|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
It comes after an election in which accusations of ballot-rigging and intimidation of voters have predominated.
Results announced by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede showed Mr Mugabe with 1,634,382 votes - substantially more than the 50% he needed for victory.
Mr Tsvangirai received 1,170,590 votes.
Mr Mudede said 3.1 million people had voted in the southern African country's three-day election that ended on Monday.
The vote was condemned by local and foreign observers and western countries, who said it was scarred by violence, deeply flawed and unfair.
Mr Tsvangirai says Mr Mugabe stole the vote through systematic cheating and there are fears of a violent backlash by opposition supporters.
Security forces have been put on high alert and police have set up roadblocks on the main approach roads to the capital, Harare.
Words like "rigged", "fixed", "poisoned" or "flawed" are more the order of the day.
A cartoon by 'Tim', on the front page of The Independent, sets the tone.
Two containers stand side by side in a polling station.
One is a ballot box, bearing the words "Mugabe votes."
The other is marked "Opposition votes", but it is a rubbish bin.
The Independent's reporter in Harare, Karen MacGregor, says Zimbabweans seem resigned to a Mugabe victory, and fear civil unrest and a government clampdown on the opposition.
The mood is the same in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, according to the Daily Telegraph.
There, some youths are apparently "itching to take up arms" against Mr Mugabe.
Saddam 'mocks' US
Top story for The Mirror is the growing momentum for US-led military action against Baghdad.
It says Saddam Hussein mocked President Bush and Tony Blair on Tuesday, dismissing the prospect of military action against him as a "futile threat".
In an editorial, the paper urges caution on Washington and London.
It says Saddam Hussein is an evil despot who crushes his own people and threatens the world, but that does not mean an all-out military assault is right.
'Matt', the Telegraph cartoonist, picks up on the sense of impending conflict.
A soldier tells his commanding officer that he thinks he's coming down with Pre-Gulf War syndrome.
Labour's 'Third Phase'
The prime minister's attempt to refocus attention on New Labour's aims, after a bruising few weeks for the government, attract a lot of coverage.
His speech at the London School Of Economics, in which he announced that the government's mission was now entering its "Third Phase", is ruthlessly picked over in the Daily Mail.
It says: "Surely this was a first draft, prime minister, not the real speech, not your crucial post-Byers, post Mittal relaunch."
The Financial Times is equally unimpressed and calls him "Blah Blah Blair".
It says there are few spectacles quite so sad in politics as that of Tony Blair trying to explain what New Labour stands for.
The Mirror recalls how Labour won the 1997 election with the song "Things Can Only Get Better."
But the result might have been different, it thinks, if the tune had been "Things Will Get Better In Phase Three."
Tuesday's petrol price rises irritate the Mail, which says oil giants are never in a hurry to lower petrol prices when the market falls but have once again demonstrated their determination to profit as soon as energy bills rise.
The Telegraph has wider concerns. It says the increases could be the start of an upward trend that could choke off the delicate economic recovery now underway on both sides of the Atlantic.
Between the lines
The Mirror reports on a new worry for motorists - triple yellow lines.
They have appeared in a street in Swindon, but no-one knows what they mean because they do not feature in the Highway Code.
The local council tells the paper it is trying to find out who put them there.
This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
NATIONAL REPORT IN BRIEF
· Breaking news from Chinhoyi - At Chisaki Farm today, 12.03.02, 20-30 youths were seen converging on the farm at 0900. Looting at the house is in progress and urgent police reaction is sought. The youths are moving off at 1000 to Muni Farm. It appears to be a structured plan, following on from the looting yesterday of Lions Den Butchery home and Hillpass Farm.
· Settlers seem to have gone from Charleswood Estate, Chimanimani. Whilst at the Chipinge Club having lunch, the owner was confronted by 38 policeman and 17 army personnel, who accused him of having 12 bars of soap, which they claim he could use to wash the dye off people’s hands so they could vote again. They confiscated the soap and searched the club.
· Following the setting up of a polling station at Chakadenga, Marondera West, ZANU (PF) supporters trashed the polling station and farm village and a truck belonging to the owner of the farm was stolen. The assailants attacked farm labour, who were either dispersed into the bush or forced to go to the nearby "war vet" base camp at Chop Chop Store. The attackers abducted the security guard from the homestead, saying they were taking him to their torture chamber. Police were contacted but no definite response was given.
· On Arcadia, Marondera East Constituency, two ZANU (PF) settler leaders from neighbouring Wenimbe Farm, forced labour to go en masse under their supervision to vote at Wenimbi School.
· Lifton, Hwedza Constituency, reported the same assailants responsible for the attack at Chakadenga in Marondera West Constituency, entered the farm village and beat up workers, some so severely they were unable to walk.
· On Bristol/ Fels, Hwedza Constituency, all labour from both farms were rounded up by Zanu (PF) youths and told to vote at Numwa polling station, where severe intimidation was taking place. Many of the labourers had previously been beaten and were not able to walk that far.
· In Chinhoyi, Hillpass Farm was visited a second time last night, 11.03.02, and the owner fired shots in the air to disperse the intruders.
· On Sherwood, Norton, it transpired "voter training" took place in the Mhondoro communal area where labourers had to put their ballot papers in a ballot box and were given ZW$ 1000.00 to vote for ZANU (PF).
· Chakari - Occupying "war vets" from seven farms amassed labour early on the morning of 09.03.02, and frog marched them to the polling station. Most of them were taken to Tawstock where the local M.P. Mr Ziyambi has taken up residence in the owner’s guest cottage.
Nyanga - The five Wattle Company employees arrested and one lady plotholder (were transferred to Mutare Central Prison last night, 11.03.02. The other woman plot holder was released into the custody of her lawyer last night for medical reasons. They are being charged under the Post and Telecommunications Act for having illegal 'transmitters' (radios). All of their radios are licenced.
Chimanimani – The owner of Mawenje Lodge was following the ballot box when the vehicle in front of him stopped, the policeman got out and told him to follow his vehicle to the police station. He was placed under arrest. At this time the charges are unknown but he is appearing in court in Chipinge this morning, 12.03.02. Settlers seem to have gone from Charleswood Estate . Whilst at the Chipinge Club having lunch, the owner was confronted by 38 policeman and 17 army personnel, who accused him of having 12 bars of soap, which they claim he could use to wash the dye off people’s hands so they could vote again. They confiscated the soap and searched the club. The CIO noted all the registration numbers of the vehicles in the club parking area. The estate manager’s son, is due to appear in Chipinge Court this morning, after being arrested on 10.03.02.
Old Mutare –on 08.03.02, over 60 Election Support Network members were arrested in Honde Valley on Friday and taken to Ruda Police Station. The army visited the police station and some of them were beaten up. Included in this group were three management members running the Working Dogs International Organisation on Chikonga Farm, who face charges today, 12.03.02. The woman was in possession of a mace gun and a knife was found in their vehicle. The other woman arrested with them was released as she is not part of the WDIO, although she is to appear in court this morning. The owner of Gubinchen Farm (Karl Wolf) who was arrested at Ruda Police Station, is supposed be in Mutare this morning for a court appeareance.
Chimanimani - people in jail from the weekend = 7
Mutare - people in jail from the weekend = 66
Nyanga - people in jail from the weekend = 7
Rusape - people in jail from the weekend = 1
TOTAL PEOPLE IN JAIL FOR MANICALAND = 81
No reports concerning agricultural activities. The weekend incidents comprised reports on voting.
Wednesday 6th, Thursday 7th, Friday 8th March
Murehwa South Constituency - A meeting was held on 6.03.02 at Virginia Store, to which all farm labourers were summoned by "war vets". They were told to vote where the "war vets" indicated; they had to vote in order of farms, with farm workers grouped under their farm name. The foreman was to be at the head of each farm group and that, in this way, the "war vets" would know how each farm voted, because they would be able to open the ballot boxes. They threatened severe beatings for any farm not voting for ZANU (PF). All labour was instructed to vote on Saturday only.
Marondera West Constituency/Hwedza Constituency – Following the setting up of a polling station that afternoon at Chakadenga ZANU (PF) supporters trashed the polling station and farm village and a truck belonging to the owner of the farm was stolen. The assailants attacked farm labour, who were either dispersed into the bush or forced to go to the nearby "war vet" base camp at Chop Chop Store. The attackers abducted the security guard from the homestead, saying they were taking him to their torture chamber. Police were contacted but no definite response was given. Two members of the community went to the police station in person. Support Unit were observed to have left the police station at 1945 hr, but had still not arrived by 2115 hr or by the following morning. In the Dangarendove Resettlement Area, adjacent to the Beatrice commercial farming area, 30 to 40 ZANU (PF) youths surrounded the vehicle transporting polling agents, who retreated because of the aggressive mood of the mob. In the Muda Resettlement Area, a vehicle transporting polling agents was stoned.
Seke Constituency - New Retreat farm labour was beaten up by ZANU (PF) supporters from Beatrice Village. At Canterbury two huts were burnt down, a result of arson believed to be politically motivated. At Gilston labour was beaten up.
Saturday 9th March
Marondera East Constituency – on Arcadia two ZANU (PF) settler leaders from neighbouring Wenimbe Farm, forced labour to go en masse under their supervision to vote at Wenimbi School. At Eirene "war vets" conned workers to hand over letters certifying their place of residence. On Meandu ZANU (PF) supporters accused the owner of meddling with the election process, as he gave his labour letters verifying they were residents of the farm. These letters were confiscated.
Marondera Urban – insufficient polling stations caused very long queues, exacerbated by slow progress and.voters queuing for 5 hours and more. Large turnout.
Marondera West Constituency - The following happened on the Wedza/Marondera side of the constituency: At Chakadenga the police had still not reacted to the attack the previous evening. Those who stole the owner’s vehicle gathered outside the polling station trashed the night before, abusing and intimidating people inside. Observers arrived and witnessed intimidation and violence. The abducted guard was still missing (RRB No. 054245), and police were again contacted. At approximately 8.00 am the "war vets" moved the polling station across the road to their base camp at Chop Chop Store. The election observers in the area were aware of this. At Four Ways Butchery, situated at the junction of the Seke/Wedza/Marondera roads, a large group of youths were observed gathered outside the butchery. Dudley reported that at 0800 hr there was a 300m queue, which unlikely to finish by noon when the mobile station was due to close. On the Beatrice side of the constituency: early on 11.03.02, a mob of ZANU (PF) gathered at the Brakveld homestead. They were noisy and intimidating. On Karreeboom women, known to be active ZANU (PF) youth organizers, were observed at the polling station as Police Special Constables on duty. Alicedale West labour was told by Zanu (PF) youth that if ZANU (PF) lost in Marondera West constituency, the voters would be killed. Adlam’s Rest farm labour was instructed by "war vets" to vote at Wheelerdale Resettlement Area, and not at nearby Karreeboom, and threatened with retribution if they did not comply. At Chirenje Primary School, a "war vet" active in the area, Samuriwo, was reported to have ejected the MDC polling agent from the polling station.
Hwedza Constituency - Lifton reported the same assailants responsible for the attack at Chakadenga in Marondera West Constituency, entered the farm village and beat up workers, some so severely they were unable to walk. On Iamba a decision was taken that no transport was to be used by farmers to take labour to the polling stations by the Zanu (PF) youth. On Bristol/ Fels at 0800 hr, all labour from both farms were rounded up by Zanu (PF) youths and told to vote at Numwa polling station, where severe intimidation was taking place. Many of the labourers had previously been beaten and were not able to walk that far. At Leeds Farm Polling Station, voters going in and out the polling station were made to shout ZANU (PF) slogans. Police were informed but refused to attend to the problem At 1300 hr a citizen observer reported a hostile roadblock in the vicinity, where he was stopped and searched by "war vets". This was a police roadblock, who ran off into the bush when the "war vets" took over. Murehwa South Constituency - The day’s voting in the Macheke-Virginia commercial farming area proceeded fairly smoothly. Seke Constituency – By 1000 hr, a big turnout was apparent at the polling stations. In the preceding two days there had been widespread intimidation of key farm staff by ZANU (PF) supporters. Romany Flowers (opposite Ruwa Club) labour was instructed to report to the ZANU (PF) offices near the Goromonzi turnoff early in the morning. They were taken to St Vincent Polling Station, ignoring the Thornycroft School Polling Station, a mere one kilometre away. A roll call was taken and those workers missing were noted. The labour was told to report back to the party office after voting. At Madamombe Primary School, Mr. Matsangura of the district ZANU (PF) committee, accompanied by ZANU (PF) MP for Seke, Phineas Chihota, would not permit the accreditation of MDC polling agents. A similar incident involving the same people occurred at the polling station at Dema Council Offices. In the former incident Matsangura threatened a white farmer in the vicinity of the polling station as a citizen observer. The vehicle used by them was marked Wallace Laboratories, in which the MP is reported to have interests. Such vehicles were observed moving around other parts of the district. Another incident involving a Wallace Laboratories vehicle when a farmer drove past Harridge Police Base and had rocks thrown at his vehicle. Mobile 6 polling station was set up at Charter Grading Shed where a Zanu (PF) youth base camp is also situated. The presiding officer intended to move the ballot boxes overnight out of the constituency to Beatrice village but after protests these were kept at nearby Brechin farm. On the approach to the polling station at Kerry, "war vets" set up a roadblock and stopped and harassed voters: demanding identification details, recording vehicle registration numbers, etc. On New Retreat as a result of beatings meted out to labour the night before, very few turned up to vote. Goromonzi Constituency - Reported that voting on the first day in the Enterprise area went fairly smoothly.
Chikomba Constituency - Reported quiet, with very little movement of voters on the roads by mid-morning in Featherstone commercial farming area.
Sunday 10th March
Marondera East Constituency - Ballot boxes from Stations 4, 6 and 7 (Dhirihori Primary School, Mapazviriho Primary School and St Martin’s Primary School) were reported to be unsealed. During the night two citizen observers were waylaid by ZANU (PF) supporters and detained. They were assaulted and their hand-held radio was taken.
Marondera West Constituency - Stations 30 and 35 were unable to open at 0700 hr, as equipment and boxes had not arrived.
Seke Constituency - Pamusasa Mayambara – 56 would-be voters were turned away at this mobile polling station, as they could produce no National IDs, as these had previously been taken from them at a ZANU (PF) political meeting. The instigator of this was a Chaitizivi. At Madamombe, a citizen observer’s vehicle was stoned near the polling station. The Gilston "war vet" Felix Njerena joined agents in the polling station. It is believed he had not been accredited as he was not wearing an identification tag. When questioned about this, the presiding officer declined to clarify
Monday 11 March
No reports received of disturbances. Many shops did not open their doors for business. A number of written death threats have been issued against whites in Marondera town, and an intention to eliminate two commercial farmers in Marondera South has come to light.
MASHONALAND WEST (NORTH)
Tengwe – one farmer was stoned on his way home. A few roadblocks reported. There was reluctance by farm labour to go and vote. Only 3500 of 40 000 potential voters went to the polls.
Karoi – ballot boxes travelling in to town 11.03.02. The OIC is unhappy people are following the ballot boxes to ensure there is no tampering. Three people were abducted at Tavoy Farm on 09.03.02, with one man very severely beaten. There was a very low poll in Hurungwe East and West due to intimidation of voters.
Doma – mostly quiet over the weekend. A low poll reported. Boxes are now moving to the Rural Council. It was felt there were too many polling stations.
Umboe – nothing untoward at present.
Chinhoyi – illegal roadblock was set up between Lions Den and Karoi, with the Zanu (PF) youths confiscating “weapons” from vehicles, including a penknife and fishing tackle. They are also throwing stones at passing vehicles. Hillpass Farm was visited a second time last night, 11.03.02, and the owner fired shots in the air to disperse the intruders.
At Chisaki Farm today, 12.03.02, 20-30 youths were seen converging on the farm at 0900. Looting at the house is in progress and urgent police reaction is sought. The youths are moving off at 1000 to Muni Farm It appears to be a structured plan, following on from the looting yesterday of Lions Den Butchery home and Hillpass Farm.
Banket – a manager was taken into custody on 11.03.02, as he was trying to keep the police out of his premises the police smashed their way in and arrested 40 youths, suspected to be MDC supporters, as well as a farmer who was videoing the incident. The farmer and manager were released late in the day while the whereabouts of the 40 youths is unknown.
Raffingora – this area was mostly evacuated and, at time of writing, about 56 people are in gaol!
Trelawney/Darwendale – very little voting on 10.03.02 took place. Most people voted some distance from their home farm and certain stations were flooded with voters. Not many people were turned away. The area was generally quiet. The owner of Chimbada Ranch was very seriously threatened on 11.03.02 and has since left the farm.
Nyabira – a police roadblock was conducting very thorough searches on the Harare-Chirundu road. Apparently they will be in place until the count is finished. In the case of the Regional Executive for Mashonaland West (North) they asked to scrutinise documents in his vehicle.
MASHONALAND WEST (SOUTH)
Norton - On Sherwood it transpired "voter training" took place in the Mhondoro communal area where labourers had to put their ballot papers in a ballot box and were given ZW$ 1000.00 to vote for ZANU (PF). On Malham the foreman was told by ZANU (PF) he must identify himself at the polling station with all the farm labour so that they knew for whom the farm in question had voted. This has happened on a number of farms. "War vet" Don Carlos, with ZANU (PF) youth, came to Lydiate and told the owner he must vacate the farmhouse in the same way as the manager of Shingwiri had been evicted. On Fort Martin the owner has finally moved off his farm. This farmer was once Tobacco Grower Of The Year, has not been productive for a year, and his farm with its entire infrastructure is a very sorry sight. On Serui Source the resident “war vets” and youth demanded a cow for slaughtering. The owner’s son had a bottle thrown at him and they tried to lock him in the gates. They stopped labour from feeding and watering the pigs, but the matter was resolved the following day.
Selous - On Carskey the store was broken into and a pump stolen from close to where the settlers reside. These are the same settlers who severely assaulted the cattle foreman, who remains on a drip in hospital in Harare. Police have made no investigation or arrests.
Chegutu - On Lot 1A of The Grove the owner is still not allowed back to his farm and ZANU (PF) youth have been beating up labour from this farm as well as from De Rus on a nightly basis. Workers are too afraid to make reports to police as no arrests are made, and there is retribution when police reports are made.
Suri-Suri - Two roadblocks were put up on Hippovale but these were later dismantled. Over 40 cattle were stolen from Ameva Farm . One farmer’s vehicle was burnt by ZANU (PF) youth in the Musengezi resettlement area. The two passengers ended up with cuts and bruises when the vehicle turned on its side at an illegal roadblock, and the driver was stoned. All three occupants managed to get away. The same vehicle was stopped by Stanley Majiri, who is the campaign manager for ZANU (PF) Chegutu Constituency, on 09.03.02 and chased into Chegutu about thirty kilometres away.
Chakari - Occupying "war vets" from seven farms amassed labour early on the morning of 09.03.02, and frog marched them to the polling station. Most of them were taken to Tawstock where the local M.P. Mr Ziyambi has taken up residence in the owner’s guest cottage.
Kadoma - On Glenview Lieutenant Shumba from Battlefields army base and "Samora" the youth base leader from Patchway, broke into the house while the owner was absent for a few days, and slept there on 10.03.02. The owner has had 18 break-ins/thefts since Christmas but Chief Inspector Makaza has only given him 4 RRB numbers.
No reports concerning agricultural activities. The weekend incidents comprised reports on voting.
No report received.
No report received.
Jack Straw said he was making no predictions about the outcome of the elections but condemned the ruling Zanu-PF party's violence and intimidation surrounding the polls.
This is a terrible period, not only for Zimbabwe but for those who hold the cause of democracy dear
The first results are expected later on Tuesday and Mr Straw said he would make a statement to MPs, if possible, as soon as the result was known.
He told the Commons on Tuesday: "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."
Those irregularities included a shortage of polling booths in urban areas and the harassment of opposition election agents in rural areas.
Mr Straw was pressed by some MPs to stop British recognition of Zimbabwe.
He continued: "If it becomes clear, and the evidence is already pretty strong, that President Mugabe in the event of him being declared the winner, has stolen the election, that has enormous implications for the nature of our relationship with Zimbabwe."
The UK, with the rest of the European Union, has already begun targeted sanctions against President Mugabe and his allies.
But there are still full diplomatic relations between the two countries, with a British high commissioner in Harare and his Zimbabwean counterpart based in London.
The Commonwealth heads of government recently refused Tony Blair's appeal for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth.
But they said there could be action once the election observers report in full.
Conservative shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram criticised the "brutal" conduct of the Zanu-PF party.
He asked Mr Straw: "If Mugabe is proclaimed the winner, why won't you make clear today that you will reject the result and act accordingly?"
The foreign secretary repeated his view that it was wise to wait until the election result was known.
The Zimbabwe government has attacked Tony Blair and the UK government for what he says is a "colonialist" attitude towards its country.
|ON THIS STORY|
|The BBC's Hilary Andersson|
"So much for democracy"
On the first day of polling, there were long queues of people waiting to vote, especially in Kwekwe Urban, Gweru Urban and Redcliff constituencies.
The queues were a result of the decision to reduce the number of polling stations in towns.
|Click here to tell us your experiences|
For the first time, I noticed a heavy turnout among the large Asian community living in the Midlands.
There was also a heavy presence of the Zanu-PF militias, codenamed "Talebans".
Some of them joined the lines of voters, spacing themselves out along the queues.
In Gweru, voting ended several hours late due to the long queues.
In contrast, most rural voters were able to cast their ballots on the first day due to the increased number of polling stations.
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I saw "Talebans" at every rural polling station I visited. They had even set up temporary camps outside some of the schools were voting was taking place.
Both the police and the "Talebans" were very antagonistic towards local observers.
Those who had been refused official accreditation and were trying to monitor the vote from outside the polling stations were chased away and assaulted.
Some had their fluorescent green "Election observer" bibs ripped off their backs. Others were arrested.
I saw two senior Zanu-PF officials in the province move around polling stations, ordering the "Talebans" to beat up local observers and chase them away from where the voting was taking place.
I also noted a heavy presence of secret state agents from the Central Intelligence Organisation moving around the polling stations.
At one point, they started following me but not for very long.
Despite all the intimidation, voters were determined to vote for the candidate of their choice in most of the areas I visited.
The second day of voting was not nearly as busy as day one. Many rural polling were deserted from noon.
Day Six - Tuesday 12 March
Been here at the border a week now. I'm sure I should be losing weight in this heat.
Confidence about the air conditioning being secure because of generators proves misplaced.
Another power cut today, thankfully for just a few minutes. Even in that time, the portacabin did a passable impression of an oven.
It doesn't smell great either. We can't leave the rubbish outside because of the baboons which live around the car park and play on the nearby bridge across the Limpopo to Zimbabwe.
Unlike just about everything else in the election, the counting seems to be going reasonably smoothly.
A brief flurry of excitement about the appearance in court in Harare of senior opposition figure, Welshman Ncube. As usual, the opposition spokesmen answer their mobile phones quickly.
They confirm that he's been charged with treason and released on bail.
Do a live television interview a few minutes later. As I'm waiting to go on air, I listen to the studio in London interviewing Zimbabwe's Justice Minister.
He denies all knowledge of the charges and accuses the BBC of bias. I'm on next. If the minister carried on watching, I don't think he'd have been too keen on my remarks, which contradicted just about all of his.
Pity I'm not in Zimbabwe to interview him directly.
Interviews from the TV launch pad attract small crowds of bemused onlookers.
We must look completely outlandish, standing on our platform with white umbrellas, bellowing at someone in a studio thousands of miles away.
Today's quotation is another from the Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo:
"This has been an exemplary election in our view."
Oh, the power's just gone again.