By Peta Thornycroft
13 March 2008
The Zimbabwe state media has been accused of bias in favor of the ruling
ZANU-PF party by media monitors observing the run up to national elections
on March 29. And as Peta Thornycroft reports, monitors say the Zimbabwe
Election Commission, mandated by law to ensure balanced media, is failing to
do its job.
The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe says in a report issued this week
that the ruling ZANU-PF party has effectively hijacked the state television
and radio broadcaster, ZBC, as the party's own private broadcasters.
Abel Chikomo, advocacy coordinator for the Project says that the national
broadcaster behaves as if it is ZANU-PF's own private radio and television
station. This he says is in "flagrant" violation of electoral and
"For the month of February only, between the 5th February to the 29th
February, [Zimbabwe TV] accorded a total of 3 hours 22 mins to the ruling
party only," said Chikomo. "This is in addition to the 4 hours the ruling
party got [for] the launch of their manifesto, which time was [given to
"ZBC [even suspended] all programming to ensure they ran the ZANU-PF
manifesto live, without any interruption. We believe there is no better
indication of the bias, and inequality and unfairness of the reporting of
elections than what we have seen already," he added.
In addition, the project issued a stern rebuke to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission which it says has failed to fulfill its mandate to ensure that
the public broadcaster is balanced and fair, in both content and time,
toward all political parties and candidates.
The chairman of the commission, Judge George Chiweshe, told VOA that the
commission has set up its own monitoring body and began its work just this
"So they started working in earnest this week really and we have not got a
report from them, because it is only four days into the week. But what they
will be doing is ensuring that the various requirements they are required to
do respect of what part of the election activities and so on [that they
cover]; these are being adhered to," he said.
There are no independent broadcasters based in Zimbabwe. And, the state
controls all the daily print and electronic media within the country. There
are a handful of independent weekly publications.
The Project's Chikomo says the state media has also failed to educate the
electorate about the practicalities of the election and of voting. In
addition he says, the public has not been informed about changes in
electoral and media laws which resulted from the South African-mediated
talks between the ruling party and the opposition Movement for Democratic
"It's not just about that there is no fair coverage on ZBC," said Chikomo.
"We still don't have the daily news, or any alternative daily source of
information in this country to date. So there is no political will or
commitment on the part of ZANU-PF, the ruling party, or the government to
ensure that they implement what they seem to have agreed in South Africa."
Opposition parties have also complained that Mr. Mugabe has been using
government-funded inducements to win support from the electorate, including
salary hikes for civil servants and the army and agricultural equipment such
as tractors for people in rural areas.
Judge Chiweshe told VOA he couldn't comment on whether this is unfair or
"We are the last people able comment on issues like that because they are of
a political nature, in essence," said Chiweshe. "It is difficult for us to
comment on what is inducement and what is not inducement, unless of course
someone has filed a charge, and it has been sustained in the proper forum. I
cannot say anything, my hands are tied. If I say it's wrong, then it means I
am taking a position prematurely because the facts have not been put before
The Media Monitoring Project and opposition parties say that in the current
climate it is not possible to hold elections that are not biased in favor of
the ruling ZANU-PF and President Robert Mugabe and that the Zimbabwe
Election Commission needs to urgently ensure the public media such as
Zimbabwe Television, ZTV, complies with the law.
by Cuthbert Nzou Friday 14 March 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's chief spy Happyton Bonyongwe has been linked to former
finance minister Simba Makoni's bid to oust President Robert Mugabe, in the
first signal that divisions in the ruling ZANU PF party may be filtering
down to the security establishment.
Authoritative sources told ZimOnline yesterday that the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) was in the grip of a power struggle between Bonyongwe,
its director-general, and his deputy, Maynard Muzariri, who is said to back
Mugabe continuing in power.
Makoni, who was expelled from ZANU PF for challenging Mugabe last month, has
repeatedly said he is closely working with several top people in the ruling
party and government who he has not named but who he says are equally eager
to see the March 29 elections usher in a new leadership for the country.
While top ZANU PF officials and military commanders have in recent days
publicly declared their backing for Mugabe, insiders say many among these
clandestinely support Makoni.
No comment could be obtained from the CIO, which does not disclose its
affairs to the media as a matter of policy. A hostile Intelligence Minister
Didymus Mutasa refused to take questions on the matter also because it
involved the secret service.
"The CIO is not run through the media. Why do you think I can talk to you
about the country's intelligence matters," Mutasa said curtly.
Our sources said the rivalry between Bonyongwe and Muzariri had virtually
paralysed intelligence gathering with the two CIO bosses spending time
spying on each other than running the organisation.
For example, they said last January CIO officials in Harare compiled a
report and submitted it to Mutasa, linking Bonyongwe and retired army
general Solomon Mujuru, among others, to Makoni's presidential ambitions.
Mujuru, husband of ZANU PF and state Vice-President Joice Mujuru, is one of
the power brokers in the ruling party and has long been rumoured to support
The sources said Mutasa did not hand over the report to Mugabe, but waited
for the return of Bonyongwe from abroad and confronted him with the
"This angered operatives in Muzariri's camp who then approached Mnangagwa
( Emmerson, the Minister of Rural and Social Amenities). They briefed him on
the goings on in the CIO," a senior intelligence officer said.
Mnangagwa is Mujuru's biggest rival to control ZANU PF post-Mugabe. He was
sidelined for the vice-president's job four years ago when Joice was
appointed, but has since mended his relationship with Mugabe who he is
backing to stay in office.
When Mnangagwa approached Mutasa over the CIO report, he was told it had not
been handed to Mugabe because it was seen as biased.
"Mutasa said he wanted neutrals in the CIO to compile a comprehensive report
on alleged Bonyongwe links to Makoni back-dating to the time when he was in
government," said a source.
A senior CIO officer has since been tasked to compile a fresh report that
would be submitted to Mutasa, Mnangagwa and Mugabe.
However, Mugabe, in the meanwhile summoned Bonyongwe last month and accused
him of editing out vital information from reports compiled by juniors on the
Bonyongwe's term ends in April. Our sources said it was highly unlikely
Mugabe would renew the CIO boss' contract but added he was also unlikely to
promote Muzariri to the job of director-general.
Mugabe was likely to promote CIO deputy director general (internal) Elias
Kanengoni to head the organisation.
Kanengoni, also said to be an Mnangagwa ally, is perceived to be more loyal
to Mugabe after the President pardoned him from serving a six-year jail term
for shooting former Gweru mayor Patrick Kombayi during the 1990 general
While the army and police are credited with keeping public discontent in
check by brutally crushing opposition-led street protests, it is the CIO
that has played a critical role to keep Mugabe in power by infiltrating and
destabilising opposition parties to ensure they are unable to effectively
organise against the veteran leader. - ZimOnline
by Prince Nyathi Friday 14 March 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's Electoral Court on Thursday turned down an opposition
application seeking an order compelling election authorities to disclose
information pertaining to ballot papers printed for month-end polls, saying
it did not have jurisdiction over the matter.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had wanted the
court to order the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to disclose the
number of ballot papers printed for the joint presidential, parliamentary
and council elections on March 29.
The opposition party - that according to sources believes that more ballots
were printed to allow for easier manipulation of the vote - also wanted the
court to order ZEC to disclose the identity of the firm contracted to print
ballot papers and that the commission allows inspection and auditing of
The MDC also wanted ZEC ordered to increase the number of polling stations
in its stronghold urban areas. Analysts say fewer polling booths allocated
in cities and towns could turn away voters.
"The electoral court said it had no jurisdiction to hear the matter so we
are going to launch the case with the High Court very soon," said a lawyer
with Coghlan Welsh and Guest a law firm that is acting for the opposition
The Electoral Court was set up to specifically hear disputes related to and
about elections as part of reforms that were said would help speed up
resolution of electoral disputes and enhance transparency in the country's
election systems and processes.
MDC secretary general Tendai Biti said the court's refusal to deal with the
matter that clearly fell under its ambit was a "reflection of the failure of
the whole electoral system."
"Its strange that a court set up to solve electoral disputes is refusing to
do so," Biti said. "It's a reflection of the failure of the whole electoral
system. We will make a fresh court application soon."
The MDC had also sought to compel ZEC to give the number of postal votes,
identify postal voters - where they come from and where they will cast their
It wanted ZEC to prove that it had put measures in place to ensure that the
elections - which are being held together for the first time ever - will not
be bogged down by administrative hitches.
Non-governmental organisations have expressed fear that concern that lack of
capacity and poor preparations by ZEC could see hundreds of thousands of
voters especially in major urban areas fail to vote as happened in the 2002
Major Western governments condemned the 2002 election that was
controversially won by Mugabe as flawed and refused to recognize the
Zimbabwean leader's victory against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe, who retained the presidency by a mere 400 000 votes, insists that he
won fairly against the opposition leader.
Mugabe, 84, who seeking a fresh five-year term, faces his biggest electoral
test in a three-horse race pitting him against former ally Simba Makoni and
perennial foe, Tsvangirai.
Political analysts say an unfair electoral playing field guarantees Mugabe
victory despite clear evidence that he has failed to tame a rampant economic
crisis that has manifested itself in the world's highest inflation rate of
over 100 000 percent, massive unemployment and poverty. - ZimOnline
by Tafirei Shumba Friday 14 March 2008
HARARE - Suspected ruling ZANU PF party youths are forcing public
commuter bus operators to stick portraits of President Robert Mugabe on
their vehicles, threatening unspecified but severe punishment to those who
refuse to comply, ZimOnline has learnt.
On Tuesday, minibuses plying routes between Harare's city centre and
the suburban areas were suddenly seen driving around displaying colorful
campaign posters emblazoned with the portrait of a stone-faced Mugabe waving
his militant trademark fist.
Harare is a stronghold of the opposition led by Morgan Tsvangirai of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Initially it had appeared the commuter buses, sporting the
presidential portraits, were merely isolated and restricted to a few eastern
middle class suburban routes.
But investigations by ZimOnline revealed on Wednesday the A3-size
Mugabe posters were in fact appearing plastered on minibuses on nearly all
city routes including the densely populated southern working class areas,
where the veteran leader is loathed the most.
Zimbabweans go to the polls on Saturday 29 March in combined
presidential, parliamentary and council elections in which the opposition
has already alleged cases of violence and intimidation against its
supporters in the pre-polls campaign period.
Mugabe, 84, and seeking a fresh five-year term, faces his biggest
electoral test in the presidential race against his respected former finance
minister Simba Makoni and the popular and charismatic Tsvangirai.
Bus drivers told ZimOnline that youths, they believed were ruling
party activists and who were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with similar Mugabe
portraits, had stormed termini earlier this week, marshalling bus crew to
assist in sticking the posters onto their vehicles.
"The youths caught us by complete surprise, within seconds they were
all over the place pushing and shoving commuters and demanding to see
drivers and conductors of selected buses whom they ordered to stick the
President's posters on the kombis (minibuses)," said one conductor at the
Fourth Street terminus just outside Harare central business district.
"They took down the registration numbers of our kombis and said they
would monitor each of the kombis to ensure we did not pull down the
president's posters threatening to deal with those who resisted," said the
conductor, who identified himself only as Kingston.
The sprawling Fourth Street terminus is situated within the same
perimeters with the Harare provincial offices of ZANU PF. Attempts to get
comment on the matter from the party office were fruitless with the relevant
officials said to be out campaigning.
A driver at the Market Square rank, who would not disclose his name
saying he feared for his personal safety, said: "What it means displaying
these posters on my bus is that the bus owner, driver, conductor as well as
the passengers support ZANU PF, but that is not necessarily the case."
On Tuesday evening a group of commuters at the Fourth Street rank
refused boarding the minibuses displaying Mugabe's posters digging in their
heels for nearly 30 minutes before they finally boarded apparently because
they could not get alternative means of transport home.
One of the commuters remarked: "This is a form of intimidation on the
kombi drivers and on passengers but that will not affect how I am going to
An officer at Harare Central police station said the law enforcement
agency was not aware of any commuter bus owner or crew being forced to
display posters of Mugabe on their vehicles.
"We haven't received any such reports of kombis and the President's
posters," said the policeman, indicating no action would be taken until bus
owners lodged a formal complaint with the police. - ZimOnline
by Simplicious Chirinda Friday 14 March 2008
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's government has awarded teachers hefty
salary increments of over 750 percent as it moved to placate restless
workers ahead of a key election at the end of the month.
The new salary increases will see the lowest paid teacher earning Z$3.9
billion, which officially translates to US$130 000 but is a mere US$100 on
the widely used parallel market.
The highest paid teacher now earns $5.7 billion a month, up from the $500
million they used to get before the government hiked the salaries.
Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe, confirmed the increments but queried why the government had waited
a few weeks before a tricky election to award the salary increments.
"Yes we have got a huge salary increase which will see the lowest paid
teacher earning $3.9 billion while the highest paid will get $5,7 billion.
"We certainly wonder why the government left it until this late to give
teachers what they are worth. The whole move smacks of an election gimmick
to buy votes," said Majongwe.
Mugabe is facing a tricky election on 29 March against his former finance
minister Simba Makoni and popular Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The veteran Zimbabwean leader has since last month been dishing out farm
implements and higher salaries to government workers such as soldiers and
nurses as he moved to placate a restless population ahead of the elections.
Zimbabwe's teachers have been on strike since schools opened for the new
year last January demanding massive salary increments and an improvement in
their conditions of service.
The two-month strike had paralysed Zimbabwe's education system that was once
revered as one of the best in Africa.
Thousands of highly skilled teachers have fled Zimbabwe over the past eight
years in search of better paying jobs in neighbouring countries leaving the
country's education system virtually on its knees. - ZimOnline
by Cuthbert Nzou Friday 14 March 2008
HARARE - A pro-government clergyman has threatened war if President Robert
Mugabe loses elections, in remarks that echo threats by Zimbabwe Defence
Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga that the military would not salute any
leader except Mugabe.
Analysts have said the statements last week by Chiwenga that Mugabe's rivals
in the presidential race, Simba Makoni and Morgan Tsvangirai were "sell
outs" who the army would not back were a clear threat to stage a coup if
the veteran leader lost to either of the two.
Addressing about 150 ZANU PF supporters at the party's headquarters in
Harare, Reverend Obadiah Msindo said opposition leaders were being
bankrolled by "gay and satanic" groups in the United States to effect regime
change in Zimbabwe.
"Tsvangirai and Makoni are being sponsored by gays and satanists to effect
regime change in this country," said Musindo, who is leader of the Destiny
for Afrika Network, a church organisation he founded.
"True Zimbabweans will go back to the bush if President Mugabe loses the
elections. We will have another chimurenga (war of liberation)," said the
firebrand clergyman who has openly expressed his support for Mugabe in the
Msindo and Chiwenga are not the only ones among Mugabe's supporters rattling
sabres as polls draw nearer. Zimbabwe Prison Service boss Paradzai Zimondi
two weeks ago also declared that he would not salute Tsvangirai or Makoni if
anyone of them won the presidential election.
Zimondi, who also ordered junior officers serving under him to vote for
Mugabe, said he would quit his job and go home to "defend" the piece of land
he received under the government's controversial land reforms.
Zimbabwe, which is grappling its worst ever economic crisis, holds local
government, parliamentary and presidential elections on 29 March. -
by Ruziwo Manyeruke Friday 14 March 2008
HARARE - ZANU PF party politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa says he would not
push for the prosecution of President Robert Mugabe over the 1980s army
atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces as doing so would only
help open old wounds.
Speaking to journalists at the Quill Club in Harare, Dabengwa said
prosecuting Mugabe would also show disrespect to a 1987 unity pact signed
between ZANU PF and PF ZAPU led by the late nationalist Joshua Nkomo and to
which he (Dabengwa) belonged.
"Those two old men (Mugabe and Nkomo) joined hands and called for a truce
and that should be respected.
"I will not support anyone who calls for Mugabe's prosecution regarding
Gukurahundi (the code-name for the military campaign that left an estimated
20 000 ethnic Ndebeles dead)," said Dabengwa.
Several human rights groups and Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party have in the past said those behind the
massacres known as Gukurahundi should face justice.
The massacres were carried out by the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade
deployed in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces ostensibly to crush an armed
rebellion against Mugabe's rule.
A vast majority of those killed by the Brigade were innocent civilians
targeted simply because they belonged to the Ndebele tribe to which most of
the armed dissidents belonged.
Mugabe is still to apologise over the massacres but has described the
Gukurahundi operation as "an act of madness."
Dabengwa, who three weeks publicly endorsed Simba Makoni's quest to wrestle
the presidency from Mugabe, admitted that the general feeling in
Matabeleland was to have the masterminds of Gukurahundi prosecuted.
Dabengwa has since last month been the butt of a vicious propaganda campaign
in state-controlled media which accuses him of "betraying" the revolution by
defecting to Makoni's political project.
Mugabe told a campaign rally on Wednesday that Dabengwa had voluntarily quit
ZANU PF by backing Makoni, in remarks that appeared to suggest the former
home affairs minister will be expelled from the ruling party.
Dabengwa defended his move to back Makoni.
"Makoni is our horse that we have put in a race and I don't understand it
when people say I have joined Simba Makoni. I still remain his senior but he
is the future of this country," said Dabengwa.
Dabengwa told the journalists that ZANU PF had waited for far too long to
replace the ageing Mugabe adding that he had tried to work with fellow
politburo members to facilitate a "smooth transition" within the party.
"During my first days in Mugabe's cabinet, everything worked according to
plan and Mugabe was very attentive. He would add value to my (home affairs)
ministry by making meaningful contributions.
"But as the years moved, I could see the law of diminishing returns taking
its toll on him," explained Dabengwa, in probably the first remarks by a
former government minister revealing what went on behind the scenes in
Dabengwa, 69, together with Lookout Masuku, were arrested and charged with
treason in 1982. They were acquitted a year later but Mugabe ordered that
they be detained under state of emergency regulations.
He was released four years later. - ZimOnline
by Nokhutula Sibanda Friday 14 March 2008
BRUSSELS - A delegation of Zimbabwean civic leaders has urged the European
Union (EU) to take a tougher stance against President Robert Mugabe if he
rigs elections on 29 March.
The civic society leaders, who are in Europe on a week-long visit as part of
the EU's programme to strengthen civic groups in Zimbabwe, expressed fears
that the elections will not be free and fair.
John Stewart, the director of a human rights non-governmental organization,
NOVASC, told a media briefing in Brussels that there was a high probability
that Mugabe would resort to fraud to win the elections.
"If the people were allowed to have their say, Mugabe would surely lose. But
we fear that the government will ruthlessly use fraud and intimidation to
steal the elections again, said Stewart.
Takavafira Zhou, the president of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe, said Europe must not fail the people of Zimbabwe adding that the
bloc should push for a solution to end the country's eight-year political
"Europe should work together with African countries to push for a solution
in Zimbabwe. The international efforts in the Kenyan crisis have clearly
shown the potential of coherent international intervention," said Zhou.
Zhou said Europe should "undertake joint and tougher actions, based on
common principles, to guarantee a democratic Zimbabwe."
Zimbabweans go to the polls at the month-end to elect a new president,
parliamentarians and local council representatives.
Last week, the EU expressed concern over the humanitarian, political and
economic situation in Zimbabwe adding that the situation "could endanger"
the holding of free and fair elections in the southern African country.
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain nearly 28 years
ago, is facing his biggest electoral test in the presidential election
against his former finance minister Simba Makoni and popular opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Human rights groups and major Western governments say a wave of political
violence perpetrated by Mugabe's supporters over the past 12 months had
already tainted the elections. - ZimOnline
By Carole Gombakomba and Jonga Kandemiri
13 March 2008
Zimbabwean parliamentary candidate Rainos Tivatye of the United People's
Party, who seeks the house seat for Zengeza East, Harare Metropolitan
Province, said he was assaulted on Tuesday by youth militants of the ruling
Now receiving medical care, Tivatye told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that police briefly detained the youths but released
them without charges.
In another incident of alleged political violence, parliamentary candidate
Florence Machinga of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change grouping
of Morgan Tsvangirai, running for the Uzumba, Mashonaland East, seat, said
that known ZANU-PF supporters kidnapped and detained her for almost four
Machinga was returning from a meeting with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
officials at Mutawatawa Growth Point when a truck full of ruling party
candidates pulled over and dragged her into the truck which then sped off.
Machinga told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
she was harassed and verbally abused for hours before her abductors handed
her over to police, accusing her of tearing down ZANU-PF posters. But police
did not charge her.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
13 March 2008
Consumers in Bindura, Zimbabwe, who spent Wednesday evening standing in line
to buy sugar at the local TM supermarket went home empty-handed after Labor
Minister Nicholas Goche swept in and purchased most of the consignment,
apparently to sell to supporters of his ruling ZANU-PF party, sources in
Goche, seeking re-election to parliament for the Shamva North constituency,
was said to have taken away some 200 two-kilogram packages of sugar as
customers who had stood in line for the scarce commodity shouted
disapproval. A package goes for Z$7.5 million (US$0.25) in the store, but
fetches Z$17million on the black market.
Candidates of the ruling have been accused of buying political support with
food and excluding those suspected of supporting the opposition from such
VOA could not confirm the incident with the supermarket or reach Goche for
But Bindura resident Saymore Mhene told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that an opposition candidate for parliament demanded
an explanation from a store manager who replied that he was unable to bar
Goche's sugar grab.
SW Radio Africa (London)
13 March 2008
Posted to the web 13 March 2008
Violence against officials and members of the opposition has intensified,
despite the arrival of a regional observer team in Harare on Wednesday.
At least 5 supporters of the Tsvangirai MDC were hospitalised on Wednesday
after they were attacked by a gang of youths known to be ZANU-PF members in
Mbare high-density suburb of Harare. One of the victims, Simba Maringwa, is
reported to be in intensive care battling for his life.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said a group of about 200 ZANU-PF
supporters, affiliated with the infamous Mbare gang called Chipangano,
ambushed 20 MDC supporters as they were campaigning for MDC candidate Piniel
Denga in Mbare.
Tendai Savanhu, the ZANU-PF candidate for Mbare, has been implicated in this
incident. Chamisa said he was seen driving around Mbare communicating with
members of Chipangano on his mobile phone.
Several MDC members were wounded seriously and were taken to the Avenues
Clinic in Harare. Chamisa identified them as Simba Maringwa, Trymore
Matsitsira, Wellington Chigumaze, Jeffrey Chikwavayera. Mazhinji. Maringwa
is in the intensive care unit.
Chamisa blasted ZANU-PF for using what he called a "private militia" to
intimidate their members. He also accused the police of not dealing with
these attacks seriously, and in a non-partisan manner. He said attacks on
their members and officials are being reported countrywide. Asked whether
the MDC would report the incident to the SADC observer team that arrived
Wednesday, Chamisa said the team is there just to observe and they do not
have the mandate to stop the attacks.
During the last parliamentary election in 2005 it was alleged that the
notorious Chipangano gang was being paid in cash to attack opposition
supporters in the area. Our correspondent then exposed how Chipangano was
working in collaboration with the local police.
By Blessing Zulu and Chris Gande
13 March 2008
South African President Thabo Mbeki has come under fire for saying he is
confident Zimbabwean elections March 29 will be conducted in a free and fair
manner, in sharp contrast to many observers who say the electoral playing
field is far from level.
Addressing reporters last night at the end of a visit to Mauritius, Mr.
Mbeki said he saw no obstacles to free and fair elections though the ruling
ZANU-PF party has been receiving the lions share of coverage by state media
and the opposition says its candidates and supporters are targeted for
violence and intimidation.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and other Zimbabwean civic organizations
were Brussels this week urging the European Union to raise Harare's alleged
political crackdown during the election period in the United Nations
Human Rights NGO Forum Deputy Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga told reporter
Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe in an interview from Brussels
that Mr. Mbeki's statements about the election were misleading and
Mr. Mbeki's statement also drew criticism from his brother, publisher
Moeltsi Mbeki, who told Chris Gande that it is not Mr. Mbeki's place to say
if Zimbabwe's election will be free and fair, that assessment being best
left to the political parties concerned.
Many in the Zimbabwean opposition have still not forgiven Mr. Mbeki for
comments he made following the 2005 general election, which the opposition
charged was marred by violence, intimidation and outright rigging, saying it
had been free and fair.
More recently, President Mbeki irked the opposition by saying he believed
the crisis talks he mediated from March 200y until January had been a
success, whereas both groupings of the Movement for Democratic Change said
the talks failed.