By Peta Thornycroft and Byron Dziva in Harare
Last Updated: 2:52am GMT 27/03/2008
Zimbabwe's ruling party is offering voters a generous incentive to
re-elect President Robert Mugabe for a sixth term: "If you want a farm, vote
The message is being relayed in a campaign jingle for the ruling party
that is being played repeatedly on the country's four radio stations, all
state-controlled, ahead of Saturday's parliamentary and presidential polls.
As well as offering a farm to government loyalists, the jingle goes
on: "If you want a tractor, vote Zanu-PF. If you want a company, vote
Mr Mugabe's seizure of white-owned property, which began in 2000, was
supposedly for distribution to landless blacks but was abused on a grand
scale by the ruling elite.
It destroyed commercial agriculture and began the downward spiral of
the economy. Now expropriated farms do not produce enough food to feed even
half the population.
Handouts of seized farm equipment are a mainstay of Mr Mugabe's
campaign. Despite the jingle, his government could never afford to give all
voters a tractor, as it promises.
While a new law has been passed requiring all businesses to become
majority owned by Zimbabweans - a nationality which is defined in the
legislation as excluding whites - few doubt that if it is put into effect on
a wide scale the remains of the economy will soon crumble.
The minute-long jingle begins more lyrically: "Growing up I thought
that I would look for a job. But now I am the one who is giving people jobs.
Visionary leadership, vote Zanu-PF, consistent leadership, vote Zanu-PF,
black empowerment, vote Zanu-PF."
But the blanket airplay it is receiving illustrates complaints by
opposition candidates, human rights organisations, and the US State
Department that the polls will not be free and fair.
For the first time, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is
being allowed to advertise on radio, and its chorus runs: "Change the way
you think, be free to speak, be free from fear."
But Denford Magora, the spokesman for Simba Makoni, the former finance
minister who is standing against Mr Mugabe, said that his advertisements
were not being carried by newspapers.
"We book, we pay and they say they won't accommodate them," he said.
Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary-general, added: "The conditions are
definitely not conducive for free and fair elections. Our supporters are
still being harassed and the police are being used as weapons for
In a statement, the US state department spokesman Sean McCormack
listed a litany of "significant shortcomings" ahead of voting, including
"inaccurate voter rolls, violence and intimidation, overproduction of postal
ballots, absence of independent observation of the counting of postal votes,
inadequate polling stations in urban areas".
Amnesty International cited examples of intimidation, including one
case where three MDC activists were forced to rip down and eat election
posters they had put up. Zimbabwe's police dismissed the accusations as part
of a Western plot to discredit the polls.
Police are being allowed into polling stations to "help" infirm
voters, but a blind man, Masimba Kuchera, 26, has gone to court seeking the
right to be helped by someone of his choice.
"That person should be someone he can trust and confide in," said his
lawyer Jeremiah Bamu. "The amendment is a violation of a voter's right to
privacy, which can only be guaranteed through the secrecy of the ballot."
March 27, 2008
Jan Raath in Harare
The voice uncannily resembles President Mugabe's. "I gave you maize for my
election campaign and you made popcorn out of it," it drones. "I gave you
fertiliser and you made kachasu [bootleg] out of it. I gave you cattle and
you sold them to the butcher. My people are a terrible disappointment."
The listeners, crouched over a mobile telephone, convulse with laughter. The
voice belongs to a mimic who satirises the speeches of the 84-year-old
Then there is the new ringtone being sold at markets around the country. To
the tune of a well-known "revolutionary" song of the ruling Zanu (PF) party
of Robert Mugabe, the singers chant derisively: "And for how long are you
going to vote for Zanu(PF)?"
The electronic trinkets are part of an onslaught of mockery of Mr Mugabe and
his party as he tries to add five more years to the twenty-eight already in
power. Only two months ago political satire such as this would have
attracted the attention of the Central Intelligence Organisation. But in the
absence of the customary intimidation by the brainwashed youth militia and
war veterans, the police and the army that has preceded every election since
2000, the climate of terror that has kept Mr Mugabe in control has lifted.
I watched a group of children in the back of a pick-up truck playing hand
games yesterday. Not pat-a-cake but the open palm salute of the opposition
party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the clenched hands of Simba
Makoni, the former Finance Minister who has become a popular independent
At a weekend rally Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the larger faction of
the divided MDC, was welcomed by 30,000 open palms and red cards to "send
off" Mr Mugabe.
The posters for Mr Tsvangirai list a series of fouls for which Mr Mugabe is
being sent off, such as destroying the economy. The posters for Mr Makoni
make no word plays but his beaming, boyish face shines out from them, in
contrast to the menacing "vote for the fist" declared by Mr Mugabe's, which
picture him in a Cultural Revolution propaganda pose, raising his fist in
the Zanu (PF) salute and promising hungry, outraged Zimbabweans "revolution,
yesterday, today, tomorrow".
Mr Mugabe made a stiff joke at the weekend about the parties' salutes,
asking: "Why do the MDC wave at the British when we should strike them with
A poster war is being waged throughout the country. When I passed through
the northern town of Chinhoyi last week the walls were plastered with mostly
Tsvangirai and Makoni campaign posters. That night, before Mr Mugabe
appeared there, they were papered over with "the fist".
At the beginning of the campaign, coverage by the only permitted, and
state-owned, television service in the country was giving Mr Mugabe 202
minutes' news coverage in a month against 9 minutes for Mr Tsvangirai. It
has reduced to 86 per cent since 11 days ago, coincidentally at the same
time that the observer mission of the Southern African Development
Community, the 15-nation regional alliance, arrived.
Since then Zimbabweans have also had the experience of seeing, for the first
time in 28 years, full-page advertisements placed by opponents of the regime
in the daily press, which is controlled by the ruling party.
There is clearly anxiety now that the observers are not going to
rubber-stamp Mr Mugabe's election.
Robert Mugabe will lose power eventually. But the country's dissolution,
like Africa's, has deep roots in its colonial past
Thursday March 27 2008
On April 18 1980, the last outpost of empire in Africa died. From Rhodesia's
ashes rose a country that would take its place among the free nations as
Zimbabwe, the last among equals. And men and women leapt to embrace this
dream called Zimbabwe.
In the long war against the settler regime that preceded independence, the
guerrillas kept up their morale by evoking this dream in song. Smith - just
hit him on the head until he sees sense, dzamara taitonga Zimbabwe / until
we rule a country called Zimbabwe. The struggle for Zimbabwe lit up the
imagination of people around the world. In London, New York, Accra and
Lagos, bell-bottomed men and women with big hair and towering platform shoes
sang the dream of Zimbabwe in the words of the eponymous song by Bob Marley:
Every man has the right to decide his own destiny. The dream of
self-determination was realised in 1979 when the war ended and the green and
white flag of the rebel colony was replaced by a flag of riotous colour and
heartfelt, if cloying, symbolism.
That flag, raised by the country's first black prime minister, flew high.
And with it the aspirations of its people, from the born-frees sucking in
independent air to the rheumy-eyed men peering at independence through their
cataracts. And the women - ululating, leaping, exploding with joy.
Almost 30 years later, Zimbabwe is still under the leadership of that first
prime minister, now an octogenarian executive president with dyed hair, a
glamorous wife and a stranglehold on power. The street vendors of Harare
haggle over how many mita or bhidza, slang terms for million or billion,
something costs. These vendors and their customers - and the 9 million
people left in the country (three million have fled) - have been rendered
criminals, for it is a crime now to buy anything at the non-gazetted prize,
to change money on the parallel market, to "externalise" foreign currency.
It is hard to ignore the fact that there are still many who believe the
ruling party line, that the current "challenges" are a necessary pain. So a
few people die because there are no dialysis machines or surgical supplies;
this is a small price to pay for consolidating the gains of the liberation
The millions who do not share this vision are considered puppets of foreign
governments, and sellouts - not to mention inflated frogs, witches and
two-headed creatures. For these millions, the dream of Zimbabwe has mutated
into a nightmare of rampant inflation and shortages of everything: surgical
gloves and surgeons, schoolbooks and schoolteachers, drugs and nurses. The
only leaping that women do now is when they jump over potholes and pipes
spewing waste on to the streets.
It is difficult to pinpoint when the political and economic decline began.
Was it with the land reform programme? The war in Zaire? The unbudgeted
payments to the former guerrillas? Did things start to go wrong when the
United African National Council (UANC) and Zimbabwe African People's Union
(Zapu), the only entities that could have formed the opposition to the
ruling party, splintered and disappeared - with the latter being swallowed
by the bloated leviathan that is now the ruling party? Did it all sour when
the constitutional amendment in 1987 created an executive presidency with no
accompanying strengthening of parliament and the judiciary?
Or was it in 2000, when the people delivered a vote of no confidence in the
government by rejecting its sponsored constitution? Perhaps it was even
before independence, when the guerrilla commanders adopted the methods of
centralising control and stifling dissent used by Mao Zedong, later adding
lessons from bosom pals of the struggle such as Nicolae Ceauçescu, the
Butcher of Bucharest? Was it when they agreed with Kim Il-sung, the Great
Leader and another friend of the liberation struggle, that there was nothing
intrinsically wrong with personality cults in which children were taught
praise poems to honour a single man, in which women flocked to the airport
to welcome our homegrown Great Leader as he returned from his many trips,
kneeling before him in the early dawn? Or did things first go wrong when the
government tried to impose a one-party state? Did it have its origins back
in the bush where the struggle was fought, when the talk was all of power
and not democracy, control and not inclusiveness, and the liberation
struggle was fought on tribal fronts?
The painful truth may be that Zimbabwe, the youngest of Africa's former
colonies, has simply followed where the continent has led, treading the
well-worn path beaten out of the lie that taking power from the colonialists
and delivering democracy to the people are one and the same.
Saturday's election will give the country another chance to re-imagine the
dream. And if it fails this time? Well, there will be the next election, and
the election after that. It is no immediate comfort perhaps to the
suffering, but nothing lasts forever. Ian Smith thought his Rhodesia would
last 1,000 years: it lasted less than 15. This, too, shall pass, and when it
does, women and men and children will again leap to embrace a dream called
· Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer and lawyer based in Geneva
Thu, 27 Mar 2008
Observer missions sent to Zimbabwe by regional governing organisations are
faced with a big challenge of presenting a credible election report to the
world, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Wednesday.
"They should give a guarantee that the elections were free and fair and were
conducted in an environment where people expressed their views without
intimidation," Tutu said.
Knowing that intimidation preceded the elections, he hoped observers would
be able to guarantee that elections were credible.
Tutu was speaking in Midrand, where he was awarded a gold medal by the
Public Relations Institute of SA (Prisa) for raising the profile and
reputation of South Africa.
March 26, 2008, 10:26PM
After 28 years of Mugabe, annual inflation exceeds 100,000 percent
By ANGUS SHAW
HARARE, ZIMBABWE - The word is out: The Spar supermarket has bread at only
$7 million a loaf. People rush to the shelf duly marked $7 million, but by
the time they reach the till with their hyper-inflated Zimbabwean dollars,
the price is up to $25 million.
That equals just 62 American cents, more than a teacher makes in a week.
Customers leave their loaves at the counter and walk out with their
brick-sized bundles of bank notes, angry and disconsolate.
Daily scenes like this are the dark backdrop to an election Saturday in
which Robert Mugabe is fighting to prolong his 28-year-old presidency,
outpolled by his main opponent and accused of laying elaborate plans to rig
On 84-year-old Mugabe's watch, the country has collapsed from food exporter
to being dependent on international food handouts and money sent home by
many of the 5 million people - more than a third of the population - who
"This election is about survival ... about empty stomachs and health and
education that we are not getting for our families," said Elizabeth Chaibvu,
a member of the Feminist Political Education Project.
People long cowed into silence by Mugabe's strong-arm methods are speaking
openly against their leader, seeing the election as a last hope for the
country where inflation is over 100,000 percent a year.
But Mugabe is accused of stacking the decks against his opponents,
redistricting voting constituencies, buying votes with gifts such as
tractors and delivering state-subsidized food only to his party supporters.
"Zimbabweans aren't free to vote for the candidates of their choice," New
York-based Human Rights Watch said.
Amnesty International alleged "intimidation, harassment and violence against
perceived supporters of opposition candidates, with many in rural regions
fearful that there will be retribution after the elections."
The fact that this fourth contested presidential election is going ahead,
with multiple candidates, is a tribute to Zimbabweans' democratic sinew,
epitomized by Mugabe's main opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai. The 55-year-old
trade unionist has dealt Mugabe past electoral humiliations, and his
battered face was flashed around the world after he was severely beaten by
police last year.
Also running is Simba Makoni, 58, a former finance minister and member of
Mugabe's politburo until he was expelled for challenging the leader.
Makoni's last-minute defection is a sign of growing dissent in Mugabe's
ruling party. But while he could take support from Mugabe, Makoni also could
divide the opposition vote.
27 March 2008
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has put his security forces on alert
ahead of elections on Saturday to quell the disturbances that are expected
if he wins.
The move reveals anxiety within the corridors of power that there might be
anti- government riots similar to those that rocked Kenya after that country's
disputed elections in December, if Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) win.
Security sources said Zimbabwe's military and police forces have been told
to be ready to act after the poll results because the government fears there
could be street protests.
Sources said yesterday Mugabe was most likely to scrape through with at
least the required 51% of the vote.
But if Mugabe fails to get 51% there would be a run-off which many analysts
say he will lose to either opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai or formed finance minister Simba Makoni. Tsvangirai
says Mugabe is likely to rig the elections as he did in 2000 and 2002.
Sources also said Zimbabwe could take delivery of jet fighters from either
China or Russia this week to prepare for the feared violence. A team of
Russian military experts arrived in Harare this week to discuss delivery.
Zimbabwe has bought arms from Russia and, mostly , China to strengthen its
arsenal which was largely depleted by involvement in the Democratic Republic
of Congo civil war between 1998 and 2002.
The opposition has said there is overwhelming evidence of manipulation of
the polls through ballot fraud, voters' roll tampering and gerrymandering.
Mugabe's regime denies the charges.
"The army, police and other key security agencies have been put on alert
because government fears that there could be an eruption of protests and
violence after the elections," a senior government official said.
Opposition and civil society organisations, and SA's African National
Congress, have condemned thinly veiled threats of a military coup by
pro-Mugabe diehard army generals. Mugabe has warned he would crush any
anti-government demonstrations. State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa also
said government would deal with protesters.
Police said on Tuesday that they would ruthlessly deal with any anti-Mugabe
27 March 2008
ON THE eve of Zimbabwe's general election, opposition parties have expressed
concern that by the time the counting of votes starts, election observers'
accreditation will have expired, preventing them from watching over the
At a news conference in Johannesburg yesterday, presidential candidate Simba
Makoni's campaign co- ordinator, Nkosana Moyo, said foreign observers were
accredited only until voting day. According to the former Zimbabwean cabinet
minister, this raised the question of who would monitor the counting and the
likely second round run-off, should Saturday's presidential vote produce no
clear winner. In terms of Zimbabwe's constitution, if none of the
presidential candidates gets 51% of the vote or more, a run-off between the
top two contenders must take place within 21 days. Although this had no
precedent, analysts predict that the second round could determine what
appears to be a closely contested presidential poll.
A senior member of the 54-person South African observer team, who did not
want to be named for fear of breaching protocol, said although their
accreditation tags had March 29 as the expiry date, they were told this was
a mistake. "They acknowledged that they made a mistake, we did check," he
said. But the cards had not been changed. "We will be here until the end,"
the official said.
The accreditation "bungle" affected journalists as well.
"It's a costly mistake, meaning that beyond that date technically we'll be
covering the election without accreditation," said a Harare-based
But the Pan African Parliament's information officer Khalid Dahab said
members of its 19-member observer mission were accredited until April 10.
"I would assume that is the expiry date," he said from Zimbabwe where the
mission was deployed in all 10 provinces.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official Eddie Cross shared Moyo's
"They don't do things like this casually," he said. However, he said the
foreign observers would be too few to make a difference in a country nearly
the size of Texas, which had 9000 polling stations. More than 1400 observers
had been accredited.
He had harsh words for the Southern African Development Community's (SADC's)
150 observers. "SADC observers seem to be incredibly naive. They don't
understand what's going on on the ground."
By Alex Duval Smith
Thursday, 27 March 2008
Vote rigging in Saturday's election in Zimbabwe may have begun as early as
last week when the 75,000 members of the country's armed forces cast their
postal ballots, according to internal critics.
The claim came as Amnesty International listed a series of infringements of
opposition activists' freedom yesterday, including physical threats,
detentions, and denial of access to food because of their perceived
political affiliations. Amnesty said opposition supporters had been forced
to take down election posters and to "chew" them.
The police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, who is an outspoken supporter of the
ruling Zanu-PF party, defended the postal voting process used by the armed
forces. "Postal voting is a private process," he said. "Why should it be
monitored by observers? The votes will be sealed and taken to the Zimbabwe
But members of the military in Mutare told a South African reporter that
soldiers had been ordered to write their service numbers on the backs of the
ballot papers, making it simple to establish how they had voted. The
reporter was also told that ballots were "sifted" by commanders and police
chiefs before being forwarded to the electoral commission.
The run-up to the presidential, parliamentary and local council elections
has been dominated by evidence of desperate measures by Robert Mugabe to
prolong his 28-year grip on power. President Mugabe, 84, faces a challenge
from the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan
Tsvangirai. A former Zanu-PF finance minister, Simba Makoni, is also
standing, although he is promising Mr Mugabe a pension rather than
Amnesty said food had been used as an electoral weapon and cited an example
of the MDC being prevented from buying 235 bags of maize from the
state-owned Grain Marketing Board. The party was told that "GMB maize is not
supposed to be distributed to MDC supporters".
"Although, opposition parties appear to be enjoying a greater degree of
access to rural areas compared with previous elections, we continue to
receive reports of intimidation, harassment and violence against perceived
supporters of opposition candidates," said Amnesty's Zimbabwe researcher
Mr Makoni claimed yesterday that he had been prevented from placing
advertisements in state media. The MDC said a helicopter it had chartered
was grounded by the authorities last weekend, preventing its leader from
addressing several rural rallies.
Only a small number of election observers have been admitted, none of them
from the European Union or Commonwealth. Nevertheless, amid expressions of
concern from those who are there, the authorities pledged that ballots cast
will not be removed from polling stations to be counted centrally.
George Chiweshe, chairman of the election commission, told observers from
the Southern Africa Development Community: "A section of society
misconstrued what we said. The presidential election results will be counted
at polling stations but collated by the chief electoral officer at the
central command centre. We did not mean that all ballot boxes will be
carried to the national centre." Mr Tsvangirai had threatened to boycott the
election if votes were counted centrally.
Mr Chiweshe also sought to allay fears that a loophole existed regarding a
second round of elections. He said: "A candidate should get a greater number
of votes than those cast for all his competitors combined - 50 plus one. The
law provides for a rerun after 21 days if any of the contesting candidates
fail to get a majority."
Wednesday 26th March, 2008
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has chosen a campaign meeting to rail
against his country's business community.
A campaign rally in Hwange provided the setting for Mugabe to blame
supermarkets and manufacturers for high prices in the shops.
Speaking to a small crowd, Mugabe said his government wanted prices reduced
to their February 12th levels, when teachers and other civil servants were
awarded pay increases.
President Mugabe has sought to give the impression that private companies
are trying to force him out of power by increasing prices and stirring up
At the Hwange meeting, he said: "We are going to read the riot act to them.
We are going to use the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act".
Under that Act companies are forced to reserve at least 51 per cent of
shares for indigenous people.
Economic analysts have blamed the government's ballooning domestic debt for
driving up prices.
Thursday, 27 March 2008, 00:41 GMT
A former loyalist of Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe has spoken openly
about the possibility that he be defeated in Saturday's presidential
Former Education Minister Fay Chung told the BBC that the two main
rivals could win if voters were "courageous enough to come out in large
Ms Chung said that "if you have millions coming out to vote, it will
be very difficult to rig" the election.
Ms Chung is now a Senatorial candidate allied to the independent Simba
Earlier, Mr Makoni, a former finance minister and senior member of Mr
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, complained that he had been unable to place adverts
in the state media.
The comments came as rights group Amnesty International said
opposition supporters were being harassed ahead of the elections on
Over the weekend, air traffic control authorities grounded a
helicopter hired by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
preventing its presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, from addressing
In an interview with the BBC, Ms Chung said that Mr Makoni's decision
last month to stand against President Mugabe because of what he described as
a "failure of national leadership" had begun a "period of change" in
"The steps taken by Simba Makoni have broken a Gordian Knot in which
we were so tightly strung that we did not know how to get out of it," she
told Radio 4's World Tonight programme.
"I think that whether he wins or not - I think he will win - he has
changed the political geography of the country."
Ms Chung, who left the Zimbabwean government in the early 1990s and
then spent 10 years working for the United Nations, said that Mr Mugabe
obviously did not want to let the opposition candidates win, but may not be
able to prevent it.
"I think the issue is whether the electorate is going to be brave or
courageous enough to come out in large numbers, because I think the rigging
of the election has been possible when there were small numbers dividing
votes," she said.
"But if you have millions coming out to vote, it will be very
difficult to rig. If the polling agents and the observers are very watchful,
it will become more difficult."
The US and the European Union have accused Mr Mugabe of rigging
previous elections - charges he has denied. Western monitors have been
barred from this election.
Ms Chung conceded that "there are a lot of 'ifs'", but said the
opposition had so far been allowed to campaign more freely than in past
elections and stressed that Zimbabweans were desperate for change after 28
years of Mr Mugabe.
"I hear people saying... 'We are being abused. If we keep on electing
the same government, we will continue to be abused'," she added.
"So the question is: will they vote for the MDC or Simba's movement?"
Ms Chung acknowledged there was a potential for violence similar to
that witnessed after the Kenyan presidential election last year, regardless
of the result.
New York Times
Published: March 27, 2008
It has been painful to watch the terrible decline of Zimbabwe, a country so
rich in human and natural resources. Perhaps that is why the elections
scheduled for Saturday still raise hopes that President Robert Mugabe's
destructive rule can be brought to an end, despite the certainty that the
vote will be neither free nor fair.
This time the challenge is coming from both the battered and splintered
opposition and from within. Simba Makoni, a former finance minister, was a
ranking member of the ruling party until declaring his candidacy.
There is every reason to be cautious given that past. But Mr. Makoni has
publicly - and bravely, given the brutal treatment of critics - acknowledged
the corruption and failings of his former party. And he has talked of
forming an alliance with the main opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai,
who was beaten almost to death by police last year.
The 84-year-old president is obviously worried. He has dug into his usual
bag of sordid campaign tricks: calling his opponents traitors, monopolizing
the news media, distributing tractors among rural supporters and signing a
law forcing foreign and white-owned companies to sell a majority interest to
black Zimbabweans - meaning, of course, his cronies. The costs of Mr. Mugabe's
brutal and capricious rule should be obvious to everyone. Inflation is
running at more than 100,000 percent a year. Virtually every once-thriving
enterprise, from commercial farming to mining, has run aground.
Mr. Mugabe's henchmen, including powerful figures in the army, the police
force and the fearsome Central Intelligence Organization, are certain to
resist any change. Before this weekend's vote, South Africa's president,
Thabo Mbeki, who has been far too passive, and important Western states must
send a clear message that those henchmen will pay a high price - in denied
visas or frozen bank accounts - if they continue to block the will of
Mr. Mugabe's defeat, while fervently hoped for, would not be enough. Saving
Zimbabwe will require generous aid and constant pressure from South Africa,
Britain, the United States, the European Union and international lenders.
All must insist that any new government respects human rights and the rule
of law and be ready to provide sustained advice on how to make a difficult
transition happen. It is a long shot, but the best shot Zimbabwe has had in
THE WASHINGTON TIMES EDITORIAL
March 27, 2008
Once-prosperous Zimbabwe has the world's lowest life expectancy, six-digit
inflation and political horrors to rival China's or North Korea's, and yet,
Robert Mugabe, the 84-year-old strongman who has presided over it all for 28
years, will almost surely "win" re-election to another five-year term this
weekend in a rigged contest.
This is the 10th year of Zimbabwe's present recession. Close to 15 percent
of the country is HIV-positive. The male life expectancy is 37 years
according to the World Health Organization, for women it is 34 years. Annual
inflation tops 100,500 percent.
In 1980, upon Zimbabwe's independence from the United Kingdom, the country
was relatively prosperous, and Mr. Mugabe was hailed as a hero and
nationalist. He quickly built a brutal, personalistic dictatorship. The
government also began expropriating farmland from white Zimbabweans to fuel
his redistributionist agenda. As a result, the Zimbabwean dollar has fallen
from 20 cents under parity with the U.S. dollar in 1980 to a ratio of
approximately 50 million-to-one today.
For a sense of how deliberate and extensive the abuse of all Zimbabweans has
been, consider 2005's "Operation Murambatsvina," or "Take out the trash."
This government "anti-squatter" initiative deprived an estimated 700,000
Zimbabweans of their homes and businesses. It was aimed at poor Zimbabweans
who lived in "illegal" towns and cities. The targeted regions were mostly
associated with the opposition. Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are
refugees even now thanks to their government's capital inhumanity. It is
hard for most Westerners to fathom.
Heroic opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been brained and nearly
killed, jailed and tortured by Mugabe henchmen. The former labor leader Mr.
Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni, Mr. Mugabe's former minister of finance, are
the opposition candidates. Evidence of Mugabe's vote-buying, intimidation
and election irregularities are already surfacing.
Sometimes democracy's virtues are best illustrated with reference to the
sad, tragic, corrupt and repressive opposite, which Mr. Mugabe's rule
Tuesday, 25 March 2008 15:33
Duplicate Ballots Printed as Zanu Prepares Massive Rigging?
The Zanu (PF) regime has printed more ballot papers for Saturday's elections
with sources saying they are in duplicate - raising strong fears of rigging
It has also emerged that the regime plans to use youth militia and members
of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to mark the extra ballots at
a secret location in Harare.
This, our impeccable sources say, is part of the rigging strategy by Israeli
spy agency, Mossad hired by Zanu (PF) to save it from defeat.
Sources at Fidelity Printers, which has been used by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to print the ballot papers revealed to this paper that
close to 10 million ballot papers had been printed for the council, House of
Assembly, Senate and presidential polls, with some information suggesting
they were duplicate serial numbers.
ZEC has said there are 5,9 million registered voters, and as has been the
case in previous elections, the number who will actually turn up to cast
their vote could be as low as three million.
"The ballot papers were printed in excess, with each of them for the
respective elections getting up to 10 million," a senior official at
Fidelity Printers said on condition of anonymity. "ZEC first put an order
for 5 million ballot papers for each category of election and later came to
do another batch of sets of five million, with some having duplicate serial
ZEC chairman George Chiweshe has admitted that the electoral body printed
more ballot papers than required but insists they shall not be used for
rigging. "There are no such fears. The process has enough checks and
balances to prevent such an occurrence," he said during a meeting with
Information leaked from the CIO reveals that the so-called "Boys on Leave",
who are CIO and former army officials now in retirement but called upon to
play the dirty tricks of Zanu (PF) on elections, were this week preparing to
be domiciled at a secret base in Harare together with about 100 youth
militia for the purpose of marking extra ballots.
"There is a team that has already been put in place to carry out that duty
from a secret place in Harare," a source said. "According to the plans, they
could start on Thursday and go on up to Saturday. But the next move shall
depend on feedback from the team on the ground and that shall assess the
situation after voting."
For this plan to work, Zanu (PF) would require a situation whereby the
opposition and independent candidates fail to field polling agents at many
polling stations, and this can be ensured in the remote areas where in the
past, violence and intimidation led to the agents fleeing before the voting
MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is one of the leading contenders in the
presidential elections last week sounded a warning saying he might have to
pull out of the race if ZEC did not address the issue of the excess ballot
papers. Tsvangirai said his party had established that an extra three
million ballot papers had been printed.
Tuesday, 25 March 2008 15:37
The time has come to rid Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) -
they have destroyed our country. We need to vote for somebody who will bring
about a return to the rule of law, who will take the necessary steps to
return us to what we know as normal. Somebody who will make it possible for
us to join the international community of nations once again and hold our
heads high. Someone who will ensure that there is respect for human rights
at every level of our government and society. We need someone in power who
will make decisions based not on a selfish, greedy desire to cling to power,
but for the good of the nation. We believe that man is Morgan Tsvangirai.
Of those standing for the presidency, we believe he alone has what is
necessary to make us proud to be Zimbabweans once again.
Only his party, the MDC, has enunciated policies that will lead to
investment - bringing the jobs we so desperately need. Only his party has
policies that can successfully revive the health service, fix the economy,
get children and teachers back into our schools, and bring a return to the
rule of law.
We implore you, as people who have suffered for the past eight years
under the tyranny of the Zanu (PF) government, you who are now hungry,
jobless, you who have been forced to bury your loved ones for want of simple
medication or operations, or a bank clearance of your funds.
The future of this country is in your hands. You can change the
destiny of Zimbabwe. That is what one person one vote means. We have this
power. Those who fought to win it for us have turned rotten. They have been
corrupted by power. We must have the courage to vote them out of power -
just the way we once voted them into power.
We all remember how our country was the bread basket of Southern
Africa. We were the envy of all our neighbours. The international media
acknowledged that our country was the jewel of Africa.
Our economy was vibrant and diverse. We had jobs, our children were in
school, our sick ones were in hospital, our roads were without potholes. In
towns and cities, clean water ran from our taps and electricity was there at
the flick of a switch. The shops were full of high quality, locally made
goods. The Zimbabwe dollar was the strongest currency in the region. People
were border jumping into Zimbabwe - the promised land - in search of food
and jobs. When the late President Laurent Kabila was shot, he was rushed to
Zimbabwe for the finest medical attention. Now all the government fatcats go
to South Africa to be treated by Zimbabwean doctors who have fled there.
The Zanu (PF) government imports maize from Zambia where Zimbabwean
farmers, driven off their land by Mugabe's thugs, are farming successfully.
Our children are condemned to lives of ignorance and disease as Zimbabwean
nurses and teachers flood South Africa and the UK in search of a living wage
and freedom from persecution by Green Bombers.
We want our children to return from the diaspora to rebuild our
shattered nation. We want families to be reunited.
Don't be intimidated. Don't be afraid. Chihuri, Chiwega and Zimondi
have abused their positions - seeking to direct our voting with threats of
violence. It is not their place to tell any Zimbabwean how he or she should
Mugabe himself has been threatening that the MDC will not be allowed
to form a government if they win the elections. It is not up to him to
dictate who should take over from him. It is our decision, as Zimbabweans.
It is our choice. It is not up to a dictator. He has brought misery and ruin
to our nation. It is unreasonable and arrogant for Zanu (PF) to expect us to
vote for them again. It is quite clear that they have no clue how to get us
out of the mess their misrule got us into.
Here we include Simba Makoni - who still insists that he is a member
of Zanu (PF).
We need a change of government and a change of direction.
This can only come about if you make the right choice, if you vote for
Morgan T and MDC candidates for the House of Assembly, the senate and
Let us go in our millions to vote for change. Be strong and very
courageous. We owe it to our children to give them hope and a future.
We all know Mugabe is planning to rig the elections. The only way we
can counter that is by a massive turnout. We must send an unmistakeable
message to Mugabe that we do not want him to rule us any longer.
He has had his chance. We gave him power and he became corrupted by
it. He abused our trust. Now we are taking that power back and giving it to
another person of our choice.
Let us remain peaceful, no matter what. As we have successfully done
on many occasions in the past, let us not respond to the regime's
provocation to violence. This only plays into Mugabe's hands. Remember, he
is the one with 'degrees in violence.'
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 10:33
25th March 2008 -
The public media has once again closed equal access to the opposition
despite the SADC guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections
demanding that all parties should be granted equal access.
Both the Zimbabwe Newspapers and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
continue to be purveyors of the voice of the dictator. Their news items
comprise Zanu PF campaign material while the MDC is granted scant negative
coverage. Mugabe has become a permanent news item on the public media, which
has been a launchpad of malicious verbal assaults against other Presidential
candidates while the MDC has been blacked out of these two publicly funded
The ZBC and Zimpapers have become conveyor belts of Zanu PF propaganda in
this election. Only yesterday, the MDC was granted 45 seconds coverage on
the main news while over 40 minutes were granted to Zanu PF. The ZBC is
flighting less than 10 percent of the political messages that we have booked
with them on the pretext that all political parties should buy equal time
even though Zanu PF has monopolised the main news coverage, thereby denying
the people the right to make informed choices.
Equally, in the publicly owned print media, the MDC has been granted token
advertising space while all news articles are pro-Zanu PF. This is an
affront to the SADC guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections to
which Mugabe appended his signature in Mauritius in August 2004.
This is definitely not a free and fair election. The people's voice has been
gagged. The public media has become a willing appendage of the regime in a
desperate attempt to annihilate the people's sovereign will. The media can
black out our voice but they cannot black out our imminent victory.
On Saturday, the people of Zimbabwe will reclaim their country and their
dignity. They will vote for the change they can trust. Victory belongs to
MDC Information and Publicity Department
Tuesday, 25 March 2008 13:44
The termites are on the march and those leaves they're clutching
between their feelers are actually ballot slips reports dpa from Harare.
The Great Termite Revolt is the title of a painting by well-known
Zimbabwean artist Cosmos Shiridzinomwa, which he produced for an exhibition
entitled Let's Get Together that opened at Harare's Gallery Delta earlier
In the painting columns of termites pour across dark hills into a
sunlit valley waving green leaves marked with an X.
Two weeks ahead of elections in which authoritarian 84-year-old
President Mugabe is seeking to extend his rule, the artist's message is
clear: the people of Zimbabwe are about to arise and reclaim their country
through the ballot box.
Criticizing the government or leader of Zimbabwe, the one-time
breadbasket of Africa where hunger is rife and inflation now in six figures
as a result of Mugabe's populist policies, is a risky business. Accusations
of treachery, intimidation and even torture can ensue.
Several artists, including popular musician Thomas Mapfumo and
playwright Tinashe Jonas have been forced out of the country for penning
words of protest.
Mapfumo, the voice of the 1970s guerrilla war against minority white
rule in then Rhodesia and one-time darling of the Zanu-PF government, fell
out of favour with the state after warning against corruption in an album of
the same title in 1989.
After years of harassment, including impromptu visits from the
secret service, he moved to the United States in the late 1990s.
"You're a marked man if you sing songs like that," he says of his
political brand of music called chimurenga (meaning struggle), after the
Jonas, the nephew of deceased former Zimbabwean justice minister
Edson Zvogbo, who was sidelined by Mugabe after criticizing his policies,
also fled Zimbabwe after his satirical play about Zimbabwe's president
entitled The Devilish was banned in 2005 and he received threatening phone
Jonas, who says he loves Mugabe but hates "his style of governing"
finally managed to stage his play in Johannesburg in November 2007.
Although South Africa is home to an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans,
the cast was entirely South African because Zimbabweans were too afraid to
participate, he says.
Back at home some theatre companies like Rooftop Promotions have
continued to stage hard-hitting works, including the satirical The Good
President in 2007, blasted as the "sick" work of enemies of the state by
Visual art, on the other hand, attracts less official opprobium,
says Derek Huggins, founder of Gallery Delta.
"I think it's probably easier to be subtly relevant or pertinent in
a painting than it in dialogue," he concedes.
The works by 43 artists hanging in Gallery Delta, all produced by
local artists, all speak of their longing for change.
Above the fireplace a painting by Mischeck Masamvu entitled Post
Election Results shows a figure clad in black comforting another figure
whose mouth is agape in horror.
In another work entitled Speech of the Friday, a puffed-up
cockerel - the symbol of Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF - addresses a group of
The vast majority of the works, however, expressed a desire for
unity and reconciliation.
"A lot of the work was saying let's sit together and talk or it's
possible to get together," says Huggins. "It's a soul-cry really." "It was
supposed to be non-political but of course everyone is politically-minded
here," says Jean-Christophe Courbin, director of the Alliance Francaise in
Harare which co-sponsored the exhibition held under the auspices of
Francophonie (French-speaking) Week.
By choosing Let's get Together as the theme for the exhibition the
French, Canadian and Swiss sponsors wanted to show "our heads of state
(Western and Zimbabwean) may not agree with each other, but we, the people,
want to get together," he added.
That spirit of cooperation also extended to the six judges, which
selected the competition winners. Despite its political content two judges
from the state-controlled National Arts Council and the National Gallery
gave the thumbs-up to Shiridzinomwa's Termites as the unanimous choice for
27 March 2008
Ann Bernstein and Sandy Johnston
IN MAY last year, speaking to the National Assembly, President Thabo Mbeki
summed up his government's attitude to the crisis-driven escalation of
cross-border migration from Zimbabwe, saying: "As for Zimbabweans who enter
SA legally, well, they enter SA legally and there wouldn't be any need to do
anything about that, but as to this other influx of illegal people, I
personally think it's something that we have to live with.. You can't put a
Great Wall of China between SA and Zimbabwe to stop people walking across."
According to the International Organisation for Migration, the South African
authorities deported 102413 illegal migrants to Zimbabwe between January and
June last year, a monthly average of 17000. This compares with a much lower
(but still high) monthly average of 4000 in 2004.
The Zimbabwe exodus poses numerous problems for the implementation of South
African immigration policy. For instance, Zimbabwean applications for asylum
are the second-largest component in a backlog, which by last year had
reached 144000, despite what the home affairs department called "concerted
efforts" to reduce it.
However, there are opportunities as well as challenges for SA in receiving
this influx of people. According to the South African Qualifications
Authority, of the 17086 evaluations of qualifications it performed between
January and September last year, 9756 (57%) were for the purpose of
processing Zimbabweans' work permit applications. This suggests quite a high
level of skills among the migrants.
Hard facts on immigration dynamics are notoriously difficult to establish
globally , but recent research in SA offers at least tentative answers to
some of the important questions about recent migration from Zimbabwe.
How many migrants are there and who are they? Authoritative numbers on
migration from Zimbabwe remain elusive. However, survey evidence and
deduction from what we know about Zimbabwe's population statistics suggest
that the higher estimates - 3-million is one - are unlikely to be true
figures and perhaps 1-million recent migrants is the best estimate we have
at this moment.
A survey of 4654 Zimbabweans in Johannesburg, conducted by Unisa professor
Daniel Makina in the middle of last year, produced some important pointers.
Of the sample, 92% had migrated between 2000 and 2007; the reason for
leaving varied with the year of departure - for 2002- 06, the majority cited
political reasons, for last year, the majority cited unemployment as a main
driver; the majority of migrants were aged between 21 and 40 years; and the
majority of the sample possessed matriculation and more than 30% had a
Are patterns of migration from Zimbabwe changing? Although there has been a
rapid escalation in numbers since Zimbabwe's crises in 2000, migration of
this sort has been going on for a long time and is made up of many types of
people in whose lives migration plays different parts. Some are seeking
temporary refuge, others circulate between Zimbabwe and SA, trading or
sending remittances, while still others remain and build lives here. More
women and children - increasingly including unaccompanied minors - are
arriving in SA. The origins and destinations of migrants are showing more
variation: arrivals from the more northern areas of Zimbabwe are reported as
increasing, and a significant proportion of Zimbabwean arrivals now
congregate in urban centres, as opposed to border areas.
What has been SA's response? In spite of reports of increasing numbers of
Zimbabwean migrants arriving in the country, the government has been
relatively silent on a policy solution. Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe
Mapisa-Nqakula has acknowledged the need for a "new approach" toward
irregular migration, recognising both the unsustainable costs of detention
and repatriation, and the futility of these processes when deportees
continue to return to SA. However, there have been no steps forward on this
issue, and the asylum claims system appears to be carrying much of the
weight of incoming migrants from Zimbabwe. Temporary residency permits were
mooted by the home affairs department last year, but the department has not
followed through with this suggestion.
Another policy avenue open to the government is to implement the SADC
Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons, a statement in favour
of the principle of freer movement of people in the region. Any attempt to
base policies on the ideals of the protocol would in practice require these
policies to take into account the uneven economic realities of the region
and align them with SA's national interests, since it is the destination for
most of the migration in the region.
The push factors of economic decay in Zimbabwe and the pull of SA's
relatively robust economic performance will continue to drive migration.
Whatever the prospects of political settlement, recovery will be a long and
difficult haul and cross-border migration is set to remain a challenge to
South African policy makers.
Many issues are raised by these facts. How do we deal with the gap between
obligations and delivery in refugee and asylum matters? Is it purely a
matter of bureaucratic capacity? Are the burdens of coping with an exodus
from an increasingly intolerable Zimbabwe SA's alone or should they be
internationalised? What are the realistic limits, costs and benefits of
attempts to control people flows? For example, does the failure of the
"arrest, detain, deport" policy mean we should look for alternatives or
devote more resources and effort - including re-assigning responsibility for
it - to its operation? How much does SA want to spend on border control? Are
we making enough use of the skills Zimbabwean migrants have to offer to fill
the skills gaps that are a constraint on SA's growth? What are the effects
of migration on crime and service delivery, including in healthcare and
welfare. What do the migrants contribute to the South African economy?
The absence of convincing answers to these challenging questions about
Zimbabwean migration highlights a lack of realism and failure of leadership
within SA on the crucial issues of regional migration. Beneath its surface
tolerance, the passive attitude typified by Mbeki's suggestion that we "just
live with" escalating illegal migration carries dangers with it.
Experience from other countries makes clear that failure to take charge of
refugee and asylum issues and demonstrate the ability not only to be
generous but administratively efficient in discharging obligations, risks
discrediting all migration in the eyes of the public.
Immigrants - at all skills levels - have contributed significantly to SA's
economic success and could contribute much more. If a well-managed
immigration policy is to facilitate that contribution, it is essential that
every aspect of the migration issue - humanitarian, emergency, economic and
political - should be managed with the effectiveness and decisiveness that
brings public confidence.
.. Bernstein is head of the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) and
Johnston is a senior associate. This article is based on a new publication
from the CDE - Migration from Zimbabwe, numbers, needs and policy options.
I would like to respond to recent comments by Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri and Army Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, about them not
supporting a change of government, for whatever reasons. It is amazing how
naïve some people have become, twenty eight years after independence they
are still bent on pleasing their unrewarding taskmaster, Mugabe. You would
think that by now sanity has begun to prevail especially in the echelons of
power. It is understandable if the people in the rural areas are still
ignorant of the real cause of the country’s problems simply because they
have been secluded from international broadcasting and other independent
newspapers hence the only media they have is radio two, a highly controlled
ZANU PF propaganda machinery. But for the supposedly elite to continue to
support Mugabe as if he is the only solution to the country’s problems is an
For Chihuri and Chiwenga to utter these absurd statements in the middle of a
long awaited election by a people that so desperately need change is
irresponsible. Chihuri’s ignorance is shocking when you consider his recent
statement in which he said that the police should support the government of
the day. It seems no one told him that the police and army are supposed to
remain apolitical. Their job is to protect the people by upholding the law
and not beat up the opposition and enforce the will of Zanu PF or any ruling
party for that matter. It is clear that these men are not only ignorant of
their duties but also selfish. They are obviously trying to secure their
positions and feed their families. However what they fail to realize is that
they have become a liability not only to the people of Zimbabwe but also to
Mugabe himself. With millions of Zimbabweans black and white, young and old
suffering, going to bed on empty stomachs, without electricity, coupled with
food shortages and hypeinflation, you would hope that by now they would be
talking about unseating the driver who has led the country into such
disarray. Instead what do they do? They worship and revere him. Not
because they are not aware of how bad his policies have been but because
they are the primary beneficiaries of all the skewed economic policies
Mugabe has instituted.
It is clearly evident that they are happy with the status quo. That is why
they are willing to fight for it. In my opinion if Mugabe had left office
in 1990 perhaps he would have earned a little bit of respect. Things were
not so bad. We have had good examples of founding fathers that left office
before they overstayed their welcome, Nyerere, and Mandela why could our own
president not follow the example. Oh I think I know why! He has a terrible
human rights record to sit on. He does not want to show up at The Hague and
face the music. So it serves him right to die in power, that way he will not
face the embarrassment of jail time.
My message to Chihuri and Chiwenga, is save yourselves, don’t fight for
Mugabe and his titanic, it is sinking anyway. You might as well jump ship
before your words come to haunt you. Remember the other guy who once said
Mugabe was the equivalent to Jesus the son of God. He kissed up to the old
man and where is he now? Was he not dumped by the same person he was trying
to please? Think about Jonathan Moyo, he tried to kiss up to the old man by
building the draconian media law that has stifled the independent media and
journalism in Zimbabwe resulting in the exit and torture of so many
journalists, whose input could have helped shape the policy in Zimbabwe. Did
he get the promotion he was looking for? Not with Mugabe, he was thrown out
like a piss of thrash, and only saved face by winning a sit as an
independent. I wonder what he thinks when he sees what he did and what could
have been, had he been responsible enough to leave room for the media to do
justice to the issues of the day. My point here is, learn from history and
don’t be the next fool.
What about the late Edison Zvobgo? Who created the office of the Executive
Presidency which gave Mugabe more powers that no single president should
have. As soon as Mugabe was inaugurated as the first Executive president
Zvobgo was immediately tossed out in a cabinet reshuffle and became the
Minister of Mines, a position less influential and unattractive to the power
hungry and politically ambitious. What a thank you! That is the Mugabe you
are trying to please Mr. Chihuri and Mr Chiwenga Good Luck in your
My advice to you sirs, is that, you have fed the monster; it’s time to
change tactics and run with the people. As for Makoni, I do not believe
that he is a genuine leader worth following. How does he decide to run for
elections a month before the elections especially after a secret meeting
with Mugabe? And moreover he says Mugabe will have a place as a founding
father, I don’t think so. No one is above the law. If people have killed and
tortured other human beings they deserve to face the law. They have
forfeited that front seat in history and should be treated like wise. That’s
why I believe that he is actually Mugabe’s puppet, (a spoiler of sorts) or
indeed a last ditch effort to take away votes from the opposition. Was it a
coincidence that Makoni began to talk about running for president when talks
between the two MDC factions to unite were in progress? Even the March 29
date was set quickly by Mugabe to avoid a possible agreement between the two
factions of the opposition was reached obviously denying them the time to
work out their differences. Mugabe knew they would have united and formed a
formidable force in this election. As if that was not enough that’s when the
Mugabe and Makoni “fall out” came about. I believe if Makoni was genuine
that he is not a puppet, the CIO would have nipped the plan from the bud.
Perhaps a puma would have been arranged to take him out. I don’t believe
that the CIO was caught napping. Maybe for once they are starting to show
signs of co-operating with the people this time. That is food for thought.
That’s why I strongly believe that Makoni is Mugabe’s’ plan B to survive.
Whatever the case do not take the people of Zimbabwe for granted, Judgment
day is coming and every man will be judged by what they have said and done.
If you are going to open your mouth, say something that will benefit the
people you are serving not your pocket. That is the cornerstone of public
Mugabe has enough puppets and if by some massive vote rigging he wins this
election. I believe he will toss Chiwenga and Chihuri because they have
proved that they can engineer a coup if they want to. Their statements prove
that they are a real liability not only for a new president but even for
Mugabe himself in the future. It’s time for every Zimbabwean from the
police, the army and the CIO to stop obeying the puppet master and bring
this nightmare to an end. I am sure people are educated in Zimbabwe and
they cannot be fooled by Mugabe blaming his failures on the West. He surely
sounds like a broken record, just like he did when he blamed it on the 1992
drought, six years after the drought. Let every man and woman do what is
necessary to give way to a completely new government. If the worst comes to
the worst and we have to go Kenya style, I would like to call on the police
and the army to refuse orders from Chihuri and Chiwenga to shoot their own
brothers and sisters in a bid to protect a man that has failed the country
time and time again. That will pull the rug from under their feet. It is sad
to watch videos of the Zimbabwean police beating up hungry and struggling
people (on Youtube.com), for supporting the opposition, And for the same
police to be seen arresting their own for being seen in an opposition
vehicle. Somebody needs to retrain them when this nightmare is over. I have
travelled far and wide yet I have never seen a police force so ignorant of
its duty, to the people. It is a true reflection of its leadership.
Let’s vote for change. Chinjai Maitiro Please