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Voters feel bite of Robert Mugabe's Crocodile

The Sunday Times
June 8, 2008

As the presidential election run-off looms, a sinister former spy chief is
using every weapon to ensure his master wins

Jon Swain and John Follain in Rome
As Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace flaunted their presence in Rome last
week - he as a controversial guest at a United Nations food summit defending
the brutal rule that has left Zimbabwe bleeding and impoverished, she
closeted in a luxury hotel - a powerful group of military and security
chiefs masterminding the president's election battle was leaving nothing to

Led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a sinister former spymaster known as "the
Crocodile" who recently took control of the ruthless Joint Operations
Command that now effectively runs the country, a violent crackdown was
stepped up against the opposition and the voters who had the temerity to
support it.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), was harassed and threatened as he attempted to hold rallies before
the presidential run-off on June 27. MDC supporters were beaten and jailed.
At least 65 have been murdered since the disputed first round of the
election in March.

Diplomats who tried to investigate the violence were attacked. Aid agencies
attempting to feed the victims of Mugabe's disastrous policies were banned -
all the better to hide the humanitarian disaster and political thuggery from
the outside world.

"We are dealing with a desperate regime here which will do anything to stay
in power," said James McGee, the American ambassador, after an incident in
which police held five American and two British diplomats.
The misery of the Zimba-bwean people was a world away from Rome where
Mugabe, 84, and Grace, 39, were leading a 60-strong delegation, the biggest
from the African continent barring Egypt, to the food summit.

According to sources close to the Zimbabwe delegation. a third of Mugabe's
cronies alone ran up a £12,000 bill at the five-star Ambasciatori Palace
hotel on the Via Veneto, which has hosted stars such as Liza Minnelli, Sean
Connery and Sofia Loren.

Mugabe and his wife followed in their footsteps by staying in a £480anight,
fifth-floor suite boasting two bedrooms with three king-sized beds and two
pink marble bathrooms complete with a vast whirlpool bath.

Wary of provoking negative headlines about her notorious passion for
shopping, Grace remained in the hotel for much of the visit and instead sent
out members of the delegation to make purchases on her behalf.

The couple brought a personal uniformed butler and two chefs from Harare.
The chefs, wearing surgical-style face masks, worked from a kitchen separate
from the hotel's restaurant. Asked whether his boss feared being poisoned,
George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman, replied: "Many people are his enemies,
but that's not the reason. He follows his own diet."

Mugabe used his speech at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's summit
to blame the suffering facing millions of his people on sanctions
masterminded by Britain. It was a familiar cry from a leader who has sought
to paint his opponent Tsvangirai as a British puppet.

Food has become a blatant tool for vote-rigging. McGee, the US envoy, said
that to receive food aid, MDC supporters had to surrender their identity
cards to government officials who would hold on to them until after the
election, depriving them of their vote. But supporters of Zanu-PF could keep
their identity cards and so were free to vote. "It is absolutely illegal,"
he said.

He spoke out after the authorities had suddenly ordered aid groups to halt
their operations, even though they are the only lifeline for millions who
depend on them for food and supplies as the economy crumbles.

Without their help, aid deliveries to more than 4m people will be severely
hampered. More than half the population scrapes a living on less than 50p a
day and average life expectancy is just 35, according to the UN.

Many impoverished Zimbabweans will now be entirely dependent on Mugabe's
government and Zanu-PF, his ruling party. The struggle to survive, the
authorities calculate, will force them to vote for him.

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive officer of Save the Children, said:
"Without this lifeline, levels of malnutrition and disease will increase and
children could die as a result."

After losing to Tsvangirai in March, Mugabe contemplated standing down. But
a small circle of military and security chiefs, worried about their own
fate, convinced him to stay by assuring him they could deliver a second
round victory.

To achieve this they have set up what amounts to a military operation
designed to force those Zimbabweans who had deserted Mugabe back into his
Zanu-PF camp.

Mnangagwa, 61, is Mugabe's electoral mastermind. A ruthless operator, he was
security supremo during the notorious "Gukuruhundi" slaughter of 20,000
members of the minority Ndebele tribe in the early 1980s, during the early
years of Mugabe's rule. The fate of the two men has been inextricably bound
together since the killings.

While Mnangagwa plans the overall strategy, the organisers of the violence
on the ground are two senior serving officers - General Constantine
Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe defence force, and Augustine Chihuri,
the chief of police.

Chiwenga in particular was instrumental in persuading Mugabe not to quit.
Even before the March election he had said the army would not support an
opposition-led government. He and his wife Jocelyn, a one-time barroom
waitress, are among those in the leadership who took over white-owned farms.

In 2002 Jocelyn was quoted as having told a white farmer, whose property she
coveted, that she had not "tasted white blood since 1980" - the year of
Zimbabwe's independence - and missed the experience.

Chihuri, the police chief, is also a staunch Mugabe loyalist who is credited
among Zimbabweans as having done more than anyone else to politicise the
police force by turning it into an arm of Zanu-PF. "He owes everything to
Mugabe," said an informed source. "He is Mugabe's hatchet man in the
politburo - very tough, very ruthless, very hardline."

In his role as police chief, a position he has held since 1993, he has
presided over the brutal suppression of many antigovernment demonstrations.

These two senior officers have divided overall operational command
geographically between Air Marshal Perence Shiri, covering Mashonaland in
the north, and army commander General Philip Sibanda, who covers the
southern provinces of Matebele-land and Masvingo.

Whether the "securocrats" can beat and rig their way to victory remains
uncertain. As Mugabe headed home from the luxuries of life in Rome at the
end of last week, some in Zanu-PF were questioning whether the violence
would prove counter-productive on polling day.

Mugabe, however, showed no signs of backing off from the fight of his life
and his military chiefs were pressing murderously on to keep him in power.

Additional reporting: Frederick Cowper-Coles

Reign of terror

- 65 people killed since first round of voting on March 29

- About 25,000 displaced

- Thousands injured

- Opposition leader and western diplomats briefly detained

- MDC supporters forced to surrender IDs needed to vote in return for food

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Mugabe plans to win - then hand over power

Sunday Times, SA

Sunday Times Foreign Desk
Published:Jun 08, 2008

Emmerson Mnangagwa shaping up as dictator's heir apparent.

President Robert Mugabe plans to step down next year - after securing power
by hook or by crook in this month's presidential runoff.

It is believed Mugabe, ruler of Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in
1980, is preparing to hand over power to key ally Emmerson Mnangagwa at
Zanu-PF's congress next year.

a.. But first, the veteran leader plans to do everything he can to beat
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change, beat Mugabe in the presidential election on March 29 by
47.9% to 42.3%, necessitating the runoff.

After winning the election, Mugabe will then set the stage for Mnangagwa to
take over.

The minister of Rural Housing and Social Amenities has been anointed as heir
apparent because Mugabe believes he will carry on his legacy, according to

Mnangagwa has emerged as the second most powerful person in Zimbabwe since
the elections after being appointed chairman of the Joint Operations Command
(JOC), which is running Zimbabwe until a new president and government is
sworn in.

Insiders say Mugabe has recently taken to hinting about his imminent
departure from Zanu-PF .

He told his party's central committee - Zanu-PF' s second most powerful
decision-making body - that it was inevitable that he would pass on the
baton. "Succession is a fact of biology, of life," said Mugabe. "No one
individual governs for ever. I have to be succeeded."

Mugabe, however, did not publicly name a successor.

One Politburo member indicated that Mugabe might stay on for about 18 months
after winning the run-off - and a date will need to be set for Zanu-PF's
next congress.

"The problem is that if he wins and then goes immediately, the party will
collapse," said the member. "There is a lot of factionalism and divisions.
Mugabe is very aware of it. That's why he is staying despite the indications
that people are tired of him."

Another member said: "His priority is to win the runoff against the British
puppet (Tsvangirai) and then serve until the next congress."

While Mugabe has not publicly identified his successor, Mnangagwa is widely
considered to be the favourite.

Mnangagwa, who is also Zanu-PF's secretary for legal affairs, is said to
have a "vice-like grip on both the party and the government that is almost

"He is likely to emerge as the next leader at congress. At the moment he is
the one doing all the donkey work, co- ordinating our must-win campaign
strategy," said a politician .

Mnangagwa, a lawyer by training, was dispatched to the extraordinary summit
of SADC in Lusaka, Zambia, last month to argue Mugabe's case .

Ministers are known to consult Mnangagwa first on key issues and all contact
from outside the country has been made through him, insiders say.

He was said to have been "almost anointed" by Mugabe because he was
acceptable to Southern African leaders - because of his liberation-war
credentials - and respected abroad as a result of many years spent in key
government positions.

However, Mnangagwa's future was not always as rosy.

He appeared to fall from grace in 2004 for allegedly plotting with other
ambitious politicians to try to change the party's leadership . When the
plot - known as the Tsholotsho Declaration - was uncovered, Mugabe suspended
six provincial party chairmen and dismissed controversial Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo.

But insiders said Mnangagwa survived by arguing that Mugabe had to be part
of any leadership change.

But in the divided world of Zanu-PF politics, Mnangagwa's coronation is not
yet a done deal.

Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu-PF secretary for administration, insisted last week
that it was premature to discuss Mugabe's exit. "Why should we talk about
that and who says he has an exit strategy. Our priority is to win the
elections and shame the British," said Mutasa. "Mugabe is our leader. No one
will rule this country except Mugabe."

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Zanu-PF bares its fangs as final showdown nears

Sunday Times, SA

Published:Jun 08, 2008

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe stepped up efforts to snuff out his
opposition this week, with his chief rival arrested twice, NGOs and
political rallies banned, and foreign diplomats harassed.

With only three weeks to go until Zimbabwe's presidential runoff, police
briefly detained opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday for the
second time this week and directed his party to cancel political rallies,
effectively preventing him from addressing voters.

a.. And the Zanu-PF government's requirement that all NGOs suspend their
humanitarian operations, which grew out of the authorities' claims that some
were supporting the opposition, has outraged officials in the US and Europe,
as well as the UN .

Relief agencies said the order, issued this week, would deprive millions of
desperately poor Zimbabweans of food aid and other basic humanitarian
assistance. Unicef, for example, depends on 25 NGOs to provide education,
health care and food to 185000 orphans in Zimbabwe.

"It's a horrible situation," said James Elder, Unicef's spokesman in
Zimbabwe. "The children continue to find ways to survive , but this is
profoundly disturbing . "

Similarly, the World Food Programme said on Friday that the prohibition on
aid operations would prevent "314000 of the most vulnerable people in the
country" - the elderly, the disabled, schoolchildren, tuberculosis patients
and "HIV-positive bedridden" people - from receiving food this month.

World Vision, another large relief agency, said it had planned to feed about
400000 people in Zimbabwe in June and was particularly concerned about the
welfare of the 1.3 million children under the age of five who had been
orphaned by Aids.

Meanwhile, the Movement for Democratic Change says space for peaceful
political protest keeps shrinking.

The opposition party said it had received a written notice from the police
that rallies it had planned in townships of the capital, Harare, would have
to be cancelled because the safety of party leaders could not be
guaranteed - a seemingly paradoxical rationale, given that the police had
confiscated Tsvangirai's armoured vehicle on Wednesday.

The government's decision to block rallies is a blow to Tsvangirai, a
charismatic figure who drew large, enthusiastic crowds before the March
election. He has survived three assassination attempts and was severely
beaten by the police in March 2007.

A police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, blamed the opposition for Tsvangirai's
detention on Friday, saying that his convoy had crashed through a roadblock

Police officers and soldiers also detained a contingent of US diplomats for
five hours on Thursday at a roadblock, slashing the tyres of their vehicle
after a six-mile chase. The diplomats had been investigating state-sponsored
violence against the MDC .

The Bush government is livid about the episode, and the US State Department
plans to seek a discussion about the mistreatment of its diplomats in
Zimbabwe at the United Nations Security Council. - ©(2008), The New York

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We will not stand by and watch Mugabe destroy Zimbabwe

Scotland on Sunday

Published Date: 08 June 2008
By Douglas Alexander

He and his henchmen are gearing up to try to steal the election

I BELIEVE there is a duty for the strong to help the weak; that to walk by
on the other side is just not an option. Thankfully, after 10 years in which
development and the alleviation of poverty have been at the heart of this
government's agenda,  nobody can accuse the people of this country of that
crime. And yet Robert Mugabe, having dragged his country down into the
slough of poverty and deprivation, is compounding his.

His people are suffering. The international community stands ready to help
and indeed has been helping. And now, having abused and impoverished his
fellow Zimbabweans, he is blocking the help they so desperately need. Having
tried to crush his people he is now denying them a cure.

Up to four million people in Zimbabwe rely on food aid supplied by
international aid agencies. By ordering those agencies to suspend their
operations, Mugabe is putting lives at risk. He is, quite simply, using
hunger as a political weapon as he tries desperately to cling to power. This
deliberate decision to target the poorest and most vulnerable people is
beyond contempt.

All this comes at the end of the week when Mugabe had the effrontery to try
to lecture world leaders at the international food summit in Rome. I
travelled back to Glasgow this weekend from that meeting and talks in Cape
Town with the South African finance minister, Trevor Manuel, and the
president of the ANC Jacob Zuma. In my discussions I stressed the need for
aid agencies to be allowed free and unfettered access to the people most in

The truth is that, despite his claims in Rome, Mugabe's ruinous land reforms
have brought Zimbabwe to its knees and left his people in desperate straits.
Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, the fertile soil of Zimbabwe now
lies fallow, untended and unfarmed. Mugabe blames the collapse of
agriculture on Britain, the old colonial power. Nothing could be further
from the truth. The Department of International Development spent £40m on
humanitarian aid last year - bypassing the abhorrent regime to deliver help
to the people.

Most international aid is delivered by non-governmental organisations, such
as Oxfam and Save the Children. But, in past weeks, the security forces have
made it nearly impossible for the aid agencies to do their job. The reason
is simple: if Mugabe can limit the access of foreigners to large swathes of
the country, he can also limit the information reaching the outside world.

That would mean the appalling violence and intimidation which is scarring
preparations for the run-off in the presidential elections could carry on
without fear of consequences. The suspension of aid is a deliberate
political strategy. At the same time, opposition activists are being beaten
up and Mugabe's opponent Morgan Tsvangirai faces constant harassment.
British and US diplomats trying to check reports of intimidation were this
week blocked from doing their work.

No wonder the Zimbabwean government has still not said it will let
independent observers monitor the long delayed final phase of the elections.
The game plan is obvious: Mugabe and his henchmen are gearing up to try to
steal the election. No amount of recounts could change the result of the
first round voting. That left the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
as the biggest party and gave Tsvangirai a clear lead over Mugabe. The
result clearly stunned Zanu-PF, which has governed since independence in
1980. But its hardline leadership was not ready to release its hold on

Over the coming weeks the crisis is likely to get worse. If Mugabe wins the
run-off, I fear for the future of his people. They are the real victims of
his despicable political manoeuvring. In the coming days, Britain and the
international community will continue to do all we can to keep aid flowing.

We will work with our partners in the EU and the UN to ramp up the pressure
on the regime to allow the aid agencies to feed the hungry. We will continue
to press for international observers to be permitted to monitor the
elections and we will continue to encourage the efforts by neighbouring
countries to seek a solution to this crisis.

As he has become more despotic, Mugabe has shown even greater disregard for
his citizens. It doesn't have to be this way.

We in this country and the international community are not walking by on the
other side - yet Mugabe seeks to push us aside. Our aid is not for him, but
for the Zimbabweans he makes suffer. But he will find our path is straight
and our resolve will not be deflected.

Douglas Alexander is the UK's International Development Secretary

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You're safe, Mr Mugabe; we will not act

The Sunday Times
June 8, 2008

Where now are the fine words of the international community in the Noble
Nineties, boasting the new doctrine of humanitarian intervention?
Simon Jenkins
Robert Mugabe's decision to ban relief for his desperate citizens infringes
every canon of human decency.

It puts the Zimbabwean government - perhaps too dignified a term - beyond
the regimes even of Burma and Sudan in callousness. The crude device of
state food for votes is a direct challenge to world sympathy, and to those
who believe that such sympathy should be more than a collective cry of woe,
and should motivate action.

The human tragedies still being experienced in the Irrawaddy delta and in
the deserts of Darfur are now unseen. They have vanished from the world's
screens, as old news is not news. Rulers in these countries have stopped the
wellsprings of global reaction at their source, that of publicity.

We therefore hear no more about international forces being sent to protect
villagers or separate forces in Darfur, or to stop their children being sold
into slavery. We hear no more about pressure on Burma to admit aid convoys.
Last weekend Robert Gates, the American defence secretary, said he would not
confront the "criminal neglect" of the Burmese generals; indeed he would
withdraw the flotilla of aid ships waiting just miles offshore from some 2m
people facing disaster.

Without the oxygen of information, humanitarian sentiment loses its anger
and becomes just a dull ache. It can no longer override considerations of
state sovereignty and the natural caution of diplomats and generals.

Zimbabwe, however, is still news.

That country's ragged cloak of democracy has kept it in the world spotlight.
Its brutal rulers still hold elections of sorts and tolerate a minimal level
of political opposition.

Mugabe is even believed to have been on the point of standing down two
months ago, after losing a presidential election to Morgan Tsvangirai, the
opposition leader. He was dissuaded from cutting a deal on his future safety
by his security and police chiefs, who were terrified of what less benign
fate might await them.

Now Zimbabwe is in chaos.

People are uprooted, property confiscated, houses burnt, aid workers banned,
opponents of the regime killed or mutilated and foreign diplomats arrested
and their staff beaten. Tsvangirai is under a rolling arrest.

While the capacity of a subsistence economy to withstand collapse is always
impressive, Zimbabwe is held back from mass starvation only by the flight of
a quarter of its people beyond its borders. There is no way Mugabe is going
to risk losing this rerun election.

Where now are the fine words of the international community in the Noble
Nineties, boasting what Tony Blair called "the new doctrine of humanitarian
intervention"? He declared in 1998 to rousing applause that the world order
"could not turn its back" on flagrant "violations of human rights within
other countries . . . Success is the only exit strategy I am prepared to

We are older and wiser now but the germ of a widely accepted idea remains.
Today's world is indeed reluctant to stand by when large numbers of people
are dying as a result of the deeds of alien regimes, however sovereign. It
did not leave hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Kosovans or East Timorese to
be driven from their homes or to their deaths but mobilised opinion to aid

Even where the concept of such intervention was corrupted and abused, as in
the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it is to humanitarianism that
apologists for these ventures still resort for justification. These
countries must be occupied, they say, to save their people from a fate worse
than self-determination. Humanity requires it.

This noble cause has vanished in the wind. Almost before it is put to the
test it is gone. The failure to intervene in Darfur and the deference shown
to the dictators of Burma and Zimbabwe indicate a pendulum swinging fast in
the other direction. In Bangkok, Gates excused his inactivity in Burma on
the grounds that "there is a great sensitivity all over the world to
violating a country's sovereignty". That is novel from an occupant of the

Experts reply that intervening in Darfur would be "logistically difficult".
It would involve taking sides in what is essentially a civil war. That did
not stop intervention in Kosovo. Experts say that in Burma intervention
might have done more harm than good by alienating an already brutal regime.
That did not stop us going into Somalia. Experts claim that Zimbabwe is
really very complex, rooted in the politics of southern Africa and not our
business. Such niceties did not impede the invasion of Afghanistan.

There is strength in all these objections, but so was there to the
belligerent interventions of the George Bush/Tony Blair era. These leaders
trumpeted that logistical (not to mention legal) obstacles to saving lives
were there to be overruled. Sovereignty was no longer sacred. Force was all.
Success was the "only exit strategy".

After the cold war, the western nations led by America unashamedly took on
the mantle of global supremacy. They were allowed to do so by many who might
have questioned it, notably in Europe, Russia and China.

America's leadership was soon debilitated in the quagmire of Iraq and
Afghanistan, but the assumption of supremacy remains on the shelf.

This November the American presidency changes. If one message unites John
McCain and Barack Obama it is that America's image and its performance on
the world stage are woeful, undermining its capacity to lead. Both men
recognise that change is impossible without military disengagement from the
two principal theatres of conflict, of which Afghanistan is becoming more
intractable than Iraq. These adventures have come to pit America, the West
and Christianity against Islam and the developing world. They have poisoned
the well of America's global leadership. The damage done to the moral
authority of the West will be lasting and hard to repair.

For either McCain or Obama to find a path from Iraq that does not look like
capitulation to Iran's extremists will be hard. "Confronting Iran" has
become a subset of defending Israel, requiring of Obama last week a ringing
declaration that he would do "everything in my power to stop Iran obtaining
a nuclear weapon . . . everything". What that means is unclear.

Such belligerence may be required of those running for office, and Obama's
statements on foreign policy have sometimes seemed uncertain, but his
awareness of the need for a course correction is unmistakable. If president,
he must preside over what may seem an American retreat, though, as Nixon
found in Vietnam, ending an unwanted war need not be unpopular. What is
clear is that he and McCain know that until withdrawal is achieved, global
consent to America's world leadership will be on hold.

In other words, military disengagement is becoming conventional wisdom. For
all the bold words on Iran, any further entanglement could hardly be less
fashionable in Washington.

So where does that leave our old friend, humanitarian intervention? The
concept was certainly oversold. In Lebanon, Kosovo, Somalia and Haiti it was
heavily media-inspired and left the underlying cause of catastrophe
unresolved. It failed the Kantian test of moral deterrence, that it must be
seen as universally applicable. The West simply cannot appear with guns at
the ready at every scene of human tragedy. As for deterrence, that has
always been a game for armchair strategists. Did Kosovo deter the Burmese
generals, or Lebanon the Somalian warlords?

It may be that there is nothing we can do about the horrors of Darfur, Burma
or Zimbabwe, or nothing that could make their plight any better. It may
indeed be wiser to sit on our hands and leave it to our leaders to emit
occasional howls of impotent contempt, like the Foreign Office's
postimperial lament that some or other part of the world is "unacceptable".

Yet I am sure that the concept of humanitarian intervention, however
limited, was sound. Willing coalitions should be able to enforce the relief
of suffering where relief is feasible, as was surely the case in Burma. For
the time being, the blood-soaked gutters of Baghdad and the poppy fields of
Helmand have taken their toll. They have rendered the entire concept of
intervention defunct. It will take decades to recover.

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Raila defends his stand on Zimbabwe

Sunday Nation, Kenya

Publication Date: 6/8/2008 Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Saturday stood by
his criticism of African leaders and their silence on Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe, saying that was his personal view.

The PM, who arrived from an official trip to South Africa, said the
government had yet to take a position because the issue had not been
discussed by the Cabinet.

Said Mr Odinga: "What I said was personal and does not reflect the
position of the government."

The PM made the controversial statement early this week while
addressing the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa. He publicly
criticised African leaders for their handling of the Zimbabwean electoral
crisis. The country will be going for a run-off  in the next three weeks.

Mr Odinga had taken issue with the leaders' hands-off approach, saying
this had exacerbated the situation in that country and may have contributed
to the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

''It is a grave indictment on our leadership that an African country
can hold elections and fail to announce results for one month yet no country
raises a finger. We must learnt to own our problems and take
 responsibility," Mr Odinga had said.

"How do you conduct a re-run when you do not even have the results?"
the PM asked. The run-off will be between President Mugabe and opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

It is estimated that South Africa hosts over five million Zimbabweans,
most of them fleeing the hyperinflation that has visited their country
during Mr Mugabe's reign. They were some of the targets of the recent
xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The Heads of State and Government were Mr Thabo Mbeki of South Africa,
Mr John Kufuor of Ghana, Dr Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi and Burundi's
Pierre Nkurunziza.

Mr Odinga, who is the ODM leader, repeated his statement on Mr Mugabe
saying the era of civil wars in Africa was no more.

"Why should it be that an election is held and results released after
one month? Is this democracy?" the PM asked, and regretted that the
opposition and the media in Zimbabwe were continually harassed, yet the
country was preparing for a run-off poll.

Mr Odinga, who was addressing the media at the Jomo Kenyatta
International Airport soon after his arrival, challenged African leaders to
discuss African issues frankly and openly. He said that most of the current
crop of African leaders was forward looking.

At the same time, the Prime Minister  announced that the 2010 World
Economic Forum would be held in Nairobi for the first time as per his
request to the organisers. Next year's Forum will be held in South Africa.

The Prime Minister had led a high-powered Kenyan delegation to the
three-day World Economic Forum on Africa. He was accompanied by ministers
Mutula Kilonzo (Nairobi Metropolitan Development); Samuel Poghisio
(Information and Communications), Kipkalya Kones  (Roads) and Najib Balala
(Tourism) as well as chief executives of leading firms in the country.

The PM said Kenya was the main focus at the Forum because of the
post-election crisis. Mr Odinga described the Forum as "a resounding

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Information relating to the legal status of the notice issued by N.T.Goche (MP)


ZLHR logo

ZLHR Press Statement: 6 June 2008

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has had the opportunity to scrutinize the Notice issued by N. T. Goche (MP) on 4 June 2008 addressed to “All Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs)/Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)”. The Notice reads as follows:

“It has come to my attention that a number of NGOs involved in humanitarian operations are breaching the terms and conditions of their registration as enshrined in the Private Voluntary Organizations Act [Chapter 17:05], as well as the provisions of the Code of Procedures for the Registration and operations of Non Governmental Organizations in Zimbabwe (General Notice 99 of 2007).

As the Regulatory Authority, before proceeding with the provision of Section (10), Subsection ( c ), of the Private Voluntary (sic) Act [Chapter 17:05], I hereby instruct all PVOs/NGOs to suspend all field operation until further notice.

The Notice is not addressed to any particular organization/s and is signed by Hon N T Goche (MP), purportedly in his capacity as the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. It appears, although vague, to be directed towards humanitarian PVOs/NGOs, ostensibly those registered under the Private Voluntary Organizations Act.

ZLHR takes the following preliminary position on the legality of the Notice:

1. There is no provision in the Private Voluntary Organizations Act (”the Act”) which empowers the Minister to suspend PVOs or NGOs. The only provision in the Act which empowers the Minister to suspend was section 21, which provided for the suspension of the Executive Committees of PVOs registered under the Act in the event that the Minister had it on good authority that the said PVO was acting ultra vires. Section 21 was struck down by the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe in the case of Holland & Ors vs Min of Public Service, Labour & Social Welfare 1997 (1) ZLR 186 (S) as being at odds with section 18 (9) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (which stipulates that everyone is entitled to protection of the law). To date nothing has been done to reverse the findings of the Constitutional Court and as such Section 21 in its entirety remains void for that reason.

2. Assuming that Mr. Goche is trying to use the said section nonetheless, he still falls foul of its provisions as the Notice is of a general nature and has not been directed to the Executive Committee of a named PVO as is required by the Act. The Notice is further defective as it ought to have taken the form of a Notice in the Government Gazette as that is the requirement of the law.

3. Section 21 aside, the Section 10(1)(c) which he then purports to threaten to invoke is of no assistance to him, as the power to cancel or amend certificates of registration envisaged therein is the sole preserve of the PVO Board established in terms of Section 3 of the PVO Act. It follows therefore that the Minister, though he appoints the board in terms of the Act, has no power (directly or inferred) to act in such a manner or take such action.

4. Finally, there is a further dispute as regards the powers that Mr. Goche has to take any action as the purported Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. It is a matter of public record that the pre-29 March 2008 Cabinet (and Ministers) was dissolved and they have not been properly and lawfully re-constituted. This argument is currently before the Constitutional Court in the matter of Jonathan Nathaniel Moyo vs The President of Zimbabwe and Minister of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, where the MP-elect is challenging the purported powers of the Minister of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs, and a similar argument can potentially be raised in respect of the case at hand.

5. It is therefore submitted with respect that this Notice is a legal nullity.


  1. Dave
    June 7th, 2008 17:10

    I share the ZLHR’s concerns as to the legality of this “Instruction”, but the sad fact is, there is no Independent legal system in Zimbabwe at this point in time. All moves for justice and redress are blocked or delayed by ZPF appointed lawyers or judges.

  2. Egalitarian
    June 7th, 2008 17:29

    I commiserate with the ordinary people of Zimbabwe who suffer at the hands of the government. Your fellow sufferers in Myanmar and North Korea have the same fate.
    Unfortunately there is no worthwhile wealth in either country (eg oil) that would entice the USA and its followers to rescue the citizens from such deliberate abuse of human rights.
    As for the United Nations - does their charter cover such situations of human rights abuse as is occurring in Zimbabwe? (action in Darfur OK; Zimbabwe, Myanmar not OK)
    It is noticeable that people who commit the atrocities of such barbaric nature are your fellow citizens. I may be wrong, but I cannot remember seeing any reports of the working class people (from places like Liverpool UK -my home town), who were used by the ruling British elite to do their dirty work in the former colonies, ever burning people. I know it was done in South Africa in the form of ” necklacing” by locals against locals. Is this normal human behaviour in the absence of basic education about human decency I wonder? If so there is little hope for the defenseless decent people of this world.
    So I presume violence will win the day, and one can only hope that dictator Mugabe will soon go the way of Stalin et al.
    I wish I could be more optimistic for your future but human nature is barbaric.
    I appreciate that this email will not help your cause in any way – very sorry about that.

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Frank Chikane's lie is exposed

Sunday Times, SA

Wally Mbhele, Dominic Mahlangu and Mpumelelo Mkhabela Published:Jun 08, 2008

The Director-General in the Presidency, the Rev Frank Chikane, has been
caught lying again.

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change yesterday put paid to Chikane's
denial of the existence of a letter its leader Morgan Tsvangirai wrote to
President Thabo Mbeki last month.

The MDC insisted the letter - published by the Sunday Times last week - was
genuine. "We can confirm that we sent the letter to President Thabo Mbeki's
office on May 13 2008. However, we can't disclose any details because this
is a diplomatic issue," said MDC spokesman George Sibotshiwe.

Chikane told a press conference on Wednesday that the letter in the
possession of the Sunday Times was a fake. He refused to respond to its
contents. "I don't see why we must account for a letter we do not have," he

In the letter, Tsvangirai accused Mbeki of conniving with Robert Mugabe and
asked him to step down as mediator between the MDC and Zanu-PF.

Sibotshiwe said Mbeki's office knew the MDC had sent the letter although the
party would not say "who received it". He said it had been sent through
diplomatic channels.

Another copy would be given to the South African high commissioner in

At the press conference Chikane faced embarrassing questions from
journalists, who reminded him of his recent false explanations of National
Prosecuting Authority boss Vusi Pikoli's suspension.

Chikane retorted: "The letter does not exist as far as I am concerned ... I
must take the risk to say the world is not innocent. When we were in the
liberation movement, I used to understand that the world is not innocent and
that there are intelligence projects which get run to produce a particular
outcome ...

"The worry I have is that the media allows itself to run on a project. So an
intelligence unit would plan an intelligence project."

Asked specifically whether the letter was the work of an intelligence
operation, Chikane said: "I also don't want to talk about that."

Chikane said he knew the "real story" but was not prepared to speak out. "We
want peace for Zimbabwe. It does not matter whether we get attacked and
vilified. I know the real story. Unfortunately I can't tell you, not because
I am hiding."

Pressed to tell the "real story", Chikane said: "I am looking forward (to
telling it). I wish they (the Zimbabwean parties) could just settle
tomorrow. But even then we would not talk about something that would
discredit leaders."

Presidential spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said yesterday: "President Thabo
Mbeki will engage directly with the MDC regarding this matter."

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Opening US eyes to Zimbabwe

Sunday Herald, Scotland


INSIGHT INSIDE the Bush regime, if it ever existed at all, is these days
coming years too late. It's as though a diplomatic blindness afflicted theWhite House andthe State Department in Washington, allowing them to ignore anything unless
it runs them over.

After the "outrage" - the State Department's word - expressed over the
detention of US diplomats at a roadblock in Zimbabwe, the secretary of
state, Condoleezza Rice, said "the situation in Zimbabwe is really quite
difficult and quite grave".

No, I'm not paraphrasing; that's what she actually said. In a country whose
health system has collapsed, where 3000 people are dying of Aids-related
illnesses every week, where the inflation rate is 355,000%, where
international aid agencies have been officially banned from helping the
starving and where the opposition have been ordered not to campaign in the
presidential run-off election, the US State Department sums up the mess by
calling it "quite difficult".

Was this diplomatic understatement, or what passes for irony in the dying
days of Dubya? No. Rice and her "outrage" went on to offer a unique take on
Zimbabwe, stating that Robert Mugabe's regime was "very much out of step
with international norms".
That's a bit like accusing Stalin and Pol Pot of "misinterpreting"
international human rights laws. "Out of step" sounds as though Rice were
accusing Mugabe of poor choreography, of tinkering at the edges, of playing
naughty with genocide. Where the hell has Rice been over the past eight
years? A couple of US diplomats are held at a roadblock, then later
released, and suddenly inside the State Department the fog clears and
Zimbabwe is a "difficult" place to do business with.

Rice, we might now expect, will give Bob Mugabe "what's what" if her line of
linguistic flavouring continues. The detention incident, we are told, will
be raised at the UN Security Council - that's the same security council the
US conveniently bypassed in 2003 to go to war in Iraq.

The United Nations, however, know just how bad things are in Zimbabwe. Four
million people, a third of the population, rely on international aid, aid
that's about to be halted until Mugabe tries again to fix the presidential
ballot. Christian Aid says the ban will make things "absolutely desperate".
Although Mugabe hasn't banned the UN from operating, as the UN distributes
food aid through other agencies, distribution will shudder to a halt, with
200,000 children's lives put in immediate danger.

People will die unnecessarily - and to call that "out of step with
international norms" is almost criminal.

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Zimbabwe shelters Rwanda genocide leader

The Sunday Times
June 8, 2008

Jon Swain
ONE of the most notorious names in the Rwandan genocide - an officer whose
troops killed the Rwandan prime minister and the Belgian soldiers protecting
her - has been hiding in Zimbabwe, where he is suspected of enjoying
business links with former army officers close to the country's president,
Robert Mugabe.

United Nations sources named the fugitive as Major Protais Mpiranya, a Hutu
extremist formerly in charge of the Rwandan presidential guard.

Despite a $5m American bounty, Mpiranya has evaded justice for 14 years. But
his presence has been detected, "sometimes in Zimbabwe and sometimes in the
Congo", a UN source said. Mpiranya is wanted for genocide and crimes against
humanity by the UN's war crimes tribunal for Rwanda.

The presence in Zimbabwe of Mpiranya has never been officially admitted by
the authorities. He is one of a handful of top leaders of the genocide to
have got away. After hunting down, sexually assaulting and murdering Agathe
Uwilingiyimana, the prime minister, on April 7, 1994, troops under his
command hacked to death the 10 Belgian UN paratroops who had been ordered to
protect her.

Related Links
  a.. Genocide 'leaders' must be returned to Rwanda
  a.. Zimbabwe church leaders warn of genocide
Their slaughter panicked the Belgian government into withdrawing its troops,
in effect rendering the UN force powerless.

The remainder of the UN troops were unable to stop the killings and over the
next 100 days, 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered while the
world looked on.

Mpiranya fled to neighbouring Congo. When conflict erupted there in 1998,
sucking in six African countries including Zimbabwe, he allied his forces
with the 11,000 Zimbabwean troops that Mugabe had sent in.

UN sources said Mpiranya established personal business links with several
Zimbabwean officers, some of whom set up their own companies to plunder
Congo's wealth. It is these links that enable him to feel secure in

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The grip of fear

Sunday Herald, Scotland

Military reign of terror as Zimbabwe prepares for elections
From Fred Bridgland in Johannesburg

PRECIOUS ZHOVE clutched her 18-month-old daughter tightly as she recounted
the day when soldiers and so-called war veterans who fought in Zimbabwe's
war of liberation from white minority rule descended on her homestead,
looking for her husband Joab Gumbo.

Joab had dared to enter a contest on March 29 as a local government
councillor in Mberengwa, a rural district in southern Zimbabwe, on a
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ticket against his ruling Zanu-PF party

It was the afternoon, and when Precious explained her husband was not at
home, the Zanu-PF posse grabbed her baby and began swinging her in the air
by her legs.


"They said she was an MDC baby, and because of that they were going to take
her away from me," said Precious. "They said they didn't like MDC people,
they are sell-outs. They said that by taking away my daughter, me and my
husband would have another baby, a Zanu-PF baby this time."

It was then that the ruling party-inspired gang rape began.

Precious Zhove's grim story, told in a Bulawayo refuge for people fleeing
from violence directed by president Robert Mugabe's forces against suspected
MDC sympathisers in rural areas, is just one of many similar collected in
recent weeks by Zimbabwean freelance journalist Miriam Madziwa.

Madziwa and other courageous rep-orters are collating the stories of the
killings, rapes and tortures being inflicted by Mugabe's security forces on
the opposition as the run-off presidential contest between Mugabe and MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai on June 27 approaches. These stories are sent to
civil society groups in Johannesburg who are collecting and disseminating
intelligence on the worsening situation in Zimbabwe, South Africa's
neighbour to the north across the Limpopo river. The stories are highly
detailed and could fill whole newspapers.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa says the violence supporters are being
subjected to now is the worst the party has experienced since the MDC was
formed in 1999, from a broad coalition of civil society that wanted to form
a viable opposition to Zanu-PF - which has ruled Zimbabwe uninterrupted
since independence in 1980.

"Our supporters are being maimed, tortured and killed and no-one has been
arrested," said Chamisa. "This is a situation you can only expect to get
from a barbaric state. The violence has displaced voters. Remember we are
going to be using a ward-based system on June 27, and a lot of our
supporters have been forced out of their homesteads as a result of the
violence and therefore will not be able to vote.

"Everyone within the party's leadership is living in constant fear of being
abducted and then tortured before being killed. We have to be careful. We
are dealing with a vampire regime."

Chamisa's own rural homestead near Gutu in southeast Zimbabwe was razed on
June 1 in an army attack directed by a senior officer, Major-General
Engelbert Rujero. Chamisa's mother was stripped naked and, alongside his
78-year-old grandmother and 13-year-old brother, was made to lie face down
while Rujero's soldiers assaulted them. His grandmother's arm was broken and
his brother was beaten unconscious.

Up to yesterday, the MDC had positively recorded 65 killings of its
supporters by Zanu-PF in the past two months, although the real toll is much
higher, with bodies dumped in the bush or lying unclaimed in mortuaries. The
most iconic political killing has been that of 33-year-old MDC activist
Tonderai Ndira, known to his followers as "Zimbabwe's Steve Biko" after the
South African black consciousness leader who was murdered by apartheid
police in 1977. Ndira, who had been detained 35 times by Mugabe's security
forces, was abducted by eight masked men toting Kalashnikov rifles from his
home in Mabvuku, a poor Harare township, on May 14.

Ndira was legendary in Zimbabwe for his exploits. Once when police were hot
on his tail, he famously joined the police search for himself, establishing
himself at the heart of the search party without the police ever realising.

Andrew Makoni is a top Zimbabwean human rights lawyer who has represented
Ndira's family and those of four other young MDC activists in Harare
murdered by government death squads. Makoni, who challenged national police
chief Augustine Chihuri in late May about the fate of scores of other
missing MDC activists, fled to South Africa last week after a police source
tipped him off that he too was on a hit list for assassination. Chihuri, who
refused to respond to Makoni, is currently touring the country instructing
serving officers to vote for Mugabe in the second round.

Ndira was beaten in front of his wife and two children when he was abducted
at the dead of night and dragged, wearing only his underpants, to a vehicle
outside. "We knew then what his fate would be," said Makoni.

A search began for his body, and everywhere MDC supporters and lawyers went,
they discovered new bodies. A week after he was snatched, Ndira's hideously
tortured body was found in the mortuary of Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital.
His neck appeared to have been broken. His skull was crushed, his eyes had
been gouged, his tongue had been cut out and there was a bullet wound in his
chest. His underpants had not been removed, but they were caked with dried

Ndira's fate has been shared by scores of opposition supporters in recent
weeks. He was targeted because of his celebrity and because fear is exactly
what the generals and security chiefs of 84-year-old Mugabe are counting on,
as they try to overturn the first-round defeat that saw at least 56% of
Zimbabwe's people vote against the only head of state they have known since
independence. In a March 29 election marked by fraud and widespread
ballot-rigging, Tsvangirai won by 47.9% of the total vote to the incumbent
Mugabe's 43.2%, falling short of the 50% required for absolute victory.

Ndira's ultimate fate would not have surprised the man himself. Interviewed
by BBC's Panorama six years ago, Ndira said: "We are prepared to die. It is
just the same, we are still dying in Zimbabwe. We are dying by hunger, by
diseases, everything, so there is nothing to fear."

Makoni said: "The killings continue on a daily basis, and many deaths are
going unreported. People are being displaced from the countryside, where the
violence is most intense, and are streaming steadily into the towns."

A typical recent government assault was reported this weekend by Human
Rights Watch. A Zanu-PF MP and recently retired army major, Cairo Mhandu,
forced some 300 villagers in Mashonaland Central, a province to the north of
capital Harare, to attend a "re-education" meeting. Participants were told
they should confess if they had any links to the MDC.

When no-one came forward, one of Major Mhandu's Zanu-PF subordinates hauleda 76-year-oldwoman from the crowd and began beating her buttocks with stout tree
branches. To save her from further injury and humiliation, three men stepped
forward and said they had voted for the MDC in March.

"During the day, about 70 people were publicly beaten and about 30 were
hospitalised, many requiring skin grafts," said Human Rights Watch. "Of six
men who died, three had severely mutilated genitals.

"No-one has been arrested, and the re-education' meetings continue."

Another report from Mashonaland Central, sent to the civil society
monitoring groups in Johannesburg, describes how soldiers have been telling
villagers they will be moved into schools after voting on June 27. If
numbers show there has been a local majority for Tsvangirai, they are told,
they will be speedily executed.

The power of such threats is enormous in rural areas, where there is
widespread illiteracy and near-starvation; where superstitions abound and
where there is no access to independent information.

It is in the countryside, where the majority of Zimbabwe's people live, that
Mugabe can most easily rig the ballots.

Tsvangirai said last week the military had staged a "de facto coup by
seizing control of vast swathes of country" and declaring them no-go areas
to the MDC. The reality of a "military coup by stealth" was confirmed by
western diplomats in Harare, who said real power now lay with General
Constantine Chiwenga, the overall military chief who heads the Joint
Operations Command (JOC) of "securocrats" who are in day-to-day command of
the government and who are masterminding and fine-tuning the terror campaign
against Tsvangirai supporters.

The Brussels-based watchdog, the International Crisis Group, argues in itslatestreport there is "a growing risk of a coup, either before the run-off in a
pre-emptive move to deny Tsvangirai victory, or after a Tsvangirai win."

Chiwenga and other top generals have been enormously enriched by Mugabe. He
has given them lucrative military supply contracts and farms confiscated
from white owners, as well as allocating them scarce foreign exchange that
they sell onwards at vastly inflated black-market prices.

Among the farms seized by Chiwenga and his wife Jocelyn, is one of the
formerly most successful in Zimbabwe. Shepherd Hall, 20 miles outside
Harare, once sold tens of thousands of pounds' worth of vegetables to
supermarkets each year.

The Chiwengas arrived at Shepherd Hall with armed soldiers and ordered Roger
Staunton, whose family had farmed the land for more than 100 years, to leave
immediately. They took over his entire assets including buildings, trucks,
irrigation equipment and a major rose and greenhouse project that was worth
£13 million at official exchange rates.

When Staunton, now living in South Africa with a serious heart condition,
offered Jocelyn Chiwenga his hand, he said she refused it, saying she had
"no intention of shaking hands with a white pig".

Chiwenga and other senior generals know they face confiscation of their
spoils and possible criminal trials for human rights abuses if Mugabe is
toppled in this month's poll. They could even be sent to The Hague for trial
by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged offences committed
after July 2002 - the date the ICC's founding Treaty of Rome came into
effect - if a future President Tsvangirai ratifies a treaty Mugabe has
refused to recognise.

Army chief of staff Major-General Martin Chedondo demonstrated how nervous
the "securocrats" are about their potential fate when he told a recent
parade of his troops to vote for Mugabe in the run-off or quit the military.

"Soldiers are not apolitical," the state-owned Herald daily newspaper quoted
him as saying. "Only mercenaries are apolitical. We have signed up and
agreed to fight and protect the ruling party's principles of defending the
revolution. If you have other thoughts, then you should remove that

He added that Mugabe was head of the defence forces and "we should therefore
stand behind our commander-in-chief". This echoes a similar statement by all
the joint chiefs of staff before the first round, in which they said they
would not recognise any government other than that of Mugabe, and that they
would refuse to salute Tsvangirai if he won.

No analyst is quite sure what the outcome will be of this chapter in
Zimbabwe's saga, except that it will be tragic, with life expectancy for
women already less than 34 years against 60 at independence in 1980;
unemployment near 85%; and inflation touching 500,000% with a forecast to
reach 4,000,000% within the next few weeks.

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Stop shielding the tyrant

Sunday Times, SA

Published:Jun 08, 2008

The murders, beatings, detentions and intimidation are being stepped up
ahead of the Zimbabwean presidential runoff, scheduled for June 27.
Diplomats are being harassed and international aid organisations have been
to told to stop feeding the hungry and needy.

Twice in the past week, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change - which won the parliamentary elections and has been
forced into the runoff in suspicious circumstances - has been detained and
his rallies banned.

It is clear that Zimbabwe's presidential election is unlikely to result in a
reasonable reflection of the will of the people.

The sham must be stopped now and the conditions for a free and fair poll put
in place.

The Southern African Development Community has taken responsibility for
resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe.

It must deploy electoral observers as a matter of urgency and hold President
Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF responsible for their actions, and
severely sanction them.

This is in its own interest as the SADC's continued tolerance of Mugabe has
blighted all its leaders and hindered the region's economic development.

The SADC must act now or face the consequences of harbouring a known tyrant
in its midst.

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Mugabe Must be Stopped!

Political Cortex

By Bill Hare
06/07/2008 03:19:16 PM EST

The pictures on international television have been tragic, illustrating
gross injustice and a dictatorial mentality to thwart democracy.
Those pictures have been indelibly frozen into the minds and hearts of
anyone who saw them and cares about justice.

In an effort to squelch democratic efforts to challenge the harsh
authoritarian rule of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe, his hired thugs have
captured elements known to be opposed to his rule and cut off their legs.

Thank goodness the international media made certain that filmed footage of
the punished souls who sought to fight for democracy were shown for
proponents of democracy to see.

The tyrannical Mugabe in his iron-fisted rule has seen his own assets
increase to the level where he is estimated to be a billionaire.  Meanwhile
the standard of his people has consistently and lamentably dropped to the
current level of a pittance.
White farmers whose families owned and richly cultivated their properties
for generations, extending back to when the nation was called Rhodesia, saw
Mugabe's thugs grab their properties from them and force them to leave the

In a June 5 New York Times article written by Celia W. Dugger reporting from
Johannesburg, Amnesty International was complaining sharply against Mugabe's
latest move of detaining Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change.

Tsvangirai was detained by police for 9 hours on Wednesday (June 4) and
"charged with drawing a big crowd."  He was released late in the evening.

One of the Movement for Democratic Change offices in Mosingo Province was
burnt to the ground by unidentified Mugabe militia forces after three people
who were sleeping there had been shot to death.  This brings the number of
Tsvangirai supporters killed since the reformist candidate's victory in the
March elections to 65.

To quote from Dugger's article, "Amnesty International condemned his
(Mugabe's) sharp and dangerous crackdown' that has included killings,
torture and intimidation of the political opposition."

An office of the Movement for Democratic Change in Masvingo Province was
razed to the ground after three people who were sleeping there were gunned
to death by unidentified militia members.  The assailants poured gasoline on
the bodies and set them and the office on fire.

A human rights doctor has been treating two severely burned victims of the
Masvingo tragedy in Harare.  This same doctor has recently treated more than
1,700 victims brutalized by the repressive Mugabe regime.

Human Rights Watch has called on the government to reverse its decision to
bar aid to agencies delivering food to Zimbabwe.  The government halted all
such efforts from CARE, one of the world's largest humanitarian groups.  All
such efforts were halted on the premise that the work of aid groups is to
assist political forces opposing the Mugabe regime.

The international community needs to take a vigilant position against a
ruthless dictator who builds his own wealth on the dead and injured that he
has trampled to maintain power.

Does any rational observer have any doubt what the ultimate result will be
of any election cycle in Zimbabwe as long as Mugabe is in control?  Can
anyone envision him abdicating power under any condition but forced

The fair result would be for Mugabe to be tried for his steady patterns of
repression involving the killing of opposition force and trampling the
rights of others to deliver property into his hands along those of his

The venue to try Mugabe would be the International Court of Justice at The
Hague along with the ultimate disgorging of his vast assets, distributing
them among his victims and their families.

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Comment from a  Correspondent

This man Robert Mugabe is just a small brick in a
pyramid, the little small brick on top of a pyramid of
three or four generals and retired-majors and
commanders and pseudo-intellectuals and
thieves-turned-ministers and conmen and C-tens and
fake ex-combatants and election-losers like Chinamasa
and disgruntled black entrepreneurs (tuck-shop owners)
who feel all african whites are racists and at the
very bottom, a broad solid base of uncouth and
uneducated villagers-turned-youth-brigades who would
otherwise be jobless or security guards or
farm-workers in a free, democratic Zimbabwe. Let's not
waste our time berating the little brick at the top:
it will fall, but the pyramid will live another
thousand years. As the bricks that do not conform (the
educated townspeople) slowly get chipped off and
migrate to other climes (most of you who read this are
such bricks, I presume), the pyramid that Mugabe heads
will get stronger, and soon it will be a monument that
will be gaped at and photographed by tourists: we have
the makings of another Vietnam or Cuba or Burma...
Tsvangirai? A joke of a man. After the last elections,
he missed his chance of seizing the bull by the horns.
He should have paraded himself in harare's streets,
called mass rallies and mobilised the whole of Harare
to rise up and celebrate his victory but what did he
do? He went running and yelling like a cry-baby "Help
me someone, Mugabe won't give me the sweet!" You need
balls of steel to rule, Morgan, you have failed the
test. Face the bull head-on and stare it down, if it
bellows and charges you dart and swerve and wave the
cape around while you stab its back... Never been to a
bullfight? A pity. It would teach you the moves of how
to be the next President of Zimbabwe.

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Mark Thatcher: Man on the run

The Sunday Times
June 8, 2008

Africa, America, Switzerland, Monaco, France and Gibraltar. Nobody wants
Mark 'Thickie' Thatcher - not even his current landlord. We track down the
man whose past is finally catching up with him
Russell Miller
Supposing you were in some kind of danger, like being pursued by the
vengeful president of an obscure African country alleged to eat the brains
and testicles of his enemies, it would be hard to find a better bolt hole
than the Casa Flores, a luxury villa hidden in dense forest on a mountain
above San Pedro de Alcantara, southern Spain.

Casa Flores is part of a complex called El Madronal. Unlike the high-density
"urbanisations" that now disfigure the entire Mediterranean coast of Spain,
El Madronal offers luxury, privacy and, above all, security. A central
control room within the huge complex monitors all movement 24 hours a day
via a bank of CCTV screens. The steep terrain makes El Madronal inaccessible
other than through one

of six electronic gates, where visitors must state their business. Their
names, addresses and car registration numbers are logged in the control
room. A guard then contacts the property being visited and if the owner
agrees, the iron gates roll open. (I was only able to gain access by posing
as a potential buyer; Sotheby's International Realty kindly escorted me in
to view a villa currently on the market for a trifling E4m.) Another set of
electronic gates protects every property, each of which has its own alarm

None of this was enough for the man who rented Casa Flores for E7,000 a
month two years ago. Before he moved in with his then girlfriend, he spent
£35,000 on additional security precautions that made Casa Flores virtually
impregnable. But after the latest episode in his inglorious career, Sir Mark
Thatcher probably has more to worry about than most. Famous for getting lost
during the Paris-Dakar motor rally and making his mother cry in public,
notorious for shamelessly exploiting her name to further dodgy business
ventures, renowned for his rudeness, arrogance and pomposity, and no
stranger to controversy, none of his previous dubious escapades can compare
with his reckless involvement in an ill-fated plot to oust the offal-loving
president of Equatorial Guinea.

While publicly denying any significant role, in January 2005 Sir Mark
pleaded guilty in South Africa, after a plea bargain, to "unwittingly"
abetting the coup. He was fined 3m rand (£266,000), given a suspended
four-year jail term, and obliged to leave South Africa, his home for a
decade. As part of the deal, he is required to co-operate with the ongoing
investigation, a rider that may yet come to haunt him.

Many observers concluded that he got away lightly - the youth wing of South
Africa's ruling African National Congress called the deal "an abomination
and miscarriage of justice" - but he is not yet out of the woods. It seems
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who is not a man to cross, is determined
that the son of our former prime minister should stand trial in Equatorial
Guinea alongside his Old Etonian friend Simon Mann, the alleged leader of
the plot who is currently languishing in Equatorial Guinea's infamous Black
Beach prison. Although there are no extradition treaties between Equatorial
Guinea and the EU, Obiang has noted that the US no longer troubles with the
tedious details of legal process and moves prisoners around the world by
"extraordinary rendition". He sees no reason why he should not follow suit.

Thus it is that rumours abound of kidnap squads - a Russian gang has been
mentioned - being recruited to snatch Sir Mark, spirit him away and produce
him in an Equatorial Guinea courthouse, where his chances of a fair trial
would be rather less than even and he could expect a sentence in excess of
30 years. The unfortunate Mann, removed with what he called "gratuitous
violence" from a prison in Zimbabwe to Malabo, the capital of Equatorial
Guinea, earlier this year, faces the same fate.

Jose Olo Obono, the country's attorney-general, has promised that Sir Mark
will be pursued "wherever he goes". If the South African authorities require
Sir Mark to return to answer further questions - and he is legally obligated
to do so - a kidnap operation would be much simpler. Alternatively, Obiang
could seek rougher justice by simply putting a bounty on Sir Mark's head and
wait for someone to claim it.

Thatcher's life began to fall apart after his conviction in 2005. His
American wife, Diane, returned to the US with the children, and in September
the couple announced their intention to divorce. She was furious with her
husband about the Equatorial Guinea adventure, and she was fed up with his
infidelities, having caught him cheating twice.

Diane has always avoided the limelight and is thus mistakenly viewed as a
somewhat insipid member of the high-profile family she married into. When
introduced to Mrs Thatcher at Chequers in 1984, she was surprised by the
formal way Mark addressed his mother. "Prime Minister," he said, "this is
Diane Burgdorf."

The formality endured: Diane was never encouraged to call her mother-in-law
anything other than Mrs Thatcher or Lady Thatcher.

In the autumn of 1989, shortly after the birth of their first child, they
took a 10-day break at the Eden Roc hotel in Antibes, where they met the
three vivacious daughters of the millionaire property developer Terence
Clemence. While they were enjoying themselves, the Thatchers, Sarah-Jane
Clemence recalled, behaved like "Mr and Mrs Glum".

Diane returned to Dallas while Mark flew to Paris, where he had business to
attend to. Her suspicions were raised when she looked at his American
Express statement and noticed that huge charges from the Ritz had been
billed to his account, along with a second air ticket from the Riviera. By
then Mark was in London. Diane hired a private detective and had him
followed, and she was soon in possession of a photo of her husband with a
woman he was spending all his time with: Sarah-Jane Clemence. When Mark got
back to Dallas she confronted him with the evidence. He admitted it
immediately, pleaded for her forgiveness, and promised never to see
Sarah-Jane again. But Diane was not finished. The private detective had
provided her with the phone number of her husband's lover. Diane called her
and asked for a meeting. Amazingly, the other woman agreed. They met in
Sarah-Jane's flat in London for what Diane describes as a "friendly chat",
although one can imagine the atmosphere was somewhat frosty. "I wanted to
appeal to her sense of what was right and thought I'd gotten through to
 her," Diane says.

The Thatchers did their best to patch up their relationship with marriage
counselling, but a few years later Mark returned from a health farm in
California acting strangely, very taciturn, moody and critical of
everything. Diane began to worry that he was having another affair. She said
she prayed for help: "God, if you want me to know something, please let me
find it out." She would help God along a little. When Mark made a lame
excuse for another business trip to California she waited until he was
asleep then went into his dressing room and found his travel itinerary,
flight number and hotel reservation. Next morning, she booked herself on an
earlier flight.

When Thatcher walked into the lobby of a Santa Monica hotel with his arm
around a pretty American air-force pilot, his wife was sitting on a sofa
waiting for him. He looked, she said, "as if he had seen a ghost". What she
described as "a little confrontation" followed. He tried to introduce the
woman as a business associate but Diane snorted "I'm not stupid", and she
beat a hasty retreat. After this Diane said she wanted a divorce. Thatcher
seemed resigned to the fact, but over the next few weeks and after another
round of marriage counselling, they effected some kind of reconciliation for
the sake of their children. Diane agonised at length about whether she
should go with Mark to South Africa and she was not unhappy that she did so,
particularly when she became a member of a women's bible-study group. It was
his irresponsible foolhardiness getting involved with the Equatorial Guinea
coup and putting his family at risk that finally convinced her to end the
marriage. "I think his choice not to pull out when he became suspicious
showed his priorities," she said. "He was incredibly selfish, putting his
own needs for self-fulfilment, greed and lust for power before his family."

Diane's decision to return to Dallas with the children effectively cut them
off from their father. With a criminal conviction, there was no possibility
of his obtaining a visa to enter the US. Amanda, then 12, took it badly and
wrote an anguished letter to President Bush: "You know how you feel about
your daughters? I want my Daddy back in America." She received no reply.

During the spring and summer of 2005 they got together for two family
holidays in the Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands. Diane
briefly considered a reconciliation, but then she discovered Mark was again
seeing Sarah-Jane, who in the interim had become Lady Francis Russell,
having married in 1996. It was the final straw and she filed for divorce.

) ) ) ) )

Fifty-four-year-old Sir Mark declined an invitation to be interviewed by The
Sunday Times Magazine, although I was able to reach him on his mobile phone
and extract a few words. I asked him if he was concerned for his safety in
the light of the rumours about kidnap squads. "Oh, you probably know more
about that than I do," he replied breezily. "As I have said in the past, I
have nothing to add to what I have already said. Goodbye."

It is ironic that he should have ended up, temporarily at least, on the
Costa del Sol, since it is the traditional haunt of Englishmen with criminal
records. You can usually find one or two in Sinatra Bar in Puerto Banus.
Deeply tanned, heavily tattooed and festooned with bling, they sit staring
at the moored superyachts with rheumy eyes, perhaps dreaming of their
favourite pub in south London, or a dish of jellied eels. Understandably,
Sir Mark does not socialise much with the expatriate criminal fraternity and
is never seen in the fleshpots of Puerto Banus or Marbella, usually only
leaving his forest fastness for a round of golf or business meetings in
Gibraltar. "Mark Thatcher keeps a very low profile around here," says David
Eade, a stringer for the Costa del Sol News. "Interest in his comings and
goings is about zero." Nobody seems to know how he passes the time, where he
goes, or who he meets. His reputation as a businessman can hardly have been
enhanced by his arrest and conviction in South Africa, yet he apparently
still travels to Russia and Japan in pursuit of "oil deals". If asked about
his business he likes to say he "gambles on oil tankers".

Interest in his comings and goings is much greater in Equatorial Guinea
where, earlier this year, a warrant was issued for his arrest. A
mosquito-infested jungle hellhole tucked into the armpit of Africa,
Equatorial Guinea has one of the worst human-rights records on the
continent. A predecessor of Obiang, who seized power in a bloody coup in
1979, set a new standard in brutality by executing 150 opponents in a sports
stadium to the broadcast strains of Mary Hopkin's Those Were the Days.In
truth, nobody gave a damn about the former Spanish colony until oil was
discovered there in 1996. Sewage ran through the streets of Malabo, there
was little drinking water, and no regular electricity supply. Oil brought
prosperity, but only to the ruling elite: Obiang and his family
misappropriate much of the country's £370m annual oil revenue, while the
majority of the country's 500,000 wretched inhabitants still languish in
poverty on less than 50p a day.

In 2000, Thatcher attempted to do business with Equatorial Guinea through a
company called Cogito, which he had set up to provide security advice and
intelligence to multi-national companies in Africa. Cogito offered Obiang a
£134,000 contract to gather intelligence on his opponents and draw up threat
assessments. Thatcher hoped it would lead to securing valuable oil
concessions, but in the end Obiang rejected the offer.

The source of both Thatcher's so-called business expertise and his fortune
(estimated in the 2006 Sunday Times Rich List at £64m) is a mystery. He
failed to shine academically at Harrow, where his nickname was "Thickie
 Mork", and gave up a career in accountancy after failing his exams three
times. Only when his mother became prime minister in 1979 did his business
career take off: five months after Mrs Thatcher moved into Downing Street,
Mark set up his own "international consultancy" company, Monteagle
Marketing, and found his services much in demand, trading on his mother's
name and promoting everything from sportswear to whisky. There were a few
hiccups, particularly when Mummy was banging the drum and exhorting everyone
to "buy British" while her son was discussing a lucrative sponsorship deal
with a Japanese textile firm. The Financial Times memorably described him as
a "sort of Harrovian Arthur Daley with a famous mum".

It was not long before Mark was viewed as a serious liability in Downing
Street, although no one dared raise the subject with his mother. Mrs
Thatcher had a blind spot about her son. When Bernard Ingham, Mrs Thatcher's
plain-speaking press secretary, was asked how Mark could best help in an
upcoming re-election campaign, he famously replied: "Leave the country."

In 1981 there was the threat of a full-blown scandal when it was alleged
that he received £1m commission for the construction of a university in
Oman, a contract negotiated by his mother. The affair led to difficult
questions being asked in the Commons. Three years later he was said to have
received a £12m kickback on the £40 billion Al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi
Arabia, again pushed through by his mother.

Complaining he was being victimised by the media and that he was "not
appreciated" (a fundamental truth, if ever there was one), Thatcher decamped
to the US, where he met Diane Burgdorf, the daughter of a Texas millionaire
car dealer, whom he would marry in 1987. Meanwhile, a confidential briefing
prepared in March 1984 for George Shultz, then the US secretary of state,
offered a withering view of Mark Thatcher, businessman: "Most of his
business dealings were predicated on the belief that he had only one asset -
with a limited life span - his link to the British prime minister."

Controversy continued to dog his various business activities. The IRS
investigated him for alleged tax evasion, and a racketeering case was
settled out of court. In 1995 he moved with his family to South Africa and
bought a large house on Dawn Avenue in Constantia, the best part of Cape
Town, where Elton John, Earl Spencer and Michael Douglas all owned property.
Before moving in, paranoid about his personal safety, he had had bulletproof
curtains fitted as part of the state-of-the-art security equipment in every
room. Three years later he was in the news again when a company he owned was
accused of running a loan-shark operation, offering unofficial loans to
police officers, military personnel and civil servants and then charging
punitive interest rates when they defaulted. Thatcher, of course, insisted
he'd done no wrong.

One of his neighbours in Constantia was Mann, a former SAS officer and
adventurer who had made a fortune providing mercenaries to protect oil
installations against rebels in Angola's civil war, crushing an uprising in
Papua New Guinea and shipping arms to Sierra Leone in flagrant contravention
of a UN embargo.

) ) ) ) )

In the summer of 2003, Mann met Severo Moto, opposition leader of Equatorial
Guinea, who was living in exile in Madrid. At the end of the meeting, Mann
agreed to recruit a mercenary force to overthrow Obiang. His fee was to be
£10m plus a share in future oil revenues and 30% of all assets recovered
from the Obiang family. Back in South Africa, Mann involved two friends in
the plot: Crause Steyl, a pilot who had worked for him on previous
operations, and Nick du Toit, a former officer in South African special
forces. Steyl was to organise all the air transport; du Toit was to help
with recruiting, then set up logistical support in Equatorial Guinea.

In November, Mann and Thatcher had several meetings in London to discuss
"transport ventures" in west Africa. Sir Mark would insist that he was never
told about the coup, although he admitted agreeing to finance the chartering
of an air-ambulance helicopter for one of Mann's "ventures" and later
suspected that it might be used for "mercenary activities". He could have
pulled out at that moment, but did not.

In December, the newly widowed Lady Thatcher flew to Cape Town to spend
Christmas with her son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, Michael, then
aged 14, and Amanda, 10. Steyl and Mann were among the guests at Sir Mark's
traditional pre-Christmas drinks party around the swimming pool in the
garden on December 22.

On January 12, 2004, Mann wrote a memorandum outlining the potential risks
in the operation that appeared to directly implicate his friend. "If MT's
involvement is known," he noted, "the rest of us and project is likely to be
screwed - as a side-issue to people screwing him. Ensure doesn't happen."
Four days later, Sir Mark signed an agreement with Steyl committing him to a
maximum investment of $500,000 in an air-ambulance company.

Despite Mann's plea for secrecy, du Toit's recruiting activities inevitably
attracted the attention of the South African intelligence service, which
alerted the governments of Britain, Spain and the US. In backstreet bars
where soldiers for hire gathered, all the talk was of the upcoming action in
Equatorial Guinea.

Mann himself realised that the operation might have been compromised, but
made the fatal mistake of interpreting diplomatic silence as tacit approval
of his plans. Certainly no tears would have been shed had Obiang's corrupt
regime been toppled: apart from stealing the country blind, he maintained
power through terror. Severo Moto told Mann that if he ever returned to
Equatorial Guinea while Obiang was still in power, he would be tortured and
murdered and Obiang would eat his testicles.

Telephone records later obtained by a private detective hired by Henry Page,
a Paris-based lawyer representing the government of Equatorial Guinea,
showed that Mann and Sir Mark spoke very often in the days immediately
before the coup. "Of course we don't know what was said," Page explained,
"only that Mark Thatcher's number appears on the record of Simon Mann's
calls with increasing frequency."

On the evening of Sunday, March 7, a US-registered Boeing 727 carrying 64
mercenaries, mainly former members of the South African special forces,
landed at Harare airport, where they were due to collect Mann and an armoury
of weapons before flying to Equatorial Guinea. The Zimbabwe intelligence
service was waiting for them. They were all arrested, along with Mann. In
Malabo, du Toit and 13 other men were also arrested and accused of plotting
a coup. Steyl, waiting in Mali for word that the coup was a success before
flying into Equatorial Guinea with Severo Moto, escaped arrest.

Held in solitary confinement in the hellish Chikurubi maximum-security
prison in Zimbabwe, Mann wrote desperate letters to his wife, his lawyer and
friends asking them to contact the "investors" in the operation to raise
more money: "What we need is maximum effort - whatever it takes - now. It
may be that getting us out comes down to a large splodge of wonga." Among
the investors he suggested approaching was "Scratcher" - his nickname for
his friend Mark Thatcher.

Dries Coetzee, a private detective hired by Mann's lawyer, was given the
thankless task of collecting the "wonga". It was not easy. He telephoned
Mark Thatcher at his home in Cape Town, explained he had a mandate from Mann
to raise funds, and demanded $300,000. Sir Mark was in his study watching a
grand prix when he took the call. "Look, Mr Coetzee," he said, "I tend not
to give money to people I've never met, so why don't you just f*** off."

In March, Crause Steyl quietly returned to his home in South Africa,
expecting to be arrested. Instead, the Directorate of Special Operations, an
elite crime squad known as "the Scorpions", offered him a deal: immunity in
return for complete co-operation. Steyl was sickened by the way his friends
Mann and du Toit had been left high and dry and decided to tell all.
Significantly, he was convinced that Thatcher was in on the plot from the

In fact Thatcher was already talking to the South African intelligence
service, possibly because they threatened to extradite him to Equatorial
Guinea if he did not co-operate.

At 7am on August 25, 2004, the Scorpions arrived at his Constantia mansion
with a search warrant. Six hours later, he was driven away in a police
vehicle and appeared in court that afternoon charged with contravening the
Foreign Military Assistance Act, which bans South African residents from
taking part in any foreign military activity. He was released on bail of
£167,000, paid by his mother, and warned not to leave the Cape Town area.

The sensational arrest of the son of Lady Thatcher made headlines around the
world. Sir Mark continued to protest his innocence, issuing a statement
through his friend and unofficial spokesman, Lord Bell: "I have no
involvement in any alleged coup in Equatorial Guinea and I reject totally
all suggestions to the contrary."

But as damning details emerged, more and more people concluded he was lying
to save his skin. Sir Bernard Ingham, whose admiration for Lady Thatcher
remains undimmed, told me he thought it was "very difficult to believe" her
son did not know what was going on. "He's not the brightest spark but by God
he knows how to make money. The plain fact is, he's a barrow boy."

"Mark could not resist being involved," said Mark Hollingsworth, co-author
of Thatcher's Fortunes: The Life and Times of Mark Thatcher. "He attended
planning meetings at Simon Mann's house, knew exactly what was going on and
was looking for a slice of the action. The notion that he would invest
$500,000 and not know what it was used for is risible. He hero-worshipped
Mann and loved the secret world of soldiers of fortune, spies and high-risk
shady business deals in oil-trading and gunrunning."

Earlier this year, in an interview for Channel 4 conducted in Black Beach
prison, Mann, shackled at hands and feet, confirmed Thatcher was "part of
the team". He also named Ely Calil, a rich businessman of Lebanese-Nigerian
origin and a friend of Moto, as the principal financial backer. There had
been rumours that the disgraced Tory peer Lord Archer was involved, but Mann
denied it. Both Thatcher and Calil quickly issued statements suggesting that
Mann's plight had prompted him to make wild accusations. "Simon Mann is an
old friend of mine for whom I have the utmost sympathy throughout this whole
ghastly process," said Thatcher. Calil's statement read: "I confirm that

I had no involvement in, or responsibility for, the alleged coup." I asked
Calil's lawyer, Imran Khan, if his client would agree to be interviewed.
Khan said he would put forward my request and get back to me either way. I
heard nothing more.

After his ignominious departure from Cape Town, typically protesting that
his prosecution was politically inspired and that President Thabo Mbeki of
South Africa had never liked his mother, Thatcher was adrift. He stayed with
his mother at her house in Chester Square, Belgravia, before looking for a
place to live. It was not easy. Monaco, famously described by Somerset
Maugham as a "sunny place for shady people", was his first choice, but he
was told his temporary residency card would not be renewed. No explanation
was given, but a spokesman for Prince Albert pointed out that the prince
intended "morality, honesty and ethics" to be at the centre of life in the

France and Switzerland also failed to extend a warm welcome, which is how
Thatcher ended up on the Costa del Sol, renting Casa Flores. Lady Francis
Russell, newly separated from her husband, moved in with him in May 2006.
Both obtained divorces during 2007 and in March this year they married,
quietly, in Gibraltar, in a ceremony attended by only three friends. Notably
absent was Thatcher's twin sister, Carol.

Carol and Mark Thatcher actively dislike each other. No twins could be more
different: Carol is jolly, down to earth and popular; her brother is rude,
imperious and self-important. They have not spoken for years. When I asked
her if she would be interviewed for this feature, her reply was nothing if
not forthright: "Honestly, I really haven't got anything to say about Mark.
We have lived in different countries for decades."

In fact, finding anyone with a kind word about Mark Thatcher is not easy.
His good friend Lord Archer was too busy writing his next novel and could
not be disturbed, but his other good friend, Jonathan Aitken (who
coincidentally dated Carol years ago), finally stepped forward. "Mark has
never been arrogant or pompous in my company. That said, I have noticed that
he can be a surprisingly shy person, which sometimes manifests itself in the
form of being a little brusque. In his commercial activities while his
mother was prime minister he was no saint, but he was far less of a sinner
than his journalistic detractors would like to believe."

Aitken says Thatcher was a loyal and generous friend after he was jailed for
perjury and perverting the course of justice in 1999. When he was released
after serving seven months, Thatcher took him out to lunch and asked what he
could do to help, offering him money, an all-expenses-paid holiday in Cape
Town, anything he wanted. Aitken was genuinely touched.

Thatcher's future is uncertain. He recently applied for tax-residency status
in Gibraltar, prompting speculation that he intended to make his home on the
Rock, but his application is likely to have been turned down.

Adding to his problems, the owner of Casa Flores, a fellow Old Harrovian by
the name of Stephen Humberstone, would very much like to evict him. Thatcher
has an almost unique ability to rub people up the wrong way, which he has
certainly done with Humberstone. "Basically, he just pisses me off. He is
always late with the rent. Under Spanish law I have to wait three months
before I can take him to court and he presumably knows that and pays up
after two months. We were in the same house at school - I can't believe he
is treating me in such a shabby manner.

"He thinks a lot of himself. I think he likes the house because it is very
secluded and a seven-minute drive from the main gate. Nobody would ever find
him down there. He told me once he would like to buy it, but there is no way
I would ever sell it to someone like him.

"If you see him, punch him on the nose from me, would you?"

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SAS mercenary sued for coup distress

The Sunday Times
June 8, 2008

David Leppard
AN AFRICAN dictator will hear from the House of Lords this month whether he
can claim £15m damages for "severe emotional distress" from a Briton he is
holding in prison.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea is seeking leave to
press ahead with a legal claim against Simon Mann, the former SAS officer
who led the infamous "wonga" coup attempt in 2004.

Lawyers close to the case say the law lords will make a landmark judgment
about whether issues relating to the security of a foreign state can be
ruled upon in a British court. Sir Sydney Kentridge QC, Nguema's barrister,
is arguing against earlier decisions by the Court of Appeal and the High
Court to strike out the writ on legal grounds.

Mann was arrested with a group of 67 mercenaries when their aircraft landed
at Harare's main airport. They were allegedly planning to collect weapons
bought from the Zimbabwean state arms company.

Mann was sentenced to four years in jail in Zimbabwe. After serving three,
he was extradited in February to face trial in Equatorial Guinea, west
Africa, for plotting to overthrow the regime "through violence and terror".

The alleged plot to overthrow Nguema and replace him with Severo Moto, the
exiled opposition leader, attracted worldwide attention, heightened when it
emerged that Sir Mark Thatcher, son of the former prime minister, was caught
up in the affair.

Thatcher, a friend of Mann, later pleaded guilty in a South African court to
unwittingly funding the coup attempt. He was given a suspended sentence.

The affair also embroiled Lord Archer, the novelist. Documents disclosed to
Nguema's legal team showed that just before the coup, a "J H Archer" had
paid money into an account connected to Mann. Archer has repeatedly denied
any link to the affair. This weekend his lawyer, Kevin Robinson, said:
"[Archer] has never met Mann, and he has nothing whatsoever to do with any
of the events under consideration in the prospective proceedings." Archer
has also denied involvement with the coup's alleged mastermind, Ely Calil, a
London-based millionaire. In a televised interview from prison three months
ago, Mann named Calil as "architect" of the coup plot, forcing Calil to
repeat his earlier denials of any role.

The most colourful character in the case is Nguema, who has been in power
since 1979. State radio is reported to have declared him a "god" who "can
decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to

There is little doubt that the oil-rich state, which has a population of
only 500,000, has an appalling human rights record. Prisoners are said to be
routinely tortured.

Additional reporting: Anna Mikhailova

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