The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

President Robert Mugabe 'raises the dead' to secure electoral victory in Zimbabwe

The Times
March 18, 2008

Jan Raath in Harare
Zimbabwe has the highest proportion of elderly voters in the world,
according to the voters' roll being used for elections next week. A glance
at one page of the roll yesterday for a ward in the Mount Pleasant suburb of
Harare turned up a Fodias Kunyepa, who was born in 1901. Over the page was
Rebecca Armstrong, born 1900.

Somewhat younger was Desmond Lardner-Burke, born 1909, who was the notorious
Minister for Justice in the rebel Rhodesian Government and responsible for
the harassment, arrest and detention without trial of tens of thousands of
black nationalists, including President Mugabe, fighting against white rule
in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mr Lardner-Burke left the country soon after the demise of the illegally
constituted Rhodesian state in 1980, and the establishment of Zimbabwe's
independence. He died soon after, in South Africa. Mr Kunyepa and Mrs
Armstrong are also long dead.

Opposition campaign workers say that the voters' roll is stuffed with the
names of the dead, of non-existent people, of those with fake identity
numbers and with names repeated numerous times in different constituencies,
sometimes in the same ward.

That way, supporters of Mr Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) party will be
allowed by compliant electoral officials to vote repeatedly.
"It also means that when they stuff the ballot boxes, a huge majority will
not appear unreasonable," said one campaigner who asked not to be named.

Mr Lardner-Burke, who was reputed to have a sense of irony, would be amused
at the idea of posthumously helping Mr Mugabe, born in 1924, to win
presidential elections and go on for another five years. "There's one
[person at least 100 years old] on nearly every page of the voters' roll for
Mount Pleasant," said Trudy Stevenson, parliamentary candidate for one of
the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The
roll has 212 pages with 55 names on each.

Before the last elections, in 2005, the MDC was able to get hold of CDs of
the voters' rolls for 12 constituencies, subjected them to digital analysis
and found that 45 per cent of the names on the list were false. Since then
Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, has kept a tight lid on the roll.

Mrs Stevenson has been fighting to get a digital list of the roll, which
takes up five CDs. Under court orders, Mr Mudede complied. He gave her 50
CDs of the roll - but as photographs that cannot be digitally analysed.

Zimbabwe's electoral law also states that the winner of the presidential
election has to have more than 50 per cent of the vote. The provision took
on dramatic importance when Simba Makoni, Mr Mugabe's former Finance
Minister, joined Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, last month in
challenging Mr Mugabe. Analysts say that in the event that Mr Mugabe wins
less than 50 per cent - and he got only 54 per cent in the last presidential
election in 2002 - an alliance between the two opposition candidates would
almost certainly beat him.

However, the Act also states that the one who gets a simple majority is to
be declared the winner. "If it turns out he doesn't get over 50 per cent,
there's no guessing which alternative he will choose," one lawyer said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Electoral Officials Bar Scrutiny Of Suspect Mail-In Ballots


By Patience Rusere and Benedict Nhlapo
Washington Pretoria
17 March 2008

Officials of the non-governmental Zimbabwe Election Support Network and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change said they have been denied
monitoring access to the country's postal balloting system ahead of
elections on March 29.

Election Support Network Chairman Noel Kututwa said that although his group
has been accredited to observe the elections, it has been denied access to
the postal ballot process, which was set in motion late last week.

An estimated 77,000 civil servants, including police officers, soldiers,
diplomats and members of the security forces have started to send in postal

Policy Coordinator Eddie Cross of the MDC formation led by presidential
candidate Morgan Tsvangirai said the party has received reports of police
and soldiers voting under supervision and, in one confirmed case, filling
out multiple ballots.

Kututwa told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the ZEC is obliged by law to provide observers access to all aspects of the
voting process.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe media watchdogs assembled on Monday in Pretoria, South
Africa, said there was little chance the elections taking place March 29
will be free and fair, accusing the Harare government of failing to
implement regional guidelines.

Correspondent Benedict Nhlapho attended the roundtable and reported.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Opposition Factions Report Assaults By Ruling Party Youth


By Carole Gombakomba
17 March 2008

Officials of both groupings of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change said members of their party were severely assaulted today in Harare,
the country's capital, and provincial Bindura, by alleged ruling party youth

Spokesman Gabriel Chaibva of the MDC formation led by Arthur Mutambara said
three members of the opposition wing were assaulted in Mbare, Harare, by a
criminal gang of youths known to locals as "Chipangano" and aligned with the
ruling party.

Elections Director Dennis Murira of the MDC formation led by presidential
candidate Morgan Tsvangirai said three members of his grouping were badly
beaten by at least 85 ZANU-PF youths in Bindura and were receiving medical

Elsewhere, the homes of three opposition members were said to have been
torched at Manga Farm, Bindura, where Minister Without Portfolio and ZANU-PF
Commissar Elliot Manyika is seeking re-election to parliament.

VOA was unable to obtain comment from the ruling party on the allegations.

Meanwhile, a pre-election update by the Zimbabwe Peace Project reflected a
rise in cases of violence and intimidation in the provinces of Harare,
Midlands, Manicaland, Matebeleland North and Matabeleland South.

Peace Project Director Jestina Mukoko told reporter Carole Gombakomba of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the occurrence of incidents of violence in
widely separated areas of the country is a cause for concern to human rights

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF sets up youth camps

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou Tuesday 18 March 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party is setting up camps across the
country for its youth militia, a development that sources said could see a
rise in politically motivated violence and human rights abuses.

The sources said a ZANU PF-linked private consultancy firm had been hired to
market the camps (commonly called bases) as youth centres or clubs. This was
to mask the camps' real function as operational bases for militia deployed
to campaign for President Robert Mugabe's party and drive out the opposition
from its rural strongholds.

"The bases would be disguised as youth clubs. Their mandate is to make sure
that ZANU PF wins these tricky elections," said a source, who spoke on
condition he was not named.

The militia will intensify pressure on the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party, quickly establishing "no go areas" for the
opposition in rural districts as happened in general and presidential
elections in 2000 and 2002, said our source who sits on a ZANU PF committee
overseeing the deployment of the youths.

The committee running ZANU PF's election communication strategy is jointly
headed by party information boss Nathan Shamuyarira and government
information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. Presidential press secretary George
Charamba also sits on the committee.

Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwawo and deputy youth minister Saviour Kasukuwere
are also in the committee and are reportedly the brains behind plan to set
up youth camps.

Young militiamen and women trained under a government national youth
programme, together with war veterans, form the centre-piece of the
government's campaign strategy, unleashing violence and terror against the
opposition to ensure victory for Mugabe and ZANU PF in every major election
since 2000.

Churches and human rights groups accuse the fanatical militia of hunting
down opposition supporters, raping, torturing and sometimes murdering them
as punishment for not backing Mugabe's government, charges the Harare
administration denies.

Shamuyarira yesterday vehemently denied that ZANU PF was deploying youths to
unleash violence on the opposition but said the party was setting up youth
clubs to run income-generating projects as part of an initiative to empower
young Zimbabweans.

"As part of our empowerment programme we agreed to establish the youth clubs
to engage in various economic activities," Shamuyarira told ZimOnline.

"It is absolute hogwash for anyone to suggest that the establishment of the
clubs is meant to unleash violence on the opposition . . . we are not a
violent party and we are very confident that the party will win because it
is tried and tested," he added.

However, our sources said Shamuyarira's committee met on March 4 and agreed
to establish youth camps to drum up support for ZANU PF throughout the

Kasukuwere and Zhuwawo are said to have told the meeting that there was need
to ensure youths were permanently based in constituencies to campaign for

It was agreed that at least 2 000 camps would have to be established which
works out to a camp for each of the country's 2 000 wards. At least five
youths will man each base which comes up to 10 000 youths for all the camps.

Most youths to be used to campaign for ZANU PF will be drawn from the
government's controversial national service youth training programme and
from ZANU PF cell, branch and district youth groups.

Mugabe, presiding over Zimbabwe's worst ever economic crisis, faces the
popular Tsvangirai and former finance minister Simba Makoni in the March 29
presidential ballot being held jointly with elections for parliament and
local councils. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF takes early lead in council polls

Zim Online

by Patricia Mpofu Tuesday 18 March 2008

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party has taken an early
lead in local government elections winning 389 wards unopposed placing it
far ahead of the two factions of the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change party that clinched a combined 39 seats.

1 572 wards countrywide remain up for grabs on March 29 when Zimbabweans
also choose a new president and Parliament.

Independent election monitoring group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
(ZESN) said figures it obtained from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
showed the highest number of councilors who were voted into district
councils unopposed where in Mugabe's rural home district of Zvimba.

The main faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai won more council seats
unopposed in Tsholotsho district in Matabeleland North province, ironically
an area supposedly dominated by the smaller faction of the MDC led by
academic Arthur Mutambara.

The Tsvangirai-led MDC won 25 seats with the Mutambara-led MDC picking up 14
seats unopposed.

Local council elections - that are normally a low-key affair - have always
seen large numbers of seats being decided without a single vote cast than
have parliamentary elections, with ZANU PF reportedly the only party to have
picked at least two parliamentary seats unopposed this year.

Political analyst say an unfair playing field and a political climate of
fear will ensure victory for Mugabe and ZANU PF despite a deepening economic
crisis marked by hyperinflation, shortages of food and every basic

Meanwhile, the government has accredited ZESN to observe elections, the
group's chairman Noel Kututwa said.

There were fears that the government might not allow ZESN, the largest
election monitoring group in the country, to observe the polls after the
group criticised the government's handling of past elections.

"ZESN commends the decision by the Minister of Justice, Parliamentary and
Legal Affairs (Patrick Chinamasa) to approve ZESN's request to observe the
29 March 2008 harmonized elections," said Kututwa.

The Harare government has blocked the European Union, United States and
other governments that have in the past accused Mugabe of violating human
rights and stealing elections.

Russia is the only European country among a host of African and Asian
countries invited to the polls because they are friendly to Mugabe's

Such friendly countries have in the past declared Zimbabwe's elections free
and fair despite politically motivated violence and gross human rights
abuses in the run-up to polls. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Group plans to take home 50 000 Zimbabweans to vote

Zim Online

by Simplicious Chirinda Tuesday 18 March 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Christian Alliance group says it plans to transport some
of the multitude of Zimbabwean immigrants living in South Africa back home
to vote in elections in about two weeks time.

The Alliance said it was looking to move about 50 000 Zimbabweans across the
Limpopo River separating the two countries, adding it was "working out the
logistics" of how best to move such a huge number of people across the
Beitbridge border post that is the busiest in southern Africa.

"We are organising transport for potential Zimbabwean voters in South Africa
to travel home and vote. We are only working on logistics to see how we can
do it best," Christian Alliance spokesman Useni Sibanda told Zimonline on

The Alliance brings together opposition political parties and major civic
society organisations campaigning for a democratic solution to Zimbabwe's
eight-year old social, economic and political crisis.

But Sibanda said political parties were not part to the plan to bring South
African-based Zimbabweans home to vote.

An estimated three million Zimbabweans or a quarter of the country's 12
million population are living outside the country after fleeing home because
of economic hardships and politically motivated violence.

Mugabe's government has denied the exiles, most of who are believed to
support the opposition, the opportunity to vote saying it did not have the
resources to enable all Zimbabweans spread across the globe to vote.

Only Zimbabweans posted abroad on government duty have been able to vote by
post in previous elections. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Exiled Zimbabweans must influence relatives at home to vote for change

Zim Online

      by Mutumwa Mawere Tuesday 18 March 2008

JOHANNESBURG - The stakes are high and yet the debate about the key
challenges that confront Zimbabwe has been predictably hijacked and
imprisoned by a mischievous dichotomous analysis of the Zimbabwean condition
spearheaded by no other than the incumbent President.

Any leader in President Robert Mugabe's position would know what time it is
but it is evident that what citizens are yearning for is regrettably not at
the centre of neither ZANU-PF nor Mugabe's agenda.

The task of reconstructing and transforming the country has played hostage
to a minimalist and divisive approach to nation-building.

Zimbabwe is crying out loud for a leadership that can transcend the
limitations of partisan political discourse to begin to addressing the root
causes of the country's debilitating political and economic crisis.

In only 12 days, registered and eligible voters will confront a ballot paper
asking them to make a choice between four Zimbabwean men.

There are many of us who remain concerned about the Zimbabwean condition but
are not in a position to directly influence the outcome of the elections.

I am acutely aware that if Mugabe were to be re-elected such an outcome
would be absurd not only because I have interests in the country but because
the answer to a better and not bitter Zimbabwe does not lie in him.

All we can and should do is to assist in unpacking the kind of issues that
should hopefully inform those that are privileged to vote or anyone who
believes that democratic change is inevitable in Zimbabwe and the only
sustainable way of advancing such change is to talk to those who have the
capacity to use their pen in a secret ballot to send the message that the
country is serious and ready to move on.

Such people are our relatives and friends and it should be easy for anyone
in the diaspora to reach at least 20 people before the decision day to tell
them about what is at stake.

The state media in Zimbabwe is totally helpless and partisan to assist in
any change agenda.

Makoni's entry has helped to make Mugabe's speeches longer and more
ridiculous and in a sense facilitate the penetration of Morgan Tsvangirai
deeper into traditional ZANU-PF strongholds.

Mugabe is not capable of handling to strong competitors and this election
has the prospect of surprising many. It is important that we all play our
part in this great March surprise by changing the debate about what matters
to Zimbabweans.

President Mugabe like many of his contemporaries are afraid of change and
are at their best when they analyse the Zimbabwean condition in self serving
dichotomies: "puppet v/s patriot"; "progressive v/s reactionary"; "principal
v/s agent"; "wife v/s prostitute"; "Mugabe v/s Tsvangirai/Makoni"; "ZANU-PF
v/s sell-outs/enemies of the state"; "neo colonialism v/s sovereignty" and
"black v/s white".

As a consequence, most of the critical debates of our time have been
imprisoned by this kind of analysis and in the process the policy issues
that ought to be at the centre of these fundamental debates are easily lost.

The campaign language used by Mugabe suggests that Zimbabwe is not in a
crisis and, in fact, the forthcoming election represents nothing but a
constitutionally mandated ritual with predetermined outcomes.

Notwithstanding the anger of citizens, Mugabe has attempted to deflect the
anger and redirect it at his competitors in a hypocritical manner that only
serves to make citizens cynical of elections and political processes.

I am not convinced that many of the members and supporters of ZANU-PF fully
comprehend the magnitude of the crisis and its causes.

It would be simplistic to argue that the Zimbabwean crisis is a product of
imperialism and the actions of the enemies of the state and yet at this
defining stage of the national democratic revolution, it is being argued
that conditions exist for a credible, free and fair election and that the
incumbent President has a clue about what Zimbabwe needs to lift itself out
of the quagmire.

Even Mugabe would accept that one of the foundational principles of the
liberation struggle was the need to restore civil rights to all the country's

However, it appears that over the last 28 years he has changed and sees the
country in partisan terms and in a sense regards himself as a super citizen
endowed with a different set of rights.

The manner in which he has welcomed Makoni's audacious entry into
Presidential politics and the dismissive attitude towards Tsvangirai
suggests that if he had his way, he would have amended the constitution to
disqualify such competitors but fortunately residual democratic order still
exists in Zimbabwe to allow Makoni, Tsvangirai and Towungana to share the
same platform with Mugabe.

If Mugabe cannot erase the names of his competitors from the ballot paper
then it baffles my mind to hear that his colleagues in the army and prison
service would want to pre-empt the outcome of the elections through cheap

What is instructive is that Mugabe has never considered Tsvangirai to be his
equal to the extent that even in the context of the SADC mediated talks he
did not see it fit to meet his fellow Zimbabwean citizen.

It was then left to President Mbeki to shuttle between the two parties and
yet only 29 years ago, the same Mugabe sat at the same negotiating table
with Ian Smith and has credited himself of being an architect of unity with
Joshua Nkomo.

What kind of mind informs Mugabe's thinking about power, citizenship and

It is evident that in Mugabe's mind any political competitor is an enemy of
the state and should not be treated as any patriot seeking the same ends
that he purports to be advancing by wanting to remain in power.

Any government derives its legitimacy from its people. The only reliable
source revenue for any functioning democratic order is tax revenue from

Accordingly, any functional state should not see its role as more than a
referee and facilitator seeking to expand its revenue base to do more for
the vulnerable citizens.

The post colonial government has systematically reduced the revenue base of
the state and of late through a systematic intimidation and harassment
policy has managed to instil fear into its financiers to the extent that the
Zimbabwean today is more dependent on aid than on its own tax contributors.

When you see the RBZ engaging in commercial activities and procuring
tractors and farm implements, then you know its time for fundamental

Ultimately the shareholders of the nation are the citizens that contribute
through taxes to its sustenance.

However, in contemporary Zimbabwe there appears to be a serious disconnect
between the people who elect and who fund the government.

Most able-bodied Zimbabweans have been externalised and are now contributing
taxes to foreign jurisdictions.

If there was any better yardstick to measure the success or failure of
Mugabe's government it is in the area of ensuring the viability of the

Any President who constructively undermines the state's tax base must be
shown a red card.

The Zimbabwean government has succeeded in converting the state into private
fiefdom with a number of opaque godfathers masquerading as state actors.

The role of the RBZ in undermining the state ought to be one of the
fundamental issues to be debated and resolved so that commercial non-state
actors who have been sucked into the corrupt machine can be released to
pursue genuine economic and not politically engineered activities.

The MDC has aptly termed its economic blueprint: "Restart" confirming the
widely held view that the Zimbabwean crisis has deep-seated roots.

* Mutumwa Mawere is a Zimbabwean-born South African businessman

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Contender Makoni Says Mugabe Subject To 'Law of Land'


By Blessing Zulu
17 March 2008

Zimbabwean independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni has said it is
possible President Robert Mugabe could be prosecuted if he fails to win

Makoni told the Financial Times that if he prevailed over President Mugabe
in the poll set for March 29, Mr. Mugabe would be allowed to "retire to his
village" to write his memoirs but would remain subject to "the law of the

The question arose in connection with the so-called Gukurahundi purge of
supporters of liberation rival commander Joshua Nkomo in the 1980s in which
some 20,000 died.

Makoni's statement seemed to indicate repositioning on the question, as he
had said in earlier interviews with VOA and the BBC last month that Mr.
Mugabe could live out his last days without fear of prosecution.

This follows a charge by independent member of parliament Jonathan Moyo, a
former top Mugabe aide now seeking re-election to parliament for Tsholotsho,
Matabeleland North, that retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, belileved to be
aligned to Makoni, served in the infamous Fifth Brigade alleged to have
carried out those massacres.

Mbudzi has denied the charge, saying he joined the Fifth Brigade after that

Political analyst Joy Mabhenge, also executive director of the Zimbabwe
Coalition on Debt and Development, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Makoni has respositioned on the question of
prosecuting Mugabe because he wants to bolster his support among voters in
Matabeleland North and South.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

God must intervene in Zimbabwe

The Zim Diaspora

By Elliot Pfebve

ZIMBABWE has been gripped by an election fever probably never felt before
for a long time.

One might be forgiven to think that the ecstatic mood of the electorate in
Zimbabwe today has never happened before as we prepare ourselves for the
March 29 elections - it happened in 2000 and in 2002 as well.

The question is what has changed - that makes it different this time for
ZANU (PF) not to rig the upcoming elections? Who is likely to be the messiah
Tsvangirai or Makoni? Are we heading for another disappointing long weekend?
What if Mugabe rigs the election and bestows himself life president?

With all political signs compelling, we Zimbabweans must be prepared to
brace for the worst disappointing weekend ever! The biggest question is
whether we can be worse off than we are at the moment? Inflation rate of
over 150,000%, 85% unemployment rate, life expectancy of just 34 years and
an octogenarian president who plans to leave office at the age of 90 or are
100 years.

Surely, if God does really exist this is the time that his testimony must be
seen in the light of delivering salvation to the people of Zimbabwe long
forgotten by everybody except nobody. The fact that we have been reduced to
inhuman surrogates does not reflect what we are or who we are as an African
nation, if it all we deserve better leadership now than we where a million
years ago.

Mugabe has always made sure that those in charge of rigging him to power are
well fed at least a few months before the election, is it not what is
happening now? Ladies and gentlemen the dogs are out again! The service
chiefs one by one will start giving allegiance to Mugabe's war credentials
and even unashamedly declaring war if elections are won by any other than
Mugabe, here is a few;

"Most of us in here are truly owners of the land. This is the sovereignty we
should defend at all costs because for us to get at this point others had to
lose their lives. At this point our gains should never be reversed," Chihuri

I have lifted the following depressing newspaper reading for your own
consumption. Harare - One of Zimbabwe's top defence forces chiefs says he
will not salute former finance minister Simba Makoni or opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai if either wins the March 29 presidential poll, it was
reported Friday.

'I am giving you an order to vote for the President,' Zimondi told senior
army officers at a ceremony in Harare on Thursday.

One needs to understand the structure of the army, CIO and the police. It is
not the army chiefs or police chiefs expressing their opinion, no, they are
expressing the whims of their master Robert Mugabe. We all know that all top
officers of each of the said units are appointed on partisan basis; you have
to be ZANU (PF) both in blood and soul.

 Even in MDC we are making the same mistake, we have of late elected a
former Senior Assistant Commissioner Chawora (shortly a number 3 man from
Chihuri) to lead the party in UK. He was officer commanding the force that
arrested and incarcerated me in Harare for giving Mugabe a finger. Surely it
should be common sense that the man is still connected to his masters or is
it his former masters after all he was appointed by Mugabe himself. How
confidential is our records as a party now?

People must be made to know that in the vent of Mugabe losing the elections;
of course in a free and fair election he will lose, nothing will happen.
Those are empty threats meant to divert us from the elections while Mugabe
is busy rigging, no army can withstand the people's revolution whose time
has come. As much as Mugabe went to war to fight injustice so can we!
Zimbabweans out there, I urge you all to come out in your millions and vote
for change, vote for an MDC government, lets save Zimbabwe. We can do it and
the time is now!

Going back to Makoni, while many will not dispute that he stands out of the
current ZANU (PF) crop of leadership, he cannot absolve himself from blame
for as long as he claims to still belong to ZANU (PF). He is better off
joining MDC where the grass roots are and I am sure MDC will put him to good
use.  It has never happened in Africa that you can win a presidential
election as an independent worse still without grass roots support.

We know Mugabe is busy rigging, and he must be warned that we have the
capacity to be free with or without him.

"Politicians risk being irrelevant for advocating strategies out of their
political capacity. This is not a game of loosely knitted words; it is about
action and indeed shouldering surmountable risks. Politics is not a
business; it is about building a viable national pride against all odds,
bulldozing the obstacles along the way no matter what it takes"

Elliot Pfebve is a political activist and commentator who had fought
elections in an MDC ticket against Border Gezi and Elliot Manyika.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe names judges to Electoral Court

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 03/18/2008 07:43:32
THE Zimbabwe government on Monday announced the appointment of new Electoral
Court judges following a 2005 Supreme Court ruling that the court was not
properly constituted, and its decisions null and void.

The new Electoral Court is made up of Harare justices Antonia Guvava and
Tendai Uchena and in Bulawayo, Nicholas Ndou.

The Registrar of the High Court, Charles Nyatanga, will double up as the
registrar of the electoral court.

In 2005, President Robert Mugabe blasted Justice Uchena for a judgment in
which he said former MDC Chimanimani MP Roy Bennett could seek re-election
in the constituency even though he was still serving a jail sentence for
flooring justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, the previous year during a
parliamentary debate.

The judge said Bennett was not a criminal as his offence, that of pushing
Chinamasa, was not covered in the criminal statutes.

Mugabe said the judgment was "absolute nonsense."

Justice Uchena, with consent from both parties, later withdrew the judgment
paving the way for Bennett's wife Heather to contest and lose to Zanu PF's
candidate and the current Water Resources Minister, Munacho Mutezo.

Heather and 15 other MDC losing candidates later challenged the ruling party's
electoral victory but the Electoral Court dismissed their challenge.

The Supreme Court later nullified the Electoral Court's findings on the
grounds that the Chief Justice had wrongly constituted it after consulting
the Judge President instead of the Judicial Services Commission as
stipulated by the constitution.

In 2007, the government amended the Electoral Act so that it could not
contravene the constitution, paving the way for the latest appointments.

Zimbabweans vote in elections on March 29 and any electoral disputes will be
referred to the Electoral Court.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Letter to Robert Mugabe

The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

His Excellency President Robert G. Mugabe
Office of the President
Munhumutapa Building
Samora Machel Avenue/ 3rd Street
Harare, Zimbabwe

17 March 2008.

Your Excellency,

RE: Retirement and Acceptance of the Presidential Election Outcome

I am an exiled Zimbabwean citizen, respectfully writing to express my
unreserved revulsion to your deafening silence as both the President of
Zimbabwe and the Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF),
over the recent toxic and provocative utterances by your appointed Military,
Para-military, and Police Commanders.

Mr. President, the era of repressive military adventures in modern Africa is
over. Incendiary seditious threats of a coup d'état and to democracy, belong
to the past. Your esteemed office has to repudiate the offending Defence
Force Officers, who have preemptively threatened the imminent will of the

May I humbly remind you, Mr. President that your muteness on this grave
matter is clear acquiescence to the impending violations of international
humanitarian law which shall inexorably occur and of which you shall be
clearly culpable.

Zimbabwe is eagerly awaiting a peaceful election and subsequent transition.

My umbrage with the intentional misuse of military power and your government's
constant flagrant violations of the supreme law of the land, our
constitution, compels me to advise you to plan for a graceful exit from the
Zimbabwean political landscape after the elections.

I trust Mr. President, and appeal to your good office, conscience, and lucid
judgement, that the elections are free and fair. I further request that you
proclaim your austere adherence to the African Union (AU), Southern African
Development Community (SADC), United Nations (UN), and internationally
accepted election standards to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.

Africa and the international community await your dignified exit and long
overdue retirement. At 84, Mr. President, you are now too old, have failed
to understand the youth of the nation, and cling to archaic antiquated
ideals. Zimbabwe seeks to reclaim its rightful place amongst the league of
progressive nations. Do what is best for Zimbabwe and end your legacy

Yours Sincerely,

Phil Matibe.

Back to the Top
Back to Index