Jack Straw in the Commons
making his statement on Zimbabwe has declared that the British government did
not recognise the election and that, importantly, they now say the Zimbabwean
government as ILLEGITIMATE. This is very good news because the American
government also said they do not recognise the election. Here is the report in
STATEMENT BY THE FOREIGN
SECRETARY, JACK STRAW, TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS,
THURSDAY 14 MARCH
ZIMBABWE: 'AN ISSUE OF UNIVERSAL
With permission, Mr Speaker, I
should like to make a statement on Zimbabwe. Yesterday Robert Mugabe was
declared the official winner of the Presidential election. This result should
surprise no one. ZANU(PF) have been bent for months on achieving precisely this
outcome, by any means and at all costs. The Zimbabwean Government has subjected
its electorate to two years of violence and intimidation. They have harassed
opposition candidates and supporters, manipulated the voters' roll and
restricted access to polling stations. They have exploited every instrument of
the State to distort the electoral process: military, police, media, youth
militias and the bureaucracy. ZANU(PF) have also done their utmost to conceal
the extent of their violence and malpractice from the eyes of the world. They
excluded European Union election observers, monopolised domestic TV and radio
and restricted international media organisations, including the BBC. None of
the actions of a party confident of its ability to win a free
JUDGING THE ELECTORAL PROCESS
These elections can
only be judged by agreed international standards, not least the declaration
signed by Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, chaired by President Mugabe,
in Harare itself in 1991. In December of last year, on the basis of those
principles already available the Commonwealth concluded that: 'the situation in
Zimbabwe constitutes a serious and persistent violation of the Commonwealth's
fundamental political values and the rule of law'. This conclusion was
reinforced in January and again a week before the polls closed. And the
situation got worse during the election itself. A key yardstick by which any
electoral process must be judged is impartial electoral administration. There
was nothing impartial about the process in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe staffed
Zimbabwe's Electoral Supervisory Commission with partisan army officers. The
names of who could and could not vote was not settled until just days before the
election, amidst allegations of fraudulent practice.
During the election
itself the Electoral Commission reduced the number of polling stations in urban
areas in order to restrict the opposition vote. In many rural areas, the
opposition say their polling agents and monitors were prevented from inspecting
ballot boxes before voting started. Others were not allowed inside polling
stations. Many opposition workers say they were abducted, detained or arrested
by supporters of the ruling party or the security forces.
I have today received the preliminary report of the
Commonwealth Observer Group. It says 'The violence and intimidation created a
climate of fear and suspicion'. It says 'Thousands of Zimbabwean citizens were
disenfranchised'. It says there was 'a systematic campaign of intimidation'. It
goes on that the police: 'appeared to be high-handed in dealing with the MDC and
lenient towards supporters of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic
Front, ZANU-PF. This failure to impartially enforce the law seriously calls into
question the application of the rule of law in Zimbabwe... Limitations on the
freedom of speech, movement and of association prevented the opposition from
It concludes: 'The conditions in Zimbabwe did not
adequately allow for a free expression of will by the electors'.
of conclusions has been confirmed by the Parliamentary report of the Southern
Africa Development Community. It contains similar serious criticisms: 'the
electoral process could not be said to adequately comply with the Norms and
Standards for Elections in the SADC region'. I will be placing both these
reports in the Library of the House.
Zimbabweans have plainly been denied
their fundamental right to choose by whom they are governed. I am sure I speak
for the whole House in expressing my huge admiration for the people of Zimbabwe
whose faith in democracy was so strong that they queued for days, and in the
face of police violence to vote. They are true democrats. They deserve
Robert Mugabe's disastrous economic policies have already
severely damaged his own country: Zimbabwe was until recently was the pride of
Africa, the breadbasket of the continent. Now there is 70 per cent unemployment,
112 per cent inflation, and a decline in GDP of 10 per cent in the last year
alone. The failure of the electoral process in Zimbabwe is a tragedy not just
for Zimbabwe but for the people of southern Africa as a whole. Already the South
African rand has depreciated by 40 per cent in the last year. The people of
southern Africa deserve better too. Their governments will inevitably bear most
of the responsibility for helping the region to recover. We shall continue to
work with them in this task.
THE DECISIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL
The House will know that the European Union decided on 18
February to impose sanctions targeted against the leadership of ZANU PF. These
include a travel ban, an assets freeze and a ban on arms sales. The Prime
Minister and I will be travelling to Barcelona this afternoon here we will
review the position with our European partners at the EU Summit. We are also
working closely with the US Government which has already announced a travel ban
on the ZANU PF leadership and is considering a possible broadening of sanctions
along the lines of those which the EU has already enforced. We will continue to
work closely with them, our G8 and SADC partners.
The House will know
that HMG took the view on the evidence available at the New Year that Zimbabwe
should be suspended from the Commonwealth. What has happened since has simply
confirmed that judgement. In the event however CHOGM appointed a troika of South
Africa, Nigeria and Australia to decide on Zimbabwe's status in the
Commonwealth. We await
their conclusions, in the light of the strongly worded
Commonwealth Observers report to which I have already drawn the attention of the
It is crucial that we and the international community stand by the
people of Zimbabwe in the face of the deprivation and hardship heaped on them by
their government. We will therefore continue our programme of humanitarian
assistance and our assistance in the fight against HIV/AIDs. But I can tell the
House today that we will continue to oppose any access by Zimbabwe to
international financial resources until a more representative government is in
Robert Mugabe may claim to have won this
election. But the people of Zimbabwe have lost. We are faced here with a leader
who is determined to ignore the international community, ignore the people and
ignore the consequences of his actions. Change will have to come to Zimbabwe.
One day, I hope soon, I look forward to a democratic Government of Zimbabwe,
acting in the interests of its people, and taking its rightful place in modern
Africa. There are those who have sought to suggest that this is a conflict
between Africa and the West, black against white or the south against the north.
I reject this totally. This is an issue of universal principle - of the right of
people freely to determine their own future. It is that principle which has been
flouted in Zimbabwe, and all democrats should speak with one voice in condemning
what has taken place.
From Geoffrey van
Orden, an MEP in Brussels:
Please find attached a copy of the
Urgency Resolution that has been passed, with the support of all political
groups, by the European Parliament this afternoon.
14E146 European Parliament
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION pursuant to Rule 50(5) of the Rules of
Procedure by Geoffrey Van Orden, Mary Elizabeth
Banotti, John Alexander
Corrie, Nirj Deva, Jacqueline Foster, Michael Gahler, Eija-Riitta Anneli
Korhola, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Hanja Maij-Weggen, Neil Parish and Lennart
SacrÈdeus, on behalf of the EPP-ED Group
.............. on behalf of
the EPP Group
.............. on behalf of the PSE Group
.............. on behalf of the ELDR Group
.............. on behalf of the
.............. on behalf of the GUE Group
.............. on behalf of the UEN Group
The European Parliament,
- having regard to
resolutions tabled by the European Parliament on 13 April 2000, 18 May 2000, 6
July 2000, 15 March 2001, 6 September 2001 and 13 December 2001 on the situation
- having regard to the Agreement reached in Abuja on 6
September 2001 between the Committee of the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers,
including a number of African States, and the Zimbabwean Government to return
Zimbabwe to the rule of law and end all illegal occupations of farmland and to
take forward the process of land reform;
- having regard to the decision
of the EU General Affairs Council on 28th January 2002 to close its Cotonou
Consultations with Zimbabwe and on 18 February 2002 to introduce a package of
- having regard to the Commonwealth Heads of
Government in Coolum, Australia from 2 to 5 March 2002;
A. Whereas the
Presidential election in Zimbabwe took place between 9 and 11 March;
Whereas the adoption of repressive legislation: the Public Order and Security
Act, the General Laws Amendment Act, and the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act severely restricted the ability of opposition
politicians to conduct a free and fair election campaign, and seriously
undermined the freedom of the local, national and international media
C Whereas freedom of speech, including freedom
of the press and broadcasting to provide balanced and impartial coverage of the
election campaign, was significantly impaired;
D. Whereas the Zimbabwean
Government encouraged the police to use new powers to cancel rallies organised
by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and prevent the dissemination of MDC
campaign literature, and seconded
72 senior army officers to the Electoral
Supervisory Commission - a move that stunned Civil Society;
out of 15.000 local independent election observers, regrouped within the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network; only a few received accreditation from the
government to monitor the election;
F. having regard to the withdrawal of the EU election observation
mission to Zimbabwe after unacceptable obstructions were placed in its way by
the Zimbabwean authorities, including the expulsion of the EU's chief observer,
Pierre Schori on 16 £February 2002 and the harassment and obstruction that
impeded the work of other observation missions, from Norway, the Commonwealth
G. Recalling that the EU imposed targeted sanctions in the
form of an arm embargo, a visa ban and a freeze on the overseas assets of
President Mugabe and 19 close associates with effect from 18 February
H. Whereas the UN World Food Programme has stated that the needs of
558,000 malnourished Zimbabweans are becoming increasingly urgent as drought and
food shortages continue;
I. Whereas economic problems in Zimbabwe are
such that inflation is running at 116.7%, unemployment at a record 60%, over 80%
of Zimbabweís 15 million people living below the poverty line, the education and
health systems are crumbling and over 2,000 Zimbabweans are dying each week from
AIDS, and the outlook for the economy is looking even more dismal in the light
of the election outcome;
J. Whereas the leaders of many African states
have failed to condemn President Mugabeís contempt for the Zimbabwean people and
his blatant obstruction of the democratic process.
K. Whereas the
Chairman of the Zimbabwean Electoral Support Network, has characterised the
electoral process as 'flawed and a potential cause for conflict', and one which
has violated almost every electoral norm laid down by the Southern African
L. Whereas the 25 Norwegian election observers
have documented sustained harassment and violence against Opposition officials,
members and supporters, and have concluded that, 'the presidential
elections...were conducted in an environment of strong polarisation, political
violence and an election administration with severe shortcomings';
Whereas the low turnouts in the cities, traditional areas of opposition support
and massive ones in the rural areas is unprecedented and suggests widespread
1. Condemns the political intimidation of opposition
leaders and voters, the restrictions imposed on local and international
observers and blatant vote rigging, and concludes that the presidential election
in Zimbabwe was certainly not free and fair;
2. having regard to the
forthcoming meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Cape Town
18-21 March 2002;
3. Applauds those politicians and citizens of Zimbabwe
who, often in fear of their lives, have consistently stood up for freedom of
expression and democratic values and have sought a democratic change in order to
promote the well-being of all Zimbabweans;
4. Urges the EU and
international community as a whole not to recognise the legitimacy of the
Zimbabwean presidential election outcome;
5. Calls on the Council to
respond with further measures against the Mugabe government, including an
extension of the EUís blacklist of President Mugabe and 19 ZANU-PF insiders to
include Zimbabweís Vice-Presidents and the finance minister and
6. Insists that assets held overseas by Zimbabwean leaders as
result of their exploitation of their power in Zimbabwe and neighbouring
countries should be traced and reserved for the benefit of the people of
7. Welcomes the decision by the United States to ìmove rapidlyî
to implement a similar package of targeted sanctions, and urges other countries
and international organisations to follow suit;
8. Urges South Africa, in
particular, to show some real regional leadership and to take strong action in
favour of democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe, given the impact that the
deteriorating situation is having on the stability of the southern African
region as a whole;
9. Calls for swift robust action by the OAU, SADC and
the Commonwealth, including by the three-member troika, appointed at the Coolum
Heads of Government summit;
10. Calls on EU leaders meeting in Barcelona
on15th -16th March 2002 to seize the opportunity to deliberate on how to
strengthen and consolidate the measures already in place to deal with the crisis
11. Calls upon the EU and the wider international Community
to provide large scale assistance to Zimbabwe including support for a legal land
reform process when it is evident that democracy, human rights and the rule of
are re-established following free and fair elections;
the ACP EU Assembly to demonstrate its commitment to democratic values and
condemn the flawed electoral process that has taken place in
13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the
Commission, the Council, the Member States and candidate countries, the
Government and Parliament of Zimbabwe, the Secretary- General of the United
Nations, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretary- General of the
OAU, the Secretary-General of the SADC, the Secretary-General of
Commonwealth and the President of the World Bank;
Preliminary Report of the Commonwealth Observer
Group to the Presidential Election in Zimbabwe 9/10 March
Publication date: 14/03/02
Four decades ago, the
Commonwealth dedicated itself to work collectivelytowards bringing about
democracy to the countries of southern Africa.This commitment remains true today
and applies to the crisis affectingZimbabwe.
It was in this spirit that
Commonwealth countries engaged with Zimbabweat Abuja last year to help resolve
the land issue. It was also in thisspirit that the Commonwealth accepted the
invitation of the Governmentof Zimbabwe to send observers to the 2002
The Commonwealth Observer Group consists of 42 Observers and 19
stafffrom the Commonwealth Secretariat. Our terms of reference enjoin us to
consider the various factors impinging on the credibility of theelectoral
process as a whole and to determine in our judgement whetherthe conditions
existed for a free expression of will by the electors andif the results of the
elections reflect the wishes of the people ofZimbabwe.
Our teams returned
to Harare yesterday, 13 March, from their deploymentto the ten provinces of the
country. We carried out a thoroughde-briefing during which we discussed not only
what took place on theelection days (9 11 March) but the electoral system, the
legalframework, the political background and most importantly the campaignperiod
leading up to the elections.
We shall be submitting a full Report of our
findings, conclusions andrecommendations to the Commonwealth Secretary-General.
This Report willbe made public in due course. In the meantime, we would like to
make a short preliminary statement on our observations.
We were deeply
impressed by the determination of the people of Zimbabwe to exercise their
democratic rights, very often under difficultconditions. At polling stations
across the country, voters queued patiently and peacefully, and sometimes for
very long hours. We were also impressed by the professionalism and
conscientiousness of the majority of the polling staff, many of whom also had to
work for very long hours without rest.
However, it was clear to us that
while the actual polling and counting processes were peaceful and the secrecy of
the ballot was assured, the Presidential election in Zimbabwe was marred by a
high level of politically motivated violence and intimidation, which preceded
the poll. While violent acts were carried out by supporters of both of the main
political parties, it is our view that most of these were perpetrated by members
/ supporters of the ruling party against members / supporters of the
We were particularly concerned about the activities of
paramilitary youth groups organised under a National Youth Training Programme.
Members of these groups were responsible for a systematic campaign of
intimidation against known or suspected supporters of the main opposition party,
the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC. The violence and intimidation created a
climate of fear and suspicion.
Members of our Group found that very often
the police did not take action to investigate reported cases of violence and
intimidation, especially against known or suspected supporters of the MDC.
Indeed, they appeared to be high-handed in dealing with the MDC and lenient
towards supporters of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front,
ZANU-PF. This failure to impartially enforce the law seriously calls into
question the application of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
concerned that the legislative framework within which the elections were
conducted, particularly certain provisions of the Public Order and Security Act
and the General Laws Amendment Act, was basically flawed. Limitations on the
freedom of speech, movement and of association prevented the opposition from
We further regret the restrictions placed on civil society groups,
which effectively barred this important sector from participation in the
democratic process. In particular we consider that unnecessary restrictions were
placed on the deployment of independent domestic observers.
We also found
that thousands of Zimbabwean citizens were disenfranchised as a result of the
lack of transparency in the registration process and the wide discretionary
powers of the Registrar-General in deciding who is included in or omitted from
the electoral register.
It is our view that the ruling party used its
incumbency to exploit state resources for the benefit of its electoral campaign.
This was compounded by the Government's near monopoly of the broadcast media - a
factor which was not offset by the bias of most of the privately-owned print
media in favour of the opposition MDC.
On polling day itself, many who
wanted to cast their vote could not do so because of a significant reduction in
the number of polling stations in urban areas. There was an inexplicable delay
in complying with a High Court order to extend voting to 11 March. Voting in
Harare and Chitungwiza was especially slow, leading to many voters being turned
away even at the end of the third day. These problems were not evident in the
All the foregoing brings us to the conclusion that the
conditions in Zimbabwe did not adequately allow for a free expression of will by
In these circumstances, we call on all Zimbabweans to put
aside their differences and to work together for the future of their country. We
believe the Commonwealth should assist in the process of national
U.S. House of Representatives : Subcommittee
255 Ford House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
20515 <http://www.house.gov/international_relations/afhear.htm <http://www.house.gov/international_relations/afhear.htm> >
Release MEDIA contact: Bryan Wilkes
Royce Calls for South African Leadership on
Rips election results, calling them "one more insult
Zimbabwe must endure"
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- House Africa Subcommittee
Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) today called on the South African government of
President Thabo Mbeki to join with the Commonwealth, the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Group, and other international
observers to condemn the just-concluded presidential election in Zimbabwe as
illegitimate. On Thursday, President Mbeki deferred commenting on the
legitimacy of the election, citing the need to study all the election observer
Pointing to massive intimidation and manipulation by the Mugabe
government, many observers and groups, as well as the United States and other
governments, have refused to recognize this election as legitimate. Other
observer groups have legitimized the election with their reports.
noted the importance of the South African government. "Besides the people of
Zimbabwe, South Africa has the greatest stake in the health of democracy in
Zimbabwe. The verdict of the South African government may be decisive. The
Mbeki government must show leadership and call the election for what it was: a
gross violation of the very same democratic principles that southern African
nations have agreed to. Time is critical. The world is watching South Africa's
response to this sham election," Royce said.
Royce noted that perceptions
of South Africa hinged on its call. "Many in the U.S. Congress have worked hard
to strengthen our partnership with South Africa. With the Africa trade bill the
U.S. lowered trade barriers and the results have been impressive for South
Africa. Africans would like more aid. The South African government may not
like it, but the reality is that it will be harder to aid the continent if
Americans perceive that South Africa and the region is unwilling to stand up for
democratic principles. Friends of South Africa are waiting."
expressed his disappointment in the statements about the election made by the
government of Kenya, saying, "Kenya has done President Mugabe's bidding and told
the world how little they regard democracy. It would be a shame if South Africa
Royce noted the complexity of the situation in Zimbabwe by
saying, "I understand that Zimbabwe is a great challenge for South Africa --
it's not easy. But the answer starts with honesty. A whitewash will accomplish
nothing. These elections are just one more insult the people of Zimbabwe must
endure, and it's up to the supporters of freedom and democracy to speak
STATEMENT BY THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION
ELECTIONS 9-10 MARCH 2002
statement issued : 13 March 2002
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum has completed
its interim assessment of the Zimbabwe 2002 elections.
On the invitation
of the government of Zimbabwe by letter dated February 4, 2002, the SADC
Parliamentary Forum Observer mission constituted a delegation of 70 members,
consisting of 39 Members of Parliament and support staff drawn from the
Secretariat in Windhoek, Namibia and eleven parliaments of the region.
is the policy of the Forum to observe elections of all member states starting
with the pre-election phase. This is the seventh election the Forum has observed
in the region since 1999.
Since its inception of the observation
programme, the Forum has collectively evolved Norms and Standards for Elections
in the SADC region approved in March 2001. The main objective of the Norms and
Standards is to ensure the conduct of peaceful, free and fair elections in the
In observing the elections, the Forum was guided by the
constitutional and legal framework of Zimbabwe and the Norms and Standards for
Election Observation in the SADC Region. Among other things, the Mission was
detailed to assess the security and political environment in which the elections
were to be held.
The Forum Deployed to all the ten
provinces following consultations and interaction with all stakeholders,
including political parties, electoral authorities, representatives of civil
society, media editors, Security officers and members of the Diplomatic
The teams proceeded to observe the campaign rallies, meetings,
preparations for elections, location of polling stations, media coverage of
elections, voting and counting processes and actions that impinged on the
fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens of Zimbabwe as enshrined in Part
III of the constitution.
The Political and Security Climate
Forum has observed that the political and security climate in which the
elections were conducted was complex. It was characterized by high levels of
polarization and political intolerance, lack of communication amongst
stakeholders and lack of free flow of information to the electorate, which are
necessary conditions for democracy to prevail.
We observed noticeable
differences in the provinces but generally there was no euphoria that normally
characterizes elections the SADC region.
The election campaign was marred by incidents of violence in
all provinces of the country. Police and party leaders have not denied the fact
that there has been violence in various forms. What seemed to be in question was
the perpetration of that violence. Violence was visited upon ordinary voters,
party supporters and leaders alike. Reports indicated that violence
perpetrated by supporters of the two main political parties-the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition
Movement For Democratic Change (MDC).
Not only did the SADC Parliamentary
Forum Witness some of these acts, its mission members were themselves targets of
an orchestrated attack 10 kilometres out of Chinhoyi on 24
However, evidence indicated that the majority of those affected
were supporters of the MDC or those perceived to be opponents of the ruling
party and government. Violence was manifest in the number of hospitalized
victims, numerous cases of alleged torture, arson, assault and incidences of
The prevalence of violence is reflected in virtually
all reports from our observers in the field, which included abduction of some
polling agents of MDC; in one such incident, our observer team intervened when
Police in Mashonaland Central detained 24 election agents of the opposition
party who were on their way to Harare to vote.
Regrettably, the phenomena
of political intolerance and violence seem to have been prevalent since the 2000
legislative elections. Acts of violence appeared to be systematically employed
by youth and War veterans with camps
dotted around the
In any situation of conflict, the
police were expected to be impartial. In spite of the arrests made, there are
significant claims that the police have been partisan in handling of the
political situation when called upon to intervene. The use of riot squads to
disperse potential voters in some Harare constituencies raised questions about
the impartiality of the Police.
A voter's register
is considered a basic condition for a successful election. In this election,
concerns have been raised regarding the timeous release of the voter's roll
which was only made available three days before the polls, leaving no time for
the electorate to verify its accuracy. As a result of this, it was observed that
a large number of people were unable to
Issues of the voter's
roll were compounded by the announcement that a supplementary register had been
prepared and would be used in the 2002 elections contrary to earlier
announcements that registration for 2002 was closed.
In any election, contestants should be able to move freely among
the electorate. In this election whereas the ruling party's campaign was
relatively uninterrupted, some of opposition party meetings were cancelled or
interrupted by opponents. It was however, significant, in two instances in
Harare and Bulawayo, rallies of opposing parties were conducted in the same city
without any violence. This should be the norm.
Information to the electorate and other stakeholders on the
location of polling stations was not available to enable the electorate to make
informed decisions. Much as we appreciate the increase of polling stations in
rural areas, the reduction of the number of polling stations in urban areas had
a major impact on the elections. This was particularly so in Harare
Chitungwiza where tripartite elections were held. It resulted in
congestion with some people spending more than 48 hours in queues because of
their sheer determination to vote.
Voting and counting
observed that in many provinces the voting was peaceful. Well over 50 percent of
the registered voters were able to cast their vote. The major exception was the
Harare Province where the voting process was excruciatingly slow resulting in
the extension of both times and days of voting.
There were also a number
of violent incidents in which the police dispersed voters from polling stations
especially in high-density suburbs. Further, although a large number of people
voted, a significant number of the electorate was unable to vote as a result of
logistical, administrative and other impediments. The counting proceeded very
It was significant to note that the recommendation from the Forum
observers for the polling agents to ride with the ballot boxes was accepted and
implemented. However, free movement of party agents was compromised by acts of
intimidation and reported abductions in some provinces.
massive turnout of voters demonstrates the commitment of the people of Zimbabwe
to multiparty democracy.
Lack of Independence of the Electoral
Despite various recommendations and practices in the SADC
region, Zimbabwe is one of the countries without an Independent Electoral
Commission. The assignment of roles to three different electoral bodies, the
Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), the Election Directorate and the
Registrar-General's Office affects efficiency and causes duplication.
government should seriously consider establishing an Independent
Electoral Commission as recommended by the Forum after the 2000 legislative
elections and as held by the Norms and Standards of Elections in
Access to Public Media
There was lack of access to
the public media by political parties other than the ruling party. The
monopolization of the public media by the ruling party went contrary to the
guidelines set out by the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) for equal and
equitable access to contesting parties. The slanted coverage the state-owned
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and the Zimbabwe Newspapers deprived the
electorate an opportunity to make an informed
The climate of insecurity obtaining in
Zimbabwe since the 2000 parliamentary elections was such that the electoral
process could not be said to adequately comply with the Norms and Standards for
Elections in the SADC region.
It is evident to us that elections may not, in
themselves, be a panacea to Zimbabwe's complex situation of political
We therefore appeal to the political leadership of the country, the
churches, civil society and the business sector to join hands and begin a
healing process for Zimbabwe in the face of enormous problems. An election
should not be construed to be one of "victor" and "vanquished".
urge the Heads of State and Government of SADC countries to urgently engage the
leadership of Zimbabwe
to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation. We believe
it is within the powers of the people of Zimbabwe, through their leaders with
the support of SADC to avert a political crisis in the country and bring about
Signed for and on Behalf of the SADC Parliamentary Forum Observer
Harare, Zimbabwe, 13 March 2002
Hon. Duke G. Lefhoko,
Head of Mission
Hon Dr Elvy Mtafu,
Hon. Lutero Simango, MP
South African poll observers criticise 'legitimate'
By John Battersby in Johannesburg
Black and white, rich and poor, 'anyone who can' prepares to
join mass exodus <http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/story.jsp?story=274598>
Britain to press EU for wider list of
National unity plan 'impossible under
Secret mission to solve Zimbabwe
Michael Brown: It is time for Britain
to quit the Commonwealth <http://argument.independent.co.uk/regular_columnists/michael_brown/story.jsp?story=274622>
Some members of South Africa's observer
mission in Zimbabwe broke ranks yes-terday to criticise the dele-gation's
decision that the re-election of Robert Mugabe was "legitimate".
Godsell, who was a member of the 50-strong South African team, said: "I am both
confused and uncomfortable about the use of the word 'legitimate' to describe
the Zimbabwean poll."
Another observer, who preferred not to be
identified, said he and two other South African observers had been taken aback
by the "hardline police harassment of government opponents" in the election,
both in urban and rural areas.
When the observer mission leader, Sam
Motsuenyane, a South African businessman, announced their findings in Harare on
Wednesday he was reportedly jeered by journalists and diplomats.
Africa's Deputy President, Jacob Zuma, who held talks in Harare with President
Mugabe yesterday, said the government in Zimbabwe was "happy" with the
observers' report that concluded the election "should be considered legitimate"
but not "free and fair." But Mr Godsell said that he was confused by the
conflicting terminology used.
He said: "I don't understand the difference
between legitimate and free and fair. I don't understand how an election can not
be free and fair but can also be legitimate."
Mr Godsell was an observer
in Harare where there had been some "distinct problems".
that the mission is to release a final report and I am assuming that there will
be an opportunity to debate and discuss the findings that have been made," he
"So I am hoping that there will be a chance to clarify the
irregularities but I concede that the damage has been done already by
BREAKING NEWS from globeandmail.com,
Friday, March 15, 2002
On Thursday, the
Canadian government took a harsh stand with Zimbabwe when Prime
Minister Jean Chretien announced that members of the government led by Robert
Mugabe are not welcome in Canada.
Mr. Chretien expressed displeasure
with the recent elections in Zimbabwe following the release of a preliminary
report by a Commonwealth observer mission. The group's critical report said that
the vote was held "in a climate of fear and suspicion" and did not reflect the
will of the people.
The Prime Minister, who had opposed any Commonwealth
action before the election, said the report confirmed that "there had not been
free expression of will and that the election was held in a climate of
"We will be speaking with other Commonwealth leaders and other
key allies in the days ahead to explore building the broadest consensus for the
most thorough action possible to ensure that the weight of displeasure by the
international community is made known to the Zimbabwean government," Mr.
Chretien said in a statement.
"We have withdrawn all funding from the
Zimbabwean government. Members of the present government will not be welcome in
Canada," he added.
The Canadian measures announced Thursday are largely
symbolic. Ottawa made it clear last year that it will not finance new aid
programs; Thursday's statement simply extends that freeze to existing
In 1998-1999, Canada gave $13.14-million to Zimbabwe,
three-quarters of it in the form of bilateral assistance.
stopped short of breaking diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe.
Britain, the government has refused to accept that Mr. Mugabe was
legitimately elected in presidential polling last weekend.
have plainly been denied their fundamental right to choose by whom they are
governed," Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told Parliament on Thursday. "They have
harassed opposition candidates and supporters, manipulated the voters' roll and
restricted access to polling stations. They have exploited every instrument of
the state to distort the electoral process."
"We do not recognize the
result nor its legitimacy," he said.
also rejected Mr. Mugabe's victory, but Canada had resisted taking a hard line.
The Canadian Alliance has repeatedly urged Mr. Chretien to act immediately, but
he had insisted on waiting for a collective Commonwealth response to be
formulated, some time within the next few weeks.
Deputy Prime Minister
John Manley allowed in the House of Commons Thursday that "it would be
impossible to say that the election in Zimbabwe was free and fair," but
reiterated the Liberal position that nothing should be done before consensus can
be reached at the Commonwealth.
Alliance MP Rahim Jaffer, whose family
fled Idi Amin's brutal regime in Uganda, believes that the federal government is
failing the people of Zimbabwe. "It is a shame how many more people will be dead
until that two-week process is over," he said earlier this week.
Chretien has been accused by some of ignoring abuses in Zimbabwe so as not to
damage Organization of African Unity support for a new aid plan that he
reportedly hopes to showcase at the G8 meeting in Kananaskis, Alta., this
Britain's decision comes amid mounting pressure on Mr. Mugabe. The
United States has also said that it would not recognize his victory and is
considering broadening sanctions against the leader of the southern African
nation. The EU will discuss extending its own sanctions at an upcoming meeting
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark
said on Friday Zimbabwe should be suspended from the Commonwealth and urged
Australia not to bow to pressure from African countries to overlook election
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said on Friday
he would meet with his South African and Nigerian counterparts in London on
Tuesday to decide whether the Commonwealth will take action against
But Mr. Howard withheld judgement on whether Australia, member
of a three-nation Commonwealth task force examining Zimbabwe's re-election of
Mr. Mugabe, believed the vote had been free and fair.
Mr. Mugabe soundly
beat his main challenger, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, in bitterly contested presidential polling. Official results gave
Mr. Mugabe victory over Mr. Tsvangirai with a lead of more than 400,000
Reports from the region suggest that MDC leaders are struggling
to find their feet again after insisting to the very end that they could still
win. Mr. Tsvangirai has publicly urged his followers to protest against the
result but not break the law.
The Commonwealth report could provoke
large-scale sanctions against Mr. Mugabe when recommendations are brought to the
international body later this month.
Complicating matters, though,
separate observer missions from South Africa and Nigeria both reported Wednesday
that the election seemed sufficiently fair. Australia, Nigeria and South Africa
are key players in formulating the Commonwealth's ultimate strategy.
With reports from Oliver Moore and Allison Lawlor
Mugabe death squad thugs kidnapped and tortured me, says trade union
Zimbabwe's stolen election » After 22 years in power the President today
begins another term by tightening the screws of repression
17 March 2002
Ephraim Tapa is president of Zimbabwe's civil service union and a member of
the general council of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). In most
countries he would be a respected civic leader. Instead he is the face of Robert
Mugabe's stolen election.
Abducted with his pregnant wife, Faith, by President Mugabe's supporters, Mr
Tapa says he is "very, very lucky to be alive". After being held hostage for
nearly a month, during which he was regularly beaten and tortured, he was
rescued by the police on the final day of voting in the presidential election,
just as his captors were preparing to kill him.
Now the trade unionist is seeking an escape route to Britain – the police
have warned the couple to leave Zimbabwe before they are hunted down and killed
by their abductors, who they are able to identify. Zanu-PF militia have already
visited Mr Tapa's workplace and his father's house. He spoke to The Independent
on Sunday at one of the hiding places he is being forced to use.
"It was terrifying, and horrible to feel so helpless," he said of his ordeal.
"Our lives meant nothing to our captors: we could have been killed at any time.
It feels sickening to have had a free Zimbabwe under black rule, and now to be
deprived of all those rights that we fought so hard to win."
It is clear that Mr Mugabe, who is being inaugurated today for yet another
term after 22 years in power, has rejected any notion of reconciliation and
opted for greater repression. Some 200 Zanu-PF youths invaded companies in
Bulawayo on Friday, no doubt acting on government plans to speed up
"indigenisation" of the economy. In some areas, youths and "war veterans" are
stepping up invasions of 4,000 white-owned farms.
Mr Mugabe has signed a draconian media bill that bans foreign correspondents
and muzzles the local press, while new public order and security laws allow the
authorities to break up just about any meeting they want to – such as the one Mr
Tapa's ZCTU held to debate a general strike in protest at an election that it
regards as massively rigged and illegitimate. The opposition, led by the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), fears a violent crackdown, and the trade
unionist knows what to expect.
The ordeal of Mr Tapa, 40, and his 25-year-old wife, who is five months
pregnant and believes it "miraculous" that she has not lost her first child,
began on Saturday 16 February. They set off from Harare for the primary school
at which Faith taught in Mashonaland East, just under 100 miles away. As they
left a roadside canteen near the school they saw a group of some 15 youths
surrounding the car, some wearing Zanu-PF T-shirts and scarves.
"They ordered us to produce Zanu-PF cards, which we did," said Mr Tapa. "But
they'd seen stickers in our car saying 'Vote No to Violence', and pamphlets
urging people to vote in the election, and demanded to know why we were in
possession of such materials.
"They said we were under arrest, and forced us to drive with them to Faith's
school, where they had set up a base in one of the classrooms."
After "war veterans" from the nearby town of Mutoko arrived, led by a Zanu-PF
official called John Murwisi, they began to beat Ephraim. "He begged them to hit
him instead of me, as I was pregnant," said Faith. The assault continued late
into the night, until he lost consciousness. "At one point I was nearly
strangled to death with a Zanu-PF scarf," he said. "Then, I managed to escape,
and had run a few steps when I heard an order to shoot me. I rushed back into
the thick of my assailants.
"All the time I was screaming out that I was being killed by war veterans, by
Zanu-PF. I think they decided not to murder me there and then because we began
to hear rustling sounds in the bushes. It seemed local people had gathered to
see what was happening.
"We were bundled into a truck and driven through a forest. We stopped at
least five times and there were heated debates, some of our captors saying they
should kill us and dump our bodies among the trees, but others arguing that I
had made too much noise at the school."
After more beatings and interrogation at another school taken over by the
militants, the couple ended up at a bigger base in Mushimbo, near the Mozambique
border. There, for three weeks, they were guarded every minute and regularly
questioned, though the beatings slowed. Sometimes they were blindfolded, but
Ephraim recognised some of the voices of their interrogators – they were police
agents and Zanu-PF leaders.
"They wanted the A to Z of the MDC, everything about everybody and about the
party's strategies." Ephraim's wounds slowly healed. "For the first week my face
was so swollen I couldn't see a thing. One day I had the beginnings of a stroke.
By then they thought we were indoctrinated into supporting Zanu-PF, so they
decided to keep me alive. They rushed to a local mission for medicine, but it
was a close call.
"We had got to know our captors well, and a few did not support what Zanu-PF
was doing: they were just too scared to leave. They smuggled letters out for me.
One guy risked his life to drive to Harare and give a letter to my union."
Friends and family, who had been mourning a couple they thought murdered,
began frantic efforts to get a court order compelling police to raid the camp.
Two of Mr Tapa's brothers, not prepared to wait for the court, rushed off to
search for them. They were captured in the Mushimbo area, and also beaten and
imprisoned by Zanu-PF.
"On the first day of the election, 9 March, I exploded," said Mr Tapa. "I was
furious about not being able to vote. My captors got very angry. They said that
clearly we were 'not one with them', as they had thought, and therefore we must
die. But they said it would be hard for them to do the job, because they had got
used to us, so we would be moved to another base for killing.
"We were to be transferred on Monday morning. We prayed all night, and the
police arrived just before we were to leave. We drove with them to rescue my
brothers. On the way we saw fresh graves – we could so easily have joined those
The West can't stop Mugabe now
By Joan Smith
17 March 2002
In the end, it all came to nothing: the threats of sanctions, the anguished
discussions among EU and Commonwealth leaders, the attempts by foreign observers
to ensure that voters were not intimidated. Nothing could stop Robert Mugabe
winning a fifth term as president of Zimbabwe, although few people believe he
achieved last week's victory fairly.
Even the election observers from South Africa, who declared the result
legitimate, were divided. This weekend, prime ministers and presidents all over
the world are having to face the outcome that none of them wanted. Mugabe's
re-election is a wounding demonstration of their impotence in a continent that
Tony Blair has made the focus of his mission to tackle poverty and
The leaders of the world's democracies have not even been able to find a
means of limiting Mugabe's power and preventing him from committing more
atrocities. Amnesty International is already warning that supporters of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change could come under attack.
Hopes of limiting the scale of the disaster now rest with South Africa, which
has been trying to persuade Mugabe to form a government of national unity with
the MDC. That is a long way from deposing a tyrant with one of the worst
human-rights records in Africa, and his actions on Friday, which included
confirming new laws severely limiting press freedom, do not suggest that his
victory has put him in a conciliatory mood. The situation has not been helped by
accusations of election-stealing by George Bush, who became US President only
after a highly unsatisfactory series of partial recounts; his intervention was a
gift, allowing Mugabe to pose as the champion of his people in the face of
post-colonial oppression. Mugabe is 78 and does not need to think about
long-term consequences. What he clearly does not intend – and this is a potent
reason for dying in office – is to find himself facing the kind of tribunal
hearing the case against Slobodan Milosevic .
The failure of the international community to deal with Mugabe is symptomatic
of a larger problem: the leaders of democratic nations have yet to come up with
a consistent policy towards rogue and failed states. They have been ready to
overlook gross abuses of human rights and presided over arms sales to some of
the nastiest regimes. Their strictures will not be taken seriously by a
suspicious non-Western world until they abandon their double standards.
A farm worker died Friday after being attacked in an area where white farmers
said they were harassed and ordered off their land because they helped people
who were campaigning for Mugabe's challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai.
|Opposition leaders report violence in
wake of disputed election in Zimbabwe |
Zimbabwe, March 16 — Opposition leaders and white
farmers accused ruling party militia Saturday of stepping up violence aimed at
activists who campaigned against President Robert Mugabe in last weekend's
disputed presidential election. |
Separately, five houses have been looted and damaged in Zhombe, a village 140
miles southwest of Harare, the capital, in the past two days, said Learnmore
Jongwe, an opposition lawmaker and spokesman who comes from the area.
''There is retribution through assaults and threats,'' Jongwe said.
The accounts of ruling party violence came as European Union leaders condemned
the election — which the government said Mugabe won with 56 percent of the vote
— and threatened to tighten EU sanctions.
''It was agreed these
elections in Zimbabwe cannot be considered free and fair,'' British Prime
Minister Tony Blair said Saturday at an EU summit in Barcelona, Spain.
A host of Western countries have condemned the March 9-11 election as violent,
chaotic and blatantly tilted in favor of the authoritarian Mugabe, 78, who has
ruled for 22 years and is to be inaugurated to a new six-year term Sunday.
Tsvangirai has rejected the official results as fraudulent, and the
opposition has said its 57 lawmakers will boycott the inauguration ceremony.
Tsvangirai scoffed Saturday at reports that Nigeria and South Africa
are pressing for the opposition to be invited into the government.
''Mugabe cannot buy legitimacy by forming a government of national unity,'' he
Several observer groups said the election was marred by
vote-rigging and intimidation by the ruling party.
officials from the Electoral Commissions Forum of the 14-nation Southern African
Development Community said Friday that the government failed to create free and
fair conditions for the poll.
They cited political violence blamed
mostly on ruling-party supporters and flawed voting regulations enforced by a
partisan state election commission.
Many African leaders, however,
praised the election. An observer mission from the Organization of African Unity
called them free and fair and a South African observer mission declared the vote
The disputed election has added to tensions already high
in Zimbabwe, where Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition party, the Movement
for Democratic Change, had posed the strongest challenge to Mugabe since he led
the nation to independence from Britain in 1980.
Mugabe faced little
dissent until recent years, when the economy collapsed, political violence
increased and Mugabe launched a campaign to redistribute white-owned land to
landless blacks. Many farms have been seized violently by militants who farmers
say have Mugabe's support.
The Commercial Farmers Union, an
organization that supports white farmers, said that since Wednesday, militant
members of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party have ordered 15 farmers who provided transport
and logistical support for opposition campaigners to leave their land near the
town of in Marondera, 50 miles from Harare.
Police said one farm
worker died and a farmer was hospitalized Friday after being assaulted near
Marondera. Two assailants were arrested, said police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.
The farmers' union said several farm buildings were looted, and Ian
Kaye, a farmer and a prominent opposition supporter, said he fled his Marondera
homestead Friday after youths attacked his car with clubs and iron bars. Armed
police watched without intervening, Kaye said.
''The police were
pointing their guns at us and told us to obey the mob and get out of the
vehicle,'' he said. He said he ignored the police order and sped off. He was
briefly chased by a police jeep.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated
Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Mugabe's Election Victory Celebrations May Be
Daily News (Harare)
March 15, 2002
to the web March 16, 2002
PRESIDENT Mugabe's election victory celebrations might turn
out to be short-lived, as they will be held in a nation facing hunger and
Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of southern Africa and an
exporter of grain, has virtually been turned into an importer of grain and food
Ð thanks to the price controls and 2000 farm invasions which Mugabe's government
The country has been hit by a severe shortage of basic
commodities such as maize-meal, sugar, margarine, vegetables, fresh milk and
These products have been in short supply since last year
when the government effected price controls.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries last year warned
that there would be shortages of basic commodities in the country after the
introduction of the controls as producers were manufacturing at a loss. The
government said it had introduced the price controls to cushion citizens against
price increases of essential goods.
Maize-meal shortages began last year because of a crisis of
maize in the country.
Zimbabwe is facing critical maize shortages after it
produced a crop of about 1,4 million tonnes last year, which is less than the
country's annual requirement of two million tonnes.
The country has secured 200 000 tonnes of maize from South
Africa, which is far short of what the nation needs.
As there have been queues at every outlet where maize-meal
and other commodities are said to be available occasionally, some people are now
putting up at these shops, waiting for these rare commodities to be
Subject: KEEP HOPE ALIVE
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 15:06:30 +0200
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision
But today well lived
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope
Look well, therefore, to this day
Yes, it is shocking.
Yes, it is disappointing, depressing, infuriating, very, very, wrong.
However, think a while before sliding into crippling despair.
We need to
take our time to process the information after that initial kick in the stomach
We need to recover gradually from all the strain and uncertainty, the
exhaustion, pain, anxiety and fear, of the past many months - years.
We need to sleep more, take time out, socialise - with an agreement to take
a break from talking politics and horror.
BUT - We must not lose sight of
the miracles we have seen,
Nor forget those who have fallen, been tortured, beaten, raped, maimed.
There are so many.
In October, a wonderful e-mail was circulated titled "Weaving" which
brought tears to my eyes, and still does today. It described how Zimbabweans
were weaving miracles through their extraordinary courage in the face of so much
suffering and outrage. It is as true and valid today as it was then. I have
appended it below, with thanks to the Reelers.
It is a real inspiration, and there are many more achievements and
miracles now to add.
During the past week, I had the privilege of being involved in a hub of
willing, wonderful volunteers answering hotlines to assist people to find the
right place to vote, so great was the deliberate confusion. Some call centres
operated from our homes, some from central points in the city. Soon enough,
other sorts of call started to come.
By Sunday night, the calls from high density suburbs arrived, describing
how those who had waited so patiently for so many hours, even for two whole
days, to exercise their most fundamental right, had been chased away by police
wielding batons, or even tear-gassed. The hope and optimism I had held onto for
so long, began to fade.
When we toured round some of the polling stations on Monday morning, to
find that the High Court order had been deliberately ignored, with officials
saying "We are waiting for our instructions", it faded more. Most stations only
opened at 11.30 am or even later.
Nearly five precious hours of voting time
In a country which has seen genocide on a grand scale in Matabeleland, it
is hard not to be reminded of the Nazi atrocities, and of the pathetic
explanations of once fair minded men, that they were "only following orders".
People who have written of Hitler's "final solution" have often said that what
struck them most in their research was the sheer "ordinariness" of the people
who helped to murder twelve million human beings.
They weren't a bunch of
crazed psychopaths, on the whole. They were ordinary people like you and me.
Let us not forget how fast can be the slide into atrocious behaviour. Let us
also confront the cruelty lurking in all of us. None of us is exempt.
The officials who failed to open those polling stations at 7 am, while
their countrymen and women waited in their thousands before their eyes, were
"only following orders".
The police who tear-gassed their fellow countrymen
and women who had been waiting in line since before dawn, once 7 pm came, were
"only following orders". I wonder, how do all these people live with themselves
now? What do they think about, as they too stand in a queue for their staple
Now that the shock is wearing off, I'm thinking instead of all the
miracles, that we witness every day in our country, during so dark a time in its
history. We should not ignore the miracles. We should not ignore the
atrocities. We need to maintain our hope, our love, our dreams for a better
future which will surely come. No dictatorship has ever lasted. Dictatorships
always fail. Our patience is being tested almost beyond endurance, but think
about it - the endurance we, the people, have shown. That is a miracle.
Tonight, I am lighting a candle and saying a prayer of thanks, for all
those who have given up their lives in this struggle, which really is a
spiritual war against evil, and all those who have been tortured, raped, beaten,
permanently maimed, and rendered homeless. There are many, many thousands.
Spare a thought for those young men who have been castrated in police custody.
Yes, it is true, that is not an empty rumour. Why should we spare ourselves the
details, turn away from the horrible facts? Who are we to say "I can't bear to
think about it" when these brave people were trying to buy freedom - yours, ours
and theirs. How dare we turn on backs on their suffering?
The miracles I have seen are in the unbelievable courage shown by such
people, the humbling endurance, patience, resolution, determination, of people
who are poor in the material yet so rich in their indomitable spirit. People
who have almost nothing left to lose any more, yet have still kept up the fight
against oppression at massive personal risk, some paying the highest price of
all. Zimbabwe is full of heroes and heroines.
This century has seen some of the bloodiest of wars and the greatest of
atrocities against humanity, during which the most incredible acts of courage
and sacrifice have been witnessed. What a privilege to be living here today and
to bear witness to just such courage right before our eyes.
The people who stood in the voting queues for 15, 20 hours, two, three
days, are heroes and heroines. The activists who have braved the rural areas,
risking beatings, maiming, torture, even death, the people who this very moment,
are locked in the cells, for taking food to polling agents, driving their
workers to vote, or are falsely accused of trying to vote twice, are all heroes
and heroines. The fund-raisers who have never tired of bringing in the money so
essential to run a campaign, when the other side simply raids state coffers
without shame, they too are heroes and heroines. I am constantly humbled by the
bravery and sacrifice of the people of Zimbabwe.
The greatest miracle is the unity of the people. Many of us, for all that
it was gruelling, exhausting, frustrating, painful, will never forget our many,
many hours in the voting queue. It was a moment of truth. It was uplifting to
the spirit, even as it wore out our physical stamina. Zimbabweans, side by
side, united in resolve, determined to stay the distance, compelled by faith and
hope, never to give up, to do whatever it took, to cast their votes - all that
they had left them, to try to change their lives for the better. And even that
was to be denied to so many.
Ethnic origins have been relegated to complete irrelevance in Zimbabwe's
towns and cities, indeed in most places. The attempted fanning of racial
divides, has been for the most part a spectacular failure. The people, in all
our fascinating diversity, stand united in our fervent desire for democracy,
freedom from oppression, good governance, press freedom, a new constitution, a
And one day, because we are united, because we keep hope alive, we will
have all these.
Outdoor political rallies have been events where few who feel "other" for
ethnic reasons have ventured. Those of us who have, have reaped such great
rewards, in the reinforcement of the irrelevance of race in Zimbabwe today, and
that sense of unity of purpose and desire. There can be few more joyous
occasions, filled with spontaneous song and dance, hilarious sloganeering, huge
smiles, great humour, friendliness, love, mutual protection, and above all, hope
that is so palpable, you can reach out and touch it. Attendance at such, will,
like the voting queue, be amongst my best memories of my country and its great
people, as together, we make history.
We cannot betray the courage and the enormous efforts of so many, for so
long, by losing our hope and our focus now. We have to live our lives, keep our
hope, embrace our unity, join the struggle against oppression in any way we can
find, that works for us, and feels right for us.
We cannot sit idle, we cannot cower in fear, we cannot give up, and we must
not run away. Our amazing resilience will see us through and we will one day
triumph. We owe that to the sacrifices made in life and limb, by so many heroes
and heroines of Zimbabwe.
Please light a remembrance candle with me tonight, and thank the fallen
heroes and heroines, and those who have been so grievously hurt. It is for them
that we have to keep our hope and resolve. We owe them that much.
To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair
Raymond Williams - from the preface to Leaves of Grass
In the last 18 months the Zimbabwean economy has been destroyed.
Zimbabwean people have been intimidated, beaten, raped, and killed.
homes have been burnt, or taken from them.
Their lives have been disrupted
by lack of transport, escalating prices, the breakdown of infrastructures.
Businesses have been closed, tens of thousands of jobs lost.
been stopped, land burnt, animals killed.
Thousands of trees have been
chopped down for cooking fuel and cash.
The population of homeless and
In the last 18 months Zimbabweans have learned to endure:
To live with
To look pain in the eyes.
To face fear.
They have learnt the meaninglessness of money.
The truth of actions.
The lies of words.
They have learnt the strength of friendship The folly of racism.
In the last 18 months, while the government has been bent on destruction
the people of Zimbabwe have woven miracles.
Despite this government sabotage.
and with the help of funding angels
from across the planet, The people of Zimbabwe have taken the government to
court for acts of violence and corruption.
They have staged stay aways, and peace prayers and peace marches.
have established an opposition party which consistently refuses to resort to
They have challenged the government's war in the DRC.
challenged governments use of the police and judiciary of the country for their
They have challenged the government control of the media.
managed to keep an independent press going despite journalists being threatened,
beaten, jailed and deported.
Despite their presses being bombed.
They have fought, and lost to establish a free radio.
Civic Action Groups have officially documented and made public, acts of
government initiated violence.
They have issued reports and named the perpetrators.
They have provided
transport, legal aid, and safe houses for the victims to come to court and tell
They have set up provisions for food, medical treatment, rape
clinics, counselling, group story telling for thousands who have suffered in
The Civic groups of Zimbabwe have created a network of more than 250 of the
non-government organisations From trade unions to churches to lawyers to human
rights workers, Who have presented the government with a unified petition
demanding a return to law and order.
They have spoken to foreign Governments, Human Rights Organisations, the
Press, and presented their reports.
They have established Local Action Groups and Rate Payers Associations Who
refuse to co-operate with illegally appointed councils.
People have been forced out of their comfort zones, And begun to weave
their threads into the tapestry.
Three Zimbabweans have dedicated their lives to taking Mugabe to court in
America after the murders of their loved ones, A doctor leaves her practice to
look after victims of violence A managing director of an international company
consults with human rights people on behalf of his staff A leading business
woman creates a network for distributing food aid to the homeless Farmers and
farmer workers stand side with new found friendship to face the violence
Therapists give their time to work with the traumatized A businessman sets up an
e-mail service which dispenses the latest news A group monitors the media and
makes weekly reports People connect in the shops, in the fuel queues, through
e-mail - keeping in touch, sharing their pain and strength - Paint their own
road signs Fill their own pot holes Black and white and in between Young and old
and in between The people of Zimbabwe have been working for peace With
incredible acts of courage and love.
And in facing our challenges We are weaving a miracle.
Industry Calls for National Task Force On Food
Daily News (Harare)
March 15, 2002
to the web March 16, 2002
Ngoni Chanakira, Business Editor
Now that the election result has been announced and
President Mugabe declared the winner, the government needs to come clean on the
food crisis facing millions of Zimbabweans.
The business community says a national task force comprising
representatives from all stakeholders should be appointed to deal with this
"disastrous food situation".
The community says the food crisis has been treated with
"kid gloves" and used as an electioneering tool throughout the period leading to
and until the poll result on Wednesday.
Conflicting figures were being thrown around by politicians
on the extent of maize availability in Zimbabwe.
The government has been accused of not heeding advice from
experts on the situation.
Agriculture experts say the blame can be apportioned to Dr
Joseph Made, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, who
disputed information at his fingertips that Zimbabwe would face a food
The details came from reputable international organisations
including the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, as
well as the Early Warning Unit.
It was only until late last year that Made's ministry
admitted that the situation was serious and began importing maize from
neighbouring South Africa Ð at an increased cost.
The maize has, however, arrived in drips and drabs and is
insufficient for the nation's requirements.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), on Wednesday
asked the government to deal with the food crisis for the benefit of the
In its economic advice on agriculture, the CZI said: "The
government should take positive measures to ensure immediate and long-term food
security for the country, as well as restoring Zimbabwe's position as a
significant exporter of agro-products.
"The food shortages have become a national crisis and we
once again call on government to immediately appoint a national task force
comprising representatives from all stakeholders to deal with this disastrous
Zimbabweans are queuing daily for maize-meal, cooking oil,
sugar and margarine as the economy continues to slide. Reports have also been
received of a shortage of eggs, chicken and milk.
Once regarded as a southern African economic powerhouse,
Zimbabwe has now been downgraded and has had to import basic necessities,
including its staple crop, maize.
Africa bids to avert Commonwealth Zimbabwe ban
HARARE (Reuters) - South Africa and Nigeria have stepped up
efforts to avert Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth over
Robert Mugabe's disputed election victory, diplomatic sources
They said efforts were under way to try to arrange a meeting in
Monday between the leaders of Africa's two most powerful countries
Mugabe. The goal would be to fix an African political compromise before
planned Commonwealth meeting in London on Tuesday about Zimbabwe's
The European Union was set to issue a strong statement on
Saturday after Mugabe was declared winner of the March 9-11
The United States, Britain, Commonwealth observers, local
groups and Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition all said the
re-election was unacceptably flawed.
government have mostly endorsed his victory.
Herald newspaper said presidents Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa and Olusegun
Obasanjo of Nigeria would not be attending Mugabe's
But they would be in Harare on Monday ahead of the meeting of
Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe. Mbeki and Obasanjo are members
Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Sources in the South African government told Reuters on Friday
was pressing Mugabe to assemble a government of national unity
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Zimbabwean government has not commented on the South African
which Harare-based diplomats say is backed by Nigeria, but
he has no wish to legitimise Mugabe's victory by joining him
"We will not be party to any Caesarian operation by
South Africa. We are not
going to have short-cuts...and force issues on
Zimbabweans," he told
The West has slammed the poll and
EU sanctions would deepen the southern
African state's isolation on the world
In another action sure to provoke further condemnation from
who provide aid and investment, Mugabe on Friday enacted a
criticised as a bid to muzzle the press.
Europe, Peter Hain, told reporters at an EU summit in Barcelona
communique agreed by all 15 heads of government in the bloc would
"Elections in Zimbabwe cannot be accepted as free or fair".
foreign ministers would consider "additional targeted measures" when
next met in April, Hain said. He gave no further
Britain has led the international criticism of its former
colony and Mugabe,
once widely hailed for leading the struggle against
white-minority rule in
the former Rhodesia.
In power since 1980,
Mugabe extended his rule against the backdrop of a
collapsing economy and
acute food shortages in a violence-marred election.
The country has
been in crisis since Mugabe sanctioned invasions of
white-owned farms two
years ago. His government says it will redistribute
the land to poor rural
blacks to rectify the legacy of colonial imbalances.
Zimbabweans will decide their fate:
fate of Zimbabwe cannot be decided by people who are not
President Thabo Mbeki said on Friday.
"Whatever happens in
Zimbabwe in future must be a matter centrally decided
by Zimbabweans," Mbeki
told SABC television news after an African National
Executive Council meeting.
He said the world has a right and a duty to
express itself on matters in
"The world must be concerned
and express itself quiet openly, quiet frankly
and quiet forcefully but in
the end whatever happens to Zimbabwe cannot be
decided by people who are not
Mbeki will travel to London next week for a meeting of the
troika tasked with deciding Zimbabwe's fate.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister
Howard serve on the committee.
They were mandated at the recent
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in
Australia to decide on punitive
action should the body's observer team
declare the elections not free and
The Commonwealth observer team said in an interim report earlier
that "the conditions in Zimbabwe did not adequately allow free and
expression of will by the electorate".
It said the election was
conducted in a climate of fear.
All eyes are now on the troika on whether
it will decide that the Mugabe
government should be penalised.
terms of the Commonwealth's mandate, action against Zimbabwe could range
collective disapproval to suspension.
However, Mbeki is already on the
record as saying that the Commonwealth has
more issues to consider.
told reporters in Cape Town this week that the Commonwealth Heads
Government Meeting had also decided that the troika should look at ways
54-member body could help Zimbabwe resolve the land question and assist
country's economic recovery.
Mbeki sent Deputy President Jacob
Zuma as his emissary to Harare on Thursday
with a special message for Mugabe.
Obasanjo, meanwhile, is expected in
Harare on Monday for talks with Mugabe,
ahead of Tuesday's troika meeting in
Minister Jonathan Moyo on Thursday night rejected the
government of national
unity proposal saying on state television that
reconciliation was not a
"Some people have been misguiding our people, talking
about the government
of national unity, and yet the people have endorsed the
"They did not vote for people who were pandering to
interests that did not
put Zimbabwe first," he reportedly
Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon said in a statement on
the three heads of government would meet "to determine
Commonwealth action on Zimbabwe".
Among those calling for
Zimbabwe's suspension is New Zealand's Helen Clark,
who had supported British
Prime Minister Tony Blair's call for punitive
action ahead of last weekend's
Howard has declined to comment saying he did not want
to pre-judge the issue
before Tuesday's meeting.
European Union will decide this weekend whether to extend the
sanctions it has already applied against Mugabe and his cronies.
has said that the will of the people of Zimbabwe had prevailed.
said on their official website that Mugabe had won an overwhelming
amid chronic polarisation of the Zimbabwean people, claims of
intimidation, and in the context of clear flaws in the
It was important to focus on the fundamental task
of reconstructing and
developing the country to ensure a better life for the
people of Zimbabwe.
Commenting on political violence that marred the poll
the party referred to
the ANC's observer mission which said they had observed
that violence in the
country came from all sides and that unfortunately on
instances of false and exaggerated claims were
"The issue of isolated violence in Zimbabwe could not and
should not be used
as a stumbling block in the elections process in the
country," the observer
Mugabe will be inaugurated for
another six year term this weekend.
EDITORIAL: Zimbabwe's Mugabe retained in an election flawed at
Elections are legitimate only if free debate and fair campaigning
Zimbabwe's incumbent President Robert Mugabe has
formally been re-elected,
according to the nation's registrar-general. In
office since independence in
1980, Mugabe used several measures to muzzle his
opposition before the
Criticism of the president was made
illegal, and the police were given power
to disperse demonstrations at
Voting itself was obstructed. The opposition Movement for
(MDC), and others, claimed the number of polling stations
was reduced in
urban areas that are MDC strongholds. In many areas, armed
supporters of the
ruling party intimidated and harassed MDC
Elections are legitimate only if free debate and fair
guaranteed. Such authoritarian measures are
The returns, which led Mugabe to claim a landslide victory,
are also under
suspicion. If the ballot counting was rigged, legitimacy is
out of the
question. Even if the vote count was not rigged, the results
not correctly reflect the will of the people.
situation was so serious that European and Japanese election observers
the election flawed even before the official results were
Opposition supporters have strong doubts about the election
anger has the potential of erupting into violence. Security
forces have been
deployed in key areas, but if they repeat their oppressive
use of force, it
will only enrage the international community.
Zimbabwe gained independence, it was one of the very few well-off
countries in Africa, and there were high hopes for its strong
Yet, farm produce exports faltered, domestic politics fell into
and the country was caught in an economic crisis. Drought and
famine and the
never-ending AIDS epidemic all exacerbate Zimbabwe's
As long as there is authoritarian rule, economic aid from the
West and Japan
will inevitably dwindle, worsening the plight of Zimbabwe's
once a respected champion of independence, should stop
twilight years and pursue political reform.
is essential to resuscitate Zimbabwe. ``Historical baggage''
colonial era has given a small white minority control over most of
fertile farmland. Mugabe, despising the remnants of colonial
black supporters to occupy white-owned land. He instituted a
seizing land without compensation, and jeopardized relations with
its former colonial ruler.
Land reform is necessary, but not by
authoritarian violence, and certainly
not by instigating racial animosities,
neither of which lead to a basic
solution. The government needs to talk with
the white landowners and follow
a non-violent path toward land
The world cannot afford to sit idle to leave Zimbabwe to its
unrest can destabilize all of southern Africa. We believe South
Nigeria, two regional powers, should try harder to influence
We urge Africa to take a broad view and look toward Zimbabwe's
Africa's development. Authoritarian rule should be removed from
(The Asahi Shimbun, March 15)(IHT/Asahi: March 16,2002)
Zimbabwe on downward road to chaos
poised for a steady descent into chaos. There is widespread
the First World that President Robert Mugabe "stole" last
The governments of the United States, Britain and other
European nations will
not deal sympathetically with the Mugabe regime. And
in the absence of that
support Zimbabwe's economy is deeply vulnerable.
It is almost wholly
dependent on agricultural commodities. It is presently
being ravaged by
drought. Its international reserves have been dissipated.
Its markets are
limited. Its foreign investment has dried up. Its population
is divided. Its
white farmers, the source of much of its remaining
productive wealth, have
seen the writing on the wall. They may be expected
to depart the scene in
increasing numbers. They will leave behind a nation
in crisis, perhaps of a
Much of the blame rests with the ageing Robert Mugabe.
But it is hard to
avoid the conclusion that at least part of it must be
shouldered by the
countries that have rejected the election results. It is
one thing for
leading Commonwealth members - Britain, New Zealand and
Australia - to adopt
a posture of democratic outrage. But neither they nor
Canada and other
wealthy members of the club have sought to involve
themselves in the
struggle to help Zimbabwe through a decade of economic and
Zimbabwe, together with other African nations, has been
assistance to overcome the scourge of AIDS. Indeed, some 25
sub-Saharan Africans have been stricken with the killer disease. Yet
response from Australia and other wealthy nations has been
And when the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in
offered an opportunity to make a difference, the Commonwealth was
wanting. It may well be that its failure to act decisively on Zimbabwe
signal the effective end of the Commonwealth as an
The Coolum meeting revealed that the attitudes dividing
were far more powerful than the historic ties that bound
them. This is
hardly surprising. It was always somewhat optimistic to expect
colonies which had been exploited by Britain for generations
grown to find common cause with their former colonial
The issue was further complicated by the perception of Britain's
have successively turned more urgently toward a European future
in which the
days of empire are but fading memories. Australia under the
Government has shown little interest in Africa from whence most of
dissenting voices came during the Commonwealth deliberations. It
therefore understandable - if unacceptable - that they would picture
move to sit in judgment on Zimbabwe's electoral process as racially
However, the official report of Commonwealth
observers which has condemned
the election as preventing a free and fair
expression of electorate will
trigger a response from the troika nominated to
decide on the "punishment"
to be meted out to Zimbabwe - from widespread
sanctions to expulsion from
It is highly unlikely
that the three men - South African President Thabo
Mbeki, Nigeria's Olusegun
Obasanjo and John Howard - will reach a meaningful
consensus. But even if
they do decide to apply some symbolic strictures, the
effect on Zimbabwe will
be negligible. Indeed, the likelihood is that the
gesture will be far more
damaging to the Commonwealth itself since it will
reveal the institution as
being no more than an outdated and valueless
Zimbabwe faces growing cuts in aid
Edmund L. Andrews The New York
Times Saturday, March 16, 2002
Germany and Canada vow to slash funding as EU
VIENNA Leaders from Europe and Canada stepped up their
criticism of Zimbabwe
on Friday, with Germany and Canada vowing to cut off
development aid as a
result of what they denounced as Zimbabwe's unfair
elections last weekend.
After three days of voting, during which many
people waited in long lines
only to see the polls close before being allowed
to cast their ballot,
President Robert Mugabe claimed to have won re-election
with about 56
percent of votes cast.
But opposition leaders and many
foreign observers said the government made
it difficult for people to vote,
particularly in areas where Mugabe's
opponents had an advantage, and that the
police and soldiers created an
intimidating presence at many polling
In Washington, President George W. Bush has already let it be
known that the
United States will not recognize the validity of Mugabe's
the United States has not made any decisions about cutting
Germany, however, announced Friday that it would stop all aid
Zimbabwean government. "We will not work together with the Mugabe
in any form and we will urge the EU to put further pressure and
the government," said Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Germany's
charge of development aid.
Germany will continue
providing aid to non-governmental organizations, some
of which are providing
assistance to combat hunger in parts of the country.
Germany has provided
about $4.6 million in aid to Zimbabwe in the past two
took the same measure Friday, denouncing the election practices.
Cretien, Canada's prime minister, announced the decision after meeting
Bush in Washington.
The European Union as a whole will take up
the issue this weekend in
Barcelona, where leaders from the 15 member
countries are holding their
summit meeting. Although it remains unclear
whether European leaders will
agree on either a cut in aid or other
sanctions, European diplomats said the
leaders were certain to issue a
"strong statement" condemning the action.
The leader of the EU observer
delegation to Zimbabwe, Pierre Schori of
Sweden, was expelled from the
country before the elections on the grounds
that he had violated the terms of
his tourist visa. Schori declared Friday
that the elections had been unfair
Goran Persson, Sweden's prime minister, added his voice
to the growing
chorus of criticism toward Mugabe.
"It is a danger for
the development of all of southern Africa that those
countries which were
liberated do not seem to be able to handle the next
phase, which is securing
democracy," Persson said. "It is a dangerous
situation and we are all gravely
concerned." Prime Minister Tony Blair of
Britain is also pushing European
leaders to increase the pressure on Mugabe.
Jack Straw, Britain's
foreign secretary, said: "I hope very much he is
coming under the most
intense pressure from the people who have the greatest
ability to put him
under pressure, namely his African neighbors."
A rare note of African concern came from Senegal's president,
Wade, who was quoted by Reuters as saying Friday that "these
not conform to the norms that I would expect for
But Wade, speaking in Dakar, added that he "would not be in
a position now
to know if they should be considered invalid."
move sure to provoke further Western condemnation, Mugabe on Friday
controversial media law. The government gazette published an
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which bars foreign
from working full-time in Zimbabwe.
It imposes tight control on local
reporters, who have to be accredited by a
Journalists face up to two years in jail for
In South Africa, government officials said President Thabo
Mbeki was pushing
Mugabe to bring the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
into a national
But analysts said Mugabe was not
inclined to share power.
Tsvangirai was adamant that his Movement for
Democratic Change wanted more
than cabinet seats.
Mbeki has yet to
comment on Mugabe's election, saying he wants to see
reports from South
African, Commonwealth and other observers first. He has
been criticized at
home and abroad for his approach to a crisis that could
region and dent investor confidence in Africa,
Violence reignites in Zimbabwe
The Irish Examiner 16 Mar
By Angus Shaw, Harare
POLITICAL killings returned to
Zimbabwe yesterday amid reports South Africa
is pressing Robert Mugabe to
form a government of national unity with the
opposition. As officials
prepared for President Mugabe's inauguration
tomorrow, his supporters were
reported to have murdered two people and a
human rights agency said there had
been a sharp rise in political violence.
A security guard, named only
as Darlington, was beaten to death on a farm in
Marondera, 50 miles east of
Harare, and his white employer, John Rutherford,
was admitted to hospital
after being beaten with a pickaxe handle.
Steve Pratt of the
Commercial Farmers' Union said Mr Rutherford was accused
by ruling party
youths squatting on his farm of telling his workers he would
squatters' houses down after the elections. The assailants
The independent Daily News said Funny Mahuni, a
worker in a chrome smelting
works in Kwekwe, 125 miles west of Harare, was
killed on Wednesday night,
soon after Mr Mugabe's victory was
A family spokesman was quoted as saying Mr Mahuni had
been threatened with
death "for refusing to obey ZANU(PF)
Mr Mugabe's win received another international rejection
time from the Electoral Commissions Forum of the Southern
Development Community, the 14-nation regional economic and political
Meanwhile, there were reports yesterday that South Africa
applying pressure to have the opposition brought into a
Most observers said the election which
returned the 78-year-old Mugabe was
neither free nor fair, with widespread
reports of violence and intimidation
against supporters of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.
South African President Thabo
Mbeki has come under fire for not yet speaking
publicly about the result,
although his deputy Jacob Zuma visited Harare to
congratulate Mr Mugabe on
More EU sanctions loom over Zimbabwe
HARARE (Reuters) - The European Union is set to issue a
strong statement on
Zimbabwe today after its controversial presidential
election and was
considering tightening sanctions on President Robert
The West has slammed the poll and the EU move would deepen
African state's isolation on the world stage.
another move sure to provoke further Western condemnation, Mugabe on
enacted a controversial media law criticised as aimed at muzzling
But several African nations have given the March 9-11
poll their seal of
approval, signalling a rift between the world's poorest
continent and the
developed world it is looking to for further aid and
Britain's Minister for Europe, Peter Hain, told reporters
at an EU summit in
Barcelona that a communique agreed by all 15 heads of
government in the bloc
would say: "Elections in Zimbabwe cannot be accepted
as free or fair".
The EU's foreign ministers would consider
"additional targeted measures"
when they next met in April, Hain said. He
gave no further details.
Britain has led the international criticism
of its former colony and Mugabe,
who was once widely hailed for leading the
struggle against white-minority
rule in the former Rhodesia.
power since 1980, Mugabe extended his rule for another six years against
backdrop of a collapsing economy and acute food shortages in
The country has been plunged into
crisis since Mugabe sanctioned invasions
of white-owned farms two years ago.
His government says it will redistribute
the land to poor rural blacks to
rectify the legacy of colonial imbalances.
But critics say the land
seizure is one of many crude methods Mugabe has
employed to cling to power
and the disruption of commercial farming has
compounded the effects of
drought, leaving half a million people in need of
After the head of the EU's election observer mission
was expelled from
Zimbabwe in February, the Union withdrew its monitors from
the country and
imposed a visa ban and a freeze on the overseas assets of
Mugabe and 19
But there is little evidence that
the sanctions imposed last month have made
any impact on the ruling
Germany is reviewing its aid programmes to the troubled
country. Even before
the poll, the United States last month imposed a travel
ban on Mugabe and
his inner circle.
But the reaction in Africa has
so far largely been positive with observers
from the two biggest regional
powers, Nigeria and South Africa, as well as
Namibia and the Organisation of
African Unity, all pronouncing the poll
A rare note of
African concern came from Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade.
what I know, these elections do not conform to the norms that I would
for elections," Wade told reporters in Dakar, but added that "he
would not be
in a position now to know if they should be
South African President Thabo Mbeki has yet
to render a verdict, saying he
wants to see reports from South African,
Commonwealth and other observers
South African government
sources said on Friday Mbeki was pushing Mugabe to
bring defeated opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai into a national unity
analysts said Mugabe was not inclined to share power and Tsvangirai
adamant that his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wanted more
"We will not be party to any Caesarian
operation by South Africa. We are not
going to have short-cuts...and force
issues on Zimbabweans," he told
Mbeki, Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister
John Howard are members of a
three-nation task force mandated by the
Commonwealth to decide whether to
take action against Zimbabwe over the
Howard said he
would chair a meeting of the group in London on Tuesday.
Harare said Mugabe, who has remained publicly silent since the
would be sworn in for his fifth term as leader on Sunday. State
Zimbabwe said 20 heads of state were expected to attend.
Sun, Mar 17 2002 7:20 AM AEDT
The Commonwealth is yet to decide a course of action
over Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's election victory.
'United analysis' of observers to guide PM on Zimbabwe
The Prime Minister, John Howard, says he will use the observer team's
clear and united analysis of the election in Zimbabwe to help him decide the
country's future in the Commonwealth.
Mr Howard will meet the
Presidents of South Africa and Nigeria in London on Tuesday, to discuss the poll
victory of Robert Mugabe.
The Commonwealth observer team has determined
the election was not free and fair.
Mr Howard has told delegates at the
Liberal Party state council meeting in Melbourne, he has spoken to all four
Australians on the observer team.
"They gave me a very clear and coherent
and very united analysis of what they saw and what they experienced and what
they believe had occurred," he said.
"That will help me greatly as well
as the report, when I have my meeting in London on Tuesday
Call for sanction
Meanwhile the Shadow
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, says Australia must undertake targeted
sanctions against the Zimbabwean Government.
Mr Rudd will return to
Australia today after a fortnight in Harare as part of the Commonwealth observer
team which has determined the election was not free and fair.
says Zimbabwe presents a critical test of international credibility for both
Australia and the Commonwealth.
Instead of broad trade sanctions, he has
called for Australia to introduce targeted sanctions dealing specifically with
the personal financial transactions and travel of members of the Mugabe
Mr Rudd says when the Prime Minister, John Howard, meets the
presidents of Nigeria and South Africa on Tuesday he should pursue their support
for the targeted sanctions as well as Zimbabwe's suspension from the
"It is a challenge which lies fairly and squarely on their
shoulders and they must rise to the occasion.
"He must rise to the
occasion in order to take firm, resolute and decisive action," Mr Rudd
South African President Thabo Mbeki has
given qualified support to the outcome of the Zimbabwean elections.
his first public comment since the elections, Mr Mbeki says the fate of the
country would have to be decided by its owns citizens.
However, he also
says the world has a right to be concerned about the situation in
"Whatever happens to Zimbabwe in future must be a matter that's
centrally gets decided by the Zimbabweans," Mr Mbeki said.
"The world has
got a right and a duty to express itself on things that are going there,
including wrong things, to say these things are wrong, they should stop and so
"It's correct that the world must be concerned and express itself
quite openly, quite frankly, quite forcefully."
Mugabe to be sworn in as foreign pressure mounts
HARARE, March 16 — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe starts a new six-year term on Sunday as Western powers pile pressure on him over his disputed election victory.
Mugabe, 78, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is due to be sworn in at 1030 a.m. (0830 GMT) on Sunday after being declared winner of the March 9-11 elections.
European Union countries will boycott the ceremony, a diplomatic source in Paris
said on Saturday.
''European diplomats will not attend Mr Mugabe's
swearing-in ceremony,'' the source said, adding: ''this is a European
EU leaders, ending a summit in Barcelona, also threatened
more sanctions and pledged to send a team to talk with Zimbabwe's neighbours.
Mugabe's main rival in the elections, Morgan Tsvangirai, has branded
the vote ''daylight robbery.''
Western powers, including the U.S, the
European Union, Britain, local pro-democracy groups and Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) all say Mugabe's re-election was unacceptably
But many African states have endorsed Mugabe's victory, which
his ruling ZANU-PF party is lauding as a triumph against Western imperialism.
State-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said Mugabe had invited
about 20 African leaders to the inauguration.
It said the presidents
of Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
were expected to attend the ceremony at State House.
But the leaders
of Africa's two most powerful states, South Africa and Nigeria, are not expected
to attend. They will instead meet Mugabe in Harare on Monday to try to ease
Western pressure on his government.
Diplomatic sources said on
Saturday that South Africa and Nigeria had stepped up efforts to avert
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth over Mugabe's disputed victory.
They said South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo hoped to fix a political compromise before talks of the
so-called troika of Commonwealth leaders in London on Tuesday who have been
asked to devise a response to the election.
Mbeki and Obasanjo are
members along with Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Commonwealth analysts believe the three leaders will not advocate collective
sanctions against Zimbabwe. Howard was likely to favour some form of suspension
which Mbeki would oppose, leaving the deciding vote to Obasanjo, they said.
EU MOVES Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited.
After the head of the EU's election observer
mission was expelled from Zimbabwe in February, the European Union imposed a
visa ban and a freeze on the overseas assets of Mugabe and 19 close associates.
A final communique issued on Saturday evening after the Barcelona EU
summit said: ''The European Union will maintain its humanitarian assistance to
the people of Zimbabwe and will consider possible additional targeted measures
against its government.''
Britain's Minister for Europe, Peter Hain,
told reporters that EU foreign ministers would consider tougher measures when
they meet next month.
The EU leaders also agreed to try to turn
African opinion about Mugabe and said they would send a high level mission in
the near future to confer with countries of the SADC (South African Development
Community) region about European concerns over Zimbabwe.
Unity plan shot down by defiant Mugabe
DENT Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe yesterday firmly rejected a plan,
the West, for a government of national unity to save his country
plunging into anarchy after the presidential elections.
plan for the unity government, which would include Mr Mugabe's
rival, the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was put to the
leader on Thursday by the South African Deputy President,
But Mr Mugabe's chief spokesperson, Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo,
ruled out unity with people "who were pandering to
interests that did not
put Zimbabwe first".
Mr Mugabe, who was
re-elected in the chaotic elections last weekend, accuses
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of being an "extension"
of the British
Many people feel that the unity government deal,
brokered by Presidents
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of
Nigeria, is the only
way to put Zimbabwe on the path to economic recovery,
after the majority of
international observers concluded that the elections
were anything but free
and fair. But the MDC has also dismissed the
The MDC justice spokesman, David Coltart, said a unity
inconceivable because Mr Mugabe would not consider
Despite being one of the sponsors of the deal, President Mbeki
result of the Zimbabwe election yesterday as witchhunts and
place on opposition supporters and draconian legislation to gag
was put into effect.
Hundreds of people were reported to
be fleeing the three Mashonaland
provinces in northern Zimbabwe, while two
people were reported murdered
since Mr Mugabe's disputed election victory was
announced on Wednesday.
Mobs of ruling party youths were also
marching on to white owned-farms and
ordering the owners to leave within six
hours, the Commercial Farmers' Union
However, police in most
cases were "acting decisively" and the farmers had
so far been able to
In his first comment on the presidential contest, Mr Mbeki
said: "The will
of the people of Zimbabwe has prevailed.
chronic polarisation of the Zimbabwean people, claims of
intimidation, and in the context of clear flaws in the electoral
President Mugabe has won the elections with an overwhelming
The new violence and lawlessness came as scores of foreign
observers and journalists were leaving the country.
(PF) are systematically hunting down people who voted for the Movement
Democratic Change, and our election agents," said the opposition's
general, Welshman Ncube.
The attacks started on Thursday, he said.
"People have fled, others are
missing and no-one knows what has happened to
In Marondera, about 50 miles east of Harare, Zanu (PF)
allegedly beat to death a farm security guard and
severely injured the farm
The first reported death after
the election result was in the central town
of Kwekwe, where the body of
Funny Mahuni was found "with his stomach cut up
with a knife" according to
Also yesterday in a calculated snub to the West, the
so-called Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act was passed into
law, in what is
expected to be the regime's next move towards silencing the
The law will effectively ban foreign
journalists from the country altogether
and calls for all local journalists
to be licenced by Mugabe's government.
(Independent News Service and
March 16, 2002
Raids and press curbs mark new Mugabe
From Jan Raath in Harare
AS President Mbeki of South
Africa endorsed the result of the Zimbabwe
election yesterday, a wave of
witchhunts and attacks took place on
opposition supporters and draconian
legislation to gag the press was put
Hundreds of people were
reported to be fleeing the three Mashonaland
provinces in northern Zimbabwe,
while two people were reported murdered
since Mr Mugabe’s disputed election
victory was announced on Wednesday.
Mobs of ruling party youths were also
marching on to white owned-farms and
ordering the owners to leave within six
hours, the Commercial Farmers’ Union
However police in most
cases were “acting decisively” and the farmers had so
far been able to
In his first comment on the presidential contest Mr Mbeki, on the
the ruling African National Congress, asserted: “The will of the
Zimbabwe has prevailed.
“Amid chronic polarisation of the
Zimbabwean people, claims of widespread
intimidation, and in the context of
clear flaws in the electoral process,
President Robert Mugabe has won the
presidential elections with an
overwhelming majority . . . While the process
was clearly not perfect, the
ANC believes that the people of Zimbabwe have
The new violence and lawlessness came as scores of foreign
observers and journalists were leaving the country.
(PF) are systematically hunting down people who voted for the Movement
Democratic Change, and our election agents,” said the opposition
secretary-general, Welshman Ncube. The attacks started on Thursday,
“People have fled, others are missing and no-one knows what has
Kare Vollan, head of the Norwegian observer
mission, was able to confirm
some of the reports.
“These are very
serious allegations. We have pretty good evidence of some
incidents, but we
are still looking into it. Unfortunately there is nothing
The delegation, regarded as the most professional of all the
observer groups here during the election, leaves on
A spokesman for the Amani Trust, a local charity dedicated to
victims of political violence, said there had “definitely been a
increase” in the past few days.
“There are a lot more torture
victims — attempted drownings, attempted
murder, burnings, beatings,” she
said. “Now we have got more work than we
have ever had before. I am not sure
we can cope with this.”
Yesterday in Marondera, about 50 miles east of
Harare, Zanu (PF) squatters
beat to death a farm security guard, named only
as Darlington, and severely
injured the farm owner, John Rutherford, 31,
according to Steve Pratt, the
local CFU administrator. Mr Rutherford had been
accused of telling his
workers that squatters’ huts would be burnt after the
later arrested “some” of the alleged assailants.
first reported death after the election result was in the central town
Kwekwe, where the body of Funny Mahuni was found “with his stomach cut
with a knife”, according to the independent Daily News. It quoted
as saying that Mr Mahuni had been told by a local Zanu (PF) leader
was going to be killed for refusing to obey Zanu (PF) orders”.
had barred his daughters from attending a night rally at a party
base. While militia mobs encountered resistance as they tried to
farmers off their land, black commercial farmer Tawanda
Nyambirai, a former
lawyer and agricultural college graduate, was trying to
protect his property
from being grabbed by a local Zanu (PF) MP, Bernard
Last month Mr Nyambirai, who bought the farm three years ago
finance, obtained a court order to stop the MP’s earlier
attempts to seize
Also yesterday, the so-called Access to
Information and Protection of
Privacy Act was gazetted as law, in what is
expected to be the regime’s next
move towards silencing the country’s
When it was first introduced in parliament in January,
legal watchdog denounced it as “the most calculated and
on our liberties”.
March 16, 2002
Tourists avoid reality in Zimbabwe's
From Tim Reid at Victoria Falls
tourist industry is all but dead today thanks to the scare
President Mugabe. But there is one merry band of travellers who
to the country, blissfully ignorant of the battle for its soul.
by colonial guilt, unperturbed by the plight of white farmers,
unaware of who
Robert Mugabe is and perplexed when questioned about last
election — across the land roam hordes of Germans.
Felix Linning, 53,
heavily sunburnt and taking a break amid the roaring
spray of Victoria Falls,
says people in Germany know nothing about Zimbabwe,
or the election. “I heard
something about it the other day, someone told me
about it on safari,” he
said. “And now that Mobutu has been elected . . .”
now that Mbeki has won . . .”
“You mean Mugabe?”
“Now that the
Prime Minister has won, they told me that now there will be
peace. I am just
here because you have to see Victoria Falls once in your
life. I have been to
Niagara Falls but these are better.”
It is still difficult to spot
tourists here, until recently one of Zimbabwe’
s most popular destinations,
even though the Government says 1.4 million
visited the country last year. In
reality, there are hardly any British
travellers, once the most frequent
visitors, and tourism, which used to
account for 15 per cent of GDP, has
fallen by over two thirds since Mr
Mugabe’s campaign to seize white-owned
farms began in earnest two years ago.
Those that do venture here are
almost exclusively German. The one charter
flight into Victoria Falls airport
yesterday held 70 people, all but 10
German. “The election? We did not even
know about it,” Johannes Frey, a
student from Bremen, said. “It is not an
issue at all in the German media.”
And did anyone tell them that the
country was meant to be dangerous to
travel in? “No, nobody told us anything.
We have been here a week. It seems
very nice. The people are very
Their presence brings succour to the desperate tourist
companies and lodge owners, thousand of whom have gone
bankrupt in the past
three years. They inhabit an extraordinary parallel
world, in which tourists
can enjoy life in Zimbabwe out of sight of political
agriculture and economic catastrophe.
stunningly elegant Victoria Falls Hotel, a monument to the pomp of
colonial rule, they saunter around in Bermuda shorts and sandals.
Zulu, the receptionist, approves. “I prefer German visitors to
she said. “The Germans know nothing about this country, so
preconceptions. Unlike the British.”
- Two dead as thugs rampage -
- SA observers break ranks -
- Mbeki remarks denied -
- Mugabe spurns unity proposal -
- Postal votes go missing -
- Caught red-handed -
- Degree controversy -
From The Times (UK), 16 March
Raids and press curbs mark new Mugabe era
Harare - As President Mbeki of South Africa
endorsed the result of the Zimbabwe election yesterday, a wave of witchhunts and
attacks took place on opposition supporters and draconian legislation to gag the
press was put into effect. Hundreds of people were reported to be fleeing the
three Mashonaland provinces in northern Zimbabwe, while two people were reported
murdered since Mr Mugabe’s disputed election victory was announced on Wednesday.
Mobs of ruling party youths were also marching on to white owned-farms and
ordering the owners to leave within six hours, the Commercial Farmers’ Union
said. However police in most cases were "acting decisively" and the farmers had
so far been able to stay. In his first comment on the
presidential contest Mr Mbeki, on the website of the ruling African National
Congress, asserted: "The will of the people of Zimbabwe has prevailed. Amid
chronic polarisation of the Zimbabwean people, claims of widespread
intimidation, and in the context of clear flaws in the electoral process,
President Robert Mugabe has won the presidential elections with an overwhelming
majority . . . While the process was clearly not perfect, the ANC believes that
the people of Zimbabwe have spoken."
The new violence and lawlessness came as
scores of foreign election observers and journalists were leaving the country.
"Zanu PF are systematically hunting down people who voted for the Movement for
Democratic Change, and our election agents," said the opposition group’s
secretary-general, Welshman Ncube. The attacks started on Thursday, he said.
"People have fled, others are missing and no-one knows what has happened to
them." Kare Vollan, head of the Norwegian observer mission, was able to confirm
some of the reports. "These are very serious allegations. We have pretty good
evidence of some incidents, but we are still looking into it. Unfortunately
there is nothing we can do." The delegation, regarded as the most professional
of all the international observer groups here during the election, leaves on
Sunday. A spokesman for the Amani Trust, a local
charity dedicated to helping victims of political violence, said there had
"definitely been a marked increase" in the past few days. "There are a lot more
torture victims – attempted drownings, attempted murder, burnings, beatings,"
she said. "Now we have got more work than we have ever had before. I am not sure
we can cope with this." Yesterday in Marondera, about 50 miles east of Harare,
Zanu PF squatters beat to death a farm security guard, named only as Darlington,
and severely injured the farm owner, John Rutherford, 31, according to Steve
Pratt, the local CFU administrator. Mr Rutherford had been accused of telling
his workers that squatters’ huts would be burnt after the elections. Police
later arrested "some" of the alleged assailants.
The first reported death after the election
result was in the central town of Kwekwe, where the body of Funny Mahuni was
found "with his stomach cut up with a knife", according to the independent Daily
News. It quoted relatives as saying that Mr Mahuni had been told by a local Zanu
PF leader that "he was going to be killed for refusing to obey Zanu PF orders".
Earlier he had barred his daughters from attending a night rally at a party
militia base. While militia mobs encountered resistance as they tried to drive
white farmers off their land, black commercial farmer Tawanda Nyambirai, a
former lawyer and agricultural college graduate, was trying to protect his
property from being grabbed by a local Zanu PF MP, Bernard Makokova. Last month
Mr Nyambirai, who bought the farm three years ago with borrowed finance,
obtained a court order to stop the MP’s earlier attempts to seize the farm.
Also yesterday, the so-called Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act was gazetted as law, in what is expected to be the
regime’s next move towards silencing the country’s independent press. When it
was first introduced in parliament in January, the legislature’s legal watchdog
denounced it as "the most calculated and determined assault on our
From The Independent (UK), 15 March
South African poll observers criticise 'legitimate'
Johannesburg - Some members of South
Africa's observer mission in Zimbabwe broke ranks yesterday to criticise the
delegation's decision that the re-election of Robert Mugabe was "legitimate".
Bobby Godsell, who was a member of the 50-strong South African team, said: "I am
both confused and uncomfortable about the use of the word 'legitimate' to
describe the Zimbabwean poll." Another observer, who preferred not to be
identified, said he and two other South African observers had been taken aback
by the "hardline police harassment of government opponents" in the election,
both in urban and rural areas. When the observer mission leader, Sam
Motsuenyane, a South African businessman, announced their findings in Harare on
Wednesday he was reportedly jeered by journalists and diplomats.
South Africa's Deputy President, Jacob
Zuma, who held talks in Harare with President Mugabe yesterday, said the
government in Zimbabwe was "happy" with the observers' report that concluded the
election "should be considered legitimate" but not "free and fair." But Mr
Godsell said that he was confused by the conflicting terminology used. He said:
"I don't understand the difference between legitimate and free and fair. I don't
understand how an election can not be free and fair but can also be legitimate."
Mr Godsell was an observer in Harare where there had been some "distinct
problems". "I understand that the mission is to release a final report and I am
assuming that there will be an opportunity to debate and discuss the findings
that have been made," he said. "So I am hoping that there will be a chance to
clarify the irregularities but I concede that the damage has been done already
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 16
U-turn over Mbeki support for
South Africa's ruling African National
Congress said last night that a statement endorsing the Zimbabwe election result
was attributed in error to President Thabo Mbeki. The declaration on the ANC
website under Mr Mbeki's name said: "While the process was clearly not perfect,
the ANC believes that the people of Zimbabwe have spoken." A party spokesman
said later it was a party statement, not the president's. The U-turn came as
European Union leaders meeting in Barcelona pressed for further sanctions
against the regime. Peter Hain, minister for Europe, said the joint communique
was almost certain to conclude that the election was not fair. He said foreign
ministers would be told to consider further measures against the government.
These go beyond the present travel ban and asset freeze on President Mugabe and
his inner circle.
From The Independent (UK), 16
Mugabe spurns proposal for unity
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe yesterday firmly rejected a
plan, backed by the UK and the United States, for a government of national unity
to save his country from plunging into anarchy after the presidential elections.
The secret plan for the unity government, which would include Mr Mugabe's
defeated rival, the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was put to the
Zimbabwean president on Thursday by the South African deputy president, Jacob
Zuma. But Mr Mugabe's chief spokesman, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, ruled
out unity with people "who were pandering to interests that did not put Zimbabwe
first". Mr Mugabe, who was re-elected in the chaotic elections last weekend,
accuses Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of being an
"extension" of the British Labour Party.
Many people feel that the unity government deal, brokered by
Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, is the
only way to put Zimbabwe on the path to economic recovery, after the majority of
international observers concluded that the elections were anything but free and
fair. But the MDC has also dismissed the proposal. The MDC shadow Justice
Minister, David Coltart, said a unity government was inconceivable because Mr
Mugabe would hardly consider it. But Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo are not
giving up. Mr Obasanjo will fly to Harare on Monday for a day's talks with Mr
Mugabe to urge him to accept the proposal to "heal the deep divisions" in
Zimbabwe. Mr Obasanjo will then travel to London for a meeting with Mr Mbeki and
the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard. The three were mandated by the
Commonwealth to take action against Zimbabwe if the elections were
The EU is considering stiffening sanctions against Mr Mugabe
and his top aides and was due to issue a tough statement after the Barcelona
summit said the election was invalid. Mr Mugabe has also moved to consolidate
his de facto dictatorship by signing into law a draconian Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Bill that will ban foreign correspondents from
Zimbabwe and muzzle the local press. Correspondents can now be jailed for two
years for working illegally under the law. The country's Information Minister,
Jonathan Moyo, will, however, retain the discretion to admit foreign writers
into the country to cover specific events. Last year, the Zimbabwean government
expelled several foreign journalists long before the media law had been tabled
in Parliament. Mr Moyo then banned foreign media organisations, particularly
those from the UK and South Africa, from covering the election.
Critics of the law say it makes Mr Moyo an editor of all the
newspapers in Zimbabwe. It requires all Zimbabwean journalists to get renewable
accreditation from a statutory media council appointed by him. It also forbids
local journalists from publishing a wide range of information held by the
government without specific authorisation to do so. It particularly bans
journalists from reporting on the proceedings of Mr Mugabe's cabinet or on the
work of any government department or commission appointed to give advice to
Cabinet. Journalists offending the provisions face hefty fines and two year jail
terms. All media organisations, except state-owned statutory media outlets, will
be required to register with the media commission for two year periods. It was
also announced without explanation yesterday that the ceremony to swear Mr
Mugabe in to another six-year term of office would be postponed until tomorrow.
The move prompted fresh speculation about his failing health, after national
television news on Thursday showed him stumbling and apparently gripping a table
after his meeting with Mr Zuma.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 15
Zanu PF caught
Cases of vote-buying by ruling Zanu PF supporters were
unearthed last week in Bulawayo where party members were caught in the act by
South African election observers and international journalists in the
Lobengula-Luveve constituency. A group of women operating from a house in
Lobengula was seen taking down names and identification numbers of potential
voters promising them money if they voted for President Robert Mugabe. One of
the women approached by the Zanu PF supporters, Ethel Moyo, tipped off South
African observers and the media who rushed to the house and found the women with
lists of people who had already been paid for voting for Mugabe. The Zanu PF
members claimed they were only registering the names of supporters who wanted to
vote. The exercise was also seen outside a polling station in Makokoba and at
MacDonald Hall in Mzilikazi. The women in Makokoba were allegedly paying $100 to
anyone promising to vote for the ruling party candidate.
Meanwhile, scores of Zanu PF youths, who disappeared before the
weekend polls, resurfaced at a polling station in Sauerstown on Saturday where
police allowed them to form their own queue and to vote ahead of other people
who had been queuing for hours. When the Independent together with the foreign
press arrived at the polling station, scores of the militia were seen milling
outside the polling station while a sizeable number were inside casting their
vote. Independent election monitors stationed about 100 metres from the polling
station said the youths were initially turned away but later allowed to vote
after the intervention of Zanu PF officials. The election agent for the Movement
for Democratic Change at the polling station, Dave Mnkandla, claimed the youths
were not on the voters' roll but were still allowed to vote.
From The Daily News, 14
Tempers flare as postal ballots
Mutare - Tempers flared on Tuesday between Zanu PF and MDC
officials in Mutare Central constituency after the constituency registrar, Lena
Nhiwatiwa, failed to account for 25 postal votes. This led to the rejection of
the postal ballot box. Two thousand people were registered to vote through the
postal ballot in Mutare Central and only 180 cast their votes. Of those, 155
were accounted for and there was no immediate explanation as to what happened to
the remaining 25. Postal votes are for registered voters who, for one reason or
another, were unable to cast their ballots in their respective constituencies.
Verification at all 14 command posts in Manicaland kicked off at 7am and the
missing postal votes came to light during the process at Mutare Teachers’
College. These include soldiers on duty outside the country or deployed to other
parts of the country, the police and voters at diplomatic missions. Nhiwatiwa
said: "I don’t know what happened to the votes. I can’t explain it. The problem
originated in Harare from where the postal ballot box was dispatched to us for
verification and counting. Meanwhile, the box has been rejected."
An argument broke out between Kenneth Saruchera, President
Mugabe’s election agent, and Innocent Gonese, for Morgan Tsvangirai, when
Saruchera said counting of the votes should proceed, with Gonese arguing the box
had been tampered with. Saruchera said: "Although there was a shortfall, this
should not stop the counting because we would be denying the 155 people who
voted their constitutional right to be heard. I sternly objected to the
rejection because the problem originated from Harare and not from here. I
recommended that since it’s not a local problem, we should continue with the
counting." Saruchera refused to comment on the constitutional rights of the 25
who had also cast their votes. "Gonese said: "We cannot proceed to count when
some votes are missing. There was definitely some tampering with the ballots.
The constituency registrar failed to account for the missing votes. They may
have been deliberately
From The Montreal Gazette, 11
Mugabe claims McGill
London – As President Robert Mugabe , the tyrant of Zimbabwe,
prepares to continue to ride roughshod over his terrorized nation, he does so
covered in academic honours from one of Britain’s leading universities. Mugabe
also claims to have an honorary doctorate from McGill University in Montreal. In
1984 the University of Edinburgh awarded Mugabe a doctorate in law, honoris
causis. This just happened to coincide with the time when his army was
slaughtering the opposition, breaking the law and trampling on human rights all
over Matabeleland, as the Roman Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has fully
documented. Yet this week, senior Edinburgh university officers said there were
"no current plans" to revoke Mugabe’s degree. Indeed, they did not even appear
to find it controversial. Those who made the decision in 1984 are all now
retired, the officials said. A university spokesperson said: "The degree was
awarded in 1981 on the merits of the case at the time. The University of
Edinburgh has no procedures for withdrawing such degrees and we have a concern
that a withdrawal…might rebound on any in the country associated with the
university. We understand that the government, with our full support,, is
applying diplomatic pressure as appropriate."
David Orr, president of the Edinburgh University Student
Association, was a little more forthcoming. Admitting to his own personal
reservations about the award "in the light of current circumstances," he said he
would be "discussing the issue with his fellow office bearers." Robin Harper, a
member of the Scottish Parliament and the University’s 40th rector
said: "I am not sure…whether in fact a degree can be rescinded, but certainly I
would not be against the university considering whether perhaps they would like
to rescind it. I think we should wait for a few weeks to see the outcome of the
elections…but in principle I am not against the idea of…discussion." No one
could say whether those on the honorary degree committee in 1984 had ever
considered the human rights atrocities attributed even then to Mugabe and his
ruling Zanu PF party. Yet the Roman Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in
Zimbabwe, reporting on the disturbances in Matabeleland, showed 1 437 people had
died between 1982 and 1987, victims of human rights violations. Numerous other
reports of the time also revealed the brutality of a man who was masquerading in
public as a reconciliator. Indeed, Mugabe has a record of misery, murder and
mayhem that outranks some of the most appalling in post-independence Africa, a
continent not short on atrocity.
Born at Kutama Mission north-west of Harare, Robert Gabriel
Mugabe had a Jesuit upbringing and likes to lecture his people on morality. He
is a professing Roman Catholic and basks in the prestige of his hard-won higher
education. He boasts a BA from Fort Hare, a Bed from Unisa, a BSc from the
University of London, a BAdmin from Unisa, an L.LB, L.LM and MSc (Economics) all
from London. His Who’s Who entry claims an honorary doctorate from McGill
University, an assertion firmly rebutted by that university, which says it has a
"strict policy" on its awards – and clearly, by implication, one that Mugabe
does not match up to. The McGill reference is made in the second and third
editions of Who’s Who in Africa. A spokesperson for the university said its
rules preclude the awarding of honorary doctorates to sitting politicians. No
one would say whether the university would attempt to press the publisher to
edit the entry. Author Ruth Weiss said: "Mugabe is a terribly vain man." In the
early days of Zimbabwean independence, Weiss was one of his strongest supporters
– but she fell out with him over the slaughter in Matabeleland. "He places much
store on his academic achievements. It would be symbolically significant for
Edinburgh to remove his honorary doctorate…and it would hurt his
South African observers next to useless
WE were delighted to hear that cover-up artist Kaire Mbuende was given a
rough reception when he visited polling stations on Saturday. His foolish
remarks that violence had been "blown out of proportion" were clearly designed
to assist President Mugabe's public relations campaign.
"Enda Mbuende", the
crowd called out when he arrived at one Harare polling station.
As Sadc executive secretary Mbuende repeatedly made remarks in support of
Mugabe during his regular visits to this country and he must have felt his
loyalty ill-rewarded when he was fired from that post by the Sadc leaders for
incompetence. He is now evidently attempting to win back their affection while
at the same time preparing Zimbabweans for a Sadc rubber stamp.
Sam Nujoma and Benjamin Mkapa told Commonwealth leaders in Coolum that they
shouldn't anticipate the poll outcome. But their agents here, masquerading as
observers, have done precisely that. For attempting to minimise the impact of
state-sponsored violence across the country, people like Steve Tshwete, Mbulelo
Musi, Kaire Mbuende, Ernest Shonekan, and Nkoma Wamunza have earned the contempt
of thousands of Zimbabweans who have seen their loved ones abducted, killed or
mutilated by Mugabe's thugs. They have also shown us how useless observers are
when they wear blindfolds.
There was a gang of South Africans at Spinalong Newlands on Saturday buying
CDs when they should have been out inspecting the painfully slow progress of
polling officers. At night they all retreated to their hotels as the militia
gangs caused mayhem in rural districts.
One voter said she understood perfectly why voting took so long. The person
in front of her was called Zondo. The polling officer started looking for his
name under A. Then under B. And so on!
And will the observers be taking into
account the partisan role of the police who arrested 11 farmers in Raffingora
for having radio transmission equipment that was licensed under the law and
designed for their own security? They were sending "suspicious messages" to poll
monitors, we are told. Wayne Bvudzijena was quick to say police were
investigating. But he said nothing about what police were doing about the
abduction of MDC polling agents in Raffingora and in Matabeleland North and
Needless to say we had the gullible state media linking this to the hundreds
of spies who they imagined to be crawling around the country trying to thwart
their leader's candidacy. That included the Mutare "white man" who was alleged
to have bought up all available copies of the Herald.
Somebody buying a copy of the Herald was evidently so unusual in Mutare that
a plot was immediately suspected. Only gradually did it dawn on the police that
it is not in fact illegal to buy more than one copy of the Herald. Foolish yes,
The Sunday Mail tried to convince us that this was all a plot to deprive
voters of the chance to read about the Herald's saturation coverage of President
Mugabe's speech in Bindura on Friday.
Herald readers were certainly not told
about the stampede by people who tried to leave Mugabe's rallies in Kadoma,
Chinhoyi and Marondera on Thursday. The Daily News told us that fences were
flattened and the riot police had to be called in to deal with hundreds of
Mugabe "supporters" who couldn't wait to get out.
Both Mugabe and Elliot Manyika pleaded with the crowd to stay and hear the
president's views on Tony Blair and his promises to do in the next six years
what he had failed to do in 21. But their pleas fell on deaf ears. People just
wanted to go home. They had heard it all before and they were hungry too! We
liked the poster on how to vote that used a steaming tea cup as the symbol of a
hypothetical party. Most people queuing on the cold and drizzly Saturday morning
must have thought this was an enticing prospect. Even more so when they realised
its significance. Which party is the Tea Party? More Tea? Mor(gan) T(svangirai),
the tea boy?
Who innocently designed that piece of government-approved voter
We can hear Jonathan Moyo now: "Heads must roll"! And what
happened to Moyo's decree that there should be no extension of voting on Monday?
Is he now president, high court judge and Justice minister?
We said we would announce the first sighting of Grace back in her more
fashionable apparel. It was in Highfield on Saturday when the Mugabes arrived to
vote. The Java-print dress hadn't survived a day longer than the campaign. It
was replaced with a very smart outfit designed to complement the president's
Saville Row suit. Rules about no campaigning on election day probably influenced
this change of wear.
Does that also explain the lack of any response from the crowd when the First
Couple arrived to cast their vote? The Mugabes proceeded into the polling
station without a single cheer from the Highfield multitude crushed together as
a result of Mugabe's electoral interference, which saw the redistribution of
polling stations to his electoral heartland.
The president apparently had difficulty finding a polling station in the
township where he was listed as entitled to vote for a local councillor as well
as president. The Sunday Mail reported Secretary for Information George Charamba
as saying Mugabe had to move from one polling station to another "due to the
ward boundaries for the council elections".
The Media Monitoring Project noted that the Sunday Mail decided not to ask
the obvious question: that if Mugabe didn't know which ward he belonged to, how
did the election authorities expect ordinary members of the public to know -
especially without the benefit of some public information to tell them where
they should vote?
"Nor did the paper attempt to compare Mugabe's ability to 'station-hop' with
the fate of ordinary voters who found themselves missing from one or other of
the voters' rolls after spending 12 hours or more in a queue," MMPZ said.
"Would they have had the determination to join the queue in the neighbouring
SABC reporters here have been in a bit of a fix this week. Following what
Olivia Muchena considered a hostile grilling by Sally Burdett in a live link
from Johannesburg recently, she made a strong complaint to the South African
authorities. We can only assume that as a result the News department at Auckland
Park was told to give Zimbabwean ministers a free rein in interviews. How else
do we explain why Makhosini Nkosi and Dan Makokera have been allowing ministers
like John Nkomo and Patrick Chinamasa to get away with ridiculous and
Nkosi appears anyway to be rather gullible. He let Membathisi Mdladlana
suggest that Welshman Ncube was "facing very serious charges" following his
arrest and should "cooperate with the police".
Mdladlana must be the only person left who is taking the treason charges,
based on a doctored videotape, seriously. And he explained the delay in
reopening polling stations on Monday was due to "administrative problems".
Where South African ministers assume the role of apologists for Mugabe's
repression and delinquency they become part of the problem - along with
interviewers who fail to ask challenging questions.
We must thank SABC for one thing at least. As members of Safcoc, the South
African federated chambers of commerce which supports Zanu PF, were saying how
free and fair the election was, SABC showed film footage of riot police breaking
up the voting queues on Sunday night. Well done guys!
Still with news management, why did Jonathan Moyo dismiss the Financial
Gazette story of Didymus Mutasa's coup threat as "sheer madness"?
"Such irresponsible statements and claims can only come from individuals and
institutions bent on validating the British self-fulfilling prophecy of an
unfree and fair poll," Moyo said.
The report conceded that Mutasa's remarks
had been made on SABC. We all heard them. They were unambiguous: Zanu PF would
support a coup if the MDC won. So why blame the Financial Gazette for carrying
Well, if you look more closely at Moyo's criticism, it seems to be aimed more
at Mutasa than the Fingaz. We all recall him in 1996 saying "Mugabe is our king.
You don't elect a king". What a fool!
We followed with interest this week a Herald report on complaints by staff
working at the United Nations Development Programme about salary adjustments.
The story was based on an e-mail the Herald had got hold of. The paper said "the
UNDP resident representative for Zimbabwe, Mr Carlos Lopez, could not be reached
for comment at the time of going to press".
That's hardly surprising. Carlos Lopes was transferred to New York two years
ago. And he always said he divided the Zimbabwe media into those who could spell
his name and those who couldn't.
Sill on the subject of the UN, how about
this statement for sheer dishonesty.
Catherine Bertini, executive director of the UN World Food Programme warned
on February 26 of severe food shortages sweeping through Southern Africa.
"In Zimbabwe, more than half a million people face severe hunger as shelves
in stores around the country run out of basic foodstuffs and inflation soars,"
she said. "Months of dry weather have withered fields of maize and the April
harvest is bleak.."
So "months of dry weather" explains the food shortages does it? It's got
nothing to do with land invasions, destruction of crops, farmers forbidden to
plant, and false forecasting by ministers?
Muckraker's attention has been
drawn to what looks like a statement prepared on State House notepaper.
"Today marks a stop on a long journey towards liberation," it says. "A
journey that started many years ago when our country was first colonised. We
rejoiced in 1980 but still we were not free. The long shadow of imperialism
loomed over the nation. The British did not want to relinquish the glittering
prize that is our land Zimbabwe. They tried to undermine it at every turn.
"We readdressed (sic) that balance. Go home, we told the British. This is
our land. Our country. But still the shadow loomed."
"We gave you back your land. What did they do? 'Mugabe is a monster' they
said. We reclaimed your heritage. 'Mugabe must go', they wrote in their
It is evident from this that young Chatunga has been at Daddy's keyboard. It
was so obviously written by somebody under 12 that it is perhaps unfair of us to
Could we safely say it was faxed to newspapers in the hope they would use it,
only to have Moyo descend on them for "lying". We believe there is enough
evidence now to show that Zanu PF has been running a disinformation department
and this is one of its products.
Muckraker's question for the week: What was Nick Goche doing in Montreal in
February? We understand he was there. We want to know what he was up to. Or can