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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

BREAKING NEWS from the Commercial Farmers ' Union

Norton farmer murdered

Norton farmer, Terry Ford of Gowrie Farm, who was in his mid-fifties, was
bludgeoned to death sometime in the early hours of this morning, Monday 18th
March 2002.

Just before midnight last night, a group of about twenty, suspected to
consist of settlers and war veterans, approached the homestead area. Mr
Ford, who was alone in the house, immediately made a report to the Norton
police station and alerted a neighbouring farmer. At 02:15hrs this morning,
Mr Ford contacted the neighbour to say that there still had been no police
response and that he would remain vigilant and call for assistance if
necessary. Mr Ford's battered body was found in the early hours of this

This farm is in vicinity of Winsor Farm, where looting took place last week
and the farmer and his family were forced to vacate. Also in the same area,
the homestead at Wilbered Farm, owned by an 81 year old cancer victim who is
away receiving medical treatment, was completely looted of all belongings.
These incidents have been reported to the police at all levels. Of the
group of approximately 70 looters involved in these incidents, 3 have been

The Norton district is controlled by War Veteran leader, Mrs Rusike. The
war veteran base commander on Gowrie Farm is Cde Wamba. Both are known to
have been involved in the previous two looting incidents.

Visit the CFU Website

White farmer executed in upsurge of violence in Zimbabwe

By Angus Shaw, AP

18 March 2002

A white farmer was killed today in escalating post-election violence as President Robert Mugabe met the leaders of South Africa and Nigeria to discuss Zimbabwe's disputed presidential poll.

Several independent observer groups have condemned the last week's elections as deeply flawed and unfairly structured to ensure Mugabe's re-election.

South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo met Mr Mugabe to discuss the conduct of the election and the future of Zimbabwe after two years of widespread violence blamed mainly on ruling party militants. Mr Mbeki was later expected to meet with opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr Mbeki, Mr Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard are to meet in London tomorrow to discuss possible sanctions against Zimbabwe by the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth observer mission said the election did not adequately allow voters to freely express their choice. Industrialized Commonwealth nations have called for Zimbabwe's expulsion for abusing the group's charter on democratic rights.

Since Mr Mugabe was declared the winner of the elections last week, white farmers have reported on upsurge in violence in farming districts.

The white farmer was shot dead near Norton, about 30 20 miles west of Harare in an attack by suspected ruling party militants, the Commercial Farmers Union said.

He was the tenth white farmer killed since militants began often violent occupations of white-owned land in two years ago.

Terry Ford, 51, contacted neighbors late Sunday and reported a group of about 20 militants were besieging his home, union spokeswoman Jenni Williams said. Police reported his death around dawn.

Mr Ford smashed his car into a farm fence to make a getaway but was dragged from the vehicle and shot in the head against a tree in an execution-style killing, the union said.

"There is great concern there has been more activity in the last week in terms of evicting farmers and looting homes" across the country, Ms Williams said.

White farmers have been accused of providing transport and logistical backing for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, the opposition to Mr Mugabe's rule.

Since 2000, more than 1,700 white farms were occupied and the government announced plans to nationalize about 4,500 white-owned properties, 95 per cent of land owned by whites, for redistribution to landless blacks.

The opposition, which narrowly lost parliamentary elections in June 2000, accused Mr Mugabe of seizing land to shore up his waning support and unleashing a campaign of terror to intimidate opposition supporters. At least 150 people have died and tens of thousands have been left homeless, most of them opposition supporters, human rights groups said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


White farmer reported killed in Zimbabwe

HARARE, March 18 — A white farmer was shot dead near his homestead early on
Monday, apparently while trying to escape an attack by settlers and war
veterans, a farm community spokeswoman said.
       It was the first attack on a white farmer since Robert Mugabe was
reelected last week in presidential election marred by violence and charges
of vote rigging.

       Commercial Farmers' Union spokeswoman Jenni Williams told Reuters
Terry Ford of the farm Gowrie, about 40 km (30 miles) southwest of Harare,
was found shot through the head.
       ''There is evidence of a bullet exit wound from the head,'' she said.
       Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed that Ford had been
murdered, but said he had no further details. ''Our men are on the ground
right now investigating,'' he said.
       Ford was the 10th white farmer to be killed since landless blacks
began with government sanction to seize white-owned farms two years ago.
       Williams said Ford was alone on his farm and called for help early on
Monday, saying he was being threatened by farm settlers and veterans of the
former Rhodesia's 1970s liberation war.

       ''Mr Ford contacted police and neighbours, but he did not get much
help because some of his neighbours have moved out of the area. He was alone
in his home and he said he would remain vigilant,'' Williams said.
       ''At 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) this morning his domestic worker reported for
duty and discovered his body lying next to a tree outside the house. There
is evidence that Mr Ford was trying to drive out of the farm,'' she added.
       Williams said there was no immediate word on what led to the killing.
       The government accuses the Commercial Farmers Union, which mainly
represents whites, of using the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) as a front for its effort to maintain white economic dominance.
       About 20,000 commercial farms have been abandoned by white owners or
are occupied by black settlers.
       Mugabe said at his inauguration on Sunday he had delivered ''a
stunning blow'' to Britain and said he would accelerate the seizure of
white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Massive election fraud unearthed

3/18/02 7:57:57 AM (GMT +2)

By Columbus Mavhunga

FIGURES announced by Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, for the
presidential election do not tally with the official poll data provided by
the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), it has emerged.

As a result, the MDC election directorate has stepped up its campaign to
contest the outcome of last weekend’s presidential poll.

The revelations further strengthen claims by the MDC of the illegitimacy of
the process and outcome of the election.

Professor Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, yesterday confirmed the
anomaly and said the discrepancy in the figures was disturbing.

“It is clear from the conflicting figures that about half a million votes
from nowhere went to Zanu PF,” Ncube said.

“We are still considering all available avenues to solve the anomaly. There
is the legal option or it can be solved on the political arena - that can be
on streets and in factories -until the struggle is over.”

The MDC election directorate headed by Paul Themba-Nyathi, the MP for Gwanda
North, says on Monday 11 March the ESC provided it with official information
on the total voter statistics from individual constituencies, except for
Chitungwiza and Harare.

“However, the information on total vote counts within constituencies from
the ESC varies significantly from the total constituency vote counts
announced by the Registrar-General in the presidential election results on
12 March,” the MDC election directorate said.

“While the total national vote counts are similar for both agencies, the
Registrar-General counts are widely different from the ESC counts at the
level of individual constituencies.

“The differences between the two have been applied to either reduce the MDC
vote count or increase the Zanu PF count or both.”

According to figures supplied to the MDC, significant differences are found
across more than 50 constituencies. The adjusted vote counts using the ESC
figures bear closer relationship to the voting patterns in the 2000
parliamentary election.

“Some of the most significant differences occurred in constituencies where
violence was high and polling agents were obstructed in their duties. These
are Zaka East and West, Gokwe, Mberengwa and Mutasa,” the MDC election
directorate said.

Some of the “manipulations” the MDC claim are shown in constituencies picked
at random, as illustrated in the table on The MDC did not accept the result
of the election which was won by Mugabe.

It cited irregularities such as the denial of the right to vote to more than
360 000 voters in Harare and Chitungwiza alone, and Zanu PF youths’
prevention of the deployment of MDC polling agents in 52 percent of the
rural polling stations as providing further opportunity for electoral fraud.

It also cites that up to 400 000 people were illegitimately registered
between 10 January and 3 March 2002, and the existence of severe
State-sponsored intimidation, harassment and fear for a period in excess of
two years, the “fast-tracking” of legislation negatively impacting on the
electoral process, disenfranchising voters through the voter registration
process and lack of independence of the ESC as some of the glaring

Thomas Bvuma, the ESC spokesperson, when contacted on the discrepancy in the
election results figures, said: “I cannot comment because I do not even have
the figures for the whole election.”

Mudede could not be reached for comment last night. He did not answer his
mobile phone when he was repeatedly called.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

War veterans murder guard, assault farmer

3/18/02 8:52:54 AM (GMT +2)

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

ZANU PF supporters and war veterans on Friday murdered a security guard at
Oxford Farm outside Marondera in the presence of a police constable and
seriously assaulted the farmer for allegedly organising MDC meetings in the

The security guard, identified only as Darlington, was murdered in cold
blood at one of the torture houses in the area. His body was taken to the
mortuary at Borradaile Hospital in the town.

John Rutherford, the farmer, 4 was in the intensive care unit on Friday
where he was being treated for severe injuries as a result of the brutal

The police in Marondera refused to comment, saying they were under
instructions not to talk to the media. But when The Daily News arrived at
the hospital, a policeman identifying himself only as Assistant Inspector
Mafu was recording a statement from Rutherford from his hospital bed.

Rutherford said he did not have enough information on Darlington’s family
background as he had only known him for three months.

About five Zanu PF supporters and war veterans were waiting outside the
hospital, threatening to remove the body from the mortuary to take it to
their offices in the town.

Rutherford said that early on Friday morning he was called to the war
veterans’ compound on the farm, where he was accused of giving one of his
workers a cellphone to communicate with the MDC on the activities of the
illegal settlers on his farm.

“A youth from the compound said that I had instructed him to burn down all
war veterans’ houses on Saturday. I denied the charges because I was not
there and I have no intention whatsoever to disrupt the land reform
programme,” he said.

Rutherford said when he denied the charge, the war veterans’ leader, Obert
Makiwa, started to assault him with a hoe handle. “I was then taken to
another room where I found Darlington. He was bleeding. We were assaulted
together,” he said.

Rutherford said his wife was also brought to the torture room.
“As they were assaulting him Darlington fell on top of my wife and the
settlers realised that his life was in danger.” He said Makiwa instructed
him to drive Darlington to their offices in town but he insisted that they
should go to the hospital first.

Darlington died on the way to the hospital, Rutherford said. “All this
happened in the presence of Constable Chikowe. There was no help at all from
the police,” Rutherford said.

Darlington’s murder is the second death in three days after Zanu PF
supporters in Kwekwe killed Funny Mahuni, an employee at Zimasco, after he
refused to release his two daughters to attend the party’s night rallies in
Mbizo suburb.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Chigwende, an MDC activist in Karoi, was tortured by
suspected Zanu PF supporters last Saturday after they discovered that he was
an MDC polling agent in the widely- condemned violent presidential election.

Chigwende, 19, was attacked with sharp instruments on the face, head and
other parts of the body and left for dead. His father, Phibion, said
Nicholas was admitted to Karoi Hospital before transfer to the Avenues
Clinic in Harare on Wednesday as his condition deteriorated.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Unregistered Zanu PF youths cast their votes

3/18/02 8:54:43 AM (GMT +2)

From Our Correspondent

Several cases of voting irregularities surfaced in Bulawayo during the
recent presidential election.

For example, members of the Zanu PF youth brigade, who disappeared a few
days before the election, resurfaced on Saturday, the first day of the
election, at a polling station at Hugh Beadle Primary School in Bulawayo,
where most were alleged to have voted without being registered.

When a Daily News crew visited the polling station, the youths were in their
own queue, a parallel line with the registered voters. They were brought in
in unmarked trucks by officials, one identified by the MDC polling agent as
the Zanu PF provincial political commissar in Matabeleland, Saineth Dube.

The presiding officer said he was not aware of the presence of the youths.
He said they had turned away many youths who were unregistered.
According to the MDC polling agent, the youths were initially not allowed to
vote, but he said after the intervention of Dube and some officials they
were allowed to form their own queue to cast their votes.

The police confirmed the presence of the youths and said they were trying
their best to keep them from blocking the entrance to the polling station.

A case of vote-buying surfaced in Lobengula suburb in Bulawayo North
constituency when a group of women operating from a house were allegedly
taking down the names of voters and promising to pay them if they voted for
Zanu PF.

A visit to the house revealed that they had a list of names, and the
identification numbers and addresses of people who had voted. “This is just
for our records in the district.

We know they are our members and we are making sure they have all voted. So
what do you want here?” one woman fumed as she hastily gathered the papers
in front of her.

But one of the people they tried to bribe, Ethel Dube, said she was told to
vote for Zanu PF because she would be rewarded after the election.

“They did not tell us how much we would get. I gave them my name and
passport number,” said Dube.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Six teachers, businessmen assaulted by Zanu PF youths

3/18/02 9:00:03 AM (GMT +2)

From Brian Mangwende

SIX teachers at Checheche primary and secondary schools and two businessmen
in Chipinge South on Friday sustained various injuries after they were
severely assaulted by a group of suspected Zanu PF youths.

Supporters of the opposition Zanu which was represented by Wilson Kumbula,
were reportedly among the assailants. The attacks come barely two days after
Mike Madiro, Zanu PF’s chairman in Manicaland, warned his party would weed
out traitors within the party.

The youths accused the businessmen of funding the MDC. The teachers were
accused of allegedly voting for the opposition MDC in the contentious
presidential election won by President Mugabe.

In Chipinge South, Mugabe polled 6 954 votes against 18 356 for Morgan
Tsvangirai. Kumbula received a paltry 791 votes in the constituency.
In the same constituency, 313 people voted for Paul Siwela, an independent,
while 229 votes went to Shakespeare Maya of the National Alliance for Good

A total of 26 643 people cast their votes in that constituency. The police
and army were called in to restore order in the constituency after the mob
went berserk, beating up people with knobkerries, iron bars, chains, sticks
and logs.

At a function in Mutare on Wednesday, Madiro said: “I know that some of you
who are here celebrating with us voted for the MDC. “We know you all and we
are going to deal with you accordingly. We are not going to tolerate any bad
apples in our basket.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a teacher who received multiple
injuries, said: “The situation here was bad. Zanu PF and Zanu youths started
beating up teachers at Checheche primary and secondary schools at around

They beat up two businessmen, James Moyana and one Chikukwa. “They attacked
another businessman, Onias Mlambo, but he managed to escape. Soldiers and
the police were deployed and the situation is now under control.

Some of the youths were arrested and taken to Chisumbanje police station.”
The teacher said one of his colleagues at Checheche Primary School could
hardly walk following the severe beatings.

It could not be immediately established on Friday how many youths were
arrested in connection with the attacks as the police lines at Chisumbanje
police station were out of order.

Enock Porusingazi, Zanu PF’s Manicaland provincial chairman, condemned the
attacks and said: “If the Zanu PF youths were involved in this barbaric act,
it’s not in the interest of the party. I strongly condemn that type of

He was remanded out of custody pending sentence. He was re-arrested last
week. Kudya sentenced Samuriwo to 30 months in jail, but suspended 12 months
conditionally for five years.

Prosecutor Tendai Hangazha, said on 28 March 2000, Samuriwo approached
provincial magistrate Cleopas Kashora, then based at the Harare magistrates’
courts, and asked him to assist in securing the release of his friend, Devon
Jonathan Tobva Mambo, who was detained at Harare Central Remand Prison
facing 32 counts of housebreaking and theft.

He offered the magistrate $2 500. The magistrate pretended to agree to the
scheme but later alerted the police who set a trap for the warder.
Samuriwo returned to Kashora’s office in the afternoon and apologised after
Mambo’s relatives failed to provide the money for the deal.

Two days later, he went back to Kashora’s office with the money he had
promised and Kashora advised him to return later. As soon as Samuriwo left
the office, Kashora telephoned the police who set another trap for him.

Samuriwo later returned and gave the magistrate the money. He was arrested
by detectives as he left Kashora’s office.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News - Leader Page

Mudede has failed the nation unforgivably

3/18/02 8:44:56 AM (GMT +2)

THERE are a number of crucial players who made it possible yesterday for
Robert Mugabe to stand before Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku who swore
him in at the beginning of his third term as President of Zimbabwe.

The man at the centre of Mugabe’s Pyrrhic victory is Tobaiwa Mudede, the
Registrar-General and a close relative of the President.

The disputed plebiscite is the sixth national poll he has presided over, in
addition to a host of local government elections.

Mudede’s record as a partisan and incompetent public official is well
documented. Edgar Tekere (1990), Margaret Dongo (1995), Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga (1996), and the opposition MDC today, have had
terrible encounters with Mudede’s conduct as a manager of elections.

The Registrar-General ignores court orders with impunity, views the
opposition as time-wasters and foes. It is not clear to whom he reports
during elections. The Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), a body
constitutionally mandated to supervise Mudede’s office during elections,
seems scared of him. The ESC has failed to rein in and censure Mudede,
forcing affected political parties to turn to the courts for relief. The
entire civil service is at the mercy of Mudede. He picks and chooses those
he wants to work with to conduct elections.

The source of Mudede’s problem is the state of the voters’ roll. Dongo and
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, in separate legal challenges, were the first to
expose Mudede’s major weaknesses. Their encounter with him exposed how easy
it is to rig an election in favour of Mugabe.

In the case of Dongo, the High Court found that 13 642 ghost voters cast
their ballots - a significantly decisive 41 percent of the registered voters
in Harare South.

The ballot papers exceeded the number of voters by 1 025. There were 600
postal votes whose origin could not be traced. Mudede failed to explain this
anomaly. That was in a simple and far from life-threatening by-election
conducted when Mugabe’s tenure of office was not under any threat.

If Mudede could go to such lengths to deal with young Dongo in a poor,
sprawling urban neighbourhood of Harare in the full glare of the world, such
a man could stop at nothing to save a beleaguered relative from the kind of
humiliation Mugabe faced last weekend.

The number of so-called spoilt papers in these areas of high illiteracy tell
a separate story. They were so few, given the supposed high turnout.

No information was given about the supplementary voters’ roll, used
extensively in the rural areas. The roll was unavailable to the opposition
and nobody, presumably except Mudede, inspected it. Nobody knows how many
ballot papers were printed and by whom. Postal ballots remain a mystery. A
total of 25 could not be accounted for in Mutare.

The opposition challenged the secrecy around the voters’ roll and constant
changes in the figures. But as fate would have it, Chidyausiku reserved
judgment. It is curious that the Chief Justice could let such an important
national process proceed while he mulled over the arguments from lawyers.

Observers and voters say there was widespread voter apathy in most rural
constituencies. Most of the boxes are strongly believed to have been
stuffed, especially in areas where opposition election agents and
independent monitors were chased away.

The chaos and jitters that followed Sunday’s High Court order extending the
voting time countrywide unsettled Zanu PF and Mudede.

Some plan was in jeopardy.

The government ignored the order for five hours and when polling stations
eventually reopened in Harare and Chitungwiza, the police were called in to
disperse voters at 7pm sharp.

In order to command the respect of all contestants in an election, the
Registrar-General must be completely above any form of suspicion. Mudede
lost that trust and respect over a decade ago.

Zimbabweans failed to pay sufficient attention to the Dongo case, otherwise
pressure could have been brought on Mudede to go long before the current

Together with others, Mudede must be held responsible for whatever happens
in the post-election period arising from Mugabe’s controversial and largely
unrecognised victory.

Mudede has failed Zimbabwe unforgivably.

He must resign.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Zanu PF supporters set ablaze MDC agents’ homes

3/18/02 8:13:46 AM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

RAMPAGING Zanu PF supporters last week set ablaze 24 homes belonging to MDC
polling agents in Gokwe, soon after the announcement of the results of the
presidential election.

Blessing Chebundo, the MDC’s acting provincial chairman for Midlands North,
said hundreds of his party supporters had fled to urban centres following a
fresh wave of politically-motivated violence.

“The rowdy Zanu PF youths set ablaze seven homes in Gokwe West and 17 more
in Gokwe East on Wednesday night as they went on a bloody retribution
exercise against MDC supporters,” Chebundo said.

“The attacks are systematic and it seems Zanu PF youths are targeting mainly
our polling agents because they openly declared their party allegiance
during the election period. We are receiving an average of 15 reports of
politically-related arson and attacks on our polling agents in Gokwe since
the announcement of the election results,” he said.

The MDC had an average of four polling agents at each of the 766 polling
stations in the Midlands province.

The majority of these fled to either Gweru, Kwekwe or Kadoma last week
because they were being trailed and harassed by Zanu PF militants, Chebundo

He said there was massive intimidation of MDC polling agents, before and
during the election period, carried out mainly by senior Zanu PF officials
and police officers working in cahoots with the Zanu PF functionaries.

Zanu PF provincial chairman for the Midlands, July Moyo, was not available
for comment. He was said to be attending President Mugabe’s inauguration in

Mugabe polled 1 685 212 votes in a poll ruled by the Commonwealth observer
group and the Southern African Development Community parliamentary forum as
seriously flawed because of numerous incidents of violence, vote rigging and
constitutional amendments meant to give the ruling party an unfair advantage
over the opposition MDC.

The MDC candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, who has condemned the election polled
1 258 401 votes.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

Zanu PF youths take over maize distribution

3/18/02 8:12:22 AM (GMT +2)

From Energy Bara in Masvingo

ZANU PF youths have taken over the distribution of maize to starving
villagers in Masvingo province denying members of the opposition MDC the
chance to benefit from the State-sponsored food aid programme.

The youths have been deployed at various Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots
throughout the province. Their function appears to supervise the
distribution of food to thousands of starving villagers.

When The Daily News visited the Masvingo depot yesterday, youths in party
T-shirts were manning the gates to the depot. They demanded Zanu PF
membership cards before allowing anyone entry.

They also stopped lorries and other vehicles loaded with maize-meal and
maize and questioned whether the grain was going to benefit Zanu PF

Other youths led by their self-styled commander, Tionei Charumbira, were
deployed inside the GMB premises where they scrutinise and sometimes reverse
decisions passed by official GMB staff.

“We want to make sure that our enemies do not get food ahead of our
supporters. Zanu PF is the ruling party and, therefore, its supporters
should get food first before anyone else. Those who supported the MDC should
go and get their food from Morgan Tsvangirai because what we have here
belongs to President Mugabe,” Charumbira said.

Officials at the Masvingo GMB depot yesterday confirmed that Zanu PF youths
had taken over the distribution of maize but said their role was only
supervisory. The officials said the presence of these youths had negatively
affected the operation of the parastatal as managers are reduced to mere

“These youths are being paid by the party, but we do not know the motive
behind such an arrangement,” said an official who refused to be identified.

“We are also puzzled by the development.”

In Chivi and Gutu, scores of known MDC supporters have reportedly been
excluded from the government-sponsored food relief programme.

Chiefs have been ordered to give food only to Zanu PF supporters as the
government has no food to give to its “enemies”.

Hunger and starvation have reached critical levels in Masvingo as the
government has failed to deliver food to the villagers. Maize-meal supplies
are still erratic in rural and urban areas.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Seeking a way to manage Zimbabwe

SO ROBERT Mugabe stole the election. What did you expect? As this column
observed some time ago, he was bound to do whatever it took to stay in
office. Not even South Africa's obedient observers were prepared to say the
election was "free and fair". It wasn't.

President Bush immediately rejected the result and one supposes that
Mugabe's name will now be added to the list of leaders, like Saddam Hussein
and Fidel Castro, upon whose people the Americans will feel themselves
justified to inflict unending misery. It is their manifest destiny.

Britain and the Commonwealth concur. Symbolic sanctions are a certainty, if
a futile one; a denial of aid and assistance to the people under Mugabe's
heel are possible, but effective sanctions are only a distant possibility.

The result, one may assume, will resemble the campaigns to remove Castro and
Hussein, ineffectual and endless. Great Powers are nothing if not patient.

Anyway, they have few options. Britain's megaphone diplomacy, as somebody
has brilliantly dubbed it, has collapsed in a heap. It neither prevented the
rigging of the election, nor did it mitigate the violence or preserve
British influence.

South Africa did better but has been sullied by the foolish decision to send
an independent observer mission instead of snuggling safely into the
Commonwealth mission.

The international Press, abandoning all pretence of objectivity, jeered at
poor old Sam Motsuenyane for declaring Mugabe's election "legitimate" but I
suspect Tony Blair was delighted to see South Africa blunder into the front

If we are to believe the leaks from London, Blair has been perpetually on
the phone, urging Mbeki to take responsibility for a post-colonial mess that
Britain created but cannot handle.

The irony is delicious. Mbeki's much-derided "quiet diplomacy" has preserved
access to Mugabe (and perhaps even some capacity to influence him) while the
West, if it abjures brute force, faces the moral dilemma of whether to help
Mugabe by feeding his people, or to starve the peasants in order to hurt
Mugabe. Understandably, they try to bully Mbeki into acting as their cat's

South Africa's own interest, as everybody acknowledges or pretends to
acknowledge, is to maintain regional stability, and Mugabe's "victory" has
at least preserved a nasty order for the short term. He and his army are in
charge, able to govern or misgovern as they will.

Whether a victory for Morgan Tsvangirai would have been as benign (if that
is the proper word for relative stability) is open to question. The pattern
of voting was ominous, with Tsvangirai showing strength among the minority
Matabele, and Mugabe holding his support in the majority Shona-speakers. It
is an ancient line of conflict.

Tsvangirai may well have found in office that he was unable to control
Mugabe's army and civil service, or the "veterans", and the result may have
been chaotic. But that is speculation, and it is equally possible that in
time Mugabe's misrule will cause the state to disintegrate anyway.

To maintain stability will require (swallow hard!) food aid, technical
support, credit, and general assistance which can come only from the West.
Mbeki is therefore condemned to the role of mediator, dealing with the
international community on Mugabe's behalf, and with Mugabe on behalf of the
international community.

It is a position of risk, but also of power in which he may be able to force
political concessions from Mugabe in return for humanitarian and economic
aid. The usefulness of "quiet diplomacy" has outlasted the dubious
usefulness of megaphone diplomacy.

So South Africa now finds itself in a complicated game, compelled to balance
the search for stability against the ideal of democracy, the humanitarian
imperative to help the people of Zimbabwe against the need to restore the
rule of law, international pressure against regional interest, the hopes of
Nepad against the threat of anarchy.

If Mbeki is to succeed he will have to deflect Western vindictiveness and
American military hubris, calm an international Press imbued with the
righteous spirit that burned witches at Salem, and yet try to nudge Mugabe
towards sanity.

I doubt he will find a "solution" but he may hope gradually to dampen the
atmosphere of crisis until the international Press, bored and disappointed,
drifts away to another melodrama.
Mar 18 2002 12:00:00:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Mbeki to meet Mugabe, Obasanjo

------------------------------------------------------------------------ President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo are to
meet with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe later today before flying to
London for talks with Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Mbeki, Obasanjo and Howard are mandated by the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting (CHOGM) to decide what action should be taken after the
controversial election in Zimbabwe.

According to the president's spokesman Bheki Khumalo, the Harare trip was
merely to give Mbeki an opportunity to meet with both African leaders before
the London summit.

He denied that a plan to set up a government of national unity in Zimbabwe
was on the agenda for the talks.

Mbeki is also expected to hold talks with Movement for Democratic Change
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who lost last weekend's  presidential poll.

Mugabe won the first real challenge to his 22-year presidency in a vote that
Western observers have described as severely flawed.

However, many African leaders have rallied behind the Zimbabwe president,
although Mbeki, himself, is yet to pronounce on the vote.

Mbeki, Obasanjo and Howard were at the Commonwealth meeting in Australia
last month tasked with deciding what action to take against Zimbabwe if the
vote was found not to be free and fair.

In terms of the group's mandate, action against Zimbabwe could range from
collective disapproval to suspension.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

Mugabe sets out agenda that chills the West
From Jan Raath in Harare

ROBERT MUGABE was inaugurated yesterday as President of Zimbabwe for another
six years. He outlined a grim future, with policies rooted in the black
nationalism of the 1960s, that will turn the country’s back on connections
with the West.
He also used the occasion, two days before a crucial Commonwealth meeting on
Zimbabwe, to condemn the reports of election observer groups that had
concluded that last week’s presidential elections were neither free nor

“They want to choose who shall rule Zimbabwe and if the person who they have
chosen lost and another wins, then the election has not been free and fair,”
Mr Mugabe said, in his first public comment on the election since the result
was announced on Wednesday.

The Commonwealth observers’ report has issued some of the most severe
criticism of the violence, repression and bureaucratic manipulation that
took place before and during the voting.

President Mbeki of South Africa and President Obasanjo of Nigeria are due
here today for talks with Mr Mugabe before they meet as a Commonwealth
troika with John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister, tomorrow.

The “Mugabe-bashing” in the Western world would not end with Zimbabwe, Mr
Mugabe told African leaders: “It should be understood it is not Zimbabwe
alone they have in mind, it is other African countries they have in mind.”

Godfrey Chidyausiku, the Chief Justice, in a shoulder-length horsehair wig
and scarlet robes modelled on those of the English judiciary, administered
the oath of office. White-gloved heads of the Armed Forces, bedecked with
medals and sashes and carrying ceremonial swords, swore their allegiance to
him while traditional chiefs in white pith helmets applauded. A 21-gun
salute sounded and four Chinese-built MiG fighter jets of the Zimbabwean Air
Force swept past. The US and EU ambassadors in Zimbabwe were not invited to
the inauguration and the opposition’s 57 MPs stayed away.

“No, no, never will Zimbabwe be a colony,” Mr Mugabe, 78, said. He returned
to violent rhetoric against the alleged “blatant racism” of Tony Blair’s
Government and its “white allies”.

“That ugly head that we thought we had smashed through our anti-colonial
struggle, no, we left it alive and it is rearing again, perhaps calling for
another much more devastating blow to the head, no longer to the body of
that monster,” he said.

Mr Mugabe reeled off a string of promises to end critical food shortages,
introduce an economic recovery programme to boost manufacturing, mining and
agricultural output and to restore the collapsed currency and cut inflation,
which is now 120 per cent.

However, when he spoke in the Shona vernacular to his supporters in costumes
decorated with prints of his face, his strategy became clearer. He would
ensure that “all our people are able to run factories”, he said. “We don’t
want them to be just workers, we want them to run the economy. In Africa,
the black skin is the most important skin, not the white skin. In Africa the
African is supreme.”

During the election campaign Mr Mugabe had promised the final dispossession
of white-owned land and redistribution among blacks, complemented by
nationalisation of mining and industry and further price controls that
economists say are responsible for wide-ranging shortages of basic and
luxury commodities to all but the wealthy few.

“Growth will be restored as investment above all by Zimbabweans, and there
are many Zimbabweans, so Zimbabweans must stay here to invest in the
economy,” he said.

The economic recovery programme would address “issues of economic
empowerment and indigenisation” and ensure “preferential treatment for
indigenous businesses with government tenders”.

A legal framework would soon be made public, he said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Victorious Mugabe mocks 'colonial' Britain
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and Christopher Munnion in Johannesburg
(Filed: 18/03/2002)

AFTER being sworn in yesterday as president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe
boasted that the Zimbabwean people had triumphed over British
neo-colonialism and he declared: "The land reform programme must proceed
with greater speed and strength".

Rober Mugabe: 'The land reform must proceed with greater speed and strength'
"We have dealt a stunning blow to imperialism," he added, saying that by
exercising their sovereign right to determine their destiny, the Zimbabwean
people had said "loudly to those in Europe, no, no, never, never again shall
Zimbabwe be a colony".

"Mugabe-bashing has become an obsession, particularly in Britain and
particularly in No 10 Downing Street," he said.

The inauguration, which in the past had been held at Harare's national
stadium, proved to be a low-key affair at State House, with hundreds of
chairs empty as fighter aircraft flew by and a 21-gun salute boomed out.

Britain and its European partners, along with America, Australia, New
Zealand and Canada, who were among the many critics to denounce the election
as unacceptably flawed, declined invitations to be present at the
swearing-in ceremony.

Though the presidents of several African countries - Namibia, Mozambique,
Tanzania, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo - attended, President
Olesugun Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa
stayed away.

They will be in Harare today to discuss with Mr Mugabe the scathing report
on the election by the Commonwealth observer mission.

The pair are members of a "troika" appointed at the Commonwealth summit
earlier this month, along with John Howard, the Australian prime minister,
who will meet in London tomorrow to decide whether the 54-member body should
sanction Zimbabwe or expel it from the Commonwealth.

Mr Mbeki will make a last-ditch attempt to persuade Mr Mugabe to accept a
government of national unity in Zimbabwe or "step down with dignity".

He will also tell the Zimbabwean leader that unless he moves swiftly to
reconcile his deeply divided country, his disputed election victory will
reduce to ashes Africa's international credibility.

Mr Mbeki has been under intense international pressure during the weekend to
abandon his "quiet diplomacy" approach to the Mugabe regime.

Diplomats said US, Britain and other European leaders had told Mr Mbeki that
it was time to get tough with Mr Mugabe.

Both Mr Blair and President Bush are reported to have emphasised in personal
telephone calls to Mr Mbeki that economic aid and foreign investment in
Africa have been put under threat by the continent's apparent acceptance of
a patently flawed presidential election in Zimbabwe.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, whose leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has accused Mr Mugabe of stealing the election, repeated its
assertions that there had been widespread malpractices during the election
process itself apart from the intimidation that preceded it.

Priscilla Misihairabwi, the national election agent for the MDC, said she
collected documents from the the government-controlled Electoral Supervisory
Commission and its figures varied considerably from those released by the
Registrar General, Dr Tobias Mudede.

"We were suspicious as we seemed to be getting different numbers from our
polling agents to those which were announced," she said.

The MDC's secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, said yesterday: "This
is just one area of electoral malpractice. Our urgent demand is that the
presidential elections be held again, and be supervised by the United
Nations or the Commonwealth."

Mr Mugabe's militant supporters clearly anticipated his pledge yesterday to
speed up land seizures by driving away Ian Kay, an MDC supporter, and his
wife Kerry along with 80 workers from their farm 45 miles south-east of
Harare, on Saturday.

The Kays, unlike many white farmers, continued publicly to support the MDC
after land invasions began in February 1990. Witnesses say the Zanu PF flag
was raised above their looted home.

The Commercial Farmers' Union said yesterday that another 44 white farmers
would be charged today in connection with assistance given to the MDC during
the election. These farmers, from the Raffingora area, north of Harare have
been in hiding since police let it be known they were wanted and would be

Some 56 farmers, including their wives, are now facing charges since the
start of voting on March 9. More than 150 white farmers have been charged
with offences in the last two years. So far not one has been brought to

Roy Bennett, an MDC MP in the eastern Manicaland Province, said yesterday
that the purge against MDC election support staff and supporters was
reaching "grotesque" levels.

"People are being attacked, one man was killed in my area, many are beaten,
and many houses have been burned down. This is not going to stop."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Christian Science Monitor

Mugabe embarks on rebuilding

South African President Thabo Mbeki travels to Harare today to discuss his
election observers' report.

By Nicole Itano | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

HARARE, ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, was hastily sworn in
Sunday in a small ceremony less than a week after he declared victory in an
election most observers say was rigged.
Mr. Mugabe's tenuous claim to the presidency was evident even in his rushed
and modest inauguration. He has typically favored huge stadium-style events
with cheering crowds and lines of foreign dignitaries. This year, the
inauguration was moved forward by almost two weeks and was open only to
invited guests. Conspicuously absent from the ceremony were Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) parliamentarians, who boycotted the event.
Mr. Mugabe's first public address since the controversial election last
weekend was an odd mixture of the fiery, anti-Western rhetoric of his
campaign and calls for reconciliation and rebuilding. In one sentence, he
called for the opposition MDC to work with his ruling ZANU-PF in Parliament;
in the next, he pledged to purge the civil service of opposition supporters.

The centerpiece of Mr. Mugabe's speech, however, was a pledge to fix the
country's economy, which is suffering from massive inflation, food
shortages, and widespread unemployment. Yet rebuilding Zimbabwe's tattered
economy will be difficult without the help of the international community,
which is largely skeptical of Mugabe's claim to power. A number of
countries, including the United States and Canada, have already said they
will offer no more aid to the Southern African country until truly free and
fair elections are held.

"What we've got is not an economic problem, it's a political problem," says
Tony Hawkins, director of the Graduate School of Management at the
University of Zimbabwe. "Until you get the politics right, the economy is
not going to get better."

Economists say Zimbabwe will require the help of the international
community, particularly Western countries and international financial
institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, if it
hopes to turn its economy around.

"This situation is not going to get any better without an international
bailout of some sort. That means debt relief and IMF funding, among other
things," says Mr. Hawkins. "But that's not going to happen under a
government the international community sees as illegitimate."

Zimbabwe was once one of the region's most prosperous countries, but in five
years has lost more than one-third its annual production. Winding food lines
are now a common sight in a country that once fed much of Southern Africa.

But Mugabe seems to be saying that Zimbabweans can repair their economy
without international help. "Growth will be restored as investment – by,
above all, Zimbabweans themselves – is deliberately and systematically
embarked upon in all sectors," Mugabe said Sunday.

Also of concern to economists is Mugabe's apparent resolve to continue his
land-reform program. During the election, the 78-year-old leader promised to
finish the revolution begun with Zimbabwe's independence by redistributing
white-owned commercial farmland to landless blacks.

"Land reform is not merely an exercise in rectifying a monstrous colonial
injustice, vital and necessary as that may be," said Mugabe in his
inauguration speech. "The resettlement program has also been an opportunity
to unleash the sprit of self-reliance and creativity of our people."

In the two years since Mr. Mugabe launched his land program, Zimbabwe's
agricultural productivity has fallen by about one-third. A severe drought
has contributed to the decline, but economists say the greater problem is
that small-scale, subsistence farmers are simply not as productive as the
commercial farmers they are replacing.

But after basing his campaign on the promise of land, few think Mugabe can
now abandon his land program. The best that can be hoped for, they say, is
that the president is forced to accept a new, truly free election.

"The option now facing my president is to be buried in a dishonorable grave
or an honorable grave," says Masipula Sithole, professor of political
science at the University of Zimbabwe. "If Mugabe acts now, at the last
minute, and allows free elections, he can still be buried in an honorable

The MDC has so far done nothing to contest the election results, although
there has been talk of a national strike. But Professor Sithole believes
they may not need to. The current situation, he says, is unsustainable.

"This is one instance where it will come from the bottom up. Nobody will
have to call for stay-aways and strikes. The people will spontaneously
strike or start food riots. Nobody will call the people to do it," he says.

If, however, Zimbabwe continues on its current path, the consequences are
likely to be dire.

"You'll get a situation where it just slides into subsistence level," says
Hawkins. "You'll have a breakdown in law and order in the common sense. It
will become a real wild-West-type place."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Mugabe extends an olive branch to MDC

------------------------------------------------------------------- ZIMBABWEAN LEADER STOPS SHORT OF GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY TALK IN RARE
Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe appealed yesterday to his fierce
political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, to bury the hatchet and joins hands, but
stopped short of calling for a government of national unity ahead of today's
talks with key African leaders.

At his inauguration ceremony at state house, Mugabe, in a rare show of
tolerance, extended the olive branch to Tsvangirai and his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party, saying that Zimbabweans should unite and
reconstruct their country as they have a "common destiny".

"You (MDC) must work together with us," he said.

The reconciliatory gesture, which contrasts sharply with recent outright
rejection by some of his colleagues of the idea of a government of national
unity, is the first sign that he might agree to an SA-inspired plan for
powersharing with Tsvangirai as international pressure intensifies.

Two of Africa's heavy hitters, SA's Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria's Olusegun
Obasanjo, arrive for last-ditch talks with Mugabe today in a bid to head off
punitive action by the Commonwealth.

The two, who will discuss the plan of a government of national unity today,
fly to London tomorrow for talks with John Howard of Australia on what
action the Commonwealth the observers of which have criticised last week's
poll as unfree and unfair should take against Harare.

Mugabe's remarks also come against almost universal indignation at his
victory, widely seen as stolen. Unions, affiliates of the MDC, are planning
mass action against the poll's results.

Signalling their determination to have the government of national unity plan
accepted, Mbeki and Obasanjo are also due to hold separate talks with

Tsvangirai, who has rejected Mugabe's victory, met Southern African Developm
ent Community chairman Bakili Muluzi and Mozambique's Joachim Chissano over
the government of national unity issue the groundwork for today's talks.

Despite the MDC's boycott of his ceremony, Mugabe sounded conciliatory
throughout it. He said Zimbabweans should come together instead of plotting
each other's demise. "The serious espousal of the ideal of national unity
and spirit of brotherhood will inject correct doses of love and fervour into
our relationships hitherto soured by hostility and anguish," he said.

Mugabe sought to stir nationalist sentiment to drive home his appeal. "If
you are Zimbabwean you will always be. If sanctions are imposed on us they
will not discriminate between the MDC and Zanu (PF) supporters. We will all
suffer. If there are shortages everybody suffers. Let's not draw back into
our little shells. We want to work with the MDC in parliament and outside."

The MDC, however, quickly dismissed Mugabe's pleas, saying they smacked of

MDC spokesman Nkanyiso Maqeda said: "How can somebody who only last week was
terrorising our people and insulting our leadership as proteges of foreign
powers invite us into his politically bankrupt government and expect us to
take him serious ly? When did he discover that we as Zimbabweans have common
interests? We won't waste our time working with a failed leader and his
fossilised government."

But Mugabe said that it was impossible to avoid each other. "As they say in
SA simunye' we are one," he said.

Maqeda said: "Does Mugabe seriously want to suggest that, until today, he
did not know that we have a common destiny. We won't allow him to buy
political legitimacy through empty and populist rhetoric."

As always, Mugabe thanked Africans for their support, but lambasted western
leaders for interfering in Zimbabwean politics.

"You certainly have been able to see how Britain and its white allies have
blatantly sought to ensure that this presidential election be won by their
protege and not by me and Zanu (PF). But thanks to the people of Zimbabwe
for loudly saying No! No!'

"Never again shall Zimbabwe be a colony. I thank them for their resolute
anti-imperialist stand."

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mugabe launches attack on Western imperialism 

President Robert Mugabe, who was sworn in for another six-year term on Sunday, urged fellow Zimbabweans and his African neighbours to join his fight against Western imperialism, the Washington Post reported. 

Mugabe, 78, took the oath of office at the colonial State House mansion despite assertions by both the EU and US that the elections were flawed. The government and Mugabe's ruling party have been widely accused of rigging votes, orchestrating state-backed political violence and abusing the nation's laws and constitution. Mugabe said that it will not be Britain and its "white allies", who will decide upon the future of the country, but Zimbabwe itself. 

Secretary of State Colin Powell said the election was marked by "numerous, profound irregularities" and that the outcome thwarted the will of the people. But many African leaders supported Mugabe's election victory in what was seen as an effort to maintain regional stability and protect their own regimes. 

President Mugabe also said his land reform programme of changing white-owned farms to black ownership must proceed with greater speed and strength. Up to ten white farmers were killed, the last case today on Monday, since President Robert Mugabe's supporters began seizing white-owned farms two years ago, RTE said. 

Diplomatic efforts are under way in order to avert the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. Tomorrow a meeting in Harare is expected to take place between the leaders of Africa's two most powerful countries and Mugabe. The aim is to reach a compromise before Tuesday's "troika" meeting of Commonwealth leaders in London, who have been asked to devise a response to the election, Unison said. 

Written by Sharon Spiteri
Edited by Blake Evans-Pritchard
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Parliament to debate Zimbabwe issue

By Donwald Pressly

A debate in the National Assembly on a parliamentary report on last week's Zimbabwean presidential elections is expected to take place tomorrow morning.

The debate - which was scheduled to take place on Wednesday afternoon - is now, according to parliamentary sources, likely to take place ahead of a meeting between President Thabo Mbeki and his Commonwealth counterparts, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who must forge a Commonwealth position on Zimbabwe in the wake of the disputed poll.

They meet in London tomorrow.

The multi-party parliamentary team which monitored last week's presidential elections was meeting in the ANC chief whip's office this morning. The chief whip Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula headed the team.

It is understood that opposition parties on the committee - including the Democratic Alliance, the Pan Africanist Congress, the New National Party, the African Christian Democratic Party and the United Democratic Movement - want the reference to substantially free and fair dropped as a description of the poll.

Earlier, Mbeki arrived in Harare to hold talks with President Robert Mugabe. He and Obasanjo are to meet opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as well.

I-Net Bridge

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From ZWNEWS, 18 March

‘Not free and fair’ - Church observers

An international team of churchmen invited to observe the presidential elections said they were unable to confirm that the process was "universal, transparent, fair or free". In a statement released last week, the group – drawn from the World Council of Churches and the All African Conference of Churches – set out their conclusions on the universality, transparency, secrecy, freedom, and fairness of the vote. Noting that the voting in Harare "became a sad experience", the group said that the dignity of the voters had been violated, with pregnant women and others enduring the mismanagement for days. The restriction of postal voting to "a limited and preferred group" had also disenfranchised many voters, such as teachers, who had been forced from their constituencies. While saying that voting and counting had been conducted "technically according to the procedures" at almost all the polling stations they had visited, the statement pointed out that only 109 local church observers had been accepted, out of 2650 who had applied for accreditation. The fairness of the campaign had been severely limited by the state media monopoly, the disenfranchisement of Harare voters, the supplementary voters roll, the dual citizenship issue, and the many cases of intimidation which the group observed. But the most serious problem were cases of political violence before and during the voting, "the clear majority of which should be blamed on the ruling party".

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Zimbabwe Standard, 17 March

No visa for general's wife

The United States embassy in Harare has turned down a visa application to travel to the US by Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife of Zimbabwe National Army commander, Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, on the grounds that she appears on Washington's list of Zanu PF and government officials who have been targeted for personal sanctions. Chiwenga was to have travelled to Las Vegas on Tuesday to attend an international hunting show. She said she planned to use the show to promote trophy hunting on her Kazungula hunting concession where she has a lodge. The concession, situated 180 km west of Victoria Falls, is funded by US businessman Don Bower, who also has other hunting concessions in Nyamandhlovu, Beitbridge and Tanzania. The Standard is informed that the trophy hunts are being coordinated by the department of national parks which intends to recruit war veterans as professional hunters to assist prospective international hunters. Chiwenga on Friday refused to discuss the failed visa application. "Haikona kundinetsa. Endai munotaura neve kuEmbassy vacho vanokupai makuhwa iwawo. Zvamunoita hazviite izvozvo." (Do not bother me. Go and speak to the Embassy people who gave you that information. I do not like what you are doing), she told The Standard. Two weeks ago, Chiwenga confirmed she had bought air tickets to travel to the US to attend the Safari International Convention in Las Vegas.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

--> Monday, 18 March, 2002, 17:35 GMT
African leaders seek Zimbabwe solution
The leaders of two key African nations have held separate talks with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his political opponent Morgan Tsvangirai in an effort to resolve the crisis created by his disputed election victory.

The responsibility to solve the problems of food shortages and economy, rest first and foremost with the leadership of Zimbabwe

Thabo Mbeki
South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo declined to comment on the specific nature of the talks, but there is speculation that they were exploring the possibility of a power-sharing arrangement with the opposition MDC.

The South African and Nigerian presidents are flying to London for a meeting with Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Tuesday to decide whether Zimbabwe should be suspended from the Commonwealth.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's main trade union Monday called a three-day general strike starting on Wednesday to protest against what they described as the post-election harassment of workers.

Earlier on Monday, a white farmer was shot dead near his homestead - the tenth such killing since militants began often violent occupations of white-owned land two years ago.

Food crisis

In a brief press conference after the talks, Mr Obasanjo said it was up to Zimbabwe's political leaders to resolve the current situation in Zimbabwe in order to prevent further violence and chaos.

"Whatever the ordinary people of Zimbabwe have done, voted or not voted, they need to be assisted," he said.

"That help may not come unless the leaders of Zimbabwe put their arms together and work together in a way that brings hope in this country."

Mr Mbeki also acknowledged that Zimbabwe's impending economic crisis had been discussed.

"It is really time that the responsibility to solve the problems of Zimbabwe - the problems of food shortages and economy - rest first and foremost with the leadership of Zimbabwe," he said.

Differing reports

As he left for the meeting in London, Mr Howard said this was "quite a moment of truth.

"The Commonwealth has been held together by a number of things and one of them has been a common commitment to democracy.

"We have to face, fairly and squarely, the responsibility we've been given," he said.

Commonwealth observers issued an interim report condemning Zimbabwe's election, which has also been criticised by the United States, the European Union and the UK.

However, many national African monitoring teams described the result as fair.

No compromise

Senior aides to Mr Obasanjo were quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying the Nigerian leader was unlikely to back Zimbabwe's suspension.

For his part, the South African president said on Saturday that, while Zimbabwe's fate would have to be decided by Zimbabweans, the outside world did have a right and duty to speak out about what was happening there.

South Africa's position on Zimbabwe is particularly important, partly because it has political weight and economic leverage - it is the most powerful economy in southern Africa and it supplies Zimbabwe's fuel and power.

BBC Southern African correspondent Barnaby Phillips says neither side in Zimbabwe appears ready to compromise.

Mr Tsvangirai says Mr Mugabe is no longer relevant to the search for a solution to the country's economic and political crisis and should step down.

At his inauguration ceremony on Sunday, Mr Mugabe vowed to accelerate his controversial programme of land reform and said his victory was a triumph against "British imperialism".

Back to the Top
Back to Index