Zimbabwe's Mugabe cheating exposed by HRW
Human Rights Watch
has released a 36-page report, entitled Not a Level
The press release states that the report: - documents cases of
intimidation of opposition parties, their supporters and ordinary
by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU
its political allies. The paper also highlights the government's use
repressive laws to restrict the activities of political parties and civil
society activists. The paper is based on research conducted by Human Rights
Watch in several regions of Zimbabwe in December 2004 and February 2005 and
can be read here in pdf format
March 21, 2005
'must share blame for rigged Zimbabwe election'
A human rights team reveals exclusively to The Times
intimidation tactics are rife
impossible for Zimbabwe's parliamentary election, due in
ten days' time, to
be free and fair, according to a powerful report to be
The Human Rights Watch document, based on the work of an
undercover team that has spent several weeks inside Zimbabwe, confirms
widespread suspicions that opposition supporters face daily intimidation,
The Times has learnt.
The report accuses the
Government of President Mugabe of lacking
respect for the basic freedoms of
expression, association and assembly and
says that the poll will be based on
an electoral roll manipulated to favour
Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF)
The Mugabe Government has faced such criticism many
recent years, but this report is likely to have a greater impact
Zimbabwe's neighbours because it measures the conduct of the campaign
against an agreement that was signed by 14 heads of state, including Mr
Mugabe himself. It criticises the other heads of state for failing to press
Mr Mugabe to fulfil his obligations under that agreement.
"The same partisan electoral institutions that supervised flawed
[parliamentary and presidential] processes in 2000 and 2002 are supervising
electoral processes for the 2005 elections," the 36-page report, Not A Level
Playing Field, says.
The researchers set the campaign
record of Zanu (PF)against the
principles and guidelines set out for the
poll at an urgent meeting of heads
of state of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) last August.
Mr Mugabe was one
of the signatories to the document, whose
listed principles call for full
participation of citizens in the political
process; freedom of association;
political tolerance; equal opportunity for
all political parties to access
the state media; independence of the
judiciary; independence of the media;
impartiality of the electoral
institutions; and voter
"With only days remaining before voters go to the
polls, it is
clear that the Government has not adequately met the benchmarks
set by the
SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections,"
which is to be released in Johannesburg, says. "The Government
has . . .
restricted the rights to freedom of expression, association and
many parts of the country. Opposition party members and ordinary
have been intimidated by ruling party supporters and officials,
liberation] war veterans and [Mr Mugabe's personal] youth
The damning report dissects the degree to which Mr
implemented each of the principles that he signed up to, and
Government of Zimbabwe has demonstrated its lack of respect
for the basic
freedoms prescribed in the SADC guidelines . . . As a result
are highly unlikely to reflect the free expression of the
Examining repressive laws introduced by the
most notably the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act 2003
and the Public Order and Security Act 2002, the report
concludes that as
many as 500 domestic and international reporters had been
detained for varying lengths of time over the past two years.
At least five
of them had been arrested on more than one
Among the draconian clauses of the acts are one
making it an
offence to criticise Mr Mugabe and another making it an offence
loosely defined "false statements . . . prejudicial to the
The report says that there are as many Zimbabweans of
outside the country as inside. About 3.4 million people over 18
the country in the past four years as political or economic
Exiled Zimbabweans, the majority of whom would most
for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), were
denied the right to vote by post by Zimbabwe's Supreme
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, a Mugabe loyalist
Justice Minister, said: "This application has no merit." He gave
reason for his judgment.
residents over the age of 18 had been
disenfranchised because of a deeply
flawed registration procedure and a
refusal of the right of opposition
parties to inspect voters' rolls, which
are believed to contain up to
800,000 "ghost" voters. Many adults in urban
areas, which in recent years
have returned MDC candidates to parliament,
have been refused registration
because they cannot provide rates bills in
their name or credit accounts
from a shop accompanied by a lawyer's
report says that despite Mr Mugabe's public calls for a
there are "high levels of intimidation in parts of the
country . . . by Zanu
[PF] supporters". Government opponents were unable to
campaign in some parts
of the country, and they had no protection from state
"the judiciary, the police and the civil service have
been restructured to
ensure that party loyalists are at the helm".
Mr Mugabe's continuing restrictions, Professor
Welshman Ncube, the MDC
secretary-general, said: "There has been no pressure
on Mugabe from
countries in Africa [to respect the SADC principles]. The
real pressure, the
real things that Mugabe feels, are the targeted [Western]
Mugabe in balancing act as Zimbabwe crisis continues
20, 2005 11:38 PM ET
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's
veteran leader Robert Mugabe has been likened
by critics to a man riding a
lion -- forced by pride to pose as a hero while
facing the constant threat
of being mauled.
Political analysts say Mugabe has little chance of
steering Zimbabwe out of
its political and economic crisis because he fears
losing power which
undermines his ability to act.
Mugabe, an African
liberation hero now pilloried as a dictator by Western
countries, will see
his balance tested again when Zimbabwe holds
parliamentary elections on
The opposition says the polls will be neither free nor fair,
will give the 81-year-old leader a chance to engineer another
win for his
ruling ZANU-PF party which it says rigged victories in both 2000
But victory at the polls will hardly solve Mugabe's
He cannot win back crucial Western aid for Zimbabwe's ravaged
without reversing some of his controversial policies, including
controls on the media and security laws hobbling the opposition,
The embattled Zimbabwean leader is unlikely do this
because it would expose
his weaknesses, leaving him vulnerable to leadership
challenges from both
within ZANU-PF and from outside forces, the analysts
"For Mugabe, I don't think he sees any way of doing that without
control, and without endangering his own political position," said
Masunungure, a political science lecturer at Harare's University of
"For some powerful Western countries, the Zimbabwe question
has become a
matter of prestige and I don't think they will accept any
reforms which will
leave Mugabe posturing as the final winner in this
stand-off," he said.
ASSET OR LIABILITY?
chairman of the Zimbabwe political pressure group the
Constitutional Assembly, believes Mugabe sees a free press as a
because it would open up a public debate over his management of the
his handling of ethnic issues and his overall leadership skills.
last five years, Mugabe has stifled debate on whether he is an asset
liability to this country ... and without the restrictions he has imposed
that debate will become a very serious issue," he said.
responded with characteristic anger to a spirited drive by some of
political lieutenants, including former information minister
to oppose his decision late last year to elevate Joyce Mujuru
vice-presidency ahead of parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa.
years, Mnangagwa had been touted as Mugabe's likely successor and
analysts say the president -- expected to retire at the end of his
term in 2008 -- was no longer comfortable with him and doesn't want
him in a
post that puts him line for the top job.
Analysts say Mugabe does not
want a strong successor because he fears
possible prosecution or persecution
on charges of abuse of office, and
prefers a candidate from his Mashonaland
home region whom he can manipulate
Mugabe's political balancing act takes place against the
backdrop of a
severe economic crisis that has turned a country that was once
southern Africa's success stories into a basket case.
has one of the highest rates of inflation in the world,
unemployment of 70
percent, and acute shortages of food, fuel and foreign
currency -- all woes
that critics blame on Mugabe's economic mismanagement.
donors have frozen economic aid to Zimbabwe because of Mugabe's
step the government says is unfair and invited by the
European Union has extended a series of sanctions against Mugabe's
government, including a visa ban on Mugabe and his top associates, while the
United States has lumped Zimbabwe with countries such as Iran and North
Korea as "outposts of tyranny."
Many wonder how long the country can
battle on in isolation.
A columnist in Harare's state-controlled Herald
newspaper admitted recently
that Zimbabwe would want to see sanctions lifted
and return to the
"Countries are run on the basis
of international finance, underpinned by the
global banking industry,"
Nathaniel Manheru said.
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain
in 1980, accuses Zimbabwe's
former colonial ruler of leading a Western
campaign to oust him over his
government's seizure of white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless
Thus far, there is little sign he
is ready to back down.
Zimbabwe's anti-Western rhetoric has increased as
the polls approach, with
Mugabe and other top officials accusing the main
opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) of acting as a proxy for the
Critics say electoral reforms adopted under
pressure from regional leaders
still don't meet international demands for a
fair vote -- charges the
government dismisses as propaganda.
although overt pre-election campaign violence against the opposition has
fallen this year compared to the last significant elections in 2000 and in
2002, analysts say Zimbabwe's political climate remains oppressive and
Mugabe's fears are to blame.
© Reuters 2005. All Rights
March 20 , 2005
~~~ Newsletter 057
The optimism of uncertainty
Remember - you must be connected to the
internet to view the images in this newsletter.
- zanu pf chefs getting lots of
farms for towing the party line and not exposing the small dictators foul deeds
(also known as patronage)
- A small number of Zimbabweans
getting land back but without any input or government support
- zanu pf induced shortages of
basic commodities through mismanagement of the economy
- Continued sanctions because
Zimbabwe has become a pariah state
- A safe haven for corrupt
chefs who continue to gang rape Zimbabwe until she bleeds to death
- Intermittent fuel,
electricity and water supplies
- Loss of sovereignty through
colonisation by Malaysia, China and Iran (0ur new Masters from the East)
If you merely
record that people are hungry
and live a dog's life under tyranny,
then climb a public platform to recite,
you are doing nothing useful.
NO to a minority presence in Parliament, YES to a change of
Zvakwana activists have been moving around and noting
some good turnouts at MDC rallies throughout the countryside. This is indeed
good news. A question that must be asked, and asked again and again is how are
YOU going to defend your vote? And how will the MDC help us to do this?
NO to a minority presence in Parliament, YES to a change of
tactics. Zvakwana is appealing to all Zimbabweans who go vote, spoil
their ballot or witness (if you have been disenfranchised by the regime) to be
ready to Stand UP and protect your vote.
We need a new kinda politics instead of
One of the lessons of the 2005 General Election is
to examine how polarized Zimbabwe is. If you’re not with MDC, then you’re
accused of being against democratic change. Kana usingatsigiri zanu pf then
you're one of Blair's puppets and you spit on sovereignty. This is indeed a sad
state of affairs. What we should all be working toward is a country where it is
ok to be different. Different in anyway you choose including your political
orientation. We know that the MDC isn’t all good and that zanu pf isn’t all bad.
What is important is that we learn how to recognize our own strength and grow
our confidence in demanding accountability, transparency and good performance
from our government and from all our MPs no matter what party they belong
||Walk and Talk! Get UP and stand UP!|
want 100% freedom, nothing less. Write to us for Zvakwana recharge cards to make
sure you keep informed during the election! In fact, if you want to receive
election results and the like by cell phone, send us your cell number to email@example.com
News from the ground
Zvakwana got buckets of
response to our suggestion that a spoiled ballot is a legitimate expression at
the polls! Ya Ya Ya. Speak it OUT. Some people wrote in to say that they are not
even going to bother visiting the polls seeing as their vote is so disregarded.
Others said that they agreed with the spoiled ballot being a protest of a flawed
process and they would do that on Election Day. And others wrote in very
passionately to say that they think spoiling your ballot is a wasted vote, which
would sit better in the MDC coffers.
Speak it OUT: here are
some responses to our last newsletter:
This is what the youth are
doing underground: delegitimising an already fraudulent election.
I hope that you will cease
distributing such crap, and stop giving the fence-sitters and those unmotivated
to get involved in politics an excuse for continuing to do nothing, spoiling
your paper IS doing nothing. CHINJA MAITIRO! I am looking forward to the
elections to make a change not to get more of the same!
- I appreciate your
comprehensive response and I do certainly agree that putting in a spoilt paper
is MUCH better than not going to the poll at all!
Whatever that Zvakwana stands
for, I see it as a grouping of ungrateful and self-hating idiots. Don’t think
you are funny, you are nauseating.
I am sorry guys to tell you
that I don’t believe in elections before the fall of a dictator. Chop the
dictator first and get into elections later. It is in the light of this that I
no longer have anything to do with the MDC which as far as I am concerned is not
different from zanu pf. And it is quite democratic to have a different view. I
now stand behind the fearless dr madhuku and nca not tsvangirai the
According to the
regime inflation is going down. Yeah right - zvikoni zvikoni mimba haibviswi
negosoro and the small dictator’s hair is really
Popular support not party
Presuming the election follows the predictable path
of a hollow Zanu PF victory; most interesting is the MDC’s role afterwards. It
has a number of possible strategies. First, the "obstructionist parliamentarian"
model, fighting for its cause from inside parliament. Even though this may find
favour with MDC members concerned about their livelihood in the parliamentary
gravy train, this role is likely to serve simply to grant a stamp of approval to
Mugabe, the election process and Zanu PF misrule. A second option is not to
enter parliament and publicly contest the election result, using party
structures and its union base to mobilise mass protests - the "Ukrainian
option". But the MDC has hitherto shown little capacity or stomach for this type
of action, and it is uncertain whether Tsvangirai can make the leap to mass
insurrection. Of course, the Zimbabwean people have the power of change in their
hands. But there is also a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of SADC
countries to show proper commitment to their own principles of African democracy
in order not to render them valueless. - D Games of Africa At Work and Dr Mills
the national director of the South African Institute of International
ne zanupf macomputer aya ndeekutenga mavhoti!
Ruzhinji rweZimbabwe mati manzwa
here adhivheti irikuridzwa muradio mazuva ano? Hanzi nezanu pf vavhoterei kuti
mugopiwa macomputer! Itsitsi dzeyi tsvimbo rume kupukuta madzihwa emwana
wemvana? Kana pane vaifunga kuti rudo rwamugabe rwokuti vana vedu vadzidze
zvemacomputer chizivai kuti aiwa, anoda kutenga mavhoti edu! Zvakwana zvekuti
kadhara aka kafunge kuti kanogona kutenga vhoti yedu! Zimbabwe, nguva yakwana
yekubvisa vanhu ava muhurumende.
Are you sick and tired of the endless bob-aganda on dead bc radio?
Sure at least the MDC can also put their jingles on now, but the news is still
the same zanu pf hate messages. How bout tuning into SW Radio Africa for a while
to get a different take on the news, the elections, and the latest nyayas. The
Iranian backed and Chinese sponsored regime is jamming the station. Obviously
they see them as a threat! These are the frequencies to listen on while they try
and overcome this problem. To stay updated on what frequencies they are
broadcasting on, visit www.swradioafrica.org regularly.
90 metre band
3230 1800 - 2100
49 metre band 6145 1800 - 1900
60 metre band 4880 (may
also be used)
90 metre band 3300 (may also be used)
25 metre band 11845 1800 -
25 metre band 11705 1900 - 2000
25 metre band 11995 2000 - 2100
They are also on Medium Wave
in the mornings. 1197Khz between 5-7am. This signal is being improved and
country coverage is increasing all the time.
from the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine
The Orange Revolution
stands for the faith of the people in their own strength.
Four conditions necessary for People Power
Lebanese "Intifada for independence" has achieved its first victory with the
resignation of the Damascus-controlled government and the mass mobilization of
people in Beirut. People power, however, is more than protests. It's the
strategic use of a wide variety non-violent tactics such as strikes, boycotts,
other mass actions, and civil disobedience. Mohandas Gandhi said, "Even the most
powerful cannot rule without the cooperation of the ruled." People power unfolds
when the population withdraws this cooperation, refuses to obey, and uses
non-violent resistance to make "business as usual" impossible for the opponent.
Civilian-based movements do not succeed because a political system is open or
because an opponent is soft. It is in closed, repressive situations that they
usually emerge. Zimbabwe is a good example of this. There are four necessary
conditions for success.
- The first is planning. It's
not enough to gather spontaneously on the streets, whether in the hundreds or
the thousands. Planning the selection and sequencing of a range of non-violent
actions is based on a strategy to de-legitimize the oppressor and undermine its
sources of support and control, namely, the organizations, institutions and
sectors of society that make decisions and carry out orders.
- A second condition is unity
of purpose. Civilian-based struggles need to have widely held political goals in
order to win the support and participation of the majority. These goals must
appeal to most people regardless of their political or religious affiliations.
- Third, non-violent
discipline is absolutely essential. It builds longevity. In contrast to violent
uprisings, whereby a minority acts while the majority is sidelined, only
non-violent action will enlist the active participation of average citizens.
- Lastly, non-violent
movements cannot be created or directed by external sources; they have to be
homegrown. The population needs to believe in the cause and righteousness of the
struggle in order to stand up in the face of repression and say "enough," as
many are now doing Zimbabwe and in Egypt.
With acknowledgement to
Abderahim and Shaazka
chikuru ndechokuti munyaya dzematongerwo enyika, vanhu 8 million tatova nhapwa
dzemapoliticians who only have their own interests at heart. Zvichatora chii
kuti tibvise ngetani dzakatisunga, tiite Stand UP for a better future? While it
is important to have strong leadership from our opposition political leaders and
civil society, it comes down to numbers. And isusu tirikutadza kuratidza
maopressor edu kutu tese we are sick and tired of their mis-rule.
Build our own alternative structures
One of the
obstacles to democracy is that people believe that their contribution to the
political process is simply to vote every few years. Instead we need to form our
own grassroots movements that are truly democratic – where decisions are reached
through consensus and where everyone participates fully. If we rely on the
Government to become more democratic we will be waiting forever. We need to
engage in the political process in ways other than voting.
~ darting politicians
The hell with ballots!
Polling stations should be set up with dartboards as the means to select
candidates. People who are more committed to a particular candidate will be
encouraged to practice more to ensure that they don’t vote for someone else!
~ let it all hang out
We need to demand that
all government documents are posted on the Internet or are available for
inspection by members of the public. The same goes for the minutes of all
meetings. From T (then maybe we’d find out how the carbon tax levy is being
MDC Stands UP to South Africa
When the South
African election observers arrived, the MDC refused to meet them. MDC said that
the South Africans have already made their position clear. mbeki himself has
said there is no reason to think this election will not be free and fair.
Zvakwana sends a big pom pom to the MDC for its bold and principled stance. We
hope they hold firm to this position and become even more determined to reject
any election rigging. This should be just a small part of a much bigger effort
to expose electoral irregularities to the rest of the world - and to lead
Zimbabweans in getting UP to resist them!
guest list: no critics allowed
President Robert Mugabe's
government hand-picks observer missions for the March 31 parliamentary election
- excluding countries and groups critical of his rule.
welcomes teams from pro-Mugabe countries such as South Africa, China, Iran and
NOT WELCOME: Countries and groups that said elections in 2000 and
2002 were flawed, including the European Union, the United States, the South
African Council of Churches and the Carter Center.
Do you want to get some
election nyayas? Join the Z movement. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch out for Zvakwana papers on the
Zvakwana, Sokwanele, Enough!!
Make sure you SPEAK OUT - keep discussion alive, keep information
Please remember Zvakwana
welcomes feedback, ideas and support for actions.
Please help us to grow
this mailing list by recommending it to your friends and colleagues.
Join our mailing
Enough is enough,
Mugabe gives hungry masses food for thought Christelle
March 20 2005 at 11:36AM
Masvingo - The
sensational land grabs that highlighted the 2000
Zimbabwe national elections
have made way for something far more subtle, yet
insidious. In the deep
rural areas of the drought-stricken country, election
2005 is characterised
by hunger and the politics of food.
Not only is the hunger partly
the result of the botched land
redistribution programme, it appears in
itself to represent another grab for
control by the ruling Zanu-PF of the
most essential means of living.
Opposition supporters claim they have to
produce Zanu-PF cards to get maize,
and attending an opposition rally could
cost them many meals.
In the south-eastern Masvingo province
drought has persisted for three
years and stocks of maize meal are running
out after another failed harvest
and amid rising unemployment. The crisis
came to a head this week in the
small rural villages surrounding Great
At a rally in Bikita village, President Robert Mugabe
for the first
time acknowledged there was a food crisis, after months of
stern denial. As
he was speaking, however, the state-run radio was still
pumping out the
daily assurance that there was a bumper harvest and the
Board (GMB) had ample reserves.
confronted in Bikita by the undeniable fact that the
province had run
completely out of grain earlier this month. "We are aware
that many people
have nothing in their fields," he said.
"The government will not
let people die of hunger, especially since
they live in the area of Great
Zimbabwe. At the moment the GMB is saying it
has enough stocks to last the
nation over the next three months."
Mugabe said one of the main
problems in getting grain to rural towns
was the lack of transport. There
has been no petrol in Masvingo since
Thursday, except at the government-run
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for
(MDC), visited nearby Nemamwa village the next day and
urged supporters not
to be intimidated by traditional leaders.
"There is a scramble for food," the MDC leader said. "Chiefs and
leaders are being used selectively by the heavy Zanu-PF
structures to use food to coerce support.
will not let people die of hunger'
"That is what we have been
condemning. We are doing everything to
ensure that food is not becoming a
weapon to intimidate, but as you can see
there is a crisis on the
Lucia Masekesa, the chairperson of the MDC's Masvinga
Assembly, said food was being channelled only to Zanu-PF supporters,
traditional leaders. "All of them are Zanu-PF because some got land
"It is part of the campaigning which
started early last year already,"
she said. "The chiefs have the power to go
to the GMB to get maize and
distribute it to Zanu-PF supporters. Others go
Like everyone else, she believes the government is
despite its assurances of a bumper harvest.
Trying to get clarity from Masvinga's main GMB depot was futile.
were in consultation with the Zanu-PF provincial governor, who has
approve all distribution. Later the Zanu-PF candidate for the area turned
in his campaign vehicle to load up supplies.
Newspapers tried to photograph this, soldiers at the
threatening. Bags of maize being delivered by train were
unmarked, so it
could not be determined if the maize had been imported.
International aid workers in the area who provided food during the
three dry seasons started to scale down their operations late last year
after the passing of a draconian law that limits their
Members of three aid organisations spoke to The Sunday
condition of anonymity.
"If you print my name
you may as well dig my grave," one said.
Another said Zanu-PF was
mainly deploying food "as a campaign tool" in
the rural areas, where people
were "definitely not self-sufficient at the
moment" and "many are
"Nobody is harvesting," an aid worker said. "No one but
has access to the strategic grain reserve. There is nothing
like free and
The aid workers said that
until December last year the maize had been
given out by the United Nations
World Food Programme (WFP) to agencies to
distribute to those most in
Then in December the government suspended all contracts with
dispensing NGOs, ordering the WFP to clear its stock of food. At the same
time it assured the nation there were ample reserves.
then it has asked for no donor food, leaving the national maize
run critically low.
.. This article was originally
published on page 1 of Sunday
Independent on March 20, 2005
Opposition defy Mugabe
From correspondents in
March 21, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said President Robert
ruling party would fail to wrest control of a key rural
March 31 parliamentary polls despite the jailing of its
lawmaker on false charges.
Tsvangirai urged voters to back the wife of
jailed white lawmaker Roy
Bennett, who is running for the March 31
parliamentary polls on behalf of
her husband, after he was imprisoned for
shoving the justice minister during
a heated debate.
"On the 31st of
March, the people of Chimanimani shall speak with one voice,
the people of
Zimbabwe shall speak ... Mugabe must go," said Tsvangirai.
will never be a ZANU-PF constituency," he told a cheering crowd
5000 gathered in Nyanyadzi, some 400km southeast of the capital
Tsvangirai, accused by Mugabe of being a puppet of former
rulers, drummed up support for Heather Bennett saying her
husband has been
"incarcerated on trumped-up charges, but we are with him
Bennett is contesting the rural Chimanimani constituency which
represented in parliament since 2000 until October last year,
parliament - dominated by the ruling ZANU-PF - voted to jail
Roy Bennett, a leading light of Tsvangirai's main opposition
Democratic Change (MDC)'s party, won a case in the country's
last week to have polling in Chimanimani deferred by a month
to allow him to
file nomination papers and run himself.
described the court's decision as "nonsense" and has vowed to
ruling, saying the country "cannot be held to ransom by someone
who is in
Tsvangirai insisted on Sunday that Mugabe's Zimbabwe African
Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party stood no chance of taking the
seat from the MDC.
Heather Bennett in turn said her
family's efforts had made the MDC, which
has posed the most serious
challenge to Mugabe's nearly 25-year-old
stranglehold on power, stronger
"When ZANU-PF took away our farm, they thought they would
destroy the MDC in
Chimanimani, but they were wrong, MDC is three times
stronger now," she
"The Bennett family will never forsake you.
If you vote for me... I promise
I will always be there for you and when my
husband is released, we will work
together for you."
lost their large coffee plantation in this coffee- and
in the wake of controversial land reforms launched in
2000 which saw nearly
4000 of the 4500 white Zimbabwean large scale
commercial farmers thrown out
of their properties and their properties
handed over to landless
Mugabe's critics have partly blamed the land grabs for food
the octogenarian leader publicly acknowledged last week,
less than year
after he turned away international relief aid saying the
produced a bumper harvest.
Tsvangirai accused Mugabe of
cruelty for telling foreign aid organisations
last May not to "choke us with
"Mugabe turned away all the NGOs who were feeding the people, how
one get," said Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai, predicting a
crushing defeat for Mugabe's party, said the only
choices for the long-time
leader after the polls would be to resign or
negotiate a transitional
Mugabe's party currently holds 98 seats in the 150-strong
the MDC has 51 and one belongs to a small opposition party.
Mugabe is aiming
for a two-thirds majority in the upcoming polls.
MDC training 'thugs'
20/03/2005 21:42 - (SA)
- Zimbabwe's ruling party has accused its main rival and some
non-governmental organisations of training "thugs and hooligans" to
violently disrupt key parliamentary polls on March 31, a state-run newspaper
reported on Sunday.
The Sunday Mail said the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change
(MDC), "working together with some non-governmental
organisations, has been
training some "desperate and unemployed" Zimbabweans
to unleash violence
during the ballot.
Zimbabwe's last two elections
in 2000 and 2002 were tainted by charges of
violence, intimidation and
The upcoming elections will be closely watched as a
litmus test of
Zimbabwe's commitment to a southern African regional bloc to
accepted principles on holding democratic elections.
Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) election
spokesperson Webster Shamu told the newspaper that "the thugs and hooligans
... have been assigned various missions around the
"Information at hand is that in certain cases the thugs and
been instructed to put on Zanu-PF regalia and wield our
placards when they
engage in violence," Shamu said.
forwarded the information to the law enforcement agents for further
'Cheap political propaganda
head of the opposition MDC's youth chapter, dismissed the
claims as "cheap
"In fact Zanu-PF is pre-empting its own strategy.
The party has a history of
relying on violence and we have information that
they intend to cause
violence if they lose the elections," Chamisa told
"Our youth are busy at the moment busy campaigning peacefully for
elections. I wonder whether that can be misconstrued for training of
The MDC, formed in 1999 has posed the stiffest challenge to
Mugabe's nearly 25-year-rule, although it has not fared
well in by-elections
Weeks before Zimbabwe's last
parliamentary polls in 2000, then information
Chimutengwende claimed the MDC was training militias at
commercial farms but offered no evidence to back up the
Mugabe's son set for political future Basildon Peta
March 21 2005 at 08:58AM
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's
teenage son, Robert Mugabe Jr,
may be too young to assume a meaningful
political role, but his father seems
determined to build a political dynasty
for his sake among the older members
of the Mugabe family.
the first time since independence in 1980, Mugabe has fielded four
relatives to contest parliamentary seats in the March 31 poll.
abound, but the most common is that the Zimbabwe leader wants a
family presence in the ruling party to prepare a future role for
Mugabe sired Robert Jr with his then secretary, Grace, while
wife, Sally, lay on her deathbed. The boy's existence was kept
Sally died and Mugabe had married Grace.
manner in which Mugabe used underhand tactics to sideline those
to challenge his relatives at party primaries adds credence to
In one case, in Makonde constituency, near Mugabe's rural home,
Zanu-PF MP and former journalist Kindness Paradza was barred from
to pave way for Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe.
At first Paradza was
told the seat had been reserved for a woman to
create gender balance in
parliament. But to the surprise of all, Leo was
then allowed to
It later emerged that Leo had been surreptitiously
campaigning in the
area while Paradza had been fighting a futile battle to
have the gender
Paradza was eventually
barred, not because he was male but because
disciplinary action had been
taken against him after supporters of his had
clashed with Leo's. No
disciplinary action was taken against Mugabe's
young brother, Patrick, was nominated to contest the Manyame
equally murky circumstances. His potential challengers at the
elections were sidelined and Patrick cruised to an easy victory
being a political novice like his brother Leo.
In fact, Leo's claim
to fame was his chairmanship of the Zimbabwe
Football Association from which
he was fired after fraud allegations.
The brothers' mother, Sabina,
who is the sister considered closest to
the president, is contesting the
Zvimba seat. Another relative of Mugabe,
Ignatious Chombo, is contesting a
seat near Mugabe's rural home.
All are expected to cruise to easy
victories as they have been
allocated constituencies in the bedrock of
Mugabe's support base.
Mugabe's Mashonaland West province is the
best developed of Zimbabwe's
rural provinces. It has a referral hospital 3km
from Mugabe's rural
homestead. The roads are also the best maintained. Being
a candidate on a
ruling party ticket there guarantees anyone an easy
Veteran nationalist James Chikerema, also a Mugabe
convinced that Mugabe wants a future political role for his
told a British newspaper recently that Mugabe was set on
pushing his son
forward politically. - Mercury Foreign
.. This article was originally
published on page 2 of The Mercury
on March 21, 2005