and so the restrictions fall away.
Mugabe's decision to attend the summit is causing diplomatic consternation
and threatens to overshadow the conference. A spokesman for the British
government reportedly said: "We think it is particularly unfortunate that he
[Mugabe] had decided to attend this meeting, given what he has done in
relation to contributing to the difficulties with food supplies in
A second round of voting in Zimbabwe is scheduled for 27 June, to determine
whether Mugabe will extend his 28-year-rule, or whether Morgan Tsvangirai,
leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will become
Zimbabwe's second president since the country won its independence from
Britain in 1980.
The country voted on 29 March to elect local government officials, members
of parliament, and the national president, which resulted in ZANU-PF losing
control of parliament for the first time since independence, but parliament
has not yet been reconvened and the outcome of the presidential run-off
ballot is seen as a watershed for Zimbabwe.
There have been widespread reports of post-election violence, which has
apparently led to at least 50 deaths and the displacement of thousands of
people, including more than 10,000 children.
In a letter marked "privileged private and confidential", but which was
leaked to the local media, Tsvangirai launched a blistering attack on South
African president Thabo Mbeki, appointed as mediator between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai by the Southern African Development Community.
In the correspondence Tsvangirai reportedly asked Mbeki to "recuse" himself
as mediator because he was not neutral in his dealings with Mugabe, and had
betrayed the trust of millions of Zimbabweans since his appointment last
"Zimbabwe still had a functioning economy, millions of our citizens had not
fled to other countries to escape political and economic crisis, and tens of
thousands had not yet died from impoverishment and disease," Tsvangirai
Mbeki's bad faith
"In fact, since the 29 March election Zimbabwe has plunged into horrendous
violence, while you have been mediating. With respect, if we continue like
this, there will be no country left," the letter said.
Tsvangirai said Mbeki had acted in bad faith, and it was made clear to South
African negotiators appointed by Mbeki "that MDC was no longer willing to
participate in any initiative, in any form or shape, under your [Mbeki's]
Despite this, Mbeki had continued to make representations in meetings and to
the media that he maintained the confidence of the MDC.
"It is a universally accepted principle that in mediation between two
parties, if one party does not have confidence in the mediator -
irrespective of qualification, level of knowledge or perceived sense of
success - that mediator must stand down," the letter said.
"As a leader, whilst you may not have respect for me as a person, I can only
ask you to respect the position that I hold, which position and
responsibility has been endorsed by the majority of Zimbabweans, who voted
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Jun 2, 3:39 PM EDT
By ANGUS SHAW
Associated Press Writer
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Police arrested at least 70 opposition supporters
accused of political violence, state-run media reported Monday. A newly
elected opposition lawmaker also was detained, his lawyer said.
The suspects detained in the district of Buhera, 150 miles south of Harare,
are accused of attacking and injuring ruling party supporters during a spate
of violence last week that left several homes torched, according to the
state-run Herald newspaper.
The opposition denies any campaign of violence targeting the ruling ZANU-PF
party but acknowledged reports that some of its supporters retaliated during
the political unrest in Zimbabwe since disputed the elections March 29.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces longtime President Robert Mugabe
in a runoff scheduled for June 27.
Rights groups and opposition supporters have cited widespread violence and
intimidation in the run-up to the second-round vote, and there are
widespread fears that Mugabe will try to steal the election.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says more than 50 supporters
have been killed and thousands driven out of their homes, especially in
U.S State Department spokesman Sean McCormack condemned the arrests.
"It's troubling, it's disturbing, and it's part of a continuing pattern on
the part of Zanu-PF to try to intimidate those who would like to speak up
with views different from those held by the government," McCormack said.
He said it was incumbent on the international community to apply as much
pressure and leverage as possible to ensure the runoff election is "executed
in such a way that people can actually vote their conscience, that they can
vote for the candidate of their choice."
Police detained MDC lawmaker Eric Matinenga when he went to visit the Buhera
suspects Saturday, his lawyer said. Matinenga, himself an attorney,
represented opposition leaders in a string of High Court cases.
The allegations against him were unclear, lawyer Innocent Chagonda said.
At least six other opposition lawmakers also have been arrested since the
March 29 elections. On Sunday, Arthur Mutambara - head of an MDC faction -
was jailed in Harare for allegedly making false statements that endangered
Mugabe was in Rome on Monday for a U.N. food summit.
"We're very confident that he's going to win and that's why he could afford
to go to Rome to represent Zimbabwe in this crucial meeting," Deputy
Information Minister Bright Matonga said. "This is about more than politics;
it's about people's stomachs."
June 02, 2008, 20:30
The US today called the arrest of two opposition politicians in Zimbabwe
troubling and said it was part of a pattern of government intimidation
before the run-off election, which will take place on June 27.
Over the weekend, police arrested Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway
faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, and Eric
Matinenga, an opposition parliamentarian and lawyer to MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai won a March 29 ballot against President Robert Mugabe, who has
been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, but not by a big
enough margin to avoid a second round of voting.
The MDC says more than 50 people have been killed in election related
attacks since March and blames elements within Zanu-PF for the deaths.
Mugabe's officials say MDC supporters are responsible.
The opposition and human rights groups also accuse 84-year-old Mugabe and
his supporters of trying to intimidate opponents and fear the president will
seek to rig the run-off poll.
McCormack said it was incumbent upon the US and others to apply as much
positive pressure and leverage as possible to ensure a free and fair run-off
poll. He did not elaborate on what that pressure might entail.
The spokesperson said people should be permitted to vote in an environment
free of threat and intimidation and be allowed to get their message across
in the media.
Mugabe, for his part, has accused the US of political interference in the
electoral process in Zimbabwe and has threatened to expel US Ambassador
James McGee. - Reuters
SW Radio Africa (London)
2 June 2008
Posted to the web 2 June 2008
We have received reports that state sponsored violence claimed 2 more lives
over the weekend in the areas of Murehwa North. Our contacts said there were
severe assaults on MDC supporters on Saturday and Sunday. The targeted areas
were Chemapango and KuDombwe in Murehwa North. Murehwa is the area where the
murdered MDC activist Shepherd Jani was abducted earlier this month.
According to the reports, the 2 who died were severely beaten at the shops
at KuDombwe. Access to the deceased is being blocked by ZANU-PF gangs, as a
result of which their names have not yet been verified. The sources said 2
others were critically injured in the same area and the perpetrators are
also blocking access to them.
Local villagers named the Minister of Health and MP for Murehwa David
Parirenyatwa as one of the coordinators of the violence. The others who were
named are the notorious so-called war vet named Mavhungire, the MP for
Uzumba Simba Mutarikwa and the Senator for Murehwa Bright Makonde.
The reports said traditional leaders were among those who were assaulted.
This includes Sabhuku Choruwa and Sabhuku Musakwa. The villages of
Mutsvairo, Chingono and Chinake were also attacked by the so-called war
veterans, soldiers and youth militia. These villages are all located in
Chemapango in Murehwa North. ZANU-PF is said to be operating in the area
from a base at Makonde Complex.
MDC activists who are still in Murehwa are being gathered at meetings where
the beatings are taking place, and villagers are being told to vote for
ZANU-PF or there will be a price to pay. At KuDombwe, our sources reported
that the father of the winning Councilor for ward 16, Baba Samutukwa, lost 2
teeth during the assaults.
Another disturbing development reported in Murehwa is that ZANU-PF plans to
use police officers, soldiers and youth militia as presiding officers at the
polling stations on June 27 when Zimbabweans vote in the presidential runoff
poll. Many MDC activists in the Murehwa area said they were told to pretend
that they cannot write so that ZANU-PF officials can assist them to vote.
Murehwa has been heavily targetted because MDC activists there were very
organised and they have resisted attacks by the ruling party for a long
time. ZANU-PF has now slowly destroyed opposition structures there and many
MDC activists have fled to safe houses in other areas. With state sponsored
violence being reported in several pockets around the country, there is no
way an election can be considered free and fair under these conditions.
SW Radio Africa (London)
2 June 2008
Posted to the web 2 June 2008
We received reports that 14 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who
were arrested on Wednesday last week and are still being held in police
It has not been possible to reach WOZA members in Zimbabwe, but their
representative in the U.K., Lois Davis, said the arrested include WOZA
coordinators Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu.
Davis said they are being charged with conducting activities that are likely
to cause public disorder. According to Davis, the WOZA members appeared in
court on Friday and were granted bail, but the state appealed the decision
and they will now be detained until June 6th when they are due in court
Davis said Williams is facing 2 additional charges; causing disaffection
among the police, and publishing falsehoods. The first charge relates to a
demonstration that they held in Bulawayo on April 9th, protesting against
politically motivated violence. They were the first to protest on the
streets after the delay in announcing the results of the March 29th
elections. On that occasion a police vehicle drove into the crowd of
protestors, causing some serious injuries. A total of 59 members received
medical treatment for injuries caused by the vehicle and from police
The second charge against Williams relates to fliers that the group has been
handing out at their demonstrations. Davis said the fliers criticise
regional and international organisations for allowing Robert Mugabe to stay
in power when he has lost the election. The state considers distributing
this information 'publishing falsehoods'. Davis said the fliers were simply
telling the truth.
WOZA is asking Zimbabweans to help their case by taking specific actions.
They are urging people to send a short text message to the Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa saying WOZA members are peaceful human rights defenders
that should be released from custody immediately. Davis said Chinamasa's
contact details are 263-11-605523.
Another action that people can take would be to phone the office of the
acting Attorney General Bharat Patel, also urging him to release the WOZA
members immediately as they have committed no crime. The number at the
Attorney General's office is 263-4-774587. Faxes can be sent to the Ministry
Of Home Affairs at 263-4-707231.
A statement released by WOZA read in part: "This is a crucial time for
Zimbabwe. The regime is relying on fear to maintain control but fear is a
weapon WOZA is determined to neutralise. As they sit in the cells because of
their bravery it is important that the regime knows that the world knows
that they are there."
A demonstration by WOZA and MOZA members in Harare on Wednesday May 28
resulted in the arrest of 13 women and 1 man, all of whom remain in custody
up to today, Monday June 2. The demonstration was held to commemorate
Africa Day, mourning the lack of anything to celebrate, and to protest
against the political violence being perpetrated in the weeks leading up to
the Presidential run-off election of June 27.
Approximately 200 members were stopped by the police as they marched in the
street in central Harare carrying placards and distributing flyers.
Specific members were targeted for arrest, including Jenni Williams and
Magodonga Mahlangu. Three were assaulted during interrogation, but they
were not seriously injured. All were first brought to court on Friday
afternoon, several hours after the 48 hour limit, where they were remanded
until the following day to make a bail application. On Saturday they were
granted bail by the magistrate, Rusinahama. Jenni Williams’ bail was set at
$10,000,000,000 ($US20) and for the other 13 at $5,000,000,000 ($US10). All
were also to turn in their passports. However, the prosecutor then
announced that the state would appeal against bail, so all 14 were remanded
in custody until June 6, 2008. While the single man is being held at Harare
Remand prison, the ladies are all at the women’s remand section of
All 14 have been charged under s 37 1c (ii) of the Criminal Law Codification
and Reform Act (formerly part of the Public Order and Security Act) –
“Participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breach
of the peace or bigotry”. This offence involves “acting with one or more
others,…. intending or realizing that there is a risk of forcibly disturbing
the peace, security or order of the public”. Some of those arrested were
not participating in the demonstration, but were arrested at gun point while
inside a vehicle. They included the driver of the vehicle. The vehicle was
Jenni also has two other charges under the same Act: s 30 - “Causing
disaffection among the Police Force or Defence Forces”. This charge was
leveled as a result of one paragraph of the flyer which was being
distributed by the demonstrators. This paragraph was addressed to the
uniformed forces and included the following words: “We ask them to respect
that Zimbabweans have voted for change and refrain from being used to
perpetrate violence and to carry out injustices”. She is likewise charged
under s 31 (a) (i) with “Publishing or communicating false statements
prejudicial to the State”. This charge apparently relates to a flyer from
another organisation of which she had one copy in her handbag; however she
has been accused of distributing it as well.
It will be noted that all of these sections of the Act infringe on
Zimbabweans’ basic right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the
Declaration of Rights in our constitution. Similar sections of the
notorious Law and Order (Maintenance) Act were previously judged
unconstitutional by the Zimbabwean Supreme Court, but they were re-enacted
in the Public Order and Security Act. The constitutionality of these
re-enacted sections has yet to be tested in the courts.
All of the detained members of WOZA and MOZA are being visited and taken
food and are in good spirits and well. It is expected that the State’s
appeal will be heard before the end of this week, and it is hoped that the
appeal will be rejected and the bail conditions upheld, so that those
currently detained can await further developments out of custody. We salute
those brave members of WOZA and MOZA who dare to stand up and make public
their concerns about the perilous state in which most Zimbabweans are now
living. May all Zimbabweans be inspired by their actions.
From: Veritas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
BILL WATCH 22/2008
[31st May 2008]
New Electoral Regulations
[An important new provision is that the official counts from each polling station will not only be posted outside the polling station, but an official copy will be given to each election agent and observer]
SI 82A/2008 [Electoral (Amendment) Regulations (No. 5)] - gazetted in a Gazette Extraordinary on 27th May. The regulations, made by ZEC:-
· increase the accreditation fee for local observers from $10 million to $1 billion. Accreditation fees for foreign observers remain unchanged at USD100 for observers from Africa and USD300 for observers from outside Africa.
· replace forms V11 and V23 with new forms V11 [polling station return], V23A [Collation of Polling Station Returns and Postal Ballots] and V23B [Constituency Returns]. Unlike the old forms, the new forms provide for countersignature by candidates/election agents and "others" [e.g., observers] entitled to be present at vote-counting; ZEC has explained this as being in the interests of greater transparency and designed to minimise disputes at later stages [e.g., at the verification stage at the national collation centre]. The new form V11 also states that a copy of the completed form must be handed to each election agent and observer present, in addition to being posted outside the polling station.
Note: there is no provision for a copy of the completed forms V23A [Collation of Polling Station Returns and Postal Ballots] and V23B [Constituency Returns] to be given to election agents and observers. If ZEC's purpose is to provide for greater transparency and to avoid disputes at final collation this omission should be rectified.
Update on Presidential Run-off and By-Elections
Polling Day is Friday 27th June : The Presidential run-off election and the three by-elections will be held concurrently on this date.
By-election nominations : Nomination day for the three House of Assembly by-elections was yesterday Friday, 30th May. The following candidates will be contesting:
· Gwanda South : Orders Mlilo, ZANU-PF; Nephat Mdlongwa, MDC-T; Elizabeth Ndlovu, MDC.
· Pelandaba-Mpopoma : Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu, ZANU-PF; Samuel Sandla Khumalo, MDC-T; Dhumani Gwetu, MDC; Chamunorwa Mahachi, ZDP; Samuel Mahlamvana Ndlovu, UPP; Leonard Nkala, PUMA; J ob Sibanda, Ind; Fungai Mutukwa, Ind.
· Redcliff : Sheunesu Muza, ZANU-PF; Aaron Chinhara, MDC-T; Tapera Sengweni, MDC-T; Gilmond Karigambe, MDC.
Information from ZEC
Accreditation of observers and journalists : Accreditation of observers and journalists - international and local - will start on 2nd June at Bulawayo and Harare Polytechnics. Accreditation fees for local observers have been increased to $1 billion [see SI 82A/2008 above]
National Multi-Party Liaison Committee meeting : The National Multi-Party Liaison Committee had a closed meeting on 28th May - no statement was issued.
Number of Polling Stations : The number of polling stations may be reduced, following very low turn-outs at some polling stations in the poll of 29th March.
Training of election officials : ZEC conducted training workshops for provincial election officers this week. Training for constituency election officers will be carried out over the next two weeks.
Reminder - voting is ward based
Voters have to go to the polling stations in the ward in which they are registered voters. The list of polling stations for each ward has not yet been published.
Postal Voting for Police, Defence Forces, Prison Service
Members of disciplined forces are not obliged by law to fill in ballot papers in the presence of their officers or to use forces channels to send in their votes. The Electoral Act specifies that they may [as a matter of their own convenience] use their own commissioned officers as competent witnesses and submit their postal vote applications and ballot papers to the electoral authorities via their commanding officers, but they do not have to go this route. It would be legally in order under the Electoral Act for them to make use of any other competent witness and to submit their applications and ballot papers to the electoral authorities by registered post. The list of competent witnesses includes hospital matrons, Government mining engineers and inspectors of mines, chartered accountants, postmasters, legal practitioners, magistrates, bank managers, commissioners of oaths, medical practitioners and veterinary surgeons.
Challenge to existing voting procedures for illiterate or physically incapacitated voters
Amended sections 59 and 60 of the Electoral Act state that if an illiterate or physically incapacitated voter requires assistance in voting, that assistance will be provided by the polling station presiding officer in the presence of two other electoral officers or ZEC employees and a police officer on duty. A group of visually-impaired prospective voters has challenged the constitutionality of these provisions, claiming the right to be assisted by persons of their choice [see under Election-Related Court Cases, below].
Update on Council Election Results
The results for Midlands have not yet been published in the press. Results for all other provinces have been published. Publication is for public information only, not a condition precedent to councillors taking office.
Status of Councils
The new councils have not met or commenced operating, although successful candidates were declared duly elected two months ago. Press reports this week say this is because the Minister of Local Government has adopted the attitude that the councils, like Parliament, cannot meet or exercise their functions until the winner of the Presidential run-off election has been declared and sworn in. This attitude is legally questionable. While the Constitution expressly states in section 63(4) that the life of the new Parliament is deemed to commence when the President is sworn in, there is no similar provision for councils in either the Constitution or the Urban Councils Act or Rural District Councils Act.
The same press reports state that the Minister has appointed "commissions" to run the affairs of major local authorities until the elected councils are able to take over. [Note: the law no longer provides for the appointment of "commissioners" to run the affairs of councils left without functioning councillors; the term now used in section 80 of the amended Urban Councils Act, is "caretakers". The appointment of caretakers is permitted when elected councillors are "unable to exercise all or some of their functions as councillors".] Legal action challenging the Minister's position is being planned by at least one residents' association.
Election Related Court Cases
MP-elect takes court case to keep army out of his constituency
Alleging an army terror campaign in his constituency, Advocate Matinenga, MP for Buhera West House of Assembly constituency, was granted a provisional order in the High Court by Mr Justice Bhunu ordering the Commander of the Defence Forces to put in place "immediate measures to ensure that the army officers seconded to rural areas, particularly Buhera West, confine their operations within their constitutional duties in terms of section 96(1) of the Constitution". The provisional order, granted on 23rd May, lasts for 10 days from its service on the Commander and calls on him to show cause why the court should not make a final order in the following terms: "the deployment of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in rural areas, particularly in Buhera West, for any purpose other than that provided for by the Constitution of Zimbabwe as read with the Defence Act be stopped forthwith". [Note: Section 96(1) of the Constitution states that the Defence Forces are established "for the purpose of defending Zimbabwe".]
Challenge to Official/Police Involvement in Voting arrangements for disabled
Six visually impaired prospective voters have lodged a Supreme Court application challenging the constitutionality of section 60 of the Electoral Act, which requires them to be assisted by electoral officials and a police officer when casting their votes. They claim that this provision discriminates against them by reason of their physical disability, and is therefore inconsistent with section 23 [Non-discrimination section] of the Constitution; they wish instead to be assisted by spouses, friends or relatives who know their political preferences. [Note: In South Africa, a disabled voter can opt to be assisted by a friend or other person of his or her choice.]
Case by disallowed Presidential candidates
Judgement is still awaited. In this case against ZEC, the applicants Chiota and Shumba claim their nomination papers for the Presidential election of 29th March were wrongly rejected and seek a re-run of the entire Presidential election with themselves included as candidates. [For more detail see Bill Watch 21.]
Case to bring Presidential election date forward
In this case, also lodged in the Supreme Court, Jonathan Moyo MP challenges ZEC's fixing of the date for the Presidential run-off election, arguing that that the President, not ZEC, should have fixed the date, and seeking an order directing the President to fix a date not later than the 14th June for the run-off. The case has not yet been heard.
22 of the 105 petitions [53 brought by Zanu PF and 52 by MDC T] have been set down for preliminary hearings. There will be oral argument in 9 of the cases next week, on the 4th and 5th June in the High Court.
By Trymore Magomana | Staff Reporter
Sunday, June 1, 2008 20:46
Zimbabwe, Harare--The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has condemned as
a slap in the face of democracy the arrest Sunday of opposition stalwart
The police arrested Mutambara Suday on charges of writing an article highly
critical of incumbent President Robert Mugabe on the just ended March 29
elections which the opposition MDC claims it won with over 50 percent of the
The police however say Mutambara’s article is prejudicial to the state and
also a contempt of court. The Access to Information and Privacy Protection
Act (AIPPA), the police in Zimbabwe have legal grounds to arrest people and
journalists who write articles that are deemed to denigrate the person of
the president or are a threat to national security.
But the MDC says the arrest is yet another attempt by the Mugabe regime to
intimidate partisans of the party ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off.
Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC, said the arrest
is an assault on the tenets of democracy.
“This is a clear onslaught and assault on the democratic forces in this
country. Mr. Mutambara is one of the democratic faces of our struggle, and
his persecution is basically the persecution of the course for democracy,
the course for freedom, and the course for change and prosperity in this
country. This is again the manifestation of the desperation of the Mugabe
regime after realizing that they will not win an election. So, all they are
doing now is to focus on decimating our structures and rendering the
organization comatose, and literally liquidate virtually all those who have
been responsible for altering the demise of ZANU-PF regime,” Chamisa noted.
The ZANU-PF government has five MDC elect MPs behind bars a trend that if it
continues will weaken the opppostion.
Chamisa admitted that the arrests and intimidation had the potential to chip
away at the opposition’s momentum before the upcoming presidential run-off.
“It has an impact in the sense that any arrest of a single democrat will
undermine and reduce the speed of the democratic train, but it would not
derail the train nevertheless, because the destination is for certain and
sure that we will get there. There is no doubt that the people of this
country would want to finish the dictatorship off. The suffering of the
people has to be finished, and we need to finish it on the 27th,” he said.
Chamisa said the charges being leveled against Mutambara are not justified.
“Certainly not. What professor Mutambara was simply articulating is what is
in the public domain. He was simply giving an objective analysis of the
situation in the country. There is no contempt of court. You can’t persecute
ideas and hope that the nation would move forward. Nations are built on the
foundation of good ideas of opinions and that is what Professor Arthur
Mutambara was trying to do. But of course this regime would not want any
alternative thinking; this regime is scared of thinkers,” Chamisa pointed
He described as unfortunate incumbent President Mugabe’s pronouncement that
he would not lose an election to the opposition MDC during the run-off.
“We have a family, which has been so traumatized by the defeat of the 29th
of March that they are now only a verbal diarrhea and a verbal vomiting
problem. We are not at all worried about what Mugabe is saying. This is what
Smith was saying. Smith said, “Never in a thousand years, even my jacket
will rule this country”. By now where is Smith? It’s the same thing. Mugabe
will make all sorts of claims, he will make all sorts of swearing, but he
will not be there after the 27 of June as president of this country,” he
Leading oppotion figures have been forced to go into hiding of to
temporarily live in exile in fear of being thrown into jail by the ZANU-PF
Augustine Chihuri, Zimbabwe's Police Commissioner, who is not apologetic
about his support for Mugabe, has threatened Tendai Biti, the MDC Sec.
General, with unspecified action when he returns to Zimbabwe from South
Africa where he is living in exile. Chihuri accused him of illegally
declaring the results of the March 29 elections and "urging and abetting
Chihuri also refused to sanction a series of rallies intended to kick-start
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s presidential run-off election campaign in
Matabeleland North, sparking allegations of government bias against the
opposition. Despite the police ban, the MDC held rallies in Binga and Lupane
Sunday without being molested by the baised police force.--Harare Tribune.
Monday June 2,2008
A British MEP has called for sanctions on Zimbabwe to be stepped up after
President Robert Mugabe arrived in Europe for a global food summit.
Mr Mugabe avoided a European Union travel ban to attend the summit in Italy
because the event is being held under the auspices of the United Nations.
Conservative MEP Neil Parish said Mugabe's presence in Rome showed that the
EU's "smart sanctions" - which specifically target members of Zimbabwe's
ruling regime - were not working and should be replaced by sanctions on the
country as a whole.
Mr Mugabe's visit to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation summit is his
first official trip abroad since disputed elections in March. He used a
gathering of the same body in 2005 to launch attacks on then-prime minister
Tony Blair and US President George Bush, calling them "international
He faces a run-off presidential election on June 27 against Morgan
Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). The campaign has been marred by widespread allegations of violence
and intimidation directed by the regime at supporters of the MDC.
Mr Parish said his presence in Europe showed that sanctions were not tough
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It is not working now. We have to
step it up. Why the UN at this stage should allow Mugabe to come, I just
can't believe it.
"There comes a time now when we probably have briefly to consider
sanctioning Zimbabwe, because I think we have got to bring about a change
"The country is ripe for it. Morgan Tsvangirai has won one election but been
denied the result. There is a lot of rigging going on and intimidation and
murder. We have really got to stop this now."
Mr Parish said Mr Mugabe's attendance at a food summit was particularly
galling when he was personally responsible for turning Zimbabwe from one of
southern Africa's breadbaskets into a destitute state dependent on food aid.
By Robert Tshuma-Financial Editor ⋅ zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 2, 2008
A British Member of European Parliament has called for tougher sanctions to
be imposed on Zimbabwe after out going president, Robert Mugabe, arrived in
Europe for a global food summit.
Mugabe avoided a European Union travel ban to attend the summit, in Italy,
because the event is being held under the auspices of the United Nations.
But Neil Parish said Mugabe’s presence in Rome showed that the EU’s “smart
sanctions” - which specifically target members of Zimbabwe’s ruling regime -
were not working, and that sanctions on the country as a whole should be
“There comes a time now when we probably have briefly to consider
sanctioning Zimbabwe, because I think we have got to bring about a change
right away,” he said.
“The country is ripe for it. Morgan Tsvangirai has won one election but been
denied the result. There is a lot of rigging going on and intimidation and
Parish said Mugabe’s attendance at a food summit was particularly galling as
he was personally responsible for starving the people of Zimbabwe through
his policy of seizing white-owned farms.
“There is systematic abuse going on and he is trying to make himself look
like an international statesman. That’s what worries me,” he said.
“We have to have joined-up thinking between what Europe does and the UN
does, because there is no point us putting a ban in if he just flouts it.”
Mugabe’s visit to the UN food and agriculture organisation summit is his
first official trip abroad since disputed elections in March.
He used a gathering of the same body in 2005 to launch attacks on the then
prime minister, Tony Blair, and the US president, George Bush, calling them
Mugabe faces a presidential election run-off on June 27 against majority
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 2, 2008
LONDON: Britain's Foreign Office says it is reviewing the knighthood given
to Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.
Then-Prime Minister John Major made Mugabe an honorary Knight Commander of
the Order of the Bath in 1994 when Mugabe was still considered a hero of the
But lawmakers have called for the knighthood to be revoked given Zimbabwe's
human rights record.
Britain's Channel 4 said Monday officials were taking steps to strip him of
Immediate action, however, seems unlikely. Earlier this month, Foreign
Office minister Lord Malloch Brown told lawmakers now was an inopportune
time to revoke the title because it might revive anti-British feeling in
Zimbabwe. Britain was once the country's colonial master.
Thought Leader, SA
Sunday, June 1st, 2008
The signs are very clear: June 27 and its aftermath spell doom for Zimbabwe.
Already weeks leading up to the run-off have been characterised by
abductions, torture and murder. The violence is just unimaginable. As a
matter of fact, what people saw in South Africa in the past couple of weeks
is reminiscent of the situation in Zimbabwe. One would be forgiven for
thinking the tactics were from the same author.
It is a few weeks before Zimbabwe conducts its run-off election. On June 27,
Zimbabweans will once again brave the streets and cast their votes in a
presidential election pitting Robert Mugabe against Morgan Tsvangirai. It is
expected that the opposition leader will snatch this one just as he did in
March. However the question that stood after March 29 still stands today:
Will Mugabe and his Zanu-PF accept defeat if indeed Tsvangirai was voted in?
Many will recall that the answer to this question was postponed soon after
the March 29 elections. It is supposed to be answered on June 27. Be assured
that the run-off is nothing but a delay of the decision that was supposed to
be taken in March. Will it be taken? Let’s wait and see.
I think African leaders, including the SADC, have failed the people of
Zimbabwe. Allowing this run-off was a mistake, one that will come to haunt
many of them. The unfortunate thing is that it is the poor who will be
affected most. We have witnessed this in Zimbabwe where violence has rocked
communities right across the political spectrum. Similar violence has
occurred in South Africa in recent weeks. Again the most affected were the
poor, especially women and children of Zimbabwean origin.
The factors pushing Zimbabweans to neighbouring countries, South Africa
being the most affected, are clear. It is the political crisis in Zimbabwe
that has had a negative effect on the economy. In 2006, together with two
colleagues, we wrote a special chapter for the State of the Nation book on
Zimbabweans in South Africa published annually by the Human Sciences
Research Council. We outlined in that chapter how immigrants — especially
those from Zimbabwe — were being harassed, discriminated against and
attacked on xenophobic grounds. Two years down the line, the bubble has
exploded. It is interesting how some of these things are predicted, yet no
one takes action.
If one looked at the character of violence taking place inside Zimbabwe and
the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, one might think they were
masterminded and perpetrated by people of the same disposition. How does one
explain setting alight a human being on the grounds that the person is a
foreigner? And how does one explain burning with plastics and torching
another human being’s buttocks on the basis that the person voted wrongly?
The violence that has marred Zimbabwe over the past months is symptomatic of
the very character of the forces in play. Zanu-PF apparently argues that it
came to power through guns and bullets and cannot be removed through a
ballot box. The message is clear: no election result will be respected, not
even the one of June 27. Of course in preparing for the run-off, people have
been beaten up so that they will vote correctly, whatever that means. A
number of opposition activists have been killed and others arrested on a
variety of charges. The latest arrest is that of Arthur Mutambara, who
apparently was picked up on Sunday for an opinion article he published in
Surely, this can only be a recipe for disaster. I see at least three
scenarios emerging out of the current crisis. The first and perhaps ideal
scenario is where a transitional government is established to avoid the
run-off. This can only be initiated by the two political heads with the help
of the SADC leadership. If this is done, a lot of unnecessary violence and
loss of life will be saved. Believe me, the run-off is a big price for
Zimbabwe. It could have been avoided had there been strong and visionary
leadership both from Zimbabwe and from the region. Zimbabwe can still be
The second scenario is that Tsvangirai will once again win the presidential
vote but fail to take power from Zanu-PF and Robert Mugabe. This has been
the case since 2000. Tsvangirai has been winning but failing to take over
the state. It is likely that he will win the vote but lose the count on June
27. This will be dangerous for Zimbabwe. As Tendai Biti put it at a lecture
at Wits, if this happens, the MDC will be rendered irrelevant. Someone,
somewhere, will call the shots and the MDC will not be able to contain the
I don’t know what this means or what Tendai meant, but the signs are clear.
The June 27 outcome spells doom for the country. The opposition leader might
win but be prevented from exercising his duties as the duly elected
president of the country. We have already heard from Grace Mugabe that
Tsvangirai will not be allowed to lead the country. What better source than
the wife of the president?
The unlikely scenario is that Mugabe wins the elections. This is unlikely
given the statistics and voting patterns of the March harmonised elections.
But even if Mugabe wins, chaos will reign in Parliament. Zanu-PF does not
control Parliament; we will have a president presiding over a Parliament
dominated by the opposition. This is catastrophic. No progress will be made.
But this scenario is possible given the violence and the harassment that the
electorate has been exposed to in the weeks leading up to June 27.
Where do these scenarios leave us? Although it is still possible to
implement the first scenario, it is unlikely given the intransigence of the
Zimbabwean leadership and the naivety characterising SADC. We have heard no
word, for example, from SADC in response to the xenophobic attacks on
foreigners in South Africa. One would have expected SADC to come out
strongly condemning the killing of foreigners. But no, SADC has — as usual —
chosen not to see what is happening in the region. We therefore do not
expect SADC to call for a transitional government in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is therefore left with the last two scenarios. Be very afraid. The
country is on the verge of a civil conflict. The outcome of the election
might just be the tipping point. When this happens, both the MDC and Zanu-PF
will be rendered unnecessary. One would expect the two parties to be aware
that people will soon not see them as useful forces in the struggle for a
I am tempted to imagine an MDC government. If this happens after June 27,
which is possible but unlikely given the very character of Zanu-PF,
Zimbabweans are advised to be afraid still. However, to overcome this fear,
Zimbabweans must demand a new constitution that will guarantee freedoms,
protect human dignity, promote good governance and facilitate equitable
distribution of resources.
And, as some have argued, this new constitution should be drafted and
written based on mistrust. Never again should we write a constitution based
on trust for our leaders. We must assume from the beginning that leaders are
mischievous, untrustworthy and capable of frustrating the will of the
people. The new constitution must therefore be crafted on the basis that we
want to prevent abuse of power for the incumbent. We start from the premise
that politicians are bad people.
June 02 2008 at 05:09PM
Iran's Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi on Monday urged Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe and opposition chief Morgan Tvangirai to talk ahead
of this month's presidential re-run in order to save the troubled African
Ebadi told journalists attending the Media in Peacekeeping and
Conflict Prevention conference in Bonn that democracy had been severely
curtailed in Zimbabwe.
"Those two politicians must dialogue to each other in order to save
democracy there," Ebadi told reporters on the sidelines of the conference.
She warned Mugabe to drop his hardline position, warning him that "He
should see what has happened to other dictators..."
Zimbabwe authorities barred most foreign news organisations from
covering the joint presidential and parliamentary elections on March 29 and
warned they would deal severely with journalists who sneaked into the
However, a number of news organisations such as BBC, CNN, Sky News
have been filing reports from Zimbabwe using undercover journalists.
Mugabe's government passed a law on the eve of the last presidential
election in 2002 -- widely believed to have been rigged -- which has been
invoked to expel foreign correspondents and shut down at least four
"The main factor for considering democracy in a country is to look at
freedom of press," Ebadi said. "You should see how many journalists are in
prison in Zimbabe to know that there is no democracy in that country."
Ebadi, who has frequently fallen foul of the authorities in Iran,
urged journalists to keep pressing for democracy and a free press in their
country, saying: "Freedom has its own value, you should not fear going to
prison for the sake of it." - Sapa-AFP
By Scott Bobb
02 June 2008
Lawyers for Zimbabwean opposition leader Arthur Mutambara are protesting his
arrest and calling for him to be brought to court one day after he was
detained on charges of offending the state. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from
our Southern Africa Bureau in Johannesburg.
Lawyers for the leader of a faction of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, Arthur Mutambara, were trying to have their client
brought to court or have his case dismissed.
Mutambara was arrested at his home Sunday on charges of publishing
falsehoods and offending security forces. The charges stem from an article
which said the military was running the country, intimidating ordinary
citizens and brutalizing opposition supporters.
Mutambara's lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, says the government's actions were
"In a democratic society such criticisms of public offices is allowed. And
Zimbabwe is no exception to that," said Nkomo. "If they allege to be a
democracy they should surely take that kind of criticism."
He adds that the article was published more than one month ago and the
editor of the newspaper in which it appeared, Davison Maruziva of the
Standard, was charged at that time.
"That's the issue that we are asking the court. Because at the time of the
arrest of [editor] Maruziva, Arthur Mutambara was in the country, the police
never arrested him," said Nkomo. "He went to South Africa on his business
and came back. And for some reason, now they've decided to charge him.
The editor's trial is reportedly due to begin this week.
Nkomo said his client was in relatively good condition given prison
conditions. He accused the police of seeking to keep Mutambara in detention
and urged the authorities to bring him to court as soon as possible.
Mutambara is the most senior opposition leader to be arrested since the
March 29 elections. The opposition says more than 50 activists have been
killed and hundreds wounded in a campaign of intimidation by supporters of
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
Several ZANU-PF supporters have also been killed in recent weeks. The state
controlled Herald Newspaper Monday reported that 70 people had been arrested
in connection with these attacks.
Mr. Mugabe is to face opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a runoff
presidential election later this month. But the violence has led civic
groups to say a free and fair vote is now impossible.
2 June 2008
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today expressed its fears
of more repression of media ahead of a second round of presidential
elections on June 27 after attacks on media workers and the recent arrest of
three South African men accused of transporting broadcasting equipment
allegedly belonging to Britain's Sky News television station.
In a separate incident the following day, a truck carrying 60,000 copies of
the private newspaper The Zimbabwean on Sunday was hijacked by gunmen who
burnt the copies and assaulted the driver and his assistant.
About two weeks ago, freelance journalist Sydney Saize was beaten by unknown
individuals who accused him of being a "sell-out."
"We fear that the regime of President Robert Mugabe will increase its
intimidation of and attacks on media as we come closer to the presidential
run-off election," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office.
"We condemn these attacks and President Mugabe should understand that media
will find a way to report on events in the country and that the restrictions
should be dropped."
The three South Africa nationals, Bennet Hassen Sono, Resemate Chauke, and
Simon Maodi, were arrested by the police on May 23 in a village close to the
southwestern city of Bulawayo. The broadcasting equipment labeled "Sky News"
included satellite dishes, transmitters, telephone handsets and audio and
videotapes, laptops, computers and discs.
According to sources, the men said they did not know the content of the
boxes and were told to carry the equipment from Bulawayo to South Africa.
They are accused of contravening provisions of the Post and
Telecommunications Act for "being in possession of equipment believed to be
used for broadcasting without a licence" and contravening a Section of the
Immigration Act. They appeared in court on Friday and are expected to be
South African Sapa news agency quoted Sky News bureau chief in Johannesburg
Dan Williams saying the three people arrested were not Sky employees and
they were investigating the matter.
On Wednesday the police arrested a Zimbabwean, Craig Edy, over allegations
of having stored the equipment in his factory. All four are still in jail.
Separately, Davison Maruziva, the editor of the privately owned weekly The
Standard, was freed on bail on May 9, the day after his arrest on charges of
"false statements prejudicial to the state and contempt of court." Maruziva
has been ordered to report to the police every Monday until his case has
For further information contact the IFJ: +221 33 842 01 43
2nd Jun 2008 18:31 GMT
By Rhoda Mashavave
AS we grew up we used to hear from our parents of how teachers were
respected in the communities. Students would hide at the sight of teachers
when up to no good, not out of fear but sheer respect.
But that culture has been eroded and teachers are just ordinary civil
servants with diminished standing in our society. They are underpaid and
live miserable lives. A cancer that has developed in our Zimbabwean society
has been that of the political beating up school teachers as happened after
the 2000 and 2005 parliamentary and presidential elections, and more
recently the 29 March harmonised elections.
As I write war veterans and ZANU (PF) militias are beating up teachers in
front of school pupils and rural communities. This has humiliated teachers
and reduced their status as guardians.
The harassment of teachers is affecting the provision of quality education.
What has compromised the teachers' welfare is that war veterans and ZANU
(PF) militias have been camping at schools which they have turned into
Political meetings are being convened at these schools during working hours
with teachers and rural villagers forced to attend. Pupils and teachers are
forced to attend all night vigils were reports of sexual abuse is taking
place. Pupils, 15 years and above, are all ordered to attend.
The teacher/pupil relationship has further deteriorated to its lowest.
Respect for the teacher has been lost. For years government has relied on
teachers who worked as polling agents during voting. But this time around
teachers have been accused of working with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in a regime change agenda.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond
Majongwe says more than 400 schools have closed since the post-election
violence erupted in the country. At an average school enrolment of five
hundred, the projected number of pupils without instruction due to
displacement of teachers is two hundred and fifty thousand.
According to figures compiled by PTUZ more than 133 teachers have been
assaulted while 1718 have fled their schools. Said PTUZ in a statement: "The
perpetrators' message to teachers is consistent; teachers will not be
allowed to vote in the perpetrators' communities and will not be enrolled as
polling officers in the presidential run-off. They allege that teachers
plotted the downfall of ZANU (PF) by going on strike in the pre-29 March
election period and influenced the otherwise loyal rural folk to vote for
PTUZ says 67 teachers have been hospitalised in Harare, Kotwa, Karoi,
Rusape, Bonda, Howard, Guruve, Marondera and many other clinics. The
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) president Peter Mabande has advised.
teachers to get away from schools where cases of violence have been
PTUZ says teachers in Zimbabwe "believe the SADC and AU are institutions
through which regional and continental solidarity is given to the suffering
and oppressed Africans. It frustrates teachers to see SADC and AU slowly
sliding into institutions of leadership solidarity as opposed to people
"When our nationalist leaders say they are reclaiming land from the white
community we take it that the land is needed for farming and not to bury us
when we die of hunger and politically motivated violence."
In interviews with the press, outgoing Minister of Education, Sports and
Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere while acknowledging teachers were being harrassed
especially in Mashonaland East and West, and Manicaland provinces blamed
both ZANU (PF) and MDC.
By Phil Matibe
Monday, June 2, 2008 11:51
To: Lieutenant - General Philip Valerio Sibanda
Zimbabwe National Army, Army HQ
KG IV Barracks
2 June 2008
Subject: Stand Down – Order all offensive military operations against
civilians to cease
The recent reckless inflammatory statements by the Zimbabwe National Army
Chief of Staff, Major General Chedondo refers.
I write formally requesting a lucid and unambiguous response from you as the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) force commander over these treasonous
utterances. The disturbing, toxic, blatantly seditious threats and innuendos
uttered by your Chief of Staff, Major General Chedondo, were delivered on
your behalf in a manner that incites mutiny and insubordination within the
It is an absolute imperative that you illuminate the relationship between
the ZNA and ZANU (PF). If the ZNA has now transformed itself into a
political party or if it is now part of the auxiliary militia force for ZANU
(PF), we are now reluctantly preparing for war.
a.. ZANU-PF, Hamas & Al Queda Network
b.. Re: How Mugabe will lose
c.. Mutambara arrest madness -- Chamisa
d.. Biography: Who is Tendai Biti?
e.. Tsvangirai's explosive letter to Mbeki
f.. Army: Vote for Mugabe or quit
g.. MDC won't campaign
h.. MDC parliament first sitting
i.. Mugabe is possessed -- Tsvangirai
j.. We will never leave State House -- Grace Mugabe
k.. Don't go to Zimbabwe, US tells its residents
l.. A platoon on the rampage
m.. I refuse to go home
n.. We are innocent, War-Vets claim
o.. Mengistu, safe for now
The ZNA Chief of Staff (General Staff), Major General Martin Chedondo called
upon all ZNA members to vote for Robert Mugabe in a presidential runoff or
quit the military. These offending and unprofessional comments were spoken
at a ZNA target-shooting competition on your behalf on the 30 of May 2008.
According to the state-controlled Herald yesterday 31 May 2008,
Major-General Martin Chedondo said that voting for Morgan Tsvangirai, the
leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), would be to "sell out to
"The constitution says the country should be protected by voting, and on
June 27 in the presidential run-off, pitting president Mugabe against Morgan
Tsvangirai, we shall therefore stand by our commander-in-chief (Mugabe's
ceremonial position)," Chedondo said. "Soldiers are not apolitical," he
added. "Only mercenaries are apolitical. We have signed an agreement to
protect the ruling party's principles of defending the revolution. If you
have another thought, then you should remove your uniform."
Major General Chedondo further mumbled that soldiers were "faced with the
choice to protect the country's revolution and heritage or sell out to the
American and British imperialists by voting for Tsvangirai."
On May 21 2008, while addressing newly promoted senior ZNA officers Colonel
Kufa and Colonel Chaminuka, Major General Chedondo said, "We expect you to
understand the Government, the party and you also need to understand that
the country is at a crossroads. We are under an onslaught of the Western
countries, imperialists with the help of their puppets, the MDC," he said.
He said the country's independence was brought about by Zanu-PF through the
formation of Zanu and Zapu. Major General Chedondo said that legacy must be
protected at all costs.
May I humbly remind General Sibanda of the provisions of the Constitution,
the Defence Act that governs yours and all military officers' conditions of
service. You swore to serve and protect the people of Zimbabwe and not
protect a senile despot who no longer has the mandate to govern. The
current Commander-in-Chief, who is referred to by your Chief of Staff, lost
an election on the 29th of March and is merely holding onto the reins of
power through an unconstitutional means with the assistance of rogue
elements of the armed forces.
The MDC is a legitimate, legal Zimbabwean political party for Zimbabweans,
by Zimbabweans. Any pathetic reference to the MDC by your officers blindly
regurgitating sterile ZANU(PF) propaganda mantra that the MDC is an
appendage of an imaginary Western imperialist conspiracy is preposterous,
childish, and unintelligent, and an outright political falsehood.
Your silence on this matter shall be regarded as an affirmative to the
aforementioned and acquiescence to the crimes against humanity being
perpetrated by some members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
General Sibanda, please urge your subordinates to put their arrows back in
their quivers. Any further saber rattling by your generals through veiled
threats and politically insensitive partisan statements shall be perceived
as an informal declaration of war.
General Sibanda, the line in the sand that separates you and your officers
from being willing accomplices to crimes of war and being heroes for which
Zimbabweans shall be eternally grateful, is your anticipated rejoinder. I
urge you to evoke your military and moral authority in retrieving Zimbabwe
from the brink of a brutal civil war which you will not win.
PHIL MATIBE – Askari wa wadogo
By Farai Maguwu | Opinion
Monday, June 2, 2008 12:15
Till his last breath Ian Douglas Smith never withdrew his statement that in
ZANU PF his government was fighting a terrorist organization. Sadly many of
us were caught up in the liberation war euphoria that we did not want to
digest his allegations, mainly because he too was fighting an unjust cause.
However, a post mortem of the liberation war will reveal that it was ‘an
introduction to terrorism’ by ZANU PF, particularly as the war came to an
end in the late 1970s. The goal was to coerce people into believing that it’s
either a ZANU PF victory or the war continues. In Mutasa Central, one man
accused of collaborating with the Smith minority government was fed with a
daily diet of his own flesh by the ZANLA fighters till he died!
In my own village one woman who protested against the capture of her niece
to be used as a sex slave by the ZANLA fighters (now war veterans) was
tortured with burning plastic for several days till she begged her ZANLA
tormentors to just finish her off. She was axed in her own hut and her body
was dumped in a compost she had prepared prior to her murder. ZANLA was ZANU
PF’s military wing. Worse still it was unlawful to mourn those murdered by
ZANLA forces, or even to bury them. This is why ZANU PF dispatched a busload
of supporters to Warren Hills to disrupt the burial of slain MDC activists
in May 2008.
A ZANU PF victim is killed in the most unimaginable, brutal and dastardly
manner. Back in the 70s, ZANU PF was just a liberation movement fighting
what they thought was a just war. Then came the Gukurahundi in which
Matebeleland and the Midlands provinces were turned into virtual war zones
by the marauding 5th brigade that reported directly to the then Prime
Minister Robert Mugabe. Again [state] terrorism is the best term to describe
And now, after the defeat of ZANU PF in the March 29 poll, the country is
again witnessing another horror campaign similar to what was witnessed
between 2000 and 2003. Several questions arise: Who is behind these extra
judicial killings and how does violence advance the ZANU PF cause. Whilst in
the media ZANU PF condemns violence it is clear on the ground they firmly
believe there is no politics without violence and no violence without
politics. They blame their electoral defeat on March 29 to the fact that
the election was too peaceful such that the opposition was given too much
latitude to penetrate ZANU PF strongholds. Perhaps its time to go back to
Ian Smith’s assertion and investigate whether ZANU PF is a terrorist
One web dictionary defines terrorism as ‘the unlawful use or threatened use
of force or violence against people or property to coerce or intimidate
governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious or
In another it is defined as ‘The systematic use of violence to achieve
political ends… [and] can be used by dictatorships to frighten their people
into submission and obedience’.
Lastly it is also defined by another as ‘a psychological strategy of war for
gaining political ends by deliberately creating a well-founded climate of
fear among the civilian population’.
Whilst terrorism is hard to define, even made more difficult by George Bush’s
‘global war on terror’, there are some generally agreed factors that qualify
a movement to be a terrorist organization. These are:
a.. Re: How Mugabe will lose
b.. Army should stand down
c.. Mutambara arrest madness -- Chamisa
d.. Biography: Who is Tendai Biti?
e.. Tsvangirai's explosive letter to Mbeki
f.. Army: Vote for Mugabe or quit
g.. MDC won't campaign
h.. MDC parliament first sitting
i.. Mugabe is possessed -- Tsvangirai
j.. We will never leave State House -- Grace Mugabe
k.. Don't go to Zimbabwe, US tells its residents
l.. A platoon on the rampage
m.. I refuse to go home
n.. We are innocent, War-Vets claim
o.. Mengistu, safe for now
1.. Use of coercion / violence to achieve political ends
2.. Destruction of property to frighten people into submission
3.. Creating a well-founded climate of fear among the civilian population
It is on the basis of these factors that the September 11 attacks on the WTO
by the Al Qaeda network were rightly defined as a terrorist attack. The
attacks targeted civilians, aimed at creating a climate of fear within the
USA and destroyed lives, buildings and aircraft to frighten the people. It
is also on this basis that many Western governments refused to acknowledge
the Hamas government in Palestine given its use of abductions, murders and
intimidation against the Israelis.
In many cases the methods used by Hamas and Al Qaeda are very similar to the
methods being used by ZANU PF against the opposition MDC and civil society
in Zimbabwe: systematic abductions, gruesome murders, torture, destruction
of homes and many other forms of intimidation.
Right at the inception of ZANU PF were seeds of terrorism, notwithstanding
the fact that one’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. The party
advocated for violence from the onset, never wanted negotiations except when
it was certain the odds were staked in their favor. Like Osama Bin Laden,
Robert Mugabe plays it smart and tactical.
He is rarely seen in public and claims his is a just war against forces of
imperialism. Because his political life hangs on rhetoric, Mugabe avoids
questions and public scrutiny. Like Bin laden, he is withdrawn from the
public domain and his life and health remains a mystery. This makes him
semi-God and creates an aura of infallibility and invincibility in him. From
behind the scenes he urges the youths to sacrifice for their country and
‘defend the gains of independence’.
Few understand what he means by defending the gains of independence. It’s a
declaration of war on the people! Forget about fighting an imperial war
against Britain and America. If that is the case let general Chiwenga lead a
platoon of Zim soldiers across the Atlantic. We read it is at Murambinda and
Gutu where the soldiers are firing their Chinese imported AK 47 Assault
rifles against unarmed civilians. This is a clear case of terrorism.
ZANU PF must not be surprised why the majority of states no longer want to
do business with them, the answer is simple: ZANU PF has manifested itself
as a Terrorist organization. The state sponsored murder of white commercial
farmers between 2000 and 2003 and Mugabe’s call on his faithful ‘to strike
fear into the heart of the white man’ unequivocally qualifies ZANU PF as a
The way ZANU PF leaders convince young men to do the unthinkable is no
different from the manner Osama Bin Laden tricked those young technicians to
hijack four cargo planes and crash them into ‘enemy’ buildings whilst he
himself stayed behind. It is no different from the way Hamas authorities
recruit young Palestinian boys to become suicide bombers after assuring them
of being rewarded with a mansion with hundred virgins each once they reach
Terrorism thrives on ideologies and rhetoric and often hijacking genuine
grievances for selfish ambitions. It feeds people with myths and half-truths
till these become reality in the minds of the people to such an extend they
commit heinous crimes without any regret or remorse. Rather it leaves them
with more zeal and determination to do what no normal human being can do.
Thus in dealing with ZANU PF it is important to know that it is more than a
political party. It has a religious tone whose doctrine glorifies cruelty,
violence and terror. Words like compassion, mercy and empathy do not exist
in the ZANU PF vocabulary. Change in Zimbabwe must include a complete reform
of ZANU PF that includes the prosecution of its terror leaders and
rehabilitation of its rank and file who have been educated in this terror
A New Zimbabwe is possible. Civic education is key to unlearning ZANU PF of
its terrorist ideology and rehabilitates the entire party so that it can
embrace the new democratic thinking sweeping across the entire sub region.
For this reason the Center for Research and Development is holding rural
workshops to discuss issues of human rights, democracy, good governance and
conflict resolution so as to free rural Zimbabwe from political violence.
Several methods that include door to door campaign, secret meetings with
individual war veterans, traditional leaders workshops on leadership, human
rights and good governance, youth workshops on peace and democratic
participation, women’s civil and political rights workshops and community
based conflict resolution mechanisms are being applied.
This is being done with the help of human rights organizations who have also
come to realize that there is need to take the message of human rights,
democracy and good governance to rural people. Merely voting ZANU PF out of
power is not sufficient to revive the Zimbabwean dream.
Farai Maguwu writes from Mutare. He is the Executive Director of the Center
for Research and Development and can be reached at email@example.com
June 02, 2008
[Episcopal News Service] The bishops of the Church of the Province of
Central Africa have issued a pastoral message expressing deep concern and
dismay at the escalation of violence in Zimbabwe. Representing the 15
Anglican dioceses in Central Africa, the bishops and vicars general have
called on "the perpetrators of these immoral and criminal activities to
respect the rule of law which safeguards and preserves human life and
In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital city, local police have repeatedly persecuted
and assaulted Anglicans in an attempt to stop them from attending Sunday
"We are concerned that their right to worship enshrined in the constitution
of Zimbabwe as well as the Article 18 of the U.N. Charter on Human Rights is
being violated," they said.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has said that the "continued
brutal attacks on Anglicans seeking to worship in peace leaves little doubt
that far stronger international action is needed to contain that nation's
rapidly escalating political crisis."
The bishops also raised concerns about reports of people being maimed,
killed, and denied decent burials, which "paints a contrary picture to our
African understanding of Ubuntu," they said in their May 30 message.
The full text of the bishops' pastoral message follows. A recent article
about the persecution of Zimbabwe's Anglicans is available here.
- - - - -
We the Bishops of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa,
comprising Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, "called to share in Jesus'
work of sanctifying and shepherding his people and of speaking in God's
name". As shepherds of our people we are deeply concerned and dismayed at
the escalation of violence in Zimbabwe since the post election of 29th March
We are alarmed that a government can perpetrate irresponsible acts against
its citizens by destroying people's homes, torturing and killing for the
simple reason that they did not vote "correctly." We fear that the
Presidential Run-Off elections on 27th June 2008 could witness a repeat of
retribution of those who would have not voted "correctly."
As bishops our mission has been and will be to preach the gospel of peace
and justice for all. Therefore we are distressed at what the people of
Zimbabwe are experiencing in an environment devoid of any resemblance of
justice and peace.
We call upon the perpetrators of these immoral and criminal activities to
respect the rule of law which safeguards and preserves human life and
dignity. The reports that people are being maimed, killed, and denied decent
burials, paints a contrary picture to our African understanding of Ubuntu.
All these point out to the leadership of these perpetrators that they have
lost a sense of nationhood.
As bishops we are also pained to hear that members of the Anglican Diocese
of Harare are being denied to pray in their church buildings. We are
concerned that their right to worship enshrined in the constitution of
Zimbabwe as well as the Article 18 of the UN Charter on Human Rights is
being violated. This mirrors the persecution of Christians of the Early
Church and in this context we remind the perpetrators that then as now God
still triumphs over evil.
As bishops, we pray that the right of the people of Zimbabwe as spelled out
in the constitution be upheld, that the judicial system as a reservoir of
integrity, without respect of persons in its judgement and ruling, be guided
by the spirit of justice and equity. That the law enforcement agents carry
out their professional duties to defend shared values. The political parties
respect the will of the people regardless of whether the results of the
elections are in their favour or not.
We offer this prayer for sanity and resolve to bring all people in Zimbabwe
to the realization that we are all God's children, created in His image to
love one another.
As bishops we commend all God's children in Zimbabwe to His mercy that they
may live in love, justice and peace.
In closing we offer this prayer to all:
Lord, you asked for my hands that you might use them for your purpose.
I gave them for a moment then withdrew them for the work was hard.
You asked for my mouth to speak out against injustice.
I gave you a whisper that I might not be accused.
You asked for my eyes to see the pain of poverty.
I closed them for I did not want to see.
You asked for my life that you might work through me.
I gave a small part that I might not get too involved.
Lord, forgive my calculated efforts to serve you
Only when it is convenient for me to do so,
Only in those places where it is safe to do so,
And only with those who make it easy to do so.
Father, forgive me, renew me
Send me out as a usable instrument
That I might take seriously the meaning of your cross.
Issued by the Bishops of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central
1. The Right Rev. Albert Chama - Bishop of Northern Zambia & Dean of the
Province of Central Africa
2. The Right Rev. Christopher J. Boyle - Bishop of Northern Malawi
3. The Right Rev. Peter Hatendi - Bishop of Manicaland
4. The Right Rev. Derek Kamukwamba - Bishop of Central Zambia
5. The Right Rev. Sebastian Bakare - Bishop of Harare
6. The Right Rev. William Mchombo - Bishop of Eastern Zambia
7. The Right Rev. Ishmael Mukuwanda - Bishop of Central Zimbabwe
8. The Right Rev. Robert Mumbi - Bishop of Luapula
9. The Right Rev. Trevor Mwamba - Bishop of Botswana
10. The Right Rev. David Njovu - Bishop of Lusaka
11. The Right Rev. Wilson Sitshebo - Bishop Matabeleland
12. The Right Rev. Godfrey Tawonezvi - Bishop of Masvingo
13. The Right Rev. James Tengatenga - Bishop of Southern Malawi
14. The Rev. Canon Michael Mkoko - Vicar General of the Diocese of Lake
15. The Very Rev. Brighton Malasa - Vican General of the Diocese of Upper
‘Tienie’ Martin’s Great Grandfather Marthinus Martin arrived in the Eastern
Highlands of what was then Southern Rhodesia in October of 1894. Having led
104 settlers on a harrowing journey north from South Africa the new arrivals
set about hacking a livelihood out of a largely deserted wilderness and
helped pioneer commercial farming in the new country.
His grandson Marthinus (ii) farmed on and became one of Rhodesia’s top
tobacco producers. ‘Tienie’ (Marthinus iii) grew up on Tiny Farm in
Inyazura. Youngest of three brothers with two sisters the Martins were a
pivotal family in the community with Marthinus (ii) widely respected by all,
a patriarchal figure filling the role of informal, ‘elder statesman’
Excelling at sport ‘Tienie’ shunned academia, much to the annoyance of his
father who gave him one shot at university and meant it. ‘Tienie’ was soon
back on the ‘plaas’ after a brief, fun-filled, but academically unrewarding
sojourn at ‘Tukkies’ where he represented Northern Transvaal and SA
Universities at athletics.
But back in Rhodesia he was quickly noticed on the rugby field by the
national selectors and earned his first national cap in 1966. By 1968 he was
in line for Springbok honours when injury struck and he was ruled out of the
South African tour of France.
In 1969 the British Barbarians, asked to choose the best fly-half they
encountered on their southern Africa tour were unequivocal in their rating
of him above Springbok Piet Visagie. Later that year there was criticism in
the SA press when Martin was overlooked in favour of Mike Lawless. He was
however chosen for the SA Gazelles and Springbok trials and also represented
the SA ’B’. By 1971 his competitive career, marred by injury, was over but
‘Tienie’ Martin had staked a claim for recognition as one of Rhodesia’s
greatest fly-halves. In the popularity stakes, with his good looks, charm
and sense of humour Rhodesian rugby lost one it’s most charismatic players.
Married to Charlotte in 1971 ‘Tienie’s father died in 1974 and he took over
the farm acquiring a reputation, in his own right, similar to his fathers;
liked and respected across the racial divide by all and a first-class
farmer. “I don’t think ‘Tienie’ Martin has an enemy in the world,” says
former fellow-farmer and friend, ‘Lochie’ Slabbert, “he is just one of the
nicest people I have ever known”.
But everything changed just after 1 o’clock on Monday 8th December of 2003
when ‘occupiers’ burst through the farm gates and told ‘Tienie’s daughter
Shelly that they were taking ‘Tiny Farm’ and wanted to see her father .
Hearing of the crisis nearby a neighbour phoned ‘Tienie’ who was in Harare
at the time. He hastened back that afternoon to meet a large man accompanied
by 12 youths in a belligerent mood. The man introduced himself as Joseph
Mujati, handed Martin a letter and informed him that he was taking over the
Martin looked at the letter and noted that that it was for the acquisition
of the adjacent property known as ‘Tiny Extension’ not ‘Tiny Farm’. He
pointed out this fact to Mujati who said it was irrelevant and that the
letter could be changed in two minutes to read ‘Tiny farm’. He was adamant
he wanted Tiny Farm and the Martin family home for 80 years. He told Martin
to start packing immediately and to get off the property.
“I insisted he was acting illegally,” remembers Martin. “I phoned the police
in Nyazura who arrived to tell me I would not be subjected to any violence
but that I had to pack and leave in the morning.
“Crack of dawn my wife Charlotte, my daughter Shelly and myself started
packing. Our situation was made worse by the verbal abuse we were subjected
to while trying to pack in the presence of two policemen.. This carried on
all the time but they could not wait for us to leave and the looting of the
house started while we were still there. Not even my golf clubs were spared.
100m away my eldest daughter Shayne was also being harassed and verbally
abused while trying to pack up her home. One policeman mentioned that he
could not believe his eyes. He was standing witness to a crime and forbidden
to do anything.
“We left that afternoon at 4:30pm with three vehicles and our furniture
thanks to friends and neighbours who sent transport to assist us without us
having to ask. We will be forever grateful. They were fantastic. I reminded
myself that we were lucky we had not been beaten or murdered like so many
others. My crops, livestock, tractors and workshop equipment was all left
behind. In a few hours we had lost everything. Three generations had worked
hard to build what was taken in a day.
“On the night of 12 December 2003, one of my workers who had been with me
for 12 years was called by Mujati and accused of being a ‘sell out’. He was
beaten, tied up in a net and dumped into the swimming pool. He was lucky to
survive. Another one of my workers who was looking after my cattle was
subjected to threats and had to flee. He later returned to carry on with
“The next day, a Saturday I went to the farm with the police but
was not allowed into the yard and not allowed to speak to any of my workers.
I was very worried about them and anxious to find out if they were alright
but forbidden to do so. Mujati told me that he was now also the owner of my
crops, and said he would pay for all of them as well as my equipment (to
this day 4 years on I have not received a cent and have lost millions of
Rands). I had paprika, maize and tobacco almost ready to be reaped. He told
me my workers were to stop working and that I should pay them their
gratuities as he would then take them over, and that our domestic staff were
to leave the farm.
“I was told by Mujati in the presence of a police Superintendent that none
of my tractors and equipment would be used by him or moved off the farm.
Soon after I left the tractors were sent out to work.
“After having meetings with the Governor of Manicaland I was told I could
finish my crops, but was never allowed to do so. Then I had a call from
Mujati telling me to get my cattle off the farm but I refused as I had no
where to put them. He then ordered the cattle to be left in the pens with
no water or food. A few days later I managed to get Mrs Harrison of the SPCA
to visit the farm to try to save the cattle and she reported back that they
were being looked after by my workers in spite of Mujati’s instructions.
“On Tuesday (13th Jan) I obtained another High Court Order instructing me to
return to my house and farm and remain there until all my crops had been
reaped. After the case I agreed to meet Mujati at the farm on the Friday,
but he did not appear.
“The next day a truckload of thugs arrived at the house I was temporarily
staying at, warning me against meeting Mujati. They warned me not to go to
the farm as I would be ‘dealt with’ and the house I was staying in would be
burnt to the ground. The home did not belong to me. It belonged to very
good friends of mine who were kind enough to let us stay there in the
interim. The mob also told me that the police had nothing to do with this
‘Tienie’ and Charlotte have not been back to their farm or home and live
with little more than memories in a small rented town-house in Harare.
The homestead, so recently a study in rural refinement and elegance that
radiated warmth and good cheer is dank and dark. The garden that once
bloomed in a riot of colour, a testament to the life of ‘Tienie’s mother
‘Miemps’ and then Charlotte who tended it with passion and care, is now a
mass of miserable weeds. The farm that pulsed with productive endeavour is
derelict, and the buildings are broken. ‘Tiny Farm’ is sliding swiftly back
into the state it was in when ‘Tienie’s forebears arrived over eighty years
But there is a sad twist in the tail of this sad saga. ‘Tiny Farm’ home of
Joseph Mujati, looks set to do what Marthinus Martin failed to do; produce a
rugby Springbok. Brian Mujati is an odds-on favourite to play against Wales
‘Tienie’ wishes Brian all the best in his rugby future.
From The Office of The President
PRIVILEGED, PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
13 May 2008
The Honourable Thabo Mbeki
President of the Republic of South Africa
Dear President Mbeki
On behalf of the National Executive of the MDC and millions of voters betrayed by Zimbabwe’s chronic election disasters, I am writing to respectfully request, once again, that you recuse yourself from your role as exclusive mediator of our nation’s crisis.
You will recall that on 8 April, as we peacefully and patiently waited for the results to be announced by ZEC – although we knew the result – a document was brought to my attention by sympathisers in the Zimbabwe military establishment. This document showed that a decision had been taken by the Zimbabwe government to deploy military, war veterans and militia in a violent campaign against supporters of the MDC. This operation has now resulted in many of our supporters being beaten, maimed and killed.
I immediately alerted the SADC leadership including you of these developments. As you know, it is this information that precipitated the Extraordinary SADC Summit on 12 April.
Two days before this meeting I met with Your Excellency in one of the few times we have met face to face. (You will recall that the first time I held a private meeting you in five years was in December 2007). On 10 April I gave you copies of the documents, and briefed you fully about the destabilising and violent plans of the Zimbabwean security forces. You expressed deep concern and suggested you would convene a meeting between myself and Mr. Mugabe before the SADC Summit. I travelled to South Africa and waited for a full day for this meeting that you said you would set up. No one from your office ever contacted me.
In view of continual mixed messages about your role, I feel in the next few passages I must explicitly outline several of the key reasons that the MDC again kindly requests that you no longer serve as the exclusive mediator for the Zimbabwe crisis.
Lack of confidence in your neutrality
Your lack of neutrality became increasingly evident when I arrived to the Lusaka Summit to see you and Mr. Mugabe on television together proclaiming there is "no crisis" in Zimbabwe. The fact you made this inexplicable comment after a meeting I learned about only on television, naturally alarmed both me and MDC’s National Executive, given what you knew. Following this comment, and others you made to SADC Heads of State, it became clear to MDC’s National Executive that it must urgently review our relationship with you and your role in the mediation.
May I respectfully mention that when you started mediating, Zimbabwe still had a functioning economy, millions of our citizens had not fled to other countries to escape political and economic crisis, and tens of thousands had not yet died from impoverishment and disease. In fact, since the 29 March election, Zimbabwe has plunged into horrendous violence while you have been mediating. With respect, if we continue like this, there will be no country left.
Not only have you been unable to denounce the well-documented post-election attacks on our people, but your government even played a role in Zimbabwean government procurement of weapons of repression (tear gas and batons, for example) and agreed to allow passage of arms of war purchased by the same government through South African territory during the troubled post-election period.
Attempting to intervene in the internal affairs of our party
We made it clear to Ms. Mojanku Gumbi and Minister Sydney Mufamadi that MDC was no longer willing to participate in any initiative in any form or shape under your mediation. At one point, we were forced to formally communicate this in writing to Ms. Gumbi. It is therefore with considerable disappointment that I later learned that you have continued to make representations in meetings and to the media that you are the mediator and that you are in discussions with the MDC and ZANU-PF.
I do not understand how this can be so when I personally communicated our position. Most recently, Isaac Maposa of the Zimbabwe Institute came to see me saying that he had been sent to try and set up a discussion between you and me with respect to mediation. I told Mr. Maposa to convey to you that the position taken by MDC’s National Executive with respect to your role in the mediation had not changed.
A few days later it was suggested that you were again in contact with a member of my National Executive, Secretary-General Tendai Biti. This interaction is reminiscent of that which happened prior to the break up of the MDC in October 2005. I respectfully submit to you that such "private" meetings contributed to the misunderstandings that later led to a split in our organization. I urge you in the future if there is any matter that requires my attention, that you please communicate with me directly, unless it has been otherwise arranged in writing.
Blocking United Nations Security Council discussions on Zimbabwe
As you know, when MDC attempted to appeal to the United Nations Security Council to investigate and help stop the carnage, it was you, the so-called "neutral" mediator, who blocked a possible road to resolution of the crisis. Given your role as formal mediator, South Africa should have recused itself from this discussion. Another principle of mediation is that a mediator cannot publicly defend or endorse the position of one side or the other, which South Africa did at the United Nations.
Ignoring and suppressing the Khampepe Report on the 2002 elections
At the time of writing, I have just been made aware a further development that would seem to incontrovertibly compromise your perceived neutrality. If it is true that you both ignored and suppressed the detailed 2002 election report written u judges Sisi Khampepe and Dikgang Moseneke, then you certainly must stand down with immediate effect. I will quote the words of Jeremy Gauntlett who led MDC’s 2002 Presidential Election challenge, "there can be no good reason to keep secret the Khampepe-Moseneke report. By doing so Mbeki implicitly confirms what it must contain and that he has no moral claim to mediate a state of affairs at which he has, in secret, connived."
With regard to the above report, I have not yet had time to investigate the matter but given the gravity of the allegations, I believe it is your responsibility to immediately and publicly explain to the Zimbabwean people any perceived complicity in perpetuating Mr. Mugabe’s rule in 2002. We will follow up with you on this matter in due course.
Breaching the principles of mediation
It is a universally accepted principle that in a mediation between two parties, if one party does not have confidence in the mediator – irrespective of qualification, level of knowledge or perceived sense of success – that mediator must stand down. This is what you did in a similar situation in the Cote d’Ivoire mediation.
I am aware that MDC’s decision regarding your role in the mediation was brought directly to your attention. Once I had formally advised the Chairman of SADC of our decision, as it is this bode that appointed you as mediator, we then held a press conference at which I publicly announced the same message – that the crisis now required a new mediator.
Please note, irrespective of the fact that we kindly request you to stand down immediately as mediator, MDC, of course, still considers South Africa a vitally important neighbour and member of SADC. We remain fully committed to SADC’s critical role and have no problem with South Africa’s participation in mediation efforts. It is your own involvement as exclusive mediator to which we take exception.
In closing, as our people continue to die in post-election violence, as the Zimbabwe Election Commission still refuses to announce a runoff election date, and as our economy continues to drive the Zimbabwean people into poverty and despair, I am writing to once again respectfully inform you that the MDC sees you role as mediator as neither appropriate nor effective. As a leader, whilst you may not have respect for me as a person, I can only ask you to respect the position that I hold, which position has been endorsed by the majority of Zimbabweans who voted for me.
Very truly yours
Hospitals are struggling to cope with bloodshed ahead of runoff election
Jun 02, 2008 04:30 AM
Foreign Affairs Reporter
Violence is cutting a bloody trail through Zimbabwe as autocratic President
Robert Mugabe fights for his political life against rival Morgan Tsvangirai
in a runoff poll that has left many wondering whether the country is heading
for a new democratic dawn, or a further round of destruction.
Tsvangirai, who says he is confident of winning the second presidential
ballot later this month, maintains that he already passed the 50 per cent
barrier needed for outright victory in an election held March 29.
A long-delayed official vote count said he had fallen short, gaining only
47.9 per cent to Mugabe's 43.2 per cent. In a parallel parliamentary poll,
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change won by a narrow margin, handing
Mugabe the worst defeat of his 28-year rule.
Since then, Zimbabwe has seen some of its most brutal violence in decades,
with fatal attacks on at least 50 opposition activists, many by youthful
militia gangs who back Mugabe's re-election.
Hospitals are struggling to keep up with hundreds of casualties, who include
elderly and handicapped people. Not even children have been spared.
"Politically motivated violence has resulted in the destruction of hundreds
of people's homes, thousands of children not returning to school, and scores
of children beaten," said a statement from UNICEF in southern Africa. "It
has seen children turned away from schools, and in some cases schools used
as centres of torture."
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party denies waging a campaign of violence, and accuses
Tsvangirai's supporters of attacking its members. But diplomats and human
rights advocates have denounced what they say is state-sponsored political
"There appears to be an increasing pattern of people being targeted for
politically motivated assassination," UN human rights chief Louise Arbour
said last week. "Arrests, harassment, intimidation and violence – directed
not just at people with political affiliations, but also at members of civil
society – are continuing on a daily basis."
Tsvangirai, who fled the country for a month after threats on his life, said
Zimbabweans would not be intimidated by the violence.
"If Mugabe thinks he has beaten people into submission then he will have a
rude shock on the 27th of June," he told reporters Friday.
In his first official trip outside Zimbabwe since the disputed elections,
Mugabe arrived in Rome yesterday for a Food and Agricultural Organization
summit that begins tomorrow.
Also yesterday, Zimbabwean police arrested the leader of a breakaway faction
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Arthur Mutambara,
who leads an MDC splinter group, was arrested for publishing an article
critical of Mugabe, Reuters reports.
MDC lawyer and opposition MP Eric Matinenga, who was picked up on Saturday,
was being charged with inciting public violence, a party spokesperson said.
Tsvangirai has reached out to moderates in the ZANU-PF party, saying "in the
spirit of moving the country forward, let us seek out those peaceful members
... whose eyes are open to the disastrous state of our nation. Let us listen
to their views. Let us invite them where we have policy agreements."
The invitation was rejected by hard-liners. And Mugabe's wife, Grace, on a
tour of rural Zimbabwe, told SW Radio Africa "even if people vote for the
MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai will never (set) foot inside State House."
But election issues are far from clear-cut, says Zimbabwe expert Knox
Chitiyo of the London-based Royal United Services Institute.
"Mugabe is not only head of state, but head of his party and
commander-in-chief of the armed forces. It's one thing to leave him behind
as president, but quite another to move away from him in those other roles."
With the armed forces firmly in Mugabe's grip, Tsvangirai has little choice
but to seek a compromise transitional government if he wins the poll,
On Saturday, Zimbabwe's army chief, Maj.-Gen. Martin Chedondo, warned his
troops they must either back Mugabe or quit – a warning also to those who
believe the military could split because of the bloodshed, and the economic
collapse that has bankrupted much of the country while inflation spirals out
Fear may keep some Zimbabweans from casting ballots later this month. As
attacks on known and suspected opponents continue, police have been put in
charge of the polls.
But, says Chitiyo, with inflation at a breathtaking levels, unemployment
burgeoning and low-paid wage earners forced to choose between a meal or a
bus ride to work, desperation may be the deciding factor.
"They will be voting with their stomachs," he said.
Author Releases Revised Book About Politics in Zimbabwe from an Insider’s
Viewpoint - Power to the People by Nancy Lazarus
Zimbabwean author Nancy Lazarus, releases insightful chronicle of the events
of the troubled nation of Zimbabwe and the politics of the day.
May 31, 2008 (FPRC) -- "Power to the People" is a chronicle of events in
Zimbabwe from independence and the experiences of the ordinary people as the
country's government changed hands from colonial rule to an independent
country. The challenges of the regimes in the two eras, the administrative
styles, the strategies adopted by the regimes to hold onto power, and the
impact all this had on the ordinary person, the skilled and professional
manpower, the public services and the economy, are expressed from an insider’s
Nancy Lazarus started writing this book in 2002 because of her frustration
with the dishonesty of her country’s politicians. “They were deceiving
innocent people especially children who had no idea of how the country came
to be in the state of decadence it is in now” says Nancy. "Politicians in
valued power and holds everyone to ransom... The harassment of people of
different thoughts retarded progress. The government was obsessed about
looking for enemies from its own people. The enemies were people of diverse
thoughts and ideas. The politicians forgot that progress comes when people
have peace and freedom of thought and innovation..."
“….Many people, within the country and outside, wished for a new day, where
there were no economic refugees, where there was leadership that cared about
improving the conditions of service for the general public that offered
decent salaries, and fringe benefits, and aimed at manpower retention in the
A second and more comprehensive edition has just been released in 2008.
Power to the People can be obtained at the following address: