The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The people of Zimbabwe have put us all to shame

The Commonwealth should be wound up if it betrays this commitment

Hugo Young
Tuesday March 12, 2002
The Guardian

In one way, the Zimbabwe election sets an example to all democrats. It inspires even as it appals. It's a brilliant moment in the history of elections, in Africa or anywhere else. It registers the attraction and the power of democracy as they've seldom been seen before. Where, in our own continent of ingrates, would people queue for 15 minutes, let alone 20 hours, to make their point? Where, simultaneously, has any other leader gone to such lengths as Robert Mugabe to confer democratic legitimacy on himself? While he serially violates the substance of democracy, he can't do without its semblance. Each side, voter and dictator, pays tribute to what democracy is meant to be. It could be called a kind of apotheosis.

Mugabe has been inventive and persistent. His violations built up over years, then months, then weeks, then days. By the end, it seemed as though the rules were changing by the hour, all with the purpose of twisting the democratic verdict he feared, and hoping to guarantee the one he felt he had to have.

He began with a reign of terror against white farmers, but that, though attracting big publicity in Britain and the US, wasn't the nub of Mugabe's assault on politics. The proof he gave of the need for democratic approval was constant harassment of his opponents in the MDC, torture of their supporters, disfranchisement of their voters; bogus legal actions against his chief rival, and the enlistment of the army for himself; expulsion of election monitors he didn't like the sound of, and subversion of many of the rest; sudden invention of new rules to deny the right to vote; incessant, hectoring, righteous intimidation, and the banning of foreign media: all to secure the magic numbers that say this brutal, corrupt old man can claim for the next six years a mandate from the people.

But the people, it seems, were not frightened. We don't yet know the turnout, still less the result. We've seen the long lines, and heard the voices of determination to vote. This is a country with, among other advantages greatly to its credit, an 80% literacy rate. The literacy is more than alphabetic. It doesn't necessarily lead a majority to vote against Zanu-PF, the president's party. But it produces an understanding of what democracy means, and an extraordinary willingness to fight for it against obstacles which, in Europe, could not be contemplated. From a country that dragged only 59% of a sullen electorate to the polls last time, without a piece of barbed wire to cross, one can only say: all hail Zimbabwe.

If the result goes to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, that tribute will be unconditional. Such a triumph would show not only that the people had been brave, but that Mugabe was as incompetent an election-rigger as he was an economic manager. If Tsvangirai wins he will face a parliament stacked against him until the next election, and institutions of the state, from the army to the judiciary, packed with Mugabe's placemen. But his legitimacy, against such astounding odds, would be unchallengeable. He would give Zimbabwe an escape from her pariah ranking in the world. There would be no need to contest the result. Monitors from countries that have sided with Mugabe could find no possible reason to say Tsvangirai stole it. He might have at least as strong a mandate as George Bush, if not Tony Blair.

But it's more likely that Mugabe claims the numbers, and here the trouble will begin. Zimbabwe will suffer terrible trials, and continued misgovernment in every sphere. And that's not where the testing ends. The world should prepare for a challenge pitting its own proclaimed belief in democracy against the heroic example set by the voters of Zimbabwe. Let them be our model.

It was just about defensible for the Commonwealth leaders, meeting in Australia last week, to postpone a final verdict. They declined to condemn Mugabe outright, or openly challenge the run-up to the election. If we believe in democracy, it's prudent to wait for the outcome, in all its circumstances, before terminally denouncing the exercise. That's the line the majority took, against the advice of Mr Blair and others, even to the extent of producing a snivelling statement that pretended all sides were guilty of intimidation. This showed extreme, but perhaps cunning, even-handedness.

However, in the event of Mugabe reclaiming power, its honesty will be put to the question. Most of the journalism, black and white, coming out of Zimbabwe has produced a great deal of evidence to suggest the result cannot be deemed fair. The infringements of the run-up have been followed by numerous attacks on the invigilators, continuing through yesterday. The only people who will call that fair are those who find it politically convenient to do so. That's the way South Africa looks like jumping. Other Africans, including Nigeria, may follow. The Commonwealth is full of prevaricators and double-talkers, supported by propagandists who insist that African values - rather like Asian values before them - should not be tested by reference to the values of old colonialist Europeans.

This is a condescending way of denying that there are universal values, and that the honesty of democracy is one of them wherever democracy is on parade: Zimbabwe, India, Singapore, Northern Ireland. If the Commonwealth doesn't stand for such honesty, it stands for nothing. It no longer has an economic purpose, and never did have political power. What remains to it is the defence of political values, to which a Mugabe victory in this election, declared stainless and beyond reproach by Commonwealth observers among others, would be the most cynical insult since Mrs Thatcher stopped her fellow leaders from declaring Nelson Mandela a more rightful leader of South Africa than FW de Klerk.

The range of options available is limited. Now that the Commonwealth heads of government have dispersed for another two years, expulsion of Zimbabwe would be technically difficult. In theory, only the heads, in solemn assembly, can do it; and, on the precedents of Nigeria and Pakistan, only when a democratic government has been overturned by a military coup. The institution has failed to provide itself with the means to deal with a member state that murders opponents, cancels voting rights, kills off political discourse, sends in the militia, and calls the outcome democratic.

If this failure continues to prevail, and a sliver of respectability is thus conferred on Mugabe, the Commonwealth will not deserve to survive. It will have lost its last remaining purpose. Its members should stop pretending its very existence does wonderful things, however hard these may be to show.

But worst of all, it will have betrayed the people who in the last few weeks have suffered more for the cause of democratic representation than any western politician has ever had to do. We get democracy on a plate, and are beginning to yawn. Zimbabweans had to fight for it every day. Does life go on as normal, when their fight has been defeated by violence, crookery and the inert blessing of the world?

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News Update from Karoi Mash West and Guruve Mash Central - Monday, March 11, 2002

News release

(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers Union)


The Banket 12 are still imprisoned with no indication of what the charges are!!! A further 42 persons were arrested at the Banket Farmers centre today, most of them were released by the end of the day.


This morning, we received a report that Jeremy O'Connor (a boat builder) from Lions Den had traveled to Murereka Township to transport an individual to a polling station.  While in the Township O'Connor was abducted by Zanu PF youths and reportedly taken to the Zanu PF offices in Murereka. Thereafter he disappeared and it was found out much later that he had been taken to Chinhoyi Police Station and was released at approximately 5:45 p.m. this evening.  His vehicle was not returned.


Another group of Zanu PF youths arrived at Bruce Douglas' house (the local butcher) in Lions Den using Mr O'Connor's vehicle, only to find Mrs Douglas was at home.  The youths then left threatening to return.  It was agreed to remove Mrs Douglas from her home to safety.


Early afternoon, the group of 15-20 youths returned and proceeded to loot the homestead.  At 15:00hrs a group of police arrived at the homestead and declared it to be "safe" and that they would guard the homestead.


They apparently left after an hour and at 21:00hrs hours a radio message was received from the Douglas homestead to say that a group had come in again this evening and cleared out the 3 bed roomed house of all household goods including deep freezers and fridges.


Late after noon a group of police accompanied by a group of Zanu PF youths had arrived at Manengas Farm enquiring on the whereabouts of Mr Douglas.  Mr Douglas' whereabouts were unknown to the household. The enquirer's name was Mr Mapira wearing a blue uniform.


This same group of youths and police then proceeded to Hill pass Farm looking for further information on Bruce Douglas' whereabouts.  The farm owner, Mr J Kotze was not there and so they proceeded to assault at least 4 of the workforce in order to obtain information.


The Kotze homestead was looted of household goods this evening. The perpetrators are alleged to have arrived in the O’Connor vehicle and were said to be ZANU PF militia and members of the ZRP support unit.


These events are said to have been triggered by an accusation made by ZANU PF youths that O’Connor and Bruce Douglas were given millions of dollars to garner votes for MDC in the area.  This is a falsehood.


Herewith summary of incidents from Guruve, Mash Central today.


One MDC election agent and 15 logistics support personnel (one is a farmer) were detained on pretext of possessing unlicensed radios, which interfere with ZRP frequencies. 


The group was visited today in Mahuwe by ZRP ex Bindura in Land Rover registration ZRP152X during course of 10 March checking all radio serial numbers and frequencies.


Purported CIO members then visited logistics base camp near Mahuwe at 23.30hrs 10 March in very threatening manner but upon sight of cameras in hands of logistics personnel they rapidly dispersed.  Members of the logistics team avow that these visitors were not bona fide CIO personnel but various militia, women and graduates of the Border Gezi camp. 


Then before 0700hrs today, 11 March, ZRP arrived and confiscated all radios thus preventing logistics support for team assisting MDC election agents in Guruve North district with food etc.  ZRP then escorted members of the logistics team to Guruve police camp. where (because one member of the team was able to hold down the open button on his radio) the whole process was listened to by outside members of the team who had escaped being rounded up.


One member of the detained team was assaulted by a ZRP officer and can be verified by those listening.  Later all radios were switched off and locked away by ZRP. 


16 personnel in detention for 48-hour period according to ZRP member in charge.  Detention of the electoral agent means that he was effectively neutralized from observation of the ballot boxes from Guruve North polling stations between their closing and start of ballot counting at 0700hrs tomorrow a.m.12 March.




11th March 2002


For more information, please contact Jenni Williams

Cell 011 213 885 or 091 300 456

Email or



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Opposition leader: Morgan Tsvangirai

Treason Charge

A senior Zimbabwean opposition official has been charged with treason for an alleged plot to kill President Robert Mugabe.

Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told reporters outside a Harare court:

"The charge is still treason. Now they are just bringing it formally to the court."


Ncube, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and another party official were accused of treason in late February after the airing of a video purporting to show Tsvangirai discussing a plot against Mugabe during a meeting in Canada. Ncube is the first to be formally charged.

Ncube appeared in court a day after he was arrested by police near the Botswana border.

Tsvangirai poses a strong challenge to Mugabe in the presidential elections which ended amid controversy yesterday, with thousands of people claiming they have been prevented from voting. Counting is underway with results due on Wednesday.

The three MDC officials have denied the treason charges and accused the government of trying to smear the opposition as part of a plot to steal the election.

Irish Times

Zimbabwe opposition official charged with treason

 Last updated: 12-03-02, 10:17

A senior Zimbabwean opposition official said today he had been formally
charged with treason for an alleged plot to kill President Mr Robert Mugabe.

Mr Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), told reporters outside a Harare court: "The charge is still treason.
Now they are just bringing it formally to the court".

Mr Ncube, MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and another party official were
accused of treason in late February after the airing of a video purporting
to show Mr Tsvangirai discussing a plot against Mr Mugabe during a meeting
in Canada.

Mr Ncube appeared in court a day after he was arrested by police near the
Botswana border.

The three MDC officials have denied the treason charges and accused the
government of trying to smear the opposition as part of a plot to steal the

Mr Tsvangirai poses a strong challenge to Mr Mugabe in presidential
elections which ended last night. Vote counting began today.

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Posted on Tue, Mar. 12, 2002
Hundreds unable to vote in Zimbabwe

Chicago Tribune

After an added voting day marked by confusion and a late start, the Zimbabwe government closed presidential election polls Monday night even though hundreds of angry voters remained in lines outside urban polling places.

``We have a right to vote!'' yelled Morelife Mapeture, one of 150 frustrated voters still waiting when the polling gates swung shut Monday night.

The election, the most contentious in this nation's history, pits President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front against challenger Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change. Mugabe has led the nation for 22 years, ever since independence.

The opposition accused Mugabe of slowing the voting to rig the election results, a charge the government denied. Most of the opposition's strength is in cities.

``If those thousands of people are not allowed to vote, this is a stillborn election,'' Tsvangirai said earlier Monday. ``The MDC will not be part of an illegitimate process to try to disenfranchise people.''

The nation's High Court on Monday night refused an opposition request to let the voting continue today. The opposition Sunday had won the court's decision to order polling across the country extended to a third day Monday to accommodate thousands of urban voters still waiting to cast their ballots.

Although the order called for the vote to be continued nationwide, the government opened polls only in the capital and a nearby township. Both areas are considered opposition strongholds.

But when crowds of voters returned to polling stations in the capital early Monday they found many did not open until afternoon and some not at all.

The government announced Monday that voter turnout in rural areas had been 80 percent, but only 30 to 50 percent in urban areas where election monitors said the turnout was "massive.''

Opposition leaders charged Monday that Mugabe's government had reduced urban polling stations in the country by 30 to 50 percent compared to the last election as part of a deliberate attempt to thwart balloting in urban areas.

Ballot-counting is to begin today, and election results are expected Wednesday.

Dismissed by the government as biased, polls before the election suggested that Tsvangirai is a 2-to-1 favorite. Many opposition backers said Monday that Zimbabwe may face some sort of popular uprising if the 78-year-old Mugabe is declared the winner after what they called a deeply flawed voting process.

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HARARE, March 12 (Xinhuanet) -- The counting of votes in Zimbabwe
's closest-fought presidential election since independence started
on Tuesday morning, after the High Court rejected a request from
the opposition for polling to continue for a fourth day. 
   With more than 2.9 million people estimated to have cast their
votes by the end of Sunday, excluding those who voted in capital
Harare and the nearby district Chitungwiza on Monday, incumbent
President Robert Mugabe of the ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) was headed for a sounding
victory against Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in the country's landmark election.
   Although the High Court ordered the extension of polling days
by another day in Harare and Chitungwiza, rural areas where the
ruling party enjoys more than 90 percent support had already
completed the process.
   There are more than 5.6 million registered voters in the
country, of which 3.4 million reside in rural areas.
   Registrar-General Cde Tobaiwa Mudede said on Monday evening
that voting had closed and the process of transporting ballot
boxes to counting centers had begun.
   Verification started at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) while counting for
other constituencies was also expected to start at the same time.
The result was expected to be known this coming Thursday morning.
   Electoral Supervisory Commission Chairman Sobusa Gula-Ndebele
said there had been a higher voter turnout compared to past
elections, hailing the election as generally peaceful.
   Complete figures were available from the southeastern province
of Masvingo, a stronghold of the ZANU-PF, where 400,525 people had
cast their votes at the close of polling stations at 7 p.m. (1700
GMT) on Sunday.
   In the parliamentary elections of June 2000, the ruling party
retained 12 of the 14 constituencies of the province. Bikita West
was reclaimed in a by-election held early last year.
   In the northern province of Mashonaland Central, another
stronghold of the ZANU-PF, 331,251 people had voted. The ruling
party scooped all the 10 constituencies during the 2000
parliamentary elections.
   Another 328,571 people had voted by 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) Sunday in
the northeastern province of Mashonaland East, also a ZANU-PF
stronghold. During the 2000 parliamentary elections, the ruling
party controls 11 of the 12 constituencies in the province. Only
Seke went to the opposition MDC.
   Monday's reports from the province's Chikomba, one of the ZANU-
PF constituencies, said 31,393 people had taken part in the
polling on Saturday and Sunday.
   In the northwestern province of Mashonaland West, where the
scale also tilted in favor of the ruling ZANU-PF, 292,943 people
had voted between Saturday and Sunday. In the parliamentary
elections nearly two years ago, the ruling party only lost Chegutu
and Kadoma to the opposition MDC, retaining 10 constituencies in
the province.
   Meanwhile, ZANU-PF Secretary-General Emmerson Mnangagwa said
the party will abide by the will of people if the results showed
President Mugabe has lost to his main challenger Tsvangirai, a
trade unionist-turned politician.
   However, a senior official from the MDC party said the election
had not been free and fair, adding that the party will challenge
the result in court if Tsvangirai lost.
   During the two-horse presidential race, there are several
issues voters were concentrated on. Economy was the most important
one, as inflation and unemployment had soared since farm invasions
began in early 2000.
   Food shortage was also a major deciding factor, with the staple
food, mealie meal which is similar to corn meal, no longer being
readily available on store shelves.
   Another big concern of voters was security. There is so much
intimidation and violence in Zimbabwe. People feel very unsafe and
wanted to restore order so they can sleep at night without the
fear of being attacked.
   Under Zimbabwe's first-past-the-post system, which was
inherited from its former colonial power of Britain, the winner
needs only one more vote than his closest rival. 
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Daily News

Development begins with the rule of law

3/11/02 7:57:23 AM (GMT +2)

By David Howell

The situation in Zimbabwe goes from bad to worse. This weekend’s
presidential election has come amid a crescendo of violence and
intimidation, with the army, the police and the thugs of the ruling Zanu PF
party rampaging through every region of this enormous and once-rich Central
African country.

It seems that President Mugabe will stop at nothing in his determination to
cling on to power and plunder, to protect his cronies and their wealth and
to destroy all political opposition.

Yet even at this eleventh hour there are some questions worth asking. First,
will he succeed? Incredibly, it is just possible that the opposition the
Movement for Democratic Change under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai may
yet be able to garner enough votes to defeat Mugabe, despite seeing its
political rallies broken up, its associates murdered and its supporters
endlessly harassed.

Most outside observers and monitors have been barred, with the European
Union (EU) team in particular sent packing after a humiliating period of
dithering and indecision. But a few observers from neighbouring states and
Commonwealth countries have been admitted and have already pronounced that,
whoever wins, the election will certainly not be free and fair.

It is even possible that Mugabe will simply ignore an unfavourable result
and pronounce himself the winner regardless in which case the spiral of
violence will continue downward into a virtual civil war.
Second, what can the international community do about Zimbabwe?

It has been obvious for the past two years that the country was in the grip
of a ruler who had gone paranoid and whose hatred was directed not just
against white farmers, but against half his own people as well.

So-called targeted sanctions by the EU are now supposed to be in place
against Mugabe and his followers, but they are much too late and seem to
make little difference to the regime. And the Commonwealth has shamefully
ducked away from any serious action.

Years ago, responsible governments in Western countries ought to have
insisted that the grossly unequal sharing of the best farmland in Zimbabwe
between a few hundred thousand whites and millions of black people was bound
to lead to tensions, and that a vicious leader would exploit this situation
to the full.

Britain, as the former colonial power, bears a special responsibility here,
but none of the donor countries who have tried to “help” African development
in recent years Japan and the United States included emerge with much

In Zimbabwe, as elsewhere, it has been the old story of salving consciences
by writing cheques. In defiance of the most visible experience, the richer
countries have clung to the belief that aid equals development and that if
enough cash is handed over to developing country governments somehow social
and economic conditions will improve. Even now, the parrot cry for “more
 aid” echoes around international gatherings as the “answer” to African
misery and misrule.

Yet Africa is poorer today than when aid programmes began during the decades
of the Cold War. Countries like Zimbabwe and Kenya have gone steadily
backwards since the British left them in tiptop condition at the time of
independence. Emergency humanitarian and technical assistance may have
stemmed some suffering in the very short term. But cash injections have
merely strengthened political elites, as in the case of Zimbabwe, and
encouraged more corruption and repression.

Development begins not with external aid, but with the rule of law, with
secure property titles and with the basic conditions in which people can
turn their skills and assets into capital and growth without fear of
confiscation, State bullying and intimidation.

This is where outside efforts should have been focused over past decades.

There is one more question, and it may seem a shocking one: Does it really
matter, in terms of global peace and stability, what happens in Zimbabwe?

In moral terms there can be no doubt. By today’s standards of humanitarian
concern, the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe are clear and appalling not yet
on the scale of slaughter and horror of Bosnia and Kosovo, East Timor or
Rwanda, but rapidly moving that way.

But when it comes to realpolitik and global power relationships, are Central
and Southern Africa really in the mainstream, or can the world pass by on
the other side of the road?

Although it is never expressed in these terms, the feeling hangs in the air
that African economic progress is a hopeless cause and that policymakers in
the capitals of the developed world should more usefully concentrate on
other issues of global security and economic stability.

But that is the worst kind of short-sighted policymaking. The chaos of
Zimbabwe is an infectious disease. In tomorrow’s world, it will spread not
only to South Africa, but to the whole African continent and then to the
rest of the developing world.

It will vastly reinforce the lethal brew of drug-trading, ethnic violence,
uncontrolled migration, crime and terrorism that is already threatening the
heartlands of advanced societies.

This tragedy is not just one more African “basket case” and not just a
matter for the British, as the former colonial power, or the surrounding
African neighbours, to sort out.

Zimbabwe is everybody’s business and part of everybody’s networks and
interests. It demands the attention of the whole international community.

If, by some good fortune, democracy prevails in the end and Mugabe is
finally forced out, it will be a victory not for tardy and hesitant
governments round the world, but for human courage and for grassroots
democracy inside Zimbabwe. Help to the brave opposition from the official
outside world will have been minimal.

David Howell is a former Cabinet minister and former chairman of Britain’s
Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. He is now a member of the House of Lords.
(c) The Japan Times
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Daily News

Zanu PF youths run riot on eve of presidential poll

3/11/02 10:05:38 AM (GMT +2)

From Zerubabel Mudzingwa and Luke Tamborinyoka in Gweru

ZANU PF supporters went on an orgy of violence on the eve of the first day
of the election here, where two vehicles carrying MDC polling agents were
attacked in separate incidents on Friday night.

A Mazda B2200 belonging to Silobela MP Abednigo Mathe Malinga was ambushed
at Tiger Reef Mine, 10km outside Kwekwe, and burnt beyond repair. The
vehicle was carrying six MDC polling agents to their respective polling
stations at Crushers and Broomsgrove School. The Zanu PF youths ambushed the
car and started throwing stones, forcing the MDC polling agents to flee the

As a result, the agents did not sleep at the polling station.

The car is valued at more than $2 million. “The attack has crippled our
mobility but it has not dampened the people’s eagerness to go and vote,”
Malinga said.

In a separate incident, a Toyota Hilux carrying three MDC polling officers
was attacked at Dovenkent Farm in Lower Gweru. The windscreen of the vehicle
was shattered as the polling officers fled from advancing Zanu PF youths,
based at the polling station.
The Zanu PF youths are also camped at Maboleni, Sogwala, Bhembe and
Mangwandi polling stations in the same constituency.

The damaged car belongs to Renson Gasela, who is the MDC MP for the area.
Meanwhile, queues as long as 500 metres started forming at some polling
stations in Gweru, Redcliff and Kwekwe two hours before the opening of the
polling booths yesterday. Thousands braved the chilly and cloudy weather to
cast their votes on the first day of the election.

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Daily News

Court orders police to storm Zanu PF camp

3/11/02 10:08:52 AM (GMT +2)

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

HIGH Court judge, Justice Benjamin Paradza, on Friday ordered the police to
storm a Zanu PF and war veterans torture camp in Mashonaland East province
to rescue a couple captured and detained there for almost a month.

Ephraim Tapa and his wife, Faith Mukwakwa, were captured on 16 February and
taken to Mushimbo township in Mutoko where Zanu PF supporters and war
veterans operate a torture camp.

Paradza ordered John Nkomo, the Minister of Home Affairs, and Augustine
Chihuri, the Police Commissioner, to direct the police to dismantle all Zanu
PF and war veterans torture chambers in Mashonaland East province.

Tapa is the president of the Civil Service Association of Zimbabwe, an
affiliate of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. Mukwakwa is a teacher at
Masvitsi Primary School in Mutoko.

In his interim relief, Paradza said: “Nkomo, Chihuri and Masango be ordered
to go, enter and search Mushimbo base at Mushimbo township and its environs
to cause the release of Tapa and Mukwakwa.

“In the event of the said Tapa and Mukwakwa not being located at the
Mushimbo base, the respondents be ordered to go, enter and search any bases
in Mashonaland East to cause the release of Tapa and Mukwakwa.”

Tapa and Mukwakwa’s lawyer, Jacob Mafume of Kantor and Immerman, was on
Friday trying to serve the court order to the police so his clients could be

Paradza gave Nkomo and Chihuri 10 days to show cause why a final order in
the matter should not be effected. The officer commanding Mashonaland East
province, Assistant Commissioner Masango, is also a respondent in the

In the event that Nkomo, Chihuri and Masango fail to show cause why they
should not destroy the bases, Paradza will issue a final order which states:
“Nkomo, Chihuri and Masango be and are ordered to dismantle Mushimbo base
which is being used to commit crimes of torture, assault and kidnapping,
among other things.”

The terms of the final order said that Nkomo, Chihuri and Masango “be
ordered to dismantle and destroy all the bases being used by Zanu PF and war
veterans as torture chambers and unlawful detention centres”.

Paradza said the three should prohibit the formation and establishment of
bases in Mashonaland East. Mafume told the court that his clients are
currently being tortured at the base.

Tapa’s brother, Chamunorwa Chisoko, who took the case to the High Court,
said on 16 February he was in the company of Tapa, while escorting Mukwakwa
to the school where she teaches.

He said they were approached by a group of Zanu PF supporters when they
stopped at a store along the Nyamapanda Highway. They were asked what they
were doing in the area.

“They went on to accuse us of being MDC supporters since we were coming from
Harare, but we denied that and produced Zanu PF membership cards. We were
advised to carry these cards for our safety,” Chisoko said.

He told the court that unfortunately, John Murwisi, the former district
administrator of Mutoko, insisted that they be taken to a base at Masvitsi
Primary School.

“At the base, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters and war veterans started to
assault us, but I managed to escape,” Chisoko said. Another captive, Morgan
Mazenge, also escaped and they reported the matter at Marondera Police
Station, where Detective Sergeant Chapisa was asked to handle the case.

Mafume told the court his investigations revealed that his clients were
being detained at Mushimbo township in a metal structure
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Daily News

CFU says Made ignored proposals on food security

3/11/02 10:08:34 AM (GMT +2)

By Takaitei Bote Farming Editor

THE Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) says the proposals it made last year to
Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made, to
improve the food situation in the country, fell on deaf ears. Realising that
there were going to be serious food shortages in the country, the CFU
presented a document to Made suggesting two possible ways of improving food

The document outlines proposals to encourage maize plantings in the
commercial sector in a two-pronged method. Firstly, the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) would contract producers to produce an early planted irrigated
crop that could be delivered to the GMB from as early as February, March and

The benefits would have been increased maize production, filling up the
strategic grain reserve. This maize would have eased the overall import
programme, with local production feeding the country during the projected
stock-out period before the next harvest and delivery period in July and
August this year.

In the document delivered to Made on 25 September 2001, the CFU’s Zimbabwe
Grain Producers’ Association (ZGPA) proposed to the government that the GMB
could contract producers across all sectors for early deliveries of up to
200 000 tonnes, and deliveries of this maize could have begun last month.

The ZPGA said: “The proposed contract scheme can potentially reduce foreign
currency expenditure of up to US$32 million ($1,7 billion).” In the second
proposal, the ZGPA suggested that the government consider allowing non-food
industry users of maize, such as the livestock and breweries, to contract
maize producers for supply of the maize during February when the irrigated
crop is supposed to have have been harvested.

This would reduce the draw-downs, including the logistical distribution and
planning responsibility, of the GMB from 172 000 tonnes per month to about
117 000 tonnes, the ZGPA said. “This would also ensure that livestock
production secures adequate stocks at viable prices, rather than relying on
imported maize, which is estimated to cost in the region of $26 400 a
 tonne,” said ZPGA.

The government is expected to use about $24 billion in the importation of
500 000 tonnes, at a time when maize prices continue to rise in South
Africa, which is the source of the commodity.

The ZGPA claims it had written to Made on several occasions, including on 6
September 2001, when it was asked to set time aside to discuss maize
production and viability, but Made had not responded. On 7 November 2001,
CFU president Colin Cloete wrote to Made asking for permission to talk to
him about the work stoppages in commercial farming areas, as it was feared
they would impact on food security in the 2001/2002 season.

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Daily News

Election cannot be free and fair when voters are disenfranchised

3/11/02 7:56:41 AM (GMT +2)

THIS weekend’s presidential election will not be free and fair because some
fly-by-night observers say so. It will be free and fair because the people
of Zimbabwe pronounce it thus.

The statements by delegates from Namibia, South Africa and the Commonwealth
appear designed to condition everyone into believing that this election is
free and fair. That is an inference that could only be arrived at by someone
determined to ignore the context in which this election is taking place.

Yes, the two days of voting will appear free and fair, but the road to this
election has cost the lives of more than 100 people. Thousands of families
have been displaced, scores of workers in the education, health and local
government sectors have been forced to flee their work stations, while at
least 40 schools in rural areas 35 of them in one province have been closed
because of political violence.

The arbitrary disenfranchisement of people who have previously voted in both
parliamentary and presidential elections on the grounds that they come from
Southern African Development Community countries or because they are of
British extraction, cannot render the election free and fair.

When the main opposition party has been in and out of the courts during the
past year in order to force the government to conduct itself in a credible
and transparent process and because of violence and legal prohibitions, the
election cannot be said to be taking place in a free and fair environment.

The sudden reduction in the number of polling stations in urban areas,
thereby creating congestion that could force the extension of the voting, is
a deliberate impediment being placed in the path of voters by the government
and the ruling party, because they do not wish the people to freely exercise
their right to elect their leaders.

The government has marshalled all its resources solely to misinform and
mislead voters, while its own voter education exercise has been hopelessly
inadequate and targeted at urban residents. It has been vicious in its
attack against anyone who does not rally behind the ruling party.

To this end the government’s strategy has been to decampaign and demonise
the opposition and civic groups. It has obstructed media access by banning
independent newspapers such as The Daily News, The Financial Gazette, The
Independent and The Standard from being sold in certain areas in Mashonaland
Central, East, West, Manicaland,
Masvingo and the Midlands. Newspaper vendors have been attacked and some
have fled to other provinces for their own safety. Independent media
journalists have been attacked, while police have harassed them through
periodic arrests. It is extremely naive to believe that such conditions make
for free and fair elections.

Since Independence in 1980, past elections have not had the requirement of
proof of residency. This is yet another impediment the government has placed
in the path of voters. The number of election observers, both foreign and
local, has been deliberately restricted in order to ensure that they are not
everywhere at the same time, creating conditions for possible rigging.

Why would a government that has no dark intentions place restrictions on
observers and journalists covering the election?

Despite these impediments, the huge turnout on the first day of voting
suggests a determination by the voters to overcome the obstacles being
placed in their way. An extension to the voting days to include Monday is
certain if the government has no darker motives.

Whatever the outcome of the election, there are enormous expectations.
People expect decisive and significant steps to be taken to tackle law and
order, the rule of law, unemployment, shortages of basic commodities,
resuscitating closed industries and gaining the confidence of domestic and
foreign investors, as well as Zimbabwe’s relations with Britain, older
members of the Commonwealth, the European Union, and the United States of

“Going it alone” is a myopic option

China Peoples Daily

Zimbabwe's Opposition Hopeful Threatens to Disavow Voting Results
Candidate of Zimbabwe's major opposition party said on Monday that he will
not accept voting results of the current presidential election if the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union -- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) wins.

Morgan Tsvangirai, also leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
told journalists that the election was being born out of a massive
disenfranchising of voters.

"I am disappointed with the process because they are not allowing people to
exercise their rights through intimidation," said Tsvangirai.

"We share the people's fear that the result will be rigged, but we will
complete the process we began in our campaign for a better life."

Tsvangirai also alleged that the ZANU-PF was planning to kill him, but
appealed to his supporters to remain calm.

"They may want to arrest and at worst kill me, but they will never destroy
the spirit of the people to reclaim their power," he said.

"If they do, you must stay strong and carry on the work we began together.
Let us first wait peacefully for your votes to be cast and counted."

Tsvangirai is a major rival of incumbent President Robert Mugabe, who is the
candidate of the ZANU-PF.

Tsvangirai, a 50-year-old trade unionist-turned politician, is seen as
representing a younger generation of Zimbabweans, particularly urban
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Daily News

EU threatens to extend list of targeted sanctions

3/11/02 10:06:59 AM (GMT +2)

By Ngoni Chanakira Business Editor

THE European Union (EU) has threatened to take additional punitive measures
by extending sanctions against Vice-Presidents Simon Muzenda and Joseph
Msika, and Dr Simba Makoni, the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development, to the targeted list.

The three were not on the original list. The EU has threatened the action if
Zimbabwe’s political and economic situation does not improve. The EU has
also called for a free and fair presidential election. The poll, which is
being contested by major candidates President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF and
Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition MDC, is under way countrywide.

The EU has already slapped targeted “smart” sanctions on Zimbabwe in the
form of an arms embargo, travel ban and freeze on the assets of President
Mugabe and 19 of his close officials. An EU official said a new African
Caribbean and Pacific /EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Compromise Resolution
was now gathering support in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
He said the strongly worded text highlighted the feelings across parties in
the European Parliament about the vote in Zimbabwe ­ which is seen by many
as a test of strength of African democracy.

Mugabe has, however, told the EU that they should not meddle in the affairs
of Zimbabwe because it is a sovereign state.

The EU official said the resolution was proposed on behalf of the 233-strong
EPP-ED group ­ the largest in the European Parliament, with the support of
the liberal ELDR group and the socialist PSE group. He said Zimbabwe was
expected to feature prominently at a meeting scheduled to be held between 18
and 21 March in Cape Town, South Africa, which would bring together
parliamentarians from 92 developed and developing nations. In a resolution,
the EU said it welcomed the contribution of Euro 170 000 to support the
election observation efforts of the Southern African Development Community
Parliamentary Forum and domestic observers.

But it was concerned by the reports of “no-go areas” for monitors and by
senior South African election observer Brigalia Bam’s observation that the
mission did not havea true monitoring role and had limited powers.

It asked the government to allow observers to escort ballot boxes to the
counting offices and said it believes that at no time should they be
prevented from doing so. The EU warned the Southern African region and
international community that if the result of March’s presidential election
was a “flagrantly stolen poll”, there was a serious risk of economic, social
and political instability ­ exacerbated by hunger and despair ­ spreading
across Zimbabwe’s borders.

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From ZWNEWS, 12 March
Voting analysis

An analysis of voting data from the presidential election indicates a definitive voting victory for the MDC. Based on the government’s INITIAL turnout figures, together with polling percentages from the June 2000 parliamentary election and recent opinion polling data, the electoral arithmetic shows that the way voters are likely to have decided in this watershed ballot leaves Zanu PF and their presidential candidate in trouble.

The initial overall turnout for the whole country – by the end of voting on Sunday evening as announced by ZBC - was around 2 980 000, or 53 percent of the registered electorate. Monday’s voting in Chitungwiza and Harare – disrupted and cut short by administrative obstructions – is not included in this total. By province, the turnout varied widely, according to the official release, from 46 percent in Bulawayo and Matabeleland North, to 69 percent in Mashonaland Central. Overall, the turnout was almost eight percentage points higher than in June 2000. Again, the figures vary – from under one percentage lower in Bulawayo compared with the parliamentary elections, to around 14 percentage points higher in Manicaland and Mavingo, and 17 percentage points higher in Mashonaland Central. The Harare turnout by Sunday evening, at 47 per cent of those registered, was around 2 percentage points higher than in June 2000. These initial turnout figures have been subsequently revised – considerably – by the government. But on the INITIAL figures, the calculations show that an announced Mugabe victory will be totally at odds with the likely course of voting on the ground.

In order to calculate how these turnout figures translate into support for the two main presidential candidates, we have used two sources of data. Overall actual support for the two candidates, by common agreement amongst political observers, would have largely been decided in the swing provinces of Masvingo and the Midlands, and also, crucially, how voters have changed their preferences in the three Mashonaland provinces since June 2000. For these – overwhelmingly rural - constituencies, we have taken the relative support for the two main candidates by those rural voters who were willing to reveal their intentions to researchers from the Mass Public Opinion Institute at the University of Zimbabwe. For the other areas, where the swing in the vote from June 2000 is likely to have been much lower, we have taken the relative shares of that actual vote in 2000. The arithmetic yields a total of just short of 1.7 million votes for Morgan Tsvangirai, compared with just over 1.2 million for Robert Mugabe – a victory of over 58 per cent as against 41 percent for the MDC.

As with everything else connected with this election, however, the data comes together with a number of health warnings. The February opinion poll data recorded a huge percentage of voters who were unwilling to say who they supported. The figures for Harare’s extra day of voting are not included in the calculations, and they could be crucial at the margin. And, most importantly of course there is, no allowance made for the distinct possibility of fraud between vote and count. The initial turnout figures upon which we have based our calculations have subsequently been revised by ZBC, further inflating the rural versus the urban vote. The numbers for Harare later showed a fall in votes cast versus June 2000. The initial figures showed an increase. And those for votes cast in Mashonaland Central were later raised enormously.

But of the vote itself, there is little doubt. Those who declined to reveal their voting preferences in the February opinion poll are more likely to have been MDC than Zanu PF supporters. And although we have assumed that the shares of the vote in the non-swing provinces stayed static compared with June 2000, it may have in fact increased in favour of the MDC since then. Masvingo is a particular case in point. The devil, as always, is in the detail. Why the large changes in the reports of voting totals on Monday? Those monitoring the count today will have to have their wits – and calculators - about them.

                                        Registered         Votes cast by     Turnout     Turnout         MDC vote

                                        Voters 2002         Sunday night     % 2002     % 2000         share 2000

Bulawayo                             368 028                 169 000             45.9         46.7                 83.6

Harare                                 882 176                  415 000             47.0         44.7                 75.9

Manicaland                          658 694                  363 000             55.1         41.4                 47.2

Mash Central                       480 092                  331 000             69.0         51.7                 19.8

Mash East                           589 185                   328 000            55.7         47.2                 24.0

Mash West                          572 677                   293 000            51.2         43.1                 32.8

Masvingo                            655 122                   380 000             58.0         43.8                 37.0

Mat. North                          338 186                   157 000             46.4         43.7                  73.6

Mat. South                         343 993                   165 000              48.0         46.4                 59.3

Midlands                            724 659                    379 000             52.3         48.4                  33.2

Total                               5 612 814                 2 980 000              53.1         45.5                 46.7

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Daily News

MDC activists facing abduction charges granted bail

3/11/02 10:04:25 AM (GMT +2)

Court Reporter

ELEVEN MDC supporters were remanded on $ 3000 bail each to 25 March when
they appeared in court on Friday on a charge of abducting a Zanu PF
militant. The 11 were arrested on Wednesday after clashes with Zanu PF in
Greendale. Harare provincial magistrate Shelton Jura dismissed an
application by their lawyers, Tonderai Bhatasara and Lewis Uriri, for the
court to release their clients from remand.

The lawyers said there was no “reasonable suspicion” to place the 11 on

They said their clients were among a group of MDC supporters gathered at
Athlone shopping centre for transport to a rally. A mob of Zanu PF youths
descended on the shopping centre and beat up members of the public. An MDC
member was caught up in the violence and his colleagues intervened, sending
the Zanu PF youths fleeing, the lawyers said. The MDC members caught one of
the youths and contacted the police at Rhodesville. The police allegedly
claimed they had no transport and the 11 MDC members took the Zanu PF youths
in their truck to the police station.

The lawyers said on arrival at Rhodesville, the MDC members found the Zanu
PF militants had literally taken over the police station and a police
officer took them to the cells, ostensibly for their safety.

They spent the night in the cells and the following morning they were taken
to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Law and Order Section at
Harare Central police station.

“The officers of law and order had no idea what had happened at Rhodesville
and were given the version which appears in the court papers,” Bhatasara
said. Simon Matseko, a detective in the CID section, conceded he based his
write-up on what he was told by the officer-in-charge at Rhodesville.
Prosecutor Allan Mabande said the 11 were travelling in a lorry campaigning
for the MDC in Greendale, when they came across Zanu PF members.

They allegedly abducted one of the Zanu PF youths and were arrested
whiledriving towards the city centre.

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Defeat of Mugabe is 'hopeless'
20.05PM GMT, 11 Mar 2002

ITV News Africa correspondent Tim Ewart reports from Harare.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition's candidate, today described the election
as stillborn.

And the feeling, really, was in the opposition camp that they've pretty much
accepted defeat and regard now the task of trying to defeat Robert Mugabe as

Their argument is that the rigging began long before voting. That there has
been intimidation over many months here. That their supporters have been
beaten up, that their agents have been abducted and that is certainly the
opposition's claim.

The government fiercely deny it. They say it has been a free and fair
election although it has been beset by some cumbersome bureaucracy in some

We should know the result within about 24 hours.

The state-controlled media this morning even, before the polls opened, were
saying that Robert Mugabe was effectively going to win.

And the line that's been taken in the state media here is very much to
prepare people for an announcement that Mr Mugabe is going to win.

They say that there wasn't that big a turnout in the urban areas where the
opposition has a lot of support, but a big turnout in Mr Mugabe's rural
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Mugabe seizes MDC leaders
By Tim Butcher in Bulawayo and Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 12/03/2002)

PRESIDENT MUGABE arrested hundreds of political opponents in Zimbabwe
yesterday and sent riot police to attack electors demanding to vote after
three days of waiting.

Morgan Tsvangirai: spoke of his fear that he might be assassinated
Last night police using clubs and tear gas attacked long queues of voters in
the stronghold of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Harare.

Despite a court order allowing polling stations to remain open for an extra,
third day, many remained closed and a call by the MDC for a fourth day of
voting was rejected by the high court.

About 1,000 people, mostly opposition supporters including Welshman Ncube,
the MDC secretary general, his deputy Gift Chimanikire, and the party's
international spokesman, Tendai Biti, have been arrested. Polling agents and
election support staff have also been held.

About a dozen MDC members trained as polling agents for the presidential
poll are unaccounted for since they disappeared.

Four American diplomats who saved a white MDC farmer from being detained on
Sunday were also arrested briefly.

The crackdown is expected to worsen when international observers and
journalists begin to leave Zimbabwe at the end of the week.

With the count delayed by legal argument, the opposition candidate, Morgan
Tsvangirai, gave a press conference in which he spoke of his fear that he
might be assassinated.

Amid reports that Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace, had left the country with the
couple's three children, the MDC said it had been approached by a senior
government figure conceding defeat.

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Business Report

Rand edgy as Zimbabwe ticks on softly
March 12 2002 at 06:36AM
Johannesburg - South Africa's rand gained after three days of voting in
neighbouring Zimbabwe produced little violence. The currency may drop in
coming days if observers conclude the election wasn't free and fair,
analysts said.

The rand strengthened as much as 2.7 percent to R11.345 a dollar, from
R11.655 late on Friday. It recently traded at R11.520, bringing its gain
against the dollar this year to 3.8 percent.

South Africa's currency dropped to a two-month low on Friday after investors
sold rand-based assets, preferring to hold dollars before Zimbabwe's
election. Some of them reversed those positions yesterday, boosting the
rand. The rand may weaken in coming days if violence flares up or the
election result appears rigged, analysts said.

"A lot of people were speculating that there would be violence," said
Natheem Alexander of Abvest Associates.

"To a large extent it's actually gone quite smoothly, but obviously you have
to wait for the outcome."

Zimbabwe started a third day of voting yesterday in Harare and a nearby town
after the high court ruled in favour of a petition brought by opposition
candidate Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.

Tsvangirai said he may withdraw from the election after polling stations
failed to re-open until noon.

Heavy turnout in Harare left thousands of voters stranded outside polling
stations last night. The extension may favour Tsvangirai, whose support is
mostly in urban areas.

President Robert Mugabe, who is facing the strongest electoral challenge of
his 22 years in power, is expected to gain votes in rural areas.

Many investors prefer to wait until the result is known, Alexander said.
That reduces trading volumes, which means one transaction may move the rand
more that it otherwise would.

Teams from the Commonwealth, South Africa and other African nations are
monitoring the elections and the counting process, and will deliver a
verdict after the result is announced.

"We're not going to see any results before the end of the week," said John
Beynon, the head of foreign exchange sales at Standard Corporate and
Merchant Bank.

"I expect the rand to trade in quite a wide range."

Sasol gained 1.6 percent to R116.00 after reporting that it had raised
attributable earnings a share by 50 percent for the the six months to
December 31.

AFP reported that the price of oil surged yesterday to its highest opening
level for almost six months, as US-Iraqi tensions continued to convince
dealers to buy crude.

Bonds rose on the back of the stronger rand. The most-traded government
bond, the R150 gained, driving the yield down 12 basis points to 11.87

It recently yielded 11.96 percent. A basis point is 0.01 of a percentage

The benchmark long bond, the R153 drove the yield down as many as 12 basis
points to 12.36 percent. It recently yielded 12.46 percent.

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Irish Times

Chaotic scenes as Zimbabwe's election hangs in the balance

  ZIMBABWE: Mugabe's government conceded an extra day of polling yesterday
but moved to frustrate voters. likely to support the opposition.

City polling booths opened at midday - five hours later than specified in an
emergency High Court order - while gangs of roaming youth militia attacked
voter queues in some neighbourhoods, reports Declan Walsh from Harare

The chaotic scenes sent the opposition challenger, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai,
back to court in search of another order to extend polling into a fourth
day. Last night the High Court rejected the application.

Earlier, Mr Tsvangirai suffered a second blow when police arrested two
senior officials of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party including
the secretary-general, Mr Welshman Ncube.

Police also detained four American embassy officials for four hours. They
were returning from an election-monitoring mission. An embassy official
described the incident as a "clear violation of diplomatic conventions". The
government had reduced the number of polling stations in Harare, an
opposition stronghold, by 30 per cent. But despite the obstacles tens of
thousands of determined voters gathered outside overburdened polling
stations for the third day running.

Shopkeeper Abisha Chiware was among those queueing in Highfield township
waiting for his turn to vote against Mr Mugabe. He waited all day on
Saturday, until eleven on Sunday, and by lunchtime yesterday he was just 150
people from the end.

"This is the time of realisation and reckoning. It is a period of awakening
for everybody," he said. The electrical wholesaler had shut his business for
the day to allow his employees to vote.

The sense of optimism in Highfield was tempered by an air of menace. Hours
earlier a gang of Zanu-PF youths had attacked the waiting crowd. "They said
'Why are you queuing? The election is over since yesterday. Go home'," said
Mr Kuda Madzima.

Voters fled but returned to re-form the queue after riot police intervened,
he said. By early afternoon polling had resumed at a brisk pace and the
gates of the school where the militia had set up a base - plastered with
posters of a fist-shaking President Mugabe - remained closed.

Just under half of the nation's 5.6 million registered voters had cast their
ballots by Sunday night, the official end of the two-day polling.

Voting was extended into a third day on Sunday night after the MDC won an
emergency court order. The Information Minister, Mr Jonathan Moyo, described
the order as "disgraceful". The election result was likely by noon tomorrow,
he said.

A grave-looking Mr Tsvangirai warned Zimbabweans in a morning press
conference against "the forces of darkness" and said he feared he may be

He counselled voters against violence as they waited for the poll result.

"Do not succumb to their provocative traps. I know they are trying very hard
to provoke you," he said.

By evening the MDC confirmed that Mr Ncube had been arrested in the
south-western town of Plumtree, while his deputy, Mr Gift Chimanikire, was
detained in Harare.

Mr Ncube already faces treason charges for allegedly plotting with Mr
Tsvangirai to assassinate President Mugabe.

Further reports of state-sponsored violence, intimidation and apparent vote
rigging continued to arrive in the office of the Zimbabwean Human Rights
group, a non-partisan organisation monitoring the weekend poll.

It reported that helicopters had been seen flying ballot boxes in and out of
Gokwe North, while in one Bulawayo polling station 92 per cent of voters
were turned away even though their names were on the official voters

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Mugabe set to cling on to power
 The Irish Examiner 12 Mar 2002

ZIMBABWE'S presidential election went into a court-ordered third day but,
last night, it seemed that by hook or by crook, President Robert Mugabe will
cling on to power. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai accused Mugabe of
trying to steal victory and said it was a "stillborn election." EU foreign
ministers, meeting in Brussels, said simply the election is "not fair".

The capital, Harare, was filled with confusion and allegations of government
rigging as polling stations opened nearly five hours late while thousands of
people waited to vote.

There was no indication last night as to when the first results will be
announced. Officials from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) said Mr Mugabe was trying to prevent people from voting in their urban
stronghold as part of a widespread plan to steal the most competitive
election in Zimbabwe's history. Three MDC leaders were arrested yesterday.
Police gave no reasons.

A group of white farmers and American and British lawyers had also been
arrested while observing the vote, officials said. The MDC successfully
sought a High Court order forcing the government to extend voting
countrywide for a third day after seeing the huge queues at many polling
stations on Sunday night, the scheduled end of the two day vote. But Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa defied the court and would only allow a third day
of voting in Harare and a nearby township. Many polling stations in the rest
of the country had already been dismantled. But Harare's polling stations
did not open until noon, after many voters had given up and gone home or to

"We are not happy, we are stranded," said Never Taraswa, a 37-year-old
unemployed man who blamed the government for the long wait to vote in the
poor Glen View neighbourhood.

"They don't want us to change things."

Even before the Harare polls closed, authorities announced turnout figures
that showed massive voting in Mugabe strongholds, with far fewer voters
casting ballots in opposition areas. Mashonaland Central, which normally
votes strongly for the ruling party, had a 68% turn-out. Harare 47% and the
city of Bulawayo, an overwhelmingly opposition area, 46%, the government
said with a straight face.

Opposition officials said the reported turn-outs in pro-Mugabe areas did not
match the reports from their polling agents in those areas.
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The Age Melbourne

Aust diplomats investigate Zimbabwe arrests
CANBERRA, March 12 AAP|Published: Tuesday March 12, 4:39 PM

Australian diplomats in Zimbabwe are investigating reports two senior
Zimbabwean opposition party figures have been arrested, Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer said today.

Zimbabwe's presidential elections ended in violence yesterday as possibly
thousands of people missed their opportunity to vote, despite polling being
extended into a third day.

Many were beaten back by police at polling stations throughout the capital

The election pitted President Robert Mugabe against Morgan Tsvangirai, a
union organiser turned opposition candidate.

Mr Downer said Australian diplomats in Harare believed that with counting
about to begin under the scrutiny of Commonwealth observers, many
Zimbabweans had been denied an opportunity to vote

"I can't say whether the outcome of this historic will reflect the will of
the people of Zimbabwe, though it would appear the leadup to the election
has been neither free nor fair," he told parliament.

"I look forward to the receipt of the report of the Commonwealth Observers

"This report is crucial to any subsequent Commonwealth action that may be
decided by President Mbeki of South Africa, President Obasanjo of Nigeria
and our own prime minister."

He said the three leaders could recommend measures ranging from disapproval
of the election process to Zimbabwe's expulsion from the Commonwealth.

The high commission in Harare was also investigating reports the
secretary-general of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
and a senior official had been arrested on unspecified charges.

"I've instructed our high commission in Harare to make urgent inquiries
about these latest arrests," Mr Downer said.

Mr Downer was answering a question from Bruce Scott (NP, Qld).

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The Scotsman

Polls close but Zimbabwe’s agony goes on

Jane Fields In Harare

MORGAN Tsvangirai, the opposition leader in Zimbabwe, called on his
supporters for calm yesterday after police arrested a top party official on
the third and final day of voting in chaotic presidential elections.

Police arrested Welshman Ncube, the secretary general of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), yesterday morning near the western town of
Plumtree, on the border with Botswana.

State ZBC television said Mr Ncube was trying to flee the country with his
family and was likely to be charged with high treason - an offence
punishable by death under the recently-introduced security laws.

It is feared that Mr Ncube’s arrest could signal the start of a wider
post-poll clampdown on top MDC members, as President Robert Mugabe battles
to extend his 21-year hold on power.

The Zimbabwean high court turned down an urgent application by the MDC to
extend voting by another day, following the late opening of many polling
stations in Harare and the dormitory town of Chitungwiza, said Learnmore
Jongwe, the MDC spokesman. He added that police were "behaving in a very
violent manner" towards voters still queuing after the close of voting in
Harare and Chitungwiza.

"Tens of thousands of voters were turned away in Harare tonight," he

Mr Tsvangirai, who has been tipped to win the elections which have been
preceded by months of violence, told his supporters that "the forces of
darkness may yet try to block your path to victory".

In a highly-emotional statement, he said: "They may want to arrest me and at
worst kill me. If they do, you must stay strong and carry on the work we
began together."

Analysts predicted last month that an alleged plot to assassinate Mr Mugabe,
details of which surfaced conveniently only a few weeks before the polls,
would be used to silence Mr Tsvangirai in the event of a contested victory
by the 78-year-old president.

The high court ruled late last night that voting would continue for a third
day after the MDC complained that slow queues in Harare and Chitungwiza were
disqualifying many voters in its support base.

However, many polling stations refused to let voters in until late in the
morning, saying they were waiting for instructions. Voting did not start
until midday at one station in Harare’s oldest suburb of Mbare.

In ongoing reports of violence, two farmers’ houses were ransacked by ruling
party supporters in the north-western Lions’ Den area, said Jenni Williams,
the spokeswoman for the Commercial Farmers Union.

State media, meanwhile, stepped up its anti-white propaganda, with the
Herald newspaper reporting that white farmers were trying to bribe rural

Five whites were arrested yesterday in the eastern Nyanga district on
charges they had set up an illegal communications centre.

"I think that the government realised that they have lost the elections and
this is an attempt to frustrate the outcome," said Masipula Sithole,
political analyst of the University of Zimbabwe, commenting on Mr Ncube’s

"I think wise counsel should prevail and they should refrain from making a
big mistake ... All of their [government’s] reactions and what they’ve done
is testimony of a regime coming to its end."

Around 2.9 people had voted by the end of Sunday, out of 5.6 million
registered voters, according to Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar general.
Turnout in the rural areas was 80 per cent, and only between 30 and 50 per
cent in the urban areas, the MDC’s main support base.

The Herald proclaimed that the MDC was "headed for defeat". And in a sign
that the opposition expects the worst, the privately-owned Daily News said
Mr Mugabe "could well be declared the winner".

Results are expected late today or early tomorrow

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