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

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I dreamed a dream that was Zimbabwe...

For a brief season the clouds of despair rolled back

and we saw a vision of what we could become

We glimpsed a nation which stood united.

A people determined to overcome

to drag down the tyranny by standing firm

A people who showed a love of democracy, freedom and peace

We saw incredible courage in the face of ugliness and brutality

We witnessed dignity and strength

We refused to fight back

We rejected the creed of violence and greed

We rose above class, race and creed and expressed something that inspired us.

We believed the dream that Zimbabwe could become the first nation in Africa to emerge as a true democracy.

We saw, in Morgan Tsvangirai, a man for the people, a man of principle and courage, a man that all Zimbabweans could be proud to call their leader.


But now we wake to an ugly nightmare.

The election proved to be a farce. A Cruel joke played out by scheming and wicked people.

All of the effort, the suffering and the queuing, the violence and intimidation endured, has proved to be in vain.

It turns out we played the jesters role in a massively rigged election.


And so we return to more of the same,

Food shortages,

Fuel crises,

Runaway inflation,


and starvation.

And slowly this sorrow and sense of loss will turn to anger.

What then?

Who will help us?

Not the international community.

Not our neighbour South Africa, who have rubbed insult into our injury by calling this a legitimate result.

Not the courts, or the police or the international press.

Nobody it seems.

So we try to go on under the watch of the riot police.

We try to make sense of it all

We gather together in quiet groups to assess the situation.

Who's staying?

When are you leaving?

Fools! We should have known it would have turned out this way!!

And here's the rub.

It would be so easy to give in.

Become a dry and withered cynic


I liked the way we were.

I believed what we stood for.

I don't want to become like THEM

I refuse to return to a dog eat dog, every man for himself Zimbabwe.

So I stand.

Hoping against hope.


For this reason we are not discouraged, even though our outer nature suffers decay, our inner self is renewed day by day. For this slight momentary trouble is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory that exceeds all measures, because we do not fix our eyes on the visible but on the unseen, for the visible things are transitory, but the unseen things are everlasting. 2 Corinthians 4 :16.

Roger Hawkins.
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Comment from The Sunday Times (SA), 17 March

Children of a lesser god

Mondli Makhanya

Zimbabweans are a lesser people. They deserve to be treated as subhumans.
They are certainly not entitled to the same basic rights that we take for
granted. This is not an easy conclusion to reach. But it is certainly one
which is inevitable. Take the case of the Marondera East residents, who were
abducted at 2am on February 25 and taken to a Zanu-PF militia camp. They
were beaten up and cut with knives. One resident woke up with burns on his
buttocks. On the same day another man was abducted from the farm he worked
on. He was beaten with sticks, cut up and had cigarette butts applied to his
buttocks. He suffered bruising and lacerations. Their sin: they were
suspected of being opposition supporters. But these men, who told their
stories to human rights organisations, probably deserved what they got. They
are, after all, mere Zimbabweans - a lesser species.

This savage treatment of political opponents was characterised by the South
African observer mission as "polarisation, tension and incidents of violence
and intimidation". The mission, headed by former businessman and ambassador
Sam Motsuenyane, even patted itself on the back for helping to keep
"tensions and conflicts" at a "minimal" level. The "minimal level" they were
talking about was the daily assault, abduction and torture of civilians. It
included the deaths of more than 30 people since January. And because they
were Zimbabweans it is quite fine that many were disenfranchised by a
government that made it extremely difficult for them to get their names onto
the voters roll. The government went even further and defied the courts'
reversal of its edicts.

But despite this, Zimbabweans turned out in their millions, determined to
defy those who wanted to prevent them from exercising their basic human
right of voting. They stood in the rain and in the scorching sun. Hungry and
tired, they persevered and defied the batons and teargas of the police. But
instead of condemning this flagrant violation of human rights, our caring
observers praised the Zimbabwean electoral authorities, saying they had
"discharged their work satisfactorily". And as for those who were teargassed
and driven away from polling stations on Monday night, the Motsuenyane
brigade said this deliberate rigging was an "administrative oversight". But
these are just Zimbabweans. Why should they aspire to South African
standards of being treated like human beings while waiting in the queues?

And then, our observers further told us, they were "heartened by the fact
that the opposition actively participated in the campaign" and therefore
legitimised the elections. Never mind that the leadership of this opposition
was regularly thrown in jail, had treason charges trumped up against them,
had their meetings disrupted and were painted as devils by the
taxpayer-funded media. After all, it is just a Zimbabwean opposition party.
Why should they expect the respect accorded to the likes of the Democratic
Alliance and the United Democratic Movement and even the Pan Africanist
Congress? Whereas the mission declared that the "people of Zimbabwe have
spoken" it is in fact we South Africans who spoke. And we said very clearly
that we believe Zimbabweans are an inferior species undeserving of dignity.

In coming months Zimbabweans will stream across the borders, seeking a
better life in South Africa. We will take the labourers and exploit them on
our farms, in our sweatshops and in our gardens. The educated ones we will
employ in our restaurants where they will have to swallow their pride and
respond to our snapping fingers. The lucky ones will find their way into the
professions, where we will resent them for "taking our jobs". Because they
are a lesser breed.

The diplomatic constraints that the government of South Africa was operating
under in the past two years were understandable. There would never have been
any point in standing on mountaintops and hurling abuse at Robert Mugabe.
There would also have been no point in joining the chorus of Western nations
lecturing him from across the ocean. But to then go and tell Zimbabweans
that the repression they have been experiencing over the past two years was
merely "incidents" is brutally insensitive. To further tell them that their
deliberate disenfranchisement was "administrative oversights" is to insult
their intelligence. And then, finally, to tell them that they "have spoken"
when their government did all in its power to muffle their voices is
thoroughly dishonest. South Africans should feel a sense of shame for the
utter disrespect with which the Motsuenyane mission treated the people of
Zimbabwe. We are unlikely, however, to feel this shame. Human rights, after
all, are something to be enjoyed only by full human beings and not by lesser

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Dear Family and Friends,
Yesteday morning, for the first time in 2 years, I simply could not find any words for my weekly letter. I had succumbed and for days wallowed in the horror of the blatant rigging of every stage of our elections. With the help of your letters and a few close friends I finally pulled myself together and decided I would not become another victim. Darlington, a young farm security guard was murdered in Marondera on Friday and his employer was beaten with wooden pick handles on his buttocks accused of having helped MDC polling agents during last weekend's elections. Little is known about Darlington and although all attempts were made to save his life, the young man died on his way to Marondera hospital. It took a visit to the hospital and the sight of massive black and purple brusising on a man's buttocks to put things back into perspective for me. A young man with a wife and two infant daughters cannot lie on his back, he cannot sit down and is barely able to walk. He is not broken though and we talked, laughed and cried together and yet again I am humbled and ashamed at allowing myself four days of self pity. This young man can still hear the thud of  wood on his backside, he can feel the excruciating agony and the sound of his own voice begging them to stop is still screaming in his head, but he knows that Darlington, moments away from death, said things that saved his employers life. Across the country reports are pouring in of ruling party youths engaged in witch hunts, searching out people suspected of being MDC supporters, beating them, evicting them from their homes and burning their posessions. Two people had died before the weekend even began and there are reports of many farmers being given 6 hours to get out of their homes.
While this horror has unfolded President Mugabe prepared to be sworn in and I watched the ceremony on ZBC television this morning. A President whose entire election campaign has been an incessant slamming of everything western and colonial, stood under a marquee on the lawn of State House and was again sworn in as the leader of our country. He was bedecked with medals as were his security forces in their white gloves and the country's chiefs in their red and purble robes and spotless pith helmets. The cermony could not have been more colonial if it had been held on the lawn of Buckingham Palace. President Mugabe again swore to "be faithful and true to Zimbabwe and to obseve the laws of Zimbabwe, so help me God." Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo was the Master of Ceremonies and the official guests of honour included Joseph Kabila who is not even an elected Pesident. In his speech President Mugabe showed us yet again the statesman. He called for unity of purpose, for brotherhood and sisterhood. He called on Zimbabweans to come together and "work joyantly to reconstruct our economy." He talked of rebuilding the economy, increasing jobs, improved health care, vast agricultural outputs and greatly improved fiscal policies. President Mugabe said not one word about law and order in Zimbabwe but instead spoke of his "personal joy and sense of humility" at having been re-elected President. My humility came from sitting with a man whose buttocks are black and blue, who was not ashamed to let me see his tears. For the moment the only hope we have is hope itself. Slowly we are coming to terms with what has happened and bracing ourselves for what lies ahead. People are starving and beaten but they are not broken. I apologise for my days of self pity and for not answering any of your letters. I am back and will not be broken. With love, cathy. 
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Mugabe's plan for Zim economy

Harare - President Robert Mugabe on Sunday outlined his plans to confront
Zimbabwe's economic crisis, placing his controversial land reforms at the
centre of the government's recovery strategy.

Speaking after being sworn in for another six years in office following an
acrimonious, violence-wracked election, the aging leader said economic
growth would return as Zimbabweans invested their efforts in agriculture,
the country's traditional earnings base.

"Land reform is not merely an exercise rectifying a monstrous colonial
injustice," Mugabe said, arguing that it would foster the people's economic
empowerment, increase agricultural production and help create jobs.

Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain
in 1980, with inflation running at nearly 120%, unemployment at around 60%,
chronic shortages of basic goods and more than half a million people in need
of emergency food aid.

The UN World Food Programme says some 558 000 people face famine in the
south and west of Zimbabwe, which was once a regional breadbasket and is now
a net food importer.

Mugabe said that reviving the agricultural sector - which has virtually
ground to a halt since his supporters began occupying hundreds of productive
white-owned commercial farms two years ago - will also "assure national food
security on a permanent and reliable basis."

In the months after the land invasions, the government identified more than
90% of the remaining white-owned land for resettlement by poor blacks.

The food shortages are the combined result of the disruptions to commercial
farming and a drought that has taken hold since December, but Mugabe has
tended to place most of the blame on the weather.

"The land reform program must proceed with greater speed and strength, so
the losses and drawbacks of the current drought-ridden season can be
overcome and replaced by rich harvests... given better weather patterns than
at present," Mugabe said on Sunday.

He said the government would focus on boosting production of "critical
crops" including maize, tobacco and cotton "at both peasant and large-scale

But he added that "for now" the emphasis would be on "securing adequate
maize supplies to ensure the adequacy of food for the people.

Other measures for economic recovery include reviving the manufacturing,
informal and mining sectors, he said, citing "all those factories which have
shut down or are on the verge of doing so" as investment has dried up.

The president also pledged to develop infrastructure, building dams,
electrifying more of the countryside and building more railways, roads and

Acknowledging a "foreign currency crunch," he said he would take steps to
boost exports, woo investment and revive tourism.

The government should "market our country more professinally, innovatively
and effectively to boost tourism," Mugabe said.

The pro-opposition Daily News, in its editorial on Saturday, suggested that
Mugabe's victory was a pyrrhic one given the economic crisis he must

"There are many immediate challenges he must face, and one of the pressing
ones it the hunger that is stalking the country's population. He has made
his bed. Now he must prepare to lie in it."

An opinion piece in the same edition said: "Mugabe's grand achievement is
destroying a once viable and productive farming sector, along with a vibrant
economy, to the pitiful levels that we have sunk to today."

Commentator Mary Msipa added in the article: "Mugabe is still intent on
destroying further the country's food self-sufficiency, despite the fact
that the farming sector has been almost run down due to his chaotic
fast-track land resettlement program."

Three hours after Mugabe delivered his inaugural address, an unaccustomed
rain fell on Harare, no doubt seen as a good omen by the president's
supporters. - Sapa-AFP

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Nigeria not seen backing Zimbabwe sanctions

LAGOS, March 17 — Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo looks most unlikely
to back any move to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth at a crucial
meeting in London next week, senior presidential aides said on Sunday.

       Obasanjo is walking a diplomatic tightrope in Zimbabwe's electoral
crisis. He is a long-time ally of embattled Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
while also being close to Britain and other Western nations critical of
Mugabe's policies.
       South Africa and Nigeria are partners with Australia in a
Commonwealth troika that will decide on Tuesday whether to recognise
Zimbabwe's bitterly disputed elections last week.
       Commonwealth analysts have said they believe leaders of the three
countries will not advocate collective sanctions against Zimbabwe. Australia
was likely to favour some form of suspension which South Africa would
oppose, leaving the deciding vote to Nigeria, they said.
       ''I can't see how our president will be there (in London) and allow
Zimbabwe to be suspended from the Commonwealth,'' said an aide due to travel
with Obasanjo to Harare on Monday and to Tuesday's London talks.
       ''How do you suspend Zimbabwe when Pakistan carried out a coup and
nothing was done about it?,'' he said, referring to the 1999 coup by then
Pakistani army chief Pervez Musharraf.
       Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth's main decision-making
bodies after the coup. Fiji received the same treatment after its 2000 coup,
while Nigeria is the only Commonwealth member to be fully suspended
following the execution of human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995.
       Commonwealth monitors concluded that Zimbabwe's March 9-12 elections
were flawed, a line echoed by the European Union.
       Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980,
was sworn in on Sunday for a further six-year term.
       The Nigerian officials, all asking not to be named, also dismissed
suggestions that Obasanjo and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki would try to
persuade Mugabe to install a national unity government as a way of heading
off Commonwealth suspension.
       ''Nobody is doing that,'' one official said, adding that it was
important to hear out Mugabe before the London talks.
       ''There is no way Mugabe is going to accept that,'' the aide said.
''The British are the ones pushing that line. There is nothing we can tell
him (Mugabe).''
       Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which
fought a bitter contest with the ruling ZANU-PF party, has rejected any
notion of joining Mugabe's government.
       Nigeria was a co-broker with the Commonwealth of a deal last
September intended to end Mugabe's policy of invasions of mostly white-owned
farms by so-called black veterans of Zimbabwe's nationalist war.
       Zimbabwe agreed in the Abuja deal to halt forceful farm seizures in
return for British commitment to canvass international assistance to fund
orderly land reform.
       Both Britain and Zimbabwe have since accused each other of not
playing their part after the Abuja agreement

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Comment from The Financial Mail (SA), 14 March

How Mugabe stole democracy

By Elinor Sisulu

"It is not fair that Zimbabweans, who paid a heavy price to hold their first
democratic elections in 1980, should pay so early 22 years later." The real
battle in the Zimbabwean elections was not between President Robert Mugabe
and his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai. The real battle was about democracy.
Distinguished figures in our own country, and continent, and even further
afield may well make lofty pronouncements on the triumph of democracy.
Observer teams may pronounce the elections free and fair, as may some
voters. "Zimbabwe is a democratic country," declared Bulawayo voter Jabulani
Sibanda on the eve of the election. "Democracy is before, during and after
the elections." Ironically, Sibanda is a staunch member of Zanu PF, the
party that has ensured that the process has been anything but free and fair.

It has not been free and fair for the judiciary who, since the land
invasions began a year ago, have been continuously threatened and harassed
by Zanu PF war veterans. It has been anything but free and fair for the
judges whom government pressured to resign. It has not been free and fair
for members of the police who were told they would lose their jobs if they
supported the MDC and who have been forced to compromise their professional
integrity by following "orders from above" that they should not attend to
MDC complaints. It has not been free and fair for Tapiwa Matunya, who had
his identity document confiscated by the police at a roadblock. Thousands of
Zimbabweans have had their IDs taken away in a similar fashion, by police,
the army or Zanu PF militants. Without their IDs they cannot vote.

It has not been free and fair for Linda Moyo, who was beaten on her genitals
by Zanu-PF youths "so that she does not give birth to MDC supporters". Even
her exalted status as MDC member of parliament for Mutasa did not protect
Evelyn Masaite from a severe beating, just two days before the election.
Masaite was investigating a case in which 10 MDC polling agents were
arrested. She was assaulted at Ruda police station in Honde Valley. It has
not been free and fair for tens of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans who
have had to flee the violence and intimidation of the 9 000-strong Zanu PF
militia. It has not been a free and fair process for Sitshengisiwe Mpofu,
Agnes Dube and David Nyoni, whose rural homesteads in St Peter’s village in
Matabeleland were torched by Zanu PF militants. This was their punishment
for not attending Mugabe’s campaign rally in Bulawayo. Anna Sibanda, of the
same village, was in her hut with her one-month-old-baby Happiness when it
was set alight. She just managed to escape with her baby. The Midzi family
of Bindura was less fortunate. Their son was killed for campaigning for the
MDC. Their uncle was abducted and murdered for attending the funeral. After
death threats forced the family to flee to Harare their house was ransacked
and occupied by Zanu PF supporters.

It has not been fair that there has been a lack of moral condemnation from
the governments of the region and regional institutions like the Southern
African Development Community and the Organisation of African Unity. It has
not been fair that observers have talked about "violence on both sides". Of
the 91 cases of torture, violence and intimidation recorded in the
Zimbabwean Human Rights NGO Forum report, MDC supporters were identified as
perpetrators in five cases, and arrests were made in three of those. No
arrests were made in more than 70 human rights violations attributed to Zanu
PF. Clashes between members of rival political organisations are one thing;
state-organised violence in which trained militia, the police and the army
are involved is quite another.

There are those in this region who dismiss the fuss over the violence. What
are 150 lives lost and a few hundred tortured in the greater scheme of
things? After all, more than 1 000 people died in the 1994 election in SA,
but that election was still considered fair. What is happening in Zimbabwe
"is a Sunday school picnic compared to what happened in East Timor", noted
one SA election observer. The first democratic elections in SA and East
Timor were the culmination of protracted and bitter struggles and violence
was to be expected in that context. It is not fair that Zimbabweans, who
paid a heavy price to hold their first democratic elections in 1980, should
pay so dearly 22 years later. There is no reason one single Zimbabwean
should have died in the past two elections. It makes a mockery of the notion
of democracy. The concept of a free and fair election has been stretched so
far that for many Zimbabweans it has lost all meaning. That is why we hope
and pray, with every fibre of our being, that tomorrow will be another

Born in Zimbabwe, Elinor Sisulu worked for the Zimbabwean government in the
early eighties. An academic and writer, she published an award-winning
children’s book, When Gogo Went to Vote, in 1994, and is currently working
on the authorised biography of ANC leaders Walter and Albertina Sisulu.

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Zim Standard

Zimbabwe's shattered dream

By Tendai Mutseyekwa

HARARE-After spending two days away from his lucrative pharmacy business,
just to cast his vote in Zimbabwe's historic presidential election, John
Muponda of Harare is a dejected man. Like the majority of the people in
Zimbabwe's capital, Muponda was convinced that time was now up for Robert
Mugabe who has ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1980.

But from day one of the two day polling on March 9, the situation for urban
voters pointed to a grim outcome.

While Muponda was able to cast his vote after spending a total of 19 hours
in the queue, others such as Hamunyari Machimbi were not so lucky.

"When the court extended the voting to Monday, we were quite relieved as we
genuinely believed we would finally be accorded our right to vote. But
surprisingly polling stations only opened well after midday and closed at
6pm in our area, despite assurances by the head of the Election Directorate
that no one would be denied their right to vote," says Machimbi.

"It was like a war situation. Heavily armed police just descended on us as
we waited to vote and told us that they were closing the polling station,"
he added.

The magnitude of the Zanu PF government's determination to win by hook or
crook was amply demonstrated by its abrupt decision to disenfranchise
thousands of voters in the city, by cutting the number of polling stations
by half. The result of this is that out of a possible 800 000 registered
voters, less than 50% were able to cast their ballot in an election the
majority were eager to participate in.

The opposition MDC estimates that up to 360 000 people were denied the right
to vote in Harare and neighbouring Chitungwiza, despite the fact that they
had turned up at polling stations.

In sharp contrast, marginal rural areas recorded high turnouts of up to 80%,
thus giving Mugabe a comfortable 56% majority in the end. What had been
expected to be Mugabe's exit ticket has turned out to be another six years
in office for the 78-year-old leader.

If he lives through his term, Mugabe will be 84 when the next election is
due and would have ruled Zimbabwe for an incredible 28 years. There is no
guarantee that he will not decide to stand again, if he still has the
energy. Some Zanu PF loyalists say 'The Old Man' is so obsessed with power
that he has vowed to die in office.

Back on the streets of Harare, a solemn mood prevails. But more worrying is
the simmering anger within.

"We definitely cannot wait for another six years to dislodge this old man,"
says Walter, a resident of Warren Park suburb. "There has to be a 'Plan B',
otherwise we will all be condemned to poverty. What this election has
demonstrated is that Bob cannot be removed through the ballot, perhaps he
has to go out the way he came-through the barrel of the gun."

Such are the radical sentiments amongst the more militant elements in

The election has also provided further evidence as to how polarised Zimbabwe
has become. Of course it will always be debatable whether Mugabe's election
trump card of giving land back "to the people" did the trick with the
impoverished peasants, or whether it was the brutal violent campaign by his
supporters. Because of their unsophisticated nature, Mugabe's party
considered rural voters as a soft target for a bitter-sweet campaign. While
by night untold terror was unleashed on them, by day they were courted with
hand outs such as free fertiliser and maize seed, as well as promises for
more land.

Whatever the influence, Mugabe received a resounding thumbs up from the
rural electorate who suddenly found themselves flooded with polling stations
for their convenience. In achieving this, Mugabe might as well have divided
the people of Zimbabwe, as urban dwellers now feel their rural counterparts,
who are at the margins of economy, have become a 'superfluous appendage'.

The average Zimbabwean worker also feels betrayed by the southern African
regional ministerial task force, which from the onset betrayed its sympathy
towards Mugabe's party, despite the rampant abuse of power that was evident
and well documented.

It therefore came as no surprise when the Sadc team declared soon after
Mugabe was declared winner: "Despite reported incidents of preelection
violence and some logistical short-comings during voting, it is the
considered opinion of the Sadc Ministerial Task Force that the elections
were substantially free and fair, and were a true reflection of the will of
the people of Zimbabwe."

Others to endorse the flawed election included South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania
and China, which has no history of democratic elections.

Tsvangirai, who garnered 42% of the vote, disagrees with the assertion that
the election results reflect the will of the people. "There was a calculated
and insidious disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters,
particularly in Harare and Chitungwiza, where Zimbabweans desiring and
determined to vote were deliberately and in a calculated manner denied the
basic elementary right to vote. The opposition leader told journalists soon
after the announcement of the results.

He has also pledged not to "abandon the people of Zimbabwe in this their
greatest hour of need".

In the meantime, an uneasy calm prevails in Harare as people contemplate
their future. Zimbabweans are well know for their patience, but are they
prepared to go for another six years under the authority of an unpopular
president, who many feel cheated his way to victory?

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Zim Standard

EU to target more Zanu PF officials

By Farai Mutsaka

THE European Parliament ( EP) has said the list of Zanu PF officials
targeted for personal sanctions should be widened to include Zimbabwe's two
vice presidents as well as finance and economic development minister, Simba

The parliament has also called on South Africa to assume its leadership role
in the region more seriously by exerting pressure on President Mugabe who
was reelected to office last week in an election that has largely been
dismissed as unfair and not representative of the people's will.

The call to include vice presidents Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika, as well
as Makoni on the sanctions list, came as the EU raised concern over the
rigged Zimbabwean presidential election poll.

A parliamentary motion for resolution dated 14 March 2002 said: "The
European Parliament calls on the Council to respond with further measures
against the Mugabe government, including an extension of the EU's blacklist
of President Mugabe and 19 Zanu PF insiders to include Zimbabwe's vice
presidents and the finance minister and others.

"Insists that assets held overseas by Zimbabwean leaders as a result of
their exploitation of their power in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries
should be traced and reserved for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe."

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Yahoo News

Mugabe vows to speed up land reform

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's newly sworn-in President Robert Mugabe has
vowed to speed up his country's controversial and often violent land reform
programme, saying his victory was a triumph against British imperialism.

"The land reform programme must proceed with greater speed and strength so
the losses and drawbacks of the current drought-ridden season can be
overcome," he said in a speech shortly after he was sworn in for another
term in office.

Mugabe launched a scathing attack on former colony power Britain, saying "We
have dealt a stunning blow to imperialism."

"You certainly have been able to see how Britain and its white allies have
blatantly sought to ensure that this last presidential election be won by
their protege and yet not by me and ZANU-PF," he told the audience including
neighbouring heads of state.

Mugabe's main rival in the election, Morgan Tsvangirai, has branded the vote
"daylight robbery." Western powers including Britain and the U.S. boycotted
the ceremony.

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Observer Worldview Extra
Africa on Mugabe

President Mugabe only wants to hear Africa's views of his election victory.
But the congratulations of his fellow rulers do not tell the full story. A
selection of commentary from Zimbabwe, southern Africa and beyond.

Observer Worldview

Sunder Katwala
Sunday March 17, 2002

The Zimbabwean election has divided the west and Africa - at governmental
level. Election observers from South Africa, Nigeria and SADC were ready to
call the election legitimate - although Zimbabwe's own independent
observers, other African observers and those from the Commonwealth were not.
But while the Zimbabwean government has criticised western protests as
neo-colonial, equally strident voices of criticism came from African civil
Outside the state-run media, there were very few willing to defend Mugabe in
Africa last week, although the overwhelming view was that Africa and the
world will now have to accept the reality and deal with the consequences of
President Mugabe's self-proclaimed victory.

One of the most telling editorials was that of The Monitor (Kampala,
Uganda), which was representative of the majority view in its anger and
measured pessimism, arguing that "what happened in Zimbabwe played into the
hands of people who stereotype Africans negatively. For example there was
the sheer incompetence. In Uganda, at least to our credit, even botched and
stolen elections are executed relatively efficiently. ....Worst of all, was
the inability of African leaders to express some outrage at the handling of
the elections. Again this serves up the worst prejudices that African
politicians are amoral. If Mugabe knew that other African leaders,
particularly people like South African leader Thabo Mbeki or Nigeria's
Olusegun Obasanjo would criticize his excesses, he would moderate his
behaviour. He would still steal the vote, but not so brazenly. And the
collective embarrassment to Africa would be less".

Here is a selection of comment on the election from Zimbabwe, southern
Africa and beyond.

Divided observers

"The Electoral Supervisory Commission accredited, at the last minute, only
400 observers from our network, less than one hundredth of the names that
ZESN had submitted. This severely curtailed the ability of ZESN and its
network of 38 civic organizations from effectively observing the elections
... Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans were deliberately and systematically
disenfranchised of their fundamental right to participate in the governance
of their country. Without the participation of the full electorate there can
be no democracy ... We express great concern about the figures we are being
provided concerning the number of registered voters in the rural and urban
areas. It appears there has been a deliberate attempt to significantly
inflate the numbers of voters in the rural areas ... In summary, there is no
way these elections could be described as substantially free and fair".
Post-election report of theZimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)

"Despite reported incidents of pre-election violence and some logistical
shortcomings during voting, it is the considered opinion of the SADC
Ministerial Task Force that the elections were substantially free and fair,
and were a true reflection of the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
A Ministerial Task Force on Zimbabwe of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC)

Zimbabwe's media

Zimbabwe's presidential election 2002 has come and gone. As expected Zanu-PF
candidate Cde Robert Mugabe romped home to victory with a massive vote ...
Naturally, MDC supporters cannot be part of the jubilation. However, the
majority of people are all out celebrating their victory while others are
going on with their day-to-day business. The prophets of doom have been
shamed ... The police and other members of the security forces should be
congratulated .. our democratic process has triumphed.
Celebratory verdict of the state-run Zimbabwe Herald (state-run newspaper)

President Mugabe's transparently stolen "victory" has not prevented regional
observers, including the South Africans, from declaring the poll free and
fair. In so-doing they have betrayed the trust placed in them by Zimbabwean
voters. These acts of solidarity with the Mugabe regime may satisfy Sadc's
rulers but will contribute to the region's isolation ... In its present
sclerotic form this regime is irredeemable as it will soon discover. That is
the message of the 2002 poll. Meanwhile, 1.2 million Zimbabweans have
declared they will not be intimidated or coerced. We salute those brave
Editorial,Zimbabwe Independent

The Go-To-Hell policy has alienated countries whose aid and co-operation go
back to the days of the liberation struggle. The West will not touch
Zimbabwe with a barge pole, not after an election so riddled with violence
and chicanery only countries with hidden agendas will endorse it as free and
fair ...Morgan Tsvangirai and his team did not for one moment falter in
their challenge to the political behemoth that is Zanu PF. The people who
failed them may live to regret their preference for a party of violence and
The tragic reality of a Mugabe victory, Daily News

The uneven playing field was bound to produce a pre-determined result.
Zimbabweans were bound to be disappointed and angered, but that is now water
under the bridge. They will fight another day. But the poll result spells
much more pain and suffering because, from now on, the entire international
community will treat this country as a pariah which it is
Editorial, Financial Gazette

African media

Save for some African countries, which unsurprisingly have validated the
flawed elections, the dominant verdict is that the elections could hardly
pass the test of freeness and fairness .... We commend the Zimbabwe
Elections Support Network (ZESN), an organisation representing 38 churches
and civic groups, for its position that challenges the notion that the
Zimbabwean elections satisfied African standards. It is pejorative to speak
of African notions of democracy, which is only a shade better than
monarchical and autocratic propensities so commonplace on the continent. Our
standards must be universal or at least be seen to be striving in that
The Guardian (Lagos, Nigeria)

South Africa's response will have a defining influence on the life chances
of many millions of people ... The moral issue should be as clear to Mbeki
as it is to the majority of Zimbabweans whom Mugabe has cheated of the
president they want. Mbeki must make it clear in carefully modulated
language that South Africa finds the conduct of the elections unacceptable -
though it will now deal with the victor. Mbeki will appreciate that it is
vital that Mugabe absent himself, or be removed, from government in Zimbabwe
as quickly as possible. We have a real interest in how our neighbours
behave. Their behaviour is our business. They must be made aware that we
take this view. If Africa is to develop the productive forces and markets it
needs in order to rise out of its poverty, some process akin that described
in the new economic partnership for Africa's development (Nepad) will have
to unfold. Nepad's lodestars include good governance, the rule of law, sound
economic management and democratic government. These are values - moral,
political and economic - on which we should brook no further compromise.
Editorial, Mail and Guardian, South Africa.

Whether we like it not - and many people do not like it - Dr Robert Mugabe
remains the President of Zimbabwe. What we say is that the people have given
their verdict. The way ahead for Zimbabwe is for both sides to drop the
stridency with which they conducted themselves in the run-up to the ballot.
Dr Mugabe and his party must be keenly aware of the great number of enemies
they have internationally. They must recognise that, in many ways, these are
enemies of their own making ... The opposition also has a vital role to play
in this national and international reconciliation which is the only way save
the country.
Editorial, The Nation(Kenya)

The dispute in the Zimbabwe election between the ruling ZANU-PF and the
opposition and critics illustrate just how similar contemporary opposition
groups in Africa are. They have built a political trademark of over relying
on their former colonial masters and imperial interests as their main
driving force. Also they often heavily rely on well-orchestrated false
propaganda against their incumbents to whip up local emotions and winning
external support.
Editorial, New Vision (Uganda)

We would like to reiterate our disgust at the volatile political climate
obtaining in Zimbabwe, and the political violence which continues to occur
even at a crucial time when thousands of that country's citizens were hoping
to use their democratic right to vote in a new President, although we at The
Gazette, never cheated ourselves thinking that the Presidential elections
would be free and fair ... Perhaps Mugabe needs to take a cue from Botswana
and learn a few tips on how to conduct an election. If he has nothing to
fear, why then does Mugabe hate anything that has pretences with democracy?
Editorial, The Botswana Gazette

Unfortunately it seems clear that there are those, and they include certain
factions in Namibia, who hail Mugabe's win as a "victory over
neo-colonialism, imperialism and foreign sponsored puppetry". These were the
unfortunate words used in a message from Swapo to Zanu-PF ... It is truly a
disgrace that Namibia's ruling party, presiding over a country which prides
itself on its commitment to democracy, can condemn nearly half the
Zimbabwean population who want Mugabe out. The African apologists for Mugabe
are an embarrassment to all those who stand for democracy, good governance
and the rule of law ... Whatever our concerns about the process leading up
to the Presidential elections, it is now a 'done deal' and Mugabe gets
another term. We would hope the outcome, however flawed, opens his mind to
the reality that nearly half of all Zimbabweans voted against him; that he
therefore has a huge task ahead to re-unite the people he has helped divide.
Editorial, The Namibian (Namibia)

Not many people will differ with Tsvangirai when he says the poll was "the
biggest electoral fraud" of his life. But that "fraud" is the reality that
Zimbabweans have to deal with. Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai should get over
the election hangover and seek ways to work together and craft a future for
their own country. Mugabe should invite the MDC into a government of
national unity ... If the world, particularly the powerful nations in the
world, seek to help Zimbabweans, they should seek constructive ways of doing
so. Ways that reach far beyond the rhetoric contained in their post-election
press statements.
Jovial Ranto, The Star, South Africa

Most observers saw a huge systematic effort by Mugabe to rig the election.
Our mission chief Sam Motsuenyane saw only the odd "administrative
oversight". He was jeered by diplomats and journalists when he delivered his
report. South Africa is being ridiculed as an apologist for a despot ... If
we think we can ease Mugabe out by quiet diplomacy, are we not once again in
danger of Mugabe playing us for fools, as he has through every other episode
of such diplomacy? We will do better in Zimbabwe by telling Mugabe what we
really think of him and what he should do. Given the poor results of quiet
diplomacy so far, he is probably just as likely to respond to public as to
private pressure. And if he tells us to go to hell anyway, then we at least
walk away with our credibility intact.
Peter Fabricus, The Star, South Africa

It is time Mugabe did a complete about turn and took a serious look at the
economic wasteland that Zimbabwe has become. In the run up to the elections
it became public knowledge that African leaders had buried their heads in
the sand like the proverbial ostrich in the face of the anarchy that was
brewing in that country... The repercussions of the Zimbabwean crisis could
spell doom for the SADC economy. African leaders should wake up to such a
Editorial,Mmegi magazine (Botswana)
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Zim Standard

Rural blackout pays for Mugabe

By Chengetai Zvauya

WHEN Zanu PF declared rural areas no-go areas for the opposition MDC during
the run up to the just-ended presidential election, few envisaged the impact
this would have on the outcome of the poll.

Quite convinced that it stood no chance of winning support from urban areas
where people are better informed about issues at stake, Zanu PF chose to
manipulate the less sophisticated rural populace in its bid to drum up
support for President Mugabe.

A visit to most rural areas revealed the impact of the ruling party's terror
campaign, as villagers would not even dare mention the name of Mugabe's main
challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai.

The terror campaign was further manifested when Zanu PF hooligans erected
roadblocks along roads and paths leading to rural polling stations, where
they demanded party cards before letting prospective voters through. In many
villages, headmen were ordered to compile a list of their subjects who had
voted, with a stern warning that there would be reprisals should Mugabe lose
in their respective areas.

Because of these terror tactics, the MDC was unable to campaign meaningfully
in virtually all rural areas, leaving villagers at the mercy of Zanu PF
propaganda, particularly from the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation. Papers unaligned to Zanu PF such as The Standard, Zimbabwe
Independent, Daily News and Financial Gazette were banned in most areas
outside the major cities as Zanu PF sought to effect an information blackout
in the targeted areas.

The orgy of violence which started in 2000 left many rural constituencies
living in fear as the war veterans and government-trained Zanu PF militia
preached the gospel of terror.
Tsvangirai told The Standard that his party was not able to carry out its
programmes in the rural areas as they encountered many incidents of
political violence.

"Apart from massive rigging of the elections, violence also contributed to
the outcome. My convoy was attacked many times by Zanu PF supporters in the
run up to the election," said the MDC leader who got 42% of the vote.

"Many of our supporters' homes were destroyed, resulting in them fleeing."

Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairman, Dr Reginald Matchaba-Hove,
shared Tsvangirai's sentiments.

"Mugabe incited violence in his campaign, the rural people voted for Zanu PF
out of fear. Our team which was supposed to monitor elections were denied
the right to educate the rural electorate on their democratic right to vote
for a candidate of their choice. They were victimised a lot by the war
veterans and accused of campaigning for the opposition party."

The most volatile provinces were Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West
Mashonaland Central, Midlands and Manicaland.

The two-year terror campaign also saw over 100 MDC supporters die at the
hands of Zanu PF thugs, most of whom have not been brought to book.

Even on polling day, 1 400 polling agents of the MDC were denied access to
the polling stations by Zanu PF supporters who abducted them.

Foreign election observers were not spared the wrath of Zanu PF violence as
some were attacked in Chinhoyi, Kwekwe and Marondera West.

Many people from the urban constituencies were also barred from visiting
their parents and relatives as Zanu PF feared they would spread the 'MDC
propaganda' to rural areas.

In remote areas of Mashonaland East, Mugabe polled an incredible 37 000
votes, far surpassing polling in any of the urban constituencies where the
number of voters was so large that thousands of people were not able to
vote, despite an extension of polling days.

On average, the MDC had 4 000 votes in each rural constituency, as opposed
to Zanu PF's 20 000.

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Zim Standard

Top Zanu PF officials under probe over diamonds

The United States government is vigorously pursuing links between top Zanu
PF officials involved in diamond trading in the DRC, amid reports that some
of the individuals concerned have been found to have links to Al Queda and
Hizbollah terrorist organisations.

Top intelligence reports emerging from Washington yesterday say that a
number of Zimbabwean businessman, and at least one woman, who have been
named, have been under intense investigation, as has been one commercial
bank suspected as having been used as a front to finance the diamond

So serious is the investigation that US assistant secretary of state for
African affairs, Walter Kansteiner, is said to have raised the issue with
South African president Mbeki at a meeting in Pretoria last week.

Said a source yesterday: "They are at a very advanced stage in their
investigations. This is now a highest priority for the American goverment
because they do not want Harare to become a possible centre for funding for
terrorist organisations."

According to the sources, US intelligence has now established the details of
the buyers, some of whom are known to have travelled from Harare to Pakistan
where the diamonds were sold.-Staff Writer
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Zim Standard

ZCTU plans mass stayaway

By our own Staff

ZIMBABWE faces a crippling month-long job stayaway by the country's workers
who feel the 78-year-old Robert Mugabe cheated his way into office in last
week's presidential election, The Standard has learnt.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) confirmed to The Standard on
Friday that it was under pressure from workers to act swiftly against what
they termed "Mugabe's stolen victory".

While ZCTU president, Lovemore Matombo, refused to confirm the starting date
and duration of the proposed mass action for fear of strong arm tactics by
government, reliable sources said it could start as early as this later this
month. The Standard is also reliably informed that several industrialists
have expressed solidarity with the impending ZCTU action and have agreed to
pay their workers their full wages for the duration of the stayaway.

Matombo said workers want immediate action against Mugabe.

"We are consulting various stake holders. The workers want action now. They
are demanding that we act now in defence of the existing labour force which
is being threatened by the government," said Matombo.

Reacting to the breaking up of their executive meeting by police on
Thursday, the ZCTU president said: "The purpose of our meeting was to
discuss peace after the elections. There is a lot of tension because of the
outcome and we wanted to tell workers to remain calm, but we were denied the
chance by the police.

"Our freedom of expression and association was curtailed by the police, and
whatever happens will be the creation of the state-they can't blame us."

He said the ZCTU was not advocating a showdown with government, but was
merely carrying out its mandate as the representative of the workers.

Zimbabweans were shocked when on Wednesday it was announced that President
Mugabe of Zanu PF had romped to victory with a 56% majority in an election
in which his chief rival, the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai, was expected to have
won comfortably. Several opinion polls conducted prior to the election had
pointed to an MDC victory, but a massive rigging exercise carried the day
for Zanu PF.

According to official figures from the registrar-general's office, there was
a voter turnout of between 70 and 80% in rural areas, while urban areas
recorded a lowly voter turnout of 40%. These figures have been widely
disputed as many areas of Harare were known to have been characterised by
long queues of anxious voters while the polling period had to be extended by
a day in Harare and Chitungwiza.

Professor Masipula Sithole of the Mass Public Opinion said because of the
controversy surrounding Mugabe's re-election, a reaction from workers was

"The possibility is always there unless a miracle happens. But the economy
is in a mess-if it is not corrected the people will express their anger," he

Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, said
his organisation did not recognise Mugabe's victory.

"We have rejected the election and we are calling for mass action to push
for a new constitution because everything about the election hinges on the
constitution," said Madhuku.

Apart from local pressure, Mugabe has been roundly criticised by the
international community for refusing to conduct a transparent and fair
election. Notable countries and organisations that have dismissed the
election as a fraud include the United States, Britain, the European Union,
the Commonwealth, Australia and New Zealand.

The Zimbabwean leader has, however, received recognition from his allies
such as China, Libya, the African Union, and the Sadc Ministerial Task
Force. President Thabo Mbeki of South African is yet to make his position
clear, although his deputy, Jacob Zuma, expressed solidarity with Zanu PF
when he visited Zimbabwe last week.

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Zimbabwe whites head for exit
Jon Swain and RW Johnson, Harare

ZIMBABWE’S embattled white farming community, much of whose land is occupied
by thousands of black squatters, awoke last week to the victorious but
ominous sound of drumbeats in celebration of President Robert Mugabe’s
re-election for six more years. “The squatters’ drumming seemed to herald
our funeral,” said one farmer bleakly. “They are burying our hopes to stay
In the streets of Harare, the capital, jubilant Mugabe supporters carried a
mock coffin for Morgan Tsvangirai, the defeated opposition leader. In
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, white workers at a meat business found
mock ballot papers pushed under their doors with a large cross marked in the
box for Mugabe.

Scrawled on one paper was a victory rant and a scathing reference to the
British government. “Our father, Comrade Mugabe, told these notorious dogs
that with or without sanctions, we are not going to stop the land
 programme,” it said. “You, the white people, if you want business in
Zimbabwe, do it. But if you want politics, go back to your own country.”

Across this agriculture- dependent country, the white community is stunned
and dejected by Mugabe’s dubious election triumph in a rigged poll. They are
a hardy and resilient bunch whose ranks have been constantly winnowed by
emigration. The ones that remain are those who have refused that option many

Since Mugabe won the presidential election last week thousands have been
urgently considering emigration again, however, and the exodus, already
acute, is expected to accelerate sharply. Removal companies stand poised.

“We’re out of here,” said David Bateson, the owner of a small electrical
business. “If Tsvangirai had won, money would have come in and the economy
would have picked up. But with this maniac in charge the only direction is
down. We love this place and we’ve stuck it out but if we are going to make
a go of it in Australia we had better start now.”

The despair of the whites is echoed by the black business and intellectual
elite, people Zimbabwe can least afford to lose, and who are also expected
to emigrate in large numbers to look for a better life. The poor, unable to
leave, are likely to grow more hungry and angry.

Thousands, in desperation, have risked their lives this year swimming across
the crocodile-infested Limpopo River to reach South Africa.

“I believe that Zimbabwe is on the brink of civil strife,” said John
Makumbe, a respected political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe. He
described Mugabe’s win as a “triumph of force, lies and corruption” over a
generation of skilled Zimbabweans eager to work hard to improve the country.

Many prominent intellectuals, some of them former Mugabe supporters, have
left their homeland already. They include Alfred Nhema, a political
scientist, Chenjerai Hove, a writer who called Mugabe “the violent
 president” and Thomas Mapfumo, the singer and composer of black nationalist
songs during the liberation war against Ian Smith’s white-ruled Rhodesia.
Mapfumo’s last album, critical of Mugabe, has been banned.

From a peak of 300,000, the white community was down to 70,000 a year ago.
Nobody seems able to give an accurate count for the number who are left
today. But whatever it is, the gloomy prediction is that as many as half
could go over the next year.

This is especially true of farmers. Farming was the largest part of the
economy. It has shrunk by more than half since land seizures started two
years ago when, faced with his first determined opposition from the newly
created Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Mugabe sent war veterans onto
white farms.

Mugabe’s re-election has brought the prospect of more wholesale seizure of
land, violence and intimidation, leading to the final collapse of their
industry and livelihood.

Out in the countryside the impact of his policies is devastating: fields
that should be planted are idle and scattered with squatter huts surrounded
by individual patches of corn. Half a million people face starvation but
Zimbabwe has almost no foreign currency reserves left to buy the cornmeal
needed to feed them over the next year.

“There is a huge feeling of doom and gloom. We are urging members to hang
on, but we cannot hold on for longer than two or three months,” said Peter
Goosen, of the Commercial Farmers Union. “After that, you will see the
emigration of Zimbabwe’s farmers — a huge number of refugees. They will go
to South Africa, or to Zambia and Botswana, which have welcomed farmers with
open arms.”

As he spoke, reports were emerging of mobs of supporters of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF
party raiding more white farms. Fifteen farmers were given up to six hours
to leave. Five had their homes looted. On one farm, dairy cattle were
slaughtered by invaders celebrating Mugabe’s victory.

Goosen owns 4,700 acres northwest of Bulawayo. He was born in Zimbabwe, his
parents, grandparents and great-grandparents lived here and he bought his
farm in 1985. Last August it was invaded by 70 self-styled war veterans who
fired 59 of his 83-strong workforce and threatened them with spears, axes,
iron poles, knives, chains and knobkerries. They told Goosen he would be

Despite a letter from the district governor confirming that they were
squatting illegally, they were never removed. Yesterday, they were still at
his farm, looting machinery parts and stealing farm equipment.

“Now they are saying, ‘We have won the election, so we have won your farm.
Now we are going to take it,’ ” Goosen said.

The thin sliver of hope is that now Mugabe is back in power for six more
years there is no further need for intimidation and violence. His inaugural
address when he is sworn in as president will provide the first clues to his

“We are all waiting to see what he does next. That will be the proof of the
pudding — of which there isn’t any,” said Jim Sinclair, who has been living
off savings in uncomfortable semi-retirement in Harare since he was driven
off his farm by war veterans.

On Monday, Sinclair goes on trial charged with assault after some of his
enraged farmworkers rose against the war veterans and temporarily drove them
off. Arrested and jailed, he has been out on bail for four months. His two
sons, Douglas and David, are both farmers. David, his wife and their three
children are also making do in Harare having been driven off their farm and
are waiting for Mugabe’s next step. If they decide to leave, it will be for
New Zealand.

Alex Goosen, a cousin of Peter Goosen, believes that up to 40% of his farmer
neighbours will go over the coming months.

After his farm was invaded he diversified and now owns a butchery and
engineering business. All his 38 staff are black.

He said he was determined to hang on despite persecution by police and
squatters because he had actively helped the opposition by transporting
their polling agents during last week’s elections.

Goosen said he took heart from the fact that blacks and whites were
suffering alike the consequences of Mugabe’s presidency.

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Saturday, 16 March, 2002, 12:52 GMT
South Africa looks on nervously
Celebrating Zanu-PF supporters
Zanu-PF supporters celebrate in Harare
test hello test
By Barnaby Phillips
BBC Johannesburg correspondent

The elections in Zimbabwe have aroused strong feeling across the world - but perhaps nowhere more so than in neighbouring South Africa.

Zimbabwe is a constant nagging reminder of how a multi-racial society in Africa can go badly wrong

The economies and societies of Zimbabwe and South Africa are closely entwined, and Zimbabwe's current political crisis has put South Africa in an uncomfortable position.

Listening to the spluttering rage and indignation on the radio talk shows or reading the letters in the newspapers, only one thing has mattered this week in South Africa - and it's Zimbabwe.

But in the six months I have been living in this country, Zimbabwe has never been far from people's minds.

And what heat and anger it arouses.

Fear of the future

I've yet to meet a white South African who doesn't think President Mugabe is a wicked despot.

South African President Thabo Mbeki
Mbeki does not want to undermine regional security
Among them is a vocal minority of ex-Rhodesians, who crossed over into South Africa at Zimbabwe's independence.

Some, no doubt, still full of nostalgia for the racist idyll that was their Rhodesia.

Others who genuinely want today's Zimbabwe to succeed, and are dismayed by its plight.

But there's also fear in the white reaction. Fear that Zimbabwe is holding up a mirror to South Africa, and showing it where it will be 20 years down the road.

Different perceptions

At the best of times, white South Africans don't need too much encouragement to feel nervous about their future on this continent.

Mugabe says take the land back, he says Africa is for black Africans. How can this message not appeal to the miserable in South Africa's urban squatter camps

Zimbabwe is a constant nagging reminder of how a multi-racial society in Africa can go badly wrong.

It also serves as another reminder - of just how different perceptions are across South Africa's racial barrier.

Apartheid is not just a humiliating memory for the black majority in this country.

Its consequences - the wealth enjoyed by most white people, the poverty endured by most black people - are still the everyday facts of life.

President Mugabe says take the land back. He says Africa is for black Africans.

How can this message not appeal to the miserable in South Africa's urban squatter camps, to the millions in the countryside hoping to get the land back that was taken from them under apartheid?

Approving and disapproving

Most black commentators in South Africa fiercely condemn President Mugabe's violent methods.

Often, however, they welcome his stated goals - to sweep away the vestiges of colonialism, to right historical wrongs.

And no-one appears more equivocal about Zimbabwe than South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki.

In the days since the election, governments all over the world have been quick to condemn or congratulate President Mugabe on his victory.

But from the leader of the most powerful country in Africa, just next door to Zimbabwe, there is silence.

President Mbeki is in consultations. His advisors say he must not do or say anything that will undermine regional stability.

The problem is that it is not only white South Africans who need re-assuring that President Mbeki believes what has happened in Zimbabwe is wrong.

Test case

Whether it is fair or not, Zimbabwe is now regarded in the West as a test case for South Africa - that if South Africa wants to be taken seriously and as an equal partner it must come off the fence.

It must put universal standards of human rights above solidarity between African leaders.

There's one certainty, though - the steady flow of jobless and hungry Zimbabweans crossing into this country will continue, and most likely accelerate

That's certainly how the money markets see things. South Africa's currency, the rand, took another pounding this week.

Economists say the beleaguered rand is suffering from Zimbabwe fever.

As ever, it is hard to know which way President Mbeki will turn.

In private, he is said to have little time for President Mugabe. In public, he rails against white supremacists trying to have things their way in the Commonwealth.

There is one certainty, though - the steady flow of jobless and hungry Zimbabweans crossing into this country will continue, and most likely accelerate.

Escaping to South Africa

Already several thousand slip across the border each month.

The government says there may be one million Zimbabweans here; some put the figure as high as two million.

In the townships, in the poorer parts of the cities, and on the big commercial farms, they are working and living alongside black South Africans.

Sometimes there is friction, more often friendship and shared understanding of difficult lives.

President Mugabe made sure this huge migrant community could not vote - but there is little doubt where its sympathy lies.

The Zimbabwean man who helps out in my garden is typical. His name is Clever, and he comes from Plumtree, in Matabeleland.

We watched television together as the election results came in. Clever was not happy with President Mugabe's re-election.

"Now my country is finished" he said.

"Do you know, I'm already sending back 250 kilos of maize meal each month, just to feed my family?"

What are they going to do now, I asked?

He replied "I don't know, come down here I suppose, there's no other alternative".

South Africa cannot escape Zimbabwe's agony if it tries.

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Mugabe win rests on dead or absent voters, says MDC
By Philip Sherwell in Harare
(Filed: 17/03/2002)

THE turnout in some rural Zimbabwean constituencies which voted
overwhelmingly for Robert Mugabe in last weekend's elections effectively
exceeded 100 per cent, according to the opposition's first detailed analysis
of the results.

The startling findings of the Movement for Democratic Change report,
disclosed yesterday to The Telegraph, point to widespread vote-rigging in
isolated country polling stations after opposition election agents were
chased away by government thugs.

Mr Mugabe was declared victor on Wednesday with 56 per cent of the vote.
There had, however, been panic at his official residence at the halfway
stage of last weekend's two-day poll when he met a small group of trusted
ministers and aides.

They gathered to discuss emergency tactics after long queues built up on
Saturday at polling stations in the cities, where MDC support is high, while
turnout was much lower than they hoped in Zanu-PF's rural heartlands.

The kitchen cabinet put into action plans for a massive last-ditch
vote-grabbing operation on Sunday in countryside districts where MDC
agents - the only non-government representatives at most rural polling
stations - had already been forced to flee by government militia.

President Mugabe reportedly retreated to his private rooms in Zimbabwe House
on Sunday, fearing defeat after 22 years in power.

By the time polling finished, however, there had been a dramatic turnaround.
In the cities, a sharp reduction in polling stations contributed to an urban
turnout of below 50 per cent, while by Sunday evening the figure in rural
areas had mysteriously soared, even though many polling stations were almost
empty on the second day.

The MDC analysis makes dramatic reading. Although the party had been refused
access to the final voters' rolls for the presidential poll - itself a clear
contravention of electoral law - it had commissioned an independent audit of
a January list.

That investigation found that only about 50 per cent of registered voters
were living at the addresses given on the roll. Between 10 per cent and 20
per cent were living elsewhere in the constituency, but the rest had
emigrated, moved away, died or disappeared.

Indeed, a random check of more than 500 Zimbabweans whose deaths had been
registered since 1980 revealed that four-fifths were still listed as voters.

Any percentage turnout officially reaching the high 60s would probably have
required every voter in the constituency to cast their ballot, the MDC says,
while turnouts of more than 70 per cent effectively represent more than 100
per cent.

Several rural constituencies recorded such high figures, particularly in the
northern Mashonaland agricultural belt where Zanu-PF support is strongest.

For example, in Uzumea-Muraba-Pfungwe (73.5 per cent turnout), Mr Mugabe
gained 37,341 votes against 3,197 for the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai; and in
Rushinga (71.6 per cent), the vote split 26,669 to 2,523 in the president's

MDC leaders believe that ballot boxes were stuffed with papers or that
Zanu-PF supporters indulged unhindered in multiple voting in the knowledge
that thousands of registered voters would not turn up as they were either
dead or no longer lived there.

"The voters' roll was Zanu-PF's master-stroke," said Topper Whitehead, a
prominent MDC activist analysing the results.

"It was a deliberate shambles and the discrepancy left them with enormous
scope for stuffing ballot boxes and multiple voting in areas where we had no
polling agents."

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Ruling party violence reported in Zimbabwe
March 16, 2002 Posted: 7:18 PM EST (0018 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- 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.

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

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

"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.

Regional election 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 legitimate.

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.

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The Independent (UK) Leading Article

Condemn Mr Mugabe, but do not forget others even less democratic
18 March 2002

Robert Mugabe, in his state of advancing delusion, accused Britain and its
"white allies" of racism and imperialism at his inauguration for a third,
six-year term as Zimbabwe's president. No doubt some liberals in this
country can be guilt-tripped into thinking that, as a former colonial power,
we have no right to tell Africans how to run their elections. But it is a
weapon which has lost its power even within Zimbabwe. Despite strident
rhetoric against the external enemy, and despite the bribe of the spoils of
white-owned farms and, increasingly, white-owned businesses, Mr Mugabe was
only able to cling to office by preventing large numbers of people from

The main charge of racism which ought to be levelled is that against Mr
Mugabe himself. His anti-colonialist rhetoric has swung far beyond the
legitimate grievances against the unfair distribution of land ownership he
inherited in 1980. Redressing past oppression can be no justification for
the campaign of licensed thuggery and looting against the tiny white
minority, many more of whom will now flee the country. This is no longer
much to do with the minority being white. The last African ruler to pursue a
policy of "indigenising" his country's businesses was Idi Amin, who drove
the Asian minority from Uganda. Mr Mugabe's fine words at his state house
residence yesterday, "If you are a Zimbabwean national, you can never be
something else", ring hollow. Some feel forced by him to become "something
else". Although Australia seems to be preferred to the UK as the destination
for white Zimbabweans, this country should stand ready to provide a home for
refugees – black and white – from Mr Mugabe's persecution.

Mr Mugabe's re-election was illegitimate and, while it may be tactless for
Britain to take too aggressive a lead in putting pressure on his regime,
there should be no doubt about British support for the most vigorous action
possible. The only limiting factor is what the people of Zimbabwe want. Even
if it is assumed that Mr Mugabe's opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, represents
the majority of his fellow citizens, he does not call for full economic
sanctions against Zimbabwe. Hence the right response is one of limited
sanctions and diplomatic isolation – although the signs from South Africa
and the Commonwealth, which are the main actors in this, are not

In one sense, and in one sense only, Mr Mugabe is right to feel unfairly
attacked. That is the extent to which international opinion has focused on
last week's elections which, though flawed, did at least take place. Where
they were able to vote, people did so, and mostly in secret. The contrast
between condemnation by Britain and the US of a flawed election in Zimbabwe
and their friendliness towards – to take one example more or less at
random – Saudi Arabia smacks of double standards.

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, would strengthen his case against Mr
Mugabe if he were to be more vociferous in his defence of human rights and
democracy elsewhere – and especially elsewhere in Africa. Yoweri Museveni,
the current president of Uganda, is favoured by the West because he allows a
free press and pursues economic policies of which we approve, but his
no-party system means Uganda's elections, while nominally free and fair, are
democratically flawed. Kenya is a more obvious case, where President Daniel
Arap Moi's repression of political opposition renders his multi-party system
a mockery of democracy.

Britain and other democracies are right to condemn last week's vote in
Zimbabwe as a fraud, but must adopt a similar uncompromising stance in
demanding free and fair elections in the rest of Africa and the world.
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Independent (UK)

Mugabe issues new threats to white businesses
By Karen MacGregor in Harare
18 March 2002

A defiant President Robert Mugabe warned the white community in Zimbabwe
yesterday that he intended to step up land reforms and would give economic
control to black Zimbabweans.

Expressing joy at his victory in the turbulent presidential poll as he was
sworn in for a further six-year term, the 78-year-old Mr Mugabe described it
as a triumph for democracy in Zimbabwe and a "stunning blow to imperialism".

The international community has denounced the election on 9 and 10 March as
massively rigged and illegitimate, and yesterday's ceremony was boycotted by
US, British and other EU envoys. The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) was not invited.

To cheers from party supporters, Mr Mugabe lashed out at Britain, as he
warned whites of his intent to "greatly" speed up land reform and the
"indigenisation" of the economy. By that, he meant support for black
business and takeovers of minority-owned companies.

Mr Mugabe said Britain, the former colonial power, and its "white allies" in
the West declared the poll not to be free and fair because Mr Tsvangirai,
their favoured candidate, lost.

"But it is our people who decide, who must say so, not you, sirs, and not
one person in 10 Downing Street," Mr Mugabe said. "That ugly head of racism
we thought we had smashed, we have left it alive, it has risen again. A blow
to the head and not the body of the monster is what we need," he said.

The MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube, said the President's inaugural
speech showed "the same old Mr Mugabe – combative and stuck in another

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--> The Age, Melbourne

EU will withhold aid from Zimbabwe: UK minister
LONDON, March 17 PA|Published: Monday March 18, 9:26 AM

The European Union will withhold millions of dollars of aid from Zimbabwe
until it has "a completely different type of government" from that of Robert
Mugabe, British Foreign Office minister Peter Hain warned tonight.

Speaking shortly after Mugabe's inauguration for another six-year term as
president, Hain restated Britain's belief that Zimbabwe should be suspended
from the Commonwealth.

Mugabe's rule and the crisis his policies had brought had "done more damage
to Africa than any other single event in recent memory", he said.

Hain was speaking as Australian Prime Minister John Howard and the leaders
of Nigeria and South Africa prepared to meet in London on Tuesday to decide
whether Zimbabwe should be suspended from the Commonwealth.

They will consider a report by the organisation's observers on last week's
elections, which detail a catalogue of violence, intimidation and
vote-rigging by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Hain told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour: "The observers reported that the
election was very far from free and fair and that has been the view of the

Asked if suspension remained Britain's policy, he said: "That was our
position and unless other practical suggestions come forward that remains
our position.

"What is important is that Zimbabwe needs to be rescued from the terrible,
spiralling decline of economic crisis and economic collapse.

"I know that (South African President) Thabo Mbeki and his colleagues will
be trying to find a way forward in Zimbabwe which benefits not just the
long-suffering Zimbabwean people, but countries like South Africa too.

"The Zimbabwean crisis and Robert Mugabe's culpability for it and his entire
personal responsibility for it have done more damage to Africa than any
other single event in recent memory."

Hain stressed that Britain could not step in and demand changes in Zimbabwe,
where "an African solution for an African crisis" must be found.

But he added: "We stand ready to help. The EU, Britain included, could
provide tens of millions of pounds of development aid to rebuild Zimbabwe
and put it on track to peace and stability and human rights.

"But frankly that requires a completely different type of government and a
completely different type of leadership to that which Robert Mugabe has

In his inauguration speech in Harare today, 78-year-old Mugabe, who has
ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, railed against British

He insisted the West regarded the poll as unfair only because their
preferred candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic
Change, was defeated.

He said: "It is our people who decide, who must say so, not you, sirs, and
not one person in 10 Downing Street.

"That ugly head of racism we thought we had smashed, we have left it alive,
it has risen again. A blow to the head and not the body of the monster is
what we need.

"Thanks to the people of Zimbabwe for loudly saying: Never again shall
Zimbabwe be a colony. I thank them for their resolute anti-imperialist

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