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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Breaking news
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers Union)

Chisaki Farm in the Umboe valley, Chinhoyi was looted today by ZANU PF
youths with at least 7 being arrested by 2 pm by the ZRP Support Unit. The
farm is owned by the Nicolle family prominent grain producers in the
The group is allegedly the same group that looted two farms yesterday 45 km
out of Chinhoyi in Lions Den.
Chinhoyi in Mashonaland West was rocked by looting and trashing over a week
in August 2001 with billions of dollars worth of property being lost to
settlers, political opportunists and criminal elements. On Two Tree Hill
farm in the area door and window frames were also removed from the farm
12th March 2002

For more information, please contact Jenni Williams

Cell +263 11 213 885 or +263 91 300 456

Email or
Back to the Top
Back to Index

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
International *

12 March 2002 AFR 46/017/2002

The government of Zimbabwe should immediately and unconditionally release
more than 1400 people, most of them polling agents and civil society
election observers, who were arrested nationwide, mostly on Monday 11 March,
and detained in police custody following last weekend's presidential
election, Amnesty International said today.

The organization has received information of a pattern of mass arbitrary
detention of hundreds of polling agents belonging to the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).  Those arrested also include election observers
from civil society organizations belonging to the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network (ZESN) who were refused accreditation by the government.  A third
group comprises individuals accused of trying to vote for a second time.

Several human rights sources in Zimbabwe have reported that police and
security intelligence officers from the Central Intelligence Organization
(CIO) are targeting ZESN monitors for harassment and detention under orders
from superiors.

"We are deeply concerned for the safety of those arrested in the light of
the well-established pattern of "disappearances", cruel, inhuman and
degrading treatment by Zimbabwean security forces," Amnesty International

A lawyer with the civil society organization Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, who visited cells at the Harare Central Police station described the
congested conditions as hazardous to the detainees' health.  Those arrested
have been denied food, and cannot lie down to sleep because of overcrowding.

In Manicaland Province, for example, police arrested 130 polling agents and
observers.  In Murambinda, also in Manicaland Province, 27 observers from
both the MDC and ZESN were detained and denied access to lawyers.  Within
the hour, 50 people were arrested in Mutoko town in Mashonaland East
Province, another in the Harare suburb of Mabvuku.

"The arrests of these Zimbabweans is politically-motivated; the government
must either charge those in detention with a recognizable criminal office
based on solid evidence or release them immediately," Amnesty International

Background The election that began on 9 March 2002 has been characterized by
intimidation of opposition supporters and denial of accreditation to the
vast majority of election monitors from civil society organizations.  In the
early morning hours of 8 March, militias across the country set up illegal
road-blocks to prevent the MDC from deploying its polling agents, in what
appeared to be an orchestrated campaign directed by the government.  Amnesty
International received several reports of attacks, often resulting in
serious injuries.

As voting got under way, pro-government militia members were reportedly
trying to intimidate potential opposition supporters from casting ballots.
Two men in Karoyi, for example were beaten for over an hour by militia
members because they had allegedly been transported to the polling station
at Tavoy Farm by a white person.  Another man, an MDC polling agent, in
Karoyi was abducted by ZANU-PF youth during a lunch break and badly beaten
all over his body and on the soles of his feet.

Although the High Court ordered that all polling stations remain open in the
country for a third day of voting on Monday 11 March, the government opened
only those in Harare and Chitungwiza, where voters were casting ballots for
a mayor and a city council as well as the president.

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not
altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and
this footer remain intact.  Only the list subscription message may be

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Independent (UK)

It is up to South Africa to tell the truth about President Mugabe
13 March 2002

It is still – just – possible that the voters of Zimbabwe have managed to
defeat Robert Mugabe at the ballot box. The omens, however, are not good. We
have already witnessed many weeks, indeed months, of intimidation of
opposition politicians and their supporters. There is no longer a free press
in Zimbabwe, as the travails of our correspondent Basildon Peta demonstrate
all too clearly. The voting in the capital, Harare – an opposition
stronghold – was suspiciously slow, and the ballot boxes are in the hands of
forces fiercely loyal to Mugabe.

Theses worries are confirmed in the verdicts of such monitors of the
elections as have been allowed, notably the Norwegian mission, which said
that the polling lacked "convincing independence and integrity" and that
security forces used new laws to obstruct the opposition's political
activities and observations of the election. "The observer mission concludes
that the presidential elections failed to meet key, broadly accepted
criteria for elections."

Thus Zimbabwe's presidential election of 2002 would appear to conform to the
ideal set by the former Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza, who once
said: "You won the election, but I won the count." Such a turn of events in
Zimbabwe should not be allowed to persist without some serious objection. Mr
Mugabe is used to the United States, the European Union and the United
Kingdom raising objections to his conduct, and he views such condemnations
as an occupational hazard and with a certain degree of equanimity. The
sanctions that have been imposed on him are not tough enough and were
applied too late to make any difference to this election.

But there is one voice that Mr Mugabe does have to listen to; that of his
powerful southern neighbour, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. For
South Africa is, in effect, a regional superpower. Its attitude, more than
that of any other single nation, matters to Mugabe. For South Africa has, in
effect, bankrolled the Mugabe regime as it wrecked what was once a thriving
Zimbabwean economy. Although Mr Mbeki cannot lay claim the huge moral
authority of his predecessor, Nelson Mandela, a denunciation of President
Mugabe would still carry enormous weight and would represent a serious
embarrassment for the Zimbabwean leader.

The immediate question is whether the South African representative on the
Commonwealth's panel of three, with Nigeria and Australia, is prepared to
say what has become increasingly obvious – that this election was not free
and fair. That would represent a considerable push towards expelling
Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth and increasing President Mugabe's
international isolation.

The decision for South Africa is a difficult one, but it is one that is of
supreme importance to the health of the whole region. For President Mbeki
and his counterparts throughout the continent know the damage that President
Mugabe's policies are doing to the South African economy and to the image of
Africa as a whole.

Lawlessness, racial conflict and fraudulent elections are not going to
encourage investment in countries that have been neglected for so long. But
it is the values of democracy, ideals that South Africa's ruling ANC fought
for so long to secure, that are being abused in Zimbabwe. The long queues of
voters outside Zimbabwean polling stations were poignantly reminiscent of
those that formed in South Africa's first multiracial elections in 1994.
President Mbeki is the one man who can make an immediate difference as
Mugabe pushes Zimbabwe further towards anarchy. It is a time for leadership.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Mugabe ahead but observers slam poll

HARARE, March 12 — early lead in Zimbabwe's election on Tuesday but foreign
and local observers blasted the poll, saying tens of thousands of people
were robbed of a vote.        ''There is no way these elections could be
described as free and fair,'' said the ZESN local monitoring group.

       Results from 11 of the 120 constituencies showed Mugabe with 136,600
votes against 111,995 for former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai.
       Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede said 3.1 million people cast
ballots, or 55.4 percent of registered voters. The election is won by the
first candidate to pass 50 percent of votes cast.
       The final result of the count is expected on Wednesday.
       A Norwegian observer team said the poll did not meet international
standards and had been marred by violence, most of it from government
       The ZESN (Zimbabwean Election Support Network), an umbrella
organisation of 38 church and civic groups, said tens of thousands of people
had been prevented from voting.
       The Norwegians also criticised authorities for barring voters by
delaying the opening of polls in Harare on an unscheduled third day of the
election on Monday.
       Tsvangirai and Western critics say Mugabe systematically cheated to
cling to power in the once-rich nation, which faces an economic and
political collapse that could spill into neighbouring countries including
regional power South Africa.

       Mugabe's government dismissed the criticism and Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo described the vote as ''exemplary.'' Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa said Zimbabweans had voted ''freely and fairly and in a peaceful
       As counting started, Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was charged with treason.
Ncube, who was released on bail, dismissed the charges as government
       The government accuses Ncube, Tsvangirai and another MDC figure of
plotting to assassinate Mugabe. They deny the charge.
       Kare Vollan, the head of the 25-strong Norwegian mission, told a news
conference the elections had been conducted in ''an environment of strong
polarisation, political violence and an election administration with severe
       He said the poll failed ''key, broadly accepted criteria.''
       The Norwegians were the largest European observer group after the
European Union withdrew its team because Mugabe excluded some EU member
       The ZESN local monitors said ''tens of thousands of Zimbabweans were
deliberately and systematically disenfranchised of their fundamental right
to participate in the governance of their country.''
       It said there had been a drastic reduction in polling stations in the
MDC's Harare strongholds, leading to huge queues of voters. In contrast
there had been a ''phenomenal increase'' in the number of voting places in
Mugabe's rural bastions.
       Hundreds of people were still queuing when police forcibly closed
down the polling stations on Monday night. Tsvangirai, who unsuccessfully
appealed to the High Court to extend the poll into a fourth day, said many
of his followers had been deliberately prevented from voting.

       Police said hundreds of people had been arrested for cheating during
balloting in Harare, where polls opened five hours late on Monday despite
the huge queues.
       Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri warned the opposition against
making trouble. ''The losers must accept gracefully, otherwise the law will
visit them again,'' he told state radio.
       Australia, a key member of the Commonwealth, gave an early
thumbs-down to the integrity of the poll.
       ''I can't say whether the outcome of this historic election will
reflect the will of the people of Zimbabwe though it would appear that the
lead-up to this election has been neither free nor fair,'' Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer said.
       In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told parliament there
was strong evidence Mugabe had tried to steal the election, which he said
was marred by violence and intimidation.
       Mugabe, a former guerrilla leader who has ruled since independence in
1980, says Tsvangirai is a British stooge whom London wants to use to
recolonise the country.
       Twelve white farmers were charged with corruption on Tuesday for
offering food to polling officials during the elections in Chinhoyi,
northwest of Harare. State media blasted the white minority for supporting
the opposition.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Times of India

Violence likely if Zimbabwe polls seen as rigged

AFP [ TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2002  4:07:53 PM ]

ARARE: Widespread irregularities in Zimbabwe's landmark presidential
election have set the stage for "major violence" if results are seen as
rigged in favour of longtime ruler Robert Mugabe, the International Crisis
Group (ICG) warned Tuesday.

"The risk of major violence erupting is exceedingly high," the ICG's
co-director for Africa, John Prendergast, said in a statement.

"Deep resentment combined with economic desperation has created a pressure
cooker in parts of Zimbabwe."

The ICG said "all indications are that the victor should be (Mugabe's
challenger) Morgan Tsvangirai ... notwithstanding extensive and
well-documented intimidation of opposition supporters."

Prendergast said: "There is every chance of an explosion if the results are
seen to be fixed. And Mugabe's massive deployment of loosely controlled
youth militias and warlord war veterans makes it likely that there will be a
bloody reaction to any mass protest or rioting."

The ICG, a leading European think-tank based in Brussels, cited evidence
that Mugabe has taken "desperate" measures to ensure his re-election.

"Over the last three days ICG personnel visited numerous polling stations
with no independent observers or MDC polling agents; interviewed MDC polling
agents who had been beaten by ZANU-PF war veterans; ... talked to voters who
had been turned away at the polls because of no proof of residence; observed
paltry turnouts at rural stations where the government is claiming massive
voting; and spoke to voters who had walked away without voting from huge
lines in Harare's high density suburbs," the statement said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From the MDC

12 March 2002

MDC polling agents arrested

Four MDC election agents for Muzarabani, Guruve North, Guruve South and
Uzumba Maramba Pfungwa, were arrested before the counting of the
presidential election ballots which starts today.

The four: Timothy Mukwengwe of Muzarabani, Tabani Kosa of Guruve South, Alan
McCormick of Guruve North and Bonomali Marere of Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwa,
were arrested yesterday afternoon when they arrived at the counting centres.
Marere has, however, been released without being charged.

Meanwhile, the MDC has identified 34 polling stations where incidents range
from the chasing away, abduction or arrest of polling agents; the
unprocedural breaking of seals to the ballot boxes; missing ballot papers
and the refusal by the authorities to have the MDC seals on the ballot
boxes. Cases of this nature are more pronounced in Mashonaland Central

MDC election agents denied entry into counting centres

MDC election agents were today denied entry into counting centers in Harare
and Bulawayo.

In Harare, Edwin Mushoriwa, the Member of Parliament and election agent for
Dzivarasekwa constituency was denied entry into Dzivarasekwa community hall,
which is the counting centre.

In Bulawayo, Mr Shanga, the MDC election agent was denied entry into
Tshabalala Hall, the counting centre for Nkulumane constituency, after being
told that only the presiding officers would be allowed into the centre.

ZANU PF militia deployed to counting centres

An estimated 300 members of the Zanu PF youth militia were this morning
bussed to Mamina Primary School, a counting centre in Mhondoro, where they
threatened and intimidated polling agents.

The militia, who were bussed in at about 8:00am, were brought in from
Kadoma, Sanyati and surrounding mining areas.

They threatened to kill the MDC agents as soon as the results are announced.

Mbare East

Zanu PF youth militia were this morning deployed to Prospect Primary school,
the counting centre for Mbare East constituency, where they threatened
polling agents before disbanding in the afternoon.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Independent (UK)

Mugabe 'victory' may be trigger for strike action
By Karen MacGregor in Harare
13 March 2002
Zimbabweans seemed resigned to a "victory" by Robert Mugabe's as flawed
presidential elections ended yesterday, although they were fearful of civil
unrest and a government clampdown on opposition critics.

Leaders of non-government umbrella groups met to discuss court action and a
possible countrywide strike in reaction to a poll they believe has been
stolen and which saw mass arrests and harassment of opposition agents and
supporters, the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of eligible voters,
and widespread reports of electoral fraud.

While the opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement for
Democratic Change, still stands a slim chance of winning, it is widely
believed that the country's ruler for 22 years has triumphed after a
campaign of violence and intimidation, and manipulation of the poll.

As vote counting began in 120 constituencies, international observers
announced that the election had failed to meet broadly accepted criteria for
a free and fair poll.

The umbrella groups, The Crisis in Zimbabwe Committee and the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network, also hit out at what they called an "anything but
free and fair election".

The network's chairman, Reginald Matchaba-Hove, warned that "a flawed
electoral process is a potential cause of conflict", and urged the public
"to remain calm but firm, resolute even after the results are released". The
network said the poll "has been poisoned to such an extent that there is
unlikely to be any other result" than a victory for Mr Mugabe.

The two groups condemned, among other things, state-sponsored violence,
coercion and torture before and during the election; the disenfranchising of
voters through a chaotic, secret registration proces; the printing of extra
ballot papers and restrictions on the accompanying of ballot boxes; control
of voter education by a militarised electoral commission, and withholding of
crucial electoral information.

They also expressed "great concern" about the reduction of polling stations
in cities, the accrediting of only a few hundred out of 15,000 would-be
civil society observers and the banning of non-sympathetic international
observers and unequal access to the state-controlled media. They further
complained about the confiscation of identity cards by supporters of the
ruling Zanu-PF and the selective enforcement of the law by security forces.

John Prendergast, of the International Crisis Group's Africa programme,
warned that "the risk of major violence erupting is exceedingly high.

"Deep resentment combined with economic desperation has created a pressure
cooker in parts of Zimbabwe: there is every chance of an explosion if the
results are seen to be fixed. Mr Mugabe's massive deployment of loosely
controlled youth militias and warlord war veterans makes it likely that
there will be a bloody reaction to any mass protest or rioting," he said.

Mr Prendergast said that pre-poll surveys had shown "overwhelming support"
for Mr Tsvangirai in cities and majority support for him across the country
as a whole.

His group "observed paltry turnouts at rural stations where the government
is claiming massive voting" and spoke to voters who had walked away from
huge queues in Harare, where voting was excessively slow, the number of
stations slashed, and thousands of citizens expelled from the voters' roll
with no explanation. Polling stations remained closed on Monday morning in
defiance of a court order.

In rural parts, the government beat and threatened MDC agents, keeping them
away from nearly half of all stations and "making it much easier to stuff
ballot boxes" given the paucity of observers, placed youth militia camps
near stations to intimidate voters, and "suddenly doubled the number" of
rural, traditionally Zanu-PF voters "through a secret process".

Official voter turnout statistics are worrying. Despite predictions by
analysts of a high turnout in cities and a lower one in rural areas, where
Mr Mugabe traditionally enjoys his greatest support, the opposite happened,
according to an analysis by the Combined Harare Residents' Association.

While similar percentages of people in cities are said to have voted last
weekend as in the parliamentary elections of June 2000 – for instance 50 per
cent in Harare (47 per cent in 2000) – there has been a dramatic jump in
Zanu-PF support in Mashonaland Central, with a reported turnout of 75 per
cent (56 per cent in 2000).

"There is no way only 50 per cent voted in Harare," said Mike Davies, of the
Residents' Association. "These figures are unacceptable".

Meanwhile, the MDC's secretary general, Welshman Ncube, was formally charged
with high treason in the Harare magistrates' court after his arrest on
Monday at a roadblock in south-west Zimbabwe while en route with his family
to Botswana, he says for a break. He was freed on bail of Z$500,000
(£6,400), and a trial date was set for 30 April.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

C’wealth lethargy to blame if blood is spilled in Zimbabwe

3/12/02 9:32:09 AM (GMT +2)

This is an open letter to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon.

From my safe haven in Commonwealth Canada, I have just watched the closing
statement of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and the
plethora of platitudes babbled by Australian Premier John Howard and

Political rhetoric notwithstanding, the abject failure of the Commonwealth
to properly address the Zimbabwean issue is, without any doubt, the lowest
point of the body to date.

Had the current situation occurred in Rhodesia under the Smith government,
Commonwealth or United Nations peace-keeping troops would have been deployed
without a second’s hesitation. No one in the world would have questioned the
need to restore the rule of law, head off the impending famine and ensure a
free and fair election.

Why, then, do the CHOGM and the UN feel President Mugabe deserves different

Because he’s black??? It should be evident to all but the most dim-witted
observer, of which the CHOGM seems to have a surplus, that Mugabe has no
intention of honouring any agreement whatsoever.

Has Ajuba taught you nothing? Has the arrogant expulsion of the European
Union observers taught you nothing? Has the documented fact of the
manipulation of every facet connected with the election taught you nothing?

Has the suppression and intimidation of the opposition and the prosecution
of a free Press taught you nothing? Has the fully-documented campaign of
murder, torture and violence by Zanu-PF cadres taught you nothing?

Has the illegal seizure of property, the dispossession of thousands of black
farm workers, and the impending starvation of millions taught you nothing?

Are you truly - to use an Antipodean term from your own background - that
bloody stupid?

Are Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand really so spineless as to
capitulate repeatedly to the leaders of a bunch of minor African nations who
come to these meetings more as supplicants than contributors? The same
nations who are broke, perpetually in civil conflict and who are beggars,
not contributors, at the Commonwealth table? When is this lamentable and
ethically-bankrupt organisation of which you are the leader going to stand
up and do what’s right? What possible good will it do to wait until after
the election to take action against Mugabe and his despotic and corrupt

Are you seriously asking the citizens of the Commonwealth to believe that,
given all the evidence to date, there will be anything but a perversion of
justice at the polls?

I repeat: do you really think we’re that bloody stupid?? It is time for the
Commonwealth to stop feeling guilty about, and apologising for, the colonial
era. Almost everything of value that the former colonial nations possess,
they gained through colonialism.

Good governance, rule of law, ethical business practices, riches through
mining, mineral production and commercial farming, a functioning society in
which people could feel safe to express differing points of view - all these
came from colonisation. And one need not look far to see how these have been
perverted for the benefit of those few who have seized power since those
wicked colonial masters left.

Like it or not, the average African is far worse off now, in every
measurable way, than he/she was under a supposedly repressive colonial

So, Mr McKinnon, should you, your Commonwealth partners or your organisation
wish to retain the slightest trace of credibility, wake up and smell the

For, as sure as God made little apples, that’s what you will smell in
Zimbabwe if the CHOGM continue to abrogate their responsibilities in this
matter. Remember Rwanda?

Through your pathetic inaction, the death of millions will lie firmly at
your door.

And I only pray that the people of the Commonwealth, and the world, hold you
and the UN accountable.

Richard Fenner
Vancouver, Canada

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

Bulawayo bides its time to rise against rigged result
From Tim Reid in Tshabalala township

AMID all the simmering resentment and loathing of President Mugabe across
Zimbabwe, there is one part of this hungry country where a fraudulent
election result this week will push its people to the brink of mass
resistance: the townships of Bulawayo.
These clusters of brick and corrugated iron in the heart of Matabeland, the
western part of the country, are home to tens of thousands of Ndebele, who
have more than hunger and unemployment for which to despise their President.

In the early 1980s Mr Mugabe, from the majority Shona, sent his
Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to quell what he claimed was a rebel uprising.
In little over two years many thousands of Ndebele civilians were
slaughtered, and oneparty Zanu (PF) rule was assured.

Touring the townships yesterday, as the counting of votes began, the mood
was one of deep anger, but also resignation, that their 78-year-old leader
was again cheating his way to victory. But there were dire warnings that the
Ndebele will not stomach Mugabe rule for ever.

Philani (not his real name), an Ndebele, is one of Zimbabwe’s genuine war
veterans, a guerrilla who fought for eight years during the pre-independence
bush war of 1972-80. In 1983, as Mr Mugabe slaughtered his people, he
returned home to the bush district of Tsholotsho, in Matabeleland North, to
find that his pregnant cousin had been sliced in half by a Mugabe

“The people here are very angry,” he said. “The youth especially are angry.
They are itching for a fight. They come to us for leadership but we tell
them we have no weapons, no structure, and no training. But it will happen.
The Ndebele can take no more of this man.”

The people here expect a violent clampdown if Mr Mugabe declares victory,
but they are bold. “MDC,” they say if you stop your car to ask directions.
“We voted MDC. We have voted for change.”

George Moyo, a traditional Ndebele healer, chairman of the residents’
association in Tshabalala township, south of Bulawayo, and the most senior
cultural figure of this community, said: “There is a volcano here in
Matabeleland which is going to erupt one day. But we don’t want to jump
right now. They will kill all our children. But we are waiting, and it will

“The Government has its instruments here already, waiting to punish us,” Mr
Moyo said. “They are everywhere, in plain clothes, pretending to be
friendly, but all the time watching us. If we strike now, they will crush
us. We don’t want our children to disappear.

“Mugabe will win, everyone is expecting that, but if we rise up now, it is
like going up to a lion and saying, ‘Open your mouth, I want to get in’.”

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

Mugabe takes lead in 'poisoned' elections
By Tim Reid in Bulawayo and Jan Raath in Harare and Greg Hurst

REGIONAL election results indicating that Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe has
stolen the presidential election began to be declared last night amid a
refrain from independent monitors that the 78-year-old leader has
effectively lied, cheated and tortured his way to a probable victory.
Amid fears from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change that the
President will declare victory today, the marginal Midlands constituency of
Mberengwa West declared at 6pm that Mr Mugabe, with 21,188 votes, had beaten
the independent MDC leader Morgan Tsvangerai by a massive 16,800 margin. “We
were expected to narrowly win there,” an MDC official said. “This means he
has rigged the election without a doubt.”

With the first six constituencies declared, President Mugabe was just ahead
with 69,712 votes against Morgan Tsvangirai’s 59,021.

There was immediate suspicion over Mr Mugabe’s larger number of votes in the
eastern city of Mutare, which is staunchly pro-opposition.

As the results came in, independent observers from Norway and Zimbabwe, who
have watched the election campaign for almost a month, condemned the
election as flawed, chaotic, and in violation of almost every electoral norm
outlined in a protocol developed by southern African states in March 1991.

“The election is total confusion and chaos. . .there is no way these
elections could be described as substantially free and fair,” Reginald
Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)

The umbrella group for 38 church and civic groups — which was allowed only
400 observers to cover the country’s 4,700 polling stations — produced a
catalogue of complaints including flawed electoral rolls, intimidation and
attacks on voters by police and ruling party militants, and the deployment
of voting stations in a way that clearly favoured Mr Mugabe.

It objected to the drastic reduction in the number of polling stations in
urban areas compared with the “phenomenal increase” in stations in rural
areas, particularly north Mashonaland, where Mr Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF)
party enjoys more support.

More ominously for the MDC, the ZBC state television station began releasing
government figures of voter turnout yesterday, claiming 70 per cent in rural
Mashonaland, but only about 40 per cent in the south of the country,
containing the two largest cities, the capital Harare, and Bulawayo, both
MDC strongholds.

Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar general, said that overall turnout was 66 per
cent. Brian Raftopolous, head of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Committee, a
collection of church and civic groups, said: “The election well has been
poisoned to such an extent that there is unlikely to be any other result
than a Mugabe victory.”

Norway’s 25 observers, the largest European contingent after the European
Union withdrew its team last month, declared their distress at what they
have witnessed. The state election directorate lacked “convincing
independence and integrity”, and security forces used new laws to obstruct
the opposition’s political activities and the observations of the election,
they said.

Kare Vollan, the head of the mission, said: “The presidential elections in
Zimbabwe in March 2002 were conducted in an environment of strong
polarisation, political violence and an election administration with severe

Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, which
wants a new democratic constitution, said: “From the day Mugabe said he was
going to stand, it was clear he would find a way to ensure he would win.”

He warned that Mugabe was likely to follow his victory with severe
repression: “If Mugabe wins, it will a very rough time. Any kind of dissent,
they will have to be dealt with.”

In the House of Commons the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said that there
was “pretty strong” early evidence that Mr Mugabe had stolen the election.
He said: “There has been every sign of Zanu (PF)-backed violence and
intimidation right up to the close of polling as well as many reports of
irregularities, including a shortage of polling booths in urban areas and
the harassment of opposition election agents in rural areas.

“This is a terrible period, not only for Zimbabwe but for those who hold the
course of democracy dear in Africa.”
Back to the Top
Back to Index

--> Sydney Morning Herald

Tsvangirai goes into hiding as poll-rigging claims mount

By Ed O'Loughlin, Herald Correspondent in Harare

Morgan Tsvangirai and other senior leaders of Zimbabwe's opposition movement
have gone into hiding amid fears of a post-election crackdown by the Mugabe

Counting of presidential votes began across Zimbabwe yesterday as
allegations grew that the Government had rigged the poll.
With President Robert Mugabe, 78, facing the toughest challenge of his
22-year rule, the opposition, churches, human rights groups, non-government
media and some independent electoral monitors say the campaign has been
marred by systematic violence, intimidation, harassment and procedural
irregularities orchestrated by the Government, police, army and thousands of
ruling party militants.

The Government has rejected all allegations of wrongdoing and
counter-charged that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has
plotted treason and terrorism on behalf of Britain and neo-colonialist

The MDC's economic spokesman, Eddie Cross, said several of its senior
leaders, including Mr Tsvangirai, had gone into hiding on Monday night after
the arrest of the party's secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, on unspecified
charges earlier in the day.

As heavily armed troops moved onto the streets of Bulawayo, four United
States diplomats were also arrested and held for several hours in Chinhoyi,
west of Harare, prompting strong protests from Washington.

According to the Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, opposition youths
chanted slogans outside polling stations and more than 200 Tsvangirai
supporters were caught trying to vote.

Counting is expected to continue until late today or early tomorrow,
Australian time.

The latest apparent electoral irregularity emerged with the release on
Monday of disputed voting figures to the state-owned media on the eve of
counting. These show that more than 1million new voters have been registered
since a June 2000 parliamentary poll. More than three-quarters of these new
voters have appeared in government-controlled rural provinces.

An MDC spokesman, Percy Makumbe, said the huge increase in registered voters
in largely unmonitored government areas allowed for widespread ballot

A presidential decree introduced on the eve of the poll, in defiance of a
Supreme Court order, banned all but a handful of the thousands of local
monitors who had observed the 2000 poll. With voting over, the Government
has still not released the final voters' roll.

On Monday, the Government defied a High Court order to reopen the polls for
a third day to accommodate voters frustrated by lengthy delays.

It reopened some booths in Harare but waited until noon, by which time many
of the thousands of voters had concluded they would remain shut and had
left. Thousands of voters were still waiting outside some Harare booths when
they closed on Monday evening.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mrs Kinnock flies to Zimbabwe

Mar 12 2002
Nick Speed Political Editor Nick.Speed@Wme.Co.Uk, The Western Mail

EURO-MP Glenys Kinnock will set off to Zimbabwe today to hear for herself
how the country's presidential election has been conducted.

With the result of the controversial poll hanging in the balance last night,
Mrs Kinnock was not even certain whether she would be admitted into the
African country.

Her arrival is scheduled for tomorrow morning - about the same time as the
final result is expected from the poll that was extended into a third day
yesterday after pressure from opposition politicians.

While British journalists have been expelled by President Robert Mugabe's
administration, the Euro-MP believes that her status as a co-president of
the Joint Assembly of the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific
countries should guarantee her access.

Once inside Zimbabwe, her aim is meet the various teams of observers who
have been monitoring the poll.

Their accounts will allow her to brief the Assembly's meeting in Cape Town
at the weekend, when the elections are expected to be at the top of the

Last night, though, Mrs Kinnock made it clear that the reports she had
already been receiving from the country left her uneasy at the prospect of
another victory by Mugabe.

Asked whether she had considered that she might be refused entry to
Zimbabwe, Mrs Kinnock said, "There's obviously that risk - because clearly
the situation is very volatile. There's no rationale that can explain some
of the actions that we have been seeing."

But she added that she would find it difficult to see why she should be
turned away when she flies in to Harare from Johannesburg, saying, "The
election will be over and I am British so I do not require a visa." Mrs
Kinnock said she doubted whether the international community would accept a
result that gave Mugabe victory.

"I think it would be very difficult to just rubber-stamp a victory for
Mugabe - clearly he has done everything possible to make it difficult for
the opposition to function," she said.

"Serious questions would have to be asked if he were to be named as the
winner - every step along the way we can see his desperation to win this

Mrs Kinnock - who will travel with just one yet-to-be-finalised African
colleague from the assembly - added, "If the result is decided not to be
credible then I think there will be no alternative to suspension from the

"The European Union and the rest of the international community would have
to look at what action would need to be taken - nothing should be done to
exceed the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe."

Despite the volatile situation, Mrs Kinnock said she was not concerned for
her safety. "If you are doing a job like this then there are times when you
have to show solidarity."
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Tear Gas, Gunfire At Zimbabwe Vote

Monday March 11, 2002 11:50 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Police closed down voting booths and used clubs and
tear gas to disperse prospective voters Monday, as a chaotic, court-ordered,
third day of presidential voting ended with allegations of government
rigging and anger over confusion at polling stations.

Police also shot into the air at a polling station in the Harare
neighborhood of Glen Norah to disperse 600 people waiting to vote Monday
night. When told to go home, they began chanting ``Change, change, we want
to vote!''

Also during the chaos Monday, four U.S. diplomats were detained for four
hours by police, and U.S. officials said they would protest.

Sunday's election was the fiercest fought in Zimbabwe since President Robert
Mugabe led the nation to independence in 1980. Mugabe faced a strong
challenge from Morgan Tsvangirai, a labor organizer turned opposition
candidate from the Movement for Democratic Change. In recent years,
Zimbabwe's economy has collapsed and political violence - blamed mostly on
the ruling party - has become rampant.

Independent election observers have expressed concern over the number of
people turned away by polling officials, reportedly because they tried to
vote in the wrong districts or did not have proper identification.

Government officials denied any voting irregularities.

On Monday night, a judge rejected an opposition appeal to order a fourth day
of voting. The voting had been scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, and was
held Monday by court order.

Tsvangirai accused Mugabe and his ruling party of trying to steal the
election by driving opposition observers from 43 percent of the rural
polling stations, some of the rural counting stations and discouraging
voting in Harare.

At another polling station in the capital, the presiding officer, escorted
by police, marked a distance 100 yards from the entrance and announced the
voting line ended there. Voters refused to budge and began arguing with
police and officials.

``Since independence I've never seen such a thing and I wonder why they've
done so.'' said F. Ncube, a 50-year-old factory worker.

Even before the Harare polls closed, authorities announced figures that
showed voter turnout was high in strongholds of Mugabe, with far fewer
voters casting ballots in opposition areas.

However, opposition officials said the reported turnouts in pro-Mugabe areas
did not match the reports from their polling agents.

Signaling that the vote may already have gone to Mugabe, the government
reported Monday morning that Mashonaland Central, which normally votes
strongly for the ruling party, had a 68 percent turnout. In Harare, a 47
percent turnout was reported; in the city of Bulawayo, an overwhelmingly
opposition area, 46 percent reportedly cast ballots.

Overall, 2.7 million of the nation's 5.6 million registered voters, or 48
percent, cast ballots by Sunday night, the government said. The opposition
said the overall turnout figures were suspect and intended to guarantee
Mugabe's re-election.

Monday's opening of voting in Harare was unexplicably delayed until noon,
when many in line gave up and went home or to work.

``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 neighborhood. ``They don't want us to change things.''

The opposition party's secretary-general and third-ranking official,
Welshman Ncube, was arrested Monday in the town of Plumtree, said David
Coltart an opposition legislator. Police gave no reason for the arrest.

``We will not succumb to this kind of intimidation,'' opposition leader and
presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai said. He appealed to Zimbabweans to
avoid confrontation with security forces.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the four
American diplomats were stopped at a roadblock near the town of Chinhoyi, 75
miles north of Harare. He said they all had valid diplomatic identification

``The United States is going to protest the incident in the strongest
terms,'' said Boucher.

A group of white farmers and American and British attorneys also was
arrested while observing the vote, opposition officials said.

Boucher stressed that the United States is concerned that ``very large
numbers of Zimbabweans may not have an opportunity to vote,'' and urged the
government to allow voting ``into the evening as necessary.''

Foreign election observers stopped police from sending voters away from a
polling station in Kuwadzana township 45 minutes before polls were supposed
to close Monday.

But police did stop balloting in the poor neighborhood at 7 p.m., even
though more than 200 people remained in line and government officials had
promised to keep polls open until everyone voted.

In Brussels, European Union foreign ministers said Monday they received
reports of voting irregularities. Austrian Foreign Minister Benita
Ferrero-Waldner said the elections ``are not fair.''

The EU has imposed limited sanctions on Zimbabwe after the government
restricted its observer team. EU diplomatic missions remain in Zimbabwe.

Government officials denied any voting irregularities.

``It is common in this part of the world for people who are losing an
election to allege fraud,'' said Jonathon Moyo, minister of information.

Moyo also accused the opposition of trying to intimidate voters and called
them ``political hooligans.'' He said opposition members chanted slogans
outside polling stations and that 218 were arrested trying to vote twice.

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

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe Vote Questioned By Group

Monday March 11, 2002 8:30 PM

Some of the irregularities seen in weekend presidential elections as
reported by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Nongovernment Organization Forum, the
country's main rights body.


Attacks on election observers and poll workers:

-Ruling party militants tied the hands of local election observer Joseph
Dladla behind his back and beat him with iron bars at a polling in the city
of Bulawayo.

-Local election observers were attacked by ruling party militants in
Centenary and had to be rescued by Commonwealth monitors.

-Three local election observers, including two women, were told to remove
the T-shirts that identified them and were then beaten in the Kekwe Urban

-Ruling party militants in Hurungwe attacked three poll workers representing
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Hurungwe.

-An unspecified number of poll workers were abducted from a station in


Attacks by police on voters:

- Police attacked voters and fired tear gas at two Harare area polling
stations, prompting voters to flee from one.


Allegations of vote-rigging:

-In the Gokwe North region, there were reports of bogus polling stations
being set up and helicopters flying ballot boxes in and out of the area.
Opposition representatives were cleared from the region and several were

-Ruling party militants forced people to vote and large number of voters
were processed very quickly in Mudzi.


Voters turned away:

-In Bulawayo South, 92 percent of voters were reportedly turned away from a
polling station even though their names were on the list of registered


Militants invading polling stations:

- Ruling party militants intimidated voters and threatened violence at
polling stations in Karoi area.


Slow voting:

-After lines barely moved at the Haig Primary School in Harare, disgruntled
voters forced their way into the polling station.

-Less than 35 people an hour were processed at a congested polling station
in Harare township of Kuwadwana.


Polling stations moved overnight:

-Two polling stations were closed overnight and relocated in Shurngwi.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Independent (uk)

Zimbabwe in uproar as Mugabe closes polling
By Karen MacGregor in Harare
12 March 2002
Zimbabwe police fired tear gas and wielded clubs last night to frighten away
hundreds of voters who were still waiting to cast their ballot as a chaotic
extra day of presidential voting, ordered by court, ended.

Hopes for a fourth day of voting appeared to have been dashed last night as
opposition lawyers said their court appeal for a further extension had been

Police fired eight canisters and shot into the air at one polling station in
the Harare neighbourhood of Glen Norah to disperse 600 people waiting to
vote. When told to go home, they began chanting: "Change, change, we want to

Foreign election observers had stopped police from turning voters away from
a polling station in the Harare township of Kuwadzana 45 minutes before
polls were supposed to close. But police then closed the voting in the poor
neighbourhood at 7pm, even though more than 200 people remained in line and
government officials had promised those still waiting would be allowed to

Dereck Madharani, a local MDC election official, said police wielding clubs
were dispersing people waiting outside other polling stations.

Earlier, the MDC Secretary General, Welshman Ncube, was arrested in
south-west Zimbabwe as he drove his family to Botswana. He was being held in
Bulawayo central police station last night. Police gave no reason for the
arrests, but Mr Ncube has previously been charged with treason. The MDC
legal spokesman, David Coltart, said: "We have all been ensuring the safety
of our families, and Mr Ncube's carried on into Botswana. As far as we know,
that was what he was doing."

He added: "Of course, we are worried about action against our leaders. It is
obvious that Zanu-PF is desperate, that Mr Mugabe could face defeat, and
clamping down hard on the opposition is a classic response. It would make
sense for us to have a voice in the world were our leaders to be detained,
but it is speculation that that might be what Mr Ncube was doing."

Mr Tsvangirai yesterday accused Mr Mugabe of systematically using violence
and the disenfranchisement of "multitudes" of potential voters in efforts to
steal the election.

"If those thousands of people are not allowed to vote, this is a stillborn
election," he said. "The MDC will not be part of an illegitimate process to
try and disenfranchise people."

Appearing to prepare supporters for an electoral loss, Mr Tsvangirai urged
them to show restraint. He also implied that he might be in danger. He said:
"They may want to arrest me and, at worst, kill me but they will never
destroy the spirit of people to reclaim their power."

Four US diplomats, two of whom were election observers, were also detained
near Chinhoyi, north-west of Harare, yesterday morning. They were released
after several hours.

Scores of MDC election agents and supporters have been arrested in the three
days since voting began and the party claims its observers were driven from
43 per cent of rural stations and some counting centres. The MDC leader won
a High Court extension of the poll on Sunday night because of long delays in
voting, widely slated by civil society groups as well as international

Yesterday, the government defied the court, agreeing only to reopen polling
stations in Harare and its sprawling southern satellite, Chitungwiza.

State radio reported the Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, saying it was
impossible to comply countrywide as, in some areas, polling had closed and
ballot boxes been returned. It then blocked voting for five hours, only
opening stations around noon.

Yesterday, the government announced figures showing mass voting in Zanu-PF
strongholds and far fewer people casting ballots in MDC areas. Jonathan
Moyo, Minister of Information, denied all allegations of problems with the
election. He said: "It is common in this part of the world for people who
are losing an election to allege fraud."

Vote-rigging claims

Ruling-party militants have been accused of assaulting voters and observers,
and of other voting irregularities during the three days of polling in
Zimbabwe. An umbrella group, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Non-government
Organisation Forum, has compiled the following list. The government denies

Voters and observers assaulted

* A local election observer, Joseph Dladla, was attacked at a polling
station in Bulawayo by a group of ruling-party militants who tied his hands
behind his back and beat him with iron bars.

* Local election observers were rescued by Commonwealth monitors in
Centenary after an attack by ruling-party militants.

* Police attacked voters and fired tear gas at two Harare polling stations,
prompting voters to flee.

Interference with voting

* Reports of bogus polling stations being set up and helicopters flying
ballot boxes in and out of Gokwe North. Opposition representatives cleared
from the area and several arrested.

* Ninety-two per cent of voters at a polling station in Bulawayo South
turned away, even though their names were on the list of registered voters.

* Polling agents abducted from polling station in Muzarabani.

* Ruling-party militants intimidated voters and threatened violence as they
invaded polling stations in Karoi area.

* Ruling-party militants forced people to vote. Large number of voters
processed very quickly in Mudzi.

* After lines barely moved at the Haig primary school in Harare, disgruntled
voters crashed through the gates and forced their way into the polling

* Fewer than 35 people an hour being processed at a congested polling
station in the Harare township of Kuwadzana.

* Two polling stations closed overnight and moved to Shurugwi.

Farmers arrested

* In rural town of Banket, 11 farmers arrested for unknown reasons. They
have reportedly been denied food and water.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Turbulence at the Polls
Zimbabwe’s election ended with police firing tear gas at voters and
arresting opposition leaders. Now the country is braced for further violence

By Tom Masland and Newton Kanhema

      March 11 —  Welshman Ncube may simply have been running for safety. Or
he may have been planning to set up a government in exile, convinced that
Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe—not content to defeat his political
opponents at the polls—plans to jail them, too. Ncube, third in command of
Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested at a
border post with his family as they prepared to leave Zimbabwe Monday.

     THE TIMING WAS unusual—voting in crucial presidential elections had
just gone into an unscheduled court-ordered third day after long delays at
the polls left thousands unable to vote. Polling stations opened five hours
late on Monday, and closed at night amid tense scenes as police fired tear
gas to disperse those still waiting to cast their ballots.

        A judge refused to extend the voting for a fourth day, and the
winner may be declared on Wednesday. Ncube’s arrest demonstrated that the
opposition already is desperate, and on the run. For its leaders, losing at
the polls may be the least of their worries.
        A victory announcement by Mugabe seems a foregone conclusion. Some
foreign diplomats—notably a top Libyan official—already have begun flying
into the capital of Harare to be in place to congratulate him. In spite of
how unpopular Mugabe has become during his 22 years in power, he may have
brought in more votes than his challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai.
        Mugabe’s election officials have ensured that the voting process was
a nightmare for residents of areas that have supported Tsvangirai in the
past. Massive delays have effectively disenfranchised the great majority of
voters in these areas around Harare. At the same time, polling officials
have ensured a high voter turnout in the rural areas, which traditionally
support Mugabe.

         And the police are helping. According to the MDC, many of its party
workers who were assigned to observe voting in rural areas are detained,
leaving the way open for the government side to coerce voters or stuff
ballot boxes. Even outsiders aren’t safe: police briefly detained four U.S.
diplomats yesterday, in what a U.S. Embassy spokesman called “a clear
violation of diplomatic norms.” Tsvangirai told a press conference that the
government had rigged the vote, and he left open the question of whether he
will recognize the result. “If there are thousands of people not able to
vote, this is a stillborn election,” he said.
        The challenger himself could soon find himself behind bars.
Tsvangirai clearly is worried. “They may want to arrest me and at worst kill
me, but they will never destroy the spirit of the people to reclaim their
power,” he told the press conference. Government security agents have placed
him under perpetual watch, NEWSWEEK has learned. Police recently questioned
Tsvangirai about video surveillance tapes recorded at a Montreal
consultancy, in which he appears to go along with a plot to kill Mugabe.
Officials said he may be charged with treason, a capital offense. Four more
of the party’s top officials, and more than a dozen of its parliamentarians,
may face charges ranging from treason to inciting violence.

        The wild card is how violently the public will react to a Mugabe
victory claim. Tsvangirai yesterday urged his followers to show restraint,
at least until after the result is announced. But everybody expects trouble
this week. At a police roadblock just outside Harare, an officer flatly
predicted, “There is going to be a riot.” Some shops in downtown Harare
announced they’d be closed Tuesday in anticipation of trouble. Mugabe’s
police and military have cracked down hard on earlier demonstrations. But
public resentment of Mugabe has never been higher. The next few days will
test whether Zimbabweans have the stomach for a “people power” revolution.

       © 2002 Newsweek, Inc

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Monday, 11 March, 2002, 22:53 GMT
Zimbabwe election ends in confusion
Voters at Harare polling station
Despite the delays, many in Harare did vote on Monday
Zimbabwe's presidential election has ended in controversy and anger after the High Court refused an opposition request to extend voting for a fourth day.

At one polling station in the capital, Harare, police are reported to have used tear gas and fired guns into the air to disperse people still waiting to vote.


I and many others who got to the polling station hours before the official opening of the station at 0700 only managed to vote late in the night

N Musvoto, Zimbabwe
arrow Click here to tell us your experiences

One observer has told the BBC that the elections were the most shambolic and chaotic he had witnessed.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change ( MDC) warned of "an expression of anger" in the capital Harare after so many were turned away from polling stations.

An unscheduled third day of voting had been ordered by the Harare High Court after long queues were still waiting outside polling stations in the capital on Sunday night.

But the final day was thrown into chaos when polling stations stayed closed for several hours because of confusion between electoral officials and the government.

Overwhelming support

The MDC asked for another day's voting but the High Court threw the request out saying such a decision was outside its jurisdiction.

MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai
Tsvangirai believes many of his supporters were prevented from voting
Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai believes that many thousands of his supporters were not able to cast their ballots in Harare, where he has overwhelming support.

President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, which is expected to do well in rural areas, has denied the claim.

Earlier on Monday evening, the chairman of the elections directorate, Mariyawanda Nzuwah, told state television that the voting was over despite the pending High Court ruling.

In the Harare suburb of Glen Norah police wielding batons fired tear gas to disperse 600 people waiting to vote.

When ordered to go home, they began chanting "Change, change, we want to vote!" the Associated Press news agency reported.

Voters in the Glenview township wait to vote
Some voters queued for more than 50 hours in vain
Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, said his monitors had confirmed problems at four polling stations when voting was stopped.

He said that at one polling station the monitor reported police beating up MDC agents as riot police took ballot boxes away.

He said: "I am sad to report that this has been one of the most shambolic and chaotic elections we have witnessed."

Diplomats detained

"It has been very disappointing. (There have been) huge administrative problems in particular in the major cities, more so in Harare," said Mr Matchaba-Hove.

But Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said that anyone criticising the election was "spreading malicious propaganda".

In other incidents on Monday, two American diplomats accredited as election observers were held by police for several hours, while in Brussels European Union foreign ministers said they had received reports of voting irregularities.

regional reports from around Zimbabwe
Choose a link below for latest news from around the country:

  1. Harare
  2. Mashonaland
  3. Matebeleland
  4. Midlands
  5. Manicaland
  6. Masvingo

The diplomats, detained along with two colleagues, were held for several hours by Zimbabwean police in the town of Chinhoyi, 120 km (75 miles) north of Harare.

The European Union and US have warned President Mugabe's government to allow free and fair elections or face international sanctions.

Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the elections "are not fair".

"The reports we are getting from Harare do not lead to positive conclusions," she said after a meeting of foreign ministers.

"Voters do not have sufficient access to polling stations."

The MDC also said three of its leaders, including secretary general Welshman Ncube, had been arrested by police in the south-western town of Plumtree.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwean police chase away voters
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP-CP) — Zimbabwean police closed down voting booths and used clubs and tear gas to disperse prospective voters today, as a chaotic court-ordered, third day of presidential voting ended with anger and allegations of government rigging.

Police fired eight tear gas canisters and shot into the air at a polling station in the Harare neighbourhood of Glen Norah to disperse 600 people waiting to vote. When told to go home, they began chanting "change, change, we want to vote!"

Foreign election observers stopped police from sending voters away from a polling station in the Harare township of Kuwadzana 45 minutes before polls were supposed to close. But police stopped the voting in the poor neighbourhood at 7 p.m., even though more than 200 people remained in line and government officials had promised that those still waiting would be allowed to vote.

When the presiding officer tried to keep the polling station open, a police officer who did not identify himself shouted, ``voting is over." He then ordered riot police to chase away those waiting outside.

Dereck Madharani, an election official from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said police wielding clubs were dispersing people waiting outside other polling stations.

He and other opposition members said President Robert Mugabe was trying to prevent people from voting as part of a widespread plan to steal the tightest election in Zimbabwe's history.

Canada and other Commonwealth countries are keeping a close watch on the election.

At this month's Commonwealth summit in Australia, several members wanted to suspend Zimbabwe because of allegations Mugabe trampled on human rights during the campaign.

But a decision was put off until after the vote.

On Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham repeated Canada's stance on the crisis.

"If the (election) process doesn't work, if the process has been completely fixed by Mr. Mugabe, at that point the Commonwealth will be in a position to act.

"But to throw Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth in the middle of the election, in a lot of people's view, particularly the African members of the Commonwealth would only have been playing into the hands of Mr. Mugabe.

"So let's let the election take place ... then we'll be in a position to take a concrete action."

Back in Harare, opposition lawyers were appealing to a judge to order a fourth day of voting.

"I can't vouch that everyone who wanted to vote did get the opportunity, some people only turned up as late as 4, 5, or 6 p.m. I wondered what they have been doing for the last three days," Mariyawanda Nzua, head of the state elections directorate, said. "I think we have done our best."

At another Harare polling station, the presiding officer, escorted by police, came out to the voters and marked a distance about 100 metres from the station and announced that was where the line ended. The voters refused to budge and began arguing with police and officials.

On Sunday night, the Harare High Court ordered the government to extend voting countrywide for a third day after seeing the huge lines at many Harare polling stations, the scheduled end of the two-day vote.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said today that voting would only be extended in Harare and a nearby township and that anyone in line at 7 p.m. would be allowed to vote. Many polling stations in the rest of the country had already been dismantled, he said.

But Harare's polling stations did not open until noon, after many voters had given up and gone home or to work.

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.

Opposition officials said the reported turnouts in pro-Mugabe areas did not match the reports from their polling agents in those areas.

The election is Zimbabwe's most competitive since Mugabe led the country to independence in 1980. In recent years, the country's economy has collapsed and political violence — blamed mostly on the ruling party — has become rampant.

The opposition party's secretary general and third ranking official, Welshman Ncube, was arrested Monday in the southwestern town of Plumtree, said David Coltart, an opposition legislator. Police gave no reason for the arrests, but Ncube has been charged with treason in a previous case.

A group of white farmers and American and British lawyers had also been arrested while observing the vote, officials said, and four U.S. diplomats were detained for several hours.

"We will not succumb to this kind of intimidation," opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said. He appealed to Zimbabweans to show restraint and avoid confrontation with security forces.

In Brussels, European Union foreign ministers said Monday they received reports of voting irregularities in Zimbabwe. Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the elections "are not fair."

The EU has imposed limited sanctions on Zimbabwe after the government restricted its observer team. EU diplomatic missions remain in Zimbabwe.

"It is common in this part of the world for people who are losing an election to allege fraud," said Jonathon Moyo, minister of information, denying all allegations of problems with the election. He denied that there was any reason to extend the vote and that polling officials spent Monday "twiddling their fingers."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

ABC News

Zimbabwe to Count Votes After Bitter Election

March 11
— By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Counting begins Tuesday in Zimbabwe's hotly contested
presidential election after the opposition failed to have voting extended
for a fourth day.

A government minister said a result was likely by Wednesday.

Held amidst a collapsing economy, widespread allegations of
government-sponsored intimidation and campaign violence, the election has
been the toughest that President Robert Mugabe has contested in his 22 years
in power.

The courts ordered the weekend poll extended into Monday in some
opposition-dominated areas because voters were still queuing up, but on
Monday night the High Court refused to prolong it any longer and polls
closed at 7 p.m.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which wanted to extend
the chaotic poll into Tuesday, alleged Mugabe was cheating by preventing
some of its supporters from voting.

"If thousands of people are not allowed to vote then this is a stillborn
election," said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. "Multitudes of potential
voters are being disenfranchised."

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, a close Mugabe aide, said counting would
begin on Tuesday and a result could be known early on Wednesday.

Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, conducting the election, said the
government had complied with the earlier court order by keeping polls in
Harare open until 7 p.m.

"We allowed the majority of the people who wanted to vote the opportunity to
do so, although we cannot say everybody."

He said about three million of the 5.6 million eligible voters were thought
to have voted, calling it a good turnout.


The MDC alleges that Mugabe has resorted to violence and intimidation in an
attempt to cling to power in a once prosperous country that has been reduced
to near ruin.

Its campaign focused on the economy in a bid to tap into discontent over 60
percent unemployment and raging inflation.

The fertile country now faces acute food shortages because of drought and
the often violent seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to
landless blacks.

Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party in turn calls the MDC stooges of the
tiny white minority and the former colonial power, Britain.

Mugabe once enjoyed wide international respect as the liberation fighter who
led the former Rhodesia to independence in 1980. But he and his inner circle
now face targeted sanctions from the European Union and the United States.

In an ironic twist of history, embattled white farmers once reviled as
racists are now the focus of international sympathy.

The United States said it would protest to Zimbabwe "in the strongest terms"
after police held four U.S. diplomats, two of whom were accredited as
election observers, for four to five hours on Monday, the State Department

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

MDC warns of poll fraud

3/11/02 10:02:41 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporters/Reuters

ATHE opposition MDC yesterday warned of electoral fraud.

Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC's spokesperson, said the government was
manipulating figures of registered voters in urban and rural areas.

The charges came after the government stalled on an urgent High Court
application seeking an extension to the polling days and reports by the
State media that there were, in fact, more voters in rural areas than in the
urban centres. While the Register-General's Office has since 10 January said
registered voters in urban areas were 3,4 million and rural areas 2,2
million, yesterday the State media said the rural areas had more registered

Two government ministers said there would be no extension to the polling
days. Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity, told State radio: "As we speak right now, there are no national
circumstances warranting an extension of the voting." Moyo dismissed reports
of a huge voter turnout in the capital, where the MDC dominates President
Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF.

Moyo said long queues did not mean high turnout but were caused by the
reduced number of polling stations and concurrent elections for mayor and
city councillors. "We should not think that Harare is Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe
is Harare. Suggestions that there is a massive turnout in Harare . . . are
really pictures painted by people with creative imaginations," he said. Moyo
found support in the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,
Patrick Chinamasa, who stalled an urgent High Court application by
suggesting a tour of polling stations instead. But the chaotic scenes at
polling stations in urban areas came as no surprise to election observers.

Some had warned before the vote that it would be impossible to process in
two days the 5 000 to 7 000 voters registered at many urban stations. The
average in rural areas was far lower and down to 700 a station in many
villages, observers said.

The Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, said on State television the backlog
of voters would be cleared by extending polling hours beyond 7pm, the
official closing time. "This is what happened yesterday and this is exactly
what we will be doing tonight. If there are queues we shall make sure those
queues are dealt with and we shall not close at seven o'clock." Jongwe
accused the State media of trying to mislead the nation. He said: "We
suspect that there are plans for large-scale fraud by the Zanu PF

The sudden twist of figures is very suspicious." Jongwe said a number of
potential voters had been denied their right to vote because of the
frustrating queues in Harare and Chitungwiza. In most high-density areas
like Glen Norah, Mufakose, Highfield, Glen View, Mbare and Budiriro, voting
was still painstakingly slow yesterday.

Jongwe said this had the net effect of disenfranchising thousands of
Zimbabweans who have a right to vote. He said the figures announced by ZBC
yesterday were suspicious. ZBC announced the number of people who had cast
their votes by 7pm yesterday. In Harare, only 127 104 people had voted out
of a possible 882 176 registered voters.

Other figures were: Bulawayo 129 136; Matabeleland North 110 039;
Mashonaland West 211 712; Masvingo 241 758; Manicaland 206 075; Matabeleland
South 134 238; Mashonaland Central 157 086; Mashonaland East 262 406; and
Chitungwiza 32 971.

Jongwe said the election was taking place at a time when more than 47
percent of the rural polling stations are not manned by MDC polling agents
"either because our agents have not been allowed to get to their stations or
in the instances where they have been able to, they have been chased out of
these stations".

MDC presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, cast his vote at Avondale
Primary School on his 50th birthday yesterday to cheers of "Happy birthday
to you" from queuing voters. Avondale Primary School is in Harare Central
constituency where Tsvangirai resides.

Accompanied by his wife, Susan, who also voted yesterday, Tsvangirai said:
"My birthday wish is a confirmation of a resounding victory for the MDC and
for the people of Zimbabwe. "This election is an exceptional one as there
has been a massive turn-out of people." Tsvangirai held a brief birthday
party at his home in Avondale, where family members and a few MDC officials
were present.

His birthday cake was a miniature of the State House. President Mugabe and
his wife, Grace, voted at Kudzanayi Primary School in Highfield on Saturday
morning after the couple failed to find the First Lady's name on the voters'
roll at Mhofu Primary School.

Elliot Manyika, the Zanu PF political commissar, Amos Midzi, the party's
mayoral candidate for Harare, Coltrane Chimurenga and Viola Plummer, of the
United States-based December 12 Movement, were also present.

Addressing journalists later, Mugabe said the foreign Press was biased and
Western countries favoured the opposition. "They don't want the current
President to remain," he said. "I will accept the result. We will accept it
because we will have won."

Back to the Top
Back to Index