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Zimbabwe police block Tsvangirai from rally


Fri 6 Jun 2008, 9:10 GMT

By Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean police blocked opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai from reaching a rally on Friday in his campaign ahead of a
presidential run-off vote later this month, a Reuters photographer said.

Tsvangirai was stopped from reaching a rally outside Zimbabwe's second
largest city, Bulawayo, after police put up a roadblock. His Movement for
Democratic Change party accuses President Robert Mugabe of trying to
sabotage his campaign.

"The police set up a roadblock on the way to How Mine, where Tsvangirai was
heading as part of his campaign tour in Matabeleland," the photographer

Tsvangirai was not detained as he was earlier this week for several hours.
There was no immediate comment from police.

The MDC leader postponed plans to attend the rally and continued to another
town where he went on a walking tour at a shopping centre, meeting and
talking to residents.

His party said earlier on Friday that harassment of diplomats and aid groups
showed Mugabe's government would fail to respect the rule of law during the
June 27 presidential election run-off.

The accusation by Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC, came a day
after police detained U.S. and British diplomats outside Harare and relief
agencies were barred from doing work in the country.

"It is almost as if the regime is sending out a message to the region, to
the international community that it doesn't care, that it has no respect for
life, it has no respect for the rule of law," Biti said in a presentation at
the World Economic Forum for Africa in Cape Town.

"The regime is increasing the decibels of insanity."

Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a March 29 election but failed to win the majority
needed to avoid a second ballot. Tsvangirai was held and questioned by
police for eight hours earlier this week while campaigning.

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NGOs in Zimbabwe discuss government order to suspend all field work

Monsters and Critics

Jun 6, 2008, 10:15 GMT

Harare - Aid agencies and charities in Zimbabwe were meeting Friday to
discuss an order from government to immediately cease their field operations
amid fears for the welfare of the millions of needy Zimbabweans.

On Thursday social welfare minister Nicholas Goche sent a letter to the NGOs
informing them to suspend their field activities, claiming some NGOs had
breached laws governing their activities.

President Robert Mugabes's government is accusing some NGOs of rooting for
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in March elections.

A government spokesman was earlier reported as saying all NGOs would have to
reapply for accreditation but no such order was contained in the letter sent
to the NGOs, an employee with a British- based aid agency pointed out on
condition of anonymity.

Aid agencies have said the ban will wreak 'untold harm' on the country,
where thousands of NGOs play a critical role in providing food, shelter,
health care and education for millions of Zimbabweans affected by the
country's economic collapse.

The United Nations World Food Programme has estimated that around 4 million
Zimbabweans are in need of food aid.

Some NGOs had already complained that their distribution of aid in rural
areas had been been severely hampered since the March elections by a
campaign of militia violence targeting mainly opposition supporters.

Last week, British-based charity Care International was already ordered to

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Zimbabwe ignores world opinion, rule of law - MDC


Fri 6 Jun 2008, 8:41 GMT

By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN, June 6 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's harassment of diplomats and aid
groups shows it will fail to respect the rule of law during the June 27
presidential election run-off, the country's main opposition party said on

The accusation by Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Movement for
Democratic Change, came a day after police detained U.S. and British
diplomats outside Harare and relief agencies were barred from doing work in
the country.

"It is almost as if the regime is sending out a message to the region, to
the international community that it doesn't care, that it has no respect for
life, it has no respect for the rule of law," Biti said in a presentation at
the World Economic Forum for Africa in Cape Town.

"The regime is increasing the decibels of insanity."

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a March 29 election but failed
to win the majority needed to avoid a second ballot. Tsvangirai was held and
questioned by police for eight hours earlier this week while campaigning.

On Thursday, police stopped and held five U.S. and two British diplomats for
several hours after they visited victims of political violence, prompting
strong condemnation from the U.S. and British governments.

The United States blamed the diplomats' detention firmly on Mugabe's
government, which Washington accuses of trying to intimidate Tsvangirai's
supporters ahead of the election.

U.S. ambassador James McGee, who was among those detained, will lodge an
official complaint in a meeting with Zimbabwe's foreign ministry, the U.S.
embassy in Harare said on Friday. It was not clear when the meeting would

McGee would also protest at the assault of a Zimbabwean staff member and
damage to an embassy vehicle, a U.S. official said.

Zimbabwean police said the diplomats had triggered the incident by failing
to identify themselves when they were stopped at Chipadze outside the

"In essence, they were reducing themselves to common criminals because if
they had identified themselves there would have been no problems," police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the state-controlled Herald newspaper.


Mugabe's government suspended the work of all international aid agencies in
the southern African nation on Thursday.

Zimbabwe, once one of Africa's most prosperous countries, has seen food
production plummet since 2000 when Mugabe's government began seizing
thousands of white-owned farms as part of a land redistribution programme to
help poor blacks.

Many of the farms have ended up in the hands of Mugabe loyalists, and the
country now faces chronic food shortages. It has had to rely on handouts and
imports to feed its people.

Zimbabwe has accused CARE International and other non-governmental groups of
political involvement, including campaigning for the MDC. CARE and others
deny the charges.

"This suspension is a direct threat to the lives and well-being of tens of
thousands of innocent people in Zimbabwe," said Henrietta Fore, the
administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a
government agency.

The United States provided more than $170 million in food aid to Zimbabwe in

The U.S. and British governments, along with human rights groups and
Zimbabwe's opposition, have accused Mugabe of a campaign of violence to try
to keep his 28-year hold on power. Tsvangirai says 65 people have been

Mugabe blames his opponents for the violence and sanctions imposed by
Western countries for the collapse of the once prosperous economy. The
opposition says he ruined Zimbabwe through mismanagement.

The Southern African Development Community, a regional grouping of 14
nations, including Zimbabwe, is sending observers to monitor the run-off.
(Additional reporting by Nelson Banya in Harare; Writing by Paul Simao;
Editing by Charles Dick)

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Zimbabwe's opposition still open to talks on unity government: Biti

Monsters and Critics

Jun 6, 2008, 9:53 GMT

Cape Town - As political violence mounts in Zimbabwe with just three weeks
to go to a presidential run-off election, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) on Friday reissued calls for dialogue with President
Robert Mugabe on a government of national unity.

'It is in the best interest of the Zimbabwean people to talk. We're ready to
dialogue,' MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti told a debate on Zimbabwe at
the World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

If the two sides had not managed to hold talks by the June 27 run- off vote
'we will be unable to talk after,' Biti warned, predicting 'June 27 will not
be different from March 29.'

But the MDC was sticking by its insistence that its leader Morgan Tsvangirai
head up any 'government of national healing.'

The MDC claims Tsvangirai was the outright winner of the first round of
voting in the presidential elections on March 29.

The official count showed the 56-year-old former trade unionist falling
short of the 50-per-cent-plus tally needed for a direct win, thrusting him
into a run-off against Mugabe on June 27.

Zimbabwe's neighbours, including South Africa, have been pushing the idea of
a unity government but there is disagreement over who should lead it.

State media in Zimbabwe have said the role should fall to Mugabe, despite
him placing second to Tsvangirai in March.

Biti said that a powersharing deal should allow Mugabe 'to play golf' and
guarantee the security of his assets, stressing the MDC was not interested
in revenge.

He also referred to people 'in the president's courtyard' who were fearful
about the 'blood on their hands,' without saying what their fate under an
MDC-led unity government would be.

Simba Makoni, Mugabe's former finance minister, who also ran for president
in March but came in a distant third, said the situation in Zimbabwe was a
lot graver than on March 29.

Youth militia loyal to Mugabe have gone on the rampage since the elections,
beating and killing opposition supporters - over 60, by the MDC's count.

In further evidence of an attempt by the state to hammer the opposition
Tsvangirai was detained by police on Wednesday for several hours while
campaiging and MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara was arrested last week
over an article he wrote that criticized government.

By contrast, the run-up to the March election was relatively peaceful.

'This is not a leadership, that is servicing pedople, but a leadership, that
attacks people,' Makoni said. There was no semblance of a free and fair
election, said Makoni, who has been tipped as a possible kingmaker in any
powersharing deal because he has cross- party appeal.

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Aid ban 'threatens Zimbabwe innocents'

Updated 20 minutes ago

(CNN) -- Zimbabwe's government has ordered all relief organizations to halt
operations in the country, prompting fears that millions who depend on food
aid could be plunged further into crisis.

Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche said all aid groups were ordered to
cease operations until after a presidential runoff vote scheduled for June
27 is concluded, a journalist in the country said.

The move comes amid mounting global concern over the situation in the
southern African country, where President Robert Mugabe is accused of
crushing opposition while driving a once-stable economy to the edge of

Henrietta Fore, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International
Development, urged the government of Zimbabwe to "lift the suspension on all
international aid agencies involved in humanitarian work in the country."

Fore told CNN that the "suspension is a direct threat to the lives and
well-being of tens of thousands of innocent people in Zimbabwe."

In another development on Thursday, a convoy of U.S. and British diplomats
was halted by Mugabe supporters and threatened with violence in what both
countries have condemned as a major breach of diplomatic protocol.  Watch
condemnation over diplomatic detentions »

U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee said the British and American
vehicles were halted at a roadblock, where Mugabe supporters slashed their
tires and threatened to burn the vehicles with the diplomats inside.

Zimbabwean Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga denied McGee's claims,
insisting the diplomats were detained after trying to flee police at a

The alleged incident, which ended with the release of the unharmed envoys,
will be seen as the latest in a long line of efforts by Mugabe's regime to
antagonize international critics -- particularly the country's British
former colonial rulers.

And threats aimed at what McGee said was a mission to check on
election-linked violence will do little to ease concerns over the June 27
vote, despite claims by Mugabe that he will end his three-decade rule if he

Opposition politicians, led by Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for
Democratic Change party, insist they won an initial round of voting in March
and say Mugabe supporters are intimidating voters ahead of the runoff
Tsvangirai was detained by police for more than 10 hours on Wednesday before
being released without charge.

Zimbabwe government officials, who told the United Nations that the
restrictions on aid agencies was limited to Christian relief organization
CARE, said the ban was imposed because aid workers had been involved in
political campaigning.

Boniface Chidyausiku, the Zimbabwean ambassador to the United Nations, said
he was reviewing the activity of all non-governmental organizations.

"What we find is that there have been complaints about NGOs operating as
Trojan horses for the oppositions, but the opposition has denied it," he

Henrietta Fore, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International
Development, urged the government of Zimbabwe to "lift the suspension on all
international aid agencies involved in humanitarian work in the country."
Fore told CNN that the "suspension is a direct threat to the lives and
well-being of tens of thousands of innocent people in Zimbabwe."

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Zimbabwe's disenfranchised voters

New Zimbabwe

By Alex T. Magaisa
Last updated: 06/07/2008 09:46:33
IF MOST most people were asked to describe the picture that forms in the
mind at the mention of the term 'vote rigging', they would probably give an
account of shady characters in dark glasses, dark coats, operating under
cover of darkness busy stuffing ballot boxes, changing figures, shredding
and burning documents. That may be so, but, in fact, one simple and less
dramatic picture of vote-rigging is that of a system that simply prevents
persons from exercising their right to vote.

Zimbabwe's electoral regime contains a number of features that prevent
persons from voting or at the very least, increase the risk of preventing
persons from voting. In that way the electoral regime plays a crucially
negative role in disenfranchising citizens.

Disenfranchised Diaspora

For a start, an attempt sponsored by Jeff Madzingo, The New Zimbabwe CEO, to
challenge the constitutionality of the system which disenfranchises
Zimbabweans living out of the country was dismissed by the Supreme Court in
March 2005. This effectively cemented the disenfranchisement of a
significant number of Zimbabweans who have every right to participate in
their country's electoral process.

In most countries, including SADC countries, efforts are being made to allow
citizens abroad to participate in the political process. The Zimbabwe
government, in its wisdom, has not been willing to do that. That is probably
because the Diaspora population is not viewed as a natural constituency for
the ruling Zanu PF party.

Local But Displaced

But there is a more pressing matter, concerning those persons resident and
present in Zimbabwe but are likely to be disenfranchised come June 27. These
are the people who, by circumstance of the deliberately engineered mayhem,
violence and intimidation, have become displaced from their normal homes.

It is reported that thousands of people have been displaced from their homes
due to the violence raging in the countryside, especially in the Mashonaland
provinces. If these persons are to exercise their right to vote, the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will need to devise a special mechanism
for that purpose because the current legislation effectively nullifies their
right and leaves them disenfranchised.

It is important to illustrate why there is a great risk of
disenfranchisement unless the ZEC intervenes, either to stop the violence
and displacement and also to facilitate people's return to their homes.
Alternatively, the ZEC could facilitate their ability to exercise their
right, wherever they may be physically situated on June 27.

The Ward-Voting System

The problem commences with the mandatory ward-voting system. The effect of
Section 110(3) of the Electoral Act is that the Run-off will be conducted in
the same way as the March 29 election. This means that in accordance with
Section 56 of the Electoral Act, persons will be required to vote in the
wards in which they were registered on the voters' roll. It states that;
'(a) every voter registered on a ward voters roll shall be entitled to vote
in the ward concerned for a Presidential candidate .'

However, there is a proviso to that section, which states that, a person
whose name does not appear on the ward voters roll shall still be entitled
to vote upon production to the presiding officer of a voters registration
certificate. This is the certificate normally issued to a person when he
registers on the voters' roll. It is therefore highly significant that every
voter retains and takes to the polling station the voter's registration
certificate, just in case one's name does not on the ward voters' roll.

But these provisions have two important implications:

First, it means that if the person's name is not on the ward voters' roll
and does not have the registration certificate, he will not be able to vote.
This is where the violence and confiscation of voters' registration
certificates or identity documents becomes a key instrument of

Second, Section 56(1) (b) of the Electoral Act prohibits a person from
voting in a polling station outside the ward in which he is registered as a
voter on the ward voters roll. The combined effect of these provisions is
that a person can only vote in a polling station located in his ward.
Conversely, if the person is outside his ward, he is effectively
disenfranchised unless he qualifies for postal voting.

This means that the displaced voters will not be able to cast their votes on
June 27 unless there is a legal and practical facility to enable them to do
so. These victims of violence have, effectively, been disenfranchised. It
demonstrates the effectiveness of preventing people from voting as a rigging

Is the Ward-Voting System necessary in a Presidential Election?

It is difficult to understand the necessity of requiring persons to vote in
their respective wards in an election that is essentially national rather
than ward-focussed. One can understand the rationale for the ward-based
voting procedure in the March 29 election on the basis that it was a
harmonised election in which voters were required to vote not only for the
presidency and MPs but also for the councillor of that specific ward. That
necessitated the restriction of voters to their respective wards.

However, the same rationale is less justifiable in the case of the run-off
election, which only concerns the Presidency, a national rather than
ward-based office. People should be able to vote at any place where they may
be at the relevant time so long as they can authenticate their identity and
eligibility to vote.

ZEC'S Constitutional Mandate

One of the ZEC's chief constitutional functions under Section 61 (4) (a) of
the Constitution is to 'ensure that those elections and referendums are
conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with
the law'. The ZEC may argue that the ward-based voting system is vital for
efficiency and, indeed, for transparency but it is equally important that
the values of fairness and freedom be upheld. The displacement and
consequent disenfranchisement does not satisfy these values.

The ZEC should devise cost-effective and practical ways to enable people to
vote at any place beyond their respective wards. Ideally, people should vote
in their wards and most will do so because it is cost-effective and more
convenient for them. But those who, for good reason, are unable to be in
their wards should not be unduly prevented from voting by a rigid system
that fails to take into account the realities of their situation. That there
has been violence and displacement is common knowledge and there is, surely,
sufficiently good reason why many voters cannot be in their wards on June

ZEC's Powers

In fact, this is one instance in which the ZEC's law-making powers provided
for under Section 192 could be put to good use. These regulatory powers have
already been used at least twice since March 29, first, when extending the
run-off deadline from 21 days to 90 days and second, in prescribing new
forms and procedures to be used in the counting and verification of votes on
June 27.

To be sure, these powers provide various grounds for abuse. These are, by
and large, the same powers that were formerly vested in the President under
the notorious Section 158 of the old Electoral Act and were only nominally
transferred to the ZEC, whose autonomy remains a subject for debate.

The concerns over these powers notwithstanding, Section 192 (4) empowers the
ZEC to, 'make such statutory instruments as it considers necessary or
desirable to ensure that any election is properly and efficiently conducted
and to deal with any matter or situation connected with, arising out of or
resulting from the election'. It is submitted that the matter concerning the
displacement of voters is of critical importance to the proper conduct of
the run-off election. For that reason, the ZEC should at least make
provision to enable such persons to vote.

There may be concerns that opening the voting system beyond the ward-system
will create opportunities for further rigging but surely, enabling voters to
exercise their right is of great importance. The system has created a
greater moral hazard that by displacing people, they will not be able to
participate in the election and that the first, and perhaps most effective
way of rigging the election.

Alex Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, UK and can be contacted at

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Hunger fears after Mugabe aid ban


      08:39 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 09:39 UK

      Aid workers are concerned that Zimbabwe's "desperate" situation may
get even worse after the government banned the distribution of food aid.

      Some four million people - a third of the population - rely on aid
after poor harvests and an economic crisis.

      "Its going to make things absolutely desperate," Christian Aid's
Judith Melby told the BBC.

      She says the ban could be a way to make sure there are no aid workers
in rural areas to witness political violence.

      News of the ban came as US and British diplomats were detained and
reportedly threatened in northern Zimbabwe on Thursday.

      They said they were investigating reports of political violence ahead
of the 27 June presidential run-off.

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A shameless leader

Chicago Tribune

  June 6, 2008

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe spent this week at a United Nations
summit in Rome on how to end hunger. If you follow what has been happening
in Zimbabwe, that's enough to make you retch.

This man has turned his country from Africa's breadbasket into a regional
beggar. Hundreds of thousands of his people are at risk of starving.

When he was in Rome, Mugabe accused the West of using food as a political
weapon. He has ordered several outside agencies to suspend their efforts to
deliver food to his people and claimed that the West is working to bring
about "illegal regime change" in Zimbabwe. What Mugabe thinks of as "illegal
regime change" is what the rest of the world neatly calls an "election."
Mugabe faces one on June 27, and he could lose.

While Mugabe was trying to hobnob in Rome, his thugs back in Zimbabwe were
doing what they do best: ratcheting up an intimidation campaign.

On Wednesday, police arrested Morgan Tsvangirai, who is running against
Mugabe in the presidential election. Tsvangirai and about 14 of his
associates were held without cause for eight hours and then released.

On Thursday, police, military officers and other Mugabe cronies detained 11
U.S. and British diplomats for six hours.

Mugabe is ensuring that only his allies can dole out food, another
intimidation tactic in a poor land. By suspending the work of aid
organizations, he has sidelined people who might bear witness to the
government's violent crackdown against opposition supporters. At least 50
people have been killed in the crackdown.

Inflation in Zimbabwe runs at more than 165,000 percent a month. Life
expectancy has plunged to 35. Land that could be used to grow much-needed
food lies fallow. And Mugabe insists that Zimbabwe's problems stem from the
nefarious interference of the West.

On Tuesday night in Rome, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
co-hosted, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, a state dinner for leaders
attending the food conference. Mugabe was left off the guest list, an
intentional snub.

But how do you shame a man as shameless as Mugabe? You don't. You beat him.

An election in Zimbabwe doesn't have much direct impact on us in Chicago. It
doesn't affect the price of gas. It doesn't put the Cubs or Sox closer to
the World Series.

Nevertheless, what's going on there should tear your heart. Hope and pray
for regime change on June 27.

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Terror and neglect

Baltimore Sun

  June 6, 2008

The despots are having a bloody field day.

In Zimbabwe, President Robert G. Mugabe's surrogates continue to terrorize
his people for the sin of exercising their free will. Since the March
election, when Mr. Mugabe failed to win a majority, Zimbabweans have been
harassed, assaulted and attacked, and as many as 65 killed. The mayhem led
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to decamp abroad for seven weeks, and
since his return May 24 to compete in the presidential runoff election, he
has faced a series of indignities. The most recent was his arrest this week
on the bogus charge of campaigning too far in advance of the June 27 vote.
Three of his followers weren't as lucky; they were shot and killed by
unknown gunmen in an office of Mr. Tsvangirai's political party. In another
chilling turn, the government abruptly banned the work of one of the largest
relief agencies in the country; that leaves fewer witnesses to the
government's reign of violence and more hungry Zimbabweans who depend on
CARE's aid operations.

President Bush and other world leaders have condemned Mr. Mugabe's tactics,
but participants at a U.N. global food summit in Rome should have banned the
Zimbabwe president from the event or, at the very least, shown him the door.

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Whilst Robert Mugabe was at the food summit...

Dear Friends,


…. The few pictures below represent a very small proportion of  the results of  what Robert Mugabe is doing to the people who dared to vote, or were suspected of  voting against him. As you can see, the pictures were taken this week. The situation is seriously deteriorating and the time for talk  has long gone. When are world leaders going to take this matter more seriously and ACT? This is a war against the people of Zimbabwe, using state resources and the states military organs. Why is the free world allowing this to happen? Why is South Africa continuing the silence?  This is a crisis of major proportions, by any civilised standards. This is despite what people like Thabo Mbeki may say.


To bishop Tutu, I make a special plea to  you to go to Zimbabwe and show solidarity and prayer with these victims.  You have a special place in the hearts of all Africans. Please go there and pour oil to calm the troubled waters and ease the pain of these poor souls. They need you at this time.


I ask you all to do whatever you can to stop this silent genocide. This has to stop.



Chris Garner



These horrifying pictures of Kudakwashe and David, who were burned almost beyond recognition in Zaka (Masvingo province) this week, by Army hit squad.  They were in their MDC office when the Army petrol bombed it.

Many of you will have heard my predictions of GENOCIDE and plea's for intervention. Perhaps this and the attack on diplomats yesterday will galvanise someone somewhere into action.

The threats to close down embassies and ngo's further emphasises the GENOCIDAL situation our beloved country is in.

Zanu PF and the Army Generals will stop at nothing to keep this corrupt government in power.


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Getting Mugabe out

Los Angeles Times

The U.N. Security Council should condemn Zimbabwe's president and his chief
enabler, South Africa.
June 6, 2008

It's a shame that the Iraq war has made it impossible to advocate regime
change, because Zimbabwe's strongman, President Robert Mugabe, is such a
deserving candidate. While the CIA has been dutifully keeping its powder
dry, Mugabe, a despot who lacks oil or nuclear weapons, has become an
increasingly lethal menace to his own people.

Zimbabweans voted for peaceful regime change in March. Despite intimidation,
they voted in such numbers that Mugabe was unable to steal the election
outright and has been forced into a June 27 runoff with challenger Morgan
Tsvangirai. Mugabe's response has been to unleash a reign of terror: death
squads, mass beatings of political opponents, crackdowns on themedia and on
aid groups that have been feeding the desperate populace. This week, he
gate-crashed an international agricultural meeting in Rome, where, as usual,
he blamed Western colonialists for his failures. Meanwhile, his police
detained Tsvangirai for nine hours on the pretext that the rival
presidential candidate drew too large a crowd. And his goons stopped a
convoy of American and British diplomats who were attempting to investigate
the political violence, slashed their tires and threatened to burn them to
death in their cars.

Mugabe is beyond hope, but it's worth attempting an international pressure
campaign against his chief enabler, South African President Thabo Mbeki.

"Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa," Mbeki famously answered those
who have urged him to curb Mugabe's excesses. That's true. It's more like a
protectorate of South Africa. South Africa supplies food, fuel, money,
remittances and electricity to its neighbor. The electricity runs Zimbabwe's
vital platinum mines, in which South African firms own a large interest.
Platinum prices have hit record levels, and anxious manufacturers, including
the Chinese, are desperate to prevent disruption of supplies. Could a threat
to cut off the free electric power make Mugabe's minions more amenable to a
political settlement?

Two million Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa, where some have been
murdered by angry mobs. To date, however, the African Union has looked the
other way. If the AU wants credibility, its new leader, Tanzanian President
Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, must condemn the violence in Zimbabwe and insist on
unrestricted access for election monitors. So must the U.N. Security
Council, where decent nations should demand the appointment of a special
envoy and an investigation of the violence. If China, South Africa or Libya
won't help, they bear responsibility for Zimbabwe's impending implosion.

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Reclaim the Beloved Country

June 5, 2008
By Bvumbu
In pain and with blood all over,
With empty stomachs,
Without any freedoms,
In despair,
In detention,
In death,
In lawlessness,
Your best bet is to finish us up
For the biggest mistake you can ever make
Is leaving a few of us alive by June 27, 2008
Because then
In our wheelchairs
With our crutches
With our scars
With our wounds
We will show you our stuff
Our might, our force,
Our anger, our disgust,
Our civility,
Our determination
Our wisdom
In the mean time
We will pretend to be with you
We will smile with you but without you
We will rally with you but without you
We will sing with you but without you
We will laugh with you but without you
We will accept your bribes for you looted them from us anyway
We will compromise our dignity and lie to you
We will tell you what you want to hear
We will tell you we adore you in our loathing state
You will go Robert Gabriel Mugabe!
It is time to go!
It is not your choice!
It is our will!
Our will shall reign!
No soldier will stop us
No police force will stop us
No air marshal will stop us
No amount of intelligence will stop us
With all their might
With all their firepower
With all their fat bank accounts
They will succumb
All to the mighty of the Pen!
When the pen reclaims my beloved Country!

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Zambia lodges diplomatic protest against Zimbabwe


LUSAKA, June 6 (AFP)

Zambia's government has lodged a formal protest with neighbouring Zimbabwe
over continued accusations that Lusaka is in league with Western nations to
oust President Robert Mugabe, an official said Friday.

Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande said the Zimbabwean government, through its
mouthpiece the state-run Herald newspaper, has regularly accused Zambia's
President Levy Mwanawasa of pushing for regime change in Harare.

"We have lodged a note verbale, which is a diplomatic communication to the
Zimbabwean government, to protest over the sustained malicious campaign
against Zambia," Pande said in a statement.

Relations between Zambia and Zimbabwe have been strained ever since
Mwanawasa likened the economic meltdown across his country's southern border
as a 'sinking titanic' and urged other African countries to intervene in the

Mwanawasa, who is head of the 14-member Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC), has been pushing for hardline stance on Zimbabwe although
other countries prefer a more softly-softly approach.

In a piece earlier this week, the Herald said Mwanawasa had "admitted that
he was under pressure from Britain and its Western allies to exert pressure
on Zimbabwe" and said his "confession followed a series of questionable
decisions over Zimbabwe".

According to a diplomatic source, almost all diplomatic contacts between the
two countries have been curtailed in recent months after Zimbabwe's
government accused Zambia of receiving 'aid' from the West to push for
regime change.

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Unspoken Trauma of Women

Fahamu (Oxford)

5 June 2008
Posted to the web 6 June 2008

Miriam Madziwa

In addition to the psychological trauma of sexual violence, Miriam Madziwa
argues that the violence is likely to have an adverse effect on women's
participation in politics into the future.


There is haunting weariness in Precious Zhove's eyes as she recounts events
leading to her fleeing her home in Mberengwa in Zimbabwe's southern region.
Clutching at her 18-month-old baby, she relives the horror of the day war
veterans, ZANU PF supporters, and soldiers descended on her homestead
looking for her husband Joab Gumbo, who contested to be a councilor under a
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ticket.

"I was trying to tell them I did not know where my husband was since it was
in the afternoon. They grabbed my baby, this one here and tied a sack around
her waist then one of them started swinging her while holding her by the

"They said she was an MDC baby so they were going to take her away from me.
They said that way me and my husband would have another baby, a Zimbabwe
African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) baby this time, because
they don't like MDC people, and they are sell-outs."

While she pauses to catch her breath, she sighs, "Oh not again," and shifts
the baby on her lap. The baby has no nappy, so her skirt has become wet. She
explains the baby has no nappies or warm clothing. "I didn't have time to
pack anything. The moment my husband returned home we left."

Zhove's story is just one of many I have listened to in recent weeks as more
and more families in rural Matabeleland and Midlands flee from harassment,
intimidation, and beatings characterising the post March 29 period in

Media show images of injuries caused by the brutal attacks. The footage and
reports are frightening. Burnt buttocks, breasts severed, limbs broken, and
backs festering with wounds from plastic burns. Stories of pregnant women
having their stomachs cut open or men young enough to be their grandsons
raping elderly women.

Yet, away from the cameras, audio recorders, and notebooks there is
emotional and psychological trauma that victims endure in stoic silence.
Zhove is lucky to be out of physical harm's way. However, she is in
continuous emotional turmoil. Her conscience gnaws at her heart over the
fate of her two school-going children left behind in Mberengwa.

"I don't know what they are eating. I don't know whether they are going to
school. I'm not even sure if they are still alive. I pray all the time that
they are safe and that I will see them again soon."

"I wonder sometimes whether I should have stayed with my children. If the
war vets came back and killed me, at least my children would know my fate.
Right now they don't even know I am here."

Broken bones heal with time if the victims are fortunate enough to access
medical treatment. The verbal abuse and the psychological impact of the
beatings, sexual abuse, and public humiliation will haunt these women
forever. It reminds me of the ditty: "Sticks and stones may break my bones
but words can hurt forever." The violence inflicts deep emotional wounds
among victims, their relatives, and friends.

An added repercussion is the effect that the violence is likely to have on
women's participation in politics. The post-election violence reinforces
long held beliefs that "politics is a dirty and dangerous pursuit that only
men can dabble in." The violence gives politics a bad name and pushes women
further onto the fringes of active politics.

The majority of women targeted are political activists who openly admit they
are in politics to try to ensure a better future for their children. Women
polling agents and candidates who contested in local council elections are
key targets. Winning female councilors in rural areas are being hounded out
of their homes and therefore, being denied the chance to work and help
develop their communities.

Added to these politically active victims are hundreds of women who are
killed, raped, harassed, humiliated and abused simply because they are
mothers, wives, sisters and aunts of prominent MDC activists.

An elderly granny who had fled her home in Kezi tells of the shame she
endured during a rally when "youthful war veterans" taunted her using
abusive and vulgar language because her son is an MDC activist.

She confided that how unhappy she was to be living with her daughter in-law
indefinitely. "I want to be home and not get in my daughter in-law's way.
But I am too afraid to go back."

Mostly women carry the heavy responsibility of explaining the horrifying
events to scared, confused and traumatised children. They also try to ensure
life goes on as usual for the children amid all the upheaval and

Mothers have to answer questions of "Baba varipi? Ubaba ungaphi? (Where is
daddy?)" from children whose fathers have fled their homes in the dead of
night. These women have the daunting task of trying to make senseless
reprisals make sense to their children.

Women are the people who have to make sure that even after houses and
granaries are razed to the ground, children are clothed and fed. Moreover,
these same women live with the unspoken scorn of close relatives for
"allowing" themselves to be raped by war veterans.

Yet in communities where war veterans have set up the infamous "bases"
everyone knows that women have no option but to "agree" to rape in desperate
attempts to protect their families.

The true extent of humiliation that violated women are enduring became clear
when a man from the Midlands narrated the extent of sexual abuse in his
wife's presence.

"Every woman who is still young is being raped by these brutes who threaten
to destroy homesteads if women do not give in to their demands. We men, know
it's happening even though women don't talk about it. We know they are
desperate to spare their husbands and families victimisation. We are going
to be raising children that are not ours, but AIDS is the real threat in the
community now."

While the man spoke, his wife was shaking her head silently, tears streaming
down her cheeks. The effect of all these experiences is to traumatise
Zimbabwean women into silence, and out of the political arena.

Ultimately, to quote writer Chenjerai Hove in Shebeen Tales, there is the
long term danger that if the violence, harassment and abuse continues
unabated, "women will remain of politics and not in politics." And that will
do liitle to make sure their needs are cared for in the future.

*Miriam Madziwa is a freelance journalist based in Zimbabwe. This article is
part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service that provides fresh
views on everyday news

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Misa Denounces Purging of Journalists At State Broadcaster

Misa Denounces Purging of Journalists At State Broadcaster for the Purposes
of 'Partisan Political Expediency'

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

5 June 2008
Posted to the web 6 June 2008

Eight Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporations (ZBC) employees have been summarily
sent on paid vacation leave for two months, letters written to them by the
Head of Human Resources Benania Shumba in early June 2008 indicate.

The eight include senior employees at the State broadcaster, Robson Mhandu
(Television Production General Manager), Lawrence Maphosa (television
production manager), Patrice Makova (news editor), Sibonginkosi Mlilo
(executive producer, Nhau/Indaba), Monica Gavera (executive
producer-national language) and reporters Brian Paradza (business
correspondent), Robert Tapfumaneyi and Garikai Chaunza.

In a letter viewed by MISA Zimbabwe, one of the allegations levelled against
some of the journalists is that they were "acting in a manner inconsistent
with the fulfilment of the implied conditions" of their contracts.

The 8 have also been ordered to surrender their ZBC identity cards and other
items that belong to ZBC and are forbidden from interacting with other
employees or even visiting the state broadcasters' premises.

MISA-Zimbabwe expresses its gravest concerns over what can reasonably be
perceived as the deliberate purging of journalists at the state broadcaster
for the purposes of partisan political expediency on the part of those that
are still in charge of the state media.

Further still, MISA Zimbabwe notes that in the face of a Presidential
election run-off, this deliberate purging of media personnel at the ZBC can
only be construed as being part of an orchestrated campaign to intimidate
not only state media personnel but the Zimbabwean media fraternity as a
whole. Media freedom violations of journalists in the form of intimidation,
arrest and conviction of media personnel has taken a sharp turn for the
worse especially since the elections held on 29 March. Such a situation
should be condemned by all human rights activists in the country.


The suspensions come barely a month after the dismissal of Chief Executive
Officer, Henry Muradzikwa, on 14 May for defying ministerial orders to deny
the opposition Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) favourable coverage in
the run-up to the 29 March elections. Over the recent months there have also
been media reports that senior government officials have been having
meetings with personnel in the state media in attempts to ensure that they
cover the ZANU PF party in a positive light.

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Country Observers Head to Zimbabwe Ahead of Elections

BuaNews (Tshwane)

5 June 2008
Posted to the web 6 June 2008

Vivian Warby
Cape Town

A preliminary group of South African observers will head off to Zimbabwe
this week ahead of the country's presidential run-off elections, according
to Minister in the Presidency, Aziz Pahad.

The minister said the numbers of observers to Zimbabwe had increased
substantially and by 27 June the South African Development Community (SADC)
observers would also be in place.

SADC observers will not only be observing the voting but intervening where
there are acts of violence in an attempt to disrupt a free and fair election

SADC observers will ensure that conditions are created where "even the
opposition would be happy," said Mr Pahad.

Despite skepticism, said Minister Pahad, no one had challenged the
Presidential elections held in March.

Opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change,
just fell short of gaining a straight majority leading to a run off
elections. The results of the March elections were withheld by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission for weeks.

Minister Pahad said following allegations of violence in Zimbabwe in the run
up to the elections, President Thabo Mbeki had dispatched senior South
African retired generals to assess the situation in the country and to
report back to him.

When asked about the arrest of MrTsvangirai for a few hours, Mr Pahad said
everyone was committed to the fact that the rule of law must prevail in
Zimbabwe and that the will of the people must be reflected in the elections.

It was the task of facilitators to put a stop to activities that hinder the
will of the people, he said, adding that all allegations would be followed
up by the facilitation team in Zimbabwe.

The minister said South Africa's agenda was to insure that Zimbabwe would
again be part of the SADC strategic programme of action.

Minister Pahad said a total of 31 organisations and countries would be there
to observe the run-off elections.

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RBZ to Deal With Zeros

The Herald (Harare)  Published by the government of Zimbabwe

6 June 2008
Posted to the web 6 June 2008

Walter Muchinguri

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is working on a solution to deal with the
accumulation of zeros in monetary transactions.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Dr Gideon Gono said he would make an
announcement on the issue before September 1. "The issue of digits is the
prerogative of the governor and I will be coming back to the nation with an
announcement soon," he said.

Dr Gono was responding to concerns raised by Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction
Centre's general manager Mr Wilson Nyabonda when he visited the Boka Tobacco
Auction Floors on Tuesday. Mr Nyabonda had raised concern that the
accumulating zeros had made it difficult for them to keep track of
transactions. Mr Nyabonda said their banker had resorted to opening multiple
bank accounts for them to cope with the increased inflows of money into the
Zitac account. ZABG chief executive Mr Stephen Gwasira said their system was
designed to cater for transactions of up to $10 trillion. Anything above
that would create a digit overflow as was the case with the Zitac account,
hence the need to open additional accounts. Dr Gono said the bank had been
inundated with calls to deal with the issue of zeros but maintained them to
fend off accusations of whittling the value of people's money following the
lopped off zeros two years.

"After people said Gono had stolen our money I said fine you can have them,"
Dr Gono said. The accumulating zeros have presented challenges especially to
businesses and individuals as prices continue to escalate. Most businesses
have resorted to removing at least three or six zeros from prices in order
for them to manage the excess digits. Meanwhile, Dr Gono told tobacco
farmers that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would this year embark on a
programme to acquire trucks to ease transport challenges faced by farmers.
Dr Gono said the trucks, which would be used to ferry produce to delivery
points and also carry inputs back to farmer's homes would start operating
next year. He said the trucks would be available to all farmers and not just
tobacco farmers. In addition he said the central bank was looking at
introducing district committees to oversee the movement of buses allocated
to each district under the National Transport Enhancement Program- me.

Dr Gono said this had been necessitated by the fact that most of the buses
were operating outside their districts when they were expected to be moving
around the district.

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Zimbabwe inflation problem to worsen

National Post

'A Lot Of Suffering'; One-billion Zimbabwean dollars needed to buy US$1

Alia Mc Mullen, Financial Post, With Files From Reuters  Published: Friday,
June 06, 2008

It's a sad day when those that can afford to buy a loaf of bread need to
cart 600-million Zimbabwean dollars to the store. But the situation is only
set to get worse in the crippled southern African nation.
Amid surging inflation and political unrest, the Zimbabwean dollar has
depreciated to such an extent that US$1 now buys an average Z$1-billion.
Traders quoted the currency as selling for as much as Z$1.45-billion against
the greenback yesterday, a jaw-dropping Z$700-million higher than at the
start of the week. The currency traded at equal value to the U. S. dollar in

"A currency dropping to 1.45-billion to the U. S. dollar is definitely an
indication that the whole currency regime has collapsed -- the economy has
collapsed," said Karanta Kalley, regional managing director of Global
Insight, Africa Group.

The currency has depreciated 84% since the Zimbabwean central bank floated
the dollar on May 5. It had been pegged at Z$30,000 per U. S. dollar since
Sept. 7 last year.

Mr. Kalley said the currency was being driven higher by the political unrest
in the country, which has caused a massive loss of revenue, cash shortages
and the highest inflation rates in the world.

Central bank figures show inflation rose at an annual pace of 165,000% in
February, but analysts predict it could have surged as high as 1.8-million
per cent in May.

"It's difficult to imagine, especially when you don't live under these
conditions," Mr. Kalley said.

He said inflation was being driven higher by the central bank's lack of
independence, with the government, led by dictator President Robert Mugabe,
ordering more and more money to be printed to meet demand.

Inflation began to surge in 2000 when Mr. Mugabe began to seize land from
white farmers and reallocate it to landless blacks. The action caused much
instability in the country and a steep drop in agricultural production, the
main staple of the Zimbabwean economy.

Mr. Mugabe was prime minister of Zimbabwe from April, 1980, to December,
1987, when he then assumed the presidency. He lost this year's March 29
democratic election to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai by two votes,
forcing a run-off election to be held on June 27.

"I think it will maybe get worse before it gets better," Mr. Kalley said.
"Mugabe is still adamant about staying in power."

The cost of a loaf of bread is reported to have risen to Z$600-million from
Z$15-million before the Zimbabwean elections.

"For the day-to-day average people, there's a lot of suffering. Those who
could flee, fled," he said.

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