STATEMENT BY THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM ELECTION OBSERVATION
ZIMBABWE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 9-10 MARCH 2002
13, march 2002
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum has
completed its interim assessment of the Zimbabwe 2002 elections.
On the invitation of the government of Zimbabwe by letter dated February 4,
2002, the SADC Parliamentary Forum Observer mission constituted a delegation of
70 members, consisting of 39 Members of Parliament and support staff drawn from
the Secretariat in Windhoek, Namibia and eleven parliaments of the region.
It is the policy of the Forum to observe elections of all member states
starting with the pre-election phase. This is the seventh election the Forum has
observed in the region since 1999.
Since its inception of the observation programme, the Forum has
collectively evolved Norms and Standards for Elections in the SADC region
approved in March 2001. The main objective of the Norms and Standards is to
ensure the conduct of peaceful, free and fair elections in the region.
In observing the elections, the Forum was guided by the constitutional and
legal framework of Zimbabwe and the Norms and Standards for Election Observation
in the SADC Region. Among other things, the Mission was detailed to assess the
security and political environment in which the elections were to be held.
The Forum Deployed to all the ten provinces following consultations and
interaction with all stakeholders, including political parties, electoral
authorities, representatives of civil society, media editors, Security officers
and members of the Diplomatic corps.
The teams proceeded to observe the campaign rallies, meetings, preparations
for elections, location of polling stations, media coverage of elections, voting
and counting processes and actions that impinged on the fundamental rights and
freedoms of the citizens of Zimbabwe as enshrined in Part III of the
The Political and Security Climate
The Forum has observed that the political and security climate in which the
elections were conducted was complex. It was characterized by high levels of
polarization and political intolerance, lack of communication amongst
stakeholders and lack of free flow of information to the electorate, which are
necessary conditions for democracy to prevail.
We observed noticeable differences in the provinces but generally there was
no euphoria that normally characterizes elections the SADC region.
Violence and Intimidation
The election campaign was marred by incidents of violence in all provinces
of the country. Police and party leaders have not denied the fact that there has
been violence in various forms. What seemed to be in question was the
perpetration of that violence. Violence was visited upon ordinary voters, party
supporters and leaders alike. Reports indicated that violence was perpetrated by
supporters of the two main political parties-the ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition Movement For
Democratic Change (MDC).
Not only did the SADC Parliamentary Forum Witness some of these acts, its
mission members were themselves targets of an orchestrated attack 10 kilometres
out of Chinhoyi on 24 February.
However, evidence indicated that the majority of those affected were
supporters of the MDC or those perceived to be opponents of the ruling party and
government. Violence was manifest in the number of hospitalized victims,
numerous cases of alleged torture, arson, assault and incidences of false
The prevalence of violence is reflected in virtually all reports from our
observers in the field, which included abduction of some polling agents of MDC;
in one such incident, our observer team intervened when Police in Mashonaland
Central detained 24 election agents of the opposition party who were on their
way to Harare to vote.
Regrettably, the phenomena of political intolerance and violence seem to
have been prevalent since the 2000 legislative elections. Acts of violence
appeared to be systematically employed by youth and War veterans with camps
dotted around the country.
In any situation of conflict, the police were expected to be impartial. In
spite of the arrests made, there are significant claims that the police have
been partisan in handling of the political situation when called upon to
intervene. The use of riot squads to disperse potential voters in some Harare
constituencies raised questions about the impartiality of the Police.
A voter’s register is considered a basic condition for a successful
election. In this election, concerns have been raised regarding the timeous
release of the voter’s roll which was only made available three days before the
polls, leaving no time for the electorate to verify its accuracy. As a result of
this, it was observed that a large number of people were unable to vote.
Issues of the voter’s roll were compounded by the announcement that a
supplementary register had been prepared and would be used in the 2002 elections
contrary to earlier announcements that registration for 2002 was closed.
Freedom to Campaign
In any election, contestants should be able to move freely among the
electorate. In this election whereas the ruling party’s campaign was relatively
uninterrupted, some of opposition party meetings were cancelled or interrupted
by opponents. It was however, significant, in two instances in Harare and
Bulawayo, rallies of opposing parties were conducted in the same city without
any violence. This should be the norm.
Information to the electorate and other stakeholders on the location of
polling stations was not available to enable the electorate to make informed
decisions. Much as we appreciate the increase of polling stations in rural
areas, the reduction of the number of polling stations in urban areas had a
major impact on the elections. This was particularly so in Harare and
Chitungwiza where tripartite elections were held. It resulted in congestion with
some people spending more than 48 hours in queues because of their sheer
determination to vote.
Voting and counting
We observed that in many provinces the voting was peaceful. Well over 50
percent of the registered voters were able to cast their vote. The major
exception was the Harare Province where the voting process was excruciatingly
slow resulting in the extension of both times and days of voting.
There were also a number of violent incidents in which the police dispersed
voters from polling stations especially in high-density suburbs. Further,
although a large number of people voted, a significant number of the electorate
was unable to vote as a result of logistical, administrative and other
impediments. The counting proceeded very well.
It was significant to note that the recommendation from the Forum observers
for the polling agents to ride with the ballot boxes was accepted and
implemented. However, free movement of party agents was compromised by acts of
intimidation and reported abductions in some provinces.
However, the massive turnout of voters demonstrates the commitment of the
people of Zimbabwe to multiparty democracy.
Lack of Independence of the Electoral Commission
Despite various recommendations and practices in the SADC region, Zimbabwe
is one of the countries without an Independent Electoral Commission. The
assignment of roles to three different electoral bodies, the Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC), the Election Directorate and the
Registrar-General’s Office affects efficiency and causes duplication. The
government should seriously consider establishing an Independent Electoral
Commission as recommended by the Forum after the 2000 legislative elections and
as held by the Norms and Standards of Elections in SADC.
Access to Public Media
There was lack of access to the public media by political parties other
than the ruling party. The monopolization of the public media by the ruling
party went contrary to the guidelines set out by the Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) for equal and equitable access to contesting parties. The
slanted coverage the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and the
Zimbabwe Newspapers deprived the electorate an opportunity to make an informed
The climate of insecurity obtaining in Zimbabwe since the 2000
parliamentary elections was such that the electoral process could not be said to
adequately comply with the Norms and Standards for Elections in the SADC
It is evident to us that elections may not, in themselves, be a panacea to
Zimbabwe’s complex situation of political conflict.
We therefore appeal to
the political leadership of the country, the churches, civil society and the
business sector to join hands and begin a healing process for Zimbabwe in the
face of enormous problems. An election should not be construed to be one of
“victor” and “vanquished”.
We also urge the Heads of State and Government of SADC countries to
urgently engage the leadership of Zimbabwe
to facilitate dialogue and
reconciliation. We believe it is within the powers of the people of Zimbabwe,
through their leaders with the support of SADC to avert a political crisis in
the country and bring about peace.
Signed for and on Behalf of the SADC Parliamentary Forum Observer
Harare, Zimbabwe, 13 March 2002
Hon. Duke G. Lefhoko, MP
Head of Mission
Hon Dr Elvy Mtafu, MP
Hon. Lutero Simango, MP
I MR. HENRY CHIMBIRI, DO HEREBY MAKE OATH AND SWEAR THAT:
The facts set
out below, are to the best of my knowledge and belief, true and correct RUSHINGA
Counting Centre All polling agents from the Rushinga constituency were chased
away on the counting day after verification which revealed many anomalies which
were noted down by the election agent, mainly over seven ballot boxes which had
problems, as the seals had been removed. The election agent informed the
presiding officer to stop the opening and counting, but the presiding officer
insisted on opening those ballot boxes, saying he had been given a directive
from the Registrar General office to open and count, and if there was a problem
MDC could proceed to court.
One of our polling agents complained about
the opening and was threatened with arrest. His name is Ferguson BANWA. The
CIO created a story that he had a gun. He quickly disappeared from the scene
and the counting continued. Some of the numbers counted did not tally with the
numbers from our data forms, which were given to our polling agent as a check to
avoid rigging. This check did not work as the CIO had already stuffed some
boxes with ballot papers. These numbers were so great that it was impossible to
tally with the numbers on the data form.
The totals on our data forms
were almost 19000 but for the counting they ranged up to 27,000. The difference
is irreconcilable, as we believe the polling election agent was set up to remain
alone so that the Registrar-General's staff could vex him and he could not see
what was happening as everybody else, including observers and journalists were
chased away. In the counting room he was alone (MDC) against sixty people from
the registry office, who were also responsible for 40 other boxes.
should have been 56 MDC agents in the room, one for each box. The election
agent JOEL MUGARIRI was the only MDC agent in the room. Joel wrote his
complaint but the presiding officer refused to accept it, or acknowledge it by
signing it, and referred Joel to the registrar general.
In most village
polling stations, Mozambique citizens without ID cards were allowed to vote.
They were brought in by lorries by MP Dokora. They were not on the voters
roll. An example of such a village where the Mozambicans voted is
MT DARWIN SOUTH State agent and ZANU PF militia harassed
the election agent Mr GIFT SAMBAMA before he entered the counting centre, some
20 metres from the gate near Darwin Sports Club. They confused him by sending
him from one officer to the other thereby delaying him in entering the counting
room. They also threatened him with death after the counting. All polling
agents from the
45 stations were chased away by the Police and state agents
from the counting centre. They were vulnerable to the ZANU PF militia from the
Border Gezi camp. This resulted in them boarding buses to Harare or Bindura,
running away from the militia, leaving the polling election agent alone. There
were many complaints raised by the these agents, especially that of the MDC SEAL
MARKS AND TAPES WHICH HAD BEEN REMOVED. They threatened to arrest him if he
continued complaining about irregularities and abnormalities on the boxes. He
also wrote five complaints . One major complaint, which needs serious
addressing,is the fact that there were two queues for the voters, one for
literate and one for the illiterate The illiterate queue was the longest which
was incredibly suspicious to all voters. Voters actually complained about this
fact to the Police and the MDC Polling Agent Henry Chimbiri. Example of these
irregular queues are the polling stations at PFURA Hall and KANDEYA Business
Center Polling station.
These had the longest illiterate queues. In most
centers it was the presiding officer alone and/or a police officer assisting the
The police officers were not genuine police officers, but but
were either from the Border Gezi training camp, or ZANU (PF) activist or CIO in
police uniform. This was definitely RIGGING. Also very serious has been the
report of kidnapping of polling agents from their station who were only returned
well after the ballot boxes had been opened, checked that they were empty, and
closed at the beginning of the voting process. This was reported from
stations. Another serious problem was the movement of mobile stations. It
could not be ascertained as to when they would be moving to the next station.
The presiding officers complained about vehicles being in short supply and would
just disappear leaving the polling agent to find his own way to the next
station. Overall most people were told that they should vote on Saturday for
ZANU PF and not MDC because Tsvangirai was arrested and his whereabouts not
known. So people were told they could not vote for Tsvangirai on Saturday.
TOTAL VOTERS 29,000 against our,MDC data forms of
MT DARWIN NORTH There were serious problems in this
constituency . Our polling agents did not man 17 polling stations because they
were kidnapped and detained for
12 hours at Katarira Primary School, which
was a ZANU PF Militia base. They were assaulted and tortured and then released
after police intervention from Mukumbura Police Station. Our support group
helped in deploying extra polling agents to those affected polling stations.
The election agent was also detained for two hours when he was making his rounds
and it was later found that in the entire constituency there were three polling
stations which operated without MDC polling agents for the process. The MDC was
unaware of these unlisted stations. These three stations operated as mobile
stations and the figures published after the counting were horrendous and do not
tally with the MDC data form figures. The election agent Mr.
detained for two hours at Mukumbura Police Station by State agents and released
well after the Polling Station had closed in the evening. The MDC was not aware
of the three other polling stations operating without their knowledge in this
MUZARABANI There was a lot of violence in this area. Two
of our vehicles were burned by a group of ZANU PF militia at Utete business
center at around 3.00 pm The group was led by the MP Nobie Dzinzi, a self styled
war veteran. The police officers had confiscated the car keys, and this is the
reason the cars could not be moved and were damaged. Two other vehicles and
their drivers were impounded by State agents and detained at Muzarabani Police
Station. A further 3 vehicles were impounded that were heading for Muzarabani
with approximately 27 polling agents. They were detained at Centenary Police
Station for 18 hours. The Police officer in charge was Constable MBIMBI . In
another incident, the election agent TIMOTHY MUKWEGWE and 5 polling agents were
kidnapped when the vehicles were burned and could not be located for 20 hours.
The voting process in most stations went on without polling agents. About 21
stations were without their MDC polling agents for approximately the initial
five hours . These agents had been either harassed, kidnapped or assaulted. A
ballot box went missing at UTETE for 4 hours with the presiding officer. When
the election agent TIMOTHY MUKWEGWE was found in Centenary,he was then arrested
for allegedly "burning his own vehicles" and taken to Bindura. He was in
custody until Wednesday evening. He did not participate in the verification or
After approximately 6 hours of counting, the State agents
went and collected someone from the Centenary Police Station to replace TIMOTHY
MUKWEGWE and took him to Centenary Country Club, the counting centre of the
A rescue vehicle and driver were also detained by State
agents at the Centenary Country Club. The driver was arrested, and as he took
the vehicle keys with him, the vehicle was stranded.
93 Polling Agents,
with their leader and provincial supervisor - Mr Edwin Dzambara were chased from
the counting center and detained at Centenary Police Station. These persons
were left to sleep in the open, and were dispatched to Harare by bus the
This was the worst constituency, which had deployed in
excess of 50 State Agents.
1.. At station 27 on 9/03/02, Mr
Nicholas Goche, MP, visited the station
3 times: approx 8am, 9am, and
a.. At 8am he moved around the polling station with his men and was
speaking to voters in the queue within 100m of the station a.. At 9am he called
the Zanu PF polling agents to him and talked to them.
a.. At 11am he entered
the polling station and talked to the presiding officer for about 3 minutes in a
low voice so that others could not hear the conversation. He then went outside
and talked to voters in the queue, again within 100m of the polling
1.. At station 17 on 9/03/02 Mr Goche was distributing National
cards to his men. That they were National I.D. cards was certain
because the MDC election agents saw 2 of the cards.
3. At station 17 on
9/03/02 around 50% of the voters were asking for help to fill in their ballot
papers giving reasons such as drunkenness, dizziness, cannot write. The Zanu PF
polling agents until the MDC agents objected were helping them. The presiding
officer then agreed that only supposedly non-partisan persons such as policemen
or the presiding officer himself could assist voters to fill out their ballot
papers. However, the Zanu PF agents were only removed after a substantial
number of voters had already been helped thus. In addition, some voters who
filled in their ballot papers by themselves called the Zanu PF agents over to
note that they had voted for Zanu PF. This was done to ensure they would not be
molested after voting. Some said they feared for their lives. Others said that
their houses would be burned down if it was suspected that they had not voted
for Zanu PF.
4 At station 17 on 9/03/02 headmen were canvassing voters in
the queue to vote for Zanu PF within 100m of the polling station after they
themselves had voted.
5. At station 25,Mr William Mandere (a
ward/constituency councillor) was inside the polling station for much of both
days of voting.
6. At mobile station M6 the MDC polling agents were
attempting to get to the polling station on the evening of Friday 8/03/02 when
they were stopped by a group of Zanu PF youths who would not let them through.
The MDC agents only got through by persuading the Zanu PF youths that they were
observers and not agents.
7. At mobile station M6 on 9/03/02 the Zanu PF
youth "controlled" the voters queue from 5am until 12pm by which time most
people had cast their votes. Neither the Presiding Officer nor the 2 policemen
on duty could do anything to stop the youth. One of the Zanu PF agents was a
war vet and was assisting the youth in canvassing. In addition, these same Zanu
PF youths were not allowing prospective voters whom they considered were not
going to vote for Zanu PF to even join the queue. They were turned away at the
turnoff from the main road.
8. At mobile station M6 on 9/03/02 the MDC
supervisor coming in a vehicle to pick up the MDC agents at M6 and to follow the
mobile station to its next position saw a group of about 50 Zanu PF youths
blocking the road about 500m ahead. They were approximately 50m down the road
from and out of sight of the polling station. The driver stopped the vehicle
because the youths were moving toward the vehicle in a clearly hostile manner.
As soon as the vehicle stopped the youths began to advance faster so the driver
hurriedly turned the vehicle round and began to retreat the same way he had come
only to find that 2 youths had been stationed behind the position where the
vehicle stopped so that they could construct a road block of large boulders and
prevent the vehicles escape. After having seen the damage done to the MDC
vehicle and to the occupants the previous night by Zanu PF youth when agents
were being dropped off the occupants of the vehicle were well aware of what
would happen to them if they were trapped as the youths intended. Therefore the
driver accelerated as fast as possible and was just able to find a passage
between the boulders to escape. As the vehicle went past one of the Zanu PF
youths hurled a boulder about 30cm in diameter at the vehicle but missed. MDC
was unable to visit station M6 until later on, on 10/03/02 when they were
accompanied by a South African Observer team for safety.
GURUVE SOUTH The
Election Agent Mr THABANI NKOSA was arrested. The reasons for his arrest were
not clear, but the rumour was that he was carrying people in his truck, who were
singing "without a permit" This was when he was actually walking, and not in a
vehicle, either as a driver or passenger.
He was only released to arrive at
the counting hall 9 hours after verification had been completed. Subsequently
all the polling agents were chased away, leaving Mr Nkosa on his own. I was
denied access to talk to him or to give him food. The whole area was inundated
with Police who gave the polling agents an hour to clear out from not only the
counting centre, but from the Guruve township.
NORTH The election agent ALAN MacCORMAC was arrested and detained at Guruve
Police station with two white men from the support group. It was alleged that
their vehicles were equipped with walky - talky radios without licences,
although they were in possession of radio licences. It was a way of delaying
them in routine checks of the polling stations. They were detained for six
hours and could not deploy some of the polling agents, who by now had been
abducted by the ZANU PF militia. The verification and counting was done by
unknown persons because the MDC Election Agent Mr.
MacCormack was not allowed
to enter the counting centre. He did not know who was representing MDC. Only
an election agent can actually verify the abnormality as he was trained.to do
the counting and spot any errors, unlike the polling agent who were there only
to observe and monitor.
BINDURA Polling agents of four polling
stations were kidnapped and assaulted and a report was made to the Police about
the kidnapping at CHIWARIDZO, MANHENGA NYAVA and NZIRAWA polling stations.
Three agents were found at SOS farm, being held by war veterans, who had
abducted them. They were released by the police. The verification and counting
was abandoned because of the following problems that were noted by our
1.. Seals and red tags were removed by the war veterans.
The counterfeit receipt numbers and the ballot papers did not match.
were excess ballot papers in most ballot boxes.
3.. Electricity was switched
off during the counting process. We believe that rigging took place. The
election agent , TAPERA MACHEKA protested and was duly thrown out, for at least
seven minutes and was only then allowed back in. There was an increase in
Mobile Stations from 8 to 16. Out of the
16 mobile stations, 13 were in the
fast track resettlement area and all the seals and tags had been removed. The
total figures for Bindura did not tally with the ballot counterfeit receipt
numbers. The counting process was stopped from 11 pm to almost 4 am. The ink
jet detector was not working at MANHENGA and MUREMBE. A lot of our Polling
Agent security personnel were assaulted and chased away by ZANU PF supporters
based at Mr Midzi's house, the former MDC youth chairman, who was murdered by
ZANU PF youth earlier this year. Bindura was full of CIO agents within the
rural and fast-track resettlement areas.
MAZOE EAST There was an incident at
Chaona Primary School where four headmen from Chaona were forcing people to
stand behind them and were issuing ballot papers in the queue. The Police
caught them doing this, arrested them and detained them at Centenary Police
CHIMBIRI INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY SECRETARY MDC - MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE
COMMISSIONER OF OATHS DATED at HARARE this 14th
day of MARCH 2002
THE SCOTSMAN 19 March 2002
Loyalty amid Zimbabwe’s betrayal
Jacqui Goddard In
THEY found him tied to a
tree, his body brutally battered, a single bullet in his head.
his Jack Russell terrier, curled up and slept beside him. He growled when anyone
The tenth white farmer to be killed since landless Zimbabwean
blacks began to seize white-owned farms two years ago, 53-year-old Terry Ford’s
final hours were spent trying single-handedly to protect his property from a mob
of 20 ZANU-PF war veterans.
He was beaten and dragged around a tree
before being shot dead, his fiancée, Naomi Raaff, and friends told The Scotsman
yesterday. “Terry was one of the most kind-hearted people in the world and all
he wanted to do was farm,” Ms Raaff said. “What has this achieved, other than
the loss of a much-loved, innocent man?”
His murder came the day after
President Robert Mugabe vowed in his inaugural speech to continue his
land-seizure programme “with greater speed and strength”.
generation Zimbabwean, Mr Ford had spent all his life on the farm and grew up
with many of the black workers who helped to run it. He was a fluent speaker of
Shona, the majority language, and was known to his staff as
“His workers are devastated,” said Ms Raaff. “They are saying
to me: ‘We have lost our father today’.”
Ms Raaff said police had
ignored Mr Ford’s repeated telephone calls for help, the officer on duty telling
him that he could not come out to Gowrie Farm to call off the attackers because
his driver was fast asleep and must not be woken.
The police eventually
arrived at the scene at 12:30pm yesterday – more than six hours after Mr Ford’s
body was found slumped beneath a tree by his cook.
Mr Ford had been
prevented from farming for the last two years since the government served notice
that it intended to forcibly seize his land and property. He had moved to Harare
with Ms Raaff, 43, and found himself a new job as a school estate manager,
hoping that last week’s presidential election would finally see Mr Mugabe’s
Amid widespread evidence of vote-rigging, Mr Mugabe was
pronounced the winner and reinstated for a sixth term.
Fearing a new
wave of terror against Zimbabwe’s white farming community, Mr Ford had gone to
check on his property at Norton, 50 kms south of Harare, on Sunday and was
staying there alone.
At 11:30pm, he called neighbours to report that his
homestead was being invaded and ransacked.
“He ran out and fired a shot
over their heads and chased them out,” said a friend, Ben Freeth, a fellow
landowner and local executive for the Commercial Farmers Union. “We know he was
still alive at 1:15am because a neighbour spoke to him and it seemed that things
had calmed down.”
However, it is clear that the gang then returned. “We
believe he tried to make a break for it in his vehicle,” said Mr Freeth. “He
tried to drive his way through the security fence – it was bashed about, but he
obviously didn’t get through.”
Mr Ford’s neighbours believe that in his
panic, he then slipped as he leapt from his vehicle and attempted to vault the
fence on foot.
“He was then grabbed, dragged around a bit and put up
against a tree, where he was shot through the head,” said Mr Freeth.
Ford had been seeking a divorce from his first wife, Trish, who now lives in New
Zealand and from whom he separated six years ago, so he and Ms Raaff could be
married. One of his two grown-up sons by his first marriage was en route to
Zimbabwe for a friend’s wedding when his father was murdered.
stepped off the plane expecting to see his father and was instead told the news
that he had been killed,” said Mr Freeth. Ms Raaff, a Zimbabwean, now plans to
seek sanctuary in Britain, having obtained a British passport as a precaution
against a Mugabe election victory. “The only reason I stayed was to be with
Terry,” she said. “Now I have lost him. It is over for me in
Zimbabwe’s white farming community fears the murder at Gowrie
Farm is only the start of a huge post-election backlash by Mr Mugabe’s thugs,
who believe that the president’s election victory is a signal that the land is
now theirs to take.
“They are saying things like: ‘Your crops are now our
crops’,” said Jenni Williams, the CFU spokeswoman. “We had hoped that Mr
Mugabe’s election speech might be translated into positive and peaceful action
on the ground, but it is obviously not happening that way.”
was one of four in the Norton area to have been attacked and looted over the
last week. An elderly farming couple have been forced to leave one property and,
at a second, the 81-year-old owner had all his household goods stolen while he
was in hospital being treated for cancer.
At Esigodini, close to the
second city of Bulawayo, another farmer, Paul Goodwin, was yesterday visited by
a ZANU-PF gang and given three hours to get himself and his cattle off his land
for good. At Nyamandhlovu, it was a similar situation as two farmers struggled
to move their dairy herds and evacuate their homes after being given a
Mr Freeth said last night: “Terry survived the last
two years basically by being a nice guy and, when they told him to stop farming,
by stopping farming. There is a numbness in the farming community. There is
anger, shock, a sense of the sheer pointlessness of all
Killing of white farmer shocks Zimbabweans
ZIMBABWE: The police finally responded to Terry Ford's appeal for help,
they came 12 hours too late. Officers wearing rubber gloves loaded the
farmer's bloodied corpse into a metal box outside his thatched
miles from Harare.
A farm worker had found him at dawn. He was lying in
his yard near his
blood-smeared pick-up truck, a gunshot wound to the
A week after Mr Robert Mugabe was returned as president of
Zimbabwe, a pall
of fear has descended over Zimbabwe and the rule of law has
Gangs of youth militia and war veterans
who helped return Mr Mugabe to power
have targeted his enemies, real or
perceived, for vicious treatment.
Attacks on white farmers have
increased. Thousands of black opposition
activists are living in fear of
retribution. Those with money have fled the
country; those without have fled
into crowded safe houses.
For his part, Mr Mugabe has tightened his grip
on power by enacting a
draconian media law while mounting a ring of police
Harare. Even his own party members are fearful of his next
"Make no mistake, we are very close to the edge [of
hope nobody pushes us over," said one retired Zanu-PF
Terry Ford became the 10th white farmer to die since the land
started two years ago, on a farm just 8 km away. His two dogs stood
over his body until the police arrived yesterday, 12 hours after he
Mr Graham Hatty of the Norton Farmers Association
said there have been five
burglaries over the past week. The thieves,
identified as a group of war
veterans squatting on local farms, have targeted
weapons, binoculars and
radio equipment. No arrests have been made. "The
police seem very reluctant
to deal with the situation," he
While high-profile attacks on white farmers originally sparked the
crisis, the bulk of the attacks have been directed at supporters of
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who have suffered by
the most casualties since the land movement began.
alone, more than 30 MDC activists were murdered. Hundreds more
and tortured in the run-up to polling 10 days ago. Now the
live in fear of retribution from Mr Mugabe's terror squads.
Brian, an MDC
election agent, fled a Harare counting centre after a friend
came to warn him
that a Zanu gang was threatening his life. they were
singing that they were
going to petrol bomb my house and kill me," he said.
The building clerk
had earlier complained of irregularities in the count in
favour of Mr
After gathering his wife and 14-year-old daughter, he fled to a
They have not returned home since.
His host, a white
businessman, admitted he was worried about accommodating
the couple for
"I can leave if necessary. We have money and support. Black
none of that," he said.
Mr Mugabe vowed at last
Sunday's inauguration to press ahead with his
He repeated familiar claims about the British Prime Minister, Mr
"neo-colonialism" and described his victory as a "stunning blow
But within his party there is a silent minority that
is unhappy with his
rule. One sitting Zanu MP said he had often considered
resigning. "But you
ask yourself if you can live safely in this country after
embarrassed the party. The answer is 'no'," he said.
moderate elements with the party were hoping that President Mbeki of
Africa and President Obasanjo of Nigeria could talk sense into
"We've got so much going for us - natural resources, a
workforce, the climate," he said. "But \ also have one old
man - and he is
our biggest liability."
Talks may grant Mugabe reprieve
by Ben Leapman
Commonwealth leaders were meeting for key talks on Zimbabwe today amid signs
that President Robert Mugabe could be granted a temporary reprieve.
Britain is pressing for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the organisation after
last week's elections, which saw Mr Mugabe returned to power with widespread
evidence of intimidation and vote-rigging.
A panel of South African President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo and Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been asked to rule on
whether to punish Zimbabwe, with penalties including suspension.
However Mr Mbeki and Mr Obasanjo emerged from talks with Mr Mugabe in Harare
yesterday talking of compromise. They also met defeated opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, now facing charges of treason, whose Movement for Democratic Change
has promised to release election statistics soon that differ greatly from
Commonwealth election observers warned in an interim report that the ballot
had not been free and fair, but there were doubts as to whether today's meeting,
at Marlborough House in London, would back up their findings.
Tsvangirai sees no Commonwealth action on Zimbabwe
LONDON, March 19 — Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Tuesday a Commonwealth meeting in London would do little against what critics say was President Robert Mugabe's illegal win in recent presidential elections.
Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria were
meeting Australian Prime Minister John Howard (eds: 1400 GMT) to discuss how to
react to the election and the political and economic crisis in the former
The election, condemned by Western nations but
largely approved by Zimbabwe's African neighbours, has split the Commonwealth
down racial lines and been seen as a test of the group's future viability.
The three leaders' options are limited -- ranging from protesting at the
conduct of the elections, which were marred by violence, to suspension of
Zimbabwe from the group of 54 mainly former British colonies.
has called for immediate suspension, but Mbeki and Obasanjo, who are trying to
broker a power-sharing compromise between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, are believed to
be against any precipitate action.
Tsvangirai told BBC radio: ''Mbeki
and Obsanjo are not going to allow that. They are going to present a position
that the Zimbabweans are talking, so there may be a deferment of any action
until those things are concluded.''
The victory gave Mugabe, in power
since independence from Britain in 1980, a further six years in office in a
country that has declined from a model of post-colonial racial harmony and
economic success to the verge of collapse and famine.
''I don't want
any punitive action against Zimbabwe. But...the Commonwealth has a right to
ensure that democracy is achieved,'' said Tsvangirai, who has been charged with
treason for allegedly plotting to kill Mugabe.
''As far as we are
concerned, we have various options. For the moment the two presidents have said
that we should sit down and negotiate. We will pursue that, but there are other
options -- legal or otherwise,'' he added. He did not elaborate.
CALL FOR MUGABE'S ARREST
More than 100 of Tsvangirai's
supporters have been killed and thousands injured or forced to flee in two years
of political violence that have accompanied the invasion -- with government
approval -- of hundreds of mainly white-owned commercial farms by landless
Mugabe, who during his inauguration on Sunday promised to
accelerate the land grab, justifies it as a belated righting of the wrongs of
more than a century of colonial rule.
On Monday, farmer Terry Ford
was beaten, tied to a tree and shot dead by invaders who then ransacked his
home. He was the 10th white farmer to be murdered since the invasions began in
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who has twice
attempted citizens' arrests on the notoriously homophobic Mugabe, called on
individual Commonwealth governments to issue arrest warrants for the Zimbabwean
president for human rights abuses.
''Charges could be bought under
the U.N. Convention Against Torture, based on some of the hundreds of incidents
of state-sanctioned torture documented by Zimbabwe's human rights watchdog, the
Amani Trust, during the last year,'' he said.
rights monitor Amnesty International said it had information that more than 100
opposition supporters were still being held illegally and tortured by supporters
of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, with police either involved or unwilling to
Commonwealth leaders to discuss Zimbabwe
Reuters News Agency
London — Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai said on Tuesday that a Commonwealth meeting in London would do little
against what critics say was President Robert Mugabe's illegal win in recent
Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria were
meeting Australian Prime Minister John Howard Tuesday to discuss how to react to
the election and the political and economic crisis in the former British
The election, condemned by Western nations but largely approved by Zimbabwe's
African neighbours, has split the Commonwealth down racial lines and been seen
as a test of the group's future viability.
The three leaders' options are limited — ranging from protesting at the
conduct of the elections, which were marred by violence, to suspension of
Zimbabwe from the group of 54 mainly former British colonies.
Mr. Howard has called for immediate suspension, but Mr. Mbeki and Mr.
Obasanjo, who are trying to broker a power-sharing compromise between Mr. Mugabe
and Mr. Tsvangirai, are believed to be against any precipitate action.
Mr. Tsvangirai told BBC radio: "Mbeki and Obsanjo are not going to allow
that. They are going to present a position that the Zimbabweans are talking, so
there may be a deferment of any action until those things are concluded."
The victory gave Mr. Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in
1980, a further six years in office in a country that has declined from a model
of post-colonial racial harmony and economic success to the verge of collapse
"I don't want any punitive action against Zimbabwe. But ... the Commonwealth
has a right to ensure that democracy is achieved," said Mr. Tsvangirai, who has
been charged with treason for allegedly plotting to kill Mr. Mugabe.
"As far as we are concerned, we have various options. For the moment the two
presidents have said that we should sit down and negotiate. We will pursue that,
but there are other options — legal or otherwise," he added. He did not
More than 100 of Mr. Tsvangirai's supporters have been killed and thousands
injured or forced to flee in two years of political violence that have
accompanied the invasion — with government approval — of hundreds of mainly
white-owned commercial farms by landless blacks.
Mr. Mugabe, who during his inauguration on Sunday promised to accelerate the
land grab, justifies it as a belated righting of the wrongs of more than a
century of colonial rule.
On Monday, farmer Terry Ford was beaten, tied to a tree and shot dead by
invaders who then ransacked his home. He was the 10th white farmer to be
murdered since the invasions began in February, 2000.
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who has twice attempted citizens' arrests
on the notoriously homophobic Mr. Mugabe, called on individual Commonwealth
governments to issue arrest warrants for the Zimbabwean president for human
"Charges could be bought under the UN Convention Against Torture, based on
some of the hundreds of incidents of state-sanctioned torture documented by
Zimbabwe's human rights watchdog, the Amani Trust, during the last year," he
London-based human rights monitor Amnesty International said it had
information that more than 100 opposition supporters were still being held
illegally and tortured by supporters of Mr. Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, with
police either involved or unwilling to intervene.
— By Lucia Mutikani
HARARE (Reuters) - On the eve of a Commonwealth meeting to assess last week's
presidential election in Zimbabwe, international financier George Soros accused
Robert Mugabe of stealing victory and said Africa would suffer for it.
The leaders of Nigeria and South Africa left Harare on Monday for key talks
in London on whether the Commonwealth should suspend Zimbabwe for what critics
say was blatant election fraud by Mugabe.
Hours later, Soros told a panel at a United Nations Conference in Mexico on
Financing for Development: "Mugabe stole the election by preventing people in
urban areas from casting their vote.
"The elections in Zimbabwe have cast doubt on the ability of African states
to create suitable conditions for private investment," he added. Foreign direct
investment inflows into Zimbabwe have already virtually halted, falling from a
peak of $436 million in 1998 to $5.4 million in 2001, largely due to waning
investor confidence, according to the central bank.
Foreign participation on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has also plummeted, with
net portfolio outflows of US$104.9 million recorded in 2001 compared to outflows
of US$1.2 million in 2000.
The Zimbabwean dollar has been fixed at $55/dollar since November 2000 but
trades informally on the streets at up to 350 to the U.S. dollar.
Opinions on the validity of the three-day poll remained sharply divided as
Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki arrived in London to
meet Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
The three men were tasked by the Commonwealth to assess the poll and decide
whether the association linking Britain and its former colonies should impose
A Commonwealth observer group said last week the election was deeply flawed
and did not allow for a true expression of public will.
As a possible straw in the wind, Denmark said it would close its embassy and
cease development aid to Zimbabwe in reaction to the disputed election.
Last August Copenhagen froze most of its aid, planned to reach $14 million,
and Tuesday said the rest would be phased out due to "constant violations of
human rights and democratic rules."
SOUTH AFRICANS DIVIDED
In South Africa, a parliamentary observer group met through the night to
finalize its report ahead of the Commonwealth meeting, but failed to reach a
The ruling African National Congress said the election was "credible" because
more than three million Zimbabweans voted.
Opposition parties filed a separate report saying "...it is not possible to
describe the election as free and fair and representing the will of the
Mbeki and Obasanjo, leaders of Africa's most powerful nations, Monday met
both Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), the official loser in elections last week.
They said they had urged the two rivals to find a way to work together to
tackle Zimbabwe's deepening four-year recession, looming famine and political
Asked to confirm reports by South African government sources that he was
urging Mugabe to form a government of national unity, Mbeki told reporters:
"The approach we are taking is that the responsibility to solve the problems
of Zimbabwe...rests first and foremost and principally with the leadership of
Official results showed Mugabe, 78 and in power since Zimbabwe's independence
from Britain in 1980, won 56 percent of the votes cast.
Britain, the European Union, the United States and a Commonwealth observer
group accused Mugabe of using state powers and institutions to steal victory.
African governments have been less willing to condemn Mugabe.
UNIONS CHALLENGE MUGABE
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) announced a three-day general
strike from Wednesday to protest against the post-election harassment of its
The ZCTU has a track record of feisty opposition to Mugabe since Tsvangirai,
its former leader, led the federation out of an alliance with the ruling ZANU-PF
in the 1990s.
Mugabe's first full day of his fifth term as Zimbabwe's leader was marred
Monday by the brutal slaying of a white farmer by, neighbors said, pro-Mugabe
Police said Tuesday they had arrested four men and seized firearms linked to
Monday's murder of farmer Terry Ford, the 10th white farmer killed since
Mugabe's followers began a state-sanctioned program to seize white-owned land
for redistribution to blacks early in 2000.
"We have not gone into that," a police spokesman said when asked whether the
suspects were pro-Mugabe war veterans or land invaders settled on the victim's
photo credit and
|White Zimbabwean farmer Terence Ford lies dead
under a blanket as his dog curls up next to the body March 18, 2002. Ford was
killed hours before the leaders of South Africa and Nigeria met President Robert
Mugabe to urge him to share power with his defeated challenger in last week's
election. Ford was allegedly killed by land settlers and war veterans while
trying to escape from his homestead west of Harare. Photo by Reuters
Tsvangirai suggests talks with Mugabe on new Zimbabwe
LONDON, March 19 AFP|Published: Tuesday March 19, 8:03
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called today for talks with
President Robert Mugabe's government with the aim of holding fresh elections
after last week's violence-wracked vote.
Tsvangirai, who charges that the March 9-11 presidential election was rigged
by Mugabe, said the government had to restore its legitimacy.
"I'm suggesting that the best way is for the two parties to negotiate," he
told BBC radio.
"The whole negotiation process should lead to a restoration of legitimacy in
a government that is not legitimate," he added.
"As far as we are convinced, a re-election is the only option out of that
"In fact we are being magnanimous, there is no reason why we should negotiate
with people who have stolen an election, but ... this is the only way we can see
the country moving forward," he also said.
"The country is in dire need of food and all these other measures so let's
see how it transpires."
He said presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo of
Nigeria, who met Mugabe for talks yesterday, had offered to lead the
negotiations without conditions.
Tsvangirai said that although Mbeki and Obasanjo had urged both sides to
pursue talks, his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had other options too,
including legal ones.
MAPUTO, March 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Mozambican President Joaquim
Chissano has denied that the Zimbabwean commercial farmers who
working in central Mozambique will bring with them the land
that have plagued Zimbabwean politics.
Speaking Monday in Harare to
Mozambican Television (TVM),
Chissano distinguished sharply between the land
Mozambique, where all land is state property, and that in
where it is mostly in private hands.
"The conditions don't
exist here for the same thing that
happened in Zimbabwe," Chissano said,
noting: "In Mozambique, the
land belongs to the state. It will never be the
of the white farmers. The legislation is clear".
Zimbabwean farmers in Mozambique were leasing the land for
a period of up to
50 years, and when that period ran out they
would have to apply to renew the
lease. And should the farmers not
undertake the investment promised "the
legal clauses are clear,
and they will lose the land, and the state does not
have to pay
them any compensation", Chissano explained.
the opportunity to farm in Mozambique was not
restricted to white
Zimbabweans. If any black Zimbabweans had
money to invest in Mozambique,
they were welcome too, he said.
"There's nothing to stop them," he added.
"This has nothing to
do with the land crisis in Zimbabwe. It has to do with
to foreign investment."
As for the controversial Zimbabwean
presidential election, won
by incumbent President Robert Mugabe, Chissano
repeated his belief
that the election had been free and fair, and said that
and America do not know Africa well".
Chissano said that the
anomalies and "the few scenes of
violence" that preceded the elections had
no impact on the outcome.
Countries that advocated punitive measures
government did so because they were unaware of the
Zimbabwean, and indeed of Africa, he argued.
Mozambican leader said he had followed the Zimbabwean
crisis over a period
of years. "One cannot assess these elections
just through an observation of
a few weeks or even months," he
"One must take into account a
whole series of factors, and we
think there was a great opening for a
democratic process such as
this, which allowed real participation of all
forces. We think we
should encourage democracy instead of discouraging it,"
Chissano denied that the Zimbabwean crisis would open a
damaging political breach between Africa and Europe. What was
he said, was merely a difference of opinion arising
from different analyses
of the Zimbabwean problem.
He also argued that Africa should be given time
to improve its
nascent democratic systems. "If Africa is to have mature
democracies, then it must be given time, and above all support,
otherwise everything, including the continent's embryonic
will collapse under such basic problems as lack of
food, drinking water,
medical care and schools," he said.
As for Zimbabwe's relations with the
stressed his opposition to any suspension of
It was better to discuss the problems "with Zimbabwe
Commonwealth rather than outside".
"I think the isolation
of Zimbabwe will serve no purpose," he
SA and Nigeria will pay a heavy price if they refuse to act
against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for stealing an election. The SA and
Nigerian posture in the wake of the elections has already been greeted by
derision in the rest of the world and could wreck the Commonwealth. But the real
tragedy is that their diplomacy has failed to avert the unfolding catastrophe in
Zimbabwe. To reverse this they must now deliver, at the least, a new election
that is convincingly free and fair. Some of the longer-term costs are likely to
be: SA's diplomatic marginalisation, a loss of credibility via a failure to
uphold democratic values, hostility from Zimbabweans who feel cheated, and a
threat to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
The rapid-fire statements last week from the US and UK, calling
the election fraudulent, are a turning point. There was no waiting for an SA
statement, despite all the major powers' frequent comments that they take a cue
on regional issues from Pretoria and see SA as having a stabilising role in the
region. SA's call for a government of national unity is a nonstarter as an end
in itself, while the days of pondering a response to the results have simply
shown indecision and a reluctance to face facts. The election was a betrayal of
Zimbabweans, some of whom fruitlessly spent up to 70 hours in queues in an
attempt to vote. The SA government's stance cannot but make it deeply unpopular
with many Zimbabweans. SA food aid to Zimbabwe will not redeem our
If the reason for SA's pondering and "quiet diplomacy" is that
it fears a political fallout from taking the same side as the UK's Tony Blair
and the US's George Bush because of the potential "colonial" connotations, then
it has misjudged the environment. In SA the radio talk shows indicate a concern
about democracy across the racial spectrum. In the face of such flagrant
violations of basic democratic tenets, the major powers were left without an
option other than to speak their minds about the election. Any moaning about
attempts to exercise new colonial authority should be treated as an attempt to
defend dictatorial rule in this case. But the major powers can be criticised for
applying dual standards as there is silence on human rights violations in
countries upon which they are reliant, usually for wider strategic reasons.
Inevitably all countries take advantage of situations to do what is most
expedient at the time.
The reaction of African governments to Zimbabwe's stolen
election has given the major powers no room to manoeuvre. It has opened a
glaring gap between the words and sentiments of Nepad and the deeds of certain
governments. Nepad's governance initiative, which covers such aspects as
democracy, transparent government, protection of human rights, and sound
management of public finances, is presented as "a precondition for development"
in the document. Significantly, the document provides for peer review of
governance on the continent, although the mechanisms for this must still be
given form. Governance is often called the "cost-free" dimension of Nepad as
opposed to the other initiatives that call for heavy funding. But the major
powers have made it clear: the better the governance, the more money will
Even if it is argued that Nepad is a process, Zimbabwe is too
blatant a case of poor governance to allow it to pass. Moreover, it cannot be
argued that Zimbabwe is a special case because of the land issue. There is broad
consensus on the need for land redistribution the issue is one of simple
political intimidation. The world's powers have been effusive in their
rhetorical support for Nepad since the new vision for the continent's
development began to emerge. The Cold War long over, there is no imminent threat
to wester interests. But failed and rogue states, as well as poverty and disease
do pose threats. In the aftermath of September 11, and the fight by the
coalition against terrorism, the thinking in London and Washington is that the
G-8 must provide a tangible alternative to fundamentalism. In addition, the fact
has been that rogue states and terrorist organisations often receive a welcome
in failing and failed states because of their lack of alternatives for support.
That is why Zimbabwe has a wider importance and cannot be pushed aside.
Sanctions targeted at the Zanu PF elite would help, but all that is needed is to
call for a fresh election. SA would then have done the right thing at the right