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Zimbabwe exodus helps prop up Mugabe


Wed 19 Mar 2008, 0:04 GMT

By Stella Mapenzauswa

JOHANNESBURG, March 19 (Reuters) - Millions who fled Zimbabwe amid its
economic collapse blame President Robert Mugabe, but their inability to vote
in elections this month may boost his chances to stay in power.

Opposition figures, who pose Mugabe's biggest electoral challenge yet, have
urged them to return to be entitled to vote in the March 29 polls, but few
are likely to.

An estimated 3.5 million have fled Zimbabwe to neighbouring South Africa and
other countries, some risking their lives to make the trip illegally. They
are unwilling to sacrifice everything to return.

Their families have also come to rely on money they send home to Zimbabwe,
where economic meltdown with inflation over 100,000 percent partly caused
the exodus.

"I wish I could go home and vote, but I risked too much coming here to go
back," said 18-year-old Sibusisiwe Dube, who would have qualified to vote
for the first time this year.

Now working as a childminder in an upmarket Johannesburg suburb, as a
16-year-old seeking a better life she braved crocodiles to cross the Limpopo
river into South Africa.

Zimbabwe opposition leaders Simba Makoni, a former finance minister, and
Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), would
expect strong support to oust Mugabe among those who fled abroad.

"Many of you are in the diaspora because you have seen home turn into
hell... You have the opportunity to change this," Makoni urges in a
newspaper advertisement carried by South African newspapers over the last
few weeks.

"Every vote counts, so please come home and let your voice be heard."

Analysts say the bulk of Zimbabweans who left the country in the last eight
years blame Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF for their country's economic crisis, and
would most likely vote against it in the presidential, parliamentary and
council polls.

But the country's laws bar citizens from voting outside the country's
borders, save for those on national duty -- and many are in no position to
make the trip home to cast their ballot.

Dube has no inclination to return to her village near Zimbabwe's border with
South Africa after leaving in search of work in 2006.

Her employer in South Africa was willing to give her the job for minimum
pay, but has warned Dube she is on her own if the immigration authorities
catch up with her.


Dube often sends money and groceries home to her grandmother and two younger
siblings, orphaned by HIV/AIDS, using informal couriers who charge around
150 rand ($18.52) to ferry a large bag laden with maize meal, soap, cooking
oil, salt and other basic commodities now unaffordable for many in Zimbabwe.

"We (also) get a lot of people sending money, almost every week. So there's
always business," said Itai, a cross border trader who operates from a
long-distance bus terminal in central Johannesburg.

The station is always teeming with Zimbabweans loading goods including food,
furniture and electrical appliances destined for relatives back home.

London-based radio broadcaster Tererai Karimakwenda believes that
Zimbabweans in the "diaspora" have inadvertently helped Mugabe stay in power
by keeping families back home afloat and averting angry riots that might
otherwise ensue.

"In an indirect way it is probably propping up the Mugabe regime. But what
do you do? It is the lesser of two evils," said Karimakwenda, who has been
in England for six years and himself sends money home to his elderly parents
every month.

"The money, food and medicines being sent back is literally keeping people

Karimakwenda works for SW Radio Africa, a radio station staffed by exiled
Zimbabweans which broadcasts material critical of Mugabe's government from
north London into the African country.

Enterprising Zimbabweans have set up Internet-based companies through which
those abroad can pay for basic groceries to be delivered to cash-strapped
family back home from some of the country's supermarkets.

Johannesburg-based NowFuel enables Zimbabweans to pay for fuel in South
Africa, which family and friends can then access from selected garages back
home through a coupon-redemption system.

Like many Zimbabweans forced out of their country by political tension or
the economic meltdown or both, Karimakwenda would go back if things
improved, but fears many will never return, costing the country valuable
skilled labour. (Additional reporting by Muchena Zigomo in Johannesburg and
Jeremy Lovell in London; Editing by Marius Bosch and Charles Dick)

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More than 300 cases of election-linked violence in January

Zim Online

by Cuthbert Nzou  Wednesday 19 March 2008

HARARE - More than 300 cases of politically motivated human rights
violations directly linked to Zimbabwe's month-end elections and largely
blamed on state agents were recorded in the month of January alone,
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have said.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said a wave of violence, intolerance and
abuse of power by state security agents last year persisted into the new
year with the freedoms of assembly and association the most violated as
elections draw nearer.

The Forum, bringing together local groups involved in promoting human rights
and supporting victims of violence, criticised what it said was the police's
"selective application of the law and criminalization of lawful political
activities when dealing with opposition political parties."

"This trend (of abuse) was carried forward into the year 2008 with January
recording a total of 336 politically motivated human rights violations," the
Forum said in a report released on Tuesday documenting abuses directly
linked to elections.

"Notable in the month of January was the heightened profile given to the
preparations for the March plebiscite and the intensity of politically
motivated human rights violations that came with it," it said, adding that
there was also an increase in violence between supporters of the ruling ZANU
PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

However, President Robert Mugabe's government immediately rejected as
"nonsensical" the claims by NGOs that human rights abuses persist in
Zimbabwe and that state agents committed rights violations.

"We expect to see more of those reports before the elections. They are
nonsensical and we see that it is the work of our enemies to damage our
government's reputation," Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga told

Politically motivated violence and human rights abuses have accompanied
Zimbabwe's elections since the emergence in 1999 of the MDC as the first
potent threat to Mugabe and ZANU PF's stranglehold on power.

Zimbabwe elects a new president, parliament and local councils on March 29,
in elections that analysts expect to be won by Mugabe's government because
of what they say is a political climate of fear pervading the country and
uneven playing field that disadvantages the opposition.

Giving a breakdown of some of the cases of violence and abuse, the Forum
said there were three kidnappings, 56 cases of assault, 94 cases of freedom
of assembly and expression violations, 102 cases of unlawful arrest and
detention recorded in January.

Some of the cases of politically motivated violence cited in the report
include the case of five MDC supporters who were severely assaulted by ZANU
PF activists in the Harare suburb of Mbare after they were caught putting up
campaign posters of their party.

The Forum report highlighted attempts by the police to ban an MDC rally and
public march in Harare on January 23, even after the High Court had allowed
the opposition rally.

It said: "The MDC appealed to the High Court against the bans on the march
and the rally, which led to the rally being allowed to go ahead.

"(However) MDC supporters, who were carrying placards moving to the venue of
the rally, were tear gassed, arrested and assaulted by the police when they
got close to the ZANU (PF) headquarters."

In another case, members of a human rights group called Restoration of Human
Rights Zimbabwe were arrested, assaulted and detained by the police after a
peaceful demonstration in Harare city centre against the deteriorating human
rights situation in Zimbabwe.

The Forum strongly condemned the frequent arrest, assault and sometimes
torture of state university and other tertiary school students who protest
against worsening conditions at state colleges. - ZimOnline

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MDC takes ballot dispute to High Court

Zim Online

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Wednesday 19 March 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition has appealed to the High Court to order
election authorities to disclose vital information and statistics on ballot
papers printed for next week's polls.

The faction of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party led by Morgan Tsvangirai turned to the High Court after the Electoral
Court - ironically established to hear electoral disputes - turned down the
opposition party saying it did not have jurisdiction over the matter.

Harare lawyer Bryant Elliot, acting for the MDC, said the party filed an
urgent application on Monday but the matter was yet to be set down for

"It is going to be heard as an urgent application. We are working on the
application arguments right now . . . we are yet to get the date for the
hearing," said Elliot of Coghlan Welsh and Guest law firm.

The MDC wants the High Court to order the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) to disclose the number of ballot papers printed for the joint
presidential, parliamentary and council elections on March 29.

The MDC - that according to sources believes that more ballots were printed
to allow for easier manipulation of the vote - also wants the ZEC compelled
to disclose the identity of the firm contracted to print ballot papers and
that it agrees to an inspection and auditing of ballot papers by opposition

The opposition party also wants ZEC to prove that it had put measures in
place to ensure that the elections - which are being held together for the
first time - will not be bogged down by administrative hitches.

Non-governmental organisations have expressed concern that lack of capacity
and poor preparations by ZEC could see hundreds of thousands of voters
especially in major urban areas fail to vote as happened in the 2002
presidential election.

Major Western governments condemned the 2002 election that was
controversially won by Mugabe as flawed and refused to recognise the
Zimbabwean leader's victory against Tsvangirai.

But ZEC chairman George Chiweshe yesterday told journalists that fears that
voters in the opposition's urban strongholds could fail to vote were
unfounded because his commission had put composite polling stations (with
several voting centres each) in cities to ensure more people are able to
cast their ballots.

Independent election monitoring groups had queried why ZEC put fewer polling
stations in urban areas and charged the move smacked of an attempt by ZEC to
deny opposition supporters the chance to cast their votes.

Meanwhile, Trudy Stevenson, candidate of the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC
faction in Mt Pleasant constituency, has filed an urgent application to the
High Court for an order compelling the ZEC and Registrar General Tobaiwa
Mudede to provide her with a readable electronic copy of the voters' roll
for her constituency.

Massive discrepancies have been identified on the voters' roll, including
thousands of names of people who died years ago and some who no longer live
in Zimbabwe but who still appear on the voters' register to be used next

Stevenson has for example cited in her application the name of Desmond
William Lardner-Burke, who was born in 1909 and died almost two decades ago,
but still appears on the roll for Mt Pleasant.

Zimbabwe's voters' roll has been in shambles for years with millions of dead
people or some who have left the country still appearing on the register,
while thousands more voters have failed to vote in previous polls either
because their names were entered in wrong constituencies or simply did not
appear on the register.

The MDC and non-governmental organisations accuse Mugabe's government of
rigging elections by manipulating the chaotic voters' roll. - ZimOnline

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Harare wants farm seizure case postponed

Zim Online

by Simplicious Chirinda Wednesday 19 March 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's government has asked a regional Tribunal to
postpone a case in which a white farmer is contesting seizure of his
property until after elections next week, ZimOnline has learnt.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal, which last
December temporarily barred Harare from seizing the farmer's property, had
set down the matter for hearing on March 26, just three days before Zimbabwe's
presidential and general elections.

One of the white farmer's lawyers, David Drury said the government had
written to have the case shifted because of the elections on March 29.

Drury said: "The government argues that it is faced with a tricky
situation where it has to deal with elections and it appears as if the
tribunal will consider its case but we are saying that before the date was
set we agreed both of us on the date and the tribunal then simply announced

"At the time the government knew that it had elections coming but it
now says its best representatives will be involved with elections."

The farmer, Michael Campbell, wants the SADC court to find Harare in
breach of its obligations as a member of the regional bloc after it signed
into law Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No.17 two years ago.

The amendment allows the government to seize white farmland - without
compensation - for redistribution to landless blacks and bars courts from
hearing appeals from dispossessed white farmers.

The white farmer has also asked the Tribunal to declare Zimbabwe's
land reforms racist and illegal under the SADC Treaty, adding that Article 6
of the Treaty bars member states from discriminating against any person on
the grounds of gender, religion, race, ethnic origin and culture.

A ruling declaring land reform illegal would have far reaching
consequences for Mugabe's government, opening the floodgates to hundreds of
claims of damages by dispossessed white farmers.

Such a ruling could also set the Harare government on a collision
course with its SADC allies particularly if it - as it has always done with
court rulings against its land reforms - refuses to abide by an unfavourable
Tribunal judgment.

Farm seizures are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into severe food
shortages after the government displaced established white commercial
farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately funded
black farmers. - ZimOnline

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Zim opposition activist beaten for refusing to tear Mugabe poster

Zim Online

by Chenai Maramba Wednesday 19 March 2008

HURUNGWE – An opposition supporter David Letus was abducted and
brutally assaulted by ruling ZANU PF
party activists in the northern Hurungwe rural district as punishment
for not backing President Robert Mugabe’s party.

The ZANU PF activists, led by the party’s youth chairman for
Kazangarare area in Hurungwe, Bhero Kaunda, assaulted Letus after he refused
to tear a campaign poster of Mugabe.

The youths had allegedly wanted Letus -- who supports the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Morgan Tsvangirai – to
tear the poster so they could have him arrested by the police.

A medical report signed by district medical doctor, Elijah Nyahoda
that was seen by ZimOnline yesterday showed that Letus suffered severe
bruises on the left elbow and back as a result of the beatings.

“They wanted to have me arrested for tearing Mugabe’s poster and when
I refused to comply with their order, they became incensed,” said Letus.

Police spokesman for Hurungwe district, Chief Superintendent George
Jiri refused to comment on the matter referring ZimOnline to national
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena who could not be reached for comment.

Political violence has been a constant feature of Zimbabwe’s elections
since the emergence of the MDC in 1999 as a potent threat to Mugabe’s
28-year grip on power.

Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party however rejects charges of violence
insisting the stories are cooked up to tarnish the image of the Zimbabwe
government. - ZimOnline

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Barred From Observing Zimbabwe Poll, EU Engages Regional Group


By Blessing Zulu
18 March 2008

The European Union has been barred by the Zimbabwean government from
officially observing the country's March 29 elections, but EU diplomats have
taken steps to stay involved by lobbying Southern African leaders and
dispatching an elections expert.

A senior EU official told VOA the bloc does not want to see a repeat of the
chaos that engulfed Kenya following the disputed presidential and general
elections there, so the EU has positioned an informal observer in Harare and
will combine observations from that source with reporting from the Southern
African Development Community.

But even for SADC observing the elections is a tall order: the opposition
says violence is rising and that President Robert Mugabe has refused to
implement terms agreed in South African-mediated crisis talks. The talks
dead-ended in January, but interim agreements were reached, including one on
the conduct of elections.

South Africa's ruling African National Congress has been reluctant so far to
criticize Harare, but this week issued a statement urging Zimbabwean
security forces not to take sides and to accept the outcome - this after
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri said what he termed Western "puppets"
would not be admitted to power.

Political analyst and human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga, who met with
European officials last week in Brussels, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the EU promised to stay engaged in Zimbabwe.

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As Elections Near, Zimbabwe Opposition Calls Voters Roll a Shambles


By Blessing Zulu
18 March 2008

Zimbabwe's opposition parties and independent monitoring groups said Tuesday
that they have unearthed huge discrepancies in the national voters roll,
including the listing of a long-dead former colonial minister and 50 voters
registered as residing at the address of a hairdressing business that
belongs to a ruling party official.

The Zimbabwe Election Commission has so far been reluctant to give the
opposition an electronic copy of the voters roll, providing only a scanned,
printed version.

That voters' roll reveals massive discrepancies between what ZEC has
declared as to the number of voters per constituency and those actually on
the roll, with variations in the number of voters of 30% against the
benchmark in some constituencies such as Goromonzi South, Bulawayo Central,
Gokwe Nembudziya and Chikomba.

ZEC completed a national redistricting exercise early this year to increase
the number of parliamentary seats from 150 to 210 (which meant adding 90
constituencies as the constitutional amendment providing for the expansion
of the house and senate made 30 seats which had been filled by the president
or ex officio into elective seats).

In that redistricting exercise, the number of voters in any constituency was
supposed to be within 15% of the benchmark for constituencies of 26,726
voters (based on the commission's count of some 5.6 million registered votes
in the country).

The MDC took the matter to the high court after the electoral court ruled
that it has no standing to compel ZEC to release an electronic copy of the
voter's roll.

Elections Secretary Ian Makone of the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai
told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the
discrepancies are huge and could tilt the upcoming elections in favor of the
ruling ZANU-PF party.

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Zimbabwe Election Body Says Teachers Will Not be Polling Officers


By Jonga Kandemiiri
18 March 2008

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission won't be using teachers as polling
officers, according to Electoral  Commission chairman George Chiweshe.

He said ZEC will select agents from local authorities, the health services
board and other public bodies and assign them to their own constituencies so
they can cast ballots on election day.

Earlier reports suggested teachers would be assigned to constituencies other
than their own, preventing them from voting. Now the Progressive Teachers
Union of Zimbabwe charges that ZEC is discriminating against teachers by
excluding them from officiating at polling places.

Union president Takavafira Zhou told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the
union was not informed of ZEC's decision to exclude teachers and that this
suggests the commission may have something to hide.

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Police bar MDC star rally

18th March 2008 - MDC Pressroom

Police have barred the MDC from going ahead with a star rally at Zimbabwe
Grounds in Highfield on 23 March 2008 after they said Zanu PF had booked the
same venue for four days.

This confirms that the Zanu PF rigging machinery has embarked yet again on a
mission to deny the people of Zimbabwe their sovereign right to elect their
own leaders in a free and fair election. The police have become part of the
Zanu PF machinery to steal the watershed plebiscite of 29 March 2008.

It is unbelievable that Zanu PF could book the same venue for four days. The
police have said the MDC cannot hold its rally at Zimbabwe Grounds because
Zanu PF has booked the same venue from 21 March to 24 March 2008. It is
impossible for a political party to hold a rally at the same place for four
consecutive days and the decision by the police to turn down the MDC rally
on such suspicious grounds is part of the rigging process.

We hope the observer teams that are in the country are seeing for themselves
the regime's routine electoral chicanery, which the MDC has lived through
for the past nine years.

There cannot be a free and fair election when the police have become part of
the Zanu PF campaign team. It cannot be a free and fair contest when the MDC
is being denied access to the public media. This cannot be a free and fair
plebiscite when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission maintains the silence of
the grave even after service chiefs make dangerous utterances to the effect
that they will not respect the result if the people vote for any other
candidate except Robert Mugabe.

There cannot be a fair election when MDC candidates go missing after filing
their papers at the nomination court. This election will definitely lead to
another contestable outcome because the regime continues to arrest and
intimidate opposition party supporters on flimsy charges such as putting up

The MDC is convinced that all attempts to rig the people's vision will not
succeed. The people are ready for a new Zimbabwe. No amount of intimidation
or arrests will carry the day for the dictatorship. The people of Zimbabwe
are ready to vote for Morgan Tsvangirai. They are ready to vote for the MDC.
They are ready to vote for the change they can trust.

MDC Information and Publicity Department

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Mugabe coerces reluctant CIOs into his campaign

18th March 2008 -

The MDC has uncovered an intricate plot by Robert Mugabe to use CIOs and
military intelligence officers to carry out ward-based operations ensuring
that all groups with an interest in Mugabe's victory work together.

They are to ensure that people are psyched up to protect so-called Zanu PF
strongholds from the opposition by frustrating and barring meetings and
rallies from taking place in selected constituencies..

The CIO is divided over Mugabe's plot to steal the election. An operation,
codenamed "Mwendo Warisase" entails military and intelligence officers at
ward level coercing headmen and village heads to ensure a Zanu PF victory at
polling stations under their jurisdiction. If the opposition wins at a
particular polling station, the village heads and the respective headmen are
in trouble. This operation also entails ambushing and attacking MDC vehicles
and thwarting attempts by opposition to hold rallies. The operation is also
supposed to devise ways of mending rifts created during Zanu PF's
acrimonious primary election process.

CIOs have also been deployed to ZEC. The procedure is for all civil servants
incorporated into ZEC to produce their payslips. But intelligence officers
told the MDC that CIOs, apparently without any payslips, have been stuffed
into the ZEC to rig the election in favour of Mugabe.

Senior CIO officials, afraid of an imminent victory by President Morgan
Tsvangirai, are spreading lies that the MDC President will disband the CIOs
and merge them with the police force so that their expenditure becomes
audited. The message is meant to incite the rank-and-file of the CIOs to
work against the MDC President.

The MDC is reliably informed that CIOs who are in ZEC are responsible for
accreditation of observers and monitors to ensure that all those who are
perceived to be anti-government are not accredited.

Mugabe has activated the CIO through the Provincial Intelligence Officers to
coerce chiefs and headmen into the campaign. This was done after President
Tsvangirai talked of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to establish what
happened during Gukurahundi. Paranoid Mugabe, who is afraid of any
investigation into the atrocities he committed, has activated his
intelligence henchmen to intensify thhe regime's dirty campaign.

A CIO document REF 8112/5/BD also reveals that Mugabe will deploy government
doctors to treat people for free in districts and council clinics. He will
only address rallies in Harare after these vote-buying antics.

Zanu PF has also commissioned a phoney public opinion poll to be done by
Joseph Kurebwa, a well known Zanu PF sympathiser, who has been asked to
predict a Zanu PF victory. The motive is to psyche the nation towards a Zanu
PF victory while the regime will be rigging the election on the ground.

The MDC is definitely going to win this election. Mugabe may decide to try
to win the announcement but the people of Zimbabwe are determined to protect
their vote. They are determined to vote for the MDC and President Morgan
The MDC is the only change they can trust.

MDC Information and Publicity Department

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Mock Elections outside Zimbabwe House




News Release – 18th March 2008



    Mugabe joins the Vigil



Zimbabwean exiles are to stage  mock elections outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London from 6am to 6pm on election day, Saturday 29th March. 


With the elections in Zimbabwe little more than  a week away it is already clear that the results will be rigged. Members of the military have been filling in multiple postal votes and the voters’ roll is in a shambles. The opposition has been denied access to the mass media and no election monitors are being admitted from the West, which has been feeding millions of people left starving by Mugabe’s murderous rule. 


There will be two media events - at 11.00 am and 15.00 pm - which will demonstrate how the elections are being stolen.  They will feature the human rights activist Patson Muzuwa, who has appeared on the West End stage, and Fungayi Mubhunu, wearing the Mugabe mask he wore at a demonstration in Lisbon against the attendance of Mugabe at the AU/EU summit last  December. 


The mock elections are organised by the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Embassy every Saturday in support of free and fair elections since October 2002.


For further information contact Vigil Co-ordinators Rose Benton (07970 996 003) and Dumi Tutani (07960 039 775).


 Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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“South Africa Treats Zimbabwean Refugees Like Criminals”

Womens International Perspective
March 19, 2008
Grace Kwinjeh

by Grace Kwinjeh
- South Africa -

• An image from last year's violent police crackdown on Zimbabwean activists. Photograph courtesy of The Zimbabwean. •
Last week Zimbabwe’s civil society and opposition held a commemorative vigil marking the anniversary of the gruesome torture of opposition leaders (myself included) at the hands of the Mugabe government. The world watched in shock and disgust at the media’s images of our battered leaders, days after our illegal incarceration and brutal beatings on March 11, 2007 by the country's security forces. After being tortured, we were hidden and held illegally for almost 72 hours in various police stations, denied access to our lawyers and much needed medication as many of us had suffered broken limbs, internal head injuries, soft to deep tissue injuries and assorted traumas. Four women suffered on that day: me, Sekai Holland, Memory Kumupaya and Christine Mhaka.

Sixty-four year old survivor Sekai Holland spoke at last week’s commemoration ceremony. Days later she was ordered to the main Harare Central Police Station where she was held for five hours by police who demanded to know my whereabouts and who also accused her of giving them a wrong address after her arrest and torture last year. Sekai supports opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and is a Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC) senate candidate. She recently returned from Australia where she was receiving further medical attention for her badly broken leg; had she remained in Zimbabwe, she would have probably lost her leg to amputation due to the country's limited healthcare.

Today, I would like to tell the story of one young woman who was brutally tortured alongside us by the state security agents. Christine Mhaka is 28 years old. She hails from the impoverished working class suburb of Mufakose, in the capital city of Harare. This lively and sturdy young woman is a founding member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who has worked tirelessly for the past eight years as an organizer in the party’s youth wing (the focus of much of the state’s retribution) - a position that has seen her arrested and beaten several times.

Christine is now a South African refugee faced with yet another kind of struggle – one that makes her wonder whether she should have left home after all.

For Christine, things came to a head when she was tortured on March 11, 2007. For those civic and opposition leaders that already had a media profile, their prominence gave them protection and public support. But little known Christine is a forgotten heroine – a young woman who gave up her youth to help lead the opposition against Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship. Her story exposes the dynamics of the struggle for change in Zimbabwe and how it plays out at various levels of an activist’s life.

For many activists, harsh circumstances force them out of Zimbabwe. Those who choose to cross the border into the Diaspora are on their own. Christine’s story is no different.

• Grace Kwinjeh receiving medical treatment for her injuries last March. Photograph courtesy of Kubatana. •
After we were hospitalized for the torture we endured in March last year, Christine was treated for soft tissue injuries and was one of the first to be released. She came to see me while I was still hospitalized in Harare before being taken to South Africa for further treatment. I was still heavy on medication, having suffered severe internal head injuries and a split ear, the result of being bashed repeatedly with a thick iron bar. She wished me well and I didn’t hear from her again until late February. When she recounted her ordeal to me, my heart bled.

Christine now stays in a make-shift shack in a squatter camp. "I have to kneel to get into my home. We have no water so we use buckets to get water about 5km from where I stay," she says sobbing.

"I have never suffered like this in my life. At times I wonder why God has condemned me to this," says the once full of life young woman. She was once a leader, once a fearless fighter against Zimbabwe's secret police. Today, she is forgotten and struggling to survive. There has been no reward for her activism and no one to turn to. Not even sharing the agony of police brutality she suffered with Zimbabwe's top opposition has been a source of security for her as an activist. One would think the benefits and hero status accorded to her fellow comrades would have at least trickled down to her – that she would get some form of recognition, that she would be remembered. But Christine is now just a statistic – one case among the numerous reports that have been written of the tyranny that visits those who oppose Mugabe's dictatorship.

The security crackdown that followed the beatings last March resulted in even more arrests and torture of senior civic and opposition officials. It did not end there: others, including Christine's mother, were beaten as state agents sought information on the whereabouts of those on their 'list'.

As a result, Christine explains "I decided to leave the country, after the torture I could not bear it anymore, but they beat up my mother because of my activism. My mother worries about me, she does not know how I am surviving." Christine’s mother remains in Zimbabwe.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) responded to the March 11th brutality by appointing South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki as mediator to end the crisis through a negotiated settlement between the ruling ZANU-PF party and the MDC. Months later the much talked about mediation has all but collapsed. The ZANU-PF party has reneged on every promise it made to guarantee the democratic reforms that would rescue Zimbabwe from its prevailing socio-economic crisis.

• Back in Zimbabwe, government billboards discourage handouts, a sad irony in a country that has made nearly everyone a pauper. Photograph by Christopher T. Snow. •
Inflation is now at a record high of over 100,000 percent, life expectancy for women is 34 years and 37 for men, a consequence of the widespread poverty and drop in nutritional levels. High unemployment, collapsed health and education systems and increased repression are the litany of ills Zimbabweans endure as they brace themselves for yet another general election on March 29th.

Christine, who is one of an estimated three million Zimbabweans living far from home would like to return, but she fears going back. She now faces the rigors of refugee life, having been led to this squatter camp by a friend she met while on the streets of Johannesburg. They share this home and the little food they can scrounge up. "The police here haunt us every day. Night and day we are raided," she says.

Koni Benson, a South African researcher with the International Labour Research and Information Group based in Cape Town, says of Christine's case: "The politics of elite transition in Zimbabwe is being played out across the bodies of women who dare to speak out, such as women like Christine. Instead of supporting their struggle for humanity as they cross the border into South Africa in search of survival, they continue to struggle [because] the South African government does nothing to help."

Benson believes the South African government should develop a more honest and realistic approach to the political crisis in Zimbabwe – not one that props up Mugabe’s regime.

Earlier this year, the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg was raided and its occupants, who are refugees from Zimbabwe and other African countries receiving humanitarian support, were harassed by members of the South Africa Police Service (SAPS). "Some of the refugees here ran away from political persecution, but in South Africa they are being subjected to torture, harassment, police brutality and all forms of abuse at the hands of the people who should protect them. Women and children are yet to come to terms with the recent raid," says Bishop Paul Verryn, who runs the refugee program.

"South Africa treats Zimbabwean refugees like criminals, which makes it complicit in state and gender violence being unleashed on women in Zimbabwe," explains Benson.

Christine finally found help after almost a year of destitution and no therapy for the trauma she suffered. She made her way to the Southern Africa Centre for Survivors of Torture (SACST), where she has finally started to receive treatment. Project officer Sox Chikowero, also a Zimbabwean and victim of torture, says that just by looking at Christine "you can see she is very traumatized, depressed. You can see she is not herself."

Many genuine asylum seekers manage to get to South Africa but according to Chikowero, are too afraid to seek help or come out in the open because of the xenophobia against foreign nationals and their continued victimization.

• Though the bruises fade and bones heal, the emotional and psychological scars of torture persist. (Pictured: Grace Kwinjeh) Photograph courtesy of Kubatana. •
When asked how Christine will deal with the continued social and emotional stress she has sustained while in South Africa, Chikowero says, "help comes in stages: it includes psycho-social and medical intervention and humanitarian assistance. How one responds is not easy to tell after one visit.”

"We offer humanitarian assistance especially in the case where drugs are prescribed and if the person needs to eat, we try to provide food," says Chikowero. The SACST receives new cases of those who have escaped from political persecution in Zimbabwe on a weekly basis. Chikowero estimates that at least a third of the Zimbabwean refugee population in South Africa are victims of torture or political persecution.

And there is yet another problem that refugees living with HIV/AIDS have to deal with. Accessing health care and drugs can be difficult as they face discrimination – but by default. HIV treatment and care in South Africa remains a contentious issue between the government and those advocating robust policy change.

South Africa does not provide ARVs to all its people. Of some seven million infected (one sixth of the population), only 325,000 receive ARVs, according to 2006 World Health Organization estimates. HIV-positive refugees who cannot afford to pay for their own drugs face a dire situation in an already heated political context.

While the South African Refugees Act of 1988 makes it mandatory for asylum seekers (with or without papers) to access health facilities and be provided with drugs, this does not always happen. "My drugs have run out and I have been camping at the home affairs center," said one such refugee in an interview recently. Forty-four year old asylum seeker, Gift Moyo, was on ARVs in Zimbabwe but has been denied the drugs in South Africa. His life is now at risk.

March 11th torture victim, Nhamo Musekiwa finally succumbed to the HIV virus, his illness exacerbated by the beatings he endured during torture and a lapse in ARV treatment. Though he escaped, he died destitute in South Africa, late in 2007.

Perhaps one day when Zimbabwe is free Christine Mhaka will look back and smile, knowing that her sacrifices were worth it. For now she deserves a fresh start. What remains to be seen is whether South Africa will give it to her.

Christine Mhaka is a pseudonym for a Zimbabwean activist. The story above is true and based on her life experience. – Ed.

About the Author
Zimbabwean Grace Kwinjeh is a feminist, journalist by profession and a political activist. She currently chairs the Global Zimbabwe Forum and is a founding member of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Grace spent time in Belgium where she served as the MDC representative to the EU. She sat on the National Constitutional Assembly Task Force during the historic no-vote in a referendum challenging a Mugabe-sponsored constitution. Arrested several times and badly tortured for her political activism, Grace now lives in exile in South Africa where she is a consultant and freelance journalist concerned with women's rights, democracy and globalization.

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Can Makoni Succeed Where Tsvangirai Has Failed?

The Monitor (Kampala)

19 March 2008
Posted to the web 18 March 2008

Peter Kagwanja

Zimbabwe's independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni poses the first
real challenge President Robert Mugabe has ever encountered from within the
ruling nationalist front, write Daily Monitor Correspondents Peter Kagwanja
and Patrick Mutahi

Zimbabweans go to the polls on March 29, to elect 120 members of parliament
and a national president with the incumbent, Robert Mugabe, 84, tipped to
clinch his eighth presidential term in 28 years.

But the octogenarian is facing a formidable internal rebellion that
threatens to tear apart his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front

The man wielding the heavy sword is Mugabe's former youthful protégé and
Zanu-PF Secretary of Economic Affairs, Herbert Stanley Simbarashe Makoni,
known simply as Simba Makoni.

On February 5, Makoni declared that he would seek to dethrone Mugabe as
president and party chief. As was expected, he was kicked out of the party.
Makoni's subsequent decision to run as an independent candidate comes
through as a double-edged blade slicing through the electoral turfs of both
the ruling party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Third option

Styling himself as a centrist leader, Makoni is promising to lead Zimbabwe
to a "third way" out of its economic and political mire. Inflation stands at
7,800 percent and is projected to reach 100,000 percent by the end of the
year while unemployment is 80 percent with 4 million people reportedly
facing starvation in a crisis that has churned out over 3 million refugees.

Zimbabwe's independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni and President
Robert Mugabe address their supporters. Mugabe has reason to worry because
Makoni has been endorsed publicly by some party veterans. Reuters photos

"The Third Way," argues a Makoni sympathiser and publisher, Trevor Ncube,
"is a way of thinking that rejects the mediocrity offered by the
(opposition) MDC. Under Zanu-PF, our society has collapsed.

We need a new beginning that rejects Zanu-PF corruption, oppression,
arrogance and mismanagement and offers Zimbabweans an opportunity to dream
again." Makoni poses the first real challenge Mugabe has ever encountered
from within Zimbabwe's nationalist front since his party signed a
power-sharing deal with Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African Peoples Party (Zapu)
in 1987.

But true to form, Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980,
has scoffed at Makoni's challenge. "He is like a frog trying to inflate
itself up to the size of an ox. It will burst," says Mugabe.

Makoni's exit signifies lack of internal democracy in the ruling Zanu-PF,
which has used a mix of Mugabe's charisma, propaganda, patronage and
political violence to intimidate rivals and win previous elections.

Use of violence during the infamous 1982 Gukurahundi operation (meaning the
"wind that blows away the chaff before the rains") to overcome the challenge
posed by Joshua Nkomo's Zapu killed an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 suspected
Zapu sympathisers in Matabeleland and the Midlands regions. Later, the
signing of a unity accord with Nkomo's party on December 22, 1987
effectively annihilated dissent and opposition in Zimbabwe, creating a de
facto one-party state.

The expulsion of Makoni from the party signifies the ruling elite's honed
response to dissent by expel critics and opponents from the party.

Edgar Tekere, the outspoken Secretary General of Zanu-PF, was shut out of
the party in 1987 when he became increasingly vocal against turning Zimbabwe
into a one-party state. He eventually formed the Zimbabwe Unity Movement
(Zum) to take on Mugabe in the 1990 general elections but secured only two
parliamentary seats.

Margaret Dongo, a Zanu-PF member in the 1990-1995 Parliament was expelled,
but won her Harare seat. Another expellee, Lawrence Mudehwe, also clinched
the mayoral seat of the important eastern border city of Mutare.

And more recently, the expelled academic and former Information Minister,
Jonathan Moyo, won the Tsholosho seat as an independent in Matebeleland in
the March 2005 elections. Factional wrangles within the Zanu-PF elite favour
Makoni, widely viewed as a "project" of the party's movers and shakers irked
by Mugabe's failure to honour his promise in April 2004 not to seek
re-election in 2008.

Since the onset of the Zimbabwe's crisis eight years ago, Makoni has been
secretly fronted by some Zanu-PF members and regional leaders as a worthy
heir to Mugabe's mantle. Among Makoni's backers is retired army Gen Solomon
Mujuru, whose wife, Joyce Mujuru, is one of the country's two
vice-presidents and Zimbabwe's most powerful woman.

Makoni has also been endorsed publicly by party veterans like Gen Vitalis
Zvinavashe; the former Interior Minister Dumiso Dabengwa and former Speaker
of Parliament Cyril Ndebele. This has given him an edge in the Matebele
heartlands. Gen Mujuru and Dabengwa are already leading the offensive
against Mugabe within Zanu-PF structures.

Internal divisions

The ruling party is experiencing rebellions in its rank and file. Some
members have openly defied party structures, opting to run against
candidates endorsed by the party elite. Also, key players, such as the other
vice-president Joseph Msika, politburo member Dabengwa and Zanu-PF National
chairman, John Nkomo, have strategically kept out of the race.

Coming from the relatively smaller Manyika sub-tribe of the Mashona, Makoni
is unburdened by the intra-Mashona power wrangles between the Mugabe's
Zezuru and the rival Karanga sub-tribe which has dominated party politics.
Many tout Makoni as a better force than the opposition chief, Morgan

Makoni is a credible nationalist, a pragmatist and a Leeds-trained economic
moderate who was fired as Finance Minister in August 2002 for endorsing the
devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar, a policy Mugabe vehemently opposed.

The economist has the backing of the rival MDC splinter party led by Arthur
Mutambara, who has backed down from his own presidential ambition.

MDC itself is widely seen as a spent force, having lost four elections in a
row (2000, 2002, March 2005 and November 2005). It split in 2005.

The Mutambara faction has endorsed Makoni's candidacy praising him as having
put national interests ahead of personal ambition, unlike some "pretenders"
in the political arena. "That is why some of us are prepared to put on hold
our presidential ambitions to support the national cause."

But, as things stand now, the Makoni candidacy threatens to split the
opposition vote between him and Tsvangirai. Worse still, relations between
Makoni and Tsvangirai are frosty. The latter has described Makoni as
"nothing more than old wine in a new bottle," accusing him of being partly
to blame for Mugabe's and Zanu-PF's failures.

Tsvangirai's pundits are even insisting that Makoni is a Zanu-PF decoy
brought in to give elections some credibility after the opposition had
threatened to boycott them. But Makoni has insisted that he is his own man.
To his credit, Makoni is untainted by corruption or political excesses,
which have stained such Zanu-PF rebels like Jonathan Moyo.

But he comes into the race as an underdog with no strong constituency apart
from being predominantly popular with the urban middle class and the young
voters. As such, he will have to wrest the rural votes from Mugabe. Time is
not on his side. Zimbabwe's praetorian guards are Mugabe's best bastion.

Zimbabwe has been in the grip of a "creeping coup" since the notorious urban
blitz code-named Operation Murambatsvina (clean filth) in May 2005 during
which thousands of slum dwellers were removed from the capital Harare. Since
then, politics has become increasingly militarised and the military heavily

But with Makoni's entry into the fray, Mugabe appears to be skating on thin
ice, with the soldierly 's loyalty split between the president's and the
Makoni camps.

In the ensuing uncertainty, Army Commander, Gen Constantine Chiwenga has
warned that he will overturn the constitutional order if President Mugabe
loses. "The army will not support or salute sell-outs and agents of the West
before, during and after the presidential elections," Chiwenga told the
Zimbabwe Standard.

A smarter Mugabe

Mugabe has not left anything to chance. With reports that some of his most
senior lieutenants, disillusioned with his decision to run for another term
are secretly backing Makoni, in February, Mugabe reportedly put his senior
officials to a loyalty test, approaching each one of them to sign his
nomination papers.

As an incumbent and an astute politician, Mugabe will rely on Zanu-PF, the
state machinery and resources to influence the electoral outcomes.

However, a more formidable electoral bastion is the War Veterans. On the
heel of Makoni's declaration of his candidature, Joseph Chinotimba, the
deputy leader of the war veterans, dismissed him as a political turncoat who
would suffer a humiliating defeat in the March polls. Chinotimba said the
over 3,000 war veteran supporters - who have anchored Mugabe's election
campaigns since 2000, would not allow Makoni and his supporters to enter the
party's offices.

But the war veterans are also reportedly split. A group of former fighters
said they were breaking away in protest over the way the Zimbabwe Liberation
War Veterans Association (ZLWVA) was being run.

Further, the president's alliance with war veterans' leader, Jabulani
Sibanda, has annoyed Zanu-PF stalwarts from Matabeleland.

Unlike Tsvangirai, Makoni has a regional clout, having served as Secretary
General of the 14-member South African Development Corporation (SADC).
However, Zanu-PF has oiled its propaganda machine, branding Makoni as a
traitor and an imperialist out to overthrow a legitimate government. (The
internationalisation of the Zimbabwe crisis is a tactic that Mugabe has
effectively used to tarnish the image of the opposition.)

The West, which conceives democracy as a peaceful instrument of regime
change in Zimbabwe, is calling for free and fair elections, possibly leading
to Mugabe's defeat. During his first presidential tour of Africa in
February, American president George Bush called for free and fair elections
in Zimbabwe.

"There is no doubt the people of Zimbabwe deserve a government that serves
their interest and recognises their basic human rights and holds free and
fair elections," said President Bush.

The European Union has also called on Mugabe to ensure that the polls
conform to international standards. "We want to see elections that are
properly free and fair in Zimbabwe," adds the British Foreign Secretary,
David Milliband. But democracy is a crude and undependable instrument of
regime change and achieving desired results.

However, the current SADC chair and Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa has
warned the West against interfering in Zimbabwe's elections. Mwanawasa has
also asked the West to disabuse itself of the notion that the elections can
only be free and fair if President Robert Mugabe is defeated.

But the SADC opinion on the way forward for Zimbabwe also appears divided.
South Africa has pursued a policy of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe
calibrated to ensure that Africa's largest economy does not have a failed
state on its doorsteps.

Since March 2007, President Thabo Mbeki has been mandated by SADC to broker
a political deal between Zanu-PF and MDC but the efforts have largely

Frustrated by the slow progress of the mediation, Pretoria is said to have
thrown its force behind the Makoni campaign as part of its long-term
strategy of transforming Zanu-PF and stemming a "Chiluba factor" - the
decimation of nationalist parties by labour-based opposition parties.

With Pretoria's intelligence indicating that Makoni's entry into the race is
undercutting Mugabe's power base and simultaneously eating into Tsvangirai's
vote, President Mbeki is reportedly trying to unite Tsvangirai and Makoni.

The idea is to persuade them to form a government of national unity,
preferably led by Makoni, a plan also said to be backed by some western
countries as a way of breaking Zimbabwe's political deadlock. But on the
whole, African leaders have adopted a soft public stance on Mugabe, widely
hailed as an icon of anti-colonial struggle.

Speaking during the Euro-Africa Summit in December 2007, the then AU
Chairman, Ghana's President John Kufor warned that: "It is not for anybody
to just move in there [Zimbabwe] and impose a solution." He added, "we want
to encourage a home-grown solution so that there will be a restoration of
normalcy and good governance for the people of Zimbabwe."

The Makoni challenge looks real and practical. Unlike previous opposition
forays, March 2008 could well be Mugabe's waterloo. Whatever the outcome,
though, the disintegration of the nationalist party that led Zimbabwe to
independence seems to have started. And with it, the potential collapse of
the nationalist consensus as the ideological bedrock of Mugabe's power.

But the West is likely to respond to a Mugabe victory by tightening the
noose on the country's neck, encouraging regime entrenchment and
militarisation of the Zimbabwean society. Like the proverbial grass, in this
contest of elephants, the loser will be the ordinary Zimbabwean who will
have to bear the brunt of an economy on a free-fall.

Peter Kagwanja is the acting Executive Director of Democracy and Governance
and Head of the Africa Division at the Human Science Research Council,
Pretoria and President of the Africa Policy Institute (Pretoria & Nairobi).
Patrick Mutahi is the Director of Eastern and Horn of Africa Programme at
Africa Policy Institute (Nairobi).

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Poverty and disease kill Suradzai Gumbo, the little girl Times readers took to their hearts

The Times
March 19, 2008

Martin Fletcher
Sarudzai Gumbo was a victim of Robert Mugabe's evil regime almost from the
day she was born. Her courage in the face of her appalling suffering and
disfigurement moved thousands of readers of The Times. And now she is dead -
at the age of 7 - a young girl who never stood a chance.

Richard Mills, the Times photographer, and I first met Sarudzai in a church
in Mbare, a slum in southern Harare, last March. Her mother pushed her
forward and pulled off her dirty woollen hat.

We gasped. Sarudzai's head was covered in festering red sores. Pus oozed
from her eyes. A growth on her tongue made speaking difficult.

Her tearful mother, Silibaziso, said that she had never been to school,
other children refused to play with her, and she could not sleep for pain.

Her parents told us how President Mugabe had destroyed their house in 2005
when he razed slums in Operation Murambatsvina ("Clean Up Trash"), and then
destroyed their jobs by banning street vendors.
Both parents had Aids. They were living with their five children in a tiny
shack built on wasteland from plastic sheeting and corrugated iron. They
could give Sarudzai barely a bowl of sadza - maize-meal porridge - a day.
They had been turned away by hospitals for lack of money.

After Sarudzai's story appeared in The Times, readers called to offer help,
and donated £7,500. Sarudzai was sent to an Aids clinic, but last April her
mother died and her father took her away to the ancestral village, fatally
interrupting her treatment.

Sarudzai was transferred later to Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare just as
Zimbabwe's healthcare system was imploding. That was where we found her when
we returned to the country last November. She was lying alone and neglected
in a dirty side room. Her head was a mass of septic lesions. Two large
cancers were devouring the right side of her face. She had lost the sight in
one eye. A filthy hat concealed untold horrors on her scalp - and the stench
of putrefying flesh was overwhelming.

The hospital had run out of medicines and its doctors and nurses had left in
droves for better-paid jobs abroad. It had become a place where patients
were left to die. We moved Sarudzai to a private hospital. Tracey and Anne,
two church workers from Mbare, volunteered to visit her daily.

A Harare paediatrician - one of the few left - agreed to treat her free of
charge. Kidzcan, a charity that helps Zimbabwean children with cancer,
adopted her.

For the first time in her life Sarudzai was clean, cared for and eating
proper food. We left her playing with two new teddy bears that she had named
Rudzai and Rudo - Shona for "praise" and "love" - and returned to Britain
knowing she was in good hands.

Sadly Sarudzai's cancer was too advanced, Harare's one radiotherapy machine
worked spasmodically, and there was no hard currency to repair it. She died
early yesterday.

Sarudzai was a sweet, brave and affectionate girl who won the hearts of all
who met her. She seldom cried or complained. She smiled at visitors, and
waved when they left. Her personality shone through her disfigurement.

She was also an apt symbol for a country that has suffered so much under Mr
Mugabe, a country whose beauty has been corrupted by his evil.

There were tears shed for Sarudzai yesterday, but there will be few shed for
Mr Mugabe if her death is followed by the end of his pernicious rule in this
month's presidential election.

A dying nation

13m population of Zimbabwe

35 years life expectancy for Zimbabweans at birth

2.2m Number estimated to be living with Aids

1.3m Zimbabweans aged under 17 thought to be living with Aids

$47 annual government health spending per person

Source: UNAids

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Moyo uses the Bible to defend media bans

Pretoria News

March 19, 2008 Edition 1

Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

Zimbabwe's envoy to South Africa, Simon Moyo, has used the Bible to justify
the exclusion of some journalists from covering his country's elections, as
well as to warn nations that have imposed sanctions against Harare.

Appearing before the national assembly's foreign affairs committee
yesterday, Moyo slammed the West for waging a "media war" against Robert
Mugabe's government and also punishing the country by applying sanctions.

He argued that the sanctions were not targeted at the ruling elite, but at
ordinary Zimbabweans.

"Let those who are in charge of these illegal sanctions think twice,
otherwise they won't enter the Kingdom (of God)," railed Moyo.

He confirmed that the Zimbabwe government was screening foreign media that
wanted to cover the elections. This was to make sure that "deserving
journalists" were accredited to work in Zimbabwe during the election period.
Not all journalists who applied would be successful.

Justifying the refusal to grant some journalists accreditation, Moyo said:
"Even the Bible says many were called, but few were chosen. You can't go
against the Bible."

He dismissed reports that Iran, Libya and Venezuela were the only countries
that would be sending observers.

There were 57 non-governmental groups in Zimbabwe from various countries to
monitor the elections, he said.

Referring to Britain and the US, he said: "We cannot invite those who have
already said the elections can only be free and fair if the opposition wins.

"We are not apologetic about anything.

"The West, unfortunately, has excluded itself from the elections. But
ambassadors who are positioned in Zimbabwe are welcome to represent their
countries and observe the elections.

"It is time for contestants to start campaigning and stop complaining."

South African MPs will form part of an SADC observer mission to the

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Report clears Zimbabwe of financial wrongdoing

Matt Scott
Wednesday March 19, 2008
The Guardian

The International Cricket Council yesterday declared that a report it had
commissioned into the accounts of Zimbabwe Cricket had cleared the
organisation of any wrongdoing.
The report, conducted by KPMG South Africa and KPMG Zimbabwe, is understood
to have found that no money had gone missing but some paperwork had been
stolen. It is understood to "highlight serious financial irregularities" but
"found no evidence of criminality and that no individuals had gained

There was mystery yesterday as to the movements of the ICC chief executive,
Malcolm Speed. In the weeks preceding the report's delivery to the ICC
board, Speed had been the only person in the world governing body dealing
with media inquiries. A media call involving the Australian had been
announced but he missed the press conference. Instead the incoming
president, David Morgan, and his outgoing predecessor, the South African Ray
Mali, stepped up.

Morgan is now chaperoned by India's Inderjit Singh Bindra, the ICC's
"principal adviser". The Welshman is also keeping the president's seat warm
for Sharad Pawar, who will take over in 2010.

There was more turmoil when Imtiaz Patel, the South African who had been
announced as the ICC's chief executive, said that he had not taken the job
but would consider his position in the coming weeks.

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